Motorcycle accidents can cause devastating injuries and substantial financial losses. Unlike other motorists, motorcyclists have little to protect them when they are struck by other vehicles. The occupants of cars, SUVs, and trucks have some protection because of the metal frames of their vehicles, but motorcyclists do not. Perhaps due to shock or unfamiliarity with the process, you might not know what to do after a motorcycle accident. We encourage you to keep the following tips in mind so that you can avoid accidents with dangerous drivers in the first place and, if you are involved in an accident, you can preserve your potential rights to the recovery of damages.
How to Avoid Accidents with Dangerous Drivers
Although you can’t control other drivers on the road, you can do your best to steer clear of accidents by being prepared and avoiding unnecessary risks. Use the following tips to stay safe:
- Wear safety gear at all times. A colorful helmet or jacket will increase your visibility.
- Always keep an eye out for threats to your safety, especially drivers who fail to see you. Watch drivers’ head movements, mirrors, and tires to anticipate sudden moves.
- Beware of blind spots, and spend as little time in them as possible.
- Vary your speed. Riding with the flow of traffic can render you virtually invisible to other drivers.
- When stopping at a multi-lane stoplight, avoid fender benders by pulling up between two lines of cars. This ensures that if a driver behind you doesn’t see you, you’re still cushioned by the other cars.
- Watch out for cars turning left, as they often turn in front of motorcyclists. If the driver’s head, hands, and front wheel indicate that they’re readying to turn, prepare to slow down or take evasive action.
In addition, we encourage you to inspect your motorcycle before you ride. Many riders use a pneumonic device for convenience, following the letters in “T Clock” to remember the integral steps in a pre-ride inspection:
- Tires and Wheels: Check the tire pressure and the tread of the tires. The spokes should be intact and tight, and the brakes should feel firm.
- Controls: Check the levers, cables, hoses, and throttles.
- Lights and Electrics: Check the brake lights, taillights, headlights, lenses, reflectors, battery, and wiring. If you notice any fraying, pinching, or corrosion, the bike is not safe to ride.
- Oil: Check the oil and fluid levels, and look for leaks.
- Chassis: Check the suspension, chains, belts, fasteners, steering head, and swingarm bearings.
- Kickstand: Check the sidestand and centerstand for proper retracting. Look for bends or any other form of damage.
Although these steps are typically performed as a part of a pre-ride inspection, you might also consider running through your “T Clock” checklist shortly after each ride so that if you notice an issue, you have time to make repairs before needing to ride again.
What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident
Call 911 and Exchange Information
Under the law, all people who are involved in injury accidents must remain at the scene until help arrives. Following your accident, check yourself and others for injuries and call 911. Administer CPR or first aid to victims who appear to have serious injuries. If you are able to do so, try to take photos of the scene, the other vehicle, the motorcycle, and any traffic control devices that might be present. Exchange insurance information with the other driver(s), and write down the make and model of the other vehicle(s). If there are witnesses who saw what happened, ask for their names and contact information as well.
Talk to the Police
When the police arrive, tell them what happened. Do not accept any blame for the accident. If the officer asks if you have suffered any injuries, do not tell him or her that you are uninjured. There are numerous types of injuries that you may not immediately notice. For example, internal bleeding might not be immediately apparent but could be very serious. Simply tell the officer that you want to get a medical examination to check for injuries. Ask the officer to write a report. When you are able to do so, secure a copy of the report from the investigating law enforcement agency.
Get Medical Help
Seek medical help as soon as possible after your motorcycle accident. Your doctor can conduct a thorough examination to check for injuries. If you wait to see a doctor, the insurance company will likely try to claim your injuries were caused by something other than your accident. By showing a close proximity in time between your accident and the discovery of your injuries, you may have an easier time proving that your injuries were caused by your accident and not by some other event.
What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident When Insurance Adjusters Call
In most cases, insurance adjusters will contact the victims of motorcycle accidents soon after the incidents happen. The adjusters may seem as if they are truly concerned about the victims’ well-being. It is important for you to understand that insurance adjusters work on behalf of their employers. Their jobs involve saving their employers as much money as possible, and one way that they can do this is by reducing the amounts that the companies may be forced to pay to motorcycle accident victims.
One common tactic that insurance adjusters will use is to ask for a recorded statement from motorcycle accident victims. Do not submit to an interview with an insurance adjuster or with another insurance company representative. You should simply tell the adjuster that you want to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer before you give any kind of statement.
Insurance companies often ask victims to sign blanket authorizations when they have been injured in motorcycle accidents. You should not sign a blanket authorization. The purpose of the insurance company’s asking you to sign this document is so that it can have access to your entire medical record. The companies may then dig through your medical history in order to try to blame your injuries on an earlier event or to dispute the extent of the injuries that were caused by the accident.
Consult with an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Finally, if you’re wondering what to do after a motorcycle accident, don’t forget about the importance of securing a knowledgeable attorney. Especially if you have suffered serious injuries as a result of the collision, getting help from an experienced personal injury attorney is critical. If you have a reliable lawyer on your side, you can concentrate on your recovery while your attorney advocates for you with the insurance company. Your lawyer should have experience with motorcycle accidents so that he or she can anticipate the defenses that the companies are likely to raise. He or she should also have the requisite legal knowledge to a build strong case that proves liability. By building the case in such a way that the liability of the other driver is clear, your lawyer may be able to negotiate a settlement for you that is much higher than you would have otherwise received.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact the Law Offices of Bryan Musgrave to schedule a free initial consultation to explore your options. We can help you determine the best course of action so that you can obtain the maximum compensation you deserve and the best outcome for your claim.