What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident
The moments after a motorcycle accident can be confusing and chaotic. You may be in shock, hurt, and unsure of what to do next. It’s what you do in these same moments, though, that can either help or hurt a motorcycle accident case.
Due to this, all bikers should know what to do after a motorcycle accident so they can protect their rights.
1. Call the Police
Texas law requires all accidents to be reported when they result in injury or property damage valued over $1,000. Call the police immediately following the accident and wait for them to arrive on the scene. They will likely write a report, and you should ask for a copy of it.
If the officer included the cause of the accident and indicated fault in the report, this can help your claim in the future. Although police reports aren’t always admissible in court, the police officer’s testimony is. Additionally, sometimes judges do allow police reports as evidence. In either case, a police report will help prove your claim to the insurance company.
2. Collect Contact Information
You must obtain the contact information of the driver who hit you. You should also write down the driver’s license number, the vehicle’s license plate number, and the insurance information.
Texas follows a fault-based system in determining who was at fault for an accident. This means you will need to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Having the driver’s information on hand will make this much easier.
3. Get Medical Help
Your health and safety should be your main concern after any motorcycle accident. If you have been hit by another vehicle, you are likely suffering from severe injuries, and you need to seek medical treatment for them right away to prevent them from becoming worse.
In addition to getting the treatment you need, seeing a doctor will ensure your injuries are properly documented from the start. Attending all follow-up appointments and following your doctor’s orders will also show that you are taking your injuries and treatment seriously.
4. Take Photos and Notes
Photos of the crash scene will serve as crucial pieces of evidence in a motorcycle accident claim. They can indicate how the crash occurred and help prove who was at fault. Take pictures of your injuries, the vehicles involved, physical evidence such as skid marks, and any other details pertinent to the crash.
If you can, also take notes as soon as possible after an accident. Over just a short amount of time, your memories of what happened before and after the crash will fade. Documenting the events that led up to the crash soon after will prevent this from happening.
5. Talk to Witnesses
Statements from eyewitnesses can also serve as important pieces of evidence. Witnesses are objective third parties who don’t have any stake in an accident case.
The courts take witness statements very seriously, and the insurance companies know this. Presenting insurers with eyewitness statements can substantiate your claim and help you pursue the full amount of compensation you deserve.
6. Never Apologize or Admit Fault
After a motorcycle accident, it is important that you do not apologize or accept blame. Even stating that you are sorry the accident happened at all will be taken out of context and used against you.
Texas is governed by comparative fault, which means that if accident victims are partly to blame for the accident, any compensation they receive will be reduced. In addition, if you are found to be more than 50 percent to blame for an accident, you will not be able to recover damages at all.
As such, the insurance companies and at-fault parties may state that you admitted fault at the accident scene, and so your compensation should be reduced or denied altogether. It is best to say as little as possible after an accident. Only exchange information with the driver who hit you, and do not say anything else.
7. Alert Your Insurance Company
Although you will need to file a claim for compensation through the driver’s insurance company, you should still contact your own insurance company. There is likely a clause within your insurance policy stating that you are required to report any accidents to the insurance company. If you don’t, they may even cancel your policy.
All insurance companies are businesses, however, and want to keep their profits instead of paying out on large claims. As such, it is important to still say as little as possible. This is particularly true if the other driver was uninsured and you need to use your own policy to claim compensation. In these instances, the insurance company will still use anything you say against you to reduce the total amount of compensation you deserve.
8. Get Legal Advice
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, you must speak to an attorney as soon as possible. There are many parties working against you after you file your claim, including the at-fault driver and their insurance company. Their arguments and claims are difficult to dispute on your own, particularly at a time when you are recovering from serious injuries.
An attorney will act as your advocate throughout the entire process, document what happened, help you file your claim, and fight to hold liable parties accountable for paying the full amount of compensation you deserve.
Contact an Experienced Houston Motorcycle Accident Attorney
If you have been hurt in a motorcycle crash, you should not start the claims process alone. The insurance company is going to try to deny or reduce your claim, and the driver who hit you may argue that you were at least partly to blame for the crash.
Our Houston motorcycle accident lawyers at The Law Offices of Hilda Sibrian understand this. We will build a strong case to show who was really at fault and aggressively pursue full and fair compensation from the insurance company.
Contact us online for your free consultation so we can start reviewing your case now.