A motorcycle accident can cause physical, emotional, and psychological harm. Yet, after such a trauma, life does not give you a break. It may be hard to focus, but the decisions you make in the days following a motorcycle accident are critical.
Specific choices can bring you closer to receiving compensation for your losses. Other unwise steps could result in you being left with nothing but debt.
At Kiley Law Group, our experienced legal team can take guesswork out of the equation. Based on decades of research and successful litigation, the advice below can help you achieve a better outcome after a Massachusetts motorcycle accident. For a free personalized review of your case, call (888) 435-1321 as soon as possible.
Take These Actions Immediately
After a motorcycle accident, consider these two questions:
- Am I still in danger’s way? If you are, move out of traffic. If it is safe to do so and the circumstances allow it, you should also move your vehicle to the shoulder of the road.
- Am I hurt? Was anyone else hurt? Next, determine whether anyone has been hurt. Call 911 for emergency services if someone is seriously injured.
Massachusetts law requires motorcycle drivers to report crashes involving:
- Non-fatal and fatal injuries
- Property damage totaling more than $1,000
The responding police officer can make a crash report for you at the scene of the accident. Otherwise, you should submit a Crash Operator Report within 5 days. (Of course, if your injuries render you physically incapable, you should complete it as soon as possible.)
If the other party flees the scene, you should notify the local authorities even if the property damage is less than $1,000. A hit-and-run offense could result in fines, jail time, and driver’s license suspensions.
Your next goal should be to collect information, such as:
- The contact details of the other drivers involved and any witnesses (e.g. name, address, phone number, driver’s license number)
- The location of the accident
- Photos or videos of the involved vehicles, including license plate numbers, vehicle damage
- Photos or videos of skid marks, property damage, and other relevant items
- Vehicle make and model
- The time and date of the accident
- Insurance information
- The police report number
- The officer’s name and badge number
You do not need to discuss who is at fault. Apologizing or trying to defend yourself from accusations might make the situation worse.
When to Involve Your Insurance Company?
In Massachusetts, personal injury protection (PIP) insurance is no-fault. No matter who causes an accident, PIP pays up to $8,000 for the insured party.
Your policy should also include this required coverage:
- Up to $20,000 per person; $40,000 per accident for bodily injury to others
- A maximum of $20,000 per person; $40,000 per accident for bodily injury caused by an uninsured motorist
- Up to $5,000 for damage to someone else’s property
Did you purchase optional coverage? This extra protection could cover expenses that exceed the minimum coverage amounts. Comprehensive coverage, for example, includes damage to your vehicle, even if it was caused by something other than a collision.
Our attorneys understand how confusing coverage policies can be. Let’s decipher the fine print together. We welcome you to bring a copy of your insurance papers to your free consultation.
Many major insurance providers urge clients to contact them from the accident scene. Adjusters could tell you how to process your claim and arrange for a tow to a certified body shop if your motorcycle is not safe to drive.
Some insurers would prefer you to stop your efforts to reclaim losses at this point. Remember, insurance companies are looking to maximize their profit, not your compensation. They can use what you say to reduce or even reject your claim.
Instead, speak to our resourceful motorcycle accident team as soon as possible. You can even call us at (888) 435-1321 before you invite your insurance company to make an assessment. Our telephone lines are always open, so we can be there for you when you need us.
Handling the First Weeks Well
In the days following a Massachusetts motorcycle accident, the judgment calls you make can drastically affect the outcome of your case. We cannot stress enough how important it is to seek advice from a legal professional experienced with motorcycle accidents.
For instance, one of the most common mistakes is not getting proper medical care. First, some injuries are not easily detectable, and others worsen over time. In either case, you can jeopardize your health if you do not see a physician.
Insurers will review your medical records and might dismiss your claim if you cannot produce documentation of your injuries. You must also carefully observe your physician’s treatment plan, such as attending physical therapy sessions, attending follow-up appointments, and picking up your prescription medicine.
Why would that matter? These practices can help protect your rights. If insurance companies try to downplay your injuries, you will have solid evidence backing your claim.
No motorcycle crash is the same as another. Visit one of our offices to request more information about what you should do for your specific case. We are also happy to come to your home, office, or another convenient location.
Mistakes to Avoid Once Insurers Offer Settlements
You might feel like you are free and clear once insurance companies make you an offer. However, it is a real possibility that the struggle is just beginning. Consider these reasons that might motivate “fast and easy” settlement checks.
Failing to calculate future medical bills
Suppose you have what is sometimes considered a simple injury: a broken bone. A fracture can heal in 4 to 20 weeks, depending on where it is in the body. Yet, complications can impede healing, making physical therapy, chronic pain management, or surgery necessary.
Besides bone fractures, some conditions that could require extensive treatment are:
- Burns: Doctors sometimes treat severe burns with surgery or skin grafting
- Peripheral nerve trauma: Damage caused by external compression, such as a bike pinching a rider’s leg for an extended period
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI): Since TBIs affect how the brain works, they can lead to long-term health problems and disabilities, sometimes requiring in-home healthcare or in-patient nursing services
- Spinal cord and back injuries: Mobility issues and pain could accompany these injuries for years
- Sprains and strains: Torn ligaments characterize Grade 2 and 3 sprains, frequently resulting in instability and trouble walking
- Disfigurement: In addition to surgical reconstruction, people might need psychological treatment or therapy to deal with self-image and interpersonal interactions
If you settle your claim too early, there is little to no chance of requesting more money to cover late-arising medical issues. Insurers know this, so you have good reason to be suspicious if they offer you a quick payout.
Our far-sighted attorneys have seen how injuries can affect people’s lives. We can help ensure that you can get the care and equipment you need to recover as fully as possible.
Underestimating what your claim is worth
If you make a premature settlement and look at the insurance check, you might be pleased with the sum you see. Your contentment would soon turn to regret, though, if you knew how much you could have received.
Insurers have no obligation to pay you at the top end of your coverage. The less they pay you, the more they can keep for themselves. How can you recognize when a company undervalues your motorcycle claim?
Click the chat icon on the screen to schedule your free accident case review. You will get the information you need with no cost or obligation.
What do you have to lose? If attorneys can advise you that the offer is fair, then you can accept it with confidence. On the other hand, if you realize you are being taken advantage of, you can learn how to protect your rights and maximize your compensation.
Massachusetts Law Requires You to Meet Deadlines
A statute of limitations is a deadline for taking civil action. If insurers refuse a valid claim or the accident coverage does not cover your costs, you might need to file a lawsuit. You can only do so if the Massachusetts statute of limitations has not already expired.
Personal injury lawsuits could relieve you of financial burdens, namely:
- Medical bills
- Repair costs
- Lost wages
- Reduced future earnings
- Funeral expenses
- Pain and suffering damages
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Contacting motorcycle accident attorneys as early as possible maximizes the time available to collect evidence to support your claim. The stronger your claim, the more likely you will have a successful result.
A Positive Step You Can Take Now
Some accident victims hesitate to contact a law firm right away because they worry about the expense. At our law firm, you will not have any upfront costs, so you can set your mind at rest. Our clients pay no fees until we win.
At Kiley Law Group, our personal injury lawyers work diligently to help Massachusetts accident victims understand their rights. We can help you, too.
We can guide you through your legal options and pursue maximum compensation on your behalf. Schedule your free consultation at (888) 435-1321.