Wiener & Lambka, PS, has years of experience in personal injury cases involving motorcyclists. Over the years, the lawyers have learned that cases involving motorcyclists 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. Often, there is a bias because people are quick to assume that the person who has been injured did something to provoke the negligence. The attorney is responsible for informing the jury and judge that their client took every precautionary measure possible to ensure their safety while driving a motorcycle on the road. 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. One of the ways that this bias can be overcome is to demonstrate that great care was taken before and at the time of the incident. To further invalidate the bias against motorcyclists, personal injury lawyers will show that their client pursued the advice of healthcare professionals after the incident and made their health a priority. Explaining that medical attention was sought shows that the motorcyclist is a responsible individual. If you have been injured in an accident while riding a motorcycle, the personal injury experts at Wiener & Lambka are ready to help you seek justice. 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. First is the obvious exposure of the driver. Due to the structure of a motorcycle, a motorcyclist is more likely to face serious, sometimes fatal, injuries in an accident as opposed to drivers of cars with doors and intense protection. Also, riding a motorcycle, as opposed to driving with a metal shell around you, exposes the human body to the elements of weather and debris, either of which can cause or contribute to an accident. Elements of the roadway that do not concern drivers of motor vehicles cause a lot of risks for motorcyclists, due to the nature of a motorcycle, compared to a car or truck. 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. This means that at turns or when passing other cars, the motorcyclist needs to undertake a very high degree of care to avoid collisions. Often, accidents involving injured motorists involve intoxicated drivers and speeding. As with anyone operating a motor vehicle, it is in the best interest of motorcyclists to not drive while under the influence, especially due to the high risks already associated with riding a motorcycle.
The bias against motorcyclists that we discussed above is so alive and well that even the motorcyclist themselves sometimes believe they were at fault when they are not. While it is easy to start thinking that there must have been some way to have avoided the collision, the fact remains that motorcyclists have the same right to the road way as every other driver. 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:
* Were any drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs?
* Did any moving violations occur, such as failure to signal, follow street signs, signal, etc.?
* Were any distractions at play, like a cell phone or loud radio?
* Were the roadways in need of repair and therefore a contributing factor to the incident?
* 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?
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. 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. It is also possible that the accident was caused in full or partially by a car part that didn’t function properly.
In this instance, the liability rests on the shoulders of car manufacturers, opening the doors to even more details. If a defective part has caused an incident, you will be compensated financially but you will also, in turn, save others from experiencing the dangers of defective parts. 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.
Before doing anything else, check your body for physical injuries from the crash. 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 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. 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.
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.
Second, if you are not in need of immediate transport due to medical concerns, please consider all of the following advice:
The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury or death of any person or damage to a vehicle is required to immediately stop and remain at the scene. 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. However, if the vehicles involved in the incident are actively causing a problem for other drivers on the road, then it is acceptable to move the vehicles out of the way. Prior to moving the vehicles, if photos can be taken in a safe manner then this is advisable. Failure to document the scene with photographic evidence allows for the possibility of false accusations and confounding stories when the case goes before the judge, because without proof, either side can say whatever they want. Many accidents involving injured motorcyclists happen when the driver of a car or truck does not see the motorcyclist due to their blind spot intervening, so documenting the scene properly will help investigators to understand what happened. It is important that the aftermath of all collisions are properly documented for the sake of a fair case.
Whether or not you believe that the collision merits a call to the police, it is likely advisable to do so. 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. At least in these circumstances you will be able to state later that you did call them, but you could not make them come to the scene. The police are more likely to come to the scene of the crime than to leave it up to your discretion, but regardless, pictures should still be taken for documentation purposes. This report, and the officer being a witness, can be important aspects to your case later. Not all injuries are apparent immediately after a collision, but if you realize you have sustained a serious injury once your adrenaline settles, the photographs you took will be considered substantial evidence in upholding any personal injury claims. Even in cases where you believe it’s obvious that the other driver was at fault, a police report as well as documented photographs of the scene will further support and prove your assertion that you are not at fault.
It is illegal to drive a vehicle in Washington State without proof of insurance in the car. When you sign with an insurance company, you should receive two items: an insurance card for your wallet and an insurance card to keep in your lockbox. If you are caught driving without proof of insurance, the police will write a ticket in your name for a few hundred dollars, so make sure you follow this law without any exception.
Your insurance policy likely requires that you report collisions and accidents to it. Insurance companies issue contracts and since they are a signed agreement, insurance providers expect that you uphold the terms, including the responsibility to report accidents. Cooperating with your insurance company is the best action you can take after speaking to police and seeking medical care. Call your insurance agent and notify them as well. Adhere to the requirements of your insurance policy to the best of your ability. 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.
If you are able to take pictures without getting into harm’s way, do so as soon as possible. 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. After you have left the scene, continue to take photos of anything that could later be relevant to your case. 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.
While you have a duty to cooperate with the authorities and your own insurance company, you are not required to give a statement to the adverse driver or his insurance company. Following an accident, it is best to contact a lawyer for advice on how to proceed. As you might expect, insurance agents have the best interest of their client in mind and they may try to skew your responses in a way that they can later use against you. Unfortunately, not everyone knows that they do not have to speak with the other party without legal aid present, and we have run into sticky situations where unnecessary problems are caused by providing statements to the other party. 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. If you ever need to prove the validity of your claims in court, witnesses are extremely beneficial. For that matter, you should take notes on anything about the crash that seems relevant so that you have something to rely upon later.
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. These mindsets are dangerous because you are putting your body at risk and the other party’s insurance company will use your refusal to seek medical care as irresponsibility. Moreover, without adequate medical care, you are also susceptible to the argument that you failed to take reasonably steps to limit the harm caused. With that logic in mind, be sure to listen intently to your doctor and follow his/her advice on how to treat your injuries over time. 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. Not having an injury mentioned in your medical records is the same thing as not having had the injury at all when it comes time to settle your case.
The most common types of injuries we see from motorcycle accidents include:
The police report itself and whether one party got a ticket or not are not admissible evidence in a trial on the matter. That being said, these items still matter a whole lot to the insurance companies and the drivers. If 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. You can always turn to legal aid and ask an attorney to assist you in fighting a traffic ticket. Sometimes a personal injury attorney will also be able to help you with fighting the ticket. 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. As a matter of principle, you should not ever provide a statement to the insurance company representing the other party. 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.
Information that you might not otherwise be able to find out can be discovered nowadays, thanks to the helping hand of Google. Google plays a part in helping people find other people, and that can be dangerous if you put poor information about yourself out there. 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. Your friends can have different settings than you do and thereby allow investigators to find out information about you from their pages. Making sure your social media information is private and not readily available to anyone who wants it is a wise approach no matter what. 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. It is best not to post anything about your accident or injuries you sustained. 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.
We offer free consultations and there is no expectation that you retain us as your legal representation after meeting with us. Most personal injury attorneys have the same policy. We want you to talk to us about your case so we do not charge a free for the initial conversation.
The consultation is really important for motorcyclists involved in accidents because personal injury victims need to start their case as soon as possible.
Having an attorney backing you up is a good idea for many reasons:
· If a recorded statement is needed by the insurance company.
· If medical records are requested by the opposing party.
· If the person who adjusts the value of your property is not cooperating with you.
· If the insurance company for the other side is being rude or unresponsive.
· If your insurance provider is making it more difficult to move along and open a Personal Injury Protection claim (PIP).
· If your accident involves any possibility of the other person’s insurance company alleging that you were partially or fully at fault.
It is difficult to select an attorney. Every attorney likes to think they are the best choice for you, and that’s what they’ll tell you. Some attorneys will happily tell you about how good they are in order to obtain your business. Here are some things that will help you sort through the marketing:
2. The next thing you should do is research their 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. Winning is only half the battle anyway. Your client might not be granted everything they hoped for, even if you win the case. A better question to ask lawyers is about their successfulness in their cases. While the previous outcome on cases is no guarantee that your case will also have a good outcome, a track record helps you to know that the attorneys are successful in their field.
3. People leave reviews for just about anything these days and that includes their experiences with attorneys. One site that hosts reviews of lawyers is called AVVO, but unfortunately, they use algorithms that can be manipulated so their ratings may be faulty. By reading honest reviews by people who were once represented by the attorneys at hand, you’ll receive more transparent insight than any other resource can give you. Don’t base your decision off of a website’s rating – look instead at the commentary left by previous clients.
4. You can also try calling the lawyers and talking to them yourself. Pay close attention to their mannerisms and how they speak to you on the phone. Will they come to you to meet and go over 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. At the end of your case, in order to obtain a settlement, the insurance company is going to have you sign a release. The release will state that you accept the settlement money as it is and you will not seek more in the future. If you 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. Above all, only hire a lawyer who makes you feel confident and listens to you with care.
The negligent party is legally responsible for the losses of the other party involved in the accident. This includes the damage to your motorcycle, the cost of a rental car if necessary, your lost wages, your out of pocket expenses, damage to personal property, your medical bills incurred for accident-caused injuries, your future medical bills, future lost wages, future impairment of earning capacity, and your general damages – all pain and suffering and impairment of your life caused by the injuries you incurred. Depending upon what insurance you have on your vehicle, you may be entitled to payment of your medical bills by your own company, up to the limits of your policy. You may handle property damage and car rental through you own company. See if your insurance provider offers wage-loss and home-helper provisions. Funeral expenses are also sometimes included in automobile policies. What you can obtain depends upon the type and limitations or the coverages you have paid for. 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. The secondary check may not come until much later. Your coverage through your own automobile insurance will pay for things as incurred, consistent with what coverage you actually have purchased.
We recommend you have your motorcycle restored to the condition it was in prior to the accident. You can choose just about any body shop to take your motorcycle to. Some insurance companies have a list of “approved shops” and the company will guarantee the work as long as you own the vehicle if you use one of their approved shops.
You are owed a rental car while your vehicle is being repaired, or as an alternative, you will receive the daily rental fee amount paid directly to you for the “loss of use” of your car if you do not obtain a rental. Before you hand your insurance check over to the mechanics, make sure everything was done satisfactorily. Obtain an independent review of the damage caused in the accident as well as an estimate in terms of repair costs before you elect to send your car somewhere. Sometimes, a vehicle is so damaged in a wreck that it’s deemed a total loss, making repairs unnecessary, but you still receive a payout of “fair market value” as compensation for your car. The term “fair market value” refers to the price you could have sold your car for prior to the incident. Many factors play into the market value, such as mileage, state of the interior, tire tread, accident history, and more. The insurance company must perform a market survey by calling dealerships and checking newspapers ad for the selling price on comparable vehicles. It is best to do this yourself, too. Under the law, the insurance company cannot offer a “book figure.” Used car guides are not the best reference because they are more concerned with trades instead of being resold. Itemized below are the evaluations factors that must be included in a total loss settlement offer:
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. 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. Feel free to call us with any questions you may have.
If you were a passenger in an accident involving motorcyclists, there are two important considerations for you to make. 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. First, we would take a look at the bike’s insurance and then follow up with insurance on part of the drivers. Our top priority is Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. If there was none, or it exhausts, then your health insurance would kick in at that point.
This depends on a lot of factors. First, are you happy with the amount offered? Does the amount seem fair to you? Most cases end well. It is common for an insurance company to attempt to settle a claim for less than their monetary worth. You cannot really blame them for at least trying to see if you will settle for a small amount; such is the nature of a corporation, which has duties to maximize profits for its shareholders. An attorney is your best bet when it comes to demanding higher settlements. You can gain free knowledge about your case and your situation by scheduling a complimentary consult with us. In many instances, you simply aren’t going to be treated fairly without having an attorney handle 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. You are more likely to avoid a lawsuit if you file your claims sooner than later. Presentation, negotiations, and settlements take some time to conduct, so the sooner you file a lawsuit and begin the process, the more likely you are to complete the steps before the statute of limitations expires. As with all legal matters, consulting with an attorney and adhering to their legal advice is best.
Partial responsibility for a vehicular incident does not take away your rights to file a claim. 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. This question is case-specific, and the answer varies on a case-by-case basis, so legal discussion is necessary to ascertain an accurate response. 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. 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.
In Washington State, there is a universal helmet law that dictates that all riders must wear the appropriate helmet for their mode of transportation. There are some states who do not uphold the universal helmet law and therefore only require it for some people, depending on their age.
We researched comprehensive and recent statistics regarding motorcycle accidents in the US. The statistics included below were taken from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Highway Loss Data Institute. The information can be found on their website as well.
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. The federal government estimates that per mile traveled in 2015, the number of deaths on motorcycles was nearly 29 times the number in cars. 1Head injuries happen so often among motorcyclists that helmet use is absolutely necessary. When it comes to preventing death, helmets are 37% effective, and in terms of brain injury, helmets prevent them by 67%. Yet only 19 states and the District of Columbia mandate helmet use by all riders. 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.
In 2016, approximately 4,976 motorcyclists died from crashes. 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.
“Everything was great. It was the best legal experience I have ever had!” - T. Hoskins“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“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 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"It was a stress free experience. I particularly enjoyed when, on my initial call, they sent someone out to my house to speak with me in person. I would certainly use or recommend Wiener & Lambka in the future." - M. Randall“Wiener & Lambka took care of the leg work for me and even managed to get a larger settlement than expected.” - J. Hanson“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“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“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“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“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 always kept me up to date with my case. I'd certainly suggest them to a friend." - J. Trujillo“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“You minimized my stress levels on a process foreign and scary to me. Very professional, caring, and patient with me.” - A. Maas“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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