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What To Do After a Motorcycle Accident: Comprehensive Guide

Updated January 9, 2024
12 min read
What To Do After a Motorcycle Accident: Comprehensive Guide

Motorcycle accidents occur daily, resulting in various outcomes — from minor injuries to life-altering repercussions. Understanding what to do after a motorcycle accident is critical for any rider. This article aims to empower survivors with the necessary steps and essential information to navigate the aftermath effectively.

Those accidents can lead to complex legal and insurance claims, where the expertise of an experienced attorney can be crucial in securing fair compensation. Additionally, understanding state-specific motorcycle laws and safety regulations can significantly influence the outcome of court proceedings and insurance settlements.

Understanding the Impact of Motorcycle Accidents

Each accident spawns unique circumstances. While some survivors walk away with only minor bruises, others end up with significant injuries that require immediate medical attention and long-term therapy. It's crucial to understand that even if you are an exceedingly careful rider, factors beyond your control can still lead to accidents.

Taking proactive measures, such as wearing protective gear and adhering to safety protocols, can significantly mitigate the severity of potential injuries in case of an accident. Furthermore, it is essential to be well-informed about your legal rights and the steps to take following an accident, as this knowledge can be vital in securing adequate compensation for any damages or injuries sustained.

Steps to take post-motorcycle accident

Unexpected moments demand calm and informed actions. Should you find yourself in a motorcycle accident, it's essential to keep the following steps in mind regarding what to do after a motorcycle accident:

Prioritize safety

If possible, move away from the accident scene to avoid additional injuries. If mobility is an issue, seek the assistance of nearby individuals. Remember, your well-being takes precedence over your vehicle. Yet, provided it can be done without risk, establishing warning signals like triangles or flares at the accident site can serve as a necessary alert to incoming drivers and potentially prevent additional accidents. Additionally, call 911 as soon as possible to report the incident and request medical assistance if needed, as a timely emergency response is vital for the health and safety of everyone involved.

Immediate medical help

Reach out to emergency services immediately, regardless of the severity of your injuries. Early medical attention can significantly impact the recovery process. Moreover, a comprehensive medical report initiated during the incident can be crucial in future insurance claims or legal cases. Request bystanders to call if you cannot do so, and ask them to stay until help arrives to provide an account of the incident, which can also support your case.

Assess the immediate surrounding

Attempt to gather as much information regarding the accident as possible. Remember the accident details, such as the sequence of events, taking note of witnesses, vehicle descriptions, and license plate numbers in a hit-and-run scenario.

Report all symptoms and injuries

Paramedics arriving on the scene after a motorcycle accident require complete information about your physical condition to administer appropriate care. Inform them about all discomfort, numbness, or pain you are experiencing. Do not omit details regarding existing medical conditions, allergies, or medications you are currently taking, as these factors can critically influence the treatment provided. 

Additionally, if you have any implanted medical devices, such as a pacemaker or insulin pump, inform the paramedics, as such information is vital for ensuring safe and effective emergency care.

Discuss with law enforcement

Provide law enforcement officers with a comprehensive recount of the accident. Doing so will streamline filing a claim with your insurance provider and may help in case of subsequent legal actions.

In addition to facilitating the insurance claim process, giving a detailed account to law enforcement can also help ensure that traffic citations or charges are accurately assigned. Remember to request a copy of the police report, as it will be an official document crucial for personal records and during court proceedings.

Document and gather evidence

Accidents can have financial implications — medical bills, loss of work, or vehicle repairs. Document your injuries, the accident scene, and hospital bills, and gather any available CCTV footage. This evidence proves crucial if you decide to claim compensation.

Maintain a detailed record of any ongoing treatments and related expenses, as these can significantly affect the compensation you may be entitled to. Also, consult with a legal professional early on to understand your rights and the statute of limitations for filing a claim in your jurisdiction. This is critical to ensure you meet all legal deadlines.

Secure contact details of other parties involved

Try to get the contact information of all parties involved and eyewitnesses. This becomes critical if legal action is required.

Gather as much detail as possible, including full names, phone numbers, and email addresses. This information will expedite any necessary follow-up by your legal representative and can be crucial in assembling a strong case.

Legal help

Remembering accident details is essential in the unfortunate event of a motorcycle accident, including what to expect after a motorcycle accident, especially in hit-and-run circumstances. These details can help law enforcement find the culprit and play a critical role in filing insurance claims and ensuring you are fairly compensated for damages and injuries. 

Consider seeking the assistance of a motorcycle accident attorney who can guide you through the legal intricacies and help build a solid case for you. An experienced attorney will be adept at gathering necessary evidence, such as traffic camera footage and witness statements, which can significantly strengthen your position during legal proceedings or settlement negotiations.

What Not To Do After a Motorcycle Accident

In the chaotic aftermath of a motorcycle accident, knowing what actions to avoid can be as important as knowing what steps to follow.

Do not remove anything

You probably know that if you ever get stabbed, removing the object you were pierced with can cause more harm than good. The same goes for a motorcycle accident –– do not remove anything. Don’t take off your gear or clothing. Similarly, do not remove anything that might be stuck in your body. Feeling fine after being in an accident is not always a good sign. Wait for paramedics to assess the situation.

Do not move your motorcycle

If possible, do not move your motorcycle. Police will examine the motorcycle accident scene, so refrain from tapering with evidence. That is unless you are under the bike.

Do not admit fault without a lawyer

No way, shape, or form should you lie to law enforcement officers. However, it is safer to refrain from saying anything that could lead them to believe the motorcycle accident was your fault, at least until you speak to your lawyer. You may have unknowingly done something to incriminate yourself, like not wearing your safety gear or following traffic rules. Allow your lawyer to take care of the legal side of the accident.

Do not flee the scene of the accident

Especially if you’re a truck or car driver involved in a motorcycle accident, fleeing from the accident may subject you to more liability. While hit-and-run laws may vary from state to state, you may face penalties such as fines, jail time, and license suspension in many cases. Penalties may also be stiffer depending on the extent of the injury caused to life, limb, or property.

Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries

Due to the rider's lack of protective barriers in motorcycle accidents, they tend to be considerably more complex than other vehicle accidents. Consequently, the injuries inflicted can be severe and varied, often necessitating prompt and possibly extended medical attention.

Anyone involved in a motorcycle accident must seek medical attention as soon as possible, even if the injuries seem minor at the time; some conditions may not be immediately apparent and could lead to complications if left untreated. Here's a more detailed look at common motorcycle accident injuries:

  • Head and neck trauma: These injuries are of particular concern in motorcycle accidents. Victims may experience concussions, which can present symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, and nausea. More severe traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can have lasting impacts, potentially including cognitive impairment, emotional and behavioral changes, and even permanent disability. Riders must wear helmets, although TBIs can occur due to impact force, even with protective headgear.

  • Facial injuries: Riders thrown from their bikes or colliding with objects can suffer from broken bones in the face, leading to complex fractures that require surgical intervention. Dental damage can involve chipped, broken, or lost teeth, necessitating restorative dental procedures. Riders can also sustain jaw injuries, which may affect their ability to speak or eat and might require reconstructive surgery.

  • Road rash: When a rider is dragged across the road's surface, the friction can cause severe skin abrasions, commonly known as "road rash." This injury can range from mild surface scrapes to deep wounds that expose underlying layers of fat and muscle, increasing the risk of infection and requiring wound care or skin grafting.

  • Muscle injuries: The impact from a motorcycle accident can stretch, tear, or strain the muscles. Muscle injuries can be acutely painful and may limit mobility. Treatment typically involves rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) in the initial stages, followed by physical therapy and rehabilitation to regain strength and flexibility.

Due to the varied nature of these injuries, recovery times can range from a few weeks to several years, and the financial impact can be significant. For this reason, accident victims or their families must consult with qualified healthcare professionals and legal experts to explore possible compensation. 

Conclusion

Knowing what to do after motorcycle accident is crucial. While one must always strive for prevention first, being equipped with correct post-accident procedures can significantly soften the impact. Legal expertise, represented by a motorcycle accident attorney, can help you navigate any complex legal consequences and provide peace of mind in an otherwise challenging situation.

Article by
Yevheniia Savchenko
Lawrina

Yevheniia Savchenko is a Product Content Manager at Lawrina. Yevheniia creates user interface copies for Lawrina products, writes release notes, and helps customers get the best user experience from all Lawrina products. Also, Yevheniia is in charge of creating helpful content on legal template pages (Lawrina Templates) and up-to-date information on US law (Lawrina Guides). In her spare time, Yevheniia takes up swimming, travels, and goes for a walk in her home city.

If you have any questions or suggestions regarding the product or UX content for Lawrina, feel free to contact Yevheniia directly at y.savchenko@lawrina.org or connect with her on LinkedIn.