Too often, when faced with the immediate trauma and disruption of an accident, motorcyclists do not know what steps to take to protect themselves. Below we discuss some easy steps that you can take following a motorcycle accident to help protect yourself, both physically and legally.
Step One: Ensure Your Physical Safety
First and foremost, you want to make sure that you do not suffer any additional injuries. When possible, remove your motorcycle from the roadway. If possible, try to snap a couple of photographs before moving the bike, so you have an exact record of where the bike landed following the accident.
Step Two: Make Sure Everyone Else Is Safe
Once you have ensured your safety, check on the condition of anyone else involved in the accident. Any passengers, drivers of other involved vehicles, pedestrians, and others who may have been involved in the accident. Also, make sure that in the heat of the moment you avoid apologizing, as this could give the impression that you are taking responsibility for the accident.
Step Three: Contact Law Enforcement
Anytime there is an accident involving property damage or bodily injury, drivers are required to report the accident to local law enforcement. Unless seriously injured, everyone involved should remain at the scene of the accident, and while you are waiting, you should exchange information with each other. Specifically, you should provide your name, address, telephone number, insurance information, and license plate number to the other driver and ask for the same in return.
While waiting, if you physically can, you should also obtain contact information from any witnesses who are at the scene. You should also take photographs of traffic signals, road signs, and damage to both vehicles. When providing information to law enforcement officers about the accident, use caution. You should avoid giving the impression that you were at fault for the accident.
Step Four: Obtain Medical Treatment
Regardless of what you may feel at the scene in the immediate aftermath of the accident, you should seek out medical care. While common motorcycle injuries, like broken bones and back injuries and road rash, may appear obvious immediately following a motorcycle accident, others may not be as obvious and may take days or even weeks to present.
Victims of motorcycle accidents are often diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries and may have internal damage, which is not always immediately obvious. This is why it is imperative to seek an examination from a medical professional following your accident, even if you feel fine. Let the doctor know that you have been involved in a Nevada motorcycle accident.
Step Five: Contact Your Insurance Company
If your motorcycle has suffered damage, you should notify your insurance company about the accident. The company will want basic information, including the location, date, and time of the accident. The company will also ask you about anyone else involved in the accident, as well as the law enforcement agency that arrived at the scene to take the accident report so that the insurance company can obtain a copy of that report.
You need not, and should not, share information about your medical condition with the insurance company. Since Nevada is not a no-fault state, you will likely have to file a claim for your medical bills and other financial losses with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
Step Six: Contact a Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Depending on the circumstances of your motorcycle accident, you should file a claim against the driver of the other vehicle, the motorcycle manufacturer, or the town or municipality where your accident occurred. However, before you can make that decision, you should speak with someone who can review the specifics of your accident and explain the law as it pertains to liability in Nevada.
You should speak with a motorcycle accident attorney before you are contacted by someone else’s insurance company. This is important, because the insurer is going to ask you questions about the accident, and you will want to know how to properly respond or have an attorney discuss the details with them.
Insurance companies are not the good guys in motorcycle accident claims. The adjuster is going to ask you a lot of questions about the accident, including what was occurring immediately before and after the accident.
This is not to help you; rather, it is to help the insurance companies. Remember, the insurer’s goal is to minimize your claim. The questions that representatives ask are designed to get you to admit that your injuries are not as bad as you claim, or that you are partially responsible for the accident. Do not talk to insurance company representatives, and instead, refer them to your attorney.
Step Seven: Follow Your Doctor’s Instructions, and Keep All of Your Documents
After you visit a doctor, you should follow all instructions provided by the doctor who treated you. Failure to do so may put your overall health in jeopardy and extend the time it takes to recover compensation.
While you are recovering, you should record any information that you recall from the accident. Oftentimes, it takes a while for motorcycle accident victims to remember what was happening immediately before the accident occurred. This is fairly common, as the suddenness of an accident is enough to cause anyone to lose track of what has happened.
Motorcycle accident victims should also record any physical or mental changes that they experience during recovery. Increased pain, depression, trouble sleeping, and other signs may indicate that you have additional injuries that have not been identified. If you experience any bleeding, severe pain, or unexpected limited mobility, seek immediate medical attention.
Motorcycle accidents upend your entire life, particularly if you suffered a serious injury. Victims often do not know what rights they have, nor do they know where to turn for help. You likely have additional questions, and you need information about what steps you should take to ensure that you maximize your compensation.
You should reach out to an experienced motorcycle accident attorney for a free consultation to learn more about what rights you have and what you should do to make sure that you are not paying the financial price for someone else’s negligent behavior.
What Drivers Need to Know
For motorcycle enthusiasts, there is no greater thrill than getting out on the open road. Unfortunately, while riding a motorcycle can be an exciting way to see the country, it also comes with greater risks than driving a car. Motorcyclists are more likely than car and truck drivers to sustain severe injuries in an accident, and 27 times more likely to die in a crash.
A motorcycle accident can inflict severe injuries, keep you out of work, and saddle you with medical bills that you do not know if you can pay. Knowing how to react following a motorcycle accident can make recovery much easier for you.
To prepare for whatever may happen on the road, here is a look at steps that you should take following a motorcycle accident.
Don’t Remove Your Protective Gear
The first thing that you will likely do following a motorcycle accident is to assess the situation, including your injuries and damage to your bike. If you are severely injured, try to stay where you are if it is safe as moving could cause further injury. However, if you can move and are in harm’s way, try to remove yourself from the roadway for your own safety.
Once you have reached safety, do not take off your helmet and other protective gear. While this may be your first instinct, doing so could exacerbate existing injuries. Even if you do not believe that you are significantly injured, adrenaline and shock following an accident may prevent you from feeling pain or realizing the full extent of your injuries. In particular, do not try to remove your helmet until paramedics arrive at the scene.
Contact Emergency Services
Once you have reached safety, call 911 and alert the authorities to the accident. This will bring police and paramedics to the scene who can help to assess the situation and provide medical treatment if necessary. Even if there are no serious injuries, call 911 to bring the police to the scene so that they can investigate and prepare an official report.
A police report can be critical in helping you to receive proper compensation for your injuries. It provides a detailed summary of the accident that can help to determine fault. Make sure that you talk to the police officer and get the officer’s name and badge number.
Having this information will allow you or your attorney to follow up with them later for more information and a copy of the report. Police officers have extensive experience assessing accidents, and their perspective can help build a case against the other driver.
In addition to obtaining a police report, you can try to gather other evidence at the scene of the accident as well, assuming it is safe to do so. The other driver probably will not admit fault straight out, so collecting evidence at the scene of the accident can help you prove what happened and obtain proper compensation for your damages and injuries.
If the accident didn’t damage your cell phone, take extensive pictures of the scene if you can do so safely. If possible, try to do this before the vehicles are moved. This will allow you to create a visual record of how the scene looked, which your insurance company and your attorney can use to prove fault. You should also take extensive pictures of the damage to both vehicles and any other property damage that occurred.
Next, try to talk to as many witnesses to the accident that stuck around as possible. Ask them what they saw, and get their personal information so that your lawyer can follow up with them later. Witness accounts help your lawyer prove that the other driver should pay for your injuries.
Next, talk to the other driver and exchange information. Make sure that you get the other driver’s name, address, driver’s license number, insurance information, and license plate number, as you will need all of this information to file a claim. When interacting with the other driver, try to say as little as possible. You do not want to say something by mistake that a defense lawyer or the other driver’s insurance company could use against you.
Never admit fault or apologize for the accident. After a jarring incident like a motorcycle accident, you may find yourself apologizing even though you know you aren’t at fault. However, things said at the scene of the accident can have serious repercussions should you later try to file a claim against the other driver. Keep your interaction brief and merely ask for their personal information.
Get Medical Attention as Soon as Possible
As we previously mentioned, you may not immediately know the true severity of your injuries following a motorcycle accident. Get checked out by a doctor as soon as possible to make sure that you do not have any hidden injuries. This is particularly important with motorcycle accidents as you may have sustained a concussion or internal injuries unbeknownst to you.
Getting medical attention right away will ensure that you receive the treatments you need before your injuries get worse. Seeing a doctor will also provide you with a record of your injuries should you and your lawyer decide to file a motorcycle accident claim against the other driver.
Consult a Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Once you have addressed your immediate medical needs, contact a motorcycle accident attorney. An experienced motorcycle accident attorney can assess your situation and help you to determine your next steps and protect your legal rights and financial future. Having handled cases similar to yours, an experienced attorney can investigate your motorcycle accident, collect evidence, and build a case against the other driver or any other party at-fault.
Contact an attorney if someone else’s insurance company asks you to settle. Never try to negotiate a settlement on your own; that could leave you vulnerable to an insurance adjuster who likely knows a lot more about the value of your claim than you do.
An experienced attorney will know how to value your claim based on the extent of your injuries, property damage sustained, the cost of your medical bills, and any wages lost as a result of the accident. Armed with that information, your attorney can give you the best possible chance of receiving full and fair compensation for your injuries.
For a free consultation about your legal rights after suffering injuries in a motorcycle accident, contact an experienced motorcycle accident injury lawyer today.