Wiener & Lambka, PS, has years of experience in personal injury cases involving motorcyclists. Cases in which motorcyclists are injured come with their own set of 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. On top of the basic challenges, personal injury lawyers who take on motorcyclist cases are also faced with predominant bias against their client for riding a motorcycle on the road. Often, there is a bias because people are quick to assume that the person who has been injured did something to provoke the negligence. Showing that the injured person was taking appropriate caution when the incident occurred is often of great importance. 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. 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. Explaining that medical attention was sought shows that the motorcyclist is a responsible individual. If you have been injured in an accident while riding a motorcycle, the personal injury experts at Wiener & Lambka are ready to help you seek justice. 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. In order to get treated fairly, great care should be taken at each step of the claim.
Hazards on the roadway are different for motorcyclists compared to operators of other automobiles. First is the obvious exposure of the driver. Due to the structure of a motorcycle, a motorcyclist is more likely to face serious, sometimes fatal, injuries in an accident as opposed to drivers of cars with doors and intense protection. Also, riding a motorcycle, as opposed to driving with a metal shell around you, exposes the human body to the elements of weather and debris, either of which can cause or contribute to an accident. Elements of the roadway that do not concern drivers of motor vehicles cause a lot of risks for motorcyclists, due to the nature of a motorcycle, compared to a car or truck. Potholes, uneven surfaces, railroad tracks, garbage, car parts, any type of debris – all of these are concerns to the motorcycle rider. 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. 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 against motorcyclists that we discussed above is so alive and well that even the motorcyclist themselves sometimes believe they were at fault when they are not. 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 any drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs?
* Was either operator guilty of a moving violation such as following too closely, failing to signal, failure to yield, failure to follow lane arrows, etc.?
* Were any of the operators driving while distracted?
* Was the incident a result of something wrong with the roadway?
* Is the concrete or the design of the road flawed in any way that could have contributed to the collision?
* 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. While you may still be reeling with the reality of the accident, it is best to reach out to an attorney as soon as you are able because they will begin working on your case immediately and a solution can be found sooner than later. An attorney is beneficial in helping you refrain from making statements based on feeling rather than fact, and if you are faced with accusations from the other party, a lawyer will know how to respond. It is not rare that an incident is caused either in part, or fully, by a car part that failed to function correctly.
If a car does not work as it is supposed to and that malfunction causes injuries, liability claims can be filed against car companies and manufacturers. Companies only begin recalling items when they learn of their defective nature, and sometimes, this doesn’t happen until a serious incident occurs. A legal claim can be filed if a car part is the cause of a personal injury incident involving a motorcycle.
First, make sure that you are not injured. 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. 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.
Second, if you are not in need of immediate transport due to medical concerns, please consider all of the following advice:
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 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.
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. If possible, the drivers involved in the incident should take photographs as evidence of the scene, especially if the vehicles are in the way and need to be moved before police arrive. 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. 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. Documenting the aftermath of the collision is therefore important for everyone to have a proper understanding of what occurred.
The best response to a vehicular accident involving one or more automobiles is to call the police immediately. The worst-case scenario is that the operators who respond to your phone call will tell you that your accident does not merit intervention on behalf of the police and you will be able to resolve the matter with the other driver. 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. 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. 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.
It is illegal to drive a vehicle in Washington State without proof of insurance in the car. To make the state law easy to adhere to, insurance companies in Washington State will send you two copies of your insurance card: one to put in your wallet and the other to leave in the car or motorcycle. If you are caught driving without proof of insurance, the police will write a ticket in your name for a few hundred dollars, so make sure you follow this law without any exception.
If you are involved in a crash, it is very likely that you are required to report the accident to your insurance provider. 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. 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. It is best to take pictures of any parts of the accident that seem relevant. 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. 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. If the motorcycle is expected to be totaled, or the necessary repairs are drastic, then photographic evidence of the damage is essential. Physical damage to the body should be documented as photographic evidence as well. 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.
Cooperating with authorities is a must, but authorities do not include the other driver or his/her insurance agency, so do not feel pressured to provide the other party with a statement. Following an accident, it is best to contact a lawyer for advice on how to proceed. Moreover, insurance adjusters taking statements are trained to try to find ways in which to limit or deny claims of the other driver. 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.
If there are witnesses to your collision, obtain their contact information and an understanding of what they saw. If you ever need to prove the validity of your claims in court, witnesses are extremely beneficial. Anything that might help you later should be recorded and collected at the time of the incident.
Your first priority following an accident should be to seek medical care for your injuries. 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. 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. Without receiving medical attention for your injuries, you can be blamed for perpetuating your injuries and, in extreme cases, the other party might accuse you of making your injuries worse by not getting the help needed. By the same logic, it is important that you follow your doctor’s instructions and follow up as appropriate. It is important that your injuries be documented for use as evidence so tell your doctor about any injuries you noticed to your body. You can state that you were injured in X, Y, and Z ways but if you do not have documented evidence your statement will not hold up well in court.
Injuries can include, but are not limited to, the following examples:
Tickets issued by police and the police reports themselves are not admissible forms of evidence in a trial. That being said, these items still matter a whole lot to the insurance companies and the drivers. If you 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. The ticket you were given will tell you how to proceed. 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. You should never give a recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance company. The only insurance company that has your best interest in mind is your own. If you are being asked to provide such a statement, you should immediately contact a personal injury attorney to discuss this. The insurance company has no right whatsoever to a recorded statement. You should be able to have a simple conversation with the adjuster to answer reasonable questions, but please consult an attorney first to make sure you fully understand what you are doing in these circumstances.
If you have ever Googled yourself or another person, you know that you can sometimes find information about them that you otherwise would not know. Google plays a part in helping people find other people, and that can be dangerous if you put poor information about yourself out there. For example, Twitter keeps a running record of your tweets. 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. You need to be careful about what you post on social media in general, but especially following an incident, and if you edit your posts in any way, it could be considered altering evidence. The most important piece of advice in this area is to not post about anything that has to do with your case. Do not post about 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 you wouldn’t want to show the judge the posts yourself, don’t display them online.
Our consultations are free and completely without obligation to retain us as your attorneys. Most personal injury attorneys have the same policy. 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.
Having an attorney in your corner is a great idea for a variety of reasons:
· If a recorded statement is needed by the insurance company.
· If they want you to turn over medical records (especially from the time period in front of the car accident).
· If you are being met with defiance from anyone.
· If you are having trouble getting the opposing party’s insurance company to cooperate with the case.
· If your own 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 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. Just about every attorney who wants another case will say they are the best fit for 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 things that will help you sort through the marketing:
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. Attorneys select what cases they want to work on and which ones to take to trial. Most attorneys do not take cases that are too difficult to trial because the costs and time of doing so must be offset by the strong possibility of obtaining an award sufficient to justify the work and expense. In other words, attorneys usually only take cases that they feel confident about winning. Also, simply winning is only half of the story in any case. Winning doesn’t mean your client receives everything they wanted. A better question to ask lawyers is about their successfulness in their cases. 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. While some sites, such as AVVO, utilize an algorithm that attempts to fairly rate the attorneys, these formulas are manipulatable and imprecise. A better method of understanding how good the attorney is involves looking at what former clients have to say about that attorney. 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. You can also try calling the lawyers and talking to them yourself. 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? Are you comfortable talking to them? Listen to your heart because instincts do not lie. At the end of your case, in order to obtain a settlement, the insurance company is going to have you sign a release. 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 includes the damage to your motorcycle, the cost of a rental car if necessary, your lost wages, your out of pocket expenses, damage to personal property, your medical bills incurred for accident-caused injuries, your future medical bills, future lost wages, future impairment of earning capacity, and your general damages – all pain and suffering and impairment of your life caused by the injuries you incurred. Sometimes, the medical bills are the responsibility of your own insurance company but that is completely dependent upon the policy you have. Your insurance provider handles property damage claims as well as details like lending you a loaner car. Look into your policy and find out if you’re eligible for home-helper and/or wage-loss provisions. In very unfortunate circumstances, some people can take utilize their insurance provider for the sake of paying funeral expenses. The limitations of your insurance provider will dictate what you can obtain for compensation. The negligent party’s insurance provider usually only pays for property damage immediately following the accident. Your other losses will be compensated for in a check later on. You may not receive the subsequent check until the end of the case. The coverage your insurance provides you will help you pay for damage in the meantime.
We recommend you have your motorcycle restored to the condition it was in prior to the accident. You may have the vehicle repaired at a body shop of your choice. 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 your vehicle has been damaged in an accident, you usually have rights to a rental car for the duration of repairs and maintenance, and sometimes, you can even opt out of a rental car and choose to be receive the money directly. Make sure that all work performed is to your satisfaction before you sign an insurance check over to the repair shop. Before you agree to send your vehicle to a repair shop, find out what they charge and what they believe needs fixing, and then compare it to your notes. 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. 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. It is best to do this yourself, too. “Book figures” are not something the law allows insurance companies to offer. Used car guides are not the best reference because they are more concerned with trades instead of being resold. You will likely have a hard time obtaining a total loss settlement offer without the following evaluations factors:
You can keep the salvage if you’d like but this involves a conversation with your insurance company and junk yards near you. Expect about a two-week waiting period after you file your claim for total loss. If you have questions feel free to call.
There are two important considerations if you were a passenger in a motorcycle accident. Know that even if you were in the car that caused the crash, you are not at all at fault as a passenger. Passengers are fault-free in these situations and you can even file a claim against the driver of the vehicle you were in, if you wish. Next, think about the insurance options you have for short-term medical help and assistance with finances. We would first take a peek at the motorcycle’s insurance and then follow up with insurance companies on behalf of the drivers. In all cases, Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage is our main focus. If car insurance is not in place at the time of the accident, then we call upon your health insurance instead.
The answer to this is dependent upon numerous factors. First, are you happy with the amount offered? Do you believe that it is fair? The majority of cases end in happy scenarios. Insurance companies typically seek to settle claims for far less than they are worth. Insurance companies are never trying to trick you but rather they want to keep the fiscal damage at a minimum, for the sake of their client. If you decline their lower rates and they will not offer you more, contact an attorney. 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. 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. 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. As with all legal matters, consulting with an attorney and adhering to their legal advice is best.
Being partially at fault does not mean that you cannot bring a claim. Interestingly enough, there are some cases where being a little bit at fault results in our clients being able to achieve a better end award than if they had not been at fault. This 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.
Hopefully, you have insured yourself against this scenario. To protect yourself, it is vital that you have UIM (under/uninsured motorist coverage) as part of your insurance policy. This type of insurance steps into the shoes of the negligent party who either does not have, or does not have enough, bodily injury insurance.
Learn more about Uninsured Motorist cases here.
According to the Washington State universal helmet law, all riders must be wearing a helmet while riding. 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 following information is from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Highway Loss Data Institute. It can all be found on their website.
Unlike cars, motorcycles are not the most stable and they are harder to see in traffic. When motorcycles crash, their riders lack the protection of an enclosed vehicle, so they’re more likely to be injured or killed. In 2015, the government estimated that the number of people who died while riding motorcycles was 29 times higher than the number of deaths resulting from driving a car. 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%. Yet only 19 states and the District of Columbia mandate helmet use by all riders. All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are not designed for on-highway use, but in recent years more than 300 riders died in crashes on public roads annually. The following facts are based on analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), posted December 2017.
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. In 2016, approximately 13% of all deaths caused by motor vehicle crashes were motorcyclists, which is more than double the number of these deaths recorded in 1997.
“You minimized my stress levels on a process foreign and scary to me. Very professional, caring, and patient with me.” - A. Maas“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“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 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 get the job done. I appreciated their concern and interest in my case, and would definitely recommend them to a friend.” - Y. Martin“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“The service and the staff were great. I was happy with everything, and would refer Wiener and Lambka to someone else in the future.” - I. Aleman“Wiener & Lambka helped me through the process, always discussing all of the available options. In particular, I was happy about the ease with which I was able to access my attorneys.”- B. Froton“Everything was great. It was the best legal experience I have ever had!” - T. Hoskins“A job well done! The staff at Wiener and Lambka made a point of explaining everything to me and if necessary I’d work with them again in a heartbeat.” - O. Yusuf“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 took care of the leg work for me and even managed to get a larger settlement than expected.” - J. Hanson"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 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 always kept me up to date with my case. I'd certainly suggest them to a friend." - J. Trujillo
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