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The open road – what to do if your in a motorcycle accident

Sure hitting the open road on your Harley or any other bike for that matter is extremely liberating. With this in mind, its not as liberating if you are involved in a crash. Whether you cause an accident, or a distracted driver bumps your bike (even lightly) at such high speeds, major damage and injuries can ensue. Add in the fact that you are on two wheels rather than four, and on the back of an open vehicle, so you have no sides or top to protect you, and injuries can often be fatal. In those instances where an accident occurs, there are some things that have to be done right away. For those who want to know what to do if your in a motorcycle accident, even if its just as a precautionary measure, there are some things that have to be done immediately.

1. Assess damage, injuries, and call the cops –
First things first, make sure you can get up and walk, haven’t suffered major injuries, and are coherent. If this is the case, move on to the other vehicle and driver (or passengers) to ensure this is also the case. Whether or not you are at fault, you want to make sure there are no major injuries or life threatening issues lingering around.

If this is the case, make sure to call 911, or if possible, have someone take those parties who are severely injured to the ER right away. Once this is done, and all parties are out of harm’s way, make sure you assess all damage. Not only to your bike, but to the other vehicle as well as to property. Make sure you take plenty of pictures; in fact, take far more pictures than you think are necessary, and do so from all angles. You don’t want anything altered at the scene of the accident, so move quickly.

Now that these things are done, you need to call the cops. Even if the other driver is fine, too much damage hasn’t occurred, and they say they don’t want to file a claim, make sure you call the cops. It is the only way to truly have a written police report and claim filed. And, if the other driver later tries to say they were hurt or you denied the claim filing and police report filing, this can mean far more cost and issues for you down the road. So even if they seem friendly and honest, call the cops.

2. Call your insurer –
DO NOT wait! After all reports are filed, call your insurance provider. Do so at the scene of the accident if possible. This is a sure fire way to know you have the other party there, their vehicle is there, and you can collect insurance information along with information about the vehicle. At this time make sure you give a full account of what happened; you are also armed with a written police report, so give the insurer your file number.

If there are witnesses there, try to get witness statements. The more you can tell your insurer, the more detailed you can be, and the more bolstered the police records are in your favor (if the police believe the other driver is at fault) all of this will bode well for you.

3. Get their information –
Even after you file reports and call your insurer, make sure you have the other party’s information. Driver’s license, state plates, license tag, insurance information, address, and phone numbers. Further, make sure you double check everything, and assess the accuracy. It might even be a good idea to call their cell phone number provided, just to ensure it is an accurate number (people do lie, and this can slow down the process, or your insurer’s ability to go after the liable party).

You might need this information down the road when getting quotes for damage repair or filing a report sometime down the road. So even when everything is said and done, make sure you have all information, as well as witness statements and information if they are willing to provide it.

4. Lawyer up –
If all else fails, or if the accident was major (causing loss of life, limbs, disfigurement, or major permanent injuries) only an accident attorney can truly help you. Not only in filing your case, but also in ensuring you are going to receive the damages owed to you. Whether this is in a settlement offer, or in a court battle, you need to have the top legal team on your side if you do choose to file a claim. A lawyer might inform you that it is not pertinent to file a claim, may advise you to settle, or if the damage and injuries are severe enough, can work with you in making sure you are going to receive all monies owed to you (present as well as future). Further, they will work to deal with your insurance company as well as the other party’s insurer, and work to push the claims process down the line a lot faster than you would be able to do on your own in dealing with insurance companies.

Of course the first thing that goes through your mind after a wreck is how did this happen? Following this is the shock, usually anger, and other thoughts are speeding through your mind. But, you have to collect your thoughts and actions right away, avoid a major fight, discussing the accident, and avoid apologizing (even if you were at fault, this can be misconstrued as a recognition of guilt on your behalf). From there, make sure you take these pertinent steps in dealing with the accident you were just involved in.

Nobody wants to go through an accident, but they do happen. If you are involved in one, whether or not you are at fault, these are a few of the initial steps to take to ensure filing goes as smoothly as possible, and to ensure things aren’t pushed to the back burner with your insurer (or the other party’s insurer) in filing claims.

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