1. Report The Accident Accurately And In Detail Call the police from the accident scene if you are able to do so. Do NOT allow the driver who hit you to convince you not to report the incident to the police or their insurance company. Sometimes, injuries and damage to your bicycle are not immediately apparent. If you are injured you may be too distracted to focus and should have the police there to do a proper investigation, plus get valid ID and insurance information from the driver who hit you. Get the names of any witnesses (including phone numbers!) and make sure the police have access to those names and numbers.
Also, be sure to report the accident to each insurance company involved, both your household auto insurance and the other driver's auto insurance company. Do not make the mistake of assuming that the other driver will report the incident because many times, even in very serious accidents, they do not. In PA, your automobile insurance (if you have any) will pay your medical bills up to the limit of your coverage under the PA No-Fault (PIP). You will need to get a medical claim number from your auto insurance company and provide that to all medical providers treating you for your injuries. If you do not have auto insurance, the other driver's auto insurance will pay your medical bills. In this scenario, you will need a claim number from the other driver's insurance company for medical billing. 2. Seek Necessary Medical Treatment Immediately Be sure to seek medical care promptly because failure to do this can greatly damage your case. In addition, sometimes head injuries that initially seem minor can turn out to be life threatening. If you have struck your head, even if you were wearing a helmet, go to the ER for a full evaluation immediately. Don't worry about the ER bill, as auto insurance will normally cover the initial bills, after which your health insurance or medicaid will kick in if you have either. Be sure to tell the doctor that you were hit by a car while riding your bike so that the doctor is clear that you didn't simply fall off. 3. Diagram, Document and Photograph The Scene As Well As Your Injuries Note the exact location of the point of impact with your bike and the direction of movement of any other vehicle involved in the accident. Note any debris and any marks caused by tires on the roadway from the accident. If you are incapacitated, ask a witness or family member at the scene to do this for you and make sure it is given to the police because they arrive after the collision and will not have actually seen the accident under normal circumstances. Take or have another person take photos with a cell phone or camera of all debris, the positions of the vehicles after the collision, the license plate of the car that hit you and, if possible, the driver of the car that hit you. Once you are in a safe location, have a family member or friend take photos of your visible injuries. 4. Preserve Evidence Make sure the damage to your bike is documented by a reputable bike repair shop and photographed to preserve evidence of the damage. Consult with your lawyer to determine whether you can authorize repairs to begin or should wait until all the insurance companies are able to see the bike first. Be certain to preserve any damaged items of apparel/equipment you were wearing or using on your bike at the time of the accident such as helmet, gloves, boots, pants, jacket, glasses, backpack. Do not wash any of it or throw it away. Put all of your clothing/equipment in storage in plastic bags and do not launder any of it. Photograph all of it so that you have pictures to show your attorney to avoid carrying all of it to your initial consultation. 5. Consult With An Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer As soon as your immediate medical needs are under control, speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer. Do not speak to someone who is a "jack of all trades"-make sure it is someone who comes highly recommended, with great reviews who practices exclusively in the area of personal injury cases and has many years of experience. Remember that the insurance adjuster will try to convince you he is trying to help you to prevent you from hiring a lawyer because his only goal is to save money for the insurance company. They have years of experience trying to quickly railroad a settlement from inexperienced accident victims and you will be at a complete disadvantage which they will exploit if you are not represented. Consult with a lawyer BEFORE you speak to the adjuster or sign any forms. You are under no obligation to return the call of the other driver's insurance company who will bully you into saying and doing things contrary to your interest. A consultation with a personal injury lawyer is FREE, and you will owe no advance fees. Personal Injury lawyers are paid on a contingent fee basis, meaning you do not pay a cent until the lawyer wins or settles your case. We are here to protect you!