What Do I Do if I Crash My Motorcycle?
Motorcycle accidents hold the potential to cause severe and fatal injuries for bikers and their passengers. In the aftermath of a crash, injured riders and their loved ones often struggle to make important decisions that could affect their legal and financial rights.
To help address those difficulties, below we sketch out some basic steps you can take to protect your physical health and financial wellbeing in the event you crash your motorcycle. To learn more about your legal options after a motorcycle crash, contact an experienced motorcycle accident injury lawyer today.
Motorcycle Accident Quick Stats
Motorcycle crashes caused 1,910 serious injuries, 2,726 non-incapacitating injuries, and 410 deaths across Texas in one recent year. Riding a motorcycle is far more dangerous than operating any other type of motorized vehicle. Across the nation, motorcycle accidents account for 14 percent of all traffic deaths, while motorcycles constitute just 3 percent of registered vehicles and account for only 6 percent of all vehicle miles traveled.
In other words, crashing your motorcycle can have serious consequences. Here are some steps you can take to protect your legal and financial rights starting in the moments after a crash.
Secure Your Safety
The very first step any motorcycle crash victim should take is to secure their safety. If you ended up in traffic or a potentially dangerous place, move to a safe location if you can. Once you are safe and out of traffic, call 911.
If you can’t move to safety, call 911 if you have a smartphone with you and advise them that you are in traffic or another potentially dangerous situation. If you can’t and don’t have a smartphone with you, ask someone at the scene to call 911.
The 911 call will alert both law enforcement and, if necessary, an ambulance. Cooperate with the emergency medical technicians on the ambulance. If they deem it necessary that you go in an ambulance to an emergency room, go. Don’t try to stay at the scene. Ordinarily, Texans are required by law to stop and stay at the scene until law enforcement arrives and says they can go. The need for emergency medical treatment, however, supersedes that requirement.
At the Scene
Law enforcement collects information at the scene that will go into an accident report. Officers usually talk to all drivers and survey the scene for evidence of how the accident occurred. Signs such as broken barriers, skid marks, and the angle and trajectory of any vehicle damage can tell them volumes, as can the nature and extent of injuries.
If possible, tell officers calmly and completely what happened. Try to avoid making accusations against the other drivers involved – just stick with the facts.
If possible, exchange contact information and insurance information with all other drivers involved. All vehicle owners must carry liability insurance to pay for any damages they cause in a crash.
While your chief concern at this point isn’t proving fault for the accident (it’s compliance with law enforcement and ensuring your well-being), do keep in mind that it’s always a good idea to gather evidence of how an accident occurred and who or what caused it.
To that end, if possible and safe to do so:
- Take pictures or videos of the scene, including the vehicles and anything that shows how the accident occurred
- Talk to any eyewitnesses and obtain their contact information
- Take pictures or videos of your injuries
- If you don’t have a smartphone with you, take notes on what happened and how you think it happened as soon as possible after the accident. Memories fade; your observations need to be as fresh as possible.
Once You Leave the Scene
Go to an emergency room or see a doctor as soon as possible so they can diagnose any injuries. Don’t rely on yourself to diagnose or treat injuries. What feels like a minor pain to you could in fact indicate a serious, even deadly injury such as brain trauma or internal bleeding.
Follow the doctor’s instructions to the letter. If you need to make further medical appointments, fill prescriptions, or undergo physical therapy, do so.
The main reason you should follow medical advice is to heal from any injuries and preserve your well-being. But there’s another reason, too. If another party caused the accident and you want to pursue damage compensation with them, they may try defensive moves to keep from paying you. Insurance companies are notorious for using the fact that victims either didn’t seek medical treatment or didn’t follow the medical advice they received as evidence that they weren’t hurt as badly as they claim.
Keep all records pertaining to the accident, such as the crash report, repair of your motorcycle, and the medical records, including what doctor you visited, what other treatment you received, and when. The records, too, are valuable evidence of how you were injured and to what extent.
If you couldn’t take pictures or videos of your injuries at the accident scene, take them as soon as possible after you leave the scene. Take images in good light, showing all angles. Don’t wait for cuts to heal and bruises to fade; you want any viewer to see the injuries at their worst, not their best!
Similarly, if crash conditions prevent you from taking pictures of the crash site and the vehicles, take pictures of your motorcycle before it is repaired. You want a record of the damage the crash did.
Call an Attorney
Finally, call an attorney to discuss your legal rights. Chances are good that someone owes you compensation for your injuries and losses in a motorcycle crash. Do not let your valuable legal rights expire by waiting to learn about how you can secure the money you need and deserve. Contact an experienced motorcycle accident injury lawyer as soon as possible for a free, no-obligation case consultation to learn about your options.