If you or a loved one have been injured in a motorcycle accident, the lawyers at The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs can help. Driving a motorcycle can be fun, convenient, and cost-effective, but unfortunately, motorcyclists who are hit by cars are often seriously injured or even killed. Many drivers don’t know what to do with motorcycles on the road. When cars and motorcycles collide, the smaller size and open nature of the motorcycle puts its rider at risk of life-threatening injuries. All too often, motorcyclists are flung from their bike or even directly hit by cars.
Our personal injury lawyers can help you get the compensation you deserve so that you can focus on recovering from your injuries, or from the loss of a loved one, without worrying over financial fallout from the accident.
At The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs, our Lakewood motorcycle accident lawyers believe that reckless drivers who endanger motorcyclists should be held accountable for the injuries they cause. We have been providing legal services to personal injury victims in Washington State for over sixty years, and in that time, we have seen our fair share of motorcyclists who have suffered serious injuries. If you or someone you love has been injured in a motorcycle accident in Lakewood, Tacoma, Olympia, Puyallup, Chehalis, or Bremerton, our motorcycle accident lawyers are here to fight for you. Call (253) 588-6696 to contact a Lakewood personal injury attorney.
Not only are motorcycles much smaller than cars, but they are much less common. Motorcyclists make up just 3% of all road traffic in Washington state, which means many drivers are unused to dealing with them on the road. Academic studies on motorcycle accidents have shown that accidents involving motorcycles are frequently caused by other motorists failing to notice nearby motorcycles or failing to respect their right of way.
Here are some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents:
A car turning left in front of a motorcycle: Drivers frequently fail to notice oncoming motorcyclists or don’t recognize their right of way.
Rear-ending the motorcycle at an intersection: When a car rear-ends another car at an intersection, the resulting damage is often minor. Due to the weight difference between a car and a motorcycle, and a bike’s inherent instability, rear-ending a motorcycle can have much more serious consequences. The motorcyclist can be knocked off their bike, run over by the rear-ending vehicle, or even pushed into traffic.
Opening a car door while a motorcycle is coming.
Changing lanes with a motorcycle in the blind spot: Motorcycles are smaller and therefore easier to miss when drivers check their blind spots.
Head-on collisions: These accidents can be especially serious for motorcyclists, as motorcycles are not designed to protect their drivers from this type of sudden impact.
Whatever the cause of the accident, it is often bad for the driver but usually much worse for the motorcyclist. The Lakewood, Washington personal injury lawyers of The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs are ready to assist in any type of motorcycle accident case.
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Injuries From Motorcycle Accidents
Compared to drivers in cars, motorcyclists are especially vulnerable in that they do not have a steel cage around them to protect them from an impact. Modern cars have a variety of safety devices that motorcycles lack, including airbags, seat belts, and, perhaps most importantly, reinforced frames designed to protect their occupants. Motorcycles lack all of these things, and helmets and kevlar can only do so much. Motorcycle riders are often thrown from their bikes or directly hit by cars. As a result, motorcycle accident injuries have the potential to be especially dangerous and are statistically much more likely to result in death or severe injuries than car accidents.
Here are some of the most common types of injuries motorcyclists suffer as the result of an accident:
Head injuries: It is important to always wear a helmet, but even if you do, a crash can knock your head around and result in brain injuries, including concussions or other types of traumatic brain injury. Migraines, cluster headaches, and mood swings can also result from significant cranial impacts.
Neck injuries: These often go along with head injuries, particularly if the head receives a direct impact. Since the neck houses part of the spinal cord, neck injuries can result in nerve damage or even paralysis.
Arm injuries: Many motorcyclists who are flung from their bikes instinctively try to catch themselves on their arms, leading to arm injuries.
Road rash: Any motorcyclist who has ever fallen off their bike knows that dragging on the road can do some serious damage to your skin. This road rash is even worse when your body is traveling at high speeds.
Leg injuries: Whether your legs hit the ground or parts of your bike, they could be subject to broken bones or other serious injuries.
Other broken bones: When your body hits a car or the road, no bone is safe from the impact.
Burns: Particularly if the accident results in an explosion or contact with hot vehicle parts, you could suffer serious, disfiguring burns.
Many of these injuries have the potential to be life-threatening. Unfortunately, a large number of motorcyclists hit by cars do not survive. Whatever injuries you or your loved one have suffered as a result of a motorcycle accident, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you win compensation.
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Motorcycle accidents are often traumatic, and in many cases, the rider is too severely injured to do anything at all. However, if you experience a motorcycle accident and are able, taking these steps can maximize your chance at receiving fair compensation for your injuries.
First and foremost, call 911. Apart from assisting anyone injured in the accident, emergency responders such as police, can help to document the accident and its causes.
Get the name, phone number, and insurance information of everyone else involved in the accident. Be sure to record license plate numbers as well, in case the information you receive is inaccurate.
Take clear photos of the scene before it is cleared away by accident crews. Make sure to get as many angles as possible and to photograph anything that might be relevant to the accident. Make sure to get pictures of all the vehicles involved.
If the accident occurred in a town or city, look around to see if there are any nearby traffic or surveillance cameras in the area that may have caught the incident on tape. Nearby gas stations or convenience stores may have cameras whose field of view includes the accident scene. It is important to request these tapes as soon as possible, before the footage is deleted. Accident footage, when available, is one of the best ways to make a strong personal injury claim.
Seek medical attention as soon as possible. If you were injured in the accident, even if you don’t require an ambulance, or if you think the injury was minor, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Motorcycle collisions often result in serious injuries, but those injuries may not be immediately apparent. It is important to get any injuries checked out immediately so that a causal link to the accident can be established.
Make sure to follow any medical advice you are given. If your doctor recommends bed rest following an accident, and the other driver’s insurance company finds social media photos of you playing soccer, they may argue either that you are feigning your injuries, or that you have aggravated them by failing to follow medical advice. Be sure to carefully follow any instructions you are given regarding rehabilitation from your injuries.
Proving Fault In A Washington State Motorcycle Accident
Legally, motorcycles are treated just like cars. In Washington State, this means that motorcycle accidents are subject to pure comparative negligence. Under this legal doctrine, the fault is assigned to each driver involved in the collision according to what kinds of negligent actions they took. In some instances one driver is found to be 100% at fault, but many collisions result from multiple drivers failing to follow the rules of the road.
For example, one driver may be texting while another driver is inebriated. In these cases, the court uses case precedent to estimate the relative fault of the drivers involved. Washington is a pure comparative negligence state. That means that a person’s compensation is reduced by the amount of fault they shared for the accident.
Suppose you were found to be 40% at fault for the accident, and the court determined that your damages were $100,000. You would be able to recover $60,000 for your damages, but not the full 100%, because of your shared fault in causing the accident.
A driver is said to be acting negligently when they breach the duty of care that could reasonably be expected of them, and that breach causes another person injury. For instance, drivers have a duty to watch out for vehicles in front of them. If a driver is not paying attention and rear-ends a motorcycle they did not see when approaching an intersection, they are being negligent.
At The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs, our seasoned personal injury attorneys have decades of experience successfully pursuing personal injury claims and proving the other driver’s negligence. We consult with highway safety experts and investigators to make sure that our clients’ cases are made with as much solid evidence as possible.
We serve motorcycle accident victims in the Lakewood area
You Could Be Owed Compensation If You Were Hurt In A Motorcycle Crash
Just about every motorcyclist knows that riding a motorcycle is riskier than driving a car. But accepting that risk doesn’t mean you are entitled to anything less than full restitution for injuries caused by a negligent driver. A successful personal injury suit can help you receive compensation for many of the costs resulting from a motorcycle accident, including:
Motorcycle repairs or replacement
Lost wages due to time off work
Future lost income due to disability
Physical therapy costs
Physical and emotional pain and suffering
Transportation and other miscellaneous costs
Your lawyer can help you determine which damages to seek in your personal injury suit. Your case may end out of court as a settlement or in court as a judgment.
The effects of a motorcycle accident can be long-lasting and much more costly than they seem at first. Injuries that you may believe are temporary, such as back pain, joint pain, or headaches, often become chronic injuries over time, or result in early-onset arthritis.
Likewise, the physical, psychological, and emotional toll of a long recovery process can put significant strain on both the victim and their family, affecting relationships for years to come. However, in most cases, victims will only have one chance to receive compensation for their injuries. It is therefore important that these future costs be represented in the compensation plaintiffs receive for their injuries.
At The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs, our personal injury lawyers fight for every one of our clients because we know this may be their only shot to get restitution for the damage that has been done to them and their families.
What Is a Motorcycle Accident Personal Injury Claim Worth?
This is a complicated question and the answer is different in every case. The primary factors are the severity of the accident and the injuries and vehicle damage that resulted, the relative fault of the drivers involved, lost wages (both present and future), as well as the pain and suffering, both physical and emotional, of the plaintiff and their family. In order to accurately assess the value of your claim, you need to consult with an attorney familiar with motorcycle accident cases.
At The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs, our personal injury lawyers have the experience needed to properly assess the value of your motorcycle accident claim. Our attorneys have handled dozens of motorcycle accident claims, and we can tell you what yours is worth.
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Wrongful Death Claims For Families Of Motorcycle Accident Victims
Unfortunately, many motorcycle accidents prove deadly. Motorcyclists are nearly 20 times as likely to be involved in fatal accidents as car drivers. If your loved one was killed in a motorcycle accident, you may be able to pursue a wrongful death claim to recover compensation for funeral expenses, burial expenses, and more. In Washington, the following people can bring a wrongful death claim:
The representative of the deceased person’s estate
The deceased person’s spouse or domestic partner
The deceased person’s children or stepchildren
If the deceased person had none of the above, their parents or siblings
If you are unsure whether you are eligible to file a wrongful death claim, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you determine if you can.
In the aftermath of a personal tragedy such as this, insurance companies may try to take advantage of your grief by pressuring you to accept a minimal settlement. In these situations, it’s important to think of your and your family’s financial future. The death of a working family member can impose significant long-term costs, both financially and emotionally. Those costs should be represented in the compensation you receive for the accident.
The personal injury attorneys at The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs understand how important it is to secure your family’s future in the face of personal tragedy, which is why we fight hard to make sure our clients get the payout they deserve.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a motorcycle accident, you don’t have to face this challenging time alone. The Lakewood personal injury lawyers of The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs are here to help. Our firm has six decades of experience representing Washington motorcyclists and their families. Our firm will handle your case with respect and dignity, and we will fight aggressively for the compensation you need and deserve. For more information on how we can help, call us now at The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs.