A motorcycle accident typically ends the day’s travels and starts a new journey—one in which a motorcycle accident victim’s future is on the line. Because the stakes are so high, it is of utmost importance that a victim of a motorcycle accident takes certain steps after a crash to help preserve their future health and finances. After seeking the necessary medical treatment, contacting an experienced motorcycle accident attorney is the next step.
Get to Safety
Your safety and the safety of others should be your number one concern just after an accident. If possible, you will want to get to safety as soon as you can. Remember that approaching motorists may not see the crash until it is far too late, and a second or third crash could occur if you remain in the road.
Getting to safety does not just mean moving yourself but your motorcycle as well, if possible. Never put yourself at risk, though. In some cases, it may be safer to let first responders handle the vehicles.
Safe places on a highway or roadway may include:
- Large turnouts
- Emergency lanes
Essentially, any place that gets you out of the flow of traffic will likely be safer than remaining on the road.
As far as other people involved in the crash, Florida law imposes a duty to render aid to drivers involved in an injury car accident. The duty requires said drivers to render reasonable assistance to the injured, which may include carrying or making arrangements to carry an injured person to get medical care.
Of course, if you are injured to a point where you cannot move, then you will not be able to help other injured parties. Additionally, if the situation is too dangerous, then you are not required to risk your life to render aid.
Consider Medical Attention
If you have been in a motorcycle accident, it is likely that someone, if not you, will call first responders. Once on the scene, emergency medical personnel will evaluate all injured parties and transport those who need emergency medical care to a hospital.
If first responders do not automatically take you to receive emergency medical care, you should consider getting a medical evaluation of any injuries you may have sustained. Your injuries may be worse than you believe and may become exacerbated without medical care.
Additionally, you will need a medical report of your injuries if you eventually decide to file a claim for compensation or a lawsuit.
Without this medical report of injuries, the insurance company can easily dispute the cause of your injuries as well as their severity. It can also argue that the initial injury was not serious but became exacerbated by your subsequent actions.
File a Police Report
Florida law is clear that motorists, including motorcyclists, must report vehicle accidents if the accident:
- Killed or injured someone
- Caused more than $500 in damage
- Involved drunk driver
- Involved a hit-and-run
If a police officer shows up and files a report, you no longer must file one yourself. However, go over the report with your motorcycle accident lawyer. If the report varies from the truth, you need a motorcycle accident lawyer’s help.
Whether the police report agrees with your version of the events or not, write down a detailed narrative of the crash.
Record the events leading up to the accident and include any relevant details, such as:
- Weather and road conditions
- Time and date of the accident
- Cars and passengers involved
- How you responded to the imminent accident
- The driving behavior of the other driver involved
- Noticeable injuries sustained by anyone involved
You will write a more reliable account if you do so soon after the crash.
Safely Gather Evidence
Evidence forms the backbone of any claim for compensation or lawsuit. Without sufficient proof of liability, claims suffer rejections or significant reductions in value.
However, you should not risk your safety trying to collect evidence at a scene. Only engage in evidence collection if it is reasonably safe to do so. If you’re too injured to complete these tasks, call a motorcycle accident lawyer to do it for you.
Get the information of each driver involved in the crash and information regarding their respective insurance coverages. You will need this information later if you decide to file a claim for damages outside of your insurance coverage.
Also, record information about the cars involved in the crash, including license plate numbers, make, and model of the vehicles. Additionally, note if there were passengers in any of the vehicles involved in the crash.
Motorcycle accident witnesses can provide powerful testimony for your case, especially if they are neutral parties unknown to you or the other drivers.
Politely approach any potential witness and ask them for their name and one or more forms of contact, including:
- Phone number
If a witness will give you a statement on the spot, write down or record what they have to say. Later, this evidence may prove extremely valuable in the hands of your motorcycle accident lawyer.
Traffic Signs and Signals
Note and take photos or video footage of the traffic signs and signals near the crash, including:
- Stop signs
- Yield signs
- Traffic lights
- Speed limit signs
Also, take photos of the road and its divider lines.
Traffic and Surveillance Cam Locations
Traffic and business or residential surveillance cameras can help verify your version of the events. If you see some in the area, snap photos of them so your motorcycle accident attorney can later request the footage they contain.
Vehicle Damage and Injuries
Take many photos of the vehicles involved in the crash, making sure to document the damage done to each.
If possible, take shots of the entire accident scene before it is disturbed or before the vehicles are moved. Include skid marks and broken or destroyed pieces of equipment that may be scattered about the scene. Remember, the more angles, the better.
Take photos and video footage of people’s injuries as well.
Arrange to Keep Your Motorcycle
If you have been in a motorcycle accident, your bike can potentially be a powerful piece of evidence in your claim. The way it was damaged can speak volumes regarding who is at fault.
You should do all you can to hold on to your motorcycle until your claim for compensation or lawsuit has finished. In some instances, this may require you to go to a wrecking yard to have your bike released into your custody if it was demolished at the accident scene.
Keep a Post-Accident Diary or Journal
Document your day-to-day activities and demeanor after your accident so that you have a detailed record of precisely how the motorcycle accident has wreaked havoc on your life. Later, this journal may prove invaluable in providing the basis for certain types of compensation, such as loss of capacity for enjoyment of life and inconvenience.
Stay off Social Media
You are likely familiar with the phrase “anything you say can and will be used against you.” Although typically used in the context of criminal law, it also applies to civil law.
Your social media posts may be viewable by insurance companies and other drivers. Within these posts, you may inadvertently write something that can be used to significantly prejudice your claim, which would allow an insurance company to reduce its value or reject it altogether.
Although posting that an accident occurred should not damage your claim, always err on the side of caution when describing anything related to the crash, including your actions before, during, and after the motorcycle accident.
Keep a Record of Accident-Related Expenses
If you have been in a motorcycle accident, it is likely that you have incurred some significant financial loss, whether from medical bills, time off work, or other expenses related to your injuries.
To help ensure that you get fully compensated for your losses, you will want to make sure that you keep track of these expenses, even those that you feel may not be compensable. Later, a motorcycle accident attorney can review them for eligibility.
Do Not Admit or Sign Anything
After your accident, you may be approached or contacted by one or more insurance company adjusters. They are looking for statements and other evidence that can be used to close out your case quickly and cheaply.
During the course of your communication, they may ask you to make and sign statements regarding the accident. But do not do either until you have a motorcycle accident lawyer protecting your interests.
With the wrong words and your signature, you could be looking at zero compensation or far less than you would get with representation by a motorcycle accident attorney.
Speak With a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
If you are looking to seek compensation for your losses after a motorcycle accident, the most important step to take after the accident is to find a seasoned motorcycle accident attorney. A motorcycle accident attorney will dedicate 100 percent of their work effort to getting you the highest compensation available for your losses.
With a motorcycle accident lawyer handling your claim, you do not have to worry about the tricks and tactics used by insurance company adjusters to devalue or deny your accident claim. Your attorney knows how to counter these strategies with strategies of their own that result in higher compensation for their clients.
The numbers clearly demonstrate that injury victims who hire attorneys to represent them get much higher compensation awards than those who try to go through the process alone.
The compensation process is not victim-friendly. It is, in fact, adversarial, which means that it is a battle. If you go it alone, you take on experienced claims adjusters who will fight hard to pay you less.
Damages Your Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Will Fight For
Under Florida law, you have a variety of damages available to you after another driver has injured you. The main type of damages is known as compensatory damages and has the purpose of compensating you for various economic and non-economic losses.
Economic damages you might suffer after a motorcycle accident include:
- Lost income from not being able to work
- Expenses related to medical treatment and care
- Costs related to employing homecare workers for basic domestic needs
Non-economic damages are the non-financial losses that accident victims experience. They are not intrinsically financial but can definitely affect the quality of a victim’s life.
Some of the specific compensable non-economic losses include:
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of the ability to enjoy life
Because these particular damages do not produce account balances or receipts, victims must demonstrate their existence in some other way. For this reason, keeping a post-accident journal is important in the compensation process to show how deeply your normal life has been impacted.
Courts can also award punitive damages when a defendant acted with gross negligence or engaged in intentional misconduct. Driving drunk clearly shows a willful disregard for the safety of the public at large and could result in punitive damages.
After a motorcycle accident caused by someone else, you deserve to pursue the maximum compensation available for your losses. By following the steps outlined above, you increase your chances of getting a high-figure payout dramatically, especially when you contact a motorcycle accident lawyer.