Motorcycle crashes can be traumatic – and even life-threatening. If you’re seriously hurt, you need urgent medical attention. But once you rule out medical emergencies, it’s still important to act quickly. Otherwise, you could lose vital evidence and miss out on the compensation you deserve.
What should you do after a motorcycle accident, though? There’s a process you should follow. Here’s a look at why you should act quickly after a motorcycle crash to maximize your compensation.
Are you already injured after a crash? At the May Firm, we’re waiting to help after a motorcycle accident. If you hire us, our California motorcycle accident lawyers will immediately start working on your behalf. Contact us now to start your case.
Types of Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accident cases range from minor bumps to fatal collisions. The most common types of motorcycle accidents in California include:
- Head-on crashes
- Lane switching accidents
- High speed collisions
- Side-swipe accidents
- Rear-end crashes
- T-bone accidents
Motorcycle crashes cause significant damage, including:
- Property damage
- Road debris
- Pain and suffering
- Personal injuries
Motorcyclists are highly exposed and vulnerable on the road. Even seemingly minor motorcycle crashes can be traumatic.
Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Motorcycle riders face a variety of injuries after a crash. While every crash is different, the most common types of injuries include:
- Soft tissue damage e.g. muscle strains
- Skin lacerations
- Cuts and bruises
- Broken bones
- Tendon and ligament damage
In serious crashes, injuries may include disfigurement, spinal cord damage, paralysis, or limb loss. The most severe accidents cause fatalities – in 2022 alone, 536 riders died in road accidents in California.
Motorcycle accident victims must always prioritize their safety. If you’re in a crash, the first step must be seeking emergency help if you can.
How to Prove a Motorcycle Crash Claim
To appreciate why you should act fast after a crash, you need to understand the legal processes involved.
Proving a personal injury claim in CA means proving four things.
- Someone owed you a duty of care. Road users must drive with due care and attention to prevent accidents. So, every driver and motorcycle rider owes other road users a duty of care.
- A person breached this duty of care. In other words, they drove negligently or recklessly in some way. For example, they ran a stop sign or switched lanes without looking first.
- You’re injured following a crash with this other party. It doesn’t matter if your injuries are minor – every injury counts.
- There’s a causal link between your injuries and the accident. Meaning, the other party caused your injuries due to their negligence.
A Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyer can explain the law in more detail as it relates to your case.
Why You Should Act Fast After a Motorcycle Crash
Time is of the essence in personal injury claims. Here are six specific reasons why you should act fast after a motorcycle accident in California.
1. You Need Medical Attention
Motorcycle riders face serious injuries on the roads. Acting fast after a crash means seeking urgent medical care. This may be for yourself or other injured parties, depending on the crash.
Even if injuries seem minor, don’t wait. Remember, some injuries, like head trauma, take a few hours, days, or even weeks to fully manifest. Always seek medical advice to keep you safe and prevent further harm.
2. You Have Legal Obligations
Driving on California roads means upholding your legal obligations. In CA, you must report some motorcycle accidents to the DVLA, police, or the highway patrol. Otherwise, you risk financial penalties or a license suspension.
In short, you must report a crash if there’s any injuries (however minor) or significant property damage. Your lawyer can help you file a report if you don’t know what to do.
3. Evidence Can Be Lost or Damaged
The passage of time makes it harder to gather evidence from a scene. For example, road debris disappears, skid marks fade, and witnesses forget key details.
The quality of evidence matters in every case. A California motorcycle accident attorney will ensure evidence is preserved so that you get what you deserve.
4. Insurance Claims Take Time
Even when there’s no shortage of evidence available, insurance claims don’t settle overnight. It can take weeks – even months – to settle motorcycle accident claims. Cases take longer when:
- Parties dispute fault
- There are multiple vehicles involved
- Injuries are severe and/or there are fatalities
The sooner you start the process, the quicker you can settle and move forward.
5. Your Losses Must Be Valued
Every motorcycle accident claim is unique. Your attorney must carefully determine how much your claim is worth based on the evidence.
- Delays increase the risk of losing evidence. There’s a chance you’ll lose out on compensation the longer you wait to claim.
- Without sufficient evidence, it’s hard for your attorney to value your claim and get you the damages you deserve.
You owe it to yourself to claim quickly and act fast after a crash.
6. There Are Deadlines for Filing Claims
In CA, you only have two years from the accident date to file a personal injury lawsuit. This is known as a “statute of limitations”. The statute of limitations prevents claims from dragging on for many years. It encourages early filing so that claims can be processed and settled quickly.
If we think about it, the statute of limitations makes sense. After all, the longer you wait, the more likely it is that evidence will be lost, damaged, or compromised. It’s best to file early and start the claims process as soon as possible.
If you miss the claims deadline, you can’t get damages for your injuries. If you’re running out of time, call us immediately for a free consultation.
What to Do Immediately After a Motorcycle Crash
Now we’re clear on why it’s so important to act fast, there’s still another question to answer. What should you do right after a crash to maximize your chances of compensation? Let’s break down the four key steps you should take.
1. Get Medical Help
Check yourself and others right away. If you’re able, call 911 to help with injuries at the scene. Move away from the immediate vicinity if you can – but don’t force yourself to move. You could worsen your injuries if you’re already seriously hurt.
If you’ve called for an ambulance, or there are no life-threatening injuries, you can move onto the next step.
2. Call the Authorities
Even if there are no major injuries, you may still need help. Call the emergency services to have the police or the CA Highway Patrol attend the scene.
Law enforcement will attend and complete an accident report. Accident reports set out what happened and who is (apparently) at fault for the crash. You can use this report to support your case.
3. Gather Evidence
If you are physically able, gather as much information as you can from the scene.
- Take pictures of your injuries before you go to hospital or visit the doctor.
- Photograph any damage to your vehicle or other property.
- Take pictures of the crash scene, including any hazards on the road.
- If you can, video the scene and walk around, capturing as much of the crash site as possible.
Your attorney will check for CCTV and dashcam footage which might help your case. The sooner you claim, the less chance there is for such evidence to be lost, erased, or damaged.
Did anyone see or hear what happened? Gather witness details if you can. If you can’t do this yourself, officers should document this information in the accident report.
4. Visit a Doctor
Once you leave the scene, visit a doctor or attend the ER immediately. Get a full understanding of your injuries and a proper diagnosis. If you’ll need time off work to recover, contact your employer and explain the situation. You can claim for lost wages and medical expenses, so keep a record of these losses.
5. Consult an Attorney
Finally, contact an attorney. Motorcycle lawyers in California will determine if you have a claim and explain how much it’s worth. They’ll immediately get to work, preserving evidence, visiting the crash scene, and contacting insurance companies.
Don’t feel like you need to handle any insurance claims yourself. Your attorney will help you through the entire process.
What if you don’t know the extent of your injuries? It doesn’t matter. Your attorney can still begin the claims procedure.
Motorcycle Accident Fatalities
Have you lost a loved one to a motorcycle crash? It’s still crucial that you act fast. In fact, it’s arguably even more important to act immediately. Your loved one deserves justice – every piece of evidence counts.
Our wrongful death attorneys in CA can help you with a fatal motorcycle crash case. From funeral expenses to loss of companionship, there are various damages you can claim. Contact us now to learn more.
Hire Motorcycle Lawyers in California
Do you need a California motorcycle accident lawyer? Call the May Firm.
Our team knows how to negotiate, fight, and win motorcycle crash claims for our clients. To our attorneys, every client matters. We treat you like family – and we’ll do everything we can to help you.
We offer free initial meetings for all prospective clients. And you don’t pay us anything unless we win your case. You have nothing to lose by reaching out now. Call a motorcycle crash lawyer in California today.
The content in this article is provided for general informational purposes only and may not represent the current law in the recipient’s jurisdiction. The content and information should not be construed as professional legal advice from The May Firm or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. Any and all information included in, or accessible through, this article should not be used to act or refrain from acting without the appropriate legal or other professional advice from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s appropriate jurisdiction. Any reliance you place on such information is strictly at your own risk.