A motorcycle crash can happen in the blink of an eye, even if you are a cautious rider that obeys traffic rules. Motorcycle accidents are terrifying experiences that will often leave riders in a state of shock that makes it hard to react appropriately.
Whether you crash your motorcycle because of poor weather conditions or got struck by a negligent driver, it is well worth thinking about what you should do after an accident. This article discusses some valuable ways to prevent more danger to yourself and others, minimize your injuries, and prepare for a potential legal claim that helps you recover damages.
Steps to Take in the Moments After a Motorcycle Accident
Motorcycle accidents do not necessarily happen more often than other types of accidents, but they are more likely to result in severe injuries because riders are more exposed.
If you have just crashed, you should only think about looking after your safety and the safety of those around you, which includes getting medical services on the scene as quickly as possible.
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Take these steps right after a motorcycle accident:
#1. Assess your current situation to see if you should seek safety
If you are in harm’s way and feel that you are not too injured to try moving, get a safe distance away from the roadway and traffic. Motorcycle victims are often at serious risk of getting injured by the secondary impact of a passing vehicle that cannot avoid the crash scene, which can be catastrophic.
While it is dangerous to stay in the direct path of another collision, you should also remember that some injuries can worsen if you try to move, especially damage to the spine. If you were seriously hurt, wait for paramedics to reach you.
#2. Call for help
Contact 911 as soon as you can safely do so. Several mobile apps for motorcycle riders detect when you have been in an accident and will automatically spring into action to help. The app will contact local emergency services with the key information they will need to reach you as quickly as possible, like your GPS location, the direction you were traveling, and any important medical information about you. If you are thinking ahead about what to do after a motorcycle accident, taking advantage of this innovative technology is one of the best ways to prepare and stay safe while out on the road.
#3. Do not remove any of your protective gear
Immediately after an accident, it is common to be in shock and flooded with adrenaline, which can prevent you from feeling pain and mask the seriousness of your injuries.
After a crash, you may have the instinct to take off protective gear to get more comfortable. But it is possible that removing your helmet, gloves, or other gear can exacerbate any wounds you have suffered from the accident. It is better to limit your movement and rest in a neutral position while waiting for medical help to arrive.
#4. Seek medical attention after a motorcycle crash, even if you do not feel you need it
Again, a motorcycle crash is such a stressful and disorienting experience, with a strong adrenaline rush that can make it hard to understand the severity of your injuries. This is one main reason some motorcycle accident victims feel like they walked away without being badly hurt and do not necessarily need medical care. They may even feel tempted to go home and sleep it off.
This is a huge mistake because:
- Motorcycle accidents can cause internal bleeding and organ damage, which the patient may not perceive immediately, but medical professionals train to recognize the signs.
- Some severe injuries will present with symptoms that you may not recognize for what they are. For example, concussions and other brain injuries can show up as feeling dazed, drowsiness, inability to think clearly, headaches or dizziness.
- Many medical issues have delayed symptoms. For example, whiplash can set in 24 hours after the accident.
Early medical intervention is crucial for a wide range of severe injuries that crashing your motorcycle can cause. You should always report all your injuries and symptoms after a motorcycle accident, no matter how minor they may seem at the moment. Ensure doctors properly evaluate you, provide effective treatment, and document all your injuries from the accident.
Along with ensuring your wellbeing, getting medical care right after the accident has important legal considerations as well. Motorcycle accident victims that do not get medical treatment for days or weeks after the accident may have a harder time pursuing a claim to get compensation for their damages. Whether you are filing a claim under your policy or someone else was liable for the crash, an insurance company can argue that you exaggerated your injuries or even that the accident did not cause them.
#5. Do not accidentally admit fault to the police
Police officers will generally come to the motorcycle crash scene and try to interview everyone involved while creating the police report. In the chaos and stress of an accident, the exact cause of the crash is not always clear. Try to be mindful of what you say to the officers because statements made at the scene will eventually have serious legal consequences during the claims process.
You do not want a situation where you have admitted partial fault, possibly incorrectly, and the record of this admission jeopardizes your right to compensation.
Answer their questions, but do not make unnecessary statements about your actions, especially while the circumstances of the crash remain murky. Police officers will review the scene to draw their own conclusions, and your motorcycle accident attorney can advocate on your behalf later on.
Steps to Take After a Motorcycle Crash Once You Are out of Immediate Danger
After an accident, gather and preserve all evidence that can potentially help your compensation claim later on. If you were seriously injured, you can’t do much more than get medical attention and try to get better.
However, some motorcycle accident victims can document the accident for insurance and legal purposes.
The most basic way to help your future legal process is to exchange insurance information with any other motorists in the accident, including their name, contact details, and insurance policy number, so that this information is easily accessible when you need it.
Depending on what is realistic for your situation, here are some other steps you can take to strengthen your case and facilitate the claims process:
Contact a motorcycle accident lawyer
The sooner you can talk to a motorcycle accident attorney, the better. Having a skilled lawyer by your side can make all the difference throughout the process of recovering compensation.
Insurance companies will always try to offer you as little as possible, even if that amount does not begin to cover your medical bills, repairing or replacing your motorcycle, any lost income, and other expenses from the accident.
An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer can maximize the value of your claim by investigating the crash and proving liability, demonstrating all your economic losses, and negotiating for a fair payout.
Once you have obtained the services of a lawyer, they can handle the following steps on your behalf:
Take photos and videos
Police officers will sometimes take photos of a crash scene before it gets cleaned up, but this is very hit or miss and not something you can rely on. Your lawyer can obtain visual evidence to show investigators how the accident unfolded. They may capture where your motorcycle landed and its overall condition, any skid or scrape marks on the road, the position of any vehicles that were in the accident, and any other relevant information.
Talk to any witnesses
If possible, your lawyer will interview bystanders who saw what happened. Eyewitnesses are essential for any legal matter, especially when someone else was responsible for causing the crash. If you have to prove a negligent driver’s liability, witness statements can potentially become the deciding factor.
Steps To Take in The Weeks and Months After a Motorcycle Accident
Getting into a motorcycle accident will often cause serious injuries, extreme damage to your motorcycle, and significant disruptions to your life overall.
Depending on the circumstances of the case, you may be filing a claim from your own insurance company, from the liable party’s insurer, or some combination of the two. Regardless, motorcycle accident claims can be very complex, and it is not a foregone conclusion that you will be able to recover the funds you need. Here are some strategies to help you navigate the process of getting compensation:
Do not talk directly to the liable party’s insurance
If someone else caused your motorcycle accident, the adjusters for their insurance company will contact you. These representatives want to deny or minimize your injuries, find a reason to blame you for the accident, and generally reduce the compensation you recover.
Instead of providing a direct statement, have them contact your legal representatives. You should also never sign anything until your attorneys have reviewed the document because you could accidentally sign away your rights to take legal action later on and end up with many fewer options throughout the claims process.
Keep up with all your medical treatments and appointments
After a motorcycle accident, you will want to get the best possible medical care to help you recover. In addition to benefitting your health, the legal process will scrutinize your adherence to recommended treatments. If you do not participate in physical therapy or other follow-up care, the insurance adjusters could argue that you did not experience pain or did not suffer the severe injuries you included in your claim.
Maintain good records throughout the recovery process
One of the best ways to strengthen your case is to keep these records of how the motorcycle accident has affected your life:
- Take photos of all your visible injuries as soon as possible after the crash.
- Keep a diary of how your injuries affect your daily life, including the effect on your loved ones.
- Document how you are feeling throughout your recovery, including pain and discomfort, inconvenience, emotional distress, and other non-economic consequences of the accident.
- Keep all medical records of every kind, including hospital visits, prescriptions, laboratory services, and bills.
Hiring a Motorcycle Accident Attorney
If you ever have to suffer through a motorcycle accident, the biggest priority will be recovering from your injuries, taking care of expenses, and getting life back on track. After an accident, the best thing you can do is to work with a skilled motorcycle accident lawyer who can investigate the crash, represent your best interests throughout the claims process, and help you recover fair compensation.
Hire a lawyer that treats motorcycle accidents as their own practice area and has experience handling them.