Washington has a unique landscape that makes it a scenic destination for motorcycle riders. From the coastal areas of the Port of Tacoma to the majesty of Mount Rainier, motorcyclists can enjoy roads that truly combine sea and sky.
Unfortunately, these roads are not always safe. Auto accidents are a leading cause of serious injury throughout Washington. And, although any collision has the potential for severe injuries and even death, motorcyclists tend to be at the highest risk.
The lawyers at Fuller & Fuller understand that the aftermath of a motorcycle wreck is often traumatic. Hiring an attorney is likely one of the last things on your mind. However, an attorney can give you IMMEDIATE guidance on insurance coverage, your rights as an accident victim, and how you can prove your injury and financial loss from the accident.
Please call (800) 570-4878 or submit an email inquiry on our website to tell us about your case. Fuller & Fuller Attorneys at Law serves clients in Tacoma, Olympia, Puyallup, and nearby areas of Washington.
When you hire Fuller & Fuller, our attorneys respond as soon as possible if you contact us with questions or concerns about your case. We will be in contact with you every step of the way, from settlement negotiations and review of pending offers to going to court if necessary.
Types of Motorcycle Accidents
In spite of the stereotype that motorcyclists are careless thrillseekers who throw caution to the wind, the drivers of passenger vehicles are more often at fault in the majority of motorcycle wrecks. Negligent or careless behavior on the part of a driver can take many different forms, including:
- Drunk driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs
- Distracted driving
- Failure to check blind spots when changing lanes
- Turning errors
- Aggressive driving
- Failing to adjust for conditions that affect visibility (i.e., driving at night, driving in bad weather, etc.)
- Following too closely
Our lawyers gather evidence to prove that the at-fault driver’s negligence resulted in the motorcycle accident. We have experience helping motorcyclists and their families with injury claims arising from many different types of crashes, including:
Rear-end crashes are the most common type of car accident. Although they can lead to serious injuries for any of the vehicles involved, motorcycles are at additional danger when they are hit from behind.
The force of the impact could throw the rider forward into the road, where contact with the pavement causes severe injuries. Alternatively, the bike may slide out from under the rider, causing them to roll onto and even over the car hood and windshield.
Tailgating is a leading cause of rear-end crashes. Motorcycles generally take less time to stop than cars, so drivers who follow too closely or aren’t paying attention often won’t be able to brake before crashing into motorcycles stopped in front of them.
When a car crashes head-on with a motorcycle, it should come as no surprise that the motorcyclist is most at risk of serious injury. Even if the accident involves fairly low speeds, the motorcyclist is still at risk of being launched through the windshield or up and over the roof of the car.
Drivers who stray into the oncoming lane put themselves and others on the road at risk. Oftentimes head-on crashes are the result of negligent behavior such as drunk driving, distracted driving, or falling asleep at the wheel.
The smaller size of motorcycles means that intersections can be especially hazardous for riders. A careless driver who is turning left is much more likely to misjudge distance or miss a motorcycle that is traveling straight. On the opposite side of the same coin, a driver who runs a red light when a motorcyclist has a green arrow to turn left may notice and be able to avoid another car, but not the motorcycle.
Motorcycle riders face added danger from other vehicles if they are involved in an accident in an intersection. It is a tragic but very real possibility that the driver could be propelled directly into traffic, enhancing the risk of additional injuries from contact with more than one vehicle.
Sometimes another vehicle doesn’t have to make contact with the motorcycle to be responsible for causing an accident. All motorists should take evasive action to avoid hazards and other vehicles, but loss of control is a significant possibility when a motorcyclist is forced to make an emergency maneuver.
Say you’re riding on a two-lane road, and the driver coming from the opposite direction suddenly drifts into your path. You avoid the car by swerving, but you are forced off the road and crash. Even though the other vehicle did not crash into you, the driver of the car may still be liable for the accident if negligence caused him or her to enter the oncoming lane.
Accidents Caused by Dangerous Roads
Adjusting for road conditions is something that drivers and operators of any vehicle must do. However, defective design or negligent maintenance of roads can create hazards that result in accidents.
The following road dangers can cause motorcycle crashes:
- Fissures in the pavement
- Gravel and other debris in the road (particularly on corners)
- Inadequate grading, which increases the risk of hydroplaning when moisture collects on the road
- Missing guardrails
- Faded or missing road striping
Depending on the circumstances, the party liable for your injuries in a crash caused by a defective or dangerous road could be the government agency responsible for designing and maintaining the road, subcontractors involved in its construction, or a combination.
Open Car Door Accidents
Street parking in Tacoma and Olympia can be a challenge. Once drivers find a spot, their responsibility to other vehicles does not end.
As they open the car door, it is imperative that drivers and passengers on the driver side look for other cars, motorcyclists, and bicyclists. Failing to do this could cause serious damage to other vehicles and serious injuries to those on bikes.
Car doors present significant hazards to riders, who often don’t have time to react when the door is opened right in front of them. Dooring accidents carry a high potential for injuries both from the initial impact and traffic in the immediate vicinity.
When you buy, lease, or rent a motorcycle, you have a right to expect that it will function properly when you ride it. Unfortunately, vehicle manufacturers, parts makers, and others may put riders’ lives at risk by cutting corners.
A defective vehicle component may be responsible for your injury directly, or the failure of the part could cause an accident. Lawyers at Fuller & Fuller investigate collisions to ensure that all liable parties are included in motorcycle accident claims.
Common Injuries in Motorcycle Accidents
Even seemingly minor motorcycle crashes can cause serious injury to the rider. Some of the most common injuries motorcyclists suffer in collisions include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Damage to vertebrae and soft tissue in the neck and back
- Road rash
- Bone fractures
- Internal bleeding
- Organ damage
State law in Washington requires all motorcyclists to wear a helmet. Unfortunately, helmets and other safety gear provide only so much protection. Riders who obey the helmet law and ride responsibly can still be seriously injured in a crash. In some cases, these injuries may be fatal.
What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident
Given the serious nature of most motorcycle crashes, you may be transported by ambulance from the scene of the accident to the nearest emergency department. If you don’t require emergency medical treatment, it is important to seek care for any injuries as soon as possible.
Medical care should be your first priority because:
- Early intervention is key to restoring function and managing pain.
- Some injuries can get worse without timely diagnosis and treatment, such as traumatic brain injury or internal bleeding.
- It creates a record of your injuries and the steps medical professionals take to treat them; if you pursue a lawsuit against the at-fault driver, your medical records will be a key part of building your case.
If you are treated at the scene, there are additional steps you can take in the immediate aftermath of the accident. By doing the following, you may strengthen your claim:
- Exchange insurance information with the other driver (or drivers) involved in the accident
- Take photos of your injuries, or have someone else take them if needed
- Take photos of your damaged motorcycle
- Interview witnesses to the crash and get their contact information
- Hang on to the helmet and clothing you are wearing, even if they sustained damage
You should notify your insurance company of the wreck as soon as possible. However, if the insurance adjuster asks you to sign authorizations or offers you a settlement, it is in your best interest to contact a motorcycle accident lawyer first.
Insurance companies are in the business of making low payouts to protect the bottom line. Adjusters and other employees are trained to present themselves as an ally, then use your words against you. If you hire an attorney, however, he or she is in the business of protecting your rights and advocating on your behalf.
Similarly, the at-fault driver’s insurance company may try to contact you. The adjuster for this company is also looking to minimize what his employer pays for your injuries, up to and including trying to shift fault for the accident to you.
This is another reason to speak to a lawyer sooner rather than later. Talking to any insurance company after an accident is intimidating, and making a statement can undermine the compensation you may be able to recover.
Compensation in Your Motorcycle Accident Case
The amount you may be able to recover depends on the types of injuries you suffer and their impact on your life. Our lawyers will pursue the full compensation you are due for your motorcycle accident injuries, which may include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages, past and future
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium, or the loss of “society and companionship” between family members
If the worst happens and your family member succumbs to injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident, our lawyers can build a wrongful death claim on behalf of you and your loved ones. Compensation that may be available for a wrongful death stemming from a motorcycle crash includes:
- Burial and funeral costs
- Expenses for medical care provided before death
- Loss of earnings and benefits
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship (spouse)
- Loss of parental care and guidance (children)
As a family of attorneys, Fuller & Fuller will provide you with compassionate support throughout the process of your injury or wrongful death claim. We consider it our duty not only to pursue maximum compensation on your behalf, but to be available for you during emotionally the difficulties of this trying time.
Why Choose Fuller & Fuller Attorneys at Law for Your Motorcycle Case?
There are a few important things to look for when choosing a motorcycle accident lawyer. These include experience (not only with personal injury or accident cases generally but the kind of claim you have), results, and positive reviews from clients.
When you are first looking into hiring an attorney, also consider the attitude and responsiveness of the staff. If the team treats you with respect and kindness in the initial interactions, the same should be true if you decide to meet with the attorneys.
Fuller & Fuller is truly a family law practice. Now in its second generation of attorneys, the firm has been serving Tacoma, Olympia, and nearby Washington communities for 48 years. During this time we have achieved significant financial compensation for injured clients – many of whom share their experiences on our website.
We pride ourselves on making a difference not only when it comes to each client’s financial recovery but in building connections with our clients. We are family, and we want you to feel like part of the family as well.
Contact Fuller & Fuller for Help with Your Motorcycle Accident Claim
If you have been hurt in a motorcycle accident or a member of your family suffered serious injuries or died in a bike crash, Fuller & Fuller Attorneys at Law is here to help. The first step is to tell us about your case. Our lawyers can investigate the collision and discuss your legal options, then negotiate a fair settlement and/or litigate your claim in court.
Our law firm has been serving communities including Olympia, Tacoma, Puyallup, and other areas of Washington for nearly 50 years. Find out how we can help after a motorcycle accident by calling (800) 570-4878 or contacting us through our website.