The most recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) names Mississippi the most dangerous state in the nation for motorcyclists. With more fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles than other state in the U.S., Mississippi tops even other large, warm-climate states like Texas, Florida, and South Carolina in motorcycle accident deaths.
Truck and car drivers can do their part by exercising extreme caution when sharing the road with open-air vehicles like motorcycles. The body of a motorcycle offers very little protection to its rider, and collisions which cause negligible damage to a large car can be fatal to bikers.
Similarly, riders can exercise motorcycle crash prevention by wearing appropriate safety equipment, never riding drunk, avoiding vehicle blind spots, and using the necessary lights and reflective gear to enhance their visibility to other cars. The fact that “how to not die on a motorcycle” is a top Google search is a good indication of just how dangerous riding a motorcycle can be.
The following tips on what to do in a motorcycle crash can help you prepare to effectively handle a worst-case scenario.
Get to Safety
The first thing to do after an accident is to remove yourself and your vehicle from harm’s way. As safely as possible, move to the side of the road, turn on your hazard lights, and continue wearing your protective gear. Check your physical condition and the condition of anyone who may have been riding with you at the time of the accident. Stay clear of any potential fire hazards to avoid burn injuries. Above all, remain calm. You will probably be shaken after the collision, but try not to let your emotions affect your ability to make level-headed judgments.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) additionally warns of the dangers of stopped-vehicle crashes, so it is important to increase your visibility to stay safe while you wait for emergency services to arrive. Try to move as far from the roadway as possible, and use flares for extra visibility. Whenever possible, avoid stopping under bridges where lighting is diminished and cars are less likely to notice a motorcycle under changing lighting conditions.
Contact Police and Emergency Services
As long as you are in a safe location and physically capable, the next step is to call for help. If anyone in your or the other vehicle’s party was critically injured, first dial 911 to summon an ambulance and emergency services. If no person on the scene sustained serious injuries, you can also call your local police station. The station will send an officer to assess the area and write an accident report. It is likely that emergency medical personnel will also be dispatched to examine the crash victims for injuries. Even if you think you survived the collision unscratched, it is best to allow yourself to be examined by a professional.
When a police officer arrives, you will be given the opportunity to give a full statement regarding the facts of the accident from your perspective. Only relay facts you are sure about. Avoid making any assumptions about liability.
Drivers who get into an accident with a motorcycle will need to provide you with their name, driver’s license, address, phone number, vehicle make and model, and insurance information. And you will also need to give the other party the same information. These details will be required for insurance and legal purposes. When speaking with the other party, it is important to remember to avoid discussing any issues of responsibility in the accident.
In addition, obtaining the contact information of any available eyewitnesses can help your car accident claim down the road. The police officer will most likely record the names of witnesses in the accident report, and you can also approach any willing parties and collect their contact information for future use in your accident claim.
Document Evidence of the Crash
Documenting evidence means taking pictures and video of the scene, writing detailed notes, and asking for a copy of the police report. These actions will help you obtain as much evidence as possible to support your accident claim. When taking photographs and videos, make sure to record the condition of both vehicles, road and weather conditions, lighting to indicate time of day, and any physical damage to roads or surrounding areas, including buildings, guardrails, gravel, and nearby plants.
When you later file an insurance or legal claim, you will have tangible proof to back up your story. This helps avoid a situation in which your word must be weighed against the other party’s word for a decision. As Jackson, MS motorcycle accident lawyers, we have seen too many cases in which accident victims are denied the compensation they need to recover their financial losses simply because they lacked the evidence to prove their case.
Seek Medical Treatment
It is common for injuries sustained in an accident to be hidden by adrenaline and shock. Many motorcycle collision victims walk away from an accident feeling fine, only to realize later that they have in fact been injured. Some late-onset conditions can be quite serious, one of the most insidious being internal bleeding. In some cases, an accident victim does not realize they have been hurt at all until their body is in critical condition. Make an appointment with your doctor to receive a physical examination as soon as possible after an accident.
Seeking treatment not only protects you from the damage of undiscovered injuries, but is also evidence that can be used in your accident claim. When you seek medical treatment, it provides documented evidence of the injuries you may have sustained and the actions you took to treat them.
Get in Touch with a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Our firm, Pittman, Roberts & Welsh, PLLC, is one example of a law firm that specialized in motorcycle accident law. Not every lawyer is qualified to practice law in this area, so research is necessary to find the best legal advocate to take your motorcycle accident case. Because there are many factors unique to a vehicle accident with bikers, it is essential to locate an attorney who has knowledge and experience representing clients who were injured in motorcycle crashes. Only in this way can you be sure that you have the representation you need to recover your losses.
To speak with a motorcycle accident attorney from our office, reach out today. Our first action will be to set up a free, no-obligation meeting to discuss your case details and how we can help you move forward.