Motorcycles cause very few pedestrian deaths compared to cars and other vehicles, representing less than 100 a year. However, non-fatal accidents are very common, so it’s important to understand as a motorcyclist or any member of the public what happens after these types of accidents occur.
Dangers to Pedestrians
Motorcycles are dangerous for their occupants because they offer no front, rear, or side protection and are less visible to other drivers than cars, trucks, or buses. While motorcycles are far less of a danger to pedestrians than the majority of vehicles on the road, they are still heavy objects that move at high speeds.
Accidents involving motorcyclists striking pedestrians usually involve:
- Pedestrians crossing at an unmarked area of the road;
- Pedestrians failing to look both ways before crossing;
- Distracted drivers;
- Speeding drivers;
- Intoxicated motorcycle operators;
- Poor visibility, such as during snow, rain, or fog;
- Motorcyclists losing control of the vehicle, which is more common when the roads are slippery, wet, or icy.
Motorcyclists can take care to avoid striking pedestrians by maintaining extra caution when driving in urban or residential areas, particularly anywhere near crosswalks or places where pedestrians are likely to cross the street.
What to Do Immediately After an Accident
The first step any motorcyclist should take following an accident is to get their bike immediately off the road so as to avoid further crashes from oncoming traffic. Next, you, the driver, must check yourself and the person you hit, looking for injuries.
Call 911 if either of you requires immediate medical attention. Once you are both off the road and safely on the sidewalk or otherwise out of harm’s way, exchange contact information. The motorcyclist should provide their name, driver’s license number, phone number, insurance company name, and insurance policy number.
Regardless of who is at fault, the motorcycle operator should photograph any and all damage to the bike while still at the scene of the accident. This is important evidence to provide the insurance company later on when filing a claim.
If police are at the scene to provide aid or question the individuals involved, it is crucial that you, whether you are the driver or the pedestrian, take down their name and contact information so that you can follow up in the next day or two for a copy of the police report. This will be important not only for the insurance claim but also in case either of you brings suit.
Lastly, seek medical attention even if you are not seriously injured. Some accidents can leave unseen damage that does not make itself known right away. Go to your doctor to make sure nothing is broken and that you don’t have any internal injuries. Photograph any injuries you have and keep copies of your medical bills and medical reports, as you will need these as well for your insurance claim.
Dealing with Insurance and Deciding to Take Legal Action
Depending on who is at fault, either or both parties should contact the motorcycle operator’s insurance company right away to begin the process of filing a claim. Different states have different laws about who is liable and what victims’ rights are for claiming damages after the accident.
In California, motorcyclists are required to have coverage of up to $15,000 for injuries sustained from someone else and $30,000 for injuries that they cause to others, including pedestrians. If the damages or injuries exceed that value, then the pedestrian has every right to seek claims against the motorcycle operator in court.
Deciding whether or not to bring a lawsuit against the driver will largely depend on the extent of one’s injuries and the settlement offered by the insurance company. If the offer is not satisfactory, it may be worth your time and money to get in touch with a motorcycle accident lawyer and discuss what else you can do.
Contact an Oakland car accident lawyer today to find out what your options are and to determine if your case stands a reasonable chance of success in court.