If you own a motorcycle, then you know how exhilarating and freeing riding one can be. And you’re not alone in that, either: Nearly 500 thousand Americans purchase a motorcycle every year, which makes up about three percent of all registered vehicles.
Although only three percent of registered vehicles are motorcycles, they account for 14% of all motor vehicle accidents. These types of incidents are far too common for the bikers in the United States, which is why it’s essential that every driver knows what to do after a motorcycle accident.
What To Do After a Motorcycle Accident
No matter the circumstances, any accident has the potential to be fatal. If you’re lucky enough to walk away from a motorcycle accident, then you can count yourself as one of the fortunate ones—but you must be sure to take the right steps in the moments afterward.
After an accident, you might be in shock, and your adrenaline is likely pumping. Depending on your injuries and the damages to your bike, it’s easy to get caught up with the moment and begin pointing fingers. But for the sake of your case, you must try to stay level-headed. Here are the next steps you should take.
Step #1: Consider Your Safety First
Your safety should always come first, so check yourself for any cuts or injured body parts. Even if you don’t feel hurt, it’s a good idea to go to your hospital so that your doctor can rule out any possible neck, back, or head injuries.
Your next step is to move your motorcycle and the other vehicle to the emergency lane or the side of the road. In instances where it’s too dangerous to stay at the exact scene of the crime, always try to move to the side of the road. This is especially true on highways and streets where other drivers may not be able to see you clearly.
Step #2: Call the Police to Report the Accident
In major accidents, somebody should always notify the police. The officers’ presence will benefit your case because they will take documentation of the scene, including photos of the accident and reports from both drivers and witnesses.
Even if you don’t think you need to file a civil lawsuit, you may want to request some type of settlement to help pay for the damages of your motorcycle and doctor visits. Having accurate, detailed documentation is the best way to guarantee fair compensation.
Step #3: Document the Accident
If you’re able to wait until a report has been taken, then be sure to take plenty of photos of the scene. Documenting the accident through your lens is incredibly essential, so take pictures of the area, including the damage, your motorcycle, the other car, and yourself if any injuries are visible.
Also, be sure to obtain the other driver’s contact and insurance information. Don’t admit fault or talk about how the accident occurred. Your main priority is to get everything down on paper so that you could refer to it later on.
Step #4: Visit a Medical Professional
The most common injuries that come out of a motorcycle accident are of the arms, legs, and the head. The last thing you want is for any of these to go unnoticed and flare up later on in life, so it’s essential you make time for a doctor visit immediately following the accident.
Plus, every day you wait to go to the doctor might reduce your motorcycle accident case’s value. During the civil lawsuit, every action will be looked at, including how quickly you sought medical attention. If you don’t go to the doctor sooner than later, then the other party will argue that your injuries are not as severe as you might claim.
Step #5: Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
It’s true that most people think they’re the exception to the rule. Nobody ever expects that they will ever be part of an accident—but if it does happen, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with how many steps to take.
But hiring an experienced motorcycle accident attorney can bring you peace of mind. Your lawyer will handle everything for you, like negotiation, proof of injury, the deposition, and getting you the best settlement possible.
Why Should You Work With a Lawyer for Your Motorcycle Accident?
It’s true that the last thing you might be thinking about after your accident is hiring a lawyer. After all, you have to focus on your medical bills, dealing with the insurance company, and calculating the value of your damages. However, these reasons are precisely why you should work with an experienced injury lawyer.
Benefit #1: They Will Help File Your Claim
Filing a civil action lawsuit is a tedious process that includes lots of paperwork. And let’s be honest: Nobody wants to do that, especially when they have other things on their plate.
That’s where your motorcycle accident lawyer comes in: Your attorney files claims for a living, so they know exactly what to do. While filing your claim, they’ll also be in touch with your insurance company and the other party’s attorney.
Benefit #2: They Will Negotiate Your Settlement
In many cases, motorcycle accident victims take too low of a settlement. This is because your insurance company will try to devalue your injuries and damages.
The key to getting the right settlement is to prove that the accident wasn’t your fault and that you’ve suffered from physical and emotional damages. Remember that your lawyer works for you and will not accept an amount that isn’t fair for your case.
Benefit #3: You Can Focus On Recovery
Depending on the type of injury, it can take months to fully recover from a motorcycle accident.
But it’s not always about what’s on the outside: In fact, victims of motorcycle accidents who have higher pain levels are more likely to experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Emotional distraught, like depression or PTSD, are very common after-effects of motor vehicle accidents.
So while you recover and cope with the circumstances of the accident, your lawyer will handle everything for you. All you have to do is sit back and get better.
Why Do Motorcycle Accidents Happen?
Motorcycle accidents are the most dangerous types of motor vehicle accidents in the world. These drivers are 27 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a crash.
There are several reasons why motorcyclists may be at higher risk of an accident, with visibility, impairment, and left-turns playing an important role.
Cause #1: Visibility
Visibility is a major contender when it comes to motorcycle accidents. One study found that motorcyclists who wore dark helmets were more likely to get into an accident than those who wore white helmets. Visibility plays a significant role in situations like this, where it may be hard to see a motorcyclist at night or in bad weather.
Cause #2: Impairment
Driving under the influence is a society-wide epidemic that injures or kills thousands of drivers every year. Nearly 29% of fatal crashes in the United States are due to drunk driving, which is driving with a blood alcohol content level of .08 or higher.
Cause #3: Left-Turn Accidents
Left-turn accidents are more common than you might think. Since drivers use the right side of the road, left turns require them to cross into an intersection. Accidents in an intersection are relatively common because there are several variables at play:
- Aggressive driving
- Internal distractions
- False assumption of another’s actions
- Turned with an obstructed view
- Misjudgment of gap or intended speed
Cause #4: Bad Road Conditions
Did you know that poor road conditions caused by pavement work are a leading cause of motorcycle accidents?
In instances where bad roads are to blame, it’s normal to assume the government would be responsible for compensating the victim. However, in most cases, the government is immune to personal injury suits. The good news is that there is one exception, which is called the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA).
One of the government’s duties is to provide safe and accessible travel roads to its citizens. Under the FTCA, the government can be held responsible for injuries that occur due to employee or agency negligence, which includes accidents caused by dangerous road conditions. Depending on the severity, the government can be accounted for the victim’s medical bills, damages, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
What Happens If You Hit a Motorcyclist?
It’s very likely that the injured motorcyclist will seek some settlement for their damages from the accident. Although most plaintiffs will point to the driver to be at fault, that doesn’t always have to be the case. Working with a lawyer can help you investigate all of the details, reach a fair settlement, and defend you if necessary.
Although it’s easy to reap the rewards of riding a motorcycle, it’s important to keep in mind that there is still plenty of risks that comes with it too. So if you ever find yourself in a situation where you’re in an accident, it’s important to:
- Stay calm as best you can and move to safety
- Document the scene with pictures and reports
- Receive medical treatment immediately
- Hire an experienced lawyer to help you
Working with the right lawyer can make or break your case, which is why you want to do your research and find somebody experienced in personal injury law and motor vehicle accident cases, like the team at Schwartzapfel Lawyers. Our team will do everything we can to defend you and get you the compensation you deserve.