The Definitive Post-Accident Guide
In a previous article, we’ve already outlined a few of the simple steps that you need to take after a road traffic accident and how to deal with the situation. Here, we’re going through that list again and putting in a few more key details and practicalities that may help you out with your accident claim, as well as a few handy suggestions that may make your accident ordeal a little bit easier to bear.
Although cycling isn’t necessarily a dangerous activity, there is always risk of an accident. Let’s assume that you’ve just been involved in a traffic collision; you’re conscious but unsure of how to proceed. If you follow these steps, you’ll be able to leave the scene with your head held high having undertaken all of the necessary steps to get yourself on the road to recovery.
Move To Safety
There are two schools of thought about which way to move forward here depending on the seriousness of the accident. The first thing you should do, if possible, is move yourself out of the road; hanging around in the middle of a carriageway isn’t an ideal place to be and you run the risk of getting involved in another accident on top of the one that you’ve already suffered! Moving to the side of the road is the safest course of action.
If you’re unable to move or fear that you may have sustained a more severe injury, then of course it may be safer to remain where you are until a medical professional can move you safely, without risk of further injury. If you think you’ve damaged your spine or neck, then play it safe and stay where you are until help arrives.
Assess Your Injuries
Even if you can get up and walk away, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re ok; adrenaline usually kicks in and you may not even realize the seriousness of your injuries until a little while after the accident. Your health should be your number one concern and you should call an ambulance. In the majority of cases, someone has already done that for you, regardless of the severity of your injuries.
If you’re transported to hospital, then there isn’t much more that you can do at this stage but if your injuries aren’t so severe, it’s time to get to work!
A Calm Exchange…
This is the difficult part: if you’re able to walk then it’s time to confront the driver of the vehicle that caused the incident. This is difficult because you’re not able to view all of the facts and you’re very likely to be in an understandably bad mood; the key thing is to act without aggression, without placing any blame in a non-threatening and calm manner.
You should both exchange contact details and as many other details as you can, including a vehicle registration number and insurance details. If you’re too angry and appear threatening, the motorist may be less inclined to surrender their details… Take a note of the time and your location too.
Scout For Witnesses
While all of this is going on, you may draw a crowd and this could be to your advantage. If there are any reliable witnesses to the incident, then it’s important to make a note of their contact details. Witnesses can provide the best evidence and having someone on your side is very handy.
Not all witnesses have to be flesh and blood though; if no-one is around, try scanning the area for any CCTV cameras, either traffic cameras or security cameras. In this day and age, they’re everywhere and there is every chance that the whole scene has been captured. If there are cameras, remember where they are and inform the police when they arrive.
Hopefully by this stage you’ve managed to arm yourself with the motorist’s details and some key witnesses but that might not be enough; it’s also a wise idea to gather as much other evidence as you can. If you have a camera phone: now’s the time to use it.
Take photographs of your injuries, your bike, the other vehicle, the road, your safety equipment and even the people around you! It’s all important stuff. Why? Because if you want to claim compensation for a damaged bike, you’ll have to prove that the damage was caused there and then!
Talk To The Law
If they haven’t already shown up, they will – if an injury has occurred on the road, they’ll be there and if they’re not already on their way, call them, it’s worth waiting for them. When the police arrive, tell them exactly what happened: a police report is invaluable and it will take the blame game out of your hands altogether. Make sure you get your hands on a copy of that report, it’s important! You may have to give a formal statement too; you’ll also want to tell the truth – changing your story isn’t a wise idea!
Head To The Hospital
Now that you’ve dealt with the police and they’ve got all the information they need, you’re free to go; you could carry on to wherever you were going but you should really be heading to a doctor’s surgery or a hospital.
Even if you think you’ve only sustained minor injuries, it’s worth consulting a professional. Your adrenaline may not have worn off and it may be masking something more severe. It’s also a good idea to get a list of your injuries signed by a medical professional to help facilitate a claim or at least give you time off work. If you get your visit to the doctor done sooner, when your injuries are worse, it’ll look better on paper.
Visit The Bike Mechanic
As soon as you’re able to get out and about again, it’s time to take your bike to the shop. Although bikes are more robust than they used to be, they’ll still get damaged if they’ve been hit by a car, so it’s a good idea to get an assessment of the damage and get a quote for the cost of the repairs – in fact, get a few quotes from a few reputable bike shops and not just for your bike either, throw all of your accessories on the list too, including your helmet, rising gear and other bits and bobs.
If you’ve suffered at the hands of another road user and it wasn’t your fault, you may be entitled to compensation. You can receive compensation for a number of things, including time off work, the damaged bicycle and lots more. It’s worth giving us a call to see what we can do for you.
If an accident has already happened and you don’t have the available evidence like above, don’t worry, we’re here to help and we’re prepared to the leg work for you.
While dealing with an accident may be a stressful affair, we’ll help you every step of the way and can lend you as much support as you need. Going through these steps may seem like a lot of work but in reality, it’s fairly straightforward although preparing for an accident is one thing and suffering one is another!
If you’d like to know more about how to avoid accidents and hopefully skip this stage altogether then read this post about accident avoidance and you should be able to ride around safely and have a blast doing it.