Each year, thousands are killed and tens of thousands are injured in motorcycle accidents throughout the country. When a motorcycle crashes into a passenger vehicle, motorcyclists are 28 times more likely to be killed than those driving and riding in other vehicles. Some of the leading causes of these types of accidents include alcohol, speed, and distracted driving.
Being involved in a motorcycle accident is an unsettling experience. Immediately afterward, you may be shaken up and it might take a while to collect your thoughts. Once you have calmed down and assessed what happened, it is important to know what to do next. The actions you take right after a motorcycle crash will have serious repercussions with regards to dealing with your insurer and ensuring that your legal rights are protected. Do your best to remain calm and keep your composure during the aftermath of the incident.
Here are five steps you should take right after a motorcycle accident:
- Seek Medical Attention for Anyone who is Injured
The first priority is to make sure that anyone who is hurt gets medical help immediately. Check yourself and others for injuries and call 911 if anyone is hurt. Some injuries may be difficult to detect right away. For example, if a car collided into your motorcycle and your head hit the ground, you may not feel anything immediately, but you should definitely get something like that checked out ASAP. Another type of injury that is hard to detect is internal bleeding and other internal injuries. Injuries to internal organs can become fatal if not treated promptly, so be sure to have everyone checked for that as well.
- Take Multiple Photos of the Scene
Once you have ensured that the accident scene is safe, take as many photos as possible from several different angles. The more photo documentation you have, the easier it will be to prove who was at fault for the accident. This is especially important in states like Alabama, where they use the legal doctrine known as “contributory negligence”. Contributory negligence means that even if a plaintiff is just 1% at fault for an accident, they are barred from recovering damages. So if you want to be successful with any type of legal action, you need to have extensive amounts of evidence to prove your case.
- Gather Information
Exchange information with the other driver(s) involved in the accident. Obtain their name, address, phone number, insurance information, and driver’s license numbers. In addition, note plate numbers and the make, model, and description of the vehicles. You will also want to speak with any witnesses that saw what happened and obtain their contact information. If possible, take note of (or even record on your smartphone) what the witnesses say while everything is still fresh in their mind. Memories can fade, and it will help your case to have as much information as possible before everyone goes their separate ways.
- Call the Police
If anyone is hurt or there is substantial vehicle damage, contact the police. The police will interview those involved in the accident as well as any witnesses and prepare a report. Having a police report on file will be another piece of evidence that can help your case. However, be sure to review the report as soon as it is available for any discrepancies that may need to be corrected.
- Report the Accident to your Insurance Company
As soon as is convenient, contact your insurer to report your motorcycle accident. Most insurance companies want to be notified within 72 hours of the incident, so do this sooner rather than later. Be ready to present your insurer with all the facts about what happened. Also, it is very important when you talk to them or anyone else that you do NOT admit any fault at all for the accident.
As stated earlier, any admission of fault severely damages your chances of recovering compensation. Along these same lines, do not give your insurer any detailed information about property damage or injuries. Insist that you will wait for an estimate from an auto shop and for a full medical exam, so you can provide the most accurate assessment.
Speak with an Experienced Alabama Personal Injury Lawyer
After a motorcycle accident, it is not uncommon for the other party’s insurer to approach you with a settlement offer. Insurance adjusters often make lowball offers in hopes of settling quickly and getting the case off the books. Before accepting any offer from an insurance company, speak with a seasoned accident injury attorney, so you fully understand your rights and options.
At Burge and Burge, we have more than five decades of combined experience handling motorcycle accidents and other types of personal injury cases. Our extensive knowledge and successful track record in this area of the law give our clients the assurance that when they work with us, they are in the best possible position to obtain a favorable result.
For a free consultation with one of our skilled attorneys, call us today at 205-251-9000 or send us a private and confidential message through our online contact form.