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Seattle Motor Vehicle Accident Law Blog

Motorcycle accident rates still worryingly high

Motorcycle accidents continue to play an outsized role in Washington's statistics about traffic fatalities.

The Governors Highway Safety Association keeps a broad range of statistics about motorcycle ridership and motorcycle accidents. According to its preliminary data from 2017, motorcycle accident fatalities fell slightly from the rates of a year earlier, but remained worryingly high.

What if you were injured by a hit-and-run driver?

If you have been injured in a car accident caused by another driver's negligence, you can file a personal injury claim to hold the driver liable for your damages. But what if you can't find the driver who was responsible? What if you were injured by a hit-and-run driver?

Under Washington law, it is a crime for drivers to leave the scene of an accident involving personal injury or death without waiting to speak to police. Drivers who are involved in an accident causing injury or death, or even merely damage to an occupied vehicle, must provide their name, address, insurance company, insurance policy number, vehicle license number, and show their driver's license to the occupants of the other car. They must also assist in getting the other person medical attention, if necessary and possible. Under some conditions, failure to fulfill these requirements can be prosecuted and punished as a felony.

College student struck by car while jogging

A University of Washington student was seriously injured recently when she was struck by a car while she was jogging, according to a news report.

The young woman was running around Green Lake when she was hit by the car, the report said. The driver allegedly jumped the curb before hitting the woman. Police said they found no indication the driver was drunk or on drugs. The jogger was taken to a nearby hospital, where she was being treated for injuries described as serious.

Justice for injured motorcyclists

Riding a motorcycle comes with risks. Everyone who rides a motorcycle knows that. In Washington, before they can get an endorsement on their license allowing them to legally drive a motorcycle, riders have to go through special training, pass a written test and a riding skills test. Much of the training focuses on how to be a responsible motorcyclist and avoid road hazards.

All this is for the best. We all want motorcyclists to be safe. The shortcoming of this motorcyclist safety-education-based approach is that it doesn't always do enough to keep motorcyclists safe from the biggest hazards on the road: other drivers. When other drivers fail to see motorcyclists, and violate their right of way, the results can be deadly.

Boys leap out of way of bus in near-miss accident

A recent near-miss bus accident in Kitsap County ended with two boys' electric bikes damaged, but fortunately no one seriously injured. The incident helps illustrate some of the legal issues involved in bus accidents.

According to news reports, a Kitsap Transit bus took a left turn a little too sharply, and collided with the bikes that were stopped at an intersection. The 12-year-old boys who own the bikes had to leap out of the way of the bus to escape being hit. One sustained some scrapes as he landed. Otherwise, no one was injured, including a passenger who was on the bus at the time. The driver, who told authorities she didn't see the boys, was cited for failure to drive in the right lane.

Can I recover compensation if I was partly at fault?

Let's say you were injured in a car accident, but you feel you were partly at fault for the crash: Is it possible for you to hold the other driver liable for your damages?

The short answer to this question under Washington law is yes, but there are some important limitations.

Alcohol suspected in fatal car crash on I-5

Sorting out liability for any traffic accident can be a laborious job. When several vehicles are involved and several people are injured, the task becomes even more complex and burdensome. A recent accident on Interstate Highway 5 near the King-Pierce County line shows how complex an accident investigation can become.

A 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt was traveling south on I-5 when the 19-year-old woman at the wheel lost control and struck a guardrail. The Chevy came to a complete stop in the traffic lane and was then struck by a Toyota Tundra. The accident resulted in the immediate death of a woman who was a passenger in the Chevy. Another passenger in the Chevy was taken to Tacoma General Hospital with minor injuries. Two men who were passengers in the Toyota were also injured. One was treated at the scene and the second was treated at an area hospital.

How do helmet laws affect motorcycle accident lawsuits?

In Washington, motorcyclists generally must wear a helmet when riding. This is in the best interests of riders, as wearing a helmet can protect a person from suffering a head injury if the person is involved in a motorcycle accident. In fact, a motorcyclist who doesn't wear a helmet is three times more apt to suffer a brain injury in a motorcycle crash than those who do wear a helmet. Simply put, helmets save lives.

However, does the failure to wear a helmet mean a motorcyclist cannot pursue a legal claim if they are hit by a car? In some states, the damages a motorcyclist may collect if they were not wearing a helmet when the crash occurred could be reduced or even barred altogether. This may be the case when the motorcyclist is deemed to be partially at-fault in the collision -- that is, their negligence played a role in the crash.

Pursue justice and a fair outcome following a motorcycle accident

We may be in the dog days of summer, but that doesn't stop many bikers in Washington from hitting the road on their motorcycles. Whether it is a scenic drive or simply a means to get from point A to point B, motorists in Seattle need to make sure they are aware of motorcyclists in their vicinity. If they don't and strike a motorcyclist, the motorcyclist could be seriously injured or even killed.

Motorcyclists are at a disadvantage when it comes to motorcycle accidents. Their smaller vehicles cannot stand up to the weight of a much larger automobile. In addition, motorcycles do not provide structural or safety features motorists have, such as seatbelts, air bags and crumple zones. Therefore, it is likely that a motorcyclist who is hit by an automobile will wind up much worse off than the motorist who struck the motorcyclist.

Motorists in Washington must stop for pedestrians at crosswalks

When temperatures are pleasant, it is not unusual for people in Seattle to take a walk. Moreover, before too long school will start again, with more children taking to the sidewalks as they walk to school. When pedestrians are on a walk, they often must cross the street to get to where they're going. However, this puts them at risk for being involved in an auto-pedestrian accident.

Motorists may not realize this, but per Washington law motorists must stop for pedestrians at every intersection, even if the intersection is not marked at a crosswalk.

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