After a motorcycle accident, you should seek immediate medical attention and protect your financial interests. Motorcycle accidents can result in overwhelming bills for medical treatment and property damage. Therefore, you should report the accident to the police and your motorcycle insurance provider.
You may also wish to contact a law firm that understands motorcycle accident cases. If you experienced an accident caused by someone else, you could seek financial compensation known as damages. A motorcycle accident lawyer can help you collect evidence and seek the recovery you need through a claim or lawsuit.
What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident?
You may struggle to think clearly after your motorcycle accident. After all, an accident can traumatize victims. However, your actions at the scene and the days after the accident can affect your insurance and legal options in the future, so you should take steps to protect your interests. After a motorcycle accident, you should:
Seek Medical Attention
Call 911 immediately after a motorcycle accident. Of course, prompt medical treatment can be critical for serious injuries. Even if you feel OK or think you have minor injuries, you should get checked by a medical professional. Sometimes, what seems like a minor injury can become a serious problem in the days after the accident.
Your medical exam also documents your injuries and links them to your motorcycle accident. If you refuse treatment at the scene or fail to seek treatment, the other party may claim they do not bear responsibility for your medical care. They may say that your injuries did not result from the accident. Seek treatment so that you can use your medical records as evidence if necessary.
Report the Motorcycle Accident to the Police
Under Georgia law, you must report an accident to the police if it results in injury, death, or property damage of more than $500. Report the accident to the local police if you are within a municipality. If not, report it to the county sheriff or state patrol.
Report the accident because the law requires it and because the police can document the accident. In addition, the police report can serve as evidence if you need to fight for an insurance settlement or file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. The police can also begin to investigate your accident.
Report the Motorcycle Accident to Your Insurance Provider
Once you report the accident to the police, you should call your insurance provider. Most insurance companies have a 24-hour hotline, so you should be able to call from the accident scene.
When you speak with your insurance representative, choose your words carefully. Tell them the basics of what happened, such as the time and location, but you do not need to go into detail. Never say anything that sounds like an apology or admittance of fault. Your insurer can use those words to deny your claim later. Remember, they aim to make money, not pay you a large settlement.
Gather Information at the Scene
If another driver caused your accident, you should exchange information, including license plate numbers and contact and insurance information. If you feel capable of doing so, you can take pictures of the scene, including the location and condition of your motorcycle and any other vehicles.
If road problems caused your accident, such as debris on the road or obstructed traffic signs or signals, take pictures. These pictures can indicate whether an accident cleanup crew removed the debris or obstruction or if it was initially at the accident scene.
Stay off Social Media After a Motorcycle Accident
In the same way that you should watch what you say to your insurance agent, watch what you post on social media after your motorcycle accident. You should stay off social media completely when it comes to the accident. Never post details about what happened or say anything that makes it sound like you could bear partial responsibility for the accident.
Avoid posting pictures that make you look happy and healthy. For example, if you post pictures of yourself at a barbecue, bike riding with your kids, or enjoying a vacation, the insurance companies may use those posts against you. They may claim you must not have sustained serious injuries if you feel well enough to be out and about.
Contact a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Near You
You may wish to contact a motorcycle accident lawyer. You can contact one from the scene or the days after the accident. The insurance companies for you and the other party care about their bottom lines more than your well-being. A lawyer can advocate for your best interests throughout the insurance and legal processes after an accident.
Act Quickly After a Motorcycle Accident
Act quickly after a motorcycle accident, immediately reporting the accident to the police and your insurance company. If you file a lawsuit against the at-fault party, quickly find a lawyer to file it. Georgia laws limit how much time you have to sue the responsible party after a motorcycle accident.
If you wait too long, you forfeit your right to sue, no matter the strength of your case.
- Under Georgia law for personal injury, you only have two years to file a lawsuit against another driver who caused your accident through negligent driving.
- Under Georgia law, for personal injury caused by the state, you only have one year to file a lawsuit against the state of Georgia for causing your accident through poor road maintenance, improper design of roads or intersections, or other negligence.
- Under Georgia law for personal injury caused by a county, you have one year to file a lawsuit against the responsible county.
- Under Georgia law, for personal injury caused by a city, you have six months to file a lawsuit against the responsible city.
A lawyer with experience handling motorcycle accident cases can determine which party caused your accident, how these statutes apply to your case, and file your lawsuit before time runs out.
How a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Can Help You?
A motorcycle accident lawyer can help you immediately after the accident and in the following weeks and months. A lawyer can guide you in making difficult decisions and advocate for you with your insurance company and the insurance company for the other party. By taking over everything from paperwork and phone calls to representing you in court, a lawyer can do the heavy lifting so you can focus on your recovery.
Consider some of the ways a motorcycle accident lawyer can assist you:
Investigate Your Motorcycle Accident
The police and insurance companies will investigate your motorcycle accident, but you may want an independent investigation from a party with your best interests in mind. For example, a motorcycle accident lawyer can investigate the accident from your perspective. They can collect evidence such as pictures of the scene, interviews with you and any eyewitnesses, police reports, traffic camera footage, toxicology reports, cell phone records, and more.
Estimate Your Case’s Worth
You need a good idea of your case's worth, or you may accept a settlement offer for far less than what you deserve.
A lawyer can estimate the true value of your losses using:
- Your medical bills and records
- Evidence of past income, such as wage statements and tax records
- Bills for repair or replacement of your motorcycle
- Expert medical testimony concerning your prognosis
- Interviews with you, your family, and your friends concerning how the accident affected your quality of life
Deal With the Insurance Companies
Dealing with your insurer and the other party’s insurer can feel exhausting. You can spend hours on hold or arguing with insurance representatives over the phone just to have your words used against you. A lawyer can take over these phone calls and any written communication with the insurance companies.
A lawyer can also handle the endless paperwork. They can gather your medical records and bills from every doctor who treated you, file a claim for you, and submit supporting documents. A lawyer can also negotiate a settlement that covers the total value of your losses.
Sue the At-Fault Party
Most people prefer to settle a motorcycle accident case out of court. It saves time and money for both sides when they can agree on compensation without going through a trial. However, if you feel that the compensation the other side offers does not adequately cover your losses, you may need to take your case to trial. A lawyer can file a lawsuit on your behalf and represent you in court.
Offer a Free Case Review
Many motorcycle accident law firms offer free case reviews. During this call, an accident victim can learn more about their legal options with no obligation involved.
Consider contacting a law firm to answer your questions through a case review. They can help you understand how to move forward after the crash. The firm’s representative can also tell you more about their experiences with motorcycle cases and what they can do for you after your accident.