If you can get the driver to write something down, such as their details, this can help counter any later suggestions that accident involved someone else.
All accidents should be reported to the police. This can be done at a police station later on if the police do not attend the accident scene. There are a number of benefits to doing this. Firstly, it can help with confirming the identity of the driver and obtaining their insurance details. Secondly, it creates a contemporaneous record of the accident circumstances. Thirdly, claims made where the driver is uninsured or cannot be traced usually require the accident to have been reported to the police within a certain time. Fourthly, if the accident is reported, it can then form part of the statistics relating to cycling and hopefully more investment in cycling safety will be made.
Witnesses are always useful so take their details if possible. Quite often they will not be needed but in cases where liability is disputed, they can help convince a driver’s insurance company of the correct version of events. Witnesses who do not know either of the parties involved are particularly handy as they have no reason to present a version of events to favour either the cyclist or the driver.
Where the accident has been caused by a defect in the road such as a pot hole, it is important to get photographs of the pot hole as soon as possible. This is in case the pot hole is repaired. You may think that a pot hole that has been there for months prior to an accident is unlikely to be fixed with any speed. Think again. Councils will routinely perform temporary repairs to pot holes where an accident is reported to them. This can have the effect of destroying evidence about the size of the pot hole at the time of the accident unless photographs have already been taken showing depth and diameter.
Councils will often defend pot hole claims and it can be necessary to prove how long the pot hole was there prior to the accident. It is helpful therefore to find people who can say how long it has been there for, typically people familiar with the location because they live or work nearby.
Keep anything relating to the accident, such as notes taken at the scene and receipts for expenditure incurred after the accident, such as travel expenses. Insurance companies will usually require some form of documentary evidence before making payments.
Finally, seek legal advice at as early a stage as possible. There is really nothing to gain by delaying this. Legal advice can be accessed through membership of cycling organisations such as the CTC, British Cycling and the British Triathlon Association, as well as by approaching solicitors firms direct.