Steps to Take After a Motorcycle Accident
When a vehicle collides with a motorcycle, the consequences can be serious. Follow these steps if you were in a motorcycle accident.
Seek Medical Help
First, if you or the vehicle’s driver are injured, immediately call 911. After the accident, you should see a doctor to be certain that you’re physically fine and to have a medical record of the accident.
Document and Obtain Documents of Everything
At the scene of the accident, collect all the important information that you can.
- Names of everyone involved
- Driver’s license numbers
- Phone numbers
- Vehicle registrations
- License plate numbers
You may also want to take pictures of the scene of the accident and the vehicles. However, if you were injured, do not cause yourself extra stress by attempting to document everything.
Contact the police so that there is an official record of the accident. Lastly, if possible, gather statements from witnesses who saw what happened in the accident. If you cannot get witness statements, write down their names and phone numbers.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Call your insurance agent as soon as you can. Let them know how the accident happened to the best of your ability. Your insurance company will work with the other driver’s insurance company to settle the claim.
Hire a Personal Injury Attorney
After a motorcycle accident, you may not be compensated for everything that you’ve lost, including the motorcycle, lost income, and medical expenses. A motorcycle accident lawyer can help you file a personal injury claim with the goal of recovering compensation for these losses.
California Motorcycle Laws
As a motorcyclist in California, you should be aware of the laws that rule the road:
- Lane Splitting: Lane splitting is when a motorcyclist rides in between two lanes of traffic to pass vehicles. In California, lane splitting is not specifically illegal.
- Helmets: Under California law, motorcyclists must wear a helmet.
- Passengers: Passengers must also wear a helmet, and it is advised that only experienced riders carry passengers.
- Equipment: A motorcycle that is carrying passengers should be equipped properly with a large enough seat and footrests.
Unfortunately, there are biases towards motorcyclists. Some believe motorcyclists are reckless by nature, but that stereotype is usually untrue. Determining fault in a motorcycle accident requires putting aside biases against motorcyclists first and then examining the cause of the accident.
Some accidents are caused by the negligence of a driver who did not perform their duty of care. For example, a driver who did not look in their rearview mirror before changing lanes was negligent. To prove negligence, you must show that the driver neglected to do something that they legally should have done.
Comparative fault states, including California, do not take an “all or nothing” approach to damages in a case. For example, if the driver of the vehicle is found to be 80% at fault for the accident and the motorcyclist is found to be 20% at fault, then the motorcyclist’s damage awards will be reduced by 20%.
Filing a Claim for a Loved One
Motorcycle accidents are one of the most dangerous types of collisions. Because of how serious these accidents are, some do result in death. If you have lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident, your life will be changed forever. You must have time to grieve and feel the shock of their passing. There are also practical matters that must be handled.
When It’s Possible to File a Claim
There are certain scenarios when a spouse or family member can file a personal injury claim or wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the person who was in the accident. If your loved one was so hurt that they are incapacitated, you can file a personal injury lawsuit on their behalf. If you lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Determining the Basis for the Claim
To determine the basis for the claim, it’s important to gather as much information as possible about the accident itself. If the driver of the vehicle that struck your loved one was acting with negligence, for example, that negligence is the basis of the claim. If there was another vehicle involved that caused the accident, then the driver of that vehicle would be the subject of the claim.