As someone who enjoys riding my bike in my off time, I can tell you that I am always on the alert for potential danger. In order to stay safe, all bikers need to be. After all, motorcycles are the smallest vehicles on the road, and there is nothing between you and another bike or car or truck except the safety clothing you wear. Let’s face it, other than pedestrians and bicyclers, bikers are the most vulnerable out there. We always have to be expecting the unexpected. It really can be a matter of life or death.
Regardless of how much we do to stay safe, though, bikers do not have any buffers. Plus, motorcycles, in their very construction, are not nearly as stable as motor vehicles, which makes even a sharp turn to avoid an obstacle in the road a big risk for us. Even when you’re doing everything right and have all the right equipment, a bigger, bulkier vehicle still can hit you, and knock you off the road or worse.
There Is a Stigma
A lot of people have their own preconceptions of bikers, and some of those are negative. In particular, insurance carriers oftentimes assume that whatever the accident, it must be the fault of the biker. They will look for reasons to blame you, so don’t give them any. Make sure that before you get on that motorcycle, you are wearing your helmet
and protective gear, and that you’ve done a check of your bike to make sure everything works properly.
Not only will these precautions help to keep you safe, but they also will help defend you against insurance carrier accusations in case of an accident, such as “Well, you were not wearing your protective helmet,” or, “The tires were worn out,” or “The brakes needed adjustment.” All of these accusations, of course, are meant to shift the responsibility of the accident on to you to avoid paying you possibly high compensation.
You’re Hit, So Now What?
Should you ever be injured in a motorcycle accident, the first thing to do, if you are able, is to call 911. And, if possible, use your cell phone to take photographs of the scene of the accident. To the extent that you can, try to get contact information from any witnesses. When the ambulance arrives, get in whether you think you’re injured or not. Remember that you might feel perfectly normal, but certain injuries, such as brain trauma, have no symptoms at the outset. The best place to be after a motorcycle accident is a hospital, where doctors can examine you and perform diagnostic tests to detect any hidden injuries.
If you have been seriously injured, you then have a responsibility to yourself to seek appropriate medical care, and that begins in the Emergency Room. First, be absolutely honest about how you’re feeling. Do not embellish your discomfort, but do not minimize it, either. Remember, the doctor(s) need your input both for diagnosing your condition and for prescribing treatment.
Once you’ve been given a diagnosis, you then have an obligation to yourself to follow through on prescribed medical treatment, immediately following your injury and days, weeks and even months afterwards. That means if the doctor in the ER gives you treatment instructions, you need to follow them. If you are advised to seek a follow-up visit with your own doctor, do so as soon as is possible. Then, of course, your own doctor may give you treatment options. He or she may refer you to another specialist for such problems as pain management, rehabilitation or even surgery.
I cannot stress this enough – if your own physicians recommend continuing treatment, both for the sake of your health and for the sake of any personal injury claim you may have, it is essential that you follow their advice.
Consider this: if you have a personal injury claim and you cease all medical treatment, the insurance carrier’s attorney can make the case that you are not that seriously injured, or that you no longer suffer from your injury. That means, you lose.