We’re all seeking a reprieve from being cooped up these days. There are not many better ways to get out than to hop on the bike and go for a ride. But the last thing on our minds when taking that ride is getting into an accident.
Nobody ever anticipates being in an accident. Even if you are the most cautious, capable motorcyclist in the world, there are still things beyond your control. The sad reality is that accidents happen, whether we expect them to or not. While we all hope that we never have to deal with the aftermath of something so serious, if it does happen to you, there are things you should know about what to do after a motorcycle accident.
What to Do Immediately After an Accident
Get to Safety
Immediately after a motorcycle crash, the most important thing to do is to ensure your safety. If possible, remove yourself from the immediate area and into a safer position off the road and out of traffic.
Do Not Remove Any Gear
Once you are in a safe spot, full of adrenaline and maybe even in shock, your immediate reaction will likely be to remove your gear. Adrenaline and shock may keep you from feeling any pain, possibly making you unaware of any injuries. After a motorcycle accident injury, wait until paramedics arrive before removing any gear, just to be on the safe side.
Don’t assume that passersby or witnesses have already called for help. Always call 911 to send the proper authorities based on the severity of the accident, be it fire, police, paramedic, or all of the above.
Get the Proper Medical Attention
Again, with the surge of adrenalin or the possibility of shock, a lack of pain may give you a false sense of not being injured. Many major injuries aren’t always obvious right away. Be sure to have paramedics give you a complete check-up, and let them determine the severity of your injuries and whether you require follow-up care.
Adrenaline can do odd things to your body and often make you act strange or abnormally. Stay calm until the proper authorities arrive, and avoid exposing others to any danger.
Obtain information from other parties involved, including their contact information and insurance information. It’s also a good idea to gather information from the scene, such as pictures and a copy of the police report.
Be Mindful of What You Say
People will ask you a lot of questions, whether it’s the police or the insurance companies involved. Be as truthful as possible without admitting fault. You may or may not have been at fault, but saying the wrong thing can easily be misconstrued and used against you.
Contact Your Insurance Company
You may not have to contact your insurance company when you’re still on the scene of the accident, but it’s a good idea to contact your insurance company as soon as possible to get the claims process started. In most cases, there is a limit to how long after an accident you can report it, especially if you’ve suffered a personal injury. Be sure not to procrastinate on this.
Contact a Lawyer
This step isn’t always necessary as many accident claims go well and rarely have issues, but this is not always the case. You may need to seek legal help, specifically from a motorcycle accident attorney. A Los Angeles Motorcycle Accident Lawyer can analyze evidence obtained from the scene and help deal with the more complex legal aspects of the incident. An injury lawyer that deals specifically with a motorcycle accident claim are aware of what the average motorcycle accident settlement may be, and will do their best to ensure you get the settlement you deserve.
The Hurt Report Motorcycle Accident Reports
The Hurt Report is one of the most widely accredited surveys on motorcycle accidents. Even though the study was conducted in 1979 and published in 1981, it is still relevant today.
The Hurt Report motorcycle accidents survey gets its name from the researcher Harry Hurt, who investigated 900 motorcycle accidents and 3600 motorcycle accident reports in the Los Angeles area over 24 months to create a comprehensive report on motorcycle safety. The investigations included accidents with other motor vehicles, single-vehicle accidents, and those involving pedestrians or animals.
Professor Hurt also did investigations during different times of day to ensure accurate findings. Once he collected all possible data, Professor Hurt then analyzed each accident, creating more than 1000 data points for each. Because of this extensive study, some important points were established.
Here are just a fraction of Professor Hurt’s findings:
- Most single-vehicle accidents were a result of the rider overestimating their ability to handle a specific situation.
- Many accidents were a result of driving under the influence or reckless driving.
- Most multi-vehicle accidents were a result of the driver of larger vehicles not seeing the motorcycle.
- Wearing the proper safety gear significantly reduced serious injury.
The Hurt Report has led to many significant changes that are still implemented to this day. These include proper training and motorcycle specific licensing and many states implement motorcycle helmet laws.
What Happens if You Don’t Call the Police After an Accident
It is important to note that you are not obligated to report every accident that you are involved in. It is equally important to know that there are times when you absolutely must report the accident, including:
- If damage to vehicles involved exceeds a certain amount (Please check with your insurance company or local authorities as this amount varies from state to state and area to area.)
- If there is any property damage other than that of the vehicles involved
- If a pedestrian was involved
- If someone was hurt
- If one or more of the people involved do not have insurance
- If there was a criminal offense committed
- It is also important to mention that many insurance companies require a police report to file a claim, regardless of the circumstances.
What happens if you don’t call the police after an accident and you are legally required to do so? If you are required by law to inform the police and you fail to do so, you could be charged with leaving the scene of an accident, an offense that could leave you facing hefty fines or even jail time.
If it is a situation where it is not required by law to file a police report, it is still always a good idea to do so for many reasons.
- Injuries are not always obvious immediately following an accident and can take some time to reveal themselves. Down the road, you may need to file for compensation for medical bills. In this case, a police report is a valuable piece of information.
- Other drivers involved may decide to file a lawsuit against you, even if the accident was not your fault. A police report serves as evidence in any case.
- If the incident ends up in court, it could be months down the road, and your recollection of the events may not be as clear as they would have had a police report been filed at the time.
- You may be the one who decides to file a lawsuit and will need a police report as evidence in your case.
- If making an insurance claim, the insurance company often requires a police report to determine whether or not you were at fault and whether you were as responsible as possible while driving.
Most states have a set time limit to report an accident. Even if you don’t have to report it by law, if you are going to file a report, make sure it gets done right away. The best way to do this is to call the police for any accident.
In a perfect world, none of us would have to worry about getting in an accident. We would love to hit the open road without a care in the world, but the unfortunate reality is that accidents do occur. While there may not be anything we can do to prevent them, knowing what to do when one does occur is key to making an already extremely stressful and painful experience that much easier to handle.