Motorcycle accidents happen with unfortunate frequency. While sometimes a rider can be responsible for a crash, the biggest risk for an accident lies with other motorists. People who do not check their side-view mirrors before merging into your lane or who don’t yield the right of way usually cause the accident.
When you get hurt in a Virginia motorcycle accident that was not your fault, you could be entitled to significant compensation through an insurance settlement or personal injury lawsuit. However, the integrity of your legal recovery may rely on the steps you take after the accident.
What to Do After a Virginia Motorcycle Accident
You should never have to foot the bill for another driver’s negligence. But even if you have what seems to be an open-and-shut case, securing compensation can be difficult. While it may not be fair, everyone from insurance adjusters to judges and juries tend to be biased against motorcycle riders.
If you were hurt in a Virginia motorcycle crash, you should take these steps to better protect your legal recovery:
- Seek immediate medical attention. Since motorcycles lack the safety features of automobiles, bikers are more likely to sustain serious injuries in a crash. Even if you do not believe you were seriously injured, you should still schedule a visit with your physician as soon as possible. It’s possible you might be hurt without realizing it. Additionally, seeking prompt medical attention will show insurance adjusters that you had health concerns in the immediate aftermath of the accident, negating most arguments that you fabricated your injuries for financial gain.
- Call the police. If you do not need to go to the hospital immediately, call the police. While law enforcement cannot always determine the cause of an accident, the responding officers will still write a report you can use at trial or in insurance negotiations.
- Collect evidence. Try to document everything you can after a crash. Take photographs of the damage to your motorcycle, as well as any injuries you may have sustained. If you were wearing protective gear that was shredded or otherwise damaged, take pictures. You could also note the location and approximate time of the crash, as well as the presence of any traffic-control instruments such as stop signs or traffic lights.
- Speak to eyewitnesses. If anyone saw the accident, their testimony could be critical to your claim. Ask for their name, phone number, and address.
Once you have established your own safety, call a personal injury attorney. If you act fast, your lawyer could send a legal team to investigate the crash site. Often, our investigators reach the scene of an accident before law enforcement and other first responders.
What Not to Do After a Virginia Motorcycle Crash
You can bolster your chances of receiving fair and equitable compensation after a Virginia motorcycle accident by seeking immediate medical attention, calling 911, and contacting a personal injury attorney. However, it’s important to avoid making common mistakes that have the potential to devalue or destroy your chances of a fair settlement:
- Do not apologize for the accident. Even if you were not at fault, an insurance adjuster could misconstrue your apology as an admission of wrongdoing.
- Do not speak to the insurance company alone. In the aftermath of an accident, an insurance adjuster might feel genuine empathy for your pain and suffering. However, adjusters work for the insurance company, and they care most about their company’s bottom line. While it may not be fair, adjusters will often do everything they can to misrepresent the extent of your injuries or use your own words against you. You should always contact an experienced personal injury attorney before talking to an adjuster.
- Do not provide a recorded statement. If you were hospitalized for your injuries, you might find an insurance adjuster sitting by your bedside once you wake up; if you went home afterward, you might get a phone call asking you to set aside time for a conversation. You should know that you are not required to provide insurance adjusters with a recorded statement. If you make the slightest mistake, they will use it to devalue your claim. Call a personal injury attorney instead. We can handle all communication on your behalf and guide you when it comes time to make a statement.
- Do not accept an early settlement offer. If you were seriously hurt and the other driver was clearly at fault, that driver’s insurance carrier might present you with an early settlement offer. While this settlement might be sufficient to cover the damage to your motorcycle and your immediate medical bills, it almost certainly will not compensate you for other damages such as income you might lose while taking time away from work, physical rehabilitation, or emotional pain and suffering.
The Importance of Taking the Right Steps
A serious motorcycle accident is every biker’s worst nightmare—even seemingly minor injuries could require skin grafts or other invasive medical treatment, keeping you away from work, friends, and family.
However, you do not need to accept the consequences of another driver’s negligence, and taking the right steps after an accident can help you obtain fair compensation. One important step is contacting a Virginia motorcycle crash attorney who can help you secure compensation for:
- Paying off your medical bills
- Purchasing prescription medication
- Going to physical rehabilitation
- Having restorative or elective surgery
- Reimbursing you for lost income
- Compensating you for reduced earning potential
- Alleviating emotional pain and suffering
- Overcoming long-term disability
Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi can help calculate the value of your claim. Once we know how much your case is worth, we will present the other driver’s insurance company with an offer. If they are unwilling to negotiate in good faith, we can take them to court to secure you a better deal.
Virginia, unlike some other states, does not limit your economic recovery after a serious motorcycle accident. However, you must act fast. Virginia has a two-year statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim.
Contact Our Virginia Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today
Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi have years of experience handling Virginia motorcycle accidents. We’ve helped many bikers obtain fair compensation and get the money they need to move past their accidents and serious injuries.
Since we work on a contingency basis, we will never ask you to cover legal fees upfront, and we only get paid if you win. Send us a message online today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.