Washington Motorcycle Accidents« Areas of Practice
Riding a motorcycle and all of the thrills that come with it is something that you have to experience in order to understand it. I have experienced it and I understand. To help injured motorcycle riders in Washington, I am offering a free copy of the Straight Talk Law: The Truth About Washington Motorcycle Accidents. My book will explain the process and guide you through what to do and what to expect. In fact, my book will do something that most attorney’s hate; I will tell you that you may not need to hire an attorney at all!
I also know what it’s like to be in a motorcycle accident. If you’ve been in a similar situation, you know all of the feelings that come along with it. Luckily, I wasn’t seriously injured. However, many people that are unfortunate enough to have a motorcycle accident are not so lucky. That’s when the questions start running in your head. Who is going to pay all the medical bills? How will I get my bike fixed? What should I do when the insurance company calls me? Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents are complicated, sometimes even more complicated than car accident cases. The insurance company will always try to create an issue in a motorcycle case. If it’s not an issue of fault, then it’s an issue of injuries, what caused the injuries, and sometimes they will even rely on the jury’s perceived bias against motorcycle riders.
It is important to understand the process and terminology of a motorcycle accident personal injury case. There are three basic steps to proving your case. You must first determine what act of negligence caused the accident. For example, making a left hand turn directly in front of a motorcyclist who has the right of way is probably negligent. Next you must show upon whom the liability falls or in other words, who is to blame. While this may seem simple and clear, unfortunately usually it is not. Insurance companies believe that juries do not like motorcyclists in general. They will try to use that to pin some degree of fault on the injured victim. Due to the complicated nature of motorcycle accident injury cases, it is important that you speak to an experienced motorcycle Seattle motorcycle accident lawyer to be sure that you are being taken care of.
However, once you are over the liability hurdle, the damages questions begin. Damages are the money that can make up for, or compensate for, the injuries or harms that were caused by the negligent conduct. While money can never really fully make up for an injury, money can help pay the medical bills or reimburse you for lost time at work. Money can also help fix the things that can be fixed, and make up for the things that can’t be fixed (like your health).
Damages come in two forms: special and general. Special damages are concrete and are basically payment for medical bills, medications, surgeries, hospital stays, etc. General damages are less clear and cover vague concepts like pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. These numbers are often hard to determine and are highly subjective from case to case. They are not set-in-stone numbers. For a motorcycle rider, this can include the post-traumatic stress of not being able to get back on your bike. All of these elements require evidence in order to be proven and it takes an experienced personal injury lawyer to know where to look for the best evidence that will document the necessary facts to prove a case.
It is also important to understand the claims process. This process is largely the same in all personal injury cases. You must know that there is a time limit for you to file your claim, called the statute of limitations. In Washington State generally that limit is 3 years from the day of your accident. In other words, if you don’t file a claim (start a lawsuit) before the three year anniversary date of your accident, then you can never file a claim about that accident and all of your legal rights evaporate. Once a lawsuit is filed the discovery phase begins. In discovery both sides learn more about each others’ positions in the case. This may include depositions (a witness testifies under oath), interrogatories (written questions under oath), and independent medical exams, etc. After each side has all the information they need, the parties will often see if the case can be settled through negotiations. If negotiations fail, then there are several possible paths to resolve your case, depending on how things go. The first is alternative dispute resolution where you present the case to a seasoned lawyer in attempts at coming to a fair solution. Another way is mandatory arbitration which is the court’s way of trying to settle smaller cases in a quick and efficient manner. And lastly, if the claim cannot be settled in any other way, it goes to trial in front of a judge or a jury.
For a better understanding of how this will all work for you, please check out my free book, or give me a call.
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