What you do after your motorcycle accident can have a direct impact on the amount of compensation you receive in your settlement with the negligent driver's insurance company. If you make mistakes, they can weaken your claim and force you to accept less money—even if it is clear that the other motorist was at fault in causing your crash. Here are eight errors we see some clients making that you should do your best to avoid.
#1: Not Getting Prompt Medical Care
While you know that you should get immediate medical care if you suffered serious injuries, you may not realize how important it is even if you think you were unhurt or only suffered "minor" injuries. Unfortunately, the symptoms of many very serious injuries, like traumatic brain injury, spinal injuries, or back injuries, may not emerge for days or longer after your motorcycle collision.
If you fail to be examined by a doctor within 48 hours of your wreck, you jeopardize your health. You also give the insurance adjuster ammunition to argue that your injuries were caused by another incident or are not as serious as you claim.
#2: Not Calling the Police
If you do not call the police at the crash scene, you could lose vital information that will help you prove the other driver's fault in causing your accident. Helpful evidence that the police officer would include in their police report includes:
- Date, time, and place of the collision
- Details of how the accident occurred
- Statements from you, the other driver, and witnesses
- Officer's conclusions as to who caused the wreck
- Any traffic citations issued
#3: Not Taking Pictures
Another mistake some victims make is not taking pictures at the scene of their motorcycle crash. If they are not taken right away, this evidence could be lost forever.
Photos of damage to the motor vehicle, your motorcycle, and road and weather conditions can help establish how the collision occurred if the insurance company disputes that their insured caused it. In addition, photos of the damage to your motorcycle and your injuries can be compelling evidence to show the jury if your case goes to trial.
#4: Not Getting Contact Information
It could be impossible for you to file a claim for compensation if you do not get the contact information for the motorist and their insurance company—especially if you also do not call law enforcement at the crash scene. In addition, you could lose witness statements that can be very persuasive in convincing the insurance company of their liability to compensate you if you do not get the contact information for eyewitnesses right away.
#5: Agreeing to Give a Recorded Statement
A recorded statement is a tape-recorded question and answer session between you and the insurance adjuster that is later transcribed into a written statement. You do not have to give one to settle your claim. If you agree to give one, you could inadvertently make statements that hurt your claim no matter how careful you are about what you say.
#6: Accepting a Quick Settlement of Your Claim
If the insurance company offers you a settlement soon after you file your claim, do not make the mistake of accepting it. It is most likely for far less money than you deserve.
In addition, you cannot know how much your claim is worth until you fully recover from your injuries or recover as much as you will and receive a final prognosis from your doctor. It could take you months or longer to reach this stage in your medical care, especially if you suffered multiple injuries, which is common in motorcycle crashes.
#7: Not Hiring a Lawyer Right Away
Another costly error would be to delay retaining a knowledgeable motorcycle accident attorney. They will have a harder time collecting the evidence you need to prove your case if you wait months or longer to contact them.
In addition, you may have made one of these or other mistakes that make it more challenging for them to obtain the maximum recovery in your settlement. If you want to win your case, retain a lawyer as soon as possible after your crash.
Have You Been Injured in a Kansas City Area Motorcycle Accident?
If you've been injured in a motorcycle accident, you need to speak with an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible. It will cost you nothing to hire us because we handle these cases on a contingency fee basis where you only pay us if we win your case. We will also front the costs and fees you could incur. Contact us online or call our Kansas City office directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule your free consultation.