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.