Aggressive Seattle Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Ready To Fight For You
Riding a motorcycle is absolutely invigorating, especially in the Seattle area with its scenic drives such as the North Cascades Highway and the Mt. Rainier Loop. Whenever you’re riding a motorcycle, however, a certain amount of danger follows you no matter how careful you may be. And most of that danger resides on major highways, not scenic routes.
The harsh reality is that many motorists simply aren’t watching out for motorcycles. Combine that risk with the fact that a motorcycle can fit neatly within a motorist’s blind spot, and you have the makings of a very dangerous situation. Unfortunately, the state of Washington plays unwilling host to about one serious or fatal motorcycle accident every day.
When the Unthinkable Happens
Motorcycle accident victims suffer death or catastrophic injury at rates that are far disproportionate to their presence on the road. Without question, the nature of riding a motorcycle means that motorcyclists are afforded significantly less physical protection from the dangerous elements of the roadway than an occupant of a more standard motor vehicle. As a result, the chances of a motorcyclist being seriously injured in a collision are even higher than the chances for those riding in standard vehicles. Some of the most common injuries experienced in motorcycle collisions include:
- Fractures and broken bones: Broken arms, legs, and shoulders as well as pelvis fractures, skull fractures, and other broken bones are not at all uncommon in motorcycle accidents. As motorcyclists are less protected from external impact than drivers of standard motor vehicles, these types of injuries occur more frequently.
- Traumatic brain injury: Head injuries are very common in motorcycle accidents, unfortunately, even if the rider is wearing a helmet. Statistics indicate that wearing a helmet reduces the risk of death by almost 40%. But the potential for significant brain trauma in a serious accident still definitely exists.
- Road rash: Again, due to the limited protection that motorcyclists have, road rash and other similar injuries to the driver’s skin are somewhat common. Depending upon its severity, road rash can require extensive treatment and even plastic surgery in some situations.
- Facial injuries and disfigurement: Facial and dental injuries are also common in motorcycle accidents. Riders are often thrown from their motorcycles at a high rate of speed, and the face is typically less protected by the helmet than the skull.
- Spinal cord injuries: Any number of spinal cord injuries from spinal stenosis to severe injuries leading to paralysis can occur following a motorcycle accident.
- Internal injuries: Injuries to the chest, ribs, and internal organs may occur following a motorcycle accident, and severity is, of course, dependent upon the nature of the impact.
- Wrongful death: In the most extreme and tragic cases, death can occur as a result of a motorcycle accident, leaving their loved ones to file a suit for compensation after their loss.
If you have experienced one of these injuries or any other injury as a result of a motorcycle accident in which you were involved, seeking medical treatment should always be your first step. Following that, however, you should consult a trusted Seattle motorcycle accident lawyer as to your next steps in filing a claim to recover compensation for your injuries.
In addition to the medical problems, pain and suffering, and emotional trauma that an accident inevitably brings, you are also likely to face financial problems due to a sudden influx of medical bills, perhaps combined with a loss of income as you recover in the hospital or at home.
At Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner, we see it as our job to handle all of your financial problems for you, so that you can focus on regaining your health (or if you are the survivor of someone who was killed in a motorcycle accident, recovering from your grief).
We will put our expertise to work coordinating with your healthcare providers to see to it that you receive the best medical care and handle your medical bills while you await compensation. We will also negotiate with the defendant or the insurance company to ensure that you are fully compensated.
We’ve Been Serving Injured Victims for Nearly 50 Years Now
Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner was founded in 1972. Since then, we have:
- Served over 3,000 personal injury victims and families of wrongful death victims;
- Handled over 2,500 accidents and injuries; and
- Brought home a cumulative total of over $100,000,000 in compensation for our clients.
At Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner, we achieve these high rates of success because we understand the legal elements of a motorcycle accident claim and how to apply the best legal strategies on your behalf to fight for the compensation you deserve. This includes proving elements like:
- Duty: All drivers owe a duty to one another to drive reasonably and safely instead of negligently.
- Breach of Duty: Unfortunately, some drivers do drive negligently. Gathering the evidence you need to establish that breach of duty is our specialty.
- Injury: We understand the type of evidence necessary to causally connect your injury to the accident, and we will do our best to gather that evidence as effectively and efficiently as possible.
- Damages: After a motorcycle accident, you may have incurred a variety of damages including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. We’ll help you fight to recover compensation for those damages.
Let us put our expertise to work for you. In case you’re worried that you can’t afford us, know this: We charge no upfront fees, and we will never charge you anything until and unless we win your claim and you actually receive compensation.
Reconstructing the Accident
In many cases, the other side will not offer a reasonable settlement offer until you build a strong case against them. That’s OK, however, because building cases is what we do best. We will investigate the accident to collect as much relevant evidence as possible. The investigation might include, for example:
- A visit to the scene of the accident to take note of nearby road signs and traffic signals and determine if there are any issues relating to confusion or visibility;
- Inspecting the damage to your motorcycle;
- Reviewing your medical records;
- Reviewing the police report;
- Gathering CCTV footage of the accident, if any;
- Interviewing eyewitnesses;
- Examining any photographs that were taken after the accident;
- Analyzing skid marks, debris, etc. to determine the cause of the accident; and
- If you collided with a commercial truck, we will want the data from the truck’s “Event Data Recorder,” which could yield valuable information about the accident (such as braking times).
Analyzing the Data
Once sufficient information has been gathered, it will be time to analyze that data in order to determine how the accident happened and to be able to prove it in court with admissible evidence. This is especially important if the police report contains mistakes that are adverse to you, as is often the case. Some of the ways that an accident can be reconstructed include:
- Applying the laws of physics to the accident to calculate the vehicles’ speed and their relative positions at every stage of the accident. Skid marks and the weight of each vehicle are both very relevant here.
- Observing the damage to both vehicles to determine the angle of impact. This can be critical in proving that the accident was the defendant’s fault.
- Determining the distances traveled by the vehicles and passengers as a result of the impact.
- Determining how your injuries occurred. If you were not wearing a helmet, for example, it could be important for your damages claim to determine how much the severity of your injuries would have been reduced if you had been wearing one.
Hopefully, the investigation and the analysis of the evidence will yield definite conclusions on issues such as:
- How the accident happened, taking into account the foregoing analysis along with any eyewitness reports;
- Ways that the accident could have been avoided or its severity reduced;
- Driving errors that the defendant committed, regardless of whether they were legal or illegal; and
- Other issues that may be relevant, such as faulty vehicle maintenance.
Some of Our Most Common Practice Areas
In addition to motorcycle accident claims, we also handle the following types of accident claims (among many others):
- Wrongful Death: The sudden death of a loved one is one of the most traumatic experiences a person can endure. Washington’s wrongful death law allows an award of significant compensation for emotional losses as well as tangible expenses arising from a wrongful death.
- Car Accidents: When a car accident occurs, it is usually someone’s fault. If that person is not you, or even if you were partly at fault for the accident, Washington state law entitles you to compensation. Since you can expect resistance from the insurance company, you are going to need someone to fight for you.
- DUI Accidents: DUI accidents are probably the most avoidable of all accidents, which is why it is particularly infuriating when you are injured by an intoxicated driver. Be aware that it is possible for you to win personal injury compensation even if the driver is never convicted of a crime. In some cases, even punitive damages are possible.
- Truck Accidents: Truck accidents cause more fatalities and life-threatening injuries than just about any other type of vehicle accident. Truckers, however, are subject to a multitude of professional regulations, and this fact can help you prevail in a truck accident claim.
- Bicycle Accidents: Bicycles are nearly invisible to the average motorist, which is the primary reason why bicyclists are so often injured in traffic accidents. We can help you reconstruct the accident to prove that it was the motorist who was at fault, not you. You can even receive compensation if the accident was partly your fault.
- Pedestrian Accidents: If there is anyone more vulnerable on the roads than a bicyclist or a motorcyclist, it is the pedestrian. Pedestrian accidents, especially in congested urban environments such as Seattle, are all too common and are frequently catastrophic in nature. Justice is available, however, if you have someone to fight for you.
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): Traumatic brain injury can result from a variety of different types of mishaps, from car crashes to slip and fall accidents. Disabilities can linger for years or even decades, and it can be tricky to accurately estimate future damages without the help of an experienced injury attorney.
- Medical Malpractice: There is no doctor anywhere who doesn’t make an error from time to time. When an error is serious enough to amount to medical negligence, however, the pursuit of fair compensation is a moral imperative – both for your own sake and for the sake of the doctor’s future patients.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What should I do after a motorcycle accident?
The following is a list of actions that you should take:
- Call 911 to request the police and an ambulance.
- Seek medical treatment ASAP, even if you think you’re not injured. Some injuries take a while to generate symptoms, especially head and soft tissue injuries. You need medical attention not only to treat your injury but also to generate medical records as evidence.
- Try to document your accident to the extent your condition allows by collecting contact and identification information from the other driver, the other driver’s insurance company, other parties to the accident, and any eyewitnesses.
- Photograph the scene of the accident, including skid marks, damage to the vehicle involved, etc.
- Get a copy of the police report. This does not have to be done at the scene of the accident.
Should I report the accident to my own insurance company?
Yes, but don’t record a statement or sign anything. Be careful what you say so as not to say anything that could be interpreted as an admission of fault or anything that could be used to minimize the seriousness of your injuries.
What should I do if an insurance company requests a statement from me or wants access to my medical records?
Consult with an injury lawyer before you agree to either of these requests. Remember, the insurance company is not your friend in this situation – it is your adversary, and it is looking for an excuse to deny your claim or minimize its own payout.
When should I retain a Seattle motorcycle accident attorney to represent me?
As soon as possible. What happens in the first few days after your accident can be critical to the health of your claim. This is especially true if you have been hospitalized, because the insurance company may try to exploit your weakness to take advantage of you (by offering you a lowball settlement on a “take it or leave it” basis, for example). We won’t let them get away with it, because nobody messes with our clients.
I was driving without a valid motorcycle license. Does that mean the accident was automatically my fault?
No – in fact, it is irrelevant to your claim. You might get into trouble for it, but it won’t affect your claim and it can’t be used as evidence against you in a personal injury claim.
Is lane-splitting legal in Seattle?
No, lane-splitting is illegal throughout the state of Washington – although this could change soon. If you were lane-splitting at the time of the accident, it could affect your claim, but this is not inevitable. It will only affect your claim if it was a substantial cause of the accident.
Can I negotiate for more money after my motorcycle crash?
You can always negotiate for more money unless:
- The statute of limitations has already expired;
- You have already signed a settlement agreement; or
- Judgment has already been issued by a court and you have no further right to appeal.
If none of the foregoing factors apply to you, feel free to ignore any arbitrary deadlines the insurance company may try to impose.
What if the accident was partly my fault?
If the accident was partly your fault, you will lose a portion of your damages that is equivalent to your percentage of fault (25 percent, for example). Theoretically, you could end up in the hole if the other driver suffered damages as well because you could be required to pay a portion of the other driver’s damages if you were partly at fault.
Tom was injured in a motorcycle accident when a car turned left in front of him. In violation of Washington law, Tom was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash. Moreover, he was not licensed to ride a motorcycle. He was slightly intoxicated at the time of the accident, although not enough to support a DUI conviction. Tom claims damages for a head injury, road rash, and soft tissue injuries in his back and neck.
Tom is forced to give up his head injury claim because he probably would not have suffered a significant head injury if he had been wearing a helmet. The fact that he was not licensed to ride a motorcycle is irrelevant for the purposes of a civil lawsuit, although he might be sanctioned by the state of Washington for that offense.
Tom has difficulty proving the extent of his pain and suffering because most of it was caused by soft tissue injuries for which there is little objective medical evidence. He does find an expert medical witness, however, who is willing to testify that the presence of a painful soft tissue injury is plausible under these circumstances. Tom settles his claim for $10,000.
Time Waits for No One…
The statute of limitations deadline is the deadline by which you must have either concluded a settlement agreement or filed a lawsuit. For personal injury, the deadline is generally three years from the date of the accident. For a wrongful death claim, the deadline is usually three years from the date of the victim’s death. Although narrow exceptions apply in both cases, if you miss the deadline and no exception applies, your claim will become worthless.
Get the Claims Process Started Today
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, or if your loved one died that way, and if you suspect that someone else may be responsible for your accident, call a skilled Seattle motorcycle accident lawyer at Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner today or fill out our online contact form. Either way, we can schedule a free case consultation where we can explore your options together. Our Seattle motorcycle accident lawyers serve clients in Madison Park, Kirkland, Kenmore, and elsewhere in Seattle.