Motorcycles are exposed and lack the frame that can protect occupants of cars and trucks. This means that the rider may easily be thrown from their bike or strike the pavement in the event of a collision. Even protective equipment can protect a motorcyclist only to a certain extent if they are struck by a moving vehicle weighing thousands of pounds. The results can be devastating, as the biker could incur significant injuries requiring emergency treatment and long-term recovery, while the driver of an automobile might walk away unscathed. Second, motorcycle claims are different because not all people are familiar with the handling of motorcycles, and this can include ICBC claims adjusters. Often, it requires a specific understanding of how a motorcycle operates to completely understand an accident, from how riders need to react to other vehicles, to how blind spots create a serious danger for motorcycles anytime they are on the road. In short, the ICBC claims adjusters may not understand the full nature of your accident if they are not familiar with motorcycles. It should not be your responsibility to teach them what they need to know when you are injured and trying to recover. A Vancouver motorcycle lawyer from Warnett Hallen LLP can fully represent your interests in an ICBC claim, while making sure that the claims adjuster has the proper information. A third element that can make motorcycle accidents more complicated than car accidents is the unfair social stigma often associated with bikers and motorcycles. Movies, TV shows, and news stories often focus on the negative, with crime, violence, and gang activity usually taking the forefront. Even though this is a reality only for the periphery of motorcycle owners, you may be unfairly discriminated against based on unfair prejudices. It is not uncommon for this unfair bias to exist, even within ICBC. In order to prevent any of this negativity from affecting your claim, having an experienced lawyer by your side is the best way to proceed with your ICBC claim.
ICBC Claims for Motorcycle Accident Compensation
When you have any kind of motor vehicle accident, an ICBC claim will need to be filed. There are some steps which you must follow, and then there are some other options that you should be aware of to give yourself the best chance for a full recovery. The required ICBC steps after a motorcycle accident are:
- Call ICBC as soon as possible to alert ICBC of the accident at 1-800-910-4222. This step needs to be completed within 24 hours of your accident. If you are unable to make this call yourself due to your injuries, you can have someone make the call for you. If your injuries were severe and a significant amount of time has lapsed before calling ICBC, please let Warnett Hallen, LLP help you with this and all other aspects of your claim so you do not jeopardize your ability to recover.
- Prepare a written statement to submit to ICBC about the accident within 30 days. If you have any questions about what should be included, an experienced Vancouver motorcycle lawyer from Warnett Hallen, LLP will be happy to assist.
- Submit a CL22 claim form to ICBC within 90 days of the accident. There are specific areas that will need to be explained and documentation that will need to be included in your claim. This is an area where a knowledgeable lawyer can help you prepare your paperwork to help you avoid any errors.
When you are dealing with ICBC after serious injuries, you should request that your claim be handled by the Department of Accident Benefits, which specializes in severe injuries. The Department of Accident Benefits will assign you to a Rehabilitation Coordinator. Your rehab coordinator can help you get the therapeutic treatment and other rehab options that you need to have the best medical and healing results based on the specific needs you have due to your injuries. Another important aspect to be aware of is that you may have options should your claim be denied or handled in a way you disagree with. You may be able to bring a personal injury claim against ICBC for your injuries and other damages. It is important to talk to a Vancouver motorcycle accident lawyer before you go down this path. At Warnett Hallen LLP, we can review the specifics of your case so that you can be well-informed about your options.
What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident
When you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident, it is of the utmost importance to seek medical treatment. This is the most important thing that you can do because it can literally be the difference between life and death. Especially when you are on a motorcycle, a fall or a blow to the head can have lasting consequences. It is not uncommon to experience a rush of adrenaline after an accident that can overpower your senses and mask pain. Then, when the rush of the accident wears off, you might discover that you are more hurt than you first realized. For this reason, it is important to always get checked out by medical professionals immediately following an accident and to seek medical treatment if you experience any troubling symptoms later on. Head, spine, and brain injury symptoms could appear over time, and letting them go untreated can have devastating results. It is always recommended that you call the police to the scene of any accident. They can help secure the scene and will provide an unbiased report of the crash. This often provides vital information that you will ultimately need for your ICBC claim. If you are rushed to the emergency room and are unable to call the police at the scene of your accident, have a family member or trusted friend obtain a copy of the report for your records. After the accident, you are required to call ICBC and alert them of the event within 24 hours. Try to do this if you are able, or have a family member or trusted friend make the call for you if you are hospitalized or incapacitated. Your next call should be to an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer. There are many things that need to happen on the legal side of an accident, and a lawyer can complete these tasks for you so that you can focus on your recovery. At Warnett Hallen LLP, we take pride in making motorcycle accident claims go as smoothly as possible for our clients. You have already endured the pain of an accident, so your claim should provide you with relief, not more worries.
Motorcycle Safety Tips for Other Drivers
Because motorcycle accidents can be so devastating, it is important to take precautions to avoid them. For drivers of motor vehicles, take the following steps to protect motorcyclists:
- Make room. Motorcycles can stop quickly, and coupled with damp and slippery roads from showers, both cars and bikes can slide. Make sure you give yourself plenty of space behind a motorbike in case you need to stop suddenly. Don’t pull up alongside a motorcycle. They need the full lane, just as cars do. Even if a motorcyclist is keeping to the left side of the lane, it is not an invitation. They often do this to ensure that they are seen, not necessarily because they are turning left.
- Keep an eye out. Take extra time to look for motorcycles on the road. They are harder to see than a car, and they often travel faster, although their speed can be hard to judge. Pay attention to your blind spots, as well as areas behind parked or traveling cars, which may be preventing you from seeing the motorcycle.
- Don’t assume. On a motorcycle, turn signals are often not self-cancelling, so new or less experienced drivers can often forget to turn them off. Make sure that a rider is actually turning, and look for other signals (such as leaning or body language) to gauge a driver’s intent and direction.
- When in doubt, yield. Sometimes on the road, when everything is moving quickly, it’s hard to tell who has the right of way. If you are not sure, yield to the motorcycle, just as you would to a pedestrian – they are more vulnerable.
Taking these steps can help keep motorcyclists safe around you.
Safety Tips for Motorcyclists
As a motorcyclist, there are also steps you can take to protect yourself when out on the road, including:
- Gear up. BC law dictates that you wear a helmet that meets or exceeds safety standards, and studies prove that they can save your life. Proper clothing made from leather or sturdy material can protect you from road rash and broken bones.
- Be realistic. Don’t ride a bike that is too much for your skill set or size. Be aware of your bike and its limitations – and yours.
- Invest in training. Experience is great, but so is knowledge, especially when acquired from an expert. Make sure that you have the proper training and skills, and that you keep yourself up to date.
- Be seen. Don’t assume that drivers are aware of your presence on the road. Make eye contact with them when switching lanes or passing, stay out of drivers’ blind spots, and wear reflective gear when driving at night.
- Maintain your motorcycle. Make sure that your bike is ready for a smooth, safe ride using T-CLOCS (Tires, Controls, Lights, Oil, Chassis and Stand) as your guide. A quick inspection of these areas before you hit the road can save you a lot of grief, and possibly help save your life.
Of course, even if you take all of these steps, you may still end up in an accident with a negligent driver, which is where a lawyer can be of help.
Common Injuries in Motorcycle Accidents
As mentioned above, motorcycle accidents can result in catastrophic injuries, most often impacting the biker, not the other vehicle’s occupants. Some common injuries include:
- Spinal Injuries
- Head Injuries
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)
- Loss of Consciousness
- Broken Bones
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Burns (often from road rash and other friction)
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Other drivers on the road who disregard traffic laws or are not paying attention usually are the ones who cause catastrophic crashes with motorcycle riders. Some commonly reported causes of motorcycle accidents include:
- Failure to Yield
- Changing Lanes Without Looking
- Motorcycle in Blind Spot
- Left Turns Into Motorcycle
- Reckless Driving
- Driving Under the Influence of Substances
- Drowsy Driving
If you’ve suffered severe injuries or significant damage to your property following a motorcycle accident in Vancouver, should turn to Warnett Hallen LLP for qualified legal counsel. Every motorcycle accident is different, so it is vital that you hire an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer to help you understand your rights and legal options.