If motorcyclists know what to do after a motorcycle accident, the real-life scenario can overwhelm and confuse them. The accident scene is chaotic, and while you should stay calm and collect evidence, that is not always feasible.
Unfortunately, motorcycle riders regularly suffer more severe and costly injuries than passenger vehicle drivers and occupants. With this in mind, knowing what to do when you get home from a motorcycle accident is vital to your physical and legal recovery.
Report all Injuries after a motorcycle accident
From the scene, you need to obtain medical treatment immediately, whether by ambulance or independently. A medical examination is necessary to treat your injuries and establish a link between the accident and your injuries. Going to the hospital from the scene will show the severity of your injuries, and it will be harder for the insurance company or opposing attorney to deny your injuries resulting from the accident.
Even if your injuries are not severe enough for ambulance transport, you must see a doctor within 72 hours of your accident. If you wait any longer for treatment, the other party can deny the injuries were from the accident. You cannot seek benefits without proof of your injury and a treatment plan.
You should report every single injury you suffer from a motorcycle accident. You must recount your injuries to several parties, including the police, firefighters, and hospital staff. The more parties you tell, the more consistent your medical documents are.
When reporting your injuries, focus on:
- Pain or soreness
- Loss of consciousness
- Loss of memory
- Extreme drowsiness
- Difficulty thinking clearly
- Ringing in the ears
- Blurry vision
- Mobility restrictions
- Tingling or numbness
You might not be aware of these symptoms immediately after a motorcycle accident, but you or your family might notice these signs after coming home. When you see your doctor, you need to report these, as they can be signs of a soft tissue injury or traumatic brain injury.
Some of the injuries motorcyclists sustain in an accident are:
- Broken bones
- Head injuries
- Facial and jaw injuries
- Neck and back injuries
- Internal organ injuries
- Lacerations and contusions
- Road rash
Many debilitating injuries can result from a motorcycle accident. These injuries can leave you unable to work or participate in daily life. You will need to modify the way you do things. Your family might need to pick up the financial burden and become caregivers instead of just family. Motorcycle accidents can lead to financial and intangible losses, and you should document every life change you experience.
Many motorcyclists suffer catastrophic injuries resulting in losing a usable body part or other permanent disabilities.
Catastrophic injuries include:
- Paralysis and spinal cord trauma
- Severe traumatic brain injury
- Severe burns
Following these injuries, your life will never be the same due to another person’s negligence. Someone must be responsible. You will need to call a local motorcycle accident lawyer to ensure you can focus on your medical treatment while they focus on getting you the compensation you deserve.
There is also the possibility that a victim passes away from the accident or succumbs to their injuries later. Motorcyclists in an accident are about 28 times more likely to die than someone in a car. A tragic death leaves family members shocked and facing many financial and intangible losses. Close family members should immediately discuss a possible wrongful death claim with a motorcycle accident attorney.
Attend all doctor appointments
After an initial examination, you must continue to seek medical treatment. Various follow-up appointments and therapy sessions will be vital to your recovery. You must still attend even if you feel like you do not need these sessions. When you miss an appointment, the insurance company will argue that you must not have a severe injury because you are not attending your appointments.
All of these medical appointments leave a paper trail and show the progression of your recovery. When it comes to more severe injuries, you will need additional medical treatment like injections or surgery. You can only obtain these when all other non-invasive treatments are exhausted. Getting the proper care at the right time is crucial to your recovery; any delay in treatment can make your condition worse.
Do not give the opposing insurance company a recorded statement
While letting your insurance company know about your accident is crucial, you should allow a lawyer to make the call. Most importantly, you should never agree to make a recorded statement.
Accident victims often trust an insurance company, even a rival. Victims assume that the insurance company is trying to resolve the matter. These insurance adjusters and defense attorneys look for you to slip up or say something they can use to lower your claim. When you notice a party interested in speaking with you or others in the accident, that is a red flag. Anything you say to these parties will come back later to hurt your claim.
Never allow the opposing insurance company to strong-arm you into providing statements or pictures without going through your attorney first. Having a lawyer handle all communications from the start will avoid the risk of unintentionally jeopardizing your claim.
Do not sign a release
Insurance companies are in a hurry to get you to sign a release so they can pay the minimum amount possible for your injuries. There are several documents the insurance company will try to make you sign, relieving them of responsibility.
The insurance company will want you to sign a waiver, release, or settlement. They might even send you a check without explaining why. Do not cash the check or sign it. You agree to the settlement offer when you sign any of these documents.
Even if you get a check for the property damage, you must consult with a motorcycle accident lawyer first. The insurance company can add additional language to the property damage check that prevents you from obtaining monetary compensation for your physical losses.
Need a Lawyer?
Aside from your medical documents, there are other vital pieces of information you will need to gather to build your case. The first document you need is the official accident report. You might request these reports online or in person. You will also need your insurance policy, receipts for out-of-pocket expenses, and any insurance documents regarding the case the insurance company sends you.
No matter how insignificant you might think the document is, you must keep it and present it to your motorcycle accident lawyer. Organize and store them in a safe location. Create a file where you will place all these documents and provide a copy of the file to your attorney.
Additionally, you will want to create a pain journal. Many accidents will take time to resolve, and your memory can fade. Providing documents always helps cases move forward. A pain journal can show how your life is different after the accident.
If you need help starting a pain journal entry, there are some things you should include:
- Pain level on a scale of one to ten
- Location of pain
- A description of your symptoms
- How long did the pain last?
- The frequency of the pain
- Was there a specific activity that led to the pain?
- Did you miss out on an activity because of pain or injury?
- Did you take medication to alleviate the pain?
You can also create a weekly accident journal where you plug in the basics and have an overview of the week. Monthly templates also give an overview of your treatment and recovery. Include all of these accounts in your file.
You can work with your local motorcycle accident attorney to determine how often to make these entries. You will also need to take periodic pictures of your visible injuries and how they do or do not heal.
Have your lawyer notify your insurance company
Though someone else was to blame for your injuries, you still need to notify your insurance company of your accident and injuries. However, this is something your lawyer should handle.
Depending on the insurance coverage of the liable parties, you might need your own coverage to help ensure you get total compensation. You must provide notice that something happened to your insurer, but again, you do not want to fall victim to insurance company tactics.
Paying premiums does not mean your insurer won’t take advantage of you. Your insurance company will try to limit benefits like any other company, and giving them too much information can jeopardize your situation. Have your skilled motorcycle accident lawyer make this call to protect your claim.
In the social media age, telling someone to stay offline feels like an impossible task. Unfortunately, what may seem impossible is vital to your injury claim.
The insurance company will scour the internet to find any reason to lower your compensation. They want to save money, even if it means taking money out of your pockets. The insurer will investigate your current situation to gauge your injuries’ severity, including scouring your social media accounts.
Do not take pictures and post them online. Do not comment online about the accident, whether good or bad. Anything you say or post online is evidence, no matter how insignificant you think it is. The best plan is to leave your social media and other online platforms as they are.
If you have questions about what else not to do following a crash, your lawyer is your best resource. They know the details of your case and what you should avoid doing to protect your rights.
Damages in a motorcycle accident claim
When your lawyer files a claim through the insurance, they will build a case and create a demand package on your behalf. The demand package will seek compensation for any losses you suffer from the accident. You must include every loss so you recover the money you need. A demand letter will total the losses up to this point and your future losses.
Some actual losses your attorney might include in the insurance demand include:
- Medical expenses
- Future medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of income
- Future loss of pay and benefits
- Loss of companionship
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Property damage
The losses you suffer from your accident are unique to you, and you will need to work with your lawyer to determine the compensation you need. When there is a loss of life, the surviving family can file a wrongful death claim and obtain compensation on behalf of the deceased.
Talk to a local motorcycle accident attorney
Move quickly after an accident. Each state has a personal injury statute of limitations, and these deadlines to file lawsuits can range from one to six years. You do not want to miss – or even come close to – this deadline. Your lawyer will ensure they handle your claim well in advance of statutes of limitations in your state.
A motorcycle accident attorney in your area can sift through all the evidence and find the best legal strategy for compensation. They will jump into action, immediately taking stress off your shoulders.
You will not have to worry about speaking with the opposing party because your attorney will handle all communications on your behalf. Your health is the most critical factor after an accident, and you must focus on healing. You will need to adjust to your new life when there is a permanent injury.
Your focus is not on the legal process – that is for your attorney to worry about. Call a local motorcycle accident lawyer today for a free case evaluation.