7 Things to Remember | Bakersfield Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Do you know how you would respond to an unexpected motorcycle crash? It’s worth thinking about. Making the right choices can mean all the difference in your legal and financial interests — not to mention your health and wellbeing.
Here are seven essential steps to take immediately after a motorcycle accident.
1. Get Away from Other Vehicles
Even after the crash itself, the accident scene is an incredibly dangerous place. Innocent bystanders are vulnerable to impact by high-speed oncoming traffic… especially on interstates and highways. Vehicles are moving quickly, and the drivers don’t expect to come upon a crash scene.
Motorcycle crashes usually cause more debris than other accidents. Broken parts might be scattered around the road. Watch out for broken glass and other hazards.
Oil spills are very common in California motorcycle wrecks. These can lead to sudden fires and explosions. For that reason alone, you want to physically remove yourself from the wreckage as soon as possible.
Move yourself far off the road. (Only move your vehicle if it is absolutely safe to do so.) Look for a place that keeps you visible to oncoming traffic and emergency responders. Do not go back to your vehicle to retrieve personal items.
2. Call 911
Calling 911 accomplishes two purposes:
- Notifying the police. You must report every auto accident to the authorities. This includes motorcycle crashes. (If the accident is very minor in nature, you can call a local police phone number instead of 911. Either way, you are required to report even the smallest accidents to the police. Always.)
- Getting emergency medical help. Most motorcycle accidents in California involve serious bodily injury. The sooner the victims get help, the better their chances for recovery. If you are injured, call 911. If you think you’re fine, check the other drivers and passengers for injuries (if possible).
3. Stay Put and Stay Calm
Do not leave the accident scene until a police officer has arrived in person and dismissed you. Choosing to leave before that can lead to legal trouble later.
Take a deep breath. Motorcycle wrecks are incredibly distressing events. You might feel rattled, confused, or overwhelmed. You will have time to fully process these emotions soon. Right now, the best thing you can do for yourself is to keep a calm, level head.
When you are calm and collected, you’ll keep a better grip on the important situation at hand. Steps 4 through 7 will have a significant impact on the outcome of your case.
4. Gather Evidence
Unfortunately, some of the most useful evidence in a California motorcycle accident case disappears as soon as the accident scene clears. You can play a meaningful role by gathering evidence while still there. This can include:
- Taking pictures of each vehicle
- Getting license plate and driver’s license numbers
- Exchanging insurance information
- Writing down the name and contact information of any eyewitnesses
- Briefly jotting down how you feel in the moment, both physically and emotionally. Write down exactly how the accident happened. (You’d be surprised how easy it is to forget later!)
Never compromise your safety for the sake of gathering evidence. While this information is very useful, an experienced Bakersfield motorcycle accident lawyer in our office can help you gather essential data after the fact too.
In fact, at The Law Offices of Mickey Fine, we even work with accident investigation experts to recreate accident scenes and get to the bottom of causation and damages.
5. Get a Copy of the Police Report
When the police officer arrives at your accident scene, he or she will prepare an official accident report. This report will include the officer’s observations about the accident, contact information for the parties involved, and the officer’s conclusions about how the accident happened.
This report is very important. While it is usually possible to secure a copy after the fact, the request process can take some time. The sooner you have the report, the better.
If the officer cannot give you a copy of the full report at the time, he or she can usually give you a file number associated with the report. This number will make it easier for you to retrieve the report later.
Be careful of what you say. Remember: because the officer will make conclusions about who caused the motorcycle crash, you should avoid making any statements of liability. Even a simple “I’m sorry” can be used against you. Never admit fault… you do not know if you are legally at fault until you’ve talked with a lawyer.
6. See a Doctor ASAP
A doctor’s visit is among the most important things to do immediately after a motorcycle accident — but it’s also one of the most overlooked.
Don’t make the mistake of assuming you don’t need to see a doctor. We often hear from clients who said, “I think I’m okay,” only to discover much later that they were not.
Many motorcycle accident injuries take weeks or months to cause symptoms. You should see a doctor to get a diagnosis soon after the fact.
If you don’t think you need emergency attention, call your general practice physician and make an appointment for the near future.
By documenting a doctor’s visit, you are also helping to facilitate an insurance claim for any medical injuries you might develop.
7. Call an Experienced Bakersfield Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
The other side’s insurance company will probably contact you. Don’t talk to them until you’ve talked with an attorney who is on your side.
Did you know insurance companies aren’t required to represent your best interests? In fact, while they might sound friendly, their first priority is to pay you as little money as possible.
You may be entitled to substantial financial compensation. Victims in Bakersfield motorcycle accidents often are. At The Law Offices of Mickey Fine, we are dedicated to maximizing the amount of that compensation. We fight for our clients at every turn.
Injured in a Motorcycle Collision? Call The Law Offices of Mickey Fine.
Don’t settle for less than you deserve. Learn your rights. Contact The Law Offices of Mickey Fine and schedule a free consultation today.
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