According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an estimated 80 percent of motorcycle crashes result in injury or even death. Statistics like that are hard to swallow for many bike enthusiasts. No matter how prepared you are, a motorcycle accident can leave you feeling overwhelmed and confused. A motorcycle crash can be a traumatic and terrifying experience that leaves you wondering what to do next. That's why we at Impact Legal put together this FAQ blog to help you navigate your next steps to getting back on your feet and bike.
If you still have questions after reading our motorcycle accident FAQs, call or text us at (602) 345-1818, or fill out our online contact form to talk to an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer in Phoenix, AZ today.
At the Scene of the Accident
The moments after a motorcycle accident can be the most nerve-racking and the most crucial moments of your injury case. It's important to take the right steps to ensure you're taken care of down the road. Here are some things you should know directly following a motorcycle wreck.
What Should I Do at the Scene of the Accident?
If you've been involved in an accident, it's important to stay at the scene. Leaving the scene of the accident prematurely could result in criminal charges. First, ensure the scene is safe. Call emergency services if anyone has been injured in the accident. If it's possible, and you can do so safely, move your motorcycle to the side so that it's not blocking traffic and causing additional safety concerns.
Once you've ensured that no one is seriously hurt and the scene is safe, obtain the other driver(s) name and insurance information. Additionally, be sure to get the contact information of any witnesses to the accident. Go over the facts with anyone who may have seen the wreck, and do not admit fault or say anything that could imply your liability for the accident. Any statements could be used against you later. For example, do not state that your insurance provider will cover any damages. Just get the facts, and stop there.
Should I Call the Police after My Motorcycle Accident?
Yes. No matter what the other driver's stance is, do not forego calling the police to the scene. The police will investigate the accident and complete an official report. The report they draft could make or break any case you may have in the future. Insurance companies have been known to deny a claim, citing lack of evidence, when there is no official police report.
What Information Should I Get from the Other Driver?
After your accident, you'll want to get the following information from the other driver(s) involved in the accident:
License plate number
Photos of the scene and cars involved
Driver's full name
Driver's insurance company information and policy number
Driver's home address and phone number
Driver's license number
Be sure to get this information from all drivers involved in the accident. Don't forget to get the names and contact information from any witnesses to the accident, too.
Should I Go to the Hospital, Even If I Feel Fine?
Yes. Motorcycle accident injuries may not initially show up. The adrenaline from the accident may delay pain signifying an injury. In fact, you may not feel any pain for days following the wreck. Additionally, internal injuries may be present and can be highly life-threatening if undetected. Don't neglect to go to the emergency room after a motorcycle accident to ensure a clean bill of health.
Should I Hire a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?
Yes. The process following an accident can be complex. You often have a short window to seek the compensation you need to get your life back on track. Contact our motorcycle accident lawyers in Phoenix, AZ today for a consultation to understand if you have a valid claim and get the help you need.
Arizona is an at-fault state, meaning that whoever caused the motorcycle accident is responsible for paying for the damages. As such, proving who was at fault is an essential piece to your personal injury case. Here are a few frequently asked questions we've heard over the years.
A Car Turned Left in Front of Me. Who's At Fault?
It depends. In Arizona, drivers making left turns are often found to be liable in accidents. This is because Arizona's right-of-way traffic laws require vehicles turning left to yield at intersections to opposite-driving motorists. This yielding requirement is extended to any vehicles that could cause an immediate hazard while making the left turn. However, as with the law, there are always exceptions. One such exception might be in the case of a green left-turn arrow signal. It's vital to consult with an attorney to determine fault in a motorcycle accident.
A Car Forced Me off the Road. What Should I Do?
If a car forced your motorcycle off the road, causing an injury or damages, it's legally recognized as a "phantom vehicle" crash and is likely covered under your “uninsured motorist” insurance coverage. This is because an unknown driver is an uninsured motorist by default. This can be difficult, as insurance might attempt to prove that your negligence resulted in the wreck, versus the actions of the unknown driver. Having a lawyer on your side for this type of situation is highly advised, in order to validate your claim.
Does It Matter That I Wasn't Wearing a Helmet or Protective Wear?
Sometimes. Pursuant to Arizona law, motorcycle operators and riders under the age of 18 must wear a helmet. For motorcyclists over 18, a helmet is not required. The law also states that, regardless of age, all riders and operators of motorcycles must wear protective glasses, goggles, or a transparent face shield, unless the bike is equipped with a protective windshield.
This means if you've broken the law, you will most likely receive a ticket. Despite this, you might still be able to receive compensation, depending on the injuries sustained. If you were breaking the law and sustained an eye injury, which a mandatory protective measure would have prevented, compensation is unlikely. However, if an at-fault driver caused injury to you, whether you had on a helmet or not, you could receive compensation. Consult an attorney to understand any personal liability in your case.
What Does “Comparative Negligence” Mean?
Most personal injury cases revolve around proving who the negligent party was. In the case of multiple negligent parties, liability may be shared. Arizona adheres to the doctrine of comparative negligence. Under these laws, partially liable parties are still entitled to compensation. In these circumstances, a party's injuries will be reduced by the percentage at fault they are proven to be for the accident in question. For example, if a party was rewarded $100,000 in damages, and they were found to be 80 percent liable, they'd receive $20,000 of the reward. This is a large reason to have an attorney on your side to help prove liability in a motorcycle accident. If you need help proving fault, contact our motorcycle accident law firm today.
Your Next Steps
If you've been injured in a motorcycle accident, don't fight the battle alone. Accidental injuries can make life extremely stressful and difficult, but you may be entitled to compensation that could help ease some of the difficulties. If you believe you have a case, contact our seasoned motorcycle accident lawyers in Phoenix, AZ today at (602) 345-1818. You can also fill out our convenient online form to request a consultation in person or on a virtual meeting. We pride ourselves at Impact Legal on being as accessible as possible for you in your time of need.