What should I do after a motorcycle accident?
After your accident, you’re shocked and dazed by what has just happened. However, if you can keep your wits about you and follow these six simple steps, you’ll gather a ton of evidence that could be extremely helpful for your case. Your evidence should tell your story and make it really easy for the judge and jury to understand why you should be awarded more money if your case goes to trial. The more successful you are with telling your story, the more money you’ll receive.
1. Call the police immediately.
Right after your accident happens, call the police. You want to report the accident immediately so the police can arrive ASAP. This allows them to interview witnesses and thoroughly document and take pictures of the scene.
While you’re waiting for the police to arrive, make sure to get the name, license number, and insurance information of the other person involved in the accident. Also, get names and phone numbers from witnesses who might not have time to wait until the police show up.
2. Take pictures of the accident.
Even though the police are going to take pictures of the accident, feel free to take your own. You want to take pictures of the crash from every angle possible. If there are skid marks, be sure to include those in your shots. Take pictures of the damage to your motorcycle and the other vehicle. If you’re injured, take pictures of that, too.
The point is that you want to take so many pictures that you could easily show someone else exactly what happened. After all, this might be what your lawyer needs to do if you end up in a trial. The difference between the police showing your story with their pictures and you telling your story with yours could result in significantly more money for you.
3. Get medical treatment—even if you feel fine.
Never refuse medical treatment. You’re not a medical professional, so you don’t know whether you’re injured or not. You might feel fine because of the shock. You might have a type of delayed injury. Only medical professionals will be able to tell if you are injured. Get examined by the EMTs or firefighters who arrive at the scene of your accident. Then, have the emergency room doctor take a look. Make sure your injuries are documented.
4. Make and keep copies of any correspondence.
If it’s about your case, take note of it. Whether it’s texts, emails, phone calls, medical records, bills, or anything else pertaining to your accident; make a note of it. You might find it helpful to have a notebook you can fill with all this information. This way, all of your notes are located in one place. Then, when you’ve chosen a lawyer to represent you, have everything printed and keep the hard copies for yourself. Give a copy of everything to your lawyer.
5. Don’t talk to any insurance adjusters or lawyers on the other side.
If anyone calls and wants to talk to you about your motorcycle accident, tell them to call your lawyer. That might sound rude. After all, if the person calling is polite, you don’t want to be a jerk to them. But, you need to realize that insurance adjusters and other people who might call and try to talk to you about your accident have been specifically trained to be very nice to you and put you at ease.
They make everything seem like no big deal like they’re just finishing up some paperwork so they can send you a check, but what they’re really doing is trying to get you to say things that might damage your case. These people are not on your side. They’re trying their best to find holes in your claim so their company doesn’t have to pay as much money.
6. Don’t sign anything unless your lawyer says to.
Whether it’s a waiver, release, settlement agreement, or some other document about your motorcycle accident, don’t sign it unless your lawyer says so. Keep in mind, people working for the insurance company will try to trick you. They might nonchalantly ask you to sign something. Even if the person makes it seem like no big deal, have your lawyer review it first. You wouldn’t want to accidentally sign something that results in a smaller settlement.
What if my motorcycle accident was partially my fault?
If you’ve been in a motorcycle accident and you believe you might be partially to blame, you might have some questions. Can I still receive compensation even if I was partially at fault for my motorcycle accident? Will my damages be covered or will they be my responsibility? To better understand the answers to these questions, let’s take a look at a couple of examples.
In our first example, let’s pretend you took a corner too sharply and wiped out. No one else was involved. It was just you and your bike. In this situation, your insurance would be responsible for covering your damages—unless that corner is known for accidents or you believe your accident happened because of some negligence on the part of the city or county. So, if the corner was fine, it would be your insurance that would cover any damages to your bike or yourself that may happen as a result of the accident.
But, let’s get back to our example. Let’s say the road was missing a sign indicating a corner was coming, you took the corner too fast and wiped out, and you think the city or county is to blame for your accident. If you would have known the curve was coming up, you would have slowed down and probably wouldn’t have crashed. In this situation, where you’re partially at fault (because you didn’t slow down), a court might rule that the city or county is at fault partly (or maybe fully) for the accident.
In California, the court decides what percentage of the accident was caused by each party. That divides the responsibility for the accident and indicates which insurance company should pay for what damages. For example, if you had $100,000 in damages and the court ruled the county was at fault for 70% of the accident, you could expect a $70,000 check from the county.
Why do you need a California motorcycle accident attorney?
If you’ve been in an accident, you might be wondering, “Can’t I just represent myself?” Yes, you sure could, but you won’t get the type of results that you would get with a California motorcycle accident attorney representing you. Here’s why.
The insurance company of the person who hurt you and damaged your bike is doing their very best to minimize (and possibly eliminate) how much money they have to pay for the accident. In fact, they have a whole team of lawyers working to make sure you don’t see a dime of their company’s money.
That’s kind of overwhelming, right? To think of a whole group of lawyers who are experienced with courtroom trials sitting around a table discussing what they need to do to make sure you don’t get paid is almost sickening. But, you don’t need to worry. You can have your own legal team on your side.
Maybe you’re hung up on having to pay a lawyer a percentage of your settlement. After all, you’re the one who was injured, not your lawyer. Shouldn’t you be able to keep all that money? Well, here’s the thing: Let’s say you represent yourself and receive $5,000 in your settlement. Without a lawyer, that would be all yours—hooray!
But, if you have an experienced lawyer represent you, you could finish with a settlement for $100,000. Even if you paid thirty percent to your lawyer, that would still leave you with $70,000. $70,000 looks a whole lot better than $5,000, doesn’t it?
Do you still need more assistance from a California motorcycle accident attorney?
If you’ve been in an accident, it’s perfectly normal for you to need assistance with your motorcycle accident case. There’s no need for you to have to navigate the complexities of personal injury law on your own. And, there are many skilled and qualified lawyers ready to help.
Honestly, by getting help right now from an experienced attorney, it will be much more likely that your settlement will completely cover any expenses you have from:
- Property damage
- Current and future medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
Right now, you need help from an expert who has helped other motorcycle accident victims receive the financial settlements they deserve. You need someone who can see the big picture and anticipate what other surprise expenses might be headed your way. You need someone to carry the burden of successfully handling your motorcycle accident case.
After reading all of this, you might be wondering why I would spend time telling you that there are tons of eligible lawyers waiting to help you out. Why wouldn’t I just say, “Hire us! We’re the right lawyers for your case!”? Honestly, you should know that you have many options. Look around and see what the other personal injury lawyers have to offer. (Make sure they specialize in California motorcycle accidents.) Then, when you’re done, I’m certain you’ll know we’re the right lawyers for you.
Regardless of whether you choose to work with our firm or someone else, we wish you all the best in your motorcycle accident case.