Motorcycle accidents often occur when people drive carelessly or recklessly. In many instances, the collision force is so great that it throws a motorcyclist off their bike, causing them to hit the pavement and sustain additional traumatic injuries.
Immediately after an accident, many injured cyclists are unsure of what to do or where to go. In addition to calling 9-1-1, obtaining contact information from all other involved drivers, and speaking with the responding police officer, your most important step after an accident should be to seek follow-up medical treatment. Next, you should talk with a knowledgeable motorcycle accident attorney in your area.
Your motorcycle accident lawyer can investigate the circumstances of your accident and determine your claim-filing eligibility. If you are eligible to file a motorcycle accident claim or lawsuit, your lawyer can assist you throughout the process and help you pursue the monetary compensation you deserve from the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
Finally, if the insurance company refuses to act fairly and offer you the full monetary compensation you deserve, your attorney can file a lawsuit in the court system on your behalf and work to maximize the damages you recover for your injuries.
Steps You Should Take after an Accident
Once you leave the scene of a motorcycle accident, you should take several important steps both for your personal well-being and for the well-being of a potential personal injury claim or lawsuit.
First, you should seek medical treatment on the same day as your accident. Next, you should contact a knowledgeable motorcycle accident attorney in your area to handle your legal claim. Finally, you or your lawyer should obtain copies of the police report, eyewitness statements, and other potential evidence to use in your claim or lawsuit.
Seek Prompt Medical Treatment Right Away
One of the most important steps you must take immediately after your motorcycle crash is to seek prompt medical treatment at a nearby hospital emergency room or local urgent care facility. The attending physician can physically examine you in the emergency room and order the necessary imaging studies, including CT scans, X-rays, and MRIs, to diagnose your medical condition. If you suffered a fracture or other serious injury in your motorcycle accident, you might need to undergo a medical procedure immediately. If necessary, the attending doctor can make the necessary arrangements for you to undergo that procedure.
Moreover, the provider can recommend future medical care if your symptoms worsen. For example, you might need to follow up with a primary care doctor if you have one in the days and weeks ahead. Alternatively, depending on your injuries, you might need to follow up with a medical specialist, such as an orthopedist or neurologist. After undergoing surgery or other medical procedures, you may also need to consult a physical therapist or chiropractor for ongoing treatment.
Seeking same-day medical treatment after your motorcycle accident is important for two reasons. First, it helps to ensure that your injuries do not worsen. Some injuries, including traumatic head and brain injuries and soft tissue contusions, are not symptomatic right away. In fact, it may take days or even weeks for symptoms of those injuries to develop fully.
The longer these injuries go on untreated, the worse they can become. Therefore, it is best to seek medical treatment right away after your motorcycle accident even if you are not feeling extreme pain or other symptoms at that time. You might have hidden injuries if you feel anything out of the ordinary following your crash.
Next, seeking same-day medical care after a motorcycle accident shows the at-fault driver’s insurance company that your injuries are serious and that you gave your medical treatment first priority after your accident. You should also follow up with any medical provider who the hospital emergency room or urgent care doctor recommended.
Call a Lawyer to Represent You
In addition to seeking prompt medical treatment after your motorcycle crash, you should immediately call a personal injury lawyer to represent you. When you call an attorney for representation, they will have you sign a contingency fee agreement before they begin their representation.
After you sign the agreement, your attorney can begin doing the following:
- Investigating the circumstances of your accident, such as by retaining an accident reconstructionist or another expert to piece together how the accident occurred and who caused it
- Obtaining copies of all potential evidence to use in your case, including investigation reports, police reports, medical records, medical bills, eyewitness statements, lost wage statements from an employer, photographs of your injuries, photographs of property damage, and a personal statement that you prepare.
- Assembling a settlement demand package, along with a settlement demand letter, to send to the insurance company adjuster who is handling your claim
- Aggressively negotiating with the adjuster for favorable settlement compensation that makes you whole again.
- Filing a lawsuit in the court system, if litigation becomes necessary, and assisting you throughout the litigation process
- Representing you at court hearings, including pretrial and settlement conferences
- Representing you and advocating for your legal interests at your civil jury trial or another legal proceeding
Your motorcycle accident attorney can help you pursue monetary compensation for your:
- Related medical bills
- Lost earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Mental distress
- Permanent disability or disfigurement
- Loss of life enjoyment
- Loss of the ability to use an injured body part
- Loss of spousal companionship and consortium
The damages you might seek will depend on your unique injuries and losses. Having a lawyer is the best way to ensure you seek the full compensation you deserve for your motorcycle crash.
Common Motorcycle Accident Causes
Motorcycle accidents usually happen when other vehicle operators are negligent in some way. Generally speaking, drivers are negligent when they deviate from the prevailing standard of care and act unreasonably under the circumstances. Driver negligence can include intoxicated driving, distracted driving, road rage, or road rule violations. Whenever a motorcycle accident victim can show that their crash resulted from driver negligence, they may be eligible to file a claim with the insurance company for the at-fault driver.
One of the most unfortunate causes of motorcycle accidents is intoxicated driving. Despite the warnings that every driver receives about the dangers of intoxicated driving, people continue to get behind the wheel after having too much to drink. A passenger vehicle driver is legally intoxicated when they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. Minor drivers under 21 years old and commercial vehicle drivers must follow even stricter standards of care.
An intoxicated driver might negligently rear-end a cyclist, sideswipe them, T-bone them at a traffic intersection, or collide with them head-on, causing debilitating injuries and fatalities. Intoxication often causes blurred vision, preventing drivers from even seeing a cyclist in the first place. Alternatively, an intoxicated driver might experience a lack of focus, limited concentration, and delayed reaction time, which prevents them from stopping their vehicle in time to avoid a crash.
Motorcycle accidents can also occur when drivers fail to watch the road attentively. Distracted drivers might be fiddling with a GPS device, listening to loud music in their vehicle, playing on a cellular phone or tablet, or roughhousing with vehicle passengers, instead of watching the road. When a driver takes their eyes off the road for any period—no matter how small—they may miss seeing a motorcyclist in the vicinity, causing a serious crash.
At other times, motorcycle accidents happen when drivers become angered and enraged. Road rage refers to a driver’s overreaction to a real or imagined roadway circumstance that arises. For example, suppose a driver thinks a motorcyclist is driving too slowly. In that case, the driver might accelerate, aggressively honk their horn, tailgate the cyclist, or weave in and out of busy highway traffic to try and get around the cyclist. These aggressive driving maneuvers may cause an accident and severe or even fatal injuries.
Finally, some motorcycle accidents happen when drivers violate the rules of the road. Common traffic violations that inadvertently cause motorcycle crashes include speeding, failing to use turn signals, tailgating, and failing to yield the right-of-way to a motorcycle at the appropriate time.
While motorcycle crashes usually result from some type of driver error, these accidents can also result from defective motorcycle parts, such as handlebars, steering mechanisms, and braking components.
Motorcycle part manufacturers have a duty to design and manufacture their products in a reasonably safe and careful manner. They must also test their products sufficiently before they put them on the market for public purchase. When a motorcycle part malfunctions while on the road and a serious accident results, the manufacturer or distributor might be liable for the resulting injuries and damages.
Finally, some motorcycle accidents occur when repair facilities make defective repairs which cause motorcycles to malfunction on the road. If the malfunction causes a single-vehicle accident that leads to injuries, the injured cyclist can name the repair facility in a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
In some instances, it can be difficult to tell exactly how a motorcycle accident happened and who was responsible. In those circumstances, a motorcycle accident attorney in your area can retain an accident reconstructionist to investigate the accident circumstances.
For example, a qualified accident reconstructionist can review the accident police report and eyewitness statements and actually visit the crash scene. They may then draft a report they can authenticate on the witness stand at trial. Your lawyer can help you prove all the legal elements of your injury claim and pursue the maximum monetary compensation you deserve to recover.
Serious Injuries that Motorcycle Accident Victims May Suffer in a Crash
Besides their motorcycle helmets, injured cyclists have very little protection in an accident. Even sturdy, well-constructed helmets might crack if the cyclist strikes the ground with force. Unlike occupants of cars and trucks, motorcyclists have no physical barrier between themselves and the ground when an accident occurs. If they strike the ground, they might suffer one or more serious injuries that leave them in permanent pain.
The injuries that motorcycle accident victims suffer usually depend upon the force of the collision, the type of accident that occurs, and how they strike the ground during the collision.
In some instances, motorcycle accident injuries are permanent and will likely affect the accident victim for the rest of their life. Permanent injuries may require ongoing medical treatment and rehabilitation, and they may produce ongoing symptoms. Permanent injuries have particularly costly effects on a motorcycle accident victim’s life.
Some of the most common injuries that motorcycle accident victims suffer include traumatic head and brain injuries, internal organ damage, crush injuries, road rash, bruises, soft tissue injuries, bone fractures, spinal cord injuries, and full or partial paralysis.
If you suffered any of these injuries in your recent motorcycle accident, your lawyer can handle the legal aspects of your case while you focus your attention on getting better and making a full recovery. While you complete your medical treatment, your lawyer can begin to gather your medical records and lost wage documentation and assemble those documents into a settlement demand package. Your attorney can submit the demand package to the insurance company adjuster handling your claim and begin settlement negotiations on your behalf.
Talk to an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Near You Today
If you suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident because of someone else’s carelessness, you should retain an experienced attorney to represent you as soon as possible. In addition to assisting you throughout the claims-filing and litigation processes, your lawyer can represent you at all legal proceedings and aggressively pursue the highest monetary compensation available.
Seeking legal help might seem daunting following an accident and injuries. You might even wonder whether you need a lawyer at all. Remember that insurance companies often try to make the claim process difficult to reduce the payment to injured victims. You should never try to navigate this process alone, especially with so much already on your plate.
Consult a trusted motorcycle accident attorney for free today.