They Were on Their Phone and Crashed into Me: Navigating Legal Steps After a Motorcycle Accident
“It was just another day on the road, the wind in my face, the freedom of the ride – every biker’s dream. But in a split second, everything changed. A driver, more focused on their phone than the road, veered into my lane and my ride came to an abrupt end. I ended up in the hospital while the other guy ended up with a wrecked car.”
As seasoned bikers and personal injury attorneys in Iowa and Minnesota, we’ve seen this scenario all too often. The good news is that we’re here to help you understand what to do to get on the road to recovery.
Here’s a guide to navigating the aftermath of a motorcycle accident caused by distracted driving, a situation no rider should face but must be prepared for.
Understand Iowa’s laws against distracted driving, which bans texting but allows phone calls for most drivers.
Collect evidence on-site and inform your insurance company.
Post-accident: Get medical attention, handle motorcycle repairs, consult an attorney, and keep comprehensive records.
Pursue prescribed treatments diligently.
Understanding Iowa’s Distracted Driving Laws
In Iowa, the law takes a tough stance against texting and electronic messaging while driving. However, there’s leniency for talking on the phone, except for younger drivers and certain license holders. Knowing these details is crucial, especially when you’re entangled in an accident with a phone-distracted driver.
First, ensure safety by stopping safely and keeping your gear on. This can protect against aggravating potential injuries. Contact emergency services without acknowledging fault, and gather evidence such as photos, details of all parties involved, and witness information.
Seek medical attention promptly to document your injuries. This is crucial for insurance and potential legal claims. Report the accident to your insurance and document repair costs. Considering the complexities of accidents involving distracted driving, consulting an attorney is vital for understanding your rights and potential compensation. Keep detailed records of your recovery and expenses.
If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of a motorcycle accident due to a distracted driver, remember that your immediate and subsequent actions are critical. For personalized legal guidance and representation in Iowa and Minnesota, contact The Biker Lawyers. As fellow bikers, we understand your struggles and possess the expertise to navigate these complex scenarios.
God, I love this time of year, don’t you? Look, we’re going to talk about how to deal with insurance adjusters after a crash in a second but let’s just take a moment to appreaciate how great it is to ride in Minnesota and Iowa in the fall.
Seriously, there’s nothing quite like the freedom of the open road, the wind in your face, the roar of your bike beneath you. The beauty of the changing colors of the trees as autumn sets in… there really isn’t anything like it.
Unfortunately, not all roads are smooth. When the unexpected happens, and you find yourself picking up the pieces after a motorcycle crash, all that freedom can feel like it’s been replaced with a mountain of stress and uncertainty. Suddenly, you’re thrust into a world of insurance claims, repair costs, and medical bills.
And as if that’s not enough, you’re now faced with the daunting task of dealing with an insurance adjuster. Sure, they might seem friendly, but remember, their job is to save their company money, not to make your life easier.
It’s a tough situation, especially here in the Midwest where most of us were raised being “Iowa (or Minnesota) Nice.” It can feel like it goes against our nature to not be as helpful as possible, especially in stressful situations. Yeah, it’s a tricky road, but with the right knowledge and guidance, you can navigate this challenging time and get back on the road where you belong (without accidentally screwing yourself over in the process).
So you’ve been in a crash?
It’s time for some straight-talking advice on how to handle insurance adjusters after a motorcycle accident.
Remember, no matter how friendly they may be, the insurance adjuster works for the insurance company, not for you. Their job is to settle your claim for as little as possible.
6 Essential Tips for Dealing with Insurance Adjusters After a Motorcycle Accident
1. Don’t Feel Pressured to Give a Statement
After an accident, you might get a call from the other party’s insurance adjuster. Remember, you’re not obliged to give a statement right away. You might still be rattled by the accident, and that’s not the best time to be giving details that could be used against you later. It’s okay to wait until you have a lawyer by your side.
2. Keep It Basic
If you do decide to talk to the insurance adjuster, stick to the basics. Be very accurate and “to the point” in answering questions. Answer their questions, but don’t offer any details beyond what they specifically ask you. Do not tell the adjuster the crash was your fault, even a percentage. Those details could be twisted and used against you when it comes to settling your claim.
3. Stick to the Facts
When you describe the accident, keep it factual. Don’t make assumptions or guesses. Do not make guesses about speed, distance, or time. Guesses of this nature are usually wrong, and can only hurt you. The more detail you give, the more chance there is for the adjuster to twist your words. Answer their questions truthfully, but don’t embellish or go into more detail than necessary.
4. Don’t Admit Fault
After a crash, it’s easy to say things that might imply you were at fault, especially if you’re confused or finding it hard to express yourself. If that’s the case, it’s best to wait until you’re feeling better before talking to an insurance adjuster. And of course, don’t admit fault for an accident you didn’t cause.
5. Track Your Expenses
Keep a record of all your expenses related to the accident, like medical bills, bike repairs, and lost wages. Provide copies of these documents to the insurance adjuster when they ask for them. These bills will need to be paid, either by you or the person who caused the accident, so make sure they’re part of any settlement.
6. Don’t Sign Anything Without Legal Advice
Do not agree to any settlement or sign any documents or agreements without talking to a lawyer first. Insurance adjusters might try to get you to sign away your right to sue or accept a settlement offer that’s less than you deserve. Now, let’s dive a bit deeper into the things you need to know.
Understanding Insurance Policies: Terms to Know
Navigating the world of insurance policies can be tricky, especially when you’re dealing with the aftermath of a motorcycle accident. Insurance companies use lingo every day that the average driver may not fully understand. They can (and often do) use this to their advantage, so let’s level the playing field.
Here’s a quick rundown of some key terms you’re sure to hear and what they really mean:
Actual Cash Value (ACV): This is the value of your property, based on the current cost to replace it minus depreciation. In the case of a total loss, the insurance company might pay out the ACV of your motorcycle.
Adjuster: An insurance adjuster is a representative of the insurance company who investigates and evaluates insurance claims to determine the extent of the insurance company’s liability.
Claim: A request made by the insured to the insurance company to cover an incurred loss. In the context of a motorcycle accident, this could be for damages to the motorcycle, medical expenses, or other costs related to the accident.
Coverage: The extent of protection provided by an insurance policy. Coverage can vary greatly from one policy to another, and it’s important to understand exactly what your policy covers.
Coverage Limits: This is the maximum amount your insurance company will pay for a covered loss.
Deductible: This is the amount you’ll need to pay out of pocket before your insurance coverage kicks in.
Exclusion: Certain conditions or circumstances for which the insurance company will not provide coverage. Exclusions are detailed in the insurance policy, and it’s important to be aware of them.
Liability: This refers to the legal responsibility for one’s actions or omissions. In an insurance context, liability insurance covers the policyholder’s legal liability in the event of damage or injury to another party.
Policyholder: The individual or entity who owns the insurance policy. This is the person who holds the contract with the insurance company and pays the premiums.
Premium: The amount of money that an individual or business pays for an insurance policy.
Replacement Cost: Unlike ACV, replacement cost coverage will pay the cost to repair or replace the damaged property with materials of similar kind and quality, without any deduction for depreciation.
Subrogation: This is a term often used in the insurance industry to refer to the right of the insurance company to recover the amount it has paid for a loss from the party that caused the loss.
Umbrella Coverage: This is a type of insurance coverage that goes beyond the limits of regular insurance policies, such as homeowners or auto insurance. It provides an additional layer of security to those who are at risk for being sued for damages to other people’s property or injuries caused to others in an accident. It also protects against libel, vandalism, slander, and invasion of privacy.
Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist Coverage: This type of insurance coverage protects you if you’re involved in an accident with a motorist who does not have sufficient insurance coverage or no insurance at all.
Understanding these terms can help you know what to expect when dealing with insurance companies after an accident.
Documenting the Accident: A Step-by-Step Guide
Proper documentation can make a world of difference when it comes to filing an insurance claim. Here’s what you need to do:
Step 1: Call the Police
The police are a vital part of the process as they gather information and help generate a timeline of events. Also, as soon as you can, write down everything you remember about the accident. This can be crucial evidence if there’s a dispute about what happened.
Step 2:Take Photos
Capture images (or video) of the accident scene, your motorcycle, and any injuries you sustained.
Step 3: Gather Information and Medical Records
Collect the other party’s contact and insurance information, and note down the details of the accident while they’re still fresh in your mind. Then in the following days, weeks, and months, keep track of (document) every doctor’s visit, physical therapy appointment, testing, or other medically related activity.
The Importance of Immediate Medical Attention
Photo Credits – Physio Inq Sutherland
Even if you feel fine after an accident, it’s crucial to seek medical attention immediately. Not only is this important for your health, but it also establishes a record of your injuries, which can be vital when you’re filing an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit.
If you’re unsure about how to handle the insurance adjuster or feel you’re not being treated fairly, consider hiring an attorney. An attorney can negotiate on your behalf and help you get the compensation you deserve.
Don’t navigate this process alone. If you’re dealing with an insurance claim after a motorcycle accident, contact The Biker Lawyers for a free, no-obligation case evaluation. We’re here to help you ride through this tough time. Call today or click here to get started.
Protecting Your Rights and Your Wallet: The Ultimate Guide After a Motorcycle Accident
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The following is based on a true story. Don’t make it yours. It was a crisp, clear morning as I zipped up my leather jacket and secured my helmet. I straddled my beloved motorcycle, my pride and joy, and felt a rush of adrenaline course through my veins. Today was perfect for the open road—a day to leave behind the stress of my daily life and seek solace in the wind.
My destination was the annual biker rally, an event I looked forward to every year. As I rode, the familiar hum of my engine lulled me into a meditative state. For a few hours, it was just me, the wind, and the open road.
Photo Credit – Viking Bags
Little did I know that today, my life would change forever.
As I approached an intersection, I saw the light turn green, and I eased on the throttle. Out of nowhere, a truck hurtled through the red light, directly into my path. Time seemed to stand still as I braced for impact, my life flashing before my eyes. The next thing I knew, I was lying on the ground, my motorcycle in ruins, and my body in immense pain.
In the months that followed, my life became a whirlwind of doctor’s appointments, physical therapy, and overwhelming medical bills. My once-strong body was now a shell of its former self, and I struggled to maintain my spirit.
Through sheer willpower, I found the strength to seek help.
We’ll come back to this rider’s story a bit later.
As you embark on the journey to find compensation and justice for yourself or a loved one after a motorcycle accident, let our comprehensive guide be your road map. We’ll walk you through the steps to protect your rights, deal with insurance companies, gather evidence, and work with a personal injury attorney.
Don’t miss out on the compensation you deserve. Read on and take control of your fight for justice.
The Importance of Knowing Your Rights After an Accident
Motorcycle accidents are traumatic events that can leave victims feeling overwhelmed and confused. It’s essential to understand your rights and how to protect your assets, especially when dealing with insurance companies.
General rights that motorcyclists have after a crash include:
Right to medical treatment: You have the right to receive prompt and appropriate medical care for your injuries.
Right to file a claim: You have the right to file an insurance claim with your insurer or the at-fault party’s insurance company.
Right to compensation: You are entitled to compensation for damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.
Right to legal representation: You have the right to seek legal counsel to help navigate the complex legal process and advocate for your best interests.
Right to refuse a quick settlement: You have the right to refuse a lowball settlement offer and pursue fair compensation through negotiation or litigation.
Insurance Companies: Necessary Evil in Personal Injury Cases
Insurance companies work to make a profit for their stockholders. They have no genuine concern for people who get injured in crashes other than to settle as cheaply as possible.
To maintain profit margins, they often look for ways to minimize the payouts on claims. While they may be a necessary part of the process, it’s crucial to be aware of their tactics and take steps to protect yourself.
This starts long before an accident by making sure you have enough of the right coverage (including UM/UIM insurance) to protect your assets.
5 Things to Do at the Accident Site (If Able)
Stay at the accident site and report injuries: Remaining at the scene of the accident is essential to avoid legal complications. By staying, you can provide accurate information to authorities and ensure that your account of the incident is on record.
Call emergency services, police, and medical professionals to create a medical record from the accident: Promptly calling for help establishes a crucial timeline of events. A medical record created at the scene provides valuable evidence to support your case and helps validate your injuries.
Take photos of the scene, the damage to your motorcycle, and gather insurance information from other parties and witnesses: Photographic evidence is indispensable when building a strong case. It allows you to document the severity of the accident and the extent of the damage. Additionally, collecting contact and insurance information from other parties involved and any eyewitnesses will help your attorney during the investigation and claim process.
As the saying goes, “If it’s not documented, it didn’t happen.” Keeping this in mind can help you navigate the complex process of motorcycle injury claims and secure the compensation you deserve.
Contact a motorcycle injury lawyer to help protect your rights and maximize compensation: An experienced personal injury lawyer understands the nuances of motorcycle accident cases and can help you navigate the complexities of the legal system. They will ensure that your rights are protected, and help you pursue the maximum compensation available.
Report the accident as soon as possible: Reporting the accident to your insurance company and relevant authorities promptly is vital. It helps establish a clear timeline and ensures that you comply with any legal requirements.
Don’ts in a Motorcycle Accident
There are a few things a rider can do to really screw up their case early on. Here are the top things to avoid after an accident.
Never admit fault, even if you think you might be partially responsible: Admitting fault at the accident scene can be used against you in your case. Leave the determination of fault to the professionals, as there may be factors you’re not aware of that contributed to the accident.
Don’t ignore injuries, even if they seem minor: Seek medical attention and follow your doctor’s advice. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent, and ignoring them could lead to complications later on. Documenting all injuries and following through with medical care also strengthens your case.
Avoid giving incomplete information regarding your lost income and employment history: When seeking compensation for lost wages, it’s essential to provide accurate and complete information about your income and employment history. Inaccurate or incomplete information may result in reduced compensation or damage to your credibility. Your attorney can help you gather and present this information in the best possible way.
Documenting Lost Income and Employment Records
Accurate documentation of lost income and employment records is essential in personal injury cases. Be sure to have
Tax returns from the past and present: Tax returns serve as an official record of your income history. They can help establish your earnings before the accident and provide a basis for calculating lost wages. Gather both your past and present tax returns to present a comprehensive view of your financial situation.
Pay stubs and other income documentation: Pay stubs and other income documents, such as direct deposit records or commission statements, offer further insight into your regular earnings. These documents can help verify your income, and when combined with tax returns, they paint a more detailed picture of your financial losses resulting from the accident. Collect pay stubs and any other relevant income documentation from the period before the accident up to the present.
Employment records, including hours you’ve worked, work missed, and pay: Detailed employment records help demonstrate the impact of the accident on your work life. Keep track of the hours you’ve worked before and after the accident, any time missed due to medical appointments or recovery, and any changes in your pay rate. These records can be instrumental in determining the total amount of lost income, as well as demonstrating the non-economic impact of the accident on your life, such as missed opportunities for promotions or career advancement.
Working with Your Employer and Personal Injury Attorney
Collaborate with your employer and attorney to gather the necessary documentation and build a strong case. Remember, a well-documented case can make all the difference in securing the compensation you deserve.
So, you’re probably wondering what ever happened to the rider in the story from earlier.
Through sheer willpower, He found the strength to seek help. This led him to call The Biker Lawyers, a personal injury law firm. He called us because we understand the complexities of motorcycle accidents and the immense challenges faced by victims. Together, we built a case that would not only cover his medical expenses but also compensate for his pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life.
It was a long, hard road, but with the support of our personal injury team, the rider eventually found justice. His story is a testament to the importance of knowing your rights and seeking help when you need it most.
Accidents can be overwhelming, but by following these steps and working with a personal injury attorney, you can protect your rights and secure the compensation you deserve. Don’t let insurance companies take advantage of you.