First and foremost: if you are seriously injured, wait for medical assistance!

1. Record the facts. Write down the date, time, and location of the accident, including the name, address, email, phone number and insurance information for any driver involved in the crash. Also obtain the name, address, email, & phone number of any witness to the incident. Take pictures and video whenever possible.

2. Hang on to relevant documents. In addition to your own notes, keep handy all documents related to the accident, such as the police report, medical evaluations, insurance forms, property damage estimates, and written or electronic correspondences.

3. Follow through on insurance claims. More often than not, the motorist’s insurance company will deny your initial claim. Treat this denial as the beginning of a negotiation, not the end! Insurance companies count on the fact that most people will give up after receiving a denial letter.  If you receive a denial letter, wait 45 days after the crash, then send a polite, professional, but firm letter to the insurance company indicating that you will sue the insured if they fail to pay. Mention the Georgia title 33 statute, which compels insurance companies to settle claims in a timely manner (within 60 days) or face a penalty fee. Clearly state the amount for which you require compensation, and then let them know that you expect a prompt response. Be sure to reference the claim number in the letter and include copies of property damage estimates to support your claim.

4. If necessary, retain an attorney. If you sustained serious injuries or your bike was damaged, you may need to work with an attorney. Check in your area for a law office that specializes in bicycle crashes. We recommend BikeLaw.com.

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For more information, check out this blog post and video from our friends at Bike Law.