Jim Bendell – Washington Motorcycle Accident Attorney
With over 35 years of trial experience, attorney James Bendell is the man you want fighting for YOU! He’s known for the personal attention he gives every single one of his clients and has unwavering dedication to each case. He has served in many capacities over the years and has even ruled over cases as a Judge Pro Tem. This vast experience gives him the knowledge he needs to bring his clients the results they deserve.
James’ career has been an interesting one over its 35 year stretch. He started working as a prosecutor, which lasted two year. Then he was a very successful litigator for over 16 years with a focus on trying lawsuits for insurance companies. He’s also served as a Superior Court Commissioner and Judge Pro Tem.
Today he’s devoted to supporting his clients who have been injured get the support and compensation that they deserve. With over 35 years of trial experience, this is an attorney that insurance companies do not want to go up against in court.
James Bendell is licensed to practice law in both Idaho and Washington State.
I understand that your immediate goal after going through such a trauma is to get your medical bills paid, and to make sure that some insurance company is going to pay for future treatment related to your injuries and make sure you do not suffer financially.
Secondly, I will work both with your insurance company and the opposing insurance company to make sure your needs are handled quickly and appropriately.
Lastly, if the amount of monetary compensation offered is inadequate, I have no problem taking the negligent parties to court. – James Bendell
What got you involved with helping motorcyclists in the first place?
Well, I would say the first thing would be that when I was younger, I was a motorcycle rider. And I know what it's like to have big cars push you off the side of the road, or cars not even paying attention that you're there.
I also know what it's like to take a spill or two, although I never got in a serious wreck. I did get some road rash here and there. I know that because we're not housed by 2000 pounds of steel, when we're riding, we need to make sure that the other drivers obey the rules of safety. And if they don't, and if we're hurt, chances are we're going to be badly hurt, and I want to help those people.
Why are you the lawyer they need to call for motorcycle legal help?
When it comes to law, there's three things you have to think about, Experience, Experience and Experience. I mean, all of us go to three years of law school, and the law schools... Some are better than others but frankly, they're all about the same.
So, what really counts is what happens afterwards. Because one thing they don't teach you in law school is how to be a trial lawyer. They'll offer you one semester of trial law, which is like putting your toe in the water. So, after law school, I worked as a prosecutor for several years. And then afterwards for 16 years, I was working for the other side - insurance companies. During that time, I was constantly in trial defending crashes, whether it be motorcycle accidents, bus accidents, car accidents, truck accidents – you name it. Everything.
That means I've worked with many, many doctors, chiropractors, physicians and accident reconstruction experts. And after 16 years of that I started my own firm and have been in private practice since then, working for injured plaintiffs. I have over 35 years of trial experience, and there's just about no crash that I haven't seen or studied in my career. So, why should someone want to work with me? I think my Experience is the definitive answer.
What can I expect when I call your office?
We start out with the free consultation to answer questions and give you as much piece of mind as possible. You can either come in to speak to me if you’d like, or if you're bedridden, I can come to where you are. We can even do it online if we need to.
During the consultation we go over the case and I'll give you my honest opinion tentatively whether I think you have a case or not. It's best if you have the police report, but oftentimes you don't and that’s okay. Can you give me a narrative of what happened. And based upon that, I'll tell you whether I think there's a case or not and how serious the case is. And if you want to hire me, then we do it on a contingent fee basis. That means that you don’t pay me any fees unless I get a recovery, or a settlement, or a jury verdict for you.
How does compensation work in motorcycle accident cases with fatalities?
Well, these are horrible horrible cases, obviously. And under both Idaho and Washington law, a certain classification of relatives, are allowed to get damages for the loss of enjoyment of life, love and companionship. And in cases where they were financially dependent upon the deceased, like for example a husband or a wife, all the future lost earnings are compensable.
So, in cases like that, you need to focus aggressively to be sure the liability is solid. Then we'll start working with an economist who will calculate the present value of future lost earnings. And we'll put together figures for both the economic losses and the non-economic loss in regard to the loss of a loved one. You really can't have a hard number for that, but you come up with a number that seems fair. People’s lives have no dollar amount, but we do our best to help families get the financial support they need. However, the non-economic loss tends to be a higher number. For example, if you’re married to your spouse for 20 years and they're now deceased, that's a very big deal. That’s an incredible loss you’ve suffered. Those are the factors that come into play and that sometimes result in a lot higher figure than the economic loss.
Can you tell me about any cases that you’ve had where your client wasn’t going to get compensation and you were able to get investigators out to discover something that changed the case?
One case that comes to mind immediately is a young man. He was 19 or 20, and he was on a motorcycle and he was hit by a car. He was going to make a turn, the car didn't see him or wasn't paying attention and they hit him. The insurance company came up with some theory that my guy was dashing out into the intersection. This meant a lot of legwork for us. We made measurements of everything and examined the police report. We calculated what the speed was for both vehicles and were able to show that the insurance theory was bogus.
Fortunately, they were able to settle, but my client was seriously hurt, and he was out of work for a long time. Digging into the evidence helped us do our job to get this young man the money he deserved for the carelessness committed by the other driver.
You say that you prepare for trial right at the beginning of a case, and that's really different from what other attorneys do. How does that help?
From the insurance company's perspective, there are two types of lawyers: Trial lawyers and settlement lawyers. And if they know you're a guy who doesn't want to go to trial, who just wants to get the money, the quick money, and make it up on volume, they're going to give you low-ball offers because they know you're not serious.
But when I get a case, I assume... Although only 5% of cases go to trial, I assume that case is going to go to trial. So, I start doing all the things that are necessary, gathering the medical records, doing whatever investigation is necessary.
If an accident reconstruction expert is needed, I get him on board and other things right away. So, the insurance company, or the opposing attorney if I've filed suit, knows I am on the trail toward trial right away. We’ll go before the court to get a trial date and go through the rest of the pre-trial steps that are necessary. We do those steps right away and that shows we have every intention to go to trial. The irony of it is that the people who are known as trial lawyers get better settlements than the attorneys who are known as settlement lawyers.
“I’ve worked with Jim now for several months and have found him to be highly professional, knowledgeable and very down to earth. He’d be a great choice if you need an experienced lawyer.” – Steve Miller 2020
“Jim did a FANTASTIC job of navigating the system with me. Couldn’t be happier and I am sure I will utilize his expertise in the Future. He is who I refer anyone I know to that has had an issue and needs an Attorney.” – Patrick Stribling 2020
“James Bendell was what I call a God send to me for an unfortunate situation which I had no idea how to resolve. I had never sought legal help before and was so fortunate to have been referred to him from another attorney. He made my involvement in a legal matter nearly effortless. Mr. Bendell gave me an estimated cost upfront and it did not vary greatly from that quote. I highly recommend this fine attorney.” – Arlene Fox 2019
Professional Associations Jim Bendell is a Member of
National Academy of Motorcycle Injury Lawyers
Idaho Trial Lawyers Association
How Jim Bendell can help with your Motorcycle Accident Case.
Do You Need Help with Your Motorcycle Legal Case?
If something like this has happened to you, please reach out to us immediately. We’ll review your case and provide you with a case evaluation, free of charge.