BIKER DOWN! WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE IN A MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT
You all know the old saying: “There are two kinds of bikers, those who have laid it down, and those who are going to.” Motorcycle accidents aren’t anything to be ashamed of. They can happen to anyone, even the best of riders. You only need to be ashamed if you aren’t prepared, because I’m about to tell you what to do. Here are the things you need to be thinking about:
YOURSELF: The first thing you should do is make sure everyone at the scene is alright. Call 911, or have someone call for medical services immediately if needed. If you or anyone with you thinks you may be injured, get to a doctor within 24 hours. I’m speaking like an ambulance chaser now, but if you initially refuse medical treatment, and later – after the adrenaline subsides – you go to the doctor and find out something serious is wrong, insurance companies will likely assume the worst and will try to deny your claim. If offered, do not refuse medical attention after a motorcycle crash.
YOUR SURROUNDINGS: If it is safe, do not move anything until the police arrive. Do not wait for the police to arrive before you start rounding up witness and driver information. Obtain the other driver’s critical information including name, address, phone number, drivers’ license number, vehicle registration certificate, insurance carrier, and policy number. Motorcycle accidents rarely involve injuries or property damage below $500.00, which is the threshold for a police report. When the police arrive insist on a report, and make sure it accurately reflects what happened.
YOUR BIKE: I know some of you would rather lose your spleen than your bike. If it has to be towed or hauled (your bike, not your spleen) make sure it is taken to a reputable temporary yard. See if they will cover it for you. Do not have your bike repaired until you speak with a lawyer who can have the bike inspected and photographed and provide the insurer or defense attorney notice and an opportunity to inspect the bike.
WHAT YOU SHOULD SAY AT THE SCENE: Nothing. Or as little as possible. Don’t apologize. Don’t rehash it with everyone you see. Don’t heat up or argue. Just ensure the police have the most accurate information, and save the rest for later.
WHO YOU SHOULD TALK TO LATER: You should go ahead and notify your insurance carrier, no matter who is at fault, and no matter what your intent. And, even if you have no intent to pursue a lawsuit, you should get a lawyer involved immediately to ensure your rights are protected and to assist you with any paperwork or lingering bills and expenses.
Clarence Guthrie is an attorney in Ridgeland, Mississippi that specializes in criminal and DUI defense and personal injury law. DISCLAIMER: “The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice. No warranty as to accuracy is expressed or implied, and no attorney-client relationship is formed. Before taking any legal action, persons are advised to seek the advice of an attorney qualified in the area of law concerned.”