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What Should I Do If I Was Involved in a Motorcycle Accident in California?

  • By:Hershey Law

The majestic scenery of the California Pacific Coast Highway is the perfect place to go for a motorcycle drive when you want to experience the thrill of the fresh air along the ocean’s coast against your body. However, that same coast, and many other areas of the state, are also a huge hotbed of motorcycle accidents. 

Statistics show that the state of California has almost 12,000 motorcycle accidents every year. Of those thousands of victims, almost 500 regularly end up as fatalities. It’s a dangerous beauty that our state holds, with distractions around every corner, and if you aren’t paying attention, it’s easy to cause a motorcycle collision.

If you were involved in a motorcycle accident, it’s very likely that you ended up with significant injuries resulting in the need for attorney intervention. This is often necessary to get your medical bills and personal needs taken care of while you are healing and recovering. The experienced lawyers at Hershey Law are ready to guide you through each step of the process of a personal injury motorcycle claim so you understand what you are getting into.

Here is a quick overview of what you need to do if you were involved in a motorcycle accident in California.

Maximizing Your Compensation and Minimizing Your Stress

In order to successfully win your motorcycle accident case, you have to be able to prove that the other party was negligent – in other words, that the accident was their fault. When you hire an attorney, it is their responsibility to reduce your stress by taking on the hard legwork and legal aspects. They will investigate the accident, gather the evidence and facts, and then determine what exactly happened so that they can recreate the scene for a jury if necessary.

Your attorney will also serve as a liaison between you and the insurance company, so you do not have to deal with them directly. They will work together to try to reach a settlement that both parties agree on, and then your lawyer will seek out your opinion on the potential settlement. If you approve, they will handle all of the paperwork and quickly get you the agreed upon amount minus their legal fees. If you don’t approve, they will prepare you for court and everything that happens next.

All of this happens in an efficient, streamlined process if you have a good attorney who is knowledgeable in personal injury cases, like those at Hershey Law. But there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes, too, and you are a big part of whether or not your lawyer is successful at obtaining a favorable settlement for you.

In order to be able to fully maximize your compensation, there are a few responsibilities that you have as the victim, or defendant, in your personal injury case.

Behind the Scenes: Your Role in Your Success and Recovery

While you may not have a starring role physically in dealing with the insurance companies and all of the lawyers handling your situation, you are the lead person in your case. Depending on the severity of your injuries and the factors involved in the lawsuit, dozens or even hundreds of experts may be reading your medical records, police reports, and other documents and scrutinizing the evidence.

What you do or don’t do, say or don’t say, and where you go or don’t go all ends up in that documentation. What that means is that you need to follow your doctor’s plan of care to a T, listen to your attorneys, and don’t deviate from the instructions that they give you unless you have a very good reason. They have likely been through this process many times and they know the steps to take to get you where you want to go.

There are certain things that can deter or speed up the finalization of your case. Some of these include:

  • Your medical treatment. Proper medical documentation is the key to your successful settlement. Without it, there is no proof that there is an injury. Without an injury, you have no case. 

This is why you need to be sure you get medical care as soon as possible after an accident. From your first treatment, you will be referred to physicians who can take care of your injury. You may have to see specialists or take prescribed medications. It’s imperative that you follow the course of treatment as instructed. Any deviation without good cause could result in invalidating your case.

  • Medical documentation. As you are being treated by different physicians, they will be documenting everything they see and hear from you. They will give you a diagnosis or multiple diagnoses, which will be included in their documentation. It is important for you to be forthcoming with them and let them know all of your concerns, even if you think they are minor.

In many cases after a motorcycle accident, there are injuries that are more than just at the surface. Internal injuries, shock, and traumatic emotional effects may not be apparent visibly, but their effects may be starting, and an expert physician can diagnose them early with the right signs. 

When you see your doctors and receive treatment, don’t worry about the medical bills piling up. That is a concern for your lawyer. The worst thing you can do is refuse to see a specialist because you are worried about paying the bill. This could negate your settlement completely and leave you stuck with all of the bills you had already accrued.

  • Documentation of your accident. We understand that many people are too injured in their motorcycle accident to be concerned with taking pictures and documenting the accident. That is perfectly fine, and your first obligation is to ensure you are safe and your injuries are taken care of. But if you are able to once you know you are not severely injured, that documentation can make your case strong.

Once you have evaluated everyone in the accident and are sure no one is significantly injured, or gotten them help if there were injuries, if you can take pictures of the scene, those pictures can be used as evidence. Call the authorities and get emergency assistance. Ask the other parties what they know and remember. See if there were witnesses and get their names, addresses, and phone numbers. 

Talk to the responding officers and tell them what you recall, as well. We all hope that everyone will be honest, but the truth is, many people will say what they can under duress in the chance that it may get them off of the hook for the responsibility. Be sure you get a copy of the police report when it comes out and dispute anything on there that you disagree with.

  • Don’t hide it from your insurance company. Even if the accident was not your fault, it may be tempting to hide the entire thing from your insurance. Insurance companies are scary to many people. You never know what’s going to cause them to hike your rates or drop your coverage.

In the case of any automobile accident, including motorcycle accidents, it is important that you notify your insurance company as soon as possible. There are deadlines and procedures that must be met, or your insurance company can deny your claims should you seek medical care or try to have your vehicle fixed later. 

It’s better to let them know as soon as the accident happened than to have them find out when the other insurance company contacts them. In more than 9 out of 10 circumstances, they are going to find out. It’s much better if they find out from you directly.

  • Communicate with your attorney. Yes, your attorney is most likely busy. If they know their stuff, they are probably in high demand and you’re not their only client. It’s still important for you both to have a system in place for regular communication.

You should be notified on a regularly basis, for instance, monthly, as to what is going on in your case. There may not be many changes, but you should still be in touch. You should also let your attorney know if anything important happens, like if you are referred to a surgeon or have a life-impacting event.

These few things may seem insignificant, but they can make your case go smoothly and settle quickly.

Let the Experts Handle Your Case

Motorcycle accidents can result in serious injuries for their victims. If you were involved in one of these accidents, you need an attorney who cares about you as a person, not just a number, to help you through this difficult time. 

We at Hershey Law know that our clients are more than just a passing face – you are our lifeblood and the reason why we do what we do. Call today to schedule your free consultation and let us help you get the maximum compensation you can get with minimal stress.

Posted in: Motorcycle Accidents, Personal Injury