Wiener & Lambka, PS, has years of experience in personal injury cases involving motorcyclists. Over the years, the lawyers have learned that cases involving motorcyclists come with their own set of challenges. First and foremost, it is important to understand that as someone injured on a motorcycle, the insurance industry and juries will have to be convinced that there was nothing that the rider could have done better to protect themselves. There is a pre-existing bias against motorcyclists on the road and attorneys need to have the skill set to change the perspective of the court officials. In every case in which someone brings a claim for personal injuries, there is an implicit human bias to blame the victim. It is necessary to show that the person involved in the incident took all the right measures to stay safe on the road. Injured motorcyclists take on this embedded bias, as well as the similar bias that anyone who rides a motorcycle is assuming the risk of injury due to that decision. One of the ways that this bias can be overcome is to demonstrate that great care was taken before and at the time of the incident. To further invalidate the bias against motorcyclists, personal injury lawyers will show that their client pursued the advice of healthcare professionals after the incident and made their health a priority. Demonstrating responsibility is a continuing theme to these types of cases. As soon as you believe you have a case, contact the personal injury lawyers at Wiener & Lambka to begin the legal process. A lawyer is your best bet in receiving an appropriate compensation package from insurance companies and legal representation can ensure that you are not slighted as a result of the inherent bias discussed earlier. Having a lawyer advocate for you will ensure that your case is treated with justice and care.
Hazards on the roadway are different for motorcyclists compared to operators of other automobiles. First is the obvious exposure of the driver. Motorcyclists are more likely to experience accidents that result in their personal injury or death than drivers of other vehicles. Without windows to shield motorcyclists from debris and any material flying around on the roadway, motorcyclists have a greater risk of being blindsided by miscellaneous circumstances, like serious rainfall or unfavorable insects blocking their lines of sight. Due to the nature of a motorcycle, and how different it is in comparison to other street-legal automobiles, motorcyclists are at risk for certain things that people driving cars and trucks do not have to worry about. From garbage and loose car parts, to potholes and train tracks, motorcyclists are affected by unsafe road conditions more than any other driver. Another thing to consider is that a smaller mode of transportation makes the drivers harder to see, and motorcyclists are often overlooked or invisible to other drivers on the road. Due to the difficulty other drivers have with seeing motorcyclists on the road, motorcyclists have to take on a more acute sense of awareness and exercise more caution than your typical driver. Moreover, many motorcycle collisions are caused by the rider either speeding or being intoxicated, or a combination of the two. No matter the mode of transportation, no driver should operate a vehicle under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, nor should they speed, and this applies especially to motorcyclists because they are already at a higher risk than other drivers.
The bias against motorcyclists is such a prominent and common mindset that motorcyclists themselves can be warped into believing it is true. In many cases where motorcyclists are injured while riding, the motorcyclists belittle their injuries and assume they could have done more to prevent the accident, but this is not always true. Liability in an accident involving a car/truck and a motorcycle should be determined in the same manner as liability for incidents between cars and trucks.
Both drivers should consider the following factors:
* Were either of the drivers intoxicated while operating their vehicles?
* Did any moving violations occur, such as failure to signal, follow street signs, signal, etc.?
* Was either operator distracted by something such as a phone?
* Was there any damage to the roadway that may have contributed to the crash?
* If roadway repairs were needed but not carried out, could the government be at fault for not preventing these types of crashes?
* Was unattended maintenance of either vehicle a cause of the crash?
Since motorcycle cases can become quite complicated, it is important that the lawyer you reach out to is well-equipped in handling your case, made clear by their experience and history handling motorcycle injury cases. While you may still be reeling with the reality of the accident, it is best to reach out to an attorney as soon as you are able because they will begin working on your case immediately and a solution can be found sooner than later. An attorney is beneficial in helping you refrain from making statements based on feeling rather than fact, and if you are faced with accusations from the other party, a lawyer will know how to respond. It is not rare that an incident is caused either in part, or fully, by a car part that failed to function correctly.
If a car does not work as it is supposed to and that malfunction causes injuries, liability claims can be filed against car companies and manufacturers. Companies only begin recalling items when they learn of their defective nature, and sometimes, this doesn’t happen until a serious incident occurs. Whether due to poor engineering in the design phase or a problem in the manufacturing of the part, if there is a defect such that it did not work as one would reasonably expect and it causes an accident, then there is a possible legal claim.
Before doing anything else, check your body for physical injuries from the crash. If you are injured then seek medical care right away. If you are not able to pinpoint a specific injury but feel as though you are not feeling right either mentally or physically, then err on the side of caution and seek medical care. Some injuries take some time to manifest into visible physical symptoms, so as a precautionary measure, it is recommended that all motorcyclists see a doctor following any type of accident on the road.
Internal injuries, like concussions and bleeding, are examples of invisible injuries that only a doctor can detect right away, due to their subtle symptoms.
If you do not feel that you are in dire need of a physical evaluation, the following tips can advise you on what you should do next:
The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury or death of any person or damage to a vehicle is required to immediately stop and remain at the scene. Drivers are required to cooperate with the police and provide their name and vehicle registration, driver’s license, etc. While waiting for police to arrive, drivers are allowed to call for assistance from ambulances and medics if necessary.
It is rare for a collision to result in serious injuries or deaths, but if these have occurred you must not move the vehicles because the police will need to document the scene of the collision. However, if the vehicles involved in the incident are actively causing a problem for other drivers on the road, then it is acceptable to move the vehicles out of the way. If photos can be taken in a safe manner, prior to moving the vehicles out of their positions, then it is advised that the drivers do so, for the sake of documentation. Failure to document the scene with photographic evidence allows for the possibility of false accusations and confounding stories when the case goes before the judge, because without proof, either side can say whatever they want. Many accidents involving injured motorcyclists happen when the driver of a car or truck does not see the motorcyclist due to their blind spot intervening, so documenting the scene properly will help investigators to understand what happened. Documentation ensures that everyone can see the truth of the situation and understand how the accident occurred, without bias
If you are not sure whether or not a collision should be reviewed by authorities, it is always best to call the police anyway. Sometimes the police will indicate that they cannot come to every accident and, if smaller and without apparent injury, will advise that the parties should handle it themselves. As long as you make the right moves and call the authorities, you have done your part and behaved appropriately, which is the most important part, because the liability is not yours to claim anymore. The police are more likely to come to the scene of the crime than to leave it up to your discretion, but regardless, pictures should still be taken for documentation purposes. Photographic evidence becomes incredibly important in terms of your legal case because an abundance of evidence is better than none. Not all injuries are apparent immediately after a collision, but if you realize you have sustained a serious injury once your adrenaline settles, the photographs you took will be considered substantial evidence in upholding any personal injury claims. A police report with photographic evidence of the scene might make or break your claim for personal injury compensation, so if you can control these aspects, it is best to have both rather than none.
Under Washington State law, drivers are required to have proof of insurance on their person while operating the vehicle. This is why your insurance company typically sends you two cards: one to carry with you and one to keep in your car / motorcycle. The ticket for not having proof of insurance is several hundred dollars so, keep that information handy.
Most insurance policies require that the insured report collisions as they occur. Insurance policies are contracts, and both the insured and the insurer must uphold their end of the deal, including filing reports when accidents occur. Cooperating with your insurance company is the best action you can take after speaking to police and seeking medical care. Call your insurance agent and notify them as well. When you contact your insurance agent, make sure you follow the rules and regulations of your policy. Keep a copy of your conversations with your insurance agent for proof of communication if needed later. If you do not uphold the conditions of your insurance policy, your insurance provider might reserve the right to deny you coverage and that will make your case that much more stressful to resolve.
Try to safely take pictures at the scene. It is best to take pictures of any parts of the accident that seem relevant. Examples of relevant pieces of information are the position of the vehicles, insurance cards, photographs of the drivers’ identification cards, visible injuries, and broken glass on the roadway. If you come across other important things to photograph later on, take pictures anyway because they can still be included in your evidence. Any additional chance to take photos should be taken advantage of. Taking pictures is especially important if the motorcycle is to be totaled out or before the bike is repaired. Any physical manifestation of injury should be continuously documented with photos. Bruises get worse and then heal up, scars change, everything that is not going to stay static during the healing process should be documented with photos.
You are not required by law to provide a statement for the other driver involved, nor do you have to speak with his or her insurance provider. If you have been involved in an accident and are not sure how to move forward, reach out to a personal injury law firm in your area for advice and legal representation. Moreover, insurance adjusters taking statements are trained to try to find ways in which to limit or deny claims of the other driver. We have represented motorcyclists who have accidentally provided statements to the other party without knowing better, and these instances always cause unnecessary harm to their case. Obtaining legal advice prior to provision of statement to the insurance company that you will be seeking money from is always a good decision.
If there are witnesses to your collision, obtain their contact information and an understanding of what they saw. Witnesses are incredibly helpful if you face a situation where you are asked for further evidence to support your claim, so if anyone was around to witness what happened, kindly ask them if they wouldn’t mind being an official witness. Anything that might help you later should be recorded and collected at the time of the incident.
As discussed above, if you are injured in any way, you should seek medical care. While this seems like common sense, many people choose to wait or hope that their injuries are going to go away as quickly as they came on. These mindsets are dangerous because you are putting your body at risk and the other party’s insurance company will use your refusal to seek medical care as irresponsibility. Moreover, without adequate medical care, you are also susceptible to the argument that you failed to take reasonably steps to limit the harm caused. With that logic in mind, be sure to listen intently to your doctor and follow his/her advice on how to treat your injuries over time. It is important that your injuries be documented for use as evidence so tell your doctor about any injuries you noticed to your body. When it comes time to settle your case, you will need proof of evidence and photographs of injuries is stronger than just your words.
Injuries can include, but are not limited to, the following examples:
The police report itself and whether one party got a ticket or not are not admissible evidence in a trial on the matter. That being said, these items still matter a whole lot to the insurance companies and the drivers. If a ticket was written in your name after the incident, but you do not believe it is justified, you have rights and they allow you to dispute the ticket in court. The ticket will have a detailed explanation on how to proceed. You can always turn to legal aid and ask an attorney to assist you in fighting a traffic ticket. Personal injury lawyers can assist in fighting traffic tickets so if you have already hired one for representation in your case, let them know a ticket was written in your name and they will advise you on the correct process. Keep in mind that the ticket can have bad consequences to both your injury case as well as your long term financial interests as it can raise your insurance rates for years to come.
If the insurance company requesting the statement is your own, then you have a duty to cooperate with them and should give the statement. In Washington, statements given to your own company are not discoverable to the other driver’s insurance company. Though your insurance provider is a trustworthy source, you might not feel completely comfortable providing a statement to anyone, in which case you should reach out to a personal injury lawyer for guidance on the matter. You should never give a recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance company. They do not have your best interests in mind. If you are being asked to provide such a statement, you should immediately contact a personal injury attorney to discuss this. The insurance agency that represents the opposing party is not owed a statement and there is no legal ground for them to ask for one, so don’t feel pressured to provide a recorded statement. You are welcome to answer basic questions posed by the opposing insurance provider but it is heavily advised that you speak to lawyer before saying anything at all.
If you have ever Googled yourself or another person, you know that you can sometimes find information about them that you otherwise would not know. Google plays a part in helping people find other people, and that can be dangerous if you put poor information about yourself out there. If you have a Twitter account, for example, your tweets can appear in searches via Google. Your Facebook posts can be accessed by anyone if your settings allow it. Numerous other social media sites don’t protect your content as much as you might think, making it accessible to just about anyone. Your friends can have different settings than you do and thereby allow investigators to find out information about you from their pages. Making sure your social media information is private and not readily available to anyone who wants it is a wise approach no matter what. Also, deleting social media posts or editing them in any way after the incident can be considered altering evidence, which is not a good charge to have against you. The most important piece of advice in this area is to not post about anything that has to do with your case. It is best not to post anything about your accident or injuries you sustained. You will come to regret anything you post down the road. Do not post anything that you wouldn’t want a judge or jury making decisions about your case to see.
Consultations with us are absolutely free and you are under no obligation to retain us after the initial meeting. This policy is typical among personal injury attorneys. There is no reason why you shouldn’t at least put in a telephone call or email inquiry regarding the pros and cons of hiring an attorney.
Motorcyclists injured in accidents can benefit the most from free consultations because they need to start their cases especially early, due to the nature of the incident.
Having an attorney backing you up is a good idea for many reasons:
· If the insurance company who covers the opposing party asks for a statement from you.
· If they want you to turn over medical records (especially from the time period in front of the car accident).
· If you are being met with defiance from anyone.
· If you are having trouble getting the opposing party’s insurance company to cooperate with the case.
· If your own company is not cooperating in helping you with areas of coverage on your policy such as opening a Personal Injury Protection (PIP) claim or helping with property damage.
· If your accident involves any possibility of the other person’s insurance company alleging that you were partially or fully at fault.
It is difficult to select an attorney. Every attorney likes to think they are the best choice for you, and that’s what they’ll tell you. In order to get your business, a lawyer desperate for work will tell you that they can help you even if they cannot. Here are some things that will help you sort through the marketing:
2. Next, find out what their track history looks like. With attorneys, just obtaining a win-loss record is deceiving. If an attorney doesn’t feel confident or believe they will win a case on behalf of their client, then they don’t have to take it on, thereby influencing their win-loss records. Most attorneys do not take cases that are too difficult to trial because the costs and time of doing so must be offset by the strong possibility of obtaining an award sufficient to justify the work and expense. In other words, attorneys usually only take cases that they feel confident about winning. Winning is only half the battle anyway. Winning doesn’t mean your client receives everything they wanted. The proper question is more, how successful have your cases been? Their previous outcomes are not a guarantee that yours will result the same way but it at least provides some evidence that the chances they will successfully win your case is clear.
3. People leave reviews for just about anything these days and that includes their experiences with attorneys. While some sites, such as AVVO, utilize an algorithm that attempts to fairly rate the attorneys, these formulas are manipulatable and imprecise. A better method of understanding how good the attorney is involves looking at what former clients have to say about that attorney. Don’t base your decision off of a website’s rating – look instead at the commentary left by previous clients.
4. Another option is to call the lawyers yourself and ask them questions. Make note of how they treat you during the phone call. Will they come to you to meet and go over your case? Do you feel comfortable? Your gut doesn’t lie, so if you feel a little uncomfortable with the situation, maybe they are not the lawyer for you. At the end of your case, in order to obtain a settlement, the insurance company is going to have you sign a release. This release will basically say that, in exchange for the money, you will never ever ask for another penny, no matter what may happen in the future regarding your injuries. You should only hire a lawyer who makes you feel comfortable and whom you can trust. Above all, only hire a lawyer who makes you feel confident and listens to you with care.
Your losses from an incident is legally the responsibility of the negligent party. This includes the damage to your motorcycle, the cost of a rental car if necessary, your lost wages, your out of pocket expenses, damage to personal property, your medical bills incurred for accident-caused injuries, your future medical bills, future lost wages, future impairment of earning capacity, and your general damages – all pain and suffering and impairment of your life caused by the injuries you incurred. Sometimes, the medical bills are the responsibility of your own insurance company but that is completely dependent upon the policy you have. Your insurance provider handles property damage claims as well as details like lending you a loaner car. Look into your policy and find out if you’re eligible for home-helper and/or wage-loss provisions. In very unfortunate circumstances, some people can take utilize their insurance provider for the sake of paying funeral expenses. The limitations of your insurance provider will dictate what you can obtain for compensation. Generally, the negligent party’s company will only pay for your property damage at the time of the accident. They will then write you one check for all other losses when you agree to release them and the negligent driver. The secondary check may not come until much later. Your coverage through your own automobile insurance will pay for things as incurred, consistent with what coverage you actually have purchased.
If your motorcycle is repairable, it must be restored to its pre-accident condition. This can be done at a body shop of your choice, sometimes to an extent. Some insurance companies keep a list of body shops covered under your policy.
If a rental car is owed to you while your car is in the shop, you can take the insurance provider up on that offer, or you can have the money that would normally go towards a rental car paid directly to you instead. As a general rule of thumb, don’t give your money over to a service provider until they have completed the work. Obtain an independent review of the damage caused in the accident as well as an estimate in terms of repair costs before you elect to send your car somewhere. Sometimes, a vehicle is so damaged in a wreck that it’s deemed a total loss, making repairs unnecessary, but you still receive a payout of “fair market value” as compensation for your car. The monetary value that you could have sold your car for before the accident took place is known as the “fair market value.” Market value is dependent upon many factors such as age, mileage, condition of the body and paint, condition of the interior, tread on tires, damage history, recent maintenance expenses, etc. In order to figure out your vehicle’s market value, your insurance company conducts a market survey where they call dealerships and look at current listings for comparable vehicles. Doing this yourself is a smart idea as well. “Book figures” are not something the law allows insurance companies to offer. Used car guides advertise vehicles that are intended to be used as trade-in vehicles so it’s not wise to use these guides are your reference for determining market value. Itemized below are the evaluations factors that must be included in a total loss settlement offer:
You can keep the salvage if you’d like but this involves a conversation with your insurance company and junk yards near you. Expect about a two-week waiting period after you file your claim for total loss. If you have questions feel free to call.
If you were a passenger in an accident involving motorcyclists, there are two important considerations for you to make. Know that even if you were in the car that caused the crash, you are not at all at fault as a passenger. Passengers are fault-free in these situations and you can even file a claim against the driver of the vehicle you were in, if you wish. After that, consider which insurances have policies available to you for medical bill and wage loss assistance. We would look first at the insurance on the bike, then whether the driver had additional insurance, and last whether you had automobile insurance that would apply. Our top priority is Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. If car insurance is not in place at the time of the accident, then we call upon your health insurance instead.
This depends on a lot of factors. The first question to answer is whether or not you are happy with how much was offered to you. Does the amount seem fair to you? The majority of cases end in happy scenarios. It is common for an insurance company to attempt to settle a claim for less than their monetary worth. Insurance companies are never trying to trick you but rather they want to keep the fiscal damage at a minimum, for the sake of their client. An attorney is your best bet when it comes to demanding higher settlements. Consultations are free, so you might as well take advantage of the opportunity to gain insight about your case. In many instances, you simply aren’t going to be treated fairly without having an attorney handle your case. We highly recommend you schedule a consultation appointment in order to fully understand your situation and the best plan of action for your particular case.
The statute of limitations for motorcyclist accidents is three years in Washington State. If you fail to file a lawsuit in time, your rights for compensation will be eradicated by law. It is best to have all steps completed by the two-year mark to allow room for any unpredictable setbacks. You are more likely to avoid a lawsuit if you file your claims sooner than later. Three years sounds like a lengthy period of time, but obtaining records and witness statements can take a while, so acting sooner than later is essential. As with all legal matters, consulting with an attorney and adhering to their legal advice is best.
Being partially at fault does not mean that you cannot bring a claim. Interestingly enough, there are some cases where being a little bit at fault results in our clients being able to achieve a better end award than if they had not been at fault. In order to provide an honest and accurate answer to this question, legal discussion would be necessary. We care about your well-being and overall recovery more than anything else, and for that reason, consultations with us are free and highly encouraged.
Our hope is that you preemptively insured yourself against this unlucky circumstance. To protect yourself, it is vital that you have UIM (under/uninsured motorist coverage) as part of your insurance policy. This addition to your policy protects you if you are involved in an accident where the other party either has no insurance or not enough to cover the extent of the damage.
Learn more about Uninsured Motorist cases here.
According to the Washington State universal helmet law, all riders must be wearing a helmet while riding. This is different from other states that only require helmets for certain age groups.
We looked into the statistics surrounding recent motorcycle accidents in the United States. The statistics included below were taken from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Highway Loss Data Institute. The information can be found on their website as well.
Motorcycles take up less space on the road, making them harder to spot, and despite their high-performance capabilities, motorcycles are less stable than other vehicles. When motorcycles crash, their riders lack the protection of an enclosed vehicle, so they’re more likely to be injured or killed. In 2015, an estimate was made by the federal government stating that the number of motorcyclists who died in crashes was 29 times higher than those killed while driving vehicles.1Helmet usage is important for motorcyclists because head trauma is a very common injury sustained by motorcyclists in accidents. Helmets are 67% effective in the prevention of traumatic brain injuries and 37% effective in the prevention of death. Despite these high statistics and clear benefits of helmets, only 19 states, not including D.C., mandate that all riders wear a helmet. In recent years, more and more people have been riding ATVs on public roads despite the illegalness of doing so, and about 300+ people die because of it every year. The United States Department of Transportation‘s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) released the following details in December of 2017.
A total of 4,976 motorcyclists died in crashes in 2016. Though the number of motorcyclist deaths were declining in the early 1980s, they began to increase again starting in 1998 through to today. Motorcycle deaths accounted for 13 percent of all motor vehicle crash deaths in 2016 and were more than double the number of motorcyclist deaths in 1997.
“A job well done! The staff at Wiener and Lambka made a point of explaining everything to me and if necessary I’d work with them again in a heartbeat.” - O. Yusuf“Wiener & Lambka helped me through the process, always discussing all of the available options. In particular, I was happy about the ease with which I was able to access my attorneys.”- B. Froton“I was satisfied by the timely manner with which my case was handled. I would definitely recommend Wiener & Lambka to a friend in the future.” - D. Yusuf"It was a stress free experience. I particularly enjoyed when, on my initial call, they sent someone out to my house to speak with me in person. I would certainly use or recommend Wiener & Lambka in the future." - M. Randall“The Staff at Wiener and Lambka are friendly and understand customer needs. They reduced their fee on my case and didn’t even take any on my son’s.” - M. Ngo"Wiener & Lambka always kept me up to date with my case. I'd certainly suggest them to a friend." - J. Trujillo“Wiener and Lambka did a good job of keeping me up to date on my case, and I’d definitely suggest their services to someone looking for an attorney.” - L. Lafond“Everyone was great. The staff at Wiener and Lambka make a good thing out of a bad situation, and for that, I am very thankful.” - D. Grami“In my moment of Crisis Wiener & Lambka lent me a helping hand. Their dedication to my case was outstanding. They stuck by my side and fought for my rights. Thank you!” - K. Tuazon“Calls were returned in a timely manner, and the office staff is friendly. I’d recommend Wiener and Lambka to a friend in the future.” - T. Their“Wiener & Lambka took care of the leg work for me and even managed to get a larger settlement than expected.” - J. Hanson“You minimized my stress levels on a process foreign and scary to me. Very professional, caring, and patient with me.” - A. Maas“Wiener & Lambka get the job done. I appreciated their concern and interest in my case, and would definitely recommend them to a friend.” - Y. Martin“Everything was great. It was the best legal experience I have ever had!” - T. Hoskins“The service and the staff were great. I was happy with everything, and would refer Wiener and Lambka to someone else in the future.” - I. Aleman
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