Accidents are life shattering. Accidents are tremendous setback. Accidents can also impair you for life. In such a scenario the rule of thumb is to ride cautiously and in a disciplined manner. However, you have no control on other drivers. While a car is typically built around solid steel frame and boasts safety features such as air bags, collision warning and ABS, a bike is exposed from the sides, compromising the safety of the machine and the rider.
God forbid if you experience an accident, whether major or minor. In case a mishap actually takes place while riding a motorcycle, follow the below mentioned guidelines to reduce your physical pain and financial burden. These are typically related to motorcycle accident insurance claim.
1. Picture Perfect
It is natural for any bike accident victim to lose senses for the first few minutes. However, once you gather your wits put yourself into action. A mobile phone is become an essential device these days, so make the best use of it and click as many pictures as possible, especially those which show the intensity of damage to your bike. If need be video shoot the entire scene so that is becomes crystal clear the way the accident occurred and who was at fault. This will help prevent the other driver from making false and unwarranted claims.
You can expect the other driver to do the same. Make sure he/she doesn’t shift and manipulate the vehicle’s position in any way. This could go against your statement. Once you are done with the preliminary routine, call the police if they haven’t already reached the accident spot.
2. Call the Police
Narrate the incident to the officer, clarifying your stand and your innocence. If witnesses are still around, introduce them and let the police officer cross question. This is necessary as the said officer has to write a report based on several elements. If another vehicle is involved you need to demand the insurance policy number from the owner, his/her telephone number etc. Provide the relevant details to the police.
3. Check the Police and Adjusters Report
A word of caution; don’t simply pocket the report without reading the content. A single negative remark, which states that you were equally responsible for the accident, might later put you in a spot of bother. Although you might get paid for the damages your future premiums may shoot up resulting in unnecessary expenditure.
Therefore it is advisable to read such reports while they are being made and fight for it on the spot.
4. Intimate Your Insurance Company
Make sure when your insurance agent arrives you do not succumb to his/her pressure tactics. Insurance company person generally tries to find fault with the claimant’s explanation and point of view. Stick to your story. Secondly, chances are the entire conversation might be recorded. Therefore it is important you do not offer the company person even the slightest doubt or leverage.
Once the questioning is done hand over the insurance copy, photographs and other documents. If you have the insurance copy of the other vehicle, share the same along with the contact details. Remember statements made at accident spot can be used against you later.
5. Medical Help
Now this could be crucial. If the injury is serious you may not be in the position to perform any of the above tasks. However, what you can do is to head back to the accident spot later and accomplish the same. It is pertinent that you or one of your family members visits the site and performs the above chores as it will strengthen your case against the insurance company.
6. The Claim Agent
The claim agent investigates the case and recommends an effective settlement. Typically the company might try to undervalue the damage. They might also bring in their own mechanic to access the extent of damage to the bike. Either way, make sure you get the right “claim” amount. You can always call your own mechanic, and get the adjuster’s report scrutinized. In case the company has refused certain claim or undervalued the cost of the parts you can fight for the same.
The company may also write off your motorcycle completely in case the value of the repairs exceeds the cost of the bike. In such a scenario you will be handed a lump sum amount. Of course, the salvage money goes to the insurance company. This brings us to the next important question; hiring an accident lawyer.
Filing a motorcycle claim is important in case your insurance company has been unfair and unkind. In such a situation you need not accept any payment because if you do, and deposit the same in your account you typically forfeit all your future claims which also include permanent or prolonged personal injury damages. An insurance adjuster will cajole and coerce you to settle the claim and accept the company’s handout. Do not feel obliged to say yes and sign the dotted line. The best thing to do is to call up your attorney, give him/her the details and let the said entity look after your needs.
The temptation to negotiate a deal with the irking driver, the one responsible for the accident might appear tempting. However, it can have repercussions. It has been observed many times that motorcycle riders typically agree to a mutual understanding, avoiding police and insurance companies’ altogether. Some even go a step further and claim insurance too.
Such a strategy may backfire in case the insurance company comes to know of your trickery. Yet another disadvantage with this kind of private pact is your insurance company, who may reject your claim in case the repair charges surpass the amount received from the other driver. The said insurance company can also claim a part of the settlement amount.
The final settlement will depend on the way your accident lawyer handles the case. Either way, make sure you come out of the accident trauma without physical or financial scars. In case you decide to fight against the insurance company on your own you need to accumulate as many documents, proof and witnesses as possible.
As mentioned above, police report plays a crucial role, so make sure it favours you. Yet another factor which makes or breaks a case is your own statement. Do not buckle under pressure and sign some vague document or written paper as this may later turn out to be your nemesis.