A motorcycle accident can be the start of a long process of recovery from the physical and emotional wounds of the crash to the fight for the compensation you deserve. You may be eligible to receive reimbursement for medical bills, lost wages and for the pain and suffering related to your accident, but you need to know how to obtain your full recovery when dealing with insurance companies.
What to Do After a Motorcycle Injury
Follow our steps for what to do if you have been injured after a motorcycle accident in Delaware. You can protect yourself and your family when you follow the right procedures and understand which actions to take first and how to safeguard your rights after a motorcycle injury.
Immediately after a motorcycle accident, you should call the police. The police will make an official record of the accident, which you may need to reference if you pursue damages in a personal injury case. If possible, use your cell phone to photograph the scene of the collision and of the property damage to your motorcycle and the other vehicle. Don’t remove your helmet if you’re wearing one. You may make an injury worse by taking off your headgear.
Exchange contact info, including insurance companies, with the other driver(s). Don’t apologize, as apology could be used against you later, even if you were just being polite. If anyone identifies themselves as a witness, get their contact information and name. You can take pictures of driver’s licenses and insurance cards as an easy way to record contact information.
Seek medical evaluation or care. You should consider going to the hospital even if you think you’re not badly injured. You may be in shock or have injuries that don’t present right away after the crash. Some people may not even notice pain because of the initial adrenaline rush. Medical personnel at the hospital can determine if you have suffered a concussion that you might not even be aware of.
In the First Couple of Weeks
Over the next few weeks, get in touch with your insurance company and give them the details of the crash, including any information on the other driver and any pictures from the scene. You should also contact an attorney to protect your interests. While you may still be recovering from your injuries and a personal injury claim is the last thing on your mind, your lawyer can already be helping you get medical bills covered and lost wages reimbursed.
During Negotiations, Litigation or Trial
Your lawyer will need information about:
- The accident.
- Your injuries, medical treatment, diagnosis and prognosis.
- Your medical expenses, lost earnings or other out-of-pocket losses.
Usually, after you have completed medical treatment, your attorney will obtain and review your medical records and bills, and then prepare a demand for settlement. After consultation with you, your attorney will then negotiate with the other driver’s insurance adjuster to try to settle your claim for a fair value. Afterward, your lawyer will advise you on whether you should settle or perhaps file a lawsuit.
If suit is filed, during the discovery phase, your lawyer and the other lawyer will collect statements from witnesses, take depositions and gather evidence. Even is suit is filed, you attorney will usually try to negotiate with the other lawyer. Both sides could still attempt mediation in front of a neutral party who can help you reach a settlement. Only if an agreement cannot be reached, will you need to go to court.
What Are Your Rights?
After being injured in an accident, you want to know what could happen in your case. Your rights depend on who was at fault and what type of injuries you suffered.
Determining who caused the accident is a major focus of most motorcycle accident cases. Many crashes occur when vehicle drivers don’t see a motorcyclist when they try to change lanes. Other common types of motorcycle accidents include:
- Left turns at intersections.
- Poor weather that makes it hard to see motorcyclists.
- Vehicles pulling onto the road and hitting motorcyclists.
You may have been at fault or not at fault for the accident, or you both may have been at fault. You have two years from the date of the accident to file suit.
If you are determined at Fault
If you were at fault for the accident, your own motorcycle insurance carrier will still cover up to two years of your related medical bills and lost wages up to the policy limits. (There are circumstances where the medical bills may be covered beyond two years). Your liability insurance will pay for the other driver’s bodily injury and out-of-pocket claims related to their injuries.
If you are Not at Fault
If you are not at fault, your own motorcycle insurance carrier will cover up to two years of your related medical bills and lost wages up to the policy limits. (There are circumstances where the medical bills may be covered beyond two years). The other driver’s insurance will cover your pain and suffering (bodily injury) claims and medical bills which exceed your own policy coverage. You can also seek damages that cover property damage caused by the accident, any lost wages and medical bills not covered by your own policy. In some cases, you can also obtain punitive damages, which essentially punish the other driver for their gross negligence.
Delaware is known as a modified comparative negligence state. In some accidents, drivers share some of the blame. If you’re determined to be more than half responsible for the accident, you can’t recover any pain and suffering damages. But if your fault is determined to be no greater than 50%, you can still collect damages reduced by the percentage of your liability. The level of fault can be negotiated with an adjuster, or might be determined by an arbitrator, judge or jury.
If you have sustained what seem like minor injuries, you still have a right to be compensated. You may still have felt pain and suffering for the accident or experienced post-traumatic stress regardless of how severe your injuries were.
Besides needing to be compensated fairly for pain and suffering for major injuries, pursuing a personal injury claim for a major injury can get you the money you need to take care of your financial hardships and your family. Major injuries in a motorcycle accident may prevent you from working for a long time. Injuries may impact your ability to pay your medical or household bills. And, in some cases, major injuries can impact your ability to work long into the future.
What if the other driver had no insurance or not enough?
If the other driver had no insurance or their policy was insufficient to cover your injury claim, we can help you recover additional benefits from your own uninsured/underinsured provisions of your automobile insurance policies, or often from other vehicle policies from members of your household.
Contact Our Firm Today
Getting in a motorcycle accident can upend your life. Insurance provisions s can be complicated. You want someone on your side to fight for you and help you navigate this challenging time. The attorneys at Doroshow, Pasquale, Krawitz, and Bhaya have over 35 years of experience to help you secure the best outcome in your case. We have handled thousands of injury claims to help people like you obtain fair compensation in injury cases.
You have rights after a motorcycle accident, and we want to help you protect them. We work with you to strategize for your case and always represent your best interests. Contact our office today to schedule a free initial consultation.