The adrenaline is pumping and emotions are high. You never imagined this happening, but now it’s a reality.
Being in a motorcycle accident can be scary. Thoughts such as “Who’s at fault?” or “How will this affect my insurance rates?” are probably racing through your mind. Above all, safety is first.
While the death rate of motorcyclists involved in crashes has declined by 3% in recent years, the risks for accidents are still there.
If you or someone you know owns a motorcycle, you should be prepared in the unforeseen event you’re involved in a crash. Keep reading to learn the different steps to take for what to do after a motorcycle accident.
1. Remain At the Scene
No matter how big or small a motorcycle accident may seem, you should always remain at the scene. Not only is it vital to ensure everyone’s safety, in many states it’s the law. Regardless of who’s at fault leaving the scene of a motorcycle accident could constitute as a hit and run, a felony in many states.
Remaining at the site of a motorcycle accident is also important for liability. How can you prove you did or didn’t damage anything or injure someone if you weren’t there in the aftermath as a witness?
It’s best to be present so all facts can be properly collected.
2. Call Emergency Personnel
As you remain at the scene of a motorcycle accident and are safe, immediately call 911. Even if no one seems hurt, there’s still the chance that unrealized injuries could have taken place.
Every second counts, never expect another person is already taking care of contacting emergency personnel. Many times we assume someone else will call which can significantly delay help. If needed, point and designate a passenger or witness to call to ensure it happens.
It’s better to have too many people call than no one at all and there are no legal implications of admitting fault for any party who calls 911.
3. Move To a Safe Location
Once emergency help is on the way, move to a safe location away from oncoming traffic to avoid further accidents. If the damage is too extensive and you’re unable to transport your motorcycle then leave it as is.
If anyone involved is unable to move due to injury, monitor them and wait for professional help to arrive. Be mindful though of further hazards such as fires, in which case you may need to help move an injured person to a safer area.
Most states follow Good Samaritan laws for situations like this. For example, Los Angeles motorcycle accidents would provide legal protection for any person who tries to assist an injured person if no emergency personnel is available.
4. Document the Damage
When everyone’s safe and if the scene’s approachable, take pictures to document everything. Using a disposal camera in your glovebox or whipping out your smartphone will suffice just as long as you can make out the pictures afterward.
Even if the damage seems minimal, documentation goes a long way in the aftermath of an accident for filing claims and legal protection.
Motorcycle accident pictures should include any damage to the bike, the other vehicle, injuries, and any relevant information such as the scene itself or nearby traffic signals.
5. Collect Information
One of the most important steps for what to do in an accident is exchange information with any other parties involved. This should include name, address, insurance policy number, and vehicle information.
Also document a police officer’s presence at the scene, including name and badge number. Request for a copy of the motorcycle accident report if one is filed.
Sometimes a person may refuse to exchange information after an accident. This is likely due to driving with no insurance, which is against the law. Document as much available information, such as license plate number, to report to law enforcement and file a claim.
6. Contact Your Insurance Provider
Depending on the extensiveness of a motorcycle accident it may seem like you don’t need to contact your auto insurance provider, especially if you weren’t at fault. Regardless, you still should.
It’s important your insurance company is aware of the accident, especially if a claim is filed from another party involved. You should be the one notifying them instead of an indirect source.
Ultimately, use your best judgment when filing a claim. For example, if your motorcycle is sideswiped in a parking lot and the repair only costs $300, then filing a claim when your deductible is $500 would be counterproductive if the party responsible agrees to pay out of pocket.
7. Call an Attorney
After taking the appropriate precautions to ensure safety and documentation, contact a motorcycle accident attorney to discuss your legal options.
Since motorcycles offer little protection compared to an automobile, injuries tend to be more frequent and serious. You want to be entitled to as much compensation as possible. Additionally, public perception has unrightfully labeled motorcyclists as more dangerous on the road which could lead to biased juries.
Regardless if your case goes to trial or not, being prepared is a safe strategy in the event legal action is taken against you at a later time.
Understanding What To Do After a Motorcycle Accident
Aside from all of the steps you should take, it’s important to remember safety comes first.
Always be mindful, too, about admitting fault.
Even if you think you may be responsible for a motorcycle accident don’t verbally admit to wrongdoing at the scene. For one, you usually won’t have all of the facts and information that could very well prove your innocence. Also, any statements you make could later be used against you in legal proceedings.
If you suspect the other party involved is at fault, document everything you can for future use instead of making accusations in the heat of the moment. No laws exist for someone to admit fault at the scene of an accident even if a police report is filed.
Check out our blog for other safety tips for staying safe on the road!