Were You Injured Because Of Someone Else's Negligence? Browse Our FAQs

In addition to coping with a lot of stress and frustration, personal injury cases also come with a lot of questions. Here are some of the questions we hear the most at Max Meyers Law.

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  • What is the definition of pedestrian?

    Many people know that pedestrians must follow certain rules when walking along roadways, but what is the definition of pedestrian?

    Section 47.04.010 (23) Revised Code of Washington defines a pedestrian as, “Any person afoot or who is using a wheelchair, power wheelchair … or a means of conveyance propelled by human power other than a bicycle.”

    It is important to note that cyclist are not treated as pedestrians and are subject to a different set of regulations while on the roadways. However, individuals on skateboards and roller skates are treated as pedestrians.

    Why the Definition of a Pedestrian Is So Important

    Why is it important to distinguish between pedestrians, bicyclists, and motor vehicle drivers? Each class of individual using the roadways and walkways (driver, pedestrian, bicyclist) must follow certain rules applicable to them. These laws dictate who can cross the street when, who was right-of-way, etc., so everybody stays safe.

    And in the event of an accident, knowing who handled following which rules can help establish which party was negligent and liable for the pedestrian crash.

    The Washington Administrative Code Section 504-14-940 details rules applicable to pedestrians while on the roadways. Among these, pedestrians must follow traffic control signals, vehicles must yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, and more. Pedestrians should be familiar with jaywalking rules, right-of-way, and other laws applicable to them as well as vehicles.

    If a pedestrian violated a rule of the road – such as suddenly leaving the curb – then the pedestrian may be liable for an accident that this causes. But if a pedestrian was in a crosswalk when a vehicle overtook another car that was stopped for the pedestrian, and in doing so struck the pedestrian, then that driver may be liable.

    Know the Pedestrian Laws and Call an Attorney if You're in an Accident

    We are all pedestrians at some point throughout the day. Know the laws. Whether you are walking down the street, in a wheelchair, on a skateboard or roller skates, you are subject to traffic controls signals if they are in place.  And if you cross the street you must do so in the designated crosswalk. If you are crossing the street in a crosswalk that does not contain a traffic signal, you have the right-of-way, as long as you enter the street/intersection with enough time for an approaching vehicle to see you and safely stop.

    If another party caused an accident that injured you in Seattle, call Max Meyers Law at 425-399-7000 to set up a consultation about your case.

  • What causes single-vehicle motorcycle accidents?

    The most common causes of single-vehicle motorcycle accidents include speeding, alcohol and drugs, bad road conditions, and malfunction. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), of the 4,668 fatal motorcycle accidents in the U.S. in 2013, 22 percent were single-vehicle motorcycle accidents with a fixed object. 

    A 22-percent fixed object collision rate eclipses the other types.

    • Eighteen percent fatal accidents caused by passenger cars
    • Fourteen percent for light trucks
    • Four percent for large commercial trucks

    Their two wheels and light weight increase the odds that a motorcycle will skid, slide, or topple; commonly called “lay-downs.”

    Lay-downs are most frequent under these conditions.

    • During poor weather (rain, ice, high winds)
    • On curved streets and road,
    •  With inexperienced riders


    The NHTSA views motorcycle crashes to be caused (or related) to the biker speeding if they were either charged with a speeding, or if police mention speeding in their accident reports as a contributing factor by the biker: either driving too fast for traffic or road conditions, or exceeded the posted speed limit.

    Its 2013 report listed biker speeding as the cause in 34 percent of fatal crashes; again, the largest category when compared to the others.

    • Passenger car drivers driving above the posted limit (32 percent)
    • Light truck speeders (18 percent)
    • Large commercial truckers (eight percent)

    Alcohol and Drugs

    In fatal crashes in 2013, The NHTSA concluded that motorcycle riders involved in all crashes had higher percentages of “substance” impairment than any other type of motor vehicle operator (27 percent).

    • Passenger car drivers (23 percent)
    • Light-truck drivers (21 percent)
    • Semi trucks (two percent)

    Bad road conditions and sudden road hazards also contribute to a large number of bike wrecks. Often, obstacles such as tree branches and items that fall into the street from other vehicles; and even confusing road signs, can cause experienced riders to suddenly react and lose their “biker balance” – sending them into an uncontrollable skid.

    In any event, those responsible for the road obstacle; or careless drivers who cause single bike accidents, may be held liable for injuries suffered by the motorcycle rider.

    Vehicle Malfunction

    A failure of the bike or problems with a motorcycle part can make it impossible to operate safely the bike. Defects like braking and steering problems can increase the risk of a motorcycle accident. The Honda brake recalled in 2011, and 2013 come immediately to mind. But faulty replacement parts or poor repair services can also send a motorcycle careening out of control.

    High Performance Bikes

    The NHTSA also mentioned that even though high performance “racing” bikes (Sport and Supersport models) make up a small percentage of the total number of motorcycles on the road, they account for a disproportionately larger percentage of bike accidents.

    The NHTSA notes increases in fatal accidents with bikes that have larger engines over those with smaller ones. And a US Department of Transportation report in 2001 suggested the death rate among riders of high-performance motorcycles could be as much as twice that of conventional motorcycle riders.

    For a motorcycle accident lawyer after a crash in Washington State, contact Max Meyers Law at 425-399-7000.

  • I was in a motorcycle accident without license. Can I still recover damages?

    It is against the law to ride a motorcycle in Washington State without a valid motorcycle license (unless riding with a valid permit, with which motorcyclists may not ride after dark or while carrying passengers).

    However, your lack of a valid permit or license may not mean that you’re automatically at fault for a motorcycle accident, nor does it ultimately impede your right to recover damages. Here’s what you need to know if you’re in a motorcycle accident and don’t have a license.

    Who was at fault?

    If the accident was 100 percent your fault, then you may be barred from recovering damages. If the accident was less than 100 percent your fault, then Washington State’s comparative negligence laws permit you to recover damages.

    However, motorcycle law also reads that your amount of damages diminishes in proportion to your percentage of the blame. In other words, you can file a claim, but if you were 15 percent at fault, then your damages award will be reduced by 15 percent.

    Even if you weren’t riding your motorcycle with a valid license at the time of the crash, the accident could still have been the fault of the other driver. If the collision would have occurred regardless of having a motorcycle license or not, you’ll need to prove it.

    Proving Fault

    To prove the fault of the other driver, you’ll have to demonstrate that the driver was doing something negligent that lead to the crash. Types of negligence may include this list.

    • Speeding
    • Running a red light
    • Following too closely
    • Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
    • Driving too fast for the conditions

    You will need to collect evidence to prove negligence. Types of evidence that you should collect to substantiate your claim include the following listed.

    • Photographs of the accident scene/physical damage
    • Police reports
    • Witness testimony
    • Driver Blood Alcohol Content results
    • Video/camera footage

    If you can prove that the other driver was at fault, then you have the right to recover damages.

    How a Motorcycle Accident Attorney Can Help

    Even if you believe that the other driver was at fault, an insurance company may try to pin the responsibility for the accident on you based on the fact that you didn’t have a motorcycle license at the time of crash.

    For assistance in building a defense to this claim, call a Washington State motorcycle accident attorney at Max Meyers Law PLLC. For help in dealing with the insurance company, filing a claim, or proving fault, contact the motorcycle accident lawyer now at 425-399-7000

  • What are override and underride truck accidents?

    An override accident occurs when a semi-truck or any other large commercial vehicle runs over a passenger vehicle, crushing it beneath it. An underride truck accident occurs when a passenger car collides with the rear or side of a truck, sliding underneath it. These accidents are quite common, and many of them prove fatal. In fact, an estimated 55 percent of all fatal truck accidents are underride collisions, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

    Causes for Override and Underride Accidents

    Override – There are a lot of possible contributing causes of override accidents. In many cases, the truck driver miscalculates the distance between the truck and passenger car or simply tailgates and doesn’t provide enough space to stop in time. Poor weather and road conditions can affect the driver's visibility and cause the truck to skid, which can also cause an override accident. Defects in the truck’s brakes or tires can contribute to an accident as well.

    Underride – Likewise, there are several factors that can cause an underride accident. Drivers who tailgate obviously put themselves at risk, but sometimes a truck may turn or stop without warning. In many cases, the driver simply doesn’t see the truck. This is a huge problem at night, when the bed of a truck can remain completely invisible until the driver is right up on it. Trucks are required by law to have reflective tape along the side of the trailer to increase visibility, but the tape often gets worn or dirty and does little good. Plus, most trucks lack underride guards, which could do a world of good in preventing these types of serious collisions.

    Damages in Serious Truck Accidents

    The front of most passenger cars stands 30 inches or less. The trailer of a semi sits 45 inches high. So when a car collides with the back or side of a truck, it can instantly slide right under, crushing the front of the car and the occupants. The injuries are generally catastrophic -- if not fatal -- and the damages are substantial.

    If you were hurt in an underride or override accident or if your loved one was killed in one, you will want to speak to an attorney immediately about your case. There are steps you and your lawyer must take to preserve your claim. If you reside in Washington, you are welcome to call our truck accident lawyer at Max Meyers Law for a consultation. We will review your case, determine if negligence contributed to the accident, and then help you seek compensation for damages via an injury or wrongful death claim against the liable party.

    Contact us today for a free consultation at 425-399-7000 or fill out our online contact form.

  • Cell Phone Policy for Truck Drivers: Proving a Mobile Phone Caused Accident

    Truck drivers who text while driving are 23.2 times more likely to be involved in a “safety-critical” event, e.g., crash, near-crash, lane deviation, etc. than drivers who refrain from texting, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

    As such, the FMCSA, the agency that regulates the trucking industry, provides detailed cell phone policy for truck drivers. When a driver violates the rules and subsequently causes a crash, the victim (or family) can file a claim to recover damages so long as they can prove the violation.

    FMCSA Mobile Phone Use Rules

    The federal rules regarding cellphone use for commercial truck drivers is simple and straightforward: truckers are banned from using any type of handheld device while operating their rigs. They are permitted to use voice-activated functions and one-touch features to initiate, answer, or terminate a call, but they cannot hold the phone or press more than one button.

    They are also prohibited from texting while driving or doing any of the following activities on their device.

    • Reading texts or sending texts
    • Instant messaging
    • Emailing
    • Accessing a webpage

    “In short, the rule prohibits unsafely reaching for a device, holding a mobile phone, or pressing multiple buttons,” provides the FMCSA.

    How to Prove a Truck Driver’s Violation Caused Your Accident

    Using a cell phone while driving a truck constitutes negligence. In order to file and win a truck accident claim, you’ll need to be able to show that the driver was negligent (using a phone) and that the negligence is what caused your truck accident.

    Proving this can be a tricky task. Your lawyer can help you collect evidence to support your case. S/he can send a letter of spoliation to the truck company to preserve evidence and/or subpoena the driver’s phone records. The records will indicate if the phone was in use at the time of the accident.

    In some cases, you might be able to use the following to prove your claim.

    • Eyewitness testimonies
    • The truck driver’s cab cam footage
    • Accident reconstructionists

    Taking the First Step to Recover Your Damages

    The first thing you’ll want to do is consult a truck accident attorney in your area who can review your injury or wrongful death case and get to work on proving your claim. It’s important to act quickly because 1) there’s a time limit on when you can file a claim, and 2) truck companies tend to “lose” evidence if they don’t quickly receive a letter of spoliation. Also, the sooner you file a claim, the sooner you can receive your much-needed settlement check.

    For help in Washington, call truck accident lawyer Max Meyers today at 425-399-7000 for a free consultation or fill out our contact form.

  • Should I take a Quick Settlement my Injury Accident Claim?

    Many insurance companies will misinform consumers and trick them into believing that receiving a quick settlement is somehow a good thing after suffering injury in a Washington car accident.  

    Insurance Companies Count on Your Stress

    When you’re injured in an accident through no fault of their own, medical bills can add up quickly, as can lost wages from missing time at work. The financial stress can quickly become overwhelming. Insurance companies use your stress to their advantage by offering a “quick settlement” to lure the injury victim into settling a car accident claim.  Insurance companies also count on some folks thinking "I don't want to take advantage" or "I just want my ER medical bill paid."

    The problem with this is you may not know the full extent of your damages a couple days or a week after the wreck. More serious injuries sometimes don’t become apparent right away (like injuries to a disc in your spine) and it can take weeks or months after the wreck for your doctor to figure out exactly what’s wrong and why you’re not recovering as quickly as expected. However, once an accident victim agrees to settle their personal injury claim it cannot be reopened!

    Settling your claim before all of the potential injuries and damages have been discovered risks having more issues come up down the road that won’t be compensated. What if you need surgery down the road? The insurance company knows and is why they are moving quickly.  They know if you accept a quick settlement you are likely not receiving full fair compensation for all losses you have suffered in the crash.

    Paperwork isn’t always required to form a settlement. If the insurance gives you an injury settlement check and you deposit it, that can be taken as your consent or agreement to settle or close the claim altogether, even though you signed no paperwork.

    What Are Your Legal Options - Call For A Free Consultation

    If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an accident in Washington State, attorney Max Meyers and the team at Max Meyers Law PLLC can help get your life back on track. Attorney Max Meyers operates on a contingency fee basis, which relieves the financial stress of affording a quality lawyer. If we do not recover compensation for you, you don’t owe attorney fees.

    Call for a Free Consultation 425-399-7000.

  • I was hit by a stolen car, who will pay for my car repairs and medical bills?

    This is a nightmare situation!! Normally, the insurance for the car that hit you covers your damages, EXCEPT when the vehicle is stolen and the thief causes an accident with you. In this situation there is almost always no insurance available from the at-fault vehicle. If the thief had his own car insurance that could cover you but in all likelihood he has no car insurance of his own either. Our Washington car accident lawyer is here to help.

    What do you do?

    You are going to have to lean heavily on your own auto insurance policy.  Your insurance premium won't increase because you were not at fault, so don't hestitate to get your insurance involved early. If your rates do go up, contact the Washington Insurance Commissioner and file a complaint.

    Car Repairs

    If you have collision coverage then your car repairs will be paid by your insurance company.  You will have to pay for your deductible.  But it's better to pay a few hundred dollars instead of a few thousand.  If you have no collsision insurance coverage, unfortunately you will be left footing the bill yourself.

    Medical Bills

    If you have PIP insurance your medical bills will be paid under that coverage up to 10,000 or 35,000 depending on the coverage you purchased.  If you exceed the PIP coverage or have no PIP, then your health insurance will have to cover your medical bills to treat your accident injuries. Again, you will have to pay the deductibles and co-pays that apply.  If you have neither PIP or health insurance, then there is one last resort option, Washington Crime Victims Compansation Program

    The Washington Crime Victims program is designed to help victims of violent crimes not be financially ruined by medical expenses and other associated expense suffered.  In auto accident cases, if you were hit by a thief in a stolen vehicle or a DUI driver you would likely qualify for coverage.  If you qualify, the program will pay some or perhaps all of your medical bills.  This can be a huge blessing in a very bad sitaution. However, the Crime Victims program has a limited yearly budget. Once the budget for a year runs out then no more claims are paid. If you have an accident case where crime victims may help it's important to apply as soon as poosible. 

    Pain & Suffering

    Hopefully you purchased lots of unisured motorist (UM insurance) on your own auto insurance policy.  This coverage is designed to cover situations like this when the at-fault vehicle and/or driver have no insurance. UM insurance in essence steps into the shoes of the at-fault driver and provides insurance as if the at-fault driver was covered.  UM insurance will cover all medical bills, lost wages, and other harms and losses (i.e. pain & suffering) up to the limit you purchased. However, UM insurance only pays one time so it's important to complete all injury treatment and make sure you are fully healed before talking settlement with the UM insurance adjuster. UM insurance doesn't pay medical bills as you treat or lost wages when you are home recovering, PIP does this.

    If you find yourself dealing with all of these issues, you may benefit greatly from talking to a experience attorney who knows all the ins and outs of situations like this. Do yourself a favor and call Kirkland car accident attorney Max Mayers today to find out what your legal rights are before dealing with all of the items discussed above.

    You may also find Max's book "Car Accident Secrets Unlocked" helpful as well.

  • After a Kirkland motorcycle accident do I need to call my insurance company if the accident wasn’t my fault?

    Yes! Most insurance policies require you to report a motorcycle or motor vehicle accident within a certain amount of time of the accident.  This time frame is usually no more than 72 hours.  You need to do this even when the accident isn't your fault. Your failure to do so can result in the insurance company denying your claim for repair of your bike, payment of your medical bills or any other payments you may have been entitled to if you made a timely report of loss.

    You may not realize certain things following an accident are designed to going through your insurance first and then be repaid later by the at-fault driver's insurance company.  This is most common in PIP insurance when dealing with medical bills, but is also common for repair bills. 

    The biggest reason to report is in case the at-fault driver has no insurance or not enough insurance to cover all your medical bills, lost wages and any other harms and losses. In this scenario you may have uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist coverage on your motorcycle insurance design to help in this kind of situation. When your medical bills exceed the at-fault driver's insurance you need to make a underinsured motorist claim or you'll have to pay those bills yourself.  It's insurance coverage you bought just in case of this kind of worst case scenario, which unfortuanely is all to common in mototcycle accident cases. 

    In addition to contacting your insurance company, you should also contact a Kirkland motorcycle accident attorney, so that you can learn what your rights are before signing anything or speaking with the at fault driver's insurance company.  A good first step is to order our book Motorcycle Accident Secrets Unlocked.

  • What is my Seattle car, bicycle, or motorcycle accident case worth?

    The answer is not as simple as you might think.  Unfortunately, there is no magic formula or calculation where you plug in the numbers and a value is spit out.  The old saying about multiplying your medical bills by 3, 4 or whatever and that’s your case value is false.  Determining what your injury case is worth is more complicated.  

    There are multiple factors that influence case value:

    medical bills,

    loss of wages,

    loss of ability to do your job/profession,

    permanent injuries if any,

    length of recovery time,

    frequency of injury symptoms,

    severity of injury symptoms,

    intangible harms (like pain, frustration, stress, humiliation experience when recovering from injuries),

    and more.  

    Accident victims can be entitled to compensation for some or all of the above factors depending on the specific injuries suffered.

    The biggest impact in determining the value of an injury accident case is the total cost, extent, and length of medical treatment and whether a full recovery was made or if there are permanent and lingering injuries.  If you treat for only a couple months and make a full recovery your case value is less than someone who treats for years and is left with a permanent injury.  The more severe your injuries the more likely you will benefit, often greatly, from hiring an attorney to help you with your case.

    The best way to get a range of what your Washington car, bicycle or motorcycle accident case may be worth is to talk to an experienced, knowledgeable attorney in your local area. If you have questions now, give me a call at 425-399-7000.  

  • Do I have to pay income taxes on my Washington injury settlement?

    This is one of the most frequent questions from clients when deciding on a settlement offer.  The short answer in Washington is generally NO taxes are owed on money received in settlement of a personal injury claim.

    Compensation for an injury is not considered income for tax purposes. You may be asking what does that mean exactly? According to current IRS law, if a car accident victim obtains a settlement for injuries suffered in an accident, which are paid by another party (for example, from the at-fault driver who hit you), the settlement money is not taxable.

    Of course there are always exceptions!

    The IRS generally taxes Punitive Damages. What are punitive damages?

    Punitive damages are money that a driver is ordered to pay over and above the full value of a case. They are meant to be additional punishment because the conduct of the at-fault person was so bad or outrageous the jury or judge has decided to set an example for every other driver to heed.  

    The message of punitive damages is to all drivers beware, you better not do this, or you could be faced with owing a huge amount of money.

    However, in Washington state punitive damages are not usually available in car accident claims.

    When the media talks about huge verdicts from car accident cases, it usually is from another state that allows punitive damages. 

    If you are thinking about accepting an insurance company's settlement offer but don't have a lawyer, it might be a good idea to give an experienced Washington injury attorney a call to review your case and make sure you're doing the right thing. If you'd like to talk now, call 425-399-7000.

  • Who has the right of way at an uncontrolled intersection in Washington?

    Two drivers approach an intersection at the same time.  There is no traffic light, stop sign, or other traffic control device. Who has the right of way in the state of Washington?

    Accidents happen when drivers don't know the answer to this question.  Sometimes with tragic results.  

    Washington state law under RCW 46.61.180 says:

    "When two vehicles approach or enter an intersection from different highways at approximately the same time, the driver of the vehicle on the left shall yield the right-of-way to the vehicle on the right."  

    Many Seattle neighborhoods have uncontrolled intersections like this.  Plus there are often cars parked on one or both sides of the street blocking the view of approaching vehicles.  Driving too fast to and through these intersections can result in serious car accidents and injuries to passengers.  The best bet is to drive cautiously and slowly when approaching an uncontrolled intersection.  The life you save may be your own or your family members.

    If you have a disputed collision the best thing to do is contact Max Meyers Law to discuss your specific accident circumstances.  The exact details of what happened will determine who's at-fault, and if both drivers are partially at fault, that can complicate the claim as Washington's comparative negligence laws will apply. If you were in a car accident at an intersection, please call Max Meyers at 425-399-7000 to set up a consultation to review your case and discuss your legal options.

  • Car Insurance Buying Tip: How much UM/UIM should you buy in WA?

    Review your own automobile insurance policy. You will find a "Declarations page" which lists the various insurance coverages you have along with the premiums you are paying for each. If you cannot find your declarations page, call your agent and get a copy sent to you. 

    Most important coverages:

    The two most important items on that page are the limits of the liability coverage and the uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM / UIM) coverage. For both it will usually say something like:

                                                               $25,000/$50,000 or

                                                               $100,000/$300,000 or


    These two numbers mean the amount available per person and per accident. If there is only one person injured in a car accident then the lower amount is the limit. If there are four people injured in an accident then they have to divide the larger amount between them, but no one person can get more than the smaller limit. 

    Liability coverage is that amount of money your insurance company would pay in the event that you caused a car accident which resulted in an injury to another person. This coverage protects your personal assets. I strongly recommend that your liability coverage be at least $300,000.  In today's world of soaring medical costs, a serious collision can cause injuries with medical bills in excess of $100,000 which is the policy limit many people tend to carry.

    In hard financial times, some people carry insurance in amounts less than $100,000. Call your insurance agent.  You may be surprised to learn that the cost of increasing your coverage to $300,000 or even $500,000 is not that much.

    UM/UIM is the most important car insurance you can have!!

    When it comes to uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM / UIM) insurance companies often require your liability limit to match your UM/UIM limit. So you can't buy 25K in liability coverage and then buy 500K in UM/UIM. Why? Good question for your insurance agent. Mostly because UM/UIM is not a good deal for insurance companies and they don't like to sell it unless you've purchased a better liability policy on top of that.

    If you ride a motorcycle or bicycle having a high UM/UIM limit is critical.  Here's an example of why UM/UIM is critical:

    A motorcycle accident client suffered multiple broken bones that required surgeries and a hospital stay exceeding ten days.  A truck turned left in front of him and he slammed in the side of the truck.  The hospital bills alone exceeded 100K.  With missed work for many months and rehab treatment the client's out of pocket expenses exceeded 150,000. You can see why if most WA driver's have 100K or less in car insurance there could be a big problem if he didn't have good UM/UIM.  

    Financial stress or ruin is a real possibility in an accident with serious injuries like this when there isn't adequate car or motorcycle insurance available. 

    If you're buying or renewing your auto insurance and not sure what to do, order my free book Car Insurance Buying Secrets Unlocked. The book is loaded with lots of good tips and explanations on what the various coverage you can buy do for you.

  • What is Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage?

    Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage is an optional type of insurance you buy on your auto insurance policy to protect you and your family against vehicles that have inadequate insurance coverage.  Many cars on Washington state roadways do not buy enough auto insurance to cover all the damages caused by a car accident.

    If you're seriously injured in a collision your doctor bills can quickly exceed the Washington state minimum insurance requirements of 25,000.  This is especially true for motorcycle and bicycle accidents.  A trip to the ER with broken bones or a serious head injury can easily cost over $10,000.  If you require surgery and several days in the hospital your doctor bills can push past the $25,000 quickly. 

    When an at-fault driver does not have enough insurance your UIM coverage is design to step in and supplement the at-fault party’s insurance.  It’s designed to be another layer of protection for you.  Your UIM insurance will be asked to pay for all the damages you suffered in the accident caused by the negligence of the at-fault driver.

    UIM insurance often pays:

    • Doctor bills
    • Lost wages
    • Out-of-pocket expenses (like special braces, crutches, wheelchair rental, etc.)
    • Mileage to and from doctor appointments
    • Intangible harms like pain & discomfort

    For example, assume you're seriously injured in a motorcycle accident and suffer a broken wrist and broken leg which both require surgery to repair at Harborview Medical Center.  You could easily have $40,000 in hospital bills and will miss three months of work resulting in $10,000 in lost wages.  

    If you have UIM insurance with a limit of $300,000 and the at-fault driver only had $25,000 of liability insurance, then the at-fault driver's insurance will likely pay its policy limits of $25,000 to you. (Assuming you have no fault in the accident.)  At that point, your UIM insurance will step in and be responsible for paying the remaining medical bills, lost wages, other out-of-pocket expense, and fairly compensate you for all other harms and losses.  

    Note that this differs from Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage, which covers you if the at-fault driver has no insurance or leaves the scene of the accident.

    If you’re in a serious injury accident in Washington and don’t know if there’s adequate insurance to pay your bills, you probably should call an experienced Washington accident attorney to learn more about your legal rights. If you have questions call us at 425-399-7000.

  • What is Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage?

    Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage is an optional type of insurance you buy on your auto insurance policy to protect you and your family against vehicles that have no insurance.  Unfortunately, many cars on Washington state roadways do not have any insurance to cover damages caused in a car accident.

    When you’re in a car accident that is not your fault the other car’s insurance is suppose to pay:

    • To fix your car
    • Pay your medical bills
    • Pay your lost wages
    • Compensate you for all your harms and losses

    When an at-fault driver has no insurance your UM coverage is supposed to step in and take the place of the at-fault party’s insurance.  Your UM insurance will pay for all the damages you suffered in the accident caused by the negligence of someone else. (Note that this differs from Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage, which covers you if the at-fault driver does not have sufficient coverage to cover your damages.)

    UM insurance also covers accidents caused by someone driving a stolen vehicle.  A vehicle may have insurance but if it’s been stolen and you’re hit by the car thief, there is an exception and no insurance will apply from the stolen vehicle.

    The same is true of an intentional act by another driver, like in a road rage incident.  If another car intentionally hits you, the insurance on at-fault car will likely deny payment of any of your damages. Why? Because the collision was intentional which is almost always an exclusion on auto insurance coverage.

    If you’re hit by a stolen car or road rage driver you should contact an experienced Washington car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Call us at 425-399-7000.

  • What Is PIP Insurance & Should I Use It After a Car Accident?

    Cars on Road After an AccidentYou can buy optional Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance coverage in Washington State to help pay some of your losses from an auto accident, regardless of who caused the wreck. Although you do not have to buy PIP insurance in Washington, state law requires your auto insurer to offer it when you buy a new policy.

    To opt out of PIP coverage, you have to reject it in writing. Without your written rejection, your insurance company has to provide the coverage, and you have to pay for it. Most motor vehicle policies in Washington include PIP coverage.

    For help with a Washington PIP insurance claim, call Max Meyers Law at 425-399-7000.

    Which Costs Will My PIP Policy Cover?

    Regardless of who caused your wreck, your PIP can pay some of your:

    • Medical bills;
    • Lost wages;
    • Lost services; and
    • Funeral costs.

    How Much PIP Coverage Can I Buy?

    Your insurance company might offer coverage above the minimum coverage limits. Your PIP policy will pay up to a certain amount for a variety of accident-related losses. State law sets the maximum amount of coverage you can purchase.

    Medical and Hospital Expenses

    Each person injured in an accident can get up to a total of $10,000 for reasonable medical and hospital expenses they faced because of the crash. Your PIP policy will continue to pay for medical costs for up to three years after the wreck. The maximum amount of coverage you can buy is $35,000.

    Funeral Expenses

    Funeral expenses are reimbursed up to $2,000. This amount is the minimum and the maximum coverage you can buy.

    Lost Wages

    You can get income continuation, or lost wages, after a car crash. Your PIP policy will pay a maximum of $200 per week, up to a total of $10,000. These benefits do not begin until you miss 14 consecutive days of work after the wreck. The maximum coverage will pay up to $700 per week for a total of $35,000.

    Loss of Services

    If you have to pay someone to perform work that you cannot do because of your injuries, like cooking or cleaning, PIP will pay up to $200 a week, up to a total of $5,000. The most you can buy is $14,600 in coverage.

    Do I Have to Pay for Any of My Medical Costs Myself?

    Unlike some other types of insurance, like health insurance, your PIP coverage should pay all of your covered medical bills, up to the policy limits. You do not have a co-pay or deductible with PIP medical expense benefits.

    Your insurer might demand that you get an Independent Medical Examination (IME) with a doctor the company selects. If you refuse to have the IME, the insurer might suspend or terminate payment of your PIP benefits. If your insurer takes any of these steps, you should talk with a lawyer right away.

    How Much Does PIP Coverage Cost?

    Multiple factors can affect how much you will have to pay for PIP coverage.

    Because PIP coverage is something you buy from an insurance company, not from the government, the same amount of coverage can cost more at one company than it costs at another. You might save money if you shop around and compare prices.

    It is also important to note that the insurance company will charge you for every vehicle you cover with PIP. Many insurance companies make you pay for PIP coverage on all of your cars and trucks, and will not let you buy the protection for only one of your vehicles.

    Who Can Use PIP Benefits?

    Imagine, for example, that you have PIP coverage on your car. Your PIP policy can pay benefits to you and:

    • Anyone living in your household related to you by blood, marriage, or adoption;
    • Stepchildren;
    • Foster children;
    • Passengers in your car; and
    • Bicyclists or pedestrians who suffered injuries in the crash.

    When Does PIP Not Apply?

    Your insurance company can refuse to pay for medical or other services if it decides:

    • The cost is unreasonable;
    • The service is unnecessary;
    • The service is not related to the accident; or
    • You incurred the cost more than three years after the accident.

    PIP coverage will not cover injuries from:

    • Motorcycles, with some exceptions;
    • Mopeds;
    • Recreational vehicles;
    • Off-road vehicles; and
    • Farm equipment.

    Even if the vehicle has PIP coverage, it will be null and void if a legal exception applies. This could impact the situation if the policyholder:

    • Intentionally injured someone else or themselves;
    • Was committing a felony at the time of the accident;
    • Sustained the injuries while racing; or
    • Was in a vehicle that did not have PIP coverage.

    Different legal guidelines apply to commercial vehicles and prearranged rides. These rules change how insurance claims work after an Uber or Lyft accident.

    Can I Purchase Other Optional Coverage?

    Because some people drive without auto insurance, experts recommend that you carry PIP coverage on your auto policy. Getting hurt in a crash is bad enough, but having a stack of medical bills to pay will make the situation worse.

    Since the amount of PIP coverage you can buy would not pay all of your losses in the event of a significant injury, you should also consider purchasing uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. UM coverage can overlap with other insurance policies to pay for your damages after a crash with an uninsured driver. Underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage can help you if the other driver only carried the minimum level of insurance and it is not enough to pay for all your losses.

    How Can I Discuss My PIP Claim With a Car Accident Lawyer?

    At Max Meyers Law, we apply our years of experience to help you fight for the compensation you deserve. We are comfortable with the language and provisions in motor vehicle insurance policies, and we know how to deal with insurance companies after a wreck. Give us a call at 425-399-7000, and we will set up a no-cost consultation and case evaluation.

  • What are the most common causes of car accidents in Washington state?

    As you probably know, there are many different circumstances that can contribute to a car accident. However, among the many causes, there are certainly a few that play more prominent roles than others. The Washington State Department of Transportation's most recent report summarizing collision data from 2011 provides a helpful look at some of the more common causes of car accidents in Seattle and the rest of the state:

    Most Common Causes of Washington Car Accidents—All Collisions

    • Did not grant right of way to vehicle
    • Exceeding reasonable safe speed
    • Following too closely
    • Inattention

    Most Common Causes of Washington Car Accidents—Fatal Accidents

    • Under the influence of alcohol
    • Car went over the center line
    • Exceeding reasonable safe speed
    • Exceeding stated speed limit

    These were all far and above the most common causes, but there were many others listed including:

    • Disregarding stop light
    • Improper turn
    • Operating defective equipment
    • Driver distractions outside of the vehicle
    • Apparently asleep
    • Driver interacting with passengers, animals or objects in the vehicle
    • Improper passing
    • Under the influence of drugs

    It is alarming how many things can cause accidents, so it is your duty as a licensed driver to make sure you do everything you can to drive safely. Unfortunately, there's nothing you can do to control other drivers on the road, but by operating your vehicle safely, you will hopefully be able to prevent a Washington traffic accident before it occurs.

    If you found our answer helpful, please share this article on Facebook to educate your friends and family about the dangers on the roads of Washington.