UNITED STATES—Getting into a motorcycle accident is always a stressful event. However, if you were injured in your home state, at least you have the benefit of knowing the local laws and visiting your doctor. Crashing your bike out-of-state adds an extra layer of stress to an already tense situation.
While out-of-state collisions can be challenging, there are ways bikers could minimize these complexities. No matter where you travel in the USA, try your best to keep the following strategies in mind. Knowing what to do in the event of a crash can save you many headaches down the line.
How to Handle an Out-Of-State Motorcycle Crash — Strategies for Legal Success
Safety First: Reach Out to Local Authorities
No matter what state you crash your motorcycle in, the first thing you should do is call the local police. Since you’re not in your home territory, it’s best to reach out to a 911 operator. Your dispatcher should put you in direct contact with first responders in your area.
As always, it’s most important you get the medical care you need immediately after your car crash. Let the responding officer know if you’re injured and get to the nearest hospital ASAP. If possible, you should also figure out the responding officer’s name and unit number. This info will come in handy later when you have to request an official police report.
If you aren’t seriously injured, try to take as many detailed pics of your crash site with your mobile phone. You should also exchange insurance info with any other drivers involved in this crash. If there were any eyewitnesses nearby, you could ask for their contact info and recorded testimony. All of this info will bolster your injury claim down the line.
What’s the Law of the Land? Review Motorcycle Laws Before Traveling
One of the confusing aspects of motorcycle law is that it changes from state to state. As an example, there’s little agreement over whether motorcyclists need to wear helmets. If you were injured in Spokane, you should know Washington State has a universal helmet law on the books. By contrast, only cyclists under 20 years old need to wear helmets in states like Florida, Rhode Island, and Michigan.
States also have differing stances on whether motorcyclists could legally split lanes. Interestingly, California is the only state with explicit laws allowing motorcyclists to split lanes. By contrast, if you’re caught lane-splitting in Spokane, you will face more severe legal repercussions.
Motorcyclists should take a few days to review all of the specific laws in their out-of-state destination. If you find it’s too complicated to research these statutes, please don’t hesitate to call a professional injury lawyer for guidance. Knowing these laws will help you adjust your motorcycling habits to your new state.
While you’re researching motorcyclist laws, you may also want to review your insurance provider’s motorcyclist policy. Be sure to investigate what your insurance package covers and whether this coverage changes in different territories.
Who Should I Call After an Out-Of-State Motorcyclist Crash?
As you’re recovering from your motorcycle injury, you may be wondering who to call for your case. Do you have to go with a lawyer in your crash zone, or is it OK to contact a legal team in your home state?
In most cases, it’s best to chat with an attorney who you trust in your home state. Interestingly, some lawyers have certifications to practice law in multiple states. But even if your attorney can’t help you directly, they can usually put you in touch with a competent lawyer nearby. Your local attorney may also serve as a counselor throughout the legal process.
Final Tip: Keep a Copy of Your Insurance and Medical Card Info
Although we never want to think of getting into an accident while traveling, it’s worth bearing in mind. To keep your mind at ease, you may want to bring a copy of your medical and insurance info with you. Having this paperwork nearby will make it more convenient to work with your insurer and attorney right from the get-go.