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In 2007, over 100,000 motorcyclists were injured in traffic accidents as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This was a 94% increase from 1997. Other drivers are responsible for almost 70% of motorcycle accidents and failure to see motorcyclists in traffic is the leading cause. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, special cautions need to be taken to ensure that you receive all the compensation you deserve to cover your medical expenses, rehabilitation, and lost wages. If you or someone you love has been injured in a motorcycle accident as the result of another driver's negligence, it is imperative that an investigation is conducted as soon as possible.
As a motorcyclist, one of the best ways to protect yourself after an accident is to insist on police presence. The police officer arriving at the scene of a motorcycle accident will fill out an accident report. This report is vital to your investigation and will be required in order to file a claim against another driver. According to the NHTSA, a motorcyclist is eight times more likely to be injured in an accident with an automobile. Even if you do not believe you are initially injured, remember that many of these injuries can take weeks to become problematic. Soft tissue, back, and spinal injuries may require years of rehabilitation and can lead to a lifetime of chronic pain and discomfort.
When beginning an accident investigation, the first step you should take is to contact a reputable motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney will be responsible for reviewing the police report, determining the amount of investigation required, and obtaining the evidence needed to pursue your claim.
Your attorney may need to call experts to help him or her recreate the accident. Trucking experts, skid mark analysis experts, and biking experts may be needed for the investigation. No matter how damaged your motorcycle is, do not rush it off to the body shop. It is imperative that you preserve your motorcycle for your attorney to review. If you are not seriously injured, take pictures of the accident scene, road conditions, other vehicles, intersection signs, and motorcycle damage. Even photographs taken from a cell phone can greatly assist your attorney during his initial investigation and may help you recover damages. Proving that the other driver is at fault will enable your attorney to file a claim with their insurance and obtain the appropriate compensation you need to recover quickly.
Even if the other driver is not responsible for the accident, there may be other entities at fault. A thorough accident investigation includes assessing road conditions. Since motorcycles operate on two wheels, they are more susceptible to improperly maintained roadways. You and your attorney should investigate if a defective design, maintenance, or construction of public roads contributed to your accident. If the city or state government is at fault, you may be entitled to compensation. Almost 3% of all motorcycle accidents occur as the result of bike failure due to defective motorcycle design, manufacturing or distribution. If your safety gear, such as your helmet, failed or contributed to your injuries, then the manufacturers of this gear might be responsible for a portion of your injuries. Keep all potentially defective products, including helmets and motorcycle parts, as evidence for your claim. They will assist your attorney in proving product liability.
While you may think you have adequate insurance coverage after a motorcycle accident, most policies can be quickly exhausted after a debilitating injury. By conducting a thorough investigation of the accident, roads, and motorcycle, you can determine what parties are responsible for your injuries and obtain the compensation you need now and in the future.