The minutes, hours, and days immediately following a serious motorcycle accident can be full of anxiety, confusion, and concern. Unfortunately, what you say and do after an accident can have an impact on both your medical outcome and whether or not you will be able to recover for your losses. For this reason, we have provided this short guide regarding some of the steps that victims should take after a motorcycle accident.
Contact Emergency Services
If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, the first thing you should do is call 911 to let police and emergency medical personnel know that has an accident has occurred. Be sure to submit to any evaluation that the emergency responders would like to conduct and do not refuse treatment or transportation to the hospital if they recommend it. While the EMS and hospital bill will be expensive, delaying necessary medical treatment is bad for your overall health and your case.
If you are able to do so, you should collect as much information about the accident as you can. If you have a phone with a camera, take photographs of the scene and aftermath of the accident. In addition, be sure to document the following pieces of information:
- The names of the drivers involved in the accident;
- Their insurance information;
- The make and model of the vehicles involved;
- Identifying logos or markings on any commercial vehicles that were involved;
- The weather conditions at the time of the accident;
- The names and contact information of any witnesses; and
- Whether there were any road hazards that you suspect may have caused or contributed to your accident.
Undergo a Thorough Medical Evaluation
In the fortunate event that you are able to walk away from a motorcycle accident, you should still make an appointment with your physician for a thorough evaluation and you should do so within a few days of the collision. Injuries like whiplash and concussions may not be immediately apparent and failure to identify and treat these injuries early can have a significant impact on both your recovery time and the compensation you are able to obtain.
After a motorcycle accident, it is important to be able to establish that the accident was the cause of your injuries and any delay in diagnosis could give the at-fault party reason to argue there was some intervening event that actually caused your injuries. Additionally, when it comes to establishing damages, the severity of your injuries may be at issue, particularly if they are “invisible” injuries such as a traumatic brain injury. For this reason, having a physician evaluate your injuries and attest to the level of pain or discomfort you are experiencing is important when trying to establish damages.
Call an Attorney
If you have been hurt in a motorcycle accident, you should at least consult with an attorney who has experience handling motorcycle claims. It is a mistake to not call a lawyer after an accident for several reasons, including the following:
- Initial consultations with most motorcycle accident attorneys are free, so you have nothing to lose by obtaining a professional case evaluation.
- Insurance settlement offers are often grossly inadequate and, without the help of an experienced attorney, you may not realize the true value of your case and may mistakenly accept a minimal offer.
- Insurance company representatives often use tactics to get you to admit some degree of fault in order to minimize an offer on your claim, and an attorney can communicate with the insurer on your behalf to avoid misinterpretation of your statements.