Hit-and-run accidents happen when someone hits either another car, a pedestrian, or a bicyclist and doesn’t stop – or in some instances, doesn’t even notice that they have hurt someone. If a driver is charged with hit-and-run, it means that they left the scene of an accident without exchanging information. If you are on a bicycle and you are hit, the consequences can be pretty severe. Making matters worse, not many insurance companies want to deal with bicycling accidents where the driver is not involved, which might make getting compensated for your injuries and damages that much more difficult.
If you are hit while on a bicycle, and the person who hits you doesn’t stop to see if you are okay or to exchange information, then there are certain steps that you will have to take to prove the accident was due to a hit-and-run. To protect yourself and to get the compensation that you deserve, do the following four things:
Call the police and file a report
If you are hit on a bicycle, make sure to stop where you are and have someone call the police to fill out a report. If the driver doesn’t stop, you will need to have a police report to prove that there was an automobile involved. The only way that you can try to get the driver tracked down is to call immediately. Even if you can’t find the motorist, whoever you file a claim with will need to have the incident report and an investigation that was documented by law enforcement. Since most bicyclists think that they have no recourse when they are hit if the driver doesn’t take responsibility, they don’t call the police and file a report, which could be the biggest mistake that you can make.
Notify your own insurance company and your health insurance company
Most states require that you notify both your health insurance company and your automobile insurance company immediately following an accident or at least within 24 hours of it happening. To file a claim, you will need to have a full report of your injuries and damages, including non-economic and economic damages. Since you are not at fault, you do not need to worry about your auto insurance rates going up if you file with your insurance company.
Seek the necessary medical attention immediately
If you have been injured in a hit-and-run on a bicycle, don’t just shake it off. Sometimes what seems like minor scrapes, bruises, and soreness can become major pretty quickly. If you don’t seek the medical attention you need immediately after the accident, you might have a hard time proving that your injuries were directly related to your biking accident. You will need to have documentation of the exams that were done, whether you were hospitalized, and any x-rays, scans, or MRIs that will further your case that you were severely injured. The insurance company will need to see proof that you sought medical attention and the extent to which you suffered injuries.
Talk to eyewitnesses and get them on record
When you are in a hit-and-run, the hardest part is proving that there was a motorist involved and that you didn’t just get hurt on your bike. Since it is going to be your word only, try to get other people who witnessed the accident involved. You will want to get any eyewitness statements to prove the events of your hit-and-run while it is fresh in their minds. Make sure to get their contact information as well, in case the insurance company has any other questions.
When you are on a bicycle in a hit-and-run accident, don’t assume that you are left without recourse. In most cases you are covered under your own automobile insurance or health insurance policy. Just make sure that you seek medical attention, call the police to have a report filled out, and immediately contact your health and auto insurance companies to tell them of the events of the accident. It might also behoove you to hire a bicycle accident lawyer to guide you through the complexity of a hit-and-run, especially if you are having a hard time getting your claim approved.