A motorcycle crash is a life-changing experience. Those that survive may feel lucky on the surface, but undoubtedly, are plagued with catastrophic injuries and substantial monetary losses.
If another driver caused your injuries, you deserve compensation. Read on to learn more about what damages you are entitled to recover from a motorcycle accident in Washington and how an attorney can help you.
What Damages Can I Recover for a Motorcycle Crash?
Damages awarded for motorcycle accidents in Washington typically include economic and noneconomic damages. Economic damages reflect the financial harm suffered due to an accident. This number is usually calculable from tangible evidence and includes the following types of losses:
- Medical expenses,
- Lost wages,
- Loss of future earnings, and
- Property damage.
Your attorney uses documentary evidence like invoices, bills, pay stubs, and other documentation to calculate these losses accurately. Retaining all copies of documentary evidence is crucial to proving and supporting your demand.
Noneconomic damages represent a more complex area of compensatory damages. Noneconomic damages include a victim’s psychological and emotional losses after an accident. These intangible damages generally include the following:
- Pain and suffering,
- Emotional distress,
- Loss of enjoyment of life,
- Loss of consortium,
- Permanent disability, and
Due to the difficulty in calculating the monetary value of these losses, noneconomic damages are much more challenging to prove and recover. However, they should never be overlooked. Although these injuries are not always outwardly apparent, they can severely disrupt one’s daily life. Recovering noneconomic damages can assist you in moving forward with your new way of life after an accident.
Can I Get Punitive Damages for a Motorcycle Accident?
Unfortunately, Washington law does not permit a court to award punitive damages in motorcycle accident cases, even where the at-fault party acted with malice or egregiously reckless behavior. As a result, injured victims can pursue only compensatory damages after a motorcycle accident. Due to this limitation, it’s wise to retain an experienced personal injury attorney to help you recover the full extent of your compensatory losses.
How Can a Lawyer Help Me Recover Damages from a Motorcycle Crash?
Washington is an at-fault state regarding liability after a motorcycle accident. Under this rule of law, the driver causing an accident is responsible for any resulting damages. An attorney can help you prove that the other party was at fault by working to establish the four required elements of negligence:
- Duty: All drivers have a duty to exercise reasonable care when operating their vehicles to avoid harming others.
- Breach: You must prove that the at-fault driver breached their duty by showing they failed to exercise reasonable care when operating their vehicle. Examples of a breach of this duty of care include drunk driving, speeding, or failing to stop at a stoplight.
- Causation: The third element of negligence requires you to prove that you suffered injuries due to the at-fault party’s breach of their duty of care. For example, if the driver collided with you because they ran a stoplight, their breach of duty caused the accident.
- Damages: You must show you suffered damages as a result of the collision. This may be the easiest element to establish for most involved in motorcycle accidents due to the severe and devastating outcomes of most crashes.
Your attorney can also help you counter claims that you contributed to the accident. Washington operates under the theory of contributory negligence. Under this theory, your damage award is reduced by your percentage of fault. That means the other driver’s insurance company will try to undervalue your claim by placing as much blame as possible on you.
A qualified personal injury attorney understands what’s required to establish the elements of negligence. They will work to minimize your share of fault and demonstrate that the other driver’s liability is clear and indisputable.
How Long Do You Have to File a Lawsuit In Washington?
Washington sets a statute of limitations that defines the period of time you have to file a lawsuit. Failing to file within this period bars you from bringing your claim later. The statute of limitations for personal injury claims is three years from the accident date. While this may seem like plenty of time, the reality is that while healing from catastrophic injuries, this three-year period may pass faster than you anticipate. A qualified personal injury attorney keeps track of all crucial deadlines so you never miss your day in court.
Common Injuries Suffered in a Motorcycle Crash
Many motorcyclists that survive a collision are left with severe and catastrophic injuries that require months or years to heal. In some situations, injuries may be permanent. Common injuries suffered by survivors of motorcycle accidents include the following:
- Road rash,
- Spinal cord injuries,
- Traumatic brain injuries,
- Internal bleeding,
- Disfigurement, and
- Amputation or loss of limb.
Those suffering injuries in a motorcycle accident often have to undergo medical procedures for the remainder of their lives. Multiple surgeries may be required, as well as long-term physical therapy and other rehabilitation. Some injured victims may never recover their mobility or physical strength, making it difficult or impossible to keep the same job they had before their accident. Injured victims must obtain the compensation they deserve to move forward with the financial support they need.
You can focus on your recovery when you hire Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner as your personal injury lawyer. You may feel consumed with worry about medical bills, lost work, vehicle damage, and future financial burdens. We concentrate on recovering the compensation you deserve so you can focus on getting through this difficult time.
Our legal team has obtained record verdicts and settlements for over fifty years for our clients. We know that any injury suffered in an accident affects all facets of your life, career, finances, and well-being. We focus on helping you regain the balance and enjoyment of life you had before your accident. Throughout the claim process, we take any necessary action to help clients recover physically, emotionally, and financially. Call us today to learn more about how we can help you.