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May 2017

Washington State Bike Laws

By | Bike Laws | No Comments

As traffic and road construction become ever more frustrating for commuters, more and more people are using alternate means of transportation, including bicycles. Unfortunately, the rise of bicycle use has also led to an increase in bicycle accidents, which tend to be especially devastating for cyclists who do not have the same protections from impact as motorists. In an effort to combat this trend, the Washington Legislature enacted a series of bicycle laws, with which both motorists and cyclists must comply.

Special Equipment

Although under Washington law, all bicyclists have the same rights and are subject to the same duties as motorists, cyclists are required comply with a few additional safety rules. For instance, when it is dark outside, bicyclists must travel with:

  • A lamp on the front of the bicycle that emits a white light that is visible from a distance of at least 500 feet; and
  • A red reflector on the rear of the bike that is visible up to 600 feet.

Bikes must also be equipped with a brake that when engaged, will skid on dry, clean, and level pavement. Although there is currently no statewide law requiring cyclists to wear helmets, many cities and counties within Washington have made it mandatory for anyone riding a bicycle. Cyclists who violate these, and other traffic laws, can be ticketed.

Traveling on Roadways

Some parts of the state’s highway system are closed to bicycles. Local governments are also permitted to adopt city laws banning cycling on certain roads or sidewalks that are within business districts. Although cyclists are generally permitted to ride side by side, no more than two people can ride next to each other.

Cyclists who are traveling on a road at a lower speed than the flow of traffic must ride as far to the right side of the right lane as is safe. Cyclists can also choose to ride in the bike lane, on a bike path, the shoulder of the road, or a regular travel lane. Unless a city code prohibits it, bicyclists are also permitted to ride on sidewalks and when doing so, have all of the rights and duties that apply to pedestrians.

When turning, cyclists must also use the following hand signals before initiating the turn:

  • Left turns are indicated by extending the left hand arm horizontally beyond the side of the bicycle;
  • Right turns are indicated by extending the left hand and arm upward or the right hand and arm horizontally to the right; and
  • Stopping or decreasing speed is indicated by extending the left hand and arm downward.

Schedule a Consultation With an Experienced Seattle Bicycle Accident Lawyer Today

Bicycle accidents can have devastating consequences for cyclists, who lack the protections offered by seat belts and airbags. Fortunately, injured cyclists can collect compensation for their injuries if a motorist violated a traffic law or was otherwise driving recklessly, so if you were recently involved in a bicycle accident, please call Khan Law Firm at 206-629-9312. Our Seattle personal injury attorneys can also be reached via live chat.  


What to do When Insurance Denies Your Claim?

By | Claim Denial | No Comments

One of the first things a person should do after being involved in an accident is report the incident to his or her insurer. Depending on the circumstances of the case, an accident victim will go on to file a claim with either his or her own insurer or the other party’s insurer. In some cases, insurance companies immediately approve the claim and help cover the cost of repairs and medical bills. However, some claims are denied, which can leave accident victims with no safety net. Fortunately, those whose claims have been denied are not without recourse.

First Party Claims vs. Third Party Claims

There are two main types of insurance claims, which are known as first party and third party claims. First party claims are those that are filed with your own insurance company, while third party claims are filed with another person’s insurer. The type of claim that an accident victim files depends primarily on who was at fault in the accident. Although all of those who are involved in an accident should report it with their own insurer, they will generally file the claim with the insurer of the person who was at fault.

The Filing Process

After reporting an accident, the injured party will most likely be required to provide information about the accident as well as the extent of his or her injuries to the insurance companies. The insurer will then investigate the claim by speaking with witnesses, requesting an independent medical examination, and looking at any photos of the scene of the accident. At the end of the investigation, the insurer will either offer a settlement claim or deny the claim altogether.

Claim Denials

Claims are denied for a variety of reasons. For instance, a person may have waited too long to file a claim or may have failed to submit the results of a medical examination. On the other hand, the type of accident the injured party was involved in may not be covered under the policy or the damages may exceed the policy’s limits. Fortunately, when claims are denied, the claimant has the opportunity to file an appeal, although the appeals process will differ depending on each company’s standard procedures. If an appeal is unsuccessful, the claimant can appeal the decision to the State Insurance Commissioner or bring an action against the company if he or she believes that the insurer breached its contract, violated the insurance code, or was involved in bad faith insurance practices.

Finally, claimants who have exhausted all appeals, received an unfair settlement, or were involved in an accident with an uninsured driver have the option of filing a claim against the other party in court. By filing a personal injury suit, the injured party may be able to collect compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and damages for pain and suffering.

Call Today to Speak With a Seattle Personal Injury Attorney

If you were recently involved in an accident and your insurance claim was denied either by your insurer or the at-fault party’s insurer, please contact Khan Law Firm by calling our office at 206-629-9312. Our Seattle car accident lawyers are eager to help you today.

What is a Wrongful Death?

By | Wrongful Death | No Comments

Washington law defines a wrongful death as the death of a person caused by the wrongful act, default, or neglect of another. Because the victim of an accident resulting in a wrongful death is unable to argue his or her own case, the claim must be filed by someone else, usually a close relative. Furthermore, the plaintiff, acting on behalf of a deceased loved one, must be able to provide evidence demonstrating that the defendant failed to use reasonable care or committed an illegal act, which caused the victim’s death. Generally, a wrongful death claim can only be filed if the circumstances of the accident would have supported a personal injury claim if the victim had survived.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

Only certain individuals can file a wrongful death claim, including:

  • The surviving spouse or registered domestic partner of the deceased; and
  • The children or stepchildren of the deceased party.

If the deceased party has no surviving spouse, partner, or child, his or her parents or siblings can file the claim, but only if they were:

  • Dependent upon the deceased for support; and
  • Residents of the U.S. at the time of the decedent’s death.

There are also specific rules that apply when a wrongful death claim involves the death of a child. In these cases, either parent can file a claim, although in order to be eligible, he or she must have regularly contributed to the support of the child. Furthermore, if only one parent brings an action, that individual must serve the other parent with a copy of the complaint, explaining that the right to recover damages will be barred unless the other parent joins the suit as a party within 20 days.

Potential Damages

Damages in a wrongful death case are paid to the decedent’s estate and can include compensation for the following costs:

  • The decedent’s medical bills;
  • Funeral and burial expenses;
  • Lost income that the decedent would have earned if he or she had survived;
  • The pain and suffering endured by the decedent as a result of his or her injuries;
  • Property damage; and
  • The loss of companionship and care by the decedent’s loved ones.

When a case involves the death of a child, the parents can collect special damages in addition to those intended to compensate for medical expenses, such as:

  • Damages for the loss of the love and companionship of the child; and
  • Compensation for the destruction of the parent-child relationship.

However, in order to collect any damages, a decedent’s representative must file a wrongful death claim within three years of the date of the decedent’s death. If the decedent’s representative fails to file before this deadline, the case will most likely be barred and the victim’s surviving relatives will miss out on the opportunity to obtain a judgment of liability.

Contact an Experienced Seattle Wrongful Death Attorney Today

Although collecting compensation can never replace the loss of a beloved relative, it can allow families to pay necessary expenses and remain financially afloat while they mourn. To speak with an experienced Seattle personal injury attorney about your own case, please contact Khan Law Firm at 206-629-9312 today.