Motorcycle crashes are more common than you might think. If you currently ride a motorcycle, it’s important that you know exactly what to do in this situation in order to limit trauma and facilitate a full recovery.
From getting medical attention to hiring a motorcycle accident lawyer, here is everything you need to know.
1. Find safety first
After getting in an accident, you may be initially unaware of your whereabouts and potential injuries.
Take a moment to properly assess the situation. Are you still in danger? As most motorcycle crashes occur on urban roadways, you might still be in the way of oncoming traffic. You might also be near a vehicle that could still catch fire or explode. In any case, get to safety quickly.
Next, determine whether there are any other parties who are either in harm’s way or injured. If you’re confident that you have no injuries, help them find safety as well.
2. Leave your protective gear on
If you sense that you’ve been injured in any way during the accident, you may be tempted to remove your protective gear and assess the severity of your injuries.
However, it’s wise to keep all of your protective gear on, as removing it could exacerbate those injuries—particularly ones that involve the head, neck, or spine.
Don’t shed any protective gear until a paramedic arrives at the scene and determines that your helmet and protective clothing can be removed.
3. Report the accident
As soon as you’ve found safety, report the accident by dialing 911 and providing details about the incident.
Even if you have no life-threatening injuries, there may be other parties involved who are critically injured and need immediate help. Reporting the accident right away will give them the best chance at recovery.
4. Get medical attention
After an accident, the adrenaline in your body often masks pain or injury, temporarily. While you may feel fine at the time, the reality is that concussions, broken bones, internal damage, and sprains are very common in motorcycle crashes.
Have a medical professional look for any potential injuries. In the case of certain injuries—such as head trauma—symptoms don’t always appear immediately. Head injury is the most common cause of death in motorcycle accidents.
For the sake of your own immediate and long-term health, don’t neglect medical attention.
5. Collect all of the evidence
Regardless of the severity of the accident, you’ll want to gather all evidence related to the incident—but especially following an accident involving extensive damage and personal injuries. You’re going to need to refer to the evidence later on, particularly when it comes time to speak with a lawyer or an insurance company.
Be sure to leave no stone unturned. The more thorough you are and the more conclusive the evidence is, the easier the process will most likely be.
Start by taking photos of the scene, vehicles, debris, and any other details that might be pertinent. Write notes that you can refer to later on in the process. Get a copy of the police report when it becomes available.
Finally, approximately 75% of motorcycle accidents involve other vehicles. Make sure you get contact information and insurance information from any other parties who were involved in the accident.
6. Consult a motorcycle accident lawyer
In the days following the accident, you may want to consider hiring a motorcycle accident lawyer.
Especially if you’re dealing with personal injuries, you’ll want to focus on recovery and leave the details of the case with someone more experienced. While you may hire a personal injury lawyer, it’s wise to seek out an attorney who has experience with motorcycle accidents, specifically.
This isn’t something you’ll want to put off. As you’re likely to be contacted by insurance companies that want to collect more information about the accident, you’re going to want to seek advice from an attorney sooner versus later.
Don’t share specific details of the event with anyone—whether it’s a family member or adjuster—until you’ve spoken with your attorney and determined the right course of action.
7. Settle matters with the insurance company
While you can wait to speak with your attorney before contacting an insurance company, you will need to eventually talk to the insurance company to discuss details of the accident and accept a settlement.
One of the many benefits of hiring an attorney is that you can elect to have them handle all communications with the insurance company.
While insurance companies will typically offer you the lowest dollar amount as a settlement, an experienced attorney can often negotiate a higher amount and help you close out matters much sooner.