Motorcycles are less visible to drivers, and motorcyclists can only wear so much to protect themselves. It makes sense, then, that motorcycle fatality rates are 26 times higher than auto accident fatality rates.
Even when motorcycle accidents are not fatal, motorcycle victims are far more likely to suffer from traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, torn ligaments, burns, or other catastrophic injuries.
Also, a motorcycle wreck is far more likely to be disputed as to who was at fault. Insurers for the other driver will only pay once you prove their insured is to blame for the wreck. Below are five (5) actions recommended by experienced attorneys that you and your loved ones can take if you have been severely injured in a motorcycle wreck. These actions could be the difference in winning and losing your case.
Often, an injured rider is unable to effectively communicate what happened to the investigating officers. When this happens, a police officer may rely on statement from the other driver and his/her statement may not be accurate. While a friend or a family member cannot speak for you, he or she may be able to relay information from you about where you were going or what happened that the officer may not otherwise obtain. Thus, if someone you trust can get to the scene ASAP, that could help in getting an accurate report that would help you prevail in a personal injury case down the road. That person should also make sure to obtain information from police officer needed to later get the police report.
While at the scene, you or a trusted person should take photographs of the motorcycle and other vehicle(s) involved. Get close ups of damage as well as wide shots that provide perspective of the involved vehicle(s) and relative positions. Photograph any debris that is on the road in addition to visible injuries. It is also helpful to collect any debris that you safely can. Look for cameras that may have captured the incident and ask these establishments to look to see if they have any footage. If they do, request a copy. If the establishment cannot provide a copy of the footage, make sure it is at least preserved. Most stores only keep video for a short time, and the security camera will record over previous recordings making footage of the accident irretrievable.
A few years ago, we represented the family of a man who died from injuries suffered in a horrific motorcycle accident south of Atlanta. Friends of the injured man saw that it happened across the street from a small grocery store and immediately went into the store to see if the video camera captured it. The store’s security camera did capture the incident, and the manager was kind enough to put it on a flash drive for the family. This footage proved immensely helpful in proving our case with respect to how the wreck happened.
In an accident involving serious injuries, you have a duty to preserve evidence. Plus, the evidence you keep may prove invaluable in the pursuit of your claim. For instance, if you end up having a serious head injury such as a concussion, brain bleed, or other form of traumatic brain injury, the insurer of the at-fault vehicle may question the crash worthiness of your helmet. Making sure your DOT certified helmet is preserved will stop this argument in its tracks.
Furthermore, evidence of torn clothing and other gear may help demonstrate not only the severity of the incident but also that you are a safe rider. Riders wearing proper gear (gloves, boots, pants, jacket, etc.) will be viewed differently than a rider who was not. Preserve the gear that you were riding with and do not wear this gear again. Were your case tried in Court (which could be years after your motorcycle wreck), we would want to be able to show the condition this gear was in immediately after the incident.
Your motorcycle is even more valuable evidence. If you have sustained serious injuries from a motorcycle wreck, it may be necessary for an accident reconstructionist to inspect your motorcycle. Often accident reconstructionist can discern valuable information with respect to speed, application of brakes, and other critical information that may be necessary to prove your case. Make sure that after the wreck, you locate your motorcycle and preserve it in the condition it is in after the wreck unless or until an experienced lawyer who is working for you advises you otherwise.
If you are in a serious motorcycle accident it likely that there will be debris from the accident at the scene and unlikely that all the evidence will be identified and gathered on the first sweep. When our team investigates any serious motorcycle incident, we go to the scene and search the side of the road for anything that may be related to either vehicle. You will be surprised at what you may uncover.
Additionally, look again for any establishments that may have a camera that could have captured the incident if video footage has not been identified.
The most important thing you can do to help your case from the onset is finding a trustworthy attorney with experience representing motorcycle accident victims and who has the time and resources to immediately begin working on your case. Hitting the ground running, engaging the right experts, and gathering all the information necessary to prove your case can make all the difference in ensuring you have the resources to recover.
If you’ve had a motorcycle accident within the Atlanta, Georgia area, please call The Baer Law Firm today at 404.THE.BAER (404.843.2237) for honest advice about your legal matter.