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 6 most important steps you should take immediately following a motorcycle accident.
Step 1: Collect 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.
Markdown 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.
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. 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.
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. 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. First, make sure your helmet is free of any cracks or other issues. Next, 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.
Wear a lot of safety gear:
Don’t ever ride without full safety gear. Sadly, a fall can happen at any moment, and you don’t want to end up with bad road rash, or worse. If you invest in good gear and wear it on all rides, you can avoid serious issues in minor accidents.
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:
Take your bike in for servicing often. Of course, if you are mechanical, you can work on it yourself to save some cash. 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:
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.
Contact our Motorcycle Law Experts
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.
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.
- Top Ten Ways to Strengthen Your Motorcycle Accident Claim.
- Motorcycle Accident Do’s and Don’ts.
- How to Make Insurance Claims After a Motorcycle Accident.
If you have questions or concerns, contact a motorcycle accident attorney!