What Should You Do if You Are Involved in a Motorcycle Accident?

Here are only a few suggestions one should take into consideration.

When motorcyclists are involved in an accident, serious consequences are tragically common. In fact, when looking at the number of accidents as a percentage of the total vehicles on the road, motorcyclists are nearly 7 times more likely than the drivers of passenger cars to be killed in an accident. When comparing the number of fatal accidents per mile traveled, motorcyclists are more than 26 times as likely to be killed in an accident.

It’s very clear that riding a motorcycle has inherent dangers, but for many enthusiasts, the joy of owning and riding a motorcycle is worth the risk. Thankfully, most motorcycle riders do survive accidents, but are uncertain as to how to hold the culprits responsible. If you are involved in an accident and sustain an injury while riding a motorcycle, here is what you should know.

Many motorcyclists sustain injuries due to inadequate crash protection.

Any accident can cause serious injuries. But the likelihood of serious injury or death depends heavily on the type of vehicle being driven, as is obvious from the above. 

A car is heavier, more bulky, and has reinforced door and roof beams, providing some measure of protection in the event of an impact or rollover. Passengers are secured by seat belts, forward airbags have long been standard, and vehicles made since 2009 have been required to have side-impact airbags as well.  

A motorcycle does not come equipped with the same safety features as a car. However, what a motorcycle sacrifices in weight, bulk, and other safety characteristics is somewhat offset by its agility, maneuverability, short stopping distance, and quick swerving capabilities. Even so, it remains clear that should an accident happen, a motorcyclist is much less protected.

Wearing a helmet, padded vest and jeans, and other safety attire can help mitigate some of the risk, but not all. 

If you are involved in an accident and require medical attention be sure to get help right away.

Often, when a vehicle accident happens, it can be difficult to figure out what to do first. Your first impulses are likely to clear the road so you’re out of traffic, meet with the other drivers involved in the crash, take pictures, call your insurance, and get a lift home if you need it. 

First of all, get to safety. After that, call for help as soon as you can, if help hasn’t already arrived. Third, get immediate medical attention, even if you think your injuries are not serious, is better than delaying care. The severity of injuries is not always obvious at first, and your health should always be your first priority. Everything else can wait.

In addition, getting medical care if you do sustain an injury can also help you pursue injury compensation from a negligent driver, if you wish to litigate the matter. Waiting to receive care when you need it can cast doubt on whether or not the motorcycle accident caused your injuries.

If you can, document the scene and collect driver information as you would any other motor vehicle accident.

Law enforcement should gather vehicle information and contact information for those involved in the accident, so in the case that you need medical care and are unable to talk with other drivers, you will still be able to report the accident to your motorcycle insurance company.

If you are certain that you do not need immediate medical care, be sure to collect information from the other driver(s) involved. This includes their full name, address, phone number, and their vehicle insurance information. If there are witnesses to the accident that were not involved in the crash, note down their contact information as well. Take pictures of your motorcycle and the other cars involved. Documenting the scene of the accident can help you file an insurance claim and, potentially, help your personal injury attorney determine who is liable for any injuries you sustain. 

Who can be held liable if you sustain injuries as the result of a motorcycle accident?

Injury liability comes down to who, if anyone, was negligent. In California, the statutory definition for liability reads:

Everyone is responsible, not only for the result of his or her willful acts, but also for an injury occasioned to another by his or her want of ordinary care or skill in the management of his or her property or person.

When it comes to driving a car or motorcycle, negligence is the failure to exercise appropriate, “ordinary” care. This might include driving faster than the speed limit, texting and driving, or running a red light. 

Determining liability in your motorcycle accident case depends on the factors leading to the accident and your resulting injuries. If you, the motorcyclist, were speeding and crashed into another vehicle, the other driver would most likely not be held liable for any injuries you sustain. However, the cause of many motorcycle accidents is in fact another driver. This is why it is so important to collect witness information and take pictures of the scene. It can help a court or jury understand the full scope of the accident, and using the facts presented to them, make a more informed decision as to whether a driver was negligent and therefore liable for your injuries. 

If you are a motorcyclist who sustained injuries as the result of a vehicle accident, do not hesitate to contact the experienced personal injury lawyers of Penney & Associates. Contact us today.

* This blog is not meant to dispense legal advice and is not a comprehensive review of the facts, the law, this topic or cases related to the topic. For a full review of our disclaimer and policies, please click here.

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