District of Columbia Motorcycle Accidents: Frequently Asked Questions

Riding a motorcycle can be a fun and fuel-efficient way to get from place to place, but it also exposes riders to a significant risk of injury in the event of an accident. In fact, data published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicate that 81,000 motorcyclists were injured in the United States in 2011 alone. Because motorcyclists do not have the protections generally offered by a vehicle chassis and body, the injuries sustained in motorcycle accidents can be extremely serious. In some cases, the accident may result in long-term disability, the inability to live independently, or even death. It is extremely important, therefore, for people injured in these crashes to ensure that their rights are protected. As soon as possible after an accident, retain the services of an experienced DC motorcycle accident lawyer to protect your rights and pursue the compensation that you deserve.

Motorcycle accidents can be traumatic and often leave those involved shaken up, frustrated, and confused. Unfortunately, what you do and say after an accident can have a substantial impact on your ability to recover compensation for your injuries. Here are some answers to questions commonly asked by people involved in motorcycle accidents.

What Should I Do Immediately After a D.C. Motorcycle Accident?

Immediately following an accident, you should contact emergency personnel, including law enforcement and emergency medical professionals. If you require medical attention, wait for help to arrive before attempting to help others or do anything else. Make sure that you and anyone else involved are in a safe place and not standing where you may be struck by oncoming traffic. If you talk to the other parties involved in the accident, be certain not to say anything that could indicate you admit liability for the accident. In some cases, even a simple “I’m sorry” may be enough to indicate that you were at fault.

What Information Should I Collect?

After an accident, it is extremely important to gather information to determine how the accident occurred and who may be liable. If you are able, taking photographs of the aftermath of the accident can be extremely helpful in accomplishing these goals. Try to take photographs of the vehicles at the scene of the collision before moving any vehicle from the scene. In addition to taking photographs, victims should also document the license plate numbers of all the vehicles involved. Get names and insurance information from the drivers involved in the accident, as well as contact information from anyone who witnessed the crash. Pay attention to the names of the other drivers. If a driver provides you with a name that does not match the name on the insurance, try to determine the relationship between the operator and the insured. If you are involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle, make note of any company logos or names on the vehicle, as well as its United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) number.

Should I Seek Medical Attention Even If I Do Not Think I Am Seriously Injured?

Yes. People involved in motorcycle accidents should always seek medical attention as soon as possible. After an accident, you may be in shock and may not recognize just how serious your injuries are. In addition, many injuries that you can sustain in motorcycle accidents may not develop symptoms for hours or even days after an injury. It is thus important to be evaluated by a medical professional who can document a thorough history and connect your injuries to the accident. This is important from a legal standpoint; it is necessary to show that your injuries were caused by the accident because a defendant may claim that there was an intervening cause of your injuries to avoid liability.  Medical records connecting your injuries to the accident can be extremely helpful in the fight to  recover compensation for your injuries.

Do I Need to Retain Legal Counsel?

Hiring an experienced attorney is the first step toward obtaining the compensation you deserve after a motorcycle accident. Insurance adjusters are trained to minimize insurance company liability, and will take advantage of an unrepresented party by offering an unreasonably low settlement or even getting a victim to inadvertently admit partial or full fault. A lawyer can act as an intermediary between you and the insurance company, and work to obtain a recovery on your behalf. In addition, should your claim become contested, your attorney can represent you in any legal proceeding that may occur.

Contact Our Firm Today for a Free Consultation

Motorcycle accidents can leave victims with significant medical problems and even long-term disabilities or paralysis. Our experienced D.C. motorcycle accident attorneys are dedicated to helping people injured in motorcycle crashes recover. We provide our clients with exceptional service, and strive to obtain the highest possible settlement or award in each case we handle. To schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys, call our office today.