Wiener & Lambka, PS, is a law firm with vast history and combined knowledge when it comes to representing cases involving motorcyclists. Cases in which motorcyclists are injured 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. On top of the basic challenges, personal injury lawyers who take on motorcyclist cases are also faced with predominant bias against their client for riding a motorcycle on the road. In every case in which someone brings a claim for personal injuries, there is an implicit human bias to blame the victim. Showing that the injured person was taking appropriate caution when the incident occurred is often of great importance. Not only do motorcyclists face this common bias against them, but they also have to deal with the general public’s assumption that they accept the possibility of injury as a risk factor of riding a motorcycle. 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. Personal injury lawyers will bring to light all the ways their client has sought medical attention and recovered from the injuries caused by the incident, showing that the motorcyclist suffered and took care to improve themselves. Showing that the injured motorcyclist took responsibility for his or her injuries helps a case to result in the injured party’s favor. It is important, therefore, to consult with an attorney as soon as possible so that you can properly understand how to best handle every aspect of your case. In cases involving motorcyclists, this is also important because the insurance industry will often reduce their settlement offers in these types of cases, because they are well-aware of the bias problems with taking such a case to court. In order to get treated fairly, great care should be taken at each step of the claim.
Motorcyclists encounter unique hazards in their operation on roadways that set them apart from other vehicles. First is the obvious exposure of the driver. Due to the structure of a motorcycle, a motorcyclist is more likely to face serious, sometimes fatal, injuries in an accident as opposed to drivers of cars with doors and intense protection. Also, riding a motorcycle, as opposed to driving with a metal shell around you, exposes the human body to the elements of weather and debris, either of which can cause or contribute to an accident. 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. Potholes, uneven surfaces, railroad tracks, garbage, car parts, any type of debris – all of these are concerns to the motorcycle rider. Last, but not least, motorcyclists have a greater likelihood of not being seen by other drivers. Motorcyclists have to take on greater levels of precaution when turning corners, passing other cars, or changing lanes. Moreover, many motorcycle collisions are caused by the rider either speeding or being intoxicated, or a combination of the two. As with anyone operating a motor vehicle, it is in the best interest of motorcyclists to not drive while under the influence, especially due to the high risks already associated with riding a motorcycle.
The bias we mentioned earlier is so universal that sometimes, motorcyclists do not come forward, or they accept blame when it is not their fault, because they believe the bias themselves. Anyone who is a victim of a situation might start thinking about all the ways they could have prevented the incident, but when it comes to motorcyclists, it is important to remember that they share the same rights as every other driver while on the road. 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:
* Was either operator intoxicated?
* Were the rules of the road obeyed or did either driver fail to follow street laws?
* Were any distractions at play, like a cell phone or loud radio?
* Were the roadways in need of repair and therefore a contributing factor to the incident?
* Could the governmental authority over that roadway done something wrong in its design or maintenance?
* Could either driver have taken better care of their vehicle in a way that might have prevented the incident?
Again, motorcycle cases can be complex and it is important that an experienced attorney review your case as soon as possible. We prefer to be involved early on so that we can discuss with clients how to best tell their story of what happened. With the guidance of legal aids, you can avoid making statements that are wrongly interpreted by the opposing party. It is also possible that the accident was caused in full or partially by a car part that didn’t function properly.
Defective car parts are not the fault of drivers and therefore the investigation into who is liable becomes broader, now involving manufacturers and car companies. Companies only begin recalling items when they learn of their defective nature, and sometimes, this doesn’t happen until a serious incident occurs. A legal claim can be filed if a car part is the cause of a personal injury incident involving a motorcycle.
Before doing anything else, check your body for physical injuries from the crash. If you are injured then seek medical care right away. Your injuries do not need to be fatal in order to warrant attention, so if any physical harm has been caused to your body during the accident, reach out to professionals and seek medical assistance. This is especially important for motorcycle riders involved in a collision because not all injuries show clear symptoms right away.
Some physical damage, like injuries involving soft tissue and the brain, do not cause visible symptoms right away so it is important that a trauma doctor take a look at the state of your body post-accident.
That said, here are some pieces of advice for people who truly do not believe they need to be examined or cleared by healthcare professionals:
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. No matter how straight-forward you might believe the accident to have been, failure to document the scene leaves room for the possibility of the other driver saying something different later. Proper documentation of the scene of the accident is vital, especially in cases involving motorcyclists, because pictures can show the trajectory of the vehicles and explain who hit who. It is important that the aftermath of all collisions are properly documented for the sake of a fair case.
The best response to a vehicular accident involving one or more automobiles is to call the police immediately. The worst-case scenario is that the operators who respond to your phone call will tell you that your accident does not merit intervention on behalf of the police and you will be able to resolve the matter with the other driver. 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 than to suggest you figure it out civilly, so this assertion is only applicable in very rare circumstances. This report, and the officer being a witness, can be important aspects to your case later. 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. Even in cases where you believe it’s obvious that the other driver was at fault, a police report as well as documented photographs of the scene will further support and prove your assertion that you are not at fault.
Under Washington State law, drivers are required to have proof of insurance on their person while operating the vehicle. To make the state law easy to adhere to, insurance companies in Washington State will send you two copies of your insurance card: one to put in your wallet and the other to leave in the car or motorcycle. If you are caught driving without proof of insurance, the police will write a ticket in your name for a few hundred dollars, so make sure you follow this law without any exception.
Your insurance policy likely requires that you report collisions and accidents to it. Insurance companies issue contracts and since they are a signed agreement, insurance providers expect that you uphold the terms, including the responsibility to report accidents. 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. Make sure you follow the specific requirements in your policy and document your efforts. Keep copies of letters which you send to the insurance company and make notes of your conversations including the date, time and the name of the adjuster you spoke with. Failure to comply with your policy could result in the denial of coverage.
Try to safely take pictures at the scene. You should photograph any angle you feel is relevant to the accident. From the angle of the vehicles involved in the crash and any car parts on the ground, to insurance information and identification cards, just about everything is worth noting following an accident. If you notice something later on, such as a bruise or some form of damage to your vehicle, be sure to take a picture anyway because these details are still important to include in your case. Too many photos are better than barely any photographs at all. 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.
While you have a duty to cooperate with the authorities and your own insurance company, you are not required to give a statement to the adverse driver or his insurance company. 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. As you might expect, insurance agents have the best interest of their client in mind and they may try to skew your responses in a way that they can later use against you. Unfortunately, not everyone knows that they do not have to speak with the other party without legal aid present, and we have run into sticky situations where unnecessary problems are caused by providing statements to the other party. Contacting a personal injury lawyer for advice should take place prior to providing a statement to the other party’s insurance agency.
Witnesses help the truth come out because they provide an unbiased report of the incident, so if anyone saw the crash and was not directly involved themselves, ask for the contact information for future purposes. While in most cases witnesses do not prove to be important or necessary, the problem is that you won’t know that at the time of the crash. Witnesses are as important, if not more so, than photographs when it comes to evidence.
You are your number one priority, and if you have been injured in an accident, see a doctor as soon as possible. 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. The problem with taking this approach in the context of a car accident case is that the insurance company for the other driver will use any delay against you and claim that if you were all that hurt, you would have sought medical care. Without receiving medical attention for your injuries, you can be blamed for perpetuating your injuries and, in extreme cases, the other party might accuse you of making your injuries worse by not getting the help needed. By the same logic, it is important that you follow your doctor’s instructions and follow up as appropriate. It is important that your injuries be documented for use as evidence so tell your doctor about any injuries you noticed to your body. You can state that you were injured in X, Y, and Z ways but if you do not have documented evidence your statement will not hold up well in court.
The most common types of injuries we see from motorcycle accidents include:
Tickets issued by police and the police reports themselves are not admissible forms of evidence in a trial. That being said, these items still matter a whole lot to the insurance companies and the drivers. If you receive a ticket that you do not believe is justified, then you have a right to challenge it in court. The ticket you were given will tell you 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. Traffic tickets have the potential to raise insurance rates for an incredible amount of time, so if you have even the slightest doubt about a ticket you received, take action and fight the penalty.
If the insurance company requesting the statement is your own, then you have a duty to cooperate with them and should give the statement. Under Washington State law, anything you tell your insurance company is between you and the agency. 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. As a matter of principle, you should not ever provide a statement to the insurance company representing the other party. They do not have your best interests in mind. If the other insurance company asks for a statement, politely decline for the time being and find a personal injury lawyer who is well-equipped to represent you in court. The opposing insurance company is not entitled to your statement, so don’t feel compelled to provide them with one. Answering base-level questions is reasonable, but the best route to take is to speak with a lawyer in order to decipher the best plan of action.
Information that you might not otherwise be able to find out can be discovered nowadays, thanks to the helping hand of Google. Google can pull up just about any piece of information that contains your name, including your social media accounts. Twitter, for example, keeps a record of everything you tweet. Your Facebook posts can be accessed by anyone if your settings allow it. There are numerous other sites that allow your information to be readable by anyone who wants to find it. Your friends can have different settings than you do and thereby allow investigators to find out information about you from their pages. It is always in good practice to make sure you don’t have unwanted information readily accessible to anyone on social media. You need to be careful about what you post on social media in general, but especially following an incident, and if you edit your posts in any way, it could be considered altering evidence. It is better to be safe than sorry, so don’t post anything online that has to do with your personal injury 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. If you wouldn’t want to show the judge the posts yourself, don’t display them online.
Our consultations are free and completely without obligation to retain us as your attorneys. Most personal injury attorneys have the same policy. To encourage victims to come forward and discuss the details of their case, we do not charge for the consultation.
The consultation is really important for motorcyclists involved in accidents because personal injury victims need to start their case as soon as possible.
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 you are asked to provide a copy of your medical records.
· If the person who adjusts the value of your property is not cooperating with you.
· If the insurance company for the other side is being rude or unresponsive.
· 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 there is a possibility that insurance can claim you were partially or fully at fault.
It can be hard to find the right lawyer for you. Attorneys are good at self-promotion and persuasive arguments. Some attorneys will happily tell you about how good they are in order to obtain your business. Here are some ways to decide for yourself who is the best lawyer for your needs:
2. Second, look for a track record. Win-loss records are not the only important factor for attorneys. This is because attorneys choose which cases they want to take on, meaning they have some control and can back out of cases they don’t feel they can win. If an attorney feels that a case is too hard to bring to trial, they often times will not take it on because the work and expenses necessary are not justifiable. Attorneys tend to only sign onto cases that have a greater chance of settling in their client’s favor. Winning is only half the battle anyway. Your client might not be granted everything they hoped for, even if you win the case. 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. Your next best bet for figuring out if the lawyer is a good fit for you is by reading reviews. One site that hosts reviews of lawyers is called AVVO, but unfortunately, they use algorithms that can be manipulated so their ratings may be faulty. By reading honest reviews by people who were once represented by the attorneys at hand, you’ll receive more transparent insight than any other resource can give you. For a true summary of an attorney and his/her practice, turn to the written reviews of the people who know what it’s like to be represented by the lawyers firsthand.
4. Call and talk with them. Do they treat you kindly and respectfully? Will they come to you to meet and go over your case? Do you get a vibe that makes you comfortable? Trust your gut and ask questions that are important to you. In order to obtain a settlement, you’ll have to sign a release. The release you’ll be presented with will essentially say that you accept what is being offered and you will not try to get more money for anything in the future. If you do not believe that your attorney has done a good job or if you do not trust them and their advice, then how will you be able to settle and release your legal claim? Find someone that you trust and work with them to make sure that your legal matter resolves successfully for you.
The negligent party is legally responsible for the losses of the other party involved in the accident. This means that anything you lost, be it an item or an occupation or something replaceable, should be rightfully returned to you in the form of compensation. Your own insurance provider might be responsible for paying your medical bills, depending on your policy. Property damage claims and a car rental are handled via your provider. Look into your policy and find out if you’re eligible for home-helper and/or wage-loss provisions. Some insurance providers even cover funeral expenses in their policies. The coverage you pay for will detail what you can or cannot claim after an accident. Generally, the negligent party’s company will only pay for your property damage at the time of the accident. After you state your losses, the other insurance provider will write a check in your name as compensation. Because you need to be in a proper position to know about your future as it relates to the accident in order to sign off on that release, the bodily injury payment typically does not occur until you are completely done with your treatment and have knowledge of your medical future. Your insurance company can help you the greatest extent that your policy allows.
If your motorcycle was not fully totaled, you should have it restored to its original condition right before the accident transpired. You may have the vehicle repaired at a body shop of your choice. 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. Before you agree to send your vehicle to a repair shop, find out what they charge and what they believe needs fixing, and then compare it to your notes. If your vehicle is deemed a “total loss,” which means that it would not be cost effective to make repairs, then you are owed the “fair market value” of the vehicle. “Fair market value” is what your car or truck could have been sold for the day before the accident. 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. The insurance company must perform a market survey by calling dealerships and checking newspapers ad for the selling price on comparable vehicles. It is best to do this yourself, too. “Book figures” are not something the law allows insurance companies to offer. Used car guides are not the best reference because they are more concerned with trades instead of being resold. In order to file for a total loss settlement, you must have the following factors evaluated:
If you are interested in retaining the “salvage” (damaged vehicle) then you have the right to match the highest bid for the salvage that the insurance company obtains from a wrecking yard. It usually takes about two weeks from the date of reporting a claim until a total loss offer is made as it takes time to determine all of the above. If you have questions feel free to call.
You must consider two things if you were the passenger in a car crash involving a motorcyclist. First, it doesn’t matter much who is at fault to you – whether your driver, the other driver, or a combination of both. Passengers are not at fault because they were not in control of the vehicle, making them a victim who is also eligible for settlement and compensation. After that, consider which insurances have policies available to you for medical bill and wage loss assistance. We would first take a peek at the motorcycle’s insurance and then follow up with insurance companies on behalf of the drivers. In all cases, Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage is our main focus. If there was no insurance at the time of the accident, then we will call upon your health insurance provider.
Many factors come together to answer this question. First, are you happy with the amount offered? Does it sound fair to you? The majority of cases end in happy scenarios. Insurance companies typically seek to settle claims for far less than they are 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. If you decline their lower rates and they will not offer you more, contact an attorney. 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. Only a consultation will help you to understand what is best for you and your unique legal matter.
Under Washington State law, motorcyclists must file a lawsuit regarding their incident within three years of the date the crash occurred. 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. Presentation, negotiations, and settlements take some time to conduct, so the sooner you file a lawsuit and begin the process, the more likely you are to complete the steps before the statute of limitations expires. Again, an early consultation with a good personal injury attorney is advised.
Even if you were partially at fault for the accident, you can still file a claim. Oddly enough, sometimes, partial fault benefits our clients and the case ends in higher rates of compensation in response to their legal claim. This involves a legal discussion about Washington law and insurance rights to recovery that is beyond the scope of this question because the answer is very case specific. With Weiner and Lambka, consultations are 100% free so that you can speak with us directly and learn the extent of your rights.
In the best case scenario, you have already insured yourself against this unfortunate scenario. As a protective measure, it is so important that your automobile insurance policy includes UIM (under/uninsured motorist coverage). This type of insurance steps into the shoes of the negligent party who either does not have, or does not have enough, bodily injury insurance.
Learn more about Uninsured Motorist cases here.
According to the Washington State universal helmet law, all riders must be wearing a helmet while riding. Some states limit their helmet laws by the age of the rider and some do not require a helmet at all.
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. It can all be found on their website.
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 a motorcycle crashes, the riders do not have exterior protection like a car would provide, leaving motorcyclists unprotected and at risk for greater injuries. The federal government estimates that per mile traveled in 2015, the number of deaths on motorcycles was nearly 29 times the number in cars. 1Because serious head injury is common among fatally injured motorcyclists, helmet use is important. When it comes to preventing death, helmets are 37% effective, and in terms of brain injury, helmets prevent them by 67%. That said, there are only 19 states, not including the District of Columbia, that require helmet use at all times for all rides. 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. In December 2017, the United States Department of Transportation‘s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) posted a series of data about motorcyclists and ATV-riders involved in accidents.
About 4,976 people died when their motorcycles crashed in 2016. Motorcyclist deaths had been declining since the early 1980s but began to increase in 1998 and continued to increase through 2008. In 2016, approximately 13% of all deaths caused by motor vehicle crashes were motorcyclists, which is more than double the number of these deaths recorded in 1997.
“You minimized my stress levels on a process foreign and scary to me. Very professional, caring, and patient with me.” - A. Maas"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“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“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“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“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“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“Everything was great. It was the best legal experience I have ever had!” - T. Hoskins“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“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“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“Wiener & Lambka took care of the leg work for me and even managed to get a larger settlement than expected.” - J. Hanson“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
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