Being involved in an accident is stressful and scary, but when an accident involves a motorcycle the injuries are often more severe than those that are sustained in an automobile crash. When you are involved in an accident, whether it’s a motorcycle or a car, you are probably aware of the fact that you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries. But what happens if you are the one that caused the crash, and it was a motorcycle that you hit?
Whether you were speeding, failed to yield, or looking at your cell phone, the stress and guilt can feel overwhelming. It’s common for people to think that auto accident attorneys only help those who are the victims of an accident, but there are ways an attorney can help if you have caused an accident. Accidents happen and when you are at fault it’s important to know your options.
Do Not Leave the Scene
If you know that you have just caused a motorcycle accident, the first thing to do is stay calm. There are certain steps you should take after being involved in a motorcycle crash, whether you were at fault or not, so it’s important that you stay calm and focused to ensure that you take the appropriate steps. First, you should never under any circumstance leave the scene of the accident. States vary in their laws when it comes to stopping after a crash and not leaving the scene, but in the majority of states you can be criminally charged with hit and run and you can be arrested for leaving the scene, especially if there are injuries.
Check for Injuries
Check yourself for any injuries before exiting your vehicle. If you have sustained injuries to your head, neck, or back, you lost consciousness or you have an apparent injury such as broken bones, do not exit the vehicle, and instead, wait in the car until an ambulance arrives to transport you to the hospital. If you haven’t been injured exit your vehicle and check on the motorcycle rider. If the rider is bleeding, try to stop the bleeding by applying pressure to the wound until the police and medics arrive. If the rider isn’t breathing and you know CPR, attempt to provide CPR to the rider. Do not attempt to move the motorcycle rider and do not remove their helmet. Some states require drivers that are involved in an accident to provide help on the scene while waiting for medical personnel, so, if possible, it's best to help the rider as much as you can to avoid the risk of being accused of not providing help when needed.
Call the Police
As soon as you know that you have caused a crash, contact the police and request an ambulance in case you or the person on the motorcycle needs emergency treatment. While you are waiting for the police, avoid getting into a confrontation with the motorcycle rider or anyone else at the scene. Do your best to remain calm and do not apologize or admit fault to anyone at the scene of the accident. It’s important that you avoid discussing what you were doing prior to the motorcycle crash, avoid talking about who you think is at fault, avoid apologize or making any statements that may implicate you as being at fault, and avoid asking others on the scene if they saw you crash into the motorcycle.
Compensation for Damages
Having a full-coverage insurance policy will be extremely helpful if it is found that you were at fault for the accident. However, it’s also important to understand that your insurance may not fully cover the losses. If you are at fault, you may have to pay for the damages out-of-pocket, especially if the motorcycle rider is injured or even worse if the accident caused fatal injuries and the compensation is more than your policy will pay for. If the motorcycle suffered serious injuries or died as a result of the accident, you may face a lawsuit. Your insurance company may settle with the injured person, which means you may not have to go to court. The losses the motorcycle rider can file a claim for may include medical expenses, lost income, and property damage, loss of earning capacity, and pain and suffering.
Contact an Attorney
While at the scene of the accident, it is important to collect as much information as possible, without acknowledging fault. Make sure to take photos and/or videos of the accident scene, the motorcycle, the surrounding area, and your vehicle. Also, ask the police on the scene where you can get a copy of their report. The next step is to contact an attorney that is experienced in motorcycle accidents. Your attorney will explain your legal rights and the process that follows, including what to expect if your insurance company doesn’t settle and you have to go to court. It is extremely important that you are honest with your attorney about what occurred prior to and after the accident.
If you suffered injuries make sure to seek medical attention as soon as possible following the accident. Remember to keep all receipts for medical treatment, the cost for repairing damages to your vehicle, and any other expenses that are incurred as a result of the accident. Provide your attorney with a copy of all receipts. In some situations, because the receipts will be necessary for you to receive compensation for the damages you sustained. Also, if the evidence shows that you were only partially at fault for the accident, the receipts will allow your attorney to show the cost of the damages you sustained.
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