The following is a guest blog post by local bike attorney Dan Brazil of Brazil Law Group. Brazil Law Group is a sponsor of Our Streets Minneapolis.
Whether you wish to refrain from police involvement or simply forget to call in the heat of the moment, it’s possible to file a bike crash claim without a police report. It’s also possible to strengthen your bike crash claim by filing a crash report and gathering necessary evidence at the scene.
The difference between a crash report and a police report
For my clients who don’t have a police report and wish to make a claim, I file a Minnesota crash report on their behalf. Different from a police report, a Minnesota crash report is a citizen’s report, filed by the individual involved in the crash. A Minnesota crash report also contains insurance information, while a police report does not.
Whether completed by the police or an individual, a crash report is critical when filing an insurance claim. Yet, filing a Minnesota crash report requires you to gather the necessary information on your own after your accident.
How to strengthen your bike crash claim
Most steps you can take to strengthen your bike crash claim must occur immediately after an accident, with or without police involvement. These steps include:
Gathering information from other parties involved: You’ll need to gather the names, phone numbers, addresses, insurance numbers, driver’s license numbers and vehicle license plate numbers of all parties involved to complete a Minnesota crash report. Plus, this information will help streamline the claims process.
Taking photos of the scene and your bike: Photos help illustrate the scene of the crash. Take photos as soon as possible to ensure everything looks as it did when the accident occurred. Don’t forget to take photos of your bike, especially if it’s damaged. I also recommend wearing a camera such as a GoPro or Cycliq to record everything should an accident occur.
- Gathering eyewitness reports: Witness statements can make or break your crash claim. If witnesses were around, ask them to give an account of what they saw.
If you’ve already suffered a bike crash, you can strengthen your claim by reaching out to a professional attorney who can help you decide which step to take next.
Why someone might consider calling the police
Whether or not you choose to call the police is your choice. It’s important to know that the police are trained to gather the information required to file a report. Also, if an at-fault driver is under the influence, the police can write a citation or make an arrest when warranted. This is typically cited as a factor that can strengthen your personal injury case.
There's always help available to you
The bicycle crash aftermath is difficult to go through on your own, especially if you plan to file a claim. While you’re suffering from injuries and a rush of adrenaline, it’s easy to forget to take photos and gather information from the other party. That’s why it’s sometimes best to call for help.
Whether it’s the police department or a bicycle attorney, there’s always help available to you.
Attorney Daniel J. Brazil of Brazil Law Group is an experienced personal injury attorney with offices located in Uptown. He’s also a member of the Bike Law Network. He has a passion for the outdoors, especially cycling and climbing. Learn more about Dan and his practice by following him on Twitter (@LawDanielBrazil and #MplsBikeAttorney).
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