Seattle Motorcycle Accident Attorney | Certa Law Group
We’re a plaintiff’s law firm committed to helping people harmed in motorcycle accidents in Washington.
The state of Washington – specifically Seattle and its surrounding areas – has many roads lined with beautiful natural scenery that makes it ideal for motorcyclists. Sadly, some motorcyclists end up injured or worse while riding because of the actions of others. Injured motorcyclists also face additional challenges in obtaining compensation from insurance companies and the parties at fault.
In such cases, our Seattle motorcycle accident attorneys at Certa Law Group offer experienced representation to guide clients toward effective outcomes. Collectively, our firm’s attorneys have over 30 years of history managing all stages of personal injury cases, from coordinating investigations to negotiating settlements and pursuing recovery at trial.
Why You Might Benefit from a Seattle Motorcycle Accident Attorney
For several reasons, motorcycle accidents can be more difficult than other personal injury cases involving passenger vehicles. The injuries are more devastating, which can mean higher damages are at stake. The damages, along with the nuances in Washington law, can give insurance companies reason to dispute claims and delay payment.
Motorcycle Injuries are Often Severe and Fatal
Unsurprisingly, motorcyclists are far less protected than occupants of passenger vehicles. They don’t benefit from safety measures like seatbelts and airbags. Major injuries associated with motorcycle accidents include:
- Brain injuries
- Neck and spine injuries
- Musculoskeletal injuries (e.g., broken bones and torn ligaments)
- Internal bleeding
- Damage to other crucial organs
In addition to serious bodily injury, the fatality rate for motorcycle accidents is much greater than other types of accidents. Despite comprising just three percent of road users in Washington, motorcyclists accounted for 19% and 15% of serious collision injuries and fatalities, respectively. Moreover, 76% of motorcycle collisions in Seattle and Edmonds caused some injury, including fatalities.
Washington Law Can Affect the Outcome of Motorcycle Accident Cases
Some features of Washington state law can complicate the efforts of motorcyclists to recover financial compensation without the advocacy of experienced attorneys.
Washington is a Comparative Fault State
Legal cases for physical injury from the acts of others (like cases involving motorcycle accidents) are based on that state’s negligence laws. In some states, plaintiffs do not receive any financial compensation if they contributed to their own injuries in any way. Washington does not follow this approach. Rather, the state applies the doctrine of comparative fault.
This means a plaintiff’s compensatory damages are proportionally reduced by the plaintiff’s negligent actions. For example, if a court awarded a motorcyclist $500,000 in damages, but the motorcyclist was 20% at fault, then their damages would decrease by 20%, to $400,000.
Common causes of negligence in a motorcycle accident include speeding, inattentive driving, failing to follow road signs, and failing to adjust driving based on the weather.
Our attorneys recognize that the facts of each case will determine the level of fault by the parties involved. Despite the state’s statistics attributing many motorcycle accidents to the motorcyclist, we know that the motorcyclist’s percentage of fault might be rather small in many cases. We take pride in advocating for our clients in cases of comparative fault to ensure the fault of adverse parties is accurately reflected in the awarded damages.
Laws Specific to Motorcyclists
Motorcyclists have many additional laws they must follow while riding in the state of Washington. Accidents, where motorcyclists failed to follow these rules, can create a per se negligence that might decrease their compensatory damages.
For example, motorcyclists must wear a helmet and other protective eyewear (e.g., goggles or a face shield) while the motorcycle is in motion. Some laws also regulate motorcyclists’ feet placement, circumstances for carrying a passenger, and how motorcyclists must operate in laned traffic.
Statute of Limitations
Like most personal injury cases, motorcyclists in Washington have three years to file for damages. The three-year period usually begins on the day of the accident that caused the injury or damage.
Increased Resistance from Insurance Providers
Most parties involved in car accidents rely on insurance to cover related damages. However, insurance companies might be quick to dispute claims involving motorcycle accidents if they suspect parties they don’t insure are responsible for the injuries. This often leads to delays in recovering damages and requires attorney intervention to reach a favorable outcome.
Alternatively, some insurance companies may intentionally offer a payout lower than what the injured party may be entitled to receive in exchange for a total release of liability. The bottom line is most insurance companies are private businesses whose profit margins are their main priority. This creates an inherent conflict as they deal with the insured party.
Injured motorcyclists should, therefore, be cautious when dealing with insurance companies. We recommend motorcyclists meet with one of our attorneys before accepting any payment from insurance companies or signing any related agreements.
Motorcycle Accident FAQs
The immediate aftermath of a motorcycle accident will create more questions than answers. Below, we put together answers to a few common questions we’ve had our client ask us to help guide injured parties. However, the answers in this section are quite limited because so much depends on the facts of the case and will require a consultation with our attorneys to gain additional clarity.
When Should You Contact a Lawyer After an Accident?
We suggest contacting a lawyer as soon as possible.
Of course, tending to any emergency medical needs is the priority. Once safety is no longer an immediate concern, we recommend reaching out. As mentioned above, Washington has a three-year statute of limitations that restricts the amount of time an injured party must start a lawsuit.
What Should I Do After a Motorcycle Accident in Seattle?
This depends on the circumstances. Generally, we suggest doing the following:
- Assess the situation. Get to a safe place and call 911 for police and emergency medical services.
- If possible, obtain as much information about the other parties involved. Also, collect their insurance information.
- Take photos and gather other information about the scene of the accident.
- Contact our office to schedule a consultation.
What is a Good Settlement Offer?
This is hard to define without knowing the facts of the case. Typically, a good settlement will reflect the damages involved and will provide a sense of closure.
How Much Does Hiring a Lawyer Cost?
At Certa Law Group, we use a contingency fee arrangement. This means we only get paid if we win.
What Damages are Available to Injured Motorcyclists?
Several types of damages are available to injured motorcyclists – usually in the form of monetary compensation. These include the following:
- Any medical expenses incurred to treat injuries (e.g., costs for medical exams, surgeries, medications, therapy).
- Compensation for any pain and suffering. Motorcycle accidents are often traumatic events that can have lasting negative effects on your mental and emotional state. We recommend tracking any physical symptoms related to your emotional well-being – for instance, panic attacks, nightmares, and other difficulty sleeping.
- Money to cover any past and future loss of income because your injury prevents you from working. As explained above, motorcycle accidents often lead to serious injuries, which might require a long recovery and permanently limit employment options.
We recommend documenting all expenses related to your injury. This means keeping receipts, invoices, and other records.
About Certa Law Group
Our attorneys, Pellegrino “Pino” Certa and Cheryl J. Farrish have over three decades of combined experience working on personal injury cases. Our goal with each personal injury case is to understand our client’s expectations, provide a detailed analysis of their case, and determine the appropriate steps to achieve those expectations.
With motorcycle accidents, we understand our clients are probably dealing with lots of uncertainty concerning their health, finances, and other aspects of their life. We try to relieve some of the pressure by working with care and compassion as we coordinate all aspects of their legal claims.
Every personal injury case begins with a free consultation from one of our experienced attorneys to better understand the facts. Our next step is to perform a thorough review of your case. In the context of a motorcycle accident, this might include the following:
- Gathering relevant facts about the accident (e.g., date, time of day, number of parties involved, location, weather, etc.)
- Obtaining any police reports
- Reviewing insurance policies
- Finding witnesses
- Gathering medical records or other documents detailing your injuries
- Further investigation of the accident and the possible parties at fault
Sometimes, the next step is to seek a settlement with the at-fault party or the involved insurance companies. Other times, a reasonable settlement is not possible without initiating a claim in court.
Talk to a Seattle Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today
Have you been in a motorcycle accident in Seattle or anywhere else in the state of Washington? Our motorcycle accident attorneys in our Seattle and Edmonds offices are here to help.