10 Steps to Take when a Motorcycle Accident Occurs
There’s a common saying among veteran motorcyclists: “When it comes to crashes, it’s not a matter of if, but when.” This may sound like an urban legend old riders tell young SQUIDs just to scare them into better behavior, but there is a seed of truth in the statement. As long as there are careless cagers on the road, riders will always be at risk, no matter how good they are or how long they have been riding. Therefore, it’s best to be prepared.
The actions you take immediately after a motorcycle accident can significantly influence how it will affect you down the line. Since your financial and physical well-being are at stake, there’s little room for mistakes. If you want the aftermath to be as smooth and stress-free as possible, follow the steps below:
Get Yourself Out of Harm’s Way
Needless to say, your safety is your number one priority. If able, get yourself off the roadway and out of traffic. Put enough distance between yourself and any hazard, such as a fire, gas leak, cliff, or damaged structure that is on the verge of collapse. However, if you are in a lot of pain and/or can’t move, do not force yourself to do so, otherwise you may cause yourself further injury.
Check Yourself and Others for Injuries
Riders rarely walk away from accidents without some kind of injury, due to the lack of protection that motorcycles afford. Also, some of the most serious injuries do not make themselves immediately apparent, especially when adrenaline is coursing through your veins. As such, you should get medical attention ASAP even if you feel fine.
Note: While lower extremity injuries are the most common type of motorcycle accident-related injury, they are usually not fatal. Injuries to the chest and abdomen, on the other hand, can be very serious due to the potential for organ damage and/or internal bleeding.
Being in a motorcycle accident is a shocking experience, but if you let your emotions run high and dictate your actions, you may end up making the situation worse. Avoid arguing with other involved parties or assigning blame to them. And do not whatsoever attack them or their property, unless you want to get into legal trouble. You already have enough on your plate as is.
Get a Police Report
Even if there are no serious injuries, it is a good idea to call the police. Law enforcement may be needed to direct traffic, record details of the accident, and determine whether immediate legal action is required. Make sure you get the responding officer’s name, badge or ID number, phone number, and police report number.
Your insurance company will need specific information in order to file your claim. Make sure you get the following details from all involved parties:
- Phone number
- Vehicle make, model and year
- License plate number
- Insurance carrier and policy number
You can use a camera or your phone. Just make sure that the pictures come out clear and capture all the necessary details: vehicle damages, injuries, skid marks, traffic signs and signals, and damages to surrounding properties. If it is not safe to take pictures immediately following the accident, do not bother. Again, your safety is your first priority – plus, you can always take pictures later.
Get Information from Willing Witnesses
A statement from a credible witness could prove extremely valuable in validating your side of the story in a legal dispute. That said, do not coerce any witness into saying or doing anything they don’t want to do. Instead, ask them politely for their contact information and let them know that they may be notified by the insurance company for their account of the accident. If they decline, do not push them further.
Watch What You Say
While you should never lie about the events of the accident, you shouldn’t disclose more information than is absolutely necessary, either. Remember, anything you say can be used against you later in the claims negotiation process. If you want maximum compensation for your losses, do not admit fault or downplay the severity of your injuries.
Listen to Your Doctor
This is your health on the line here and your doctor knows how to take care of you better than you do. Take your doctor’s instructions and advice seriously. Also, make all of your appointments. If you do exactly as your doctor says, your recovery will be smoother and faster.
Get a Lawyer
An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer can advise you on issues ranging from medical treatment to evaluation of damages. A lawyer can also handle all communications with the insurance company in your stead, so you can focus on recovery. Statistically, those who retain a lawyer get significantly higher payouts than those who go without one. In cases involving serious injuries and high potential damages, a lawyer is pretty much a necessity.
Top 1% Motorcycle Accident Attorneys
Have you or a loved one been injured in a motorcycle accident? Our lawyers at Wilshire Law Firm can get your bike repaired, your gear replaced, and your medical bills paid – with no out-of-pocket costs for you. If necessary, we can get you a cash advance within as little as 48 hours.
With 20 office locations, Wilshire Law Firm serves the entire state of California. If you can’t come to us, we will come to you, whether you’re at your place of business, your home, or even the hospital. You are part of the Wilshire Law Firm family, and we are here to accommodate all of your needs.
Our staff is on standby, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, ready to provide you with immediate legal assistance. Don’t wait – call us today at 1-800-522-7274 for a free consultation.