Motorcycle accidents are handled similar to car accident cases with a few differences. When going into a motorcycle accident claim, it is important to remember that juries are often biased against the rider, especially if they weren’t wearing a helmet. This can cause a jury to decide the rider is only eligible for a portion of the compensation they might otherwise have qualified for. There are other mistakes that are easy to make after an accident which could affect the outcome of a motorcycle case.
For helping filing a motorcycle accident claim or to learn more about what not to do after an accident, seek legal counsel from a motorcycle accident attorney. Most of them offer free consultations and can help make sure you are taking every step possible to protect yourself and your family from further harm.
There are a variety of common mistakes which could affect the potential for success in motorcycle accident claim, including:
- Failing to wear a helmet. As mentioned above, failing to wear a helmet at the time of the collision can result in a jury coming to a biased judgement against the rider. This is especially pertinent in states with a Department of Transportation (DOT)-approved helmet mandate in place.
- Failing to seek medical care in a timely manner. It can be easy to shrug off an injury that seems minor, or to even not feel an injury at all immediately after an accident. However, some injuries may not be felt until days or even weeks after the accident. Waiting to seek medical attention could actually have a negative impact on your claim down the road, as it could lead the other party to suggest that you couldn’t have been hurt that badly if you were able to wait to seek care. Seeking medical attention immediately after an accident also ensures that an official record exists to document the injury.
- Failing to call 9-1-1 after the accident. It is important to call 9-1-1 after being involved in an accident on a motorcycle. Regardless of the damage or injury at the scene, allowing law enforcement to conduct an investigation at the scene and write a report of the incident is a good way to make sure that evidence is preserved in some form from the incident.
- Speaking openly at and after the scene. It is important to be especially careful of what you say and what information you share after an accident. It can be easy to make a vague apology at the scene of the accident to only later find that this was taken as an admission of fault. It’s also important to refrain from discussing unnecessary details of the accident with your insurance provider, as this could provide them with an opportunity to deny your claim. Finally, it’s important to refrain from discussing the accident on social media. While it might be tempting to tell the world your story, wait until after an official verdict has been reached to do so. As the saying goes, anything you say can be used against you in court, regardless of the intent with which it was said.
- Failing to attend follow-up medical appointments. It may be easy to shrug off additional follow-up appointments after seeking medical care immediately after an accident. However, even if you feel fine, it’s important to attend any appointment requested by your doctor. Failing to do so may hurt your case, and add to the suggestion that perhaps you weren’t that hurt to begin with you if you aren’t willing to go to another appointment.
- Making repairs too soon. It may be extremely tempting to begin repairs on your bike and to throw away whatever gear was broken or cracked during the accident. However, all of this is important evidence to your case, and eliminating it before an expert is able to evaluate the condition of the bike and your gear could be a missed opportunity to strengthen your case.
If you or a loved one were injured in a motorcycle accident, it’s important to seek counsel from a motorcycle accident attorney. Due to the inherent biases many jurors have toward motorcyclists, and the unique aspects involved in motorcycle cases, it’s important to get help from someone who is familiar with the field.