Seattle Motorcycle Accident Attorneys

You were injured in a motorcycle accident. Now what?

Seattle Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

Any accident involving a motorcycle can be catastrophic. This is particularly true when the injury was caused by a car. While the driver of a vehicle is protected by seatbelts, airbags and the vehicle itself, as a motorcycle rider you’re only protected by a helmet and the clothes you have on.

In 2019, there were nearly 2,000 reported accidents involving motorcycles in Washington State according to the highway patrol. Out of these, approximately 500, or 25%, resulted in either serious injury or death. Another 1,150, representing about 54%, reported a more minor injury. This means only about 20% of motorcyclists are able to walk away from an accident unscathed. This is an alarmingly high rate of injury. Because of this, insurance companies are always looking for ways to blame you for the accident and pay out as little as possible for your injures.

Whether you were injured by a car or by another means, if the other party was negligent, you deserve to be made whole financially. Your job is to focus on recovering from your injury. We will handle the rest. Unlike the insurance companies, our only interest is in protecting you and putting you in the best position possible.

Common Motorcycle Accident Questions

You will have peace of mind that your attorneys truly care about you and your family. Michelle & Court have over 35 years of combined experience and will use all of that experience towards helping you. We will take the stress of dealing with the insurance companies away from you, and will get you the compensation you deserve. Money that will help to cover lost wages, medical expenses, pain & suffering, etc. We will personally handle your case every step of the way, including contacting the insurance companies, contacting the at-fault party and/or their attorney, investigation, research, drafting pleadings, conducting depositions, and taking cases through trial when necessary. This process will often be resolved over the course of several months, but can sometimes take years. Throughout this process, we are there for our clients. We care about what our clients are going through and we want them to feel comfortable that they are in the best hands. We will meet with you, gain an understanding of your individual situation and if we decide to work together, our fee does not get paid until the insurance company pays you. It is scary to find yourself or your loved one a victim of any type of injury or loss. It is your job to heal. It is our job to deal with everything else.

This is a common issue that we see. Car/Truck drivers are notorious for trying to blame a “reckless” motorcycle rider for “coming from out of nowhere” and causing the accident. And you can be sure that the insurance companies for those drivers will fully support them so they can try to avoid paying you anything.

So what can you do? Fight back. We seek to find witnesses and/or cameras in the area that may have captured the accident. We may need an expert in the field of accident reconstruction to analyze the crash. We look into whether the driver was distracted, under the influence, etc. The bottom line is if you were not at fault then we will do everything we can to establish the other party is to blame for the accident.

We see a variety of injuries with motorcycle accidents.  Among the more common include:

  • Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
  • Broken Bones
  • Neck Injuries
  • Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Amputations
  • Road Rash
    • While this term is sometimes thought to be used for minor injuries, when it associated with a motorcycle accident it can often be very serious requiring long term treatment and possibly plastic surgery
  • Internal bleeding/injuries to organs
  • Back/Spinal cord injuries
  • Rider’s Arm/Leg
    • A term used in association with motorcycle injuries where a rider’s arms and/or legs can suffer from nerve damage or paralysis after being thrown from your bike and having your arms or legs absorb the brunt of the impact
  • Dental Injuries 
  • Facial injuries
  • Lacerations

Possibly. Helmets are mandatory for motorcycle riders in Washington State. Thus, if your accident resulted in a head injury and you were not wearing a helmet, you will likely be considered to share in the fault for that injury, even if you were not at fault for the accident itself. Because Washington is a comparative/contributory fault state, the percentage you are ultimately determined to be at fault will be deducted for your overall settlement or jury award.

Despite the above, if you were not wearing a helmet but suffered a broken arm and/or other injuries not associated with your head or neck, then whether or not you were wearing a helmet doesn’t really matter from a contributory fault standpoint.

First, we are very sorry for your loss.  We understand that despite this horrible loss, you may still be stuck with medical bills, funeral costs, and other expenses. You may be able to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit to recover these costs and more. Please visit our wrongful death page and reach out at any time for a consultation.

The responding police officer(s) may put their opinions into the police report but ultimately both parties’ insurance companies will conduct their own independent investigations to try and determine where the fault lies. You want to have your own attorney to protect your claim.

In WA State, all drivers must carry proof of auto/liability insurance, including motorcyclists. RCW 46.30 requires anyone who drives a motor vehicle or a motorcycle in our state to do one of the following options:

  • Carry liability insurance with liability limits of at least:
    • $25,000 for injuries or death to another person
    • $50,000 for injuries or death to all other people
    • $10,000 for damage to another person’s property
  • Apply for a certificate of deposit to pay for your liability insurance with the Department of Licensing.
  • Have a liability bond of at least $60,000 filed by a surety bond company that’s authorized to do business in Washington.
  • Self-insure if you have 26 or more vehicles.

If you were not at fault for the accident, then we seek recovery from the other driver’s insurance company. If you were at fault, then you can seek coverage from your personal injury protection (PIP) if you have it.

PIP is offered through your insurance provider. If you have it, it will cover medical bills and loss wages as a result of an accident. There may be some exclusions, however.

No. In fact, Washington State insurance companies are not required to offer PIP coverage if you only ride a motorcycle. This is different from car insurance where the insurance companies are required to offer PIP, and the only way you don’t have it is if you specifically reject it in writing.

Not necessarily. The policy must specifically state that it covers both cars and motorcycles.

It depends on your policy.  You can take a look at the following sections of your policy for this:

  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP);
  • Collision Coverage; and
  • Underinsured/Uninsured Coverage 

The other driver’s liability insurance is supposed to pay.

Your Personal Injury Protection pays first. If/When that were to run out, then health insurance may start picking up the tab. However, if they do, you may need to reimburse them out of any compensation you receive from a settlement or trial verdict.

If your bills/expenses get paid by your own insurance company, they will seek to recover their costs from the at-fault person. This is a process called subrogation. Once a settlement or verdict is reached in your favor, your insurance company will start this process.

It’s not uncommon for injury victims to be partially at fault for an accident. This does not mean you are completely responsible and you very well may still be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

Washington State uses a “pure comparative negligence” calculation, where the amount of money you recover gets reduced by the percentage you are considered to be at fault. For example, Let’s say you recover $100,000 but are determined to be 25% at fault, your total recovery would then be $75,000.

No. In the handful of states with “No Fault” coverage, you can recover funds for medical bills and costs through your own insurance company regardless of who is at fault for the accident. In Washington State, as in most states, you instead have the option of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance.

Your own insurance policy may cover you for uninsured motorists (UM) and underinsured  motorist (UIM) collisions.  If so, you may be able to file a claim with your own insurance company.  Your collision and personal liability coverage can help cover your losses.  The same often goes for a collision where you are the victim of a hit-and-run driver.

Also, UIM coverage is a floating layer of coverage. In other words, it’s coverage in addition to the coverage held by the at-fault driver.

UM/UIM is required to be offered in the same amount as your liability coverage.

Under Washington law, the party with legal liability for economic damages may have the right to pay them to the person harmed in periodic installments, instead of in a lump-sum.

In a personal injury case, medical bills can skyrocket and healthcare providers understandably want to get paid for their services. In many cases, they do not get paid up front or at the time of service, but rather place a lien on your insurance claim. In other words, when there is a medical lien involved with your personal injury case, when you ultimately settle your case or win at trial, the unpaid medical bills are then paid to the healthcare provider out of your settlement.

If the healthcare provider is not willing to wait for payment, your insurance company can pay these medical bills instead and then the insurance company will in turn place their own lien on your settlement so they can recoup these payments. This is a process called subrogation.

Overall, a medical lien can be very helpful in that you do not have to pay out of pocket for your needed treatment. We step in to the process to negotiate the lien to reduce what is owed for medical bills and leave more of that money in your pocket.

A Phantom Vehicle refers to a vehicle that causes damage or injury without making physical contact. For example, let’s say another car swerves into your lane, and to avoid a collision, you swerve out of the way, but then you hit something else.

Do what you can to stop the “Phantom Vehicle” and exchange information; if you are unable to do this, at least get the license plate number.

Washington State requires that you report a “Phantom Vehicle” collision to the police within 72 hours if you intend on filing an insurance claim.

This is a common occurrence and there is often a responsible party to be found. Cities and counties are charged with the duty of maintaining safe roadways for both cars and motorcycles alike and if they fail to do so, they could be held liable.

Quite possibly, yes. Manufacturers must produce motorcycles that comply with stringent safety standards so if there was a mechanical failure of some kind, they may be liable.

We also look into issues with tire blowouts and other causes. For instance, did you go in for a recent service that was performed negligently?

Uber and Lyft drivers have the same responsibilities as all other drivers on the road, so you can still pursue legal action.  In fact, ride share companies carry supplemental insurance for their drivers when the app is ON as follows:

UBER and LYFT:

  • Driver is available or waiting for a ride
    • When the driver’s personal auto insurance isn’t enough to cover damages, Uber maintains third party liability in the following amounts:
      • $50,000 in bodily injury per person
      • $100,000 in bodily injury per accident
      • $25,000 in property damage per accident
  • En route to pick up riders & during trips
    • $1,000,000 third-party liability

Absolutely. We want to know as much about what caused your injury as possible and who is to blame.  In a motorcycle injury case, we look at many things, including:

  • What were the road conditions like at the time?
  • Was the driver that hit you distracted?
  • Was the driver that hit you under the influence of anything?
  • Are there any cameras that captured the accident?
  • Do we need an accident reconstructionist or other expert to evaluate the case?
  • Did your motorcycle have any defects or recent service visits?
  • Have there been previous accidents at the same location?

The list above is not exhaustive, but gives you an idea of some of the areas we look into.  The facts and circumstances of your particular case will ultimately dictate where the investigation takes us.

The most common defenses we see is that the insurance company will try to claim:

  • You are at fault for the accident
  • You are partially at fault, referred to as contributory negligence
  • No proximate cause – they acknowledge you are injured but try to claim it was not caused by the accident (this is more common in car accident cases as the cause of the injury in motorcycle accident cases is usually obvious).

Despite these available defenses, we will do everything possible to still maximize your recovery.

 

General/Insurance FAQ's

We’ll keep this answer simple: Yes, you need an attorney if you want to maximize your recovery. It’s just one of those things that is best left to the experts.

Insurance companies want to pay out the minimums, close your file, and move on. Attorneys get in the way of that.

This question will get you a very lawyer-like answer: it depends. We need to know a lot more about your injury and get deep into the case before we can fully answer this question.

The word “win” also means different things to different people. For instance, if an insurance adjustor offers you $500 to settle your case and then after we get involved the offer goes up to $20,000, many people would consider that a win. In some cases, we would agree with this. In others, we may believe that more money is deserved and will urge you to keep fighting.

What we can tell you is this. We will put you in the best position to maximize your recovery, whether that is through a settlement or trial.

Similar answer here to the question above about whether you will “win” your case. While this is another great question, it’s not one that can be answered until many things happen first. Fault and seriousness of the injury, are a couple of the main factors at play.

The two primary types of damages that can be recovered are economic/special damages, and non-economic/general damages.

Economic damages are for out-of-pocket costs that are incurred due to the injury.  For example:

  • Medical costs, including unreimbursed bills, long-term/chronic care costs, medical devices, home modifications, physical therapy, etc.
  • Property damages;
  • Lost wages or employment opportunity

General damages are for other harms that you have suffered but are more difficult to calculate, such as:

  • Enjoyment/Quality of life
  • Pain & suffering
  • Loss of consortium/companionship
No. There is no cap on either economic (out of pocket) or general damages in Washington State. However, Washington does not allow you to recover punitive damages.
The deadline to file a claim, also called the statute of limitations, is 3 years for most personal injury cases in Washington State. The clock starts ticking on the same day of your accident/injury.
The vast majority of cases get resolved through a settlement prior to trial. That said, there are some cases where trial is the only way to get the compensation you deserve.
It varies quite a lot. It can be a few months to a couple of years (and occasionally even longer in serious injury cases). To get the biggest settlement, we typically want to wait until treatment finished, and you have reached what is referred to as maximum medical improvement. It’s important to remember that you also have some say in how long your case will go on for, meaning that if a settlement offer is made, you can decide whether or not to accept it/
Yes. Nothing is more important than your health and physical recovery. It’s important to reach out to an attorney as well, but don’t feel like you must speak to an attorney before visiting the doctor. Just make sure to document everything about your medical visits and care.

It’s not uncommon for injury victims to be partially at fault for an accident. This does not mean you are completely responsible and you very well may still be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

Washington State uses a “pure comparative negligence” calculation, where the amount of money you recover gets reduced by the percentage you are considered to be at fault. For example, Let’s say you recover $100,000 but are determined to be 25% at fault, your total recovery would then be $75,000.

If you have Personal Injury Protection, then you can recover economic damages for medical bills, etc. However ,you will not be able to recover any general/non-economic damages (such as pain & suffering).
Once the settlement is finalized, you can typically get a check within 30 days, but this is not a requirement under Washington law. There are a number of circumstances that could cause it to take longer.

Protect yourself with a motorcycle accident personal injury lawyer.

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I would highly recommend Mr Court for any criminal case consulting. His approach was thoroughly professional. he was a great listener and a good strategist. His approach was methodical and he didnt rush into any decisions. I changed my counsel just before my first court date and Mr Court did an excellent job. The case was finally dismissed in my favor. I would consider myself lucky but Mr court had some innovative ways to approach my case. It was such a pleasure to have Mr Court on my side. He was super responsive over texts and emails. He was punctual and very gentle in communication.
We never imagined we would be in the position to need a defense attorney, but when we did, we were so thankful that we found Court Will. Both he and Michelle are truly the best. Court is extremely dedicated, thoughtful, calm, and confident. He took time to get to know us, the case, and really ensured that we understood not only what was happening, but all possible outcomes. Court was honest, answered every question, took his time with us, gave excellent advice, and ultimately got the best possible outcome we could have hoped for. He is brilliant, and we are most grateful.
After some research & speaking with other attorneys, I came across Court. I instantly knew he was right for my situation. I met him shortly after we discuss some details on the phone. He was very pleasant & very understanding of this difficult time in my life. One of the hardest things I have ever gone through. Of course I hired him. As months passed, he reached out to me & gave me the best news/results I have ever heard. I know the work he did in the background & I couldn’t be more grateful. Thank you Court!
Chris
A knowledgable and caring attorney who got me an amazing result I was charged with a felony sex crime. I had a previous attorney before hiring Mr. Will. The other attorney told me I needed to plead guilty or I would go to prison for 3 years. Due to a number of reasons, I didn't want to go to trial, and Mr. Will respected that. Mr. Will went to court for me more times than I can count, did some additional investigation and ultimately told me that I could plead guilty to a lesser offense and get probation and house arrest. I was amazed. I give Mr. Will my highest recommendation.
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