Wiener & Lambka, PS, has years of experience in personal injury cases involving motorcyclists. These cases present a number of unique challenges. The first challenge a personal injury lawyer faces in these cases is convincing the jury and judge that the motorcyclist took every precaution possible to prevent injury on the road. 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. There in an implicit tendency to blame the injured victim and assume they were somehow at fault. 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. 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. 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. 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. The lawyers at Wiener & Lambka know how to eradicate bias in the courtroom and build a case that you are sure to benefit from, as you should when you are the injured party.
Motorcyclists encounter unique hazards in their operation on roadways that set them apart from other vehicles. First of all, motorcyclists are very exposed, given the nature of the motorcycle. 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. Without windows to shield motorcyclists from debris and any material flying around on the roadway, motorcyclists have a greater risk of being blindsided by miscellaneous circumstances, like serious rainfall or unfavorable insects blocking their lines of sight. Because of the different nature of a motorcycle as compared to a car or truck, elements of the roadway that would potentially cause no concern to a vehicle driver can cause great concern to a motorcyclist. 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. 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.
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. If a motorcyclist was following the rules of the road, then the liability for who caused the collision should be assessed based upon the same rules that we would if the incident occurred between two cars or trucks.
The following factors are looked at in regard to both drivers:
* Were any drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs?
* 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 the incident a result of something wrong with the roadway?
* If roadway repairs were needed but not carried out, could the government be at fault for not preventing these types of crashes?
* Could either driver have taken better care of their vehicle in a way that might have prevented the incident?
Personal injury cases involving motorcyclists can become complex very quickly and for that reason it is pertinent that you seek legal help from a lawyer who has the skill set to represent you to their best ability. The earlier you involve a lawyer, the sooner they can hear your story and help prepare a case in your favor. 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. If a car part was not properly thought through during the engineering process, or the manufacturers made an error in crafting the part, then the defect is enough cause for a legal claim.
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. 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.
Some physical damage, like injuries involving soft tissue and the brain, do not cause visible symptoms right away so it is important that a trauma doctor take a look at the state of your body post-accident.
That said, here are some pieces of advice for people who truly do not believe they need to be examined or cleared by healthcare professionals:
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. While waiting for police to arrive, drivers are allowed to call for assistance from ambulances and medics if necessary.
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. On the other hand, if the vehicles are presenting a hazard and can be moved to a safer place, then that should be done. Prior to moving the vehicles, if photos can be taken in a safe manner then this is advisable. Failure to document the scene with photographic evidence allows for the possibility of false accusations and confounding stories when the case goes before the judge, because without proof, either side can say whatever they want. Proper documentation of the scene of the accident is vital, especially in cases involving motorcyclists, because pictures can show the trajectory of the vehicles and explain who hit who. It is important that the aftermath of all collisions are properly documented for the sake of a fair case.
Whether or not you believe that the collision merits a call to the police, it is likely advisable to do so. Sometimes the police will indicate that they cannot come to every accident and, if smaller and without apparent injury, will advise that the parties should handle it themselves. In these instances, you can inform your attorneys that the police were called but they could not come to the scene of the accident. The police are more likely to come to the scene than to suggest you figure it out civilly, so this assertion is only applicable in very rare circumstances. This report, and the officer being a witness, can be important aspects to your case later. Not all injuries are apparent immediately after a collision, but if you realize you have sustained a serious injury once your adrenaline settles, the photographs you took will be considered substantial evidence in upholding any personal injury claims. A police report with photographic evidence of the scene might make or break your claim for personal injury compensation, so if you can control these aspects, it is best to have both rather than none.
You should have, and are required under Washington law to have, current proof of liability insurance with you while driving. 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 consequence for driving without an insurance card proving that you and your vehicle are covered is very expensive in Washington State so be sure to have a card on you at all times.
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. This means that you should cooperate with your own company in a reasonable and forthcoming manner. As soon as you are able, reach out to your insurance agent and let them know that a collision has happened. Make sure you follow the specific requirements in your policy and document your efforts. Keep copies of letters which you send to the insurance company and make notes of your conversations including the date, time and the name of the adjuster you spoke with. Failure to comply with your policy could result in the denial of coverage.
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. If you notice something later on, such as a bruise or some form of damage to your vehicle, be sure to take a picture anyway because these details are still important to include in your case. It is better to have a lot of pictures than to have barely any at all. Taking pictures is especially important if the motorcycle is to be totaled out or before the bike is repaired. Physical injuries on your person should be documented in the form of photos 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. Following an accident, it is best to contact a lawyer for advice on how to proceed. 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. Obtaining legal advice prior to provision of statement to the insurance company that you will be seeking money from is always a good decision.
If 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. If you ever need to prove the validity of your claims in court, witnesses are extremely beneficial. For that matter, you should take notes on anything about the crash that seems relevant so that you have something to rely upon later.
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. These mindsets are dangerous because you are putting your body at risk and the other party’s insurance company will use your refusal to seek medical care as irresponsibility. Moreover, without adequate medical care, you are also susceptible to the argument that you failed to take reasonably steps to limit the harm caused. By the same logic, it is important that you follow your doctor’s instructions and follow up as appropriate. 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. When it comes time to settle your case, you will need proof of evidence and photographs of injuries is stronger than just your words.
Some of the more common types of injuries include…
Tickets issued by police and the police reports themselves are not admissible forms of evidence in a trial. Police reports and tickets are still important to insurance agencies and the drivers involved in the accident. 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. If you are hesitant, there are attorneys out there who specialize in traffic tickets and they can advise you on the best route to take, too. 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 not only pose a slight monetary inconvenience in the moment but they have the potential to affect your finances long-term by increasing your insurance rates and limits; that said, fight a ticket if you do not believe it was deserved.
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. 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. 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 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. Answering base-level questions is reasonable, but the best route to take is to speak with a lawyer in order to decipher the best plan of action.
Information that you might not otherwise be able to find out can be discovered nowadays, thanks to the helping hand of Google. 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. Facebook does not privatize your posts unless you adjust your settings, too. Numerous other social media sites don’t protect your content as much as you might think, making it accessible to just about anyone. People can find information about you if your settings allow it, and most of the time, the default settings do. It is always in good practice to make sure you don’t have unwanted information readily accessible to anyone on social media. You need to be careful about what you post on social media in general, but especially following an incident, and if you edit your posts in any way, it could be considered altering evidence. To help your case, do not post about your case because that way, you won’t give the opposing party anything to use against you. It is best not to post anything about your accident or injuries you sustained. These posts can only come back to haunt you later down the road. If you wouldn’t want to show the judge the posts yourself, don’t display them online.
Our consultations are free and completely without obligation to retain us as your attorneys. This policy is typical among personal injury attorneys. To encourage victims to come forward and discuss the details of their case, we do not charge for the consultation.
Motorcyclists injured in accidents can benefit the most from free consultations because they need to start their cases especially early, due to the nature of the incident.
Having an attorney in your corner is a great idea for a variety of reasons:
· 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 the opposing party’s insurance company is not complying with standards or respecting your time.
· 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.
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. Some attorneys will happily tell you about how good they are in order to obtain your business. Here are some ways to decide for yourself who is the best lawyer for your needs:
2. 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. Also, simply winning is only half of the story in any case. Your client might not be granted everything they hoped for, even if you win the case. Asking a lawyer how successful his or her cases have been is a better question to pose. While the previous outcome on cases is no guarantee that your case will also have a good outcome, a track record helps you to know that the attorneys are successful in their field.
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 method of understanding how good the attorney is involves looking at what former clients have to say about that attorney. You should not just go with a rating system either, but look at the comments and try to find someone that you think will provide the customer service and professional advice that you deserve.
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 get a vibe that makes you comfortable? Listen to your heart because instincts do not lie. In order to obtain a settlement, you’ll have to sign a release. The release you’ll be presented with will essentially say that you accept what is being offered and you will not try to get more money for anything in the future. You should only hire a lawyer who makes you feel comfortable and whom you can trust. Find someone that you trust and work with them to make sure that your legal matter resolves successfully for you.
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. Your own insurance provider might be responsible for paying your medical bills, depending on 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. Generally, the negligent party’s company will only pay for your property damage at the time of the accident. After you state your losses, the other insurance provider will write a check in your name as compensation. The secondary check may not come until much later. Your coverage through your own automobile insurance will pay for things as incurred, consistent with what coverage you actually have purchased.
If your motorcycle is repairable, it must be restored to its pre-accident condition. 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.
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. Many factors play into the market value, such as mileage, state of the interior, tire tread, accident history, and more. Your insurance provider will figure out the fair market value of your vehicle by comparing it to current listings for comparable vehicles as well as by calling dealerships and requesting their honest input. You should do the same. “Book figures” are not something the law allows insurance companies to offer. The used car guides are usually low as to value because car dealerships use them for trade- in purpose more than for “selling price.” In order to file for a total loss settlement, you must have the following factors evaluated:
If you are interested in retaining the “salvage” (damaged vehicle) then you have the right to match the highest bid for the salvage that the insurance company obtains from a wrecking yard. You should expect to wait about two weeks after filing your claim. Feel free to call us with any questions you may have.
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. 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. 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.
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. Does the amount seem fair to you? Most cases end well. It is common for an insurance company to attempt to settle a claim for less than their monetary worth. You cannot really blame them for at least trying to see if you will settle for a small amount; such is the nature of a corporation, which has duties to maximize profits for its shareholders. An attorney is your best bet when it comes to demanding higher settlements. Since consultations are free, it is best that you take full advantage of the opportunity. The most promising way of ensuring that you are treated fairly is by hiring an attorney to act as your legal representation. A consultation is your only honest way of understanding your situation and figuring out what is best for you.
In Washington, you have three years in which to either resolve or properly file and serve a lawsuit. If you do not take appropriate legal steps in front of the three-year mark, then you will lose your rights to compensation. In order to have time to correct any issues that arise or adhere to legal expectations, we suggest that you compete the necessary steps within two years’ time. Moreover, if you would prefer to avoid a lawsuit, and most people would, acting early is your best course of action. It takes time to gather the medical records and review same and understand a case for presentation, negotiation and settlement. Again, an early consultation with a good personal injury attorney is advised.
Being partially at fault does not mean that you cannot bring 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. As with any car accident case, a consultation is free and advisable so that you know your rights.
Our hope is that you preemptively insured yourself against this unlucky circumstance. As a protective measure, it is so important that your automobile insurance policy includes UIM (under/uninsured motorist coverage). This type of insurance steps into the shoes of the negligent party who either does not have, or does not have enough, bodily injury insurance.
Learn more about Uninsured Motorist cases here.
Washington State follow the universal helmet law, meaning that all riders must wear an appropriate helmet at all times. There are some states who do not uphold the universal helmet law and therefore only require it for some people, depending on their age.
We looked into the statistics surrounding recent motorcycle accidents in the United States. The statistics shown below were pulled from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Highway Loss Data Institute. All of these statistics can be found on the IIHS website.
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. 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.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 United States Department of Transportation‘s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) released the following details in December of 2017.
A total of 4,976 motorcyclists died in crashes in 2016. Though the number of motorcyclist deaths were declining in the early 1980s, they began to increase again starting in 1998 through to today. Motorcycle deaths accounted for 13 percent of all motor vehicle crash deaths in 2016 and were more than double the number of motorcyclist deaths in 1997.
“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“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“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"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"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“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“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“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“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“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 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
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