Getting into a motorcycle accident is a traumatic experience that can be even more difficult to navigate with another party involved. Motorcycles are 3% of all registered vehicles in the US but accounted for 14% of all traffic fatalities in 2020. When planning for the possibility of an accident, it’s important to know the risks and have information on what your first steps should be.
Many are unaware of some of the most common motorcycle accident claim mistakes that they can avoid. Keep reading to learn more about these mistakes and what to do instead to help bolster your case.
1. Rejecting Medical Treatment or Not Continuing Treatment
The first big mistake when you’re preparing to file a motorcycle accident claim is not seeking medical treatment and keeping up with the appointments. Even for minor accidents, it’s important to get a professional opinion if you’re planning on filing a motorcycle accident claim.
For those with more serious injuries, this is even more important for your safety and well-being. It is also important to be able to prove that the injuries sustained had a profound negative impact on your life.
You should keep detailed records of each visit and copies of the bills and statements. If you don’t seek medical attention or if you discontinue treatment, the other party’s insurance may use this as a way to minimize the extent of your injuries. This would reduce the amount of compensation you may receive, or they claim that the injuries were pre-existing and therefore not caused by the accident at all.
2. Not Collecting or Taking Photos of Physical Evidence
It may seem obvious, but nearly everything is relevant evidence. Take down the names, contact information, and insurance information of the other party or parties involved, and any witnesses if you can.
In terms of physical evidence, make sure to take photos of the accident itself, and video. Keep your protective gear and the bike in the same or as close to the condition as they were immediately following the accident.
Even if you don’t take pictures of physical evidence, you should document everything else possible. Medical records, the police report, and communication between you and your employer may help determine what happened and who was at fault, as well as what type of compensation you’re entitled to.
3. Forgetting to Track Your Time Off Work
After an accident, you might not be thinking about work. But you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages due to being injured in an accident. This is especially important for people who rely on employer health insurance or who are only working part-time. If you’re fired or laid off, you may lose both wages and access to healthcare.
4. Contacting Your Insurance Before Consulting With an Attorney
For car accidents, it makes sense to call your insurance on the spot if no one’s hurt. But if you’re involved in a motorcycle accident where you were injured, you’ll want to contact a lawyer after you call the police.
The claim filing process can be difficult to navigate, so choosing the right attorney is paramount. A good motorcycle accident lawyer will have previous experience with these types of claims. They’ll not only know the law surrounding personal injury cases but also have knowledge of negligence laws and other information that would be relevant to the case.
The personal injury lawyer should tackle this kind of case often. You should ideally go for a local lawyer as well, as that will allow you to have more avenues for communication and they’ll be knowledgeable of any particular laws or regulations in your city or state.
5. Not Calling the Police
One of the main motorcycle accident claim mistakes people make is not calling the police. If the accident is severe enough, you or someone near the scene will likely call them. But it’s important to call the police for more minor incidents, as well.
The police report can record vital information such as conclusions for who was at fault, any citations issued or arrests that were made, as well as driver and witness statements. All of this information will be logged in a police report, and it’s very beneficial when filing a personal injury claim for damages.
Before the police arrive, don’t attempt to move away from the scene except to get to safety, or do anything else that might suggest that you’re at fault, as this may limit or void the amount of compensation you might receive.
6. Having Repairs Done Too Soon
For many motorcyclists, their bike is a vehicle they’ve put a large amount of money into. In some cases, it may be their only mode of transportation. If you’re filing a claim, you’ll want all of the proof of evidence available for your attorney to help make your claim. Therefore, do not have it repaired until you have confirmed with a lawyer that all of the evidence has been collected from the motorcycle.
7. Giving Unnecessary Information to the Insurance Company
When you get into an accident, you should contact your insurance to avoid seeming at fault or as if you’re hiding something. However, insurance companies aren’t always on your side. They want to pay you the least amount of money that they can, and if you make a misstep with insurance or admit fault, you might be leaving money on the table.
Anything you say to either insurance company may be used against you or taken out of context. This may lead to you possibly receiving a lower amount of compensation. Although it may seem reasonable or even part of your nature to apologize or give unnecessary information such as how fast you were going, you shouldn’t do so.
In addition, the other party’s insurance may ask for a medical records release or recorded statement, neither of which is required of you. If given, the insurance company may attempt to downplay your injuries or examine your statement to look for inconsistencies in your story.
When in doubt, your best option is to speak carefully and not divulge too much information. If they begin to press or insist, give them your attorney’s contact information.
8. Not Filing Within the Statute of Limitations
You should prepare to file a claim with the negligent party’s insurance to get compensation, and the claim filing deadline depends on the insurance company. If you’re filing a lawsuit in civil court, there are statutes of limitations to consider.
In general, the statute is 2 years from the date of the collision. But for wrongful death claims, this is 2 years from the person’s death, rather than the accident. If the negligent party is the state of California, then you’ll only have six months after the date of the crash.
But just because you have up to two years doesn’t mean you should wait that long. As soon as you contact a lawyer and have recovered enough, you should be ready to submit medical records and other documentation regarding your case. Many cases take a long time in court, and the longer you wait to file, the closer you are to the deadline being used against you.
Plan Ahead to Avoid These Motorcycle Accident Claim Mistakes
Filing a motorcycle accident claim can be incredibly stressful, even more so when dealing with medical bills and recovery, time off work, and other personal issues. Knowing about these motorcycle accident claim mistakes will help you plan ahead and do your research on what to do if you’re ever in this situation.
Hiring a reputable personal injury lawyer from the Beach Accident Attorneys office who’s experienced in motorcycle accident cases can help you develop a solid case and get compensation for your injuries.