As of 2019, motorcyclists are four times more likely to be injured in crashes than other motorists. Even the best-prepared motorcyclist cannot avoid their biggest danger: other drivers. If you were injured in a motorcycle accident, you can recover compensation after filing a motorcycle accident claim. Here’s how to begin the process.
File a Police Report
The best way to make the claim filing process easier is to begin at the scene of the accident. If you are the victim of a motorcycle accident, call the police so they can create a report. Not only is reporting mandatory in some states, like California, but this starts a paper trail for your accident claim.
Ask the officer at the scene for their name, badge number, and police agency. You may also be able to get the accident report number. Remember, the more information you have, the easier it will be to receive your copy of the police report later.
Most police reports are ready to view within five business days of the accident. Call your police agency after this time to ask for your report copy. Some police agencies charge a fee for report copies, so prepare for this possibility.
Document the Accident
Once you’ve called the police, begin to speak with other people at the scene. Write down the other party’s contact information, including their insurance details. If there are other eyewitnesses, ask for their names and contact information as well.
Take pictures of the accident scene from several viewpoints. Prevent moving vehicles unless you are obstructing traffic. It’s best if you can capture their exact positions after the accident. These details are pertinent to proving liability in your motorcycle accident claim.
Document damage to your motorcycle and the other person’s vehicle. Include any dents, scratches, or broken parts in your photos. If you are able, walk the area surrounding the accident to search for evidence. Survey damages to the surrounding environment, like skid marks or dented road barriers.
Debris from your motorcycle or the other vehicle can land far away from the scene. Do not move evidence before you have photographed it. Pictures can determine the distance and trajectory of debris.
Preserve Your Motorcycle Gear
Unlike regular automobile accidents, your motorcycle gear is key evidence for your claim. Every break and tear in your gear is part of the narrative you will provide insurance companies. If you leave out important information, you may receive inadequate compensation.
Keep the helmet and clothing you wore during the accident in a safe place. Insurance companies may never ask you to provide them, but it is better to be prepared.
Record Repair Costs
To get repair costs covered, you will need a monetary estimate of accident damages. Companies will send an insurance adjuster to inspect your motorcycle for this purpose. However, it can be beneficial to get another opinion.
Take your motorcycle to a trusted repair shop to determine the extent of the damage. Provide your mechanic with the age, brand, and cost of your motorcycle. These will all factor into the total amount for repair. Repair costs can be included after you file motorcycle accident claims.
Seek Medical Care
If you receive a motorcycle accident injury, see a doctor as soon as you can. Even if it seems like you only have minor injuries, a doctor’s visit is vital to your health and your claim. Your medical records will be part of your motorcycle accident claim documents.
Keep a journal and write about how your injuries affect you. Include details like soreness, stiffness, and swelling. Write about how these injuries resulted in your pain and suffering. If an accident has caused a disability, preventing you from doing regular everyday activities, like walking, write about how that has made you feel. Another way to establish pain and suffering is to record your pain on a scale of 1-10 each day. Write down the date and time for your documentation.
Contact Your Insurance Company
In California, you do have to report the motorcycle accident to your insurance, even if you were not at fault. Reporting the crash is not admitting fault. Instead, it beings the claims process and you will be assigned a representative to your case.
The motorcycle accident claim filing deadline varies among insurance companies. Typically, you should file your claim within 48 hours of the accident to ensure your protection. Provide motorcycle accident claim documents to prevent delays in the claim filing process. You will need to sign a formal release for your insurance to receive your medical records.
However, do not speak to the other party’s insurance adjuster. This will hurt your claim and you can lose receiving compensation. Instead, you should have your motorcycle accident lawyer speak with the other insurance company.
Hire a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Hiring a motorcycle accident lawyer is the best way to ensure insurance companies treat you fairly. A lawyer will negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf. If they cannot reach a fair settlement, an accident attorney will also fight for your rights in court.
You don’t have to wait until you file your claim to seek legal counsel. A lawyer can help you through the claim filing process, including proof of liability. If you’re worried about legal costs, some lawyers offer contingency-based services. In this case, you are only required to pay them if you win your case.
Benefits of Motorcycle Accident Claims
You can receive significant compensation as the victim of a motorcycle accident. Two factors affect the amount of money your claim produces: liability and damages.
To have a successful claim, there must be a liable party to hold accountable. You must prove that another person is responsible for accident damages. If you do not have enough evidence for an insurance company or court, you won’t have a case.
If you don’t know how to establish proof, a motorcycle accident lawyer can sort through the evidence. Once you’ve established liability, the next thing to consider is damages. Damages can be concrete or abstract. Concrete damages, or special damages, have a specified dollar amount. These damages include medical bills, property damage, lost earnings, and pain and suffering.
We Help Clients File Motorcycle Accident Claims
After a motorcycle accident, you should focus on healing, not worrying over your claim. A lawyer can ease the burden and file motorcycle accident claims on your behalf. Promenade Accident Attorneys offers contingency-based legal services to California victims of motorcycle accidents. Don’t take on the insurance companies on your own. Schedule a free case evaluation today.