Wiener & Lambka, PS, is a law firm with vast history and combined knowledge when it comes to representing cases involving motorcyclists. Over the years, the lawyers have learned that cases involving motorcyclists 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. It is necessary to show that the person involved in the incident took all the right measures to stay safe on the road. Injured motorcyclists take on this embedded bias, as well as the similar bias that anyone who rides a motorcycle is assuming the risk of injury due to that decision. One of the ways that this bias can be overcome is to demonstrate that great care was taken before and at the time of the incident. To further invalidate the bias against motorcyclists, personal injury lawyers will show that their client pursued the advice of healthcare professionals after the incident and made their health a priority. Demonstrating responsibility is a continuing theme to these types of cases. It is important, therefore, to consult with an attorney as soon as possible so that you can properly understand how to best handle every aspect of your case. Personal injury attorneys excel in their line of work and they will make sure your case is handled properly, without bias from insurance companies or legal personnel. 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. To begin with, motorcycles do not provide much protection to the driver, which physically exposes the motorcyclist to greater dangers. Due to the structure of a motorcycle, a motorcyclist is more likely to face serious, sometimes fatal, injuries in an accident as opposed to drivers of cars with doors and intense protection. 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. Due to the nature of a motorcycle, and how different it is in comparison to other street-legal automobiles, motorcyclists are at risk for certain things that people driving cars and trucks do not have to worry about. From garbage and loose car parts, to potholes and train tracks, motorcyclists are affected by unsafe road conditions more than any other driver. Last, but not least, motorcyclists have a greater likelihood of not being seen by other drivers. 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. 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.
Both drivers should consider the following factors:
* Was either operator intoxicated?
* 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?
* Were the roadways in need of repair and therefore a contributing factor to the incident?
* Could the governmental authority over that roadway done something wrong in its design or maintenance?
* Could either driver have taken better care of their vehicle in a way that might have prevented the incident?
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. It is also possible that the accident was caused in full or partially by a car part that didn’t function properly.
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. While some defective parts are subject to recalls, many will not be because the knowledge of how dangerous the part is has not yet become cumulative enough to warrant a recall. 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.
Before doing anything else, check your body for physical injuries from the crash. If you are injured then seek medical care right away. If you feel off in any way, it is best to seek medical attention, even if you don’t believe you necessarily have a life-threatening or serious injury. We recommend that all motorcyclists involved in a collision be checked out by medical professionals because not all injuries are evident immediately after they occur.
Soft tissue or closed head injuries can occur with little to no immediate symptoms.
If you do not feel that you are in dire need of a physical evaluation, the following tips can advise you on what you should do next:
It is illegal for drivers involved in vehicular accidents to leave the scene of the crime prior to speaking with police officers and providing statements about the incident. Drivers are required to cooperate with the police and provide their name and vehicle registration, driver’s license, etc. Drivers should render assistance within their reasonable ability including calling for an ambulance and any other reasonable act to help injured parties.
Police will need to document the scene of the accident for the sake of records, and it is even more important if deaths or serious injuries occurred, so it is advised that vehicles not be moved before authorities arrive. 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. 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. It is important that the aftermath of all collisions are properly documented for the sake of a fair case.
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. 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.
Under Washington State law, drivers are required to have proof of insurance on their person while operating the vehicle. This is why your insurance company typically sends you two cards: one to carry with you and one to keep in your car / motorcycle. The 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.
Your insurance policy likely requires that you report collisions and accidents to it. Insurance companies issue contracts and since they are a signed agreement, insurance providers expect that you uphold the terms, including the responsibility to report accidents. Cooperating with your insurance company is the best action you can take after speaking to police and seeking medical care. Call your insurance agent and notify them as well. When you contact your insurance agent, make sure you follow the rules and regulations of your policy. Keep a copy of your conversations with your insurance agent for proof of communication if needed later. If you do not uphold the conditions of your insurance policy, your insurance provider might reserve the right to deny you coverage and that will make your case that much more stressful to resolve.
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. From the angle of the vehicles involved in the crash and any car parts on the ground, to insurance information and identification cards, just about everything is worth noting following an accident. If you come across other important things to photograph later on, take pictures anyway because they can still be included in your evidence. Any additional chance to take photos should be taken advantage of. 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. The human body begins repairing itself the second it experiences trauma, so the sooner you take pictures of your injuries, the better, because waiting might mean losing your proof.
You are not required by law to provide a statement for the other driver involved, nor do you have to speak with his or her insurance provider. The best course of action is to seek legal advice before speaking to them because they will seek to record your statement. As you might expect, insurance agents have the best interest of their client in mind and they may try to skew your responses in a way that they can later use against you. Many clients of ours have given statements that cause unnecessary problems in their case due to lack of properly understanding the system they are now involved in. Contacting a personal injury lawyer for advice should take place prior to providing a statement to the other party’s insurance agency.
If bystanders witnessed the crash between you and another vehicle, see if they are willing to speak to the incident and ask for their contact information. While in most cases witnesses do not prove to be important or necessary, the problem is that you won’t know that at the time of the crash. 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. If you do not receive medical attention for your injuries, your reasons could be valid but the other party might take that as a reason to call you irresponsible and blame you for perpetuating your injuries. It is not only important to see a doctor, but you must also follow the advice of your doctor for the best results. Make sure that you mention any perceived problems to the doctor so that they can be properly documented. You can state that you were injured in X, Y, and Z ways but if you do not have documented evidence your statement will not hold up well in court.
Some of the more common types of injuries include…
The police report itself and whether one party got a ticket or not are not admissible evidence in a trial on the matter. That being said, these items still matter a whole lot to the insurance companies and the drivers. If you were given a ticket at the scene, but you do not feel that it was deserved, schedule an appointment and appear in court to fight the ticket. Follow the instructions on the ticket given for this process. You can always turn to legal aid and ask an attorney to assist you in fighting a traffic ticket. Personal injury lawyers can assist in fighting traffic tickets so if you have already hired one for representation in your case, let them know a ticket was written in your name and they will advise you on the correct process. Keep in mind that the ticket can have bad consequences to both your injury case as well as your long term financial interests as it can raise your insurance rates for years to come.
If the insurance company requesting the statement is your own, then you have a duty to cooperate with them and should give the statement. Washington State law does not require your insurance company to share your statement with the other party’s insurance representative. While not as pressing as if the other insurance company wants a statement, it is advisable to contact an attorney to go over the unique facts of your matter before providing any statement on the matter, even to your own insurance company. As a matter of principle, you should not ever provide a statement to the insurance company representing the other party. 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.
Google has made it so much easier to find out information as quickly as a simple search. Google can pull up just about any piece of information that contains your name, including your social media accounts. If you have a Twitter account, for example, your tweets can appear in searches via Google. Even Facebook isn’t as private as you may think. Numerous other social media sites don’t protect your content as much as you might think, making it accessible to just about anyone. 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. Moreover, if you alter your social media posts following the collision in light of your newly granted legal rights, you can get into trouble for altering evidence. It is better to be safe than sorry, so don’t post anything online that has to do with your personal injury case. It is best not to post anything about your accident or injuries you sustained. Anything you post will only hurt you in the end. If the posts are not something you’d want the judge to see, do not put them on your social media accounts.
Consultations with us are absolutely free and you are under no obligation to retain us after the initial meeting. Most attorneys who represent personal injury cases share this policy. We want you to talk to us about your case so we do not charge a free for the initial conversation.
Please see the introduction to this section for other reasons why a motorcyclist should likely retain an attorney early on in their case.
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 medical records are requested by the opposing party.
· If the property damage adjuster is being rude or uncooperative.
· 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 there is a possibility that insurance can claim you were partially or fully at fault.
It can be hard to find the right lawyer for you. 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 ways to decide for yourself who is the best lawyer for your needs:
2. Next, find out what their track history looks like. With attorneys, just obtaining a win-loss record is deceiving. This is because attorneys choose which cases they want to take on, meaning they have some control and can back out of cases they don’t feel they can win. 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. Even though winning is great, it isn’t the only thing that matters. Your client might not be granted everything they hoped for, even if you win the case. 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. People leave reviews for just about anything these days and that includes their experiences with attorneys. One site that hosts reviews of lawyers is called AVVO, but unfortunately, they use algorithms that can be manipulated so their ratings may be faulty. A better way to understand the abilities of the lawyer is by reading reviews written by actual clients. 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. Make note of how they treat you during the phone call. Are they willing to make time to see you soon and go over the details of your case? Do you feel comfortable? 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 will state that you accept the settlement money as it is and you will not seek more 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? Above all, only hire a lawyer who makes you feel confident and listens to you with care.
The negligent party is legally responsible for the losses of the other party involved in the accident. 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. 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. Property damage claims and a car rental are handled via your provider. Your own company may have a wage loss provision and a home helper provision. Funeral expenses are also sometimes included in automobile policies. What you can obtain depends upon the type and limitations or the coverages you have paid for. Following the crash, the other party’s insurance company will usually just pay for property damage at first. They will then write you one check for all other losses when you agree to release them and the negligent driver. The secondary check may not come until much later. Your coverage through your own automobile insurance will pay for things as incurred, consistent with what coverage you actually have purchased.
We recommend you have your motorcycle restored to the condition it was in prior to the accident. This can be done at a body shop of your choice, sometimes to an extent. Some insurance companies keep a list of body shops covered under your policy.
You are owed a rental car while your vehicle is being repaired, or as an alternative, you will receive the daily rental fee amount paid directly to you for the “loss of use” of your car if you do not obtain a rental. Make sure that all work performed is to your satisfaction before you sign an insurance check over to the repair shop. 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. 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. 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. Doing this yourself is a smart idea as well. 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:
In order to retain the salvage – or, damaged vehicle – then you can match the highest bid you’re offered for the salvage that the insurance company gets from a junk 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. Know that even if you were in the car that caused the crash, you are not at all at fault as a passenger. 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. We would look first at the insurance on the bike, then whether the driver had additional insurance, and last whether you had automobile insurance that would apply. Our top priority is Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. If there was none, or it exhausts, then your health insurance would kick in at that point.
The answer to this is dependent upon numerous factors. First, consider whether or not the amount offered is substantial or acceptable 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. If you decline their lower rates and they will not offer you more, contact an attorney. Consultations are free, so you might as well take advantage of the opportunity to gain insight about your case. Attorneys ensure that you are treated fairly by the other party and the judge overseeing your case. Only a consultation will help you to understand what is best for you and your unique legal matter.
In Washington, you have three years in which to either resolve or properly file and serve a lawsuit. If you fail to file a lawsuit in time, your rights for compensation will be eradicated by law. It is best to have all steps completed by the two-year mark to allow room for any unpredictable setbacks. If your preference is to avoid a lawsuit altogether, the sooner you act, the better. It takes time to gather the medical records and review same and understand a case for presentation, negotiation and settlement. As with all legal matters, consulting with an attorney and adhering to their legal advice is best.
Partial responsibility for a vehicular incident does not take away your rights to file a claim. Oddly enough, sometimes, partial fault benefits our clients and the case ends in higher rates of compensation in response to their legal claim. This question is case-specific, and the answer varies on a case-by-case basis, so legal discussion is necessary to ascertain an accurate response. With Weiner and Lambka, consultations are 100% free so that you can speak with us directly and learn the extent of your rights.
Our hope is that you preemptively insured yourself against this unlucky circumstance. It is very important that you have UIM (under/uninsured motorist coverage) on your automobile insurance policy. This addition to your policy protects you if you are involved in an accident where the other party either has no insurance or not enough to cover the extent of the damage.
Learn more about Uninsured Motorist cases here.
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 have tracked down some of the most recent and comprehensive statistics on 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.
Motorcycles take up less space on the road, making them harder to spot, and despite their high-performance capabilities, motorcycles are less stable than other vehicles. 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. The federal government estimates that per mile traveled in 2015, the number of deaths on motorcycles was nearly 29 times the number in cars. 1Head injuries happen so often among motorcyclists that helmet use is absolutely necessary. When it comes to preventing death, helmets are 37% effective, and in terms of brain injury, helmets prevent them by 67%. That said, there are only 19 states, not including the District of Columbia, that require helmet use at all times for all rides. All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are not designed for on-highway use, but in recent years more than 300 riders died in crashes on public roads annually. The United States Department of Transportation‘s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) released the following details in December of 2017.
About 4,976 people died when their motorcycles crashed in 2016. Since the early 1980s, motorcyclist deaths have been on the decline until 1998, when this number started – and continues – to increase. 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.
“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“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“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“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“Everything was great. It was the best legal experience I have ever had!” - T. Hoskins“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“In my moment of Crisis Wiener & Lambka lent me a helping hand. Their dedication to my case was outstanding. They stuck by my side and fought for my rights. Thank you!” - K. Tuazon"Wiener & Lambka 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 get the job done. I appreciated their concern and interest in my case, and would definitely recommend them to a friend.” - Y. Martin“Wiener & Lambka took care of the leg work for me and even managed to get a larger settlement than expected.” - J. Hanson“You minimized my stress levels on a process foreign and scary to me. Very professional, caring, and patient with me.” - A. Maas“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“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“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
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