Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Handling Personal Injury Claims in the Seattle Area and Throughout Washington Since 1995

My name is Chris Thayer and I am a personal injury attorney practicing in downtown Seattle. I handle personal injury, medical malpractice and wrongful death claims throughout the greater Seattle area, including Issaquah, Mercer Island and Kirkland.

I am here to help you.

Call for a free consultation (206) 340-2008

The Seattle Personal Injury Blog

A Seattle Slip and Fall Attorney Explains How to Avoid Common Insurance Adjuster Tricks

Posted Tuesday, May 28, 2013 by Chris Thayer

Seattle Slip and Fall AttorneyInsurance adjusters engage in a number of deceitful practices designed to weasel accident victims out of money they rightfully deserve. Insurance adjusters will often attempt to convince you that they are trying to be helpful and sympathize with our plight. The truth is that most insurance adjusters are not at all concerned about you or any hardships you may have faced as a result of your accident. They have one goal and one goal only: to find a way to pay you as little money as possible. An experienced Seattle slip and fall attorney will have experience working with insurance adjusters in the past and will know how to help shield clients from such deceitful practices.

How to Shield Yourself From Insurance Adjuster Tricks

In order to ensure that you do not become a victim of a deceitful insurance adjuster, it is in your best interests to hire an experienced Seattle slip and fall lawyer to represent you. In most jurisdictions, after an accident victim retains counsel, the insurance company will no longer be able to contact the victim directly, and will be forced to conduct all communications through the victim’s attorney. Insurance adjusters will be less likely to try to manipulate a seasoned lawyer. If you choose to retain the services of a Seattle slip and fall attorney, you can be confident that you will have a knowledgeable advocate on your side that will negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf.

Common Trick: Getting an Accident Victim to Sign a Medical Authorization Form

One common trick that insurance adjusters use to minimize the amount of payment to accident victims is to try to manipulate accident victims into signing an open-ended medical authorization form. These forms will give the insurance adjuster the right to look through your entire medical history. Many accident victims have told their Seattle slip and fall attorneys that they do not see a problem with signing this type of document. Most accident victims do not see the problem because they do not understand the underlying purpose of the document.

Once an accident victim signs an open-ended medical authorization form, the insurance adjuster will immediately start combing through their medical history attempting to find evidence of pre-existing medical conditions. While pre-existing medical conditions do not serve as a complete bar to recovery, they can lower the amount of money that an accident victim can receive. An experienced Seattle slip and fall attorney will immediately recognize this trick and will advise the client against signing a medical authorization form whose terms have not been examined by legal counsel.

Contact Us

If you have been injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence or careless actions, call Seattle slip and fall lawyer Chris Thayer today to discuss what compensation you may be entitled to: (206) 340-2008.

Seattle Spinal Cord Injury Attorney Explains the Settlement Negotiation Process

Posted Tuesday, May 7, 2013 by Chris Thayer

Seattle spinal cord injury attorneyOnce a Seattle spinal cord injury attorney agrees to represent you in your personal injury case, your attorney will begin taking steps to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company. It is critical that you retain the services of an experienced and knowledgeable Seattle spinal cord injury attorney to represent you in your personal injury matter. Your personal injury attorney will need to know how to successfully negotiate a settlement with the insurance company.

Placing a Value on Your Personal Injury Case

After evaluating your case and conducting any further investigation that may be necessary, your Seattle spinal cord injury lawyer will place a value on your case. While it is not possible for your attorney to place an exact value on your case, an experienced Seattle spinal cord injury lawyer can usually estimate the range in which the insurance company should agree to settle. If the insurance company refuses to settle within that range, then your Seattle spinal cord injury attorney may advise you to not take the settlement offer.

What If I Want to Settle Anyway

In some cases, when the insurance company offers a settlement amount that is well below the value of the case, the client will be tempted to accept the settlement offer. Sometimes clients simply do not want to deal with the stress of litigation or they would rather collect some money rather than no money at all.

Whenever your Seattle spinal cord injury attorney receives a settlement offer from the insurance company, they are ethically obligated to inform you of the offer. Your Seattle spinal cord injury attorney will advise you as to how to handle the offer but the decision to either accept or decline the offer is ultimately yours. However, when considering whether to accept or decline an offer, keep in mind that your Seattle spinal cord injury lawyer has a wealth of experience and knowledge regarding the settlement negotiation process and you should place a high value on any advice that you are given by your attorney.

Contact Us

If you have been injured in an accident through little or no fault of your own, call experienced Seattle spinal cord injury attorney Chris Thayer today at (206) 340-2008 to schedule an initial case consultation.

How Much Authority Do Insurance Adjusters Have?

Posted Friday, April 26, 2013 by Chris Thayer

Personal injury attorney Seattle, WAIf you try to negotiate with an insurance adjuster without a personal injury attorney in Seattle, WA, you will likely hear the excuse that the adjuster doesn’t have appropriate authority to approve a settlement in the amount you deserve.Most attorneys will tell you this is not true, and merely a negotiation tactic adjusters use to avoid paying you a fair settlement.

It is important to consult with a personal injury attorney sooner rather than later to ensure that your rights are protected. An experienced personal attorney may not know the exact amount an adjuster is authorized to pay, but he will be able to come up with a rough guess based on the adjuster’s demeanor and the strengths and weaknesses of your case.

Often, the first offer from the insurance adjuster will be less than half the amount he is authorized to pay. An adjuster’s job performance is judged, in part, on his ability to settle cases for less than this amount, so don’t expect an adjuster to truly give you his best offer.

Factors Affecting Settlement Value

There are many factors that affect the value of your claim. Your personal injury attorney in Seattle, WA will look at the specific merits of your case, but some of the more general things to consider are the following:

  • Medical expenses.
  • Lost wages.
  • Permanent disability.
  • Medical proof of your injury.
  • List item.

Most Cases Settle

As your case gets closer to trial, the defense attorney may make an offer that more closely approaches the insurer’s true bottom line. It is important that your attorney be prepared to go to court, but don’t be surprised if your case settles on the eve of trial.

In small injury cases especially, it doesn’t make much sense for the insurer to take your case to trial. Their legal costs will be higher if their attorney needs to prepare for court, and the insurer wants to guard against the outside chance that you receive a large verdict.

For a free evaluation of your claim and what to expect, contact Chris Thayer, a personal injury attorney in Seattle, WA, at (206) 340-2008.

Defense Attorneys May Find Weaknesses Adjusters Overlook

Posted Monday, April 22, 2013 by Chris Thayer

Seattle motorcycle accident attorneyContacting a Seattle motorcycle accident attorney shortly after your accident is important for many reasons. Unfortunately, many accident victims do irreparable damage to their claims by communicating with an insurance adjuster without proper legal representation.

Having your personal injury attorney communicate directly with the insurance adjuster puts you in a position of power. This is because your attorney controls the information that is available to the adjuster.

Your attorney will not lie to the adjuster, of course, but he or she will be sure to emphasize your claim’s strengths and downplay or explain its weaknesses. Your attorney is also likely to know exactly what information the adjuster will find convincing or unconvincing.

Formal Discovery Is Less Forgiving

If your Seattle motorcycle accident attorney cannot reach a settlement agreement with the insurance adjuster, your file will be handed off to a defense attorney employed by the insurance company.

At this point, discovery becomes much more formal, and the defense attorney has various legal procedures at his or her disposal. For example, you may need to respond to interrogatories or produce various documents such as medical records.

As your case gets closer to trial, you may have to participate in a process known as “deposition.” In a deposition, as in a trial, you will need to testify under oath. Though a deposition does not take place in a courtroom, it is something you should take very seriously.

Much of your pre-trial preparation will revolve around getting ready for your deposition. Your Seattle motorcycle accident attorney will let you know what kinds of questions to expect and how to answer them in a way that is helpful for your case.

Weaknesses Make Settlement Less Likely

Any weaknesses in your motorcycle accident case will result in a lower settlement offer. Your attorney must strike a delicate balance between trying for an early settlement and seeming too eager to settle.

Contact

If you have been injured, you need to make sure your rights are protected and your case is presented in the best possible light. Contact Seattle motorcycle accident attorney Chris Thayer at (206) 340-2008 for a free evaluation of your claim.

Three Kinds of Proof Insurance Companies Like Most

Posted Monday, April 22, 2013 by Chris Thayer

Seattle truck accident attorneyWhen preparing to negotiate with the insurance company, your Seattle truck accident attorney may seem unconcerned with some evidence you consider very relevant. This is because the things that insurance companies consider important are not necessarily the same things ordinary people care about.

For example, if you were telling your friend about your truck accident, you’re likely to mention the extreme pain you’ve had to endure or the emotional toll it has taken on you. You’re unlikely to mention what specific medications you’re taking or the dates of your medical appointments.

As a general rule of thumb, insurance companies are much more concerned with the things you can prove—either with medical evidence or with financial documentation. They are far less concerned with intangible damages like pain and suffering.

Although testimony from family and friends may be useful to establish what your life was like before and after the accident, you would do well to focus on the following areas when gathering evidence.

Medical Bills

Provide your Seattle truck accident attorney with medical bills, no matter how minor they may seem. Even if they don’t add up to a lot of money, just showing that you have been obtaining regular care for your injuries helps to demonstrate that your injuries are real.

Keep detailed notes about doctor’s appointments and the different medical professionals you have seen. This information may become important if you need to testify at trial or in a deposition. Also consider saving empty prescription bottles.

Lost Income

Being seriously injured in a truck accident can hurt your finances in two ways. On one hand, you may be facing substantial medical costs, especially if you don’t have good health insurance. On the other hand, you may have lost your primary source of income if you’ve been forced to miss work.

Your employer may be able to provide you with a letter detailing how much work you have missed because of your accident. Also be sure to provide proof of how much you were paid when you were still working.

Contact

For more information about gathering evidence for your personal injury case, call Seattle truck accident attorney Chris Thayer at (206) 340-2008.