In an accident involving a motorcycle and a car, the motorcyclist may be taken away in an ambulance facing potentially fatal injuries while the driver of the car may walk away unharmed. Most unfortunately, these accidents are often caused by drivers who weren't paying attention or looking out for all types of vehicles on the road.
After a motorcycle accident, injured riders may be dealing with medical bills, trying to get back to work, and fighting with the insurance company. Instead of trying to deal with the insurance company and fight for what you are owed, if you act quickly to contact an experienced Clark County motorcycle accident lawyer, you will have someone on your side to get you the compensation you deserve so you can get back to a normal life.
Damages Available in a Motorcycle Accident
If you are injured in a motorcycle accident because of another driver's negligence, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries. Under Washington's personal injury laws, injury victims can file a lawsuit for damages, including:
- Medical bills
- Future medical treatment
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Motorcycle repair
- Pain and suffering
Washington Motorcycle Accident Statistics
Almost 4,000 motorcyclists are killed every year in traffic accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), another 80,000 motorcycle riders suffer injuries in car accidents and crashes. Motorcycle riders only account for a small percentage of vehicles on the road but are over-represented in fatal accidents.
In Washington state alone, there were 69 fatal motorcycle accidents and almost 300 serious injury crashes in 2014. The good news is that the number of fatal motorcycle accidents in Washington have been on the decline over the years (from 73 deaths in 2013 and 82 deaths in 2012). However, even one fatal motorcycle accident caused by another driver's negligence is one too many.
Motorcycle Accidents Claims Process
Even a low-speed accident with a car can result in serious injuries. High-speed accidents often result in even more serious or potentially fatal injuries. Priority number one for a motorcycle rider after an accident is to seek medical attention. Some injuries can be tricky to detect immediately after an accident, especially head, neck, and back injuries. Make sure a treatable injury doesn't get worse and seek medical attention as soon as possible.
After any accident, the parties involved should exchange information, including
- Insurance information,
- Name and contact information, and
- Driver's license and vehicle registration.
It is also a good idea to get the information from any witnesses who saw the accident, including their names and contact information. If possible, you should consider taking pictures of the accident scene, vehicle damage, and any other useful images or video.
Reporting the Accident to the State and Insurance Company
If a police officer or Washington State Patrol officer arrives to investigate the accident, the officer will file an accident report. If no officer shows up then each party involved is required to submit an accident report within four days of the accident. This includes injury accidents or accidents resulting in property damage above about $700.
Motorcycle riders involved in an accident are also required to report the accident to the insurance company. Dealing with the insurance company can be tricky. If an investigator or insurance adjuster calls you, make sure you know who they are representing. The other driver's insurance company may try and get you to say something that will hurt your claim or give them a reason to deny your claim. Let your lawyer talk to the insurance company so you don't have to deal with them.
Unfortunately, even your own insurance company is not acting solely in your best interests. The insurance company may give you the runaround or delay your payment. The insurance company can give you conflicting information and become such a hassle to deal with that most people just end up taking whatever they can get.
Before you accept any settlement or offer from the insurance company, make sure you know what you are getting into. Serious injuries can result in a lifetime of treatment, pain, and discomfort. Don't sell yourself short just because the insurance company won't offer you any more money. Your Washington motorcycle accident lawyer will advocate for you to get you the full compensation you are owed.
Motorcycle Accident Injuries
The most serious motorcycle accident injuries involve head, neck, or back trauma. These can be fatal accidents or result in permanent injuries, including paralysis or chronic pain. Other accidents often involve crushing injuries, broken bones, abrasions (road rash), or facial injuries.
Motorcycle accident injuries depend on a number of factors, including:
- Types of vehicles involved
- Helmet use
- Motor vehicle speed
- Use of protective gear
- Accident location
Motorcycle Accident Wrongful Death Claims
When a motorcycle rider is killed in an accident, they are not able to fight back to hold the person responsible for causing the accident liable for their actions. Family members are left grieving their loss while the driver walks away injury-free. However, through filing a wrongful death claim in Washington, the surviving family members can hold the person who caused the accident responsible for what they did.
Those who can file a wrongful death lawsuit include the spouse and children of the deceased. If there is no spouse or children, the parents or siblings of the deceased may be able to file a claim if they were dependent on the deceased.
Family members may have to act quickly after a fatal motorcycle accident. The statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is generally three years, but could be longer or shorter, depending on the situation. So make sure to talk to an attorney about how long you have to file your case.
The damages available in a wrongful death lawsuit can include the losses associated with the death of the family member. This includes funeral costs, burial expenses, financial loss, loss of service, loss of affection, and loss of consortium.
Clark County Motorcycle Accident Attorney
After a motorcycle accident, you need an experienced lawyer on your side to make sure you get the full compensation you are entitled to under Washington personal injury laws. Quinn Posner at Posner Law Office, P.C. understands motorcycle accidents and injuries and will watch out for you and your best interests. Quinn Posner represents injured riders in Camas, Washougal, and across Clark County. Call today for a free motorcycle accident consultation.