Motorcyclists make up approximately 5% of all drivers, yet motorcyclists are 26 times more likely to die in traffic accidents than vehicle passengers and have a five times higher chance of getting injured, according to the Insurance Information Institution. The Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association (RMIIA) has also reported 87 fatalities due to motorcycle crashes in Colorado, 2013. While there are various reasons for these accidents like not wearing helmets or drunk driving, even the most careful drivers who take all precautions can sometimes find themselves in unavoidable accidents. It is critical to know what to do following a motorcycle accident and how to react properly. Here are the most important steps to take right after an accident.
Keep Your Protective Gear On and Analyze Your Surroundings
Don’t remove your helmet and wait for the paramedics to arrive, because you will feel numb from the shock and adrenaline. Removing your protective gear may result in more serious injuries. Analyze your surroundings, check if anyone else was involved in the accident, and get to safety. Remove yourself from the middle of the road if you can, or seek help from other people if possible.
Report The Crash
You should then call 911, the ambulance, or emergency contact to report the accident and reach out to paramedics. If the injuries are severe, the paramedics will immediately transport you to the hospital to receive proper medical attention.
Even if you’re just scratched and don’t think you’re seriously injured, it is of utmost importance to get checked at the hospital by professionals. This is because some injuries take weeks or months before they become apparent. Motorcycles are not enclosed nor stable, and people who experience a motorcycle accident are vulnerable to:
- Internal bleeding
- Head and brain injuries (Traumatic Brain Injuries or TBIs)
- Fractures and broken bones
Insurance companies and legal professionals will ask for your medical records. These documents serve as leverage to gather evidence and negotiate settlements with health insurance companies.
File A Claim
If you’ve been harmed or injured in a motorcycle accident that was caused by the negligence of another person, you have the right to file a compensation claim. You can read more about how to consult with experienced motorcycle accident attorneys and what type of compensation you may be entitled to. Depending on the circumstances, you may be compensated for:
- Lost wages due to inability to work
- Motorcycle damages
- Medical bills
- Physical therapy
- Non-economic damages such as psychological suffering after the accident
- Punitive damages in case of an outrageous accident to punish the responsible party
You can also file a lawsuit even if you weren’t wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. Some states don’t require motorcyclists to wear a helmet if they are 18 years or older. Generally speaking, you have up to two years to file a lawsuit and investigate the accident. However, it may be in your best interest not to delay this step. Bear in mind; don’t accept early settlement offers as it is a strategy to avoid large fines by enticing victims who are suffering financially.
If You Were At Fault
If you’re wondering whether seeking compensation is still applicable even if you were to blame for the accident. The answer is yes, you may still receive compensation, however, you need to speak with an attorney and an insurance company. Your lawyer should speak with the insurance company on your behalf and negotiate with them so that you get the lowest amount possible. If you are found to be 30% responsible for your own injuries, the damages you will receive from a jury may be reduced by the same percentage.
Avoid Social Media Interactions
Social media interactions can affect your claim, as investigators and at-fault drivers’ attorneys can use it against you. They can find pictures that suggest that you aren’t physically harmed or injured, or suggest that you have recovered, which contradicts your claims and what you have reported. So try not to upload any photos or posts, and stay inactive until your claim is settled.
Bikers are susceptible to a high risk of injuries or death when they are involved in an accident. If you are a biker, you have to follow all these steps as soon as an accident occurs, or let a loved one perform these tasks for you. This is because you will be overwhelmed, and it can be hard to think straight then. Being prepared is very important, as accidents can happen at any time, even if you are near your home and least expect it.