After you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, it can feel like your whole life has been turned upside down. Not only are you injured and having difficulties with even the most basic activities of daily living, but your medical bills are piling up in a hurry.
On top of that, you are expected to manage your post-accident recovery while also taking care of all your usual personal and professional obligations. The whole experience is often completely overwhelming.
You may not know what to do or where to turn for advice about your injuries and about how to navigate the insurance claim process. You are not alone, though. Every year, thousands of people in Houston are injured in accidents involving motorcycles.
Luckily, Houston motorcycle accident lawyers can help get you through this trying time. Their experience and expertise in dealing with the insurance companies will put you in a position to recover maximum compensation for your claim.
Here are a few tips you should follow after you are involved in a motorcycle collision, especially if you believe you were injured:
Check Yourself and All of Your Passengers for Injuries
The seconds immediately after a motorcycle accident can seem to last years and years. The accident itself happens so suddenly, and then when the action stops time feels as though it is standing still. When the dust settles, look at yourself and the area around you.
If you see blood, bones, bumps or bruises, you can be fairly certain you have injuries that need to be treated as soon as possible. Even if you do not see any outward signs of injury, if you feel pain or any other type of abnormality, you have at least minor injuries.
Get Yourself, Your Passengers and Your Vehicle to Safety
Once you have checked yourself and anyone who is with you for injuries, get off the road and to a safe place that is out of harm’s way. Safety should be your top priority at this point. You need to get somewhere off the road and away from traffic.
Look around for a parking lot or a side street where you can stay while you call the police and wait for them to come to the accident scene. The last thing you want is to be involved in another accident while you are waiting for help.
Call the Police and Talk to Them When They Arrive
If you want to ensure your accident and your injury claim against the responsible party are both handled properly, the police will need to be involved. Call the police when you have reached safety and everyone with you feels secure or, if the accident is particularly severe, even before you move yourself and those who are with you.
When the responding officers arrive at the scene, you need to tell them everything you remember about the accident and everything you remember about what happened after the accident. No detail is too insignificant. The officers will take statements from everyone who was involved in the accident. They will also take statements from any independent witnesses who saw the accident, but were not directly involved.
Seek Immediate Medical Treatment for All of Your Injuries
Do not wait until after the fact to get medical treatment for your injuries. As soon as you are able, you should transport yourself to your doctor’s office or to a hospital. Just because you do not have any outwardly apparent signs of injury does not mean you emerged from the accident unscathed.
Some of your symptoms could take hours, days or even weeks to appear. By the time they do, your injuries could have worsened to the point of being permanent and irreversible. Getting treatment right away also ensures your injuries are documented in time that the insurance company will have quite a bit of difficulty arguing they are not related to the accident.
File a Claim with Each Potentially Responsible Party’s Insurance Company
After the accident, you should exchange insurance information with every other driver involved. If you are not able, you can refer back to your copy of the police report. It should have each driver’s insurance information on it. You will need to know the name of each insurance company and each driver’s policy number.
Once you have those pieces of information, call each insurance company to report the accident and notify their representatives that you were injured. This will initiate the claim process. In the meantime, you should talk to the other drivers who were involved and contact any independent witnesses who saw the accident to piece together everyone’s stories on your own.
Keep All of Your Accident-Related Documents Organized in a Single Centralized File
If you want your injury claim to be successful, organization is key. If you want to be able to prove your case to the responsible party’s insurance company or to a jury, you will need evidence of your injuries’ nature and extent.
At the very least, you need to keep copies of the police report, pictures of your injuries, pictures of the scene of the accident and the vehicles involved, your medical records, your medical bills, communications from the responsible party’s insurance company and any notes you take along the way.
Contact a Law Firm That Will Fight for You
When you go it alone and represent yourself in your injury claim, the responsible party’s insurance company will likely try to take advantage of you. The adjusters and defense attorneys will probably correctly assume that you have little to no experience with personal injury litigation and offer you a settlement that will not come anywhere close to making you financially whole.
Retaining a seasoned injury attorney who is used to negotiating with insurance adjusters and defense attorneys, preparing cases for trial and persuading jurors shows the insurance company your case is not to be taken lightly.
Always Remember to Be a Good Teammate
When you hire a lawyer to represent you, you become part of a litigation team. Your teammates–your lawyer, your lawyer’s support staff, your doctors and any consulting experts your lawyer hires–will be there for you while your case is pending. You should never hesitate to ask your teammates questions or give them your input. This relationship runs both ways, though.
Your lawyer will occasionally need you to participate in your case. You may need to answer written or verbal questions, come to your lawyer’s office for a face-to-face meeting about your case’s status, appear for a deposition, appear for mediation or arbitration and appear in court for trial. If your lawyer calls or messages you, you should communicate back promptly.
Dealing with insurance companies after a motorcycle accident can be a frustrating experience. Even when you are injured, you will frequently be given the runaround. You may get passed around from one representative to another when you try to call the responsible party’s insurance letting the adjuster know about new accident-related expenses you incurred or just to get an update on your claim.
It really can feel like your injuries do not matter and like the insurance company thinks you will go away if it ignores you for long enough. Hiring a lawyer can protect you from the insurance company’s indifference.
Having an attorney to represent you after your motorcycle accident will give you peace of mind and help you recover all the compensation you are owed. Do not give the insurance companies any advantages. They certainly do not need them.