Motorcycle accidents are not uncommon and yet they are rarely expected. It is easy to become overwhelmed following a motorcycle accident. There is a lot going on and there are numerous things to consider. It is essential that you remain calm, gather your thoughts, and go through all of the necessary steps following a motorcycle accident to make sure that the process is handled smoothly and completely. It is imperative that you take certain steps while still at the scene, otherwise vital information may be lost.
Once you are done gathering yourself you should begin to gather information at the scene. Not only will the police require certain information, but your insurance company will also require certain information as well. You are going to want to make sure you know and have documentation of the following information after a motorcycle accident:
- Contact information for everyone at the scene, including the names and the phone numbers or e-mail addresses for all potential witnesses.
- The vehicle information for every vehicle involved in the accident. This should include the make, model, and year for each vehicle as well as the license plate number and vehicle identification number (VIN).
- The insurance information for every driver involved in the accident including the contact information for the insurance company and the individual policy information.
- The name and the badge number of the officer who arrives and the police report number.
- Take photographs of the scene and assess the damage.
Now is the time to document all the damage from the scene because once you leave the scene it will be more difficult to do so. Take photographs of the road, your motorcycle, any pieces of your motorcycle or the other involved vehicles that are in the road, and any other evidence of the accident.
Call the Police
You should always phone the police after an accident even if it seems relatively mild. When the police come they will be able to play an integral role in helping to determine fault, as well as documenting important information about the accident in a police report which you will be able to use as evidence in your case.
Make sure that you speak to the officer who arrives as they may be able to advise you on the information that you gather for your insurance company such as what photographs you should take and what documentation you need from the other involved parties. Make sure that you take information from the officer including details about the police report so that you can obtain it later for your records.
When the police are on scene, they may lend some insight into fault after having a conversation with witnesses and all involved parties. Determining fault may play a role in which insurance company is responsible for paying costs after the accident. According to Bruscato Law, factors that go into determining fault include how fast each party was traveling at and whether any traffic laws were broken. If a fault determination is made, then it will be noted on the police accident report. When there is a question of fault or when you need legal support to ensure your insurance company is going to cover your expenses, hiring a lawyer may be a good idea.
Check for Injury
As soon as it is reasonably possible, you should take the time to really assess your physical self. It would be best to do this while the officer is still on the scene. It is definitely ideal to do this before you speak to your insurance agent because they will want to know if any injuries occurred. According to Ride Apart, 1,222,000 people were treated in U.S. emergency rooms for non-fatal, motorcycle-related injuries between 2001 and 2008.
If you feel you may have sustained an injury during the accident, even if mild, then you should strongly consider going to a hospital or urgent care once you have wrapped everything up at the scene of the accident.
Call Your Insurance Agent
Call your insurance agent and file a claim as soon as possible. They will want to know all the information you documented at the time of the accident so make sure you wrote everything down. They will also give you a method to send photographs and other documentation to file your claim. The sooner you file your claim the sooner you can get back on the road.
Clean Up the Scene
Make sure once all is said and done that you remove any broken pieces of your motorcycle from the road after taking photographs of them. Leaving these broken pieces in the road can be hazardous to other vehicles driving by, especially at nighttime. If debris from your accident causes another accident you may be held responsible for it.
Being involved in a motorcycle accident can be frustrating and overwhelming. Going through the necessary steps one at a time is the best way to make sure you handle the police and insurance process right and can get back on the road.
Read this next: Do You Need a Lawyer? The Answer Is Probably Yes
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