Motorcycle accidents are traumatic experiences that can leave those involved feeling dazed, confused, and frightened. Though the moments immediately following a motorcycle crash can seem excessively chaotic and disjointed, what motorcyclists do in this time period is important, as it can have a significant impact on their ability to recover compensation through an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident caused by another person's negligent actions, don't let mistakes made in the ensuing minutes, hours, days, or weeks prevent you from collecting the financial award you deserve. Follow these steps after a motorcycle crash to protect the integrity of your case.
What to Do On the Scene After a Motorcycle Crash
Unlike passenger vehicle occupants, motorcyclists don't have a steel “cage” to protect them. As a result, when accidents occur, they're often seriously injured. In fact, motorcyclists are almost five times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to be injured in a crash, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
Unfortunately, injuries sustained in the accident may limit what some motorcyclists are able to do at the scene. However, if it's possible for you or someone else to complete the following steps, doing so could potentially help your case get off to a solid start:
- Check yourself for injuries. If you're not seriously injured, check on the well-being of the other drivers and passengers involved in the accident.
- If you're blocking the road, move to the side if you can do so safely.
- Call 9-1-1 to summon medical help for anyone injured, and to report the accident and resulting injuries and property damage to the police.
- Wait for the police to arrive and stay on the scene until they've completed their report.
- Take photos and video of your injuries, the damage to your motorcycle, and the accident scene, noting any relevant road or weather conditions.
- Exchange contact and insurance information with the other drivers involved in the crash.
- Write down the names, contact information, and eyewitness accounts of anyone who witnessed the motorcycle accident.
- Call your insurance provider to report the accident.
After the Accident
For motorcycle accident victims, the work needed to protect their cases doesn't end when the investigating officer gives them the go-ahead to leave the scene. What motorcyclists do in the next few days and weeks can continue to have a long-term impact.
Follow these steps to ensure the impact you make on your case is a positive one:
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible. If you weren't transported to the hospital via ambulance after the crash, now's the time to see a doctor, even if you don't think you're seriously injured.
- After being diagnosed with an injury, follow up with your doctor regularly to avoid gaps in treatment that insurance adjusters could use to try to deny your claim.
- Keep a journal documenting how the injuries you sustained in the accident affect your daily life.
- Save every accident-related receipt and bill so you can document your medical expenses and other losses.
- Consult a personal injury attorney with experience handling motorcycle accident cases.
Dealing With Insurance Companies
No insurance company has your best interest in mind, not even your own. After a motorcycle accident, your insurance company representative, as well as the insurance provider for the at-fault driver, may ask you to provide a written or recorded statement of what happened.
However, what you say in such a statement can be used against you later. Fortunately, you're well within your legal rights to decline to provide such a statement and allow your attorney to handle all communications with the insurance companies involved.
Do You Need a Motorcycle Accident Attorney?
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident that wasn't your fault, you may be eligible for compensation. Contact McGartland Law Firm today to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation initial consultation to discuss your case.