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. Often, there is a bias because people are quick to assume that the person who has been injured did something to provoke the negligence. Showing that the injured person was taking appropriate caution when the incident occurred is often of great importance. Motorcyclists are met with a lot of assumptions, one being that the bias that they are at fault, and the other being that motorcyclists supposedly should always expect an incident to occur as a risk factor. A personal injury lawyer needs to show that this bias is not always applicable because if the court looks at the case through that bias, then the motorcyclist will not be viewed as a victim, but rather as the cause 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. Demonstrating responsibility is a continuing theme to these types of cases. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. Incidents involving motorcycles are often confounded by intoxication and/or high speeds. 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. 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. Deciding who is at fault in a vehicle-motorcycle accident should be a process that follows the same guidelines as those applied to vehicle-vehicle incidents.
The following factors are looked at in regard to both drivers:
* 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?
* 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. The earlier you involve a lawyer, the sooner they can hear your story and help prepare a case in your favor. With the guidance of legal aids, you can avoid making statements that are wrongly interpreted by the opposing party. The possibility that the incident was partially or fully caused by a malfunction on part of one of the involved vehicles is very high.
In this instance, the liability rests on the shoulders of car manufacturers, opening the doors to even more details. 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. 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. If you feel off in any way, it is best to seek medical attention, even if you don’t believe you necessarily have a life-threatening or serious injury. 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.
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:
It is illegal for drivers involved in vehicular accidents to leave the scene of the crime prior to speaking with police officers and providing statements about the incident. Drivers are required to cooperate with the police and provide their name and vehicle registration, driver’s license, etc. It is legal to call for medics and seek medical attention immediately following a collision if injuries were sustained during the accident.
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. 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
Whether or not you believe that the collision merits a call to the police, it is likely advisable to do so. If the accident is not life-threatening, you may be told that the police are unable to prioritize your incident and as long as the injuries are very minimal it will be advised that the involved parties come to an agreement on their own. 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. 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 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.
It is illegal to drive a vehicle in Washington State without proof of insurance in the car. 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.
Your insurance policy likely requires that you report collisions and accidents to it. Insurance policies are contracts, and both the insured and the insurer must uphold their end of the deal, including filing reports when accidents occur. Everything will transpire smoothly if cooperation takes place. As soon as you are able, reach out to your insurance agent and let them know that a collision has happened. When you contact your insurance agent, make sure you follow the rules and regulations of your policy. 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.
Take pictures of the scene of the accident when it is safe to do so. You should photograph any angle you feel is relevant to the accident. 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. After you have left the scene, continue to take photos of anything that could later be relevant to 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. Physical damage to the body should be documented as photographic evidence as well. 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. 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. Contacting a personal injury lawyer for advice should take place prior to providing a statement to the other party’s insurance agency.
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.
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. 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. If you notice any injuries to your body, make sure you mention them to your doctor so that they can be documented and referenced later. Not having an injury mentioned in your medical records is the same thing as not having had the injury at all when it comes time to settle your case.
Some of the more common types of injuries include…
Police reports and tickets are not admissible evidence in court. Regardless, these are still important pieces of information. If you were given a ticket at the scene, but you do not feel that it was deserved, schedule an appointment and appear in court to fight the ticket. Follow the instructions on the ticket given for this process. Sometimes hiring an attorney who handles traffic tickets is a good idea. 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 your own insurance company is requesting a statement from you, then you should provide one to them because they are on your side and they only want the best possible outcome for your case. 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. It is better to say less than to provide too many details, and as a precautionary measure, never give a statement to the insurance company representing the opposing party. Insurance providers only care for the best interest of the people they insure, so speaking to the opposing party’s provider without your lawyer present is an ill-advised idea. 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 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 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.
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. Even Facebook isn’t as private as you may think. 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. Moreover, if you alter your social media posts following the collision in light of your newly granted legal rights, you can get into trouble for 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. Do not post about the accident itself, and do not post information that could be used against you regarding how hurt you are and how your injuries affect your life. You will come to regret anything you post down the road. If the posts are not something you’d want the judge to see, do not put them on your social media accounts.
Our consultations are free and completely without obligation to retain us as your attorneys. Most attorneys who represent personal injury cases share this policy. We want you to talk to us about your case so we do not charge a free for the initial conversation.
The consultation is really important for motorcyclists involved in accidents because personal injury victims need to start their case as soon as possible.
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 medical records are requested by the opposing party.
· If the person who adjusts the value of your property is not cooperating with you.
· 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 there is a chance that the other insurance provider tries to blame you for the accident.
Selecting an attorney is tricky. Every attorney likes to think they are the best choice for you, and that’s what they’ll tell you. Even if a lawyer knows that they are not the best fit for you, they might tell you otherwise if they want your business. Here are some ways to decide for yourself who is the best lawyer for your needs:
2. The next thing you should do is research their track record. Win-loss records matter but they are not a definite indication of how well an attorney performs. 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. 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. Many attorneys therefore only accept cases that have a very good chance of winning. 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. 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. Make note of how they treat you during the phone call. Are they willing to make time to see you soon and go over the details of your case? Do you feel comfortable? Trust your gut and ask questions that are important to you. You will need to sign a release in order to obtain a settlement from the other insurance company. 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? Hire an attorney you trust and the rest will fall into place.
The negligent party is responsible for all of your reasonable losses. 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. Sometimes, the medical bills are the responsibility of your own insurance company but that is completely dependent upon the policy you have. You may handle property damage and car rental through you own company. 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. 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. Your coverage through your own automobile insurance will pay for things as incurred, consistent with what coverage you actually have purchased.
We recommend you have your motorcycle restored to the condition it was in prior to the accident. 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.
You are owed a rental car while your vehicle is being repaired, or as an alternative, you will receive the daily rental fee amount paid directly to you for the “loss of use” of your car if you do not obtain a rental. 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. In cases where your vehicle is totaled, repairs will not be done but you will be rewarded the “fair market value” of your car at the time of collision. “Fair market value” is what your car or truck could have been sold for the day before the accident. The market value is determined by many different factors, including model, year made, interior condition, 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. An insurance company is disallowed from offering a “book figure” amount. 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. You will likely have a hard time obtaining a total loss settlement offer without the following evaluations factors:
Talk to your insurance provider if you would prefer to hold onto the salvage. You should expect to wait about two weeks after filing your claim. Feel free to call us with any questions you may have.
If you were a passenger in an accident involving motorcyclists, there are two important considerations for you to make. As a passenger, you are free from fault, no matter which vehicle caused the incident. You, as a passenger, are fault-free and can collect from any of the negligent parties. The second important consideration is what insurance will be available to you in the short run to help with medical bills and wage loss. First, we would take a look at the bike’s insurance and then follow up with insurance on part of the drivers. In all cases we are looking for Personal Injury Protection coverage. If there was no insurance at the time of the accident, then we will call upon your health insurance provider.
The answer to this is dependent upon numerous factors. The first question to answer is whether or not you are happy with how much was offered to you. Do you believe that it is fair? Most cases end well. It is not uncommon for insurance companies to try settling claims for much less than their financial value. 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. Since consultations are free, it is best that you take full advantage of the opportunity. Attorneys ensure that you are treated fairly by the other party and the judge overseeing your case. Only a consultation will help you to understand what is best for you and your unique legal matter.
In Washington, you have three years in which to either resolve or properly file and serve a lawsuit. Failure to take necessary legal steps prior to the three-year mark will cause you to lose your rights to claiming compensation. It is best to have all steps completed by the two-year mark to allow room for any unpredictable setbacks. Moreover, if you would prefer to avoid a lawsuit, and most people would, acting early is your best course of action. 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. In rare occasions, partial responsibility and blame for the accident benefits our clients in that they end up receiving higher rates of compensation. 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. 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.
In the best case scenario, you have already insured yourself against this unfortunate scenario. 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.
In Washington State, there is a universal helmet law that dictates that all riders must wear the appropriate helmet for their mode of transportation. This is different from other states that only require helmets for certain age groups.
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. The information can be found on their website as well.
Motorcycles are less stable and less visible than cars and often have high-performance capabilities. 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. 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.1Head injuries happen so often among motorcyclists that helmet use is absolutely necessary. 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. 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.
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. Back in 2016, about 13% of all motor vehicle crashes involving motorcycles resulted in the deaths of the motorcyclists, which is more than double the number of deaths as of 1997.
“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“You minimized my stress levels on a process foreign and scary to me. Very professional, caring, and patient with me.” - A. Maas“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 get the job done. I appreciated their concern and interest in my case, and would definitely recommend them to a friend.” - Y. Martin"Wiener & Lambka always kept me up to date with my case. I'd certainly suggest them to a friend." - J. Trujillo“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“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"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“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“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“Everything was great. It was the best legal experience I have ever had!” - T. Hoskins“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“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 took care of the leg work for me and even managed to get a larger settlement than expected.” - J. Hanson
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