What Should I Do If I was Involved in a Motorcycle Accident?
When riding a motorcycle, people are especially vulnerable to injuries and even death in the event of an accident. In 2012, 83 motorcycle riders died in roadway accidents in Washington state, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Fortunately, there are legal options available to victims and their families to make sure that they do not unjustly suffer financially. The legal options after motorcycle crashes are robust for victims, but there are challenges in every case, and potential litigants would protect themselves by preparing for the possibility of a legal dispute. Find our more below from Washington State motorcycle accident lawyer Max Meyers.
Legal Options after a Motorcycle Accident in Washington
Personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits are available to victims of motorcycle accidents to help recover losses. Both of these lawsuits involve the concept of negligence which is defined by the failure to use reasonable care in order to prevent harm to others.
In personal injury suits, this concept is combined with proof that the defendant's actions caused substantial damages to the plaintiff and to show the defendant is responsible for the plaintiff's damages.
If the motorcyclist died in the accident, the family and the rider’s representative may be able to pursue two types of claims. The decedent's estate may file a survival action for the rider’s damages similar to what he would have recovered in a personal injury claim.
A wrongful death lawsuit focuses on the harm close family members suffer when the loss of a loved one affects them both financially and emotionally.
Motorcycle Safety and How It Affects Legal Rights
As most riders know, there are a variety of safety regulations that the state promulgates to protect a rider's safety. Some of those regulations include:
- bikers must wear helmets;
- eye protection must be worn if the bike does not have a windscreen;
- bike headlights must run at all times;
- passengers require passenger seats and foot pegs;
- no more than two bikes to a lane;
- bikes cannot drive between lanes; and
- handlebars cannot be higher than 30 inches.
What many bikers do not realize is that violations of those regulations can be used against them to reduce the value of their insurance claim. For example, a biker riding without a helmet may see his claim reduced if he suffered a head injury so a helmet may have avoided or reduced the severity of the injury.
Such reductions may be based on Washington’s comparative negligence laws, which reduce the plaintiff’s settlement or award proportionally to his fault. For example, if the rider is 10 percent at fault or an accident or injury and suffered $50,000 in damages, his damages are reduced 10 percent ($5,000) and he recovers $45,000.
The Benefits of Retaining a Motorcycle Accident Attorney
At Max Meyers Law, we focus on accident cases and are familiar with the types of injuries bikers suffer like:
- Head trauma;
- Large and painful burns;
- Broken bones;
- Traumatic brain injuries;
- Internal bleeding;
- Loss of limbs; and
- Serious road rash.
Our legal team is also familiar with other issues more specific to motorcycle accidents, like applicable laws, dangerous circumstances (like left turn or blind spot-related accidents), and more. We fight to ensure the injured party or his or her family is awarded enough compensation to handle the present and long-term effects of the accident. This could mean medical costs, future rehabilitation or therapy, lost time from work, and future lost wages. The bottom line is, if the accident was not your fault, you should not have to pay for anything.
Do You Have a Case? We Offer a FREE, No Obligation Consultation.
The Max Meyers law firm is capable of handling all the complexities of your motorcycle accident case. Contact our offices at 425-399-7000 for more information or to set up a free consultation. When visiting our firm, be sure to request a complimentary copy of our book for motorcyclists, Motorcycle Accident Secrets Unlocked.