Motorcycle Accident Lawyers in WA State
According to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, although motorcycles comprise only 3 percent of the vehicles on the road in the state, they accounted for 15 percent of all fatalities and 19 percent of all serious injuries in collisions between 2013 and 2017. In fact, nearly 20 percent of all motorcycle crashes will result in a traumatic injury or a fatality for the motorcyclist. Over the past decade in the state of Washington, an average of 75 motorcyclists die each year. The motorcyclist simply has no protection as compared to those in a passenger vehicle who are surrounded by metal and glass and have safety belts, airbags, and other safety features. The only protection a motorcyclist may have is a helmet, if worn, and protective clothing, like “leathers.” Unfortunately, many motorcyclists fail to wear helmets, and when the weather is warm, few motorcyclists wear protective clothing.
Common Injuries Sustained by Motorcyclists When Hit by an Automobile
Motorcyclists who survive a collision may be left with serious, even catastrophic injuries, including the following:
- Road rash;
- Spinal cord injuries;
- Traumatic brain injuries;
- Internal bleeding;
- Disfigurement, or
- Loss of a limb.
Motorcyclists who suffer traumatic injury may face a lifetime of medical procedures—and medical expenses. There may be multiple surgical procedures and months, years, or a lifetime of rehabilitation. Many motorcyclists who are involved in a collision may never return to their former job, therefore may not only be facing astronomical medical bills but may also be unable to pay their normal monthly expenses.
How Long Do You Have to File a Motorcycle Injury Claim in Washington?
Each state sets its own statutes of limitations—the amount of time an injured person has to file a personal injury claim. Under Wash. Rev. Code § 4.16.080(2) (2016), a motorcyclist who is injured by the negligence of another driver has three years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury claim in order to recoup his or her losses.
What Causes Motorcycle Accidents?
Many passenger vehicle drivers fail to understand the unique qualities of motorcycles, which can lead to serious motorcycle accidents. The primary issue centers around the fact that motorcycles are simply more difficult to see than cars. Drivers are conditioned to watch for other vehicles and, as a result, often overlook a motorcycle rider in their rearview mirror or one making a (legal) turn across their path. Drivers backing out of a parking lot or driveway can also neglect to properly look for motorcycle riders, bicycle riders and even pedestrians in their single-minded search for other automobiles.
On the flip side, motorcycle riders tend to be much more alert and aware of their surroundings—because they must be alert for their own safety. Motorcycle riders are also not as likely to be engaging in typical driver distractions, such as talking or texting on cell phones, turning radio dials and other car controls, eating, turning around to see what the children are doing in the back seat, and having conversations with other passengers. One of the most dangerous situations for motorcycle riders is a car making a left-hand turn—such collisions account for a significant number of motorcycle/passenger vehicle accidents. Other issues associated with motorcycle accidents include:
- Adverse weather conditions, including rain, snow, excessive wind and blowing dust;
- Adverse road conditions, including differences in lane heights, potholes, objects in the road, gravel and slick spots due to oil;
- Driver inattention;
- Driver impairment;
- Failure to control the motorcycle, inexperience, or lack of training, and
- Excess speed.
The vast majority of motorcyclists are self-taught or taught by a friend or family member. This lack of formal training can lead to poor riding skills, including a lack of braking and cornering skills. This lack of training or experience is more often the cause of a single-motorcycle accident, rather than a motorcycle/passenger vehicle accident.
Unfortunately, many people have preconceived notions of who motorcycle riders are and how they behave. In truth, many of those who routinely use motorcycles as their mode of transportation are as far from the reckless biker stereotype as could be. Quite often, today’s motorcycle riders are professionals such as doctors and lawyers, or students seeking to lessen their impact on the environment and save money on gas. Yet many people still see the motorcyclist as a risk-taker, therefore, a jury may view the injured cyclist as irresponsible, no matter who caused the accident. This is a situation an experienced Palace Law Washington motorcycle accident attorney can address early on in a motorcycle accident claim.
Why You Really Need a Great Personal Injury Lawyer
Defendants will usually try to use the biker stereotypes to their advantage—this means a motorcycle rider who has been injured in an accident must take care to seek the most knowledgeable personal injury attorney who will look out for their best interests. The attorney who has significant experience defending motorcyclists injured by an automobile understands how to get around the unfortunate misperceptions, obtaining an equitable settlement on behalf of the motorcyclist. The job of the attorney will be to assess liability accurately, then use every means available to prove responsibility. It is virtually never a good idea for an injured motorcyclist to attempt to handle the accident on their own; there are many complexities in a motorcycle accident claim which are likely to be encountered, and which few laypersons are equipped to handle.
A highly experienced personal injury attorney from Palace Law will work hard on your behalf to recover a fair settlement which fully covers your medical expenses, lost wages, lost future wages, pain and suffering, and diminished quality of life. The Palace Law attorneys understand the importance of proving liability by showing the driver was negligent and that negligence caused the accident. Perhaps the driver of the passenger vehicle was tailgating, failed to yield, swerved into the motorcyclist’s lane, was exceeding the speed limit, was distracted, or was impaired. In any case, a knowledgeable Palace Law attorney will aggressively seek compensation for your injuries and damages from the negligent party. To ensure your rights and your future are properly protected following your motorcycle accident, contact a Tacoma motorcycle accident attorney today.