Seattle Motorcycle Accident Attorney
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 something I didn't even cause?"
It's a good question. And the hard-working Seattle motorcycle accident attorneys 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 freedom, their finances, and their futures by holding the responsible parties accountable for their actions.
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.
Of course, there are a number of situations that could cause a motorcycle accident, but some causes are more common than others. Most motorcycle accidents will occur in an intersection, most likely when another motorist is turning left and collides with the motorcycle. Motorcyclists being thrown from their bikes, rear-end accidents, and sideswipes are also very common causes of motorcycle accidents.
A lawyer can help you calculate what your overall losses will be, including wage from missed work, future medical bills, and pain and suffering.
But the question remains for many accident victims: Who is at fault?
All drivers, whether they’re driving a motorcycle or another vehicle, owe a duty of care to other drivers on the road. This means that all drivers must act in a reasonable and responsible way to keep all other drivers on the road safe. When a driver is negligent and engages in speeding, texting, or breaking other rules of the road, he has broken that duty of care and can be found at fault in certain accident situations.
Listed below are some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents, 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 one-third happening because another motorist turned into the path of the motorcycle. Even when a motorcyclist rides defensively, an inattentive or otherwise negligent motorist may still cause a crash.
In many cases, negligent drivers cause a left-turn accident with a motorcycle when they are:
- Speeding through the intersection
- Driving while intoxicated or distracted
- Driving under heavy fatigue
- 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 or too slowly.
Sideswipe accidents often occur when the offending motorist forgets to check his or her blind spot and turns into the motorcyclist's lane. The motorcyclist may be hit or forced to evade quickly, causing him or her to either collide with another object or lose control and go down.
Driver distraction is at the root of many motorcycle sideswipe accidents. It is the reason why many motorists involved in motorcycle collisions state that they never saw the victim at all before the crash occurred.
When drivers are distracted due to texting or talking on the phone, changing radio stations, or interacting with other people in the car, they are likely to be found at fault for causing the accident. Other causes of sideswipe motorcycle accidents include other motorists being drunk, fatigued, or driving recklessly. When this is the case, they will also most likely be found at fault.
In some cases, dangerous road conditions or defective parts on vehicles may also be part of 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.
Being Thrown From a Bike
Motorcycles don't have restraint systems like seat belts 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 parked car, the motorcycle's rider and passenger are often thrown off the bike. Being thrown from a bike is a major cause of serious injuries and fatalities.
Determining fault in these types of accidents will largely depend on who was at fault for the initial accident. 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.
In some cases, a motorcycle will come across an obstacle on the road. These could be animals, construction equipment that shouldn’t have been left on the road, or other obstacles. In these instances, the motorcyclist will need to stop quickly in order to avoid the obstacle. And when they do, motorcyclists are often turned end-to-end and thrown from their bikes. When this is the case, the party responsible for leaving the object out in the road may be found at fault for the accident.
- Distracted drivers: Smartphones have immensely contributed to this growing traffic hazard. But motorists who text or check email aren't the only culprits, there are many other causes for distracted driving, such as adjusting the radio, eating, looking at maps, applying makeup, being involved in conversations, paying attention to kids or pets in the back seat, etc.
- Blind spots: All passenger motor vehicles except motorcycles have blind spots. These are usually caused by the steel frames that connect a vehicle's chassis to its roof. They can also be caused by passengers, headrests, and cargo or luggage, etc. While correctly adjusted mirrors can help shrink blind spots, they can't eliminate them all together.
- Motorcycles are difficult to see: Motorcycles are quite a bit smaller than other motor 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.
Unfortunately, over the years we've witnessed a great deal of motorcycle collisions and a wide variety of associated injuries. Because of a motorcycle's size and exposure, injuries to riders are often times quite severe, demanding a great deal of medical attention and rehabilitation to fully recover from.
- Degloving is a gruesome type of injury that involves the skin coming completely off of a hand or foot, leaving the muscle, tendons, and tissues underneath completely 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 a very common injury after motorcycle accidents. When a motorcycle accident occurs, part of the motorcycle or other car’s parts may crash into a person’s spine, neck, or brain. Or those areas of the body 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. When those nerves are damaged, the signals to move the arms and legs can no longer be carried and this can result in paralysis.
- Broken bones are common after a motorcycle accident. 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. With gallons of gas present in the motorcycle and any other vehicles involved, it can easily ignite and cause burn injuries to accident victims. These are typically fairly severe in motorcycle accidents, often leaving victims with third-degree burns that need extensive grafting and treatment.
- Road rash is a serious, yet common injury, that occurs when the rider is thrown from their bike and slides across the asphalt, causing skin abrasions.
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) brain injury, brain injuries can be devastating, resulting in impairment to memory, cognitive functions, sight, motor functions, and even emotions and changes to personality. It is possible for a brain injury to cause permanent disability.
Whether the motorcyclist has suffered a total loss of consciousness after the collision or not, immediate medical care is imperative if a brain injury is suspected. A short or long-term hospital stay is probably necessary. Following release from the hospital, a stay in a rehabilitation facility may be required, as well as physical therapy to maximize a return of as many bodily functions as possible considering the trauma the brain has suffered. Physical and psychological therapy may be required to aid the victim in recovery. During the recuperation stage, a victim may be unable to work. Factor in loss of income due to the injury, emotional concerns regarding recovery, and the financial drain of ongoing medical care, and the damages of a brain injury can become overwhelming for a family to bear.
Washington is what is known as a "comparative fault state." Comparative fault recognizes that both parties involved in an accident may share fault for that accident. 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 $10,000, you would only be able to collect 90% of that settlement, or $9,000.
In Washington, the statute of limitations for a motorcycle accident claim is two years from the date of the crash. If your lawsuit is not filed within those two years, you lose the right to seek any compensation for the negligence that injured you or your loved one.
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 squarely belongs.
If your loved one was killed in a motorcycle crash, or you were seriously injured in an accident, call our office today 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.
Call us for a free consultation(888) 228-3860
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