All motor vehicle accidents are upsetting, but if you are in a motorcycle accident, you are probably even more upset. Immediately after the accident, after you have gotten up and brushed yourself off, it is important to stay calm. Remember that the steps that you take immediately after the motorcycle accident could affect a potential lawsuit or motorcycle accident settlement later.
When someone is involved in a motorcycle accident, the injuries can be catastrophic. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcyclists are 29 times more likely to die in a crash than occupants of a car.The main reason for this is that motorcycles lack the protection and safety features of cars, such as doors, airbags, and seatbelts. Add in the fact that motorcycles are often traveling at high speeds when they crash, it’s easy to see why injuries can be so severe.
More Serious Injuries Lead to Higher Compensation in Motorcycle Accidents
Despite efforts in recent years to make motorcycle riding less dangerous, serious injuries still occur far too often. Despite many riders wearing extra protective gear like helmets and boots to minimize the risk of injury, over 5,000 people dies in motorcycle accidents in 2019 Motorcycle accidents can result in serious injuries like head trauma, broken bones, or organ damage.
- Head/Brain Injuries: Head trauma is perhaps the most common type of injury sustained by motorcycle riders in accidents. Even with great improvement to motorcycle helmet safety technology, the high speed nature (and still relatively unprotected nature of a motorcycle rider’s head compared to someone in a car) of motorcycle accidents can lead to serious and even life-threatening head injuries. Concussions, skull fractures, and brain damage are all common injuries for riders involved in motorcycle accidents. In motorcycle accidents, traumatic brain injuries are a leading cause of death. Many motorcycle riders who suffer head trauma in car accidents die instantly or soon after the accident from their injuries. Even for those that survive, traumatic brain injuries can result in long-term health problems and impaired functionality.
- Broken bones: Broken bones are commonly suffered in motorcycle accidents. The high speeds at which many motorcycle accidents take place can result in severe fractures, even in riders who are wearing protective gear. The arms, legs, and hips are often the first things to make impact with either an oncoming car or the pavement in a motorcycle accident. In addition to some serious road rash, the impact of these crashes can snap a riders bones like a twig. Because of this, broken arms, legs, and ribs are all common injuries that motorcycle riders can suffer in accidents.
- Organ damage: Organ damage is another serious risk for motorcycle riders involved in accidents. The high speeds and lack of protection can lead to serious injuries to the liver, kidneys, and other organs. In extreme cases, motorcycle riders can even suffer fatal injuries to their internal organs.
- Hip Injuries: While not as common as head trauma, broken bones, or organ damage, motorcycle riders can also suffer hip injuries in accidents. The lack of protection around the hip area can lead to serious fractures and other injuries that can require restorative or hip replacement surgery, and almost always require months and months of physical therapy. In some severe cases, motorcycle riders who suffer hip injuries may never regain full mobility or be able to walk.
- Spinal cord injuries: Motorcycle riders may also suffer severe spinal cord injuries in motorcycle accidents. Injuries to the lower back or upper spine can lead to a variety of functional problems, from reduced mobility and lower back pain to complete paralysis. Spinal cord injuries are another serious motorcycle accident injury that require extensive medical treatment and physical rehabilitation, which will increase the amount of compensation available in a motorcycle accident settlement.
Take These Steps After a Motorcycle Accident to Ensure Fair Compensation:
#1 Check for Injury
Obviously, a motorcyclist is fully exposed and is more likely to suffer serious injuries in an accident. You should check yourself and any passengers on the motorcycle to determine if there are injuries. You should call 911 immediately if anyone involved in the accident is seriously hurt.
Even if an ambulance isn’t needed on the scene, it’s a good idea to go to the ER after a motorcycle accident to be checked out. If you have any injuries, it is good to have them on the record as soon as possible if you need to make a claim later. It’s also a good idea to take pictures of any visible injuries you or your passenger suffered in the crash.
#2 Get Out of the Road
If you can, move all of the vehicles involved in the crash off the road. Use flares, hazard lights and/or a flashlight to warn traffic of the accident. If you were on the motorcycle, it is especially dangerous to stay near your bike if it is still in traffic. Many serious and fatal injuries can occur after an accident when traffic causes another accident. Getting your bike out of the road isn’t worth losing your life. Remember – you can replace your motorcycle, but you are priceless.
#3 Collect Contact Information
Exchange contact information with all drivers involved in the motorcycle accident. Get names, phone numbers, insurance information, and license numbers. Also get the contact information for eyewitnesses. Note that the testimony of neutral eyewitnesses is usually critical to determine liability. The police officer on the scene should collect all this and include it in their accident report, but it’s a good idea to have a copy for yourself. You also may speak to someone who was on the scene when the motorcycle accident occurred, but leaves before the officer arrives.
#4 Call Police
If anyone is hurt and/or there is serious property damage above $500 or $1000, you are generally required by state law to call the police. In any case, you should nearly always call the police after a motorcycle accident. The police report is a very valuable piece of information that can determine who is ultimately blamed for the accident. It’s an official document written by a government employee, so the police report is a key piece of collecting an adequate motorcycle accident settlement.
#5 Note Surroundings and Take Pictures of the Motorcycle Crash Scene
Depending how seriously you are hurt, try to note the conditions immediately after the accident. Note the weather, location of crash, road conditions, speed limits, lighting and direction of travel of all vehicles in the accident. If you notice anything strange, like a broken traffic light or gravel in the road, make sure to take pictures of it. Taking pictures of your motorcycle damage, as well as any cars involved, is also a good idea.
#6 Speak to Witnesses
If you are not badly hurt, try to speak to witnesses after the accident. Memories of the accident fade fast. This is another reason why it is important to call the police: They can get witness statements when the memory of the accident is fresh. If there are people who saw what happened, ask if they’d be willing to provide a statement or be a witness if the case goes to court. The testimony of a neutral 3rd party can go a long way to winning a motorcycle accident lawsuit.
#7 Never Admit Fault
In many cases, the cause of the accident is not entirely clear. People are often tempted to admit they were at fault after the crash, but this is a big mistake. You could have serious injuries and property damage and the other driver was at fault. But if you admit fault at the scene, the claim or lawsuit could be greatly complicated. Anything you say about the accident to anyone at the scene should only be factual. Do not give any opinions and never admit fault.
#8 Talk to an Attorney
Many motorcycle accidents are serious. The payouts can be high, but so are the stakes. Because of this, you should almost always speak to an attorney after a motorcycle accident.
In any motorcycle accident case, moving quickly is an important part of making sure you get the compensation you deserve. Due to the severe and often long lasting effects of motorcycle accident injuries, the average settlement for motorcycle accidents is a lot higher than the average car accident settlement. However, because of the complexity and larger settlement amounts, the mistakes made during a settlement negotiation can be a lot more costly. This makes it even more important to speak with a motorcycle accident lawyer in your area.
Find an attorney who has negotiated a number of successful motorcycle accident settlements, and book a free consultation. They’ll be able to tell you which types of damage will be available, how much you may be able to get for pain & suffering from the motorcycle accident, and let you know how much your claim may be worth if settled out of court vs being litigated in court.