While you are entitled to be fully compensated for your motorcycle accident injuries under California law, it may be difficult to convince the negligent driver’s insurance company to pay you what you are owed. What you do in the moments and days after your motorcycle collision can have a direct bearing on the strength of your claim and how much you will receive in your settlement.
The last thing you want to do is make mistakes that weaken your case and force you to accept less than you deserve from the insurance company. Here are eight leading mistakes motorcycle accident victims make that you want to avoid.
Mistake #1: Waiting to Get Medical Care
You should not delay getting prompt medical treatment after your accident. While you hopefully know to get immediate care for an apparent injury, you may not realize that you need to do this even if you think you suffered only “minor” injuries or do not believe you were hurt at all.
The reality is that you may not experience symptoms of some injuries, like brain, back, and spinal injuries, until days after your wreck. Here are two reasons that it is a mistake to not be examined by a doctor within 48 hours of your motorcycle collision:
- Your medical condition could get worse and may develop into a life-threatening emergency.
- The insurance company could argue that your injuries were caused by another incident or that they are not that serious in an effort to deny your claim or reduce what they pay you.
Mistake #2: Not Calling the Police
The negligent driver may try to convince you not to call the police at the crash scene. However, you could lose important evidence that would help you prove their negligence in causing your motorcycle accident if you listen to them.
The police will investigate the cause of the crash and write a police report that includes details of how the crash happened, driver and witness statements, conclusions as to who was at fault, and any traffic citations issued. Do not lose this vital evidence that can help you convince the insurance company to pay you all that you are entitled to.
Mistake #3: Not Preserving Evidence
You would also lose the critical information you need to build a winning case if you do not start collecting evidence right after your crash. This includes taking photos with your cell phone camera at the scene; getting the contact information for the other driver, their insurance company, and eyewitnesses; and preserving your motorcycle and clothes in the same condition as they were in after your accident.
Mistake #4: Admitting Fault
Even if you are worried that you may have done something to cause your accident, you should not admit fault. You should also not make statements that could be misconstrued as an admission of fault, such as “I’m sorry.” The insurance company would use any statements like this against you in your settlement negotiations and in court.
Mistake #5: Agreeing to Give a Recorded Statement
A recorded statement is a tape-recorded session where the insurance adjuster asks you questions about the accident and your injuries, which are later transcribed into a written document. You do not have to give a recorded statement to settle your claim and giving one could significantly hurt your case.
You could say something without realizing it that is inconsistent with other statements you made or that could be used against you in court hearings or a jury trial. Do not make the mistake that many motorcycle accident victims make of agreeing to give one.
Mistake #6: Not Reporting the Crash to Your Insurance Company
While you do not have to file a claim with your own insurance company, you should report the collision to them. You have a duty to do this under your insurance policy. If you fail to take this important step, you may not be able to file a claim if the negligent driver has no or little insurance coverage and you purchased collision, uninsured, underinsured, or other coverage that could help compensate you.
Mistake #7: Accepting a Quick Settlement
Another top mistake you do not want to make is to accept a quick settlement of your claim. The insurance company may make an offer soon after your crash in hopes that you will accept far less than what your claim is really worth. You should never settle your case or sign any documents without first consulting with a lawyer.
Mistake #8: Not Hiring a Lawyer Right Away
One of the biggest errors you could make is to not retain an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer immediately after your wreck. They can help you avoid these and other mistakes, collect the evidence you need to prove the other motorist’s negligence, and fight with the insurance company so that you receive all that you deserve in your settlement. If the insurance company refuses to treat you fairly, they would file a lawsuit and litigate your claim before the statute of limitations, which is the deadline you have to sue the driver, expires.
What Should You Do If You Already Made a Mistake?
What happens if you made one of these mistakes? Don’t worry. You have not ruined your case. I have helped many clients who made these and other errors obtain compensation for their injuries. Schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your motorcycle accident and how I can assist you. Call my San Diego office or start a live chat to schedule your appointment today.