The open road before you, the wind in your hair, the roar of the engine beneath you; riding a motorcycle is an experience like no other. However, like other exhilarating activities, motorcycle riding is not without its risks.
Not only are motorcycles more accident-prone, motorcycle drivers suffer more severe injuries than automobile drivers. The open structure of a motorcycle, which offers less protection than an enclosed automobile, is the primary reason for graver injuries. According to motoshark.com, over 6,000 motorcyclists suffered head injuries in just one year.
Although a motorcycle driver never wants to think about having an accident, especially a severe one, it’s always an eventuality. An accident can change your life in the blink of an eye; knowing how to respond is critical to containing the damage. Astute drivers should always have an idea in their head of what to say, who to call, and where to go.
Every situation is unique, but every rider should keep in mind a few core principles of accident response. Here’s what you should do after a motorcycle accident:
Call the Police
The scene of a serious accident is hectic and unstable; people may be seriously hurt and in need of attention, tempers are flared, and scattered debris (potentially hazardous) and detritus abound. Having law enforcement at the scene ensures the situation gets under control for the benefit of all those involved.
The police are also important fact finders. They can evaluate the scene of the accident, talk to witnesses, take photographs, determine fault, and compile a report. If you decide to file suit, the officer’s report can be introduced as evidence and the officer can even be called to testify.
Additionally, the police are valuable from an insurance perspective. Insurance companies consider the police report to determine fault. Having the police arrive quickly at the scene could mean a quicker payout absent the insurer-insured squabbling that normally follows an accident.
Seek Medical Attention as Soon as Possible
This is critical.
Although your injuries may seem minor at first blush, you should still get examined by a qualified medical professional as soon as possible.
- Firstly, severe injuries may go unnoticed for days or even weeks. A doctor can detect latent injuries and begin treating them immediately, sparing the injured undue suffering.
- Secondly, a doctor’s diagnosis may be critical to your lawsuit or settlement negotiations. The amount of compensation you might collect is in part determined by the extent of your injuries and the cost of care. It’s impossible to know with any specificity your injuries, their severity, and what they cost to treat without being seen by a doctor. Additionally, a doctor can be called to testify at a trial if required.
Don’t Admit Fault
Motorcycle accidents are a traumatic and emotional experience, you may have feelings of disorientation and even guilt. However, refrain from discussing fault with anyone at the scene.
It may feel tempting, and even noble, to accept responsibility for what took place, but this a huge mistake for two reasons.
- Firstly, there may be serious financial and legal ramifications for admitting fault. To start, it may lead to a considerable increase in your insurance premiums if your insurer is required to make payouts. Additionally, if the other party decides to press charges, you may be on the hook for their damages.
- Secondly, even if you believe you were responsible for the accident, you simply don’t have all the facts needed to determine fault. For example, perhaps another party involved had been driving under the influence at the time the wreck occurred. Unless he was obviously intoxicated, you would have no way of discerning this fact at the scene. The point being fault can only be determined after an investigation by the relevant authorities. By accepting responsibility for the accident you may be causing yourself serious undue harm.
Talk to an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
The hardest part of a serious motorcycle accident can be knowing where to turn. This is why it’s critical to set up an initial consultation with an experienced motorcycle crash attorney as soon as possible.
An attorney can give you options and develop a plan, lending stability to an otherwise unstable situation. Additionally, if you do decide to file a lawsuit it’s critical to have all the necessary pieces in place in as little time as possible. Motorcycle accident lawsuits can require an extensive investigation and complex paperwork and legal maneuvers.
Furthermore, many jurisdictions impose a statute of limitations on motorcycle accident claims, requiring plaintiffs to file suit within a certain amount of time after the accident. Thus, even if you’re unlikely to seek legal recourse, meeting with an attorney ensures that you’re prepared in case your situation changes, as it very well could.
Attorneys are also valuable for reasons not involving litigation. As many accident survivors can attest, getting your insurance company to pay you what you’re owed can be as challenging as the physical and mental toll.
An insurer builds its business around the concept of collecting as much in premiums as possible while paying as little money out as possible. They will often fight tooth and nail to adhere to this logic as closely as possible. Having a lawyer by your side increases the likelihood of a larger payout in a shorter amount of time.
The impact of a serious motorcycle accident can go well-beyond pain and suffering. You may be left with medical debt, financial difficulties, and emotional trauma. Knowing how to respond is critical to getting your life back on track. This means having a plan ready in case you find yourself laying on the pavement. In the chaos following an accident it can be difficult to think clearly, knowing who to call and where to go can save you precious time which may end up saving you considerable hardship. Contact the personal injury lawyers at Boohoff Law P.A. get get the compensation you deserve.