If you’ve been involved in a South Carolina motorcycle accident, chances are your bike sustained some serious damage. That’s because it is rare for a motorcycle to emerge from a traffic accident, especially those involving large passenger vehicles, totally unscathed. However, if another person caused the accident and is found at fault you are entitled to have your motorcycle repaired or replaced. Below I have described a few key components one should keep in mind to ensure you get the best chance of receiving full recovery.
First, you must get a police report explaining the facts of the accident. If you are involved in a South Carolina motorcycle accident and there has been physical injury or substantial property damage, you have a legal obligation to alert local law enforcement officials who will then compile an accident report. A copy of the report will be provided to you after authorities conduct an investigation. It is very difficult to recover for damages from an accident if the authorities are not involved immediately and an accident report prepared.
The report will explain not only the factual details of the accident, including when and where it occurred, but it will also contain a brief description of what took place and who is at fault. Finally, the report contains the name and insurance information of the other person involved in the accident. For all these reasons, an accident report is critical to eventually winning full compensation for the damages you’ve suffered.
In addition to getting an accident report, it’s important that you gather your own information, which might be more detailed or helpful than the dry facts contained in a police report. If you’ve got a phone with camera capabilities you can take pictures of the damage to your bike as well as the accident scene as a whole. Make sure to get as many angles as possible and zoom in on those areas that suffered the most serious damage. Though the police report is crucial, it is really true that pictures can really assist especially if further investigation of the accident is needed.
After you’ve sufficiently documented the damage to your bike, it is now a good idea to get some estimates of your own for how much money it will take to repair the motorcycle. Though most insurance companies will send out an estimator, having additional opinions is a good way to ensure the insurance estimator doesn’t try and settle your property damages for less than it’s true value. To do this, call around and see about taking your bike to a few different reputable repair shops. Ask them to print out full estimates so that you can later submit these to the insurance company, a great way to back up your claim for additional money with solid evidence.
Beyond seeking estimates, now is also a good time to gather evidence of other improvements you might have made to the motorcycle that the insurance estimator may not immediately discover. For example, if you paid for upgraded materials or did custom engine work or paint jobs, these are all things that may not be reflected in an insurance company’s estimate. Gather evidence, including receipts, showing that you paid for these upgrades.
File a claim
Finally, after you’ve gotten a police report, taken photos of the damage, secured a few estimates of your own and documented additional upgrades, it is important to reach out to the insurance company responsible for the damage and file a formal claim. Timing is important and the claim needs to be filed as soon as possible. Once the claim has been opened, the evidence you’ve gathered should be submitted to your claims agent who will take time to review the material before offering an estimate of damage.
Hopefully, the work you’ve done will ensure the estimate represents the full value of your damage. If not, this is where experienced motorcycle accident attorneys can come in handy, engaging in more intense negotiation with claims agents or even moving ahead with a lawsuit if necessary.
If you would like to discuss your case, we offer free consultations to riders across South Carolina. Call the office at (843) 276-7557 or click the chat button on this page.