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Whether you are a brand-new rider or a seasoned motorcyclist in Connecticut, you may become the victim of a motorcycle accident. Drivers in Connecticut are often careless, inattentive and reckless. Dangerous motor vehicle drivers can cause motorcycle accidents even when the riders are doing everything right.
If you get involved in a motorcycle accident in Connecticut, take the following steps to ensure that your legal rights are protected. If you need assistance in the aftermath of a motorcycle collision, don’t hesitate to contact the New Haven motorcycle accident lawyers at Jacobs & Jacobs.
Your motorcycle will likely be disabled in a motor vehicle accident, giving you no choice but to stop at the scene. However, if you are still in control of your motorcycle, pull off to the side of the road as close to the scene of the accident as is safe. Fleeing the scene of an accident without stopping is a crime known as a hit-and-run in Connecticut, which is punishable with hefty fines and jail time.
Make sure you are in a safe location, out of the road and away from traffic. If possible, turn on your motorcycle’s hazard lights to warn others that a crash has occurred. Check yourself carefully for signs of injury. This may include pain, numbness, tingling, dizziness, swelling or bleeding. Bear in mind that the adrenaline from the motorcycle accident can mask pain.
Once you have checked yourself for injuries, ask to find out if anyone else involved in the accident has been harmed. If so, you have a legal duty to render aid or reasonable assistance. This could mean calling the police and requesting paramedics. In a vehicle-motorcycle collision, however, the motorcyclist is often the only one with serious injuries.
In Connecticut, the law requires all motor vehicle operators to report accidents within five days if they have resulted in more than $1,000 in property damage. However, it is always wise to notify the police after any type of motorcycle accident, major or minor. A police report can help with an insurance claim by providing important facts about the accident, including if the other driver was cited for violating a traffic law. When the police arrive, give them your side of the story and ask for your police report number. Do not admit fault for the motorcycle accident.
While you are still at the scene of the motorcycle crash, take photographs and record video footage. Capture images that document the most important details, including damage to your motorcycle, damage to the other vehicle and the crash scene as a whole. Look around to see if there are any nearby traffic or business surveillance cameras that might have caught the crash on tape.
If you have a GoPro on your bike or motorcycle helmet, you can also use this footage as evidence during your claim. Note that the police have the right to ask for your GoPro camera and memory card if they reasonably suspect that it contains evidence of a minor traffic offense. The police should never alter or delete your footage, however.
The last thing to do before you leave the scene of a motorcycle accident is to look around for any witnesses. If one or more parties watched the motorcycle accident take place, write down their names and contact information. You or your lawyer can collect signed statements from them later.
Motorcycle accidents can cause serious physical injuries, such as broken bones, road rash and traumatic brain injuries. Always go to a hospital immediately after a motorcycle accident in Connecticut. Do not answer questions or talk about your injuries until you’ve seen a doctor. Obey your doctor’s treatment plan and don’t miss any follow-up appointments. Most insurance companies require prompt medical care for coverage.
Prepare for the insurance claims process by obtaining as much information, records and documentation about your motorcycle accident as possible. This may include a copy of your police accident report, copies of your medical records, eyewitness statements and your own description of events. The insurance company will ask for basic facts, such as the time, date and location of the motorcycle accident. You may also want to keep an injury journal where you document how you feel daily as proof of pain and suffering.
Once you are ready, start the insurance process by contacting your own automobile insurance provider to report the crash. Your insurance carrier can direct you to the correct auto shop to have your property damage assessed. Then, your insurance company will either contact the other driver’s insurer on your behalf or you can file a claim yourself.
The at-fault driver is who should pay for your motorcycle accident in Connecticut under the state’s fault law. You must establish the driver’s negligence, however, to hold him or her liable for a crash. Many examples of driver errors can cause motorcycle accidents, including distracted driving, drunk driving and speeding.
Be careful not to accept a settlement, sign a release of liability waiver or sign any other paperwork sent to you by a car insurance company until you’ve spoken to an attorney. Insurance companies do not want what is best for you and may attempt to offer a lowball settlement or deny liability altogether.
During conversations with an insurance claims adjuster, do not admit fault and do not give your consent to the insurance company to record a statement. When asked questions about your motorcycle accident and injuries, keep your answers short or say that you don’t know. If you don’t want to deal with the claims adjuster on your own, you can hire a motorcycle accident lawyer in Connecticut to handle it for you.
An experienced attorney can negotiate with an insurance company for maximum financial compensation for your medical bills and property repairs after a motorcycle accident. If your case needs to go to trial for fair compensation, your lawyer can represent you before a judge and jury. Throughout every step of the recovery process, a motorcycle accident lawyer will be your advocate and guide. For more information, contact Jacobs & Jacobs for a free case consultation.