What to do if you’re in a motorcycle accident
For many South Carolinians, riding a motorcycle is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Some enjoy the thrill of the ride, while others find it therapeutic to hop on their bike and escape their day-to-day troubles. Regardless of your reason for traveling on two wheels, it’s important to be aware that accidents can happen at any time.
Motorcycle accidents are often due to the negligence of other drivers. Some common causes include the driver not seeing the motorcycle, following the motorcycle too closely, being distracted by electronic devices, or being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
What to do at the scene
In the event of a motorcycle accident, the first priority is the safety of all drivers and passengers. If you or someone else is seriously injured in the accident and need medical attention, call 911 immediately. Do not try to move yourself or anyone else who has been seriously hurt.
If your injuries do not require you to be rushed to the hospital, stay at the scene, and wait for the police. Make sure all other parties also remain present.
The officers at the scene will ask questions to all parties involved and complete an accident report. This report is extremely important and will be vital if you need to seek damages at a later time.
The more information you have related to your crash, the better. Here are a few things you should collect at the scene:
- Photographs of the accident
- Names, addresses & phone numbers of everyone involved
- Insurance & vehicle information of everyone involved
- Witnesses’ names, addresses & phone numbers
You should also write down your account of the motorcycle crash as quickly as possible, while everything is still fresh in your mind.
What to do after the motorcycle accident
Even if you do not believe you were seriously injured, you should be evaluated by a medical professional following the accident. Not all injuries are immediately obvious. For instance, you might find that your back pain is actually being caused by damage to the spinal cord, or that your headache is more serious than you thought.
Seeing a doctor is important for your health and well-being, and can also provide vital documentation in case you’re more seriously injured than you believed. Be sure to tell the physician everything that hurts in case you need to reference that information at a later date.
Once you’ve been checked out by a doctor, you’ll need to focus on the insurance process. It is extremely important for the insurance companies of all parties to be notified of the accident.
You are only responsible for reporting the collision to your own company, but at-fault drivers are often reluctant to call their insurance provider. This is why you should also give them a call to alert them about the accident.
Be aware that you do not have to answer any questions from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Stick to the simple facts of the accident, such as the time, place, and parties involved. Do not negotiate. They are not on your side.
Don’t be surprised if the other party’s insurance company tries to contact you following the accident. If this happens, do not speak to them. They have teams of adjusters who will try to trip you up, get you to settle, or admit fault.
It is also important to note that at-fault drivers sometimes try to convince accident victims to leave the insurance companies out of the equation, promising to take care of the costs themselves. Never agree to this.
Here is why you should always get both insurance companies involved:
- The at-fault driver could be lying about their intention to cover costs
- The at-fault driver may not have enough funds to fulfill their promise
- You might be more injured than you initially thought
- Damage to your motorcycle could be very expensive to fix
- If you fail to report the accident within the specified window, you will lose your chance to do so
Contact an attorney if needed
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident caused by someone else, getting the compensation you deserve can be an incredibly difficult thing to do.
However, you might find that you are owed damages for medical bills, lost income, loss of future earning capacity, cost of rehabilitation, physical pain, and suffering, or emotional pain and suffering. You might also be owed punitive damages.
Hiring an attorney can lead to the best results. A qualified lawyer will have experience negotiating with insurance companies and will know if they are trying to lowball you. They will also know your rights to compensation under South Carolina law and will be able to fight for you in court.
The attorneys at McWhirter, Bellinger & Associates will be happy to give you a free case evaluation. Call us today at 888-353-5513.