What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident: Comprehensive Guide

When North Carolina motorcyclist Justin Hartley collided with an Amazon delivery truck while driving along Virginia Beach, he suffered multiple fractures and eventually lost his leg. Now, he is suing the billion-dollar company for $100 million. 

Every year, thousands of Americans like Hartley end up in motorcycle accidents. In 2019 alone, over 5,000 died due to motorcycle accidents. While you can take all the necessary precautions as a motorcyclist, it’s important to know what to do after a motorcycle accident, so you can get compensated fairly for any injuries or damages you might suffer.

Steps to Take after a Motorcycle Accident

1. Get to safety

If you can, get out of the road and on the sidewalk. If you’re unable to move, ask for help from people around you so that they can block traffic. Keep your body in a neutral position, and try to limit movement. Prioritize your own bodily safety over that of your vehicle. 

2. Call 911

Seek medical attention and police assistance right away. If you don’t have access to a phone, borrow one from a bystander or ask them to call for you. It’s better to ask a specific person and give them explicit instructions, rather than making a general cry for help to everyone and anyone around. The sooner paramedics and police can get to the accident scene, the better.

Also read:How to Dispute Fault in a Car Accident: Simple Steps

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3. Evaluate the situation

You might be in a state of shock right after the accident, so try to stay grounded, be calm, and make a mental note of how you are feeling physically and mentally. Also, try to remember exactly what happened. This will make it easier to report to medical personnel and law enforcement, as needed.

4. Report all injuries and symptoms

Describe what happened to the emergency paramedics in as much detail as possible. This information could include the area of collision, where you fell, how you landed, and which body part/s suffered the most impact. Describe everything you feel physically, whether it’s pain or numbness. The more they know about your injuries and symptoms, the sooner they can give you the right treatment.

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5. Give a detailed report to law enforcement

As soon as you possibly can, give law enforcement a detailed account of the accident. Tell them what you saw or heard before, during, and right after the incident. This will help them complete your police report, which could also serve as evidence in case you file a claim.

6. Gather evidence

If you can, make sure to take photos of the scene of the accident, as well as your injuries. Also, keep medical records, hospital bills, and vehicle repair costs. Also try to acquire CCTV footage of the incident from the relevant entities, if it’s available. If you missed work due to your injuries, make sure to have records of that as well, in the event you need to sue for lost income. 

7. Get contact details of other parties involved

If it’s not a hit-and-run, and the person who caused the accident is cooperative, ask for their contact details, so you can keep in touch regarding compensation. If you’re lucky, the person who caused the accident may voluntarily offer to compensate you for injuries and damages you suffered. If this doesn’t happen, try to negotiate terms of compensation. Also, try to get the contact details of bystanders, as they can be potential witnesses in a lawsuit or criminal case.

8. Seek Help from Law Enforcement and a Lawyer, as needed

In case of a hit-and-run, try to remember as many details as possible about the culprit and report these to law enforcement. These details may include the vehicle’s:

  • Color;
  • Make and model;
  • Any distinguishing marks such as bumper stickers; and
  • License plate if you were able to see it. 

A physical description of the driver may also help.

If you know who caused the accident, but they refuse to cooperate or compensate you for injuries, consider seeking legal advice from a motorcycle accident lawyer. They can help you file the necessary criminal charges or a personal injury suit in court, as needed. Don’t wait too long to sue;  states have different statutes of limitations on motorcycle accident injuries.

If the accident was caused by unsafe infrastructures, such as potholes, uneven pavements, missing traffic signs, or uncleared debris, you may also sue the responsible government agency, the contractor responsible for the construction, or other private entities, if it happened on private property such as parking lots.

What Not to Do After a Motorcycle Accident

1. Do not Remove Anything

Do not take off your safety gear, as this could compromise any injuries you might have. You might feel okay, but there’s a possibility that the absence of pain may only be due to the adrenaline rush caused by the accident. If any debris such as glass shards or pieces of metal end up stuck in your body, do not remove it; it may only cause more bleeding. 

2. Do not move your motorcycle

Unless you’re stuck under it, do not move your vehicle. Remember that the scene of the accident may also be a crime scene, so moving it to a different location may compromise evidence.

3. Do not admit fault without a lawyer

While it’s important to be honest with law enforcement, it’s better to seek legal assistance before telling them anything that might be used against you. An example of this would be contributory negligence on your part. This means that despite the other party’s negligence, you also failed to exercise the necessary precautions that could have prevented the accident, such as wearing the proper safety gear, having working lights on your vehicle, or following traffic rules. 

4. Do not flee the scene of the accident

Especially if you’re a truck or car driver involved in a motorcycle accident, fleeing from the accident may subject you to more liability. While hit-and-run laws may vary from state to state, in many cases, you may face penalties such as fines, jail time, and/or license suspension. Penalties may also be stiffer depending on the extent of the injury caused to life, limb, or property.

Common Injuries Suffered by Motorcyclists in Accidents

If you’re lucky, you might survive a motorcycle accident with just a few minor scrapes and bruises. But driving a motorcycle is inherently riskier than driving a car, as there are no seatbelts or physical barriers between the driver and other vehicles. While some injuries are treatable, some might be more debilitating, or could even cause death. Here are a few examples of common injuries suffered by motorcyclists so you know what to expect after a motorcycle accident.

Head and Neck Injuries

This can include concussions and fractures of the skull, which may lead to fatal or long-term consequences, such as paralysis or even death. As the head contains the brain, which is a vital bodily organ, it’s important to protect it with the right helmet when driving a motorcycle. Even if you feel fine, it’s possible that you could have a severe head or neck trauma, so it’s better to get checked by a doctor sooner rather than later.

Facial Injuries

The face is another vulnerable body part that can easily get injured in a motorcycle accident due to its small, delicate, and fragile bones. These can include dental injuries and/or broken facial bones, which may require reconstructive surgery or major dental work.

Road Rash

This type of injury is caused by the friction between the skin and the road when a rider falls off or skids after a collision, causing multiple layers of skin to be peeled off.

Broken Bones and Muscle Injuries

The impact of falling off a vehicle can cause broken bones, fractures, and sprains, usually in the arms and legs. While these may not be fatal, they may incapacitate you from working or doing daily activities. In the worst-case scenario, these injuries could lead to amputation or paralysis. 

How Our Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Can Help

In the unfortunate event that you end up being a victim of a motorcycle accident, a motorcycle accident lawyer can help you through each step of the process of filing lawsuits or negotiating for compensation. If you are accused of negligence in relation to a motorcycle accident, an attorney can also help prove your innocence, or at least reduce your penalties. 

Conclusion

It always helps to be careful, but accidents do happen. If you haven’t experienced a motorcycle accident yet, it’s also good to be prepared, so that you can get the compensation you deserve in case the worst happens. 

Article by Megan Thompson

Megan Thompson is a legal writer at Lawrina. Megan writes about different law practice areas, legal innovations, and shares her knowledge about her legal practice. As a graduate of the American University's Washington College of Law she is an expert of law in Lawrina's team and has a slight editing touch to all content that is published on the website.

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