Motorcycle accidents often result in serious injuries, including traumatic brain injury, loss of limb, and loss of life. Because you can be grievously injured after an accident, it's imperative to get the compensation you are entitled to for your injuries and damages after an accident. Learn more about the mistakes you should avoid when you build your personal injury case with a motorcycle accident lawyer.
Ask a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer: Six Mistakes to Avoid While Building Your Case
1. Delaying Medical Treatment
The first mistake many motorcycle riders make is delaying medical treatment. While most motorcycle accidents result in moderate to severe injuries, there may be some accidents that result in minor injuries that riders may not want to treat right away. However, this is a mistake for several reasons.
For one thing, physical injuries after an accident can develop later, and what seems like a minor injury can be actually quite severe. For example, concussions can be very serious, which is why you should have a CT scan even if you were complying with Missouri's motorcycle helmet law. Quick medical treatment can save your life and prevent long-term consequences of untreated conditions.
Medical Records and Your Claim
You will need to receive prompt medical treatment for the benefit of your insurance claim. For example, if you intend to use your insurance to pay for medical debt, your insurance company will want records to prove your injuries. And if you want compensation from the other motorist, you will also need medical records that prove you were injured on the day of the accident.
2. Not Reporting the Accident
Failure to report an accident is also a mistake. Not only is it illegal in Missouri to not contact the police after an accident, but failure to report an accident can also cause trouble with an insurance claim later on. Specifically, following Missouri law, you must report any accident that causes severe injuries to either driver, death, or over $500 in estimated damages.
3. Admitting Liability
When you hire a Kansas City motorcycle accident attorney, one piece of advice they may give you is to avoid admitting liability. You should be mindful of your words when you are speaking with the police, the insurance adjuster for your claim, the other driver, medical professionals, and friends. You should also be careful about what you post on social media.
Admitting liability is taking responsibility for the accident. For example, if you suggest that you were speeding, weaving in and out of lanes, or violating other traffic laws, this can prevent you from receiving full compensation for your claim. Admitting liability can also happen if you imply you are sorry for the accident, since most people only apologize when they are at fault for something.
4. Not Gathering Evidence Immediately
It is a huge mistake to not gather evidence immediately. Before the vehicles involved in the accident are moved by tow trucks, you should be sure to snap a few pictures with your cell phone. These photographs will be used to preserve the scene of the accident. If your case ends up going to trial, these photographs may be analyzed by forensic crash experts to ascertain which driver is most liable for the accident.
In your quest to gather evidence quickly, you may also want to make contemporary notes about road conditions, weather conditions, or the disposition of the other motorist involved in the accident. For example, if you notice open containers of alcohol, you should make a note because this could affect liability claims in court later on.
5. Talking to an Adjuster Without a Lawyer
Although speaking with an insurance adjuster may seem like an innocuous action, many insurance companies encourage adjusters to find reasons to deny claims. While sometimes your claim is denied initially because the insurance adjuster does not have enough factual details about the accident, other times, the adjuster may use your words against you to deny your claim.
Anytime you have to speak with an insurance adjuster about the accident, you should either have your lawyer in the room to give you advice or you should share your lawyer's contact information with the insurance company. Usually, your motorcycle accident lawyer can speak with the insurance company on your behalf.
6. Taking the First Settlement Offer
Finally, taking the first settlement offer is also a mistake. Many insurance companies make initial settlement offers that are too low to fully compensate for the cost of your injuries and damages. When you reject the first offer, you are opening the door for negotiations so you can receive a more fair settlement. After you reject the initial settlement offer, your lawyer can handle all further negotiations.
After an accident, you may want to put the incident behind you, particularly if you weren't severely injured. However, because insurance companies can give you a hard time and because the other motorist may be inclined to blame you for the accident, it's important to avoid certain mistakes. For example, you shouldn't admit liability and you shouldn't speak with anyone without your lawyer present.