Legal Do's and Don'ts in Motorcycle Accident Cases
There are millions of motorcycle owners across the United States, and many people are drawn to the idea of owning and riding their own motorcycle for various reasons. Some people like the fact that motorcycles tend to be cheaper to buy, maintain, and insure than cars and other vehicles, for example, while others like the flexibility and maneuverability of motorcycles for getting around in cities.
Many people also enjoy the unique thrills and sensations that only motorcycles can offer, with a lot of motorcycle enthusiasts arguing that the feeling of sitting behind the wheel of a car simply cannot match the excitement of being on a bike and feeling the wind on one's body as you drive along the open road.
Regardless of your reasoning for having a motorcycle, it's important to acknowledge that these vehicles also bring their own share of unique risks and dangers too. Since motorcycles are much smaller and less protected than cars and other vehicles, they often come out on the losing side when accidents happen, taking the most damage and causing the biggest injuries to their riders.
Indeed, statistics show that motorcyclists are among the highest risk road users in America today, with thousands killed each and every year and many more injured in accidents too. It's very important, therefore, for motorcyclists to know what to do and how to react if an accident happens to make sure they get the best possible outcome. Here are some key legal do's and dont's in motorcycle accidents.
Do: Get Medical Attention Right Away
After any kind of accident, the first and arguably most important step to take is to get medical attention. There will be plenty of time to handle the legal side of the matter later on and contact your insurance company to make a claim, but in those minutes and hours immediately after the accident, you need to prioritize your health and safety.
It's really important to get to a hospital right away if you have any kind of serious injury, like broken bones or road rash injuries from skidding along the road. If your injuries are milder, you may be able to simply visit your own local doctor for a check-up, but in either case, you should never make the mistake of skipping medical diagnosis and treatment.
Don't: Ignore the Doctor's Orders
As well as visiting a hospital or speaking with your doctor, you need to make sure to follow their advice every step of the way during your recovery. There are two main reasons for this. The first reason is, quite simply, doctors tend to know best in these matters and will make the right recommendations, based on their knowledge and experience, to help you get better.
The second reason that you should follow your doctor's orders is because it can help to strengthen your legal case regarding the accident. If you follow the doctor's orders, it shows that you were truly injured in the accident and that you complied with medical advice to get better. If you fail to do this, insurance adjusters and opposing legal teams could argue that your injuries weren't as severe as you claim them to be.
Do: Contact A Lawyer
One of the necessary steps to follow after any kind of auto accident is to contact a lawyer. Some people think that they can handle the legal and insurance aspects of accidents on their own, but they quickly discover that auto accident claims are often far more complex than they initially seem. Having a lawyer on your side can therefore make a massive difference.
After an accident, insurance adjusters can try to lower the value of your claim in various ways and the other driver involved in the crash might try and put the blame on you. If you have a good lawyer on your side, you'll be able to navigate these challenges much more easily. Plus, you'll have the best chance of success in your claim as well.
Don't: Admit Fault
After motorcycle accidents, it's common for the drivers involved to try and assign blame between themselves. Some drivers can be honest and fair in this matter, accepting when they have made a mistake or caused an accident, but others may be less honest and could go to great lengths to try and make you appear responsible for an accident that was not your fault.
Insurance adjusters, too, may try to find ways to lower the value of someone's claim by suggesting that they had more responsibility for the accident than they really did. The simple way to avoid these problems is to avoid admitting to any kind of fault or responsibility and don't say any more on the matter than you need to without consulting with your lawyer first.
Do: Document The Scene
It's also a wise and strongly recommended idea to document the scene of any kind of motorcycle accident too. This process includes taking photos of any damage done to your motorcycle and any visible injuries, as well as photographing the site of the accident, making videos and recordings if possible too, and documenting everything that happened leading up to the crash and after it.
Why should you do this? Well, when it comes to building a legal argument in your favor, your lawyer will be grateful for any kind of evidence you can provide. By documenting the accident at the time of its occurrence, you can immediately start building up a library of evidence that your lawyer will be able to use later on to help you get a successful settlement.
Motorcyclists have to accept the fact that their chosen form of personal transportation can be a little riskier than others. Even if you tide sensibly and follow the rules, you might still find yourself involved in an accident due to the recklessness or ignorance of others. But hopefully, this guide has shown you what to do and what not to do after an accident in order to enjoy the best possible outcome.
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