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What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident

  1. Call First Responders to the Scene of Your Accident
  2. Note Details at the Scene of the Motorcycle Crash
  3. Get Medical Attention If You Were Not Treated At the Scene
  4. Notify Your Insurer of the Motorcycle Accident
  5. Stay Off Social Media
  6. Do Not Speak With the Liable Party
  7. Complete Your Medical Treatment
  8. Talk to Our Washington State Personal Injury Attorneys
  9. Do Not Wait Too Long to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit
  10. Tell Your Washington Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Everything
  11. Have Your Washington Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Read All Insurance Documents
  12. What to Do if You Were in a Hit-and-Run Accident
  13. You Have Legal Options After a Motorcycle Accident in Washington State

If you know what to do after a motorcycle accident in Washington, you can avoid pitfalls that could cause you to receive less money from the negligent party than you deserve. 

Every Washington motorcycle accident is different, so you will likely need to take some additional steps in your situation, but this guidance could get you started. Some of these tasks may not be possible with your injuries, but a friend or your lawyer can help.

If you are considering taking legal action after a motorcycle accident, call Herschensohn Law at (206) 588-4344. Our legal team offers free case reviews where you can learn more about your personal injury claim and next steps. 

Call First Responders to the Scene of Your Accident

Motorcyclists tend to have more severe injuries than passengers in other types of motor vehicle collisions. Severe trauma and lasting physical damage usually mean higher financial compensation, so you can expect the liable insurance company to fight against your motorcycle injury claim aggressively.

A good way to protect yourself from these tactics is to have the police and emergency services come to the scene of the accident. The police report will include details that the officer observed, as well as citations issued to the negligent parties for their careless behavior, like failure to yield the right-of-way. The police report documents the accident and injuries and validates your claim for damages. 

Some people judge motorcycle riders harshly, assuming that they are reckless by nature and are probably at fault. People consider riding a motorcycle to be an inherently dangerous activity, so they are not usually as sympathetic when they get injured in an accident. Police reports and other documentation can protect you from unfair blame. While police reports support your side of the story, getting emergency medical care means you will have documentation of your injuries.

Note Details at the Scene of the Motorcycle Crash

While waiting for the police to arrive, try to make a note of details that could help your personal injury case. The date and time of the accident (along with relevant weather conditions) could be essential information. For example, if the at-fault driver claimed that the sun in their eyes prevented them from seeing you, remembering that the sky was fully overcast (and taking a time-stamped photo) would refute their statement.

If you can do so safely, use your phone to take pictures of the vehicles from several perspectives, showing all the physical damage and the positioning of each vehicle to other vehicles, as well as stop signs, and other relevant traffic devices, objects, and any obstructions in the roadway. Snapping a picture of the involved party’s license plates, driver’s licenses, and insurance cards are also necessary.

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Get Medical Attention If You Were Not Treated At the Scene

If emergency services did not treat you at the scene, it is best if you can go straight from the scene of the collision to the emergency room. Severe injuries heal best with prompt treatment, and there is less chance of developing an infection with prompt medical treatment.

Also, if there is a noticeable delay in seeking medical attention, the defendant might assert that your injuries did not come from your motorcycle accident. Your medical records will be critical in connecting your injuries to the crash.

Finally, some internal injuries are invisible and some are both invisible and do not develop obvious symptoms immediately, but emergency medical professionals know what to look for after someone experiences a motorcycle accident. Broken bones, internal bleeding, and head injuries are a few examples of injuries that might not show signs until the person is in a medical crisis.

Notify Your Insurer of the Motorcycle Accident

Your insurance policy will likely require you to notify the insurer of all accidents, whether you’re at fault or not. Another reason to promptly notify the insurer is that the at-fault driver might accuse you of being at fault and make a claim against your insurance policy. Your insurer could refuse to pay the claim if you did not report the incident. 

Note: The other party’s insurer will likely call you and request a recorded statement. Politely decline and direct all questions to your lawyer. If you have not hired a lawyer yet, decline the offer to provide a recorded statement and hire Herschensohn Law. If the other party’s insurer asks you about the accident, stick to the basics (e.g., when the accident happened, where the accident happened). If the insurance adjuster asks you if you are okay or uninjured, tell them you are waiting to hear back from your doctor. 

Stay Off Social Media

Many people use social media to let their friends and relatives know when something significant happens to them. Doing this after a motorcycle accident could backfire on you. The at-fault party’s insurance carrier could access your social media account and go through your photographs and posts. 

The defendant could take things out of context and use them against you. For example, an innocent photo of you finally getting together with friends after a long and arduous recovery could refute the severity of your condition. It is best to take a complete break from social media until your case is fully resolved.

Do Not Speak With the Liable Party

It might be tempting to talk with people at the scene of the accident or later, but doing so could be a mistake. For example, if you express compassion or sympathy because you have good manners, the other party could twist your words into an admission of fault for causing the motorcycle crash.

You should avoid small talk with the parties at the accident scene and afterward. You must exchange certain information with the police and other drivers, but you will want to keep other communications to a minimum.

Complete Your Medical Treatment

We understand that you will want to get back to your normal routine as soon as possible after a motorcycle accident in Washington. But you should not skip any of your prescribed medical treatments. 

If you miss any of the appointments, the at-fault party will argue that because you didn’t complete your recommended treatment plan, you made your condition worse, and they shouldn’t be liable for your medical treatment expenses. 

If you want to make any changes to your treatment plan, tell your doctor first. 

Talk to Our Washington State Personal Injury Attorneys

You have every right to partner with a Washington personal injury lawyer after your motorcycle accident. The sooner you make the call to an injury lawyer, the better. That’s because evidence could disappear quickly—and we want to gather supporting information immediately. 

Skid marks on pavement will fade with time, as will the memories of witnesses. Motorcycles are often designated as total losses and sent to the scrap yard. If the motorcycle is valuable evidence in your case, its absence could decrease the settlement value of your injury claim. Securing prompt legal help can empower you to build a strong case and hold the negligent party responsible for their actions. 

Do Not Wait Too Long to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit

There’s a filing deadline for all motorcycle accident lawsuits. RCW 4.16.080 limits you to three years to file a personal injury lawsuit from a motorcycle crash.

One day, you might think that you are about to settle your injury claim, and the next day, the claims adjuster stops taking your calls or answering your emails. The American Bar Association warns that missing the statute of limitations could prevent you from seeking the compensation you deserve for your injuries and other losses.

Even if your intention was to settle your case rather than litigate, the insurer may not talk to you after the filing deadline because it has no obligation to negotiate. This could put you in a tough spot financially if you don’t have other options. 

Tell Your Washington Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Everything

You cannot request additional compensation after settling your insurance claim or receiving a court award. Be sure to tell your motorcycle accident lawyers about all of your injuries and losses upfront so that nothing slips through the cracks.

Every motorcycle injury case is unique, and your damages might be different from someone else’s in a similar collision. Types of damages your case could include: 

  • Medical expenses
  • Rehabilitation facility stays for specific life-altering conditions, like spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) 
  • Lost wages while recuperating
  • Lost future wages if long-term impairment decreases your ability to earn a living
  • Property damage expenses 
  • Pain and suffering for the physical discomfort and emotional distress of the accident and your injuries
  • Other non-economic damages, like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), disfigurement from amputation and extensive scars, and the loss of enjoyment of life

Have a candid talk with your Washington motorcycle crash lawyers about these and any other damages in your case.

Have Your Washington Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Read All Insurance Documents

No matter what the claims adjuster says that a document means, you should have your lawyers read it first and advise you about whether you should sign. Sometimes, insurers tuck things into documents or hide them behind legalese and “insurance jargon” to trick people into signing away their rights. Your legal team can break down complicated documents into understandable terms and advise you accordingly. 

What to Do if You Were in a Hit-and-Run Accident

Sometimes, people illegally flee the scene of a motorcycle accident because they fear that they injured or killed someone. If you find yourself in this situation, tell law enforcement officers every detail you can remember about the hit-and-run driver, their vehicle, and the direction they drove away from the crash.

If you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, it could help with some of your losses. Insurance companies usually treat hit-and-run drivers the same as uninsured drivers.

You Have Legal Options After a Motorcycle Accident in Washington State

The Washington motorcycle accident attorneys at Herschensohn Law want to learn about your injury case. During your free initial consultation, we can discuss the details of your accident, along with what you should do next. Call (206) 588-4344 to get started. There’s no obligation to partner with our law firm when you call––just an opportunity to explore what comes next for your case. 

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