ENSURE YOUR WELL-BEING
The most significant action to take when you’re in motorcycle accident is to handle the wellness of the parties that are involved. When there is any indication that the parties have received anything other than mild injuries, call 911 so that they’ll dispatch paramedics or, if you are not able to, enlist the aid of someone to call for you personally.
We often see victims whose injuries turn out to be worse than initially thought. In a number of instances, the bike riders thought they had just scraped or bruised their shoulder or knee and finally found out that they’d torn ligaments, which required additional treatment. Without proper treatment in the first periods, the original injury/symptoms may be exacerbated.
GET THE ALL CONCERNED PARTIES’ AND WITNESS INFO
Do not wait for the police to get this information. Parties and witnesses can leave the scene prior to the authorities arriving. If you cannot get it, ask someone else to help. Get all phone numbers and addresses (work and home) and all insurance information. Carry a pencil and paper.
CONTACT YOUR ATTORNEY
If you have an attorney, make sure you contact them. Often times after an accident the opposite party will attempt to pin the fault of the accident to you. By notifying your attorney ASAP, it minimizes the potential the other party in the accident has of trying to take advantage of you. Jason Beahm, an experienced San Francisco DUI attorney, had this to say, “Try not to communicate to much about the accident. The more you talk, the more ‘ammo’ the other party has during their insurance claim. Simply take down their information and contact your insurance provider immediately. Also, DO NOT ADMIT FAULT!”
ENSURE THAT YOUR VERSION IS ACCURATE
Assuming the cops arrive at the scene, it is essential to ensure that your statement is taken by them correctly. Police officers are fallible. We sometimes see police reports that marginally alter the version from the offending motorist which can cause issues in resolving the claim.
You may have had a chance to review the police report but did not request corrections, and if a claim is eventually filed by you, any assertion months afterwards that the report is incorrect will be a big question mark.
If law enforcement suggest to you personally that they do not want to create a report, you should question them to reconsider. However, if no one is injured, some police agencies will not make a formal written report. You review it once it is completed to ascertain if there are any mistakes and if you need to track the preparation of the report. It’s usually strongly advised to get hold of the police bureau immediately and file a supplemental report with the appropriate corrections if there are errors.
If it impacts your version in the slightest, you should ensure that the police report has the proper location of the accident scene. In one incident, a motorcyclist was injured when the offending driver crossed over the double solid lines of the carpool lane into the fast lane, striking the motorcyclist. A big dilemma that eventually had to be overcome was whether or not the other driver crossed over the double lines or whether the lines were broken at the injury site.
Make arrangements as soon as you can to transfer it to a location where you’re not likely to incur storage costs if your bike is towed on the scene. We’ve seen instances where a bike sits in the tow yard and gets sold in a lien sale to cover the storage fees. Not only have you lost your motorcycle and its particular worth, but you might have lost valuable evidence for your claim.
INSURANCE COMPANIES – WHO TO SPEAK WITH
It’s generally advisable not to talk with the other driver’s insurance company if you intend to make a claim against the offending driver through an attorney. Often, an insurance carrier will attempt to acquire a statement at the early stages. The statement may be utilized against you later to attempt to show that you are not totally sure how the injury happened — this happens as each time will vary somewhat, even if you had been thinking straight during the first statement.
Normally, you have a contractual duty to notify your insurance provider of the injury in a timely manner, particularly if you’re going to generate a claim under your policy for the damage to your bike or an underinsured/uninsured claim. Failing to notify your insurance provider in a timely manner may give rise to your claim by the insurance provider that it did not have sufficient notice to investigate the mishap. Thus, you may have difficulty settling claims with your insurance provider.
PHOTOS – PRESERVATION OF EVIDENCE
The photographs may be helpful in evaluating the damage for compensation purposes.
Photograph your damaged equipment, as the character of the damage may be relevant evidence to show how the accident occurred and to establish that the injuries are indeed related to the accident. At the very least, when another party is to blame, compensation can be requested by you.
Photos of your visible injuries are incredibly useful in communicating the complete nature and extent of your injuries, as well as the accompanying pain and suffering.
Photographs taken at the scene will likely place any ambiguities to rest as noted above, if the precise location of the accident is essential.
Remember, following an injury, it’s difficult to think clearly in the early periods. Enlist the assistance of a bystander or a buddy to assist you with any information you might need on the scene, and be cautious of everything you say and to whom you say it. Follow through as indicated above to make sure that you’ve covered all of your bases.
In a few states, if the authorities do not arrive at the scene and someone is injured, the accident must be reported by you to the police agency at the same time.