Our Top Ten Tips of Things to Do After a Motorcycle Accident?
Unfortunately, the odds are that if you are a keen motorcyclist, you will at some time or another be involved in a motorcycle accident. A great many motorbike accidents are caused by reasons beyond the control of the rider. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you will suffer a horrendous crash, as most accidents are fairly minor in nature, often resulting in no injuries at all.
However, regardless of how serious an accident is, you need to know how to deal with the aftermath. From ensuring you are safe and getting the medical treatment you need, to preparing to take legal action such as making a compensation claim. This page is aimed at providing you advice on what to do post-crash. Some advice on what to do, and how to do it.
- What Should You Do Following a Motorbike Accident?
- The Main Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
- What Kinds of Injuries Are Common in Motorcycle Accidents?
- Motorcycle Accident Statistics
- 10 Tips of Things to Do After the Accident
- Who Could be Liable for a Motorbike Accident?
- Do You Need to Make a Claim?
- Motorcycle Accidents – Some Final Thoughts
- Further Information
What Should You Do Following a Motorbike Accident?
Being involved in a motorcycle accident either as a rider or a pillion passenger, is a traumatic event. Even a minor accident is a stressful experience. Meaning you might not be thinking straight at the time, and may not handle the accident in the right way. Alongside getting medical help for any injuries, you have certain legal obligations to fulfil after an accident. You may also need to prepare for making some form of compensation claim further down the line. For example, if you were to be involved in a fatal motorcycle accident today whereby your pillion passenger died, do you know what steps you have to take after the crash? This page will tell you, we will cover the following:
- What some of the main causes of motorcycle accidents are, and hazards that motorcyclist are particularly prone to, etc.
- The types of injuries that a motorcyclist might suffer in an accident, which are generally going to be more severe than, for example, a car or van driver might suffer.
- Some of the key statistics that relate to motorbike accidents in the UK.
- A list of 10 things that you should do following a motorbike accident. To ensure you are safe, that you have disbursed your legal obligations, and ensured you are in a position to claim compensation if applicable.
- A discussion of the kinds of legal entities that could be liable for causing a motorcycle accident, and could possibly be sued for damages.
- Some general advice on finding a solicitor and moving forward with an accident and injury claim if applicable.
- The last section of this guide has some useful external links that could have further information that could be pertinent.
Obviously, we can’t provide answers to every question you may have on this page. But we believe we have given some solid advice on how to manage a motorbike accident both directly after the accident has happened, and also in the future if legal action is taken against you, or you wish to try and make a compensation claim yourself.
The Main Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) published a report on common motorcycle crash causes in 2017. According to this report, the most common causes or motorbike crash in the UK, are:
- Collisions at a junction – often caused by other road users not seeing the motorcyclist and pulling out in front of them.
- Collisions whilst overtaking – one of the advantages of riding a motorcycle is that you can pile on the power and nip past slow-moving traffic, even on single carriage roads. So, it should come as no surprise to find collisions with oncoming traffic on this list.
- Loss of control – due to being an inexperienced rider, bad road conditions, extreme weather conditions, etc.
- Speeding – once again, no surprise to see speeding on this list. Many keen motorcyclists ride powerful sports bikes that can hit the legal motorway speed limit within 3 or 4 seconds.
- Alcohol – as with any form of vehicle, riding a motorbike while under the influence alcohol (or drugs) is a recipe for disaster.
What Kinds of Injuries Are Common in Motorcycle Accidents?
In this section, we look at some of the most common motorcycle accident injuries. Even if a rider is wearing a full-face helmet, reinforce leggings and jacket, as well as proper motorcycle boots, they are still far more likely to suffer serious injuries in a crash than any other type of road user. Some common types of injuries could include:
- Motorcycle accident head injuries – even when wearing an approved safety helmet, motorcyclists are at a high risk of suffering grievous head injuries and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
- Damage to the spine – especially in accidents where the motorcyclist collided with oncoming traffic or was run over by another vehicle.
- General fractures – most common of the arms, legs, shoulders or neck.
- A motorcycle accident foot injury – such as a sprain or strain due to the foot getting caught on the footpegs during the crash.
- Fatal trauma – more motorcyclists are killed on UK roads every year than any other kind of road user.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics
In 2015, the Department of Transport (DoT) undertook a study into motorcycle accidents. These motorcycle accident statistics were published in the findings of this study:
- 94% of all motorbike crashes involve males.
- 68% of all motorcycle crashes take place on rural roads.
- 33% of all motorbike accidents involve people under the age of 25.
- 41% of all motorbike crashes involving a bike of more than 500cc involved riders between the ages for 41 and 55.
- 46% of accidents involving a motorcycle and a car were caused by the car driver not paying due care and attention.
10 Tips of Things to Do After a Motorbike Accident
If you were to be involved in a crash, for example, a motorcycle accident in Oxfordshire, there are a number of things you should do, either to deal with the accident at the time it took place, or to ensure you have followed your legal obligations after an accident. There are also some sensible steps to take to cover yourself legally, if you think you might need to make a compensation claim in the future. The sections below, each cover on of the top 10 things to do after a motorcycle crash.
1. Ensure Everyone Is Safe and Call for Help If Needed
If you can, move your motorcycle over to the side of the road, and help other drivers to move their vehicles to the verge as well. Make sure that everyone is in a safe place and not at risk of further injury. However, people in a serious medical condition should not be moved. If you can, use warning or hazard signs in appropriate places to warm that an accident has taken place.
2. Notify the Police If Applicable
In some cases, you must inform the police that an accident has taken place. If any person has suffered harm, there has been damage to private property, you suspect another road user to be intoxicated, or an animal has been killed, you must call the police. However, consider calling the police even if you are not required to do so. This will mean that a motorcycle accident report is available from the police in the future, if you need it as evidence to support a compensation claim.
2. Gather Driver Details and Evidence
You must exchange your driver information with any other road user involved in the accident. This means your name and address, the details of your insurance, etc.
You may also like to gather evidence that you might need in the future, to prove how the accident happened and who was responsible. You could take photographs of the scene or the cause of the accident if it is safe to do so. You should also ask any witnesses to the accident for their contact details, in case you need them to provide testimony in the future.
4. Get Medical Treatment
Even if you think your injuries are only minor, you should visit the hospital to have your motorcycle injuries treated. You could be suffering from far more serious injuries than you think. A good example of this, and a common injury suffered by motorcyclists, is a concussion. You may not realise you have a concussion; a doctor will.
A tertiary reason for visiting the hospital, is so that there is an official record of your injuries and the cause of them. This could be valuable evidence if you need to make a compensation claim at a later date.
5. Inform Your Insurer
In some cases, you are legally obliged to notify the company that provides your vehicle insurance that you have had an accident. However, best practice would dictate that you inform them any time you are involved in a crash. This is so that they have a record of the accident taking place, and the cause, in case there is any contention over how the accident occurred at a later stage.
6. Find A Solicitor
If you have had a bike crash, from the most minor incident to a fatal motorcycle accident that killed your pillion passenger, you may want to speak to a solicitor. For two reasons. Firstly, if you believe that you could be liable for the accident, and a third party might try to sue you. Secondly, the opposite, when a third party caused the accident and you believe that you could be eligible for compensation. A solicitor can help in both circumstances.
7. Be Truthful
When you are reporting the accident to the police, your insurer, or explaining your situation to a solicitor, always be truthful. The law in the UK is fully capable of handling accidents for which the victim was themselves partly to blame, in a fair manner.
Never exaggerate your financial losses or the physical harm you have suffered, you will be found out if you end up in court, as evidence will be presented by both sides to prove or disprove a claim.
Certainly, don’t attempt to fool your insurance firm into paying out more money than they should, by inflating the cost of repairs to your bike due to damage sustained in the accident. If the insurer suspects this is happening, they will send an independent evaluator to check the bike over and you will be found out.
8. Don’t Sign Anything
It is possible that the insurance firm used by a third party involved in the accident will send you a letter. This letter could offer you free legal representation to handle a compensation claim, etc. However, you will be asked to sign documents that could harm your ability to make a claim for damages, or limit the level of damages you can receive. Don’t sign anything without having a lawyer check the document over first.
9. Think Before Accepting an Out of Court Settlement
A vehicle insurer my offer you an out of court settlement very shortly after the accident. Before you have even recovered, or know what the prognosis is for a full recovery. This settlement will not have taken your motorcycle crash injuries into consideration, and is very likely to be less than you would receive if you proceed with a proper claim.
10. Be Patient
If you do decide to make a compensation claim for the harm and financial loss you have suffered in a motorbike accident, you need to understand that the entire process can take some time. In complex cases, even years.
A claim is a two-sided negotiation. Your solicitor may be on the ball, working efficiently and end up waiting for the defendant’s legal team for a response. This could happen multiple times during the process of making a compensation claim.
Who Could be Liable for a Motorbike Accident?
If you are involved in a motorbike accident, as a rider or a pillion passenger, there could be legal ramifications. The accident could be your fault, meaning a claim may be made against your insurance policy by a third party. Or you may want to make a motorcycle accident claim yourself, claiming against a third party. So, let’s take a look at which legal entities could be liable for a motorcycle crash, including yourself.
- You, the rider – if you did anything that caused a road hazard which resulted in the accident, or contributed towards the accident in some way, then you yourself could be liable.
- Your pillion passenger – if they did anything that caused a road hazard which resulted in the accident, or contributed towards the accident in some way, then your pillion passenger could be liable, and also you the rider in some cases.
- Another driver or their passenger – if the driver of a car, lorry, can, bus, or any other vehicle, or one of their passengers, does anything to cause or to contribute to an accident, they could be liable.
- A pedestrian – any pedestrian using a public footpath, or a public road, that causes or contributes to a road traffic accident could be liable.
- The owner of an animal – such as a pet dog that has escaped its lead, or a farm animal that has strayed on to public roads, causes or contributes to a traffic accident could be liable.
- A privately-owned company – if the actions of the company cause a hazard which causes or contributes to an accident, the company could be liable. For example, a rubbish slip placed in an inappropriate place causes an accident.
- A government body – such as the local council or the highways authority causing or contributing to an accident, the organisation could be liable. For example, local authority failing to fix a pothole, or the highways authority allowing a safety barrier to go unmaintained.
Do You Need to Make a Claim?
In some cases, if you have become the victim of physical harm or some level of financial loss, for example, you may be able to make a motorcycle accident claim. You don’t automatically have the right to make a claim, you will need to fulfil the eligibility criteria first, and this is something that an accident and injury solicitor will be able to help you with.
One thing to consider if you do need to make a claim, is how are you going to procure the legal help you need? Are you going to approach a solicitor off your own back? Or are you going to use a claims management firm to act as an intermediary? Both have their benefits, but using a claims management company is generally a simpler option.
A further consideration is how are you going to fund your claim? Will you pay your solicitors fees and legal fees as you go, out of your own pocket? This can put you at risk of significant financial loss. Often a better alternative is to use the services of a No Win, No Fee solicitor. By using this kind of service, you minimise many of the financial risks of making a claim, as you don’t pay the solicitors fees until your claim gas been one.
Motorcycle Accidents – Some Final Thoughts
If you have read this far, you have probably come to realise that aside from the pain and trauma of being involved in a motorbike accident, the post-accident landscape can be very complex, depending on the circumstances of your accident, and what you are hoping to achieve.
If you suffer no injuries, and no damage to your bike, you really only need to ensure that you cover your legal obligations (such as reporting the accident to the police). However, if you did suffer harm or damage to your bike, you need to approach things with a little more care. The actions you take immediately after your accident can have a major effect on your legal position further down the line. Whether you want to make a claim yourself, or you are being blamed for an accident that wasn’t your fault and a third party is attempting to make a fraudulent claim.
If you are in any doubt about what your next actions should be, you should consider taking legal advice. If you don’t want to take things that far initially, then you could try speaking to your local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB).
We have provided these external links to web pages that contain additional information that could be of use to you: