You are dazed and shocked, possibly hurt right after being in a motorcycle accident. Read on to know the things you should do immediately afterward.
Being in an accident is traumatic, and motorcycle crashes are even more dangerous than cars, due to the open nature of the vehicle, leaving you more exposed to injuries.
When any crash occurs, you may be overwhelmed by official procedures. This can be particularly troublesome if you or a passenger are injured or confused.
Here are a few essential things you need to do right after a motorcycle accident in Tampa to protect your legal rights.
- Get Out of Harm’s Way
Needless to say, one of the first things you should do is to get yourself to a safe spot right after the accident. This means you should not stay in the middle of the road or busy intersection where there is oncoming traffic.
If you don’t get out of the way, you may end up causing another accident right there. If there is no serious injury or death due to the accident, it is your responsibility as the driver to remove your vehicle from the immediate confines of the road where the accident occurred.
But if the vehicle has been incapacitated in the accident, or there has been any serious injury or death, then it may not be removed until the law enforcement agency has arrived at the scene.
The law enforcement officer needs to take the required measurements and diagrams which are crucial to begin the initial investigation of the accident.
- Report the Accident
After you have removed yourself to a safe spot, reporting the accident is required in most cases. You are required to give notice of the accident to the local police department in the quickest way possible.
This is required if you have been involved in an accident that has caused injury or death of any person, or damage to any property that exceeds $500 or more.
The report needs to be made to the police department of the local municipality. If the accident takes place outside of a municipality, the notice needs to be filed to the county sheriff’s office, or to the nearest state patrol office.
Make sure to get the services of a reputable motorcycle accident attorney to handle all legal matters.
- Do Not Talk with the Other Party
If there is a civil case filed for the accident, whatever a member of one party says can serve as evidence by the other party as a form of admission. So, be extremely cautious as to what type of conversation you get involved in; try to refrain from any talking if possible.
If you do have to talk, ask them for their driver’s license, contact info, information regarding their vehicle registrations, and insurance documentation.
The other driver may start to accuse you of causing the accident. In such cases, it is best to not engage at all. Try to get all the information you need and keep an eye out for what they are saying.
- Make Sure to File a Police Report on the Scene
You need to contact law enforcement immediately so they can send over an officer who will make a report of the accident. The only exception to this is if the other driver involved is a family member or friend who is close and trusted. The reality is that most people will twist the truth when there is money involved.
What they say on the spot on the side of the road may be totally different a few days later when they are expected to pay up what they owe. There are even cases when the person may have promised to reimburse you for the whole accident on the spot, only to make a complete turn and file a suit against you, holding you responsible for the whole thing.
You may want to resolve the incident without having to involve the insurance companies or any law enforcement agencies. However, the court can get an objective view of the accident through the accident report that the police officer filed.
This report will come in handy if the other driver tries to pin the entire blame on you. Don’t forget to record the citation number of the report soon after the accident.
- Try to Take as Many Photographs of the Accident as Possible
Like any accident, you need to try and take as many pictures of the scene as possible. More importantly, you should try to include pictures of the accident, the surrounding area, the injuries you’ve sustained, and detailed pictures of the vehicles involved, with the damages they incurred and their license plates.
Taking these pictures is important as they will allow you to prove the damages to your property or physical injuries that were caused by the accident. It’s easy to take pictures nowadays as most cell phones have point-and-shoot cameras.
- Inform Your Insurance Company
Your insurance company may refuse to cover you if you fail to notify them of the accident instantly. You may be required to provide your insurance with a statement on record.
But it is best not to provide any written or recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance company. This is especially important if you don’t have a personal injury lawyer present.
The best way forward would be to contact a personal injury lawyer and let him handle matters with the insurance agents of the other party.
Also, remember that the insurance company isn’t always looking out for your best interests. They might low-ball you for their own benefit. So it is best to have a personal injury lawyer or motorcycle accident lawyer take a look at any settlement before you sign it so that your interests are always protected.
Being in a motorcycle accident can surely leave you rattled, if not injured. You might even need to scrap your vehicle.
So, remember to focus on doing these things right after a motorcycle accident so that you are not taken advantage of and your legal rights are fully protected.
If you follow the steps mentioned above, you will save the extra hassle later on and keep things from getting out of control.