If You’ve Been Involved in a Motorcycle Accident, Here Are the Steps You Need to Take
Motorcycle accidents are always unexpected. And when an accident happens, it can significantly alter your life. From the damage caused to your motorcycle to the injuries you receive to the trauma that lasts long after the accident, a crash can leave you with long-term effects. Those effects, whether they’re financial, emotional, or physical, can seriously affect your everyday life. So what steps can you take after an accident to get your life back on track?
Although there’s a lot of confusion, frustration, and stress in the moments right after a motorcycle accident, it’s important to take action. If you find yourself involved in an accident, here are the steps you need to take.
Check to See if Anyone is Injured
As soon as a crash happens, everyone involved – including onlookers and witnesses – is shocked. But while the accident itself might be surprising, it’s important to take action as quickly as possible to determine if anyone is hurt. The sooner injuries are detected, the sooner medical professionals and emergency teams can help those who are injured.
So, the first thing you should do after an accident happens is check yourself for injuries. Is there pain anywhere? Any broken bones, bleeding, or serious injuries that prevent you from moving?
Once you’ve determined that you aren’t injured, check for injuries among the other people involved. You can use three loose categories to assess who’s injured quickly: not hurt, partially hurt, and badly hurt. If anyone else is partially or badly hurt, you’ll want to call 911 to get help on the scene of the accident.
Document the Scene of the Accident
After you’ve determined that you’re okay and the accident scene is safe and secure, it’s important to document what happened. There are many different people who will want to know the details of what happened, from the direction you were driving to the damage caused by the crash.
You should first take pictures of the overall scene. Use your smartphone to photograph all of the vehicles involved and where they’re located. Take photos of the surrounding environment – any busy cross streets, signals, or signage.
Then, take pictures of the damage. Photograph any injuries you might have, even if it’s just a small scratch or torn clothing. Snap some pictures of any protective gear you were wearing, like your helmet. Take pictures of your motorcycle, making sure to get plenty of photos of any areas of damage. And don’t forget to take pictures of the other vehicles involved in the accident.
As you’re documenting both the scene and the damage, make sure to take photos from all angles. The more photographic evidence you have, the easier it will be for your insurance company to handle your claim. Additionally, photographic evidence can be crucial in legal cases that may come from accidents.
Gather and Exchange Information
Once you’ve finished taking photos of the scene, vehicles, and all other important aspects of the accident, it’s time to gather and exchange information.
In any kind of vehicle accident, your insurance company will need the information of everyone who’s involved in order to open and process a claim. That means you’ll need to speak with the other drivers and passengers to get their information.
Ask the other drivers and any passengers for the following information:
- Full names
- Phone numbers
- Driver’s licenses (and driver’s license numbers)
- The make, model, and color of the vehicles involved
- The license plate number of the vehicles involved
- Insurance company information, including the name of the insurance company and policy or member number
- Additional contact information, like email
If the police come to the scene of the accident, you’ll also want to gather some important information from them. Write down the officers’ names and badge numbers, and ask if they have a business card with contact information. You should also ask for the police report number, as you’ll need to get a copy of that report later on.
One thing to remember when speaking with others involved in the motorcycle accident is to never discuss anything beyond basic information. You don’t want to discuss specifics of the accident and what happened. And you absolutely shouldn’t talk about who’s to blame for the crash. It’s important that you don’t say anything that might affect your insurance claim or a potential legal case, even if the accident is minor.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Once you’ve spoken with everyone involved and any police officers at the scene, it’s time to call your insurance company. Contacting your insurance company right after an accident is very important. You want the events of the accident to be fresh in your mind so you provide the most accurate information possible.
You can either call your insurance agent from the scene of the accident or wait until you arrive home. In any case, sooner is always better.
When you place your call, the insurance company will start your claim. You’ll want to have all of the information you gathered at the scene on hand when speaking with the insurance agent. They will ask you many different questions to get an understanding of what happened. These questions can include:
- What direction were you traveling in?
- What direction were the other drivers traveling in?
- Were you stopped? If you were driving, what was your speed?
- Were other drivers stopped? If they were driving, what was their speed?
- What intersections or cross streets were near the scene of the accident?
- Were other cars nearby?
- Was heavy traffic present?
- Was anyone distracted?
- Did you notice any other drivers exhibiting odd behavior prior to the accident?
- Were you wearing safety gear?
- Did other involved vehicles have any passengers?
- What were the weather and road conditions?
- Did any injuries happen?
- Was there any damage to your motorcycle?
- Was there any damage to the other vehicles involved?
The insurance agent will also ask questions about the information you collected from other drivers and if there is a police report. Make sure to let your agent know that you have photos from the scene, as those can be included in your claim too.
Consult an Attorney
Lastly, it’s time to consider whether or not you need to contact an attorney. While you might not initially think that your motorcycle accident requires any legal help, an attorney can be necessary. An attorney can help ensure that you get the compensation you deserve.
Those involved in motorcycle accidents may need an attorney for a number of reasons. Even if you aren’t at fault, you might face challenges like other parties claiming you’re at fault, insurance companies denying claims, your damages exceeding your insurance policy’s limits, and dealing with severe physical injuries and high medical costs.
And you shouldn’t deal with these difficult matters alone. Handling the expenses, insurance negotiations, and others involved in a motorcycle accident can leave you frustrated – and you may not get compensated properly. However, an attorney can help you navigate all of these complex issues.
And many attorneys will offer free consultations before taking you on as a client. It’s a good idea to reach out to a motorcycle accident attorney, or a personal injury attorney. You can discuss your accident and your potential case. From there, you can decide if an attorney will be able to help you, whether with damages or simply dealing with the stresses of the case. It could help you ensure your interests are being protected and fought for.