Riding a motorcycle gives a driver and passenger a sense of freedom unlike anything experienced when driving any other vehicle. The wind blowing around you, the unique handling and feel for the vehicle, and the love for a motorcycle that may have been custom-designed to fit your preferences all add to the excitement and passion most riders feel for their bikes.
Unfortunately, motorcycle riding poses more dangers than driving other types of cars. Riders aren’t as protected and may often be flung from bikes onto roads or into other cars. The Insurance Information Institute reports motorcyclists are five times more likely to be injured in accidents than those in passenger cars.
In Arizona in 2016, there were 3,104 motorcycle crashes, according to data from the Arizona Department of Transportation. Motorcycle accidents in Arizona are most likely to happen on Saturdays, and between the hours of 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Riders who are leaving work during the week, and motorcyclists who are enjoying weekend rides are the most likely to be in accidents.
Motorcycle deaths around the country are increasing, as the latest National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report shows an increase of 8.3 percent in motorcycle fatalities from 2014 to 2015. Even when you’re sober and completely paying attention to all the elements around you, other drivers and conditions pose a threat to motorcyclists. Alcohol-impaired drivers, drivers under the influence of prescription or illegal drugs, drivers who are distracted by smartphones or in-car technology, or drivers who simply aren’t paying attention to you as a motorcyclist are all dangerous.
If you’re in an accident while you’re driving a motorcycle, it is important to take certain steps to stay safe and protect your rights. If you are unable to do those things due to injuries, try to get a friend, family member or helpful bystander to do them for you.
Any type of accident involving a motorcycle should immediately result in a call to emergency services. You don’t know what influence the other driver is under or if they were texting while driving. Calling the police to the scene will enable you to file a police report, which is essential documentation to have should you decide to file a claim with an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer.
No matter what the circumstances of the accident were, you should not say anything that may be construed as acceptance of blame. Avoid apologizing, and don’t say things like, “I’m sorry, you came out of nowhere, and I didn’t see you.” Besides gathering witness details, you should wait for police to arrive before explaining your view of the accident.
Gather Contact Information from Witnesses
If you’re able to walk around while police are arriving, make sure to ask any witnesses on the scene for contact information including:
- First and last name
- Phone number
- Email address
Ask them to stay at the scene until police arrive to offer their testimony, which can be included in the police report. If you have the contact information of a witness who has left the scene by the time police have arrived, pass that on to the police officer.
Get Personal Details from All Parties Involved
You should immediately take down the license plate numbers of anyone involved with the accident, in case they flee the scene. While you are waiting for police to arrive, you may also exchange personal information with any parties in the accident, including full contact information and insurance information.
Be very observant of the behaviors of other people in the accident. Observe smells such as alcohol or drugs, and look for bloodshot eyes or slurred speech. Write down these details, but do not talk about them until you’re with police.
Document the Scene
Use a smartphone camera to take pictures of any injuries on your body, as well as all vehicles involved. Capture details like broken glass, dents in vehicles and tire damage. Also, shoot photos of any torn clothing or bloody objects.
Besides taking photographic evidence, carefully write down details of the accident in a log, as well. You may even notice things that you can point out to a police officer to include in their report.
Get Medical Help
If emergency services are offered to treat an injury, accept them. Even if you don’t feel substantial pain right away, you should still visit a doctor right after the accident to get checked out.
After your doctor’s visit, monitor the development of any injuries through photo documentation and by writing in a log. Be sure to create a binder to keep all medical bills and documents related to your crash.
Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company
Contact your insurance company to tell them about the crash. Be sure to mention the police report number and pass on the personal information of those involved in the accident to your insurance company.
Contact a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Insurance companies are not always fair or just in the compensation they provide. Being involved in a motorcycle accident may result in long-lasting injuries, mental anguish, time missed off work and lost wages, damage to your vehicle and more. Look for an accident lawyer who will work you on a contingency basis and help you obtain the compensation and justice you deserve.