A bicycle accident can happen when you least expect it, especially in a busy city like New Orleans. One minute you’re peacefully pedaling, and the next a vehicle is closing in on you.

You may be disoriented, hurt or afraid following a collision with a vehicle. But once you’ve moved safely off the road, it’s imperative that you take action as soon as possible. Here are five steps to take after a bicycle accident that can help you receive fair compensation for any injuries or damages:

  1. Call the police. You should file an accident report with the police, regardless of whether you think you’re injured. Symptoms can sometimes appear later. An officer should interview everyone at the scene, and might ticket the driver.
  2. Get contact information. You should ask for the phone numbers of the driver and any witnesses. If you’re hurt, you could ask a bystander to collect this information for you. As you begin talking with the driver, it’s critical that you don’t negotiate – no matter how sorry they seem.
  3. Take pictures. Capture photos of the driver’s license plate number, your bike’s damage and any injuries you sustained. These can prove that the accident happened and show the aftermath.
  4. Keep evidence. After filing a report and leaving the scene, you should keep evidence of the damaged bike and any soiled clothing while the accident is resolved. You should also keep track of any delayed injuries during this time.
  5. Seek medical attention. Let the doctor know all of your injuries and symptoms. Not only can they treat you, but they also provide documentation of your injuries.

After the crash, you might consider contacting a personal injury attorney who focuses on bicycle accidents. Nobody deserves to suffer the emotional and physical damages that come with being struck by a car. An attorney can help.