While motorcycles are a fun and fuel efficient means of travel, many motorcyclists get seriously injured or killed in motorcycle accidents each year. Motorcycle riders’ in Canada are at least 15 times more likely to be involved in a crash than automobile drivers according to a special to the Globe and Mail on June 27, 2013.
Further, one in 10 traffic fatalities in Canada involves a motorcycle, which is high considering that motorcycles make up only two percent of all vehicles on the road. Lawyers in the Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and PEI have seen many cases where death or catastrophic injuries resulted from a motorcycle accident. A motorcycle provides virtually no protection in a crash, including no protective shell or airbags, and it is a much smaller and lighter vehicle than others on the road. If you are a motorcyclist involved in a motor vehicle accident, there are various steps outlined here that are recommended to assist you.
At the Accident Scene
Calling 911 with the exact location of the incident and basic details is your first concern as this will dispatch police and a medical emergency response team (EMT) to the scene. It’s recommended that you do not remove your helmet as there is a chance of doing more damage. It’s also important to make the area as safe as possible such as asking passersby and other road users to act as look-outs or signalers for traffic. The EMT will assess your injuries for broken bones, lacerations, and whether there is a risk of an injury to the head, neck, back, or spine and will move you into an ambulance and to the hospital if needed. The police will investigate the accident by documenting the facts and taking witness statements and they will move your vehicle to the side of the road out of traffic. Only if you are certain that you are well enough to move should you relocate to the side of the road out of traffic. If the accident occurred at night or during inclement weather, place road flares or warning signs to create a safe zone around the site, keeping the flares a safe distance away from any flammable liquid that may have spilled during the collision.
If the accident is not one requiring an ambulance, the police should still be immediately contacted to collect information about drivers involved, assess the scene and ensure the parties are safe and the vehicles moved off the road. Every township or municipality has a non-emergency number for police and 911 can provide it if you don’t already have it available. You should not leave the accident scene without exchanging information with the other party. If you already left the accident scene without contacting police, you should attend to the local police collision centre to file a report.
Taking photographs of the accident scene immediately after the collision from different angles and distances and of your injuries is ideal or otherwise as soon as possible. The name of the person who took the photos and the date should be kept as well. The objective evidence of photos can show any visible injuries of the parties, the damage to both vehicles, skid marks, weather conditions, parts or debris in the road, and the location of the accident. If you can, take a photo of the other person’s driver’s license and insurance policy for an accurate record and, if you exchange cell phone numbers, then you should call the driver before leaving the accident scene to ensure you have the right number.
In the Aftermath
Visit your family doctor as soon as possible after the accident to document your injuries and arrange treatment. Even if you were in the hospital where your injuries were documented, the hospital may have only recorded the most significant or visible injuries they found and injuries not immediately felt at the accident should be recorded in your medical record. Briefly explain all your injuries and ensure your doctor records each item, including the location of any soreness or stiffness. Your doctor’s analysis of your condition immediately after the accident can be very important later. Regular contact with your doctor about treatments, referrals, results and how you are healing is highly recommended.
Notify your insurance provider of the accident so they can start a claim. Read your automobile policy as it provides details about your insurance coverage and your rights and responsibilities, including limitation periods. You can obtain a copy of your auto policy from your insurance agent, broker or claims adjuster and may be able to obtain it from the internet.
Call a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. The lawyer can assess your case with a view to obtaining the most compensation for you in the long run. Once retained, the lawyer will work with you and represent you legally, always keeping your best interests in mind. A personal injury lawyer knows the right steps to take as he or she has the training and experience to handle the case effectively. Contact our office at 1-800-606-2529 for a free consultation with one of our lawyers at CLG Injury Law in Nova Scotia. We have offices in Charlottetown, Fredericton, Halifax, Moncton and Saint-John.