Even the most seasoned motorcyclist can get into an accident, through no fault of their own. If and when that happens, it’s important to know what to do next. If you don’t, it could cost you and your loved ones more than you think.
After a motorcycle accident, the last thing a rider should have to worry about is how they’re going to file an insurance claim. That’s why it’s important to hire an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer. Your attorney can save you the hardship of dealing with the insurance company, so you can focus on getting back on the road.
The personal injury attorneys at Karl Truman Law have years of experience working with the Kentucky motorcycle community and are committed to riders’ wellbeing. We are ready to help you file your insurance claim, negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, and fight against any unfair settlement offers or denials.
In this article, we cover the dos and don’ts of motorcycle accidents, common challenges when pursuing motorcycle claims, and why an experienced attorney can be the key to your case’s success.
Motorcycle accidents can leave riders seriously injured, afraid, and unsure of what will happen to them next. The experience is usually overwhelming, and unfortunately that can lead to preventable mistakes that may jeopardize your claim.
It is important to stay aware and safe after an accident so you can be sure you don’t miss any of the following crucial steps.
In the case of any accident, your priority should always be your own safety. As soon as you can, call 911 and seek medical attention as soon as possible, even if you don’t believe your injuries are severe. Sometimes serious injuries aren’t apparent for hours or even days after a crash.
This is not only key to your own well-being, but also to your insurance claim. Establishing medical records that clearly link your injuries to the accident is crucially important if you ultimately decide to seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, or other damages. The longer you wait to do this, the more likely the insurance company will dispute the seriousness of your injuries.
When motorcycle riders get into a crash, one of their first concerns is often their bike. As understandable as it is to want to move your bike out of the way of further harm, don’t. Attempting to move your bike can turn a mild sprain in a serious injury. It also disrupts the accident scene, making it harder to gather evidence later.
You should also keep your helmet and all your safety gear on after an accident occurred. Removing gear can lead to neck, head, or spinal injuries that may be contained by the equipment. The effort could also lead to further serious injuries that might not be covered by insurance.
Once it is safe to do so, gather evidence at the accident scene. The more evidence you have, the higher your chances of success. This will give you a leg up against the at-fault driver if they refuse to admit fault. It will also give you the tools you need to combat any unfair denials or attempts to undervalue your claim by the insurance company.
Evidence can include:
Even if you aren’t sure about the value of some evidence, collect it anyway. An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer can help you to understand what evidence is important and what isn’t. But if you don’t have enough evidence to begin with, and the accident gets cleaned up, there may be little that even the best lawyer can do to help.
Be sure to talk to as many witnesses as possible while gathering evidence. Eyewitnesses will have a different perspective on your accident than you did, and may be able to provide you with crucial information. Be sure to ask witnesses for their contact information so that you or your attorney can follow up later.
Also, get the insurance information of the other driver for your own records, as it’s highly likely you will need to file a claim against them even if you do carry “no fault” personal injury protection (PIP) and uninsured motorist coverage on your own motorcycle insurance policy. An experienced attorney can help you determine which sources of insurance apply to your situation and how to file the appropriate claims.
When you get the chance to speak with the police, be sure to use that opportunity to tell your side of the story. A police report is a key piece of evidence to insurance adjusters in any motorcycle crash claim. This official document carries much more weight to your insurance company than eye-witness testimonies or even photos of the accident scene.
Once you are safe, it is important to be as detailed as possible when telling your story. Be sure to include any and all relevant details, as they could make or break your claim.
The sooner you contact your insurance company after your motorcycle accident, the better.
Insurance companies will often use a prolonged delay in reporting an accident as an excuse to deny the claim. They may argue that you didn’t give them the opportunity to investigate, that you’re exaggerating your injuries, or your injuries are unrelated to the accident.
When you report the accident in timely manner, it shows your commitment to your own care and prevents the insurance company from sidestepping responsibility to pay you for your serious injuries.
The insurance claim process is complicated enough for those who are unfamiliar and unprepared. Right now, your focus should be on your own health and your family—not your legal battles.
By starting an attorney-client relationship with an experienced attorney, you can take that burden off of you and your loved one’s shoulders, while at the same time maximizing your chances of getting a fair recovery.
The earlier you hire an attorney, the more likely they can help you, and the longer you will have to recover.
Motorcycle accidents differ from car accidents in several ways, but one of the most important ones is simply perception and negative stereotypes. Even though you may have done nothing wrong, the dangerous image associated with riding and bikers can be an obstacle in getting the compensation you deserve to take care of your medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses.
While filing a claim, it is important to be aware of these common issues so you can work to avoid them. If you are unsure or nervous about these challenges and how they may affect your claim, consider hiring a personal injury attorney to guide you through the process.
Without the protection of an enclosed vehicle, motorcycle riders are much more likely to suffer severe injuries and death after a crash, particularly at high speeds.
When injuries are severe, compensation not only tends to be higher, but calculating damages also becomes more complicated. Insurance companies, naturally, are not interested in paying out huge settlements, so they will use every trick in the playbook to minimize your injuries and settle for less than what your case is truly worth.
Motorcycle accident claims can be complicated when it comes to determining who is at fault, especially in states like Kentucky with comparative fault.
Comparative fault is when partial fault for an accident can be assigned to each driver, which can reduce or eliminate the amount of compensation riders receive. For example, if a driver failed to signal while turning, but the other driver was distracted and hit them, then there may be some blame on each driver’s part, leading to reduced compensation. If a jury finds you 30% to blame for the crash, for example, you’ll only be able to receive 70% of the “full value” of your damages. If they find you 99% at fault, you’ll only be able to receive 1%.
In reality, most motorcycle accidents are caused by other drivers. But because motorcyclists are generally considered risky drivers—a dangerous stereotype—they are more likely to be blamed for a crash that isn’t their fault. And the insurance company will do anything they can to find ways to blame you for part, if not all, of your crash.
This makes it even more important to gather plenty of evidence, carefully tell your story, and hire an attorney who can help you prove fault.
Related: 3 Ways Motorcycle Accidents and Car Crashes are Different
When you get injured in a motorcycle accident, you don’t want just any personal injury lawyer. You want a lawyer that knows the ins and outs of motorcycle accidents and has experience fighting against the bias and challenges in these specific cases.
An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer will know the tips and tricks that can help your case succeed, and help you avoid potential pitfalls. Motorcycle attorneys can handle the communication with the insurance company on your behalf, analyze and gather evidence, request medical records, and even file a lawsuit if your insurance company unfairly denies or devalues your claim.
When you need a motorcycle injury lawyer in Kentucky, don’t settle for anything less than the best. Karl Truman wrote the book on motorcycle accidents, “The Guide to Protecting Motorcyclists in Indiana & Kentucky,” and is ready to use his knowledge to protect you and your claim.
We know that motorcycle accidents can leave riders injured and worried about what happens next. That’s why our team of experienced motorcycle accident attorneys are here to help you get the maximum recovery possible for your injuries, talk to your insurance company for you, and fight back against any unfair offers or claim denials.
Karl Truman and his team hold the motorcycle community close to heart, which is why we work hard to defend victims of motorcycle accidents. Karl Truman is a founding member of National Academy of Motorcycle Injury Lawyers and supports local causes like Flag Ride for USA Cares. This connection with the community makes him the go-to attorney for motorcycle accident claims in Kentucky and Indiana.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a motorcycle accident and are unsure if you have a claim, call Karl Truman Law at (502) 222-2222 or contact us today to schedule your free consultation.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.