Motorcycle accidents' aftermaths have devastating consequences such as fatal injuries and property damages, especially for motorcycle riders whose protection from injury is limited to protective wear. Consequently, the law allows victims of such accidents to file for compensation suits against the liable parties.
Victims of motorcycle accidents can also acquire financial compensation from their insurance companies. Filing compensation lawsuits can be frustrating, especially if you are still recovering from injuries suffered. Consequently, legal representation from a personal injury attorney can help ease the stress of such complex legal processes.
At The LA Personal Injury Law Firm, we are a leading provider of personal injury legal services in Los Angeles. We devote ourselves to offer a voice for victims of motorcycle accidents by giving consultations and fighting for their right to compensation from the liable party and insurance companies. Our services extend to residents of Los Angeles and the surrounding areas. In this article, you learn steps to take after a motorcycle accident.
Call for Medical Emergency Services
Rarely are victims of motorcycle accidents left uninjured. Motorcycles leave the rider exposed to the surroundings during an accident as compared to vehicles. Consequently, the first step you should take after a motorcycle accident is to check if you or other victims have suffered injuries due to the accident impact.
If you are in the capacity to do so, ensure that all injured victims of the accident are not prone to further injuries. However, be careful not to move victims if the movement could worsen their injuries. The health and safety of you and any other person involved in the accident are of utmost importance.
Ensure that you call 911 for medical emergency services. You want to undergo a medical check-up even if you do not feel any pain after the accident. Some injuries do not show physically or cause pain immediately. Therefore, a medic needs to ascertain that you have no injuries.
Furthermore, the medical report of which injuries you suffered due to the accident is a crucial piece of evidence in filing a compensation claim. You should also alert other road users of the accident scene to avoid further casualties, primarily if the accident occurs on a busy highway or city road.
The compensation process can be made much simpler and faster if there is hard evidence proving the party's liability, which caused the accident. Gathering relevant information and evidence from the accident scene will be a critical boost to your lawsuit. However, you should feel no pressure to gather evidence if you are critically injured; eye witness accounts and CCTV footage can be used to determine fault.
That being said, if you own a smartphone, take photos of the accident scene. You want to focus on specific aspects, such as the positioning of the motorcycles and vehicles involved in the accident and the injuries you sustain since they are vital in your compensation lawsuit. Take the photographs from multiple angles to enhance their relevance as evidence. You should ensure that the vehicles(s) and motorcycle(s) are not moved from the scene since this will be tampering with the evidence. Remain at the accident scene until the police officers arrive. However, if you are critically injured from the accident, seeking treatment should be your priority to prevent your condition's worsening. Police officers can obtain your report at the medical facility where you were admitted.
Moreover, you should collect the contact details of the people involved in the accident. The details should include the vehicle or motorcycle plate numbers, names, phone numbers, and the parties' insurance companies. You can also record the driver's licenses and the registration of the automobile involved in the accident.
Finally, you can note down the police officer's phone number investigating the accident scene and the police report number. The information makes it easy to track down those involved when the lawsuit is filed. Apart from exchanging such information, do not offer any other information or agree to off-record deals without consulting a personal injury attorney.
Report the Motorcycle Accident to the Police
Reporting the motorcycle accident to the authorities in due course is of utmost importance. The police officers will analyze the accident scene and write a report on their findings from the investigation. The police report comes in handy during your lawsuit as it ascertains the motorcycle accident's events. Ensure that you give an account of what happened to the police.
Otherwise, the person at fault might try to twist the events leading to the accident to hold you liable for causing it. In turn, it affects your chances of winning the compensation lawsuit. However, be cautious not to admit any fault whatsoever as you talk to the authorities. Ensure you give them the basics of how the accident occurred and let them do their investigation from there.
Police officers will also help in managing the accident scene. Traffic will need to be slowed down or stopped to prevent further accidents from occurring. The presence of authorities at the location will also keep off any persons who might try to take advantage of the chaos to loot victims of the accident. You can acquire a copy of the police report to help since it will help hasten your lawsuit.
Inform Your Insurance Provider
It is important to note that insurance companies are businesses like any other. Therefore insurance providers are looking to maximize profits and minimize losses. Consequently, they can decline to pay compensation if the cases seem unclear or forged. You want to call in and inform your insurance provider of the accident as soon as possible to avoid conflicting information that could complicate your compensation process.
Inform them that you were involved in a motorcycle accident and provide the accident's time and location. After giving the accident basics, refrain from discussing details about who is liable and the injuries suffered. You should request your injury attorney to guide you through informing the insurance company.
Note that the insurance company will want to gather the information to ascertain whether you should be compensated or not. The popular notion that motorcycle riders are reckless leads insurance companies to find possible evidence of liability on the rider's part even when they are victims of the accident. Information that you could deem non-essential can mess up your chances of being financially compensated by your insurance company. Therefore, legal guidance from an experienced personal injury attorney is of paramount importance.
Claims You Can File
After an accident, personal injury claims are meant to help the accident victims recover from the injuries and losses. Also, the victims will be better positioned to rebuild their lives and cater to financial needs that may build up. You can be entitled to one or more of the following claims.
Victims of accidents who suffer injuries should keep all records of the bills incurred to treat the injuries. The amount of compensation you are given depends on the fatality of the damages you suffer. For instance, broken bones or teeth will obtain more compensation than a road rash. The compensation ensures all the financial strain you underwent in catering for your damages is fully compensated.
If the injuries you suffered require physical therapy, the liable party can be ordered to pay for future treatment. If severe trauma was suffered in the head or brain damage or the victim needs therapy to correct severe emotional trauma, this claim can be filed.
Pain and Suffering
Victims who suffer injuries can file claims for the damages they bore because of the accident. You can also seek compensation for the pain and suffering you underwent due to these injuries. Victims can also sue for future pain and suffering they might experience due to the accident accidents injuries. In such a situation, a doctor's report ascertaining this matter will be required to be presented to the court.
Compensation for Loss of Income
You can be compensated for the time you were in the hospital and could not provide for yourself or your family. You can file charges for loss of past, present, and future income that you faced or face in the future because of the accident.
Compensation for Loss of Ability to Earn Income
As a victim of an accident, you can file this claim if you are incapacitated by the accident's injuries to the extent that which you cannot work for Income. This claim can apply if you were amputated or disabled due to injuries suffered, rendering you unable to work.
Unfortunately, some motorcycle accidents lead to fatal consequences, such as the death of a victim. California's wrongful death laws allow the filing of a wrongful death claim. The lawsuit can be filed by relatives, children, grandchildren, a spouse, or the deceased's domestic partner. The lawsuit can also be filed by any other relevant party who would be entitled to inherit the deceased's property.
Other claims included in the wrongful death claim are burial and funeral expenses, loss of companionship and support, and loss of the financial Income that the deceased would have earned if not for the accident.
Loss of Consortium
A loss of consortium claim is a type of non-economic compensatory damages. The claim can be filed by those seeking compensation for the loss of companionship or intimate relationship of their spouse or domestic partner caused by accident.
In determining liability for a motorcycle accident, evidence collected at the accident scene is employed and eye witness accounts, if applicable. The judge will analyze evidence such as photographs, CCTV footage, and the police reports and then determine the liable party after the trial process. The responsible party is then required to pay compensation to the litigant.
In cases where both parties were at fault, California’s comparative fault law is applied. The percentage of responsibility of each party involved in the accident is determined, the injuries suffered, and the extent of property damage. Consequently, the most affected party will be compensated, or each party will pay the other depending on their percentage fault.
Having a personal injury attorney is critical if the comparative fault law is used to determine your case outcome. With the right legal representation, you can still acquire the highest possible compensation for your losses, even if you are found partly liable.
Parties that can be held liable for the accident include the driver of an automobile, a motorcycle rider, or a pedestrian. According to California's Premises Liability Laws, all property owners must keep their property under reasonable conditions not to harm other people. Consequently, if your motorcycle accident is caused by a non-maintained property such as a road with pot-holes, you can sue the party responsible for maintaining it.
Such liabilities include the city or municipality involved in designing or building highways and any other organization whose negligence or shortcomings led to your accident. You can also sue the vehicle or motorcycle manufacturers if a malfunction caused the accident. Finally, you can hold your mechanic liable if you had a repair that led to mechanical problems, leading to your accident.
Negligence Per Se
In a situation where the court is presented with evidence showing that the motorcyclist or the vehicle driver violated a traffic rule that would have prevented an accident, the victim of the accident will not be required to prove liability. The guilty party would be considered “negligence per se.” Under California law, a party can be held negligent per se in causing an accident upon violation of a statute, an ordinance such as a traffic rule or a regulation.
For the liable party to be held negligent per se, you must prove the following:
- The accused violated a law, a statute, or an ordinance.
- The violation of one or more of the above led to injury, death, or property damage.
- Had the defendant obeyed the law, statute, or ordinance, they would have prevented injury, death, or property damage from being caused.
Statute of Limitations
The California statute of limitations offers a period before which you should have taken legal action against a liable party. For motorcycle accident compensation suits, the statute of limitations is two for personal injury and three years for property damage from the accident date. Furthermore, wrongful death claims should be filed after two years from the time the deceased died.
However, if you are going to sue a public organization or the government, the period is reduced to six months. The statute of limitations starts to run as soon as the litigant becomes aware or under due diligence should have become aware of the injuries.
Don’ts after a Motorcycle Accident
Avoid Arguing with Other Parties Involved in The Accident
Often you can encounter aggressive parties after a motorcycle accident. You could also feel like you want to confront the party at fault. However, remaining calm is the best option for everyone and your lawsuit. In anger, you could find yourself giving off information that could be later used against you. You should also avoid inflicting further damage to your property or someone else's property, as this will only make your case worse in a trial.
Furthermore, avoid trying to blame anyone or trying to engage in arguments as to who is at fault. Let the investigations take place and only discuss matters of liability with a personal injury attorney. Finally, disagree to be pressurized or threatened into admitting guilt.
Refrain From Accepting any Fault
In the confusion and trauma caused by the accident; most victims find themselves apologizing to other parties even when they were not liable for causing the accident. Apologizing for an accident can be used against you as proof that you were the guilty party. Be careful not to apologize or admit to any fault before consulting an attorney.
Do Not Interfere with The Accident Scene
Avoid changing anything at the accident scene from when the accident occurred. Moving the vehicle or motorcycle is tampering with evidence and making it difficult to determine the party’s fault. Only the injured patients should be moved to safety if shifting them will not make them prone to further injuries.
Avoid Leaving the Scene of The Accident before the Police Arrive
After receiving first aid, if you are not severely injured, you should refrain from leaving the accident scene until the authorities have arrived. Sometimes, the accident scene’s evidence can be tampered with, and you can be framed as the liable party. Consequently, it is crucial to ensure the police arrive at the accident scene before you leave.
Do Not Agree to Settlements without Your Attorney
The liable party may try to sort issues with you at the accident scene or without involving a court. You should not agree to any settlements offered to you in such a case without legal guidance. Do not be rushed into receiving a small immediate compensation when you deserve more.
The insurance company can also try the same by luring you with favorable settlements to settle for lower financial compensation that is processed fast. Instead, discuss all offers for payment with a personal injury attorney who, unlike other parties, will be fighting for the preservation of your best interest. You should only agree to the maximum possible compensation for the injuries, losses, property damage, or trauma suffered.
Why is a Personal Injury Attorney Important?
- A personal injury attorney can file compensation claims on your behalf as you recover from the injuries.
- Your attorney will guide you on which legal steps to take to be paid the maximum possible compensation.
- Personal injury attorneys are better experienced in dealing with the complicated financial compensation steps from an insurance company.
- The lawyer will fight your compensation battles, giving you much needed time and calm to heal from the injuries you suffered.
- Legal representation during the lawsuit gives you better chances of compensation for your injuries and damages.
- A personal injury attorney will ensure none of your rights are violated and fight for your best interests no matter your social background or those liable for causing the accident.
- Your attorney will ensure that all necessary evidence and witnesses are employed in proving the liability.
- Your attorney will help you obtain justice in cases of wrongful death and ensure you are fully compensated.
Contact Your Attorney if
- You suffer fatal physical injuries due to a motorcycle accident caused by the negligence of another party.
- The liable party tries to pin the blame on you or is forcing or threatening you to admit fault for causing the accident.
- The medical bills for treating the injuries you suffered or the damages caused to your property exceed your insurance provisions.
- An accident caused your parent’s, spouse’s, or child's wrongful death.
Affordability of a Personal Injury Attorney
Fortunately, a personal injury attorney is more affordable than most people think. First, most law firms offer free consultations to potential clients. Your situation is analyzed, and you are advised on whether you should file a lawsuit. You will be informed if your case can result in compensation and which types of claims you are entitled to, all for free!
Most personal injury law firms, including The LA Personal Injury Law Firm, work on a contingency fee basis. The basis means that you will only pay for the attorney’s services if the claims were successful, and you got compensation. The situation is a win-win.
Find a Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
If you are involved in a motorcycle accident, quality legal guidance and representation will help hasten your deserved compensation. At The LA Personal Injury Law Firm, we are knowledgeable in pushing for our clients' highest possible compensation. Reach out to us as soon as you are involved in a motorcycle accident so that we can start working on your case and guide you accordingly. Our law firm is based in Los Angeles, serving clients in the county and the surrounding areas. For more information, contact us at 310-935-0089.
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