Seattle Motorcycle Accident Attorneys
You or a loved one has been in a motorcycle accident. You're hurt, you're frustrated, and you want nothing more than to put the entire thing behind you. But you've got medical bills stacking up, another day of unemployment has gone by, and its looks like you may be in for a long road to recovery.
You might be thinking: "This wasn't even my fault! Why do I have to pay for it?"
It's a good question. And the hard-working Seattle motorcycle accident lawyers at Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S., are ready to help you answer it. For nearly half a century we've been helping victims just like you regain their futures by holding the right parties accountable for their actions. We can help you calculate what your overall losses will be, including wages from missed work, future medical bills, and pain and suffering. Call (888) 228-3860 to set up a free consultation today.
Washington Motorcycle Accident Recoveries
- $225,000 recovery for leg fracture in Seattle motorcycle accident.
- $175,000 recovery for a man who injured his clavicle and ribs when a car swerved and knocked him off his motorcycle in Bellevue.
All drivers, whether they’re driving a car or a semi-truck, owe a duty of care to other people on the road: they must act in a reasonable and responsible way to keep everyone safe. When a driver is negligent and speeds, drives distracted, or breaks other rules of the road, he has breached his duty of care and can be found at fault in certain situations.
Washington is what is known as a "comparative fault state." Comparative fault recognizes that both parties involved in an accident may share fault. Suppose you were speeding on your motorcycle when you were hit by a driver who was texting at the time. A jury may decide that you were 10% at fault for the accident because you were speeding, and the other driver was 90% at fault because he was texting. If the settlement you were seeking was $100,000, you would only be able to collect 90% of that settlement, or $90,000.
A lawyer can help you calculate what your overall losses will be, including wage from missed work, future medical bills, and pain and suffering.
That varies, depending on the accident. A number of factors, such as the severity of your injuries, and whether the injuries affect your ability to do a job, can contribute to the amount of compensation. The degree of fault may also affect the level of damages. Compensation available to motorcycle accident victims includes:
- Medical bills, current and future, related to the crash
- Lost income, whether lost wages or lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering, and other “soft” or “intangible” costs of the crash
- Property damage, such as vehicle repairs
There are a number of situations that can cause a motorcycle to wipe out, but some are more common than others. Listed below are some of the common causes of motorcycle accidents in Washington, and who is typically found at fault after they have occurred.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has found that 70% of motorcycle collisions occur at intersections, with at least 33% happening because another motorist turned into the path of the motorcycle. In many cases, these drivers are:
- Speeding through the intersection
- Driving while intoxicated, distracted, or fatigued
- Failing to give right-of-way
- Failing to use turn signals
When these behaviors have caused a left-turn motorcycle accident, the driver engaging in those behaviors will likely be found at fault for the accident.
Rear-end accidents occur (of course) when one vehicle crashes into another vehicle from behind. When a driver rear-ends another driver in Washington, the one behind is typically the one found at fault. Drivers can share the fault with a motorcyclist in cases where the motorcycle made a sudden stop, or if the motorcyclist was driving recklessly.
Sideswipe accidents often occur when a driver doesn’t check his blind spots before merging or turning into the motorcyclist's lane. The motorcyclist may be hit or forced to evade, laying down his bike, colliding with another object, or just losing control altogether.
Driver distraction is at the root of many motorcycle sideswipe accidents. It is why many motorists involved in motorcycle collisions state that they “never saw the victim at all!” before the crash occurred. When drivers are texting or talking on the phone, changing radio stations, interacting with other people in the car, driving impaired, or making aggressive maneuvers, they are likely to be found at fault for causing the accident.
Motorcycles don't have restraint systems like seatbelts or shoulder straps. While some motorcycles can be fitted with airbags, and some jackets containing airbags are available, the majority of motorcycle riders don't have these safety features. When a motorcycle is struck by another vehicle or runs into a stationary object, such as a suddenly opening car door, the rider is often thrown off the bike.
Determining liability in these types of accidents will depend on who was at fault for the initial impact. If another driver crashed into the motorcycle, he would most likely be found at fault for the biker being thrown from the bike, and any injuries resulting from that.
- Motorcycles are difficult to see: Motorcycles are quite a bit smaller than other vehicles, and therefore are less visible to other drivers. Combine this fact with blind spots and distracted driving, and you have a recipe for an accident.
- Motor vehicles changing lanes: Many drivers fail to do head checks or adequately check their mirrors before changing lanes and may collide with a motorcycle that is occupying that lane.
- Running red lights or stop signs: This could be due to distracted driving or a driver trying to beat a yellow light. Either way, running red lights or stop signs can prove fatal to motorcycle riders.
- Road conditions: Whether it's rain, ice, sleet, show, debris, loose gravel, or spilled oil, all can cause serious injuries to a bike rider.
Sometimes, dangerous road conditions or defective parts on vehicles may be the cause of an accident. When this is the case, manufacturers and/or government entities may also be partially or wholly at fault for the accident. A good attorney can find out.
Over the years, we've witnessed many motorcycle collisions and a wide variety of associated injuries. Because of a motorcycle's size and exposure, injuries to riders are often severe, demanding a great deal of medical attention and rehabilitation to fully recover from.
- Road rash is a serious-yet-common injury, which occurs when the rider is thrown from a bike and slides across the asphalt, scraping off the skin.
- Degloving involves the skin coming completely off of a hand or foot, leaving the muscle, tendons, and tissues underneath exposed and vulnerable. In addition to the obvious problems these injuries cause, they can also prevent the body from performing basic functions, such as regulating blood pressure.
- Paralysis is very common after motorcycle accidents. During an impact, part of the motorcycle or the other car may strike the biker’s spine, neck, or brain. Or the biker may collide with something, such as the pavement, during the accident. When this occurs, it can cause damage to these important areas of the body that carry nerve signals. Orders to move the arms and legs can no longer be carried to the limbs, and this results in paralysis.
- Broken bones are common after collisions. When the limbs are too damaged to repair through surgery, splints, and other treatments, the only option left may be to amputate. Again, this happens far too often.
- Burns. Fire is at the scene of too many motorcycle accidents. Gallons of gas present in the motorcycle and any other vehicles can ignite and cause burn injuries to accident victims. These are usually severe in motorcycle accidents, leaving victims with third-degree burns that need extensive grafting and treatment.
- Brain trauma can also occur as a result of a motorcycle accident. Motorcycle helmets are not enough to protect the head from all injury. Whether a closed (caused by the brain shaking in the skull) or penetrating (caused by something penetrating the skull) injury, it can be devastating, resulting in impairment to memory, cognitive functions, sight, motor functions, and even emotions and personality. A traumatic brain injury can cause permanent disability.
The Seattle injury attorneys at Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S., have dealt with the nuances of representing motorcyclists and know what it takes to secure your case. You can rest assured that will we use every tool at our disposal to obtain the compensation you need to recover - and put the blame where it belongs.
If your loved one was killed in a motorcycle crash, or you were seriously injured in an accident, call our office to set up a case consultation at no cost to you. Let us handle the details while you focus on recovery. Call (888) 228-3860 today, or submit your information via our contact form. Either way, it's important you take that first step and reach out to our firm so that we can fight for your rights while you recover from injuries.
- Understanding Lower-Extremity Injuries in Motorcycle Accidents
- The Legal Difference Between Mopeds and Motorcycles
- How to Stay Safe on Your Motorcycle
- Motorcycling Is Symbolic of Freedom - or Wrongful Death
- Motorcycles - Washington State Department of Licensing
- Motorcycle Traffic Safety Facts - NHTSA
Call us for a free consultation(888) 228-3860
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