10 Things You Should Do Immediately After a Motorcycle Accident
When a wreck happens, things move quickly and many people do not know what to do. That is particularly true if major injuries are involved in the wreck. We’ve identified 10 things you should do immediately after being involved in a motorcycle accident to help protect your legal rights.
1. Report it.
It is required in most cases. The driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to or death of any person or property damage to an apparent extent of $500.00 or more shall immediately, by the quickest means of communication, give notice of such accident to the local police department if such accident occurs within a municipality. If such accident occurs outside a municipality, such notice shall be given to the office of the county sheriff or to the nearest office of the state patrol. OCGS § 40-6-273.
2. Get out of harm’s way.
It should go without saying that you shouldn’t stop in the middle of oncoming traffic, this is equally true for busy intersections. Otherwise, you’ve simply swapped one danger for another.
When a motor vehicle traffic accident occurs with no apparent serious personal injury or death, it is the duty of the drivers of the motor vehicles involved in the traffic accident, or any other occupant of any such motor vehicle who possesses a valid driver’s license, to remove said vehicles from the immediate confines of the roadway. OCGA § 40-6-275 (c)
But…. a vehicle incapacitated as a result of a motor vehicle traffic accident with apparent serious personal injury or death may not be moved until the enforcement officer has made the necessary measurements and diagrams required for the initial accident investigation. OCGA § 40-6-275 (g).
3. ALWAYS make a police report at the scene.
Unless the other person is a very close friend or trusted family member always contact law enforcement so that a law enforcement officer can make an accident report. Here’s the truth, people lie when money is on the line, what they say on the side of the road may be totally different within the next few days when you try and get them to pay what they owe or do what they promised. The person may promise to reimburse you only to turn around and file suit AGAINST YOU! Believe me, we’ve seen it happen.
While it understandable to want to resolve the incident amicably without involving the police and insurance companies, a Police Officer’s accident report offers an objective view of what occurred. This evidence will be invaluable should the driver later blame you for the accident. Be sure to request the citation number for the report to obtain it later.
4. Do not attempt to talk with the other party regarding fault or apologize.
If a civil case, whatever one party says can be offered into evidence by the party opponent, as an admission! So keep the talking to a minimum, and ask for:
- Their driver’s license
- Vehicle registration information
- Contact information
- And insurance documentation.
If the other driver starts accusing you, DO NOT ENGAGE. Get your information and just keep tabs on what they say. The more you say the more you will likely hurt your own case.
5. Take photographs of EVERYTHING related to the accident.
Like trucking accidents, the most important pictures include pictures will be ones of:
- your injuries,
- the accident,
- the surrounding area
- and pictures of the vehicles including license plates and damages.
This is because these pictures will be helpful in proving your property and bodily damages as well as what caused the accident. If your cell phone has a camera, this works very well.
6. Get identifying information of anyone present at the accident scene.
As time progresses, locating individuals at the scene can be quite difficult. Therefore, generally you will want to get the driver’s:
- Employer information
- Phone number and
- Insurance Information
- Witnesses’ Name(s)
- Witnesses contact information they are willing to give you: address and/or Phone number and/or email, etc.
7. Get prompt medical attention.
If you are not injured and know it, consider yourself fortunate. However, if you suspect you were injured or are not sure, it is important that you still see a doctor because there may be injuries that have not yet revealed themselves such as a concussion, internal bleeding or swelling of the brain or even bone fractures. Also, be sure to tell the doctor what happened during the accident and all symptoms, even those that seem minor to you. Your health may depend on it.
8. Report the accident to your insurance company.
Failure to notify the insurance company about being involved in an accident can sometimes result in a denial of coverage. You may have to provide YOUR insurance with a recorded statement. However, in our experience, it is usually best NOT provide the other driver’s insurance company with a written or recorded statement about the crash without the advice of an attorney who specializes in personal injury. Your best course of action is to contact a personal injury attorney and ask him or her to speak with the other party’s agents.
9. Do not sign anything or allow the insurer to obtain you records until an attorney reviews all documents.
The insurance company is NOT your friend, they make money by paying less than what they should, and consequently will low-ball you to get out ahead. If you rush into settlement this can be a costly mistake. We are currently handling a case where the insurance adjuster fraudulently misrepresented to our client that the insurer was going to pay his medical bills if our client signed a document allowing the insurer to obtain the medical records. Our client signed it without reading it and now the insurer is claiming he settled his case for $5,000. This is why, it is best to contact a motorcycle accident attorney before accepting a settlement or signing any document.
10. Contact a personal injury attorney.
A knowledgeable personal injury attorney is invaluable in helping to preserve evidence as well as conducting an immediate post-accident investigation of the motorcycle accident to preserve the evidence you will need.