After a motorcycle accident that was not your fault, there are certain essential steps you should take. These things can help to preserve the value of your legal claim to compensation for your injuries and safeguard your health.
Call the Police
Law enforcement needs to send an officer to evaluate the scene of the accident, determine fault, and write a report. Without this document, it will be your word against someone else's as to who was at fault in the crash. Also, the insurance company will likely try to avoid paying compensation on an undocumented claim.
While you are waiting for the police to arrive, avoid making small talk with the driver. You could accidentally say something the driver could use against you.
Get Medical Attention
You should get medical help right after the wreck. Immediate treatment can help you achieve the best possible outcome for your injuries.
Sometimes hidden trauma does not show symptoms right away. Even with significant injuries like internal bleeding, head trauma, and neck and back injuries, the victim might not perceive a problem until the situation reaches critical status. When an accident victim is in shock or is experiencing elevated levels of adrenaline from the event, it can be more challenging to perceive pain and other symptoms.
Your medical records will provide a valuable link between your injuries and the crash. If you delay in seeking medical care, the insurance company might assert that something other than the crash caused your injuries.
Preserve the Evidence
Have someone take photographs of the scene before anyone changes anything or cleans up the debris. Skid marks and other details can be vital in establishing who caused the wreck. Sometimes we work with accident reconstruction experts when there is a dispute as to the cause of an accident.
If possible, make a note of the names and contact information of people who might have seen something that could be beneficial to your case. Although eyewitness testimony is not always perfect, sometimes it can lead to vital information.
Talk to a Personal Injury Lawyer
The sooner you get an attorney to help with your case, the better. A motorcycle accident lawyer can help you avoid the pitfalls that can decrease the value of your compensation claim. The insurance company cannot harass you once you have a lawyer handling your injury matter.
What We Have to Prove to Hold the At-Fault Party Responsible for Your Losses
A motorcycle accident falls within the category of personal injury claims. We must prove all of these elements to establish liability under a legal theory of negligence:
- Legal duty of care. The careless party must have owed you a duty of care under the law. All people operating motor vehicles have a duty to exercise caution, follow the law, and drive safely.
- Breach of the duty of care. It is negligence to fail to perform up to the standard of a legal duty of care. Let's say that a drunk driver ran a red light and crashed into you while you were riding your motorcycle. Driving while under the influence of alcohol violates the law and duty of care. The drunk driver was negligent.
- Causation. The driver’s negligent behavior must be what caused the accident. The driver’s intoxication caused the driver to fail to notice the red light. His negligent act of driving while under the influence of alcohol caused the crash. This pattern satisfies the legal requirement of causation.
- Damages. The plaintiff must sustain damages from the accident. If you suffered physical injuries, you satisfy the requirement.
Damages for a Motorcycle Accident
The actual compensation you can receive for your injuries from a motorcycle accident will depend on the facts of your case. In general, motorcycle accident victims can recover these kinds of damages:
- Medical bills for the reasonable treatment you needed because of your injuries. These damages can include the ambulance, emergency room, surgery, physicians, lab work, x-rays, prescription drugs, and physical therapy.
- Rehabilitation center for situations in which the plaintiff suffered significant injuries, such as head trauma or spinal cord damage.
- Long-term care, if you suffered catastrophic injuries that leave you in need of daily assistance with medical treatment and personal care.
- Lost wages to replace the wages, salary, self-employment, and other income you missed because of the crash and your recuperation time.
- Diminished earning capacity, if you cannot make as much money after the accident because of your injuries.
- Disability, if your injuries make you unable to support yourself through gainful employment.
- Property damage, to repair or replace your motorcycle, helmet, and other items damaged in the crash.
- Pain and suffering, for the discomfort and distress you experienced.
- Other intangible damages, such as disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and your spouse’s claim for loss of consortium.
Get Help from a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today
Our team will be happy to talk with you and evaluate your motorcycle accident at no charge to you. You can call S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838 today for a free consultation. We do not charge legal fees until you get compensation. Act quickly to avoid overstepping the statute of limitations.