Bicycle accidents are common, and many of these accidents feature the perpetrator leaving the scene.
A “hit-and-run” occurs when the driver flees the scene of the accident.
This leaves you without an identifiable party at fault and makes you financially liable for picking up the pieces.
The following steps can help you to take control of the hit-and-run, and get your life back to normal.
1. Remain on the scene
One of the most important steps to take following a hit-and-run is to remain on the scene.
Staying on the scene allows law enforcement to accurately record the events that led to the accident.
These police records are important for identifying the guilty party and filing insurance claims on damages.
You are relying on the accuracy of these reports to catch your culprit, so it’s up to you to ensure you’re on the scene when authorities arrive.
2. Check yourself for injuries
When you’re involved in a hit-and-run, it’s important to make sure you’re okay.
Check yourself for any superficial injuries, and take a mental note of any areas that are bothersome.
If there are injuries that will need medical attention, you should notify the police when you call to report the hit-and-run.
This way they can dispatch the proper emergency responders.
3. Call the police
Once you have assessed that you have no serious injuries, call the police.
You will need to file an accident report, regardless of your injuries or the damages.
In addition to reporting the culprit, contacting the police post-accident will allow them to send medical care, which can be critical to an injured cyclist.
When the police are dispatched to the scene of your incident, they will also dispatch an ambulance to assess your injuries.
This is critical, as these emergency responders will be able to identify symptoms of concussion or internal injuries that may require additional medical attention.
4. Write down everything you can recall
If you find yourself a victim of a hit-and-run, write down everything you can recall about your assailant.
If you can remember, note the make, model, color of the vehicle, license plate, and direction of travel.
Any of these details could lead the police to identifying the driver.
5. Take pictures
Once you have called the police and you have recalled any important information, snap a few in-focus photographs of all damages.
Taking photographs as soon as possible after the collision provides physical documentation of your damages.
These photographs can help to legitimize your claims for damages, should you need to provide them to your insurance company or attorney.
These photographs can also protect you from claims that you fraudulently damaged your bike post-accident.
If you were wearing a Go-Pro or other form of recording device, supply the responding officer with that footage.
This footage can be a major asset in filling in the blanks left by memory in cases of hit-and-runs.
6. Find witnesses
When you are waiting for the police to arrive on the scene, try to gather as many witnesses as you can, whether they’re motorists, pedestrians, or other cyclists.
Talk to anyone who may have seen what happened, and try to keep them on the scene until the responding officer arrives.
Witnesses strengthen your case by providing a verbal and written statement of events. Sometimes, they can even provide the details that allow authorities to identify the culprit.
7. Inform your insurance company
If you have bicycle insurance, notify the company of the hit-and-run.
Filing an immediate claim will make it easier to collect your insurance, cover your medical costs, and replace your damaged bicycle.
8. Call an attorney
If you have been injured or have sustained damage in your hit-and-run, it is strongly recommended that you hire an attorney.
The authorities will do what they can to locate the assailant, while your attorney ensures that your case is organized and ready for court once the individual is identified.
You should provide your attorney with the police incident report and all photographs of damages.
Any evidence and witnesses that you are able to provide to your attorney will help to build your case before taking it to court.
Finding yourself a victim of a hit-and-run is frustrating, but following these steps can provide you with some comfort in knowing that you’re on your way to regaining normalcy.
Taking care of yourself should be your top priority following the trauma of a hit-and-run, and these steps are designed to help you care for yourself and your damaged property.