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Do you have to yield to buses signaling they are merging in Seattle?

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Everyone has seen a bus signaling that they are re-entering traffic but what are the rules? Do they have special rights that other cars do not because they are a bus? Some bus drivers will force their way into traffic making close calls with drivers making it seem like they believe they have the right of way over cars behind them. Do they?
Actually, buses do have more rights than other cars. When a bus signals it is re-entering the flow of traffic from a stop, the drivers behind the bus going the same direction must yield to the bus re-entering traffic. This does not mean that a bus has the right of way to move over into your lane of travel and move wherever they want. This code applies to re-entering the flow of traffic not moving around the flow of traffic.
Why give buses the right of way? The law was written to allow buses to move around faster. It is hard for a bus to stop and then re-enter traffic if traffic is congested and no one is letting them merge back in. Buses are large and carry a large amount of people so they may not be able to see every car around them. Also, they are seen as 20-40 people on the bus that would represent 20-40 cars had they not taken the bus so that saves travel time for others in cars and alleve traffic congestion.
Who is at fault if a bus merges quickly with no warning or time for other drivers to yield? Buses may not force themselves into traffic if another car could not avoid them. The bus would be at fault for merging into a car if the car could not have yielded to the bus. This could be the case where a bus signals and merges at the same time without giving time for others to recognize the bus is signaling and causes a car accident. The bus driver and city of Seattle would be liable for any resulting injuries due to the bus driver’s negligence.
What is the penalty for failing to let a bus in? Seattle traffic tickets are issued at $124 for drivers who fail to yield the right of way to a bus re-entering the flow of traffic from a stop. Additionally, the driver of the car would be at fault if they caused a car accident if they failed to yield the right of way to a bus re-entering traffic. However, the bus may be seen at fault if the bus driver did not give enough warning to the driver, causing the car accident injury case.
The Law:

A. The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a transit vehicle traveling in the same direction that has signalled and is re-entering the traffic flow.

B. This section shall not operate to relieve the driver of a transit vehicle from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons using the street or alley.

C. For purposes of this section, “transit vehicle” means a motor vehicle, street car, train, or trolley which is owned or operated by a city, county, county transportation authority, a public benefit area, or the state, and which is used to carry passengers on a regular schedule. (RCW 46.04.355; 69.50.435(5), (6)).

Andrew CherinDo you have to yield to buses signaling they are merging in Seattle?
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Does your insurance cover a driver not named on the policy?

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Here is a common question that many people have asked me: Does your insurance cover a driver not named on the policy? For example, if you let your brother drive your car because you are tired or he needs to run to the store for you, will your insurance cover him if he causes a car accident?

Generally, yes. Your insurance will cover a car accident caused by someone who drove your car by your permission. This means that if your sister drives your car to the store to get you bread, your brother drives your car because you loan it to him for the night to go to a concert, or your teenage son drives your car, your insurance will cover all of these situations in the case of a car accident.

What if your teenage son doesn’t have his license yet and wasn’t supposed to be driving your car? Your insurance most likely will step in and cover the car accident that your son caused even though they were not named on the insurance policy nor had a license to drive. The reason is that most insurance policies follow the car and to direct family members under the owner that are minors. Permission is assumed in these cases.

What if someone steals your car? If someone takes your car without your permission, even if they are related to you, your insurance will not cover them. Generally, insurance policies are written to cover anyone who drives your car with permission. It is somewhat unclear if your insurance will cover a relative if they take your car without your knowledge unless you would generally allow them to take your car but people that steal your car are not covered. This means that if a thief steals your car and hits someone else, you and your insurance are not responsible for the car accident that they caused.

Who covers the damage to your car if your car is stolen by a thief? If your car is stolen and they get in a wreck, they are responsible for the damages. If they have no insurance, you will have to hope that you have collision coverage or comprehensive coverage to cover you if your car is stolen to cover the repairs in a car accident.

If you know of anyone who has been injured in a car accident in Seattle, contact a Seattle personal injury lawyer like Andrew Cherin today. Consultations are free and clients pay out of the settlement. Therefore, everyone can afford a lawyer but you can’t afford not to hire one.

 

Andrew CherinDoes your insurance cover a driver not named on the policy?
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Do you have to stop at private parking lot stop signs?

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Have you ever wondered if those stop signs in Westwood Village in West Seattle or the mall at Northgate or Bellevue are enforceable? What would happen if you drove right through one? Well, those stops signs within the mall grounds are not technically enforceable. That means that a police officer cannot stop you and give you a ticket for running a stop sign.

What if you run a stop sign and cause a car accident in a mall or private parking lot? If you get into an accident by running a stop sign in a mall, it is grounds for liability. This means if you ran a stop sign in the mall, another person would reasonably believe that you were going to stop. If they had the right of way, you are at fault for running the stop sign.

What if you are driving fast on the private parking lot? Police officers may stop and ticket a driver if there is suspicion of DUI, the vehicle is being driven recklessly, or other criminal acts are being committed law. Traffic tickets in general are not enforced but these acts are.

What if you run the stop sign leaving the mall? While the stop sign may not be enforceable, RCW 46.61.365 states that you shall stop prior to driving onto the sidewalk area leaving the private road and yield the right of way to other vehicles. This would be a traffic offense at this point.

RCW 46.61.365

The driver of a vehicle within a business or residence district emerging from an alley, driveway or building shall stop such vehicle immediately prior to driving onto a sidewalk or onto the sidewalk area extending across any alleyway or driveway, and shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian as may be necessary to avoid collision, and upon entering the roadway shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles approaching on said roadway.
Andrew CherinDo you have to stop at private parking lot stop signs?
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Failure to Signal is Asking for a Car Accident?

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I have a pet peeve, people that don’t signal. It is so frustrating to be driving in my lane when all of a sudden someone changes into the lane in front of me without signaling or while sitting behind someone at a stop light, they decide they are turning while I want to go straight leaving me waiting for them to turn when I would have been in the other lane had I known they were going to turn.

Failure to signal is a big danger to those around you and yourself. When someone fails to signal, they are basically saying F*** you to everyone around them and that you don’t matter. People who do not signal are endangering themselves and those around them by not allowing others to know what you are about to do. If you are going through an intersection and then all of a sudden slam on your brakes to make a turn without signaling, you are increasing the chances that someone behind you is going to slam into your back and cause a car accident.

People are not mind readers. When someone doesn’t signal, those around them only can assume one thing: you are going to continue straight and within your lane. Any deviation from your lane without signaling is against the law and can make you at fault for a rear end car accident if someone hits you.

Did you know that almost 10% of car accidents across the country are caused by failure to signal or lane changing accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that approximately 533,000, or 9% of all motor vehicle accidents, are lane changing and merging accidents. Additionally, 200 of these accidents result in fatalities.

The most common causes of merging or lane changing car accidents are:

  • Improper look out
  • Distracted driving including cell phone use, eating, and reading
  • Driver fatigue
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Driving drowsy
  • Low visibility due to weather including fog, rain, heavy rain and snow

How far in front of your turn must you signal? You must signal 100 feet at a minimum before your turn. The reason behind giving a signal is to let other know your intention so that they can make proper steps to slow down or move into another lane. It is to protect you and others. 100 feet traveled in a car

What’s the fine? $124 fine.

RCW 46.61.305

(1) No person shall turn a vehicle or move right or left upon a roadway unless and until such movement can be made with reasonable safety nor without giving an appropriate signal in the manner hereinafter provided.
(2) A signal of intention to turn or move right or left when required shall be given continuously during not less than the last one hundred feet traveled by the vehicle before turning.
(3) No person shall stop or suddenly decrease the speed of a vehicle without first giving an appropriate signal in the manner provided herein to the driver of any vehicle immediately to the rear when there is opportunity to give such signal.
(4) The signals provided for in RCW 46.61.310 subsection (2), shall not be flashed on one side only on a disabled vehicle, flashed as a courtesy or “do pass” signal to operators of other vehicles approaching from the rear, nor be flashed on one side only of a parked vehicle except as may be necessary for compliance with this section.
(Emphasis added)
If you have been injured in a Seattle car accident, give Andrew Cherin, attorney at law a call today for a free consultation. Seattle personal injury lawyers give free consultations. Seattle personal injury lawyers are paid out of the settlement so everyone can afford to hire one but you cannot afford not to.
Andrew CherinFailure to Signal is Asking for a Car Accident?
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Does your car insurance apply to your rental car?

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Have you ever wondered if you really need to get the insurance coverage the rental car sales person is pushing on you for your vacation? Of course you have. The rental person says it only costs this amount per day as well and is really convincing that this will save you the hassle just in case you are in a car accident. However, you have heard that your car insurance might cover your rental car.

Does your car insurance cover your rental car?

Generally, yes, your car insurance policy will step in and cover the rental car you are driving. Your collision coverage will cover you if you run into something, your liability coverage will cover you if you damage someone else’s car, and your comprehensive coverage will cover any other damage caused by a rock, thievery, etc. In addition, your personal injury protection coverage will step in to pay for your medical costs and your uninsured or under insured motorist coverage will protect you in case the person that hit you doesn’t have insurance or only has a minimum policy limits coverage.

Reasons to buy the rental car coverage? Therefore, why would you want to buy the rental car coverage that this rental car salesman is trying to sell you? You really wouldn’t want to buy this coverage because it is duplicate coverage. If you don’t have insurance, your insurance has specific language preventing short term usage cars like a rental, or you want extra coverage because you don’t have comprehensive coverage or collision coverage on your insurance. These are some of the reasons you may want to buy the rental car insurance, which is generally for people that don’t have their own insurance to cover everything.

Next time you are on vacation, you may be able to saver $100’s because of not purchasing duplicate coverage if you choose not to buy the rental car insurance. Make sure you check your policy to see if your insurance coverage covers short term usage vehicles and doesn’t preclude your insurance following you to this car.

If you are injured by someone in a car accident and they were driving a rental car, their own insurance coverage will stand in and cover the car accident in most cases. If they said they didn’t buy the extra insurance, you can tell them their own insurance will cover their car accident. Call today for a free consultation if you need a Seattle personal injury lawyer.

Andrew CherinDoes your car insurance apply to your rental car?
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LimeBikes Littering Streets and No Helmets?

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You have seen them every where in Seattle, lately. They are littering the streets, literally. Lime Bikes is a company that has been granted a permit by the city of Seattle to offer up bikes for temporary usage around the city with purchase by your smart phone. This is another effort by the city of Seattle to create a more green and pedestrian friendly downtown free of cars.

Lime Bikes are different from other bike sharing companies as these bikes are free standing and do not require a docking station to lock up the bikes. The bikes merely can be left on the sidewalk, which is unappealing to many and an eye sore. Lime Bikes have a locking mechanism and a kick stand to keep the bike up right. But the bikes are literally littering the city. LimeBike requests customers to find a spot to park the bike that doesn’t interfere with pedestrians and cars but leaving them on grass cutouts near parked cars makes the appearance of junk sitting out.

Legality of LimeBikes not coming with helmets is another concern. LimeBikes do not come with helmets, which is a law in King County. LimeBike has a disclaimer and informs users that it is against the law to ride a bike without a helmet but who carries a helmet around with them? Most riders I have seen have been taking the bikes for spins without helmets, which the bikes do not prevent you from riding if you don’t have a helmet.

What could LimeBike do to combat the helmet issue? Have helmets attached to the bikes! How is this so hard in today’s world. Yes, there are many different size heads but there are adjustable helmets. People will steal the helmets? Why would they want to steal a helmet and there are methods to prevent the helmet from leaving the bike. What about sanitary helmets? Helmets can include sanitary hair nets to make sure lice and other hair bacteria isn’t transmitted.

To not have a helmet attached to the bike or a nearby helmet dispensary is negligence on the part of LimeBike and could expose them to lawsuits by people who are injured in bike on car accidents or any other accident where the rider hits their head. Studies have shown that people who do not wear a helmet on a bike are much more likely to suffer a traumatic brain injury or death as a result.

LimeBike seems like a cool idea but there are some big kinks to be worked out like biker safety and zones to leave bikes. Yes, it is nice to have a bike readily available but at what cost? It doesn’t have to litter the streets like junk at the expense of the community and being an eye sore. Docking stations are much cleaner and preferred. We don’t need bikes lining the streets and sidewalks like abandoned property, we already have a large homeless problem that liters the streets, sadly.

If you have been injured on a LimeBike, you may have some recourse. Give me a call for a free consultation. Why should this company profit off of just throwing bikes out into the street with little or no responsibility hiding behind a waiver that will not stand up in court? It won’t and can’t.

 

Andrew CherinLimeBikes Littering Streets and No Helmets?
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70% of Motorcycle Accidents Occur Where?!

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Riding a motorcycle is fun to do in the summer time. The wind in your face, the feel of the open road, the freedom to go wherever you please, it doesn’t get much better than that. Everyone knows the inherent risks of riding a motorcycle, but the benefits often outweigh the risks. The thrill of the ride.

Motorcycles are dangerous because of their vulnerability to crashing and high likelihood of severe injuries suffered by the rider if there is a crash. Motorcyclists are only protected by the protective clothes they wear like leather coats, jackets, vests, and pants – of course the helmet as well. Any time a rider is struck by a car, there is a high likelihood of hitting the pavement and even being run over by other cars.

Motorcycles are often hit by cars because people in cars do not see them. However, when I think of not being able to see a motorcycle, I think of not seeing them on the freeway when someone merges and doesn’t see them. However, would you be surprised to hear that 70% of motorcycle accidents occur at intersections?! I was when I saw this. The reason behind this was that drivers were not likely to see the motorcycle when they were turning across the intersection into the motorcycle because they were looking for a car, much larger object.

Along with this statistic, it would not be surprising then to know that nearly 2/3 of motorcycle accidents are the fault of the car driver and not the motorcycle rider. Not being able to see someone riding a motorcycle is not an excuse, as you would imagine.

What can you do to prevent being hit by a car if you are on a motorcycle to avoid an accident?

  1. Wear bright colors – if a car cannot see you, they will pull out in front of you or merge into you. Bright colors on your helmet, bike, jacket, legs, etc. are not just for style but are for safety as well.
  2. Avoid driving in bling spots – driving a motorcycle is all about avoiding risks. Riding next to a car is a huge risk. Try to be up in front of a car or a ways behind it so you don’t get hit by it.
  3. Don’t drive near parked cars – if you see parked cars, assume someone is going to open their door and give yourself some space. If a car door opens in front of you, you are in trouble because it will knock you off your bike and you won’t have time to react in most cases.
  4. Drive defensively – When approaching intersections, drive slow so that people can see you and you have time to react or accelerate if need be. You should assume no one sees you and everyone is an obstacle that could take you down. Make sure you have an eye on the car that wants to turn at the intersection in front of you, they may not see you and start their turn. You need to be prepared to take evasive action and at a high speed, you are most likely going to drop your bike and hit the pavement. Driving slow gives you the option to speed up or go a different direction if need be to avoid a collision.
  5. Avoid driving at night and in inclimate weather – Night time and heavy rain or snow is not a good time to ride a bike. If it is already tough to see you in the day time, how much easier do you think it will be to see you at night or in a rain storm? Everything should be done to give you the best ability to be seen and be safe on the road.

If you are injured in a Seattle motorcycle accident, call today for a free consultation. We are paid out of the settlement and not hourly so everyone can afford a Seattle personal injury lawyer but you cannot afford not to hire one.

Andrew Cherin70% of Motorcycle Accidents Occur Where?!
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Pedestrian car accidents more often pedestrians’ fault?

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Walking is a very fun, stress relief type exercise. However, it can be very dangerous if you are not taking the proper precautions to make sure you are not hit by a car. Electric cars can come up on you very fast and without warning so it is always best to be 100% aware of your surroundings when entering a street from a sidewalk.

The Washington Traffic Safety Commission assessed the pedestrian versus car fatalities occurring between 2008 and 2012 in order to determine the factors that lead to such collisions. During this timeframe, 332 pedestrian fatalities were recorded in the state, which accounted for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities occurring during this time.

Who is most likely to get hit by a car? The study showed that men were more likely to be victims of a fatal pedestrian car crash, accounting for 66.3% of pedestrian versus car deaths during this time. Additionally, the majority of the victims were between the ages of 45 and 65. The reason this is so could be that men take more risks and may be oblivious to certain risks sometimes when they run out into the street. They could believe that cars will stop for them so they walk out into the street before the car has stopped to let them cross the street.

When are people more likely to be hit by a car as a pedestrian? The study showed that most of the pedestrian car accidents were in October and March at night. It This could be due to the sun starting to set earlier in October and people trying to leave work at the same time walking across the street and possibly just after daylight savings time ends in March making it a little darker at night once again with one hour advance.

Where are people more likely to be hit by a car as a pedestrian? You would think that most of the people killed in pedestrian car accidents were on residential streets but two-thirds of all pedestrians killed were fatally struck on an urban road and 45% were killed from crashes occurring on roads with speed limits between 35 and 50 mph, which are considered busier streets or highways. Only 30% occurred on roads with posted speed limits between 15 and 30 mph or neighborhood type roads or roads around schools.

Are the drivers more likely at fault or pedestrians? Most people would believe that the driver was at fault for almost everyone of these accidents. However, distracted driving accounted for 19.8%, impairment occurred in 13.5%, and failure to yield happened in 12.6% of fatal pedestrian accidents. This means driver error only accounted for 45.7% of fatal pedestrian car accidents, which means the pedestrian was more likely to be at fault for a pedestrian car accident at 54.3%.

Things you can do to prevent being hit by a car as a pedestrian – 

  1. Stop and look both ways before crossing a street
  2. Make eye contact with the driver
  3. Make sure the driver comes to a complete stop before crossing
  4. Hold hands with children and others while crossing the street
  5. Wear bright colors or reflective colors when walking

Walking is a great exercise that can lower blood pressure and stress but make sure you walk the streets with care so as to protect you, your children, your friends, your family, and others. If you know of anyone injured as a pedestrian hit by a car, please give them my contact information for a free consultation to make sure they get the professional help they deserve. A Seattle personal injury lawyer is the best one to help guide them and their case to make sure they get what they deserve.

Andrew CherinPedestrian car accidents more often pedestrians’ fault?
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Seattle Pot Holes and Bike Accidents

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Who is at fault if you hit and crash in one of the many potholes around Seattle on a bike? 

While many people may say that someone should have seen a pothole and got out of the way, some times it is impossible to see a pothole on the street depending on the conditions, depth of the pothole, and how many other people are on the road.

Seattle is becoming notorious for not filling potholes in quickly enough. I am sure you will encounter a pothole on the next drive you take after reading this blog. Whether it is because the city has too many potholes to deal with, they are lazy, or they don’t have time to get to them, the city is responsible for filling pot holes and making sure people are safe on the roads.

The city of Seattle is responsible for filling potholes on city streets and some other roads as well. If a bicyclist is injured because they run into a pothole, the city is responsible for the resulting injuries including bicycle replacement, medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If there are permanent injuries, the city is also responsible for future lost wages, future medical bills, and other damages resulting from the fall.

If you are injured by a fall due to a pothole in Seattle, you need to hurry to preserve your case. Generally, there is a three year statute of limitations for personal injury cases in Seattle, Washington. This means that you have three years to file a lawsuit or settle a case against the city of Seattle. In addition to this, the city has a notice requirement that states that you must give them 60 days advance notice before filing a lawsuit against the city, in accordance with RCW 4.96.020. This means you must fill out a claim form on Seattle’s municipal website and mail it in to them following the directions on the website.

If you are injured in a bike accident on a Seattle street, it is best to contact a Seattle personal injury lawyer to figure out your rights and compensation possibly owed to you. Most offer free consultations and are paid out of the settlement. This means that everyone can afford a personal injury lawyer, but you cannot afford to not hire one.

 

Andrew CherinSeattle Pot Holes and Bike Accidents
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Seattle Solar Eclipse and Car Accidents

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August 21, 2017 marks the first solar eclipse to hit Seattle since February 26, 1979 when the total solar eclipse was nearly total 99.6% totality. This year Seattle will have a 92-93% totality but if you head down to Salem, OR you can see 100% totality, just 3 and a half hours south of Seattle.

This years solar eclipse will start around 9:08 a.m. and maximize at 10:20 a.m., where 92-93% of the sun will be blocked by the moon in Seattle. The partial solar eclipse will last until about 11:38 a.m. This means that most people will be at work on Monday when the eclipse starts. However, if you are on the road, traffic may be dangerous as people slow to look at the sun.

There are a couple of distractions that could cause drivers to get into a car accident in Seattle including taking a picture while driving, looking into the sun which causes temporary blindness, and being distracted by looking at the sun and not looking at suddenly stopped traffic ahead.

Distracted driving is already one of the largest causes of car accidents on the road today. With it being the summer time, many teenage drivers will not be at school but could be on the road trying to snap a picture of the solar eclipse. This is creating another distraction among the many we already deal with. Many drivers will be tempted to get a picture of the eclipse with many picturesque freeways and roads giving perfect picture opportunities but with a huge risk of hitting someone in front of them or others.

If you can avoid it, try to stay off the road during times of the eclipse as some drivers may be tempted to look at the sun and become temporarily blinded as they mistakenly think they can look at the eclipse for a couple seconds. Such temporary blindness may cause them to rear end someone in front of them or swerve over into oncoming traffic. Please do not look at the sun while you are driving.

Some drivers may believe their sun glasses will do enough to protect them from the sun but they would be mistaken. Most sunglasses do not offer enough protection to look at the solar eclipse.

Here are a few ideas for looking at the solar eclipse from the ground and not in your car: you can buy a pair of welders’ glasses, a self made pin hole projector that you can make at home, special solar eclipse glasses you can buy on Amazon or at a local store, or through your iphone or smart phone. You can use your iphone by shielding your eyes with the phone or looking over your shoulder in selfie mode with your camera function on.

Looking at the solar eclipse and being distracted is not an excuse in a car accident. If you have been injured in a car accident in Seattle by someone looking at the solar eclipse, please call me for a free consultation. Everyone can afford a lawyer, as we are paid out of the settlement, but you cannot afford not to hire a lawyer.

Andrew CherinSeattle Solar Eclipse and Car Accidents
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