what to do after a motorcycle accident

What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident in West Virginia: 6-Step Accident Checklist

Nobody expects to be in a motorcycle accident, but unfortunately, they happen – even to the most careful riders in West Virginia. If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle crash, you’re probably dealing with injuries, vehicle damage, and a huge financial headache. What should you do next? As motorcycle accident lawyers here in West Virginia, we’ve seen it all.

This guide lays out the essential steps every rider should take immediately after an accident to protect themselves legally and medically.

Step 1: Prioritize Your Health and Safety

Even if you don’t think you’re seriously injured, seek medical attention immediately. Some injuries, such as concussions or internal bleeding, may not be immediately apparent.

Here’s what you should do:

  • Call for help: If you or anyone else needs emergency medical assistance, dial 911 immediately.
  • Visit a doctor: Even if you don’t require emergency care, schedule an appointment with a physician to evaluate your injuries thoroughly.
  • Keep records: Maintain a file with all your medical records, bills, and receipts for the accident and treatments.

Prompt medical attention ensures that you get the necessary care and establishes a clear link between the accident and your injuries. This evidence is important when pursuing a personal injury claim.

Ensure Your Safety and the Safety of Others

If you’re able to do so safely, take steps to protect yourself and others at the scene of the accident:

  • Move to a safe location: If your motorcycle is blocking traffic or putting you at risk, try to move it to the shoulder or a nearby parking lot.
  • Turn on hazard lights: Use your hazard lights or set up flares to warn other motorists of the accident scene.
  • Check on others: If you’re not seriously injured, check on the well-being of others involved in the accident and call for help if needed.

Remembering your safety and the safety of those around you should always come first.

Step 2: Gather Information and Document the Scene

Once you’re safe, it’s time to gather information about the accident.

Here’s what you should collect:

  • Contact information: Exchange names, phone numbers, email addresses, and insurance details with the other parties involved in the accident.
  • Vehicle information: Write down the make, model, license plate number, and VIN of all vehicles involved.
  • Witness statements: Ask any witnesses for their names and contact information, as their testimony can support your case.
  • Photos and videos: Use your phone to take pictures and videos of the accident scene, vehicle damage, and visible injuries.
  • Accident details: Note the exact location, time, and date of the accident, as well as any relevant weather or road conditions.

Thorough documentation of the accident scene can help establish negligence and causation, strengthening your case when bringing personal injury action for your injuries and losses.

Step 3: Report the Accident to Law Enforcement

In West Virginia (​​West Virginia Code §17C-4), you must report an accident to the police if it involves injury, death, or property damage of at least $1,000. Even if the accident seems minor, contacting law enforcement is always a good idea.

When speaking with the police:

  • Provide a clear, honest account of what happened.
  • Avoid admitting fault or apologizing for the accident.
  • Request a copy of the police report for your records.

A police report is an official accident record and can be valuable when dealing with insurance companies or pursuing a motorcycle injury lawsuit.

Step 4: Notify Your Auto Insurance Company

Most motorcycle accident victims file insurance claims after a collision. It’s okay to provide insurers with crash information and documentation, but be cautious about discussing fault or the extent of your injuries.

Remember to:

  • Be honest with your insurer, but stick to the facts.
  • Avoid providing a recorded statement without consulting an attorney.
  • Don’t accept a settlement offer without understanding the full scope of your damages.

Our experienced personal injury lawyers can communicate with insurance companies on your behalf, ensuring that your rights are protected and that you don’t say anything that could harm your claim.

Step 5: Consult with a Motorcycle Accident Attorney

Working with a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer significantly affects motorcycle accident cases.

An attorney can:

  • Protect your rights and advocate for your best interests.
  • Gather evidence and build a strong case on your behalf.
  • Negotiate with insurance companies to pursue fair compensation.
  • Represent you in court if necessary.

When searching for a motorcycle accident attorney, look for someone with:

  • Experience handling motorcycle accident cases in West Virginia.
  • A track record of success in securing favorable settlements and verdicts.
  • Compassion and dedication to client service.

Most personal injury attorneys offer free initial consultations, allowing you to discuss your case and learn about your legal options without any upfront costs.

Step 6: Take Care of Your Post-Accident Physical and Emotional Well-being

Don’t forget about your physical and emotional health as your case moves through the system. Focusing on your recovery and caring for yourself is a top priority, too.

Here are some tips:

  • Follow your doctor’s advice and attend all follow-up appointments.
  • Keep a journal documenting your recovery process and any challenges you face.
  • Seek support from family, friends, or mental health professionals when needed.
  • Be patient with yourself and allow time for healing.

Remember that the recovery process can be lengthy, so be prepared to care for yourself throughout the journey.

If You Were Injured in a Motorcycle Wreck, Contact Miley Legal

Our personal injury team at Miley Legal has been helping injured West Virginia riders for years. We know the ins and outs of these complicated cases, from investigating what really happened to negotiating with the insurers to get you maximum compensation.

Why take on that stress when you don’t have to? Let us handle all the legal headaches so you can focus on recovering and getting your life back together. We’ll pour over the details of your case, explain your rights and options, and take it from there. Best part? Our services cost you nothing out of pocket.

If you or someone you love was injured in a motorcycle accident, just give us a call. We’re ready to be in your corner every step of the way to make sure you get the full amount you deserve. Your consultation is free, so you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by talking to us. Contact Miley Legal today.

Author Bio

Tim Miley is the Founder of Miley Legal Accident Injury Lawyers, a West Virginia personal injury law firm he formed in 2006. With more than 30 years of experience in personal injury law, he is dedicated to representing clients in a wide range of personal injury cases, including car accidents, trucking accidents, motorcycle accidents, brain injuries, wrongful death, and other personal injury matters.

Tim received his Juris Doctor from Duquesne University and is a member of the West Virginia State Bar and the Harrison County Bar Association. He has helped his clients win more than $10 million in personal injury verdicts and settlements and has further served the people of West Virginia by filling legislative roles in the state’s government since 2004.

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