According to data from the NHTSA, motorcycle commutes account for 3 percent of the total vehicle miles traveled and yet account for approximately 14 percent of all traffic-related fatalities. Even when a motorcycle rider survives an accident, their chances of suffering severe injuries are quite high. Severe injuries go hand in hand with increased medical treatment costs and the claims process’s complexity. The good news is that your response can significantly affect the outcome on the scene of a motorcycle accident. Here are several tips on how to respond at the scene of an accident to improve your outcomes.
Seek Medical Attention
Your health should come before all else. So the first thing you want to do is call 911. Calling 911 brings the police and paramedics to the accident scene. This step is critical even when you do not feel like you have suffered any major injuries.
Some severe injuries, such as Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs), and spinal cord injuries, tend not to show at the scene and can only be ruled out by a doctor. Besides upholding your health, getting medical attention helps create a link between injuries suffered and an accident which is critical if you intend to file a claim. Also, the medical records obtained become critical evidence in calculating damages.
Notify the Police
In most cases, police will show up at the accident scene when you call 911. When they do, you must give a detailed account of the accident because your account will be part of what will advise their reporting.
Often the police report will document the scene and compile a report in approximately two weeks. The report is a public document you can access from your local police station’s website or their offices in two weeks and is critical in establishing fault in an accident.
There are situations where the police may not show up at the scene. Under such circumstances, it would also help to visit the police station to file a formal report or have your lawyer do it on your behalf.
Document the Scene
The best time to document a scene is immediately after an accident before it’s tampered with. You do not need detective-quality equipment to document a scene; your smartphone will be enough.
Scene documentation involves taking pictures and video footage of the scene. This picture and video evidence becomes critical in corroborating the police report and can help your lawyer recreate the accident with the help of expert witnesses where the fault is disputed. If you cannot document the scene, you can ask an onlooker to help you.
While at the scene, you may also want to gather witness testimonies and contact information. Gathering and recording witness testimonies at the scene are important in that the witnesses will have the most comprehensive recollection of events in the first few minutes or hours after an accident.
If any are willing to help you in court, they could refer to their testimony when presenting their account of the accident in court.
Contact a Lawyer
If you are injured in a motorcycle accident where another person was to blame for your accident, you may be eligible for compensation through their insurance policy. However, the insurance company will not readily pay up.
More often than not, they will want to deny your claim or at least lower its value. Getting a lawyer is the only way to ensure that the at-fault party’s insurer doesn’t trample on your right to fair compensation.
Getting a lawyer puts you on par with the opposing side, which helps command respect and ultimately increases the chances of getting fair compensation for damages.
Notify Your Insurer
Most insurance policies have a clause requiring policyholders to notify their insurance company of an accident, irrespective of who is at fault. Failure to notify your insurer can result in a voiding of your policy.
If you are unsure about the terms of your policy, the best rule of thumb is to notify them to be on the safe side. Notifying your insurer is also important because you may not know how your case will pan out, and you may need to recover damages from them.