10 Things to Do After a Motorbike Accident
Motorbike accidents can cause many serious injuries, including fractures, head injuries, and road rash. Unfortunately, many victims are shaken up following a wreck that they don’t know what to do. Believe it or not, the moments following an accident are critical if you hope to receive compensation, so we offer these 10 tips for what to do in the minutes and days ahead. For assistance making a claim, speak with an Aiken, SC motorbike accident lawyer today at Surasky Law.
Swap Personal Information
If you were involved in a crash with a driver, you should swap personal information, including:
Driver’s license number
In fact, you should get this information from all drivers involved in the wreck. Some accidents do involve multiple vehicles, and obtaining this information now, at the scene of the wreck, saves time.
Whip out your smartphone and take pictures to document your claim. Remember, insurance adjusters will try to assign liability for the accident—but they are not there to see it. You can recreate the accident as best you can by getting pictures. We recommend the following:
A picture of the vehicles before you move them. This shows how they came together.
Pictures of all sides of each vehicle involved. Zoom in to show any dents, scratches, damage, etc.
A picture of any hazard that contributed to the wreck, such as a pothole or obscured stop sign. If you were riding off-road and crashed due to a road defect, then this is how you document your claim.
A picture of the license plate of all vehicles involved. Admittedly, you could write this down, but taking a picture is easier.
Don’t take a picture of anyone involved in the crash unless you have their permission.
Witnesses can also help recreate an accident so that people can “see” what happened. Ideally, you should get each witness’ name and either their phone number or email address. Your attorney might want to speak to them later and you need some way to contact them.
You can also talk briefly about what they saw. Remember not to unduly influence them by trying to get them to agree to your version of events.
Call the Police
If you were struck by a car on the road, then the police should come out. Call and report the accident. An officer should visit the scene to write a police report. Answer all of the officer’s questions honestly and fully. South Carolina law requires that you report motor vehicle accidents to the police when someone has been hurt or there has been property damage. Failure to do so could result in a suspended license, so don’t overlook this step.
Go to the Hospital
When you finish at the accident scene, you should go to the hospital to get checked out. Of course, if you were in excruciating pain after the wreck, then calling 9-1-1 for an ambulance was probably the only step you took. Otherwise, you should go as soon as you finish with the police.
Tell the attending doctor that you were involved in an accident and describe where you feel pain. Some injuries worsen dramatically over time, so the sooner you see a doctor, the better. Remember to follow the doctor’s orders and return for a checkup if your symptoms worsen.
Save Medical Bills & Records
A personal injury claim can compensate victims for certain losses, including medical care to treat your injuries. You will need to prove the cost of the care, so hold onto all paperwork including bills, receipts, or health insurance statements. An attorney will want to see them.
Call Your Insurer
You should report the accident to your insurer. They will want basic information, such as the date and time of the accident, as well as the identity of the other motorists involved. This call should start the claims process since your insurer will reach out to the other driver’s insurer. You shouldn’t be asked any in-depth questions at this point, and you shouldn’t provide a narrative of what happened. Just report the basics to get the claim going.
Have a Mechanic Check Your Motorbike
Undoubtedly, your bike was damaged in the accident. You can receive compensation for repairs if the other driver was at fault or you have collision insurance. Take it to a reputable mechanic to see how much it will cost.
In some cases, a defect on the bike could have contributed to the crash. This often happens if you couldn’t brake in time or if the bike was difficult to handle. When a product is defective, anyone injured can sue the manufacturer. Explain any problems you had handling the motorbike to the mechanic so he can check for a possible defect.
Submit Your Insurance Verification Form
You must prove to the state that you had the necessary insurance at the time of the wreck. The officer at the scene should have given you an insurance verification form, FR-10. You will need to have your insurer complete this and return it to the Division of Motor Vehicles within 15 days of the accident. Don’t delay getting this to them.
Refuse to Give a Recorded Statement
In the days following an accident, an insurance agent might reach out to you asking to take a recorded statement. Essentially, the agent wants to hear your version of events. We recommend saying “No”—at least until you hire an attorney.
South Carolina recognizes comparative fault, and the state bars any lawsuit if you were more at fault for the accident than the other party. Even where your fault does not exceed 50%, your compensation gets reduced proportionally. For these reasons, many insurance agents begin digging for information to use against you. Any innocent statement—like “I wasn’t really paying attention”—could be used against you to show you are partially to blame for the wreck.
Contact a South Carolina Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
This is the eleventh step—and the most critical! Surasky Law will gladly step in and handle your claim if you reach out to us following a crash. We can negotiate with insurers and help document your losses. Please call us today to schedule a free consultation.