Motorcycles are an extremely popular form of transport in the United States — in fact, there are currently more than 12 million in use! These nifty little vehicles are ideal for scooting around cities, exploring the countryside, and giving you a sense of freedom.
However, motorcyclists are among some of the most vulnerable road users in the country. A huge number of motorcyclists die in crashes each year while nearly 88,000 are left injured.
If you have been involved in a motorcycle crash, knowing what to do next is vital. This ensures that you have the best chance of recovering from your injuries and can provide some financial support while you do this.
Read on to find out what to do after a bike crash in order to look after yourself legally, emotionally, and practically.
1. Seek Medical Help After a Motorcycle Crash
You should always seek medical support after being involved in a road crash, even if your injuries appear to be minor. This is especially true if you are a motorcyclist as you are far more vulnerable than a road user in a car or van.
In fact, motorcyclists are 27 times more likely to die in a crash compared to car passengers or drivers. This is why wearing the proper safety gear when on the road is essential.
Even if you don’t feel hurt after an accident you should get checked out by a medical professional as soon as possible. They will be able to mend any minor injuries and can rule out serious injuries. Some of these, like traumatic brain injuries, can only become apparent a little while after an accident and can be fatal if left untreated.
However, while your well-being is important there is another reason why you should seek medical attention soon as possible. If you are going to make an insurance claim or sue after a crash, you will need a record of your injuries.
This means having a medical report from a professional detailing your injuries and the treatment required. You should also keep a copy of your medical bills and, if possible, photos of your injuries. These will all be useful when making a case for your accident.
2. Contact the Police
The other thing you need to do immediately in the motorcycle crash aftermath is to contact the police by calling 911. There are several reasons why you should do this.
First and foremost, the police will be able to secure the scene of the crash. This protects you and anyone else using the road around the crash site.
They will also make an official report regarding the details of the crash. This is essential if you want to make an insurance claim or sue another driver.
When the police do arrive, try to make a note of their station and names if you can. This will make it easier for you to contact them in the future.
You should never leave the scene of a bike crash unless you need to for urgent medical reasons. In that case, you should phone an ambulance or paramedics.
Leaving the scene of a crash not only makes you look bad but it is also illegal. So if you do this, you’ll end up in a lot of trouble even if the accident wasn’t your fault.
3. Make a Note of Who Was Involved
If you are able to, try to make a note of who was involved in the crash as soon as you can. This should include taking down their:
- Phone numbers
- Email address
- Insurance details
- License plates
It is highly likely that you will need to contact them after the crash so having this information is very important. But don’t worry, the police will also do this when they arrive at the scene. So if you are rushed to the hospital, you should be able to find these out by contacting the police department that reported the crash.
4. Record the Details of the Crash
It is also a good idea to take as many details about a crash as possible. This includes making a note of what you think happened and taking photographs.
It’s a good idea to look out for:
- Tire marks that show the journey of your vehicles
- Signage in the area
- Any traffic lights in the area
Sometimes crashes are not caused by the people involved in them. For example, if a stop sign was damaged or a red light didn’t work, this can cause a crash. When this happens highway maintenance is at fault but you won’t know unless you look out for these things.
Your insurer will also want to see photographs of any of the damage caused during a crash. Timestamped photographs are some of the best evidence you can have so make sure that you take plenty. You can use these in a case to prove damage or to counteract any claims against you.
However, you should not take photographs of any people or injured parties without their consent.
5. Speak to Witnesses
Putting together an accurate picture of what happened during an accident is not an easy job.
After all, you only have one side of the story and have just experienced major trauma. This means that your account might not be accurate and you may remember things differently over time.
Because of this, eyewitness testimony can be very important after a car accident. Spectators may have noticed something that you didn’t and can have a clearer view of the whole even.
When speaking to an eye-witness make sure that you are polite and try to record what they say (with their permission.) You should not pressure or coerce them into making a statement. You also need to make sure you have their contact details, as an insurer or court may want to speak to them independently.
That said, eyewitness accounts can be dismissed as unreliable evidence. They are strongest when multiple witnesses recount the same events independently.
Video footage of an accident is harder to dispute so try to suss out any CCTV cameras in the area. You can speak to private owners about their surveillance footage. The police should also do this, however, it can be helpful to have your own copy as well.
6. Never Admit Fault
It is important to try and stay as calm as possible in the aftermath of a bike accident.
That said, you don’t want to be so polite that you apologize for the accident or admit fault. Doing this can land you in very hot water if you want to sue or make an insurance claim. Other people involved in the crash may use your apology to blame the accident on you.
If you are concerned about the other people involved in the accident, ask them if they are okay or if you can help in some way. Getting them some water or contacting medical support for them is a good way to be helpful without involving yourself too much.
However, if someone is very worked up after an accident, do not try to engage with them. Just try to keep your distance and wait for the police to arrive. The last thing you want is to end up in an argument after a crash.
7. Organize Your Evidence
We’ve already mentioned that you should try to gather as much evidence as possible after a motorcycle accident. You can use this to support your account of what happened during the crash. This can include:
- Photo or video footage of the crash
- A medical report about your injuries and treatment
- Medical bills
- The cost of any motorbike repairs
- Details of time you have had to take off work
- Psychiatric assessments after your crash (if you need one)
It is also a good idea to keep this evidence organized and properly backed up. The last thing you want is to spend ages gathering your evidence only to misplace it.
Try to store your evidence in a way that makes sense for you. For example, you might want to keep all of your medical records in one file and your financial records in another.
8. Contact Your Insurance Company
Once you have your evidence well-organized, you can contact your insurance company. You shouldn’t wait too long to do this.
When you contact your insurer, you should provide them with as much of your evidence as possible. This is an important step in recording your crash.
You can use this later if you want to make a claim on your auto insurance. However, your insurer can also use this if someone tries to make a claim against you.
When speaking to your insurance agent, you should never admit fault. This could put your whole claim at risk.
Make sure you only speak to your insurance agent when you are ready to. If they contact you at a bad time, simply ask if you can rearrange. It is very important that you speak to them when you are in a good headspace.
9. Reach Out for Help
Being in a motorbike crash is a major event no matter how serious it is. So it is very important that you take the time to recover properly and reach out for support.
You may find that your injuries make it hard for you to get around or perform daily tasks. In that case, a friend, family member, or neighbor could help you. Asking a few people is a good idea — that way you can spread out the tasks and won’t feel like you’re leaning on one person for all your support.
However, you don’t just need practical support. Being involved in a bike accident can be very emotionally traumatic as well.
You may feel nervous about getting back on your bike or revisiting the crash site. Some people also develop post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. This can cause:
- Intrusive thoughts
- Difficulty sleeping
- Nausea or vomiting
- Mood swings and irritability
- Anxiety or depression
- Difficulty concentrating
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to seek professional help. Even if you aren’t, you may want to speak to a counselor about your experience.
10. Speak to a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
If you want to sue someone for your motorcycle accident, it is important to get in touch with an experienced lawyer. In that case, you should visit this page if you have been in a motorcycle accident.
Your lawyer will review your case and will advise you on your options going forward. They can also help you determine who was at fault in an accident and will help you find evidence to support this.
They will also take care of a range of administrative duties, such as:
- Meeting legal deadlines
- Filing your case
- Liaising with the court and other parties involved
- Contacting police and eye-witnesses
If your case has to go to court, then a lawyer will represent you. This not only increases your chances of winning your case but it also reduces stress for you. This means that you can focus your energy on recovering, rather than on legal proceedings.
If you do want to file a case against a person or organization for your accident, you should speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. There may be a limit on how long you have to do this and you don’t want to miss the deadline.
Get Support After a Bike Crash
Being involved in a motorcycle crash can be an incredibly traumatic experience. Even if you don’t have serious injuries, it is important that you follow these ten steps and get the support you need as soon as possible.
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