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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 425-242-5595. 

Max Meyers
Max is a Kirkland personal injury attorney handling cases in Seattle, King County & surrounding in WA State.