Wiener & Lambka, PS, has extensive experience handling motorcycle cases. Cases in which motorcyclists are injured come with their own set of challenges. The attorney representing the injured motorcyclist must first make a case for their client and convince the jury that the motorcyclist did everything in his/her power to take caution on the road. On top of the basic challenges, personal injury lawyers who take on motorcyclist cases are also faced with predominant bias against their client for riding a motorcycle on the road. Often, there is a bias because people are quick to assume that the person who has been injured did something to provoke the negligence. The attorney is responsible for informing the jury and judge that their client took every precautionary measure possible to ensure their safety while driving a motorcycle on the road. Motorcyclists are met with a lot of assumptions, one being that the bias that they are at fault, and the other being that motorcyclists supposedly should always expect an incident to occur as a risk factor. A personal injury lawyer needs to show that this bias is not always applicable because if the court looks at the case through that bias, then the motorcyclist will not be viewed as a victim, but rather as the cause of the incident. To further invalidate the bias against motorcyclists, personal injury lawyers will show that their client pursued the advice of healthcare professionals after the incident and made their health a priority. Showing that the injured motorcyclist took responsibility for his or her injuries helps a case to result in the injured party’s favor. It is important, therefore, to consult with an attorney as soon as possible so that you can properly understand how to best handle every aspect of your case. In cases involving motorcyclists, this is also important because the insurance industry will often reduce their settlement offers in these types of cases, because they are well-aware of the bias problems with taking such a case to court. Having a lawyer advocate for you will ensure that your case is treated with justice and care.
Motorcyclists face hazards while driving on the road that drivers of other motor vehicles do not encounter. 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. From garbage and loose car parts, to potholes and train tracks, motorcyclists are affected by unsafe road conditions more than any other driver. Motorcyclists also face the problem of easily falling into the blind spots of other drivers or just not being seen altogether while riding on the road. Due to the difficulty other drivers have with seeing motorcyclists on the road, motorcyclists have to take on a more acute sense of awareness and exercise more caution than your typical driver. Incidents involving motorcycles are often confounded by intoxication and/or high speeds. As with anyone operating a motor vehicle, it is in the best interest of motorcyclists to not drive while under the influence, especially due to the high risks already associated with riding a motorcycle.
The bias 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. Anyone who is a victim of a situation might start thinking about all the ways they could have prevented the incident, but when it comes to motorcyclists, it is important to remember that they share the same rights as every other driver while on the road. 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:
* Was either operator intoxicated?
* Did any moving violations occur, such as failure to signal, follow street signs, signal, etc.?
* Was either operator distracted by something such as a phone?
* Was there any damage to the roadway that may have contributed to the crash?
* If roadway repairs were needed but not carried out, could the government be at fault for not preventing these types of crashes?
* Could either driver have taken better care of their vehicle in a way that might have prevented the incident?
Since motorcycle cases can become quite complicated, it is important that the lawyer you reach out to is well-equipped in handling your case, made clear by their experience and history handling motorcycle injury cases. 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. It is also possible that the accident was caused in full or partially by a car part that didn’t function properly.
In this instance, the liability rests on the shoulders of car manufacturers, opening the doors to even more details. If a defective part has caused an incident, you will be compensated financially but you will also, in turn, save others from experiencing the dangers of defective parts. A legal claim can be filed if a car part is the cause of a personal injury incident involving a motorcycle.
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. 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. 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.
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:
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. While waiting for police to arrive, drivers are allowed to call for assistance from ambulances and medics if necessary.
It is rare for a collision to result in serious injuries or deaths, but if these have occurred you must not move the vehicles because the police will need to document the scene of the collision. 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. If photos can be taken in a safe manner, prior to moving the vehicles out of their positions, then it is advised that the drivers do so, for the sake of documentation. If you do not document the scene and have pictorial evidence to reference, it becomes your word against the other driver’s word, and this opens the doors to false reporting. 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. 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. 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. 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 than to suggest you figure it out civilly, so this assertion is only applicable in very rare circumstances. Photographic evidence becomes incredibly important in terms of your legal case because an abundance of evidence is better than none. 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.
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.
Your insurance policy likely requires that you report collisions and accidents to it. Insurance policies are contracts, and both the insured and the insurer must uphold their end of the deal, including filing reports when accidents occur. Everything will transpire smoothly if cooperation takes place. Contact your insurance agent to inform them of the accident. 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. 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.
If you are able to take pictures without getting into harm’s way, do so as soon as possible. You should photograph any angle you feel is relevant to the accident. 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 come across other important things to photograph later on, take pictures anyway because they can still be included in your evidence. It is better to have a lot of pictures than to have barely any at all. If the motorcycle is expected to be totaled, or the necessary repairs are drastic, then photographic evidence of the damage is essential. Any physical manifestation of injury should be continuously documented with photos. 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. 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. Unfortunately, not everyone knows that they do not have to speak with the other party without legal aid present, and we have run into sticky situations where unnecessary problems are caused by providing statements to the other party. It is a good decision to refrain from providing a statement to the other party’s insurance company until you have contacted a lawyer for advice.
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. Witnesses are incredibly helpful if you face a situation where you are asked for further evidence to support your claim, so if anyone was around to witness what happened, kindly ask them if they wouldn’t mind being an official witness. Witnesses are as important, if not more so, than photographs when it comes to evidence.
You are your number one priority, and if you have been injured in an accident, see a doctor as soon as possible. We often hear people involved in car accidents say that the injuries look worse than they really are, and people figure their wounds will heal over time, so they do not actively seek help. These mindsets are dangerous because you are putting your body at risk and the other party’s insurance company will use your refusal to seek medical care as irresponsibility. 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. Make sure that you mention any perceived problems to the doctor so that they can be properly documented. Not having an injury mentioned in your medical records is the same thing as not having had the injury at all when it comes time to settle your case.
Some of the more common types of injuries include…
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. 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.
If the insurance company requesting the statement is your own, then you have a duty to cooperate with them and should give the statement. In Washington, statements given to your own company are not discoverable to the other driver’s insurance company. 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. They do not have your best interests in mind. If the other insurance company asks for a statement, politely decline for the time being and find a personal injury lawyer who is well-equipped to represent you in court. 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. If you have a Twitter account, for example, your tweets can appear in searches via Google. Your Facebook posts can be accessed by anyone if your settings allow it. There are numerous other sites that allow your information to be readable by anyone who wants to find it. Your settings might not be the same as your friends’ settings and this is how people can find your information. It is always in good practice to make sure you don’t have unwanted information readily accessible to anyone on social media. 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. 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. 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. 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.
We offer free consultations and there is no expectation that you retain us as your legal representation after meeting with us. This policy is typical among personal injury attorneys. 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.
Motorcyclists injured in accidents can benefit the most from free consultations because they need to start their cases especially early, due to the nature of the incident.
There are many times where having an attorney in your corner is a good idea:
· If the insurance company who covers the opposing party asks for a statement from you.
· If medical records are requested by the opposing party.
· If the property damage adjuster is being rude or uncooperative.
· If you are having trouble getting the opposing party’s insurance company to cooperate with the case.
· If your insurance provider is making it more difficult to move along and open a Personal Injury Protection claim (PIP).
· If there is a chance that the other insurance provider tries to blame you for the accident.
It is difficult to select an attorney. 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. Next, find out what their track history looks like. 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. 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. You can win and only obtain a small award for your client. The proper question is more, how successful have your cases been? 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. While some sites, such as AVVO, utilize an algorithm that attempts to fairly rate the attorneys, these formulas are manipulatable and imprecise. A better way to understand the abilities of the lawyer is by reading reviews written by actual clients. For a true summary of an attorney and his/her practice, turn to the written reviews of the people who know what it’s like to be represented by the lawyers firsthand.
4. Another option is to call the lawyers yourself and ask them questions. Do they treat you kindly and respectfully? Do they offer to consult with you and discuss the details of your case? Are you comfortable talking to them? 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. 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 legally responsible for the losses of the other party involved in the accident. This means that anything you lost, be it an item or an occupation or something replaceable, should be rightfully returned to you in the form of compensation. Depending upon what insurance you have on your vehicle, you may be entitled to payment of your medical bills by your own company, up to the limits of your policy. Your insurance provider handles property damage claims as well as details like lending you a loaner car. Your own company may have a wage loss provision and a home helper provision. 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. Following the crash, the other party’s insurance company will usually just pay for property damage at first. They will then write you one check for all other losses when you agree to release them and the negligent driver. You may not receive the subsequent check until the end of the case. Your insurance company can help you the greatest extent that your policy allows.
We recommend you have your motorcycle restored to the condition it was in prior to the accident. This can be done at a body shop of your choice, sometimes to an extent. Some insurance companies keep a list of body shops covered under your policy.
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. As a general rule of thumb, don’t give your money over to a service provider until they have completed the work. Obtain an independent review of the damage caused in the accident as well as an estimate in terms of repair costs before you elect to send your car somewhere. 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. 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. It is best to do this yourself, too. Under the law, the insurance company cannot offer a “book figure.” Used car guides advertise vehicles that are intended to be used as trade-in vehicles so it’s not wise to use these guides are your reference for determining market value. 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. If you have questions feel free to call.
If you were a passenger in an accident involving motorcyclists, there are two important considerations for you to make. As a passenger, you are free from fault, no matter which vehicle caused the incident. 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. Next, think about the insurance options you have for short-term medical help and assistance with finances. First, we would take a look at the bike’s insurance and then follow up with insurance on part of the drivers. In all cases, Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage is our main focus. If there was no insurance at the time of the accident, then we will call upon your health insurance provider.
Many factors come together to answer this question. The first question to answer is whether or not you are happy with how much was offered to you. Does the amount seem fair to you? The majority of cases end in happy scenarios. It is common for an insurance company to attempt to settle a claim for less than their monetary 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. Failure to take necessary legal steps prior to the three-year mark will cause you to lose your rights to claiming 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. You are more likely to avoid a lawsuit if you file your claims sooner than later. Presentation, negotiations, and settlements take some time to conduct, so the sooner you file a lawsuit and begin the process, the more likely you are to complete the steps before the statute of limitations expires. Again, an early consultation with a good personal injury attorney is advised.
Being partially at fault does not mean that you cannot bring a claim. In rare occasions, partial responsibility and blame for the accident benefits our clients in that they end up receiving higher rates of compensation. This 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.
In the best case scenario, you have already insured yourself against this unfortunate scenario. To protect yourself, it is vital that you have UIM (under/uninsured motorist coverage) as part of your insurance policy. This 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. 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. It can all be found on their website.
Motorcycles are less stable and less visible than cars and often have high-performance capabilities. 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%. That said, there are only 19 states, not including the District of Columbia, that require helmet use at all times for all rides. All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are not 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.
A total of 4,976 motorcyclists died in crashes in 2016. Motorcyclist deaths had been declining since the early 1980s but began to increase in 1998 and continued to increase through 2008. Back in 2016, about 13% of all motor vehicle crashes involving motorcycles resulted in the deaths of the motorcyclists, which is more than double the number of deaths as of 1997.
“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"It was a stress free experience. I particularly enjoyed when, on my initial call, they sent someone out to my house to speak with me in person. I would certainly use or recommend Wiener & Lambka in the future." - M. Randall“Wiener & Lambka helped me through the process, always discussing all of the available options. In particular, I was happy about the ease with which I was able to access my attorneys.”- B. Froton“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“Everything was great. It was the best legal experience I have ever had!” - T. Hoskins“Wiener and Lambka did a good job of keeping me up to date on my case, and I’d definitely suggest their services to someone looking for an attorney.” - L. Lafond“The 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“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“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 took care of the leg work for me and even managed to get a larger settlement than expected.” - J. Hanson“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“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“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
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