It feels like we have lived through a very long, dark winter thanks to snow and COVID. I hear all these people on the news talking about “pent-up demand” for vacations and dining out, but I think we can all agree that there is also a pent-up demand for bikers to get out and ride! (Of course, this happens every spring for people who ride motorcycles, but probably more so this year, yes?)
Still, I need to put my personal injury attorney hat on for a second. I love too many bikers to let this spring go by without a safety reminder. (I know. Safety can be boring. But if you don’t want to read this for yourself, read it for a friend! You may witness an accident and, if you do, taking these steps could save your friend from financial ruin. Isn’t that the kind of friend we all want to be?)
If you are in a motorcycle accident, and if you are physically able, you should take specific steps to protect yourself from insurance companies that will do absolutely everything they can to rob you of money you are owed. And if you are riding with a friend who is physically unable to do these things, do it for him or her!
What to Do at the Scene of a Motorcycle Accident
I’m going to share some tips that you should do at the scene of any motorcycle accident to protect yourself from insurance company tricks. However, these tips do not cover how you physically help a buddy who goes down in an accident. However, I frequently sponsor accident scene management trainings for bikers – so subscribe to our newsletter to be alerted to those opportunities. Please – take a class. Literally everyone who takes the class is glad they did so.
But I digress.
Here is a checklist of the steps to take at the scene of a motorcycle accident:
- Call the police: I don’t care if it was a minor accident (which is rare in motorcycle crashes). You must absolutely call the cops because you will need a police report to deal with the insurance company.
- Do not move your bike: Even if the bike is blocking traffic, don’t move it. The cops need to see where your bike landed to fully understand what happened in the accident.
- Take pictures: Get your cell phone out and take pictures of absolutely everything. Get pictures of your bike, the car that hit you, the other driver, the surrounding area, skid marks, even your own injuries. The old cliché is true: A picture is worth a thousand words. And it can also be worth thousands of dollars if it helps prove your case.
- Trade insurance information with the other driver: Just take a picture of his or her insurance card.
- Get witness statements: If anyone is standing around gawking, get them to share what they saw as you take a video. As you know too well, cops often report that a crash was the biker’s fault, even when it wasn’t. Witnesses can help you prove that you were the victim. When you get them to explain what they saw, make sure you also get their names and contact info.
- If you go to the hospital, do not give them your auto insurance card: Give them your health insurance card and tell them that they MUST use your health insurance. I have written about the ways that hospitals try to get more money out of victims than they should have to pay, and this is the number-one way you can protect yourself from their antics.
- Call a personal injury attorney. This sounds self-serving, but I sincerely mean it because there are many potential missteps that can wreck your case. Trying to face the insurance companies and hospital shenanigans on your own, when you are likely healing from significant injuries, is not a reasonable thing to expect from yourself or your family. Also, insurance companies will do everything they can to avoid paying you. You need someone on your side who knows their tricks. (I mean, seriously, you would not believe what these knuckleheads try to do to victims who don’t know any better. PLEASE call me to get advice as soon after an accident as possible.)
I hope this helps you protect yourself or a buddy from nasty insurance tricks, but if you find yourself facing something that seems fishy, call me! Consultations are free and I genuinely want to help you.