After a motorcycle accident, you should call the police, get medical care, and gather evidence. These steps benefit both your health and potential personal injury case. Working with an Augusta motorcycle accident lawyer can also benefit your case if you were injured. Not only can an attorney handle all the communications with the other parties involved, but they can also negotiate a fair settlement.
What to Do Directly After a Motorcycle Accident
If you’re still at the scene of the motorcycle accident, you should:
Call the Police
As soon as possible after the accident, call the police. Wait for them to arrive, then give a basic description of what happened. The police officer on the scene will create a report to document this information. Later on, the liable insurance company, along with your motorcycle injury lawyer will review these details to determine fault and liability.
Get Medical Treatment
Typically, when you call the police to the scene of an accident, the paramedics come, too. Even if you believe you don’t have injuries, have a paramedic conduct a physical exam. The adrenaline from the collision could mask any conditions you have, and you want to get treated for underlying conditions as soon as possible. What’s more, accepting treatment at the accident scene draws a direct connection between the collision and your condition.
Obtain the Contact Information of Those Involved
If possible, get the names and contact information of anyone else involved in the accident.
Their contact information should include their:
- Full name
- Driver’s license number
- License plate number
- Phone number
- Insurance information
Also, write down the make, model, and color of the vehicles involved. This information could come in handy when filing your claim or lawsuit later. You should also get the contact information of any witnesses, including bystanders, first responders, and others at the accident scene.
You could help your case tremendously by gathering evidence from the accident scene. Take pictures of everything you can, including your motorcycle, the other vehicles involved, and any roadway issues that could have led to the accident. Also, make a note of any traffic cameras, as this footage could prove your accident’s cause later.
If your injuries don’t allow you to take pictures on the scene, don’t force yourself. Your attorney can conduct their own investigation and collect evidence. You don’t want to overexert yourself and possibly make your condition worse.
Document What Happened
If possible, write down exactly what happened when the accident occurred. You can write it down on a piece of paper or in the notes app of your phone. When you write down the accident’s details, only write down facts. Don’t make any assumptions about what anyone else did at the time of the accident.
Only include verifiable facts, such as:
- The speed you traveled when the accident occurred
- The interactions you had with the others involved
- The injuries you suffered
- The weather conditions at the time of the accident
- Any poor road conditions or improper signage that could have led to the accident
- Any other relevant factors that you feel you should include (such as whether the other party was intoxicated)
Documenting what happened immediately after the accident can help to keep the details fresh in your mind. If you have to give a statement later, referring back to your notes can help you give accurate testimony.
What to Do After You Have Left the Scene of the Motorcycle Accident
After you have left the motorcycle accident scene, you can continue to take steps that strengthen your case. You should take these steps as soon as you can after leaving the scene, as you want to lay a solid foundation for your future injury case.
Seek Follow-up Medical Care
If you suffered injuries in the accident, seek medical attention. You could go to the emergency room, urgent care center, or your doctor’s office.
Seeking medical care could benefit your case because:
- You can get the necessary documentation to prove you sustained your injuries in the motorcycle accident. Your imaging scans, lab test results, and other diagnostic tests can bolster your case.
- A medical professional can examine and diagnose the severity of your injuries. Additionally, they can testify that your motorcycle accident caused your condition.
- You want to show the liable insurance company that you did everything possible to better your condition. This could compel the claims adjuster to offer a fair settlement, rather than deny your claim or undervalue your losses.
By seeking follow-up medical care, not only can you strengthen your case, but you can also ensure that your injuries get the treatment they require.
Follow Your Doctor’s Treatment Plan
Visiting a healthcare provider is just one thing you should do after a collision; you should also follow your treatment plan exactly.
Depending on your condition, this may involve:
- Attending physical therapy
- Taking medications as prescribed
- Visiting a mental health professional
- Relying on assistive devices, such as wheelchairs
- Limiting your physical activity
- Making some lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking
If you don’t follow your treatment plan exactly, the insurer could accuse you of worsening your condition. This could complicate your right to pursue damages after a motorcycle accident.
Refuse to Give a Recorded Statement
The insurance company may ask for a recorded statement in the aftermath of your motorcycle accident. This is a common tactic insurers use to get dirt on clients’ cases.
To get you to admit fault for the accident, the claims adjuster may ask:
- How long have you had a driver’s license?
- Are you aware that motorcycles have a high accident rate?
- Do you know how fast you were traveling when the accident happened?
- Have you ever had an accident before?
- Do you have any pre-existing health conditions?
- Were you wearing a helmet or other protective gear?
You don’t have to give a recorded statement. You only have to supply basic information about your accident, injuries, and damages.
Limit What You Share on Social Media
Everything you share publicly on social media is, well, public. If the claims adjuster sees your posts, they could interpret them to mean something to fit their interests. For instance, they could see a picture of you at a sporting event and assume you’re not as injured as you claim.
You don’t want to give the insurer any reason to discredit your condition’s severity. So, during your case’s progression, you should think twice about posting photos, commenting on statuses, and otherwise undermining your condition online.
How Can a Motorcycle Accident Attorney Help You?
After your motorcycle accident, your attorney could strengthen your case by:
Investigating Your Accident
Many lawyers who handle motorcycle accident cases double as investigators. They can find and use various pieces of evidence to build your case.
Your legal team can investigate your motorcycle accident by:
- Reviewing the evidence collected by law enforcement
- Interviewing witnesses
- Consulting with accident reconstruction specialists
- Watching traffic camera footage
- Reading the police report
- Visiting the accident scene
- Analyzing any relevant black box data
Identifying and Calculating Your Injury-Related Losses
You want full compensation for your injury-related losses. A lawyer can evaluate your monetary losses by reviewing your receipts, employment records, and other documentation. Then, they can pursue the costs of your medical bills, lost income, and property damage expenses.
Yet, you can also seek recovery for non-monetary losses, which are damages that don’t come with supporting documentation.
These recoverable expenses include:
- Pain and suffering: Motorcycle injuries could include road rash, lacerations, head injuries, spinal cord injuries, or broken bones. All of these injuries could cause intense physical pain. Your attorney could help you seek compensation for the pain or discomfort you experienced.
- Loss of enjoyment of life: Your quality of life could suffer because of your injuries. If you need help with daily tasks or can’t live independently because of your injuries, you could seek compensation for this hardship.
- Emotional anguish: If you struggle daily with emotional issues after the accident, you can seek compensation for those challenges. Emotional issues could include anxiety, stress, post-traumatic stress disorder, fear, sleep issues, or depression.
- Loss of consortium: Loss of consortium compensates you after losing a spouse. How much you can seek for this expense depends on many factors unique to your situation.
- Scarring and disfigurement. A motorcycle accident can transform your physical appearance, leading to amputations and visible scarring. You can recover compensation for scarring and disfigurement based on your collision’s details.
Your attorney will know how to determine the value of these damages so you know how much compensation to seek. Without an attorney, you could struggle to determine how much you’re owed and inadvertently accept a low settlement from the liable insurer.
After your attorney collects the evidence they need and has calculated the value of your losses, they must prove negligence. This requires showing that because another party acted carelessly or recklessly, they caused your accident, injuries, and losses.
There are four elements of negligence, which include:
- Duty of care: Everyone has a duty of care to act reasonably and carefully. For instance, all motorists have a duty of care to follow traffic rules.
- Breach of duty: The other driver breached their duty of care by acting without regard for others’ safety. A driver who speeds breaches their duty of care.
- Causation: The other party caused your accident and injuries.
- Damages: You have damages stemming from the motorcycle accident, some of which may include medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering.
Not all cases require your lawyer to prove negligence. For instance, if a faulty motorcycle component caused your collision, you could file a claim with the component’s manufacturer.
How Long Do You Have to File a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit?
Georgia has a deadline for how long you have to file a lawsuit for personal injuries. This deadline is called the statute of limitations, and for a motorcycle accident a victim has two years to initiate legal proceedings.
A motorcycle accident attorney knows how to timely file all your court proceedings so you don’t miss any important dates. Your lawyer knows how to build a solid case and collect evidence. With that in mind, it is beneficial to contact an attorney as soon as your injuries allow.
Contact a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Augusta
Coping with the fallout of a motorcycle accident can feel daunting, but remember, you’re not alone in this journey. By knowing your rights, responsibilities, and the crucial steps to follow, you can help your case when seeking just compensation for your losses.
An experienced motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Augusta is ready to guide you through this intricate process.
Their skilled and comforting support allows you to focus on your recovery, while they handle the complexities of your claim, defend your rights, and work to ensure the best possible outcome for your case.
Contact the motorcycle lawyers at The Hawk Firm today and get on the path towards regaining control of your life.