The Dos and Don'ts of Dealing with a Minor Motorcycle Accident
Motorcycle accidents don’t often get as much attention as car accidents. However, they can be just as devastating. Admittedly, their numbers are quite low compared to those involving vehicles, with some estimates putting the figure at a little over 5000 per year. This, of course, doesn’t mean that the injuries sustained are any less serious. If you’ve suffered a motorcycle accident, Aronfeld Trial Lawyers are in a position to help you.
Handling a Motorcycle Accident
The very nature of accidents means that a vast majority of them occur unexpectedly. Unless otherwise, you may not know what to do (and not to do). Immediately after a motorcycle accident, you’ll probably be dazed, the shock of it all sending you into inaction. However, doing the right thing can make all the difference later on. Of course, this assumes that you’re not severely injured to the point of being unable to take any meaningful action.
1) Seek Medical Attention
Assuming the emergency medical team gets to you quickly after your motorcycle accident, it’s best to seek medical attention as quickly as possible. Even in seemingly minor motorcycle accidents, some injuries can be serious enough to warrant medical attention. Throughout this time, ensure to follow the doctor’s instructions to the letter. Keep all appointments. Your first reaction may be to assume that everything is okay given your minimal injuries. However, seeking medical attention is not only a health benefit but also gives you legal cover later on. An insurance provider will not refute any subsequent claims you make if there is evidence in the form of documents detailing your medical treatment.
2) Contact a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
As soon as the first responders give you the all-clear, you want to contact a motorcycle lawyer. This is to protect yourself from possible litigation and other unfounded claims. If the accident was a seemingly minor one in which you sustained minimal injuries, contact a lawyer immediately. You want to have legal representation right away to ensure a steady hand for your case from the start. An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer will instruct you on what to do, thereby ensuring that you don’t implicate yourself in anything related to the accident. Such an attorney will come in handy when the need arises to investigate any aspect of the accident in a bid to clear your name or sue any parties involved.
3) Gather as Much Evidence as Possible
If you’re not seriously injured, collect as much evidence as you can immediately after the accident. Take pictures of the scene from different angles while focusing on the little details. For example, you can zoom in to capture any skid marks or striations on your bike. The extent of the damage sustained could prove pivotal in your case. If possible take quick video footage of the scene. Speak to as many witnesses as possible and get their contact information if possible. Also, ensure to not leave the crime scene before speaking with the authorities. This could be grounds for felony charges.
4)Report the Accident to the Authorities
Always report a motorcycle accident, even minor ones. Sometimes, motorcycle accidents can occur on roads far from the city limits or in isolated spots like underground parking lots. Either way, you’ll still need to report the incident to the concerned authorities. If it’s an interstate, you may need to call the Highway Patrol. Otherwise, local police should always be your first call. Should the police get to the accident scene before you’ve spoken with your lawyer, don’t volunteer any information. Only answer the questions that the officer asks without any embellishment.
4) Notify Your Insurance Provider
Many people mistakenly believe that they don’t need to file a claim with their insurance company as long as there is a police report of the accident. While such a police report certainly helps, it is not the same as filing a claim with your provider. Always ensure to do this within the specified timeframe. This is usually 30 days from the date of the accident. Ensure to understand the insurance provider’s policies regarding motorcycle claims. Of course, this will be much easier once you’ve retained legal counsel.
1) Admit Fault
While this may seem obvious, many people have been known to admit fault immediately after a motorcycle accident. Whether it’s due to the shock of the whole incident or simply a desire to do good, it’s never advisable to admit fault, especially at the accident scene. You can only do so to your lawyer in confidence.
Even when you think you’re responsible in some capacity, admitting to any wrongdoing can open you up to a personal injury lawsuit. This can come with a hefty financial cost, both in terms of what you may have to pay out as damages and the costs of legal representation.
2) Give a Recorded Statement
Similar to the above issue, never give a recorded statement to the other party involved in your accident. Saying anything that remotely alludes to your guilt can be very difficult to undo later on, even for an experienced motorcycle lawyer. Keep your interactions with the other motorist to a minimum. For example, only exchange contact or insurance information. Similarly, never make a statement to any insurance adjusters that may show up at the accident scene. While rare, there are instances of insurance companies sending their people to the accident scene quickly. This is to get you to admit to guilt or to coax you into taking some responsibility. Such recorded statements will, of course, be used to railroad any claims you make later on.
3) Accept Any Offers From the Other Party
It’s not unheard of for the insurance provider of the other driver or rider to quickly make a lowball offer right at the accident scene. This is their way of ensuring that they don’t pay significant sums in damages later on. It’s never a good idea to accept any such offers from the other party’s insurance company representative. This is because you may not know the full extent of damage sustained to your bike or your injuries, even in seemingly minor accidents. Accepting such offers will very likely shut the door to any future legal action.
Ultimately, calling a lawyer immediately after any motorcycle accident is the best course of action . It’ll help you know what to avoid.