If you are unfortunate enough to find yourself the victim of a car versus bicycle collision, the list of things you should know far exceeds the space available on this page. There are a few basic things to try to remember.
You have the right to ask law enforcement to investigate the accident. If you fall victim to another’s careless driving, reporting the accident will initiate an investigation process, and create an official record of the occurrence. Failing to report the accident can have a serious impact on your ultimate ability to recover the damages you sustain in it. Law enforcement involvement will further assure that you are getting accurate insurance information from the at-fault party. That information will appear on the official Traffic Accident Report.
If it is a hit-and-run collision, it is potentially even more important that you report the accident and initiate a law enforcement investigation. Even if the driver cannot be located, you can still pursue damages under your uninsured motorist coverage.
In my practice, many cyclists try to delay or avoid medical attention. This is no time to be a hero. Get the treatment you need, and let the process play itself out. If you have health insurance, you will use that as your primary source of payment for treatment.
If witnesses offer to provide you with their contact information, definitely take them up on it. Get a business card or as much contact information as they are willing to provide.
The scene of an accident is no time to argue fault with the other party or law enforcement. There is no obligation to even speak to the at-fault party about the collision, and there is no real advantage to doing so. If a law enforcement officer appears to be wrongfully holding you responsible for the collision, it is important that you state your version of how it occurred, but there is little to be gained by engaging the officer in an argument.
Once you have received emergency treatment, photograph all visible injuries and damaged equipment.
If your injuries are serious enough that you are immediately transported from the scene in an ambulance for emergency medical care, you have the right to file a statement as a supplement to the official Traffic Accident Report. This is often an important way to document your perspective of the collision, and create an official record of that.
Following these basic tips will get you going in the right direction. There is no question, however, that you would be wise to contact an experienced bicycle attorney to further protect your rights. I would be happy to provide a no-cost no-pressure consultation to help determine if your rights would be best protected by hiring an attorney.