Wiener & Lambka, PS, is a law firm with vast history and combined knowledge when it comes to representing cases involving motorcyclists. Cases in which motorcyclists are injured come with their own set of challenges. The first challenge a personal injury lawyer faces in these cases is convincing the jury and judge that the motorcyclist took every precaution possible to prevent injury on the road. On top of the basic challenges, personal injury lawyers who take on motorcyclist cases are also faced with predominant bias against their client for riding a motorcycle on the road. There in an implicit tendency to blame the injured victim and assume they were somehow at fault. Showing that the injured person was taking appropriate caution when the incident occurred is often of great importance. Motorcyclists are met with a lot of assumptions, one being that the bias that they are at fault, and the other being that motorcyclists supposedly should always expect an incident to occur as a risk factor. A personal injury lawyer needs to show that this bias is not always applicable because if the court looks at the case through that bias, then the motorcyclist will not be viewed as a victim, but rather as the cause of the incident. 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. 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. 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. The lawyers at Wiener & Lambka know how to eradicate bias in the courtroom and build a case that you are sure to benefit from, as you should when you are the injured party.
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. 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. Cars are all-encompassing, meaning the body surrounds people on all sides and provides extra protection, but motorcycles offer little to no protection. 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. Motorcyclists also face the problem of easily falling into the blind spots of other drivers or just not being seen altogether while riding on the road. Motorcyclists have to take on greater levels of precaution when turning corners, passing other cars, or changing lanes. Moreover, many motorcycle collisions are caused by the rider either speeding or being intoxicated, or a combination of the two. 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 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.
Both drivers should consider the following factors:
* Was either operator intoxicated?
* Was either operator guilty of a moving violation such as following too closely, failing to signal, failure to yield, failure to follow lane arrows, etc.?
* Were any distractions at play, like a cell phone or loud radio?
* Was there any damage to the roadway that may have contributed to the crash?
* If roadway repairs were needed but not carried out, could the government be at fault for not preventing these types of crashes?
* Was unattended maintenance of either vehicle a cause of the crash?
Since motorcycle cases can become quite complicated, it is important that the lawyer you reach out to is well-equipped in handling your case, made clear by their experience and history handling motorcycle injury cases. The earlier you involve a lawyer, the sooner they can hear your story and help prepare a case in your favor. Sometimes otherwise fault-free riders can make a statement or two that they simply don’t realize how it will be interpreted by the other side, and/or used against them unfairly to limit their recovery. The possibility that the incident was partially or fully caused by a malfunction on part of one of the involved vehicles is very high.
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. 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. 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.
If you are involved in a collision while riding your motorcycle, you should first and foremost check for any physical injuries you may have sustained. If you are injured then seek medical care right away. If you are not able to pinpoint a specific injury but feel as though you are not feeling right either mentally or physically, then err on the side of caution and seek medical care. This is especially important for motorcycle riders involved in a collision because not all injuries show clear symptoms right away.
Some physical damage, like injuries involving soft tissue and the brain, do not cause visible symptoms right away so it is important that a trauma doctor take a look at the state of your body post-accident.
That said, here are some pieces of advice for people who truly do not believe they need to be examined or cleared by healthcare professionals:
Any drivers involved in a collision, whether they are at fault or not, must remain at the scene of the crash and wait until police officers arrive, at which point the drivers must provide statements. Drivers must cooperate with police by supplying their vehicle’s registration, along with their name and driver’s license. It is legal to call for medics and seek medical attention immediately following a collision if injuries were sustained during the accident.
Most vehicle collisions do not involve death or serious injury such that a police investigation is necessary, but leaving the vehicles where they stopped is a good idea so that the police can properly document the scene. On the other hand, if the vehicles are presenting a hazard and can be moved to a safer place, then that should be done. 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. 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. Sometimes the police will indicate that they cannot come to every accident and, if smaller and without apparent injury, will advise that the parties should handle it themselves. 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. Photographic evidence becomes incredibly important in terms of your legal case because an abundance of evidence is better than none. Even if you are not immediately aware of any injuries you sustained, documentation in the form of photographs will help uphold any personal injury claims that you want to make later in the process. 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. Because an insurance policy is a contract, the parties owe one another a duty of good faith and fair dealing. Cooperating with your insurance company is the best action you can take after speaking to police and seeking medical care. Contact your insurance agent to inform them of the accident. When you contact your insurance agent, make sure you follow the rules and regulations of your policy. Keep copies of letters which you send to the insurance company and make notes of your conversations including the date, time and the name of the adjuster you spoke with. Make sure you are familiar with the terms and conditions of your insurance policy because failing to comply with the expectations could result in a retraction of coverage.
If you are able to take pictures without getting into harm’s way, do so as soon as possible. It is best to take pictures of any parts of the accident that seem relevant. Relevant items include the scene itself, the vehicles, the other person’s informational cards for identification and insurance, any injuries that are apparent, any unique thing that happened. If you come across other important things to photograph later on, take pictures anyway because they can still be included in your evidence. Too many photos are better than barely any photographs 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 damage to the body should be documented as photographic evidence as well. 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. 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. Obtaining legal advice prior to provision of statement to the insurance company that you will be seeking money from is always a good decision.
If there are witnesses to your collision, obtain their contact information and an understanding of what they saw. 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. For that matter, you should take notes on anything about the crash that seems relevant so that you have something to rely upon later.
As discussed above, if you are injured in any way, you should seek medical care. 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. If you fall into these thought processes, it can be detrimental to your case because the other party can argue that you must not have been that hurt if you did not seek medical care immediately. Without receiving medical attention for your injuries, you can be blamed for perpetuating your injuries and, in extreme cases, the other party might accuse you of making your injuries worse by not getting the help needed. It is not only important to see a doctor, but you must also follow the advice of your doctor for the best results. 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. 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…
Police reports and tickets are not admissible evidence in court. 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. 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 own insurance company is requesting a statement from you, then you should provide one to them because they are on your side and they only want the best possible outcome for your case. Washington State law does not require your insurance company to share your statement with the other party’s insurance representative. If you do not feel comfortable providing a statement to anyone prior to receiving legal assistance, contact an attorney as soon as possible and he/she can provide you with trustworthy advice on the matter. It is better to say less than to provide too many details, and as a precautionary measure, never give a statement to the insurance company representing the opposing party. They do not have your best interests in mind. If the other insurance company asks for a statement, politely decline for the time being and find a personal injury lawyer who is well-equipped to represent you in court. The insurance company has no right whatsoever to a recorded statement. You should be able to have a simple conversation with the adjuster to answer reasonable questions, but please consult an attorney first to make sure you fully understand what you are doing in these circumstances.
Google has made it so much easier to find out information as quickly as a simple search. Google plays a part in helping people find other people, and that can be dangerous if you put poor information about yourself out there. If you have a Twitter account, for example, your tweets can appear in searches via Google. Facebook does not privatize your posts unless you adjust your settings, too. There are numerous other sites that allow your information to be readable by anyone who wants to find it. Your settings might not be the same as your friends’ settings and this is how people can find your information. 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. These posts can only come back to haunt you later down the road. If you wouldn’t want to show the judge the posts yourself, don’t display them online.
We offer free consultations and there is no expectation that you retain us as your legal representation after meeting with us. This policy is typical among personal injury attorneys. We want you to talk to us about your case so we do not charge a free for the initial conversation.
Motorcyclists injured in accidents can benefit the most from free consultations because they need to start their cases especially early, due to the nature of the incident.
Having an attorney backing you up is a good idea for many reasons:
· If the insurance company wants a recorded statement.
· If you are asked to provide a copy of your medical records.
· 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 insurance provider is making it more difficult to move along and open a Personal Injury Protection claim (PIP).
· If there is a chance that the other insurance provider tries to blame you for the accident.
Selecting an attorney is tricky. Just about every attorney who wants another case will say they are the best fit for you. Even if a lawyer knows that they are not the best fit for you, they might tell you otherwise if they want your business. Here are some ways to decide for yourself who is the best lawyer for your needs:
2. Second, look for a track record. Win-loss records matter but they are not a definite indication of how well an attorney performs. 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. 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. Many attorneys therefore only accept cases that have a very good chance of winning. Also, simply winning is only half of the story in any case. You can win and only obtain a small award for your client. The proper question is more, how successful have your cases been? 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. People leave reviews for just about anything these days and that includes their experiences with attorneys. While some sites, such as AVVO, utilize an algorithm that attempts to fairly rate the attorneys, these formulas are manipulatable and imprecise. A better way to understand the abilities of the lawyer is by reading reviews written by actual clients. 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. Call and talk with them. Make note of how they treat you during the phone call. Do they offer to consult with you and discuss the details of your case? Do you get a vibe that makes you comfortable? Trust your gut and ask questions that are important to you. You will need to sign a release in order to obtain a settlement from the other insurance company. 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 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 responsible for all of your reasonable losses. 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. Your insurance provider handles property damage claims as well as details like lending you a loaner car. See if your insurance provider offers wage-loss and home-helper provisions. Some insurance providers even cover funeral expenses in their policies. 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. Your other losses will be compensated for in a check later on. The secondary check may not come until much later. Your insurance company can help you the greatest extent that your policy allows.
We recommend you have your motorcycle restored to the condition it was in prior to the accident. You can choose just about any body shop to take your motorcycle to. 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. Before you hand your insurance check over to the mechanics, make sure everything was done satisfactorily. 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. “Fair market value” is what your car or truck could have been sold for the day before the accident. Many factors play into the market value, such as mileage, state of the interior, tire tread, accident history, and more. 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. 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. Itemized below are the evaluations factors that must be included in a total loss settlement offer:
Talk to your insurance provider if you would prefer to hold onto the salvage. 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 any questions about the process or its details, feel free to call us at any point.
You must consider two things if you were the passenger in a car crash involving a motorcyclist. First, it doesn’t matter much who is at fault to you – whether your driver, the other driver, or a combination of both. Passengers are not at fault because they were not in control of the vehicle, making them a victim who is also eligible for settlement and compensation. 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 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 no insurance at the time of the accident, then we will call upon your health insurance provider.
The answer to this is dependent upon numerous factors. First, are you happy with the amount offered? Do you believe that it is fair? Most cases end well. It is common for an insurance company to attempt to settle a claim for less than their monetary worth. It is not to spite or trick you but rather to see if you are willing to compromise for a lesser amount. An attorney is your best bet when it comes to demanding higher settlements. Since consultations are free, it is best that you take full advantage of the opportunity. Attorneys ensure that you are treated fairly by the other party and the judge overseeing your case. Only a consultation will help you to understand what is best for you and your unique legal matter.
Under Washington State law, motorcyclists must file a lawsuit regarding their incident within three years of the date the crash occurred. Failure to take necessary legal steps prior to the three-year mark will cause you to lose your rights to claiming compensation. In order to have time to correct any issues that arise or adhere to legal expectations, we suggest that you compete the necessary steps within two years’ time. You are more likely to avoid a lawsuit if you file your claims sooner than later. 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. A personal injury lawyer is your best source of information and guidance when it comes to matters such as these.
Being partially at fault does not mean that you cannot bring a claim. In rare occasions, partial responsibility and blame for the accident benefits our clients in that they end up receiving higher rates of compensation. In order to provide an honest and accurate answer to this question, legal discussion would be necessary. We care about your well-being and overall recovery more than anything else, and for that reason, consultations with us are free and highly encouraged.
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.
Washington State follow the universal helmet law, meaning that all riders must wear an appropriate helmet at all times. This is different from other states that only require helmets for certain age groups.
We looked into the statistics surrounding recent motorcycle accidents in the United States. The statistics shown below were pulled from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Highway Loss Data Institute. It can all be found on their website.
Motorcycles 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. When motorcycles crash, their riders lack the protection of an enclosed vehicle, so they’re more likely to be injured or killed. In 2015, an estimate was made by the federal government stating that the number of motorcyclists who died in crashes was 29 times higher than those killed while driving vehicles.1Because serious head injury is common among fatally injured motorcyclists, helmet use is important. Helmets are about 37-percent effective in preventing motorcycle deaths and about 67 percent effective in preventing brain injuries. Yet only 19 states and the District of Columbia mandate helmet use by all riders. In recent years, more and more people have been riding ATVs on public roads despite the illegalness of doing so, and about 300+ people die because of it every year. 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. Back in 2016, about 13% of all motor vehicle crashes involving motorcycles resulted in the deaths of the motorcyclists, which is more than double the number of deaths as of 1997.
“Everyone was great. The staff at Wiener and Lambka make a good thing out of a bad situation, and for that, I am very thankful.” - D. Grami“Wiener & Lambka took care of the leg work for me and even managed to get a larger settlement than expected.” - J. Hanson“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 Staff at Wiener and Lambka are friendly and understand customer needs. They reduced their fee on my case and didn’t even take any on my son’s.” - M. Ngo"Wiener & Lambka always kept me up to date with my case. I'd certainly suggest them to a friend." - J. Trujillo“Everything was great. It was the best legal experience I have ever had!” - T. Hoskins“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 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“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“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 and Lambka did a good job of keeping me up to date on my case, and I’d definitely suggest their services to someone looking for an attorney.” - L. Lafond“The service and the staff were great. I was happy with everything, and would refer Wiener and Lambka to someone else in the future.” - I. Aleman“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"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
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