A serious motorcycle accident is a traumatic event that can leave motorcyclists feeling dazed, confused, and shaken up—not to mention severely injured. The moments immediately following a motorcycle crash are often particularly chaotic, but what a motorcyclist does or doesn't do during this time period can have a long-lasting impact on their ability to collect compensation for their accident-related injuries and other losses.
Protecting Your Rights After a Motorcycle Accident
Were you injured in a motorcycle accident caused by the negligence of another person or entity? These steps can help you protect your right to financial recovery.
Motorcycle accidents can result in serious injuries for motorcyclists, as well as the drivers and passengers involved. Immediately after the accident, check yourself for injuries and, if you're able, check on the well-being of others involved in the crash. Call an ambulance if anyone appears severely injured.
Clear the Road
A motorcycle left in the road after an accident can cause additional motor vehicle crashes. Take a quick photo of the motorcycle's placement and then move it out of the road, if it's safe to do so. If you're unable to move the motorcycle, make sure to set up emergency triangles or flares to alert other drivers of potential hazards.
Report the Accident
Call and report the accident to law enforcement. In Delaware, motorists are legally required to report motor vehicle crashes—including motorcycle accidents—resulting in injury, death, or more than $500 in property damage.
When officers respond to the accident, they'll speak with you, the other drivers and passengers involved, and anyone who may have witnessed the incident before completing their report. Request a copy of this report for your records; the information it contains may be useful to your personal injury attorney, even though it can't be used to prove negligence in a court case.
Exchange Information With Involved Drivers
Trade insurance and contact information with the vehicle drivers involved in the motorcycle crash. Write down the driver’s license number, name, address, and phone number. Be sure to make a note of each vehicle's make and model, license plate number, and description.
If you weren't whisked away from the crash in an ambulance, you can use photos or videos to document the following essential evidence:
- The positioning of the motorcycle and involved vehicle(s) immediately after the collision
- Your injuries
- Damage to your motorcycle or other property
- Relevant road or weather conditions
Your personal injury attorney can use this evidence to paint a picture of the accident, as well as the injuries and other losses you incurred as a result.
Protect Your Right to Recovery
Knowing what not to do at the scene of a motorcycle accident can be just as valuable as knowing what to do. These common after-accident behaviors can put your ability to recover fair compensation in a future personal injury insurance claim or lawsuit in jeopardy:
- Inadvertently accepting blame—and liability—for the accident by apologizing
- Accepting a cash “settlement” in lieu of reporting the accident to police or insurance companies
- Accepting a settlement offer before the full extent of your injuries and other losses are known
- Giving an insurance company—yours or someone else's—a recorded statement without first consulting an attorney
Notify Your Insurer
Don't let too much time pass before notifying your motorcycle insurance provider that you were involved in an accident. While this call doesn't necessarily have to be made at the scene of the crash, it should be made in the next 24 to 48 hours. In some cases, waiting too long to notify an insurer of an accident may lead to the denial of the claim.
Consult a Knowledgeable Delaware Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Were you hurt in a Delaware motorcycle accident that wasn't your fault? If so, the experienced Delaware motorcycle accident attorneys with the Morris James Personal Injury Group can help you understand your legal rights and options, and fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a free initial consultation to discuss your case.