Ouch!! I just had a motorcycle accident! What should I do?
Here are some initial ideas.
The good news is that accident laws are more or less the same for motorcycles as for other cars. You have three years to sue for injury in Maryland and the District of Columbia, but only two years in Virginia. This deadline is called the statute of limitations. It is actually a waivable defense. That means if I sue you three years and one day after my accident, the judge will dismiss my case, and I will get nothing from you. But only if you raise that defense in your answer.
What should I do after my motorcycle crash?
Like car accidents, you should take pictures of your injuries and the vehicle and the scene, and hire a lawyer immediately. Why should you hire a lawyer immediately? Well, are you on your own going to call the other driver on a recorded line? Are you going to know what to ask him so he can’t make up lies later? And will you be able to record the eyewitnesses so that their testimony will be preserved?
One of the biggest differences between car accident laws and motorcycle accident laws has to do with a kind of insurance called Personal Injury Protection Insurance or “PIP.” (It is called medpay in Virginia.) Motorcycles usually do not have this type of insurance. This is insurance that a company pays without regard to fault. It used to be mandatory for all cars in Maryland, but the insurance companies lobbied to make it optional. If you have it on a Maryland policy, you will need to submit your materials to the insurance company within a year of the accident. The good thing about PIP is that it has no effect on how much the other driver pays.
There is something else special about motorcycle accidents: They hurt more than car accidents. As an attorney, I always feel that I have a leg up on the opposition when I represent a motorcycle crash victim. Is the jury really going to believe that my guy cut in front of the other guy recklessly? I mean, my guy’s life was on the line. He had no protection. And he can’t replace his body’s left front quarter panel as easily as the other guy can replace the left front quarter panel on his Honda!!