Knowing what to do after a motorcycle accident could help improve your prognosis and protect your right to hold the at-fault driver or negligent third party responsible for causing the crash and your injuries. Seeking medical treatment, documenting your crash, and hiring a motorcycle accident lawyer to negotiate with the insurance company can significantly impact the outcome of your case.
Steps to Take After a Motorcycle Accident
The steps you take after a motorcycle accident play an important role in your physical and financial recovery. To improve your chances of achieving a favorable outcome, motorcycle accident lawyers recommend that injured victims do the following.
Call the Police Immediately After a Motorcycle Accident
If you are able, call 9-1-1 immediately after a motorcycle accident to get first responders on the way. Paramedics, police officers, and sometimes firefighters will arrive at the scene to assist victims. This ensures that victims who are critically injured get emergency medical help quickly. While paramedics and other emergency medical technicians provide medical treatment to injured victims, police officers will begin to investigate the crash, take photos or videos of the accident scene, interview witnesses and the people who were involved in the accident, and collect other evidence to create their police report.
Get Medical Treatment for Your Motorcycle Accident Injuries Right Away
Unlike people who are in enclosed passenger vehicles, a motorcyclist has only a helmet and riding gear to protect against serious injuries in an accident. As a result, bikers usually suffer more severe injuries when they are involved in motor vehicle accidents. While a motorcyclist’s accident injuries are often obvious immediately after a crash, this isn’t always the case. Internal injuries to major organs, traumatic brain injuries (TBI), and spinal cord injuries may not present symptoms right away. In some cases, these delayed injury symptoms may not show up for hours, or even days after an accident occurs.
Gather Evidence from the Scene of the Crash
You can help improve your chances of winning compensation in a motorcycle accident claim or lawsuit by gathering evidence while you are at the scene. Exchange contact and insurance information with witnesses and other people who were involved in the accident. Use your cellphone to take pictures of the crash site, damage to vehicles, skid marks, and stop signs or traffic signals. Your motorcycle accident lawyer may need this information when gathering evidence to prove fault for the crash.
Do Not Admit Fault for the Accident
The police officers and insurance company representatives will most likely question you about your motorcycle accident soon after the crash while your memory of the events is still fresh. Unfortunately, your responses may be altered during this time because of adrenaline, shock, or medication. Use caution with speaking with the insurance company and the police. Do not make any recorded statements. Even seemingly innocent phrases like “I’m sorry” or “I should have…” can be used against you in a motorcycle accident claim. If you tell the insurer that you feel fine after the accident, it could reduce the settlement amount for your personal injury claim.
Retain an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Hiring a motorcycle accident attorney is one of the most important steps you can take after a crash. Your lawyer will explain your legal options, guide you through what to do after a motorcycle accident, negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, prepare your case for trial, and fight for your rights in court. Studies reveal that people who hire motorcycle accident lawyers to handle their personal injury cases recover three times more on average than victims who handle their cases on their own.
Take Legal Action Right Away
In most cases, Nevada statute of limitations allows motorcycle accident victims up to two years from the date of the crash to file a civil lawsuit against the at-fault party to recover compensation. Some exception may apply, however. Your attorney can evaluate your case to determine how long victims have to sue after a motorcycle accident in Nevada. If you wait too long to take legal action, you could be barred from recovering compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
What Damages Can I Recover After a Motorcycle Accident?
The damages you can recover after a motorcycle accident in Nevada depend on the severity of your injuries, your medical bills, the amount of your lost wages, your degree of pain and suffering, and the role you played in causing the crash. In most motorcycle accident cases in Nevada, victims can recover compensation for:
- Economic Damages: Saving bills, statements, and receipts can help your motorcycle accident lawyer estimate your tangible losses. Your out-of-pocket medical expenses, like hospital bills, the cost of the ambulance, surgery costs, and the cost of follow-up care will be included when determining your economic damages. Additionally, the courts will consider your lost wages, medical equipment costs, and expenses for in-home nursing care to ensure you receive a fair settlement.
- Non-Economic Damages: Some damages are more difficult to value because they are subjective and not associated with a monetary amount. Referred to as “non-economic damages”, these include things like pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and emotional trauma. In most cases, your motorcycle accident attorney will use your economic damages as a basis for determining your non-economic damages.
- Punitive Damages: If the actions of the at-fault party were intentional or particularly egregious, you may be able to recover punitive damages as well. These types of damages are intended to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future by punishing the wrongdoer for his or her actions. Although punitive damage awards are rare in Nevada, they can be substantial.
How a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Can Help Your Personal Injury Case
Even if you think you have a solid case against the offending driver, you should retain the services of an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer. Your attorney will have access to top experts and other resources in Nevada that can improve your chances of winning your case. He or she may also be able to identify additional sources of recovery, like third parties who can be held liable for your losses or multiple insurance policies, to maximize your personal injury claim.
Your motorcycle accident attorney will:
- Handle communication with the insurance company, so you can focus on your physical and emotional recovery
- Uncover crucial details about your accident that might otherwise be missed
- Negotiate with insurance adjusters to ensure your settlement is fair
- Prepare your case for trial, gathering evidence and deposing witnesses
- Present your side of the story to the jury and cross-examine witnesses
- Help you appeal any adverse decision from the court
To ensure that injured victims have access to legal representation regardless of their financial situation, most Nevada motorcycle accident lawyers accept personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis. Instead of requiring a retainer, or billing clients by the hour, these lawyers provide legal services with no upfront fees. Most of the time, they will front the cost of performing crash investigations and hiring accident reconstructionists and medical experts while your case is in progress. When you receive a settlement or jury award for your injuries, your attorney will deduct attorney fees from that amount.