Accident Advice

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Leg End Member
This important and vert useful post has been Copied from a thread in Commuting.
If you wish to make any comments or add to the information given here, please go to the thread in Commuting, as this one is Locked.
Thank you.

Have I missed anything off, could parts be worded better? The idea being, to come up with one copy that anyone can refer to should they ever need to. Any errors, feel free to correct.
I've used a number of replies on here & elsewhere. So sorry if I've pinched advice you've given.
Some links have changed, other posters have added to the thread, so I’ve updated this to reflect those.

What you can do before that may help afterwards.
1) Save your work/home number and save the non-emergency police number 101 in your phone.
2) Know your route, so if you have to call your own ambulance or police you can tell them where you are.
3) Carry a small laminated card with the basics on the information you'd require after an accident.
4) Consider something like this
5) Program someone into your phone as your “ICE” person (in case of emergency). Should you be unconscious, the emergency services should look in your phone for a person to contact and are advised to look for “ICE” (obviously this wont work if you have a passcode).
ICE- on android phones
Go to 'Settings' - ‘Security’, then 'owner info’. Add ICE number and name and it will scroll across your locked screen.

Paramedics and A&E’s seem to favour medicalert or similar. Keeping it simple, a laminated card. Name, address, Dr's details & hospital number on one side, any medication being taken and any allergies on the other.

Whilst they can look at your phone, it requires two people (One to check the handset, the second to watch the person doing the checking. It's got that bad). If in use on the bike, they may not bother looking at it. "They're there to treat the person." Whilst they're looking at your phone, whose looking after you?
Items of clothing may be cut and or removed, helmets included, at the scene.

At the scene of an accident
1) Move to a safe position. If you feel you can without further injury to yourself.
2) Call the police and an ambulance:
a. if you are injured;
b. if you think you may be in shock; or
c. if you think the other party involved in the accident is giving you false contact details.
3) When the police arrive, co-operate. Stay calm and make sure you give them your side of the story. Take down the name of the officer and ask for the police case reference number. They are responsible for investigating your case so it is a good idea to keep them on your side.
4) Even if you have a very minor injury, go to hospital or your GP as soon as possible. Explain to the doctor that you will be taking the case to court so they can take detailed notes.
5) Take pictures of your injuries at their worst to show their full extent.
6) Get the contact details of any witnesses to the accident - the more the better. Do not leave this to the police. Do not hand your copy of witness details over to the police but do give them the witness details. The courts rely heavily on witness statements.
7) Beware about accepting money from the other person in the accident, as that may be seen as you agreeing to settle your case.
8) If you are badly injured, do not be scared to ask for help from bystanders with the above (i.e. getting witness info, registrations details, taking photos, etc).

No damage no injury = no need to exchange anything
Damage, but no injury = need to exchange name and address of driver, and name and address of owner of the car if different, and registration number.
Injury of any level = exchange name and address of driver and owner AND insurance details of driver.
If there has been an injury, and the insurance details cannot be exchanged for ANY reason, they must be produced at a police station within 24 hours.

The above are also only the minimum requirement. There's no legal issue with you along for insurance details and phone numbers anyway if the other party is willing to provide them, just be aware of whether they are legally obliged to or not.

This deserves a mention, as it is vital to look for CCTV cameras. See if there is any CCTV footage for the area in which it took place. Easy way of doing it is to go back & look for any cameras.
Public CCTV - tell the police to call the local CCTV office to make sure any footage is preserved there and then. Do not let them wait as the footage will not be in real-time if the police do not get in contact with them immediately.
Private CCTV – this data may be deleted within 24 hours. You do not have much time to get a copy of it and neither do the police. You or the police need to contact the business immediately to preserve the footage.
Councils have to keep a record of the owner & operators of these cameras. The same contact details should also be visible on the camera itself.
Buses - Were any nearby at the time. Many now have multiple cameras on either side as well as to the front and rear. If so consider contacting the bus company to see if they caught the incident on their cameras.

Helmet/Chest Camera
At the first opportunity, get a copy of the incident made. You can then use this footage to help get what happened down on paper, in the correct order. Keep the original recording in an untouched state. On a separate card if possible.

Accidents with a motorised vehicle

If you can only get one piece of information following the accident, make sure you get the driver’s vehicle registration - this is usually enough to trace the driver.
If possible, take the driver’s name, address, registration and insurance details.
Do not get into a discussion about whose fault the accident was.
Take photographs of the vehicles and their position in the road, along with any damage to your bike.

Accident from a defect in the road
If you are in an accident from a pothole or other defect in the road, it is important to take photographs of the defect as it looks at the time of the accident. Put an item in the shot (a credit card, taped to a tape measure. Size is hard to dispute) that shows the size and depth of the pothole these photos are just in case it gets repaired the next day. You still must go back to the scene ASAP with a proper tape measure to record the size of the defect. Take photographs with it so you can accurately show how deep and wide it is.

Hit and Run accidents
If the driver does not stop at the scene of the accident, you may still be able to get compensation through the Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB). This is a fund all insurance companies pay into to cover hit and run accidents and also accidents caused by uninsured drivers.
There are strict time limits including having to have reported the accident to the Police within 5 days if you then want to claim for damage to personal property. The time limits can be found here, along with details on how to apply for compensation:


Get yourself checked over as soon as possible. Do not rely on a quick once over at the scene or when you get home.
Photograph all injuries sustained as well as any areas that have taken an impact, but are not showing any signs of injury, to you. Get someone else to take the pictures as it makes it easier to get any out of sight areas photographed.
Keep an ongoing record as new marks appear. Recording when the pictures were taken. Date as a minimum.
Include something in the pictures whose size cannot be disputed. Tape measures/rulers can be said to be false. Credit Card taped to the tape measure/ruler makes it harder to discredit the picture.
If possible, do a comparison shot. Left versus Right, if only one side is injured.
Record any over the counter medication taken. Both when started, and when stopped. Explaining why you stopped taking it. Any prescribed medication will be on your medical records.
With head impacts, your brain remains "bouncing around" inside the skull for a couple of months. So you might have vision problems. Consider getting your eyesight checked as soon as possible.
Don't get back on the bike, if possible, until you have been cleared to do so medically.
Make no attempt to ride the bike. It may reduce at a later date any settlement offer made.
MIB requires two quotes for their paperwork. If it’s a write-off they may be willing to accept the one quote. The same may apply if there are few bike shops locally. Keep the original receipts of these quotes.
A quick check of the frame and wheels might throw up immediate damage caused. Check the tubes for any wrinkles in the paint.
Do not ride the bike until it has been checked, and passed as safe to ride. Doing so before may affect what others may say.
The bike is second on the list of things to check as it is easier to repair or replace than you.

(a) Police
If there is another road user at fault for your accident, it is important to involve the police and push for a prosecution if you can. It is easy to get disheartened and give up when the police are unhelpful or inactive in getting drivers convicted for offences against cyclists. Cycling accidents tend not to be treated as priorities by the police and by the public in general.
When reporting the accident, it is useful to have a basic understanding of the difference between ‘criminal’ and ‘civil’ law, explained below. There are two sets of paperwork and you need to make sure that you are filling out the correct set.
Trying to prosecute a driver can be a gruelling and lengthy process. If possible, have a ‘without obligation’ meeting with a criminal lawyer, which may give you an idea of how the process will work. This doesn’t mean you need to stick with that lawyer, but they can talk through probabilities, time frame, and punishments with you.
Follow all the court procedures, and make sure to stick to deadlines.

(b) Criminal -v- Civil law
It is important to know the difference between criminal law and civil law. Criminal law is where the state punishes someone for breaking the law. It is dealt with by the police and cases are heard in the Magistrate’s Court, or the Crown Court if it is more serious.
Civil law (in this context) is where the cyclist sues for a wrong committed against them by another road user. You can get compensation for your financial losses, including damage to your bike, and for the injuries you have suffered. The defendants will also be liable to pay your legal costs.

(c) Civil law
If your bike or personal possessions are damaged, or you are injured following an accident, you have a few choices:
1. Do nothing
2. Make a deal with the driver or insurers
3. Instruct a solicitor

Do nothing
In general, cyclists feel very sheepish following an accident, and many will hobble off after an accident without doing anything about it. If this is an informed decision then fine, but for cyclists to be treated like road users they need to treat themselves in the same way. Also, adding yourself to the count for that year’s statistics will help future cyclists.

Make a deal with the driver or insurers
Make a deal with the driver or insurers. If you make a deal with the other person, make sure you go in with your eyes open.
If you accept payment from the defendant then this will probably be all you can get. In which case, even if your injuries persist longer than you thought, you cannot go back and get more money.

Report it & get yourself checked.
Get a written record down on paper. At this stage it’s not important if you're the only one who can understand what you are writing. You can put it all down fully later, in order, when you're certain you have everything there.
Put into words what that means when putting everything in order for the working copy.
"Working copy" is my way of saying, once you're happy that you have everything down & in the correct order, you print a copy off, dated of course, and work from that. It makes it easier for you, as you are then are telling the same, to everyone. This “Working Copy” will be in order of occurrence. Who did what, where & when. Printed version should be kept safe.
Include the time of the incident, the time you called the police & on what number.
Was the call made via mobile phone; get in touch with your provider for confirmation of the time & number called.
If possible the name of the person you spoke to. Not always forthcoming with this bit of information.
Putting all this at the top of your working copy. Makes it easier find in a hurry.
What were the road/traffic & weather conditions like.
Direction of travel & intended direction of travel & direction actually taken. Of all involved. Marked lanes/ vehicle indicators.
Do not guess what the other party(ies) may have been thinking.
Were your lights fitted & in use at the time. Some people ride with their rear light on at all times so it’s not as odd as it sounds. Night time, lights should be in use, by all concerned.

Get the collision log number created by the police; this will be its own separate number. Include this number if given, on your working copy.
Keep a written log. What you did, who phoned who, when, what number was used, especially if they contact you, leaving a number. Who you spoke to. Try and get names if possible.

Seeking legal help
Who to chose
If you go down this route, make sure the solicitor specialises in cycling cases and is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers(APIL).
All lawyers have at least some knowledge of the law. However if you have been knocked off a bicycle, it is obvious that of two similarly qualified lawyers, the one with cycling experience will be better able to conduct your case. They will be very used to insurers who contend that, for example, you should have been wearing a helmet and other cycling specific issues.
Once you have a solicitor acting for you, they should do the majority of the work that needs to be done to get you compensation. This process can take time – usually anywhere between 6 months and 2 years. Although it can/may take longer.

The steps involved will vary depending on the case, but in general a solicitor will do the following:
1. Notify the driver of the accident and, if necessary, write to the police to request a copy of the accident report.
2. Instruct an independent medical expert to meet with you and report on the extent of your injuries and how long they will last.
3. Once the medical evidence has been finalised, and the driver has admitted liability, the claim should be ready to settle. It may take some time to get to this stage, depending on the complexity of the case and how serious your injuries are.
4. Where the driver does not admit liability, or the insurers undervalue the case, it may be necessary to issue court proceedings to encourage settlement. However, only around 1% of cases actually go to trial.

Paying for it all.
Nobody should be deterred from seeking access to justice on the grounds of cost.
If your case has at least a 50/50 chance of success (which is the vast majority of cycling accidents), your solicitor should enter into a “no win no fee” arrangement. This means you will pay only if you win, in which case, the costs will be covered by the other side.
If you have legal expense insurance (e.g. through LCC membership), you may want to consider using this. However, you can select the solicitor who you want to instruct, although this may not be the solicitor your insurer wants you to go with.
Please Note: the insurance industry has successfully lobbied the government to pass the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders bill. For accidents after April 2013 there will be changes to the payment for a case.

Your case
You have three years from the date of the accident (or your 21st birthday if you are under 18 at the time of the accident) to issue the case in the court otherwise your case will be time barred.
Keep records/receipts for any money you spend as a result of the accident e.g. paracetamol; bike repairs; replacing your helmet/clothing/cleats/etc; travel costs for taking public transport instead of cycling.
Photocopy/scan all receipts. Ink fades & the thermal printed ones can blacken in minutes. Never send the original receipt, send a copy. If you scanned them, you can print off as required. Or send via e-mail.

Consider these
Forms available, showing the evidence required from you. Goes well with this from @Vikeonabike,
For what to include in a Statement Template!

You have the vehicle registration
Is the licence plate correct?
Check the vehicle registration & tax/VED details?
Is the vehicle insured? &
Has the vehicle got a current MOT?

Edited to include
@steveindenmark's suggestion about the police. Now in light grey.
@ScotiaLass's suggestion with regards the helmet sticker scheme and
@boydj over my omission on only moving if safe to do so.
@Cunobelin's, suggestion on the laminated card, detailing the basics to get after an accident.
Note added with thanks to @CopperCyclist
@stoatsngroats on adding the piece on time limits for presenting the insurance details
@Adrian on RoadID

With regards the advice on mobile usage for displaying ICE and medical details. Consider that the screen may be cracked. Or that it may have landed some distance from you. So may not be accessible or even associated with you.
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