In 2016, motorcyclist deaths made up nearly 11 percent of the total motor vehicle deaths in West Virginia.
Being involved in a motorcycle accident is terrifying and overwhelming. While in shock, it can be difficult to remember the steps you need to take immediately after the accident. You need to protect yourself and your rights.
That’s why the Prim Law team has put together a guide on what to do after a motorcycle accident. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident in West Virginia, don’t hesitate to call Prim Law at 304-721-4619.
What Steps Should You Take After a Motorcycle Accident?
Move to a safe spot
Immediately following the accident, get off the road and move into a safe location if you can. Move onto the shoulder, a side street, or a spot out of the way of other vehicles and/or leaking fuel. If you have a passenger with you, make sure they move off the road, too.
Call the police
Then, call the police. Ask for an ambulance if anyone has injuries. Motorcyclists can suffer from obvious injuries such as road rash or broken bones.
But other common injuries like head trauma can be less easy to detect, but just as serious, even deadly. While Department of Transportation (DOT) certified helmets are required for motorcyclists in West Virginia, traumatic brain injuries can still occur.
If you’re unsure whether to ask for an ambulance, play it safe and ask for one. You should also visit your doctor in the days or weeks following your accident if you’re not feeling well.
When the police arrive, answer their questions honestly and accurately, but don’t give out more information than needed. Request a copy of the police report.
Gather contact information
As you wait for law enforcement and the ambulance to arrive at the scene, gather the name, contact information, vehicle information, and insurance information from any other parties involved in the accident. Gather information from any witnesses present, too.
Outside of that exchange of information, do not say anything else to others involved in the accident. Don’t apologize, place blame, or discuss the details of the accident. You may unknowingly admit to fault, even with a seemingly harmless statement like “I didn’t see you.”
Document the scene
After gathering contact information from others, take photographs of the accident scene if you can. You can make extra notes on your phone or on a pad of paper too. Write down any details while they’re still fresh in your mind and while you’re still at the scene of the accident.
You might take photos of:
- Your motorcycle and any damage
- Other vehicles and any damage
- Any objects like medians or road signs that were damaged
- Your injuries
- Damage to your gear, like helmets or jackets
- Other people present and their injuries
- Skid marks on the road
- Anything in the road that may have contributed to the accident, such as uneven pavement, objects present, potholes or cracks, snow or ice, gravel, construction equipment, and so on
Err on the side of caution and take photos of everything you can, even if you’re unsure of its significance. It’s better to have a photo just in case and not use it.
Report the accident to your insurer
As soon as you can after the accident, call your insurance provider and let them know what has happened. They’ll ask you for information regarding the accident and begin the claims process.
Just as you did with the police, be honest and accurate with your insurance company. Stick to the facts. Don’t be misleading or evasive with your insurer, which may make your claims process more complicated.
The insurance companies of any other motorists involved in your accident may try to contact you for an official statement, or to ask you questions that seem innocent on the surface. It’s best not to speak to these insurance representatives until you talk to a motorcycle accident attorney.
How Our West Virginia Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Can Help
Many factors can contribute to the cause of a motorcycle accident; it can be very difficult figuring out who or what is to blame. Plus, motorcycle accidents can hold more than one party responsible: other drivers, bike manufacturers, repair shops, construction crews, and so on.
Navigating a lawsuit on your own is challenging enough, especially when you must convince insurance companies or courts that the accident wasn’t your fault.
An experienced motorcycle accident attorney can help you gather any documents or evidence you need to help you win your case. They can also help you understand your options and figure out what kind of compensation you may be able to receive.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a motorcycle accident in West Virginia, call Prim Law at 304-721-4619. You can also fill out an online form to schedule a free initial consultation with a motorcycle accident attorney, and follow the Prim Law Facebook page for updates.