Frequently Asked Questions - What should you do after a Motorcycle Accident?
An accident can be a very traumatic experience. After a motorcycle accident, it is important to know your rights and to know how you should handle your claim. After a motorcycle accident, the chances of you sustaining injuries is pretty high due to the fact that there is nothing protecting you from the impact. If you are hit by another vehicle on a motorcycle, you will most likely be thrown from the motorcycle and end up on the road. If you were wearing protective clothing and a helmet, this could have helped reduce any injuries you may have sustained. If you were not wearing protective clothing or a helmet, you probably suffered some type of significant injury or another.
The first thing you should do if you are able to is call the police. If you do not call the police and they do not arrive at the scene of the accident, you will not have a police report to properly document the crash. If you do not have a police report, chances of the insurance companies denying your claim if the other party disputes the account of the crash is extremely likely. Even if you know you are not at fault, without a police report, the insurance companies typically side with their insured's version of the story and you will have an incredibly hard time overturning their decision. If the driver of the other vehicle in the accident is found to be at fault for the accident, the police officer will notate this in the police report and that party will probably receive a citation. If this happens, it is very hard for the insurance companies to dispute the claim that their insured should not be held liable for the accident.
Once the insurance company has determined liability and found that their insured is at fault for the accident, they will send a field adjuster to come out to take a look at your motorcycle in order to determine if the motorcycle is repairable or if it should be deemed a total loss. If the motorcycle is deemed repairable, the field adjuster will give you a written estimate of how much they believe the damages will be. This amount is almost always inaccurate, so it is never advisable to just take the field adjuster at their word and accept a check for this amount. The most advisable thing to do is take your motorcycle to either a shop of your choice or a shop the insurance company suggests for repairs. If you take the motorcycle to a shop the insurance company suggests, the repairs are usually always guaranteed for as long as you own that motorcycle. Once the shop takes the motorcycle apart to assess the damages, they typically find more damage that must be added to the estimate. if this happens, the insurance company will pay the shop directly for any additional repairs. While your motorcycle is in the shop being repaired, the insurance company will be able to put you into a rental vehicle, given that the repairs to the motorcycle do not exceed their insured's property damage limits. This is usually unlikely with a motorcycle unless there are multiple vehicles involved in the accident. It is very important that if you own a motorcycle, you have a valid insurance policy as this can help you if you are hit by someone who does not have insurance. If you are hit by a vehicle that is uninsured, your own insurance policy will kick in and your insurance company will pay for your damages through your collision coverage. If you do not have rental on your insurance policy, your insurance company will be unable to pay for a rental vehicle while your motorcycle is in the shop.
If you were injured in your accident, you should seek medical treatment immediately. The best thing to do is be examined at your nearest emergency room to rule out any fractures or internal bleeding. The emergency room doctors will probably advise you to follow up with your physician. If you do decide to treat with a physician for your injuries, you should make sure there is enough bodily injury coverage through the vehicle that hit you. In the State of Florida, bodily injury coverage is not mandatory so therefore; even if the person that hit you has property damage coverage, which is mandatory in the State of Florida, they may not always have bodily injury coverage. Bodily injury coverage is the coverage on the insurance policy which you go through to sue that insurance company for any injuries, pain and suffering or lost wages that you incur from the accident. If the person that hit you has no bodily injury coverage, you can always look to your own uninsured motorist coverage if you own another vehicle besides your motorcycle which carries uninsured motorist coverage which kicks in when you are hit by someone with no bodily injury coverage or not enough coverage to cover all of your damages. it is always important to read your insurance policy in its entirety as some insurance companies do not allow their insured to use their uninsured motorist coverage if they were riding their motorcycle. Unlike a car or truck, motorcycle riders do not qualify for personal injury protection coverage through their own insurance carrier. You are not afforded the $10,000.00 personal injury protection while riding a motorcycle and no insurance company in the State of Florida even offers personal injury protection coverage on a motorcycle policy.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, the best thing you could do is hire an experienced personal injury attorney to handle your claim and fight for your rights. An attorney and their staff are all very experienced when it comes to personal injury claims and they are able to give you direction in order to obtain all of the benefits and reimbursement you are entitled to. Insurance companies do not look out for you or their insured when they are in an accident, they are there to save themselves as much money as possible by paying out the least amount of money. A good, experienced personal injury attorney can fight with the insurance company to get you every single penny that you deserve. If they are unable to obtain a good settlement for you, your attorney will discuss with you the possibility of filing a lawsuit against the insurance company.