It is important when involved in a motorcycle accident to speak with an attorney who has experience with these kinds of cases specifically, rather than an attorney who has only worked on car accident lawsuits.
There are two main reasons why this is the case.
First, motorcycle accidents are usually much more deadly and, at the very least, typically involve more serious injuries than most car accidents.
According to the most recent data available from the Washington State Traffic Safety Commission, only .3 percent of passenger vehicles collisions were fatal. On the other hand, nearly 3.5 percent of motorcycles collisions were fatal. In other words, motorcycle accidents are more than 10 times as likely to result in death when compared to traditional car accidents.
The reasons for this are easy enough to see.
Motorcyclists are not protected from a collision the way passengers in a large vehicle are. They are more vulnerable to potholes and other road hazards, which can cause an accident. They are more difficult for other motorists to see when changing lanes, especially in the dark, and their smaller size makes them fall into drivers’ blind spots more easily.
Moreover, most car accident cases we handle involve a rear-end collision where the at-fault party simply failed to stop. These cases can involve serious neck and back injuries, but fatalities are rare.
On the other hand, a rear-end collision involving a motorcyclist will typically result in extreme injuries, including broken limbs, head, neck, and back injuries. Sometimes, as the statistics above show, these accidents are even fatal.
Only attorneys who have handled these cases in the past know what to look for in terms of injuries, evidence collection, and case law. Those attorneys also know how to correctly assess the financial damages from motorcycle accidents and, if need be, demonstrate those damages to a jury.
The second reason you want an attorney with experience handling motorcycle accident cases is that the motorcycle insurance market is different from the car insurance market.
In Washington State, motorcyclists are not required to carry insurance, and many don’t. Washington State is one of the few states with this policy and the only one in the Pacific Northwest; Oregon, Idaho and British Columbia all require motorcyclists to carry insurance.
Additionally, those who do carry insurance are often underinsured, only paying for minimum coverage and declining Personal Injury Protection (PIP).
This can create legal challenges when motorcyclists are injured. If they don’t carry motorcycle insurance, they will need to use their health insurance or other coverage to pay for medical bills in the short term.
One of the immediate jobs of a personal injury attorney in these cases, therefore, is to locate all available insurance coverage and advise their client on using their benefits.
In the long term, a qualified attorney can seek a settlement with the at-fault party’s insurance company, but this can take time.
In the meantime, injured motorcyclists will need an attorney that can help them navigate the insurance system and safeguard their rights, while giving advice on how to document damages to strengthen the settlement offer.
If a case goes to trial or arbitration, you want an attorney who knows how to present the case to the judge and the jury. An attorney who has handled motorcycle accident cases is best equipped to do that.
At Park Chenaur, we have handled motorcycle and car accident cases for more than 15 years. We understand the special circumstances and legal questions raised by motorcycle accidents, and are ready to take your case. If you have been in an accident are need legal representation, please give us a call, or contact us online.