According to the National Safety Council (NSC), approximately 82,500 non-fatal motorcycle accidents occurred in 2020. While motorcycles comprise only 3% of all registered vehicles in the United States, they account for roughly 4% of all occupant injuries.
If you are injured in a motorcycle accident, it’s important to know what to do. We know those moments immediately following an injury can be confusing and overwhelming, so it pays to prepare ahead of time.
Today, we’re sharing the steps to take after a motorcycle accident, and how a personal injury lawyer can help you navigate each one.
1. Get to Safety
The very first thing you need to do after your accident is move away from the crash location if you can safely do so. While your first instinct might be to check on your bike, it’s critical to think of your own well-being, first.
Staying at the crash site could put you in the direct path of another collision. Not only is your physical presence a roadway obstacle, but it could also cause other roadway users to become distracted, which can lead to another accident.
Leave your bike where it lays, but move your body to a safe spot away from oncoming traffic. Not only could you injure yourself trying to move your motorcycle, but you could also compromise evidence. Even if your case doesn’t go to court, your insurance provider will request images or videos of the original crash scene to determine the cause and contributing factors.
You might think that you’d never be tempted to run back into the road to retrieve a missing light or clutch lever, but remember that you’ll have adrenaline coursing through your body. You might not be thinking clearly or underestimate the extent of your injuries.
No matter the extent of the property damage, stay safe and move out of the way. If anyone else was injured in the accident, help them do the same.
2. Leave Your Gear On
One of the first things you might want to do after a motorcycle accident is remove your helmet, jacket, or any other type of protective gear that you were wearing at the time of the collision. Though it may seem counterintuitive, you need to leave that equipment on.
The reason for this is that your injuries could be more serious than you know. Not only can adrenaline and shock mask the sensation of pain, but there are certain types of injuries, including soft-tissue ones, that aren’t immediately apparent.
You might not feel injured at the moment, but taking off your gear could stretch or strain your head, neck, shoulders, and spine. Leave everything on and try to stay in a comfortable, neutral position until medical support arrives.
3. Contact the Authorities
As soon as you have moved out of the way, call 911 to report the accident. The police will dispatch to the scene to create the police report, and they can also help coordinate emergency medical services.
Note that depending on the extent of your injuries, you may not be able to make this call yourself. If there are any witnesses or bystanders around, they can help but it’s important to provide them with clear directions. The “bystander effect” can cause people to freeze in place, unsure of what to do next. To the best of your ability, identify the nearest person and make your request known.
One way to prepare for this moment ahead of time is to install a mobile app that can instantly notify your emergency contacts or even call the authorities if you are involved in a motorcycle accident. While each app works differently, most can capture and send the following information:
- Your trip record
- Your personal medical information
- Your GPS location
4. Seek Medical Attention
The police and medical personnel should arrive at the scene of the accident at around the same time. Even if you do not see any physical signs of injury, it’s still a good idea to get checked out by a medical professional.
It can take weeks or even months for some injuries, such as internal bleeding, to appear. A physician can perform a thorough assessment to determine exactly how and where you were impacted by the collision. In addition to physical injuries, you may have also suffered emotional trauma.
Your motorcycle accident lawyer can use records of these visits to prove that you took the necessary steps after the accident. They can also serve as a timeline of your injuries, as well as your rehabilitation and recovery.
While it’s essential to seek medical help, you don’t want to get stuck with sky-high medical bills due to someone else’s negligence on the road. Capturing a record of your medical journey can reveal exactly how much you’ve suffered, and what you need to properly heal.
5. Collect Evidence
Immediately after the accident, you might not be in the right frame of mind to collect photos and videos of the scene. However, as soon as you feel capable, it’s a good idea to gather as much evidence as you possibly can.
Take pictures of your bike damage, as well as any injuries you can see. Speak to eyewitnesses and record their contact information. Obtain a copy of the police report after it’s officially filed.
All of these steps can help your lawyer understand exactly what happened in the moments before, during, and after the accident. The evidence you collect can help determine who was at fault for causing the collision, as well as how much compensation you need to cover the full scope of your damages.
6. Seek Legal Counsel
As you prepare to file an insurance claim following your accident, we strongly recommend seeking legal support. Look for a personal injury lawyer who specializes in motorcycle accidents and is familiar with the roadway laws in your state.
They’ll know exactly who to contact, which forms to complete, and which steps to follow as you begin the claims process. They can also negotiate with the insurance companies on your behalf, so you can focus on healing. Referencing your firsthand account, as well as other evidence they gather, they’ll create a compelling case that helps maximize your settlement and ensures you get the money you need to move forward.
Have You Been Injured in a Motorcycle Accident?
A motorcycle accident can be life-changing. However, that doesn’t mean you have to give up your favorite pastime. Knowledge and preparation are key to staying safe on the road and enjoying it in confidence.
If you are injured on your motorcycle, complete the steps above to stay safe and prevent further injuries. Along the way, our team of personal injury attorneys is here to help. We specialize in car and motorcycle accidents and we know how to get you the settlement you deserve.
With six locations throughout the state, we’re Wisconsin’s trusted legal experts, and we have the skills and experience required to protect your best interests. Contact us today to learn more and schedule a free consultation!