8 Steps to Take After a Motorcycle Accident
The risk of being injured in a motorcycle accident is much higher than in a car accident. Cars have safety features like metal frames, shatterproof glass, and airbags whereas motorcycles, of course, do not.
Motorcyclists are exposed to the elements and, though they can (and should) wear a helmet and protective gear, that’s simply not enough to protect them in a catastrophic motorcycle accident.
As a motorcyclist, the moments immediately after an accident can be confusing. You may be hurt or in shock, and it might be hard to remember what you need to do to protect yourself and your rights. The following steps can help you get through the immediate aftermath of an accident until you have a chance to speak to a North Carolina motorcycle accident lawyer.
1. Make sure everyone is ok.
First, examine yourself for injuries after your motorcycle accident, and then check to make sure anyone else involved is ok. If there are severe injuries or someone is hurt so badly they are unresponsive, call an ambulance right away.
2. Move damaged vehicles out of the road, if possible.
If you are not injured and the vehicles involved in the accident can be moved safely, you should do so. This decreases the risk of additional accidents occurring and makes the situation safer for everyone involved.
3. Call 9-1-1.
If you haven’t already called for emergency services due to injuries, you should call to report the accident. Under North Carolina law, most situations require you to call the police so they may file an accident report. This step is also extremely important when it comes to the possibility of being reimbursed for your injuries. In short, you should always call the police after a motorcycle accident.
4. Collect as much information as possible.
You probably know to collect the name, contact info, and insurance info from every other individual involved, but it’s also crucial that you take notes on your surroundings. Write down info (or take mental notes if you’re not able to write) about the weather conditions that day, what intersection you were at, what road signs were around, etc. Pictures of the vehicles involved, your injuries, others’ injuries, road signs, road conditions, street names, and witnesses could also be useful in your case.
5. Talk to witnesses.
If anyone saw the accident, they may be willing to give testimony in court regarding what happened. Collect their name and contact information so that your lawyer can get in touch with them if need be.
6. Don’t admit fault.
In fact, you should really avoid discussing the accident altogether. If you have to speak to the police, try to use simple, yes or no answers when possible. If you are asked something that could result in you accidentally admitting fault, it’s best to reply with, “I don’t know.” And, most importantly, do not give any statements to insurance companies (yours or anyone else’s) without a lawyer present.
7. File a claim.
While you shouldn’t give statements to your insurance company before you speak to a lawyer, you do need to let them know you were in an accident ASAP. You should provide them only with basic information regarding the facts of the accident and avoid expressing your personal opinions.
8. Keep taking notes.
As the days and weeks go by, it’s a good idea to keep a journal regarding the accident. This should contain information about your injuries, how you’re healing, when you went to the doctor (along with the doctor’s information), and what medication they may have prescribed. You should also take notes regarding your mental state, like whether you’ve been experiencing depression or anxiety after the motorcycle accident.
Remember, if the other party’s insurance company calls and asks for a statement, do not give it to them. They do not have your best interests in mind. North Carolina is a contributory negligence state, meaning the other party’s insurance company will do whatever they can to get you to accept blame so they don’t have to reimburse you for your injuries and property damage.
If you were involved in a motorcycle accident in North Carolina, contact the attorneys at Mulligan Epstein today. We’re well-versed in North Carolina motorcycle accident laws. We have the resources to collect medical records, expert witness statements, accident reports, and the other forms of proof needed to argue your case. But most importantly, we want to help. Call us at 910-763-1100 or click here to schedule an appointment.