Motorcycle Accident FAQs
Right of way in Washington State?
Washington state statute RCW 46.61.185 states that any driver intending to turn left at an intersection “shall yield the right of way” to any oncoming vehicle approaching from the opposite direction that is an immediate hazard. However, the right is not absolute. The duty to exercise ordinary care to avoid collisions at intersections rests upon both drivers. It is the left-turning driver’s primary duty and responsibility to maintain “a fair margin of safety at all times.” What does this mean in the real world? Liability for a left-hand turn would usually rest on the driver making that turn as long as that driver does NOT have a green arrow traffic signal. The motorcycle must have the primary right of way, for example, at a green light.
What evidence do you need to prove a motorcycle is not at fault in a left turn accident?
If the other driver admits fault, that is usually enough evidence. If the other driver believes he had the right of way, other evidence will help determine who’s at fault. Evidence to support the determination of which party was responsible for the accident often includes:
- Photos of the scene of the accident and vehicle damage
- Witness statements
- Surveillance video from nearby businesses
- Testimony from drivers and passengers
What should you do if the other driver is disputing fault?
Left turn motorcycle accidents are the most common type of accident riders face. The injuries from these accidents are often serious and severe. When the other driver is blaming the motorcycle rider it’s time to speak with an experienced motorcycle Accident Attorney. If you or someone you care about was hurt in a left turn motorcycle accident, contact MaxPower Law at 425-970-9300 for a free consultation.
Who caused the motorcycle accident?
If the accident was less than 100 percent your fault, then Washington State’s comparative negligence laws permit you to recover damages. If the accident was 100 percent your fault, then you may be out of luck and barred from recovering damages. In Washington, any recovery you get can be reduced by the percentage of fault you have for causing the accident. In other words, you can file a claim, but if you were 25 percent at fault, then your damages award will be reduced by 25 percent. This is true even if you had a valid motorcycle endorsement. The other driver will have to prove that your lack of a valid motorcycle endorsement caused in whole or part of the accident. This can be difficult and often depends on the experience level of the rider.
How do you prove the other driver was at fault?
You’ll have to show the other driver was doing something negligent that lead to the accident happening. Common examples of negligence in motorcycle accidents include:
- Failure to yield right of way by left turning vehicle
- Running a red light
- Following too closely
- DUI – Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Driving too fast for the conditions
Evidence needs to be collected to prove negligence. Types of evidence that should be collected:
- Photographs of the accident scene
- Photos of damage to all vehicles involved
- Police report
- Witness statements
- Surveillance video from nearby businesses
- Testimony from drivers and passengers
If you can show the other driver was at fault, at least partially at fault, then you may be able to successfully recover compensation for your bike damage and injuries.
How can you get help from a Motorcycle Accident Attorney?
Even if you believe that the other driver was 100% at fault, an insurance company may try to pin the responsibility for the accident on you based on the fact that you didn’t have a motorcycle endorsement / license at the time of crash. When this happens, more often than not, your only hope of recovery requires the help of an experienced Motorcycle Accident Attorney. For assistance with your motorcycle accident call the MaxPower Law team at 425-970-9300.
Your motorcycle is only worth what the market says it is worth. If your motorcycle is totaled, the insurance company is required to pay you only the fair market value of your bike, regardless of how much you owe on it or how much you think it is worth.
Fair market value is the amount you motorcycle is selling for on the open market at the time of the accident. This should not be confused with what you would ask for if you were to sell it. It should also not be confused with what you owe on it or what you have invested in it. These things are not important and often irrelevant in determining what your bike is worth.
The insurance companies will look to see what similar motorcycles are selling for in your geographic area. You should do the same by looking at websites that sell motorcycles in the same make, model, condition, mileage as you can find to your bike. Get a feel for the range of prices bikes like yours are selling for at the moment. That way you will have a feel for whether the offer being made on your totaled motorcycle is fair or not.
We often get complaints that the insurance company is not taking into consideration aftermarket items like additional chrome in computing the value of a client’s motorcycle. While extras and modifications can increase the value of a motorcycle, the fair market value is not computed by taking what you paid for the bike and adding up all that you have invested in it.
If you add $1500 worth of chrome to your bike that does not necessarily mean the bike is worth $1500 more than before you added it. The insurance company will want to know how old those parts are because they own for the market value of those parts, so the age determines what value they have as ”used” parts. The insurance company will also ask for receipts if you have them. SO it’s a good idea to keep receipts for all the parts you put on your motorcycle.
So, what can you do to protect your bike? First and foremost, if you are financing your motorcycle consider gap insurance. Gap insurance pays the difference of what the motorcycle is worth and what you owe. It keeps you from being upside down on your loan if your bike is totaled. Let’s say that you buy a bike for $13,000. Two years down the road you owe $11,500 but the fair market value is now $9,000. If you are in an accident and your bike it totaled, the insurance company is going to pay you $9,000. That takes care of the defendant’s obligations with regard to your bike. You will still owe $2,500 on a motorcycle that you do not own. If you bought gap insurance, it would make up the $2,500 difference so that you would not owe any more on the bike.
You can also insure your motorcycle for a certain amount, often called scheduled or stated value. If you do that and your bike is totaled, the insurance company will pay that pre-set amount. Take that $13,000 bike that you bought in the previous scenario. You schedule the bike at $13,000. The same two years go by and it is worth $9,000. If you are in an accident and your bike is totaled the insurance company will pay you $13,000. If you do not want to pay for a scheduled or stated value, many policies will offer specific protection for accessories, which guarantees that you will receive value for your accessories. It does not protect you from natural depreciation in value that all motorcycles experience over time. If you do purchase coverage for accessories, make sure to save the receipts.
To summarize, if your motorcycle is totaled you will get the actual cash value of that motorcycle. If you see your motorcycle as a personal investment, then you want to protect that investment by making sure your insurance policy coverage is adequate. Otherwise, your investment is at the mercy of the free market, and the free market will almost always determine that your motorcycle is worth less than you think it is.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, call us at 425-970-9300 for a free consultation.
Immediately following a motorcycle accident, you may find that your adrenaline is flowing and you may be in an altered emotional state. You are likely injured to some extent. Your brain is foggy. You are almost on autopilot. You are not concentrating on what is necessary. You have no idea that any of this will be an issue. A legal battle is the furthest thing from your mind. The insurance adjuster may not be as friendly when you are finally asking to be compensated for what you have been through.
You need to make sure you protect yourself. If possible, do these things for yourself after an accident; but if you cannot, then call a friend or loved one to come to accident scene and do them for you:
Check For Injuries
First things first…be sure to check yourself and others involved in the accident for injuries. Call 911 immediately if someone is hurt.
Take pictures of the damage to your bike and the vehicle that hit you. Also take pictures of the vehicles positions in the road post collision (assuming they haven’t been moved from the spot the came to rest after impact).
Make sure that the scene is safe enough to take pictures so that you don’t cause further damage or risk the safety of yourself and others. Use your cell phone to take pictures from a variety of angles. Document the position of your motorcycle and the other vehicle(s) in the photos. This may be helpful when dealing with the insurance company or in the event your case goes to court.
Get Your Bike Off The Road
If you leave your bike on the road it can be a hazard to oncoming traffic. Move your bike off the road as soon as it is safe. If there are unexpected vehicles and debris out on the road it could result in further accidents and injuries, which you could be held responsible for.
Be sure to call 911 for emergency assistance or call your local police department. You want a police officer to arrive at the scene of the accident so that they can put together a police report. This will be an important official document in providing details for your case. Gather important information by speaking to witnesses, passengers, other drivers, and the police officer. Be sure to collect these important pieces of information:
- Contact information (names, phone numbers, email addresses) of all witnesses
- Get the make, model and license plate numbers for all vehicles involved in the accident
- The badge number and name of the police officer at the scene of the accident
- The police report number
- The VIN (vehicle identification numbers) for any vehicles involved
- The insurance company name and contact information for involved vehicles
Call Your Insurance Agent
You will want to contact your insurance agent as soon as possible after your motorcycle accident. Have a list of all the information you collected ready to give them over the phone. Do not admit fault to ANYONE, including your insurance company. If you are asked about your injuries or damage to your motorcycle, let your insurance company know you will wait until you have visited a doctor and have taken your bike in to a professional to inspect. If you underestimate your damages it can reduce the amount of compensation you rightfully deserve.
Contact A Motorcycle Accident Attorney
There is a good chance you will need a motorcycle accident attorney after your accident. There are several scenarios that may come up after being in an accident:
- The other parties claim the accident was your fault, but you are innocent
- Your insurance company denies your claim
- Your damages exceed the limits of your policy
- You have incurred severe physical injuries and costs
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, give us a call today at 425-970-9300 for a free consultation. We are the local choice for top-rated Washington motorcycle accident attorneys for injured riders across Washington state. Learn more about motorcycle accident claims by downloading a copy of our free book, Motorcycle Accident Secrets Unlocked.
After a motorcycle accident, one of the biggest worries faced by injured riders with mounting hospital bills is “who’s responsible for paying my medical expense”? The short answer is you are in the beginning and then later the at-fault party will when you settle your entire case.
It’s best to familiarize yourself with the insurance implications of motorcycle accidents before you’re in a crash. Insurance cannot be purchased retroactively to cover an accident, so even if you’re reading this just because you are curious and not because you’ve been injured, pay attention to what you need to do to protect yourself in case of a severe injury.
When motorcycles have insurance, it is not like car insurance and almost always under a separate policy. In fact, most automobile insurance will exclude coverage for motorcycles. To obtain adequate motorcycle insurance coverage in Washington state, you will have to purchase a separate motorcycle policy.
In July of 2019, a new insurance law was passed that requires motorcycles to have liability insurance just like cars in Washington state. All motorcycles must carry $25,000 in bodily injury liability and $10,000 in property damage liability. The reason for this change was mostly to protect riders against other drivers out there who don’t have adequate insurance when they hit a motorcyclist. Also, most motorcycles are worth more than $10,000, so you don’t want to be left without enough money to pay off the loan if it is totaled in an accident.
If you were hit by a car, that driver’s liability coverage will cover your damages (assuming that the driver had purchased sufficient liability coverage). Beware that the at-fault driver’s insurance will not pay your medical bills as you are going to the doctor for treatment. The at-fault driver’s insurance will only pay once and will require you to sign a release document that closes your case forever no matter what injuries develop or get worse later.
Surprisingly, this is how vehicle insurance is designed to work. You are supposed to pay your medical bills through your own insurance under your Medical Payments coverage, PIP coverage or health insurance. Once you are fully recovered and healed from your accident injuries, then the at-fault driver’s insurance is supposed to repay your PIP or health insurance for the medical bills they paid. Sounds crazy and may not make sense, but that is how insurance laws work in Washington state.
What Do You Mean by “Medical Bills”?
Medical bills include costs that you have already incurred from your accident, but also costs that you are currently accumulating or that you may be billed for in the future. These bills may include, but not limited to:
- Doctor visits
- Ambulance bills
- Hospital stays
- Rehabilitation therapies (occupational or physical therapy)
- Medical devices (crutches, wheelchairs)
- In-home help and services
After an accident, you will have to pay your own medical bills through whatever insurance coverage you have available be it Medical Payments, PIP, or health insurance. Most people are shocked to find this out. That is why it’s so important to have health insurance if you ride and purchase Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) coverage on your motorcycle insurance.
Protect Your Rights to Recover Medical Bills
The insurance company (or defendant) will most likely dispute your medical bill calculations. They will try to pay you a small fraction of the costs you actually incurred. For this reason, it is important to document your costs accurately, have a reputable doctor who can provide a medical opinion about your future medical needs, and to have an experienced local Washington motorcycle accident attorney fighting for your recovery of medical bills and damages.
To learn more, please download a free copy of our book, Motorcycle Accident Secrets Unlocked and contact us for a free consultation at 425-970-9300.
Don’t worry. We’re here to help.
When an accident happens, your number one question is “how will I pay all these medical bills?” We’re here to lift the burden during a catastrophe and are committed to providing the support and peace of mind when you need it most, to figure out the best way to avoid financial ruin.
GET HELP NOW
If you have been hurt in an accident, contact us to get help.