What Should I Do After a Motorcycle Accident?

What Should I Do After a Motorcycle Accident?

A male motorcyclist on the phone at the side of the road, with hsi bike in the background.

Some motorcycle accidents are unavoidable, and even the most experienced riders may succumb to this fate. Priority is always placed on preventing collisions, but your actions afterward are also important to avoid further injuries and possible legal headaches.

What to Expect After a Motorcycle Accident

Riders often experience disorientation after an accident. This confusion could be caused by the shock of the accident itself, the immediate adrenaline rush, or even from a brain injury.

Fighting through any disorientation to make good decisions is imperative, and the best way to do this is to be prepared by knowing what to do after a motorcycle accident before it happens.

Move to Safety

When a rider is involved in an accident, they are often thrown from the bike and slide along the pavement until they come to a stop.

Motorcycles are difficult to see when they are traveling down the road. They become even harder to see when they have fallen over because many car drivers do not recognize what a down motorcycle looks like.

Motorcyclists may even become fixated on what they see as a foreign object on the road and drive right into it.

Lying on the street is the last place you want to be because other vehicles may not realize you are in their path until it is too late to maneuver around you. Do your best to move out of the way of oncoming traffic.

Leave Your Motorcycle

Trying to rescue your bike or any parts of it from the roadway is extremely dangerous if there is any possibility of an oncoming vehicle. Drivers may not see you in time to avoid a collision, and it’s possible that they will see you and still run right into you.

The defensive driving school, I Drive Safely, describes this phenomenon as target fixation. This fixation is something that happens to humans as they focus on something, like an accident, and drive into it instead of avoiding it.

This target the motorist drives into could be your motorcycle, any part that has fallen off of your bike, or even you.

Another reason to leave your motorcycle where it landed is that you may have injuries that you are unaware of, and trying to lift or maneuver a heavy bike could cause serious harm to your body.

You could have serious internal injuries, and straining could cause your blood vessels to rupture, leading to internal bleeding.

In the event that the crash resulted in a spinal injury, too much movement could cause further damage. Your spinal cord could even become severed, leaving you paralyzed.

Adrenaline masks pain very effectively and can cloud your judgment. Always choose the safest option and protect yourself.

The police and insurance companies will also want to see the original accident scene for their reports. These reports will be used to establish fault and to make your claims for damages. It is in your best interest to just leave everything where it lies until after the police arrive.

Keep All Safety Gear On

Do not remove any of your safety equipment. You may feel uncomfortable or hot after an accident, but wait for qualified medical personnel to arrive before you remove anything, especially your helmet.

Your neck may have been injured in the crash even if you did not hit your head, and removing your helmet puts enough strain on your spine to cause irreparable damage.

Your jacket, gloves, boots, and pants can all still protect you by helping to hold broken bones in place or by preventing heavy bleeding.

Trying to remove any clothing from areas of your body that have been dragged on the pavement can cause further tearing of your skin and could open your wounds, leaving them more susceptible to infections.

Limit your movements as much as possible and wait for the paramedics.

Call For Help

The police and paramedics have to be notified of the accident so they know to come and help you. Never assume that someone else will call.

The bystander effect, described by Psychology Today, shows how people are less likely to help when there are other people around. Everyone assumes that someone else will help to the point of nobody helping at all.

If you are unable to call for help yourself, be sure to make eye contact with one specific person and get them to verbally agree to call for you.

If you have any medical conditions or information such as allergies to medications, it is prudent always to keep this information written with your identification in case you are unconscious after an accident.

Some riders like to keep this information in their cell phones, but remember that your phone may be damaged or thrown far from the accident site, especially if you keep your phone in a holder attached to the bike while you ride.

Get Medical Attention

Always get a complete medical examination after a motorcycle accident. Even if the accident was minor and you feel fine afterward, some injuries take time to present themselves.

Paramedics will be able to assess your injuries and apply special braces to stabilize your spine. You may be in shock or have other internal injuries that are not immediately apparent.

The emergency medical technicians will transport you to the nearest medical center for further examination and treatment. A prompt medical exam will be necessary to prove your injuries are the result of your accident.

Waiting too long to be seen by a doctor could allow insurance companies to argue that any of your injuries were caused after the accident and thus refuse to compensate you for any related expenses.

Be sure to get checked out right away so that you have legal documentation that insurance companies will not be able to argue with.

Exchange Insurance Information

If you are well enough to move and communicate, exchange insurance information with any other drivers involved in the accident. Some drivers will only communicate with the police, and that is okay.

Get their license plate number and a description of the vehicle and the driver just in case they try to leave the scene of the accident before the police arrive.

Do not say anything more than what is necessary to exchange insurance information. People may try to use what you say against you by placing the blame for the accident on you.

It is also very possible that you are being recorded by either a dashcam or the cell phone of someone involved in the accident or even a bystander.

Document the Scene

As soon as medically possible, write down all the details of the crash and take pictures of everything that you may need to remember later on. The stress of the accident, combined with possible shock and injuries, make it easy to forget important facts that can help your case.

Keeping these records for yourself also ensures that nothing gets lost or convoluted by the insurance companies or other parties involved.

Try to get as many witnesses as possible too. Get their names and contact information with a description of what they saw so that they can be contacted again if needed.

Your personal injury lawyer will want to contact these witnesses while building your claim for damages and establishing the negligence of the other driver.

Stay Calm

Do your best to keep a clear head. Nobody wants to be in an accident, but knowing what to do ahead of time can make a huge difference if you ever find yourself in this terrible situation.

Your body is going to be releasing adrenaline that will mask injuries and cause disorientation. Take deep breaths and do your best to control the situation by not making things worse.

Seeing your motorcycle demolished because of someone else’s negligence is infuriating, but getting angry is not going to help at this point. The damage has already happened.

Treating everyone with respect is going to increase the amount of respect you receive. Witnesses will be more willing to help you when they are not frightened away.

If you feel too angry to be able to control your temper, do not say anything at all. Contact a personal injury lawyer to speak on your behalf. Get out of harm’s way and wait for the help of trained professionals.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer Right Away

Goldblatt + Singer has an entire team of experienced motorcycle accident attorneys ready to handle the complexities of your case. Call us at (314) 231-4100 or contact us online for a free consultation.

We can help answer your questions about your degree of fault in the motorcycle accident and whether or not you have a case. Our attorneys can start the legal process of a lawsuit, if necessary, or navigate the terms of a settlement if that is your best option. We do not charge anything until we successfully get you all the compensation you are entitled to receive, so there is no risk to you.

Related Posts:
Motorcycle Accident FAQ

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