Motorcycle accidents can be very dangerous for everyone involved. When you ride a motorcycle, you expose yourself to the risk of suffering severe injuries, whether through the impact of a car, another motorcycle, or something else entirely.
Because of their dangerous nature, motorcycle accidents should be considered and prepared for by all riders before they ever hop in the saddle of their Yamaha, Harley, Suzuki, or bike of choice. This is because even the most experienced motorcycle riders may find themselves in an accident sooner or later. When this happens, you need to know what to do after a motorcycle accident to ensure you receive vital medical attention and can protect yourself legally.
Not sure where to start? Read on for a step-by-step breakdown of what you should do after a motorcycle accident. Alternatively, contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers today for more information and a free consultation at 1-516-342-2200.
Get to Safety
No matter the details of your accident, your first priority should always be to get yourself to safety. Don’t worry about insurance companies, legal representation, or anything else yet. Instead, get off the road and, if it is safe to do so, move your motorcycle away from traffic.
Additionally, you should try to move anyone else involved in the accident out of harm’s way, but only if you are able to do so safely. If you aren’t injured and won’t be increasing your risk of injury, assist other injured people out of the road so they aren’t further hurt by unwary drivers or other hazards.
Getting to safety quickly both prevents you from suffering extra injuries and keeps the accident from spiraling out of control or becoming more catastrophic. Roadway hazards, especially on freeways, can be very dangerous for cars coming down the road due to their high speeds.
Don’t Remove Protective Gear Yet
You should always ride your motorcycle with a helmet, leather jacket, leg protection, and other safety gear to protect yourself from potential injuries.
Note: In the immediate aftermath of a motorcycle accident, you might be in shock. You might feel the adrenaline coursing through your system and feel like you need to take off your protective gear. But, please, do not take that gear off just yet, especially when it comes to your helmet.
This is because when you are in shock, your mind cannot accurately assess damage or potential injuries. Thus, you might be seriously injured and not realize it.
Removing protective gear can exacerbate injuries and/or lead you to hurting yourself by accident. To keep this from happening, you should continue to wear all of your gear until medical personnel examines you and says that it is safe to do so.
The same is true for anyone else involved in a motorcycle accident. If you see them trying to remove their helmet, jacket, or other protective gear, try to stop them if you can do so safely.
To avoid exacerbating any injuries you may have suffered unknowingly, you should sit safely on the side of the road and try to remain calm.
Call Emergency Services
Your next step should occur right away: call emergency services. If you don’t have a phone, tell someone else to do so instead. Possible candidates here may include another individual who was also a party to the accident, a bystander, or someone else you can ask specifically about making the call.
After dialing 911, you or the person calling should tell the police what happened. Note: In most metro areas, emergency services should arrive within a few minutes. Those first to arrive may include police officers, firefighters, and/or ambulance personnel.
Be sure to describe your location accurately and alert emergency services if someone is severely injured and needs immediate medical attention. The more information you give emergency services, the faster they can get there and the more prepared they will be to handle the situation correctly.
To learn more now about EMS and steps you can take to protect yourself after a crash, call Schwartzapfel Lawyers at 1-516-342-2200. Your call will be free, while the advice provided to you may save you miles of headache, heartache, and financial strain down the road.
If Uninjured, Collect Evidence
If you are uninjured to the best of your knowledge, review the surrounding area. Then, if it appears safe to do so, you can try to collect evidence for the upcoming emergency services personnel. Evidence can be helpful if you need to sue the at-fault party to pay for medical bills, or if you want to protect yourself from accusations of negligence.
Specifically, you can collect such evidence as:
- Photos taken with your phone or a camera
- Video footage taken with your phone or some other device
Note: The more evidence you collect, the stronger any future litigation will be. Still, in the immediate aftermath of any motorcycle accident, you should focus more on safety and medical attention than collecting evidence for a future lawsuit. This is because it is better to protect yourself and those around you than it is to gather evidence, especially when a lawsuit is never guaranteed or may not be necessary.
Get Checked for Injuries
After emergency services arrive, your top priority should be getting checked for injuries such as wounds, which may be visible or not. In motorcycle accidents, you may sustain internal injuries that can be hard or impossible to detect at a glance, especially when your body is still under the effects of shock.
Even if you think you are not injured, get examined by a medical professional anyway. Medical staff will know what to look for and can identify the signs of internal injuries or hidden injuries, thus ensuring you get the treatment you need quickly. As such, you should not walk away from the accident scene or tell medical personnel that you are uninjured in any way. Instead, wait for their recommendation and analysis.
If you are injured, let medical personnel examine you and listen to what they say. If they recommend that you visit a hospital, go there. Do not try to return home to take care of the issue yourself.
Common Injuries in Motorcycle Accidents
Unfortunately, the nature of motorcycle accidents oftentimes spells injuries, which can be severe. Some of the most common injuries in motorcycle accidents include:
- Broken bones
- Road rash
- Head injuries such as concussions and/or other traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Facial injuries
- Spinal injuries, which can cause paralysis
- Internal organ damage
- Lacerations and other severe cuts
- And more
Note: Many of these injuries can lead to exorbitant medical bills that can devastate your finances. A well-qualified legal representative, however, may be able to help you recover compensation from an at-fault party if your injuries are severe enough.
For more on motorcycle accident injuries and how to recover damages, speak with a Schwartzapfel Lawyers expert now by dialing 1-516-342-2200 and allowing us the honor and privilege of assisting you in your legal endeavors.
Go o a Hospital
If you are in any way injured, you should go to the hospital recommended by the on-site medical personnel. Hospitals have all the equipment and professionals necessary to tend to your injuries and prevent them from getting worse.
Again, go to the hospital if it is recommended by a medical professional. This holds true even if you don’t feel particularly injured or hurt. Medical personnel will know better than you how internal injuries can manifest and that certain motorcycle injuries can take several days or weeks to materialize fully.
The big takeaway: The earlier you get proper medical treatment, the less severe your injuries and the lower your medical bills will be in the long run.
Give Police Your Report
Either at the hospital or at the scene of the accident, be sure to give police your report of the sequence of events. Do not admit to fault, but instead relay the facts of the accident as they happened from your perspective.
Break down what happened step-by-step, explain what you were doing and where you were going, and try to stay calm and clear throughout your eyewitness report. Note, too, that if you’re in the hospital, the police will come to you. Otherwise, reach out to the police in person and make sure you give them your full report.
Later, your attorney may request this police report to assist with litigation or to protect you from accusations of negligence.
Contact Your Attorney
Once you have been medically stabilized and after speaking to the police, you should contact your attorney right away. Motorcycle accident attorneys like Schwartzapfel Lawyers have the knowledge and legal professionalism necessary to help you navigate any upcoming litigation.
For instance, the right attorney can help you:
- Determine if someone was negligent or at fault for the accident
- Determine whether you may have grounds for a motorcycle accident lawsuit
- Help you recover compensation for past and future medical bills, ongoing expenses, lost wages, and more
- Protect you from accusations of negligence or fault if the other party involved in the accident tries to pin the blame on you
- Negotiate on your behalf with the at-fault party’s insurance company, if necessary
- And much more!
For more information and a free case evaluation, don’t hesitate to contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers at 1-516-342-2200. We’re ready to assist you in your recovery efforts 24/7, 365.
Contact Your Insurance Provider
You should always contact your lawyers before contacting your insurance provider. However, as you will have to contact your insurance provider eventually, it is generally better to do so sooner than later. This is because the faster you alert your insurance provider to the accident, the greater the likelihood will be that you will get fast coverage for your medical bills and other damages.
As well, experienced lawyers can prove invaluable when negotiating with the other party’s insurance provider. Note: Many insurance companies will fight tooth and nail to avoid having to pay for damages, even if it is clear that their client is at fault for the accident.
The right legal team can negotiate with the insurance company, fight for you in and outside of court, and make sure that you get your damages covered as quickly and reliably as possible.
It’s also important to contact your personal insurance provider in a timely manner so that your rates are not unnecessarily raised. Note: The faster you report an accident, the less likely it is your insurance provider will try to avoid covering your claim.
Don’t Give a Statement to Another Insurance Company or Admit to Fault
No matter what, avoid giving any statement to another party’s insurance company before you speak to your own or you contact your legal team. If another party’s insurance company reaches out to you asking for contact information, ignore them or direct them to your lawyers.
The other insurance company could be trying to pin the blame on you to avoid having to pay damages for the motorcycle accident. Similarly, never admit to fault when speaking to the police, other eyewitnesses, the other party in the accident, or an insurance company.
Admissions of fault can be very dangerous, legally speaking. Later, if the other person involved in a motorcycle accident tries to accuse you of causing the accident, any admission of fault could lead to your being found guilty by the court.
If pressed, simply refer inquirers to your lawyers or say, “No statement.” Even if you think you might have been responsible (fully or partially) for a motorcycle accident, do not admit it out loud. Always speak to your lawyers before contacting the other party in a motorcycle accident or speaking further to the police after their initial arrival at the accident scene.
For a free consultation or case evaluation, call Schwartzapfel Lawyers now at 1-516-342-2200.
Work With Your Legal Team
Once your motorcycle accident attorneys are up to speed, you can work with them by:
- Breaking down the sequence of events from your perspective
- Coming up with a legal plan so you know what you wish to do (i.e., file a lawsuit or try to reach a settlement through an alternative dispute resolution)
- Hearing their legal counsel
Knowledgeable legal professionals will be able to offer counsel in terms of your next moves. They can also tell you whether you have grounds for a motorcycle accident lawsuit, given New York’s no-fault car insurance laws.
Generally, for example, you can’t sue the at-fault party for a motorcycle accident. There are, however, exceptions if the medical and/or property damages you have suffered is particularly severe or extreme. For instance, if you suffered debilitating injuries because of your motorcycle accident, the at-fault party could be held liable for those injuries and any medical bills that arose as a result.
Should your lawsuit be successful, you could receive compensation or damages for:
- Both past and future medical expenses
- Loss of income from the time you have to miss from work
- Further damages for debilitating injuries or loss of ability
- Pain and suffering or emotional stress
- And more
During this phase of your legal representation, your lawyers may request the evidence you gathered from the scene of the accident (if you managed to gather any). If you did not, your lawyers might gather evidence on your behalf by collecting police reports, gathering traffic camera footage, talking to eyewitnesses, and more.
File an Accident Report
Lastly, don’t forget to file an accident report with the New York DMV! Every legal driver has 10 days to file an accident report when they are involved in an auto accident or motorcycle accident. If you fail to do so, not only will you be in violation of the law, you may also be fined for your trouble.
Beyond these factors, it’s a good idea to file an accident report anyway since it can be used as evidence for upcoming litigation for or against you. Furthermore, your insurance company likely requires you to file an accident report promptly if you expect to get any coverage for your medical bills and other damages.
If you are injured or need help filing an accident report, your legal representatives should be able to help on this point.
Contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers Today
Navigating the aftermath of a motorcycle accident can be tricky and tiring, even for experienced riders. But now you know what to do after a motorcycle accident to get yourself to safety and to protect yourself from adverse legal action.
Remember: It’s most important to get yourself out of the way of danger and to contact medical professionals. Don’t worry about contacting lawyers until after you and the other involved parties are safe.
Once that’s accomplished, don’t hesitate to contact Schwartzapfel Lawyersright away. As experienced New York motorcycle accident attorneys, we can protect you from accusations of negligence and help your motorcycle accident lawsuit succeed.
For a free case evaluation and so much more, visit us online or call 1-516-342-2200 and have Schwartzapfel Lawyers fight for you!
Schwartzapfel Lawyers, P.C. | Fighting For You
New York DMV | How to file a motorist accident report | dmv.ny.gov
Motorcycle Safety: Helmets, Motorists, Road Awareness | NHTSA
Personal Protective Equipment | National Agenda for Motorcycle Safety