What to Do after a Motorcycle Accident
Being involved in a motorcycle accident is a terrifying, painful, and often sudden experience. These collisions may occur in a variety of settings, including four-way intersections, left turns, and lane changes. They often result from the carelessness of other drivers on the road, who may be intoxicated, distracted by cell phone use, speeding, failing to use turn signals, or disregarding traffic lights or yield signs, among other behaviors. Regardless of the type of crash, it is critical for a motorcycle rider to know how to handle the situation and ensure that he or she receives medical treatment while preserving evidence that may be useful in ultimately pursuing compensation from the at-fault driver. Knoxville motorcycle accident attorney Mark Hartsoe has provided dedicated and seasoned legal counsel to victims throughout Tennessee, and he can help you seek the compensation that you deserve for your injuries and losses.What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident
No matter the severity of the accident, the most important thing to address first is ensuring your health and safety. If you feel any pain in your neck or back, it is absolutely critical that you do not attempt to get up or move. Ask someone nearby to call an ambulance, and wait for the paramedics to arrive. If you are conscious and do not feel pain, remove yourself from oncoming traffic or from open roadways. If you see smoke coming from one of the vehicles involved in the accident, move away from it and stay clear. After you have relocated to a safe place, call the authorities and file an accident report. If the other party is in reasonably sound physical condition, obtain the following information from them:
- Name, address, and phone number;
- Driver’s license and plate number;
- Insurance company and policy number; and
- Make, model, year, and color of his or her vehicle.
Next, take a moment to record your recollection of the accident, including the time leading up to it and what you think may have happened before, during, and afterward. Specific things to consider include the time of day, traffic, weather, location, and potential witnesses. Keep copies of any documents, notes, photos, or other items that may be used as evidence in your claim. An insurance company may be eager to speak with you, but refrain from doing so until you consult an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer.Bring a Negligence Claim to Pursue Compensation
If you wish to pursue compensation for your injuries, you can bring a negligence claim against the at-fault driver. Under Tennessee law, a plaintiff must prove four elements in a negligence claim: duty, breach, causation, and damages. Duty embodies the standard of due care, which requires each of us to act with the same ordinary skill and care that a prudent and reasonable person would use in a similar situation.
When a motorcycle accident victim is trying to hold a careless driver accountable, there are a number of Tennessee statutes governing the operation of motor vehicles that may apply. TCA 55-8-152 imposes penalties for speeding, while TCA 55-10-205 prohibits reckless driving. Additionally, TCA 55-10-401 makes it unlawful for motorists to drive with a blood alcohol level above the legal limit. In instances when the defendant violated a traffic law at the time of the accident, the plaintiff can invoke a rebuttable presumption that the defendant was negligent, based on the negligence per se doctrine.
The causation element requires a showing that the plaintiff would not have been hurt but for the defendant’s negligence. Finally, the last element of damages involves providing evidence that supports the amount of compensation that the plaintiff is claiming in the lawsuit, possibly including medical bills, missed wages, property damage, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life.
In some unfortunate instances, motorcycle accidents may result in a tragic loss of life. Under TCA 20-5-106, the victim’s surviving heirs can bring a wrongful death claim to pursue compensation for the loss of their loved one.Contact a Dedicated Motorcycle Accident Attorney in Knoxville
If you or someone you love has been struck by a careless driver, experienced Knoxville motorcycle accident lawyer Mark Hartsoe can help. He understands what you and your family are going through and can guide you through every step of the legal process. We offer a free consultation to help you learn about the options and remedies available to you. Call motor vehicle collision lawyer Mark Hartsoe at 1-865-524-5657 or contact us online to set up your appointment.