Nobody wants to get involved in a motorcycle accident. But if you do, there’s a right way and a wrong way to handle it. Here are five things you definitely don’t want to do after a motorcycle accident.
1. Flee the scene.
In a car accident, the worst thing you can do is leave the scene, even if it’s a minor accident and even if you aren’t at fault. A motorcycle accident is no different. If no one is injured, fleeing the scene is usually considered a misdemeanor hit and run, which can result in fines up to $1,000, and the possibility of a year in jail. Leaving the scene when someone is injured counts as a felony hit and run, and carries more severe consequences, including fines of $10,000 and up to 15 years in prison.
2. Admit fault.
It may seem like the honest thing to do, but never claim responsibility for the accident when talking to the police, other drivers or witnesses – even if you were at fault. Anything you say at the scene of the accident can be used against you in court or by the insurance companies, and there may be circumstances you aren’t aware of that could absolve you of some or all of the blame.
3. Become confrontational.
Emotions often run high after an accident, especially when there is significant damage or injuries to those involved. Even if the other driver did something stupid or dangerous to cause the accident, the last thing you want to do is verbally or physically assault them and pick up a charge of assault and battery. Instead, remain calm, help people get safely out of the way of oncoming traffic, and focus on gathering information about what happened and when.
4. Avoid seeing a doctor.
Except in very minor fender benders, most motorcycle accidents result in some type of injury to the rider. Moreover, those injuries are often internal, with no obvious damage on the outside other than a few scrapes and bruises. Even if you experience only minor pain, the injury can worsen over time. Seeing a doctor can ensure you didn’t suffer any serious internal damage, and will provide legal documentation of your injuries for trial court and insurance purposes.
5. Give your insurance company too much information.
Immediately after a motorcycle accident, provide your insurance company with all the information you gathered, including names of the other drivers, the types of vehicles involved, and name and contact information for any witnesses. However, do not provide any detail regarding the extent of the damage to your motorcycle or any injuries you may have suffered. If you underestimate the damages, you may not receive all the compensation you would otherwise be entitled to.
If you own a motorcycle, ride smart, ride safe, and don’t do any of these things if you get in an accident!