If you are riding your bicycle and suddenly get hit by a car, the next few seconds and minutes can often be chaotic. You may be seriously injured or even in shock and the motorist who hit you may also be shaken up. However, in this situation, it is critical to take certain steps–if possible–to help preserve your legal rights.

If you need emergency medical attention, that should be your primary priority. If someone else is with you, see if they can take the following steps for you. Below are only a few examples of steps to take after a bicycle collision with a car.

Talk to the police – Following an accident that caused damage or injuries, you should always call law enforcement and wait for officers to arrive on the scene. You want to speak with officers and ensure they hear your version of what happened in the accident. This version will go into their police report, which can be helpful in an insurance or legal claim later on. In addition, it will help your cause if police issue a ticket to the driver for any type of unlawful behavior.

Gather contact information – Make sure you obtain all the necessary contact information of any drivers involved, as well as anyone who witnessed the accident. License plate numbers, insurance information, names, and phone numbers will all be helpful and you can’t always rely on police to take down all this information.

Try to document the events – Sometimes it can be difficult to clearly and accurately remember the details of what happened. However, knowing whether the light was red, whether it was dark outside, whether you had the right of way, and other details of the accident are imperative to your ability to demonstrate negligence and recover for your losses. If you have a cell phone with a camera, take photos of the scene, including the weather and road conditions, the damage to your bicycle, and anything else that seems relevant. Even if you cannot take photos, write down everything you remember as soon as possible.

See a doctor – Even if you are unsure whether you are injured, you should undergo a medical evaluation as soon as possible after the accident. Some injuries, including traumatic brain injury, may not be readily identifiable to you, and a doctor’s diagnosis will likely be necessary in order to receive the treatment you need and to support your claims of accident-related injuries.

Talk to a California bicycle accident lawyer Following a bicycle accident, you may have the right to recover financially from the negligent driver. This recovery can compensate you for your medical bills, damage to your bicycle, lost income, and much more. An attorney can help you file an insurance claim, negotiate a favorable settlement, and—if necessary—file a legal claim for your personal injury. You want to ensure that your attorney has experience with bicycle accident cases in California to best ensure your chances of a full recovery.