Even the most careful motorcycle riders can find themselves in an accident. The likelihood of fatality on a motorcycle is 28 times greater than the likelihood of a fatality in a passenger car. But not every motorcycle accident involves a fatality. Approximately 88,000 motorcycle riders a year are involved in non-fatal crashes but sustain injuries and property damage. If you are involved in a motorcycle accident and sustain injuries and property damage, you are entitled to be compensated by the driver who was at fault.
At Foster Wallace, we know that physical recovery from a motorcycle accident can be a long and difficult process. Your financial recovery should not distract you from healing physically and emotionally. That is why the experienced motorcycle accident attorneys at Foster Wallace will guide you through the complicated aftermath of dealing with insurance adjusters, medical bills, and the attorneys representing other parties. We will work tirelessly for you to make sure you receive the maximum compensation for your injuries while you focus on a healthy recovery.
Part of maximizing your recovery for damages, however, occurs immediately after your accident, when you may be disoriented, frightened, and unsure of what to do. Here are ten things you can do after your accident to preserve your ability to recover damages from the responsible parties. Let “F-O-S-T-E-R-W-A-L-L-A-C-E” help you from start to finish.
Depending on the severity of the accident and where it occurs, you are likely to be disoriented, confused, and even injured. You may have swerved to the roadside to avoid the impact or been struck and thrown into the flow of traffic. Your first priority should be to find safety, away from any hazards from the accident:
- Other vehicles could be passing.
- Spilled gasoline could ignite.
- Loose metal or broken glass from the accident could kick-up from passing vehicles and cause additional injury.
Orient to your surroundings.
When you are sure you are in a safe place, try to orient yourself to where you are and what has happened. Assess the following:
- Are you, or is anyone else, injured?
- What is your location?
- Who was driving the vehicle that struck you?
- Are there any witnesses?
Secure the scene.
When you are safe and oriented, do what you can to take control of the accident scene.
- If your motorcycle remains on the road and poses a continuing hazard, move it to a safe distance off of the roadway, if you are able.
- If your motorcycle poses no danger, leave it where it is.
- If necessary under the circumstances, post a hazard signal or white cloth to warn oncoming vehicles to exercise caution for a hazard ahead and to indicate that assistance is needed.
Use your cellular mobile device to take pictures of the scene. If you do not have one but there are witnesses or other travelers present, ask someone to take pictures for you.
- Take pictures of the area. In the confusion and stress of the moment, you are likely to forget details of the accident and the surrounding area.
- Take pictures of yourself. If you have suffered any road rash, abrasions, visible injuries, or torn clothes, this will be evidence of your injuries and damage to your personal property.
- Take pictures of your motorcycle. If your motorcycle is damaged—no matter how slightly—be sure to take detailed pictures of the damage. You may be compensated for this. (As a general matter, with cellular devises so readily accessible, get into the habit of snapping a picture of your motorcycle before every ride. If an accident occurs and another party or insurance adjuster later claims that any damage to your bike was pre-existing and, therefore, not recoverable, you will have evidence of the condition of your bike before the accident occurred).
- Take pictures of your helmet. Any scrapes, dents, or other damage to your helmet may be evidence of any head injuries that may not manifest until hours or days later.
- Take pictures of any nearby road safety signs or signals. If there are any road signs (Stop, Yield, Merge, No U-Turns, etc.) or signals (Green-Yellow-Red signals, flashing signals, construction warnings, etc.), these may be relevant to the other party’s negligence in failing to obey traffic laws.
- Take pictures of the other vehicle. If possible, take pictures of the other vehicle. If you can, take note of the existence or condition of the safety features on the vehicle—were they operable?
Once you have secured the scene, be sure to exchange all pertinent information with the other party. This should include:
- Phone numbers
- All insurance information (for all providers and policies)
Report the accident
Call for emergency assistance and contact your insurance provider right away. Your provider will need all the information you just collected from the other party. You may express that you are injured, but do not try to identify or assess your injuries until you see a medical physician
Wait for law enforcement.
Do not leave the scene. Once you have contacted emergency services and your insurance company, wait for the police to arrive before doing anything else. Do not engage with the other party. Law enforcement will now take responsibility for the scene. Just wait for assistance.
Assess what happened.
While you are waiting for assistance to arrive, try to remember how the accident occurred. Law enforcement will ask you to explain your side. Try to recall or make note of the following:
- In what direction were you traveling?
- In what direction was the other party traveling?
- At what speed were you traveling?
- At what speed was the other party traveling?
- Were there other cars on the road? If so, where were they positioned?
- How many occupants were in the other party’s vehicle?
- Was the other party distracted?
- Were you distracted?
- Does the other party appear to be intoxicated or under the influence of any substances?
- What are the weather and road conditions?
Leave the evidence alone.
Unless it is necessary for safety reasons, do not move broken vehicle parts or attempt to collect any evidence. Just take the appropriate pictures and do not alter the scene until the police arrive.
Limit your discussion with other parties.
Once you have confirmed that everyone is safe and have exchanged necessary information with the other party, there is no need to engage in conversation with the other party about the accident. Certainly do not admit any fault. The motorcycle accident attorneys at Foster Wallace are experienced at assessing motorcycle accidents and determining liability—we will discuss with you the facts of your case and draw appropriate conclusions about who is liable.
Even if you were partly at fault, do not express this to anyone, thinking that you will not be able to recover for your damages. Missouri operates under a theory of comparative negligence, which means that even if you were partly responsible for the accident, you still may be compensated for the damages that the other party caused by their negligence.
Always seek medical attention.
A medical assessment and documentation of your injuries will be critical to any recovery for damages. Even if your accident was minor, there was no damage to your motorcycle, and you do not feel like you sustained any injuries, always seek medical attention nevertheless. Although you may not have any visible injuries, many undiagnosed or untreated conditions may present later, often not until hours, days, or even weeks after the accident. These could include:
- Internal injuries
- Subsequent conditions from whiplash
- Head or brain trauma
- Minor fractures or sprains
- Soft tissue bruising or swelling
Even the slightest collision at slow speeds can cause injuries that are not immediately noticeable. Let a medical expert assess your condition and diagnose any possible injuries of which you may not even be aware at the time of your accident.
Contact Foster Wallace.
Once your injuries have been assessed and treated, we want you to be able to focus on your physical health. Your physician may order a treatment plan that may include:
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Follow-up doctor visits
- A proper regimen of medicines
You may need time to deal with the long-term physical consequences of your accident. You also will need experienced attorneys who know how to deal with the many financial consequences, including compensation for damages from the responsible party. When you are in an accident, contact Foster Wallace right away and let us guide you through your case from start to finish.
Establish your claim.
Motorcycle accidents can be physically painful and financially devastating. And recovering damages from the party at fault can be complicated. But we at Foster Wallace can help you establish your claim for the recovery you deserve.
When you have a motorcycle accident, remember “F-O-S-T-E-R-W-A-L-L-A-C-E”:
- Find safety first
- Orient to your surroundings
- Secure the scene
- Take pictures
- Exchange information
- Report the accident
- Wait for law enforcement
- Assess what happened
- Leave the evidence alone
- Limit your discussion with other parties
- Always seek medical attention, and
- Contact Foster Wallace, so we can
- Establish your claim for damages
Let Our Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys Help You After a Motorcycle Accident
At the law offices of Foster Wallace, we’ve got several years of experience assisting motorcycle crash victims with their claims. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a motorcycle accident, contact our office today for a free initial consultation.