It’s estimated that motorcyclists are four times more likely to be injured when involved in an automobile accident. Because the medical bills associated with these accidents tend to be high, you deserve proper compensation.
This is especially true if you weren’t at fault in the accident. If you were involved in a recent motorcycle accident, you’re likely wondering what your legal options are.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through the different actions you can take following one of these accidents. We’ll also discuss some actions you can take immediately after the incident to maximize your claim or settlement.
What Are Your Legal Options Following a Recent Motorcycle Accident?
Your specific legal options following a motorcycle accident will come down to the motorcycle accident laws in the state you’re currently residing. That being said, most legal actions following a motorcycle accident tend to fall into three categories.
The first option is accepting the initial settlement. The insurance company will do this in an attempt to settle your claim. However, it’s usually not a good idea to take this settlement. Why?
Because the amount likely won’t come close to covering the damages that occurred from the accident. The second option is negotiating a better settlement with the insurance company.
If you have evidence and legal professionals on your side, you can usually get the insurance company to increase the settlement so that it realistically covers all your medical bills.
However, sometimes the insurance company simply isn’t willing to play ball. In this case, you can file a lawsuit against the insurance company.
In some states, it might also be appropriate to file a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver. An attorney can help advise you toward the best legal option for your specific needs.
What Should You Do Immediately Following the Accident?
Immediately following a motorcycle accident there are some things you can do that will improve your legal options when recovering from motorcycle accident damage.
That being said, it’s vital to remember that these accidents are often a matter of life or death. As such, your priority should be making sure you can get anyone involved the help they need.
Make sure to check out this useful resource to learn how you can appropriately respond to these incidents. Now, in this section, we’ll go over what to do after an accident.
Stop and Check for Injuries
The first thing you should do following a motorcycle accident is make sure that everyone is okay. Make sure that you and anyone else involved don’t leave the scene of the accident.
Next, check yourself for injuries. This is especially important for motorcycle riders. Roughly 6,000 people are killed in motorcycle accidents each year because the injuries can be so severe.
If you or someone else has injuries, call an ambulance immediately. Just a few minutes can often mean the difference between life and death in these types of accidents.
Contact the Police
If you and everyone else seem fine, then contact the police. What’s the point of doing this? It’s so the officers can record and file an official accident report.
This document will serve as an invaluable, impartial record of the accident from a third party. Without an accident report, the insurance companies will often rely on the conflicting sides of the people involved in the accident.
When it’s one person’s word against another, it will likely lead to a smaller settlement. Describe the accident in detail to the officer once they arrive.
Avoid placing blame on anyone – simply describe the circumstances. Then, once they’re finished, ask them for a copy of the accident report.
Exchange Information and Look for Eye Witnesses
While you’re waiting for the police you should exchange information with the other parties involved in the accident. At a minimum, you should get their name and insurance information.
However, it’s also a good idea to get their contact information and address. During this time, you should also be on the lookout for potential eyewitnesses who saw the accident unfold.
If you have any, make sure to get their contact information. These witnesses can prove invaluable if the insurance company disputes your claim.
Call Your Insurance Company
Different insurance policies will have different requirements for how quickly you need to report the accident. However, most of the time it’s within twenty-four hours.
As such, you should contact your insurance company as soon as you can following the incident. Make sure you give only the basic details. If you reveal too much the insurance company might use this to manipulate you later on in the settlement process.
If you’re able to, consider gathering evidence of the accident scene. This can be invaluable for settlement negotiations and lawsuits. You should start by taking some pictures of the accident and the surrounding area.
You should also film the entire area where the accident took place. Lastly, consider recording a voice memo with the other parties. That way, if they admit fault you will have a record of the fact.
Get a Medical Evaluation
Getting a medical evaluation is another essential thing to do following an accident. If you’ve been injured, then you need an official record of the injuries and how much treatment will cost.
Immediately after an accident, you should go to the hospital or a clinic to check out your injuries. You should do this even if you don’t think that you’re injured. Why?
Because many injuries like concussions, internal bleeding, and whiplash can go unnoticed following an accident. Then, weeks or months later, they can start to show symptoms. By getting a medical evaluation you’ll ensure that all your bases are covered in terms of a medical paper trail.
Keep a Journal
If you’ve been seriously injured, keep a journal of your recovery process. Detail how much pain you’re in and any adjustments that are required for your life.
This can be a helpful record for your legal team to consult to demonstrate how the accident has negatively affected your life.
What Are the Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?
Multiple things can cause motorcycle accidents. Perhaps the most common is the side-swipe. This occurs when a vehicle merges into a motorcyclist without seeing them.
However, it can also occur from dangerous driving behavior, like land-splitting, impaired driving, and speeding. Sometimes the motorcycle accident injury is caused by something as simple as a fender bender.
In a car, this might not be a big deal, but when you’re on a motorcycle even a small bump can cause you to fly off the bike. Make sure to check out this helpful guide to learn more about common motorcycle accident causes and how an attorney can help you with them.
Why You Should Contact a Motorcycle Attorney Following Your Accident
You might be tempted to take the initial settlement that an insurance company offers you following a motorcycle accident. Or, worse, you might try to negotiate the settlement on your own.
However, it’s important to fight this urge and visit an attorney who often deals with motorcycle accidents. For starters, they can help you find out whether or not you have legal ground to stand on.
This will depend on the circumstances surrounding your accident, any evidence you might have, and the insurance company you’re dealing with. If you do have a case, your attorney will negotiate with the insurance people on your behalf.
Because they’re experienced negotiators they can often help you get a lot more money out of the accident than you would if you took the initial settlement.
How to Find a Good Motorcycle Attorney
The first thing you should look for in a good motorcycle accident attorney is experience. The more years they’ve been practicing, the more expertise they’ll be able to bring to the table.
This will help them negotiate higher settlements. Next, you want to make sure that they specialize specifically in motorcycle accidents. Often some lawyers will claim they are experts but only deal with car accidents.
The circumstances surrounding motorcycle accidents are often different so it helps to have a pro who knows how to fight these cases. Lastly, make sure you schedule a consultation.
Remember that this is a two-way interview. The attorney will decide if they want to take on your case, and you’ll be deciding if the attorney is right for you. You want a professional that doesn’t treat you just another case number.
Ready for the Legal Help You Need? Contact Sweet Lawyers
We hope this guide helped you learn more about your legal options following a recent motorcycle accident. It’s important to remember that every accident is different.
That’s why it’s important to meet with a legal professional to discuss your specific case. Here at Sweet Lawyers, we know how stressful these accidents can be.
And if you aren’t sure how you’ll pay for the medical bills, it can become nightmarish. That’s why we do everything in our power to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to begin your free case evaluation.