Compared to accidents involving passenger vehicles, accidents involving motorcycles are remarkably more dangerous. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcyclists and their passengers were 27 times more likely than occupants of passenger vehicles to die as a result of a motor vehicle crash in 2017. In that same year, an estimated 89,000 people were injured as a result of motorcycle accidents. Many of those injured can face high medical costs, time spent away from work, a lengthy recovery, and pain that will sometimes remain with them for the rest of their lives.
If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle crash as either the motorcyclist, motorcycle passenger, or as an occupant of another vehicle, you might wonder what steps you should take next.
Should I Get Medical Treatment?
You should always seek medical treatment as soon as you can after being involved in a motorcycle accident. Make an appointment with your primary care physician, and if you are in pain don’t hesitate to visit the emergency room. Even if you feel fine immediately following the motorcycle crash, pain from your injuries can sometimes begin days afterward.
Following your motorcycle accident, try and obtain the following list of information:
• The police officer’s name, badge number, and the police report number
• The other party’s full name, contact information, and insurance information
• The make, model, license plate number, and VIN number of all vehicles involved
• Names and contact information for any witnesses to the accident
Additionally, be sure to take multiple photos of the motorcycle and of all other vehicles involved.
Handling the Insurance Companies
Dealing with the insurance companies involved in a motorcycle crash can be a daunting task: insurance adjusters will try to pressure you into quickly accepting a settlement that won’t even come close to covering your medical expenses, let alone compensate you for your pain and suffering. The best move is to get an experienced attorney who will negotiate with the other party’s insurance on your behalf to maximize your recovery. While you should contact your own insurance company to report the motorcycle accident, be sure not to discuss your injuries or give any recorded statements, as these may be used to limit your compensation later on.
Motorcycle Accidents Involving Pedestrians
Determining an injured party’s ability to recover damages in accidents involving a motorcycle hitting a pedestrian depends on your state’s laws concerning negligence. Some states operate on the concept of “contributory negligence,” which would bar the pedestrian from seeking damages against the motorcyclist if the pedestrian contributed in any way to the accident (for example, by jaywalking). Others operate differently. In the District of Columbia, the Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Act of 2016 allows pedestrians to sue for damages as long as they are less than 50% responsible for the accident.
If you would like to know more, contact an attorney that routinely handles motorcycle-pedestrian
accidents in your jurisdiction.