If you ride motorcycles in the Philadelphia area, you already know you need to be proactive about your safety. Wearing protective gear, maintaining situation awareness, and implementing defensive driving techniques all help to avoid accidents, but unavoidable and unforeseen dangers such as road conditions and the conduct of other drivers may cause an accident despite your care.
What do you do after a motorcycle accident? The Philadelphia motorcycle accident lawyers at Cousin Benny explain the step-by-step process you should take to ensure your safety and health and protect your rights.
If you’ve been in a motorcycle accident, call Cousin Benny to discuss your case, free of charge. Find out how much your case is worth.
1. Move Away from the Flow of Traffic
If you are mobile, move out of traffic lanes and to a safe place. Unfortunately, many traffic accident victims escape relatively unharmed from the accident itself, only to be struck by oncoming vehicles at the scene.
Stay at the scene – any driver in an accident in Pennsylvania must remain at the scene by law. Call 911 so the police and emergency medical services are notified.
2. Do Not Remove Your Protective Gear
While this may seem counterintuitive, keep your helmet and any other protective clothing on until EMS arrives. First, the scene of an accident is fraught with the additional danger of oncoming traffic. Second, removing any protective gear may exacerbate an injury that you are not yet aware of.
3. Contact the Police and File a Police Report
Once you’ve called 911, the police should arrive to assess the scene, manage traffic, and take contact information of accident victims and witnesses. They may issue citations if it was apparent that any traffic laws were broken, causing or contributing to the accident.
Among others, failure to signal a lane change or a turn, failure to turn headlights on at night or when using windshield wipers, tailgating, and speeding are the types of driving behavior that may result in a citation. Particular to motorcycles, riding between lanes or on the shoulder can result in a citation.
Ask the responding officers when the police report will be ready and where and how to obtain a copy. The police report and any citations issued are valuable evidence, should you need it.
4. Seek Medical Treatment
It would be wise of you to accept emergency treatment at the scene. Any motorcycle accident can cause serious injury to the operator, often unfelt or unnoticed due to the body’s adrenaline response to trauma. Emergency responders know what to check for and what questions to ask to determine whether you are at risk for head, neck, or spine injury or internal bleeding.
If you refuse emergency medical treatment, see your doctor as soon as you can. Again, many types of serious injuries do not manifest until hours or days later, or in the case of a brain bleed or other internal bleeding, may not manifest at all until it is too late. Get the appropriate scans to be sure to catch these types of injuries.
5. Gather Evidence
While the police report may have much of this information, if you are physically able, try to gather evidence at the scene. Use your cell phone to take pictures of the scene, the weather conditions, the condition of your motorcycle and the other vehicles involved, any skid marks or damage to road barriers, and the clothing and injuries of everyone involved, including yourself.
The Other Drivers and Vehicles
Obtain contact and insurance information from the other drivers. Jot down or take a picture of their license plate numbers and any writing on commercial vehicles.
Bystanders and Witnesses
If others saw the accident, get their name and cell phone number at least in case you need their testimony as to how the accident occurred.
6. Don’t Give a Statement to an Insurance Adjuster or Sign Anything
It is vitally important to refrain from discussing the cause of the accident with anyone, especially insurance adjusters. You may inadvertently give up your rights to compensation if you say anything that indicates you were partially or totally at fault for causing the accident.
By way of preserving admissions of fault, write down anything said by the drivers of other vehicles involved, such as “I didn’t see you!” or “I couldn’t brake in time.” Liability is a hotly-contested issue in motor vehicle accidents in PA. Admitting liability or an incorrect liability assessment that is too high can cost you tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation you would otherwise be due.
7. Hire a Qualified Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer helps you assess liability for the accident and accurately calculate the amount of compensation you are due considering the severity of your injuries and what effect they have on your life and your future. Then your motorcycle accident lawyer negotiates with the insurance company or insurance companies to get you the compensation you deserve, and if they refuse to settle, sues them using the evidence they’ve gathered to get you a money judgment.
Keep in mind that insurance companies do not have your best interests at heart. You may be grateful to receive a settlement offer quickly after your accident, but be forewarned – these initial settlement offers are usually far too low, especially considering your injuries have not healed yet and you have no idea how they will impact your future.
Insurance companies are like any other type of business in that they exist to make a profit. The more they collect in premiums and the less they pay out in claims, the more profit they make. Their interests are directly adverse to yours, and they have teams of lawyers on their side working to maximize your liability, minimize your injuries, and minimize the amount of your claim.
About Cousin Benny
The motorcycle accident lawyers at Cousin Benny treat our clients like family. We understand how traumatic a motorcycle accident is for those involved, and we are committed to helping our clients get every penny they deserve.
Don’t fight the insurance company alone. You should focus your energy on resting and recovering from your injuries. Let us investigate the cause or causes of the accident, use our experts to assess the value of your claim, handle negotiations with the insurance companies, and help you get your just compensation.
Call us today to find out how much your motorcycle accident case is worth – free of charge!