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Seattle Motor Vehicle Accident Law Blog

Who is liable after the crash of a city bus?

Most of the motor vehicle-related personal injury lawsuits that go through King County courts have two parties: the injured plaintiff and the defendant. The plaintiff argues that the defendant caused the accident through negligence, and therefore should be held liable for the plaintiff's damages.

The issue of liability is more complicated in cases involving commercial or government-owned vehicles such as buses or trucks. In these cases, the bus or truck driver may be held liable if they caused the accident through their own negligence, but there may be other liable parties as well.

Metropolitan area struggles to protect pedestrians

Local governments in Seattle and the surrounding area say that pedestrian safety is a top priority, and yet terrible auto-pedestrian accidents continue to happen.

Recently in Covington, in suburban King County, a man was left in critical condition after he was struck by a car as he walked down a dark street where there were no sidewalks available. Police said the 25-year-old driver continued down the road after hitting the pedestrian, later crashing into some construction equipment. Police arrested the driver and he faces charges of DUI and vehicular assault.

Motorcycle fatalities declined in 2018

The number of motorcyclists killed in traffic accidents declined last year, according to the latest figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The NHTSA found 4,985 people died in motorcycle accidents in 2018, a 4.7% drop from the 2017 totals.

This decline is welcome, of course, but the new number still means nearly 5,000 people needlessly lost their lives, many of them leaving behind families. Many of these families must now cope not only with their grief, but with the economic costs that come with losing a family member, including loss of income.

Pedestrian deaths rise while other car accident numbers fall

The number of motor vehicle accident deaths fell for the second year in a row, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which recently released its findings for 2018. Traffic fatalities fell by 2.4% last year, according to the NHTSA. Preliminary findings for the first half of 2019 suggest the downward trend is continuing.

Unfortunately, the NHTSA reported an alarming rise in auto-pedestrian and auto-bicycle accident deaths. Fatal pedestrian accidents rose 3.4% last year, according to the agency. Fatalities on bikes and other pedal-powered vehicles rose 6.3%.

Rental truck crashes into 2 cars, injuring 4 people

Four people were injured recently when a rental truck crashed into two cars on Interstate-5 in Seattle, police said. One of the injured was reported to be in serious condition.

According to a news report, the U-Haul truck ended up on its side after the collisions, trapping at one person underneath it. Rescue workers needed special airbags to raise the truck. Police said they don't know what caused the crash, and suspect the truck was stolen.

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.

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