You can protect your rights after a motorcycle accident by taking steps that will preserve and/or create evidence for any future legal actions. These steps include:
- Seeking medical care as soon as possible
- Collecting evidence from the scene of the crash
- Consulting a Dallas motorcycle accident lawyer about your legal rights
- Only speaking to the insurance companies with a lawyer present
Treating Motorcycle Accident Injuries Protects Your Rights
Getting medical help obviously protects your health: It allows a doctor to promptly diagnose your injury and recommend treatments, which can minimize painful symptoms and disruption to your daily life.
The connection between medical care and your legal rights, however, may not be as clear. Your decision to seek treatment can make it easier to file a legal case against the at-fault party because:
- Less time between the collision and your first appointment establishes a connection between the two events
- Medical records can show a diagnosis of a specific injury or injuries, as well as the treatments your doctor says are necessary for your recovery
- Medical records can show the financial cost of your treatment, giving you a starting point for determining how much money to seek in a legal action
- Your doctor, as a medical expert familiar with your case, could further strengthen your legal action by providing a written statement about your injuries
Motorcycle accidents can be particularly devastating to motorcyclists: per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcycle riders are “overrepresented” among traffic fatalities, with 5,932 fatalities in 2021. For the sake of your health and your legal rights, do not put off seeking medical care after a crash.
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Evidence at the Scene of a Motorcycle Accident
Another good way to preserve your rights is by documenting the scene as well as you can while it is still “fresh.” This could mean:
- Using your cell phone to take still photos or video of your injuries and the damage to your vehicle
- Talking to the other driver and asking them to give you their name, address, and insurance information. Do not discuss the accident beyond this information.
- Approaching anyone who witnessed the accident and asking for their name and phone number so your attorney can interview them about what they saw
Know that, while collecting such materials yourself can make your suit easier to prove, it is not vital. If you were too shaken up to take pictures or if you had to go straight to the hospital without speaking to anyone, you may still have a case.
Even if you did not get the chance to collect evidence at the accident scene, other parties—such as the police, the insurance adjusters, and your personal injury lawyer—will investigate your accident. They will collect evidence as part of their investigations, including any evidence you could not gather yourself.
Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Protect Survivors’ Rights
Your right to seek compensation following a motorcycle crash only lasts for a limited time. This time limit is called a statute of limitations, and it differs from state to state. In Texas, for example, it is two years, under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 16.003.
In other words, the best way you can protect your rights after a motorcycle accident is by getting legal help as quickly as you can. Whether you had a major or “minor” accident, hiring a personal injury attorney can make your job a lot easier. They can complete all of the legal work on your behalf, including:
- Gathering evidence for your casefile
- Quantifying your injuries so you know how much money to ask for
- Coming up with a sound legal strategy for pursuing the damages you deserve
- Completing and submitting all of the necessary paperwork
- Negotiating a fair settlement from the at-fault party’s insurance company
- Representing you in court if your case goes to trial
Your legal representative would also be available to answer your legal questions and to deal with any unexpected complications that arise (e.g., the insurance company stops cooperating).
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Protecting Your Rights Against Motorcycle Accident Insurers
After your accident, it probably will not be long before representatives from both your insurer and the liable party’s insurer ask to speak with you. They may seem friendly or indicate a willingness to strike a quick deal, but speaking to the insurer by yourself can endanger your settlement.
Insurance companies often try to reduce the amount they have to pay by:
- Assuming you know nothing about the law
- Offering a fast settlement that does not accurately reflect your losses
- Implying you can resolve your case sooner if you forego hiring an attorney
- Refusing to negotiate in good faith
- Asking you to record a statement, which they can use to try to undermine your case
- Looking for evidence that allegedly shows you caused the accident yourself or are exaggerating the seriousness of your injuries
It is a good rule of thumb to avoid speaking freely about the accident with anyone except your attorney and your doctor. That means keeping quiet around friends, reporters, and especially insurance adjusters.
If and when the insurer contacts you about your accident, you do not have to respond immediately. Instead, you can protect your rights by:
- Telling your personal injury lawyer about the attempted communication
- Letting your lawyer handle all communication with the insurer from now on
- Consulting with your lawyer about how to deal with any interview requests from the insurer
- Allowing your lawyer to prepare you for and accompany you to interviews with others
Your legal counsel understands the kinds of tactics that insurers are likely to use when faced with a motorcycle accident lawsuit. You should be honest with them about everything that has happened so they can figure out the best ways to protect you.
We Protect Motorcycle Accident Survivors
One of the best ways you can protect your rights after a motorcycle accident is to contact our office and get a free case review. Loncar Lyon Jenkins has been working hard on behalf of personal injury and wrongful death victims in Texas since 1988. We never collect attorney’s fees until you get compensation. Let us protect your rights today.