What to Do After You Have Been Injured in a Motorcycle Accident

Gathering Information and Evidence

For obvious reasons, motorcycle collisions often cause very serious injuries or death to the motorcycle operator and his passenger. After being involved in any type of motor vehicle accident it is important to obtain as much information as possible, and do so as soon as possible following the incident. If you or your motorcycle passenger are seriously injured and must be taken by ambulance to the hospital, you should make arrangements for someone else to gather the critical information that will be needed by your lawyer in the days and weeks to come.

Gather Evidence:

  • PHOTOS:
    • Accident Scene and Vehicles: Take numerous photos of the accident scene from different angles; include the intersection, signs, vehicles involved, etc. If you have to go back to the scene later to take photos, try to do so at the same time of day as when the accident occurred.
    • Your Injuries: Take numerous photos of you and your injuries:
      • immediately after the incident;
      • immediately after your surgeries;
      • during all stages of your recovery and rehab.
  • WITNESSES: Compile a comprehensive list of all potential witnesses, including people who saw the crash occur, saw the scene immediately afterwards, saw you and your injuries and your damaged motorcycle, and saw you during and following your medical care and rehab.
    • Witness lists should include the witnesses' full names, address, phone and fax numbers, email addresses, and so on.
  • ACCIDENT REPORT: Request a copy of the law enforcement agency's Accident Report.
    • Accident Reports are usually available online and can be obtained by visiting the website of the law enforcement agency that responded to your crash
  • INSURANCE: Compile a list of all relevant insurance information (see more information on this in the next section).
  • MEDICAL PROVIDERS: Compile a detailed list of all medical providers who responded to the scene of the crash, as well as all medical providers who examined and treated you afterwards. This list might include: the fire department, police, sheriff, highway patrol agency, ambulance company, hospital, treating physicians, anesthesiologists, physical therapists, etc.)
    • Medical Provider lists should include the providers' full names (or company names), addresses, phone and fax numbers, email addresses, and so on.

Regarding Insurance

When you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed in a motorcycle accident caused by another motorist's negligence, you MUST figure out whether and to what extent there is insurance – and enough of it – available to pay for your medical care and your pain and suffering.

Whether it was the fault of driver of the car or truck that hit you or possibly the operator of the motorcycle on which you were a passenger, you need to compile all of the necessary insurance information as soon as possible. This will provide critical assistance to you and your Scottsdale motorcycle accident lawyer, and may make a huge difference in the amount of compensation you ultimately recover for your medical bills, pain and suffering, and other consequential damages.

Gathering Insurance Information after your motorcycle accident:

  1. Health Insurance – this refers to the insurance that may be available to pay for your medical care;
  2. Auto Liability Insurance – this refers to the at-fault driver's auto insurance that may ultimately compensate you for your pain, suffering, lost wages, medical expenses and other consequential damages; and
  3. Your Own Motorcycle Insurance – this insurance may be needed to cover not only the repair or replacement of your damaged motorcycle; but also to compensate you if the at-fault motorist has no insurance, or not enough. It may even pay for some of your medical care under your "medical payments" coverage.

Common Insurance Questions After a Motorcycle Collision

Question: Whose health insurance will be used, and what will it cover?

Answer: Your own insurance, not the other driver's. Hopefully, you have group health insurance through your job, or your own policy of private health insurance for which you pay monthly premiums. If not, then perhaps you are covered by federal Medicare insurance or Social Security insurance. Or, if you do not have any of these types of health insurance, perhaps you qualify to receive coverage under another federal or state-sponsored insurance plan, such as AHCCCS. Regardless, you must immediately investigate your options for obtaining the money that will be needed to pay for your medical care; and you must not assume those expenses will be paid by the other driver's auto liability insurance "just because it was his fault." In fact, the law is that the other driver's insurance is NEVER legally obligated to pay those expenses, at least not directly. It will be up to you to make sure your doctors, hospitals and other providers are paid (hopefully by your own health insurance) and that you can eventually collect enough money from the at-fault other driver and his insurance company to reimburse you and your insurance company for those medical costs.

We Can Help: This is a very complicated area of the law and you need help. Contact The Watkin Law Office, PC today and ask Clark Watkin to handle your complex motorcycle accident insurance questions.

Question: What is liability insurance and what does it cover?

Answer: To legally drive a motor vehicle in Arizona we are required to carry insurance to cover the damages we may cause to other people and their property if we are involved in an accident that is "our fault." All other drivers are supposed to carry liability insurance for this same reason; so when a person is injured (or killed) by another driver, the victim is able to make a "claim" against the other driver's auto liability insurance company to cover the costs of the repairs to the victim's vehicle, as well as the monetary "damages" to compensate the victim for his personal injuries, medical care, lost wages, etc. But in many situations, the at-fault driver either does not have any liability insurance at all, or does not have enough insurance coverage to pay all of the "damages" sustained by the victim. In those cases, the victims must investigate other potential sources of insurance or money to pay their damages claims. It might be the at-fault driver's other assets; it might be his employer (if he was on the job at the time of the crash); it might be the bar where the other driver was drinking prior to the crash; or it might be the victim's OWN AUTO INSURANCE company. Retaining a skilled Scottsdale motorcycle accident lawyer is absolutely essential to the success of your overall claim.

Hopefully, in your case, you will discover that the at-fault driver has enough liability insurance coverage to compensate you for your entire claim. If so, then by law in Arizona, you will be entitled to pursue (and hopefully recover) monetary compensation for the following:

  • All of your past medical expenses related to the accident
  • All of your future medical expenses related to the accident
  • Compensation for your physical pain and mental suffering
  • Reimbursement of your lost income
  • Payment for your future loss of income or earning potential
  • Your other consequential damages

If you retain the services of a motorcycle collision attorney in Scottsdale (at no cost to you until there is a recovery), that lawyer can do all of the "heavy lifting" for you and your loved ones, both in and out of the courtroom. We understand that your financial and physical future are on the line, which is why we at The Watkin Law Office, PC do everything in our power to obtain the highest possible settlement for each of our clients.

Question: What happens if the at-fault driver has no auto liability insurance, or not enough to cover the claim?

Answer: First, your attorney will bring a claim against the other driver and his auto insurance, assuming he has insurance. Unfortunately, although Arizona law requires all drivers to carry insurance, many drivers ignore the law and have no insurance. Even if they carry the required minimum limits of liability insurance coverage, that usually is not enough to pay for the damages inflicted in a serious injury motorcycle collision; and even if the at-fault driver has other assets besides insurance, it is extremely difficult to sue and collect from an individual with no insurance, since many such drivers when faced with a personal lawsuit against them will simply file for Bankruptcy Court protection and get such claims "discharged."

Therefore, your attorney will usually bring a separate claim under your own policy of automobile insurance, under your Uninsured Motorist (UM) or Under-Insured Motorist (UIM) coverage. If the at-fault driver has no auto liability coverage, your attorney will bring a UM claim under your own policy; and if the at-fault driver has some, but not enough liability coverage your attorney will bring a UIM claim under your policy.

Question: Is it up to the at-fault driver's auto insurance company to pay for your medical expenses?

Answer: No. Despite the fact that it may clearly have been the other driver's fault for the accident, or perhaps they even admitted fault, it is still not up to their auto liability insurance to cover your medical bills. Unless and until you are able to reach an out of court "settlement" of your claim against the other driver (and his insurance carrier), he has absolutely no legal duty to pay you a dime. If you can't reach a settlement and you have to litigate your claim in court, it will likely take months or even years before a jury finds him "liable" and responsible to pay you damages. By that time, your medical bills will hopefully have been paid, either by your health insurance, your motorcycle "medical payments" coverage, Medicare, AHCCCS, or out of your own pocket.

Free Case Evaluation – Let Attorney Watkin Protect Your Rights

With over 40 years of outstanding experience in the field of personal injury and wrongful death law, Attorney Clark Watkin knows the complex ins and outs of the legal system and the liability and health insurance fields. To ensure you receive the full financial compensation possible for your serious injury claim, it is essential that you retain the services of a Scottsdale personal injury attorney that will work personally and tirelessly with you from start to finish.

Clark Watkin understands motorcycle riders, motorcycles, and motorcycle accidents. He is an avid motorcyclist himself and appreciates the inherent dangers of combining motorcycles, cars and trucks on roads and highways. Having ridden and even raced motorcycles since the 1970's, he knows what you are up against on the roads, as well as what you are experiencing following a serious collision while riding a motorcycle. Whether you have been seriously injured or lost a loved one in a wrongful death involving a motorcycle, please understand that we are here to help – and we WILL help.

Fill out our free case evaluation form or call our Scottsdale office at (480) 347-9804 today!

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