While riding a motorcycle around a city or down a highway can be exhilarating, it can also prove to be far more dangerous than many people believe. Though the motorcyclist may be obeying the rules of the road, the drivers of nearby vehicles may be doing just the opposite when it comes to giving the motorcyclist the respect they deserve. As a result, numerous accidents occur each day between motor vehicles and motorcyclists, often leading to serious injuries for the motorcyclist. In these situations, it is important to know what you need to do not only to keep you safe at the scene, but also ensure your legal rights are protected. Rather than let confusion and your emotions lead to costly mistakes, here are the steps to follow immediately after a motorcycle accident.
Assemble Contact Information
Once you are able to get to safety and make sure anyone else involved in the accident is also safe, it is extremely important you get as much contact information as possible from those involved in the crash. This information should include names, addresses, phone numbers, license numbers, and insurance information. Along with this, write down vehicle descriptions, license plate numbers, and anything else you feel is relevant. Once you have all this information, be sure you turn it over to your motorcycle personal injury attorney, since they will need it when planning legal strategy or speaking with insurance companies.
If the accident is serious and involves significant property damage, always call police to the scene. By doing so, paramedics and firefighters will also come to the scene to secure the area and treat anyone who is injured. But more importantly, police will assess the accident and file an accident report. Since this report will contain crucial information as to the officer’s determination of who was at fault for the accident, always make sure your motorcycle accident lawyer from West Coast Trial Lawyers obtains a copy. By doing so, your attorney can use this information to not only plan your legal strategy, but also as a negotiating tool with insurance companies and the defendant’s lawyer when attempting to reach a settlement.
Get Examined by a Doctor
Even if you believe you are not seriously injured while at the scene, it is vital you allow yourself to be examined by medical personnel both at the scene and afterwards. In many accidents, victims who are going on adrenaline often fail to realize they may be suffering from whiplash, back injuries, or even traumatic brain injuries, all of which may have delayed symptoms and can be serious or even life-threatening. To make sure an insurance company or defendant’s attorney cannot claim you were not injured in the accident, always let rescue personnel transfer you to a hospital. Or if you prefer, visit your family doctor no later than 48 hours following the accident. By having your injuries quickly documented in your medical records, your motorcycle injury lawyer will have the evidence needed to argue your case in court or force insurance companies to settle.
Talk to Witnesses
When most accidents occur, there are people nearby who witnessed the crash. Therefore, make every effort to track down these people and speak to them while at the accident scene. If you can, either write down their observations or record the conversation using a smartphone. By recording the conversation, a witness will have much more difficulty changing their story at a later date, and it can also serve as a key piece of evidence your personal injury lawyer can use in court.
Do Not Admit Fault
While it may be human nature to apologize in situations such as these, doing so without thinking about the potential legal consequences can often be a death sentence for a successful personal injury lawsuit. If you say something to another driver or police such as “I’m sorry,” you can be guaranteed these two little words will be used against you in a big way. By making this simple statement, it will sound as if you are admitting fault for the accident, and will likely be noted in the police report. Therefore, while you should try to be as friendly and cooperative as possible, it is best to use as much discretion as you can until you can consult with a motorcycle personal injury attorney.
Contact Your Insurance Company
When you are involved in a motorcycle accident, always contact your insurance company and let them know what happened. If you can, provide them with much of the same information as you did your motorcycle injury lawyer, since your insurer will likely want to conduct its own investigation of the accident. However, remember that even though this is your insurance company, it is still important to not admit fault or do anything else that could jeopardize your claim or lawsuit.
Take Photos of the Scene
If your injuries allow you to do so, use your smartphone to take pictures of the crash scene. These should include damage to your motorcycle and other vehicles involved in the crash, visible injuries you have such as cuts or bruises, skid marks on the road, traffic signs, road conditions if weather may have contributed to the accident, and anything else you deem to be important. In these situations, don’t hesitate to take as many pictures as you need, since you will only get one chance to do so after the scene is cleared.
Stay Off Social Media
Until your case is resolved, it will be best if you avoid social media. If you don’t and instead post angry comments or photos of the scene or of you appearing to be not as injured as you claimed, these will be used against you by insurance companies and lawyers for the defendant.
When you are involved in a motorcycle accident, the legal process will be very complex. To ensure all goes well for you, schedule a consultation with an experienced and knowledgeable motorcycle accident lawyer from West Coast Trial Lawyers.