Even with appropriate clothing and safety gear on, motorcycle riders still assume a significant risk of injury every time they get out on the road. Unfortunately, the presence of negligent motor vehicle operators can increase that risk significantly. However, motorcyclists have the same rights as every other driver, and that means they could hold irresponsible individuals who cause them harm responsible for the ensuing consequences.
If you were hit by a reckless or careless driver while riding your motorcycle recently, you may have grounds for civil litigation worth talking to a personal injury attorney about. Once retained, a dedicated Bellevue motorcycle accident lawyer could go over your legal options with you, work to collect conclusive evidence of fault for your wreck, and demand appropriate financial restitution for all your injuries and losses.
Whether someone is operating a commuter car, commercial truck, or motorcycle, the duty of care applicable to them remains the same—namely, they must act in accordance with state traffic regulations and pay attention to their surroundings in order to minimize their risk of harming someone else on the road. If a driver causes a motorcycle wreck by breaking a traffic law, driving while distracted, or doing anything else reckless or careless behind the wheel, they could be considered legally “negligent,” making them accountable under civil law for any losses that incident results in.
By the same token, though, motorcycle riders must be sure to follow the rules of the road and act reasonably themselves, a responsibility which includes wearing an approved safety helmet at all times while riding in accordance with Revised Code of Washington §46.37.530. Even if someone else is primarily at fault for a motorcycle accident, any act of negligence by an injured motorcyclist that directly caused or exacerbated their injuries could lead to a reduction in available compensation.
Specifically, under R.C.W. §4.22.005, any percentage of fault for a crash that a court assigns to an injured motorcyclist could result in a proportional loss of compensation—for instance, a plaintiff found 25 percent to blame for their injuries could only recover for 75 percent of the total value of their losses. A Bellevue motorcycle accident attorney could provide further clarification about how this “pure comparative fault” system works and the effect it could have on recovery.
Assuming there are no issues with comparative negligence, a motorcyclist injured in a crash that someone else caused can seek financial restitution from the at-fault party for the full value of their ensuing losses. Recoverable damages may include not only objective financial expenses like medical bills, but also subjective forms of harm like physical and emotional pain.
Importantly, R.C.W. §4.16.080 sets a time limit on personal injury litigation that plaintiffs must abide by. Under this statute of limitations, a motorcycle crash victim in Bellevue who fails to file suit—or have a lawyer do so on their behalf—within three years of discovering their injuries will almost certainly be barred from getting any kind of compensation whatsoever for that incident.
Even if you believe you have a strong case for civil compensation, proving fault for a motorcycle accident and securing fair financial restitution can be a truly difficult task to manage alone. Defense lawyers and insurance companies will never willingly pay you what you may be truly owed, and effectively negotiating with them—or if necessary, fighting them in court—almost always requires professional legal guidance and support.
Before trying to file suit on your own, you should strongly consider contacting a Bellevue motorcycle accident lawyer to discuss the best course of action. Call today to schedule a consultation.