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

Options Available After an Accident with an Uninsured Motorist

Posted Friday, August 30, 2019 by Chris Thayer

Alternative TextThe state of Washington requires that all motorists carry a minimum amount of automobile insurance in order to legally operate their vehicle on the road. At a minimum, Washington drivers are required to carry insurance that covers up to $25,000 in bodily injury liability, $50,000 coverage per accident, and $10,000 in property damage. Even though this is a state law, this does not mean some motorists ignore it and drive without the required insurance. Usually, another’s lack of insurance would not affect your livelihood, but if you are involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist, you might have difficulty recovering for your damages. The following options may be available to recover damages after an accident with an uninsured motorist.

*Additional Insurance*While the state of Washington requires a minimum amount of automobile insurance, there are additional types of insurance a motorist can choose to purchase. These include uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, personal injury protection (PIP), and collision coverage. UM insurance is what is sounds like — insurance to cover damages caused by another driver without insurance. To use this insurance, the other driver must be responsible for the accident.

PIP insurance offers compensation for various losses. These losses include medical expenses, lost wages, funeral expenses and other expenses that might have accumulated because of an injury. Additionally, there is collision coverage policies available to Washington drivers that cover the costs of damage to property following an accident.Health Insurance

If you are injured in a car accident, your own personal health insurance could be used for medical treatments necessary. The coverage available is dependent on the type of health insurance you personally have.

*Personal Injury Suit*Not every takes out every type of motorist insurance possible or has the ability to obtain health insurance that can cover the expenses associated with an accident. A personal injury suit may be the most favorable option. A personal injury suit holds the other driver responsible for causing the accident and the injuries sustained by other parties involved. Even if the other driver does not have insurance, you are able to sue them through a personal injury suit for the damages they have caused. The driver is still liable for whatever part they played in your injury. Not following the law and having the required insurance does not negate their responsibility and liability.

The personal injury attorneys at Pivotal Law Group are here for you following a car accident. It can be extremely frustrating when the other party does not carry the required insurance or adequate insurance to cover the damages they caused. Our experienced attorneys are here for you and available to help you determine what the best legal course of action might be in this situation. Do not let the other driver’s lack of insurance keep you from seeking out the compensation you deserve. Our attorneys can help you explore your options so you can arrive at the best option for your situation. Contact us today for a consultation.

(image courtesy of Ryan Everett)

What You Need to Know About School Bus Safety

Posted Friday, August 23, 2019 by Chris Thayer

Alternative TextMost everyone has probably been driving behind a school bus when it stops and puts its red flashing lights on. When this happens, all other drivers on the road are supposed to stop, but sometimes one car in a hurry blows by the school bus while the children are exiting the vehicle. This is extremely dangerous for all parties involved.

With school starting, it is a good time to remind ourselves of the laws surrounding school buses, safety, and how we can keep ourselves and the children riding the buses safer. Whether your child rides a school bus or not, it is important to know important safety tips for driving around school buses.

There are many techniques you can implement in your own driving to be safer around a school bus. Some of these include:

  • Keep Your Distance: While you should never ride too close to another driver on the road, it is especially true when it comes to a school bus. School buses are large vehicles that can obstruct your view of others on the road. The bus driver also has a large blind spot, so make sure that you are an appropriate distance away.
  • Slow Down: It is not uncommon for a school bus to move more slowly than the posted speed limit. This reduced speed is due in part to the safety of the children on board and the frequency of stops a bus might have to make. You should always follow the speed limit, but around school buses, be extra conscious of your speed and even reduce your speed in some instances.
  • Know the Laws: School buses are required to follow the rules of the road like other motorists, but are often subject to additional laws. For example, a school bus is required to stop at a railroad crossing at all times, not just when the barrier arm is lowered. This might seem like an inconvenience to you, but knowing the bus in front of you is going to stop can reduce your chance of an accident or other driving issue.

At the end of the day, a school bus is transporting children to and from school. Washington law is specific in stating when an approaching vehicle must stop for a school bus. There are certain exceptions to this rule (driving on a divided highway, etc.) but for the most part, it is best to stop when you see a school bus stopping and letting off children.

No one wants to think about being in an accident or their child being injured on a school bus. Unfortunately, there is always a possibility of an accident and injury occurring. The personal injury attorneys at Pivotal Law Group are here to help you in the event of an injury or accident involving a school bus. We know that injuries and accidents can be devastating and want to help you explore your legal options for recovery. Contact us today for a consultation.

(image courtesy of Austin Pacheco)

What to do if Your Child is Injured on the Playground

Posted Friday, August 16, 2019 by Chris Thayer

Alternative TextAll across the country children are preparing to start the new school year. If you ask children, it is not surprising for them to say that recess or other types of outdoor activities are their favorite part about going to school. Recess and free time give children the opportunity to stretch their legs, take a mental break, and be more attentive in the classroom. As much fun as the playground holds for children, there are certain risks and injuries of which parents and caretakers need to be aware. It is not uncommon for children to fall down and be injured when playing on a playground, and it is important to know the proper steps to take following that injury.

A study by the Center for Disease Control estimates that nearly 200,000 children under the age of 14 across the country are treated in emergency rooms for injuries sustained on the playground each year. Additionally, children ages 5 to 9 have the highest rate of emergency room visits. Within this age group, their injuries usually occur at school, not on public playgrounds. Common types of injuries that are sustained on playgrounds include:

  • Cuts, scrapes, and bruises
  • Concussions and other head injuries
  • Fractured or broken bones
  • Back injuries
  • Joint dislocation
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)

Whether an injury is serious or minor, no parent wants to hear that a child has been injured. When a child is injured at school on the playground, this can be especially difficult because you are entrusting the school, the child’s teacher, and other supervisory staff to keep your child safe during school hours. Yes, accidents do happen, but that does not mean that the responsible parties cannot be held liable for their part in causing your child’s injury. A personal injury suit can be an avenue for the injured child and his or her parents to seek recovery for injuries sustained on the playground due to the school’s negligence. The following are common parties to a personal injury suits when a child has been injured on the playground:

  • The school or school district
  • Manufacturer of the playground equipment
  • Individuals who failed to supervise the playground

The personal injury attorneys at Pivotal Law Group are here to help you if your child has been injured on the playground at school. As a parent, you expect the school and its staff to keep your child safe. When your child is injured and it can be traced back to the actions, or inactions, of someone with the responsibility to provide a safe environment, that person must be held accountable. An injury’s reach goes beyond the purely physical; medical bills, lost wages for a parent taking time off of work, and emotional trauma are just a few of the damages that might be available in a personal injury suit. Contact us today for a consultation.

(image courtesy of Aaron Burden)

Teen Drivers are at Risk

Posted Friday, August 9, 2019 by Chris Thayer

Alternative TextDo you remember the day you got your license? For most people it was an exciting time — another step toward independence and really experiencing some freedom for the first time. Driving yourself around without having to rely on another person is an exhilarating thought for most young drivers. As exciting as it can be to obtain a driver’s license, there are also serious safety risks that are commonly associated with teen drivers. When you are young, you feel invincible. Automobiles will quickly show you that no one is invincible and anyone can be injured in an auto accident at any time.

There are common risks and dangers commonly associated with teen drivers. One of the biggest dangers for teens is distracted driving. This is a prevalent issue among all drivers, but teen drivers are especially prone to this behavior. Young drivers might be tempted to have a bunch of friends in the car, send a text message while driving, excessively talk on the phone, fiddle with the radio, or otherwise have their minds on things other than driving. Any distraction can be costly on the roadways. Taking your eyes off of the road, even just for a few seconds, can drastically alter your chances of being involved in a car accident. Distracted driving is not the only issue that plagues teen drives, but one of the more common. Other behaviors include speeding, not following the rules of the road, or even driving after consuming alcohol.

*Restrictions for Teen Drivers*In an effort to combat the dangers and risks that can be associated with teen driving, the state of Washington does have restrictions on teen drivers. These restrictions include:

  • No cellphone use: While no should be using a cellphone while driving, new drivers are prohibited from using a cellphone, unless there is an emergency, until the age of 18.
  • Passengers: Passengers under the age of 20 are not allowed in a new driver’s vehicle for the first six months after obtaining a license. Following this six-month period is another six months during which no more than three passengers under the age of 20 can be in the vehicle. This does not apply to immediate family members.
  • Driving Hours: A new teen driver is not permitted to drive between the hours of 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. for the first 12 months after obtaining a license. There are two exceptions to this rule. The driver can be accompanied by another licensed driver over the age of 25 or can be under the supervision of a farmer if assisting with transporting agricultural products.

Even while knowing the risks, taking actions to prevent accidents, and following new driver restrictions, accidents still happen and people get injured. If your teen has been injured in an accident or you have been injured by a teen driver, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Pivotal Law Group. Recovering from an accident and injuries can be difficult. We want to help you explore your legal options and obtain the most favorable relief possible under the circumstances. Contact us today for a consultation.

(image courtesy of Sandy Millar)

Commonly Asked Questions About Reporting a Car Accident in Washington

Posted Friday, August 2, 2019 by Chris Thayer

Alternative TextBeing involved in a car accident can be traumatic. Not only was your day interrupted by an unexpected accident, but you are left dealing with the aftermath that could include serious injuries and property damage. The moments after a car crash can feel overwhelming, but it is important to be aware of what needs to be done in order to ensure your future success in pursuing compensation for your injuries.

If you have been involved in a car accident in Washington, there are a variety of tasks that must be completed immediately afterward. If the proper protocols and procedures are followed, you are in better shape than others to recoup damages sustained through a personal injury suit.

Reporting the Crash

It is imperative that a report be made of the car accident. In many situations, law enforcement will be called to the scene of the accident, investigate the site, and make a report of their preliminary findings. In these instances, it is not necessary for either party involved in the accident to make an independent report. However, if the police are not present at the scene of the accident, you must report the accident to the proper authorities. Each party to the accident must make a report of the accident. You only have a four-day window to file this accident report. Reports are available at your local sheriff office or police station.

*Driving Records*Each party’s driving history will be reported on in the accident. This information is not used to determine who is at fault for the accident. The Washington State Department of Licensing attacheds relevant records to accident reports. Usually, these records refer to when a driver was involved in an accident in which serious injuries were sustained.

*Damages*After an accident, most people are concerned with recouping the damages that they have suffered as a result of another driver’s negligence. The state of Washington has specific auto insurance requirements for drivers, but not everyone has insurance. If the other driver in the accident does not have insurance, there are other avenues that victims can take to recover damages, such as making a claim to the Department of Licensing.

Another option to recover damages is to seek compensation through a personal injury suit. In a personal injury suit, a claimant can recover damages that were caused because of the other driver’s negligence. If you are interested in pursuing a personal injury suit, it is best to contact a personal injury attorney to handle your claim.

The personal injury attorneys at Pivotal Law Group are here to help you following a car accident. We know it can be overwhelming to deal with the aftermath of a car accident, and we want to take away some of those overwhelming feelings by guiding you through the personal injury claim procedure. The damages that can be incurred from a car accident can be substantial. We want to help you recover the damages appropriate under the circumstances so that you can recover as quickly as possible. Contact us today for a consultation.

(image courtesy of Lucas Quintana)