WHAT TO DO AFTER A UTAH MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT. STEP-BY-STEP.
(1). Move to Safety. Move your motorcycle or help others get to a safe spot.
(2). Call the Police. Not only is it generally a crime in Utah to not call the police after a car accident, it can destroy your chances of finding the person who hit you.
See this article on leaving the scene of an accident. It can be a felony to leave the scene of a car accident involving serious physical injury. https://www.gunterinjurylaw.com/can-i-file-a-utah-police-report-days-after-a-car-collision-yes/
(3). Exchange Information. It is a requirement that you exchange insurance and contact information at the scene. This is critical to ensure insurance coverages are available to cover your physical injuries caused by the motorcycle accident.
(4). Seek Immediate and Appropriate Medical Care. After a motorcycle accident it is not the time to tough it out. Seek appropriate medical care. Take the ambulance if needed and go to the emergency room is warranted. Otherwise immediately seek an appointment with your family care doctor.
Example. You are rear-ended on I-15 near Provo, Utah. You are forced off the bike through the seriousness of the impact. If appropriate, go the emergency room, and immediately follow-up with your family practice doctor to get a thorough head-to-toe diagnosis of all injuries sustained from the car collision. Get a referral to a chiropractic physician or physical therapist.
The first $3,000 of medical bills are paid by your own motorcycle personal injury protection benefits if you didn’t waive this benefit. Otherwise the person who hit you will reimburse you your medical bills incurred from the motorcycle collision, but only later, when the case settles.
See this article on basic PIP coverages. https://www.gunterinjurylaw.com/utah-personal-injury-protection/
(5). Take Pictures of the Scene and Injuries.
Takes Pictures of the Scene. Take pictures of the accident scene if you can. Often Utah motorcycle accidents will render you incapable of doing anything except going to the hospital. Take pictures of the license plates, the vehicle original locations of where the vehicles initially impacted each other.
Take Pictures of your Injuries. Take periodic pictures of your physical injuries so your attorney can tell you story more effectively to the insurance adjuster or to the jury. Bruising and healing all have a story to tell and time document photographs can really tell your story.
(6). Hire an Experienced Utah Personal Injury Attorney. Don’t wait to hire an experienced Utah motorcycle accident lawyer to help with your insurance claim. You will get better results and the process will be smoother with less stress.
Here are some insider tips on how to select a Utah personal injury attorney. https://www.gunterinjurylaw.com/how-to-select-a-good-utah-personal-injury-attorney-what-to-look-for-what-questions-to-ask/
WHAT NOT TO DO AFTER A UTAH MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT.
(1). Contact with the Other Insurance Company. There is no reason you should talk to the other party’s attorney or insurance representatives along and without an attorney.
(2). Adjuster Interviews. Don’t give an insurance adjuster interview. See this article on insurance adjuster interviews and whether you have to give them. https://www.gunterinjurylaw.com/car-accident-insurance-adjuster-interviews-do-i-have-to-do-one/
(3). Police Statement when Ready. No need to give a police statement immediately. You can do that later. No need to give any type of recorded statement regarding your Utah motorcycle accident until you are feeling well and have talked to an attorney.
(4). No Settlement Releases. Don’t sign any settlement releases sent to you by the insurance company until you have spoken to an attorney.
Don’t just accept the first low ball offer by the insurance company that they automatically mail to you with a $1,500 check. A good Utah motorcycle law firm will know that these initial automated amounts are seriously low.
Setting aside signed releases is tough in Utah, but not impossible, especially when you signed for such a low amount and you were still in the hospital.
Here are the specific rules when an insurance company can send out settlement releases to you. The basic rule is they can’t send you release while you are sill in hospital or within 14 days of the accident.
When can settlement releases be set aside? Read HERE: https://www.gunterinjurylaw.com/can-i-rescind-my-utah-injury-release-that-i-signed/
(5). Don’t Sign Medical Release. Often the other insurance company will send you medical releases to sign. DON’T. You don’t have to give the other insurance company a medical release. Nor do you want to let them know your entire private medical history. It is an invasion of privacy. You do have a duty to cooperate with your own insurance company and may have to sign a release for them, but not the at-fault insurance carrier.
(6). Social Media. Don’t post about your injuries. Don’t post period while litigation or your insurance claim is pending. It is guaranteed that the insurance companies, their attorneys and investigators are combing social medial for what you are saying about the accident. They will use it against you. It will be misconstrued, even when you are trying to fight through you injuries and not just “give up.”
Example. Crossfitter. Competitive Crossfitter hurts his low back in a rear-end car collision in Orem, Utah. As an experienced Crossfit athlete he will never stop training, but only train around his injuries. He posts to social media his workouts. This will be used against him as he is not hurt. Even though he is just training around the injury and will never give up his sport and enjoyment of life. It can be misconstrued.
Example. The Tennis Player. The Tennis player is hurt in a Lehi, Utah motorcycle accident. His arms are hurt in the accident and it impairs his ability to play tennis. Nonetheless he continues to play tennis for mental health reasons and posts on his practices on social media. This will be misconstrued.
Example. The Disneyland Trip. In one recent case the insurance defense attorney asked the injured plaintiff to identify who was in the picture he was holding up. It was Disneyland and the insurance companies had found it online. This time, it was not the injured plaintiff and they got the wrong person.
Example. Social Medial Discovery Requests. Defense attorney for the insurance companies are routinely asking for downloads of all social media. And judges are ordering them produced when the parties can’t agree.
(7). Just Call a Random Attorney who States They Take Injury Cases. Don’t just call the a TV or radio advertisers. Don’t call the attorney who has pictures of bulldogs and aggressive tactics. It doesn’t work. Do your homework. Check the attorney’s Google Reviews. Check the injury lawyer’s website, see if they really do personal injury work as a major part of the legal practice. Is the attorney “fly by night” with no staff and is a one-man show?
Utah personal injury cases are expensive. Having a well founded and financed Utah injury firm matters. Experts witnesses costs a ton of money and finding an attorney who can go all the way to a jury trial matters the most.
: one that dabbles: such as
a: one not deeply engaged in or concerned with something
b: a duck (such as a mallard or shoveler) that feeds by dabbling
Don’t hire a “Dabbler” attorney who occasionally does a motorcycle injury case—sometimes. Hire an attorney who regularly and consistently battles insurance companies, day in, day out, for injured people seeking fair and adequate compensation. You will get better results.
Would you go to a chiropractor for your dental work? Would you see a podiatrist foot surgeon for your head injury? NO. Seek out a Utah personal injury attorney who really practices, tries and litigates motorcycle cases for the true value.
HOW DO YOU DETERMINE WHO WAS AT-FAULT IN A UTAH MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT?
The Utah Traffic Code. Utah Code Ann. 41-6A-101 (2021). https://le.utah.gov/xcode/code.html. The Utah Traffic Code is huge with 16 titles and a hundred code sections. The traffic code details everything from who has to yield when merging lanes to how long your blinker has to be used for prior to turning.
Common Sense. Ultimately it is the jury who will decide who is at-fault for your motorcycle accident. Having an effective motorcycle attorney who regularly practices in traffic accidents and the Utah Code can really help.
Skid marks. Intersection skid marks can help determine who was were and who was in the intersection first. Skids marks disappear relatively quickly after the collision, so you need to talk to an attorney and get a private investigator, or accident scene reconstructionist out to the scene immediately. Same goes for local video camera footage.
Property Damage Location. Where is the property damage is located on the motorcycle and vehicles? Where your injuries are located on your body, twisting, impact, etc are can be indicative of how the collision occurred and who is at-fault.
Local Cameras. Local business often have cameras that capture accidents. Sometimes, but more often NOT, these business will not hand over the camera footage to you. You will need to immediately send a perseveration letter to the business, asking them to preserve any video footage they have. Best practice entails your attorney immediately filing a lawsuit to use the subpoena power to get the video footages by judicial order. Local security cameras often overwrite their footages every 10 days. So you have to move fast.
Call Witnesses. Collect Witness Contact Information. When determining fault it is important to call the witnesses located on the police report to see what they saw.
Motorcycle Accident Scene Reconstructionist. Hiring an accident scene reconstructionist to reconstruct how the motorcycle accident occurred is very helpful and often used in serious Utah motorcycle accident cases.
UTAH’S COMPARATIVE FAULT STATUTE. WHERE BOTH THE PARTIES CAN SHARE SOME FAULT.
51 PERCENT RULE. Utah is a 51 percent comparative fault state. Meaning that the injured motorcyclist cannot recover any compensation unless they are less than 49 percent at-fault for causing the accident.
The motorcycle rider can be 46 percent at-fault for causing the accident and still recover compensation from the other at-fault driver. But the motorcycle rider can’t be 50 percent or more at fault, or they lose.
COMMON UTAH MOTORCYCLE DAMAGES.
Common Economic Damages in a Utah Motorcycle Accident Claim Include:
Medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses. Lost income at your job. Cost of rehabilitative physical or vocational therapy. Loss of earning capacity–meaning you can’t earn what you used to earn because your body doesn’t work that way anymore. Mileage to and from your medical appointments. Past lost wages and future lost wages, along with impairment of your future income stream.
Non-Economic Damages (General Damages).
Common General Damages in Utah Motorcycle Insurance Claims include:
Pain and suffering from the collision and emotional injuries. Scarring, permanent injuries and disfigurement. Loss of enjoyment of life, changed life patterns. Loss of consortium for the nonphysically injured spouse or minor children.
Sometimes when the at-fault driver’s conduct is especially careless and terrible, you can seek punitive damages. Punitive damages are not common in Utah motorcycle accident claims.
MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT CAUSES IN UTAH.
Alcohol use. Many motorcycles accidents in Utah are caused by drunk driving. Motorcycle accidents involving alcohol use are unique and require special attention. Hiring an experienced Utah motorcycle accident lawyer can really help take the stress of your back, but also increase your chances for adequate and fair compensation.
See this deeper article on alcohol related motorcycle injury cases: https://www.gunterinjurylaw.com/practice-areas/dui-cases/
Unsafe turning by other vehicles. Accidents involving cars making illegal and unsafe turns cause motorcycle accidents. Using the Utah Traffic Code to prove the fault of the other driver is critical. Hiring an attorney who is familiar with the Utah Traffic Code and proving fault will save you time and frustration.
Distracted drivers not used to seeing motorcycles. Cars are not used to looking out for motorcyclists. They can be harder to see. Not being very visible is a cause of Utah motorcycle accidents that can be elicited from the opposing car driver during their deposition.
COMMON UTAH MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT INJURIES.
The Hidden Killer—Brain Injuries. Brain injuries are silent killers in that they effect people traumatically, or can just affect them silently, where only the spouse or work boss can tell. But that small brain change is significant. Hiring a Utah personal injury attorney who can develop and tell your story of a mild traumatic brain concussion is critical. Your attorney will find the right doctors to testify to your injuries, the attorney will help find before and after witnesses to show the jury the real extend of your motorcycle injuries. Often your Utah injury lawyer will hire a neuropsychologist to conduct testing to demonstrate your brain function deficiencies.
Bone Fractures. An experienced, capable Utah motorcycle attorney will understand the difference between fractures occurring on developing joints and articulating structures versus more clean breaks in the middle of the bone that heal easier. Bone fractures can cause early onset of disability in the area that was fractures.
UTAH MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT LAWYER—JAKE GUNTER Call/TXT (801) 373-6345 for a free consult. Let Jake’s nearly 20 years of courtroom experience help you. Provolawyres.com. Gunterinjurylaw.com