Get to safety
Getting out of the traffic flow is the riders' most important step after an accident. Remember to leave the bike behind (for now). Checking on its condition or damage puts the rider at risk of getting hit by oncoming traffic.
Don't Aggravate Your Injuries
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 80% of motorcycle accidents in the United States result in injuries or death. 3
An inevitable surge of adrenaline often masks the seriousness of the rider's injuries immediately after an accident. In the hours and days following the crash, as the adrenaline wears off, injuries that seemed minor often reveal more severe damage. Moving a motorcycle after an accident can agitate injuries the rider may not know about yet.
Furthermore, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration lists head injuries as one of the most common injuries after a motorcycle accident. The NHTSA also points out that "head injury is a leading cause of death and serious injury in motorcycle crashes."3
Since head injuries are so common, riders shouldn't take off their protective gear after an accident. That includes the rider's helmet. Taking off the protective equipment puts the rider at risk of worsening head or neck injuries.
Call 911 and Emergency Services
After a rider gets to safety and ensures not to aggravate possible injuries, the next step is to contact emergency personnel. It's important to seek medical treatment to assess and document all injuries as soon as possible.
Most accident victims experience shock after a crash, which can mask serious injuries such as Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) and concussions. It's essential that riders disclose, document, and seek treatment for any loss of consciousness or memory (even if brief), drowsiness, dizziness, headaches, blurred vision, slurred speech, and ringing of the ears, as all are signs of a possible head injury.
Documenting all injuries and medical appointments, including hospital visits, physical therapy appointments, etc., allows you a layer of protection if/when you need to seek legal counsel. Having documentation will help solidify a timeline that links injuries to the accident.
Filing a police report is the first step to gathering evidence, but if your condition allows you to, documenting the details of the crash scene is also essential after an accident.
Whether or not it's fair, you are thrust into an investigative position when you are in an accident. That's why you need to document the scene of an accident. Make sure to take down the license plate numbers of any vehicles involved. Document the names and statements of any drivers, passengers, or witnesses.
Photos are great for documentation. Make sure to photograph the accident scene. That means photographing any damage to the bikes or other vehicles. Photograph any external injuries. No detail is too small. It's even a good idea to document the weather and road conditions.
Photographing the details of a crash scene is a great way to record all the details for any future legal proceedings you may face in the weeks and months following the accident.