What should you do after a motorcycle accident?
The steps you take after a motorcycle accident are critical. What you do after your accident will impact your claim and legal rights to action. Here are the most important steps you need to take immediately after a motorcycle accident:
- Safely pull over. This is the very first thing you should do after being involved in a motorcycle accident. Make sure you and your motorcycle are in a safe place and pull off to the side of the road if possible before doing anything else. Often this is not possible due to the serious injuries suffered by the rider.
- Call the Police. Dial 911 to report the accident and have police get to the accident scene as soon as possible. Be sure to provide the police with as much information about the accident as possible. If there are injuries let them know immediately so that they can get medical attention to the scene. The police will file an accident report and the information noted can be important in recovering compensation for your injuries and any damages to your bike or clothing. Ask for the officers’ names and badge numbers for future reference. If you hire an attorney this information will be extremely helpful to have. The rider can’t do this because in an ambulance, it’s important that a family member or friend step in to help here.
- Write down important information:
- Name, address, and phone number for all drivers
- Insurance information and license numbers for all drivers
- Make and model of vehicles involved in the accident (take a picture if possible)
- Date and time of accident
- Name, address, and phone numbers of any witnesses to accident
- If you can recall the details of what you were doing when the accident happened (how the accident happened, location, road conditions, weather, etc.)
- Get Medical Attention ASAP. If you have been severely injured in a motorcycle accident, chances are an ambulance will arrive at the scene and take you to the nearest hospital for evaluation. Even if you think you are ok, go see a doctor and be evaluated. Documentation of any injuries sustained during the accident will be critical when filing an accident claim with any insurance company.
- Do not admit fault. It is very easy to apologize to another party after being in an accident. Be very careful about what you say. Statements made after an accident can be used against you and can be a problem down the road.
- Contact your insurance company. Let your insurance company know about the accident as soon as possible. You do not have to sign any documents or answer any questions. We recommend contacting an attorney before you ever sign anything or answer any questions that could hurt your claim. Do not go into detail about your injuries or say anything about who was at fault.
- Contact a Motorcycle Accident Attorney. An experienced Washington state motorcycle accident attorney can help you with your motorcycle accident claim. Often times the insurance companies will try to settle your motorcycle accident claim with a “low ball” offer. A motorcycle accident attorney is trained to determine the fault of the parties involved and can help you get a settlement amount you deserve.
What is the average payout for a motorcycle accident?
There are many different factors that go into determining the value of your motorcycle accident case. Each accident case is different, so we need to look at the specific details of your accident case in order to determine the estimated value. Losses must be documented and measurable in dollars in order to be recoverable. Invoices, bills, and employment records can be used to show damages that can be recovered from a motorcycle accident.
Here are some of the recoverable economic damages you may receive compensations for after an accident:
- Lost wages. The time you missed from work due to injuries, recuperation, and treatment can be recovered.
- Earning potential impacted. Injuries can have an effect on a person’s ability to perform their job. It is possible you may have to make a job change that could impact your earning potential. You can be compensated for a decreased earning potential due to the injuries sustained in an accident.
- Medical bills and expenses. Medical costs that you incurred after an accident can be recovered. Examples of this are bills from an ambulance trip, emergency room visit, hospital stay, any surgeries performed, and doctor/specialist visits completed, any tests, x-rays, imaging, lab services, prescribed medications, supplies and/or equipment needed, rehabilitation or physical therapy needed, and any ongoing treatment that will be needed due to injuries you sustained.
- Any future medical treatment. If you will require future medical treatment due to injuries sustained in the accident, this is also recoverable compensation you can seek.
- Property damage. The cost of any repairs or replacement of your motorcycle are considered recoverable.
- Disability. If you are unable to work after a motorcycle accident, you may qualify for compensation. Our motorcycle accident attorneys will help determine the value of your loss by working with vocational experts.
- Long-term care. If it is determined that long-term care is needed, we will include this expense with your claim for compensation. Long-term care can be costly, so it is important to include this as an expense to be compensated for.
- Wrongful death. If you have tragically lost your loved one in a motorcycle accident, our attorneys can help you file a wrongful death claim in order to obtain compensation.
Here are some of the non-economic damages you may receive compensations for after an accident:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Pain and suffering
- Psychological distress (including anxiety and depression)
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
How are accident settlements calculated?
There is no set number or magic formula to determine the amount your “pain and suffering” damages (also known as general damages) are worth. It’s easy to determine how much your medical bills are, but pain and suffering is more intangible and harder to measure because it’s a subjective matter that varies person to person.
The more serious and long-lasting your injuries, the higher the damages value will be. The type of injuries and pain associated is a big factor. Broken ribs have a higher value because of the pain involved effects every aspect of a person’s life, every breath can be painful. The length of time you have to deal with the pain is a big factor. The biggest factor is whether the injury will be permanent or whether you will heal and get back to normal. A lifetime of pain and injury limitations has a much higher value than if you fully recover and get back to normal.
These some of the factors that give the insurance adjuster an estimate of your claim value and a starting point for settlement negotiations. Talk to an experienced Washington state motorcycle attorney before accepting any settlements from the insurance company.
In order to retrieve compensation for your motorcycle accident there are four things that must be established in your claim:
- The duty of care. Drivers must follow the rules of the road and operate their vehicle safely and in a reasonable manner.
- Negligence. If you do not meet the duty of care, this is considered negligence. Examples of negligence include driving aggressively, running stop signs and red lights, driving while intoxicated, and texting while driving.
- Causation. This is where you must prove that the defendant’s negligent actions led to your accident.
- Damages. You must show that you have suffered physical, emotional, and/or financial damages because of your motorcycle accident (see the list of economic and non-economic damages above).
How do you check a damaged motorcycle after an accident?
It can be overwhelming to deal with the aftermath of a motorcycle accident. Most likely your motorcycle will be wrecked and you will have to deal with that on top of the insurance company and any injuries you may have sustained. You will want to have your bike inspected after an accident to assess the damage done.
Here is a list of things to make sure you inspect before getting back on your motorcycle after an accident:
- Wheels and tires. Look to make sure there are no gashes in the sidewall or tread. Check the wheels for dents and spin the wheels to make sure they are not loose.
- Bike in neutral. By putting your bike in neutral and rolling it back and forth you will feel any resistance or hear any sounds that would alert you to a problem.
- Controls. Check your clutch and front brake lever and lines. Also check the pegs and brackets in the rear and make sure they are not broken.
- Rotors and brakes. Check your brake lines for leaks or cracks. Remove any debris from the rotor and brake. Make sure your wheel spins without getting stuck. Check rotors to make sure they are not cracked or bent.
- Fluids. Look for leaking coolant, oil or brake fluid. Determine where the leak is coming from and get it repaired.
- Frame. Look for damage to the frame, subframe and seat.
- Lights and electronics. Make sure your headlights, blinkers, cutoff switch, brake lights, and horn are all in working order. Check your front and rear brake lights to make sure these are also working.
If you have any of the following issues with your bike, DO NOT RIDE IT and have the bike towed to your home or nearest shop for repairs:
- Low or flat tires
- Broken brake line (can’t use caliper)
- Cracked rim
- Broken foot pegs, levers, pedals, clip-ons or bent bars
- Leaking suspension, bent forks
- Any obvious motor of frame damage
If you or someone you know has been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact Washington state motorcycle attorneys at MaxPower Law. Call us for a free consultation at 425-930-9300 today!