What To Do After A Motorcycle Accident: 10 Steps To Take
It is crucial that motorcyclists know what to do after a motorcycle accident in Michigan. An injured motorcyclist must seek immediate medical attention and report all injuries and symptoms. They should never make statements to claims adjusters or sign releases or a settlement until they have talked to a lawyer.
All too often, crash victims tell our attorneys they regret not being better prepared for what to do at the crash scene – and in the hours, days and weeks that follow.
The following list of recommendations of what to do after a motorcycle accident in Michigan was developed by our experienced lawyers to protect motorcyclists in the event they are injured in a crash.
10 Steps To Take After A Motorcycle Accident in Michigan
1. Contact the police and file a police report after a motorcycle accident in Michigan
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident in Michigan, then you should contact the nearest police department to file a police report. A police report is crucial. It enables you to make sure that YOU tell your side of the story. It forces the at-fault driver to explain to the police how he or she caused the accident that injured you. It allows you to record the names and contact information of witnesses. And, very importantly, it allows you to document the insurance information for the drivers and owners of the cars and/or trucks involved in your crash. You will need that information when you make a claim for No-Fault benefits to cover your lost wages and medical bills. For motorcycle accidents involving death, injury and/or property damage worth more than $1,000, the police department will have to complete a UD-10 Traffic Crash Report and file it with the Michigan State Police.
2. Report all injuries and symptoms
After a motorcycle accident in Michigan, it is extremely important that you report all of the personal injuries that you have suffered – as and all symptoms you are experiencing – as a result of the motorcycle accident. Report your injuries and symptoms to the police, the EMTs who arrive with the police, the firefighters (if the fire department has responded to the scene) and to the doctors and medical staff at the hospital emergency room. Insist that medical personnel record all of your injuries and symptoms. No matter how minor or insignificant your injuries or symptoms may seem to you, you must report them so that a doctor can document and evaluate them and provide you with the necessary treatment. It is especially important to tell the emergency room doctors if you have experienced any of the following: (1) any loss of consciousness (no matter how short the duration); (2) loss of memory of events immediately before and/or after a motorcycle accident in Michigan; (3) feeling dazed, disoriented or confused; (4) feeling drowsy and/or difficult to arouse; (5) difficulty thinking clearly and reasoning; (6) headaches; (7) dizziness; (8) lightheadedness; (9) slurred speech; (10) ringing in the ears; and/or (11) blurred vision. Those symptoms may indicate that you have suffered a TBI or concussion.
3. Seek medical treatment
Seek medical treatment immediately after a motorcycle accident in Michigan for any injuries you have suffered and for any symptoms you are experiencing – no matter how minor or insignificant the injuries and symptoms may seem to you. Many injuries that initially appear to be minor and/or insignificant can later cause substantial and chronic pain, long-term damage and possibly disable you from living your normal life. These injuries are often referred to as delayed injuries and they must be documented immediately to prove they were caused by the crash and not some other event. Time is of the essence. The sooner you get the proper diagnostic tests and necessary and appropriate medical care, the sooner you can begin the recovery process. back on the road to good health and a full recovery. It is also important to remember to return to your doctor if you experience any new symptoms that were not apparent during initial treatment.
4. Never give statements to an insurance adjuster
Never give “statements” to an auto insurance claims adjuster – or a defense lawyer from the auto insurance company – after a motorcycle accident in Michigan until you have talked first with your lawyer. Why not? The only reason that a claims adjuster or defense lawyer wants to talk to you is to try to get you to deny and/or minimize your injuries, symptoms and pain. Then, later on, they will use your statements against you to “prove” that you are not injured and that the insurance company is justified in denying your claim for benefits and compensation. In low vehicle damage cases, insurance adjusters will often use this tactic to try to claim that no one could have been seriously injured in the accident. If someone is insistent on talking to you, then tell them to call your lawyer. This advice also applies if the adjuster wants to look at the damage. Do not allow the adjuster to do so unless your attorney is present.
5. Never sign anything without talking to a lawyer
Never sign a release, waiver or settlement from an insurance company and/or an insurance claims adjuster without talking to your lawyer first. And never sign and cash a check from an insurance company and/or an insurance claims adjuster without talking to your lawyer first. The releases, checks and the paperwork accompanying the checks – even those for limited property damage in connection with a mini tort claim – will contain unrelated language in the fine print that has the legal effect of “releasing” the insurance from all liability for compensation and benefits for any of the personal injuries you suffered in the motorcycle accident in Michigan. A trend that we have noticed is that some auto insurance company claims adjusters are using language in their releases and on their checks to trick crash victims into “settling” their personal injury claims for significantly less than those claims are actually worth. This includes trying to get injured motorcyclists to sign away all of their future legal rights to No-Fault benefits and pain and suffering compensation, too.
6. File an application for No-Fault benefits
You should immediately notify the applicable auto insurance company after a motorcycle accident in Michigan and file your application for No-Fault benefits. Your application, which is also referred to as your “written notice of injury,” must be given to the No-Fault auto insurance company “within 1 year after the accident.” (MCL 500.3145(1) and (4)). Filing the application is essential for protecting your No-Fault rights and ensuring that you are able to recover the following No-Fault benefits to assist you in rebuilding your life and recovering from your injuries: (1) coverage of medical bills; (2) reimbursement for lost wages; (3) reimbursement for replacement services (of ordinary and necessary household tasks); (4) reimbursement for mileage and transportation to medical appointments; and (5) attendant care services (which are also referred to as nursing services). The “priority” rules of Michigan’s auto No-Fault insurance law for motorcycle accidents that involve a car or truck will determine what auto insurance company you will seek benefits through. The one-year limit on filing your application for No-Fault benefits is very strict. If you do not file within your application for No-Fault benefits WITHIN ONE YEAR of your automobile crash, then you will forever lose your right to claim and/or sue for No-Fault benefits and you will be disqualified from ever recovering No-Fault benefits to which you might otherwise have been entitled if you had filed on time.
7. Obtain a copy of your police report
Contact the police department where your accident occurred to order a copy of your police report. Many reports can be ordered online. To learn more, please check out our blog post, “How To Get A Police Report For A Car Accident.”
8. Attend all medical appointments
It is imperative that you continue treatment for your personal injuries, whether it be physical therapy and occupational therapy, or routine follow-ups with your family doctor. It is very important that you recover. Additionally, insurance adjusters often contend that an accident victim who fails to attend his or her doctor’s appointment must not be experiencing pain. Read why getting the right medical care at the right time is important.
9. Keep good records after a motorcycle accident in Michigan
We recommend the following: (1) document all doctor’s visits, prescriptions, over the counter medications, laboratory services, physical therapy, hospital visits, treatments, medical documents and x-rays; (2) note the date each service was provided and the amount you were charged; (3) keep a diary of your daily pain, discomfort, emotional distress, fatigue, tenderness, inconvenience, etc.; (4) write down how your personal injuries have impacted your daily life and relationships; (5) take photos of all of your injuries, after the motorcycle accident in Michigan as soon as possible; and (6) keep copies of all medical bills, medical records and other documents.
10. Check your auto insurance policy
It’s best to have an attorney look over your auto insurance policy – or the auto insurance policy through which you will be claiming No-Fault benefits – after a motorcycle accident in Michigan for any fine print that could affect your rights. You will want to know the level of No-Fault PIP medical benefits coverage in the policy because they will determine how the auto insurance company will pay toward your accident-related medical bills.
You should also check the auto insurance policy for VERY specific notification requirements pertaining to your accident. Michigan law determines the deadlines for filing an application for No-Fault benefits, for suing for unpaid and overdue benefits and for suing an at-fault driver for pain and suffering compensation and other economic damages. But for other claims and coverages that are not mandated by law, it is not uncommon for auto insurance companies to impose stricter notification deadlines as well as other requirements. For instance, if you were injured in a hit-and-run collision or injured by an uninsured driver, many “uninsured motorist coverage” insurance policies require that they receive notice of your automobile crash within 30 days or they will void rights under the policy and you will lose the ability to recover compensation for your injuries and losses.
It is also not uncommon for auto insurance companies to include an “other owned vehicle” in their policies which allows them to deny coverage to their insureds when they are injured by an insured (or hit-and-run) driver while riding a motorcycle or any other vehicle of theirs that is not specifically named in the policy.
Our attorneys have seen far too many unadvised clients assume that their auto insurance policies were consistent with Michigan No-Fault timelines. In many cases, the contractual language of the policy and the filing limits and other requirements are far more restrictive. If a crash victim fails to adhere to these contractually-imposed requirements, he or she can lose important coverage.
Talk to an experienced attorney after a motorcycle accident in Michigan
To make sure that your legal rights to No-Fault benefits and pain and suffering compensation are protected, you should talk to an attorney who is experienced at helping people who have been injured in these types of crashes. The initial call is always free. At the very least, you will be informed about the medical and wage loss benefits you are entitled to from the auto No-Fault insurance company. An attorney will help you review your medical records as well as the medical treatment and care that you are receiving in order to make sure your bills are getting paid. And an attorney will discuss with you what your case might be worth if your pain and disability was caused by another driver’s negligence or carelessness from a crash.
Need help? Call the attorneys at Michigan Auto Law
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident in Michigan and have questions on suing someone for your injuries and losses, you can speak to an experienced attorney, toll free anytime 24/7 at (800) 777-0028 for a free consultation. You can also get help from an experienced attorney by emailing [email protected] or you can use the chat feature on our website.