What To Do After a Motorcycle Crash

motorcycle helmet
Posted: February 27, 2024

Motorcycles are popular everywhere, with bike sales and registration on the rise across the United States.  

The appeal of operating a motorcycle, enthusiasts say, is in the exhilaration, freedom, and views that riding affords. 

But biking has a downside, too; motorcyclists are at significantly greater risk than travelers encased in cars, trucks, or SUVs because they’re so exposed–to the road, to other traffic, to the hot working parts of their own bikes. Biking is a unique equation of traction, gravity, torque, and centrifugal force. One patch of loose gravel or careless turn by another driver can cause a catastrophic crash. Even a motorcyclist who collides with a slow-moving car or truck can tumble head over heels. A motorcycle crash, in the words of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, is a violent event that eight of 10 times ends in the injury or death of the person on the bike. In 2021 motorcycle crash fatalities accounted for nearly 20 percent of crash fatalities in New York.  


Motorcycle accidents can be so devastating that many who experience them later show symptoms of PTSD, including 

  • flashbacks; 
  • depression; 
  • nightmares; 
  • excessive drinking; 
  • an inability to focus; and/or 
  • aggressiveness and irritability. 

What, then, should you do if you’re in a motorcycle crash? 

The moments after a motorcycle crash 

According to some sources, someone involved in a motorcycle accident should consider taking immediate steps. Of course, these steps are just some suggestions of things to consider, and someone’s reaction after a serious motorcycle accident will depend on the unique circumstances, as well as their training and riding experience. Nevertheless, here are some things to consider:    


  1. Get yourself out of the road but leave your bike where it is. If you remain at the crash site, you may endanger yourself, because drivers fixate on people or objects in the road often inadvertently steer toward them. 
  2. Considering keeping some protective gear and clothing on. Though you might instinctively want to take off your helmet, depending on the circumstances, it may not always be advisable to leave it on. Taking it off could jostle or move your neck and head enough to put you at serious risk if you’ve injured either or both. 
  3. Call 911 and request police and an ambulance. You want a police officer to write up an accident report that later can serve as evidence, and you want paramedics to make sure you’re okay. 
  4. Take stock of the situation and yourself. If you are in shock, either physically or emotionally, knowing that can be helpful. Tell responders if you think you’re in shock. 
  5. Gather evidence. If possible, exchange insurance and contact information with other drivers. If safe and practical, it may be a good idea to take photos of the scene, especially your bike and any other vehicles involved, road signs, skid marks, gravel, and sun position.
  6. Cooperate with police. Answer all questions honestly, making objective statements and sticking to the facts as you know them. The aftermath of a crash can seem overwhelming, but it is a good idea to stay calm and unemotional. 
  7. Consider talking with an attorney. Especially if you or anyone else has been seriously injured.  


The hours, days, and weeks after a motorcycle crash 

Once away from the scene of the crash, you may want to  

  • Schedule a medical examination so you can identify the extent of your injuries and begin a course of treatment; 
  • Ask police for a copy of the accident report; 
  • Report the accident to your insurance carrier; and  
  • If you want to assert a claim for pain and suffering, call a personal injury lawyer.  


Someone seriously injured in a New York motorcycle accident may be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering.  What can a motorcycle accident lawyer do for you if you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident? Among other things, an experienced personal-injury attorney who’s focused on traffic-accident cases, such as those at William Mattar, P.C. can 


  • gather evidence such as witness statements and medical documentation; 
  • deal with insurers representing the at-fault driver that resist compensating you; 
  • give legal advice on your options as you recover; and 
  • help you meet tight deadlines for filing requisite accident and claim paperwork. New York’s statute of limitations for filing accident compensation claims can range in time depending on the circumstances, and there may even be a shortened notice-of-claim deadline if a municipality or other government entity is involved. Deadlines applicable in your case depend on the situation. 


Do you need an attorney? 


An attorney who has experience handling motorcycle accident-injury cases can help with all these things if you don’t feel sufficiently equipped or comfortable to do so on your own.  If an insurance company gives you trouble, an attorney can negotiate on your behalf, advocating for all the compensation you need. And if you just feel overwhelmed and scattered as you simply try to recover from your injuries, an attorney can help you sort everything out and make further claims if doing so proves necessary. 

To make a claim for pain and suffering, an injured motorcyclist must prove the other motorist’s negligence caused the collision. An experienced New York motorcycle accident attorney seeks to show the other motorist violated the rules of the road, which can be “negligence per se.”   

An experienced New York motorcycle accident attorney also can anticipate defense strategies the other motorist may use, such as claiming any violation was excusable or the motorcyclist contributed to the collision.     

If you’re not sure you need an attorney, keep this in mind: Getting compensated for your injuries can sometimes be complicated—while New York is a no-fault state where certain medical expenses and lost wages ordinarily are covered by an insurance company regardless of who’s to blame for a crash, motorcyclists are generally exempted from this—and one wrong move can compromise a case for maximum compensation. Speaking with an attorney, on the other hand, costs nothing; many firms, ours included, offer free initial consultations.  


Hurt in a car? Call William Mattar. 

The motorcycle accident lawyers at William Mattar, P.C. have years of experience handling motorcycle accident cases and have extensive knowledge of New York’s complex motorcycle and automobile accident laws.  Our attorneys know how to send a message that you’re serious about obtaining compensation for your damages.  

For a free case review at William Mattar, P.C. all you need to do is fill out this online form. Our motorcycle accident attorneys can protect your rights and advocate for you to receive maximum compensation; negotiate with insurers, including unreasonable ones; and guide you through the legal process, whether the crash occurred in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany, New York City, Long Island, or elsewhere. Just call us 24/7, at 844-noswap444-4444

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