Accidents, what should you do?

It is an unfortunate fact of life that as a motorcyclist, the chances of us being involved in an accident are high compared with some other leisure pursuits, but regardless of the severity, once the shock that an accident has occurred sets in, the next phase of panic is usually “What do I do now” or “Who do I turn to for help”

Well being in the accident trade so to speak, there are a number of things that (providing you are not too badly hurt) you can do which will not only make life easier when it comes to submitting your claim, it will also eliminate the chances of you being under compensated.

In simple terms a 10 point check list which I hope you will find useful.

1 Witnesses. Witnesses are important in that they can substantiate your claim by confirming your version of events. Try and obtain witness details as early as possible as once they are gone, the chances are that you will not find them again.

2 Photographs. Some people say make a sketch plan, but photographs offer much more detail and in particular will help your insurance company or legal representative understand the location, particularly if there are points of interest that may have been a contributory factor.

3 Police. Get the details of any Policeman/Policewoman that attends the scene. In particular their collar number and rank, the station they work from and telephone number as at some stage a report will be obtained and it is far easier to trace down these reports if you know who dealt with it.

  1. Information. Reduce the chance of forgetting facts by writing down as much as you can about the accident as soon after it happened as possible. It may be some months before you are asked to provide a statement and as time passes the memory fades. How many of you can remember what you did on a certain day 3 months ago. Well in the case of an accident that important fact could be the difference between making a successfull claim and losing it. If you are unable to write, then ask someone to write it down for you.

If you write down too much, don’t worry, it is better to have remembered too much than not enough.

  1. Injury. If you have been injured but have not required hospitalisation, make sure you see a doctor as soon as possible. Medical records will provide a detailed account of your injury.

  2. Estimates Obtain an estimate from a specialist if you have had personal property damaged as a result of your accident (including the bike). You are entitled to claim replacement costs.

  3. Work and Pay Keep hold of your payslips if you are off work as a result of being injured in an accident. Payslips will prove your loss of earnings bearing in mind that you can also claim for lost overtime.

  4. Diary Keep a diary that shows the dates and where and why expenses have been incurred. Things like car park costs, travelling, transportation are all claimable if it occurs as a result of your accident, and a diary along with receipts will help prove these costs incurred.

  5. Receipts For the same reason above. Anything you purchase as a result of your accident which will make life easier is claimable, but if you cannot prove the purchase or how much it cost you will not get those costs back or it will be at a reduced level.

  6. Correspondence Do not enter into any correspondence yourself. You may say something that is inaccurate or which may be used against you at a later date. Pass any correspondence to your insurance company or legal representative without delay and let them deal with it for you.

That is about it. Obviously I hope that you never find yourself in the situation where you have to make a claim, but whether it be an injury or damage only accident, the same basic rules apply, and it will prevent you from being under compensated, it will ensure that whoever is representing you has as much information as is possible and it will make your life a whole lot easier.

Most importantly remember that you are not alone, help is never more than a phone call away

Thank you, as a new rider, I appreciate this.

Correspondence +1 !!
I made the school-boy error of saying something I shouldnt have to the third party’s insurer after my first accident and now my solicitor is having a hell of a time trying to sort out my mess.
If you appoint someone like RSS or any other legal representative do EXACTLY as they tell you. Nothing more, nothing less.

i like them too lol

Its good to remember even for us older riders :wink:

As TC say’s in the panic its all too easy to forget the basics. Important to stay calm.

Useful stuff.

IMH experience adrenaline is usually pumping by this time and most of these are forgotten, especially the ‘witness’ one.

First instinct is to jump up (hmmm…) and pick the bike up but I feel best just to leave it where it is (unless it was your fault) cos as soon as you do the road opens and all evidence is lost (as well as all the stuff that flew out of your topbox :P) That bit of fairing and mirror that you saw fly off and thought you would pick up later is now in a sea of cars all rushing to get somewhere :slight_smile:

this is quite useful if your unsure about accident stuff !!

Fine for complying with the law, but civil law applies a different set of rules, for example we don’t have to prove beyond reasonable doubt, only on the balance of probability, and evidence which is not admissable in a magistrates court is admissable in a civil court.

Another thing to bear in mind is if someone drives into you and it appears your bike is undamaged, never tell them that until you have had it thoroughly checked over to ensure everything’s ok. Otherwise you may end up severely restricting your options if it turns out there is damage. And don’t just stop by a bike garage and expect a mechanic to inspect it properly in five minutes - book it in and leave it with them for a day so they can have a proper look. It may cost you £25, but the alternative may cost you a lot more.I am speaking from experience, having been rear-ended three times on my bike over the past 13 years: by a Chevy Jeep, a Land Rover, then a Skoda.

what about accidents in foreign jurisdictions?

This is a whole different can of worms.

If the accident occured with another EU country, then the claim can be processed under the same rules as we apply here in the UK and for the main part the same statute of limitation applies, namely 3 years for personal injury and 5 years for damage only.

If you return to the UK before making a claim, then a knowledgable UK solicitor will be able to help you as the claim is filed via the MIB who act as the representative of the foreign national and the claim is dealt with in the same way as it is here.

If it happens in a non EU country, for example Switzerland springs to mind as I am currently dealing with a crash that occured in Basel, then a UK solicitor cannot handle the case, it has to be a solicitor from that country, and usually they want money up front and on account, usually in the region of about £2,000 which you get back if the case settles successfully.

I am currently helping someone who is from the UK on a UK registered bike, had a crash in Belgium but was hot by a Dutch motorcyclist on a Dutch registered bike. If liability is admitted, then again it is simply a case of negotiating in the same way as you would here, however in some member states the values are cast in stone with a maximum amount for each injury which can be lower than here in the UK.

Where the fun can start is with Military personel. UK soldier on an American air force base in Germany, then we have issues of jurisdiction. Some will argue that British jurisdiction applies under the Crown proceedings act as they are UK military, some will say that USA jursidiction applies because it iis American soverign soil and others argue that german jurisdiction applies because it happened in Germany.

Which is why I often get sent abroad to gather evidence before the argument starts :slight_smile:

The reality is that it can be difficult, but don’t let that deter you from making a claim, it can be resolved if you jave someone who knows what they are doing.

The ‘CAD’ (Computer Aided Despatch) or incident number should also be obtained if possible from attending police, which may also help here.

Good, useful post - maybe worth making a sticky?