If you’re involved in a motorcycle accident, it’s natural to be confused, dazed, and scared. After such a serious incident, it can be challenging to know what to do next. Do I call my insurance company? Talk with the other driver—and what do I tell them? Do I absolutely have to call the police, even if it’s a minor accident?
Well don’t worry—we’re here to help. In this article, we’re taking a closer look at some of the common causes of motorcycle accidents and tips to prevent these collisions from occurring in the first place. If you are involved in one, however, we also walk you through important steps to take immediately after a motorcycle accident. With the assistance of a motorcycle lawyer in Colorado, these steps can help you receive fair and full compensation if you file a personal injury lawsuit following the accident.
COMMON CAUSES OF MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENTS
Every motorcycle accident, of course, is unique. However, there are several common causes of motorcycle accidents that account for a vast majority of these collisions. By understanding the top causes of motorcycle accidents, both motorcyclists and drivers can be better informed and work together to keep our roads safer.
Here’s a look at some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents:
- Speeding: driving above the posted speed limit makes it much more difficult for motorcycles and motor vehicles to stop, slow down, or react to ever-changing road conditions.
- Unsafe lane changes: it’s particularly difficult for drivers to see motorcycles when changing lanes, especially when they’re sudden, abrupt, and unsafe lane changes. Motorcyclists should never ride between lanes, an unsafe maneuver also known as “lane splitting.”
- Sudden stops: sudden stops are particularly hazardous for motorcycle riders, which is why you should never tailgate another vehicle. Rear end collisions account for a large portion of motorcycle accidents.
- Driving under the influence: even just one or two alcoholic drinks can critically impair your ability to operate a motorcycle. Drinking or using drugs slows down your reaction time, limits your critical thinking, and can impair your motor skills.
- Hazardous road conditions: adverse weather can make the roads even more dangerous. Snow, rain, or high winds can make driving and riding a motorcycle much more challenging. Unsafe weather conditions are especially dangerous for motorcyclists, who have little to no protection from the elements. Always check weather conditions before hitting the road.
WHAT TO DO AFTER A MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT
Every year, there are thousands of motorcycle accidents in the United States. While each ranges in severity, many lead to serious injuries or even fatalities. This is why motorcycle safety is so important. But what should you do if you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident?
Consider these steps after a motorcycle crash occurs:
- Move to safety: if you aren’t severely injured and your motorcycle is still operational, try to move to a place of safety. Move your motorcycle to a nearby shoulder or parking lot so that even more vehicles aren’t involved in the crash. Also, take this time to check on the safety and condition of any other driver who was involved.
- Call 911: make this important phone call for two reasons. Calling 911 will send paramedics to see any injuries you or the other driver may have suffered. Additionally, this call will send the police to the scene. Having the police there to write a report and serve as an objective account is critical if you file a personal injury suit.
- Exchange information: share insurance and basic contact information with any other drivers. This information will prove essential for filing a claim with your insurance company. However, don’t feel pressured to divulge additional information or admit guilt—even if you believe you were partially responsible. Only share basic contact and insurance information.
- Gather evidence from the scene: evidence will be very important if you end up filing a legal suit following your motorcycle accident. Primarily, you’ll want to gather two types of evidence: photographic evidence and eyewitness accounts. Take photos (using your phone is fine) of the scene of the accident, all the vehicles involved, and any property that was damaged. If there are any eyewitnesses, ask them for their contact information and if they can provide an objective account of the accident.
- Call your insurance provider: notify your insurance company about the motorcycle crash as soon as possible. This will help to ensure that your claim is filed and processed as quickly as possible. If you plan on hiring a motorcycle accident lawyer, don’t feel pressured to share more information than is necessary with your insurance.
- Call an experienced motorcycle accident attorney: even if the issue of fault seems obvious, or if the crash seems minor, you should make a quick call to a motorcycle accident law firm. Speaking with these professionals can help you understand your case and determine if you should receive any financial compensation for the accident.
HOW TO PREVENT MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENTS
It’s important to know what to do after a motorcycle accident, but of course, we’d all prefer to never be involved in one in the first place. Both motorcyclists and drivers are responsible for avoiding collisions by practicing safe and responsible driving habits.
Here are just a few ways you can work to prevent motorcycle accidents:
- Stay vigilant and always focused on the road.
- Never assume that the car already sees you.
- Never “lane split” between vehicles or lanes.
- Be extra cautious at intersections.
- Never speed.
- Never operate a motorcycle under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Wear reflective clothing, especially if riding at night.
- Keep up with regular maintenance on your motorcycle.
- Avoid adverse weather (if possible) and keep an eye on incoming weather conditions.
CONCLUSION – WHAT TO DO AFTER A MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT
Being involved in a motorcycle accident is a frightening experience. Motorcyclists have far less protection than drivers and may suffer serious injuries from collisions. If you are involved in an accident, you should always call 911 to receive proper medical attention and receive a police report. Another important call to make? Call an experienced motorcycle accident attorney to understand your case, assess its value, and fight for your rights.