Wiener & Lambka, PS, has extensive experience handling motorcycle cases. These cases present a number of unique challenges. First and foremost, it is important to understand that as someone injured on a motorcycle, the insurance industry and juries will have to be convinced that there was nothing that the rider could have done better to protect themselves. Even then, there is a predominant bias against motorcycle riding, and a good attorney needs to be aware of this in order to overcome it. There in an implicit tendency to blame the injured victim and assume they were somehow at fault. It is necessary to show that the person involved in the incident took all the right measures to stay safe 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. The personal injury lawyer takes on the challenge of proving that the motorcyclist did everything in his or her power to stay safe on the road. 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. Explaining that medical attention was sought shows that the motorcyclist is a responsible individual. As soon as you believe you have a case, contact the personal injury lawyers at Wiener & Lambka to begin the legal process. 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 encounter unique hazards in their operation on roadways that set them apart from other vehicles. To begin with, motorcycles do not provide much protection to the driver, which physically exposes the motorcyclist to greater dangers. Motorcyclists are more likely to experience accidents that result in their personal injury or death than drivers of other vehicles. 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. 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. Motorcyclists have to take on greater levels of precaution when turning corners, passing other cars, or changing lanes. Incidents involving motorcycles are often confounded by intoxication and/or high speeds. To the extent that your safety can be determined by other choices that you make, it is of great importance that motorcyclists not drive under the influence nor act recklessly while riding.
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. 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. Deciding who is at fault in a vehicle-motorcycle accident should be a process that follows the same guidelines as those applied to vehicle-vehicle incidents.
The following factors are looked at in regard to both drivers:
* 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?
* Was there any damage to the roadway that may have contributed to the crash?
* 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. With the guidance of legal aids, you can avoid making statements that are wrongly interpreted by the opposing party. The possibility that the incident was partially or fully caused by a malfunction on part of one of the involved vehicles is very high.
Defective car parts are not the fault of drivers and therefore the investigation into who is liable becomes broader, now involving manufacturers and car companies. If a defective part has caused an incident, you will be compensated financially but you will also, in turn, save others from experiencing the dangers of defective parts. If a car part was not properly thought through during the engineering process, or the manufacturers made an error in crafting the part, then the defect is enough cause for a legal claim.
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. 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:
Any drivers involved in a collision, whether they are at fault or not, must remain at the scene of the crash and wait until police officers arrive, at which point the drivers must provide statements. Drivers are required to cooperate with the police and provide their name and vehicle registration, driver’s license, etc. It is legal to call for medics and seek medical attention immediately following a collision if injuries were sustained during the accident.
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. 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
If you are not sure whether or not a collision should be reviewed by authorities, it is always best to call the police anyway. 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. As long as you make the right moves and call the authorities, you have done your part and behaved appropriately, which is the most important part, because the liability is not yours to claim anymore. The police are more likely to come to the scene than to suggest you figure it out civilly, so this assertion is only applicable in very rare circumstances. This report, and the officer being a witness, can be important aspects to your case later. Keep in mind that many people do not feel any symptoms of injury at the accident scene as they have adrenaline moving through them and, in the case of soft tissue injuries, the symptoms tend to come on progressively over the next hours and days as the inflammatory process begins. 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.
You should have, and are required under Washington law to have, current proof of liability insurance with you while driving. This is why your insurance company typically sends you two cards: one to carry with you and one to keep in your car / motorcycle. If you are caught driving without proof of insurance, the police will write a ticket in your name for a few hundred dollars, so make sure you follow this law without any exception.
If you are involved in a crash, it is very likely that you are required to report the accident to your insurance provider. Insurance 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. As soon as you are able, reach out to your insurance agent and let them know that a collision has happened. Adhere to the requirements of your insurance policy to the best of your ability. Keep copies of letters which you send to the insurance company and make notes of your conversations including the date, time and the name of the adjuster you spoke with. Failure to comply with your policy could result in the denial of coverage.
Try to safely take pictures at the scene. 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. After you have left the scene, continue to take photos of anything that could later be relevant to your case. 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. Physical damage to the body should be documented as photographic evidence 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. 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. 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. 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. Obtaining legal advice prior to provision of statement to the insurance company that you will be seeking money from is always a good decision.
Witnesses help the truth come out because they provide an unbiased report of the incident, so if anyone saw the crash and was not directly involved themselves, ask for the contact information for future purposes. 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. While this seems like common sense, many people choose to wait or hope that their injuries are going to go away as quickly as they came on. 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. 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. When it comes time to settle your case, you will need proof of evidence and photographs of injuries is stronger than just your words.
Injuries can include, but are not limited to, the following examples:
Police reports and tickets are not admissible evidence in court. Regardless, these are still important pieces of information. If you receive a ticket that you do not believe is justified, then you have a right to challenge it in court. The ticket you were given will tell you how to proceed. If you are hesitant, there are attorneys out there who specialize in traffic tickets and they can advise you on the best route to take, too. 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. Under Washington State law, anything you tell your insurance company is between you and the agency. While not as pressing as if the other insurance company wants a statement, it is advisable to contact an attorney to go over the unique facts of your matter before providing any statement on the matter, even to your own insurance company. You should never give a recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance company. They do not have your best interests in mind. If you are being asked to provide such a statement, you should immediately contact a personal injury attorney to discuss this. The insurance company has no right whatsoever to a recorded statement. You should be able to have a simple conversation with the adjuster to answer reasonable questions, but please consult an attorney first to make sure you fully understand what you are doing in these circumstances.
If you have ever Googled yourself or another person, you know that you can sometimes find information about them that you otherwise would not know. Depending upon the settings in your social media, others can have access to interesting information about you. Twitter, for example, keeps a record of everything you tweet. Even Facebook isn’t as private as you may think. There are numerous other sites that allow your information to be readable by anyone who wants to find it. 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. The most important piece of advice in this area is to not post about anything that has to do with your case. Do not post about the accident itself, and do not post information that could be used against you regarding how hurt you are and how your injuries affect your life. Anything you post will only hurt you in the end. 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. 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 backing you up is a good idea for many reasons:
· If the insurance company who covers the opposing party asks for a statement from you.
· If medical records are requested by the opposing party.
· If you are being met with defiance from anyone.
· If you are having trouble getting the opposing party’s insurance company to cooperate with the case.
· If your insurance provider is making it more difficult to move along and open a Personal Injury Protection claim (PIP).
· If there is a possibility that insurance can claim you were partially or fully at fault.
Selecting an attorney is tricky. Just about every attorney who wants another case will say they are the best fit for you. Some attorneys will happily tell you about how good they are in order to obtain your business. In order to choose who can help you best, keep these ideas in mind:
2. The next thing you should do is research their track record. With attorneys, just obtaining a win-loss record is deceiving. Attorneys select what cases they want to work on and which ones to take to trial. If an attorney feels that a case is too hard to bring to trial, they often times will not take it on because the work and expenses necessary are not justifiable. In other words, attorneys usually only take cases that they feel confident about winning. Also, simply winning is only half of the story in any case. 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? Their previous outcomes are not a guarantee that yours will result the same way but it at least provides some evidence that the chances they will successfully win your case is clear.
3. Third, look at reviews. One site that hosts reviews of lawyers is called AVVO, but unfortunately, they use algorithms that can be manipulated so their ratings may be faulty. A better method of understanding how good the attorney is involves looking at what former clients have to say about that attorney. You should not just go with a rating system either, but look at the comments and try to find someone that you think will provide the customer service and professional advice that you deserve.
4. Another option is to call the lawyers yourself and ask them questions. 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? 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. 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. If you cannot trust your attorney, or they don’t make you feel at ease, then you’ll be setting yourself up for a lot of frustration and potentially failure. Find someone that you trust and work with them to make sure that your legal matter resolves successfully for you.
The negligent party is responsible for all of your reasonable losses. This 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. Your own insurance provider might be responsible for paying your medical bills, depending on your policy. Your insurance provider handles property damage claims as well as details like lending you a loaner car. Your own company may have a wage loss provision and a home helper provision. Funeral expenses are also sometimes included in automobile policies. The limitations of your insurance provider will dictate what you can obtain for compensation. Generally, the negligent party’s company will only pay for your property damage at the time of the accident. Your other losses will be compensated for in a check later on. 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 insurance company can help you the greatest extent that your policy allows.
If your motorcycle is repairable, it must be restored to its pre-accident condition. This can be done at a body shop of your choice, sometimes to an extent. Insurance providers often showcase body shops that they include in their policies so that you don’t end up going somewhere that cannot service your motorcycle through insurance.
If your vehicle has been damaged in an accident, you usually have rights to a rental car for the duration of repairs and maintenance, and sometimes, you can even opt out of a rental car and choose to be receive the money directly. Make sure that all work performed is to your satisfaction before you sign an insurance check over to the repair shop. If you elect to use the insurance company recommended shop, you should probably obtain an independent review of the damage and an estimate for repair from that shop as well to make sure that everything is being properly considered. 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. “Fair market value” is what your car or truck could have been sold for the day before the accident. The market value is determined by many different factors, including model, year made, interior condition, etc. In order to figure out your vehicle’s market value, your insurance company conducts a market survey where they call dealerships and look at current listings for comparable vehicles. It is best to do this yourself, too. “Book figures” are not something the law allows insurance companies to offer. Used car guides are not the best reference because they are more concerned with trades instead of being resold. In order to file for a total loss settlement, you must have the following factors evaluated:
You can keep the salvage if you’d like but this involves a conversation with your insurance company and junk yards near you. It usually takes about two weeks from the date of reporting a claim until a total loss offer is made as it takes time to determine all of the above. If you have questions feel free to call.
There are two important considerations if you were a passenger in a motorcycle accident. Know that even if you were in the car that caused the crash, you are not at all at fault as a passenger. Passengers are fault-free in these situations and you can even file a claim against the driver of the vehicle you were in, if you wish. After that, consider which insurances have policies available to you for medical bill and wage loss assistance. We would first take a peek at the motorcycle’s insurance and then follow up with insurance companies on behalf of the drivers. In all cases 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.
Many factors come together to answer this question. First, are you happy with the amount offered? Does the amount seem fair to you? Beyond this happy scenario, however, are most of the cases. It is common for an insurance company to attempt to settle a claim for less than their monetary worth. You cannot really blame them for at least trying to see if you will settle for a small amount; such is the nature of a corporation, which has duties to maximize profits for its shareholders. An attorney is your best bet when it comes to demanding higher settlements. Consultations are free, so you might as well take advantage of the opportunity to gain insight about your case. The most promising way of ensuring that you are treated fairly is by hiring an attorney to act as your legal representation. A consultation is your only honest way of understanding your situation and figuring out what is best for you.
In Washington, you have three years in which to either resolve or properly file and serve a lawsuit. If you 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. Three years sounds like a lengthy period of time, but obtaining records and witness statements can take a while, so acting sooner than later is essential. Again, an early consultation with a good personal injury attorney is advised.
Even if you were partially at fault for the accident, you can still file a claim. Interestingly enough, there are some cases where being a little bit at fault results in our clients being able to achieve a better end award than if they had not been at fault. In order to provide an honest and accurate answer to this question, legal discussion would be necessary. With Weiner and Lambka, consultations are 100% free so that you can speak with us directly and learn the extent of your rights.
Hopefully, you have insured yourself against this scenario. As a protective measure, it is so important that your automobile insurance policy includes UIM (under/uninsured motorist coverage). 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.
In Washington State, there is a universal helmet law that dictates that all riders must wear the appropriate helmet for their mode of transportation. This is different from other states that only require helmets for certain age groups.
We researched comprehensive and recent statistics regarding motorcycle accidents in the US. The following information is 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. The federal government estimates that per mile traveled in 2015, the number of deaths on motorcycles was nearly 29 times the number in cars. 1Because serious head injury is common among fatally injured motorcyclists, helmet use is important. When it comes to preventing death, helmets are 37% effective, and in terms of brain injury, helmets prevent them by 67%. Yet only 19 states and the District of Columbia mandate helmet use by all riders. All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are not street-legal but that hasn’t stopped people from riding them on public roadways, resulting in about 300 ATV-rider deaths per year. In December 2017, the United States Department of Transportation‘s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) posted a series of data about motorcyclists and ATV-riders involved in accidents.
A total of 4,976 motorcyclists died in crashes in 2016. Though the number of motorcyclist deaths were declining in the early 1980s, they began to increase again starting in 1998 through to today. Motorcycle deaths accounted for 13 percent of all motor vehicle crash deaths in 2016 and were more than double the number of motorcyclist deaths in 1997.
“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“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"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“Everything was great. It was the best legal experience I have ever had!” - T. Hoskins“The service and the staff were great. I was happy with everything, and would refer Wiener and Lambka to someone else in the future.” - I. Aleman“Wiener & Lambka took care of the leg work for me and even managed to get a larger settlement than expected.” - J. Hanson"Wiener & Lambka always kept me up to date with my case. I'd certainly suggest them to a friend." - J. Trujillo“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“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 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“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“You minimized my stress levels on a process foreign and scary to me. Very professional, caring, and patient with me.” - A. Maas“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
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