Wiener & Lambka, PS, has extensive experience handling motorcycle cases. These cases present a number of unique challenges. The first challenge a personal injury lawyer faces in these cases is convincing the jury and judge that the motorcyclist took every precaution possible to prevent injury on the road. There is a pre-existing bias against motorcyclists on the road and attorneys need to have the skill set to change the perspective of the court officials. 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. Not only do motorcyclists face this common bias against them, but they also have to deal with the general public’s assumption that they accept the possibility of injury as a risk factor of riding a motorcycle. 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. Another way to overcome this bias is to demonstrate that the injured rider has taken appropriate and reasonable care to get themselves back to a state of good health. Showing that the injured motorcyclist took responsibility for his or her injuries helps a case to result in the injured party’s favor. As soon as you believe you have a case, contact the personal injury lawyers at Wiener & Lambka to begin the legal process. A lawyer is your best bet in receiving an appropriate compensation package from insurance companies and legal representation can ensure that you are not slighted as a result of the inherent bias discussed earlier. 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. This means that if involved in a crash, the likelihood of incurring a serious injury or death is much more likely than a car driver. Without windows to shield motorcyclists from debris and any material flying around on the roadway, motorcyclists have a greater risk of being blindsided by miscellaneous circumstances, like serious rainfall or unfavorable insects blocking their lines of sight. Because of the different nature of a motorcycle as compared to a car or truck, elements of the roadway that would potentially cause no concern to a vehicle driver can cause great concern to a motorcyclist. Potholes, uneven surfaces, railroad tracks, garbage, car parts, any type of debris – all of these are concerns to the motorcycle rider. Another thing to consider is that a smaller mode of transportation makes the drivers harder to see, and motorcyclists are often overlooked or invisible to other drivers on the road. This means that at turns or when passing other cars, the motorcyclist needs to undertake a very high degree of care to avoid collisions. Moreover, many motorcycle collisions are caused by the rider either speeding or being intoxicated, or a combination of the two. No matter the mode of transportation, no driver should operate a vehicle under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, nor should they speed, and this applies especially to motorcyclists because they are already at a higher risk than other drivers.
The bias against motorcyclists is such a prominent and common mindset that motorcyclists themselves can be warped into believing it is true. In many cases where motorcyclists are injured while riding, the motorcyclists belittle their injuries and assume they could have done more to prevent the accident, but this is not always true. 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.
Factors to look at, for both drivers, include:
* Were either of the drivers intoxicated while operating their vehicles?
* Did any moving violations occur, such as failure to signal, follow street signs, signal, etc.?
* Were any of the operators driving while distracted?
* Was there any damage to the roadway that may have contributed to the crash?
* 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?
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. 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 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. Before items can be recalled, they must cause damage or destruction, and sometimes this takes place in the form of incidents. Whether due to poor engineering in the design phase or a problem in the manufacturing of the part, if there is a defect such that it did not work as one would reasonably expect and it causes an accident, then there is a possible legal claim.
First, make sure that you are not injured. Get medical attention for any injuries you sustained in the collision. If you have been injured, reach out and seek medical assistance as soon as possible. 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. 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.
Internal injuries, like concussions and bleeding, are examples of invisible injuries that only a doctor can detect right away, due to their subtle symptoms.
Second, if you are not in need of immediate transport due to medical concerns, please consider all of the following advice:
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. The main exception to this advice is that vehicles can be moved out of the way if they are a hazard to other drivers or if they are in the way of traffic. Prior to moving the vehicles, if photos can be taken in a safe manner then this is advisable. No matter how straight-forward you might believe the accident to have been, failure to document the scene leaves room for the possibility of the other driver saying something different later. Proper documentation can be important in motorcycle cases because many accidents happen when a car driver simply doesn’t see the motorcyclist. Documentation ensures that everyone can see the truth of the situation and understand how the accident occurred, without bias
The best response to a vehicular accident involving one or more automobiles is to call the police immediately. If the accident is not life-threatening, you may be told that the police are unable to prioritize your incident and as long as the injuries are very minimal it will be advised that the involved parties come to an agreement on their own. In these instances, you can inform your attorneys that the police were called but they could not come to the scene of the accident. Typically, however, the police will come to the scene and fill out an official police report. 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. 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.
Most insurance policies require that the insured report collisions as they occur. Insurance policies are contracts, and both the insured and the insurer must uphold their end of the deal, including filing reports when accidents occur. 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. 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. Take pictures of anything that might be 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. It is better to have a lot of pictures than to have barely any at all. Pictures of the scene are especially important and helpful if the motorcycle has been completely totaled as a result of being hit by a vehicle. Physical injuries on your person should be documented in the form of photos as well. Any injuries you sustain in an accident will eventually heal so if you do not take pictures the day of the crash you may lose your opportunity to document the damage.
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. Insurance agents will often try to influence your statement in favor of their client, so it is best to avoid interacting with them without your lawyer present. We have represented motorcyclists who have accidentally provided statements to the other party without knowing better, and these instances always cause unnecessary harm to their case. 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. Witnesses are as important, if not more so, than photographs when it comes to evidence.
Your first priority following an accident should be to seek medical care for your injuries. 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. The problem with taking this approach in the context of a car accident case is that the insurance company for the other driver will use any delay against you and claim that if you were all that hurt, you would have sought medical care. If you do not receive medical attention for your injuries, your reasons could be valid but the other party might take that as a reason to call you irresponsible and blame you for perpetuating your injuries. By the same logic, it is important that you follow your doctor’s instructions and follow up as appropriate. If you notice any injuries to your body, make sure you mention them to your doctor so that they can be documented and referenced later. When it comes time to settle your case, you will need proof of evidence and photographs of injuries is stronger than just your words.
The most common types of injuries we see from motorcycle accidents include:
Police reports and tickets are not admissible evidence in court. Regardless, these are still important pieces of information. If a ticket was written in your name after the incident, but you do not believe it is justified, you have rights and they allow you to dispute the ticket in court. The ticket will have a detailed explanation on how to proceed. Sometimes hiring an attorney who handles traffic tickets is a good idea. 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 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. As a matter of principle, you should not ever provide a statement to the insurance company representing the other party. Insurance providers only care for the best interest of the people they insure, so speaking to the opposing party’s provider without your lawyer present is an ill-advised idea. If 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 opposing insurance company is not entitled to your statement, so don’t feel compelled to provide them with one. You are welcome to answer basic questions posed by the opposing insurance provider but it is heavily advised that you speak to lawyer before saying anything at all.
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. Depending upon the settings in your social media, others can have access to interesting information about you. For example, Twitter keeps a running record of your tweets. 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. While the prospect of bringing a legal claim is good reason to make sure that you don’t have unwanted information available to the world on social media, this is probably a good policy in any event. 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. It is better to be safe than sorry, so don’t post anything online that has to do with your personal injury case. Do not post about your case in any way, shape, or form. 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.
Consultations with us are absolutely free and you are under no obligation to retain us after the initial meeting. This policy is typical among personal injury attorneys. To encourage victims to come forward and discuss the details of their case, we do not charge for the consultation.
The consultation is really important for motorcyclists involved in accidents because personal injury victims need to start their case as soon as possible.
There are many times where having an attorney in your corner is a good idea:
· If a recorded statement is needed by the insurance company.
· If you are asked to provide a copy of your medical records.
· If you are being met with defiance from anyone.
· If the insurance company for the other side is being rude or unresponsive.
· If your own insurance company is not being cooperative and helping you with your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) claim.
· If there is a possibility that insurance can claim you were partially or fully at fault.
Selecting an attorney is tricky. Every attorney likes to think they are the best choice for you, and that’s what they’ll tell you. 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. The next thing you should do is research their track record. With attorneys, just obtaining a win-loss record is deceiving. If an attorney doesn’t feel confident or believe they will win a case on behalf of their client, then they don’t have to take it on, thereby influencing their win-loss records. 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. Attorneys tend to only sign onto cases that have a greater chance of settling in their client’s favor. Winning is only half the battle anyway. Winning doesn’t mean your client receives everything they wanted. A better question to ask lawyers is about their successfulness in their cases. While it is true that their successfulness might be top-notch yet they still don’t win your case as well as you may like, but a track record gives comfort that they have a chance of getting you the result you want.
3. Your next best bet for figuring out if the lawyer is a good fit for you is by reading reviews. One site that hosts reviews of lawyers is called AVVO, but unfortunately, they use algorithms that can be manipulated so their ratings may be faulty. A better method of understanding how good the attorney is involves looking at what former clients have to say about that attorney. 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. Do they treat you kindly and respectfully? Do they offer to consult with you and discuss the details of your case? Do you feel comfortable? Your gut doesn’t lie, so if you feel a little uncomfortable with the situation, maybe they are not the lawyer for you. You will need to sign a release in order to obtain a settlement from the other insurance company. The release you’ll be presented with will essentially say that you accept what is being offered and you will not try to get more money for anything in the future. You should only hire a lawyer who makes you feel comfortable and whom you can trust. Find someone that you trust and work with them to make sure that your legal matter resolves successfully for you.
Your losses from an incident is legally the responsibility of the negligent party. This means that anything you lost, be it an item or an occupation or something replaceable, should be rightfully returned to you in the form of compensation. Sometimes, the medical bills are the responsibility of your own insurance company but that is completely dependent upon the policy you have. You may handle property damage and car rental through you own company. See if your insurance provider offers wage-loss and home-helper provisions. In very unfortunate circumstances, some people can take utilize their insurance provider for the sake of paying funeral expenses. What you can obtain depends upon the type and limitations or the coverages you have paid for. The negligent party’s insurance provider usually only pays for property damage immediately following the accident. They will then write you one check for all other losses when you agree to release them and the negligent driver. Because you need to be in a proper position to know about your future as it relates to the accident in order to sign off on that release, the bodily injury payment typically does not occur until you are completely done with your treatment and have knowledge of your medical future. Your coverage through your own automobile insurance will pay for things as incurred, consistent with what coverage you actually have purchased.
If your motorcycle is repairable, it must be restored to its pre-accident condition. You may have the vehicle repaired at a body shop of your choice. Insurance providers often showcase body shops that they include in their policies so that you don’t end up going somewhere that cannot service your motorcycle through insurance.
If a rental car is owed to you while your car is in the shop, you can take the insurance provider up on that offer, or you can have the money that would normally go towards a rental car paid directly to you instead. Make sure that all work performed is to your satisfaction before you sign an insurance check over to the repair shop. 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. If your vehicle is deemed a “total loss,” which means that it would not be cost effective to make repairs, then you are owed the “fair market value” of the vehicle. The term “fair market value” refers to the price you could have sold your car for prior to the incident. 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. You should do the same. An insurance company is disallowed from offering a “book figure” amount. 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. You will likely have a hard time obtaining a total loss settlement offer without the following evaluations factors:
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. Expect about a two-week waiting period after you file your claim for total loss. 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. 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 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. In all cases we are looking for Personal Injury Protection 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. The first question to answer is whether or not you are happy with how much was offered to you. Does the amount seem fair to you? Most cases end well. It is common for an insurance company to attempt to settle a claim for less than their monetary worth. 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. You can gain free knowledge about your case and your situation by scheduling a complimentary consult with us. 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.
The statute of limitations for motorcyclist accidents is three years in Washington State. If you fail to file a lawsuit in time, your rights for compensation will be eradicated by law. In order to have time to correct any issues that arise or adhere to legal expectations, we suggest that you compete the necessary steps within two years’ time. Moreover, if you would prefer to avoid a lawsuit, and most people would, acting early is your best course of action. 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.
Even if you were partially at fault for the accident, you can still file a claim. Oddly enough, sometimes, partial fault benefits our clients and the case ends in higher rates of compensation in response to their legal claim. In order to provide an honest and accurate answer to this question, legal discussion would be necessary. As with any car accident case, a consultation is free and advisable so that you know your rights.
Our hope is that you preemptively insured yourself against this unlucky circumstance. As a protective measure, it is so important that your automobile insurance policy includes UIM (under/uninsured motorist coverage). This type of insurance steps into the shoes of the negligent party who either does not have, or does not have enough, bodily injury insurance.
Learn more about Uninsured Motorist cases here.
According to the Washington State universal helmet law, all riders must be wearing a helmet while riding. Some states limit their helmet laws by the age of the rider and some do not require a helmet at all.
We have tracked down some of the most recent and comprehensive statistics on motorcycle accidents in the United States. The statistics included below were taken from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Highway Loss Data Institute. All of these statistics can be found on the IIHS website.
Motorcycles are less stable and less visible than cars and often have high-performance capabilities. Motorcyclists are more likely to be injured, even killed, than people driving vehicles due to the nature of the motorcycle and the lack of protection. In 2015, 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. 1Helmet usage is important for motorcyclists because head trauma is a very common injury sustained by motorcyclists in accidents. 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. 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"Wiener & Lambka always kept me up to date with my case. I'd certainly suggest them to a friend." - J. Trujillo“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“I was satisfied by the timely manner with which my case was handled. I would definitely recommend Wiener & Lambka to a friend in the future.” - D. Yusuf“The Staff at Wiener and Lambka are friendly and understand customer needs. They reduced their fee on my case and didn’t even take any on my son’s.” - M. Ngo“Wiener & Lambka took care of the leg work for me and even managed to get a larger settlement than expected.” - J. Hanson“Wiener and Lambka did a good job of keeping me up to date on my case, and I’d definitely suggest their services to someone looking for an attorney.” - L. Lafond“Everything was great. It was the best legal experience I have ever had!” - T. Hoskins“Calls were returned in a timely manner, and the office staff is friendly. I’d recommend Wiener and Lambka to a friend in the future.” - T. Their“Wiener & Lambka 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"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“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 get the job done. I appreciated their concern and interest in my case, and would definitely recommend them to a friend.” - Y. Martin“A job well done! The staff at Wiener and Lambka made a point of explaining everything to me and if necessary I’d work with them again in a heartbeat.” - O. Yusuf“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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