Safety should be your number one concern after any type of accident. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done for motorcyclists.
Motorcyclists are highly likely to suffer serious injuries in the event of a crash. As a result, riders are often unable to take steps at the scene of the accident to start building their claim, such as taking photos, speaking to witnesses, exchanging information with those involved, etc.
A motorcycle accident lawyer can help you pursue compensation for your injuries. Contact Patrick Daniel Law for free today, or keep reading to learn what you need to do if you were seriously hurt in a crash caused by someone else:
10 Steps to Take After a Motorcycle Accident
Ideally you would be able to stay at the scene of the motorcycle accident and start gathering evidence for your claim. However, the reality is that you may be too injured to take action on your own in the immediate aftermath of the accident.
Motorcycle accident injuries are frequently serious. Riders may be immobile or even lose consciousness. Often, it comes down to the other driver or a bystander to call 911 so you can be taken to the emergency room.
Your priority after a motorcycle accident should be getting treatment for any serious or life-threatening injuries. Once your injuries are stable and you are released from the hospital, the next steps include:
1. Follow Your Doctor’s Recommendations
Injuries sustained in motorcycle accidents are often complex. For example, traumatic brain injuries required specialized care and potentially a lifetime of therapy and assistance.
You will likely see multiple doctors after the accident, from emergency room physicians to specialists in the injuries you have sustained. Physical therapists and other professionals will likely be involved as well.
It is essential to keep all appointments with medical providers and adhere to the recommendations of your care team. Following medical advice increases your likelihood of recovery. It also shows that you have taken steps to improve your condition and not made your injuries worse. (Insurance companies may try to dispute liability by arguing that you are responsible for exacerbating your injuries after the accident.)
2. Report the Motorcycle Accident to the Police
Texas law requires that any motor vehicle accident resulting in injury be reported to the police. According to Section 550.062 of the Texas Transportation Code, a crash report must be filed with the appropriate police department no later than 10 days after the accident.
The other driver may have already spoken to the police either at the scene of the accident or after the fact. If you are unsure whether the police have been notified or you have not been contacted by law enforcement, you need to file a report with the police as soon as possible.
3. Notify Your Insurance Company of the Motorcycle Accident
Generally, insureds have up to 30 days to notify the carrier that they were involved in an accident. Check your insurance policy to see how long you have, and take the necessary steps to submit an official report within the specified time limit.
Reporting an accident is not the same thing as filing a claim. However, if you fail to report an accident within the time limit, the insurer may deny coverage.
If someone else is at fault for the motorcycle accident, your primary means of recovering damages is to bring a claim against the other party. However, you may be entitled to additional coverage through your own insurance. Therefore, it is important to abide by the policy and make sure you file a report with the insurance company as soon as you can.
4. Do Not Admit Fault for the Motorcycle Accident
Whether you are speaking to a police officer, an adjuster from your insurance provider, or a representative for the other driver’s insurance company, you should never say anything to suggest that you share any of the blame for the crash. Any admission of wrongdoing on your part can make it difficult or even impossible for you to recover the compensation you deserve.
Generally, it is in your best interest to have a lawyer handle communications with any insurance companies on your behalf. Limiting contact with adjusters reduces the potential for a serious mistake.
5. Get a Copy of the Police Report
The police report contains a number of important details about the motorcycle accident. It is crucial to obtain a copy of the report once it is available (which may take several days).
You can purchase a digital download of the police report from the Texas Department of Transportation. Alternatively, you can request a copy of the crash report by mail.
6. Create a File Documenting Life After the Motorcycle Accident
You must present compelling evidence to establish the fault of the driver and prove that you are entitled to compensation after a motorcycle accident. Although you were likely not able to gather this evidence at the scene, you can start taking steps during recovery to support your claim.
Designate a file folder and/or create a folder on your computer to keep track of the following after the accident:
- Medical bills and explanation of benefits statements
- Letters from your doctor and other medical professionals
- Communications with your employer if you are unable to work
- Any and all insurance documents
- Your copy of the police report
Many motorcycle accident victims also find it helpful to keep a journal of their day-to-day life after the crash. Keeping a journal can help you document the symptoms you experience from your injuries, your pain levels, notes about medical appointments, and more.
Staying organized is crucial for your peace of mind after the motorcycle accident. In addition, having these materials available is extremely beneficial if you decide to take legal action.
Claims involving so-called minor accidents may be handled without an attorney. However, the majority of motorcycle accidents are serious. Therefore, it is worth having legal representation after crashing on your motorcycle.
A motorcycle accident lawyer can investigate and collect the evidence you were unable to obtain in the moments immediately after the crash. Your attorney can also review any notes and other documents you have in your possession.
What a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Can Do for You
Hiring an attorney takes many of the more complicated aspects of the motorcycle accident case off your plate. While the lawyer prepares your claim, you can focus on healing from your injuries and trying to reclaim some sense of normalcy in your life.
A knowledgeable motorcycle accident lawyer will determine fault and liability for the crash and calculate the value of your damages. With this information, your attorney can do the following on your behalf:
8. Negotiate a Motorcycle Accident Settlement
Trying to negotiate a settlement on your own is difficult. Insurance companies have the money and resources to dispute claims, and they will not hesitate to throw their weight around if it means cutting down on payouts.
Hiring a motorcycle accident lawyer to handle negotiations on your behalf is important if you have been seriously injured. An experienced attorney will be able to recognize low-ball offers and push back with the goal of achieving a settlement that is fair to you.
The decision whether to settle, of course, rests with you. With qualified legal guidance, however, you are more likely to obtain a settlement that compensates you fairly for your injuries and losses.
9. File a Motorcycle Accident Claim
Some motorcycle accident claims don’t settle. Often, this is due to the defense mounted by insurance companies to avoid substantial payouts (which is common after a motorcycle accident due to the high rate of serious injuries).
If you are facing this scenario, you have 2 years to file a lawsuit to recoup damages from the motorcycle accident (per § 16.003 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code). Injured motorcyclists are often unaware of the statute of limitations. Accident lawyers, however, are, and your attorney will take action on your behalf to file the claim with the right court prior to the legal deadline.
10. Prepare for Trial
Finally, if a settlement cannot be reached in your motorcycle accident claim, it may be necessary to go to court and fight for the maximum compensation you deserve. Preparing for trial is arduous and takes time, and it is not something you should try to do on your own.
A motorcycle accident lawyer will handle the preparations for trial on your behalf. Your attorney and legal team will consult with you regularly while preparing the case. If your case ultimately is tried in the courtroom, you can feel confident that a seasoned lawyer will represent your best interest effectively and fight for the optimal outcome on your behalf.
Injured in a Motorcycle Accident? Patrick Daniel Law Can Help
Motorcycle accidents typically end up worse for the rider than the driver of another vehicle. As a result, serious injuries are the rule rather than the exception.
You may be entitled to significant compensation if the negligence of a motorist or other party caused your motorcycle crash. At Patrick Daniel Law, we take a Strategic, Meticulous, and Merciless approach to each case that combines individualized service, thorough preparation, and aggressive advocacy to achieve superior results for our clients.
Please call Patrick Daniel Law at (713) 999-6666 today for a free case review. Our Houston motorcycle accident lawyers serve clients throughout the state of Texas.