You heard the screech, and the crunch; and then the world spun. Yep, you’ve just been in a crash. And legally speaking, what you do in the next 45 minutes may be the difference between getting what you deserve or getting totally screwed. Remember, while you are sitting on the curb trying to figure out what to do next, the other person involved is trying to figure out how to blame it all on you.
So, whether you caused the accident or were the victim, the team here at BikerLawyer.com has put together this checklist of “Do’s” and “Don’ts” for those moments right after a crash. Make sure you give yourself the best chance to make ‘em pay.
Before we start: if you have life threatening injuries after a crash, call 9-1-1. Get help right away. But, if you are not critically injured, use the tips below.
Do These Things:
1. Take Photos of EVERYTHING
Put your phone into full gear and snap as many pictures as you can from multiple angles. Take 100s of photographs. Or, even shoot some video that you can narrate as you walk through the crime scene. And do it right away, before someone can move their vehicle or change the critical details of the scene in any way.
A good place to start: your bike, other vehicles involved, license plates of any car near the scene (including witnesses), insurance cards, id cards, the intersection, skid marks, street signs, roadways, road conditions, things that might have caused the crash like potholes, obstructed signs, and damaged property (cracked helmet, ruined glasses).
2. Take Photos of your INJURIES
Road rash, cuts, gashes, broken bones, bruises, and damaged clothing. If you wait until after you get home or see a doctor, the severity of the injury will appear less intense.
3. Get Contact Info
Get the name, email and phone number of every witness you can think to ask. Again, take pictures of their license plates and identification. A picture of the witness with their ID will help remind you which name goes with which witness.
4. If Your Bike Is Damaged: Call the Police
If the crash isn’t serious, they might not come out to the scene, but you’ll need a police report to file claims with insurance for your property damage. If they do come to the scene, be polite and cooperative. If you are the victim, cooperate fully. If you caused the accident; be polite, but ask to have your lawyer and give us a call. (800-245-5539)
On a side note, if your bike is towed, it is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to get it back. In Texas, it is on you to get it out of the impound lot. If you wait too long, they can sell your bike. So get it back as soon as you can, and save all the receipts – towing, storage, so that cost can be part of your claim.
5. If You Are Injured: Go to the Doctor
Often people think, “I don’t have any money or good insurance, and I feel ok.” If you wait for a few days because you think you are ok, and then hurt real bad – the other party might refuse to cover that claim, saying it was not a result of this incident. Call Biker Lawer (800-245-5539) if you need help. We work with doctors and specialists who can wait to be paid until you settle your claims. Also, a county hospital, like Parkland, must treat you even if you do not have insurance. Again, don’t put it off if you are injured.
6. Get A Recording
It doesn’t happen often, but if the other person at the scene is saying, “Oh my gosh, that was totally my fault.” Then get it on video or in writing!
Do NOT Do These Things:
1. Don’t Run
Stay put. Fleeing the scene of an accident can be a crime all by itself. You don’t want another headache, so just sit tight.
2. Don’t Be A Jerk
It’s tempting to lash out, but try to be calm and polite to the other driver, police, and witnesses.
3. DO NOT GIVE A STATEMENT TO INSURANCE
This is your only chance to get it right, and you have a lot of things swirling in your head. Instead, call us first (800-245-5539), and we can conference in on the call to make sure that the insurance company has your claim (and not their bottom line) as the priority.
When you have a crash, you only have one chance to get all the details and get this right. This isn’t a “smarts” issue, it’s all about experience. A crash will make your heart race and your head spin. Even the smartest person will have a hard time thinking it all through. So, follow these steps, and give us a call. We’ll fight hard for you and make ‘em pay.