Riding a motorcycle is far more dangerous than driving a traditional four-wheeled vehicle. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 80 percent of all U.S. motorcycle accidents result in death or injury to the biker. Therefore, the risk of injury is four times greater than operating a car. When you consider those odds, you need to ensure that you are fully compensated when other drivers are negligent and injure you.
In preparing a case against other drivers, you need to start the preparation as soon as the accident occurs to develop a strong case. By following the steps below, you can force the insurance companies to settle quickly and for the full amount of compensation owed to you. This money can be a lifesaver that covers lost wages, medical care from leading experts, and your mortgage payments.
Step #1: Call for Emergency Assistance
Regardless of how well you may feel immediately after an accident, you may have serious injuries. Deep puncture wounds and the most severe injuries won’t cause any pain if your nerves are severed. Furthermore, it is almost impossible to escape whiplash symptoms from head and spine trauma when you are hit by another vehicle or hit the ground after avoiding a direct blow. Therefore, it is in your best interests to have paramedics check you out at the scene and assess your health.
Whiplash and other pain symptoms are often delayed by several hours, long after the burst of adrenaline wears off. The adrenaline after an accident is so powerful that mothers have lifted up vehicles to save their children from danger. You may also suffer neurological damage that does not become manifest until later on. Inflammation of the brain, subsequent swelling, and other subtle injuries can progress over time.
You may also need a tow truck at the scene to remove your bike for a full inspection. There would be nothing worse than getting into another accident on the way home due to faulty or damaged components. Finally, you should call the police to write an official report. This will eliminate any controversy over the identity of the driver and can help support other obvious elements of your case. But when you speak with police, always be careful and only disclose the basic hard facts. Don’t start speculating or making statements that cannot be easily proven.
Step #2: Interview Witnesses
If there are any witnesses on the scene, they may play a key role in solving any controversy in the case. Because an independent witness has no incentive to lie, their version of what occurred will be the most reliable story before jurors. Record their names, addresses, and statements by videotaping them on your SmartPhone if possible. You can also write it down a narrative and sign it under oath of perjury.
Step #3: Exchange Information with Defendants
Ensure that you have the other driver’s license number, license plate number, insurance information, current address, name, age, and phone number. Your motorcycle accident attorney will need this information to properly serve them with a Complaint. If there are any discrepancies, it will cost time and money to rectify the errors. And you should never leave the scene of even a minor parking accident without leaving a note that has your contact info and insurance information. If you do, you’ll be charged with hit and run.
Step #4: Record Details of the Incident
Your motorcycle injury lawyer will have a much easier time proving your case and putting together the claims if you have details. Recording the circumstances of the accident will help put all the logical pieces together. Skid marks on the road may prove that you attempted to slow down when you saw the other driver blowing off the stop sign, for example.
The weather, lighting, time, date, and any irregularities in the roads or hazards can all be key factors. If the other driver had a dirty windshield that impaired visibility, this would lend credence to the conclusion that they didn’t see you and were negligent in failing to clean their windows.
Step #5: Never Admit Any Degree of Fault
Your motorcycle accident attorney won’t be able to protect you if you apologize or open up theories that you were somehow responsible. Even if the other driver had clearly violated the law, you can be held equally liable if you say that you could have stopped sooner or should have sped up your vehicle. When you start speculating about how the accident could have been avoided on your end, you open up the door to liability or diminished rewards.
Step #6: Contact Your Insurance Company
Although a motorcycle personal injury attorney can eventually file a claim on your behalf, the insurance policies ordinarily require that injured policyholders first seek compensation from them. When you contact your insurance company, only provide the most basic info. Don’t get into any speculation or complicated explanations.
Los Angeles law firm West Coast Trial Lawyers keep things as simple as possible. And because your motorcycle accident attorney may ultimately wind up filing a lawsuit against your own insurance company, in cases of underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage, you don’t want to weaken your case with loopholes.
You don’t even have to speak with the other party’s insurance company at all. In fact, you should only provide them with your name, address, and phone number. You can also give them the phone number of your motorcycle injury lawyer if they have any further questions.
Step #7: Have Your Motorcycle Inspected for Damages
It is important to have your motorcycle inspected by a collision repair shop immediately after the accident. If you don’t have an official report, the defendants may try to argue that damages occurred in a subsequent accident. Having an independent and objective report on hand is very persuasive in resolving facts in your favor before a jury. Having your bike inspected and repaired also ensures your safety. There may be parts that are damaged to the brink of failure that you may not notice. Only a professional will notice cracks, misalignments, and other subtle deformations or defects.
Step #8: Contact Us as Soon as Possible
Only a motorcycle personal injury attorney can stop the spoliation of evidence. In cases where the other defendant was speeding or operating faulty equipment, it is critical to file an order with the court to stop them from destroying the evidence. All late-model vehicles are equipped with computers that record the speed and other operating data at the time of impact. If you can prove that the other driver was speeding and driving unsafely, this would be hard proof of negligence and fault.
You should never try to handle these cases on your own because you don’t understand all the nuances of the law or how to fully present your claims. Most personal injury cases require expert witnesses that only a licensed attorney has on call. Furthermore, you never want to trap yourself into a narrative that can be construed in any manner against you. A motorcycle personal injury attorney will work to present your claims as plainly as possible.