Motorcycle Accident FAQ
If you were hurt in a crash, we'll help you move forward
No matter how well-prepared you are, being involved in a motorcycle accident can be a traumatic, frightening experience. You may be left dazed and confused afterwards, with no idea of what to do next. At the Law Offices of James Morris, we have represented motorcycle riders for years and we can answer your questions.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about motorcycle accidents:
- What should I do at the scene?
- I was hit when a car turned in front of me. Was I at fault?
- How can an attorney help me prove the motorist who hit me was at fault?
- I was in a no-contact accident when a car forced my motorcycle off the road. How can an attorney help me?
- What if I wasn't wearing a helmet and crashed my motorcycle?
- What do I need to know about dealing with my insurance company?
- Can I still get compensation if my health insurance paid for my treatment? What if I used paid sick time at work?
- Should I accept a settlement from the insurance company?
Handling the aftermath of a motorcycle accident is never easy. That's why we want to provide this information to you so you know how to proceed. For more information on your specific case, contact us and schedule your free case evaluation. Call (800) 477-9044.
Don't leave the scene of an accident until you've exchanged information with the other driver. Otherwise, you could face criminal charges. Make sure the scene is safe and call emergency services if anyone is injured. If possible, move your motorcycle to make sure it isn't blocking traffic or otherwise posing a hazard.
You'll need the name and insurance information for the other driver or drivers involved in the accident as well as contact information for any witnesses. Discuss the facts of what happened if needed, but don't say anything admitting fault or liability for the accident. Any such statements could be used against you later.
See a doctor as soon as possible. Motorcycle accidents often cause internal injuries that can take time to become readily apparent. Getting medical attention right away can save your life and make your recovery much smoother. Moreover, seeing a doctor right away will help you later with your personal injury claim.
Notify the police as well as your insurance company as soon as possible. Again, stick to the facts, and don't admit liability until you've spoken with us and gotten one of our attorneys on your side. If the other driver's insurance company tries to contact you, don't speak with them at all. Direct their requests for comment to your attorney.
In most cases, the driver turning left is responsible for crashes at intersections. Unless you were speeding or running a red light at the time, you shouldn't be found at fault. However, you should still contact one of our attorneys to collect all the evidence on your side in case the other driver tries to present a different version of events.
Most accidents involving motorcycles are caused by a motorist who failed to see the motorcycle or failed to take appropriate precautions to drive safely. Our legal team will carefully investigate the accident to find evidence showing the motorist was negligent. For instance, eyewitness reports may show that the driver was intoxicated, distracted or asleep at the wheel. We'll look for skid marks - or the lack of same - to see whether the driver hit the brakes before impact. We'll also look for evidence that the other vehicle may have been driving recklessly or breaking traffic laws, which again can show failure to appropriately share the road.
Accidents such as this are considered "phantom vehicle" crashes, which should be covered under your uninsured motorist coverage. After all, an unknown driver is uninsured by default. However, pursuing a claim can be tricky, as your insurance company may try to show that you crashed due to your own negligence instead of another driver's actions. You'll need one of our attorneys in your corner to present your case and show that you weren't at fault.
Helmets are mandatory in New York, so you'll almost certainly be ticketed for breaking the law. However, your failure to wear a helmet doesn't negate your right to sue for damages. If it can be shown that your decision to not wear a helmet caused some of your injuries, your claim may be reduced based on the principle of comparative negligence - for instance, if a jury finds that you were 20 percent responsible because you weren't wearing a helmet, you'll only receive 80 percent of your award. If you suffered injuries on parts of your body other than your head, your failure to wear a helmet should be irrelevant.
Insurance companies are always looking to settle claims for as little as possible, and they're particularly stubborn when dealing with motorcycle riders. Your insurer may try to argue that you assumed the risk of injury when you chose to get on a bike, and they'll reduce or deny your claim accordingly. They may also try to argue that you were at fault for the accident. You'll need an experienced attorney from our firm to counter those arguments and get you the compensation you need.
If you were injured due to another driver's negligence, the other driver is responsible for your expenses, even if you have other avenues you can use to pay for them. As such, using your employer-provided health insurance or sick time does not affect your ability to sue for damages. However, your health insurance company will likely ask to be reimbursed if you are awarded compensation. Contact one of our attorneys to help you through this sometimes complex process.
Insurers are always looking to limit their costs as much as possible. Your insurance company may offer you a relatively small settlement soon after your accident, before the full extent of your expenses becomes known. You should carefully review any settlement offer with an attorney as soon as possible, especially if you have not completed your medical treatment and still don't know exactly how much loss you've suffered. In most cases, the amount insurance companies offer up front is less than what they're willing to pay to keep your case from going to trial.