What Should You Do After a Motorcycle Accident in Illinois?
If you or a loved one is involved in a motorcycle accident in Illinois, you likely have questions
about what your next steps should be. With more than a third of all motorcycle accidents involving uninsured drivers, it’s vital to know how to protect yourself and your property.
Motorcycle accidents in Illinois can be far more severe for obvious reasons. While motorcycles can travel at similar speeds of cars and trucks, the driver doesn’t have the additional benefit of the protection (and anti-injury features like airbags) of the car itself. As such, in 2020 alone, over 5,500 motorcyclists were killed, while motorcycles represent only 3% of all registered vehicles.
If you have injuries or your bike was damaged, it’s important to know if you deserve compensation, and how to go about getting it.
A Preemptive Checklist for Motorcycle Accidents in Illinois
When you regularly ride motorcycles, it’s always a good idea to be prepared for what to do after an accident. The state’s current statutes do not require motorcycle riders to wear helmets. Due to this Illinois motorcycle helmet law, it’s more likely that a rider will suffer a head injury in a serious accident. (Please note: Despite helmets not being required in Illinois, you could be entitled for compensation after a head injury if you can prove that the accident wasn’t your fault.)
ONE: Injured? Call 911
If you’re at all worried that you or another driver was injured, call 911. Head injuries can be invisible, and it’s not always apparent when a motorcyclist or driver has suffered a head trauma.
TWO: Exchange Driver’s License and Insurance Information
Make sure to exchange all relevant information like driver’s license numbers, insurance information, and license plate details with the other driver.
THREE: Get Contact Information From Witnesses
The moment another driver stops to offer help or speak to motorists and motorcyclists in an accident, they immediately become potential witnesses. Ask them for their contact details, especially name and phone number.
FOUR: Take Photos
Photos are critically important in establishing both fault and the severity of a motorcycle accident in Illinois. If your phone is damaged in the crash, ask a witness to take photos on your behalf. Like potential witness statements, those photos might become invaluable evidence in validating and documenting the nature and scope of the motorcycle accident.
FIVE: Call Your Insurance Company Immediately
Since many motorcycle accidents in Illinois involve uninsured or underinsured drivers, contacting your insurance company right away ensures that you receive the medical and reimbursement benefits covered by your provider.
How to Avoid Admitting Fault in a Motorcycle Accident in Illinois
It’s generally advisable to avoid admitting fault to a motorcycle accident, even when you suspect you might have caused the accident. (If you admit even partial responsibility for an accident you could end up harming your claim.
Accidents are often due to numerous circumstances which are addressed by Illinois’ comparative negligence statutes. Comparative negligence includes the blend of factors that could have led to an accident. If you admit to a part of any accident, it could end up reducing the compensation due to you by as much as 50 percent.
When you’re involved in a motorcycle accident (this applies to Illinois and anywhere else), you’re not required to give any statements to anyone (even if you believe you’re not at fault). The more statements you make to the other driver or law enforcement, the more those statements may be used against you.
If law enforcement arrives on the scene, you can be polite, interactive, and answer questions as succinctly as possible. Any driver may advise a police officer they’d rather not answer any questions without counsel present.
Keep a Detailed Record of Your Motorcycle Accident
As soon as you are physically capable of writing down details surrounding the crash, it’s a good idea to do so while the specifics are still fresh in your mind. (In Illinois, you have 10 days to file a police report for an auto or motorcycle accident.) Those details are very important for your insurance company as well as any counsel you may retain down the line. A detail like the weather (Was it raining? Sunny? Snowing?) could help show who is at fault when dealing with a negligent or reckless driver.
Keep your notes current, especially if you:
- Incur medical expenses related to the motorcycle accident
- Experience a loss of income due to the accident
- Have to pay for ongoing medical treatments (physical therapy, medication, surgeries)
- Have non-economic damages to report (pain and suffering, depression, anxiety, other similar life-disrupting events)
Retain and store all receipts, charges, insurance statements, and other bills related to the accident itself. The smallest charges add up. Try recording them in a spreadsheet with corresponding documents to have a running total available the second you need it.
Such records include:
- Explanation of benefits (EOB) from your medical insurance carrier after you seek treatment
- Repair bills related to the vehicle or motorcycle itself
- Written correspondence from your motorcycle insurance provider
- Payments for therapies (physical therapists, imaging, chiropractic, medication, mental health)
You could be entitled to recouping those costs that aren’t covered by your insurance company. It’s why it’s also advised to speak with an experienced Illinois-based motorcycle injury attorney as soon as possible.
Before You Sign: Review a Potential Settlement with an Experienced Illinois Personal Injury Attorney
Before you agree to a settlement amount, especially if there’s an injury involved, it’s generally wise to review your case with a personal injury firm in Illinois that’s familiar with how to settle a motorcycle accident case.
Many firms offer free consultations and will review your case without charge. Speaking with an attorney can also put your mind at rest, allowing you to focus on healing and getting on with your life.
To speak with a member of our team, contact us today and to schedule a free case review and discuss the details of your motorcycle accident in Illinois.