Do’s and Don’ts After a Motorcycle Accident

The motorcycle accident attorneys at Clifford & Raihala understand the traumatic nature of being struck by a car or truck while riding your motorcycle. The initial shock of the impact, that surge of adrenalin throughout your body, the emotional turmoil and likely physical injuries all combine to make clear-headed decision-making difficult, if not impossible. It is important, then, that before you ride you have a pre-accident plan of what you should do in the unfortunate event of a crash — at the scene of the collision, at the hospital or urgent care center immediately after if you are injured, and in the days and weeks following the crash. Our motorcycle accident attorneys offer the following suggestions to help you put your plan in place before you are struck by a negligent motor vehicle operator.

At the scene of the collision:

Do . . . Call 911 immediately. This may be obvious if there are serious injuries. But even if there are no obvious injuries, some injuries do not surface right away. And injuries are not the only reason to call for police to investigate. If you believe the other driver was at fault, a police report will help you obtain the compensation for any injuries and property damage to your bike you deserve.

Do . . . Assess your condition. Our motorcycle accident attorneys in Madison, Wisconsin, who handle cases statewide and in Illinois, often hear that our clients did not know they were injured in a collision until hours or days later. The stress of a collision can obscure injuries like concussions, strains and sprains, muscle and ligament tears, etc. Before you tell the police that you are OK, make sure you have carefully considered any potential injuries that may not be obvious. The most important issue is your physical well-being – address that as a priority.

Do . . . Observe. If you are able, look at your surroundings, try to see what factors may have led to the negligent driver’s conduct. Pull out your cell phone and start taking pictures, especially before any vehicles are moved and of the car or truck that hit you and your bike. If possible, take a picture of the motor vehicle’s license plate. If you are unable, ask any co-rider or passenger of yours to do it. Pictures really are worth a thousand words.

Don’t . . . Admit fault. In the confusion and uncertainty during the immediate circumstances following the collision, you may feel you should acknowledge some responsibility for the crash. It is a common misbelief that each operator bears some responsibility for a crash involving two moving vehicles. That is false. Realize that issues regarding legal responsibility are complex and shouldn’t be decided at the roadside of a crash. Your duty after a collision is to simply state the basic details of what you know about the crash – not what you surmise.

Don’t . . . Decline medical transfer. Our motorcycle accident attorneys often see cases where the rider declines transport via ambulance to a hospital, even when recommended by EMTs at the scene, only to drive themselves to an emergency room or urgent care center hours later. When you have been injured by a negligent motor vehicle operator, you probably are not the best to judge what medical care you might need. Deciding to accept transport offered by first responders may determine what medical care you may need urgently or emergently, and may impact the compensation which you should ultimately be awarded.

At the emergency room or urgent care center:

Do . . . Tell your doctors. Our motorcycle accident lawyers understand that most of us are unwilling to complain about anything. This is not a time to “be tough.” If a patient doesn’t tell a doctor each and every pain, discomfort or symptom he or she is feeling, the medical records won’t report them, and the doctor is likely to overlook them. Protect yourself by making sure your ER doctor knows every symptom you feel when you are brought to the hospital, no matter how small.

Do . . . Express your concerns. Every medical intake wants to know the “subjective” concerns of the patient. It is important for your well-being that you tell your providers how you are feeling and what concerns you have.

Don’t . . . Minimize anything. Your initial visit to a medical provider after a motorcycle accident is not a time to discount or minimize your physical complaints. Make sure you are open with your physicians about any issue may have, or may think you have. You cannot overreact to injuries suffered in what most often are catastrophic crashes.

Don’t . . . Speak with an insurance adjuster. When a motorcycle accident victim is hospitalized after a collision, the negligent motor vehicle operator’s insurance company will actually contact the victim, even while the victim is still hospitalized. They are not trying to help, since that would involve the insurer compensating the biker. No, they are trying to undermine the biker’s claim, to trick the biker into admitting some liability, to helping them avoiding compensation they owe. Do not speak with the insurance adjuster. Do not! Clifford & Raihala’s motorcycle accident attorneys in Madison, Wisconsin urge you: Do Not Decline Transport!

In the days and weeks following the motorcycle accident:

Do . . . Recover from your injuries. It is important for your future that you follow your medical providers’ advice and instructions to recover from your injuries as best you can. As well, following your doctors’ advice and instructions and complying with treatment recommendations will assure your ability to obtain the fair and full compensation you deserve for you injuries.

Do . . . Consult with competent motorcycle accident attorneys. At Clifford & Raihala, we are proud that our motorcycle accident attorneys in Madison, Wisconsin have helped many bikers get the compensation they deserve for injuries caused by motor vehicle operators. We understand that motorcycle accidents often result from the vulnerability of a biker to a car or truck operator who fails to observe, maintain look out or to be attentive to the presence of a motorcycle. Our motorcycle accident attorneys know that motor vehicle operators too often negligently fail to recognize that motorcycles have the same rights of the road as they do. Our motorcycle accident attorneys stand ready to help bikers, and their family members and loved ones, to vindicate the rights of motorcycle riders injured by the negligence of another.

Don’t . . . Speak with an insurance adjuster. Yes, they will continue to pursue you, trying to get you to concede that you were somehow responsible (so their insured was not) and to find information against you. They will not tell you how they will use information against you. You do have an obligation to cooperate with your own insurer, but understand that your own insurer may be adverse to you. Speak to an attorney before you speak with any insurance company, yours or the negligent driver’s insurer.

If you or a family member or loved one has suffered loss, unfairly, through the neglect of a car or truck driver, contact our motorcycle accident attorneys in Madison, Wisconsin at Clifford & Raihala at 608-257-7900 (or toll free at 888-791-8422) or click to contact us now. Our consultation is free, and there is no obligation.