You might have one thing on your mind following a motorcycle accident: "What now?"
The steps you must take after a motorcycle accident ultimately depend on your situation.
Your health and well-being should come first. Always seek medical attention if you were hurt. Visit the emergency room or schedule a visit with your primary healthcare provider. Also, consider your legal options, refer insurers to your motorcycle accident lawyer if they call you, and document your losses.
What You Should Do at the Accident Scene
If you’re still at the scene of your Atlanta motorcycle accident, you should:
#1. Get Yourself and Any Loved Ones to Safety
The moments right after an accident are stressful, confusing, and critical. Prioritize your safety and the safety of those around you. This involves staying out of moving traffic and preventing already-existing injuries from getting worse.
#2. Turn off Your Motorcycle
If your motorcycle is still running after the accident, turn off the ignition if you're able. The accident may cause your motorcycle to leak fuel, so shutting off the engine can reduce fire risks.
#3. Check for Injuries
Some injuries require immediate medical attention. While you wait for the paramedics, apply pressure to any wounds. If you suspect a passenger has a spinal cord or neck injury, do not move them. Wait for medical personnel to arrive.
#4. Call Emergency Personnel
The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) notes that you must report a collision to law enforcement if anyone was injured, passed away, or property damage exceeded a certain value. Not only is calling law enforcement the law-it could also mean the difference between life and death for those involved.
For instance, even if you feel “fine,” you could have a traumatic brain injury like a concussion and not realize it. This would make prompt medical attention crucial to your well-being.
#5. Gather Any Witnesses’ Contact Information
You should collect the contact information of any witnesses who were present at the accident scene. While the police may collect this information for you, some people might not want to comply with the police-or they may leave the accident scene shortly after the collision.
Eyewitnesses could include bystanders, business owners, other road users, and law enforcement officials. Any statements or observations these witnesses make could bolster your compensation case later.
#6. Take Pictures of the Accident Scene and Your Injuries
Take photos of the accident scene-but only if it's safe. Keep away from moving traffic or other potential hazards at the scene.
Photos could comprise:
- Skid marks on the roadway
- Your motorcycle’s damage
- Your external injuries, such as bruises and cuts
- Any roadway hazards, such as potholes or uneven pavement
- The accident scene itself
The more pictures you take, the more information you could have to support your case later.
What You Should Do After Leaving the Accident Scene?
The aftermath of a motorcycle accident in Atlanta is a confusing, chaotic time. It's understandable if you're not physically or cognitively able to perform the recommendations listed above.
However, even in the days and weeks after the collision, there are still measures you can employ to protect your legal rights, such as:
#1. Be Careful Who You Talk To
Often, after a traffic accident, the other driver’s insurance representatives may reach out to you. They may ask you for a statement about the accident. Yet, these statements could hurt you later.
Remember: you do not have to make any statements to these insurance representatives. They may push or try to cajole you into making one, but you don’t have to cooperate. When you partner with a lawyer, they can manage all communications with the insurance providers for you.
#2. Call Your Insurance Company
Even if the accident was not your fault, contact your insurance provider and tell it what happened.
Do this because:
- You want to connect your injury to the accident itself.
- If the other driver did not have insurance, you could file a claim with your own uninsured/underinsured motorist policy.
- Every insurance claim has a time limit; missing the deadline could forfeit your right to damages.
You want to create a “paper trail” of what happened as soon as possible. Again, more evidence and documentation make your case stronger.
#3. Watch What You Post on Social Media
After an accident, watch what you post on social media. The claims adjuster may review your social media profiles, looking for reasons to deny or devalue your case. While your case unfolds, you should keep a low profile online. You should only keep the details of your case between yourself and your legal team.
#4. Seek Medical Help
Immediately after your accident, you may not feel you need medical attention. This is because a collision can trigger your body's adrenaline. The excitement of the accident may mask injuries or put your body into shock as a coping mechanism. In these situations, some injuries may not manifest for hours after the event.
Some of these injuries include:
- Internal bleeding
- Organ damage
- Spinal cord trauma
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Soft-tissue injuries
As noted, seeking medical attention does more than ensure your physical and mental health; it provides evidence that can support your compensation claim later. Your imaging scans, lab test results, and other information can prove that you suffered harm in the collision and deserve damages.
#5. Follow Your Doctor’s Treatment Plan
After your examination, your doctor may prescribe medications and other treatment regimens. Follow your doctor's orders. Disregarding these instructions could prolong your recovery period and prevent you from seeking compensation.
#6. Review the Police Report
If you called law enforcement to the accident scene, they filled out an accident report. This document outlines who caused the accident, the points of impact on each vehicle, and whether an ambulance came.
Police officers are human just like everyone else, and they could make mistakes in the police report that could complicate your civil case later. By reviewing the accident report, you can correct any errors, such as the time, date, and location of the collision.
Doing this could make the police report a compelling piece of evidence in your claim or lawsuit.
Consult a Personal Injury Lawyer Serving Atlanta
If you suffered harm in a motorcycle accident, you have every right to partner with a personal injury lawyer. They can determine the cause of your accident, file your insurance claim, and pursue compensation for your losses.
Some reasons to consider legal help include:
#1. A Lawyer Can Pursue Financial Recovery for Your Losses
Whether through a claim or lawsuit, you could recover damages for:
- Medical expenses, including surgeries, medications, and hospitalization
- Lost job-related benefits, including lost wages, tips, bonuses, commissions, contracts, and performances
- Pain and suffering
- The cost of replacing or repairing your motorcycle
- Mental anguish
- Funeral expenses (if you lost a loved one)
- Out-of-pocket damages, such as temporary transportation and childcare costs
A lawyer will seek compensation that accounts for each of your injury-related losses. Using your medical bills, employment records, and other supporting information, they will advocate for what you need.
#2. A Lawyer Can Help You Meet Your Case’s Statutory Deadline
Did you know that you have a limited time to pursue compensation via an insurance claim or lawsuit? In Georgia, you generally have two years to file your case.
Your filing period begins based on:
- When you discovered your injuries
- When the accident itself happened
- Whether a hit-and-run accident
- hurt you Whether you lost a loved one
If you miss the two-year deadline to file your case, you could lose the right to seek damages. A lawyer can assess your situation, determine the appropriate filing period, and pursue what you need.
#3. An Attorney Can Manage All Case-Related Communications
Your phone might start ringing off the hook after your motorcycle accident. Claims adjusters, healthcare providers, and even attorneys could all clamor for your attention. This can quickly overwhelm you.
Yet, when you hire a lawyer, they'll manage all of your case's relevant communications, including emails, phone calls, and text messages. Now is the time to focus on your well-being-not juggling communications with multiple parties.
#4. Your Lawyer Can Manage Everything Your Case Requires
Your lawyer has one main goal: to recover compensation for your losses.
To do this, they will manage everything your case requires to reach a fair outcome, such as:
- Negotiating with the liable insurance company
- Determining the cost of your damages
- Demonstrating how your accident happened
- Protecting you from bad faith insurance tactics
- Upholding your right to damages
- Using evidence to support your case
Many personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. This means you pay nothing out of pocket for legal help. If your case succeeds, a portion of your settlement will pay for your lawyer's fee.
Questions You May Have After Your Motorcycle Accident in Atlanta
After a collision in Atlanta, you may have many questions on your mind, such as:
#1. What if the Insurance Company Denies My Claim?
If the insurance company denies your claim, it has to give a valid reason why. For instance, it might deny your claim because you don’t have enough supporting information. If this happens, you can provide more information, such as your medical treatment records and injury-related receipts.
Still, if the insurance company denies your case (or refuses to operate in good faith), you can file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. As noted, you must file your case before Georgia’s statute of limitations expires.
#2. How Much Can I Recover for My Motorcycle Accident in Atlanta?
What you can recover depends on your situation, including your condition's severity and the details of the accident itself. When you work with a lawyer, they will assess your circumstances and explain what you deserve. They may calculate your losses by adding up your injury-related receipts, projecting your future losses, and consulting with field experts.
#3. Does It Matter What Caused My Accident?
The cause of your motorcycle accident matters because it helps your lawyer determine who should pay for your losses. For example, if a rear-end collision threw you off your bike, you could pursue damages from the at-fault driver. If an unmaintained roadway caused your accident, you could sue a government agency.
#4. Do Motorcycle Accidents Commonly Happen in Atlanta?
Atlanta is one of the most populated cities in the Deep South. Overpopulation, unmaintained roadways, and other hazards contribute to countless motorcycle accidents each year.
However, the only motorcycle accident case that matters is yours. It doesn’t matter whether hundreds or thousands of collisions happen in Atlanta each year; if another party’s actions caused you harm, you can pursue legal action.
#5. Can I Pursue Damages After Losing a Loved One in a Motorcycle Accident?
Whether you can pursue damages after losing a loved one depends on your situation, namely, your relationship with the decedent. If you were the decedent’s spouse, parent, or child, you could seek damages through a wrongful death case.
Compensation in a wrongful death case can comprise funeral expenses, end-of-life care costs, and other damages.
Consult With an Atlanta Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Managing your medical care, insurance claims, and other tasks after a motorcycle accident in Atlanta can quickly become overwhelming-especially if you're dealing with serious injuries. Yet, you don't have to navigate the accident's aftermath alone.
You can partner with an injury lawyer who can manage the legal process for you. They can explain your next steps, assess your case, and pursue the damages you deserve.