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.
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.
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:
Health Insurance – this refers to the insurance that may be available to pay for
your medical care;
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
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."
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
Free Case Evaluation – Let Attorney Watkin Protect Your Rights
nearly 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
Fill out our
free case evaluation form or call our Scottsdale office at (480) 347-9804 today!