If you want to know what to do after a motorcycle accident, there are some critical steps to take in order to assist your claim. The moments after an accident are essential and can impact your future legal actions and rights. Here are the 7 most important steps you should take immediately following a motorcycle accident.
Step 1: Collect Everyone’s Contact Information
Once everyone is safely out of the roadway, exchange information with anyone else involved in the crash. Get the name, address, phone number, insurance information, and license numbers for all drivers. Take a photo of the vehicles, and write down the license plate numbers, car make and models, and a description of any vehicles involved in the accident.
Keep these notes organized, because if there are multiple parties involved it’s possible to mix up one person’s insurer or vehicle with another.
Step 2: Call the Police.
Call 911 to get the police to the scene of the accident as soon as possible. If there has been property damage (anything over $500) be sure to file a police report. If you or anyone involved has been injured, be sure to request medical attention.
The police report can be vital in your efforts to recover for damage to your bike, clothing, or for physical injuries – many of which may not become evident for hours, or even days after an accident!
Letting the police know there was an accident is important for building a case. The police officers will keep their own records of the event, which can be referenced later.
Be sure to take down the responding officers’ names and badge numbers. This will help your attorney follow up with to collect any necessary information for your claim.
Step 3: Take Note of your Surroundings.
Documenting the scene may be difficult if you were seriously injured, but try to take notice of important information about the accident. This includes where, when, and how.
Specifically, try to take note of the location of the accident, road conditions, speed limits, weather, lighting, the direction of travel any vehicles involved.
Mark down or photograph the nearest intersection and mile marker. This will allow you to return later to take photographs and document the scene.
Step 4. Talk to Witnesses.
Eyewitnesses to an accident are important in any legal matter. If it’s possible, try to interview everyone who witnessed the accident, and record their observations via an audio recorder on your phone, or by writing it down on a piece of paper.
Memory fades quickly, so collect as much as you can while the incident is fresh in the mind of any witnesses immediately following the motorcycle accident.
Get their contact information in case you or your lawyer needs to interview them at a later date.
Step 5. NEVER Admit Fault!
When two people bump into each other, it’s not uncommon for both parties to quickly apologize. This is part of human nature. If you’re involved in something as jarring as a motorcycle accident, you may apologize to the other party without thinking.
Many times, the exact cause of an accident is unclear immediately after the accident. People are sometimes tempted to apologize for getting into an accident, even when it’s not their fault! Also, people sometimes “agree” with a version of events given by another person, even when it’s not accurate.
Accidents can be jarring, and you might not recall every detail until hours or even days later. Be careful what you say: statements at the accident scene can have serious legal consequences down the road.
Step 6. Alert Your Insurance Company
Provide all of the information you collected from witnesses and people involved in the accident. Just like in step 5, remember to never admit fault, not even to an insurance agent. Much like filing a police report, contacting your insurer helps document the crash, so it can be reviewed later.
Step 7. Contact Riderz Law!
If you or a loved one have been involved in a motorcycle accident or have questions regarding motorcycle insurance, feel free to send us an email or call our toll-free hotline. Our experienced motorcycle lawyers are happy to talk to you. There is never a charge or obligation for our initial consultation.
For more tips on how to strengthen your claim and protect your rights, click here.
Many of the above steps may be difficult depending upon how seriously you may be hurt, and remember, above all else, your first concern should always be safety and medical attention for you and anyone else involved in the accident.
If you have questions or concerns, contact a motorcycle accident attorney! Beware insurance companies asking for your signature, or offering you a check. This may preclude you from getting the full recovery to which you are entitled. Remember, that sweet old insurance adjuster has one priority — pay out as little as possible!
Let’s face it, the average motorcycle rider is well-versed in local and state laws, and he or she probably follows all the rules of the road. However, there are a few riders out there who give the rest of us a bad name, and sometimes people simply don’t know the rules, written or unwritten. So, to clear things up, here are three do’s and three don’ts of motorcycle safety.
Always inspect the bike and helmet before a ride: If you have a problem with your bike or safety gear, you want to discover this before you hit the road. To get started, make sure your helmet is free of any cracks or other issues. Then, walk around your bike and look at the tires and wheels to make sure everything is in order. Finally, check the fuel level, chassis, chain and kickstand. With this two-minute walk-through, you can spot issues before you get out on the open road.
Follow all traffic laws: While it’s fun to get on your bike and tear up a mountain road, you should remember to follow all traffic laws. Not only are you going to get a ticket and anger drivers in cars, but you are at an increased risk of injury if you don’t follow basic traffic laws. Remember, we already face more risks than car owners, so don’t make it worse on yourself by breaking traffic laws.
Wear a lot of safety gear: In some states, riders can go without helmets, and some of my friends do just this. However, I don’t ever ride without full safety gear, including a helmet. Sadly, a fall can happen at any moment, and I don’t want to end up with bad road rash, or worse, just because I did not want to throw on my gear. If you invest in good gear and wear it on all rides, you can avoid serious issues in minor accidents.
Tailgate: I have seen a lot of rider’s tailgate, even when there is no reason for doing so. If you feel the need to pass someone, do it safely. But, don’t ride on someone and expect them to pull over for you. I have seen enough deer running out in the road out on Palomar, and I would hate to slam on my brakes if I have to stop suddenly because I am tailgating.
Neglect your bike: If you are a smart rider, you will take your bike in for servicing often. Of course, if you are mechanical, you can work on it yourself to save some cash. But, either way, make sure to change the tires and do other maintenance, when needed. It can help you avoid costly breakdowns. Furthermore, if your bike malfunctions on the road, you may end up in an accident.
Ride on the shoulder: I don’t see this as often as I used to, but I still see riders pass on the shoulder. While it’s frustrating to sit in traffic, you should still follow all the laws. Luckily here in California, we can lane split, and I do so when safe. But, I certainly don’t ride on the shoulder to pass frustrated motorists as it’s dangerous, and I would hate to damage my tires this way.
If you ride, you need to set a good example for others. We all share the same road, and it’s wise to ride safely and make sure to avoid common mistakes. Then, when you are on the road, you can have fun without running into issues that some younger and foolish riders often face.
Contact our Motorcycle Law Experts
In the event of a motorcycle accident, riders can take a few simple steps that can make a huge difference in their recovery. Click one of the links below to learn helpful information.