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What To Do If You’re Involved In A Motorcycle Accident This Summer

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The NHTSA releases statistics on all forms of vehicle accidents. Per their data, there were over 8.6 million registered motorcycles in 2015. Of those motorcycles, 88,000 were involved in crashes involving injuries and 5,029 were in crashes involving fatalities. The number of registered motorcycles increased in 2016 as did the number of fatalities. The crash rates continue to worry authorities as motorcycles offer very little protection in a crash.

If you look at the rates of fatalities in registered cars, which were 9.58 per every 100,000, the motorcycle fatalities are much higher at 58.47 out of every 100,000. Protective clothing like leather pants, heavy boots, and a DOT-approved helmet help, but there’s still a risk every time you go for a summer ride.

What Causes These Crashes?

More than half of all motorcycle fatalities took place in cities and occurred during daylight hours. More than 6 out of 10 took place away from intersections. Of these crashes, only 1 out of 10 took place on interstates. Many of the drivers in these crashes are older than 50, and riders under 30 were second most common to be in a fatal crash. The most common reasons for the crashes are:

  • Speeding
  • Impaired riding
  • Other vehicles not seeing you
  • Lack of experience
  • Failure to use signals
  • Weaving
  • Road conditions (gravel, wet leaves, etc.)

Visibility is an issue. Other drivers may not carefully check blind spots fully and see you coming up on their side and cut into your lane. They may not notice you coming down the road when making a left turn. You can do your part to be visible by wearing reflective, bright clothing and leaving your headlight on, but it isn’t always enough.

What do you do if you’re in a crash? You have to report the accident if there is total property damage of $1,500 or higher. You have to do this within 72 hours or you could have your motorcycle license suspended. Here are steps to follow following that crash.

Stay Still

Whether you’ve hit gravel left in the road by a construction crew or were hit by a car turning left that didn’t notice you, stay where you are. Don’t try to move. Let witnesses stop traffic, call 911, and get your motorcycle out of the way for you. You could have serious injuries and moving could cause spine or neck injuries.

The pain may be significant, but try to not move or stand up. Lay still where you landed and wait for paramedics to stabilize your neck and assess your injuries.

Get Photos and Witness Information

If you’re assessed and are okay, get photos. If you can’t, ask a witness to do it for you. If that’s not possible, don’t worry. Police will take plenty of photos in order to complete their investigation and file the accident report.

You should also get the contact information for any witnesses. Swap insurance information with the other driver, if applicable, and get the driver’s contact information.

Accept Transportation to the Hospital

Don’t refuse to be seen at the hospital. Your motorcycle insurance or the other driver’s insurance will pay for your medical expenses. It’s best to be seen by a doctor and rule out internal injuries, damage to the vertebrae, bone fractures, or head injuries.

The other reason to go to the hospital is to have a written account of your injuries and symptoms to watch for during the next few days. If you have a concussion, you need to know what to look for.

Call Your Insurance Company

Call your insurance company to start the claims process. An insurance claims adjuster will estimate the cost of repairing or replacing your motorcycle. The adjuster will investigate the accident and determine who was at fault. If it was another driver, most insurance companies will help you file the claim against that driver’s insurance.

Don’t Believe That You Must Accept the Settlement Offer

You don’t have to accept the settlement offer you’re given. You have the right to refuse it. You need to weigh the pros and cons, however. A lawsuit will take time. If you can’t wait months to replace your motorcycle, a lawsuit may not be advantageous. That doesn’t mean you should skip it. You need to sit down for a free consultation with a lawyer to better understand your rights and if the settlement you’ve been offered is your best bet.

An insurance settlement may not be reasonable when you consider the time lost off work, difficulties finding a motorcycle that was like yours, and emotional trauma. Before you take that settlement, talk to an attorney that specializes in motorcycle accidents. Trial Lawyers for Justice have won more than $1.5 billion for their clients. With hundreds of jury verdicts, they have the experience you need to fight for a just settlement after your motorcycle crash. Request your free consultation today by calling 866-TL4J-LAW.

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Trial by Human

Nick Rowley founded Trial by Human, a nationwide legal education course to help trial lawyers improve their skills in the courtroom by "being human".