Frequently Asked Questions - What should you do after a Motorcycle Accident?
An accident can be a very traumatic experience. After a motorcycle accident, knowing your rights and how you should handle your claim is important. After a motorcycle accident, the chances of sustaining injuries are pretty high because nothing protects 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 wore 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 significant injury.
The first thing you should do, if you can, is call the police. If you do not call the police and they do not arrive at the accident scene, you will not have a police report to document the crash properly. If you do not have a police report, the 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 a tough 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. That party will probably receive a citation. If this happens, it is tough 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 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 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 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 can 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 multiple vehicles are involved in the accident. It is crucial 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 an uninsured vehicle, your insurance policy will kick in, and your insurance company will pay for your damages through collision coverage. If you do not have a rental on your insurance policy, your insurance company cannot 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; 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 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 insurance carrier. You are not afforded the $10,000.00 personal injury protection while riding a motorcycle. 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 can give you direction 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. A good, experienced personal injury attorney can fight with the insurance company to get you every penny 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.