When on a motorcycle, you face a disproportionately high risk of suffering injuries or fatalities in a crash compared to vehicle drivers. There is little you can do to avoid a negligent driver. If you are hit by a car, or if you are in an accident with another rider or a pedestrian, you are forced to endure serious injuries. In this situation, we hope you will call and speak with a Seattle motorcycle accident lawyer from Emerald City Law Group.
While you may take precautions and ride carefully, according to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, motorcycles make up about four percent of registered vehicles in the state. However, motorcycle riders accounted for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities between 2013 and 2017.
Call us at 206-973-0407 or contact us online to schedule a free, initial consultation. Our Seattle motorcycle accident attorneys have successfully represented many clients during insurance claims and personal injury lawsuits. We know what to do to obtain your compensation, and we can take this burden from your shoulders.
Washington’s Motorcycle Laws
The State of Washington has numerous laws regarding what constitutes a motorcycle, who may ride a motorcycle, and how motorcycles may be operated in public. The Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 46.20.500 requires you to obtain an endorsement to legally operate a two- or three-wheeled motorcycle, excluding mopeds and certain scooters or bikes. This endorsement is in addition to your regular driver’s license.
To obtain a motorcycle endorsement in Washington, you can either take and pass the knowledge and riding skills test offered by the Department of Licensing, or you must complete an approved motorcycle rider course which has the knowledge and skills test. If you take a course, you will obtain a Certificate of Completion that you can present to the DOL within 180 days.
If you own a motorcycle and obtain your endorsement, make sure you can lawfully take your bike out on the road. Washington law requires all motorcycles to display a valid license plate and to be registered with the state. You are not required to carry automobile insurance while on a bike, but it is safer if you do.
A motorcycle law that often comes up in Seattle motorcycle accident claims is Washington’s requirement that you wear a helmet. Under RCW 46.37.530, it is illegal for you to operate a motorcycle without a helmet. It must have a neck or chin strap that is fastened while you operate the bike.
If you were hurt in a motorcycle crash, you should speak with a King County motorcycle accident attorney. If you were the rider, whether or not you adhered to all relevant state laws will be of great interest to the other party. If the other driver or rider finds you violated one or more motorcycle laws, then you may face allegations of contributory negligence.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Washington
Similar to car accidents, motorcycle wrecks occur for a wide variety of reasons. Crashes can be caused by motorcycle riders, vehicle drivers, truckers, pedestrians, and others. Unfortunately, many motorcycle accidents are caused by drivers who are not used to sharing the road with smaller vehicles.
Some common reasons leading to motorcycle accidents include:
- Motorcycle operator or vehicle driver speeding
- Driving or riding while under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or both
- Unsafe lane changes, particularly drivers changing lanes into motorcyclists
- Car doors opening in the path of a motorcycle
- Other vehicle’s sudden stops
- Left-turn accidents, particularly drivers making left turns into motorcyclists
- Failure to yield the right of way to a motorcycle or vehicle
- Dangerous road conditions, including potholes, gravel, debris, snow, ice, and standing water
The reason for the incident that led to your motorcycle injuries can be essential in proving the other party’s liability. Following a crash, you should work with our Seattle motorcycle accident lawyers. We will conduct a thorough and independent review of the accident, gathering evidence and analyzing fault. If there is evidence that another person’s careless or reckless behavior caused the crash, then we can guide you through pursuing compensation in a personal injury claim.
Common Motorcycle-Related Injuries
At Emerald City Law Group, we handle claims with moderate-to-significant motorcycle injuries, including:
- Road rash, including scarring and soft tissue injuries
- Limb and extremity injuries, including broken bones and dislocated joints
- Chest and abdominal injuries
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Concussions and more serious traumatic brain injuries
Whatever injuries you suffered after a crash, it is best to speak with an attorney regarding your legal options. You may have a strong case and receive an insurance settlement quickly. However, you also may need to fight hard for fair compensation. Many motorcycle accident victims face claims of contributory negligence and require experienced legal representation to resolve their cases fairly.
Pursuing Compensation for Motorcycle Accident Claims
Our Seattle motorcycle accident lawyers at Emerald City Law Group are here to guide you through the insurance claim and court processes to obtain compensation after a crash. To begin with, we will learn as much as possible about your injuries and how they have impacted your life. We may speak with the first responders to your crash and your physicians to determine the extent of your injuries along with the pain you have suffered. We will also document how much this accident has cost you in regard to medical expenses, rehabilitation, requiring help at home, and lost wages. If you have suffered a permanent limitation, we will review the reduction in your potential earning capacity.
Overall, an experienced Seattle motorcycle accident lawyer will fight for you to receive the maximum compensation for your:
- Current and future medical bills
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Disfigurement and/or disability
- Emotional distress
Proving the Other Driver’s Liability
Our Washington motorcycle accident attorneys can take a variety of steps to prove liability. We will request all available accident reports from the law enforcement agency that responded to the accident and from any participating insurance companies. We will carefully study accident reconstructions, interview witnesses, and obtain any nearby traffic or surveillance camera footage. We will gather all of the evidence available to determine what caused the accident, who was at fault, and who is legally liable to compensate you for your injuries.
Contributory Fault in Washington
When you claim that another driver or rider is responsible for your motorcycle injuries, that person may argue that you were also negligent. You should be aware of how contributory fault, which is also called comparative negligence, can impact your claim. Based on RCW 4.22.005, if a court finds you were also negligent in relation to the crash, then your compensation can be decreased by the proportion of your fault. If you are found approximately 15 percent responsible, your final compensation will be reduced by 15 percent.
This is a common defense, particularly against motorcycle riders. In some driver’s view, motorcycle riders are inherently careless or risky. A Seattle motorcycle accident lawyer from Emerald City Law Group is aware of the negative stereotypes against motorcyclists, and we are prepared to handle allegations of contributory fault.
Talk to a Seattle Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today
After being hurt in a motorcycle accident, you may wonder how you will cover all of the expenses. Who will pay for your medical bills that health insurance will not cover? Who will make up for the time you were off work? If you are suffering a permanent disfigurement or disability, who will take responsibility for altering your life?
A Seattle motorcycle accident lawyer from Emerald City Law Group is prepared and ready to help you seek the outcome you deserve. We are here to help you get what you need so that you can move forward with your life.
Immediate Help for Bikers Suffering from Motorcycle Accident Injuries
How a Seattle Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
After any serious accident, there’s a lot to consider. But you don’t need to go through it alone.
At Emerald City Law Group, we know you are in pain and unsure about how to pay your bills. Even enjoying everyday activities can sometimes be taken away. This would be a lot for anyone and that’s why out personal injury attorneys are here to help with the burden you’re facing.
From dealing with insurance companies to helping determine liability, and all the way through a trial if necessary, we are prepared for whatever comes your way, so you get the financial security and peace of mind you need to properly recover. If you have been injured in an accident in King County, Washington or any surrounding area, you deserve justice and compensation. Contact Emerald City Law Group today at 206-973-0407.