A motorcycle accident can be catastrophic. Most motorcycle riders who are involved in accidents sustain injuries. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 82,528 motorcyclists were injured in police-reported crashes in 2021.
The aftermath of a motorcycle accident can be overwhelming, especially if you’ve been injured. You may feel disoriented and wonder what to do after a motorcycle accident. At TonaLaw, we understand the chaos and confusion surrounding an accident, so we’ve compiled the following list of steps you can take after a motorcycle accident to preserve your safety and legal rights.
Get Medical Help
If you’re in a motorcycle accident, call 9-1-1 for medical assistance. Depending on the extent of your injuries, emergency medical personnel may transport you to the hospital immediately. If not, however, you should still get medical attention as soon as possible. Sometimes a person does not immediately sense the extent of their injuries after an accident because their adrenaline can mask feelings of pain. You may have injuries you do not notice until several hours or days after the accident; if this occurs to you, seek medical attention for your injuries regardless of when you notice them.
A medical assessment immediately after an accident can also help if you plan to pursue a claim against an at-fault party. Getting your injuries documented right after the accident can help you prove that your injuries were caused by the accident. On the other hand, if you delay getting a medical assessment, the at-fault party may argue that something else caused your injuries.
Report the Crash to the Police
The next step for those wondering what to do after a motorcycle accident is to report the accident to the police. Under New York law, you must report an accident to the police and the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) if someone is injured or dies in the accident. If there are no accident injuries, you must report an accident with property damage of $1,000 or more to the DMV within ten days. Failure to do these things can result in the suspension of your license.
Filing an accident report with the police and the DMV can also help support a claim for damages. Often, when the police come to the scene, they’ll write down their impression of what transpired. They may also gather information, such as the other driver’s contact information and the names of any witnesses. All of this will be helpful should you decide to pursue a compensation claim.
Move to Safety
If it’s safe, move to the side of the road and away from traffic. Getting yourself to safety can prevent additional harm or injuries. If you cannot safely move to the side of the road, ask others on the road if they can help by putting up hazard lights, creating a barrier with their vehicles, or otherwise directing traffic away from you while you await the police and emergency medical personnel.
Gather Information from the Other Drivers and Witnesses
Gathering information from the other drivers can be extremely helpful if you’re wondering what to do after a motorcycle accident. Be sure to collect contact information from the other drivers. If property damage or injuries occur, the DMV requires you to exchange your driver’s license, insurance, and registration information with the other drivers involved. It’s a good idea to do this after any accident because, as discussed above, you may not be aware of the extent of your injuries or other damages until a few hours or days later.
You should also gather the names and contact information of any witnesses to the accident. This may include pedestrians on the street, passengers in other vehicles, or other drivers. Witnesses can help you build your case if you’d like to file a claim for damages against the at-fault driver.
Photograph the Scene of the Crash
If you are physically able to do so, take photographs of the crash scene. Considering photographing the following:
- Your motorcycle damage;
- The scene of the accident from different angles;
- Any other vehicles involved and the damage they sustained;
- Any road signs or traffic signals nearby;
- The condition of the road; and
- Any injuries you sustained.
You may have been immediately taken to the hospital, so you cannot take pictures of the accident scene. In this case, ask a trusted friend or family member to take photographs for you.
Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company
Next, you should report the accident to your insurance company, even if the accident was not your fault. New York’s no-fault insurance system does not cover motorcycles. This means you will ultimately have to file a claim against the at-fault party’s insurance company for your damages. However, your insurance company usually requires you to report any accidents regardless of who is at fault.
Be Mindful of What You Say
Be careful about what you say after an accident. You may feel compelled to say “I’m sorry” or something to that effect, even if you didn’t cause the accident. The other driver or an insurance company can use a seemingly innocent statement like that to claim that you caused the accident.
Be particularly mindful when discussing the accident with insurance companies. Keep your statements to the basic details required for a report or claim. Do not add any commentary. Additionally, do not agree to submit a written or recorded statement until after you speak with a motorcycle accident attorney.
Get in Touch with a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Contacting a lawyer with experience handling motorcycle accident claims is essential if you’re wondering what to do after a motorcycle accident. Because motorcyclists are not covered by no-fault insurance the injured rider’s only recourse is typically to file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company or, if necessary, to file a lawsuit.
Insurance companies are primarily worried about their bottom line. They have adjusters and attorneys that may attempt to minimize or dispute your claim. They may also offer you a low settlement amount, hoping you’ll be scared and desperate enough to take it.
You need an advocate who will fight for you so you can minimize your stress and get you fair compensation. A motorcycle accident attorney will fight for you. They will gather evidence of your accident, deal with your insurance claim process, estimate your damages, and negotiate with insurance companies and responsible parties. If the insurance company does agree to a fair settlement, an attorney can fight your case in court.
Contact TonaLaw After a Motorcycle Accident
Motorcycle accident victims should not have to fight with insurance companies and figure out the legal process on their own while juggling medical appointments and their recovery. If you are wondering what to do after a motorcycle accident to get compensation for your damages and lighten your burden, contact TonaLaw today. Our attorneys have extensive experience representing Long Island motorcycle accident victims in getting the compensation they deserve. We are zealous negotiators and do not hesitate to go to court for our clients. You do not have to handle this stressful experience alone. Contact our office today online or by calling 1-833-TONALAW.