Houston Motorcycle Accident Lawyer: What to Do After a Wreck
Motorcyclists face an elevated risk level when on the road, even if they drive responsibly. If there is a crash, unlike a car, a motorcycle won’t offer any protection to the rider, making the impact all the more devastating. Broken bones, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injuries, and other damages are common, and in many cases, these accidents can be fatal. But the insurance companies couldn’t care less about the worries and troubles of the accident victim, they just want to save money. To secure a fair settlement, you may want to consider consulting with a Houston motorcycle accident lawyer.
At McDonald Worley, you’ll find a knowledgeable and experienced Houston motorcycle accident lawyer to handle your case without any upfront legal fees or payments. If we are able to take on your case, we will work hard to secure fair compensation for your damages.
What To Do After a Motorcycle Accident
Though it may not be possible in all cases, if you can, you must start documenting the facts around your motorcycle accident for your personal injury claim. This will also give your Houston motorcycle accident attorney a headstart with the negotiations or personal injury lawsuit. Whatever road you might want to take later on, it all starts at the accident scene.
You’ve been in a motorcycle crash, have suffered minor to catastrophic injuries (depending on the intensity of the accident), faced property damage, and more, because of a negligent driver. You must pull yourself together, if it is possible, and start noting the details.
Here’s what you must do after a crash:
Check Yourself & Others
Your personal safety is of the utmost importance, make sure that you’re all okay. If you or the person riding with you have suffered any serious injuries, immediate medical attention will be necessary to avoid any complications. However, if the condition is not life-threatening and you can muster up the strength to do these next steps, you should really try to do all of them.
Get To The Side Of The Road
First things first, be a responsible citizen and clear out the accident site (take photos first); you should move to the side of the road so that the traffic flow is not obstructed. You may need some help getting your motorcycle to the side. Once on the side of the road (and hopefully with the at-fault party following), you can proceed with the actual objective: gathering information for your personal injury claim.
Calling the police to the accident scene is a standard protocol – no exceptions! You need to do this immediately as it will allow you to not only document the accident but also to share your side of the story in writing. The police report will become a valuable document for you in the long run as it will document most of the facts surrounding your accident. The police report is a strong piece of evidence against the negligent parties that you can use to strengthen your claim for compensation.
You also need to gather evidence on your end to be able to give a thorough picture from your side. This will allow you to show the whole picture to your Houston motorcycle accident lawyer, the insurance adjuster, and any third-party observer. Pictures and videos are a perfect way of capturing the details of the crash, including the license plate number of the negligent party, the make and model of the vehicles involved, the accident scene, any signs of violation of rules at the site, and so on. You should also photograph your own injuries and other damages so that the insurance adjuster can’t find any reason to deny that your damages were a direct result of the accident.
Talk To The Other Party
Exchanging information with the other party is also part of the standard operation – though you need to be careful not to discuss fault at this stage. Even something as simple as “sorry,” even if not meant in the context of an official apology (but just for being nice, i.e., “sorry we have to go through this,” etc.) can be used against you. You can’t say anything that can be twisted into an admission of guilt or discuss who’s at fault here.
If the other party brings it up, take notice but don’t discuss it any further.
This is for your Houston motorcycle accident lawyer and the insurance adjuster to debate over, not you and the other driver.
You need to simply ask them for the following information:
- Their name
- Contact information
- Driver’s license details
- Car license plate number
- Make and model of the vehicle
- Employer details, if the accident was caused by a commercial vehicle
- Insurance provider details
They may ask the same of you, don’t panic, this is how it works. Once you’ve provided that information and recorded theirs, you can then move on to the next steps, i.e., discussing the accident details (as far as you remember) with the reporting police officer, and so on.
There were probably other people around when the accident happened, and some of them may have even offered to help. You need to ask them for their contact information as well since their testimonies can help you further solidify your claim. If you ask nicely and tell them how much their cooperation means for you and how they can help you get compensated for your losses, they will surely help. The rest, you can leave to the personal injury attorneys, i.e., contacting the witnesses, preparing their testimonies, etc.
Seek Medical Attention ASAP
You can’t delay your visit to the doctor. Insurance adjusters usually use any such delay to suggest that the victim did not suffer as much as they claim or made things worse by not seeking medical help in time. The sooner you get a doctor to see you, the better. Ideally on the same day, even for seemingly common injuries. Only a trained and licensed medical professional can diagnose the full extent of your condition and tell you what’s wrong with you, and also take a look at your medical records to explore the possibility of any complications.
In some cases, prolonged physical therapy may be needed for the victim to truly recover from their condition. And if you’ve suffered from head injuries, you must seek a complete and thorough diagnosis to avoid any further issues. All details shared by your doctor regarding your situation will be useful for your legal team; any experienced attorney will know that your medical reports provide useful documented evidence of the impact of an accident, and can be used to suggest the intensity of the crash in the legal claim.
Record Your Losses
Next, you need to see how much damage was done by the negligence of the responsible party so you can secure maximum compensation for your losses. The accident caused by the at-fault driver probably caused serious injuries, leading to further financial and non-economic losses. Some common opportunities for compensation in a motorcycle accident are:
- Medical bills
- Costs for medication
- Extra costs for prolonged treatment and therapy
- Out-of-pocket expenses caused by the accident
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity due to partial disability
- Inability to earn a living due to complete disability
- Physical pain
- Mental anguish
- Loss of joy in life
- Loss of quality of life
- Loss of consortium
Once you’ve understood the extent of the losses on your end, you can discuss it further with your Houston motorcycle accident attorney to fill in any gaps.
Document All Your Evidence
But before you take your case to an attorney, be sure that you’ve gathered all the receipts for the medical bills, records of your financial losses and expenses, and other evidence to back up your claim. You can also include your doctor’s notes and observations in the mix, your prescriptions, journal (if you have one and have mentioned your suffering in there), and so on. Just try to avoid social media during this time because anything you say publically can be used against you by the insurance adjuster. Lastly, the police report will also serve as a perfect documented record of the incident with investigative findings included.
The pictures and videos you made at the scene will also help you make your point.
Speak To a Houston Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
With all this documented evidence, you can discuss your case in detail with an attorney. It is advisable to contact a nearby law firm early on, such as McDonald Worley, if you live in Houston. This way, you’ll get an idea about the preparations you need to make for your meeting with the lawyer. When you do get to meet with your attorney in a consultation session, be sure to present all your evidence and data, and also ask any questions you may have regarding your case. You should also ask about the attorney’s expertise, their past experience, their knowledge about this section of the law, their estimate for your winnings, and what they’ll do to ensure that you get a fair chance. After this consultation session, you can move towards the resolution of your motorcycle accident case, either through settlement negotiations or via lawsuit.
Why Hire a Houston Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?
This is the most important part: you need to ask yourself how much your motorcycle injury case matters to you. If the insurance company is cooperating and the damages are minimal, you may be able to handle your claim on your own. Sometimes, however, liable parties and their insurance companies don’t want to pay you a fair settlement simply because it does not profit them. In these situations, hiring a Houston motorcycle accident attorney may help give you a better chance of getting fairly reimbursed for all your losses.
If you choose to work with a Houston motorcycle accident attorney, here is what they can do for you:
It can be helpful to have someone knowledgeable of all the intricacies of motorcycle crash cases to represent you. This way, the insurance company won’t be able to get away with giving you an insufficient settlement offer. If you decide to proceed on your own, for instance, the insurance adjuster will use your lack of knowledge against you to slash down your settlement sum. With a lawyer at your back, however, this won’t be the case. Your attorney will manage the negotiations, ensuring that your compensation is awarded fairly. Also, legal representation means that you won’t have to go up against the insurance company or their attorneys by yourself.
It is possible that despite your best efforts, some gaps were left in the evidence of your accident case. Your lawyer can not only fill in those gaps but also add to what you’ve produced already. Lawyers often join hands with private investigators and accident reconstruction experts to get the full picture. This way, you’ll have a much better chance of demanding fair compensation for your losses. If you were incapacitated at the time, your Houston motorcycle accident lawyer can still dig into the details of the crash and gather evidence through whatever means available. Perhaps there was a surveillance camera nearby and if so, then the recordings of that camera can help shed some light on how the accident happened and who was to blame.
This is the whole point, isn’t it?
You need to get compensated fairly for all that you had to go through, for both the economic and non-economic damages that you sustained. This starts with an estimation of your losses. Lawyers will typically sum up all the bills and expenses, factor in any long-term costs, and then multiply the sum with a number between 1.5 and 5 to calculate the final demand sum. You can expect to cover all your expenses and get reimbursed for your emotional and physical suffering with this sum.
Your compensation sum must cover much more than just the cost of treating your injuries, fixing property damage, and wage losses. In some cases, you might be able to demand reimbursement for loss of enjoyment, physical pain caused by severe injuries, emotional distress, and more. In cases where gross negligence (disregard for traffic laws, drunk driving, etc.) or a mal-intent comes into play, you can even demand punitive damages via a motorcycle accident lawsuit. Punitive damages are used as a punishment for malicious or intentional behavior, so the at-fault party is deterred from repeating their mistakes in the future.
Personal injury laws define all the economic and non-economic damages that you can be compensated for, and your Houston motorcycle accident lawyer knows how to present the demand. Note that the compensation for common motorcycle accident injuries is not the same as for fatal injuries (in wrongful death claims) or severe injuries which can cost the liable party much more.
Pursuing a Lawsuit
While most bodily injury claims are solved via settlement negotiations with the insurance adjuster, this is not always the case. If you find yourself in a pickle with an insurance adjuster who won’t budge, your lawyer will then take the fight for financial compensation to court. Your Houston motorcycle accident attorney then prepares their clients, the witnesses, and all the documentation needed, to face the jury for a fair settlement.
Contact a Houston Motorcycle Accident Lawyer at McDonald Worley
If you or a loved one has faced such a horrendous fate, you should consider reaching out to Houston accident lawyers. At McDonald Worley, if we are able to take your case, an experienced attorney will be there to guide you through the whole process. We’ll do everything we can to secure you a fair settlement for your injuries. Plus, we work on a contingency fee basis which means that we’ll only charge you for our services when you win your compensation.
You’ve got nothing to lose, call us now for a free initial consultation!