Were You Injured Because Of Someone Else's Negligence? Browse Our FAQs
In addition to coping with a lot of stress and frustration, personal injury cases also come with a lot of questions. Here are some of the questions we hear the most at Max Meyers Law.
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What Is Vehicular Homicide in Washington State?
Vehicular homicide in Washington State is a criminal charge. If a person dies from injuries sustained in a crash in Washington State, under some circumstances, the negligent driver can face charges of vehicular homicide.
If you are suing someone for the wrongful death of a loved one, you cannot add a charge of vehicular homicide to your lawsuit. Because vehicular homicide is a criminal matter, only a prosecutor can take someone to trial for this charge. A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil case, not a criminal case.
A Driver Can Face Both Vehicular Homicide Charges and a Wrongful Death Case
Let us say that a person was driving while under the influence of methamphetamines (meth) when they struck and killed a pedestrian. The prosecutor can file criminal charges against the driver for vehicular homicide. The pedestrian’s family can file a civil lawsuit seeking monetary damages for the loss of their loved one.
For example, in the O.J. Simpson case, there was a criminal murder trial and a civil wrongful death case. And just as in the Simpson case, a “not guilty” verdict on the criminal charges does not preclude the decedent’s survivors from filing and winning a civil wrongful death case. The two cases proceed independently of each other because the law imposes a different burden of proof in criminal cases than it does in civil cases.
What Constitutes Vehicular Homicide in Washington State
There are four elements the prosecutor will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt to support a conviction of vehicular homicide in Washington State. These elements are:
- A vehicle caused the death of someone other than the driver.
- The death was a proximate result of an injury caused by the driver.
- The person died within three years of the injury and as a proximate result of the injury. (In other words, if something unrelated to the crash — like an allergic reaction to a bee sting — caused the person’s death within three years of the crash, it is not a case of vehicular homicide.)
- The injury happened when the driver operated the motor vehicle in a reckless manner, with disregard for the safety of others, or while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug.
Penalties for Vehicular Homicide
Vehicular homicide is a class A felony in Washington State. Class A felony convictions in Washington can carry maximum penalties of life imprisonment in a state correctional institution, or a fine of $50,000, or both incarceration and a fine. The court can add two extra years to the sentence for each prior offense.
Prosecutors are allowed to recommend restitution instead of a fine. The statute provides that the defendant would pay the restitution money to the victim which, in a death case, would be the survivors of the decedent.
Do Not Delay in Filing a Civil Wrongful Death Action
While it is understandable that you might want to wait and see what happens in the criminal court before you file a wrongful death action, doing so could make you lose all rights to compensation in the civil courts. Felony cases can drag on for a long time, and you will have no control over the speed at which the criminal vehicular homicide case makes its way through the court.
Even after the criminal trial, judgment, and sentencing, there can be lengthy appeals.
If you do not file the wrongful death action before the deadline, state law will bar you from ever getting to seek damages for the loss of your loved one. Washington's statute of limitations does not prevent you from pursuing a wrongful death case just because the prosecutor might file vehicular homicide charges against the driver.
How to Get Legal Help
If your loved one died as a result of a crash that might end up in a vehicular homicide trial, you should talk with a wrongful death attorney right away. We will protect your rights and help preserve your claim to compensation. We will explain the two different cases — the criminal vehicular homicide case and the civil wrongful death action — to you and evaluate whether you might be eligible for compensation for your loss.Please call the Max Meyers Law wrongful death team today at 425-399-7000, and we will set up your free consultation. There is no obligation, and we only charge legal fees if you get compensation.
What Is Restitution?
Restitution is a penalty a judge can order a defendant to pay in a criminal case for hurting a victim when committing a crime. Restitution is not the same as compensation in a personal injury lawsuit.
Civil Cases vs. Criminal Cases
There are two types of cases in America — civil cases and criminal cases.
In a civil case, people or companies sue each other, trying to get an award of money or other civil damages.
In a criminal case, the government brings charges against someone (a defendant) for an alleged violation of a criminal law. If the judge finds the defendant guilty, the judge can impose a monetary fine and/or incarceration on the defendant. The judge can also order that the defendant pay money (restitution) to the crime victim, the victim’s family, or the state victim’s compensation fund.
How Restitution Works in Different Cases
Judges tailor restitution orders to the facts of each case. Traditionally, judges tend to order restitution when the defendant behaved outrageously, willfully, or with reckless disregard for the safety of others. For example:
- If a jury finds the defendant guilty of his fourth DUI, in which he demolished a food truck and caused severe burns to the victim when a fuel tank on the food truck exploded, the judge might order the defendant to do jail time and pay restitution to the victim for his medical bills and the loss of the food truck.
- The court could order convicted defendants to pay the funeral bills of a hate crime victim as restitution.
- If a jilted romantic partner keyed the ex’s car and busted the headlights with a baseball bat, the restitution could be paying for the repairs to the vehicle.
- A person convicted of defrauding seniors out of their life savings could have to pay restitution to restore some or all of their money to them.
Criminal defendants who plea bargain to a lesser included offense may also have to pay restitution. The judge has to order restitution if the victim is eligible for crime victim’s compensation fund benefits. The victim or the state can enforce court-ordered restitution just as they would a civil judgment.
When Victims Do Not Receive the Restitution Money
Sometimes, even when a judge in a criminal case orders the defendant to pay restitution, the money (or a portion of the money) does not go directly to the victim of the crime. This result can happen when:
- Someone else paid the victim’s bills, such as the victim’s health insurance paid the victim’s medical bills.
- The state’s victim compensation fund collects all restitution payments and distributes them to many victims across the state.
- The victim received compensation through a personal injury claim. To receive full compensation for one’s damages in a personal injury claim and get restitution would be “double dipping.” For example, if the victim of a car accident reached a settlement with the defendant’s auto insurance company and the amount paid the victim’s damages in full, the victim cannot get paid twice for the same damages.
How Restitution Works in Washington State
Usually, the court must order the restitution at the sentencing hearing or within 180 days of that hearing. The judge determines how much the offender has to pay every month in restitution toward the total amount ordered. The offender must accept employment offers while incarcerated to earn funds to make the monthly payments.
What Restitution Can and Cannot Cover
In Washington State, the court can calculate restitution using the damages for:
- Injury to or loss of property
- Medical bills for treatment of injuries
- Lost wages from the injury
- Counseling reasonably related to the crime
The court cannot include these items when determining the amount of restitution:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Other intangible losses
The limit of restitution is two times the amount of what the offender gained or the victim lost from the crime.
Restitution Does Not Prevent Civil Liability Claims
You should not wait to see if the criminal court will order the defendant to pay restitution if your injury resulted from a criminal act.
Under Washington law, there is a time limit on pursuing civil action. The deadline (statute of limitations) could expire on your civil personal injury case before the criminal case is final. If you wait too long, the law will bar you from ever filing a lawsuit to collect damages for your injuries.
At Max Meyers Law, we help you make sense of what happens when you get hurt when someone else committed a crime. We will not charge you any legal fees to evaluate your case and explain your legal rights.Please call us today at 425-399-7000, and we will line up your free case evaluation.
What Is the Value of a Scar from a Car Accident?
We cannot state the settlement value of a scar from a car accident without more information about your case. Each case is different. There are five factors that go into the calculations of the anticipated recovery for your claim.
First Factor: The Severity of Your Scar
The size and type of your scar will have an impact on the settlement value of your injury claim. For example, a straight one-inch scar that heals to the same skin tone as the surrounding tissue and does not cause any lasting discomfort will likely not have as high a settlement value as a massive burn scar or a long, jagged, dark purple scar.
Here are some aspects of scars that have higher or lower settlement value in general:
Lumpy or other texture changes
Smooth and flat
Heals to skin tone of the area
Second Factor: The Location of Your Scar
When people think of the location of a scar, they usually reflect on whether the scar is in a noticeable place, like on your face, hands, or throat. If your car accident scar is in an area that you would generally consider disfiguring, it may carry a higher settlement value than one on your foot, for example.
There is another essential distinction about scar locations. Internal scars can cause just as much distress as external scars, but not for cosmetic reasons. Internal scars are tough bands of tissue that grow between your tissues and organs inside your body. They can “cement” your organs, muscles, and connective tissue together. Internal scars can be the result of surgery to repair damage to your internal organs from the crash or direct injuries from the wreck.
Third Factor: Long-Term Impairment or Other Consequences of the Scar
The value of a scar from a car accident may be higher if you suffer long-term effects of scarring. Adhesions, keloids, and ongoing pain are some of the common residual problems one can experience from car accident scars.
Adhesions and Keloids
Adhesions (connecting two organs or two areas of the body, like fingers) and keloids (overgrowth of scar tissue) can be rigid and prevent you from moving an area of the body correctly. Adhesions can prevent an organ from performing its intended function, or they can restrict movement. Adhesions and keloids are hard to treat because doing additional surgery to relieve the problem can worsen it if the body then grows more scar tissue in response to the surgery.
In addition to the pain of restricted movement and organs being “welded” together, scar tissue itself can be painful. Some scars, like burns, can hurt for years or the rest of your life. Suffering pain is a legitimate type of damage for which you can receive compensation.
Fourth Factor: Other Injuries from the Crash
When you sustain injuries severe enough to cause scarring, you might have experienced other injuries as well. Let’s say that you had a direct blow to the chest and head in a multi-car accident. The impact caused a deep laceration to your face, a traumatic brain injury, several broken ribs, and bruising of your heart. It is possible to recover compensation for all of these injuries. We will add your damages together to reach a lump-sum figure for your settlement.
The higher your other injury damages are, the more value your total claim may have. Even a minor scar can have a high settlement value when coupled with other significant injuries.
Fifth Factor: Whether You Were Partially at Fault in the Wreck
You can still get some compensation for your scarring and other injuries even if you were partly to blame for causing the wreck, as long as someone else was also at fault. Washington follows the legal rule of comparative negligence, which means that your mistakes may reduce the amount you can recover, but your errors will not bar you from recovery if someone else was at least one percent at fault.
For example, if your damages were $100,000 and you were 20 percent negligent, you will get $80,000 in compensation, because comparative fault reduces your recovery the same percentage as your fault. If, however, you were the only person at fault in the wreck, you cannot get compensation from the other driver.
How to Get Legal Help for a Scar from a Car Accident
Our car accident injury team at Max Meyers Law examines police reports and reviews medical records to determine the eligibility for compensation for a scar from a car accident. We will negotiate with the insurance company for you. We do not charge legal fees until you get a settlement or damages award. There is no obligation in speaking with us about your case.Call us today at 425-399-7000 to get started.
How Much Is a Car Accident Concussion Settlement?
A car accident concussion settlement does not have a fixed amount. The settlement value of each case is different because no two cases are identical. The facts of your case will determine how much you may receive in a settlement of your car accident concussion claim. Even though each case is unique, there are five factors that determine the settlement value of every car accident concussion claim.
Factor One: How Severe Your Concussion Is
A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that may prevent your brain from being able to function normally. Usually, the impaired function is temporary, but sometimes people experience long-term consequences from this type of head injury.
Contrary to popular belief, most concussions do not cause the victim to lose consciousness. The typical effects of a concussion include headaches and difficulty with:
You might not be able to remember the event that caused the concussion — the car accident. In addition to the above, you might experience:
- Confusion, dizziness, or a “foggy” feeling
- Nausea and vomiting
- Ringing in the ears
- Slurred speech
Several days after the head injury, you can develop:
- Sensitivity to noise and light
- Depression and other psychological problems
- Irritability and other changes in your personality
- Difficulty with concentration and memory
- Sleep disturbances
Degrees of Concussions
Concussions range from mild to moderate to severe. Also, you might have other head injuries, such as a skull fracture. With a severe head injury, you might have to undergo surgical treatments to remove pressure on the brain or correct bleeding within the brain. Those complications can be life-threatening or result in permanent impairment of brain function. The worse your concussion and the complications, the higher the value of your damages claim.
When to Get Immediate Medical Care for a Concussion
Every head injury should receive prompt medical attention. Even if you already had a medical evaluation for your concussion, it is a medical emergency if you develop any of these symptoms, whether right away or days after a concussion from a car accident:
- Dilated pupils (larger than usual), unequal sizes of pupils, or other eye or vision abnormalities
- Ongoing or repeated dizziness
- Any of your symptoms worsen
- Large bumps or bruises on the head
- Difficulty with coordination or mental function
Factor Two: Whether You Suffer Chronic Headaches or Other Pain
Depending on the severity of your traumatic head injury, you might experience headaches for weeks or months after the accident. This result may be more likely if you have sustained previous head injuries. Noise and light sensitivity from the brain injury can inflict pain on the victim as well. A person who suffers chronic headaches or other pain may have a higher claim settlement value than someone who does not have those symptoms.
Factor Three: Any Long-Term Consequences or Impairment
Post-concussion syndrome is not limited to football players. Sometimes the brain injury symptoms that usually last only a few days in a typical concussion may linger for weeks, months, or longer — a condition known as post-concussion syndrome. Your risk of developing post-concussion syndrome is the same, whether you sustain a mild or severe concussion.
Although medical science still has a great deal to learn about this devastating condition, experts speculate that post-concussion syndrome happens when the concussion damages the structure of the brain or disrupts the messaging system within the nerves.
Factor Four: Other Injuries from the Car Accident
When you are in a crash that is significant enough to cause a head injury, you might have other injuries as well. In an accident injury settlement, we add the value of all of your injuries from the wreck together to reach a lump sum case value. If you sustained injuries in addition to the concussion, they may increase the expected settlement amount of your claim.
Factor Five: Whether You Were Partly at Fault in the Crash
Some people do not pursue legal action if they were partially to blame for the accident, but there is no reason to bear the full cost of your injuries if someone else was also at fault. A lawyer may help with the apportion of the negligence and calculate how much your settlement is worth, even if you were partly at fault.
Washington uses the legal rule of comparative fault, which reduces your settlement to account for your negligence but still allows you some compensation.
Getting Legal Help for A Concussion from a Car Accident
The car accident injury team at Max Meyers Law will talk with you and let you know if you might be eligible for compensation for your concussion. The only cases we handle are motor vehicle injury claims. We review accident reports and the medical records for our clients and deal directly with the insurance company, so our clients do not have to.Call us today at 425-399-7000 for a free consultation.
How Do I File a Lawsuit for a Brain Injury from a Car Accident?
A personal injury lawyer may help you file a lawsuit from a brain injury from a car accident, but one is not necessary to file one. Filing a lawsuit can help you get compensation to help you with the financial costs of a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Before you can make someone pay for your injuries, you have to prove that they were negligent. To hold the careless person accountable, we have to prove all four of the elements of liability:
- The person must have had a legal duty toward you. Drivers have a legal duty to keep a careful lookout and operate their vehicles in a safe manner. For example, if you were driving your car responsibly and a vehicle came flying out of a side street, ran a stop sign, and smashed into your car, the driver of the vehicle that hit you had a legal duty of care toward you.
- We must show that the driver breached their duty of care. Running a stop sign, speeding, and crashing into oncoming traffic breached the driver’s duty of care. Violating a duty of care is negligence.
- The negligence must cause the harm you suffered. The collision caused you to sustain a traumatic brain injury. This fact satisfies the causation requirement of liability.
- The harm must be measurable. If the reckless driver’s car had careened at the last second and barely missed crashing into your vehicle, you would not suffer measurable harm. Momentary fright is not sufficient as harm. However, if the speeding car slammed into your vehicle and caused you to sustain a traumatic brain injury, this harm is measurable.
Do Not Delay in Filing a Lawsuit
In every state, the legislature sets time limits (called statutes of limitations) for filing different kinds of lawsuits. If you file suit accusing the defendant of negligence, you will have a different amount of time to bring the lawsuit than if you sued someone for a breach of contract or a defective product. Your personal injury lawyer will explain the deadlines, but if you wait too long and the time for filing has passed, a lawyer cannot help you.
Getting Damages for Your Traumatic Brain Injury
Once we establish who was liable, we will build your case for compensation. Here are some of the damages you can receive, depending on your facts, for a traumatic brain injury from a car accident that was someone else’s fault:
- Medical costs: You can recover all the reasonable and necessary medical expenses because of the accident. We will use your medical bills, insurance statements, invoices, and receipts to prove your losses for the ambulance, emergency room, hospital, surgery, diagnostic testing, medical treatment, therapy, rehabilitation center, and prescription medications.
- Lost income: This includes wages and other income you missed out on because of the accident, treatments, and recuperation. We use your employer’s records and other documents to prove these losses.
- Pain and suffering: This is for your physical pain and mental anguish. We will calculate a fair amount for this type of damage.
- Disability or decreased earning potential: If you are unable to work or earn less because of the traumatic brain injury’s impacts on your cognitive abilities, memory, coordination, and other skills, we will use your medical records and a vocational expert to determine the extent of your disability or decreased earning capacity.
- Long-term care: If you need assistance with daily living activities or medical care because of the brain injury. We establish the value of this aspect of your claim using experts.
- Your spouse’s loss of consortium: If the brain injury adversely affected your relationship, your spouse’s testimony may be vital in making this claim.
Filing a Lawsuit for a Traumatic Brain Injury if You Were Partly at Fault
In many cases, more than one person was negligent in causing an accident. Let’s say that you were speeding and another driver changed lanes without looking. The two cars collided and you suffered a traumatic brain injury.
Both of you were negligent, but you can still get some damages for your injuries. The Washington law of comparative fault will apportion the fault between the two drivers and reduce the compensation to each injured person relative to that person’s proportion of the total fault.
In other words, if the judge decides that you were 20 percent at fault, comparative fault will reduce your damages of $100,000 by 20 percent ($20,000). You will recover $80,000.
How to Get Help with Your Traumatic Brain Injury ClaimAt Max Meyers Law, we dedicate our time to helping people who have sustained injuries in motor vehicle accidents. We will schedule your free consultation to see if you might be eligible for compensation if you call us at 425-399-7000. We will never charge you fees until you win.
What Is the Settlement for a Spinal Injury for a Car Accident?
Factors that Affect the Settlement Value of a Spinal Injury from a Wreck
Every case is different, so we cannot give one number to represent the amount of recoverable damages in a personal injury claim, including losses from a spinal cord injury you sustain in a car accident. Here are some of the many factors that will be part of the calculation of your claim:
The Location of Your Spinal Injury
A spinal injury can affect all neurological function at the level of the damage and everything below that level in your back. Another way of looking at this fact is that if you hurt your lower back with a lumbar spinal injury, it can affect your legs but not your arms. But if you suffer a thoracic spinal injury everything below your neck, including your arms and legs, can suffer damage.
The Type of Spinal Injury You Suffered
A back sprain or strain will receive less compensation than a complete spinal cord injury with resulting paralysis. You can usually expect to achieve a successful recovery of all function within a matter of weeks with some types of back injuries, while others can change your life forever.
The Severity of Your Injury
Back injuries you can sustain in a car accident range from mild to moderate to severe to catastrophic. The more serious your injury, the higher your compensation is likely to be. Within the different types of injuries, there are ranges of severity. For example, you can have an incomplete (some function remains) or complete (complete paralysis) spinal cord injury. A person can become a paraplegic or a quadriplegic as a result.
Treatments You Had to Undergo for Your Spinal Injury
The cost, inconvenience, and discomfort of the procedures you had to have to treat your spinal injury will affect the amount of your settlement. If you are lucky enough to recover fully from a mild back injury with only bedrest, over-the-counter pain relievers, and a few weeks of physical therapy, your claim will settle for less money than someone who had to suffer through multiple surgeries for a more significant spinal injury.
How Successful the Procedures Were in Treating Your Neck or Back
Not all patients achieve the same level of function after completing treatment that they had before the spinal injury. Many people endure chronic pain for years or permanently after a back injury. The less that you are made “whole” by the medical treatments, the higher your settlement is likely to be.
Complications From the Treatments on Your Back or Neck
Steroid injections and surgeries have inherent risks, including infection, paralysis, and nerve degeneration. Prescription medications can lead to addiction. If you suffered complications from the treatments that were supposed to help you, we can add those problems to your total claim.
Continuing Issues and Impacts on Your Life From the Injury
Some people are never the same after a significant spinal injury. If you continue to have problems after completing the full plan of treatments, and your injuries affect your life going forward, your settlement can include these losses.
Lost Income Past and Future
We will include the wages you lost because of the accident, medical treatments, and recuperation into your settlement package. Also, if you will be unable to earn as much money in the future because of your spinal injury, you should get compensation for this loss.
The Cost of Ongoing Medical Care
One reason you should not accept a quick settlement with the insurance company is that you do not know early on how well you will heal from your injury and whether you will need ongoing medical care. The costs of ongoing medical care should be part of your settlement.
Long-term Care and Assistance
In cases of paralysis, patients often need daily assistance with things like eating, bathing, and mobility. Some people need to live in a long-term care facility to receive regular medical care. These costs will be factors in a settlement.
In addition to all the economic losses you can experience with a spinal injury, you should receive compensation for things like your pain and suffering, depression, and loss of enjoyment of life. Your spouse might have a claim for loss of consortium.
The Behavior of the At-fault Driver
If the driver responsible for the crash was guilty of reprehensible acts, such as illegally leaving the scene of the accident or driving drunk, a jury is likely to punish him by awarding higher damages. The insurance companies know this, so if there are similar facts in your case, you might get more compensation than you otherwise would.
How to Get Legal Help for Your Injury Claim
As you can see from the many factors that go into the calculation of a settlement for a spinal injury from a car accident, you should not try to handle your claim without professional guidance.All you need to do is call the car accident team at Max Meyers Law, and we will investigate your case and negotiate with the insurance company for you. For a free consultation, call us at 425-399-7000.
What Is the Average Settlement for an ACL Injury from a Car Accident?
The amount of compensation you can recover for an ACL injury from a car accident will depend on the facts of your case, including the extent of the damage and how well it healed.
These knee injuries involve tears to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). Although ACL tears happen frequently in sports activities, they can also result from car crashes. If you have a swollen knee that makes it too painful to stand, and it feels as if your knee will “give way,” you should get immediate medical attention.
Possible Outcomes of an ACL Injury
Some mild ACL injuries can heal with R.I.C.E., which is:
- Rest: Keep your weight off of your knee.
- Ice: Apply ice packs for 20 minutes every two hours or as your doctor directs.
- Compression: Wrap your knee with an elastic bandage or compression wrap.
- Elevation: Get your knee at a higher level by lying down and propping up your knee with pillows.
After the R.I.C.E. self-care at home, your doctor might send you for physical therapy and rehabilitative care. You might have to wear a knee brace and walk with crutches for a few weeks.
Your doctor might recommend surgery to repair the ACL damage if you are:
- An athlete
- Young and active
- Your knee buckles with ordinary use
- Your ACL injury is severe
Severely damaged AC ligaments do not heal well, so your surgeon will reconstruct the ACL by removing the damaged ligament and replacing it with a tendon from another part of your knee or an organ donor. Rehabilitation can take eight to 12 months after knee reconstruction.
Factors That Affect the Settlement Value of an ACL Tear from a Wreck
We cannot state a dollar value for settlements of ACL injuries from car accidents because every case is different. These are a few of the many factors we will use to calculate how much your car accident case is worth:
The Severity of Your ACL Injury
ACL injuries include an overextended but intact (not torn) ligament, a partial tear of the tissue, and a complete tear.
Treatments You Had to Undergo for Your ACL Injury
If your ACL damage heals without surgical intervention, you will have lower medical expenses, which will tend to lead to a lower dollar value of your settlement. Higher medical costs usually go hand-in-hand with higher compensation.
How Successful the Treatments Were in Treating Your ACL Injury
Because the knee is a complex joint and load-bearing, some people do not experience a perfect recovery of function and subsidence of pain. Many people go on to have future injuries to the knee. Even with full recovery of function and returning to a pain-free state, you are at higher risk of osteoarthritis in the knee after an ACL tear.
Complications From the Treatment of Your ACL Injury
All surgeries come with risks, such as infection and damage to nearby tissue. The pain pills they give you can lead to opiate addiction. Costs that complications create can get added to your total settlement demand.
Other Injuries You Sustained in the Wreck
It takes a significant collision with a direct blow to the knee to cause an ACL tear. In this type of scenario, the patient usually suffers other injuries, such as fractures, in addition to the ACL damage. The type, severity, and locations of other injuries will be factors in the settlement value of your claim.
Possible Compensation for an ACL Car Accident Injury
Continuing Issues and Impacts on Your Life From the Injury
If your knee does not heal well and you face a lifetime of mobility issues and pain, you should receive compensation for these losses.
Lost Income Past and Future
Your past lost income includes the time you missed from work because of the accident, medical treatments, and recuperation time. Lost future income is for when you cannot earn as much money as before as a result of the ACL injury.
For example, a professional baseball player suffered a complete ACL tear in a car crash and after treatment was no longer able to perform at a “major league” level. He should get compensation for his lost future income.
The value of your claim does not stop at the total of your economic losses. The law allows you to recover for non-economic harm as well, for things like your pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life. Your spouse might have a claim for loss of consortium.
How to Get Legal Help for Your Injury ClaimThe personal injury team at Max Meyers Law will investigate the many factors that can affect the value of your settlement. We will negotiate directly with the insurance company so that you do not have to. We will calculate a fair settlement value of your injury claim. Call us today at 425-399-7000, and we will set up your free consultation.
Are There Caps on Truck Accident Lawsuits in Washington State?
There are no limits on the damages you can recover in a truck accident case in Washington State, but judges usually do not allow successful plaintiffs to recover punitive damages. There are no limits on damages for wrongful death cases.
If you suffered injuries in a crash, a truck accident lawyer can help you pursue compensation for your damages. At Max Meyers Law, we will investigate your accident, build a compelling claim on your behalf, and go after the party responsible for your truck accident for the full value of your losses. Call us at 425-399-7000 today for a free consultation.
What Economic Damages Are Available After a Truck Crash in Washington State?
Economic damages represent out-of-pocket costs you incur as a result of the wreck. You might qualify for compensation for any of the following economic losses.
You can recover compensation for the reasonable expenses you faced for medical treatment and care. This category can include ambulance transportation, emergency treatment, a hospital stay, x-rays and other imaging, surgery, lab tests, a stay at a rehabilitation center, physical therapy, and prescription drugs.
If you suffered a permanent, disabling injury, you might need to purchase specialized equipment. You could qualify for reimbursement for the cost of a walker, a wheelchair, home modifications, an accessible vehicle, and other expenses incurred because of your injuries.
Decreased Earning Capacity
After significant injuries, you might not be able to work as many hours as you did before. Depending on the long-term consequences of the harm you suffered, you might have to switch to a lower-paying or part-time job, or you might be completely disabled and unable to support yourself through employment. You can recover compensation for that loss.
Some people need ongoing medical and personal care after catastrophic injuries from a truck accident. Whether you receive these services at an inpatient facility, on an outpatient basis, or in your home, the costs are compensable.
What Non-Economic Damages Are Available to Truck Accident Victims?
When you sustain injuries in a crash, you suffer harm that goes above and beyond your economic losses. Your non-economic damages can include such things as your pain and suffering, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, and your significant other’s loss of consortium.
While a tort reform law from the 1980’s used to limit how much you could recover for these losses, the state Supreme Court struck down this damage cap in a 1989 decision. There is no longer a limit on non-economic damages for personal injury claims in Washington.
When Can I Recover Compensation for Wrongful Death?
If your family member died in a truck accident, state law allows the surviving spouse, state registered domestic partner, child, or stepchild to bring a wrongful death action. The jury can award whatever amount of damages it feels are just under the circumstances of the case.
Does My Case Qualify for Punitive Damages?
Washington law has three requirements for juries that want to award punitive damages in a personal injury case:
- The jury must find that the defendant acted with malice or with reckless disregard of the consequences to the plaintiff;
- The damage amount must be high enough to punish the conduct; and
- The amount must be high enough to deter the defendant and others from similar conduct in the future.
Punitive damages in a truck accident case are relatively rare. However, if the truck driver or their employer acted egregiously, we might be able to build a strong case for this additional compensation.
What If I Was Partially at Fault for My Truck Accident?
The judge can reduce your damages award if you were partly at fault in the wreck. Washington’s comparative negligence laws allow each at-fault party to recover partial compensation that is reduced based on the amount of negligence.
For example, imagine your damages were $40,000, but you were 10-percent responsible for the crash. The judge would take 10 percent off of your damages award, and you would receive $36,000.
How Will a Lawyer Prove My Damages?
At Max Meyers Law, we begin by gathering your medical records, invoices, employer records of lost wages, and all other pertinent evidence of your economic losses. We will get the police report to establish who was negligent, and we will also speak with eyewitnesses about factual issues related to your claim. We will talk with you and your loved ones to build the case for your non-economic damages.
To get started, call 425-399-7000 today. You can set up a free consultation with a member of our truck accident team.
Can I Get Sciatica from a Motorcycle Accident?
Traumatic accidents can cause sciatica. If you damage your spine or muscles in a location that compresses the sciatic nerve, you could get sciatica from a motorcycle accident.
If you are suffering from sciatica or another spinal cord injury after a crash someone else caused, a motorcycle accident attorney can help you fight for compensation for your related expenses. At Max Meyers Law, we handle motorcycle accident cases for clients throughout Washington State. Call us at 425-399-7000 for a free consultation about your claim.
How Can I Get Sciatica From a Motorcycle Accident?
Sciatica happens when the sciatic nerve gets compressed or irritated in the lower back. Since there are several nerve components that merge to form the sciatic nerve, there are multiple points in your back where damage from a motorcycle accident could result in sciatica.
Because the sciatic nerve is so large and consists of multiple nerve roots, several different types of injuries or conditions could cause sciatica after a crash.
If you break a lumbar vertebra, one of the resulting problems can be sciatica. Two common causes of lumbar fractures are serious trauma, like falls or motor vehicle accidents, and weakened spines due to underlying medical conditions. If you have osteoporosis or are taking a medication that can weaken your bones, you are at higher risk of a lumbar fracture in a motorcycle wreck.
You can develop sciatica from a herniated disc after a motorcycle crash. Other terms for this injury are:
- Slipped disc;
- Ruptured disc;
- Bulging disc;
- Protruding disc; and
- Pinched nerve.
This condition happens when the gel-like substance inside a disc in your back leaks out. The gel irritates the nerve root. Discs are the small, coin-shaped parts that act as shock absorbers between the bones in your spinal column. Many people with herniated discs experience sciatica.
If you sustain muscle strain in your lower back from the accident, the resulting inflammation can compress the sciatic nerve and cause sciatica.
You can develop sciatica from the crash long after the accident. If you form scar tissue in the lumbar region of your lower back from your injuries, the scar tissue can compress one of the nerve roots and give you sciatica.
If you develop an infection in an injured area or surgical site in your lower back, the infection can cause inflammation and can irritate the nerve root, resulting in sciatica.
How Can I Tell If I Might Have Sciatica?
With sciatica, you might experience pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness in your buttocks, hips, or the backs of your legs. You might have one symptom in one area and a different feeling in another. For example, you might have pain in your lower back, hip, and back of your upper leg, and your calf might feel like pins and needles. The pain could radiate all the way down the back of your leg.
You might feel a mild ache or a sharp, stabbing pain that becomes excruciating if you sit for too long or move a certain way. Some people experience a burning sensation. Weakness in your leg muscles is another common symptom of sciatica.
If you believe your motorcycle accident caused sciatica, it is essential to seek medical treatment.
When Should I Seek Medical Treatment for Sciatic Nerve Pain After a Crash?
You should seek immediate medical attention if you have symptoms of sciatica after a crash. Untreated sciatica can cause permanent nerve damage. You might even require emergency surgery if you are experiencing numbness, muscle weakness, bladder or bowel incontinence, or sudden or severe pain.
Seeking immediate medical attention immediately will also help with the motorcycle accident claims process. If we can get a doctor to link your sciatica to your crash, you stand a better chance of proving another driver is liable for your damages. Your medical visits will also provide proof of your related treatment costs.
Are There Non-Surgical Treatments for Sciatica?
Not everyone with sciatica needs to undergo surgery. According to the Mayo Clinic, many cases respond well to non-surgical treatments, such as:
- Anti-inflammatory or narcotic pain medication;
- Steroid injections; and
- Physical therapy.
Even if you did not require surgery to treat your sciatica, our motorcycle accident team might be able to help you get compensation for these or other non-surgical treatments.
How Can I Get Help If My Motorcycle Crash Caused Sciatica?
If your doctor diagnosed you with sciatica after a motorcycle crash, the legal team at Max Meyers Law might be able to help. If we can build a strong case showing that someone else caused your accident and your injuries, we can pursue compensation for your damages. Call 425-399-7000 to get your free consultation with a member of our transportation accident team.
Who Is at Fault for a T-Bone Accident?
The person whose negligence caused the crash is liable for a T-bone accident. The guilty party is not always the driver whose vehicle hits the side of the other car. Determining who is at fault in a T-bone car accident depends on who broke a traffic law that led to the wreck. Sometimes more than one person is negligent.
At Max Meyers Law, our legal team has experience helping clients who suffered injuries in T-bone accidents. If someone else caused your crash, you might be able to recover damages in a personal injury claim. Call us at 425-399-7000 for a free case evaluation.
How Can I Determine Who Caused My T-Bone Accident?
Typically, one driver has the right of way, and the other driver does not. If a driver fails to yield the right of way, and this results in a T-bone accident, they are often at fault for the crash.
If the other driver made one of these common driving mistakes, they could be liable for your damages:
- They disobeyed a traffic light and proceeded into the road;
- They failed to yield while entering the roadway from a side street or alley;
- They did not reduce their speed or come to a full stop in the presence of a yield sign;
- They did not follow the right-of-way rules for a four-way stop;
- They did not react appropriately to an uncontrolled intersection;
- They failed to yield while turning left at an intersection; or
- They did not treat an intersection with non-functioning traffic signals as an all-way stop.
How Do T-Bone Wrecks Happen?
A T-bone accident, also called a side-impact collision, happens when one car smashes into the side of another vehicle. Many of these accidents involve drug or alcohol impairment or distracted driving. Some of the most common scenarios for T-bone crashes are:
- Running a red light or stop sign;
- Failing to yield the right of way at an intersection;
- Pulling onto a street into the path of oncoming traffic; and
- Backing out of a parking space without looking for other vehicles.
Why Are T-Bone Crashes So Severe?
T-bone accidents are so dangerous because they usually result in catastrophic or fatal injuries, depending on the point of impact on your vehicle in relation to the locations of the driver and passengers.
Several factors can affect the severity of injuries. For example:
- If the other vehicle hits the driver’s door, the driver will experience the worst of the impact;
- If the other car strikes the opposite side of the vehicle, passenger injuries could be significant;
- If the force of the collision crushes the vehicle or sends glass and shrapnel into the passenger compartment, significant cuts or lacerations, head trauma, and spinal cord injuries can result; and
- If one vehicle is much larger than another, the occupants of the smaller vehicle could suffer serious injuries.
What Injuries Can Vehicle Occupants Suffer in T-Bone Accidents?
The driver and occupants of each vehicle can suffer significant injuries, including:
- Blunt force trauma;
- Head trauma;
- Spinal cord injuries;
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI);
- Damage to internal organs;
- Lacerations; and
If we can prove that another driver’s negligence caused your T-bone accident, we might be able to hold them liable for the cost to treat your injuries. You could also qualify for compensation for your other related expenses.
What Is Negligence?
Negligence has four legal components. If we can prove the following details were true, you could have a strong case for compensation.
Duty of Care
All drivers must obey the rules of the road, operate their vehicles in a reasonable and prudent manner, and follow all traffic signs and signals.
Breach of Duty of Care
If a driver fails to perform up to the standards of the duty of care, they are negligent.
If we can prove their negligence caused your accident, we can hold them responsible.
The at-fault party is liable for any damages you suffered as a result of their negligence.
How Will a Lawyer Prove My T-Bone Accident Claim?
We will build your claim by gathering the evidence related to the other party’s fault and your damages. This proof can include:
- The police report to show who caused the accident;
- Your medical records to establish the harm you suffered;
- Your work records to back up your claim for lost wages;
- Vocational experts to prove any long-term impact on your capacity to support yourself through employment; and
- Any other relevant documents showing your damages.
After we collect strong evidence for your case, we will file a claim with the at-fault driver's insurance company. If the insurer tries to deny your claim or is unwilling to offer you a fair settlement, we can file a lawsuit on your behalf.
What Happens If Both Drivers Were at Fault for the T-Bone Accident?
If you were partly at fault in the T-bone crash, Washington’s comparative negligence laws could allow you to recover money for some of your damages.
For example, imagine a drunk driver blew through a red light at an intersection. You had a green light and were traveling at a prudent speed, but you looked away for just a moment to check a text message on your cell phone. Because of the distraction, you could not stop in time to avoid getting T-boned.
Your damages total $100,000. If the judge assesses 10 percent of the negligence to you for distracted driving, you could still recover $90,000. This proportional reduction of damages represents your own degree of fault.
How Can I Get Legal Help After a T-Bone Accident?
At Max Meyers Law, we only handle claims and cases that are transportation-related. If you have suffered injuries in a T-bone or other traffic accident, call us at 425-399-7000 to arrange your complimentary consultation. We do not charge legal fees until you recover compensation.
Car Accidents in the Snow: Who Is Liable?
Someone else could be responsible for your damages if you were in a car crash in snowy weather. Do not assume that you are stuck with your losses just because bad weather may have been a factor in the accident.
At Max Meyers Law, our car accident team can help you determine who is liable for your weather-related crash. Car accident lawyer Max Meyers has experience helping victims of snow car accidents recover the compensation they deserve. Call 425-399-7000 today for a free evaluation.
When Is Someone Else Liable for My Single-Car Accident in the Snow?
Even if your car is the only one that wrecked, others can be at fault. Here are some examples where this might apply.
Another Motorist Drove Too Fast for Conditions
Imagine, for example, that you were driving your car with appropriate caution for the circumstances, but someone else was operating their vehicle too fast for the snowy road. If that driver lost control and caused your crash, they could be responsible for your damages.
Snow Build-Up Obstructed Your Vision
If snow build-up on a large car or truck comes loose and obstructs your vision, causing your wreck, the driver of the other vehicle could be liable.
The Local Government Did Not Maintain the Roads Safely
If snow or black ice caused your wreck, the local government entity in charge of maintaining the roadways could be at fault. If, for example, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) knew about a patch of black ice for several days—but did nothing to de-ice the roadway—and you were in a single-car crash, you could have a claim against the state.
Who Is Liable in a Multi-Car Accident on Snowy Roads?
If another driver operated their vehicle recklessly and this contributed to the accident, they will bear responsibility for at least some of the damages. Other drivers can also be at fault in snowy crashes even if they were driving in a manner one would consider prudent in clear weather with dry roads.
Here are some examples of situations in which another driver could be liable for your multi-car accident in the snow.
Another Driver Was Tailgating
If the driver behind you was following too closely and could not stop in time to avoid hitting your car, they could be held responsible for their tailgating. State law defines tailgating as following too closely behind another vehicle after you factor in:
- The speed at which the cars are traveling;
- Traffic; and
- Road conditions.
If the driver was following too closely for ordinary conditions, they will be liable. They also can be guilty of tailgating if they did not lag back further than usually required because of the snowy road.
Another Driver Was Speeding
If another driver caused an accident while exceeding the speed limit, they could have to pay damages to the crash victims. They can also be guilty of speeding even if they were driving below the posted speed limit, but too fast for the weather and road conditions.
A Motorist Ignored Maintenance or Upkeep on Their Vehicle
If another driver failed to maintain their car in a safe condition, they could be liable for any accidents that occur as a result. For instance, if the at-fault driver’s car had bald tires or worn-out brake pads, which prevented them from stopping in time, they could be at fault for the wreck.
A Local Business or Another Entity Created an Unsafe Condition
If a roadside business drained a water tank over the road and created a patch of black ice, the owner or manager could be responsible for any collisions that occur at that location.
How Can an Attorney Determine Who Caused the Collision?
Whether it was a one-car or a multi-car crash, we will get the police report on the accident. The report should contain extra details about the inclement weather, road conditions, and how all the drivers handled themselves under the circumstances.
Our car accident team will conduct an investigation of the wreck, visit the scene, and talk with witnesses. If we need to, we will work with experts in accident reconstruction to show what caused the crash. We pull all the evidence together to prove the other driver’s negligence.
What Happens If No One Was at Fault?
Sometimes, law enforcement officers decide that all the drivers were operating their vehicles in a reasonable and prudent manner for the circumstances, and they do not charge anyone with causing the wreck. When this result happens, each driver must look to their own insurance to cover damages.
We realize, however, that officers are human and they can make mistakes. If we can find evidence that someone else was at fault for your snowy weather accident, we will seek damages from that person. With our years of experience handling accident claims, we know how to obtain evidence proving fault.
What If More Than One Person Was Negligent?
If more than one party caused your crash, they will both be responsible for your damages.
For example, imagine a speeding driver hit a patch of black ice on the snowy road from a business that drained the water tank. You were in the path when the speeding driver went out of control. Although you reduced your speed for the weather and road conditions, there was no time to avoid getting struck by the speeder’s car. In this case, both the business and the speeding driver would be at fault for your wreck.
What Happens If I Was Also at Fault?
If you were also at fault, Washington’s comparative negligence laws allow the judge to reduce the amount of your compensation in proportion to your negligence.
For example, in the above scenario, imagine that you did not have time to avoid the collision because you were paying attention to a driving distraction instead of the road. If the judge decides that your negligence was 10 percent responsible for the accident, they can lower how much money you receive for your losses. If your damages were $50,000, you would only receive $45,000.
How Can I Talk to a Car Accident Lawyer About My Crash?
The legal team at Max Meyers Law can help you determine who caused your snowy weather car accident. Call us at 425-399-7000 today for your complimentary consultation with no obligation.
What Is Vicarious Liability for a Truck Accident?
Vicarious liability is the legal principle that one person can be liable for the negligent acts of someone else. This notion usually comes up in the context of an employer having to pay for the harm an employee caused. If the employee of a trucking company causes a crash, for example, the company might be liable for the damages that result.
For help understanding vicarious liability for a truck accident, contact Max Meyers Law at 425-399-7000 today. Truck accident lawyer Max Meyers can help you navigate the legal process to recover compensation after a crash in Washington.
When Can I Hold a Company Liable for a Truck Crash?
There are two main ways an employer is liable for the damages an employee caused.
If the employer had not put the driver on the road, the accident would not have happened. In other words, but for the company hiring the driver to operate the large truck, the driver would not have collided with another vehicle. The “but for” category of vicarious liability does not always require carelessness on the part of the employer.
Negligence of the Company
Trucking companies have responsibilities to the public, such as:
- Hiring competent drivers;
- Training staff;
- Supervising drivers; and
- Maintaining trucks in safe, roadworthy condition.
If a trucking company is negligent in the performance of its duties, it might be responsible for the truck accident that occurred as a result.
How Can a Trucking Company Be Negligent?
If a trucking company fails to perform its duties to the public, it could constitute negligence. Here are a few examples of ways the employer can be careless in the performance of its duties.
Negligent Hiring of Drivers
When a company hires people to drive large trucks, the employer has a duty to keep the driving public safe from harm. The trucking company should perform a thorough background check and examine the driving record and criminal background of any potential hire. For example, if a trucker has a conviction for driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol on his record, but the employer did not check his driving record or do a criminal background check, the employer can be liable if the trucker drinks on the job and causes a wreck.
Negligent Training of Drivers
An experienced driver can pass a criminal background check and have a clean driving record, and still not be appropriate to put on the road. If the driver’s experience was with a different type of truck, for example, the trucking company must train them to operate a new vehicle. If a driver’s lack of training causes a wreck, the employer might be liable.
Negligent Supervision of Drivers
A trucking company should supervise its drivers to discover problems quickly. For example, the employer should create a system to alert them when their drivers get speeding tickets, DUIs, or have accidents. The trucking company must also respond at once to these issues to get unsafe drivers off the road. If an employer fails to notice or respond to “red flags,” they could be vicariously liable for any damages that occur.
Failing to Maintain the Trucks in Safe Condition
If a trucking company does not keep its vehicles adequately maintained, it could be responsible for damages if poor maintenance causes or contributes to a wreck. For example, a company that cuts corners by sending drivers out in trucks with bald tires or defective brakes will be responsible if those parts fail and cause an accident. A trucking company should maintain an inspection and maintenance schedule for all vehicles. If a company fails to keep up with regular maintenance or hires unqualified, inexperienced people to service the trucks, it could constitute negligence.
Non-Compliance With Federal Trucking Regulations
If the employer participates in or ignores violations of federal trucking regulations, and those violations lead to an accident, the trucking company can be liable. It can be tempting to exceed the weight restrictions or have drivers stay behind the wheel more hours than allowed. In situations like this, there are often multiple parties at fault.
Why Should I Hold the Trucking Company Vicariously Liable for My Damages?
Truck crash victims often face serious injuries, which are expensive to treat. By filing a claim with the trucking company’s large general liability insurance policy, you stand a better chance of recovering enough compensation to pay for all of your damages. If you only hold the truck driver responsible, you will have to look to their vehicle insurance policy to pay you compensation.
At Max Meyers Law, we only handle transportation-related claims. We have experience handling truck accident claims in Washington. We can answer whatever questions you have about your claim. Call us at 425-399-7000 for your free consultation.
Can a Truck Accident Cause a Bulging Disc?
Yes, a truck accident can cause a bulging disc. Bulging discs are a type of spinal injury where the jelly-like inner portion of the disc pushes and stretches the outer layer of the disc, but does not rupture it like a herniated disc. If it puts pressures on the spinal cord or a nerve root, it can cause symptoms like pain and discomfort.
While some bulging discs are related to age and degeneration of the disc, trauma can cause disc injuries too. The violent and sudden force from an accident puts tremendous pressure on the spine, including the soft discs between the vertebras. This may cause the soft inner part of the disc to push against the outer layer of the disc. If the disc applies pressure to a nerve root or the spinal cord, it can cause pain and discomfort.
How Can You Tell if You Have a Bulging Disc?
If you have a bulging disc in the upper part of your spine, you may have symptoms in your shoulder and arm. Bulging discs in the lower spine may affect the buttocks, thigh, and calf. You might have pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness in the affected areas.
You might feel shooting pain when you move in a certain way, cough, or sneeze. Some positions might be excruciatingly painful.
But in any case, you should see a doctor who can examine you and diagnose a bulging disc or other injuries you suffered in the truck accident.
When Should You Get Medical Attention for a Suspected Bulging Disc?
There are two reasons you should see a doctor after an accident:
1. Treat Injuries and Prevent Them From Worsening
Sometimes people do not have any symptoms at the scene of the accident, but injury symptoms show up days later. Even if you did not need emergency medical attention right after the accident, you should see your doctor for an examination.
Allowing an injury to linger without treatment may lead to its worsening over time. If your doctor identifies the injury and provides treatment or recovery instructions, you may find you can heal faster.
2. Connect Your Bulging Disc to the Truck Accident
The more days that pass between the wreck and your medical attention, the harder it will be to connect your bulging disc to the accident. That is, it will be more difficult to prove that the accident caused your injury and not something else.
What Are the Possible Complications of a Bulging Disc?
Depending on the location and severity of your bulging disc, you might require emergency surgery to prevent complications. The spinal cord splits into a system of nerve roots (cauda equina) below your waist. Compression of these nerve roots creates a medical emergency.
According to the Mayo Clinic, call 9-1-1 or go to the emergency room if you have any of these symptoms:
- Any of your symptoms get worse – numbness, pain, or weakness, particularly if you cannot function as usual.
- Loss of sensation that continues to get worse in the areas that would touch a saddle if you were riding a horse (saddle anesthesia).
- Bladder or bowel dysfunction, either becoming incontinent or being unable to void.
What Compensation Can You Recover for a Bulging Disc From a Truck Accident?
As with any other type of personal injury claim, you can recover your economic and non-economic damages from a truck crash.
Your economic losses include such things as your medical expenses, lost wages, and decreased earning potential.
Your non-economic losses can include your pain and suffering, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, mental anguish, and loss of consortium.
Work with a lawyer at our firm for help calculating the value of your claim, as some insurance companies may offer lowball settlements that fail to account for future damages or non-economic losses.
Does it Matter if You Were Partly at Fault for the Truck Accident?
You can still recover compensation for your injuries, but under Washington law your comparative negligence will reduce the amount you get in proportion to your percentage of fault.
For example, if you had damages of $50,000 and you were ten percent at fault for causing the accident, your recovery will be $45,000 after the ten percent reduction.
If you sustained injuries from a truck accident, please call Max Meyers Law at 426-242-5595. We will evaluate your claim for free and with no obligation.
What Is the Average Settlement for a Motorcycle Wreck?
Every accident is unique, so we cannot estimate the value of your motorcycle wreck settlement without examining your case. But we can discuss the factors that affect the value of your case.
Recoverable Economic Damages After a Motorcycle Accident
Losses that are measurable in dollars and represented by documentation like receipts, bills, invoices, and other business records are economic damages. These can include:
- Medical expenses. We will collect the records to show all the reasonable medical costs you incurred as a result of the collision. Some examples are bills from the ambulance, emergency room, hospital, surgery, specialists, your primary care doctor, diagnostic tests, x-rays and other imaging services, lab work, prescription medications, equipment and supplies, physical therapy, rehabilitation, and ongoing medical treatment.
- Lost wages. If you missed time from work because of your injuries, treatments, and recuperation, we will seek your lost wages as part of your economic damages.
- Property damage. The cost to repair or replace your bike is an economic damage.
- Future medical treatment. If we can link them to the accident, the negligent party will be liable for future medical treatments that are necessary and reasonable.
- Decreased earning potential. Severe injuries can have residual effects that make a person no longer able to perform a previous job or require switching to a different career path. If you suffer physical or cognitive impairments that reduce the amount of money you can earn, we can work with a vocational expert and include the calculated amount of loss in your damages.
- Disability. Sometimes people are unable to work at all after a significant motorcycle collision. You may qualify for compensation for losing your livelihood, and we can work with vocational experts to determine the value of this loss.
- Long-term care. The cost of long-term care can be astronomical, particularly if you are relatively young at the time of the motorcycle wreck. We will include these expenses in your claim for damages.
- Wrongful death. If your loved one lost their life in a motorcycle accident, we can file a wrongful death action to recover compensation for this tragic loss.
Recoverable Non-Economic Damages After a Motorcycle Accident
Although non-economic damages are harder to prove, our experience in handling motorcycle crashes gives us the tools we need to determine the fair amount of compensation you should receive. Your non-economic damages can include:
- Pain and suffering
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Psychological distress, anxiety, and depression
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
Comparative Negligence Affects Settlement Value Too
Some motorcyclists may face a bias after an accident in that many view motorcyclists as reckless. If the other party alleges you contributed to the wreck, your comparative negligence could reduce the value of your claim.
For example, if the other party successfully argues you are 20 percent at fault for the wreck, it would reduce the value of your claim by 20 percent.
But First, You Must Establish the Defendant’s Liability
To recover any compensation in the first place, your claim must establish the four factors of personal injury liability:
- Duty of care. Every driver must follow the rules of the road and operate their vehicle in a safe and reasonable manner.
- Negligence. Failure to meet the standards of the duty of care is negligence. Driving while intoxicated, for example, is negligent. So is driving aggressively or running red lights and stop signs.
- Causation. Your case must prove that the defendant’s negligent actions led to your accident.
- Damages. Finally, your case must establish that you suffered physical, emotional, and/or financial damages because of the motorcycle wreck. These include the economic and noneconomic damages listed above.
If you or a loved one sustained injuries in a motorcycle accident, contact Max Meyers Law. Call us at 425-399-7000 to set up a free consultation.
Can You Get PTSD From a Motorcycle Accident?
Motorcycle accident victims can develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of the trauma they have experienced. Many people who have experienced motorcycle wrecks suffer psychological and emotional distress afterward, including physical and emotional pain and suffering, depression, anxiety, and PTSD.
How Can I Get PTSD From a Motorcycle Accident?
According to a 2009 study, motor vehicle crashes are a common cause of PTSD in the civilian population. About 25 percent of people injured in vehicle wrecks develop some degree of PTSD.
You are most at risk for this condition if:
- Another person in the motorcycle crash died;
- You had a previous violent injury;
- You feel some guilt over the wreck;
- You are female; or
- You have a history of depression.
Researchers have found no one is immune to PTSD. You can develop PTSD after a crash regardless of your education level, marital status, or injury severity.
What Is PTSD?
The 2013 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) provides the diagnostic criteria for PTSD. A person diagnosed with this condition could experience serious side effects that include:
- Persistently re-experiencing the traumatic event through such things as nightmares, flashbacks, or upsetting memories;
- Avoiding things that could trigger memories of the traumatic event;
- Feelings of isolation;
- A lack of interest in activities;
- Partial amnesia about the traumatic event;
- Feeling extremely negative;
- An inability to sleep or concentrate;
- Irritable or aggressive behavior;
- Destructive or high-risk behavior; and
- An extreme startle reaction.
To qualify as PTSD, these symptoms must last for longer than one month, and cause the patient to be unable to function at work or socially.
If you believe you might have PTSD after a motorcycle accident, contact a mental health professional immediately. It is essential that you get the help you need to minimize the effects PTSD can have on your everyday life.
How Can PTSD Affect My Life?
According to the American Psychiatric Association, the disturbing, intense feelings and thoughts can linger long after the traumatic event. This can easily disrupt your life and make it difficult for you to keep your job and maintain relationships. People with PTSD can experience divorce, depression, financial crisis, substance abuse, and other mental health challenges.
How Can PTSD From a Motorcycle Crash Affect My Settlement?
The medical experts agree that PTSD is a real phenomenon that can turn a person’s life upside down. If PTSD has negatively impacted your life, you might be able to recover emotional distress damages for those losses, in addition to the typical damages recoverable in a personal injury claim.
PTSD damages can be a hybrid of economic and non-economic losses. Your economic damages could include the cost of your PTSD treatment, lost wages, and decreased earning potential. Your non-economic damages would reimburse you for the mental anguish and emotional distress of what you are suffering. Also, if your PTSD renders you unable to ride a motorcycle again, you can recover damages for your loss of enjoyment of life.
How Do I Prove That the Motorcycle Wreck Caused My Condition?
A motorcycle accident attorney can use the records and testimony of your treatment team to build your case that the motorcycle crash caused your PTSD. These cases can be challenging because the symptoms can take time to develop. The symptoms of PTSD become evident in most people within three to six months of the wreck, but in some people, the condition surfaces even later. The more time that passes between the accident and the PTSD symptoms, the harder it is to establish a causal link. That is why it is so important that you seek professional help as soon as you suspect you might be suffering from PTSD.
Who Can Get PTSD From a Motorcycle Accident?
Motorcycle riders can get PTSD from the direct experience of sustaining a severe or life-threatening injury in a crash, but other people can also develop the condition. You are a candidate for PTSD if you were:
- A passenger on the motorcycle, even if you had no significant physical injuries;
- An occupant of a vehicle involved in or near the wreck;
- A witness to the accident as it happened;
- A person who saw severely or fatally injured victims;
- A bystander who provided assistance to people hurt or killed;
- A first responder who helped or treated the victims; or
- A loved one dealing with the traumatic aftermath of your family member’s motorcycle crash.
How Can I Get Help Recovering Damages After a Motorcycle Crash?
If you or a loved one has suffered PTSD after a motorcycle crash, call Max Meyers Law today at 425-399-7000. We will sit down with you and evaluate your claim for free, with no pressure or obligation. We can investigate your case, determine who caused the crash, and calculate the value of your associated damages. If you qualify for compensation, our legal team will help you file your claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
Why Should I Always See My Doctor After a Car Accident?
You should always get a thorough medical evaluation after an auto accident to find out if you have any injuries that need treatment. An untreated injury can worsen and become a more significant problem down the road. Also, your medical records provide important evidence that the wreck caused your injuries. This can help you recover compensation when you file an insurance claim.
What Should a Doctor Check for After a Car Accident?
It is important that your doctor checks you for whiplash after a crash. Car accidents are a common cause of this type of injury. According to the Mayo Clinic, the prognosis is optimistic for whiplash victims who undergo a few months of treatment. This can include physical therapy, exercises, and pain medications.
You might think that the stiffness and soreness you start to feel a day or two after a wreck is just a temporary inconvenience that will go away on its own, but without the correct medical interventions, whiplash can cause you to experience chronic neck pain and long-term complications. Prompt medical attention is essential when you are dealing with whiplash after a car accident.
When Should You See Your Doctor for a Whiplash Evaluation After a Wreck?
If any of these symptoms develop within a few days of a car accident, you should see your doctor as soon as possible for a whiplash evaluation:
- Your neck is stiff and painful;
- It hurts more when you move your neck;
- You cannot move your neck as far in any direction as you could before the wreck;
- You have a headache, usually centered on the base of your skull;
- Your shoulders, upper back, or arms are numb, tingling, tender, or painful; or
- You feel tired or dizzy.
If you experience these symptoms, get medical attention right away.
Can You Have a Herniated Disc With No Symptoms?
Yes, you can. The Mayo Clinic says that herniated discs can appear on spinal images before people experience pain or other symptoms. Since a car crash can cause a herniated disc, you should have your doctor perform an evaluation even if you are not yet feeling any signs of a problem.
If you are having symptoms, it can be helpful to know if what you are experiencing might be a herniated disc from a car accident. Get medical attention right away if you have any of the following symptoms.
Pain in Your Arm or Leg
Often the discomfort will shoot into your arm or leg if you move a certain way, or if you sneeze or cough.
Weakness in Your Arms or Legs
If you are having difficulty climbing stairs, you are stumbling, or you are finding it hard to pick up or carry things, you might have a damaged disc in your spine.
Tingling or Numbness, Usually in Your Arms or Legs
If the injured disc is in the lower area of your back, you may experience numbness or tingling sensations in your buttocks or legs. Problems with your shoulders or arms could indicate a rupture or herniation higher in the spine.
How Long Can It Take for Head Injury Symptoms to Develop?
You might think that something as significant as a head injury would be apparent immediately, but the U.S. National Library of Medicine says that it can take days or even weeks for the signs of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) to appear after the injury. Millions of Americans per year sustain brain injuries, and most of them need treatment at a hospital. Car accidents are a common cause of brain injuries in the United States.
If you hit your head during a crash, you should see a doctor right away, regardless of whether you are feeling anything unusual. Bleeding in the brain and other complications of TBI can lead to permanent brain damage or death if you do not receive immediate treatment.
You should get a neurological evaluation if you are experiencing:
- Ringing in your ears;
- Neck pain;
- Dizziness; or
Get emergency medical treatment for:
- A worsening or lingering headache;
- Continuing nausea or vomiting;
- Seizures or convulsions;
- Numbness or weakness in your arms or legs;
- Dilated eye pupils; or
- Changes in your speech, such as slurring.
How Can Seeing My Doctor After a Car Accident Protect My Right to Compensation?
Your doctor does not have a financial interest in your injury claim, so your medical records are unbiased evidence of what happened to you. When you go to the doctor for an evaluation and treatment, the staff will note why you came into the office and what injuries or symptoms they observed.
These notes in your medical records establish the link between your injuries and the wreck. Just make sure your doctor writes down that the car accident was the cause of your injuries. Without this evidence, the at-fault driver could claim that some other event caused your injuries.
Talk to a Personal Injury Lawyer About Your Case.
At Max Meyers Law, our personal injury team will be happy to evaluate your claim and tell you if you might be eligible for compensation. Call us at 425-399-7000 to get your free consultation.
Should I Take an Ambulance After a Car Accident?
After the shock of an auto accident, you may feel compelled to take an ambulance and seek immediate emergency medical care. While these actions are appropriate in some situations, you should not automatically ride in an ambulance to the hospital if you have been in a crash.
When Should You Take an Ambulance After a Car Accident?
If you need emergency medical care, call an ambulance to take you to the hospital. If you are in any doubt, call for an ambulance. As the Mayo Clinic explains, emergency rooms have staff whose primary function is to evaluate the level of care you need, including hospital admission, treatment in the emergency room, or getting discharged with instructions to see your primary care physician. It is in your best interest to allow these professionals to do their job and determine if you need emergency treatment.
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, it is a good idea to seek emergency care immediately:
- Chest pain, palpitations, or shortness of breath;
- Profuse bleeding;
- Head or eye injuries;
- Neck or spinal cord injuries;
- Severe burns;
- A severe headache or head or neck pain;
- Loss of consciousness, dizziness, loss of balance, or confusion;
- Sudden difficulty speaking or understanding what people are saying;
- Severe pain, particularly in the abdomen or the lower half of the back; or
- Another significant injury.
As Scripps Health warns, knowing whether you should go to the emergency room or an urgent care center could save your life. The advantage of taking an ambulance over getting a ride to the emergency room is that the ambulance has paramedics who can begin providing treatment on the way to the emergency room. This treatment could make the difference in whether you survive your injuries or not.
When Should You Not Take an Ambulance After a Car Accident?
If you are not experiencing any of the above symptoms and you do not have a significant underlying medical condition, you might not need to take an ambulance to the emergency room. Instead, consider one of the following actions, depending on the specific facts in your situation:
- Get a ride to the emergency room;
- Go to an urgent care center; or
- Make an appointment to see your primary care physician as soon as possible.
If your doctor cannot see you within 24 hours, go to an urgent care center. If your condition worsens or new symptoms appear, go to the emergency room immediately.
Why Is It Important to Get Medical Attention After a Car Accident?
Some injuries do not reveal themselves immediately, but they can become life-threatening within a short period of time. Internal bleeding and head injuries are examples of this phenomenon. If you have any injuries or you just do not feel “quite right” after being in a car wreck, you should get a thorough evaluation from a health care professional. Some medical conditions can be treated easily right away, but if you delay treatment, you might need a more extensive or invasive procedure.
Another reason to get medical attention as soon as possible is to document that the crash caused your injuries. If you try to tough it out without getting medical attention, only to discover that your injuries are worse than you thought and you need significant treatment, the insurance company of the at-fault driver could deny that you sustained your injuries in the crash.
When you get medical treatment, make sure that the person taking your medical history notes that a car accident caused your injuries. Doing this will provide the necessary link between the crash and your damages.
What Should You Do After a Car Accident?
First, get whatever medical care you need right away. Follow your doctor’s instructions and complete the treatment. If you do not complete your treatment as your doctor ordered, the at-fault driver could claim that you did not do everything you could to get better.
Next, you should talk to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer can keep you from settling for too little or offering a statement to an insurance adjuster that could hurt your claim. When you settle your accident injury case, you sign away the right to come back in the future to get more compensation.
Finally, if the insurance company declares your car a total loss, do not let the company dispose of the vehicle without checking with your lawyer. Sometimes the car is valuable evidence, particularly if the vehicle had a design defect or faulty equipment. Always save personal property damaged in a car accident.
Get Legal Help After a Car Accident.
At Max Meyers Law, we focus our practice entirely on transportation-related claims. We can tell you if you might be eligible for compensation after suffering injuries in a car wreck. We do not receive any legal fees until you recover damages. Call 425-399-7000 for a free consultation.
Does Washington State Have a Bicycle Helmet Law?
In Washington, state bicycle laws do not require cyclists to wear a helmet. However, many counties and cities make it illegal to ride a bike without one. In Orting, for example, all bike riders under the age of 17 must wear a helmet. In Poulsbo, you have to wear one if you are under 18. Washington bike riders of all ages must wear helmets in:
- Bainbridge Island;
- Gig Harbor;
- King County, including Seattle;
- Pierce County, including unincorporated areas;
- Port Angeles;
- Port Orchard;
- University Place;
- Vancouver; and
- At all military installations.
King County passed its bicycle helmet rule in 1993. The original requirement did not include Seattle until 10 years later when the county updated its statute.
If Bicycle Helmets Are Not Required in My Area, Should I Wear One?
Head injuries are common in wrecks involving helmetless bicyclists. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends bike riders of all ages use helmets on every ride to reduce the risk of head and brain injuries. According to the CDC, more than 1,000 bike riders died in America in 2015. Nearly half a million cyclists suffered injuries.
According to a 2015 report, the only consumer product that injures more children than bicycles are motor vehicles. A 2016 report stated that bike helmets reduce the risk of a severe head injury by almost 70 percent. Helmets also cut down on the number of fatal head injuries by 65 percent.
Aside from the safety benefits, there are numerous reasons to wear a bicycle helmet. A helmet can protect you from weather conditions while improving your ability to see what is in your path. A brightly colored helmet can make it easier for motorists to see you, which can prevent an accident with an inattentive driver. It is essential to buy the right helmet before you or your child starts riding.
Are There Legal Consequences for Not Wearing a Helmet?
Failure to wear a helmet in a city or county that requires it subjects you to the penalties the regulation imposes. The penalties may vary, but the typical punishment is a monetary fine.
There is another risk you take as a helmetless bicyclist. If you sustain injuries in a bike accident and you were not wearing a helmet, you may not be able to recover as much compensation, regardless of whether your locality requires helmet use. If you engaged in a dangerous activity—such as riding a bicycle without a helmet—that made your injuries worse than they would have been if you had been acting in a prudent manner, the other party may argue that you were partly at fault for your damages.
Being partly at fault triggers Washington’s rules on comparative negligence. Under comparative negligence, you can still recover some damages even if you were partly at fault for an accident. The comparative negligence rule will reduce the amount of money you get proportionally by the amount of your fault.
To be partly at fault, you do not need to have helped to cause the accident itself. If your actions exacerbated your injuries, you may not receive full compensation. this is true even if the other person was 100-percent responsible for causing the wreck.
Be aware, however, that the other side cannot assign partial fault to you if your injuries had nothing to do with your failure to wear a helmet. For example, if you suffered a broken arm after a car struck you and threw you from your bicycle, your failure to wear a helmet should not impact your compensation. Since a helmet would not have protected you from a broken arm, it is irrelevant to those damages.
How Does Comparative Negligence Work in Washington?
Washington is a “pure” comparative fault state, which means that you can be up to 99-percent responsible for an accident and still get compensation for your injuries, although you will not receive the full value of your damages. Some states follow “modified” comparative fault and ban a person who is more than 50 percent at fault from getting any compensation. Washington does not follow that approach. If you were 50-percent at fault, you would receive half of your damages.
How Can I Get Help If I Was in a Bicycle Crash?
At Max Meyers Law, we understand the issues that are important to bicyclists and we can help after a bike accident. We will work hard to protect your rights, even if you were not wearing a helmet at the time of your crash. Call us today at 425-399-7000 to set up a free consultation.
Does Your Property Damage Affect Your Injury Claim?
The amount of your property damage should not affect your injury claim. Sometimes, a crash causes major damage to the car, but the vehicle’s occupants are able to walk away with only minor injuries. In those situations, the car will be a total loss, but that will have no impact on the amount of the injury claim.
Can You Have a High Damages Claim From a Fender-Bender?
If you sustain significant injuries, your claim could have a high value, even if your car suffered only minimal damage. Imagine a driver who has spinal degeneration from years of arthritis is rear-ended at a low speed, causing little damage to the car. Because of the medical condition, the impact is enough to severely injure the driver’s neck, causing significant complications with her existing spinal cord problems. The lifetime costs of treating a spinal cord injury will make the damages astronomical in this situation, even if the crash did not seriously damage the vehicle.
What Determines the Value of an Injury Claim?
The higher your medical expenses are, the more compensation you are likely to receive—as long as the bills are reasonable and the treatments, procedures, and diagnostic tests relate to injuries sustained in the wreck. This category includes ambulance transport, emergency room stays, lab work, x-rays and other imaging, trauma doctor expenses, the cost of hiring medical specialists, bills for follow-up treatment from your primary care doctor, prescription drug costs, and bills from other treatments and therapies.
When you have significant injuries, you may need time off from work to recuperate from surgery or other medical interventions. You can recover lost wages starting with the date of the accident until your doctor releases you from treatment.
Ongoing Medical Care
After you have gotten to the point when your doctor does not anticipate any additional improvement of your medical condition, you might still have to undergo continued medical treatments. For example, if you had internal injuries that damaged your kidneys, you might have to be on dialysis for life—or until you can get a kidney transplant. You should receive compensation for the cost, inconvenience, and discomfort of these treatments, as well as the impact the injuries have on other aspects of your life.
If you are no longer able to work because of your injuries, you are disabled. Having your livelihood ripped away from you is a compensable loss. We will work with vocational and rehabilitation experts to prove your disability.
Lost Earning Potential
Sometimes people are able to work again after a severe injury from an accident, but they cannot earn the same amount of money they would have before the crash. You might not be able to work the long hours you did before the wreck. If you suffered a head injury, you might have cognitive impairment that will put you on a different career path than you were on before. You might not be able to perform physically at the same level because of your injuries. We will use expert witnesses to help you recover compensation for this loss of earning potential.
Having noticeable scarring compounds the trauma you have endured. Carrying a physical reminder of the crash can cause psychological harm, particularly if your scars are on your face, neck, chest, hands, or arms, where people can see them on a daily basis.
Loss of Enjoyment of Life
If your injuries changed your life, you might have to face depression, sadness, or loss of enjoyment of life. If you were an avid weekend athlete who enjoyed going outdoors and hiking or climbing, but you can no longer perform those activities because of your injuries, you have lost something important and special. You deserve compensation for such a loss.
Pain and Suffering
It is hard to put a price tag on the amount of physical and emotional pain you suffer when you experience injuries in an accident. The motor vehicle crash team at Max Meyers Law has the legal experience to determine a range of the reasonable compensation for your pain and suffering. We do this after you have completed all of your medical treatment and you know how your injuries will impact your life.
Loss of Consortium
Your significant other may also have lost something because of the wreck, even if he or she was not in the vehicle. When you suffer severe injuries, those close to you suffer as well. The impact of the injuries can affect your relationships.
How Can I Get Help With My Injury Claim?At Max Meyers Law, we would like to sit down and talk with you about how we can help you navigate the claims process and get through this difficult time. Please call us at 425-399-7000, so we can set up your free consultation. There is no obligation.
How Much Is a Rollover Car Accident Settlement Worth?
Since the details of every case are unique, we cannot estimate what your rollover car accident settlement is worth without investigating your case. We can, however, explain the factors that go into calculating the value of your claim.
How Much Were Your Medical Bills?
We will retrieve records to calculate your medical costs. Medical bills are among the largest economic losses in car accident settlements. Your medical expenses can include bills from:
- Ambulance transportation
- Emergency room visit
- Primary care doctor
- Physical therapy
- Medical equipment (wheelchairs, walkers, crutches)
- Prescription medications
We will gather the medical records and invoices to document your damages and calculate a fair value for your short-term and long-term medical costs. We may also consult a medical expert who can testify about the long-term care you may require.
What Are Your Lost Wages & Earning Potential?
If you suffered injuries in a rollover, you probably missed work while recovering. We will estimate your current lost wages based on records of your income and will also evaluate long-term effects of your injuries on your career and earning capacity. For example, some of the wage-related damages we will investigate include:
- Future earning capacity
- Loss of promotion
- Loss of benefits
- Loss of pension or retirement benefits
We may speak with medical experts and other expert witnesses who can testify about your ability to work and earn a living after the accident.
Are There Other Lasting Effects of the Rollover Crash?
Rollover crashes are among the most severe accidents, so it is not surprising that your injuries could have a long-term, if not permanent, impact on your life. Those who survive these crashes may face:
- Ongoing medical treatment
- Chronic pain
What Other Factors Determine the Amount of My Rollover Settlement?
In addition to your economic losses, we will investigate the non-economic damages associated with your injuries.
You may also qualify for compensation for your pain and suffering from a collision. If you will be unable to participate in hobbies you once enjoyed, we may seek compensation for your loss of enjoyment in life.
Severe injuries can leave scars after they heal. You may feel significant emotional distress associated with disfigurement, particularly if your scars and injuries affect the face, throat, hands, or other highly visible areas of your body.
Many people go through psychological trauma after being in a rollover. Some have insomnia, night terrors, fear of riding in a car, fear of going outside, and other post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. Depression, anger, and a sense of hopelessness may also follow a severe accident. If you are having psychological struggles, it can take a toll on your relationships. Your claim may also seek damages for loss of consortium.
Were You Partially At Fault for the Rollover Crash?
Washington’s comparative fault laws allow you to recover compensation for your damages even if you are partially at fault. Let’s say you had a green light when you collided with someone who ran the red light. But you were distracted when proceeding through the intersection, which the insurance company says makes you partially at fault because the insurer may claim you could have avoided the wreck if you were paying attention.
You can still file a liability claim against the at-fault driver, but your partial fault could reduce your compensation. For example, if the insurance company says you are 10 percent at fault, it will reduce your settlement by 10 percent. So, if you had $40,000 in damages, you will recover $36,000 after the $4,000 (10 percent) deduction.
This is why it is so important to build a strong, evidence-based case that proves the other party’s fault for your wreck. The team at Max Meyers Law is ready to help you with your rollover claim. We will evaluate your case at no cost. Call us today at 425-399-7000 to set up your free consultation.