Following a motorcycle accident, there are necessary steps that you must take in order to protect yourself when it comes time to file claims. Once the accident occurs, check yourself for any injuries. Sometimes after a traumatic experience such as a traffic accident, it is common to be too shaken up to realize that you have been injured.
Once you have examined yourself, go check on any other motorists that were involved in the crash. Call 911 if necessary, and then wait for the responding officer to report to the scene. Make it a point to write down the make, model, color, and license plate number of all the vehicles involved. While you wait, get witness information from anyone who may have seen the accident. Take down their names and phone numbers, that way statements can be gathered from them later. Some of the questions that your attorney will ask the witnesses include: general descriptions of what they saw, speeds, distances, and their formal statements of the events.
One of the most important steps to take following an accident is to take pictures of everything, from every angle. Use your cell phone camera if you have one, or keep a disposable camera in a safe compartment in case of an accident. Pictures are valuable documentation that will make or break your case. Here is a list of what you should take pictures of:
- The accident scene in its entirety
- Your bike from all angles and distances
- The other vehicle(s) from all angles and distances
- All visible injuries you sustained, as well as those of the other motorists (if consented to)
- Skid marks, if any
- Any vehicle debris, including broken glass, that is on the ground
- Environmental conditions, such as sunlight or precipitation
Remember to never leave the scene of an accident before the responding officer determines who is at fault, as you could be criminally charged. The officer will write up a Traffic Collision Report (TRC) that includes the contact information for everyone involved in the accident, including the other driver’s insurance company, allowing you to take the necessary steps to file a claim.
As part of Nevada law, you must file a SR-1 report following an accident if there is over $750 in damage or if you were injured. This letter must be downloaded and taken to the Department of Motor Vehicles. This form can be found here.
FOLLOWING THE ACCIDENT
Once the accident scene has been thoroughly handled by the responding officer, go to the emergency room. If you do not report injuries and obtain medical documentation, you were not injured in the accident. Disregard hospital fees, as your attorney will work to get you reimbursed. Not only must you go to the ER directly following an accident, but you must follow up with your doctor to prevent insurance companies from claiming you had a “gap in treatment” that may be held against you when filing a personal injury lawsuit.
A variety of injuries can be sustained from a motorcycle accident, including but are not limited to:
- Bone fractures, with the most common injury being a broken leg
- Road rash, from mild to severe
- Head injuries, such as traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Spinal injuries
- Disfigurement, such as facial fractures
After you take care of medical documentation, get your motorcycle out of impound. You are the owner will be responsible for all fees associated with the transport and storage of it regardless of who is at fault in the accident. If you wait too long to retrieve your motorcycle, it will go up for “Lien Sale,” and you will still be required to pay towing and storage charges. In general, pick up your motorcycle as soon as possible, and your attorney will work to get you reimbursed later.
Open a Claim with Your Insurance
While you may believe that you are not at fault for the accident, you are still required to file a claim with your insurance company. If your coverage includes property damage, get your motorcycle repaired or replaced and work with your attorney to get any fees reimbursed.
Keep in mind that if the other motorist’s insurance calls you for a statement, you must be extremely careful with what you say, ideally you should refuse to give a statement at all as you do not have a contractual obligation to cooperate with them.
Let Your Attorney Help
If you are injured following an accident, the most important thing you should focus on is your recovery. A trustworthy personal injury attorney will assist you with your documentation needs, as well as working with your insurance.