The hours and days after a motorcycle accident are often a blur, especially if you sustained a brain injury in the crash. You may have lost consciousness or might not remember much about the crash.
If your loved one was in a motorcycle accident, just hearing the words “brain injury” can be completely overwhelming. How serious is the injury? And what should I do next?
After suffering a brain injury in a motorcycle accident, you must take steps to protect your legal rights. But what you don’t do is equally important. If you or your loved one was injured, don’t make these mistakes.
Don’t Accept the Insurance Company’s Initial Offer
If the insurance company offers you a settlement right away, don’t accept without consulting with an attorney first. The insurance company is most likely trying to take advantage of you. Don’t settle for less than what your or your loved one’s injuries are worth.
Insurance companies know exactly what they are doing. They’ll cheerfully offer you a small settlement right off the bat, before you’ve even talked with an attorney. And before the cost of your current and future damages have been properly assessed.
Once you accept a settlement offer, you usually forfeit the right to sue for more money in the future. Your brain injury could affect you for the rest of your life. An attorney knows how to calculate an adequate settlement and will help you pursue the full amount of your claim.
Don’t Underestimate Your Need for Legal Representation
Without a lawyer to represent you, you or your loved one are left vulnerable. Other parties may take advantage of your situation, your lack of energy and health, and your need for money.
When you hire a motorcycle accident attorney, they take over the negotiations on your behalf. You can focus on your recovery and moving forward from your accident. Your loved ones will have the time to care for and support you, without having to answer phone calls and emails from the insurance company.
Don’t Discuss Details of the Motorcycle Accident
Unfortunately, not everyone who asks about the accident or your injuries is sincerely interested in your wellbeing. They may have ulterior motives, especially if they’re a representative of the insurance company or the other party involved in the motorcycle accident.
When approached about the accident, don’t admit fault. Your memory of the crash and what happened from a legal standpoint may differ. And after a brain injury in a motorcycle accident, you may not remember anything at all.
Evidence such as video footage, eyewitness testimony, blood alcohol levels, and a re-creation of the accident scene may all be the best tools to assess negligence and responsibility for the accident.
Don’t Downplay Your Injuries
Health professionals categorize traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) as either:
- Mild (concussion);
- Moderate; or
Moderate and severe TBIs can be fatal or result in paralysis, loss of consciousness, permanent and severe cognitive impairment, and the need for around-the-clock care. While mild TBIs and concussions are generally not life-threatening, they are still serious injuries.
After a mild TBI or concussion, you may have had a CT scan or other diagnostic imaging. If you were told you didn’t have a skull fracture or brain bleeding, that doesn’t mean you are injury-free.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a concussion or mild TBI can have lasting effects, including new difficulties with learning, memory, concentration, and solving problems. These deficits can make it impossible to care for yourself and your family. You may also find it difficult to return to work or carry out your former job duties.
Steps You Should Take After Suffering a Brain Injury in a Motorcycle Accident
#1. Contact a Motorcycle Accident Attorney
After you seek medical care and file a police report, your next call should be to an attorney. There is no reason to “wait and see” because one of two scenarios will play out.
Neither is in your favor.
- You’ll receive a lowball settlement offer from the insurance company. This amount won’t come close to covering your current and future medical bills, current and future lost wages, property damage, and emotional distress.
- Or, you’ll be told that the accident was your fault, even if it wasn’t.
Insurance companies don’t have your best interests at heart, even if they say they do. Remember that these are for-profit businesses that have a bottom line to protect. An attorney will protect your legal rights and help you pursue compensation.
Lawyers with experience and compassion know that motorcycle accidents can happen at any time. Look for a firm that answers the phone 24/7, even on weekends and holidays. These attorneys are serious about helping you and your family.
#2. Understand That You’re Not Alone
A brain injury can leave you with chronic pain and feelings of despair and isolation. Bed rest and an inability to return to work may compound your loneliness. But you’re not alone. Brain injuries are more common than you think.
The CDC analyzed data from a recent Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project’s Inpatient Sample. This analysis found that each day, there are more than 610 TBI-related hospitalizations. This figure does not include patients who receive outpatient services, such as an ER visit.
#3. Seek Competent Medical Care
It wasn’t all that long ago that a concussion was considered “just a bump on the head.” Doctors may have instructed patients to go home, rest for a day, and they’d be fine. But now we know that isn’t the case.
If you feel like doctors or others failed to properly address your or your loved one’s symptoms, speak up. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has resources for brain injury patients and their families that may help you.
Speak With a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Life after suffering a brain injury in a motorcycle accident may not be easy. A settlement could compensate you for your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. The only way to know if you have a legal case is to speak with an attorney near you, so contact one today for your free consultation.