What Should I Do After a Motorcycle Accident?
After a motorcycle crash, your health and well-being should be your most important concern. That means you should seek medical attention immediately, even if you aren’t sure you have sustained injuries. Some injuries are not readily apparent, and others are masked by adrenaline. It’s vital that you undergo an examination by a physician who knows what to look for and can diagnose injuries and prescribe treatment. An undiagnosed injury or delayed diagnosis can result in an injury that never heals properly.
Here are four other steps you should take:
- Try to get the driver’s contact and insurance information at the scene, as well as contact information for any witnesses. That information should also be included in law enforcement’s crash report, so obtain a copy as soon as it is available. Additionally, you should obtain copies of your medical records and bills for treatment of your crash-related injuries. If your loved one died, keep copies of bills related to funeral and burial expenses.
- Write down your recollection of events leading to and during the crash while they are fresh in your mind.
- Contact your insurance company and put the other driver’s insurance company on notice of your intention to pursue a third-party liability claim.
- Hire a personal injury attorney who can guide you through every step of the claims or litigation process while you focus on your recovery from your injuries or on your grief for the loss of a loved one.
What Oklahoma Laws Pertain to Motorcycles?
Motorcycles must observe all the rules of the road; however, there are some laws that apply specifically to them. For example, lane splitting, driving between lanes of traffic or vehicles, is illegal in Oklahoma. If you were violating any laws or regulations at the time of the accident, the driver’s insurance company will attempt to deny your claim or assign enough fault to you to reduce its value. Pertinent laws include:
- Operators must have a special motorcycle license.
- The state’s helmet laws require riders under age 18 to wear an approved helmet.
- All riders of motorcycles without windshields must wear approved goggles or face shields.
- Passengers can only be carried on motorcycles with 12-inch or greater diameter wheels with a passenger seat and footrests, and only if the operator is age 16 or older.
- Motorcycles must also have required lights, reflectors, and other safety equipment during operation.
How Do You Prove Who Was at Fault?
The burden is on you, as the plaintiff in a personal injury or wrongful death claim, to prove that someone else was 50% or more at fault for the crash. Fault is based on negligence, which asserts that the driver did—or failed to do—something that caused the accident.
To establish negligence, you must prove that the driver owed a duty of care to your or your loved one, the driver failed their duty, and as a result, you sustained injuries—or a loved one was injured or killed—which caused you to incur damages.
Because Oklahoma uses a comparative negligence rule, you can be 49% at fault or less and still be able to assert a claim against a more negligent party. However, any settlement or jury award will be reduced by the percentage of negligence assigned to you or your loved one. If, for example, the settlement is $100,000 and you are 40% at fault, you would receive $60,000.
Hiring the right motorcycle accident lawyer will help you prove negligence and defend negligence assigned to you.
Can I File a Claim for a Loved One?
If your loved one has been incapacitated by injuries or died as the result of the crash, you can still pursue a personal injury or wrongful death claim. The court will appoint someone, usually a family member, to file an injury claim.
If the victim would have been able to file a personal injury claim had they not died, the personal representative of their estate may file a wrongful death claim. If the decedent had no will or other instrument naming a personal representative, the court will appoint one.