What to do After a Motorcycle Accident
What you do right after a motorcycle accident can be crucial to the results of a subsequent claim for compensation and future litigation. In the moments following the accident, the first priority is for medical help to be summoned to assist the victims. In most cases, witnesses at the scene, not the victims, are often the first to call 911, with some of those witnesses remaining on the scene, but others who just make the call and continue on past the accident. If you are a motorcycle victim and in the roadway but still able to move, get to the side of the road to avoid being hit again. Try to assess your situation such as any bleeding, bones out of place (shoulder, knee, or elbow) or other obvious injuries. If you suffer a serious injury, you will be taken from the scene in an ambulance to the hospital for treatment.
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Identify Potential Witnesses
Many times, the driver of the other car involved in the accident will own up to their responsibility at the scene but will later deny they were at fault. Even worse, many times, the investigating law enforcement officers do not document any identifying information about the witnesses. As a result, if a lawsuit has to be filed, there will be no one to support your side of the story. In this situation, the outcome of a lawsuit can rest on which driver a jury chooses to believe. The best way to avoid this is to gather information about the witnesses yourself while you’re still at the scene. Therefore, if your injury is not as serious, and you remain at the scene, get the names, addresses, and phone numbers of any witnesses to the accident so this information is not lost over time. It also get the name badge, number, and agency of the investigating law enforcement officer. Lastly try to get the in’s insurance information for the vehicles involved.
Take Photographs of the Scene, the Damaged Motorcycle and Any Other Automobiles Involved
In this situation, the old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” definitely applies. Memories fade over time. But photographs do not. So if you can take any photographs that can be taken before the vehicles involved are moved, including photographs of any skid marks on the road. Also take photographs of the damage to all vehicles involved. This will help in piecing together the events that led up to the accident. Be cognizant of the fact that you always need to be respectful to law enforcement officers on the scene and let them do their job as they secure the area and conduct their investigation.
Try Not to Speak Too Much
Initially, after an accident, it is common for those involved to have an “adrenaline rush” which enters the bloodstream and makes it possible for them to function even with serious wounds. This may happen to you and not only does this “adrenaline rush” mask the pain of your injuries, it can also make you overly stimulated and talkative. As a victim, try to avoid chatting about the accident to anyone in the area. You are likely in shock and what you say could later be used or misconstrued to reduce your claim for damages by the insurance company.
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Get Medical Attention As Soon As Possible
The adrenaline rush can also mask injuries and pain. After the adrenaline wears off you may notice neck, back, or other joint pain. If you did not get transported to the hospital from the accident scene, it is important to get medical attention as soon as possible. If you don’t, the other side will claim you were not really injured in the accident.
Notify Your Insurance Company As Soon As Possible
Not all motorcycle owners have insurance. If you do, is important to notify your insurance company. If you do not notify your insurance company, they may later try to deny any claim you may have against them. It’s also important to notify your insurance company so they can explain your options on getting your motorcycle fixed. If your insurance company wants to take a recorded statement you are required to do so. However, you do not have to give a recorded statement immediately. If they do ask you to give a recorded statement tell them you are not feeling up to it at the moment and you will schedule it in the future. This will give you time to consult a lawyer and prepare yourself to answer all their questions.
You do not need to speak to insurance companies from other parties involved in the accident unless you want the other party’s insurance company to fix your motorcycle. Even then, you should not give a recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance company without speaking to a lawyer.
What is involved in making a claim for injuries?
In order to make a claim for your injuries, you have to be evaluated by a healthcare professional and follow their advice. You also have to treat until your doctor says you have reached maximum medical improvement. Depending on your injuries this might involve treating with your doctor for as much as 4 to 6 months before your doctor is ready to diagnose all of your injuries. A claim for your injuries cannot be made until this occurs. Once you reach maximum medical improvement your doctor will be in a position to predict what medical care you need in the future. That information can be used to make sure you are compensated for all of the medical care you have received in the past, all of the medical care you will need in the future, all of your lost wages in the past and in the future, and any pain and suffering you have experienced.
Do You Need a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?
You do not need a lawyer to make a claim after your motorcycle accident. But research has shown that most injured people receive larger compensation when they have a lawyer involved. A good motorcycle accident attorney has years of experience handling these types of claims. That experience makes the process smoother and usually results in a larger recovery. Furthermore, it’s time consuming and stressful to make a claim on your own. Most attorneys earn their fee by freeing up your time, eliminating your stress, and maximizing your recovery. Your job should be focused on healing from your injuries, not gathering medical records, making sure you’re going to the right Doctor, and arguing with insurance company adjusters.
Motorcycle Riding Can Be Fatal So Always Think About Safety
Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows motorcycle deaths account for five percent of all highway fatalities each year despite the fact that only two percent of registered vehicles in the US are motorcycles. Serious injury or death occurs in almost 80 percent of motorcycle accidents. 55 percent of motorcyclists, who were killed, died in a multi-vehicle crash. Speeding, riding under the influence, and weaving in and out of traffic all contribute to the number of motorcycle accidents each year.
Motorcycles are fun to drive and fuel efficient, but anyone who drives one understands the risks they’re taking each time they go for a ride. In fact, about 80 percent of motorcycle crashes result in an injury or death for the motorcyclist. The simple reason for this is that there is very little protection for motorcyclists. Outside of special clothing and a helmet, there isn’t a barrier between the motorcyclist and the other vehicle involved. Being thrown from the motorcycle is almost a guarantee for most accidents and this significantly increases the risk for injury.
Every motorcyclist should keep the following safety tips in mind at all times:
- Wear the Right Gear – A helmet is by far the most important safety equipment for motorcyclists. Other gear that should be worn when riding includes a jacket, face shield, boots, gloves, and goggles.
- Use Your Best Judgment – Before purchasing a motorcycle you need to know your limits. Don’t buy a bike that has too much power and is difficult to control. And always ride at a pace and in traffic that makes you feel comfortable.
- Attend a Training Course – Regardless of your riding experience, it never hurts to hone your skills. There are motorcycle safety courses available for riders of all levels.
- Keep Your Distance – Too many motorcyclists don’t allow enough space between them and the vehicle in front of them. Tailgating will significantly increase your risk of being in an accident.
- Be Defensive – As the smallest vehicle on the road, it is a big responsibility to look out for other drivers. Do your best to avoid a vehicle’s blind spot and only change lanes when necessary. It’s also important to use turn signals well in advance because it’s a great way to communicate your intentions with other vehicles on the road.
- Avoid Bad Weather – Motorcyclists should do their best to not drive during rainy weather. You should always check the day’s forecast before riding a motorcycle.
- Limit Distractions – Motorcyclists should avoid using their phone or eating while driving at all times as it is crucial to keep both hands on the handlebars.
Motorcycle accidents are a common occurrence, but keeping these safety tips in mind should help reduce your risk of being involved in an accident. Should you get injured in an accident and sustain injuries, contact the Tampa motorcycle accident lawyers at Distasio Law Firm.