Riding a motorcycle can be an exhilarating experience, but motorcycle riders also face serious risks, as motorcycles provide far less protection than cars in the event of an accident. Motorcyclists are at a much higher risk of death in a crash than people driving passenger cars, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In Colorado alone, there have been over 2,000 motorcycle crashes resulting in injuries or fatalities, out of which there were 21 fatal motorcycle accident cases in 2023 alone.
If you find yourself in such an unfortunate situation in Boulder or anywhere else, it is crucial to know the proper steps to take to protect yourself. Let’s outline some key legal and general steps all motorcyclists should follow after an accident.
1. Seek Legal Counsel if Necessary
For serious motorcycle crashes causing injuries or property damage, it is wise to contact a motorcycle accident lawyer immediately. You must contact an attorney who is familiar with the state in which you had your accident. Local attorneys have a thorough knowledge of the city’s traffic patterns and common challenges faced by riders. In addition, they know the state’s law; this knowledge proves invaluable in presenting a strong case.
For instance, Colorado is famous for its winding mountain roads that attract numerous riders from all around the country. While these roads provide a unique riding experience, they can also present challenges, leading to a higher probability of accidents. Especially in a city like Boulder, with its specific terrains and unique riding conditions, having specialized representation is crucial. So, you need to contact a local motorcycle accident attorney to help if you’re injured in Boulder.
Local attorneys also deal with insurance companies on your behalf, calculate damages, and pursue maximum compensation through settlement negotiations or personal injury litigation. They know how to build the strongest case using police reports, medical records, accident reconstruction, and witness statements, taking into account the specific challenges Boulder riders might face.
2. Seek Medical Attention Immediately
Besides legal counsel, the most urgent priority is always to get medical care for any injuries sustained in the crash. Even if you feel fine initially due to adrenaline, there may be internal injuries or head trauma that require treatment. Head directly to the nearest emergency room or urgent care clinic to get thoroughly evaluated after an accident. Be sure to describe all symptoms and pains to medical staff, no matter how minor they may seem. Prompt medical care can make a huge difference in your long-term recovery.
2. Contact the Police
You should always contact the police after a motorcycle accident, even if it seems like just a minor fender bender. Under Colorado law, all crashes involving injury, death, or property damage over $1,000 must be reported to the police. But it is wise to call the police regardless, as the officer’s report will provide objective documentation of what happened. The report can support your version of events later on. Make sure to get the officer’s name, badge number, and a copy of the police report.
3. Document the Scene Thoroughly
While waiting for the police and medical help to arrive, take photos and videos documenting the accident scene from all angles. Capture images showing the position of the vehicles, skid marks, debris, road conditions, weather, traffic signs or signals, and any property damage. Written notes are also helpful, describing what happened in your own words. All this documentation will reinforce your recollection of how the crash occurred.
4. Exchange Information
Get contact and insurance information from all other parties involved, including drivers, passengers, and witnesses. Specifically, ask witnesses to write down exactly what they saw. You’ll need this information to file an insurance claim later. If the other motorist seems hesitant to share their details, ask the police officer to intervene.
5. Notify Your Insurance Company
Call your motorcycle insurance provider as soon as possible after the accident. Provide basic details about what happened and ask about the next steps for the claims process. Cooperate fully with your insurer’s investigation. Read your policy to understand your coverage, rights, and responsibilities.
If injuries or vehicle damage are extensive, consider consulting with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney for guidance. Don’t give any recorded or written statements to insurance companies until consulting with an attorney, as what you say can be used against you.
7. Focus on Healing and Recovery
Make your health and recovery top priorities after an accident. Follow all doctor’s orders closely, including prescription medications, therapy, check-ups, and rest. Eat nutritious foods to heal faster. Avoid strenuous activities that could aggravate injuries. Get help with daily tasks if needed. Don’t rush back to work or normal routines until your doctor confirms you are fully recovered.
Document all medical expenses, lost wages, transportation costs, property damage, and other losses.
8. Save Evidence from the Accident
Keep the helmet, jacket, boots, and any other gear worn during the crash in an undamaged state, as they may serve as evidence. Save damaged parts from the motorcycle as well. Keep all medical records, bills, accident photos, police reports, and other documentation together in a safe place. All this evidence will strengthen an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.
9. Avoid Social Media
Do not post anything about the motorcycle accident on social media, as this can also be used to undermine your claim. Insurance companies routinely search profiles for evidence to avoid paying out claims. Simply avoid discussing the crash publicly until your case is resolved.
Being in a motorcycle accident can be a frightening, overwhelming experience. While no one expects to get into a crash, it is crucial for riders to be prepared and know the proper steps to take afterward. The guidelines above will help protect your safety, rights, and finances.
Taking the right actions after an accident can make a major difference in the outcome. So, motorcyclists should equip themselves to handle the aftermath of a crash safely and effectively by following these steps.