We’ve reached the time of year where motorcycles are out on the roads in full force. I know I am out riding about every night right now. I love riding in the evenings after it has cooled down. Unfortunately, this is also when the number of motorcycle accidents spike. As a personal injury attorney who has helped motorcycle accident victims fight insurance companies, I can help you avoid making mistakes that could cost you.
1. Not Seeking Immediate Medical Attention
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, you must see a doctor right away. Even if you are not sure whether or not you’ve been seriously hurt, you should take an ambulance from the crash site to the hospital to be checked out. Many conditions do not appear to be serious until weeks or even months after an accident. This can be especially true in motorcycle accidents, when you often have to use your whole body to try and avoid an accident and often you take a tumble no matter what you do. Untreated injuries can grow worse, turning your sore neck or shoulder into a permanent and disabling condition.
2. Speaking to the other Driver’s Insurance Company
Most insurance companies do not care whether or not you are compensated for your injuries. They have tricks of the trade that they will use against you to try and limit the amount of money they have to pay. Never sign a waiver or give a recorded statement regarding your accident. The easiest way to avoid their tricks is to avoid talking to them. If you are not sure what they are asking you to sign, have the document reviewed by an attorney. Better yet – DON’T sign anything until you talk with an experienced Iowa motorcycle accident attorney.
3. Not Riding a “Street-Legal” Bike
Many times after a motorcycle accident, the driver who has hit a motorcycle claims they “couldn’t see” the motorcycle coming. The insurance company will then try to claim that your headlight was not on, or some other defect on the motorcycle caused the accident, not their driver. According to the Iowa Department of Transportation, “street-legal motorcycles” at minimum should have:
- Headlight, taillight and brake light
- Front and rear brakes
- Turn signals
- Two mirrors
Routine maintenance on your motorcycle, including records of the tune-ups and repairs made, will help you prove that you kept your bike up to standards. Photos or videos of these things in working order can address these issues directly. Take a quick phone video of your bike with all the lights and horn working.
4. Waiting For Someone Else to Take Action
Iowa law says that the victim or the victim’s family is responsible for proving that the harms and losses are the result of the motorcycle accident, and that it was the other driver’s fault. Even if you believe the accident was not your fault, your own insurance company will not see it that way. Only you can take the first step in talking to a personal injury attorney.
5. Not Hiring a Qualified Motorcycle Accident Expert
Riding a motorcycle is very different from driving a car or a truck. To fully understand how motorcycles work, specialized expertise is often required. In order to have your case reviewed fully, you should hire an expert who understands motorcycles. Your attorney will know who to hire if they have handled motorcycle accident claims.
A competent motorcycle expert can study the following factors that may have caused your crash:
- Measure skid marks to determine your speed and the speed of the other vehicles during the accident
- Study damage patterns on your motorcycle and other vehicles
- Study the weather conditions of the day of the accident to see if this factored into your accident
6. Waiting Too Long to Talk to a Motorcycle Attorney
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, you must speak with an attorney as soon as possible. Iowa’s statute of limitations for personal injury is very strict. You must file your case by two years from the date you were injured. If you do not do so, you cannot recover any damages for your injury.
However, a competent attorney will often spend up to six months (or sometimes even longer) looking into a case before they decide to file a lawsuit. Sometimes you can get a case on file sooner but you do not want to assume this to be true. The reason it takes time is in order to properly investigate the injuries you suffered to make sure your case is worth pursuing. That is why you cannot wait to speak with an attorney.
Call RSH Legal today at 1-319-519-4193 and speak to one of our attorneys. We will help determine if your motorcycle accident case is worth fighting.