Motorcycle Accidents: Why Preserving the Evidence Is Rule #1

Any good lawyer will tell you that preserving the evidence after an accident is very important. However, it’s particularly important after a motorcycle accident as reconstructing the scene can be very difficult – and whether or not it’s done correctly can mean the difference in winning or losing a case.

First hand experience

Claude Wyle, a California attorney, member of the Advocate Law Group network and motorcyclist for over 25 years, knows first hand that preserving the evidence is rule number one in motorcycle litigation. His firm specializes in all aspects of motorcycle accidents and he explained how the evidence affects a case. “Since motorcyclists get hurt a lot of the time and often sustain injuries like concussions, they often don’t really remember all the details of what happened. Motorcyclists are perceived as always going faster than they are. They’re loud and small, so they look like they’re zipping faster.”

“If you look up in the sky and you see a plane flying by, it looks like they’re moving so slowly, but you look on the ground and you see a motorcyclist near you and it looks like it’s moving so quickly. There’s a difference there and so everybody always says that the motorcyclist was speeding. They hear the engine wound up. They don’t know whether it’s in first or fourth gear. Most witnesses are usually against the motorcyclist because they all think that they’re speeding. They all think motorcyclists are big risk takers and crazy people and so they usually rally around whoever hit the motorcyclist as opposed to the other way around. So, what’s important is that you go out and get the evidence right away.”

The truth about accident reconstruction

Accident reconstruction, especially when the accident involves a motorcycle, is extremely difficult to do. There are specialized people who reconstruct accident scenes, but Wyle admits that they’re few and far between and very hard to find. “There’s a bunch of evidence on your bike itself – such as what is damaged and what is not. It’s important for a lawyer to know exactly who to call who can do the best job on these cases because they will outclass the competition substantially. Because reconstruction can be so difficult, it’s important for a lawyer to know the dynamics of a motorcycle crash, how motorcycles work, how they crash, how they go down and how they slide because they will also outclass, outmaneuver and outwork the other side.”

What to preserve and how to preserve it

There are specific items that should be preserved after a motorcycle accident right away. Wyle provided us with these tips:

  1. Take pictures of your injuries. They’re going to get better and not look so banged up and you’re going to need that evidence.
  2. Take pictures of and preserve your helmet and motorcycle gear. Damage to the gear, the sliding, the skidding, the cracks on your helmet and the scratches on your helmet or your visor all tell a story.
  3. Don’t fix your bike. Hang on to your bike and don’t fix it until somebody, like a motorcycle accident reconstruction expert, has had a chance to look at it. If it needs to be repaired because it’s your only method of transportation, make sure you photograph each and every inch of that bike, front to back, to show what is damaged and what is not damaged because that damage also tells an important story.
  4. Go to the scene. If you can’t go to the scene of the accident because you’re hurt, have someone else go as soon as possible and take photographs and document all of the signs of the accident. Here’s why. When a motorcyclist has an accident, there’s not just a skid mark like with a car. Sometimes cars leave debris like broken glass; sometimes they don’t. Motorcyclists leave tire friction marks. They leave different kinds of tire friction marks that will show different things. They leave gouges and scratches on the pavement and they leave oil where they stop and where they’re laying down. They will leave oil if they’re tumbling. The story that the scene tells is just so important.

Wyle says that accident victims should document all of this information– and document it quickly – because often times the reconstruction of a motorcycle accident is more important than what the witnesses think they saw or heard. Good advice.

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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