If you suffered severe injuries or your loved one was killed in a motorcycle accident in Seattle, it will be critical for you to retain legal counsel quickly. Though no amount of money will compensate for your pain and suffering or the loss of a loved one, an experienced injury attorney can be your advocate and help you recover all of the damages you are entitled.
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After a motorcycle crash, you’ll want to have someone with experience in these types of cases on your side. The other motorist and their insurance company are both likely to claim that you were somehow at fault.
You will also want the lawyer to handle all conversations with insurance companies because most people who try to handle those phone calls usually end up saying something that hurts their case. For this reason alone, you should always refuse to provide any recorded statement to an insurance company until you have legal representation.
Some insurers will use the statements of victims to argue they were negligent and deny claims for compensation. In other cases, insurance companies may quickly propose lump=sum settlements.
While these settlements might seem quite large to most people, it is important to keep in mind that these offers are usually far less than what victims are entitled. Often, accident victims don’t realize until after it’s too late that the settlement they accepted will not be enough to cover future costs, which they then must pay out of their own pockets.
Jeffrey R. Caffee has been named one of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers by the National Trial Lawyers every year since 2013. He is a member of the Washington State Bar Association, the Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Association, and the King County Bar Association.
Mr. Caffee received his Bachelor of Science from Saint Leo University and earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Notre Dame Law School. He was honored by The International Academy of Trial Lawyers in 2009 with an Award for Advocacy for distinguished achievement in the art and science of advocacy, and he received the American Bar Association Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section Trial Academy Scholarship in 2011.
You should also know that Caffee Law will represent you on a contingency fee basis. We do not charge you any money until you get a monetary award.
Our firm will work towards a fair and full settlement to your case, but we will not force you to accept an offer that does not meet your demands. Caffee Law can take your case to court when necessary to get justice. We recently won a $2.179 million judgement for a client who sustained a head injury in a motorcycle crash. Contact us at (206) 312-0954 to learn how we can help you.
You may not think you need an experienced Seattle motorcycle accident attorney if you are filing an insurance claim, but the truth is that an attorney can help you do much more than file paperwork. An attorney is a justice warrior that can protect your rights and help you recover the full and fair compensation that you deserve. A knowledgeable motorcycle accident attorney can help you by:
The legal team at Caffee Law can help you do this and much more. To talk to a seasoned motorcycle accident attorney about your case, call us today at (206) 312-0954.
Motorcycle crashes can often be scenes of twisted wreckage in which liability can be very difficult to determine. While every accident is different, many collisions stem from common causes, and some of the most frequent causes of motorcycle crashes include but are not limited to:
Keep in mind that not all motorcycle crashes involve other vehicles. Some accidents are isolated incidents often attributed to driver error when, in fact, there was another cause.
For example, a defective motorcycle part would make a part manufacturer liable. Similarly, an issue with an improperly repaired motorcycle could lead to a maintenance company being liable.
The possible injuries motorcyclists may sustain can include but are not limited to:
The State of Washington requires all motorcyclists (operators and passengers) to wear helmets while riding a motorcycle. Helmets certainly reduce the chances of a person suffering a severe head injury in a crash, but they cannot prevent all injuries.
Determining the value of a motorcycle accident claim can be an in-depth process. First, to calculate the overall value of the claim, the nature of the accident and the severity of the injuries suffered will typically come into play. Economic and non-economic damages are calculated, and compensation will typically cover:
However, this total may not be the ultimate amount of money that a victim walks away with after an accident. The initial calculations are just an assessment of the potential total value of your claim. The total amount of money that you may be able to recover also depends on a Washington rule known as “pure comparative negligence.” This rule states that the amount of money that a party may recover following an accident diminishes in proportion to the amount of liability they bear in causing the accident. Essentially, if a victim is found to be partially at fault for an accident, even ten percent at fault, they can recover the total amount of damages minus ten percent.
This rule even allows the at-fault party to recover compensation. If a person is 90 percent responsible for causing an accident, they can recover the total amount of their damages, minus 90 percent. It is important to remember, however, that the at-fault party or their insurer will still be responsible for paying the victim’s portion of the compensation package. While this rule binds the courts, it also guides how insurance adjusters value claims. An insurance adjuster will strongly consider how a court would rule in a situation as they evaluate a motorcycle claim.
Having an attorney on your side is the best way to achieve a favorable outcome for your claim. An attorney understands how the pure comparative negligence rule works. They can investigate the circumstances of the accident and gather crucial evidence that can help strengthen your claim and establish liability. An attorney can also calculate the value of your claim and then negotiate on your behalf to help you recover the money that you deserve.
The first phone calls you make following a motorcycle accident are important. While those calls are typically made to law enforcement and family members, motorcyclists involved in serious accidents should also add “attorney” to that call list. Washington gives motorists three years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit for damages. This may seem like a long time, but you need to get the law on your side immediately.
Sometimes the insurance claims process is lengthy and challenging. There can be a lot of back and forth in the initial stages of phone calls, gathering evidence and medical documentation, and establishing liability for the accident. After that comes the push and pull of compensation negotiations. If an insurance adjuster is under-valuing your claim, there is a dispute over liability, or they simply aren’t negotiating in good faith, it may be time to take your case to court. Unfortunately, if the process has been long and drawn out, your opportunity to file a lawsuit may have passed. Suits filed after the three-year mark can be dismissed, leaving you with little to no legal recourse.
When you seek legal representation immediately or shortly after a serious motorcycle accident, you are giving yourself the best chance possible at recovering fair compensation. An attorney can begin the process of investigating the circumstances of the accident and gather critical evidence before it is lost or even destroyed. They can then negotiate with the insurance company for you, and in the event that the company is not negating in good faith, can begin the process of filing a timely lawsuit on your behalf.
According to the 2015 Annual Collision Data Summary from the Washington State Department of Transportation, 2,440 motorcycles were involved in collisions, including 76 fatal collisions, 406 serious injury collisions, 1,562 minor injury collisions, 365 property damage only collisions, and 31 unknown injury collisions.
Statistics show that a motorcyclist was involved in a crash in Washington every four hours, which translates to six motorcycle accidents every day. Whereas 38.8 percent of drivers and 30.7 percent of occupants died or were injured in collisions, 90.5 percent of motorcyclists died or were seriously injured.
The Washington Traffic Safety Commission reported that the preliminary total of 64 motorcyclist fatalities in 2017 was the lowest total of the past five years, with motorcyclists accounting for 11 percent of total traffic fatalities, the lowest percentage dating back to 2013.
A 2017 report from the Governors Highway Safety Association stated that motorcyclist fatalities occurred 28 times more frequently than passenger vehicle fatalities in motor vehicle crashes. The 64 motorcyclist fatalities in 2017 reported by the GHSA were less than the 81 published in 2016.
Serving Accident Victims in Seattle and the Surrounding Areas
Far and away, one of the most dangerous areas of the city for motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians is the downtown area. Seattle transit data shows a large number of fatal collisions in the downtown area, making it a hotbed for risky driving behavior and accidents. Other dangerous sites for drivers and motorcycle operators include Highway 99 and Rainer Avenue South. Highway 2, Interstate 5, I-90, and I-405 can also be treacherous roadways in the Seattle area. Increased speeds and an influx of drivers on these major roadways can spell disaster for motorcyclists.
Another problem for motorcyclists and all Seattle commuters is the state of local roadways. A recent study suggests that the city’s roadways are deteriorating and that 44.2 percent of all major roads in the city are in “poor condition.” Crumbling infrastructure and potholes can create dangerous driving conditions for motorcyclists, leading to property damage and an increase in traffic accidents with other drivers.
Did you sustain serious injuries or was your loved one killed in a motorcycle crash in the greater Seattle area? Do not wait to seek legal representation for help recovering all of the compensation you need and deserve.
Caffee Law understands the many ways in which a motorcycle accident can affect a person’s life, and we work tirelessly to make sure that you get everything you need to make a full recovery. You can have our lawyer discuss all of your legal options as soon as you call (206) 312-0954 or contact us online to take advantage of a free consultation.