Motorcycle accidents can cause extremely serious injuries and damages, including fractures, spinal cord injuries, and traumatic brain injuries, many of which require immediate and long-term medical care. Knowing what steps to take after a motorcycle accident can help victims receive compensation for their injuries. Thankfully for victims in Los Angeles County, in many cases, California law allows people who are hurt in motorcycle wrecks to obtain compensation for the losses they have sustained. It is important that you seek emergency medical treatment immediately, regardless of whether or not you feel pain or symptoms immediately following your accident. Failing to seek immediate medical care following a motorcycle accident sends an implicit message to the insurance company that you were not all that seriously injured in your accident. Moreover, motorcycle accident injuries oftentimes do not manifest themselves until days or even weeks after the accident, due in part to the adrenaline rush following an accident. The cost of medical care, rehabilitation, and lost wages can be staggering after a motorcycle accident. While there is no amount of money that can take away the pain and emotional hardship, you might be able to restore your financial stability by filing a personal injury claim. All motorists have a duty to drive in a manner that does not put other people in danger. If you have sustained injuries in a motorcycle collision because another driver breached that duty by speeding, unsafe lane change, failure to yield, or any other negligent act, you could have sufficient grounds for a claim.
The experienced Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyers at Injury Justice Law Firm LLP, are very familiar with the issues motorcycle accident victims face after getting hurt in a serious wreck. Our knowledgeable and skilled attorneys can assist you with maximizing the value of your accident case and can help you obtain the monetary compensation that you need and deserve. If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, the obvious first step is to check for injuries and get off the roadway, if possible. If anyone if injured, call 911 immediately for medical attention. Afterwards, here are some useful steps to follow:
- Call the police – The police report can be vital in your effort to recover compensation. Statements at the accident scene, immediately following a motorcycle accident, can play an important role. Be very careful of any statements you make. This includes statements to the other party, police, or witnesses.
- Gather information – Exchange information with other drivers involved. Get their name, address, phone number, insurance information, and license numbers for all drivers. Be sure to make note of license plate numbers, car make and model, and description. You should also get contact information of any passengers.
- Take pictures – Photos will often tell the story of how your accident happened and can probably help your personal injury attorney prove negligence and liability. Be sure to take pictures of damages to your motorcycle, your injuries, exact position of the vehicles, traffic signs, and skid marks.
- Makes notes of the surroundings – If possible, try to write down important information about the accident. This could include where, when, and how the accident happened. Specifically, try to makes notes of the location, road conditions, speed limits, weather, lighting, the direction of travel of the vehicles involved.
- Record the contact information of eyewitnesses – If reasonably possible, try to obtain information from all witnesses and make notes of their comments and contact information. Memories will quickly fade; be sure to get as much information as you can immediately following the motorcycle crash.
- Don't admit fault – In many cases, the exact cause of an accident is unclear immediately after the accident. It's easy to be tempted to apologize for getting into an accident, even when it's not your fault. Accidents can be stressful, and you might not recall every detail until sometime later. Statements at the accident scene can have serious consequences down the road.
- Consult with a motorcycle accident attorney – A small mistake, such as making a recorded statement to the insurance company, missing deadlines, or overlooking future damages, could have a highly negative impact on your claim. An experienced Los Angeles motorcycle injury lawyer can help you avoid these costly oversights and fight for the maximum compensation.
Additional Steps to Take after a Los Angeles Motorcycle Accident
Obtaining emergency medical care undoubtedly the most important thing you can do after you are involved in a motorcycle accident. Once you are certain that your condition is stable and that you have received any necessary treatment, it is important to take steps to ensure that your legal rights are protected. Below are some of the steps you can do to protect your legal rights.
Follow-Up Evaluations and Care
As an accident victim, you should always go see your physician after an accident for a thorough evaluation – even if you were evaluated in an emergency room. Emergency room physicians are often in a hurry to move onto the next patient, and it is likely that you were discharged as soon as it was clear that your condition was stable. As result, certain types of injuries, such as whiplash, can often be missed in emergency room evaluations.
In addition to simply going for an evaluation, make sure to take all of your physician's advice to heart and participate in any follow-up care or rehabilitation that is prescribed. Specifically, you should:
- Take care to avoid lengthy gaps in treatment and try to avoid gaps of 1-2 weeks or more in your follow-up medical care.
- Continue to consult with your primary care physician about the injuries you sustained in your motorcycle accident.
- Attend all medical and physical therapy appointments on time and stay for the entire treatment session.
- Stop treating only upon discharge from a health care facility. Do not “discharge yourself” from a medical provider or healthcare facility.
Keep Good Records of all of Your Medical Care and Treatment
Once you received treatment for your injuries following your motorcycle accident, it is important that you request and keep copies of all of your medical and accident-related documentation – including medical records and lost wage documentation – and that you keep a detailed journal of how your injuries affect your daily life while treating and afterward.
Don't Provide the other Driver's Insurance Company with a Written Statement
Many insurance companies pressure accident victims to provide a written statement regarding the crash in which they were involved. There is no legal requirement to do so, and providing such as statement could result in you accidentally admitting liability for the accident. As a result, you should always retain an personal injury attorney to handle all of your communication with an adverse insurance company.
Don't Accept a Settlement Offer – Even if it Seems Reasonable
In many Los Angeles motorcycle accident cases, victims are offered a seemingly reasonable settlement shortly after the wreck has taken place. While it may seem like the easiest course of action to resolve your case and move on with your life, the reality is that initial settlement offers are typically far below what a case is actually worth and do not fully account for losses like pain and suffering, loss of future income, future medical expenses, and loss of quality of life. For this reason, anyone injured in a motorcycle accident should speak to an attorney before accepting any offer made by the insurance company handling their case.
Contact a Los Angeles Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
The motorcycle accident lawyers at Injury Justice Law Firm LLP, will be able to negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf and work towards obtaining full and fair compensation for your injuries. Beware of insurance companies asking for your signature, or offering you a check. This could preclude you from getting the full recovery to which you are entitled. Remember that the primary goal of an insurance company is to pay out little as possible! To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a Los Angeles motorcycle accident personal injury lawyer, please call our law office at 310-734-7974.