Washington Motorcycle Accident Attorneys
Motorcycle accidents are unfortunately all too common on our roads and can have devastating consequences for those involved. The motorcycle accident attorneys at PCVA understand the unique challenges faced by motorcycle accident victims, including the potentially catastrophic injuries they can suffer as well as the difficulties they may encounter when seeking compensation for their losses.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident and are in need of a Washington motorcycle accident lawyer, contact the experienced attorneys at PCVA.
Below are answers to frequently asked questions about motorcycle accidents and the law.
What are the most common causes of motorcycle accidents?
According to the Washington Safety Commission, “About 1 in 5 motorcycle collisions result in serious injury or death, and on average 75 riders die every year in collisions on Washington roads.” In addition, “Unlike passenger vehicles, [motorcycles] offer no protection to the rider in the event of a collision, and riders are more susceptible to serious injuries in collisions.”
These are among the most common causes of motorcycle accidents:
- Reckless driving, speeding and alcohol/drug use: Responsibility depends on who is determined to be at fault – the rider or another motorist.
- Not wearing a helmet: Brain injuries often result from riders’ failure to wear a helmet. This is the rider’s responsibility.
- Car doors: A car door that opens directly in front of a motorcycle will be both unexpected and extremely dangerous.
- Head-on collisions: Although rare, head-on collisions can occur when either the motorcycle driver or another vehicle enters oncoming traffic.
- Lane splitting and speed: Motorcyclists in Washington State may not drive between lanes of cars, which has been shown to startle drivers and lead to accidents.
- Lane switching: Often, drivers fail to see a motorcycle when they are changing lanes.
- Weather: In most cases, an accident resulting from a motorcyclist’s failure to drive in a manner appropriate for the weather and weather-related road conditions is the rider’s fault.
- Sudden stops: A sudden stop may cause a motorcyclist to be thrown from the bike.
- Inexperience: Simply acquiring a motorcycle license may not qualify one to be a safe rider. Training classes and practice, as well as clearly understanding the risks, can help prevent many accidents.
- Inattention or distracted driving: Distracted motorists may simply not notice a motorcycle nearby.
- Corner-turning accidents: Entering a turn too fast may cause a motorcyclist to lose control. Such accidents are avoidable by turning at a safe speed.
- Dangerous road conditions: Road conditions that might be no problem for a car might cause a motorcyclist to crash. These conditions include construction zones, road debris, poor lighting, uneven pavement, road cracks and potholes, lack of or broken traffic signals, and slippery surfaces.
- Motorcycle defects: Poor maintenance, design flaws and manufacturing defects are occasionally the cause of an accident.
How do I avoid accidents while riding a motorcycle?
The best way to avoid accidents is to ride defensively. Assume cars, trucks and other vehicles cannot see you, and take the following steps to avoid accidents:
- Take a motorcycle safety class
- Wear a DOT-approved helmet and other safety gear
- Be visible
- Be acutely aware of surroundings
- Ride sober
- Maintain your motorcycle
What laws protect motorcycle riders in Washington State?
The basic laws in Washington State dictate that:
- You must have a motorcycle endorsement to legally ride
- You must wear a helmet and eye protection (unless the motorcycle has a windscreen)
- You must carry liability insurance coverage and be able to provide proof of that insurance
Who is financially responsible for my injuries and damage?
In Washington, the individual or entity determined to have caused the accident can be held liable for injuries and damages. Responsibility for a loss resulting from a motorcycle accident depends on the specific circumstances. If the accident was caused by another motorist, that motorist or their insurer may be responsible. If caused by a defective motorcycle or any of its parts, the manufacturer or seller may be liable. If caused by an unavoidable road defect, a municipality may be liable. Ultimately, liability may need to be determined in court. Your motorcycle insurance carrier may be liable for paying a claim. Our job at PCVA is to help determine liability and pursue recovery for the injured party.
What should I do after I am involved in a motorcycle accident?
No matter the cause of the accident, there are a few things you should do quickly, much like you would following a car accident. It is important you take the following steps if you are able:
- Call emergency services if necessary.
- Take photos of the scene, including your injuries, damages to your motorcycle and other involved vehicles.
- If relevant, get the other driver’s insurance information, driver’s license number and contact information.
- Get any witnesses’ contact information so your attorney can follow up.
- Write down or record on your phone a detailed description of the accident, including what happened before and after the accident.
- Get medical attention and an evaluation right away.
- File a report with police to document the accident.
- Ask for additional information to fully document your case, including your full medical records related to the accident.
- Keep all documents related to the accident.
- Contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney to discuss the details of your case and possible recoverable damages.
What if your motorcycle’s failure causes an accident?
As with automobiles, manufacturers and sellers of motorcycles have a duty to put safe products in the hands of consumers. If a defective part or incorrect assembly results in an accident with injury and/or property damage, the manufacturer, seller or both may be liable for damages in a product liability claim. Examples of potential motorcycle failures include:
- Faulty design
- Faulty assembly by the manufacturer or seller
- Electrical component failure
- Brake failure
- Uncontrolled acceleration
- Steering malfunction
- Chain failure
- Wheel or tire failure
Anyone in the manufacturing/sales chain may potentially be held liable for failure to warn customers of recalls or known dangers related to the motorcycle.
Because motorcycle quality may vary significantly from one manufacturer to another, it’s always a good idea to review available consumer safety reports, customer reviews, and any other information you can find about the quality, performance, and complaints regarding a motorcycle you are considering purchasing.
What if you are covered by motorcycle insurance and suspect bad faith?
Insurers have a duty to give equal consideration to the insured’s interest in all situations and may not put their interests ahead of the insured’s or engage in unfair practices. Unfair practices and consumer protection laws are the basis for bad faith claims. Our attorneys are well-versed and experienced in pursuing bad faith claims and are prepared to advise you and help ensure that motorcycle insurers meet their policy obligations.
Why should I contact a motorcycle accident lawyer?
An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer can help you determine whether you have a case to pursue and, if you do, the best options for recovering damages from others responsible for the accident.
Can I receive fair compensation for my injuries and financial stress?
Accidents change lives. You may be in a lot of pain because of your injuries, and that pain may last a lifetime. You may be feeling stress and grief after your accident, especially if you’ve lost a loved one. Accidents also result in significant financial impact, as you may face expensive medical bills and may not be able to work.
The experienced attorneys at PCVA will assess the value of your case, including medical costs, pain and suffering, property damage, and the long-term impact the accident may have on your life. They will handle all negotiations and will fight to make sure you get the compensation you deserve.
How long do I have to file a lawsuit after my motorcycle accident?
In Washington State, a lawsuit relating to damaged property or personal injury must be commenced within three years of the incident. If you don’t file a lawsuit during this time period, you will be barred from filing suit later under most circumstances. Without the ability to sue you have very little leverage to negotiate a settlement with an insurer, so this deadline is very important.
What would I need to provide to my motorcycle accident attorney?
Provide as much information to your attorney as possible. Gather it quickly because some is time-sensitive.
- Information from other people involved in the accident (name, address, phone number and insurance information)
- Names and phone numbers of witnesses
- Photos of the accident scene, including pictures of all vehicles and people involved
- Photos of any injuries that are evident at the scene of the accident
- An accident report filed with the police if there is one
- Surveillance footage from the area if available (Request quickly before it’s routinely deleted)
- The 911 recording if someone contacted 911 (Contact the authorities to request)
- Photos of your injuries as they are healing
How can PCVA help if you are injured in a motorcycle accident?
PCVA’s experienced attorneys can help you understand your options for pursuing compensation and damages from those responsible for the accident. If you would like to speak with a PCVA lawyer, complete our online form or call us at (253) 948-3199 or (206) 536-2850.
We’ve achieved many multi-million-dollar results in a variety of personal injury cases. While the amount of compensation you may be entitled to will depend on the details of your case, you can count on PCVA to fight aggressively on your behalf to get you what you deserve.
How much does PCVA charge?
Our work is done on a contingency basis. This means that you do not pay us on an hourly basis, and we advance the costs of litigation. If we help you resolve your case, we receive a percentage of the amount you receive, and you reimburse us for the costs we advanced on your behalf.