What to do and not do if you have a wreck

What to do and not do if you have a wreck

Posted by Ben Baker on Jun 30th 2016

The nightmare of every rider is a wreck. It can be a collision with a vehicle or a crash caused by a poor road maintenance or something else.

Dealing with an accident actually should begin well before the wreck ever happens. If you wear stickers on your helmet, have one that tells people to call an ambulance and not move you. A lot of biker lawyers offer these stickers with their toll-free number, which instructs people to call for help and call the lawyer. While this blog assumes the wreck was not your fault, check your insurance policy to make sure you are covered if it is your fault.

If you are knocked out in the wreck, then you’re not going to be involved in the immediate aftermath. So, the first two tips don’t apply. Someone else will take care of this.

1. Call for help. Ask for law enforcement and an ambulance. You need the Thin Blue Line so you’ll have an official report of the accident. Insurance companies will look for this. If you have to hire a lawyer, he’s going to need this report to help prepare your case.

2. Get checked out. Take the ride to the hospital. You buy insurance for a reason. Use it. Some severe injuries are not immediately apparent. You can be hurt badly and not know it. The adrenaline you produced just after the wreck keeps pain symptoms down.

3. Document your injuries with pictures as soon as you can.

4. Don’t talk to the other driver, except to ask them to call for help if you can’t. Don’t discuss the accident. Don’t offer to exchange information like licenses and insurance information. If you wind up in the hospital, the other driver may come to check on you. Be polite, but say you can’t discuss the accident because of insurance reasons.

5. Contact your insurance company as soon as possible and tell them you were in a wreck. If they ask for details about the accident, tell them you’re waiting on the police report and you’ll forward that when you get it.

6. Get the reports. This means the law enforcement report and reports from the ambulance crew and the emergency room.

7. If you plan to have a lawyer, don’t call the other driver’s insurance company. Your attorney needs to do that.

If you want to handle everything, don’t expect much from the insurance company. The insurance representative will offer to cover your medical bills and damage to your ride. The company won’t offer compensation for time off work and the lawyer’s favorite “pain and suffering.”

If you want to deal with the insurance representative on your own, but be prepared for a long haul and a lot of back and forth on letters through the mail. The insurance companies want everything in writing.

Hiring a lawyer is up to you. Biker lawyers have experience dealing with insurance companies. They are used to the back-and-forth and have a system in place to keep all the written records. Some attorneys will also negotiate your hospital and doctor bills for you. Expect him to take 30-40 percent of the total settlement

The attorney may come take his own pictures of you and the accident location. Certainly, he’ll interview you about the wreck.

8. When you accept a check from the insurance company, that’s it. The payoff means you’ve accepted the settlement. Anything from that point forward is your responsibility. If you choose to have a lawyer represent you, the settlement will go through his office.

Regardless, the settlement if for all your medical bills, repair or replacing your bike and other bills related to the wreck. Sometimes an attorney will hold some money back, not part of his fee, to cover medical bills.