After any automobile crash you may feel scared, disorientated, and confused about what to do next. Motorcycle accidents can result in more severe injuries than other crashes, making them particularly traumatic. Your actions immediately following a motorcycle accident can affect your recovery, liability, and eligibility for legal compensation. Protect your rights as a motorist by knowing what you should and should not do after an accident.
#1. Check for Injuries
Directly after a crash, stay on the scene and move to a place of safety. Get out of traffic and remain somewhere off the roadway where you can safely gather information. If a vehicle is on fire or leaking gasoline, stand a safe distance away to call the police. Whether you’re the motorcyclist or passenger vehicle driver, check yourself and others for injuries. Few motorcyclists walk away without injury after a collision.
Neck, back and head injuries are common in motorcycle accidents. If you suspect injuries to your neck, back, or spine, avoid movement until paramedics arrive on scene. Agitating a serious spinal cord injury can worsen physical damage. Other common motorcycle accident injuries include:
- Concussions and traumatic brain injuries
- Bone fractures, especially in the lower extremities
- Abrasions or “road rash”
- Traumatic tattooing from debris in the skin
- Organ damage
- Internal bleeding
Even if you don’t feel injured, see a doctor following a motorcycle accident. Going to a physician right away can find hidden injuries and improve your chances of compensation if you do have an injury. Delaying treatment can serve as proof that your injuries weren’t severe. If someone else on scene is injured, call an ambulance. Don’t be afraid to offer help if the other person is in immediate danger. California’s Good Samaritan laws protect you from liability if you act in good faith to give care in an emergency.
#2. Call the Police
It’s rare that a motorcycle crash is minor enough to avoid calling the police. If either vehicle sustained serious damages, report the crash to the police. Failing to report the accident can hurt your chances of seeking compensation in the future. The police can document the accident, take official records, and help determine fault. Getting the police involved also helps you if the other driver gives you fake information to try to evade paying for damages. Remember, don’t admit fault at the scene of the accident.
#3. Gather Accident Details
Once you’ve assessed the injuries and contacted the police, gather as much information as possible about the accident. Find out the motorist/motorcyclist’s name, insurance company, and contact information. Take photographs of the other driver’s license, property damage, and injuries if possible. Write down what you believe happened, what direction both vehicles were traveling at the time of the crash, and the information of anyone else involved. If there are witnesses on scene, collect their information as well.
#4. Contact Your Insurance Company
It’s speculated to make sure you are checked out medically and once you file a police report before contacting your insurance company. However, don’t wait too long to place this call. Make the call when the details of the accident are still fresh in your mind. Give the insurance agent all the necessary details of the crash using the information you gathered at the scene. Answer all questions openly and honestly. Your insurance agent will tell you the next steps, such as seeing a doctor and taking your vehicle to an approved auto mechanic for assessment.
#5. Talk to an Attorney
If you suffered a serious personal injury or property damage in a motorcycle accident, such as the other driver totaling your bike, consider a free consultation with a San Bernardino accident attorney. Discuss the factors in your crash and find out if you are eligible to receive financial compensation. A personal injury lawsuit may be the only way to recover your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.