Motorcycle Accidents: Dos and Don’ts

steps to take after a motorcycle crashMotorcycles are a popular form of transportation year-round in the mild temperatures of Virginia and Washington D.C.. While some riders commute to work on their motorcycles and others just ride for fun, riding a motorcycle at any time for any reason can be dangerous. This is why it is important that motorcycle riders know what to do and what not to do in a crash.

Things to Do at the Crash Scene

If are involved in a motorcycle accident, take the following steps as soon as possible:

  • Stay at the accident scene but move to safety, if possible. Depending on your injuries and the circumstances of the accident, it may be possible to move away from the roadway and sit in a safer place. If it’s not possible to move to a safer spot, then it is critical to your safety that you use hazard lights or flares to warn others drivers of the crash.
  • Call 911. Report the accident and ask the police to come out to the crash scene. Having the police at the scene of the crash will help with your injury claim, as it will provide a paper trail (i.e. accident report) and may even help you with locating witnesses since police officers should talk to everyone at the crash scene. When speaking with the police, ask for an ambulance if you or the other driver is injured. Many motorcycle riders involved in crashes will often need medical attention immediately after a crash due to the serious nature of the injuries involved.
  • Gather supporting evidence. If you are not seriously injured, take photographs and video of the accident scene as well as the damage done to your motorcycle and the other vehicle. You also need to get the other driver’s vehicle information, driver’s license number, and insurance policy. Additionally, if any witnesses approach you to help, ask if they saw the accident and would be willing to give a statement. If your injuries don’t allow you to take pictures, ask a witness or someone else for help.

Things You Don’t Want to Do at the Scene of the Accident

Even if you are the clear victim of a crash, you can do things at the scene that will jeopardize your chances for a fair recovery. Avoid the following after your accident:

  • Discussing fault. Sometimes people think they may be possibly at fault for the accident, but you never know who caused it and if someone else was breaking the law. Let the professionals determine fault and don't accept blame or apologize for the crash.
  • Dismissing your injuries. Oftentimes people who are injured want to ignore their injuries — hoping they will go away or the pain will lessen in the days following the accident. Unfortunately, the pain often gets worse and even other injuries that didn’t manifest themselves in the moments after the accident suddenly show up later. This is why it is important that motorcycle riders never tell police officers or others at the accident scene that they aren’t injured. It’s best to say that you need to see a medical professional for a thorough exam.
  • Calling your insurance company from the scene of the accident. Many people think they have a duty to notify the insurance company of the crash from the accident scene, but calling the insurance company before knowing about the extent of your injuries is not advisable.

Steps to Take After Leaving the Accident Scene

Even after leaving the scene of the accident, you should continue to actively protect your injury claim. Be sure to do the following:

  • Follow your doctor’s advice for follow-up care. Go to all medical appointments and attend any recommended physical therapy sessions. If you fail to follow through on prescribed treatment, insurance companies may try to use this information as evidence that your injuries are not as serious as you claim. 
  • Keep all of your medical records. It helps to keep track of all of your medical tests, procedures, and care associated with your crash-related injuries. Even keeping a paper trail of all the receipts and bills you receive can help with your injury claim.
  • Contact an attorney. Whether you think you want to hire a lawyer or not, it is important to talk with an experienced personal injury lawyer to find out about your rights and whether you do or don’t have a case. Most personal injury attorneys, including us, will provide you with a free consultation so that you can learn more.

What to Avoid After Leaving the Crash Site

Just as there are actions you should take after an accident, there are things you should avoid, including the following:

  • Social media. Don’t post comments or pictures on social media sites about your accident or your general well-being. Even a picture posted of you sitting on the couch following the accident can give the insurance company the opportunity to question the severity of your injuries.
  • Signing forms. Insurance companies will make you think that you have to sign a medical authorization form, but you don’t. This will just give them the right to snoop around in your past medical records to see if they can blame your current injuries on a prior complaint.
  • Agreeing to a recorded statement. Insurance adjusters will try to get accident victims to give them a recorded statement early on, hoping the victims don’t know the extent of their injuries. Consequently, many victims’ words are used against them so that insurance companies don’t have to pay them as much money.

We encourage you to share these tips on your favorite social media site so that those you know who ride motorcycles can be prepared for what to do in the event of a crash. If you or a loved one needs legal advice after a motorcycle accident, please don’t hesitate to call us for a complimentary consultation.