Chris Thayer Seattle Personal Injury Attorney
(206) 340-2008
Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Handling Personal Injury Claims in the Seattle Area and Throughout Washington Since 1995

Hello, and thank you for visiting my website. 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. I have developed this website to provide information about me, the services my law firm provides, and to give the consumer some basic background information and resources relating to personal injury claims in Washington state.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What Is my Case Worth?
Every personal injury case is different and has to be evaluated based on its own unique facts and circumstances; however, based on my experience and research, I will provide you with an estimated range of recovery for your case at our initial meeting. This number may likely change as your case develops and we learn more facts. You will be advised of any significant change in our opinion of the value of your case as your claim progresses. For an experienced Seattle area personal injury attorney who can help you through this process, contact me for a free consultation and initial case evaluation.
Do I Need to Hire an Attorney?
No, you don’t have to. If you have significant injuries and/or a prolonged recovery, however, it is probably advisable to have an experienced personal injury attorney advise you on your claim to ensure that your rights are protected and that you maximize your recovery. Insurance companies have developed systems and strategies for responding to personal injury claims. If you do not have an experienced personal injury attorney in your corner, you will most likely be at a serious disadvantage. For an experienced Seattle area personal injury attorney who can help you through this process, contact me for a free consultation and initial case evaluation.
Can I Recover Lost Wages or Lost Income?
If you have suffered lost wages or a decrease in income as result of an accident, you likely can seek recovery of these damages as part of your claim. It is important to have an open dialogue with your employer so that they understand your situation. It is also important to have any time loss approved and/or authorized by your physician, as many insurance companies refuse to pay lost wages or lost income claims if they have not been pre-approved or authorized by a treating physician. For an experienced Seattle area personal injury attorney who can help you through this process, contact me for a free consultation and initial case evaluation.
Can I Recover Decreased Future Income?
If you can prove that, as a result of the injuries suffered in the accident, you are unable to perform your current job and that, as a result, you are required to work in a lower paying position, you may be able to recover lost future wages or future decrease in income. This will require expert testimony and support from appropriate witnesses. For an experienced Seattle area personal injury attorney who can help you through this process, contact me for a free consultation and initial case evaluation.
Can I Recover for the Decrease in Value of my Car after an Accident?
Yes, this is known as “diminution in value”. If you can establish that your vehicle, after having been in an accident, is worth less than it was pre-accident, you may be able to seek recovery of this difference in value. This will require review by a qualified automotive expert. I have access to a network of qualified experts and can help you with that process. For an experienced Seattle area personal injury attorney who can help you through this process, contact me for a free consultation and initial case evaluation.
How Long after I am Injured Do I Have to File a Lawsuit?
Your potential personal injury claim will be subject to a time limit known as “a statute of limitations”. This statute governs the time that you have to file a lawsuit for personal injuries. If you fail to file a lawsuit within this time period, your claim may be time barred. The time period for filing your lawsuit will vary depending on the type of claim you have. For negligence claims in Washington State, a person generally has three years from the date of the injury to either resolve the claim by settlement or file a lawsuit. Shorter time periods may apply under certain circumstances and for other types of claims. There are also technical exceptions that cannot be readily summarized. Suffice it to say it is important to confer with an experienced personal injury attorney soon after your accident to make sure you understand your rights and the time limits for resolving your claim or you may risk losing the ability to seek compensation for your injuries. For an experienced Seattle area personal injury attorney who can help you through this process, contact me for a free consultation and initial case evaluation.
How Long Will it Take to Resolve My Personal Injury Claim?
Depending on the severity of your injuries, the duration and nature of your treatment, and the complexity of your case, it may take anywhere from a few short months to several years to resolve your claim (for instance, if a lawsuit needs to be filed). I will periodically keep you advised of the status of your claim and the expected timeframe for resolution. Whenever possible, I will take measures to expedite your claim. For an experienced Seattle area personal injury attorney who can help you through this process, contact me for a free consultation and initial case evaluation.
How do I Know if I Have a Personal Injury Claim?
You may have a personal injury claim if you have been seriously injured due to the negligence or wrongful conduct of another person or a company. Negligence is generally defined as “failing to act as a reasonable person would under the circumstances”. Wrongful conducts can include a variety of issues. For example, in product liability cases, an injured person does not need to prove negligence if they are injured - rather, the company is “strictly liable” for a dangerously defective product – under certain conditions. If you have been seriously injured and you believe that these injuries were caused by the negligence or wrongful conduct of another person or company, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney to review your situation and advise you whether you have a potential personal injury claim and what you need to do to protect your rights. For an experienced Seattle area personal injury attorney who can help you through this process, contact me for a free consultation and initial case evaluation.
How Much Will it Cost to Retain a Personal Injury Attorney?
Generally, personal injury attorneys handle these types of claims on what is known as a “contingency fee basis”. This means that the lawyer gets attorney’s fees paid out of your settlement or verdict. If you do not receive a settlement or verdict, you do not owe any attorney’s fees. Under Washington law, you are responsible for all costs and expenses, regardless of the result. I will explain this to you during your free initial consultation and case evaluation. For an experienced Seattle area personal injury attorney who can help you through this process, contact me for a free consultation and initial case evaluation.
How Does the Personal Injury Claim Process Work?
Initially, we will have you complete a comprehensive questionnaire to help us learn more about you and your case. Next, we will compile your medical records, police report, employment records (if you have any wage loss), records relating to any property damage, and other records which document your damage claims. We will organize this material and prepare a settlement letter to the insurance company. You will have a chance to review, comment and approve a draft of this letter before it is finalized and sent out to the insurance company. We will then negotiate with the insurance company in an effort to settle your case. You will be kept updated on the insurance company’s response and I will consult with you for approval before any offer of settlement is made. If we are unable to settle at a figure that you agree on, we will discuss your options, including whether it is advisable and economical to file a lawsuit. For an experienced Seattle area personal injury attorney who can help you through this process, contact me for a free consultation and initial case evaluation.
How Does a Personal Injury Lawsuit Normally Proceed?
I will prepare a lawsuit and file it with the appropriate court and have a process server personally deliver the personal injury lawsuit papers to defendant. Defendant’s insurance company will then normally appoint a lawyer for defendants. The initial phase of the lawsuit normally involves what is called “discovery” – this is a process of exchanging information and documents and deposing witnesses. Defendant may request to have you examined by a physician or a physician of their choosing. This is commonly called an Independent Medical Examination (“IME”), although they are often far from “independent” as the doctors the insurance companies use quite often primarily do their examinations almost exclusively for insurance companies. As needed and as appropriate, I will help you find expert physicians to counter the opinions offered by the IME doctor. After the discovery process, cases often settle. If we are unable to reach a settlement that you are comfortable with, we will discuss your options and proceed to a trial, if appropriate. At trial, a jury will usually decide whether you are entitled to any damages and, if so, the amount of your damages. For an experienced Seattle area personal injury attorney who can help you through this process, contact me for a free consultation and initial case evaluation.
What Type of Damages Am I Entitled to Recover in a Personal Injury Claim or Lawsuit?
Very generally, you are entitled to recover any damages you can prove were legally caused by the negligent or wrongful conduct of defendant. You are entitled to recover medical expenses, pharmacy expenses, lost wages or income, future medical costs, future loss of income or decrease in earning capacity, and damages for your pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. For an experienced Seattle area personal injury attorney who can help you through this process, contact me for a free consultation and initial case evaluation.
Will I be able to receive compensation for a closed head injury or concussion?
Traumatic brain injuries, or closed head injuries, can be severe, causing people to be in a vegetative state, or more commonly, mild (often referred to as a concussion), which can cause a variety of symptoms that can be difficult to diagnose. Some frequent symptoms associated with mild traumatic brain injury include: fatigue, headaches, changes in behavior, difficulty concentrating, memory loss, mood changes, sensory losses (e.g., hearing or smell), and other problems. These symptoms can have a dramatic impact on someone’s life, and affect everything from their family life, to their ability to perform their job functions. More information on mild traumatic brain injuries can be found here (CDC publication): Facts for Physicians About Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI).
If you or a loved hone has suffered a concussion or head injury as a result of the negligence of another, you may have a claim for personal injuries relating to your concussion or head injury. In addition to recovering the costs of your medical care, you may have the right to recover loss of wages or loss of income, future medical expenses, decreased future earnings, pain and suffering and other damages that are caused by injury.
Does My Spouse Have a Claim Even if He/She was not Actually Injured in the Accident?
If you were married at the time of the accident, and the personal injuries you have suffered have had a tangible impact on your spouse and your relationship, your spouse may have an independent claim known as a “loss of consortium” claim. I can help you understand this claim and how to evaluate the value of this claim. For an experienced Seattle area personal injury attorney who can help you through this process, contact me for a free consultation and initial case evaluation.
What Happens if the Injured Person Dies before Bringing the Claim?
Generally speaking, if the injuries suffered by the person are the legal cause of death, then the family or estate of the deceased person may have a claim for what is known as wrongful death. I am experienced at handling wrongful death claims and can help you through this difficult time. I can set up a probate proceeding if appropriate and explain how to go about pursuing a wrongful death claim. If the injuries are not the legal cause of the death, then the estate of the decedent may still have a claim for the decedent’s personal injury. I can help you with that process as well. For an experienced Seattle area personal injury attorney who can help you through this process, contact me for a free consultation and initial case evaluation.
The Insurance Company for the At-Fault Party Wants me to Sign some Documents, What Should I Do?
You must cooperate with your own insurance company, within the parameters of your insurance policy, but you should NOT sign any documents requested by the insurance company for the at-fault party without consulting an experienced personal injury attorney. You run the risk of agreeing to release personal and confidential information that is unrelated to your claim or waiving some important rights. For an experienced Seattle area personal injury attorney who can help you through this process, contact me for a free consultation and initial case evaluation.
Will the At-Fault Party Be Required to Apologize for Their Negligence?
Unfortunately, we can’t force the negligent party (or insurance company) to apologize, but our efforts can often help bring about changes in policy or procedure by the defendant, which may help to prevent similar injuries in the future. There are times when we have been able to obtain a sincere apology from the defendant, which I have found often goes a long way towards the process of helping my clients obtain closure, but you should unfortunately not generally expect an apology as part of the process. For an experienced Seattle area personal injury attorney who can help you through this process, contact me for a free consultation and initial case evaluation.
Chris Thayer Seattle Personal Injury Attorney

For more information, or to schedule an initial, no obligation consultation and case evaluation, please call Chris Thayer at (206) 340-2008 or complete the contact form below:

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