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Dos and Don’ts After You Are in a Motorcycle Accident

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Bicycle Accident Do's and Don'ts

California’s scenic roadways are terrific settings for picturesque motorcycle rides. Tragically, a perfect day out on your bike can suddenly turn disastrous if a crash occurs.

California has the highest motorcycle accident statistics in the U.S., especially since our beautiful weather permits year-round driving. Over a five-year average from 2018-2022 in the state, 12,632 people suffered serious injuries or fatalities from motorcycle collisions. Unfortunately, even the most careful motorcyclists can suffer a crash injury due to the actions of other drivers on the road.

If you or a loved one suffers from injuries or wrongful death after a motorcycle accident, you’ll want a knowledgeable and experienced California personal injury advocate by your side. Contact Ellis Helm, APC at 951-875-6876 to obtain a free case evaluation.

Steps to Take After Experiencing a Motorcycle Accident

The immediate aftermath of a motorcycle crash can be scary and overwhelming. However, it’s important to try to remember to take specific steps to ensure your safety and to preserve evidence of the accident. Do the following ASAP.

Get Yourself to Safety

If you were driving on a busy roadway and able to physically move, get yourself out of the line of moving traffic. You don’t want to risk suffering additional injury from other passing cars that may not see you or are traveling too fast to stop in time.

Call 911 for Injuries and to Bring Police to the Scene

In some accident cases, injuries are obvious. If this is the case, call 911 right away to call emergency responders to the scene of the crash so they can provide immediate medical care. You’ll also want the police to come to the scene, file a report, and get the accident on record.

Oftentimes, people try to blame bikers for accidents. The reality is many times, a collision is not the motorcyclist’s fault but that of a reckless or careless motor vehicle driver. Police on the scene will document the accident in detail. Obtaining a police report also empowers your ability to collect compensation for your medical bills and damage to your motorcycle.

Collect the Other Driver’s Information

Obtain the other driver’s information, including full name, address, phone number, and insurance company. Take a photo of their insurance card so you have specifics. Lastly, note down the make, model, and color of the vehicle, along with its license plate number.

Gather Evidence at Crash Site

If at all possible, gather as much evidence as you can at the crash site to preserve evidence before it disappears. Take photos (and video) of the vehicles, skid marks, weather conditions, road signs, traffic lights, injuries, and any other potential contributing factors. In the event you’re injured, see if your passenger or an eyewitness can do this for you.

Speak to eyewitnesses and obtain their contact information. If they saw the crash, the information they can share will most likely be important evidence to help document and support your case. Additionally, write down anything you can remember as soon as possible while the details are still fresh in your mind. The aftermath of a crash can quickly become confusing, and details may be blurry later on.

See a Physician

Even if you don’t feel injured and didn’t need emergency treatment at the scene of the accident, be sure to see a physician shortly after the crash. Not all injuries are immediately apparent, and you could still suffer from a hidden injury, such as internal bleeding or a traumatic brain injury.

Seeing a healthcare provider will ensure you’re getting the correct medical treatment and helps make certain you’re on the path to recovery. Always diligently follow doctor’s orders once you’re released from care. A doctor’s report will also prove to be important if you need to bring forth a motorcycle accident lawsuit.

Obtain an Estimate for Bike Damages

Take care of yourself first, but when able, see a repair shop to obtain an estimate for the damages caused to your motorcycle.

Speak with an Attorney

As soon as possible, call an experienced personal injury attorney in Temecula to discuss your case. In the majority of motorcycle accident cases, injury and property damage occur. Your attorney can evaluate your claim, investigate the accident, gather evidence, and negotiate with the insurance companies.

If you need to file a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver to cover your medical bills, medication, surgery, lost wages, pain, and suffering, or other losses, California stipulates a two-year statute of limitations or one year from the date an injury is discovered. While this may sound like plenty of time, it takes time to build a strong case, so call a lawyer ASAP.

Actions to Avoid After Experiencing a Motorcycle Accident

Typically, there is much activity and confusion in the immediate aftermath of a motorcycle collision and in the subsequent days. It is important to be cautious with your words and actions because you can inadvertently harm your ability to collect compensation. Avoid the following actions after a crash.

Admitting Fault

Be very careful what you say at the accident scene to the other driver, eyewitnesses, or police. Also be cautious when speaking to insurance companies. Even if you think you might share blame in the accident, there may be factors at play you aren’t aware of, such as the other driver being intoxicated or sending a text and not paying attention. Any fault you admit could harm your case. Simply state the facts and avoid any speculation. Instead, leave the investigation of your case up to your motorcycle accident lawyer.

Neglecting to Contact the Insurance Company

At-fault drivers often try to sweep an accident under the rug by saying they’ll pay you for damages. There are a few problems with this. You might be more seriously injured than you initially think you are, and there is no way a driver is likely able to pay for your injury costs. Additionally, a driver may not be truthful or sincere, and you’ll have no recourse. While you want to be very careful of what you say to insurance companies, you do want to always report the accident.

Speaking Directly to the Insurance Adjuster

Beyond reporting the accident, don’t speak to the adjuster from either your or the other driver’s insurance company. Instead, leave these conversations up to your attorney. The job of an adjuster is to pay out as minimal money as possible, and they are, unfortunately, notorious for trying to convince – or even trick – motorcycle injury victims into expressing fault or accepting lowball offers.

When an insurer contacts you, refer them to your attorney or avoid calls until you can speak to a lawyer. In the early stages of your case, it’s impossible to know what your case is worth until the full extent of your injuries and how your life is impacted is known. The average motorcycle accident settlement is hard to predict as each case is different.

Minimizing Your Pain

After suffering a motorcycle accident, it’s important to be honest about any pain you’re feeling. This is not the time to tough it out or minimize your injuries. Be open and honest with your healthcare provider so they can see the full extent of your injuries and identify other potential problems by ordering diagnostic tests.

Investigating the Accident By Yourself

While it’s essential to gather initial evidence from a crash site, never plan to investigate the accident by yourself. Injury victims sometimes think their best course of action is to take the DIY route to manage their claim, but this is a bad idea. Take any evidence you’ve gathered and give it to your attorney to do the investigating. You won’t have to pay unless you receive a settlement, so there will be no out-of-pocket cost to you. Letting a professional handle your case also limits your stress and gives you the time to focus on what’s most important – your recovery.

Posting on Social Media

While it’s tempting to share what happened to you with your family and friends on social media, avoid posting details online about the accident. You don’t want to inadvertently damage your injury claim. Additionally, avoid posting leisure or work activities online. It’s almost a guarantee insurance adjusters will be scouring your internet presence to find reasons to deny or devalue your accident claim.

Returning to Full Activity Too Soon

This goes hand-in-hand with minimizing your pain. While you probably want to get back to normal and engage in work or leisure activities, don’t do this too soon. You may cause yourself further injury and pain, along with creating the potential of harming your legal case and hurting your ability to collect compensation to cover your injuries.

Ellis Helm Knows Motorcycle Accident Case Law

Motorcycle accidents can be some of the most tragic crashes of all. Due to the fact bikes don’t have the protective elements cars, SUVs, and trucks do, it is rare a motorcyclist escapes a crash without injury. Yet, insurance companies and other drivers try to place blame on motorcyclists due to the stereotypes bikers face. This is a false assumption. Many times, other drivers are at fault.

If you or a loved one suffers injury or wrongful death from a motorcycle accident, call the caring and compassionate attorneys at The Ellis Law Firm. We understand what you are going through and want to help. Contact our law firm today at 951-875-6876.