The First Steps following a Motorcycle Accident
Motorcycle accident victims may be entitled to recover compensation for their injuries and property damage. To ensure the best possible outcomes for their cases, those involved in a motorcycle crash should act promptly to obtain legal advice and collect evidence. The sooner they act to protect their rights, the better. If possible, they should begin to gather information before even leaving the scene of the accident.
Regardless of how the wreck happened, the victim’s actions in the aftermath of a crash are important for protecting the person’s rights to compensation. If you are involved in a motorcycle crash, your first priority should be to seek medical assistance. Even if you have no apparent injury, you should undergo a medical examination. Some injuries may be internal or may not be immediately apparent. If you hit your head or were shaken violently, for example, you may have injured your head, back or spine. Also, seek medical care for any abrasions, which could become infected. In addition to ensuring your health, a post-accident medical examination can provide valuable information that your California motorcycle accident attorney will use in the event of a lawsuit.
Other steps to take following a motorcycle accident:
- Remain at the scene. If you do not require emergency medical care, stay at the accident site until police arrive and take down information for an accident report.
- Gather evidence. Observe the scene of the motorcycle accident and make mental or, if possible, written notes. If you have a camera or PDA, take pictures. Note the time of the motorcycle accident, the location, traffic conditions, weather conditions and road conditions. If another driver was involved, get the name, license number and insurance information. Jot down the names and contact information of any witnesses, including passengers in other vehicles involved in the motorcycle accident as well as bystanders and pedestrians who saw the motorcycle accident happen. If you are unable to make these observations yourself, ask for help from a friend or family member.
- Don’t show your hand too soon. Do not offer more information than is necessary. Answer law-enforcement officers’ questions, but do not admit responsibility for the crash, even if you are only partially responsible. Do not discuss the crash with the other driver or the driver’s insurance carrier. Leave such communications to your motorcycle accident attorney.
- Preserve evidence. Get a copy of the police report on your motorcycle accident. Verify that the facts stated in the report accurately describe the motorcycle crash. Have your motorcycle stored in a secure location, un-altered, so that it can be analyzed for mechanical or design defects. Investigators hired by your insurance company or lawyer may also want to see the motorcycle in order to help them reconstruct the circumstances of your motorcycle accident.
- Get help from your insurer. Call your motorcycle accident insurance carrier as soon as possible. Your insurance carrier can deny coverage of your claim if you do not cooperate with it fully. Do not settle with others involved in the motorcycle accident or authorize your insurer to settle on your behalf without first speaking to a motorcycle crash attorney. The attorney can explain your legal rights and help you deal with your insurer and others.
To best protect your rights, your most important step is to consult with a knowledgeable California motorcycle accident attorney. It is important that you seek legal help promptly after a motorcycle crash. Without timely legal advice, you could hurt or even block your chances of recovering damages.
Look for a lawyer who is experienced in handling motorcycle accident cases and who has the resources to investigate and litigate your case zealously. An experienced California motorcycle accident lawyer will know how to preserve evidence before it is lost or destroyed and will help you to build the best possible case.