Motorcycle accidents are all-too-common in today's world. In fact, collisions involving a motorcycle accounted for 5,014 deaths and 84,000 injuries in 2019.
And unfortunately, some accidents are even worse and they often involve pedestrians, cyclists, and other motorists.
In other words, you don't have to be the rider of a motorcycle to be involved in a motorcycle collision. Whether you're the driver at fault or not, you'll need to know how to protect yourself, medically and legally, if something like this happens to you.
Seek Medical Treatment
After the accident, receiving immediate medical attention should be your main focus.
If you are injured and cannot drive yourself or walk, have a friend or family members take you to an emergency room or get you to a nearby medical professional. If none of them are available or physically able at the accident scene, call 911 immediately.
Even if your injuries don't feel particularly serious, it's still best to get medical treatment as soon as possible for two significant reasons.
First off, in the case that issues like a concussion or neck pain come up later on, you'll need a documented paper trail that proves you sought medical attention for any medical claims you want to make.
Secondly, it's quite common for the severity of motorcycle injuries to go unnoticed, especially among younger drivers who wear helmets. In older riders over 40, these serious injuries are more pronounced, even if they wore helmets. Studies also show that large engine sizes increase the risk of head injury, and these are the factors that affect how serious the risk of your injury is.
Image Source: NCBI
It's also possible that you sustained internal injuries in the accident, which are usually more life-threatening. For instance, hitting your head on the concrete may cause traumatic brain injury or internal bleeding. However, the effects may only manifest days after the accident.
Lastly, move everybody, even the motorcycles and vehicles involved, out of the road or highway for their safety. They will only serve as a hazard to oncoming traffic and may result in more issues occurring.
Using your smartphone, photograph the injuries and the scene where the accident occurred. The photos will help your case because they'll provide evidence to show what happened at the time.
Try and take these photos before moving any objects around or removing anything from their original positions during the collision. If there are any witnesses who dispute what really happened, then their evidence may outweigh yours, so it's best to have photographic proof on your side right from the start.
They also provide evidence of the visible injuries that you sustained. Please keep a copy on your phone and then upload them to an online storage service, such as Google Photos or Dropbox. This way, even if you accidentally delete your own pictures, you still have copies of them online that you can recover for your insurance claim.
Aside from photos, you must try and gather as much evidence regarding the motorcycle accident. This includes any witness testimony, traffic camera footage, or CCTV. The more information you have to support your claim, the better off you will be in court.
Don't forget to write down everything that transpired after getting injured, such as:
- How long did it take for emergency services to arrive at the scene?
- What were the responders' reactions when they saw you?
- Who was with you while waiting for medical attention etc.?
The more information recorded about events leading up to and following a motorcycle crash, the better.
Next, collect contact information of the other driver, including details like name, address, and phone number. When you collect information, make sure to track license plate numbers, get vehicle information, and exchange insurance information. This allows you to keep track of everybody involved in the scene of the accident.
Your legal representation will also gather and present the evidence. In the meantime, you must do your part and collect as much as you can from the crash scene while you're in the moment.
At this point, it's vital to remain calm and collected. Don't confront the at-fault driver and other parties that are responsible for the accident — let law enforcement and police officers handle this when they arrive at the scene. They'll file a police report, which you can request a copy of later.
Seek Legal Counsel to Help You File for Damages
An experienced attorney will help you sort your way through legal proceedings that may come up as a result of the accident.
More importantly, a motorcycle accident or personal injury lawyer allows you to focus on the recovery process as legal professionals attend to protecting your rights and recovering the financial compensation you're due.
If you don't have a motorcycle accident lawyer yet, hire one at Schwartz Law Firm L.L.C. As seasoned motorcycle accident attorneys, we help you handle all the details on your behalf. We'll negotiate with insurance companies to get maximum compensation for damages done by their negligent drivers or other parties that caused the crash.
We can also help you if another party is alleging negligence on your behalf, as well as defending against any criminal charges filed against you related to manslaughter or reckless driving where drugs are suspected. Again, our team has the experience necessary to defend these types of cases successfully.
File a Claim With Your Insurance Company
If you're one of Louisiana's numerous motorcycle accident victims, filing a claim is something that you don't want to do without any help from a lawyer or any legal counsel. Even if injuries do not incapacitate you, the last thing you want to deal with is the time-consuming process of filing paperwork and talking to different insurance companies.
Without a lawyer, you'd need to call your insurance company for information to contact the at-fault party's insurer. Relying on personal injury attorneys will also speed up the process of getting compensation. Finally, you'll also need to file a claim with the at-fault party's insurer, so you have more options for compensation later on, if necessary.
The process isn't as straightforward as you think. Even if you follow the steps correctly, you may end up getting a low settlement because insurance companies will try to downplay your injuries. This is because insurance adjusters will get you to say things that will devalue your claim, thus lowering the settlement you'll receive.
As a result, you won't have enough to pay for your medical expenses properly.
This is where your motorcycle accident lawyer comes in. An experienced personal injury attorney will ensure that you will get the best deal by properly showing the physical and emotional fallout from the accident. This way, you can get fair compensation for your medical bills and cover lost wages due to the accident.
You want to prove to the insurance company that the severe injuries sustained during the accident were not pre-existing. Therefore, you must pull out your medical records to support your claims. Medical records can help you get the compensation you deserve based on the severity of your injuries.
Also, if the driver who caused the accident is uninsured, you are eligible for the uninsured motorist coverage, which allows you to claim a higher compensation from your insurance agent.
When reaching out to your insurance company, one thing you must do is never admit fault, even if the circumstances point to you being the cause. At this point, details of the accidents are uncertain at best until all parties involved in the motorcycle crash have delivered their testimonies.
By admitting fault to your insurance carrier, you may reduce your compensation privileges, if not have them revoked entirely.
However, you can be transparent and truthful with a motorcycle accident lawyer due to the attorney-client relationship and privileges. Also, your lawyer will advise you on your next steps to help you with your case.
Frequently Asked Questions About Motorcycle Accidents
Why Do Motorcycle Accidents Happen?
There are many reasons why motorcycle accidents happen. Below are the most common ones:
- Visibility — Motorcyclists who wear dark-tinted helmets are more prone to accidents compared to those who wore untinted ones. It's hard to see through the helmet, especially at night time when the sun is down.
- Impairment — Riding a motorcycle while inebriated increases the chances of accidents. In fact, 33% of accidents occur due to motorcyclists who have a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of +0.01.
- Left-turning — Accidents caused by motorcyclists taking the left turn are obstructed from incoming traffic or inattentiveness while making the turn. It's also because of drivers coming from the right side of the road to make a sharp left turn.
- Poor road conditions — While its municipal and county bodies who are responsible for maintaining safe roadways, they're also immune from a personal injury lawsuit. However,the Federal Tort Claims Act allows victims to hold the government accountable for the accident due to negligence. This allows them to recover compensation for medical care.
What Should You Do After a Motorcycle Accident?
Here's a shortlist of what to do after a motorcycle accident:
- First, make sure you are safe and uninjured.
- Call the police if there is any property damage or injury-related accident.
- Take photos of the scene to document what happened, including the location of any skid marks or debris on the ground that could be evidence in your case.
- If possible, take pictures of yourself and others involved in the crash while it's fresh in your mind.
- Seek medical attention immediately after an accident, even if you don't feel like you need it.
How Long Does It Take to Heal After a Motorcycle Accident?
Due to the large number of accidents involving motorcycles, injuries suffered can be complex. The severity may range from minor scrapes and bruises to serious head or spinal cord trauma and broken ribs. As a result, motorcycle accident payouts vary depending on the extent of injuries caused by the accident.
What Is the Average Payout for a Motorcycle Accident?
The average payout for a motorcycle accident is $300,000. However, this varies greatly depending on the severity of the injuries suffered in an accident and whether or not they are permanent. In the event of death, a person can be awarded up to $500,000.
What Do You Do After a Minor Bike Accident?
If you are involved in a minor bike accident, the most important thing to do is make sure everyone is safe. If there's an injury that requires medical attention, call 911 immediately.
What Happens if You Don't Exchange Information After an Accident?
There are no laws in Louisiana prohibiting people from withholding their information with others involved in the accident. However, the law requires people to stay on the scene until a police report has been made.
How Long Does a Car Accident Stay on Record?
A motorcycle accident with you as the at-fault driver will stay on your insurance record for three years. However, the accident will continue to affect your insurance rates even after three years, depending on the state you're in.
What Should You Say to Your Insurance Company After an Accident?
Aside from not admitting fault, there are other things you must keep in mind when speaking with an insurance company about the accident:
- Don't say you're unharmed by the accident. Besides, it's possible that you will experience PTSD after the fact.
- Never provide a recorded statement as they can use this as incriminating evidence against you.
- Never accept a settlement until you've talked to your lawyer.
- Always stick to facts.
Always Hire a Lawyer for Motorcycle Accidents
Being part of a motorcycle accident is bad enough. However, the repercussions of the event could make things even worse, especially if you're involved or could be implicated in causing the accident.
This is why it's essential to have motorcycle insurance. Not only will you be able to pay for the damages you caused in due time, but you also get coverage for the damages you incurred in the accident.
Aside from your returning to peak levels of health and mobility, seeking legal counsel should be your top priority at this time.
If you're ready to recover physically and financially in the aftermath of a motorcycle accident, reach out to Schwartz Law Firm L.L.C. for legal advice. With a combined 25 years of fighting for your rights, our experienced attorneys and lawyers will provide you all the help you'll need. Book your free consultation with Schwartz Law Firm in Baton Rouge or Metairie today.