Vancouver, WA Motorcycle Accident Attorney
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, persons who drive motorcycles are 28 times more likely to die in a collision than car drivers. Riders are at far higher risk of suffering catastrophic or fatal injuries than any other vehicle operator. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident caused by another driver in Vancouver or anywhere in Washington, call Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC to evaluate the facts of your case. Our mission is to secure justice for the injured and we have an extensive record of success, both in and out of court.
Why Choose Us
Our personal injury legal team is available to provide legal representation to victims in motorcycle accident cases. We offer a powerful level of knowledge and experience:
- We aggressive negotiators and experienced trial lawyers. We will not hesitate to take your case to trial to recover the maximum possible compensation.
- We have more than 50 years of combined legal experience, earning us an excellent reputation and numerous recognitions and awards for our legal work.
- We work on a contingency fee basis. There is no fee to you unless we win your case.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics
In Washington, 15.1 percent of road accident fatalities are motorcyclists, according to the Governor’s Highway Safety Associates. Every year, families are devastated by the sudden loss of a loved one who has been fatally injured while riding. Motorcyclists who survive an accident are often seriously injured, with many facing a lifetime of challenges due to impairments. Keeping up with motorcycle accident statistics in Washington and throughout the U.S. can help spread awareness of this serious problem.
- In 2015 (the most recent year data is available), 4,976 motorcyclists in the U.S. died in traffic accidents. This was an 8% increase from 2014.
- Around 88,000 motorcyclists suffered personal injuries in traffic crashes in 2015 around the nation. Motorcyclists accounted for 4% of all people injured.
- Throughout the country, most fatal motorcycle accidents happen on urban roads, at non-intersections, during the daylight, and on clear or cloudy days.
- The most harmful event for motorcycles involved in fatal accidents is a collision with motor vehicles. This accounted for 54% of motorcyclist deaths in 2015.
- In Washington in 2017, there were 64 motorcyclist fatalities. This amounted to 11% of total traffic deaths that year. In 2016, 81 Washington motorcyclists lost their lives.
- The overall rate of serious motorcyclist injuries has been on the decline in Washington State over the past 10 years.
At Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC, you are not just another statistic. We care about what happens to you after a serious motorcycle accident. We keep track of the most recent data and information to better support our motorcycle accident clients. Our lawyers understand the most common types and causes of motorcycle crashes in Washington and can help you fight for justice.
Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
While motorcycle accidents can occur due to an error by the rider, in many cases, the cause of the accident lies with another vehicle operator who drove in a reckless or negligent manner, including:
- Impacting a motorcyclist in an intersection, while making a turn.
- Colliding with a motorcycle from behind at a stoplight or stop sign.
- Changing lanes and colliding with a motorcyclist.
- A distracted driver who is talking on the phone, texting, or engaged in other distracted driving behavior.
- Drunk driving.
- Speeding, illegal turns, merges, or other violations of traffic laws.
In some cases, a motorcycle part or system such as brakes or tires has failed, affecting the ability of the motorcyclist to control the vehicle. In others, streets, roads or highways may not have been safe, and a city, county, or state entity may be named in a lawsuit.
Laws Riders Should Know
A rider breaking traffic laws is a main cause of serious motorcycle accidents in Vancouver. Broken laws such as speed limits, passenger rules, and wearing a helmet could worsen personal injuries or lead to a preventable death. It is important to recognize and obey all applicable motorcycle laws in Washington. Following the rules can keep you out of legal trouble and – most importantly – help you prevent an accident.
- Motorcycle endorsement required. To operate a two-wheel or three-wheel motorcycle in the state of Washington, you must have the correct motorcycle endorsement on your driver’s license. This will take special training and testing.
- Helmets required on all riders. Every motorcyclist and passenger must wear an approved helmet to legally ride in the state. Approved helmets have Department of Transportation (DOT) stickers on the rear exterior. Helmets must fit snugly and not have any defects. Unless your motorcycle has a windshield, you must wear eye protection as well.
- Motorcycle equipment required. Your motorcycle must have certain equipment. You must maintain this equipment accordingly. Your bike should have mirrors on both sides, a windshield (unless you are wearing eye protection), a horn, a muffler, handlebars no higher than 30 inches above your seat, and head and tail lamps.
- Motorcyclists must obey all traffic rules. A motorcycle is a motor vehicle in the eyes of the law, and therefore must obey all the same rules. Motorcyclists must stop at stop signs and traffic lights, yield the right-of-way when applicable, and cannot share a lane with a motor vehicle. It is illegal in Washington to lane split, or to ride between two lanes of traffic.
Breaking a motorcycle law could put you and your passengers at risk. Weaving between lanes of traffic and speeding, for example, could cause you to lose control and crash. Following the rules keeps you predictable and visible to other drivers. This can greatly increase your safety and decrease the odds of a motorist colliding with you. Finally, obeying the law could keep you from absorbing liability in an accident – protecting your legal rights.
Who is Liable?
In cases of negligent driving conduct by another party, the driver must be held accountable for the injuries and other damages suffered by the motorcyclist. In cases in which a motorcycle part or system failed, the motorcycle manufacturer, parts manufacturer, or retailer may be named in a lawsuit brought to seek compensatory damages. The process of filing a claim or lawsuit should be initiated as early as possible after the accident. Eyewitnesses must be interviewed, the accident scene reviewed, video or other evidence collected, and the vehicles involved fully inspected. At Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC, we have access to experts to perform these critical tasks.
Damages You Can Recover
The damages pursued in a motorcycle accident injury case will include:
- Medical expenses, including long-term care or rehabilitation
- Lost income or earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
Motorcycle Accident Claim Information
A motorcycle accident civil claim could help you and your family obtain financial compensation for all your related losses – economic and noneconomic. To have a viable claim, however, you must follow all applicable rules and requirements for filing. In the State of Washington, you have three years from the date of your accident to file a personal injury claim. If you lost a loved one in a motorcycle crash, you have three years from the date of death to file. Missing your deadline typically means the courts will refuse to hear your case, so be quick in contacting an attorney.
Once your lawyer has filed your claim, you may enter into settlement negotiations if the insurance company accepts the case. Your attorney can take over this process for you, negotiating on your behalf for the best possible outcome. If negotiations do not work, your lawyer can take your case to court. A personal injury trial may take longer to resolve, but it could result in greater compensation for you and your loved ones.
To secure compensation through a personal injury trial, you and your attorney will need to fulfill the burden of proof. Your lawyer will need to demonstrate evidence that the defendant owed you a duty of care, breached this duty, and caused your motorcycle accident. Your lawyer will then need to show that the crash caused you real, compensable damages. Hiring a lawyer is one of the best things you can do after a motorcycle accident in Vancouver.
What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident
A motorcycle accident can cause serious and painful personal injuries. In the aftermath of a crash, you may not know what to do first. The steps you take in the first hours and days after your accident could affect your future. It is important to know what to do and where to turn for trustworthy advice in your time of need.
- Stay at the scene and call the police. It is mandatory to report a traffic accident to police in Washington if it caused injury, death, or more than $700 in property damage.
- Do not admit fault. Never say you are sorry for a motorcycle accident. Do not admit fault to the other driver or to police officers.
- Give your side of the story. Make sure to tell the responding police officers your side of what happened. Otherwise, the other driver may tell a different version of events.
- Gather evidence. Take photos of the accident, your injuries, and property damages. Get the other driver’s name, contact information, and insurance information.
- Get medical attention immediately. Request an ambulance through 911, or visit a nearby hospital as soon as possible for medical attention.
- Follow the doctor’s orders. Follow your treatment plan exactly. Otherwise, an insurance company may take it as a reason to deny your claim.
- Call the at-fault party’s insurance company. Under Washington negligence law, the person at fault for the motorcycle accident will be liable for damages.
- Create a crash folder. Keep copies of your police reports, medical bills, communications with insurance companies, and other documents organized in an accident folder.
- Do not accept a settlement. An insurance claims adjuster may contact you to offer a settlement for your losses. Do not say yes until you speak to an attorney.
- Call an attorney. Call Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC to take over your case from here. Your lawyer will work on your lawsuit while you focus on recovery.
Following these steps can help build your case. If you can obtain contact information from witnesses, photographs of the crash scene, and a police report, you have already begun the foundation of a personal injury claim. By not accepting an initial settlement offer, you can ensure you get fair compensation for your damages with an attorney’s assistance. Call a lawyer as soon as possible after a wreck for personalized counsel.
Why You Need a Lawyer
It is often assumed that a motorcycle accident is the fault of the motorcyclist, but this is far from true. To successfully bring a lawsuit against another party after such an accident, it is imperative that you are represented by an experienced trial lawyer who can take your case to civil court for resolution when necessary. At Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC, we have a reputation for excellence in our legal work in personal injury law in Vancouver.
Contact Us Today
If you or a loved one has been seriously or fatally injured in a motorcycle accident in Vancouver, Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC can help. We offer a free and confidential case evaluation.