While it takes great skill to ride a motorcycle down a highway or within a city, the fact is even experienced, and skilled motorcyclists can be involved in an accident from time to time. In many instances, these accidents are not caused by the rider of the motorcycle, but by a motorist who is negligent and careless while behind the wheel. When this happens, the accident will likely be quite serious. Since you as the motorcyclist will have little protection against the impact of the vehicle, you may suffer a variety of injuries including lacerations, road rash, broken bones and fractures, and possibly head, neck, and back injuries. In these situations, you will need a motorcycle accident attorney who can help you gain compensation for your damages. Yet while you are at the accident scene, always remember to take these important steps.
Get Help to the Scene
Since these accidents are usually serious, it will be imperative you summon help to the scene as quickly as you can. By calling 9-1-1 yourself or having someone else do so if you are too injured, police and other rescue personnel including firefighters and paramedics will arrive and take charge of the scene. While rescue personnel will be making the accident scene safe and start to examine the extent of your injuries, police will investigate the circumstances surrounding the accident and complete an accident report that will include their opinion of who caused the accident. Upon completion of this report, always have a copy available for your motorcycle injury lawyer.
Be Treated for Your Injuries
Even though you have obeyed CVC 27803 that states motorcycle riders must wear their helmets at all times, you may have still suffered serious injuries such as a concussion or maybe even a traumatic brain injury. Yet no matter whether or not you believe you are seriously injured, never assume you do not require medical treatment. Instead, always let paramedics examine you at the scene. Since your adrenaline will be pumping at an all-time high due to the stress of the accident, you may not realize just how hurt you are from the accident. Along with on-scene medical treatment, always let yourself be sent to a hospital for further examination. By doing so, you can receive additional treatment for your injuries, and also have your injuries entered into your medical records. Once this is done, your Los Angeles motorcycle lawyer can use this information to prove to insurance companies you were indeed seriously injured, increasing the chances you will gain maximum compensation for your damages.
Never Say “I’m Sorry”
When you are involved in any type of accident, some of the first words you might say will be “I’m sorry.” Unfortunately, if you say these two simple words while at the scene of your motorcycle accident, they will be held against you and possibly derail your chances of gaining compensation. Should you say “I’m sorry” to police while being questioned about the accident, it will likely be shown in the accident report that you admitted fault for the accident. Also, should you say this to the other driver or witnesses, they may also take this to mean you are admitting the accident was your fault. Should their testimony find its way into a courtroom or to insurance companies, you and your motorcycle injury lawyer may have great difficulty proving the accident was not your fault. Thus, choose your words extremely carefully in these situations.
Gather Contact Information
Since you will need to be in touch extensively with insurance companies and your motorcycle accident attorney, always gather important contact information from other drivers involved in the accident and from anyone who witnessed the accident. Along with names, phone numbers, and addresses, make sure you get insurance information, make and model of the car involved in the accident, license plate numbers, and drivers license numbers as well. Once you have all this information, turn it over to your Los Angeles motorcycle lawyer so they can get in touch with these individuals should they need to do so for additional information about the accident.
Document the Accident
When riding a motorcycle in California, there are various laws pertaining to how the bike must be equipped. For example, CVC 26709 states your bike must be equipped with mirrors on the left and right sides to let you have a clear view of what may be behind you. Also, CVC 27801 states your motorcycle’s handlebars can be positioned so that the rider’s hands are no more that six inches above their shoulders when sitting on the bike’s seat. Even if your bike is damaged in the accident, you may still be able to prove you followed these two laws by taking photos of your bike at the scene. In addition to this, also take photos of other vehicles damaged in the accident, as well as any traffic signs or signals nearby that may have been ignored by the other driver. Finally, since speed and reckless driving is often a cause of these accidents, make note of any skid marks that may indicate the vehicle that hit you was speeding at the time of the crash. Upon taking these photos, immediately give them to your motorcycle injury lawyer for in-depth analysis by themselves as well as accident reconstruction specialists who may testify on your behalf as expert witnesses.
Beware of Insurance Companies
After your motorcycle accident, you will be in constant communication with both your insurance company and that of the other driver. However, beware of the real motives for these companies. Even though you believe your insurance company is there to help you, do not be surprised if the company initially denies your claim. Along with this, the other driver’s insurance company will do everything possible to say the accident was your fault. To make matters worse, if a settlement is offered to you by an insurance company, it will be for far less than what you need and deserve. Should you make the mistake of accepting an immediate settlement offer, you will give up any rights you have to pursue a personal injury lawsuit. Due to the seriousness of this, never enter into any agreements with insurance companies until you have consulted with a motorcycle accident attorney who is knowledgeable and experienced in these cases.
Get Witness Testimony
If you have a smartphone with you when speaking to witnesses, try to use your phone to record any statements they give you about what they saw. While an audio recording will be good, a video of the person’s testimony will be even better. By taking these precautions, you can ensure the person will have little if any way to claim their words were misinterpreted by you or that you are claiming they said something they did not during your conversation. Once you are able to gather this key piece of evidence, turn it over to your attorney for additional examination.
Since you will likely be surprised at the many complexities that will develop along the way during your case, don’t turn to an inexperienced attorney to handle your case. Instead, schedule your consultation immediately with a Los Angeles motorcycle lawyer you can trust