Lawyers for Motorcycle Accidents in Issaquah

Wiener & Lambka, PS, has extensive experience handling motorcycle cases. 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. 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. It is necessary to show that the person involved in the incident took all the right measures to stay safe on the road. Injured motorcyclists take on this embedded bias, as well as the similar bias that anyone who rides a motorcycle is assuming the risk of injury due to that decision. 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. To further invalidate the bias against motorcyclists, personal injury lawyers will show that their client pursued the advice of healthcare professionals after the incident and made their health a priority. Demonstrating responsibility is a continuing theme to these types of cases. 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. Personal injury attorneys excel in their line of work and they will make sure your case is handled properly, without bias from insurance companies or legal personnel. Having a lawyer advocate for you will ensure that your case is treated with justice and care.

Issaquah Motorcycle Accident Attorneys - Wiener & Lambka

Issaquah Motorcycle Accident Attorneys – Wiener & Lambka

UNIQUE HAZARDS TO MOTORCYCLISTS

Hazards on the roadway are different for motorcyclists compared to operators of other automobiles. To begin with, motorcycles do not provide much protection to the driver, which physically exposes the motorcyclist to greater dangers. 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. 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. A few possibilities that are of concern to motorcyclists and not to other drives include inconveniences like potholes, car parts that have been abandoned, railroad tracks along the roadway, and garbage flying around in traffic. Last, but not least, motorcyclists have a greater likelihood of not being seen by other drivers. This means that at turns or when passing other cars, the motorcyclist needs to undertake a very high degree of care to avoid collisions. 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.

HOW TO FIGURE OUT WHO IS AT FAULT IN MOTORCYCLE INCIDENTS

The bias against motorcyclists is such a prominent and common mindset that motorcyclists themselves can be warped into believing it is true. In many cases where motorcyclists are injured while riding, the motorcyclists belittle their injuries and assume they could have done more to prevent the accident, but this is not always true. Liability in an accident involving a car/truck and a motorcycle should be determined in the same manner as liability for incidents between cars and trucks.

Factors to look at, for both drivers, include:

* 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?

* 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?

* 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. 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. It is also possible that the accident was caused in full or partially by a car part that didn’t function properly.

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. A legal claim can be filed if a car part is the cause of a personal injury incident involving a motorcycle.

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

First, make sure that you are not injured. Get medical attention for any injuries you sustained in the collision. If you have been injured, reach out and seek medical assistance as soon as possible. If you are not able to pinpoint a specific injury but feel as though you are not feeling right either mentally or physically, then err on the side of caution and seek medical care. Some injuries take some time to manifest into visible physical symptoms, so as a precautionary measure, it is recommended that all motorcyclists see a doctor following any type of accident on the road.

Internal injuries, like concussions and bleeding, are examples of invisible injuries that only a doctor can detect right away, due to their subtle symptoms.

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

Any drivers involved in a collision, whether they are at fault or not, must remain at the scene of the crash and wait until police officers arrive, at which point the drivers must provide statements. 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

Most vehicle collisions do not involve death or serious injury such that a police investigation is necessary, but leaving the vehicles where they stopped is a good idea so that the police can properly document the scene. The main exception to this advice is that vehicles can be moved out of the way if they are a hazard to other drivers or if they are in the way of traffic. Prior to moving the vehicles, if photos can be taken in a safe manner then this is advisable. 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 can be important in motorcycle cases because many accidents happen when a car driver simply doesn’t see the motorcyclist. It is important that the aftermath of all collisions are properly documented for the sake of a fair case.

Contact Authorities

Whether or not you believe that the collision merits a call to the police, it is likely advisable to do so. 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. At least in these circumstances you will be able to state later that you did call them, but you could not make them come to the scene. The police are more likely to come to the scene of the crime than to leave it up to your discretion, but regardless, pictures should still be taken for documentation purposes. Your photographs will be very important to your case. Keep in mind that many people do not feel any symptoms of injury at the accident scene as they have adrenaline moving through them and, in the case of soft tissue injuries, the symptoms tend to come on progressively over the next hours and days as the inflammatory process begins. 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.

Exchanging Insurance Information

It is illegal to drive a vehicle in Washington State without proof of insurance in the car. This is why your insurance company typically sends you two cards: one to carry with you and one to keep in your car / motorcycle. The ticket for not having proof of insurance is several hundred dollars so, keep that information handy.

Contact Your Insurance Provider

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. Everything will transpire smoothly if cooperation takes place. Call your insurance agent and notify them as well. When you contact your insurance agent, make sure you follow the rules and regulations of your policy. For your own records, keep a copy of your communication with your agent, whether it be in the form of physical letters or emails. 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

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. 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 come across other important things to photograph later on, take pictures anyway because they can still be included in your evidence. Too many photos are better than barely any photographs at all. Pictures of the scene are especially important and helpful if the motorcycle has been completely totaled as a result of being hit by a vehicle. Any physical manifestation of injury should be continuously documented with photos. 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.

Watch What You Say to Authorities

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. Many clients of ours have given statements that cause unnecessary problems in their case due to lack of properly understanding the system they are now involved in. Contacting a personal injury lawyer for advice should take place prior to providing a statement to the other party’s insurance agency.

Collect Stories and Contact Information from Bystanders Who Witnessed the Crash

If bystanders witnessed the crash between you and another vehicle, see if they are willing to speak to the incident and ask for their contact information. 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.

See a Doctor for Your Injuries

You are your number one priority, and if you have been injured in an accident, see a doctor as soon as possible. It is not unusual for victims in crashes to assume their injuries are not as bad as they seem, or even more detrimental, that the injuries will go away on their own. If you fall into these thought processes, it can be detrimental to your case because the other party can argue that you must not have been that hurt if you did not seek medical care immediately. 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. 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 Motorcycle Crash Injuries

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

  • Damage to the head, from minor concussions to serious brain injuries
  • Broken bones and fractured body parts
  • Abrasions / road rash
  • Lower body injuries including fractures and abrasions
  • Upper body injuries including fractures and abrasions
  • Internal injuries
  • Spinal cord damage

What to Do About a Ticket

The police report itself and whether one party got a ticket or not are not admissible evidence in a trial on the matter. That being said, these items still matter a whole lot to the insurance companies and the drivers. If you receive a ticket that you do not believe is justified, then you have a right to challenge it in court. Follow the instructions on the ticket given for this process. Sometimes hiring an attorney who handles traffic tickets is a good idea. Sometimes a personal injury attorney will also be able to help you with fighting the ticket. 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.

How To Decide If You Should Provide a Recorded Statement

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. Washington State law does not require your insurance company to share your statement with the other party’s insurance representative. While not as pressing as if the other insurance company wants a statement, it is advisable to contact an attorney to go over the unique facts of your matter before providing any statement on the matter, even to your own insurance company. 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 are being asked to provide such a statement, you should immediately contact a personal injury attorney to discuss this. The opposing insurance company is not entitled to your statement, so don’t feel compelled to provide them with one. 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. 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. If someone wants to find out information about you, your social media accounts ae their best bet. 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. Also, deleting social media posts or editing them in any way after the incident can be considered altering evidence, which is not a good charge to have against you. The most important piece of advice in this area is to not post about anything that has to do with your case. 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.

How to Decide If You Need a Lawyer

Our consultations are free and completely without obligation to retain us as your attorneys. Most attorneys who represent personal injury cases share this policy. There is no reason why you shouldn’t at least put in a telephone call or email inquiry regarding the pros and cons of hiring an attorney.

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 wants a recorded statement.

· If medical records are requested by the opposing party.

· If you are being met with defiance from anyone.

· If the insurance company for the other side is being rude or unresponsive.

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

· If there is a chance that the other insurance provider tries to blame you for the accident.

How to Choose a Lawyer

It can be hard to find the right lawyer for you. Every attorney likes to think they are the best choice for you, and that’s what they’ll tell you. Some attorneys will happily tell you about how good they are in order to obtain your business. Here are some things that will help you sort through the marketing:

  1. The first step is to figure out if the lawyer you are considering for hire has experience with cases like yours. For example, at Wiener & Lambka, PS, we have over 50 years of experience working personal injury cases. 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. With attorneys, just obtaining a win-loss record is deceiving. 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. Attorneys typically will not take a case that sounds too difficult to bring to trial for reasons such as time sensitivity, an excessive amount of work involved, or money matters. 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. Your client might not be granted everything they hoped for, even if you win the case. A better question to ask lawyers is about their successfulness in their cases. While it is true that their successfulness might be top-notch yet they still don’t win your case as well as you may like, but a track record gives comfort that they have a chance of getting you the result you want.

3. Your next best bet for figuring out if the lawyer is a good fit for you is by reading reviews. 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. 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. Don’t base your decision off of a website’s rating – look instead at the commentary left by previous clients.

4. Call and talk with them. Pay close attention to their mannerisms and how they speak to you on the phone. Do they offer to consult with you and discuss the details of your case? Do you feel comfortable? Listen to your heart because instincts do not lie. In order to obtain a settlement, you’ll have to 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 cannot trust your attorney, or they don’t make you feel at ease, then you’ll be setting yourself up for a lot of frustration and potentially failure. Above all, only hire a lawyer who makes you feel confident and listens to you with care.

What Types of Things Can I Receive Compensation For?

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. Sometimes, the medical bills are the responsibility of your own insurance company but that is completely dependent upon the policy you have. 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. Funeral expenses are also sometimes included in automobile policies. What you can obtain depends upon the type and limitations or the coverages you have paid for. The negligent party’s insurance provider usually only pays for property damage immediately following 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 coverage through your own automobile insurance will pay for things as incurred, consistent with what coverage you actually have purchased.

Reimbursement for a Totaled Vehicle

If your motorcycle is repairable, it must be restored to its pre-accident condition. You can choose just about any body shop to take your motorcycle to. Insurance providers often showcase body shops that they include in their policies so that you don’t end up going somewhere that cannot service your motorcycle through insurance.

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. Market value is dependent upon many factors such as age, mileage, condition of the body and paint, condition of the interior, tread on tires, damage history, recent maintenance expenses, etc. In order to figure out your vehicle’s market value, your insurance company conducts a market survey where they call dealerships and look at current listings for comparable vehicles. Doing this yourself is a smart idea as well. “Book figures” are not something the law allows insurance companies to offer. Used car guides are not the best reference because they are more concerned with trades instead of being resold. You will likely have a hard time obtaining a total loss settlement offer without the following evaluations factors:

  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

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. If you have any questions about the process or its details, feel free to call us at any point.

Information for Passengers Injured in Motorcycle Accidents

You must consider two things if you were the passenger in a car crash involving a motorcyclist. As a passenger, you are free from fault, no matter which vehicle caused the incident. 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 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.

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

The answer to this is dependent upon numerous factors. First, are you happy with the amount offered? Does the amount seem fair to you? Most cases end well. Insurance companies typically seek to settle claims for far less than they are worth. It is not to spite or trick you but rather to see if you are willing to compromise for a lesser amount. If the insurance company will not raise its offers to the point of what you consider to be reasonable, then you should consult with an attorney about your case. You can gain free knowledge about your case and your situation by scheduling a complimentary consult with us. In many instances, you simply aren’t going to be treated fairly without having an attorney handle your case. We highly recommend you schedule a consultation appointment in order to fully understand your situation and the best plan of action for your particular case.

Statute of Limitations for Motorcyclist Incidents

The statute of limitations for motorcyclist accidents is three years in Washington State. Failure to take necessary legal steps prior to the three-year mark will cause you to lose your rights to claiming compensation. In reality, we suggest taking these steps at the two-year mark in order to have time to discover and correct and problems with the legal process. You are more likely to avoid a lawsuit if you file your claims sooner than later. It takes time to gather the medical records and review same and understand a case for presentation, negotiation and settlement. As with all legal matters, consulting with an attorney and adhering to their legal advice is best.

How To Respond If You Are Partially To Blame for the Incident

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 question is case-specific, and the answer varies on a case-by-case basis, so legal discussion is necessary to ascertain an accurate response. With Weiner and Lambka, consultations are 100% free so that you can speak with us directly and learn the extent of your rights.

What If the Other Party Does Not Have an Automobile Insurance Policy?

Our hope is that you preemptively insured yourself against this unlucky circumstance. It is very important that you have UIM (under/uninsured motorist coverage) on your automobile 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.

Helmet Laws:

According to the Washington State universal helmet law, all riders must be wearing a helmet while riding. 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. The information can be found on their website as well.

Motorcycles and ATVs 2016

Unlike cars, motorcycles are not the most stable and they are harder to see in traffic. 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%. Yet only 19 states and the District of Columbia mandate helmet use by all riders. All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are not street-legal but that hasn’t stopped people from riding them on public roadways, resulting in about 300 ATV-rider deaths per year. 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

In 2016, approximately 4,976 motorcyclists died from crashes. Though the number of motorcyclist deaths were declining in the early 1980s, they began to increase again starting in 1998 through to today. Motorcycle deaths accounted for 13 percent of all motor vehicle crash deaths in 2016 and were more than double the number of motorcyclist deaths in 1997.

“You minimized my stress levels on a process foreign and scary to me. Very professional, caring, and patient with me.” - A. Maas
“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 always kept me up to date with my case. I'd certainly suggest them to a friend." - J. Trujillo
“Wiener & Lambka helped me through the process, always discussing all of the available options. In particular, I was happy about the ease with which I was able to access my attorneys.”- B. Froton
“I was satisfied by the timely manner with which my case was handled. I would definitely recommend Wiener & Lambka to a friend in the future.” - D. Yusuf
“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
“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
“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
“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
“The Staff at Wiener and Lambka are friendly and understand customer needs. They reduced their fee on my case and didn’t even take any on my son’s.” - M. Ngo
“Wiener & Lambka get the job done. I appreciated their concern and interest in my case, and would definitely recommend them to a friend.” - Y. Martin
“Everything was great. It was the best legal experience I have ever had!” - T. Hoskins
“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

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