Most Californians don't expect to be involved in a crash when they hop on their motorcycle and head out for a ride. Sadly, motorcycle accidents are common in the Golden State. In fact, approximately 14,400 motorcyclists were injured—and 566 were killed—in motorcycle crashes in 2016 alone, according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles.
A serious motorcycle accident can leave motorcyclists severely hurt, force them to miss work while recovering from their injuries, and leave them facing an astronomical amount of unexpected medical debt. Sound familiar?
If you were injured in a motorcycle crash caused by another person or company's negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, property damages, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses. Obtaining fair compensation for motorcycle accident injuries and damages isn't easy, and what you do after a motorcycle crash will dramatically impact your chances for a successful financial recovery for your injuries. Here's what you can do to protect your rights.
Evidence at the Scene of the Accident
Most motorcycle collisions result in substantial injuries, leaving the motorcyclists unable to secure evidence while at the scene of the collision. When we are dealing with a contested liability claim, evidence at the accident scene can become very critical. Hopefully, law enforcement or someone else will gather contact and insurance information from those involved in the collision. Also, if there are any witnesses that contact information is critical. Scene photographs can be especially helpful to establish responsibility for a collision. Photographs of your own injuries is also important. After the collision, enlist a trusted friend, family member, or attorney to help with evidence collection if you're too injured to do it yourself.
Seek Prompt Medical Attention
Motorcycle accident victims are often transported to the nearest hospital for emergency care. However, even if you weren't whisked away in an ambulance, that doesn't mean you weren't injured. Hormones released during the crash can mask the pain of injuries that aren't readily visible and some injuries can take hours or days to present themselves. A medical professional who knows you've been involved in a motorcycle accident has the skills needed to recognize and diagnose such injuries.
Document Your Injuries and Losses
Proving your claim for damages requires extensive documentary evidence. Comprehensive medical records are essential. To ensure you have enough evidence to support your claim, it's important to attend all follow-up visits your doctor schedules and complete the treatment plan exactly as prescribed. Other vital evidence in motorcycle accident cases can include medical bills and receipts, property damage estimates or invoices, and wage statements.
Hire an Experienced California Motorcycle Accident Attorney
If you sustained serious injuries or other losses as a result of a crash that wasn't your fault, you can benefit from the representation of a knowledgeable personal injury attorney who has experience handling motorcycle accident cases. In addition to helping you understand your legal rights and options, an attorney can:
- Investigate all potential avenues for compensation
- Handle communications with the insurance company (and the at-fault party's defense attorney)
- Work with your doctors to ensure your injuries and treatment are appropriately documented
- Enlist medical, vocational, economic, and other experts to testify on your behalf
- Negotiate a fair settlement
- Present your case in court
- Maximize your settlement or financial award
- And much, much more
What NOT to Do After a Motorcycle Crash
Knowing what you shouldn't do after a motorcycle accident is also crucial to protecting your right to a full recovery. Don't:
- Apologize or admit fault
- Provide a recorded statement or give the at-fault party's insurance company access to all of your medical records
- Accept an early settlement offer without consulting an attorney
- Post about the crash, your injuries, or subsequent motorcycle accident insurance claim or lawsuit on social media
- Discuss your case with anyone other than your attorney
- Let the statute of limitations expire; you have just two years from the date of the crash to file a lawsuit
Schedule a Free Consultation
The adept injury recovery professionals with the Inland Empire Law Group have helped many motorcycle accident victims collect the full and fair compensation they deserve. Want to learn more about how we can assist you? Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a free, initial case consultation. Call now: (909) 481-0100.