Motorcycle accidents are among the deadliest types of vehicle accidents, often resulting in serious and catastrophic injuries. Each year, thousands of individuals are killed and tens of thousands are injured in motorcycle crashes. In addition, motorcyclists are 28 times more likely than occupants of other vehicles to be killed in a crash.
If you are involved in a motorcycle accident, you are most likely in a heightened emotional state. Heart rates tend to increase, and your mind is going in all different directions as you try to assess and deal with the situation. Keep in mind that the steps you take immediately after an accident will greatly impact your ability to recover compensation for any injuries you may have suffered.
There are five things you should do immediately after a motorcycle accident to ensure your safety and protect your legal rights:
The first priority after an accident is to check for injuries and make sure everyone receives the medical attention they need. Call 911 right away to get an ambulance to the scene. Some injuries are not noticeable right away, and some unseen injuries (such as internal injuries) can be serious as well. So, even if you don’t feel hurt, it is still a good idea to get checked out. When you call 911, the dispatcher may also summon the police for you. The police should be called to the scene, so they can investigate what happened and file an official report. This report will be useful later on should you decide to take legal action.
Take Photos of the Scene
After calling 911, take multiple photographs of the accident scene with your smartphone or whatever camera you have available. It is best to do this even before you move the bike and other vehicle (or vehicles) that may have been involved to the side of the road (assuming you have a camera handy and you can snap these pictures pretty quickly). Try to get visual evidence of what the scene looked like immediately after the accident as this will also help substantiate any and legal claim you end up filing.
Document the Incident
While everything is fresh in your mind, you should create your own report of what happened. If you do not have a pen and paper handy or you are physically unable to write a report, use the voice recorder on your smart phone and write everything down later. Also, once the police report is available, be sure to review it and check it against your own report for any inaccuracies.
Obtain Statements from Witnesses
If there are any individuals nearby that saw what happened, speak with them and obtain their contact information. In addition, ask them if they are willing to record a video statement describing the incident. Memories fade over time, and if you can get them on camera right away, this will also help your case by minimizing the chances of people forgetting details and/or changing their stories later on.
Do NOT Admit Fault
After a motorcycle accident, it is not always clear exactly how it happened or who was primarily responsible. It may be tempting to apologize for the accident even when it’s not your fault or go along with someone else’s version of events just to avoid conflict. Be very careful what you say at the scene of an accident. You can certainly express empathy for others who are hurt, but never admit fault to the other party, the police, their insurer, or even your own insurance company. Just give the facts as you know them and leave it to the experts to sort out the exact cause of the accident.
Contact an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle crash, you should get in touch with an attorney as soon as possible. The sooner you retain legal counsel, the better your chances of recovering full and fair compensation. Insurance companies are known for employing various tactics to avoid paying out what they should for an accident, and a skilled attorney will be able to effectively thwart these tactics and put you in the best possible position to secure a favorable outcome.
At Peake & Fowler, we have successfully represented numerous clients who have been injured in motorcycle accidents in South Carolina. We work closely with our clients, putting our extensive experience to work to provide the strong personalized representation they need and deserve. For a free consultation with one of our attorneys, call our office today at 803-998-2412 or send us a message through our online contact form.