Motorcycles are said to be both practical and fun. One can get to where they want to go faster with the wind blowing on their faces while enjoying the scenery. Unfortunately, motorcycle riding is also hazardous. There are many causes of motorcycle accidents with other motorists or drivers being significant contributors. Motorcycle accidents, in many cases, result in severe injuries and fatalities as well. Fortunately, the state of Florida allows individuals injured during a motorcycle accident to seek compensation for the damages or wrongful death. A victim of the accident or their family needs to engage an attorney to be able to get compensation. At Jacksonville Personal Injury Attorney, we are experienced with personal injury claims and will help you get your compensation as you deserve.
What Should One Do After the Accident
When an accident happens, one can suffer physical injuries, even internal ones that will require immediate medical attention. In other cases, some victims may succumb to fatalities, while one may also suffer damages to their property. In this case, your motorcycle or a vehicle. What a victim does or their family following an accident can either save their life, help them get better compensation, or lose it all the same. The following are some of the things a person should do immediately after being involved in a motorcycle crash.
After an accident, it is possible to get further injuries. Remember, you are on the road, and other oncoming motorists can hit you further and cause more damages or injuries. You need to protect yourself as much as you can and move from the road to the shoulders. Put on hazard lights or use flares to warn other drivers to drive cautiously. Make your safety a priority before anything else.
Many accidents may happen between a vehicle and a motorcyclist. However, other oncoming motorists can crash into the scene if they were not warned about it. If you are still on the road, you can get further hit and increase your injuries and, in some cases, result in death. Try and move as far away from a dangerous place as possible or seek help to do so.
Look out for Injuries
Check yourself to know where you were injured, if possible. If you have broken bones or have injured your neck or head, be sure to tell those that come to the scene to help you or when you call the paramedics. Sometimes you may not think you are hurt but ensure you get a medical evaluation to determine the extent of injuries or get a clean bill of health. If other people were involved in the crash, ask them to do the same or check them if you can.
Call 911 for Help
Most injuries from a motor crash are severe and require immediate medical attention. Calling 911 is extremely important to get medical help and the police to come to the scene of the accident. Getting your injuries treated promptly can save your life. Some people suffer from internal injuries that they may not realize quickly after the crash, and if not treated, can lead to death.
Most motorcycle accidents result in life-altering injuries or traumas. Broken bones, neck and back traumas and loss of limbs are some of the significant injuries victims suffer. Your life is more important than anything, making it imperative to seek medical attention as soon as one can.
The presence of police is also significant. When officers investigate the scene of the accident, they can help reconstruct how the accident happened and give evidence in court to help determine the person responsible. Accidents can be caused by various things, from careless and negligent drivers to hazardous road conditions. The presence of police officers will help to know who or what caused the accident. Additionally, they help with anything else that is needed, such as towing the vehicles and clearing the road.
Take Note of Your Surroundings
Once you get to safety and suspect you have serious injuries such as trauma to the head, neck, or back or suspect internal injuries, avoid any movement. While at a safe distance, take note of the surroundings and any critical detail. Be sure to take note of what happened before the accident, the weather condition, and that of the road, your location on the road in relation to the other road users, or other vehicles. Do also take note of the road conditions visually, if possible.
All these details are essential in determining who is at fault to ensure compensation and avoid further injuries to yourself.
If one can, it is essential to get details of the other people involved in the accident, such as drivers or onlookers. When an accident occurs between a motorcyclist and a vehicle, details of the driver of the car are essential. Try as much as you can to get their full names, description of the vehicle or vehicles involved, their registration numbers and insurance details of the driver.
If you are injured and you are unable to get the details, try stopping a passing motorist and ask them for assistance or any other person that can help. Getting a police officer can also help in obtaining all the necessary information that is crucial when filing a personal injury claim.
Identify Witnesses to the Accident
If there were witnesses to the accident, locating them is very important. Get all their contact details because they are vital witnesses to the crash. Try and get their names, contact details, their address, among other information. The police can also help you gather this information or the medical personnel that come to your rescue.
An account of the accident from an impartial witness is essential for you in winning your claims case. The other motorist or driver can try to blame you for the accident, which can cost you your compensation and even put you at fault, meaning you will compensate for the other person. However, a statement by a witness can help put things into perspective and help the court determine who was responsible for the accident.
Most people now have cell phones with cameras. Try and take photographs of the accident scene and the vehicles involved before they are towed away. Photos are essential in reconstructing the accident scene by an expert.
Aside from the photos help in determining who was at fault, they are also essential in estimating the damage incurred to the motorcycle and vehicles involved. As the insurance company is calculating the compensation, having photos helps in concluding the damages suffered.
What you Should Avoid
Aside from what one needs to do following an accident, there are things that a person should avoid. Here, we discuss the things you should avoid doing after getting involved in a crash.
Definitely, after an accident, a victim will panic. However, try and keep calm. When you clear your head, that is when you will be able to know to call for help, take note of the surroundings and get all the details necessary. If your injuries are severe, relax, and wait for assistance. Panicking can also cause additional harm to you, regardless of the situation, try to remain calm.
Avoid Arguing or Engaging the other Motorist
Never engage in an altercation with the other driver. As calmly as possible, get their details as you wait for help. If the driver refuses to cooperate, do not exchange words. Instead, gather the information you can, such as vehicle registration and take pictures.
If the driver appears intoxicated or blames you for the accident, stay calm and wait for the police instead. Ensure your safety even from the enraged driver and avoid the temptation to blame them, either.
Do Not Admit Fault
In most cases, an accident scene is chaotic. Due to the injuries, shock, and confusion about how events happened, one can talk without understanding. Even when emotions run high, never apologize for the accident or admit fault to the police or any person. Additionally, do not allow the version given by another person of how the accident occurred influence your version. Because of the possibility of a trial after, what you say at the scene is very important and can be used against you.
Additionally, the speed at which an accident may occur is so fast that you may not know what happened. Let the experts determine the cause of the crash because you also do not know what the other driver was doing at the time.
Do Not Put Pressure on Witnesses
Getting information or details of witnesses to the accident is very important. However, the witnesses have a right to provide you with their information or not. Putting pressure on them can hurt your case eventually. Do not insist should they refuse to cooperate. Instead, let the police discuss their statements with them or your attorney.
Avoid leaving the scene of the accident. However, you need medical attention due to your injuries. Call for the police to arrive at the scene as well as the medical emergency personnel. Once at the scene, it would be safe to leave. Leaving before the police come unless on the ambulance can cause you legal problems.
Focus on gathering the information earlier discussed and your safety before leaving the scene. Exchange your insurance details with the motorists involved in the accident and cooperate as much as you can.
Get a Personal Injury Lawyer as Soon as You Can
Getting a lawyer is an essential step after a motorcycle accident. An experienced personal injury lawyer understands the legal requirements following an accident and, as such, is in the best position to help you with your claim. Most lawyers have accident experts that can visit the scene of the crash and reconstruct the accident scene. They will also be able to interview the witnesses and ask them to give evidence in court.
Your lawyer can also take photos of the scene and get details of the insurance company of the other driver. It is advisable not to get in touch with the insurance company of the motorist. Instead, allow your lawyer to do that. Insurance companies want to make profits and pay the most minimum amount they can in compensation. Whatever offer they give you upon contacting you, reject it and ask them to speak to your attorney instead.
With legal representation, you will be able to be protected, and your rights will not be violated. With a lawyer handling your claim, you will focus on recovery while he or she pursues the best compensation for you.
If your injuries and damages exceed the limits of your insurance coverage, a Jacksonville attorney can help you recover more by filing a suit against the parties responsible for the accident. You also need your lawyer to fight for you in case you are labeled as the person at fault for the crash. Avoid getting in touch with your insurance provider, but instead, let your lawyer handle it.
Once your lawyer sees the merit of your case, he or she will pursue your compensation. Your lawyer will also help you notify the insurance adjusters in readiness for the claim. The insurance provider will need the following details which your lawyer can help provide:
- Names of all the people involved in the accident
- The models or make of the vehicles involved in the crash
- If there were witnesses, their names and contact details
- The location where the accident occurred
The adjusters will want to know the damages to your motorcycle as well as the severity of your injuries. Avoid giving an estimate but allow your lawyer to handle the matter. The words that you use with the adjusters can also impact the compensation you deserve. If you and your lawyer do not have estimates ready, tell the adjusters that you will supply them with the details. Only give what a qualified mechanic has assessed and a doctor after a thorough examination.
The impact of an accident is not only financial or physical; one can suffer psychological trauma in addition to life-altering injuries. Never get excited about the first offer an insurance company gives you. Instead, let your lawyer negotiate for the best compensation possible.
The state of Florida has set the period in the statute of limitations for a person to put in a claim after a motorcycle accident. For your compensation claim to be successful, you need to stick to the period in the statutes of limitations. In Florida, a victim has four years to settle or present a claim following the accident. The period is normally counted from the date of the crash. If you bring your claim after the set time, you will not be eligible for compensation.
Your lawyer is well aware of the limitation of time and should ensure he or she adhere accordingly. If the accident involved a government vehicle, or you want the government to compensate you, the time is shorter. Other conditions can lead to a victim seeking compensation from the government. For instance, if the road conditions were unfavorable, the government is said to be at fault for your accident. Such conditions may include potholes or cracked cement that is responsible for the accident.
Talking to your attorney as fast as you can after the accident also helps because the evidence is still fresh, and none will disappear. Time is of essence equally because your attorney will be able to stick to the set time frame and ensure your claim is filed in time. Witnesses can also forget the details of the accident even after a week. However, a skilled attorney will get the witness statement immediately following the crash that is significant in your case.
Never Issue Recorded Statements
After an accident, you may find yourself admitted to the hospital or even recovering from your home. At such a time, the insurance provider’s adjuster may call you, requiring you to record a statement. Never do that. You are within your rights to refuse to give a written statement or a recorded one. Admitting you were involved in the accident is acceptable, but further details should be avoided.
Adjusters work for the insurance company, and the questions they ask are not to help you but for their good. They aim to avoid compensation if they can or reduce it to the minimum amount. The words you use can be twisted to their advantage, and to prevent this, always refer them to your attorney.
How to Make a Claim After a Motorcycle Accident
After the above discussed things one should do and avoid following a motorcycle crash, the next thing a motorcyclist will do is institute a compensation claim with the help of their lawyer. Riders are legally permitted to seek compensation from the parties responsible for the accident. If the cause of the accident was another driver, the motorcyclist must prove that by showing:
- The driver involved disobeyed traffic rules such as running light or driving beyond the speed limit
- The driver was negligent or carelessly operated the vehicle on the road resulting in the accident.
The motorcyclist must show that the negligence of the driver directly resulted in the accident and injuries sustained. Proving the various elements to the case is crucial if one is to get their compensation should the case get to court.
On the other hand, some insurance companies prefer to settle the claim instead of going to court. A trial is usually a last resort where the insurance provider’s lawyers and your attorney do not agree. Many cases are normally settled out of court. A skilled personal injury attorney can help you in negotiating your settlement by following the law and their knowledge of motorcycle crash cases.
After getting the necessary evaluation from a doctor and a mechanic, a quotation is given by the experts. A mechanic will give their assessment of if the motorcycle can be repaired or written off. If it can be repaired, he or she will provide a quotation that will be forwarded to the insurance company. Equally, a doctor will evaluate the injuries a victim suffers and gives the cost of treatment for the victim. If the victim requires lifetime care, the doctor will also indicate and provide the costs.
After getting these quotations, your lawyer will institute the claim by filing it with the insurance provider. The insurance company will then evaluate the application with its experts and give a counter offer. Your lawyer and their lawyers will discuss the claim, make adjustments where necessary, and agree. If they are unable to agree, then your lawyer may file a lawsuit with the court to get you compensated.
What Compensation Can you Seek for?
After a motorcycle crash, one will need to seek compensation to cover their losses and damages. This may include compensation for injuries sustained and for any passenger. If the victim died as a result of the accident, the surviving family would also be compensated for wrongful death. Some of the compensation the law permits include the following:
- Medical bills as a result of the injuries sustained and any possible future costs due to the injuries
- The income lost by the victim due to the injuries as they recuperate. Additionally, if, as a result, the victim will not be able to earn an income in the future, this, too, is covered. Tabulation must be made of the revenue the victim will lose, and the insurance company is expected to pay for the same
- A victim of the crash will suffer a great deal of pain as well as suffering. A calculation is also done to compensate the victim for the pain they suffer due to the accident.
- Emotional and Psychological distress can also affect the victim of an accident. One may need psychological therapy following the accident. The cost of this is also established, and the victim compensated for the same
- Wrongful death to a victim is also compensated. The surviving family must institute a claim due to the untimely death of their loved one. In Florida, the family can seek compensation for funeral expenses, medical costs, and the loss of companionship
It is important to note that the compensation amount varies from one victim to the next based on the strength of your case or the injuries and damages sustained. The insurance cover for the driver and the victim also affects the compensation amount.
Finding a Jacksonville Motorcycle Accident Attorney Near Me
A motorcycle accident, in most cases, results in severe injuries as well as causing the victim and their family financial distress. The things you do or not do immediately following an accident can have a significant impact on your compensation claim. One needs to be careful with what they say or do after a crash if they want to get the rightful compensation. Speaking to a personal injury lawyer is essential in this case. At Jacksonville Personal Injury Attorney, we have extensive experience with motorcycle accident compensation and will help you with your claim. Get in touch with us today at 904-800-7557, and let us help you with your claim.