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People driving cars and trucks often fail to notice motorcycles.  That’s why half of all accidents involving motorcycles are caused by drivers turning left in front of the motorcyclist.

According to the Hurt Report, “the most common motorcycle accident involves another vehicle causing the collision by violating the right-of-way of the motorcycle at an intersection, usually by turning left in front of the oncoming motorcycle because the car driver did not see the motorcycle.”

Take, for example, this serious accident between a car and motorcycle that occurred in Burien a couple weeks ago:

Two riders on the motorcycle – one male and one female, both in their 50s – received leg injuries that may include possible breakage. Both were taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with non-life-threatening injuries.

Police say that the car was westbound when it made a left turn at a stop sign to head south, then pulled in front of a motorcycle that was northbound.

According to the Hurt Report, some accidents are caused when drivers misjudge the speed at which the motorcycle is traveling. The small profile of motorcycles affects perceptions of speed and distance. For example, a 14-wheel truck will be perceived as traveling faster and being closer than a motorcycle at the same distance moving at the same speed.

There are a lot of explanations.  But not a lot of excuses.  Drivers turning left have a duty to yield the right-of-way to an oncoming motorcyclist. If a left-turning driver hits a motorcyclist, the motorcyclist is entitled to recover.

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Why the Following Rider Isn’t Always at Fault

by Michael Myers on May 4, 2017

Most of the time the following rider is responsible for avoiding a collision with the lead vehicle.  But what if the lead driver does something reckless to contribute to the accident?

An example of one comes from an accident in South Seattle last week. A 26-year-old motorcyclist was critically injured when his motorcycle was hit by a possibly impaired man in an SUV who was making a U-turn.

Police said that the driver of the BMW SUV, an 80-year-old man, was heading eastbound when he suddenly made a U-turn to head west. The motorcyclist was also driving eastbound, and collided with the SUV as it made the turn.

This is a good example of a situation where the “lead” vehicle caused the accident. Since the driver decided to make a sudden U-turn, the following rider didn’t realize—or realized too late—that the lead vehicle was slowing down.

This isn’t an uncommon an occurrence as you might think. In fact, half of all accidents involving motorcycles are caused by drivers turning left in front of the motorcyclist.  Drivers either don’t see or don’t perceive the motorcycle.

If you’ve been hurt in an accident that’s someone else’s fault there are almost always ways to recover.

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Secure Your Load: It’s the Law

by Michael Myers on April 7, 2017

We’ve all seen it: a box falling out of the back of a truck causing you to hit the brakes. A mattress tied to the roof of a car so precariously you slow down or switch lanes. Most of the time those are just scares, but some people aren’t so lucky.

It might seem like common sense to tie down and secure items that you’re transporting in your truck. If you don’t, there’s a chance an item could fall off and injure someone on the road behind you. But some motorists take the risk:

SILVERDALE, Wash. — A motorcyclist was seriously injured Friday when unsecured plywood fell off a truck and into the path of the motorcycle, causing it to crash on State Route 3 at Newberry Hill Road, the Washington State Patrol said.

Enter Maria’s Law. Signed into law in 2005, this piece of legislation means drivers in Washington face possible jail time if their unsecure load seriously injures someone. The driver who failed to secure his load is responsible for the injuries the motorcyclist incurred.

It also appears that the driver in question was doing work at the time of the accident. Commercial policies typically have limits of at least $1,000,000.

State authorities also say that drugs or alcohol were a contributing factor.

The injured motorcyclist has claims against the driver, his commercial policy, and (if the driver had been drinking at a bar or restaurant) the establishment that overserved him.

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School Bus Accidents—Demanding Responsibility

by Michael Myers on March 24, 2017

When I went to school the buses were run by the school itself. There wasn’t very much traffic in Bellingham. I don’t remember any accidents or even close calls. But our world has gotten so much more frenetic.

Recently a school district reached a $10 million settlement with the families of five children injured in a 2014 school bus accident. Several children were seriously injured when the driver crashed into a tree.

Pursuing these cases sends a strong message to school districts that they need to take care of students. Parents put their trust in school districts. School districts have to live up to their end of the bargain.

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That Son of a Bitch Tried to Hit Me —Intentional Conduct

by Michael Myers March 17, 2017

We live in a high-stress society. People feel like they have a license to act like idiots when they’re on the road. Old women feel no compunction about giving other drivers the finger Johnny Cash style. So it’s not surprising that there are a lot of road-rage collisions. There’s a general rule that insurance doesn’t […]

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Lax Maintenance Leads to Most Outdoor Slip and Fall Accidents

by Michael Myers March 9, 2017

Some slip and fall accidents can’t be prevented.  But most can. A lot of people think about slip and fall accidents in terms of snow and ice on the ground.  Snow and ice are slippery.  But in most cases pedestrians are “on guard” and can see the hazard. I think that wet concrete (particularly wet […]

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