Motorcycles add more risk of serious injury due to the rider’s complete exposure to other vehicles, the road, and other obstructions in the event of an accident. Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents can occur anywhere and are often unexpected.
If you find yourself in a motorcycle accident, you might be confused about what to do next. There are a few steps you can take to protect your health and collect the information you need to hold the party responsible for the accident accountable for your accident expenses. Speak with an attorney to discuss how to handle your specific case, and read on to learn more about motorcycle accidents generally and what any motorcycle rider should do after an accident.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics
The Insurance Information Institute (III) most recently reported the number of registered motorcycles in the United States to be 8,596,314. Over ten years and per 100,000 registered vehicles, fatalities in accidents involving motorcycles have increased 3.4 percent, with 5,014 fatalities in the most recently reported year.
Over that same ten-year period, there were 80,000 to 100,000 injuries in motorcycle accidents each year. The III notes that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration finds that motorcycle accidents cost billions of dollars every year that proper helmet use could save.
The time of day can influence the likelihood of a motorcycle accident. During the weekend, a majority of cases happen between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. Around 16.9 percent of incidents take place between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. During the average weekday, people have a higher risk of a motorcycle accident between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. The time slot accounts for an estimated 23.7 percent of incidents. Many people come home from work during those hours.
Statistics further tell that 61 percent of fatal collisions are on urban roads. The thicker traffic on urban roads contributes to the chances of an incident. Most cases involve at least two vehicles.
The Long-Term Effects of Motorcycle Accidents
A rider can sustain many different kinds of bodily injuries after a motorcycle accident. Scrapes, bruises, bone fractures, burns, traumatic brain injuries, and spinal cord injuries are frequent examples. In more severe cases, a rider could suffer from debilitating injuries like the loss of a limb. After a motorcycle accident, you need to treat your injuries as soon as possible to reduce possible long-term effects. Waiting too long to get treatment might mean an injured area of a victim’s body never functions the same way again.
A rider in an accident could also deal with nerve damage, permanent disability, or chronic pain. Severe traumatic brain injuries could require long-term care. Some may see their symptoms worsen, and they are more likely to develop seizures. Long-term emotional effects are common after motorcycle collisions as well. A rider may feel a whole range of emotions in the weeks following an accident, from anger to depression. Traumatic brain injuries can cause behavioral changes and cognitive issues.
What Can You Do After a Motorcycle Collision?
There are some important steps to try to take if you are ever in a motorcycle accident. First, make sure you move to a safe area. Next, call or, if you are too injured to do so or cannot find your phone, have someone call first responders and the police. The police will write up a report that can serve as valuable evidence in any future legal action you bring. Before the police arrive, take pictures of the scene, if you are able, just to make sure you capture it before any movement happens that misrepresents what actually happened.
When an investigating officer arrives, you can give your side of the story with a statement. You can also obtain the contact information of the other party or parties involved in the accident and any witnesses. Get insurance details of any motorist you believe was at fault for the accident so that you can file a third-party claim with their insurer.
If you aren’t rushed to a hospital for emergency treatment by first responders, you should visit a medical facility as soon as possible. Injuries tend to worsen over time without proper treatment. Even if a wound appears insignificant, you should have a doctor look at it. Document your physical condition immediately. Medical records are critical to bringing a successful motorcycle accident claim. Keeping a record of all healthcare expenses related to your accident injuries is one important way you can calculate the compensation you are due.
After tending to your health, you should contact a motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible. A lawyer can explain the legal processes and what to expect. They can talk to any insurance adjusters for you as well. You can focus on your recovery while your attorney negotiates to get you a fair settlement.
Why You Should Not Talk to the Insurance Company
A lawyer can handle communications with insurers on your behalf. You should not talk to an adjuster if they call after the accident. If they seem to call quickly, they may try to settle out your claim with you quickly to avoid full liability for your accident expenses and impacts.
They could also be trying to get you to say something on record that can hurt your claim. An insurer could use what you say to argue that your injuries are not that serious or that you caused the motorcycle accident. If you want to give a statement, tell the adjuster you will first need to take some time to recuperate and speak to your attorney.
Who Is Liable for a Motorcycle Accident?
The at-fault party in a motorcycle accident depends on the circumstances of the collision. Oftentimes, the driver of a car or large vehicle is responsible for the damages. Motorists have a duty of care to other drivers and pedestrians to drive legally and safely. Failure to satisfy this duty of care could result in liability for an accident. For instance, a motorist could bear liability if they ran a red light or failed to yield to oncoming traffic and hit your motorcycle in the process.
A motorcycle has less visibility to cars due to its smaller size. At an intersection, a driver might not see them when they make a turn. While many motorists who end up in accidents with motorcycles claim they didn’t see the motorcycle before the accident happened, motorists must drive safely and pay attention to motorcycles, such as by checking mirrors and blind spots and making sure it is safe to make a turn.
Contact a motorcycle accident lawyer to determine who caused your motorcycle accident and to pursue the compensation you need to deal with your accident injuries and expenses.