Suffering a brain injury in a motorcycle accident is perhaps the worst-case scenario. In the beginning, you do not know whether the damage will be permanent and whether you will regain full function. At the same time, you should also focus on the legal piece of the puzzle and your quest to get total compensation for your injuries.
While there is no one set playbook to follow after every personal injury, there are several things that you can do to help both your health and your legal situation. What you do after a motorcycle accident directly impacts whether you can receive compensation and how much you may get. Here is what you should do after suffering a brain injury in a motorcycle accident.
You may not always know that you have suffered a brain injury in a motorcycle accident. In some cases, brain injuries take time to show symptoms. Even if you have suffered other injuries, you may not even think anything else is wrong. The hope is that the doctor who treated you right after the accident (assuming that you did not turn down medical care at the scene) ran a full battery of tests, including MRIs and CT scans on your head.
In the days after the accident, you should pay close attention to how you feel. If anything seems abnormal, you should treat it as a medical emergency. Once you begin to show symptoms of a traumatic brain injury, you may not have much time to get the treatment that can help you fully recover. The longer you wait to get medical help, the more likely your injuries can be permanent.
Even if you think you are ok, you should ask a friend or family member to keep a close watch on you. If they notice that something is off, you should listen to them.
See a Doctor
If you did not get complete treatment at the scene or in the emergency room afterward, it is a smart move to see a neurologist after a motorcycle crash. You have no idea what the fall might have done to your head. Even if your head did not hit the ground, the force of the accident might have caused your head to snap forward or hit your helmet. You may have still suffered whiplash or brain trauma in an accident.
You have little to lose in making an appointment with a neurologist, especially when you already have health insurance. In a best-case scenario, you get the good news that you did not suffer a brain injury. Otherwise, you receive a prompt diagnosis and a course of treatment that can help you recover from your injuries. When something as critical as brain function is at issue, you need to know what you are dealing with and what you must do to recover.
Follow Medical Advice
Do what your doctor tells you when trying to live with and recover from a brain injury. The doctor may have given you a physical and occupational therapy regimen to follow. While this may be time-consuming and grueling, it is in your best interest to follow through on all these appointments. You should appear to be doing everything you can to better your health. Otherwise, an insurance company or jury may try to cut your financial recovery from a motorcycle accident.
In addition, you will need to wait to file your claim until you reach the point of maximum medical improvement. This status occurs when further medical care will not necessarily help you recover. To get to this point, you must follow all medical recommendations. Your diligence can help put you in a position to file your claim more quickly.
Never make it easy for the insurance company to point the finger at you and take heat off their client. They will closely review your medical records to see what you have and have not done. Their physician will offer their medical opinion on whether you have done everything possible to mitigate your damages.
Document Your Damages
Once you can prove that someone else was responsible for your injuries, you will move to the damages phase of your case. You must prove your damages too.
You will only be paid for damages that an insurance company or jury can see on paper. The burden of proof is on you to show them. A well-organized and thoroughly documented claim for damages is far more helpful in proving damages than a stack of unsorted bills.
With that in mind, you also must build the evidence of how you have suffered alongside the proof that someone else was responsible. It starts with getting the medical records and documentation to show the extent of your injuries and your diagnosis. Everything depends on how badly you were injured. To that end, you should save your medical bills and be ready to provide medical records.
- Provide information about your earnings from work and the possible future earnings that you might have made
- Keep a journal of your daily experiences since the accident to show your physical pain and mental anguish
- Provide witness testimony from people who have seen what you have gone through since the accident
- Show your life before the accident and what you are now missing out on because of your injuries
Hire an Attorney
After seeing a doctor, the most important call that you can make is to an experienced attorney. When you have suffered a brain injury, it means that you are not at your best. Even if you had some knowledge that might let you hold your own in the legal process (which is rare and uncommon), you are not in a position to go toe-to-toe with the insurance company when dealing with the effects of a brain injury.
More often, you will find yourself in a position where you are definitely on the short end of a power disparity between you and the insurance company. Even if they do not control your legal rights, they certainly act like it.
Hiring an attorney equalizes the balance of power between you and the insurance company. It also gives you help in knowing that there is someone tough and experienced on your side who is looking out for your interests.
How an Attorney Helps You Maximize Your Compensation?
A motorcycle accident attorney can:
- Gather the evidence necessary to prove that someone else was negligent and thus, responsible for paying for your injuries
- Prepare your claim or lawsuit complaint that begins the legal process based on their valuation of your claim
- Try to negotiate a personal injury settlement with the insurance company
- Take your case to court if the insurance company denies your claim or will not offer enough money.
There have been numerous studies of how much better people do financially when they have an attorney than those who try to represent themselves. People with lawyers often do far better than those who handle their own cases to save money. Clients with lawyers end up with more money in their pocket, even after paying the attorney a percentage of their proceeds.
You may not even get a chance to talk about settlement numbers without a lawyer because you may struggle to prove liability on your own. To maximize compensation, you need to be in a position to get your claim heard in the first place. An ineffective claim can lead to outright denial instead of a settlement offer.
Besides fighting for you, your attorney is also there to work with you. They will explain your case to review your available options. Your lawyer is here to guide you through the legal process and answer your questions as you have them.
These are things that you likely do not have the expertise or capacity to handle in the wake of a brain accident. If you cannot hire an attorney yourself, a family member should do it. The sooner you make this call, the better it is for your legal case.
Prepare Yourself for the Legal Process
It is hard to predict how long the legal process may take. It all depends on the specifics of your case, and much of it is outside your control. The one thing that we can say is that you should prepare yourself for a process that can be difficult.
When dealing with a significant brain injury, few claims are easy. Theoretically, you can have a case with very clear-cut liability and significant damages where the insurance company tries to settle it for the policy maximum, but that is not always the case.
In any legal case, there will be ups and downs. You may be overjoyed to learn that you have received a settlement offer, only to discover that it is a meager offer, and you still have extensive negotiations in front of you. Mentally prepare yourself for what can be a challenging process without any guarantee of success.
Do Not Speak to Anyone About the Accident
Once you have filed a claim for compensation, you can expect some scrutiny from the insurance company. You are asking them to pay a lot of damages based on your medical records and doctor’s statements about your medical condition. Act as if the insurance company is watching you. It may actually do that.
Insurance companies are known for hiring private detectives and others to follow people who have made claims. They may take pictures of you out in public. If they think your life is inconsistent with the story you told in your claim, they will try to challenge your damages and offer less in a settlement.
You can also assume that the insurance company will try to access your social media. If your pages allow public access, you should restrict them to friends only. Then, be careful about which friend or follow requests you accept. Do accept requests from people you do not know.
It is always better not to post anything on social media about the accident or your life after your accident, certainly until your legal situation ends. If the insurance company finds your posts, they can and will use them against you to try to save money. They are looking for one thing that they can take out of context to lower the value of your claim.
Try to Let Your Lawyer Do Their Job
We understand that this one is easier said than done. You are dealing with significant injuries and are also probably experiencing financial difficulties due to your accident.
However, you have also hired an experienced lawyer who has hopefully come highly recommended or shown you that they have a track record of success in cases just like yours. While we are not dismissing your genuine concern, we also advise you to let the legal process play out, knowing that you have a dedicated advocate on your side whose job it is to fight for you.
When you are on the same page and working effectively with your lawyer, it allows them to put together a stronger claim on your behalf. We cannot tell you not to worry, given what you and your family are going through, but know that you have a professional on their side and trust them to do their job.