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

Car Accidents Out of State

Posted Friday, June 26, 2020 by Chris Thayer

Alternative TextIf you were involved in a car accident out of state, you may feel additional stress and pressure regarding what your legal rights are and how you should proceed. Consider the following if you suffered injuries or property damage in a car accident in another state.

*Follow the Same Steps*There are certain steps you should follow after every car accident that includes the following:

  • Call 911
  • Seek medical attention
  • Contact your insurance company
  • Obtain the other driver’s insurance card and contact information
  • Obtain the contact information for any witnesses
  • Take pictures of the scene of the accident if possible
  • Keep a full record of all medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and a record of your pain and suffering

*Understand Car Insurance *Your car insurance will likely provide you with coverage no matter where you have an accident in the United States. Additionally, most insurance companies will cover you up to the required amount of insurance of the state you had the accident in, whether or not your coverage actually meets that standard. The liability limits will meet the standard of the state in which you had the accident.

*No-Fault State Insurance Systems*No-fault insurance states do exist throughout the United States, and these specific states require each driver to first use his or her own insurance to pay for injuries and damages related to the car accident. This requirement exists whether or not they were at fault for the car accident. The states that follow no-fault insurance systems are Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Utah. States that do not have a no-fault insurance system, such as the state of Washington, will allow the injured victim of the accident to directly sue the other driver’s insurance.

Whatever state you have an accident in, make sure to always contact your insurance company so that they have a record of your accident. Additionally, as the majority of states are not no-fault insurance states, you will need to alert your insurance company so that they can begin the process of creating a claim and eventually offering you a settlement for your injuries and losses that relate to the car accident including reimbursement for medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.

*Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney *Being involved in a car accident in any state can be an overwhelming experience. When you are far from home and in an accident, you may feel anxious as to whether or not you have followed all the correct steps to ensure that your legal rights are protected. Contact the Pivotal Law Group at 206-340-2008 and visit with one of our experienced car accident attorneys. We proudly serve the Seattle, Bellevue, Kent, Renton, Burien, Mercer Island, and Issaquah areas.

Insurance Company Tactics

Posted Friday, June 19, 2020 by Chris Thayer

Alternative TextInsurance companies often turn adversarial when victims of accidents refuse to agree to accept settlement offers that do not properly or justly cover their expenses and damages. The following are some specific ways that insurance companies will attempt to use manipulative tactics to avoid compensating a victim fully for injuries caused by someone else’s negligence.

*Pressure Tactics*According to the American Association for Justice, pressure tactics are a common way that insurance companies will attempt to intimidate a victim into providing information or evidence during the negotiation process. Some examples include:

  • Contacting a Victim Immediately. Some insurance companies will attempt to contact a victim immediately following an accident, even when the victim is suffering from physical injuries or even still in the hospital. Victims often are under powerful sedative drugs or pain killers at the time of this phone call, and an insurance company will use this opportunity to see if they can get the victim to say something detrimental to the case, which would ultimately reduce the chance of a fair and just settlement.
  • Requesting All Medical Records. While an insurance company has the legal right to request medical records when a victim has completed medical treatment following an accident, they are not allowed to request a full and complete medical history of a victim. The reason they attempt to obtain all medical records is to see if there is a preexisting condition that they could use to say the current injuries are not a direct result of an accident, but rather a prior existing condition of the victim. If they attempt this tactic and succeed, they will also attempt to offer a lower settlement amount.
  • Pressuring a Victim to Make Inaccurate Statements. Insurance companies will use every single chance to pressure a victim into making an inaccurate statement. Never allow yourself to be recorded on any phone call, they do not have the legal right to require you to agree to this stipulation. Additionally, anything you say during small talk, such as “Thank you, I’m feeling better,” can be used to say that your injuries are not as catastrophic as you claim.
  • Stalling Tactics. There are certain deadlines by which a victim must file a claim in court if negotiations with insurance companies do not result in a fair and just settlement. Insurance companies know this deadline and may attempt to stall the entire process for the sole reason of hoping that a victim will fail to meet their deadline and will not have the legal right to pursue a claim under the law.

*Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney *The insurance companies have even more tactics up their sleeves than those listed above. Make sure that you receive the settlement you deserve by having an experienced personal injury attorney represent you in the negotiations with insurance companies. Contact the Pivotal Law Group at 206-340-2008. We proudly serve the Seattle, Bellevue, Kent, Renton, Burien, Mercer Island, and Issaquah areas.

Can I Receive Compensation in a Car Accident if I Was Not Wearing a Seat Belt?

Posted Friday, June 12, 2020 by Chris Thayer

Alternative TextIf you are involved in a serious car accident and suffered injuries or losses, you may be wondering if you can still receive compensation if you were not wearing a seat belt. While making the decision to wear a seat belt is always a personal choice, laws require those operating a motor vehicle to always wear a seat belt. If you were pulled over for a traffic offense, you can also receive a citation from a police officer for not wearing a seat belt, and for not having other passengers in your vehicle wear a seat belt as well. However, you still have the right to receive compensation for injuries and losses suffered in a car accident if you are not wearing a seatbelt under certain circumstances.

*Comparative Negligence Laws in Washington *Every state has a different set of laws with respect to accidents involving negligence. The state of Washington has comparative negligence laws, meaning that both parties involved in an accident can be found partially at fault for different parts of the accident. This is legally significant because it means that negligence can be divided between both drivers.

*Comparative Negligence and Seatbelts *Whether you made the decision to wear a seat belt or not likely had no effect on the actual cause of the accident itself. However, your decision not to use a seat belt likely means that your injuries are much worse than if you had made the decision to wear one. In reality, the other driver will attempt to use a seat belt defense to reduce the amount of compensation and damages that they owe you due to their own negligence. Ultimately, the legal argument is that your injuries suffered from the car accident would have inherently been less severe or catastrophic if you had made the decision to wear a seatbelt.

It is important to note that a seat belt defense can also include damages regarding lost wages or pain and suffering along with condensation regarding medical bills. Statistics show consistently that those who make the decision not to wear a seat belt are injured much more severely in car accidents than those who decide to wear one. Therefore, the law in the state of Washington will assign you some responsibility for the severity of your own injuries. However, you still are legally allowed to bring a personal injury lawsuit against a negligent party for reckless, careless, or negligent behavior that initially led to the accident.

*Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Today*You still have the legal right to pursue compensation for your injuries and losses even if you were not wearing a seatbelt. The facts and circumstances of every accident or different, and you still may have a vehicle right to recover substantial compensation for your injuries resulting from the car accident Contact the experienced personal injury lawyers with the Pivotal Law Group at 206-340-2008. We proudly serve the Seattle, Bellevue, Kent, Renton, Burien, Mercer Island, and Issaquah areas.

How to Determine Fault in Multiple-Car Collisions

Posted Friday, June 5, 2020 by Chris Thayer

Alternative TextStatistics, unfortunately, show that car accidents result in serious injury or death all the time. However, multiple car pile-ups can result in catastrophic injuries to multiple victims, making it difficult to determine fault and liability. If you suffered any injuries as a result of being involved in a multiple-car collision, you may find it challenging to determine how to pursue compensation for your injuries and losses.

*Determining Fault in Multiple-Car Collisions *First, it is important to note that insurance companies will likely have independent investigators making determinations regarding fault and liability as a result of multiple car collisions. In order to truly ensure that your legal rights are protected, you should visit with an experienced personal injury attorney who can conduct an independent investigation to ensure that you receive compensation for your injuries and losses. Many insurance companies will attempt to use their investigation in order to remove any type of liability or fault for their drivers. The determination of fault in multiple car collisions is extremely challenging and complex, and may require the resources of expert witnesses and accident reconstruction specialists. Some of the questions that an investigator me ask with respect to determining fault and liability regarding a multiple car collision could include the following:

  • Were the roads unsafe at the time of the accident? Was there any road construction? Bad or serious weather conditions? Potholes? Debris in the roadway? Anything that would obstruct the driver’s view or ability to operate a motor vehicle safely?
  • Did the driver of any vehicle violate any local or state traffic laws, or receive any citations from law enforcement following the accident?
  • Did an investigation determine that any driver operated a motor vehicle under the influence of either drugs or alcohol?
  • Were there any rear-end accidents involved within the multiple car collision pile up? This is important because while the car that rear-ends another car may have some form of liability, there are typically large chain reactions that occur within multiple car collisions. However, knowing if there are any rear-end accidents can lead investigators to determine whether or not the driver of that vehicle was operating while texting and driving or distracted in some way.
  • Was any driver attempting to make a left-hand turn?
  • What did law enforcement regarding the multiple car collision in their official police report?
  • Did any surrounding businesses, or a stoplight near the vicinity of the multiple car collision have any video regarding the accident?
  • What were the positions of all the vehicles involved in the multiple car collision after all vehicles were fully stopped? This is important as it can help accident reconstruction Specialists make determinations regarding liability and fault.
  • Were any of the vehicles involved in the multiple car collision a commercial truck or semi-truck? Many of these types of vehicles contain a black box data recorder which could help in the investigation of the collision with respect to liability and fault.

*Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney *If you were involved in a multiple car collision, contact the experienced personal injury lawyers with the Pivotal Law Group at 206-340-2008. We proudly serve the Seattle, Bellevue, Kent, Renton, Burien, Mercer Island, and Issaquah areas.

Why You Should Not Return to Work Too Quickly Following a Car Accident

Posted Friday, May 29, 2020 by Chris Thayer

Alternative TextIf you suffered injuries as a result of a car accident, you may feel anxious to return to work quickly, as medical bills and other monthly bills continue to pile up. Although you may feel compelled to return to work as soon as possible, this may actually cause your injuries to become worse, resulting in the need to take even more time off. There are many other reasons you should resist returning to work too quickly following a car accident.

*Importance of Recovering Your Physical Health *Assuming you have already received medical evaluation and treatment, you should always follow the advice of your health care professionals. Medical injuries typically need time to heal, especially ones that are the result of a serious car accident. While you may want to go back to your life prior to the car accident as quickly as possible, this may take more time than you realize. It is important to note that a medical professional will only require a victim of a car accident to stay home from work if it is truly medically necessary. Therefore, if your doctor is telling you to stay home and recover, and allow time for your injuries to heal, you should seriously consider taking this medical advice. Many medical injuries such as traumatic brain injuries can become permanent if they are not treated appropriately and a victim does not receive the proper amount of rest following the trauma.

*Importance of Recovering Your Emotional Health *Research shows that 10% of car accident victims are affected by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Violent car accidents can leave victims with trauma that they need to heal through both time and through the help of a mental health professional.

*Concerns About Your Insurance Claim *You may have serious concerns about your insurance claim, and wonder when you will receive compensation for your injuries and losses. It is important to note that an insurance company will look at the time frame in which a victim returns to work to help them determine whether or not the injuries of a victim are truly serious and whether or not they are deserving of significant compensation. If you rush to return to work, an insurance company may consider this evidence that your injuries are not substantial enough to warrant a significant payment.

**Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney


**If you suffered injuries in a car accident, you should take the time to ensure that you receive proper medical attention for both your physical and your mental health needs. Additionally, it is critical that you follow the advice of your health care providers, and do not return to work too quickly after a bad car accident. If you were in a car accident, suffered injuries and are attempting to determine whether or not you should return to work, contact the experienced personal injury lawyers with the Pivotal Law Group at 206-340-2008. We proudly serve the Seattle, Bellevue, Kent, Renton, Burien, Mercer Island, and Issaquah areas.