Every year, Tennessee roads are subject to thousands of motorcycle accidents. According to the Tennessee Department of Safety, an average of 150 people are killed and 2,500 are seriously injured as a result of motorcycle collisions on an annual basis. Although this may not seem too alarming, the truth of the matter is that as motorcycling continues to grow in popularity, accident risks continue to grow as well.
Unfortunately, despite the rising dangers, many motorcyclists continue to ride without the knowledge and resources necessary to deal with the aftermath of a collision. The majority of experienced riders will know that medical care and treatment are the top priorities following an accident, but then what?
Avoiding a Blame-Game Loss
What you do immediately after and in the days following a motorcycle accident can make a huge difference in your ability to recover damages and other losses. Tennessee is a comparative negligence state. As a result, determining liability can be tricky if you don’t have the resources to defend yourself while proving the other party’s negligence. Personal injury claims can be challenging to pursue even at the best of times. However, tackling a claim where liability is in question, details conflict, and the defendant has a significantly more detailed recollection of the accident than you can be nearly impossible. Rather than receiving the compensation you deserve, if your case lacks evidence, the defendant can easily turn the tables and place the blame on you, regardless of your injuries. Consequently, to ensure your claim’s success, you must know exactly what to do (and not to do) to begin to build your case immediately after a collision.
- Contact police. No matter how severe an accident may appear, it is essential that you contact the police to get the accident on record. Although you may think your injuries are minor and that you and the other driver can work out the damages amicably, unforeseen complications can quickly turn a seemingly straightforward situation into a pack of lies and denials. Therefore, to avoid any miscommunication or deceptions, you must insist that all parties involved remain at the scene until the police arrive to take statements—exceptions obviously include when injuries are too severe to delay treatment. Police reports are vital to your case in that they provide an unbiased interpretation of events, as well as a complete record of statements that can be used in your case.
- Document EVERYTHING. If possible, make as many mental and physical notes about the accident as you can, while the incident is fresh in your mind. Topics to focus on include a timeline of what happened, how it happened, where and when it occurred, as well as road, traffic, and weather conditions. If your injuries required medical attention—even minor injuries should be examined to rule out internal damage—make sure to get a copy of the medical report for your records, including photos and images taken of the wounds.
- Layout liability. In many motorcycle accidents, the driver of the colliding vehicle is considered negligent. However, riders themselves, whether injured or not, aren’t always presumed 100% innocent. To prove liability and at-fault percentages, you must be able to show the presence of negligence, how that negligence directly resulted in the collision, and why your injuries deserve compensation. Detailed reports, driving records, witness statements, and traffic camera footage can all be used to help substantiate where the blame falls—that is, if you can get them.
- Secure experienced legal representation. Securing evidence, building a strong claim, and proving your need for compensation can be a tall order to fill on your own—especially when you’re trying to recover from your injuries. However, an experienced motorcycle accident attorney can ease the burden.
Attorney John Griffith and his associates can not only help you obtain evidence such as police reports and witness statements, but they can also provide insight into the claims process and insurance company’s tactics. Contact our legal team today via telephone, email, or live chat to schedule a FREE, no-obligation case review.