Washington is a motorcycle rider’s paradise. Miles of road stretches out before riders, revealing the natural beauty of the state and offering an unparalleled sense of freedom. Yet, for all their natural beauty, some roads surrounding Yakima County are also known for being especially dangerous. It only takes the actions of one negligent driver to change the course of a motorcyclist’s life forever.
Motorcycle accidents can be catastrophic, and drivers may be forced to deal with the consequences of an accident for the rest of their lives. Huge medical bills, serious injuries, and financial instability are all real-life repercussions for those involved. Due to the bias that some people have towards motorcyclists, getting a full and fair settlement may be a challenge, especially if you decide to take on an insurance company alone.
Having an attorney take your side can make a world of difference after a serious motorcycle accident. The Yakima personal injury lawyers of Tamaki Law are committed to helping victims get justice and the financial compensation they are entitled to following a Yakima motorcycle accident. Before you bow to pressure from an insurance company to settle, talk to an experienced motorcycle accident attorney about your situation and the value of your accident claim. At Tamaki Law, we offer a free consultation to help get you started. Let’s review your situation and talk about the ways we may be able to help you. Call us today at (509) 248-8338.
Why Hire an Experienced Yakima Motorcycle Accident Attorney?
Motorcycle accidents are not like other automobile collisions. Motorcycle accidents tend to involve much more serious injuries, and there can also be an inherent bias against motorcycle riders. Unfortunately, there is still a perception that motorcycle riders are rebellious daredevils out on the road. This bias means that insurance adjusters may be examining a motorcycle crash through tinted lenses. This can result in injured riders failing to get the fair compensation that they are entitled to following an accident. A skewed compensation package can mean serious financial consequences for riders suffering from significant injuries.
Getting an experienced motorcycle attorney on your side from day one means that you have someone in your corner, protecting your rights and fighting for a fair settlement. As a motorcyclist, you deserve to have the circumstances of the accident examined in a fair and unbiased manner. An attorney can help you communicate with the insurance provider, investigate the circumstances of the accident, and protect you from being taken advantage of. An attorney can also assess your claim for its fair market value and negotiate on your behalf for an appropriate settlement.
At Tamaki Law, we are an experienced and knowledgeable team that seek to maximize our client’s compensation. We understand that being involved in an accident can put a victim in a financially compromising position. That is why we work on a contingent basis, which means we don’t get paid until you get paid.
If you are interested in learning more about how we can help you, we offer a free consultation to get you started. Bring us the circumstances of your accident and your questions, and we’ll lay out your legal options.
Dangerous Conditions for Motorcyclists in Yakima
Recent news reports have highlighted the fact that road conditions in Yakima are becoming more and more dangerous, especially for vulnerable motorcyclists. At least 45 percent of Yakima County’s roads need serious rehabilitation, with State Routes 823, 410, and I-82 facing problems of deteriorating and corroding pavement. I-82 is already a notoriously dangerous road as it links other major interstates such as I-90 and I-84. The stretch between mile markers 26 and 31, near the U.S. 12 interchange, also sees several motor vehicle crashes, including serious motorcycle accidents.
The Washington State Traffic Safety Commission maps some of the county’s most dangerous roadways by pinpointing the places where fatal crashes have occurred in a three-year time frame. Many roadways include overlapping dots, showing the dangerous roads in stark detail. Lawsuits have even been fought over some of the most dangerous roadways and intersections in the county, including the poorly designed intersection at Gurley Road and Yakima Valley Highway.
How Motorcycle Accidents Happen
In addition to the dangers posed by the roads themselves, negligent drivers and other dangerous conditions can lead to significant motorcycle accidents on Yakima roadways. While motorcyclists are often more difficult to see, a basic lack of awareness and negligent driving behaviors on the part of other motorists put riders at significant risk.
Distracted driving is one of the most common culprits of collisions today. The problem has become so prevalent that in 2017, Washington passed stricter distracted driving laws in an attempt to lower the number of serious collisions caused by the behavior. In 2018, officers issued 33,825 distracted driving citations. While the new law has helped, in 2018, 116 victims still lost their lives to a distracted driver, according to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission. Although distracted driving is one of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents, other sources of motorcycle accidents include:
- Driving while intoxicated
- Lane splitting
- Left-turn crashes
- Construction hazards
- Weather conditions
Injuries Associated with Motorcycle Collisions
Motorcyclists lack the same safety features that have become standard on many newer cars. They are also more difficult to see. These factors put them at particular risk for traumatic injuries when they are involved in accidents. These injuries can significantly impact a rider’s health and their subsequent quality of life. The severity of motorcycle injuries can also put an enormous strain on a victim’s financial stability, leaving them not only struggling to pay current medical bills but also the high cost of future medical bills, rehabilitation, and making accommodations to their home or living arrangement.
While the severity of a rider’s injuries depends on the nature of the accident and whether the individual was wearing a helmet or other safety gear at the time, the most common types of injuries associated with motorcycle accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Other head, neck, and spinal injuries
- Facial injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Soft tissue damage
- Broken bones
- Road rash
- Wrongful death
What Can a Victim Expect in the Way of Compensation?
The amount of compensation that a motorcycle accident victim may be able to recover depends on the severity of the accident and how much fault they bear in causing the accident. The total amount of compensation that a victim may be due is calculated by factoring in both economic and noneconomic damages. These damages are meant to cover expenses related to the following:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
Calculating the total amount of damages is only part of the recovery process. The amount of compensation that a victim may be able to recover also depends on a specific Washington code establishing “pure comparative negligence.” Pure comparative negligence can limit the amount of money a person can recover depending on how much fault they bear in causing the accident itself.
If a motorcyclist is found to be 20 percent at fault for the circumstances that result in the accident, they can recover the total amount of their damages, minus 20 percent. Even if a motorist is found to be mostly at fault, they still have the ability to recover compensation. However, they may be on the hook for the victim’s losses as well. Their portion of compensation is also reduced by the percentage of their portion of fault. In the example above, the at-fault party would be able to recover the total amount of compensation for their losses minus 80 percent.
One more circumstance that many motorcyclists worry about when contemplating filing a claim and attempting to recover compensation for their injuries is whether or not they were not wearing a helmet. Washington law states that all motorcycle operators must wear a helmet while traveling on state, county, or city roads. Those that fail to follow the law may fear repercussions if they are involved in a serious accident.
If you were not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, it is important that you contact an experienced motorcycle attorney. You may still be entitled to some form of compensation, and the team at Tamaki Law can help you sort through your options.
Contact a Yakima Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today
At Tamaki Law, our reputation is based on results. We strive to recover full and fair compensation for all our clients, including those involved in serious motorcycle accidents. A motorcycle accident can be a life-altering event, one that can instantly ravage your body and your financial situation. At Tamaki Law, we want to help you recover the money that you deserve and help you take the first steps toward rebuilding your life.
If you’ve been seriously hurt in a motorcycle accident on the roads of Yakima, contact our office today at (509) 248-8338. We want to offer you a free legal consultation to review your case and answer your questions. Find out how we may be able to help you get the money you deserve.