In the last 2 posts, I discussed what a motorcyclist should/should not consider doing after a motorcycle accident and while they are being initially treated in an emergency room. In this post, I will discuss what a motorcyclist should/should not consider doing between the time they leave the hospital but before they contact a lawyer.
– Do not throw away any items of personal property that has been damaged, torn, stained, etc. As I mentioned in the previous 2 posts, it is easier to present a claim for damaged personal property to the insurance company when you can actually take photographs of the damaged property.
– Make a list of any personal property which you lost at the scene of the collision.
– Locate receipts, if you have them, for any items of damaged or lost personal property.
– Continue to photograph any injuries.
– If an insurance adjuster calls you, do not discuss the particulars of how the collision occurred or how you were injured. Just take down the insurance adjuster’s name, telephone number, and their claim number. It is always preferable to talk to a lawyer before discussing the particulars of the accident with an insurance company. I would especially recommend that you do not give the insurance adjuster a recorded statement until first speaking with a lawyer.
– Do not throw away any documentation that you receive from the hospital (e.g. out-of-work note, discharge instructions, summary of injuries, etc.).
If anyone is involved in an accident and they know that they want to talk to a lawyer, and then I would suggest calling a lawyer as soon as possible because issues with your case will quickly come up and you may be getting calls from the insurance company of the driver at fault, and possibly your own insurance company. During my initial phone call with a motorcyclist, we will talk about the particulars of the motorcyclist’s injury, how the damage to their motorcycle will be handled by the insurance company depending on whether the motorcycle is repairable or totaled, and how the insurance company will process any claim for the damaged personal property. In the future, I will have a blog post in which I will discuss in depth all the issues that I talk about with the motorcyclist during their initial phone call to me.
There are times, however, where I will hear from a motorcyclist that has been involved in an accident who may not need an attorney because they have not been injured or their injuries are very minor. Even in these situations please give me a call. The consultation is free, and I am happy to talk with the motorcyclist about issues that may arise with the insurance company and how best to handle those issues. I never mind giving out free advice to a motorcycle rider who thankfully does not need a lawyer to represent them. Keep in mind, however, that if your motorcycle is at a tow yard, then the tow yard is charging storage. If you do not plan on getting a lawyer to represent you, please remember not let too much time pass before notifying an insurance company, either your insurance company or the insurance company of the driver at fault. That way, an insurance company can begin the process of evaluating the damage sooner than later, and you lessen the chance for an insurance company to complain about the tow company bill for storage.
Gary Poole – North Carolina Motorcycle Accident Lawyer “On the Side of Those Who Ride”