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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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. Kirkland car accident lawyer Max Meyers has experience helping victims of snow car accidents recover the compensation they deserve. Call 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 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 425-399-7000. 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. 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. Our Washington bicycle accident lawyer will work hard to protect your rights, even if you were not wearing a helmet at the time of your crash. Contact our offices today or call us at 425-428-6052 to schedule a free consultation, we have proudly servicing clients throughout Bothell, Kirkland, and the surrounding areas.
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.