If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident, it’s our job to make sure you recover the full amount possible to compensate you for your injuries and property damage. There are some basic steps that YOU can do, however, that will help maximize your recovery.
1. If you are injured, get treatment right away: Whether you think they’re serious or not, if you have any injuries from the accident, make sure you get treatment! Some people believe it is a sign of strength to avoid the doctor, or to continue working after they have been injured. Doing so is not only risky to your health, but it can hurt your chances of receiving full compensation for your claim! If you don’t get treatment for injuries, insurance companies will assume these injuries don’t exist. And if the case goes to trial, the insurance company’s lawyer will point to your lack of treatment (or failure to get treatment right away) and argue that you are exaggerating your injuries! Long story short: it is not a sign of weakness to ask for help or admit you are in pain. Get to the doctor!
2. DON’T discuss your injuries with anyone besides your doctor or attorney: After informing persons that you need medical attention, do not discuss your injury or make formal statements except to your doctor or legal advisor. This includes statements in writing, over the phone, or in person. These statements may later be used against you!
3. DON’T discuss unnecessary details of the accident with doctors. While you should give all necessary information to the doctor to assist in treatment, explaining every little detail of the accident to the doctor or nurse almost always ends up backfiring. Doctors and nurses will write this information down in their notes, and will often get some of the facts wrong. These notes, however, will end up becoming evidence that is used against you. Also, NEVER tell the doctor you are making a legal claim or that you have a lawyer. They will even put this information in the notes!
4. Take pictures of everything ASAP: Pictures of your physical injuries, property damage, and the accident scene can provide good documentation for your claim. The key is to do this as soon as possible, before conditions change. Broken pavement, debris, or whatever it was that caused your injury should be documented before it is cleaned away. Pictures of your injuries (bruises, broken skin, etc.) should be taken before they heal. Pictures of your motorcycle or other damaged gear should be taken before they are lost or thrown away. (You should hold onto all of your damaged property, but photos provide additional record).
5. Document witnesses: Ask all witnesses to the accident to provide their names, addresses, phone numbers, and emails. If they don’t cooperate, snap a picture of their license plate! These witnesses may be crucial to your case!
6. Obtain a copy of the police report: If police are called to the scene, make sure you get the name of the responding officer and the case number. Police usually give you a business card with this information. The following day, ask to get a copy of the police report. It may take a few days or weeks for the report to be available. Read it carefully so you can point out any errors in the report to your attorney.
7. Track medical expenses: Make a folder or an envelope and keep all your medical records and bills in one place, including doctor office visits, medications, laboratory tests, physical therapy, prescriptions, hospital visits, medical records, and diagnostic services (i.e., x-rays, MRI’s and scans). Also make a list of all your medical treatments with names of medical providers, dates of your appointments, amounts charged, and the reason for treatment.
8. Keep all medical evidence: Save all medicine containers, therapeutic braces, casts, and any other medical supplies prescribed by your doctor.
9. Document lost work or school time: Keep a list of all days of absence you have been forced to take due to your personal injury. Include lost wages per week and/or lost school time as well. Also, if your injuries or pain force you to miss social or family events, keep track of that as well. You may be able to seek compensation for these missed events as part of your claim for pain and suffering.
10. Track all out-of-pocket expenses related to taking care of your injuries. Maintain a record of all costs related to your injury, and save all your receipts! This includes all “out-of-pocket” expenses such as deductibles for health car, motorcycle repair costs, rental car costs, costs for damaged clothing or other items. This also includes costs incidental items such as heating pads, ace bandages, or child-care expenses, If the accident forced you to cancel a vacation or event, make sure you document any cancellation costs. If you have good documentation and receipts, your claim for your out-of-pocket costs will be MUCH stronger.
If you or a loved one have had a motorcycle accident, please call our toll-free hotline or send us an email. Our motorcycle accident attorneys are available 24/7 to help you throughout California, including Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, the San Francisco Bay Area, Fresno, Bakersfield, Sacramento, and everywhere in between.