(Contributed article for our North American readers)
Having a motorbike accident can be a very traumatizing experience, you’ll be shocked, scared and confused which will make it more likely that you’ll make mistakes which can heart your chances to get appropriate compensation from insurance companies. That money is rightfully yours and you’ll need it to cover medical bills and make up for the damage done to your motorbike.
There’s a stereotype about bikers being risky drivers which isn’t actually true. People assume it is because they’re the ones that tend to sustain more injuries in accidents because the vehicle in itself offers less protection than a car. The problem is you’ll already be dealing with a bias against you so you need to be well informed and prepared in case something like this happens to you.
Mistake #1: Leaving the Scene of the Accident
This is incriminating behavior; it implies that you caused the accident and that’s why you don’t want to stick around. To avoid problems, you should stay at the scene, speak to the police officers honestly but without making any speculations regarding speed, distance or any other factors that might have contributed to the crash happening.
Mistake #2: Apologizing
Again, incriminating behavior. You might be a really nice person who apologizes when other people step on your toes but in this case, it can be interpreted as an admission of fault. That’s not something you want to do in front of the other drivers, the police or any witnesses.
Mistake #3: Agreeing to Not Have the Accident Reported
The other driver might be able to convince you, in your confused state, that it was your fault and going through the hassle of reporting the accident to the police and getting the insurance companies involved will do you more harm than good. Well, that’s a terrible idea. First of all, he or she is more likely to say this if they know that it is, in fact, their fault and if you don’t report it and get everything on record you may lose any chance for compensation.
Mistake #4: Leave Without Gathering Evidence
If you drive a motorbike it would be best to keep a camera on it at all times but if that’s not possible, you want to at least take pictures after any accidents. You want to record your injuries and damage to your bike. You should also preserve evidence like your helmet and what you were wearing. You’ll need it later on if you have to build a case. Getting the contact information from witnesses is also advisable because your attorney can contact them for you.
Mistake #5: Delaying Medical Care
Right after the accident, you’ll have a lot of adrenaline running through your body and you might not be able to accurately assess the severity of your injuries until hours or days later. That’s why it’s extremely important that you see a doctor as soon as possible. So, go to the hospital by ambulance or other means straight away.
For one thing, by doing this you’ll be making sure you get the medical assistance you need. On top of that, you’ll have everything on record and you won’t give the insurance company the chance to throw doubt over your claims regarding the level of the health-related damage you sustained. Another decisive factor is to follow through with your treatment and keep all your appointments, since any gaps can be used against you.
Moreover, the legislation states that the injured party must seek to mitigate their damages and by following treatment you’re proving that you’re doing everything that’s asked of you to get better in the shortest amount of time.
Mistake #6: Expecting the Other Party to Admit Fault
They might be just as sure of their innocence as you are, it’s human nature so you can’t really expect them to just roll over, admit they were the cause and deal with all the financial repercussions. That’s what would happen in an ideal world and wouldn’t it be nice if that’s how people treated each other? Unfortunately, that’s rarely the case. You’re better off not starting any sort of discussion about who is to blame with them, you might get angry and say something you’ll later regret or that they can use to undermine you.
Mistake #7: Be Naive About Insurance Companies
Your insurance company or the one of the other motorist will ask you to provide a recorded interview. Know that you have absolutely no obligation and you should decline doing so without representation since it might threaten your chances of getting compensation.
It’s better to consult with a personal injury solicitor that can advise you on how to best protect your interests. People don’t realize that insurance companies are not looking out for them but for their drivers and their stakeholders. They have their own attorneys and adjusters to handle a claim right from the moment the accident is reported. You might think it’s better to cooperate with them every step of the way and all they’re trying to do is sort everything out to everyone’s advantage but, actually, it’s highly likely they’ll try to pay as little as possible.
Mistake #8: Post Information Regarding the Accident Online
As long as your personal injury claim hasn’t been resolved, you really should refrain from discussing the accident on social media. You might feel tempted to inform friends and acquaintances about your recovery but insurance adjusters can also access you profile and gather evidence to dispute claims. An online post or photo can be taken out of context and be interpreted in all sorts of ways you won’t like.
Even if you’ve made some of these mistakes, it doesn’t mean you should lose all hope of getting what’s owed to you. Most riders will not be able to do everything perfectly after an accident since they’re human beings with emotional responses and can’t keep a cool head in all situations. Despite this, with patience, perseverance and the proper knowledge, they still manage to get a fair outcome.