What to do after a motorcycle accident? If you’re in a motorcycle accident, there are certain steps you must take to build a case and seek compensation from liable parties. Knowing what to do immediately after an accident and the following days and weeks will help you begin the medical recovery process and increase your chances of financial recovery.
Here you’ll find out what to do in the event of a motorcycle accident and determine how to proceed with a claim or lawsuit. Reach out to a motorcycle accident lawyer.
Steps to Take After a Motorcycle Accident
Motorcycle accidents occur frequently, and many involve serious injuries and fatalities because of the increased exposure of motorcyclists. In one recent year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 82,538 motorcyclists sustained injuries and 5,579 died in motorcycle accidents.
After a motorcycle accident, you need a lawyer who understands the steps required to begin recovering from injuries and build a potential case against liable individuals or entities as soon as possible.
The first step you should take after any vehicle accident is to seek medical care. You might require transportation to a hospital or seek treatment soon after an accident. Regardless of the severity of your injuries, it’s always important to see a medical professional who can assess your condition, diagnose injuries, and put a treatment plan in place.
After you’ve sought medical care, there are several key steps you should take to help maximize your chances of succeeding with a motorcycle accident case. These include:
File a Police Report
If a motorcycle accident results in injuries and extensive property damage, it’s necessary to file a police report. States may have different requirements depending on the nature of the accident regarding when you need to call law enforcement. For example, in Florida, you will need to call the police if an accident results in over $500 in property damage and the parties involved have reported injuries.
Not only is a police report legally required, but it can support your claim when filing a case against liable parties. A police report will include all relevant details about the accident and may support your version of events. Your account at the time of creating the police report will also help you get your side of the story out there and help ensure it stays consistent.
The police report will also allow you to obtain details about witnesses after they leave the accident scene, including their names and contact information, which can help you or your attorney reach out to them later in your case. The police report should also contain insurance information, which is critical when filing a claim.
- Report Your Injuries and Symptoms
In addition to seeking medical care, you should be honest with all parties about your injuries and symptoms. Report all the symptoms you experience to your medical care provider, the police, your attorney, and others involved in the case.
Discussing your condition with your doctor will help generate medical records that support your story and may provide evidence backing an insurance claim. Being honest about your experience can also help your doctor determine the best course of treatment to begin medical recovery.
Symptoms to keep an eye out for and report to medical professionals and others may include:
- Pain in specific areas of the body
- Loss of consciousness
- Memory loss of events before, during, or after the accident
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Disorientation and confusion
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Slurred speech
- Avoid Providing Insurers With Statements
Insurance adjusters will want a statement from you about the accident, but it’s important to avoid issuing a statement before discussing a claim with a lawyer. Insurance adjusters may seem friendly and appear to want to help you get the compensation you deserve, but the fact is that they’re working with insurers. Insurance companies want to avoid paying out large settlements and will do everything they can to figure out ways to reduce or deny claims.
In a statement you give to insurers, you might say something that contradicts earlier claims about your injuries or provide an account of the accident with inconsistencies. Having an attorney by your side may help with negotiations by preparing a statement that doesn’t compromise your case.
- Don’t Post on Social Media
When filing a claim with insurance companies, insurers will investigate your claim to look for any reason they can find to reduce or award no compensation. As they conduct their investigation, insurers may look into your social media profiles and see if you’ve made any posts that indicate that you’re lying about your injuries or other damages. Even an innocent post could lead investigators to determine that you’re deceiving the insurance company.
To avoid any potential issues arising from social media use, wait to post on Facebook, Instagram, or other platforms until the case concludes.
- Stick to Your Treatment Plan
You must adhere to your doctor’s advice after seeking treatment to support your claim further. Your doctor may give you a specific routine to follow, request follow-up appointments, and prescribe certain medications and other treatments to help you recover. You must stay with this plan, as doing so can help you further build a successful case by proving the severity of your injuries.
- Gather All Relevant Evidence
Another critical step is collecting as much evidence as possible to support your accident claim. There are many types of evidence you may be able to obtain. Even if you cannot get certain pieces of evidence on your own, an attorney can help.
Examples of evidence to collect and organize for a motorcycle accident claim may include:
- Photos and videos of injuries, vehicle damage, and other damages
- Footage of the accident scene, including video from nearby CCTV cameras
- Medical bills and records
- Vehicle repair bills and receipts
- Police reports
- Witness statements
- Proof of lost income
- Contact a Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Before you file a claim with insurers, bring all the evidence you collect to an experienced motorcycle accident attorney. A reliable lawyer can look over your case, review your evidence, and determine whether you have a valid claim. Most accident attorneys will allow you to discuss your case in a free consultation and charge a contingency fee, which means you don’t need to pay unless the lawyer succeeds.
During your consultation, the attorney will decide whether to represent you and detail your options when filing a claim or lawsuit. They may then want to learn more about your case to determine how much compensation you can recover.
- Don’t Hesitate to Begin an Accident Claim
If you want to seek compensation in a motorcycle accident case, you must file your claim or lawsuit as soon as possible to avoid passing the statute of limitations. This statute varies from state to state and gives you a specific amount of time to file a case before you’re unable to seek compensation. For accident cases, the statute of limitations is around two to four years from the time of the accident.
While even four years may seem like a lot of time, this period can quickly pass, and you will only be able to recover compensation if you file in time. Additionally, your medical bills and other expenses will likely mount within that time, and you will need to pay out of pocket or through insurers until you recover compensation.
The sooner you file a claim or lawsuit against liable parties, the sooner you’ll go through the claims or legal process and recover compensation.
What Compensation Can You Recover After a Motorcycle Accident?
Injury victims can recover various damages in a motorcycle accident case. The amount of compensation will vary based on factors such as the severity of your injuries, the degree of liability, your ability to return to work, and others.
The following are some of the specific types of damages you may recover through a claim or lawsuit:
If you require medical treatment after a motorcycle accident, you’ll need to cover these costs at the start. Compensation can help repay victims for various medical costs, including immediate care, ongoing treatment, diagnostic procedures, surgeries, and more.
You may need to take time off from work to recover from your injuries, resulting in lost income, unless and until you can return to work.
Lost Earning Capacity
As a result of your injuries, you may be able to return to work but in a lesser capacity than you could before your injuries. This situation limits your potential earnings. These limitations could be either temporary as you recover or permanent. In some instances, individuals may be entirely unable to return to work because of a disability, in which case compensation could also help cover future lost earnings.
If your motorcycle, car, another vehicle, or other property sustains damage in an accident, you’ll require maintenance, repairs, or replacements for your property. Compensation may also cover these damages.
Pain and Suffering
Motorcycle accident victims often endure pain and suffering because of their injuries. Victims may suffer from physical pain, emotional distress, trauma, loss of enjoyment of life, or a loss of relationship, which compensation may cover. While these damages are less tangible than direct financial losses, an experienced lawyer can quantify them and incorporate them into a settlement amount.
You may prove pain and suffering by writing about your experience in a journal while recovering. Also, speak honestly about your symptoms and injuries to medical professionals to support your claim.
Who May I Hold Liable for a Motorcycle Accident?
Depending on the circumstances of the motorcycle accident, one or more parties may be liable for injuries and other types of damages. Negligent or malicious parties could include:
- Other Motorists
Motorcyclists and other motorists may cause an accident through reckless or careless behavior that constitutes negligence. For instance, drivers may experience certain avoidable distractions, drive while impaired, or engage in aggressive driving actions that put themselves and others at risk.
Delivery drivers and other employees working for a particular employer may cause an accident while on the job. In these instances, employers may be liable for the accident and damages, especially if the employer’s actions more directly contributed to an accident. For example, an employer may fail to properly maintain company vehicles while requiring employees to operate them on the road
Certain governments may also be responsible for motorcycle accidents if they failed to maintain the road where the accident occurred. Examples of negligence in these cases may involve everything from potholes and cracks causing a loss of control to improper, inadequate, or illegible signage and warnings. Governments may also be liable if there are damaged or missing guardrails, worn markings on roadways, uneven lanes, or obstructive equipment.
Manufacturers of vehicles or parts may be liable in a motorcycle accident if their products are defective. Vehicle parts may feature a defective design or construction that makes them unsafe. Defective parts in motorcycle accidents may include a motorcycle’s frame, engine, brakes, fuel tank, tires, wheels, handlebars, or overall design. Defects could also affect the ability to control cars and other vehicles on the road, making manufacturers responsible for accidents and damages.
Contact the Chicago Motorcycle Accident Law Firm of Zayed Law Offices Personal Injury Attorneys for Help Today
With a better idea of what to do after a motorcycle accident, you can take the right action to reach a full medical recovery and pursue compensation from liable parties.
For help with your case, reach out to an experienced motorcycle accident attorney to discuss a potential claim or suit in a free consultation. A personal injury attorney can assess your case and determine your options following a motorcycle accident.