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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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. Find out more below from the Kirkland auto accident lawyers at Max Meyers Law.
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 one of our Kirkland auto accident lawyers today at 425-399-7000 to set up your free consultation.
How Much Is the Settlement for a Shoulder Injury From a Car Accident?
All crash injuries are unique, which is why there is no fixed value of a settlement for a shoulder injury from a car accident. There are, however, five factors you can use to estimate the value of your claim. However, we recommend working with a lawyer to accurately estimate your case value. Call Max Meyers at 425-399-7000.
1. The Severity of Your Shoulder Injury
At the mild end, your shoulder could have bruises, lacerations, a strain, or a sprain. Severe shoulder injuries from motor vehicle accidents include fractures, separated or dislocated shoulders, and rotator cuff tears. Significant shoulder trauma will generate steep medical bills and a long recovery period during which you might be unable to work. High medical bills and lost wages can lead to more compensation.
2. Permanent Impairment of the Shoulder or Arm
Shoulder trauma may not heal completely. People may report that after a severe shoulder injury they may experience weaking of the arm or shoulder joint, as well as reduced range of motion. Nerve damage can lead to numbness, tingling, pain, and weakness. Sometimes people suffer what feels like electrical shocks off and on after their shoulder trauma has healed. The shoulder can be stiff and less functional than before the wreck. Your car accident settlement should account for the permanent and long-term effects of your shoulder injury.
3. Chronic Pain
The chronic pain you experience from a car crash shoulder injury can come from nerve impairment, but there are other sources as well. Scar tissue, contractures (in which some of your tissue shrinks and pulls on other tissue), adhesions, fractures, and soft tissue damage can also cause lingering pain. Some people suffer pain upon exertion. Others will have discomfort with cold, humidity, weather changes, rain. If arthritis develops in the shoulder, you can expect chronic pain. Your settlement should account for your long-term pain and all the consequences that come with it - pain and suffering, lost earning capacity, ongoing medical care, etc.
4. Severity of Other Injuries
Shoulder injuries seldom happen in isolation in car accidents. An impact violent enough to cause shoulder damage may also cause trauma to one or more of these body areas:
- Lower extremities
Settlements for wrecks involving multiple injuries should account for the effects and financial cost of all injuries.
5. Your Comparative Negligence
If you were partly at fault in the collision, you could still get some compensation for your shoulder injury. Washington State uses the doctrine of pure comparative negligence to assess damages when more than one person is at fault.
In comparative negligence states like ours, your percentage of fault for an accident proportionally reduces the value of your settlement. For example, if you were 10 percent at fault and had $20,000 in damages, the settlement would drop by $2,000 to account for your 10 percent negligence. You would receive $18,000 for your shoulder injury.
“Pure” comparative negligence means that in our state, the law does not bar you from recovery even if you were mostly at fault in the collision. In some other states, if you were 50 or 51 percent or more to blame for the wreck, you would get no money at all, regardless of how devastating your injuries were. In Washington State, you can recover compensation even if you were more than 50 or 51 percent at fault.
Call Max Meyers Law at 425-399-7000 to get your free claim evaluation. We will be happy to evaluate your car accident and shoulder injury case.
How Much Is a Bicycle Accident Settlement Worth?
Because every situation is unique, there is no fixed settlement amount for a bicycle accident. There are, however, predictable factors that will affect settlement value. Here are six important factors that can impact the amount of compensation you could receive in your bicycle accident settlement:
- Initial medical bills. If you have minor injuries, you probably have relatively low medical bills, but severe injuries can stick you with a mountain of medical expenses, including bills for ambulance transportation, emergency room fees, surgical fees, hospital stays, and more. Your medical bills factor into your total financial recovery.
- Initial lost wages. When you suffer injuries, you will probably miss some time from work while you recuperate. This time away from the job might be a few days, or it could be weeks or even months. Whatever the case, lost wages due to missed work are recoverable in your settlement.
- Continuing medical treatment. Some people recover entirely from just their initial medical treatment. Others, however, may need additional medical procedures to achieve their previous level of functioning or to get as close to that point as possible. If you need ongoing medical care after the initial treatments, you can also get compensation for these expenses. Make sure your lawyer is aware of all the problems you are having and whether your doctors have recommended additional procedures or therapy. Do not agree to settle before you fully understand your prognosis.
- Loss of earning potential. If you cannot perform all the tasks you could before your bicycle accident, you might not be on the same income trajectory anymore. If you make less money than you once did, it could add up to a substantial loss over time. For example, a 30-year-old who earns $10,000 less every year because of her injuries could lose $400,000 or more over the course of her remaining working life.
- Disability. If your injuries leave you unable to support yourself through gainful employment, you have a disability. This level of impairment will be a significant factor in the value of your accident claim. And if your disability renders you in need of assistance for the ordinary tasks of daily living, the amount that you pay for housekeeping and personal care help can be part of your compensable damages.
- Comparative fault. So, what happens if you are partly at fault for your bicycle accident? You can still get money for your injuries, but the settlement amount will decline proportionate to your percentage of fault.
How Does Comparative Fault Work in Washington?
Washington is a pure comparative fault state. Comparative fault means that, even if you were negligent, you could get some compensation as long as someone else was partly responsible for the accident.
The amount you get, however, will be less because of your negligence. For example, if your damages were $20,000 and you were 25 percent at fault, you will receive $15,000, which is 75 percent of $20,000.
Does Max Meyers Law Handle Bicycle Accident Claims?
Yes, we do. We got a $50,000 settlement for a bicyclist who suffered a separated shoulder from a bike crash. The bicyclist was riding to work on the sidewalk when a car came out of a condo complex driveway. The car pulled out onto the sidewalk before looking for pedestrians or bicycles. Our client, who was legally on the sidewalk, tried to avoid the car by swerving but hit the front of the car, and the impact threw him into the street.
The car driver was negligent for entering the sidewalk before stopping to check for pedestrians and bikes. The bike rider was not at fault.
At Max Meyers Law, we only handle transportation-related claims. Max is a cyclist himself who understands the challenges you face when sharing the road with cars and trucks. For your free claim evaluation, call us at 425-399-7000.
How Long Does It Take to Settle a Car Accident Claim?
It is impossible to say how long any individual claim will take to settle because there are so many variables involved. In an uncomplicated situation with clear liability and minor injuries, your case might settle with the insurance company relatively quickly. Accidents with multiple negligent parties and severe injuries may take longer to settle and may require filing a lawsuit in some cases.
Do not settle your claim without speaking with a lawyer. Call Max Meyers Law at 425-399-7000 to review your case.
Does a Car Accident with Severe Injuries Take Longer to Settle?
Typically, yes, a claim that involves severe injuries may take longer to settle for two reasons:
- You may need surgeries or other significant medical treatments and a longer recuperation time before you know how well you will recover and if your injuries will leave you with any disability or impairment.
- Severe injuries usually also mean higher medical expenses and longer-lasting effects on one’s job and overall well-being, which will result in a higher settlement value. Insurance companies may delay paying out a large settlement amount.
What is the Worst Time to Settle a Car Accident Claim?
You are at your most vulnerable during the first few weeks or months after your accident. This is the worst time to settle your injury claim. The insurance company’s adjuster knows this and may dangle a check under your nose. They may deceive you about the value of your claim, hoping you will accept a small settlement. Adjusters are trying to resolve claims for as little money as possible, which puts people who were just injured and unsure of their long-term damages at a disadvantage.
There are two important rules about settling your claim early:
- Never settle before you have completed your treatment, recuperated fully, and know how your injuries will impact your life. If you settle early and then later realize you are facing a future of disability and impairment, you cannot go back and get more money from the insurance company. You may end up with a mountain of medical bills you have no way to pay.
- Never agree to anything or sign any papers without having a lawyer read over them for you. You can bet the insurance company had a team of lawyers prepare the documents, such as medical releases, it wants you to sign. Its lawyers wrote those papers for the insurance company’s benefit, not for yours. You may be signing away far more rights than you realize.
What is the Best Time to Settle a Car Accident Claim?
You should not settle your injury claim until:
- Your doctor releases you from medical treatment; and
- You have recovered completely; or
- Achieved the treatment’s maximum benefit.
Armed with all your medical bills as well as your employer records showing how much you lost in wages from your injuries, your lawyer can calculate a reasonable settlement demand.
Car accident lawyer Max Meyers will read your medical records to see if you have any residual medical issues. You should tell your attorney if you are not 100 percent functional after you complete your medical treatment. Sometimes, even if the body heals, you may suffer depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), insomnia, or other non-physical consequences. Also, some lingering physical symptoms like chronic pain or headaches can affect the value of your claim.
When Should You Get a Lawyer Involved in Your Car Accident Injury Claim?
You should get a lawyer on board early if you suffered serious injuries in a car accident. You should have the help and guidance of a lawyer:
- Before you give a written or recorded statement;
- Before you sign any documents;
- Before you agree to a settlement amount; and
- Before you resolve your claim.
Call Max Meyers Law at 425-399-7000 to get your free consultation and case evaluation.
Can a Passenger Be Liable for Causing a Car Accident?
Many people assume that the driver of a vehicle that caused the wreck is automatically at fault, and in most cases that is true. But if a passenger distracted the driver or interfered with the driver’s ability to operate the vehicle safely, the passenger can be liable. Depending on the facts of the situation, both the driver and passenger may be responsible for injuries.
Does Talking With Passengers Distract Drivers?
Yes. Having a conversation, especially one that is emotionally charged, can turn a driver’s attention away from the task of driving. Arguing with a driver can take her focus off driving, which can lead to an accident.
Although we know the dangers of driving while using a cell phone, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that while 11.5 percent of distracted drivers were talking, dialing, or texting just before a crash, more than 56 percent were talking with passengers.
Can Other Passenger Activities Distract the Driver?
Yes. Passengers who draw the driver’s attention away from the road cause seven percent of distracted driving accidents, reports the NHTSA. Some examples of things passengers can do that distract drivers include:
- Taking photos or videos of the driver
- Blocking the driver’s line of sight
- Striking the driver
- Showing the driver videos, emails, text messages, or social media postings
- Playing with the stereo, navigational, or other electronic devices
Is a Passenger Liable for Interfering with the Driver and Causing an Accident?
Yes. If a passenger is responsible for causing the accident – such as by obstructing the driver’s view or grabbing the steering wheel or otherwise interfering with the safe operation of the vehicle – the passenger could be legally liable for the accident and resulting damages.
Is the Driver Liable If a Passenger Causes an Accident?
A driver has a responsibility to maintain focus on safely operating the vehicle. Drivers must ignore, to the extent possible, anything that could interfere with safe and attentive driving. In the cases in which the passengers grabbed the steering wheel, the driver should have pulled over when the passengers got out of control if the drivers could have done so safely and in time to prevent a crash. If the driver could have disregarded the actions of the passenger or otherwise avoided the wreck, both the driver and passenger can be legally liable.
In other situations, however, it may not be possible to ignore the passenger’s actions or avoid a wreck. As liability in these cases can be complex, please contact Max Meyers Law at to set up a consultation to review your case.
What Happens if Both the Driver and Passenger are At-Fault in a Wreck?
In such cases, third-parties may pursue legal action against both the driver and passenger. As for the passenger and driver, each may be able to file a claim for their damages under Washington’s comparative negligence laws.
Under this rule, the law will reduce the amount of your compensation proportionally to account for your negligence. In other words, if the passenger was 20 percent at fault, her damages claim be worth 20 percent less than if she were not negligent.
Whose Insurance Pays for a Wreck Caused by a Passenger?
Third-party victims of an accident caused by a negligent or unruly passenger may be able to pursue a claim with the insurance of the driver of the vehicle in which the negligent passenger was traveling. The driver of the vehicle in which the negligent passenger was an occupant may have first-party coverage available on their insurance policy, or may be able to file a lawsuit against the negligent passenger.
Set up a consultation with Max Meyers Law to review liability for the accident and whose insurance covers damages. Cases in which a passenger is responsible for causing the accident add a layer of complexity to car accident cases. We will evaluate your case to see if you can make a claim for your car accident injuries. Call us today at 425-399-7000 for a free case evaluation.
Who Is Liable if a Bus Hit a Pedestrian?
Liability when a bus hits a pedestrian will depend on the cause of the bus accident and which party acted negligently. If for example, the pedestrian ran into the path of an oncoming bus that was not able to stop in time, the pedestrian might be at fault. If the bus driver, however, was speeding, texting, under the influence of alcohol or other drugs at the time of the accident, or negligent in some other manner, the driver can be liable. Further, the bus company that employs the driver could be liable.
If you were hit by a bus, speak with a lawyer at Max Meyers Law about who might be liable. Call us at 425-399-7000.
Bus Company Liability for Driver’s Actions
Bus companies are vicariously liable for the actions of their employees, including bus drivers who strike pedestrians. In such cases, the injured pedestrian may file a liability claim against the bus company.
Further, bus companies may be directly liable for their own negligence if their actions contributed to an accident. For example, if a bus company failed to ensure its drivers possessed the proper training, and an inexperienced driver caused an accident, the bus company may be liable for its negligence.
If you are unsure of liability for a bus accident in which you were injured, please call us at 425-399-7000. We will review your accident case and explore which parties may be liable for your damages.
Does it Matter What Kind of Bus Was Involved in the Accident?
Yes, because the claims process can be different depending on whether a private company or a government agency owns the bus. Common types of buses include:
- Public transportation bus run by a government agency
- Private tour bus
- Private charter bus
- School bus
Filing a claim against the government is more complicated than filing a claim against a private entity. While governments may enjoy some degree of “sovereign immunity,” people hit by a government-run bus may still be able to file a claim for damages against the government agency. Learn more about your rights after an accident with a government vehicle.
What if the Pedestrian was Partly at Fault?
In some cases, the pedestrian and the driver are partially at fault for the accident. Even if you and the driver were negligent, you could still recover compensation for your injuries because Washington follows the rule of comparative fault.
Comparative fault reduces the amount of your recovery based on the percentage of your negligence. For example, if you were 10 percent at fault for the accident, you can recover 90 percent of your damages.
How Can a Lawyer Help You with Your Pedestrian Bus Accident Claim?
At Max Meyers Law, we will evaluate your claim and determine the best approach for pursuing compensation for your damages.
We will collect the evidence needed to build your case. This evidence can include the police accident report and testimony of other pedestrians, passengers on the bus, and the bus driver. We will gather your medical records. We will use your employment records to document your lost wages. If necessary, we will work with an accident reconstruction expert to prove to the court what caused the collision.
Since we will negotiate directly with the insurance company, you can focus on recovering from your injuries. Just be sure you do not give a recorded or written statement, as the insurance company may twist your words. Speak with a lawyer before giving any statement.
Further, never sign anything or accept money from the insurance company before talking with your lawyer about it. Sometimes insurance companies trick people into signing away their right to additional compensation by offering them a quick check early on before they know the full extent of their injuries.
We will make sure you understand every step of the process. Call the team at Max Meyers Law PLLC for help with your claim. Reach out to us at 425-399-7000 today to set up your free consultation.
What Are Dooring Bicycle Accidents?
Dooring bicycle accidents occur when a parked motorist opens their car door and a cyclist crashes into it. Many of these accidents occur when a bicyclist actually strikes the door, but some may occur when bicyclists swerve to avoid the open door in their path. Dooring accidents, as well as other types of bicycle accidents, are responsible for thousands of bicyclist injuries every year.
If you suffered injuries in a dooring accident and believe another party is at fault, the attorneys at Max Meyers Law can evaluate your case and help you recover compensation for your damages. Call us today at 425-399-7000.
Who Is Liable for a Dooring Bike Accident?
Motorists and Passengers
According to Washington state traffic laws, motorists and passengers must not open their car doors until it is reasonably safe to do so. A motorist or passenger may be negligent and liable for a bicyclist’s dooring accident injuries for:
- Failing to be aware of their surroundings
- Failing to check for oncoming bicyclists (failing to check mirrors)
- Failing to wait until it was reasonably safe before opening their door
- Leaving car doors open for an unnecessary amount of time
- Operating their vehicles and opening their doors while distracted, drowsy or intoxicated
While motorists and passengers are responsible for looking for bicyclists in the door-zone before opening their doors, bicyclists also have a responsibility to pay attention to the road ahead and be aware of their surroundings and hazards that may pose a risk to their safety. Bicyclists also must avoid striking into a door when they have the opportunity to do so.
Even if you were partially liable for the accident, you may still be able to recover damages. However, your damages decrease in proportion to your liability. For example, if you suffered $100,000 in damages for your bike accident injuries, but you were 40 percent negligent, you will only recover $60,000 ($100,000 minus 40 percent).
Proving Liability in Dooring Accidents
Any insurance claims or lawsuits filed as a result of the dooring accident will depend on fault. So, it is vital to establish how the accident happened. To establish fault, we will consider the following evidence and use it to support your claim for damages.
- Police reports detailing how the accident occurred and whether the parties involved violated any traffic laws.
- Witness statements from those who saw the accident
- Expert statements to determine whether the bicyclist could have safely avoided the accident and whether the motorist or passenger could have seen the bicyclist
Our case must establish that the defendant was negligent (e.g., opening the car door without checking for oncoming bicyclists) and caused your accident. We must also prove the value of your damages, which may include medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. To prove case value, we may rely on evidence like:
- Medical bills and records
- Medical expert testimony regarding future surgeries or treatment
- Vocational or occupational specialists
- Evidence of lost wages
How to Prevent Dooring Bike AccidentsBicyclists and drivers can each do their part to reduce the risk of these accidents.
- Bicyclists should ride in designated bike lanes, when available
- Bicyclists should ride in the center of the bike lane to avoid opening car doors as well as moving traffic
- Drivers should check for oncoming bicyclists before opening a car door.
- Drivers should be mindful not to block bike lanes when parking their vehicle.
What To Do After a Dooring Accident
If you are in a dooring accident, call the police to report the accident. If you require emergency medical care, call 9-1-1 and request an ambulance; if you do not require emergency care, go to the emergency room or make an appointment with your doctor for an evaluation shortly after your accident.
Also take these steps after your dooring accident:
- Ask all parties involved for contact information.
- Ask eyewitnesses for contact information.
- Take photographs of the scene, if you are able to do so.
- Request a copy of the accident report.
- Follow up with medical care.
- Document the time you take off from work to recover.
- Document all the ways your injuries affect your finances, health, and other aspects of your life.
The attorneys Max Meyers Law can help you file a claim for damages if you were hurt in a bicycle dooring accident. Call us today: 425-399-7000.
Can a Bicycle Accident Lawyer Settle Without Checking With Me?
If an insurance company makes a settlement offer after your bicycle accident, your attorney is legally and ethically obligated to inform you of the offer and to check with you before accepting it. The acceptance or rejection of an offer can have a major impact on your personal injury case and ultimately determine the amount of money you will recover for your accident-related damages.
Max Meyers Law PLLC knows that while it is our job to advise our clients, it is ultimately their decision whether to accept or reject any settlement offers that come their way.
Can My Lawyer Settle My Claim Without Informing Me?
No, an attorney cannot settle a case without the client’s consent and authorization. Attorneys are required to promptly inform clients of all settlement offers, even if they seem unacceptable or unreasonable. The client must then decide whether to accept or reject the offer. Attorneys can advise clients on what to do, and help determine whether the offer is fair, based on their knowledge and experience. In the end, however, it is up to the client to decide what the next steps should be.
What should I do if my attorney settled my claim without checking with me?
If your attorney accepts a settlement offer without your consent, they have violated a fiduciary duty owed to you as their client and committed an ethical violation.
If your attorney accepted a settlement offer that you did not want to accept, you will need to take immediate action by:
- Firing your attorney and hiring new representation– If your attorney accepted a settlement offer without consulting you, they are not acting in your best interest. You are strongly encouraged to find a new attorney to represent you in all matters relating to your bicycle accident.
- Reviewing your retention contract – When a personal injury attorney agrees to represent you in your bicycle accident case, you will likely have to sign a written retention agreement that will specify the terms of your attorney/client relationship during your case, including whether your attorney has the authority to make settlement decisions on your behalf. Have your new attorney review the retention contract and other documents to make sure your attorney did not have the authority to agree to settle.
- Contacting the insurance company – When your attorney accepted your offer, the insurance company may have closed your file and written you a check for the “agreed upon” amount. That is why you need to contact the insurer as soon as possible to let them know that you did not authorize your attorney to accept the offer and that the attorney who accepted the offer no longer represents you. You should then provide the insurer with the contact information of your new attorney, so that the insurer can work directly with your new attorney to resolve the case.
- Reporting your former attorney – Your attorney violated ethical rules by accepting an offer without checking with you first and should be held accountable for their actions. Go to the state bar website to download the forms necessary to report the attorney’s wrongful conduct. The state bar can punish the attorney by suspending or revoking their license. You may also be able to file a malpractice claim against your attorney.
Attorneys are responsible for keeping clients informed regarding all aspects of the case, including settlement offers. Your attorney may think they know what is best for your case, but that does not mean they can make decisions without you. Attorneys and their clients should work together to make decisions and evaluate settlement offers. However, if there is a disagreement on how you should proceed, you have the final say.
If your attorney wrongfully settled your bicycle accident claim without your consent, it may cost you a lot of money. Additionally, you may lose faith in your attorney and feel that they do not have your best interests at heart.
Contact Max Meyers Law PLLC at 425-399-7000. We listen to our clients and work with them to make the best possible decisions to benefit their claims.
Whose Insurance Pays for a Truck Accident?
Just as in any other motor vehicle accident, liability for a truck accident depends on what caused the crash. But when an accident involves a truck, multiple parties – and therefore multiple insurance companies – may be involved and could be liable.
We recommend working with a lawyer to identify the responsible party(ies) and the liable insurance companies. You can call us at 425-399-7000 to review your case.
What Parties Carry Insurance for Truck Accidents?
Any entity along the chain of distribution in which the truck is involved likely carries liability insurance. These can include:
- Trucking carriers. Trucking companies carry insurance to cover accidents caused by their truck drivers or their own negligence (e.g., negligent hiring, poor driver training, negligent maintenance and repairs, etc.).
- Cargo owners. The owner of the cargo truck may also carry liability insurance. The cargo owner may be liable for an accident if the cargo was a factor in the accident or the injuries. Examples of when cargo can be a factor include when the cargo is a hazardous material or when the cargo shifted and caused the driver to lose control of the truck.
- Cargo shipper/loader. There are strict rules about how to load and secure cargo during transport. When cargo moves while the truck is on the road, the truck’s center of gravity can change, causing the tractor trailer to careen, skid, or flip over. If improper loading or securing of the cargo was a factor in causing the accident or the injuries, the shipper or loader of the cargo can be responsible.
- Maintenance or repair company. If the company responsible for performing maintenance or repairs was negligent in its duty, it could be liable for an accident if the accident is related to failure to make repairs or perform maintenance, or for poor repair and maintenance.
- Truck or parts manufacturer. If a defective part on the truck caused or contributed to the wreck, then the part or truck manufacturer could hold liability too. For example, if a truck’s defective brakes caused the accident, then the truck or brakes manufacturer could be responsible for damages.
- Other drivers. If another driver – not a truck driver – caused or is partially liable for the accident, the at-fault driver’s liability coverage may cover the injured party’s damages too. The minimum coverage for cars in Washington is: $25,000 per person for injury or death; $50,000 for two or more people injured or killed; and $10,000 in property damage
How Much Insurance Do Large Trucks Have to Maintain?
Commercial trucks must have at least the minimum coverage required by federal rules. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), trucks must have:
- Liability insurance that protects the public for claims of bodily injury and property damage. The required amount can range from $300,000 to $5,000,000 depending on the truck’s weight and whether the cargo is hazardous.
- If the commercial vehicle transports passengers, it must carry at least $1,500,000 of liability insurance, but some have to carry as much as $5,000,000 of coverage.
We encourage people hurt in a truck accident to review other parties and their insurance policies with a lawyer, as coverage may vary depending on the party.
Will a Driver’s Own Insurance Cover Their Damages?
Drivers who carry no-fault coverage like personal injury protection (PIP) or collision coverage may file claims with their insurer in addition to seek compensation from a third-party insurer, such as those listed above.
These no-fault coverage options pay damages regardless of fault. But if you recover compensation in a liability claim, your insurer may be able to seek reimbursement for the benefits it gives you. This is called subrogation.
If you have been in a truck accident, call Max Meyers Law at 425-399-7000 to explore the insurance policies that may cover your accident. We can help you gather evidence and build your case so you recover fair compensation for your injuries and damages.
How Should I Prepare a Motorcycle for Winter Storage?
Putting your motorcycle away for the winter to protect it from the elements and doing the right maintenance can ensure it is ready to hit the road in the spring. Block off a few days to follow these steps and extend the life of your bike.
Should I Change the Oil Before Putting My Motorcycle Up for the Winter?
Yes. The contaminants found in dirty oil can corrode your engine. Run your motorcycle for a few minutes, then drain the oil and replace it with the oil your owner’s manual recommends.
Also fill your gas tank and add a fuel stabilizer, then start your bike. Let the stabilizer run through your fuel system. Never leave your gas tank half-empty over the winter. Rust can develop inside the gas tank if it is not full, and varnish can form in the engine if the gas does not contain a stabilizer.
How Do I Charge the Battery While My Bike is in Storage?
The best way to keep the battery charged without frying it is to use a battery charger and minder. An overcharged battery can not only be unusable, it can also explode. Remove the battery and connect it to a battery charger and minder.
What Maintenance Will My Motorcycle Need Before Winter Storage?
Check your tires and make sure they have the correct pressure. Lube the cables and chains and do any other maintenance your owner’s manual recommends. Some motorcycle enthusiasts suggest that you clean the carburetors in the fall to prevent “gunk.”
You should also prevent rodents and other small animals from nesting in your mufflers for the winter by either inserting motorcycle exhaust plugs in the mufflers or at least placing a plastic bag over the cooled muffler and securing it with a rubber band.
Should I Wash My Motorcycle Before Putting it in Storage for the Winter?
Yes. Dirt and bugs on your bike can cause corrosion or rust. After completing all the service and maintenance, give it a thorough wash, let it dry in the sun, then wax it to protect the paint.
What Should I Use to Cover My Motorcycle for the Winter?
Whether you store your bike indoors or outside, you should protect it with a cover. Do not just throw a plastic tarp over your motorcycle, because it will trap moisture. Your bike’s chrome, painted surfaces, and internal parts can corrode from trapped moisture. Use a breathable cover designed for use with motorcycles. Make sure your bike has completely cooled before you cover it.
Where Should I Store My Motorcycle for the Winter?
You have several viable options. Many dealerships offer indoor heated storage. You can also rent a heated storage unit or store your bike in your garage or shed. Heated storage is preferable to unheated. If you do not have an indoor location for your motorcycle to spend the winter, park it on a plywood sheet and cover it up, recommends Consumer Reports.
What Equipment Do I Need to Winterize My Motorcycle?
You will need these items to perform the required maintenance on your bike before putting it into winter storage:
- Your owner’s manual
- Bucket, sponge, car washing soap
- Hose and water
- Clean rags
- Motorcycle oil and filter
- Oil funnel and pan
- Gasoline in a container
- Motorcycle gasoline stabilizer
- Battery charger and minder
- Motorcycle exhaust plugs
- Breathable motorcycle cover
- Any parts and tools needed to complete additional maintenance your owner’s manual recommends
Should I Carry Insurance on My Motorcycle When It Is in Storage?
Yes. Verify that your motorcycle insurance will cover your bike for possible damage that can occur during storage. Your bike is expensive, so it is worth the cost of premiums to protect it, even if you are not regularly riding during Washington State’s winter months.
Max Meyers Law helps motorcyclists injured in wrecks that other drivers cause. If you suffer injuries in a motorcycle accident that was not your fault, call us today at 425-399-7000. We also invite you to read our eBook, Motorcycle Accident Secrets Unlocked.
Who Is at Fault If a Cargo Spill From a Truck Causes a Wreck?
When a truck cargo spill causes a crash, liability will depend on several factors including what caused the spill, whether the truck carrier or other party followed federal rules on cargo containment and securement, and whether any other party was negligent in the accident.
What is the Purpose of Cargo Securement Regulations?
An inadequately secured load can shift in transit, throwing the truck out of balance, causing it to lose control and in some instances, overturn. Even if the cargo does not cause the initial accident, improper securement could allow it to spill and create hazards for the vehicles traveling near the truck. Thus, federal regulations dictate minimum securement standards to prevent cargo-related accidents and spills.
What Kinds of Cargo Do the Federal Cargo Securement Laws Cover?
Federal law sets strict guidelines for how truckers can transport heavy loads on our highways. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires tie-downs and securement equipment for all cargo-carrying commercial motor vehicles, except for certain bulk commodities “that lack structure or fixed shape (e.g., liquids, gases, grain, liquid concrete, sand, gravel, aggregates)” if they are transported in a tank, box, or similar device. Hazardous materials also have separate requirements.
When a truck is transporting multiple large objects, each object must all be immobilized so the objects do not strike each other when the truck is moving. Improper tie-down can result in objects inside the trailer portion of the truck colliding with each other, which can cause cargo spillage. If this spillage leads to an accident, the party responsible for the non-compliant tie-down of cargo will be liable for the crash.
Who Is Responsible for Accidents Related to Incorrectly Secured Cargo?
The truck driver and the trucking carrier can be responsible for an accident caused by the spill. If a third party loads the cargo improperly, that third party can be responsible. We will investigate the cause of the accident and actions taken by several parties along the chain of distribution to identify which party failed to follow federal rules or otherwise acted negligently.
Is a Trucker Automatically Negligent for Not Buying New Securement Equipment When the Federal Laws Changed?
No. Although the federal laws changed to include performance criteria, trucks can use existing securement equipment, as long as it achieves the same performance standards as required of the new equipment. Trucks may use a variety of materials, including cording, chains, wire ropes, steel strapping, or synthetic webbing to secure cargo.
Are There Applicable Securement Rules in Addition to the Federal Laws?
Yes. The FMCSA’s “Driver’s Handbook on Cargo Securement” cautions truckers that local regulations may be more or less strict than the federal laws. In the Handbook, the FMCSA tells truckers how to apply the North American Cargo Securement Standards. Following these standards will place a trucker in compliance with both American (federal) and Canadian cargo securement regulations. We will investigate which rules applied at the time of the accident and whether any parties along the chain of distribution was in violation of those rules.
If a Non-Truck Driver Caused a Cargo Spill, Is the Trucker Still Liable?
For the trucker or the carrier to be responsible for an accident, he must have done something that was negligent. If the cargo spills due to no fault of the trucker or carrier, then those parties may not be liable.
For example, a passenger vehicle collides with a truck, causing the truck to swerve and overturn. Some of the truck’s cargo spills and causes damage to a third vehicle. If the trucker and carrier fully complied with the laws on cargo securement and were not negligent in any way, the driver who collided with the truck is responsible for the third driver's damages. But even if another driver caused the wreck, but the trucker or carrier failed to secure the cargo, then both the at-fault driver and the trucker and carrier may be liable for the third driver's damages.
We must sort out issues of liability when pursuing legal action for an injured person, which can be especially complex when a large truck is involved. In fact, multiple parties may be liable, including the injured person in some cases.
Washington State follows the doctrine of pure comparative negligence, which means that an injured person can recover compensation for damages, minus their percentage of fault. Comparative negligence adds another layer of complexity to these cases.
If you have experienced injuries in a truck accident, call Max Meyers Law at 425-399-7000 for help taking legal action and sorting out the many complex issues involved in truck accidents, including liability, federal regulation, and more.
Who is liable for a FedEx truck accident?
If you suffered injuries in a FedEx truck accident (caused by one of the company’s drivers), FedEx will likely be your liable party.
Why Would FedEx Have to Pay for the Negligence of Its Driver?
FedEx can be liable for an accident its driver causes in two different ways:
- Vicarious liability
- FedEx acted negligently in the hiring, training, or supervision of the driver.
What Is Vicarious Liability?
This legal theory holds an employer liable for its employees’ negligent actions, so long as the employees acted within the scope of their employment.
Consider the following: A FedEx driver completing a package run was texting and ran a red light, striking you as you passed through the intersection. In this case, FedEx is liable because the employee was acting within the scope of his employment (i.e., delivering packages) when he committed the action that caused your accident.
What Is Negligent Hiring, Training, or Supervising of a FedEx Driver?
FedEx has a duty to ensure its drivers behave safely behind the wheel. Companies can breach this duty in the following ways:
FedEx must evaluate its driver applicants carefully by performing a background check, which should include pulling the driver’s record and doing a criminal record check.
If FedEx does not perform a thorough background check, and hires someone with multiple arrests for driving while impaired, FedEx can be responsible if this person drives the delivery truck while impaired and injures someone.
Even if the driver has a clean driving record and no criminal convictions, FedEx can be liable if it did not properly train the driver. FedEx should evaluate the driver’s job skills, determine what gaps exist, and train the employee to fill in those gaps in skills.
If FedEx hires someone as a driver who has worked as a delivery driver for other companies but has no experience with FedEx’s delivery trucks, FedEx must train the driver on the safe handling practices for FedEx’s trucks. FedEx can be liable for any accidents the driver causes due to inexperience.
FedEx’s responsibilities do not end when it puts a prudently-hired, well-trained driver on the road. FedEx must keep its finger on the pulse of its drivers at all times, to promptly detect problems that may arise. For instance, FedEx should have a system in place to discover when its drivers get DUIs, speeding tickets, or other moving violations — on or off the job. FedEx should take action when its drivers get moving violations. Failure to identify and respond to problems can be negligence.
Large corporations like FedEx have policies in place to make sure that negligent hiring, training, and supervision do not happen. Unfortunately, people do not always follow the rules at work. When employees get lazy or cut corners, the employer can be liable for the resulting damage.
What Damages Can I Get for a FedEx Truck Accident?
The damages in every case are unique, so we cannot speculate without talking with you about your case and learning your facts, but these are some common compensable items in FedEx truck crashes:
- Medical bills for your initial evaluation and treatment, therapy, and ongoing medical care. This category can include anticipated future medical expenses. We prove this amount by gathering your medical bills and any other related receipts.
- Lost earnings for the time you missed work due to the wreck and recuperation, plus time lost for treatments and therapy. This category can include anticipated future lost wages, decreased earning potential, and disability. We prove this loss through your employment records and, when necessary, testimony from vocational experts.
- Pain and suffering and other intangible damages, like loss of consortium and loss of enjoyment of life. We calculate this item based in part on the amount of your other damages.
- Punitive damages send a message to the employer when there has been outrageous conduct. For example, if FedEx knew its driver had received three citations for reckless driving but continued to let the driver get behind the wheel of one of its trucks, the employer might get hit with a demand for punitive damages.
- Property damages to repair or replace your vehicle and any contents damaged or destroyed in the wreck. We prove this through the repair estimates or total loss reports.
Get Help from Max Meyers Law, PLLC
If you suffered injuries in a FedEx truck accident and the wreck was not your fault, you need a knowledgeable legal team on your side. FedEx is a huge corporation with a fleet of lawyers on retainer, ready to defend them.
At Max Meyers Law, PLLC, we only represent accident victims in transportation-related cases, so we will fight to get you all the compensation you deserve.
Call us today at 425-399-7000 and we will line up a free consultation for you, with no obligation.
What Happens If I Am Involved in a Car Accident with an Uninsured Driver?
If you were involved in a car accident with an uninsured driver, you will likely have to turn to your own insurance ― even if the other driver was entirely at-fault. Below, we detail your options for recovering compensation if an uninsured driver caused your car accident. If you would like more information regarding your uninsured driver auto accident, please contact one of our Kirkland auto accident lawyers today for a free consultation.
What Options Do I Have If an Uninsured Driver Caused My Accident?
Several types of insurance can help you with your losses if an uninsured driver caused your wreck. Some of these include:
- Uninsured Motorist coverage on your auto insurance policy. Although the law does not require you to carry this coverage, uninsured motorist (UM) coverage protects people injured in accidents with uninsured drivers or drivers who flee the scene. It covers medical bills, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, and other damages caused by the wreck.
- Personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. PIP will pay for your medical treatment, lost wages, loss of services, and funeral costs, up to the amount of your policy. It does not pay to repair or replace your car. Washington does not require drivers to carry PIP coverage, but your insurance company must offer it to you, and your rejection of the coverage has to be in writing.
- Collision coverage on your auto policy. This coverage can pay to repair or replace your vehicle.
- Gap insurance on your auto insurance policy. Gap insurance covers the difference between the depreciated value of your car and the amount that remains on your auto loan if your vehicle is a total loss.
- Your health insurance through your employer, an individual policy, or another source. Although many health insurance policies expressly exclude coverage for motor vehicle accidents, some will provide coverage if the crash was not your fault. The language in your policy will control whether you are able to recover compensation. Your health insurance will only pay medical expenses, and not lost wages, property damage, or pain and suffering.
Another option for help with your damages is the Washington Crime Victims Program. If the at-fault driver was committing a crime (e.g., driving while intoxicated) when the crash occurred, you might be able to file a claim for benefits with this fund.
What Does Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Not Cover?
Your PIP coverage will not compensate you for your injuries if the accident happened when you were committing a felony. PIP also does not cover your injuries if the at-fault driver was using:
- A motorcycle or moped
- A recreational or off-road vehicle
Your medical treatment must take place within three years of the accident and must be reasonable, necessary, and related to the crash, or your insurance company can deny coverage.
Does Washington State Require Motorists to Have Auto Insurance?
Yes. Washington State requires auto insurance for all registered cars as follows:
- $25,000 bodily injury or death per person
- $50,000 bodily injury or death of two people in an accident
- $10,000 property damage of others per accident
You are, of course, allowed to have higher amounts of coverage. In fact, since the minimum coverage would be inadequate to pay the damages in most major crashes, getting higher policy limits is a smart financial decision.
Can I Sue the Driver?
Suing the uninsured driver is an option if he caused your accident. However, if the driver did not have insurance, he might not have many assets we can recover. Max Meyers can help you determine whether this is a viable option.
Call Max Meyers Law, PLLC Today
Being involved in an accident with an uninsured driver can leave you feeling hopeless. Remember you have options. The team at Max Meyers Law, PLLC wants to help in any way we can. Feel free to use our free Compensation Checklist after Being Hit by an Uninsured Driver to maximize your recovery.For advice, specific help understanding your policy, or help suing the other driver, call Max Meyers Law, PLLC. Call us today at 425-399-7000 to set up your free, no-obligation consultation.
Who is Liable for a UPS Truck Accident?
In most cases, UPS will be your liable party in a UPS truck accident, even if the truck driver was 100 percent responsible for the accident.
How Is UPS Liable for the Negligence of its Drivers?
UPS is responsible for the harm done by its employees under the theory of vicarious liability. The Latin term for vicarious liability is “respondeat superior,” which means that if an employee commits a wrongful act while on the job, the employer is liable. The thinking behind this legal theory is that, if UPS had not hired the person to drive the truck, the driver would not have had the crash.
Can UPS Also Be Negligent?
Yes. UPS can also be directly liable for an accident. This can occur if UPS engaged in negligent:
- Supervision, or
What Is Negligent Hiring?
UPS must exercise caution not to hire dangerous drivers, so it does not put people in harm’s way. UPS can be liable for negligent hiring if it does not carefully scrutinize all applicants for driver positions. UPS is supposed to perform a background check, including pulling a driver’s record, before it hires someone. Failure to carry out a sufficient investigation of a potential driver is negligent hiring.
Another example of negligent hiring is when a company hires someone despite the fact that the pre-employment investigation revealed they have a bad driving record.
What Is Negligent Training, Supervision, and Retention?
UPS can also be responsible for contributing to bad driving or keeping a problem driver on the road. Even if UPS did its due diligence during the hiring process and the driver had a clean driving slate, the company can be on the hook for:
- Negligent training: Failure to provide proper training for drivers — both initial and continuing education.
- Negligent supervision: Failure to monitor drivers for problems, such as speeding tickets, accidents, and DUIs.
- Negligent retention: Failure to fire problem drivers.
Companies like UPS must have policies that remove their drivers from the road if they become a danger to the public. An example would be that the company terminates drivers who have two moving violations in two years. Failure to enact policies to protect the public is negligence, and failure to enforce these policies is also negligence.
Is Filing a Claim Against UPS Complicated?
In most cases, yes. There are two main reasons UPS accident claims are often complicated:
- UPS is a large company which means it has a large insurance company and a large, experienced legal team behind it. The team at Max Meyers Law, PLLC is not afraid to stand up against UPS and its legal team to recover the compensation you deserve.
- UPS has most of the evidence we need for your claim. UPS holds the driver’s personnel file, drug and alcohol test results, any sanctions the company took against the driver, ad his hours of service logs. We will send a letter of spoliation to ensure the company preserves and hands over that evidence.
Can Another Party Be Liable for My UPS Accident?
Yes. If the accident resulted from a maintenance error or a defective part, we might be able to hold a maintenance company or manufacturer liable.
The truck accident team at Max Meyers Law will compile all the pertinent records to build your case and establish fault. We will collect the evidence to prove your damages and deal directly with the insurance companies and UPS’ lawyers for you.
What Damages Can I Recover for a UPS Truck Accident?
UPS can be liable for your:
- Trauma bills: Initial medical treatment and ambulance costs. We can help you gather these documents.
- Subsequent medical treatments: Necessary to “make you whole” again. We will retrieve these bills from your health care providers.
- Lost wages: Time lost from work for the initial recuperation and medical treatments. We can retrieve these records from your employer.
- Decreased earning capacity: To compensate you if you are no longer able to work the number of hours you used to, cannot do the same type of work as before the accident, or will be unlikely to enjoy the same career path you would have but for the crash. We can get the documentation from your employer. We can use a vocational expert to get a more accurate value of your lost earning capacity.
- Disability: For long-term or permanent loss of function that makes you unable to work or that causes you to need assistance with daily activities. We prove this through your medical records and, when appropriate, through expert witnesses.
- Pain and suffering: We calculate and demand an appropriate amount of money to account for what you have endured.
- Punitive damages: These damages punish the wrongdoer for actions that are malicious, intentional, or a wanton disregard for public safety.
You do not need to handle your UPS truck accident claim alone. Call Max Meyers Law, PLLC at 425-399-7000 today to set up your free, no obligation consultation.
How Do I Treat Road Rash From a Motorcycle Accident?
Knowing how to treat road rash after a motorcycle accident can save you from infection, scarring, and disability. The best way to treat road rash from a motorcycle accident is to get immediate medical attention. For a more in-depth discussion of how to treat the different types of road rash, read on.
How do Doctors Classify Road Rash?
Doctors categorize road rash as first-degree, second-degree and third-degree, similar to the way they group burns. In fact, some medical experts call road rash “friction burns.” Road rash can range from relatively minor scrapes to severe, life-threatening injuries.
What Kind of Road Rash Can You Treat at Home?
If you do not have other injuries, you can usually treat a first-degree road rash injury yourself at home. A first-degree road rash, also called a “raspberry,” is a minor abrasion of the outer layer of skin (i.e., epidermis) that does not go into the deeper tissue beneath the skin.
Treating First-Degree Road Rash at Home
If you decide to treat your first-degree road rash at home, perform the following steps:
- Wash your hands well with plenty of soap and water. Bacteria on your hands can create an infection in your wound.
- Rinse the injury by holding it under lukewarm, clean running water for several minutes. Although it is fine to gently try to remove foreign bodies, like grit, from the wound, do not scrub the injury. If you cannot remove all the dirt, grime, and foreign bodies from the wound without scrubbing, seek medical attention.
- Cover the scrape with a thin layer of antibiotic salve or petroleum jelly and then apply a dressing. The coating will keep the wound hydrated and the dressing will provide a barrier against infection.
- Get prompt medical attention if you see any signs of infection or if the wound is not healing properly.
Be sure to change your dressing at least once a day. If the dressing gets wet or dirty, replace it at once.
You should contact your doctor to get a tetanus shot if you have not had one in the last ten years. If you have any doubt about whether you can properly treat your road rash yourself, go to your doctor or to an urgent care center for treatment.
What Treatment Do I Need for Second-Degree Road Rash?
Second-degree road rash goes through both the outer layers and deeper layers of the skin (epidermis and dermis) but not through muscles and other tissue beneath the skin. This is not an injury you should treat at home. Seek treatment at an urgent care center or emergency room.
At the urgent care center or emergency room, doctors will clean the wound and remove any debris or foreign objects. Depending on the severity of your injury, they may give you pain medication before they clean the wound. After doctors clean the road rash, they will likely apply an antibiotic ointment and a sterile dressing.
They will give you written instructions on how to care for your wound at home. They may recommend that you take either an over-the-counter or prescription pain medication before you change the dressings at home.
What Does Third-Degree Road Rash Treatment Entail?
Third-degree road rashes are severe injuries that can be fatal without immediate medical care. Go to the emergency room at once for a third-degree road rash. These injuries go through the epidermis and dermis, and damage tissue below the skin, which can include muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, veins, arteries, bones, and internal organs.
Note: Do not assume your injury is not severe if you feel no pain. Third-degree road rash can damage nerve endings, causing a loss of sensation. If your wound is painless, go to the hospital immediately.
The hospital personnel will clean the wound and repair the damage to the tissue beneath the skin. You may need to go to the hospital for surgical treatment, which can involve skin grafts. Follow the discharge instructions carefully to maximize your healing process.
Get Help From Max Meyers Law, PLLCRoad rash treatment can be expensive. If you sustained road rash injuries in a motorcycle accident that was not your fault, contact the personal injury team at Max Meyers Law for help with your injury compensation claim. Call us today at 425-399-7000 to set up your free consultation.
What is the average settlement payout for a whiplash injury?
Whiplash injuries are some of the more underestimated injuries, especially because symptoms often do not appear right after the accident. It may be days before you see symptoms including pain, numbness, and stiffness in the neck and shoulder muscles. Bigger challenges may lie ahead, however, when you try to file a claim for damages after suffering whiplash from a car accident.
Should I get a lawyer for whiplash and how can I prove my pain and suffering?
It can be hard to prove a whiplash injury, but our trained attorneys can help you determine what compensation is fair for the injuries you have sustained. The claims process is a little more difficult when it comes to soft tissue injuries like whiplash because they don’t always show up in imaging tests like x-rays or MRIs. It is important to seek treatment and be direct with your doctor about your symptoms. If a lawsuit needs to be filed, having medical documentation becomes a crucial part of your case.
What are the possible defenses to a whiplash injury claim?
You can expect the defendant’s attorney to allege that your injuries are exaggerated, do not affect your life in the manner that you claim they do, or were not the result of the accident in question at all. Therefore, you must provide strong evidence linking your whiplash injuries to the accident and establishing their impact on your life. Remember, you might find several of the defendant’s allegations bizarre and unfounded, but it is important to prepare for the following, so that you can put up a strong defense.
- Your injuries have already been treated.
- Symptoms of whiplash are often chronic and constant, and they can continue for months after the injury has occurred. However, you can expect defense lawyers to claim that most people who suffer whiplash injuries are completely healed within four to six weeks.
- The accident did not cause your injuries.
- The defendant may claim that your injuries were pre-existing and had nothing to do with the accident that you suffered. The lawyers could even claim that you did not suffer an injury at all.
- The impact of the accident could not have caused the injury.
- Lawyers may try to claim that your accident was a low-impact accident, and therefore, could not have resulted in the kind of injuries that you are claiming compensation for. They might claim that a low-impact accident at low speeds could not have possibly caused injuries so severe that they prevent you from going back to work.
- You are exaggerating your symptoms
- You can also expect lawyers to come right out and say that you are exaggerating the symptoms in order to recover a higher settlement amount, or that you are lying about needing to continue treatment several months after the injury has occurred.
- Your injuries have not had a major impact.
- You can also expect defense lawyers to claim that your injuries have not had as severe an impact on your life as you claim they have. For instance, if you are claiming diminished earning capacity because your whiplash has made it impossible for you to return to your former job, you can expect lawyers to claim that your injuries have not affected you as much as you claim.
How do I deal with the challenges presented in my whiplash injury claim?
Your attorney must present substantial evidence linking your injury with the car accident that occurred. Medical tests, especially the results of CT scans, MRI scans, and electromyography scans can provide evidence of the existence of the injury.
Your attorney must also present evidence that clearly debunks the theory that your whiplash injuries could not have been caused in a low-speed or low-impact accident. Chronic injuries can and do occur in moderate-speed accidents.
How much compensation can I get for my whiplash injury?
The amount of your settlement payout for a whiplash injury will depend on the circumstances of your case. Each claim is different. Do NOT accept the first settlement offer from the insurance company! Insurance companies are notorious for “low ball” offers so they can hurry up and get your case settled.
If you suffered whiplash in a car accident that was not your fault, Max Meyers Law can help. We will go over every detail of your claim and make sure you receive the maximum compensation. Call 425-399-7000 today to speak with an attorney about your claim.
Does the severity of my whiplash affect my payout?
Yes. Whiplash can occur on a spectrum from mild to severe. Severe cases often have higher settlements since victims experience more injury-related losses. A mild whiplash injury can heal within a few months, while severe whiplash can leave you with chronic pain and long-term impairment. If you suffered severe whiplash, you may lose the ability to do your previous job for years or longer.
Our team will evaluate the police report, witness statements, and your medical history to assess the extent of your whiplash injury. Whiplash claims can be challenging, as the insurance company and lawyer for the at-fault party may push back hard against your claim. At Max Meyers Law, we have devoted our practice to helping injured people and we are ready to face any opposition, so you do not have to.
How can a whiplash injury impact my daily life?
After a whiplash injury, you may experience a constellation of symptoms that can have a direct impact on your daily life. Stiffness in your neck can make it difficult to turn your head, limiting your ability to drive safely. Headaches can affect your cognitive abilities, directly affecting your ability to work. If you experience dizziness or lightheadedness, you may be unable to stand for periods of time, which can prevent you from doing your job.
Neck pain, muscle spasms or back pain can render you unable to lift heavy items. If you have numbness and tingling in your fingers and arms, you may be unable to type on a keyboard, resulting in your being unable to perform a desk job.
All of these effects can dramatically reduce your long-term earning potential. Lost wages and lost earning capacity are just some of the damages we will fight for in your case.
What damages should my whiplash settlement include?
Immediately after your whiplash injury, you may face costs such as:
- Ambulance and emergency room bills;
- Prescription medications;
- Medical testing and evaluations, including x-rays and other imaging;
- An initial course of treatment by a physician or chiropractor;
- Physical therapy;
- Lost wages;
- Pain and suffering; and
- Loss of services to your household; in other words, having to pay someone to perform ordinary and necessary tasks you usually did at home.
We will collect your medical bills and receipts from the hospital, ambulance service, doctor or chiropractor, pharmacy, and physical therapist. Together with records from your employer, we will generate an analysis of your short-term damages.
Your long-term damages will depend on how quickly and how well you heal from your whiplash injury. Some people only have short-term damages, while others suffer for years after the crash. Long-term damages from a whiplash injury can include:
- Ongoing medical follow-ups;
- Medical testing and evaluation, including x-rays and other imaging;
- Extensive physical therapy;
- Rehabilitation services;
- Pain medications and muscle relaxants;
- Lost wages;
- Loss of earning potential;
- Pain and suffering;
- Depression and other mental health issues; and
- Long-term or permanent loss of services to your household.
Our team will take care of the legwork for your damages while you recover. We will gather the bills and records to establish your expenses and lost wages. We will discuss with you the ways your whiplash injury has changed your life. If necessary, we will work with vocational experts to document your lost earning potential and disability. We will build your case for the best possible settlement under your circumstances.
We negotiate directly with the insurance company, so you do not have to. You do not need any extra hassle and stress on top of your physical pain and discomfort.
If you have suffered whiplash injuries from a car accident, you may qualify for compensation for your medical expenses, lost income, and other losses. Discuss how you can establish liability by discussing your case with a car accident lawyer. Call 425-399-7000 to speak with one of our car accident attorneys and identify all of the parties liable in your claim. Schedule a consultation with a legal professional at Max Meyers Law PLLC today.
Most Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents: How They Happen & Liability
Being hit by a car is the most common cause of injury to bicyclists, reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, over 800 riders died from crashes with motor vehicles in 2015. Learn more about the most common causes of bicycle accidents, how they happen, and who you can hold liable.
Who is liable for the most common cycling accidents?
The liable party in a bicycle accident depends largely on how the accident occurred. Below, we detail the most types of bike accidents and who might be at fault:
Clipping: This occurs when the car and the bicycle are both traveling in the same direction. The car does not allow the cyclist enough distance and either sideswipes or rear-ends the rider.
The driver will be at fault if he:
- Strikes a bicyclist in the bike lane
- Did not give the rider enough space
- Uses the bike lane to park and hits the rider in the process
While the driver is at fault in many cases, the bicyclist may be at fault if she merges into the traffic lane without checking or signaling.
Dooring: Dooring happens when the driver of stopped or parked car opens his door into the path of the bicycle, striking the cyclist or causing the rider to run into the car door.
The car driver is liable when he opens his car door into the path of a bicyclist. If, however, a parked car safely has its door open away from traffic lanes and a bicyclist crashes into it due to inattention, the bicyclist is liable.
Left turn: A driver makes a left turn in front of a bicyclist heading in the opposite direction.
Bicycles have the same rights on the road as cars and trucks. Per Washington State traffic laws, a car making a left turn must yield to oncoming traffic, whether that traffic is a car, truck or bicycle. If a car making a left turn strikes a bicycle due to failure of the car to yield right-of-way, the car driver is liable. The bicyclist can be liable if the car is legally turning left on a left-turn arrow and the bicyclist runs a red light.
Side street: The car pulls out from the side street, turning left or right into the path of the bicycle. If the bicycle does not have enough time to stop, the bicycle may crash into the car. Sometimes the car will strike the bicycle broadside.
When a car pulls out from the side street into the path of a bicycle, the car driver is liable for failure to keep a proper lookout and failure to yield right-of-way. If, however, the bicyclist caused the accident by whipping in and out of traffic lanes without keeping a proper lookout, the bicyclist will be liable.
Right hook: A driver makes a right turn into the path of the bicyclist heading in the same direction.
Liability for a right hook bicycle accident will depend on the facts of the case. If the car made a right turn without checking the bike lane and without using a turn signal, the car driver would be liable. If the car is legally and cautiously turning right on a right-turn arrow at a red light, and a bicycle attempts to pass the car on the right side to run the red light, the bicyclist can be liable for the collision.
What if both the bicyclist and the car driver were negligent?
In many crashes, more than one person was negligent in causing the accident. Washington law provides a simple solution to this situation. You can recover the amount of your damages minus a proportional amount to account for your negligence. This is called comparative negligence.
Consider the following: you were riding in the bike lane when a driver opened his door in front of you. You might have had time to slow down to decrease the force of impact or potentially avoid the collision but you were looking at a text on your phone. The insurer finds you 40 percent at fault. You could only recover 60 percent of your $50,000 settlement demand ($30,000).
What is the most common point of impact in bicycle accidents?
Per 2015 NHTSA statistics, over 92 percent of the bicyclists killed by passenger cars crashed into the front of the car. Approximately 1.6 percent of the bicyclists killed by passenger cars impacted the left side of the car, while 4.4 percent made an impact with the right side of the car.
These numbers would indicate that very few of the bicyclist fatalities are the result of cars turning right or left into the path of a bicyclist who is traveling in the same direction as the car; however, this also shows that left turn collision fatalities are almost three times as common as right turn fatalities.
Large trucks, on the other hand, had much greater numbers of side impact statistics than cars. Almost 21 percent of all bicyclist fatalities in crashes with large trucks involved the bicycle making an impact with the right side of the truck. Almost 50 percent of fatalities resulted from a front impact, while approximately seven percent of resulted from left side impacts.
The higher right-side collision fatality rates are likely due to the fact that large truck drivers cannot see anything to the immediate right of them.
Get help from a Kirkland bicycle accident attorney today.
Bicycle accident claims can be complicated, especially if you suspect you might have violated one of Washington State’s bicycle laws. If you need help establishing liability or filing your bicycle accident claim, call Max Meyers Law, PLLC at 425-399-7000 today to set up your free consultation.