No one wants to be in a motorcycle accident. Sadly, the reality is that these accidents happen every day. Even the most careful drivers are likely to get into some kind of accident at least once in their lifetime. It could be a simple fender-bender or something much worse.
Being in a motorcycle accident can be disorienting, stressful, and the path forward may seem overwhelming. This article is meant to help you know what you should do in the aftermath of a motorcycle crash, especially if you want to protect yourself and your legal rights.
The following is a list of dos and don’ts that you should keep in mind in case you get into a motorcycle accident:
Keep Calm and Stay Put
It’s hard to keep your composure amidst something as frightening as a motorcycle accident. However, it’s important to stay as calm as possible. You’re more likely to have the presence of mind to do what’s necessary if you have your wits about you.
If you give in to panic, you might do something that you will regret later—such as driving away from the scene of an accident. Leaving the scene before everything gets processed by the authorities could get you charged with serious criminal offenses.
Ensure Everyone’s Safety
One of the first things that you should do after an accident is to ensure everyone’s safety, including your own. If possible, move to the side of the road where you’re less likely to be at risk of getting hit by other cars and existing traffic. Plus, if you have an emergency road kit, it’s wise to set up flares or cones to warn other motorists in the vicinity of the accident.
Next, you’ll want to check yourself and your passengers for any injuries. If someone is injured, here’s what you need to do:
- First, call the authorities right away and let them know that you need medical assistance. If you think anyone involved in the accident is under the influence, make sure to let the police know as well during the call.
- Wait for emergency personnel to arrive, and don’t try to move any injured persons unless absolutely necessary. Otherwise, you could risk further injury to them. If you’re injured, this applies to you as well.
Even if no one is injured, you should still contact the police. In some states, it’s mandatory to call the authorities in the event of an accident. In addition, most insurance companies don’t cover accidents without a police report.
Exchange Information With the Other Party
Once you’re sure everyone is safe, make sure to find the other driver(s). In addition to checking if they’re okay, it’s important to exchange information as well. Even if it’s a minor accident, make sure to get the following information:
- Full Name
- Phone Number
- Insurance Company
- Policy Number
- Driver’s License
- Vehicle Plate Number
- Vehicle Type, Color, and Model
If the other vehicle has passengers, it’s also a good idea to get their contact information as well. If there were people who witnessed the accident, get their contact information as well. You or your attorney might need to contact them down the line.
Never discuss whose fault an accident was with the other driver, nor should you apologize. Never state that an accident was your fault. Doing so could be misconstrued as admitting guilt or legal liability.
Document the Accident
If possible, it’s wise to document the motorcycle accident in as much detail as you can. Specifically, these are the things that you should do:
- Take photographs of all vehicles involved. Try to take photos from multiple angles, and show all visible damage. If possible, try to photograph the other vehicle’s license plate as well.
- Take photographs of the people involved, including the other vehicle’s passengers.
- Take note of things you think might have contributed to the accident. Are there any noticeable skid marks on the road? Are there faulty traffic lights around? What was the weather like? Is the other vehicle owned by a company?
If you’re unsure if something is worth documenting or not, do it anyway. Even the smallest details could help your case.
Make sure you don’t interfere with an ongoing investigation. If you can, document the accident’s aftermath as soon as possible.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Most insurance companies have policies in place that require you to contact them within a given time frame in the event of an accident. Failure to comply will most likely get your claim rejected, so notify your insurance company of the accident as soon as you can.
It’s equally important that you give an accurate account of the accident. Never lie about anything to your insurance company. Otherwise, you risk getting a complete denial of coverage.
If the accident involved another vehicle, it’s best to get in touch with an attorney right away. An experienced attorney will help you deal with your own insurance company and the other vehicle owner’s insurance policy.
If the other party’s insurance company contacts you, keep your interactions simple and polite but don’t give out any information until you’ve obtained legal advice from a lawyer.
Think Twice Before Accepting Any Settlement Offers
Some insurance companies may be willing to settle, but don’t feel inclined to immediately accept their offer. Think carefully and ask yourself if accepting a settlement now is the best course of action.
Keep in mind that some injuries don’t manifest until weeks or months after a motorcycle accident. Plus, insurance companies are known to use shrewd, if not questionable, negotiating methods so they can pay out as little money as possible.
If you immediately jump at the chance to settle, you risk getting the compensation that you deserve. It’s always best to seek advice from a lawyer before agreeing on a settlement, and the earlier you contact an attorney, the better.
Keep a Record of Medical Treatments
If you’ve suffered an injury in a motorcycle accident, make sure to keep a thorough medical record. Make a note of everything—from your medications to the type of treatments you need to undergo to the dates and locations of medical treatment.
Likewise, you should also note down how your injury has impacted your life. Has it prevented you from going to work? Are you in constant pain? Make sure to keep a record of everything because these details can help bolster your case.
Seek Legal Counsel
If there is one thing on this list that you should never forget to do, it’s to always call a lawyer after an accident. A motorcycle accident attorney can ensure that your rights are protected and that you get fair compensation for your injuries and other damages.
Motorcycle accidents are never pleasant for anyone involved. However, if you follow the steps outlined in this article, you will have a better shot at getting fair compensation. Hiring an attorney who focuses on motorcycle accidents will save you from headaches and hassle, and almost always results in a better final outcome for you and your case.
If cost is an issue, know that at 801-INJURED, we only get paid if you receive compensation. So if you’ve been in a motorcycle accident, call 801-INJURED now to get a free case review.