First things first
If you’ve been in a bike crash, you should make sure you get the identity of the driver who hit you and of anyone else that might have been a witness or involved party.
Get the information.
- Ask to see the driver’s licenses and vehicle registrations of the drivers of all motor vehicles involved in the accident.
- Write down their names, addresses and driver’s license numbers.
- Obtain the names of their auto insurance companies from their vehicle registrations.
- Look for witnesses to the accident, and ask them for their names, addresses and telephone numbers.
- Write down or take notice of any injuries suffered by you or other people on the scene.
If you are unable to gather the information above due to an injury, you can politely ask the officer to confirm that he or she will do so for you.
As of May 2010, if you have been hit in the city of Boston and were taken to the emergency room, you should get a visit from investigating officers in the hospital. If Boston Police do not follow up with a hospital visit, please contact the Boston Cyclists Union.
If the driver leaves the scene of the accident, try to get the license plate number, the color, make, model or other identifying information of the car and also any description of the driver. If you can write it down, do so – and quick, before you forget the specifics. And call the police immediately. A motorist who leaves the scene of an accident without stopping and identifying who they are has committed a crime for which he or she can go to jail.
Also, if you have that license plate number you (or your lawyer) can find out who owns the car and their auto insurance company from the Registry of Motor Vehicles.
Take it easy.
If the police investigate, cooperate with them. Tell them what you saw. It’s true that some police officers have been known to have a bias against cyclists, so be careful how you speak to them. Be calm, polite and clear, and make sure that the police get your side of the story.
Be prepared as well to identify yourself to others involved in the accident when they ask. Avoid getting angry with the driver that hit you, it will only make the process longer, and might work against you.
Assess your injuries, but never say you’re okay.
Before you let the driver leave, check yourself out. Note any obvious injuries, but if you think you are all right, do not say so. You may not notice injuries until much later, even days, especially for sprains or other injuries that are not visibly obvious.
If the police or emergency responders want to check you out, let them, even if you think you are okay. Again, you may not realize how injured you are until the adrenaline rush from the crash wears off. If you really think you are not injured, you can say something open ended, like “I am still a little shaken. Let’s hope there’s nothing wrong.”
Check out your bicycle.
Even if you feel well enough to ride, you should consider not doing so if there has been any damage to the fork, the handlebars, or the headset bearings that let you turn the handlebars. Lightweight handlebars can snap suddenly if they have been bent, making them dangerous to ride on. Similarly, if your fork is bent or if your headset is damaged, your bike’s steering and balance might be dangerously out of line.
If the front end of the bike looks okay, spin each wheel, and apply the brake to stop each one. If either wheel is significantly wobbly, or if the brakes do not apply smoothly, do not ride the bike.
Next, grab each crank, and pull it away and towards the bike. If there is any play, don’t get on the bicycle!
Don’t accept rides from the driver who hit you.
The driver that hit you may act sorry and offer to drive you and your bike home or to the hospital or to where you are going. Politely refuse any such offer and say that you will wait for the police or the ambulance. The driver may lose any sense of remorse the next day, and if the driver changes his story and tells his or her insurance company that the accident was your fault, you may regret having accepted a ride.
Do accept rides in the ambulance.
Most important, if you’re injured or your bike is, don’t be a hero and try to get where you are going as if nothing happened. None of us want to be late or not get to where we were going, but an untreated injury can end up much more inconvenient than an unplanned ambulance ride to an emergency room. The driver’s no fault insurance will pay for the ambulance ride, the emergency room and any follow up medical treatment. If the driver was a hit and run driver, there is still available no fault insurance to cover the ambulance costs from the state uninsured pool.
Once you are home, check yourself out again, then look over your bike again. If you are injured or your bike is damaged you should consider making a claim against the driver’s insurance for the damage.
Boston Area Personal Injury Lawyers who actively support better biking.
Breakstone, White & Gluck
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, you need answers about who will be paying your medical bills, who will help you recover from the injuries you have sustained, and who will pay for damage to your bicycle. We are experts at handling bicycle accident cases, and can help you with every aspect of the difficulties you face after a serious bicycle accident.
The attorneys at Breakstone, White & Gluck, P.C., have extensive experience handling personal injury claims and lawsuits on behalf of injured bicyclists. We are also committed to the bicycling community. We don’t just help injured cyclists; we are devoted to the promotion of bicycle safety for children and bicycling advocacy for adults.
617-723-7676, toll-free: 1-800-379-1244
Jason & Fischer Attorneys at Law
Jason & Fischer is a Boston law firm with more than 30 years of experience representing clients in areas including bicycle crashes, personal injury, civil rights and police misconduct cases, consumer protection, criminal litigation, residential real estate, and small business representation.
While we have the expertise and experience to confidently take on Boston’s big firms, we understand that, for our clients, taking legal action can be a daunting step. So we give you the support and information you need every step of the way.
A special focus on the rights of bicyclists.
Jason & Fischer’s effectiveness as an advocate for cyclists’ rights stems from our experience as riders as well as attorneys. Andrew Fischer is a longtime cyclist who has been commuting to downtown Boston for more than 35 years. Since 1981, when the firm took and won its first bicycle-related case, we have represented hundreds of cyclists.
Josh Zisson, Bike Safe Boston
Josh Zisson graduated from Suffolk Law School and was admitted to practice law in Massachusetts in 2009. He worked for a few firms before starting his own practice specializing in bike law.
Now Josh is posted up in Central Square, Cambridge, doing what he loves most: riding bikes and practicing law.
Colucci, Colucci, Marcus & Flavin
At the law firm of Colucci, Colucci, Marcus and Flavin, P.C., in Milton, Massachusetts, we pursue personal injury and wrongful death claims on behalf of injured victims and surviving family members statewide as well as in Rhode Island. In the more than 15 years since, one client at a time, we have built a reputation for high-quality legal representation.
Personal injury remains the largest and most diverse part of our law firm’s practice. Our attorneys have secured financial compensation for thousands of individuals who have suffered serious injuries from motor vehicle accidents (car, motorcycle, truck, mass transit, etc.), workplace accidents (construction accidents, manufacturing accidents, industrial accidents, etc.), nursing home negligence and premises liability law (injuries related to slip-and-fall accidents, dog bites, property defects, negligent security, etc.).
“It’s about results.”