Building a Strong Motorcycle Accident Claim - Part I
The aftermath of a catastrophic motorcycle accident can be confusing, disorienting, and painful. It can be challenging to focus on anything except your physical and emotional state and what you need to do to get the medical care you need. You are likely anxious and worried about medical expenses. Moreover, you are more likely to fear the financial consequences of being unable to work.
Many motorcycle accidents result in severe and life-threatening injuries to motorcyclists. Indeed, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcyclists represent approximately 14% of all fatalities, yet only about 3% of all motorists. In other words, motorcyclists are killed in crashes at higher rates than other vehicle occupants. After a devastating collision, it can feel difficult or even impossible to think about taking steps to build a strong motorcycle accident claim. Yet doing so is essential.
What do you need to do to build a strong motorcycle accident claim? First, knowing what to do at the accident scene is critical. Consider the following:
You will need to gather valuable evidence at the scene and take important steps to document the crash.
You will need to take steps to gather additional evidence in the days and weeks that follow.
As you compile evidence, it will be critical to avoid common mistakes that jeopardize your case.
You will need to begin thinking carefully about your losses and preparing your claim.
Building a solid motorcycle accident claim is complicated, but it can allow you to obtain the financial compensation you need after a devastating motorcycle crash. For help with your claim, our Pennsylvania personal injury attorney at Leeson & Leeson offers support and assistance.
Report the Accident As Quickly As Possible
To build a strong motorcycle accident case, you must report the accident as quickly as possible. Immediately following the accident, you will need to call 911 to report the crash. This is the initial report you will need to make, resulting in emergency responders arriving at the scene of the motorcycle wreck. This is an essential step in the process of building a claim because it ensures that the police will document the crash and will, where appropriate, issue a citation to the motorist who caused the collision.
In circumstances where an at-fault motorist was intoxicated and caused the crash or driving recklessly, the police may arrest the at-fault driver. The police report and potential arrest record will be critical evidence later on for your case.
It is also crucial to call 911 to ensure that you receive the emergency medical care you need. An emergency responder can ensure that you are transported to a hospital for necessary treatment.
In addition, you will need to report the motorcycle accident to your auto and motorcycle insurer as quickly as possible. When you know that another party is likely liable for the accident and your resulting injuries, it is unlikely that you will be filing a first-party claim through your own motorcycle insurance policy. However, your policy still likely requires you to report the crash. Any delay could affect a claim later on. As such, you should report the accident as soon as possible.
Gather As Much Evidence As Early As Possible
In addition to reporting the accident early and ensuring that the police have made a report, you should also gather as much evidence as you can as soon as possible. Motorcycle crashes can result in devastating injuries. As such, it may be impossible to gather evidence yourself. In other words, you may not be physically or mentally able to gather evidence after the crash. If this is the case, you can still build a strong case. However, your case can often be stronger if you are able to gather evidence yourself after the motorcycle collision. You should consider evidence that must be gathered at the scene of the crash first. Then it would help if you thought about the evidence you will need to gather in the days and weeks following the motorcycle collision.
Photo and Video Evidence
Evidence in the form of photographs and videos will be critical to building a strong motorcycle accident case. If your injuries do not prevent you from doing so, take photos and videos at the crash scene. When you are photographing and taking video of the scene, find multiple angles and distances. To be clear, you should capture the scene from various vantage points. In addition, you should be sure to obtain close-up shots of any damage or injuries. All this visual information can be crucial later for an accident reconstruction expert to use.
Taking personal notes at the motorcycle accident scene can be extremely useful for building a strong case. It is important to take notes immediately — or as quickly as possible — after the crash. You will want to capture your contemporaneous impressions. The sooner you take your notes to the moment of the impact, the better. In other words, immediate impressions are more valuable evidence than impressions written down later.
Lay Witnesses At the Scene and In the Area
You should always identify any potential witnesses to the motorcycle crash in the immediate aftermath of the wreck. In addition, consider whether any witnesses in the general area might exist to substantiate your claim. For example, another motorist might have seen the at-fault driver texting while driving. Or, for instance, a bartender might remember serving alcohol to a drunk driver. Obtain names and contact information for any witnesses — those at the scene of the crash and otherwise. Their testimony can help you to build a strong motorcycle accident claim.
Police Reports and Arrest Records
In the days and weeks following the motorcycle wreck, you will want to obtain the police report for the accident. Additionally, you will want to obtain any arrest records from the motorcycle crash. For example, if another motorist was arrested for a DUI, that arrest record can be valuable evidence for your case. In short, building a strong motorcycle wreck claim means obtaining copies of police reports and arrest records.
Accident Reconstruction Experts and Other Expert Witnesses
In the weeks and even months following the crash, an accident reconstruction expert can help you to build a strong claim. Accident reconstruction experts can use photos and images you captured to detail how the motorcycle crash happened. Testimony from other expert witnesses, such as health care providers, can also help you to build a strong case.
Cell Phone Data
If you believe the other driver caused the motorcycle wreck because they were texting while driving, you will need evidence to support that claim. You can seek cell phone data that may show the motorist was receiving or sending a text message at the time of the collision.
Traffic Camera Footage
Depending upon where the motorcycle wreck occurred, you may be able to rely on traffic camera footage in order to prove that the accident happened in a particular way. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation may be able to provide information about the placement of traffic cameras and obtaining footage from them.
Your medical records will also be extremely important for building a strong motorcycle accident case. Not only will you need detailed medical records of your initial visit to your healthcare provider following the motorcycle crash, but you will also need medical records for all follow-up care. Your medical records can be essential for proving the severity of your injuries and showing that they resulted from the motorcycle crash.
Work with an Experienced and Aggressive Motorcycle Accident Attorney
To build the most substantial possible motorcycle accident claim in the Lehigh Valley, you will need to work with an attorney with experience handling motorcycle accident cases. Please contact the Bethlehem personal injury lawyer at Leeson & Leeson today. We are eager to help you obtain justice and the most compensation possible from an injury claim.