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Maximizing Your Compensation: Mistakes To Avoid After Getting Involved in a Motorcycle Wreck on I-10

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One moment, you’re cruising down the I-10 freeway, the wind in your hair; the next, you and your motorcycle have been slammed by an oncoming vehicle. As you slide across the unforgiving asphalt, you hope against all odds that you can walk away relatively unscathed. But when you finally come to a stop, the searing pain tells you that this is going to be anything but a minor incident.

Lying there on the side of the road, waiting for the ambulance to arrive, your mind floods with questions. How severely am I injured? Will I require surgery? How long will it take me to fully heal? How am I going to cover my medical bills and lost wages? 

It’s perfectly natural to feel overwhelmed. Motorcycle wrecks can not only leave you facing significant medical bills and injuries that take months to heal but also complex legal and insurance issues.

During this stressful and vulnerable time, it’s crucial to avoid common mistakes that could negatively impact the compensation you receive. Committing just one or two blunders could easily cost you tens of thousands of dollars for the motorcycle, medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages. Educate yourself now before speaking in depth with insurers or attorneys.

Failing to Seek Medical Attention Immediately

As you wait for emergency responders in the aftermath of your motorcycle crash, you’ll need to fight the temptation to downplay your injuries. Some riders wrongfully assume that since they were able to get up and walk around the accident scene with apparently minor damage, there’s no need to go to the hospital emergency room. But immediately after a collision, your body releases adrenaline and endorphins, which mask symptoms. An x-ray may catch a broken bone that you hadn’t noticed yet due to shock. Or the ache in your ribs that you attributed to bruising could actually indicate a serious internal injury.

Without getting checked out promptly by a doctor, you won’t know the true extent of what’s wrong. That could negatively impact your injury claim later. Insurers may argue that since you did not seek medical care quickly, you must not have been that badly hurt. 

Visiting the emergency room immediately following the accident also creates a documented record of your visit with notes about symptoms like pain or inability to move certain body parts. Those medical records will serve as key evidence to validate your injuries if you need to negotiate a settlement or go to court down the road.

So, no matter how good (or bad) you happen to feel after your motorcycle wreck, get yourself checked out pronto. Call 911 from the scene or ask another motorist to assist if you don’t think you can safely transport yourself to the nearest hospital. Time is of the essence.

Failing to Document the Accident Scene Thoroughly

In the commotion after getting involved in a motorcycle wreck on I-10, your first reaction will likely involve ensuring your own safety and health. But after emergency personnel arrive and have you en route to the hospital, try to have a trusted person document the accident scene ASAP. If at all possible, collect information that could become invaluable during insurance negotiations or litigation:

  • Photos of damage to vehicles, guardrails, sign posts, etc: Detailed images allow accident reconstruction experts to analyze scratch marks, dents, and other evidence to determine vehicles’ positions when they collided.
  • Photos proving the other motorist violated traffic laws: For example, snapping a pic of a car that crossed a double yellow line into your lane. Proving who was at fault impacts deciding who’s insurance pays.
  • Contact info for eyewitnesses: Statements from passengers, nearby drivers, or pedestrians often help establish a faster settlement since liability gets determined more easily.
  • Photos of oil spills and skid marks: Such images provide investigators clues about vehicles’ speeds before impact.

If you don’t know someone who can gather this on your behalf, try exchanging insurance and contact details with the other driver before they leave the scene. That way, your legal team can follow up about photos or eyewitness statements later if necessary. But don’t assume the police will document everything you need. Capture as much helpful information as possible immediately after the incident.

Waiting Too Long to Hire a Motorcycle Accident Attorney

You likely realize that locking down quality legal representation plays a pivotal role in recouping costs after a motorcycle collision. But crash victims often drag their feet before consulting qualified attorneys due to:

  • Hoping to settle directly with insurers fast and easy
  • Worrying about affording top lawyers

Unfortunately, neither concern makes sense in reality. First off, insurers don’t exactly incentivize fair, swift settlements on substantial injury claims. Second, most motorcycle accident lawyers work on contingency, meaning you don’t pay them hourly or upfront. They only collect if you receive a settlement. Generally, contingency fees range from 33% to 40% of your recovered damages. So waiting leaves money on the table compared to having an aggressive negotiator fighting for your best interests from day one.

Additionally, motorcycle wreck cases rely heavily on reconstruction experts who require prompt access to “fresh” accident scenes and vehicles before rain, construction crews, etc., alter them. Early attorney involvement also facilitates the rapid gathering of eyewitness statements and medical records essential to getting you maximum compensation down the road. It also reduces the risks of delays that may lead to your case being dismissed because of not being filed within the timeline specified by the provisions of the statutes of limitations governing motorcycle accident cases.

So, while lying in that hospital bed, start Googling highly rated local motorcycle accident attorneys rather than trying to tough it out solo against cagey claims adjusters armed with video surveillance, medical history checks, and more tricks up their sleeves. An elite lawyer levels the playing field from the outset.

Neglecting to Track All Expenses and Losses 

As an injured motorcyclist still reeling from the shock of a serious accident, tallying up parking receipts and mileage for medical appointments understandably falls low on your priority list. But scrupulously tracking every expense and loss related to your injuries actually plays a huge role in recovering costs.

Without diligently maintaining records, you get stuck guessing about compensation later. Hazy recollection fails during negotiations. So from day one, be religious about keeping proof of every crash-related outlay, including:

  • Medical bills (ambulance transport, ER, specialists, physical therapy, devices, prescriptions, etc.)
  • Mileage for medical visits and pharmacy trips
  • Parking costs during appointments or treatments
  • Home/vehicle modifications for mobility issues
  • Lost income due to missing work during recovery
  • Childcare costs incurred while rehabbing
  • Future costs of potential treatments

Store both physical and digital copies of receipts and statements together in a designated file. Also, use a template or notebook to log mileage, parking costs, lost wages, helpers’ pay, etc. This prevents underestimating losses later. Having concrete records encourages fair reimbursement since numbers don’t lie. Fuzzy estimates get lowballed. Detailed damage documentation nets you higher claim payouts.

Posting About the Incident on Social Media

Amid an extended recovery requiring multiple corrective surgeries, weeks of physical rehab, and more bills than you ever imagined, posting updates online likely offers a welcomed distraction. Venting frustration about negligent drivers or commiserating over injury struggles with friends surely feels cathartic. But before clicking “share” publicly, realize that many posts jeopardize injury claims.

Plaintiffs must prove losses like diminished quality of life and loss of enjoyment damages. So, uploads of your mountain bike adventures or dance party attendance could indicate you’re not actually debilitated. Images as simple as carrying heavy loads or hiking up steps can tank personal injury demands if such activity counters medical recommendations regarding weight restrictions, rest requirements, etc.

Additionally, general social media usage patterns matter, too. If your attorneys demand significant compensation related to traumatic stress or cognitive issues making work difficult, expect defense lawyers to pull posts illustrating sharp mental faculties like eloquent long-form writing. 

Ultimately, on all networks, even private accounts, refrain from non-essential posts about the motorcycle wreck, physical capabilities, health complaints, or anything remotely related to the incident or injuries. Video surveillance already follows many claimants. Why supply more ammunition? Silence truly proves golden for optimizing compensation.

Accepting an Early Settlement Offer

After months of exhausting doctor visits, missed work, dizzying medical bills, and long rehab sessions, you’ll likely crave closing this turbulent chapter. Insurance providers often capitalize on that impulse by extending early lowball settlement offers and banking on vulnerable bikers jumping at the bait for fast cash without considering long-term costs related to permanent impairment.

What initially seems like reasonable money may not even scratch the surface of covering eventual expenses, though. Serious injuries like spinal damage or traumatic brain injuries take longer to fully assess. Motorcycle accident victims tend to underestimate lifetime costs for necessary equipment, accessibility modifications, home healthcare, and reduced income from partial or full disability. Those factors together should determine settlement amounts, not hasty guesstimates.

Instead, decline early insurer offerings. Let your attorney negotiate top-dollar out-of-court legal settlements once medical experts establish clear prognoses. Patience pays substantially more over time. Premature settling forfeits funds needed later for ongoing medical care, early retirement from manual labor jobs, and finances lost fulfilling lifelong dreams now destroyed.

No one would fault needing quick cash to stay afloat. But carefully calculate future costs, investment returns, inflation, etc., before signing away rights to fair reimbursement down the road. Waiting strategically leads to exponentially higher claim compensation.

What Steps Will You Take?

As a motorcycle accident victim, you now possess insider knowledge about mistakes that potentially decimate injury compensation. 

So, what proactive steps will you take to safeguard your long-term financial future?

  • Seeking prompt emergency medical evaluation despite feeling no apparent symptoms ranks among the wisest self-protective moves. Detecting injuries early strengthens any negotiations or court proceedings later by cementing evidence in medical records should health issues emerge over time.
  • Additionally, designating either a trusted friend or your future attorney to photograph accident damage right away makes it easier to reconstruct the incident. Detailed images often impact the determination of fault percentages, which dictates who covers your losses.
  • Making contact with qualified motorcycle accident lawyers quickly also gives professionals a head start contacting witnesses, questioning at-fault drivers, photographing transitory scene evidence, etc. Consider top candidates now before paperwork gets buried under mounting medical invoices and hospital discharge instructions.
  • And, of course, diligently recording every expense related to your injuries, however trivial, prevents forgetting or omitting critical items during future negotiations. Maintain meticulous records both for validating reimbursement demands and calculating what lifetime costs your settlement must cover. Why estimate when concrete numbers strengthen your case?

While the circumstances still prove profoundly unfair and unfortunate, arming yourself with information puts the cards back in your hands to navigate this legal minefield successfully using wisdom as your compass. Stay focused on maximizing compensation owed to you, and don’t permit negligence or greed to prevail. Despite rollercoaster-like ups and downs, ultimately, justice through persistence shall emerge victorious.

Featured Photo by Harley-Davidson on Unsplash