Personal Injury Law: Auto Accidents
Auto accidents are responsible for some of the worst injuries. What may seem like a minor collision could result in significant, debilitating injuries, such as a concussion, need for cervical discectomy and fusion, or even death. It is important to retain an auto accident lawyer that is qualified and competent in handling both the liability issues, as well as the particular types of injuries that you or your loved one suffered.
Auto Insurance for Injury Accidents
You may already know that Washington State laws require vehicles be insured. In addition, our State law requires that insurance companies offer you the option to purchase underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage as well as personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. PIP insurance is the best insurance that you can buy to protect yourself from financial responsibility for medical bills. In the event of an accident, the PIP insurance pays for your bills regardless of fault.
Given that many drivers disregard Washington law requiring they maintain liability insurance, and many others only purchase the bare minimum coverage, UIM insurance is very important. In the event the at fault driver did not have enough insurance to cover your damages, or the at fault driver was totally uninsured, you can turn to your own UIM coverage for benefits. However, just because you have dutifully paid for the insurance coverage, that does not mean that it is easy to recover full and fair compensation. This is why it is so important to retain a lawyer that can protect you from an insurance company that acts in bad faith, unreasonably delays or denies payment, or otherwise mishandles your claim. Our lawyers work to hold insurance companies accountable. If the insurer doesn’t do what the law requires, Armitage & Thompson has extensive experience filing lawsuits against insurance companies in State and Federal courts.
Based on their numbers on the road and on the amount they travel, large trucks (tractor-trailers, single-unit trucks, and some cargo vans weighing more than 10,000 pounds) account for more than their share of highway deaths. Large trucks have higher fatal crash rates per mile traveled than passenger vehicles
Most deaths in large truck crashes are passenger vehicle occupants rather than occupants of large trucks. The main problem is the vulnerability of people traveling in smaller vehicles. Trucks often weigh 20-30 times as much as passenger cars.
Truck braking capability can be a factor in truck crashes. Loaded tractor-trailers take 20-40 percent farther to stop than cars, and the discrepancy is greater when trailers are empty, on wet and slippery roads, or with poorly maintained brakes. Truck driver fatigue also is a known crash risk. Drivers of large trucks are limited by federal hours-of-service regulations to how many hours they can drive. Surveys indicate that too many drivers violate the regulations and work longer than permitted.
Bicycle Accidents & Injuries
Washington laws require bicyclists to follow the rules of the road; however, when a bicyclist is upon a sidewalk or in a crosswalk, other vehicles must treat the bicyclist as a pedestrian.
Traffic laws apply to persons riding bicycles and state:
(1) Every person riding a bicycle upon a roadway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this chapter, except as to special regulations in RCW 46.61.750 through 46.61.780 and except as to those provisions of this chapter which by their nature can have no application.
(2) Every person riding a bicycle upon a sidewalk or crosswalk must be granted all of the rights and is subject to all of the duties applicable to a pedestrian by this chapter.
Vehicle pedestrian collisions are all too common and usually involve significant injuries. In some cases, there may also be a claim for negligent failure to maintain the roadway in a condition safe for pedestrian travel. It is important to retain a lawyer with experience handling roadway design and maintenance claims to ensure all avenues of liability are being investigated.
Washington auto accidents may result in strict liability for injury to pedestrians that are disabled. RCW 70.84.040 provides for an “enhanced” duty of care owed by a driver to a pedestrian if the driver knew or reasonably should have known the pedestrian was blind or partially blind, hearing impaired, or otherwise physically disabled. See Wright v. Engum, 124 Wn.2d 343, 878 P.2d 1198 (1994). The statute applies only under certain circumstances. If the statutory prerequisites are met, a driver is required to take “all necessary precautions to avoid injury” to the pedestrian and “shall be liable in damages for any injury caused such pedestrian.” RCW 70.84.040.
Motorcycle injuries often involve serious injuries, like brain injuries or paralysis, or even the loss of a loved one. Insurance companies defend motorcycle accidents by claiming the motorcyclist was at fault, and by arguing the conduct of the motorcyclist was negligent and contributed to the collision. This is why it is so important to retain a lawyer familiar with insurance tactics. If you or a loved one were injured or killed in a motorcycle related accident, contact our office today to discuss your rights.
Injuries arise from bus accidents in various contexts. People are injured from crashes, incidents that occur on buses, unusual jars and jolts caused by the driver, defects in the bus itself, and more. Our lawyers have experience handling injury claims involving City Buses, Charter/Tour Buses, and School Buses.
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