Lawyers for Motorcycle Accidents in Everett

Wiener & Lambka, PS, has extensive experience handling motorcycle cases. Cases in which motorcyclists are injured come with their own set of challenges. The attorney representing the injured motorcyclist must first make a case for their client and convince the jury that the motorcyclist did everything in his/her power to take caution on the road. 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. Often, there is a bias because people are quick to assume that the person who has been injured did something to provoke the negligence. It is necessary to show that the person involved in the incident took all the right measures to stay safe on the road. 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. The personal injury lawyer takes on the challenge of proving that the motorcyclist did everything in his or her power to stay safe on the road. 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. Showing that the injured motorcyclist took responsibility for his or her injuries helps a case to result in the injured party’s favor. 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.

Everett Motorcycle Accident Attorneys - Wiener & Lambka

Everett Motorcycle Accident Attorneys – Wiener & Lambka

UNIQUE HAZARDS TO MOTORCYCLISTS

Hazards on the roadway are different for motorcyclists compared to operators of other automobiles. First of all, motorcyclists are very exposed, given the nature of the motorcycle. This means that if involved in a crash, the likelihood of incurring a serious injury or death is much more likely than a car driver. Cars are all-encompassing, meaning the body surrounds people on all sides and provides extra protection, but motorcycles offer little to no protection. Elements of the roadway that do not concern drivers of motor vehicles cause a lot of risks for motorcyclists, due to the nature of a motorcycle, compared to a car or truck. Potholes, uneven surfaces, railroad tracks, garbage, car parts, any type of debris – all of these are concerns to the motorcycle rider. 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. 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. 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.

HOW IS FAULT DETERMINED IN A MOTOCYCLE ACCIDENT?

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. While it is easy to start thinking that there must have been some way to have avoided the collision, the fact remains that motorcyclists have the same right to the road way as every other driver. 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?

* Were the rules of the road obeyed or did either driver fail to follow street laws?

* 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 the collision the result of improper maintenance of either vehicle or the result of a problematic product – something that was or should have been recalled and fixed?

Again, motorcycle cases can be complex and it is important that an experienced attorney review your case as soon as possible. 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. The possibility that the incident was partially or fully caused by a malfunction on part of one of the involved vehicles is very high.

Defective parts can give rise to product liability claims. If a defective part has caused an incident, you will be compensated financially but you will also, in turn, save others from experiencing the dangers of defective parts. 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.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE A MOTORCYCLIST INVOLVED IN A COLLISION

If you are involved in a collision while riding your motorcycle, you should first and foremost check for any physical injuries you may have sustained. 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. We recommend that all motorcyclists involved in a collision be checked out by medical professionals because not all injuries are evident immediately after they occur.

Soft tissue or closed head injuries can occur with little to no immediate symptoms.

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:

Stay at the Scene

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 must cooperate with police by supplying their vehicle’s registration, along with their name and driver’s license. Drivers should render assistance within their reasonable ability including calling for an ambulance and any other reasonable act to help injured parties.

What To Do With the Vehicles Involved

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. Prior to moving the vehicles, if photos can be taken in a safe manner then this is advisable. If you do not document the scene and have pictorial evidence to reference, it becomes your word against the other driver’s word, and this opens the doors to false reporting. 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

Call the police

If you are not sure whether or not a collision should be reviewed by authorities, it is always best to call the police anyway. 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. In these instances, you can inform your attorneys that the police were called but they could not come to the scene of the accident. Typically, however, the police will come to the scene and fill out an official police report. This report, and the officer being a witness, can be important aspects to your case later. Even if you are not immediately aware of any injuries you sustained, documentation in the form of photographs will help uphold any personal injury claims that you want to make later in the process. Even in small collisions and accidents that appear to clearly be the fault of the other driver, having a police report to support your version of events later can end up being crucial.

Exchanging Insurance Information

Under Washington State law, drivers are required to have proof of insurance on their person while operating the vehicle. When you sign with an insurance company, you should receive two items: an insurance card for your wallet and an insurance card to keep in your lockbox. The ticket for not having proof of insurance is several hundred dollars so, keep that information handy.

Get in Touch With Your Insurance Company

Most insurance policies require that the insured report collisions as they occur. 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. Everything will transpire smoothly if cooperation takes place. Call your insurance agent and notify them as well. Adhere to the requirements of your insurance policy to the best of your ability. 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. Make sure you are familiar with the terms and conditions of your insurance policy because failing to comply with the expectations could result in a retraction of coverage.

Document the Scene with Photo Evidence

If you are able to take pictures without getting into harm’s way, do so as soon as possible. It is best to take pictures of any parts of the accident that seem relevant. Relevant items include the scene itself, the vehicles, the other person’s informational cards for identification and insurance, any injuries that are apparent, any unique thing that happened. After you have left the scene, continue to take photos of anything that could later be relevant to your case. Any additional chance to take photos should be taken advantage of. If the motorcycle is expected to be totaled, or the necessary repairs are drastic, then photographic evidence of the damage is essential. Physical damage to the body should be documented as photographic evidence as well. The human body begins repairing itself the second it experiences trauma, so the sooner you take pictures of your injuries, the better, because waiting might mean losing your proof.

Be Careful What You Say

Cooperating with authorities is a must, but authorities do not include the other driver or his/her insurance agency, so do not feel pressured to provide the other party with a statement. The best course of action is to seek legal advice before speaking to them because they will seek to record your statement. Moreover, insurance adjusters taking statements are trained to try to find ways in which to limit or deny claims of the other driver. 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. It is a good decision to refrain from providing a statement to the other party’s insurance company until you have contacted a lawyer for advice.

Get Contact Information from Witnesses

If there are witnesses to your collision, obtain their contact information and an understanding of what they saw. 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. For that matter, you should take notes on anything about the crash that seems relevant so that you have something to rely upon later.

If You Are Injured, Seek Medical Help

Your first priority following an accident should be to seek medical care for your injuries. We often hear people involved in car accidents say that the injuries look worse than they really are, and people figure their wounds will heal over time, so they do not actively seek help. 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. If you do not receive medical attention for your injuries, your reasons could be valid but the other party might take that as a reason to call you irresponsible and blame you for perpetuating your injuries. By the same logic, it is important that you follow your doctor’s instructions and follow up as appropriate. Make sure that you mention any perceived problems to the doctor so that they can be properly documented. When it comes time to settle your case, you will need proof of evidence and photographs of injuries is stronger than just your words.

Motorcycle Incidents: The Most Common Injuries

The most common types of injuries we see from motorcycle accidents include:

  • Concussion and traumatic brain injuries
  • Broken bones and fractured body parts
  • Bruises, road rash, and abrasions
  • Lower body injuries including fractures and abrasions
  • Upper body injuries including fractures and abrasions
  • Internal injuries
  • Spinal cord damage

What About Tickets?

Police reports and tickets are not admissible evidence in court. Regardless, these are still important pieces of information. 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. 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.

Should I Give a Recorded Statement?

If your insurance agency requests a statement from you, it is best that you provide them with one. Washington State law does not require your insurance company to share your statement with the other party’s insurance representative. If you do not feel comfortable providing a statement to anyone prior to receiving legal assistance, contact an attorney as soon as possible and he/she can provide you with trustworthy advice 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 you find yourself in a position where the opposing party’s insurance agency is requesting your statement, contact a personal injury attorney for assistance in appropriately handling the matter. The insurance company has no right whatsoever to a recorded statement. You should be able to have a simple conversation with the adjuster to answer reasonable questions, but please consult an attorney first to make sure you fully understand what you are doing in these circumstances.

Social Media

Google has made it so much easier to find out information as quickly as a simple search. Depending upon the settings in your social media, others can have access to interesting information about you. For example, Twitter keeps a running record of your tweets. 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 settings might not be the same as your friends’ settings and this is how people can find your information. Making sure your social media information is private and not readily available to anyone who wants it is a wise approach no matter what. 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. The most important piece of advice in this area is to not post about anything that has to do with your case. Do not post about your case in any way, shape, or form. Anything you post will only hurt you in the end. Do not post anything that you wouldn’t want a judge or jury making decisions about your case to see.

Do You Need a Lawyer to Represent You?

We offer free consultations and there is no expectation that you retain us as your legal representation after meeting with us. Most personal injury attorneys have the same policy. We want you to talk to us about your case so we do not charge a free for the initial conversation.

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.

There are many times where having an attorney in your corner is a good idea:

· 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 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 insurance company is not being cooperative and helping you with your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) claim.

· If your accident involves any possibility of the other person’s insurance company alleging that you were partially or fully at fault.

Choosing a Lawyer 101

It can be hard to find the right lawyer for you. Attorneys are good at self-promotion and persuasive arguments. Even if a lawyer knows that they are not the best fit for you, they might tell you otherwise if they want your business. In order to choose who can help you best, keep these ideas in mind:

  1. First, find out if the lawyer has much experience with the type of law your case deals with. At Wiener & Lambka, PS, Bruce Wiener and James Lambka has a combined 50+ years of experience handling personal injury claims and suits. We’ve seen almost any type of case that you can imagine and have dealt with almost any type of issue that can arise in this field.

2. Second, look for a track record. Win-loss records are not the only important factor for attorneys. 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. Many attorneys therefore only accept cases that have a very good chance of winning. Even though winning is great, it isn’t the only thing that matters. 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. Sites like AVVO sound credible be beware of these review websites – they run on algorithms which means that the reviews can be manipulated and the star rating might not be accurate. A better way to understand the abilities of the lawyer is by reading reviews written by actual clients. 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. Another option is to call the lawyers yourself and ask them questions. Pay close attention to their mannerisms and how they speak to you on the phone. Will they come to you to meet and go over your case? Do you feel comfortable? Listen to your heart because instincts do not lie. 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. 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? Above all, only hire a lawyer who makes you feel confident and listens to you with care.

Figuring Out Your Compensation Opportunities

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. Depending upon what insurance you have on your vehicle, you may be entitled to payment of your medical bills by your own company, up to the limits of your policy. Your insurance provider handles property damage claims as well as details like lending you a loaner car. See if your insurance provider offers wage-loss and home-helper provisions. Funeral expenses are also sometimes included in automobile policies. The limitations of your insurance provider will dictate what you can obtain for compensation. Following the crash, the other party’s insurance company will usually just pay for property damage at first. 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. The coverage your insurance provides you will help you pay for damage in the meantime.

How to Handle Vehicle Repairs

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 have a list of “approved shops” and the company will guarantee the work as long as you own the vehicle if you use one of their approved shops.

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. Make sure that all work performed is to your satisfaction before you sign an insurance check over to the repair shop. If you elect to use the insurance company recommended shop, you should probably obtain an independent review of the damage and an estimate for repair from that shop as well to make sure that everything is being properly considered. 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 term “fair market value” refers to the price you could have sold your car for prior to the incident. Many factors play into the market value, such as mileage, state of the interior, tire tread, accident history, and more. The insurance company must perform a market survey by calling dealerships and checking newspapers ad for the selling price on comparable vehicles. You should do the same. Under the law, the insurance company cannot offer a “book figure.” The used car guides are usually low as to value because car dealerships use them for trade- in purpose more than for “selling price.” Itemized below are the evaluations factors that must be included in a total loss settlement offer:

  1. Fair Market Value
  2. Sales Tax on the fair market amount
  3. Pro-rated unused portion of your license tab fees
  4. RENTAL CAR UNTIL FAIR MARKET OFFER IS MADE or an amount equal to daily rental rate paid directly to you for the loss of use of your vehicle if you do not obtain a rental.
  5. Title Transfer Fee

In order to retain the salvage – or, damaged vehicle – then you can match the highest bid you’re offered for the salvage that the insurance company gets from a junk yard. You should expect to wait about two weeks after filing your claim. If you have questions feel free to call.

What to Do if You Were a Passenger in a Motorcycle Accident

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 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 there was no insurance at the time of the accident, then we will call upon your health insurance provider.

Should You Accept the Settlement Offered by the Negligent Party’s Insurance?

Many factors come together to answer this question. 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? Beyond this happy scenario, however, are most of the cases. It is not uncommon for insurance companies to try settling claims for much less than their financial value. It is not to spite or trick you but rather to see if you are willing to compromise for a lesser amount. 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. A consultation is your only honest way of understanding your situation and figuring out what is best for you.

When Should You File Your Lawsuit By?

The statute of limitations for motorcyclist accidents is three years in Washington State. If you do not take appropriate legal steps in front of the three-year mark, then you will lose your rights to compensation. It is best to have all steps completed by the two-year mark to allow room for any unpredictable setbacks. If your preference is to avoid a lawsuit altogether, the sooner you act, the better. 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. Again, an early consultation with a good personal injury attorney is advised.

What If I am Partially at Fault for the Accident?

Even if you were partially at fault for the accident, you can still file 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. 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. As with any car accident case, a consultation is free and advisable so that you know your rights.

What to Do If the Negligent Party Doesn’t Have Insurance

Hopefully, you have insured yourself against this scenario. It is very important that you have UIM (under/uninsured motorist coverage) on your automobile insurance policy. In the off chance that the opposing party involved in an accident doesn’t have insurance, or doesn’t have enough to cover the costs of the damage, UIM will protect you.

Learn more about Uninsured Motorist cases here.

Helmet Rules in Washington:

In Washington State, there is a universal helmet law that dictates that all riders must wear the appropriate helmet for their mode of transportation. There are some states who do not uphold the universal helmet law and therefore only require it for some people, depending on their age.

MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT STATISTICS:

We have tracked down some of the most recent and comprehensive statistics on 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. All of these statistics can be found on the IIHS website.

Motorcycles and ATVs 2016

Unlike cars, motorcycles are not the most stable and they are harder to see in traffic. Motorcyclists are more likely to be injured, even killed, than people driving vehicles due to the nature of the motorcycle and the lack of protection. 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. Helmets are about 37-percent effective in preventing motorcycle deaths and about 67 percent effective in preventing brain injuries. Yet only 19 states and the District of Columbia mandate helmet use by all riders. All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are not designed for on-highway use, but in recent years more than 300 riders died in crashes on public roads annually. The following facts are based on analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), posted December 2017.

Data subsections:

Trends

About 4,976 people died when their motorcycles crashed 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. 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.

“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 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 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
"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
“You minimized my stress levels on a process foreign and scary to me. Very professional, caring, and patient with me.” - A. Maas
“Everything was great. It was the best legal experience I have ever had!” - T. Hoskins
“Wiener & Lambka took care of the leg work for me and even managed to get a larger settlement than expected.” - J. Hanson
“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
“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
“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
“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
"Wiener & Lambka always kept me up to date with my case. I'd certainly suggest them to a friend." - J. Trujillo
“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 get the job done. I appreciated their concern and interest in my case, and would definitely recommend them to a friend.” - Y. Martin
“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

Have a legal question?

Call us today for a free consultation:

AREAS OF PRACTICE

Injuries to Children

Communities

Car Accidents

Medical Malpractice

Nursing Areas

Truck Accidents

Personal Injury Lawyer

Pedestrian Accidents

Motorcycle Accidents

Wrongful Death