The Pacific Northwest is the perfect region for long motorcycle trips, with spectacular scenery and miles of empty highways. However, if you are a Seattle resident and get into an out-of-state motorcycle accident, you need to know what to expect.
Motorcycle accidents can lead to devastating injuries. If an accident of this nature happens out-of-state, the related stress is magnified. Matters may become even more overwhelming if you unwittingly violated a law while there, decreasing your chances of recovering fair compensation. Because of this, it is essential to learn what is required of you before you leave Seattle for your out-of-state motorcycle trip. If you have been involved in an accident of this nature or have further questions about what information you should know, contact our firm today to speak with a seasoned motorcycle accident attorney.
Know the Applicable Laws
Under Seattle and state law, bikers are required to wear a helmet while aboard a motorcycle. This is outlined under Washington Revised Code §46.37.530, which mandates helmets for all riders, regardless of age. It is essential for Seattle bikers traveling out-of-state to know that Oregon, California, and British Columbia also require all motorcyclists to wear helmets while on their bikes.
Idaho does not require riders over 18 to wear helmets. However, if a rider without a helmet sustains severe head or facial injuries in a collision, Idaho law might prevent them from collecting fair damages. Wearing a helmet might limit the injury’s severity and could help an injured rider collect damages.
Another traffic law to be aware of is lane-splitting, or driving along the line dividing lanes of traffic, is illegal in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and British Columbia. It is legal in California. All neighboring states and British Columbia allow motorcycles to ride two abreast in a single traffic lane but prohibit motorcycles from riding abreast of other vehicles in a single lane.
Know the Insurance Requirements
Washington requires motorcyclists to carry liability coverage of $25,000 for bodily injury to one person, $50,000 for injuries to multiple people, and $10,000 for property damage. It is essential for Seattle bikers traveling out-of-state to know that requirements in neighboring states are similar, although some have higher property damage requirements.
Increasing insurance coverage before taking a road trip is often a good idea. A rider without Personal Injury Protection (PIP) should consider buying it to ensure access to needed medical treatment if they get into a motorcycle accident while out-of-state. Purchasing uninsured/underinsured motorist protection is also a wise move.
Drivers in British Columbia must have insurance with the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, which would cover an American injured in an accident there. However, Americans planning a motorcycle trip to Canada should find out whether their health insurance will cover them if they get into an accident and require treatment. If not, health insurance policies that cover Americans while in Canada are available and relatively inexpensive.
Understanding the Rules Around Fault in Motorcycle Accidents
Washington and its neighboring states follow the traditional, fault-based method of assigning liability in vehicle accidents. The party that caused the crash is often responsible for paying the damages of anyone who suffered losses in it.
However, Seattle bikers that are traveling out-of-state need to understand that other states may have different procedures for handling blame shared between multiple involved vehicles. Washington allows an injured person to claim damages from other negligent parties, but the injured person is responsible for the portion of the damages caused by their actions. California follows the same process, and the system in British Columbia is similar.
In Idaho, an injured person could collect damages only if they are less than 50 percent to blame for the accident. In Oregon, an injured person could collect damages from anyone whose responsibility for an accident is greater than theirs. In both states, a court (or an insurance company) would deduct a percentage from the injured biker’s damages equal to their degree of fault.
A Seattle Attorney Could Help After an Out-of-State Motorcycle Crash
Motorcycle crashes are terrifying and traumatic events. Getting badly hurt while far away from home is even more of a nightmare. If you are a Seattle resident and get into an out-of-state motorcycle accident, it is essential to contact an attorney for help.
A lawyer could offer you advice about what to say to your insurance company or whether to speak with the insurer at all. If necessary, they could connect you with a local legal professional to represent you in any out-of-state legal proceedings. You will gain peace of mind if you have an advocate at home fighting for you. Call our firm today for legal guidance following an out-of-state crash.