The Do’s & Don’ts after a Motorcycle Accident

Motorcycle accidents happen; it’s a fact of life. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that nearly 4,800 people died and 87,000 people were injured in motorcycle accidents in 2006. While we certainly hope you never have to experience one, it’s clear that knowing what to do, and what not to do, after an accident occurs is important to every biker.

From the trenches

We asked Claude Wyle, a California attorney, member of the Advocate Law Group network and fellow biker for over 25 years, to provide us with information on the do’s and don’ts of what to do following a motorcycle accident. As his firm specializes in all aspects of motorcycle cases, his ‘from the trenches’ advice is helpful to anyone who rides. Here’s what he advised:

Do’s

  • Document, document, document. If you can’t get out to the scene, take pictures for yourself or analyze the bike, get a friend or a loved one to do all that for you. They may not be professional, but it’s important to get it done as soon as possible.

    There will be pieces of the bike strewn all over the place. A bike, when it hits the ground, breaks more than a car does in an accident and you should make sure you know where all the pieces are. Sometimes they’re swept up by the police and so they’re not in the same place they were when they came to rest after the accident. However, sometimes just having bits and pieces of the motorcycle around also tells a story about how the accident happened.

  • Hire an experienced lawyer. It’s a good idea to hire a motorcycle lawyer, or somebody who really knows what they’re doing, like an investigator, to go out to the scene to look for the gouges, the marks and the oil. I can’t reconstruct an accident, but I know what evidence to look for.

Don’ts

  • Don’t be in a hurry to talk to the other side’s insurance company. That’s not a good idea in any kind of case. There’s no reason for you to be in a rush to tell your story until you really figure out what’s happened and get a clear head, especially if you’re on pain medication.

    Insurance investigators and representatives are very, very well trained in trying to put words in your mouth and trying to get you to say certain things that are going to help them. They’re not there to help you; they are there to help the insurance company. They’re there to save money for the insurance company and they will do everything they can to try and prove whatever their insurance company says happened. So don’t be in a rush to talk to them.
  • Don’t be in a rush to fix your bike until you can document the damage. Don’t forget that you’re entitled to compensation for lots of things. A motorcyclist is entitled to a new helmet every time they whack that helmet on the ground; it doesn’t matter if there’s only a scratch on it. A person needs a new helmet because the integrity of the helmet has been compromised.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle or bicycle accident, contact an attorney whose practice focuses in this area of law. Click here, for a free consultation with a motorcycle accident attorney.

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