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

Aggressive Driving vs. Road Rage

Posted Friday, May 15, 2020 by Chris Thayer

Alternative TextResearch from the Insurance Information Institute shows that half of all fatal car accidents from 2003 to 2007 involved aggressive driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has given guidelines showing the differences between road rage and aggressive driving. No one wants to be on the other end of either road rage or aggressive driving, but knowing the distinctions can help you understand how best to protect yourself against these types of drivers.

*Differences Between Aggressive Driving and Road Rage*Aggressive driving is considered anything that a reasonable person would deem reckless. This could include speeding, blocking another car from passing, or tailgating. Road rage, on the other hand, is actually more serious because there is a violent intent behind the actions of one driver against another driver. These behaviors include attempting to harm another driver or their vehicle by ramming one car into another, attempting to physically fight another driver on the side of the roadway, or brandishing or using a weapon to threaten some form of physical harm.

While aggressive driving can be dangerous, and a person may get a ticket from law enforcement for operating a vehicle in a negligent way, road rage is much different due to its violent intent. Specifically, road rage is legally classified as a criminal charge. Due to the fact that road rage incorporates a willful and wanton disregard for the safety of others, it is a criminal offense.

Example**s of Road Rage

There are several types of examples of road rage that can be considered a criminal offense, including the following:

  • Using a car to force another vehicle off of the roadway
  • Swerving into another car, or actually hitting another intentionally
  • Shooting a gun into another car
  • Brandishing any kind of weapon such as a knife or gun with the threat of bodily harm
  • Tailgating aggressively behind a car
  • Consistently tapping on the brakes in front of another vehicle in an attempt to aggravate the other driver
  • Weaving in and out of traffic in front or near a car in order to intimidate or frighten them
  • Honking, gesturing, leering or staring at the person in another car in such threatening way that the other driver or passengers feel immediately afraid for their safety

Again, road rage is a criminal offense, and if you ever feel you are being threatening or that your safety is in danger due to the violent behavior of another person on the roadways, you should immediately contact 911 and let them know of your location and provide the license plate number of the other driver, if possible.

*Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney *If you were involved in an aggressive driving accident or a road rage accident, you have the right to seek justice. Contact the 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.

10 Steps to Take After Your Bicycle Accident

Posted Friday, May 8, 2020 by Chris Thayer

Alternative TextBicycles are a common form of transportation in the Seattle area, and with more and more people becoming concerned about the environment, this form of transportation continues to grow. However, when a motorist and a bicyclist are involved in an accident, the injuries suffered can be catastrophic or even fatal. The city of Seattle has several regulations and laws regarding the rules of the road for motorists and bicyclists, however, accidents still happen. If you were involved in an accident as a bicyclist, following these 10 steps will help ensure your health and legal rights are preserved.

    1. Attempt to Remove Yourself from the Roadway: If you are able to physically move from the roadway, then you should do so to prevent further injuries or accidents from other motorists or bicyclists. Accidents that occur following a primary accident are called secondary accidents and are common and can cause additional injury and damage.
  • **Contact 911: If you suffered any injuries or damage to your bicycle, you should immediately contact 911. Make sure to tell the police officer everything that happened correctly, and avoid placing blame or taking the blame for the accident. Simply give the facts of the accident. Request information regarding how you will be able to obtain a police report at a later time.
  • Police Accident Report: Even if you make the decision not to call 911, you should at least call the police. This will allow the police to come to the scene and obtain all of the information necessary and provide a basis for any future claim for compensation for your injuries that you wish to make.
  • Check Your Helmet: If any cracks appear on your helmet, you should replace it. Cracks on a helmet after an accident show that there was a violent impact, and you should assume that you have a concussion (even a mild one) and seek immediate medical attention.
  • Exchange Information with Witnesses and the Driver: Make sure to exchange contact information with not only the driver of the motor vehicle but also any witnesses who can provide a first-hand account of the accident.
  • Take Photographs: If it is possible for you to take photographs at the scene of the accident, it may be helpful later in your case. For example, see if any cameras on traffic lights or nearby businesses exist. Take your own photographs of the scene of the accident, the damage to your bicycle and the other vehicle, any injuries you suffered, the road conditions, the weather, etc.
  • Make a Full Assessment: Make a full assessment of both your bicycle and yourself. If your bicycle suffered any damage, take it to a professional bike shop so that you can have a record of the damage that occurred as documentation for a later time. Additionally, you should make an assessment regarding any of your own personal injuries.
  • Seek Medical Attention: Whether or not an ambulance arrived at the scene of the accident, you need to make sure to seek immediate medical attention. Certain injuries do not present themselves until hours or days following an accident, and these can be serious or even life-threatening.
  • Document Everything: Make sure to keep a file of all of your medical bills, lost wages, and a diary of your pain and suffering and activities that you are no longer able to enjoy due to your injuries.

*Contact an Attorney*If you suffered any injuries related to an accident involving a vehicle as a bicyclist, you are likely dealing with large medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney familiar at the Pivotal Law Group at 206-340-2008. We proudly serve the Seattle, Bellevue, Kent, Renton, Burien, Mercer Island, and Issaquah areas.

PIP (Personal Injury Protection) Insurance

Posted Friday, May 1, 2020 by Chris Thayer

Alternative TextThe state of Washington does not require a driver to purchase Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. However, this type of insurance is required under law to be offered to consumers in Washington, therefore it is important to understand your choices as it comes to insurance, or what to do if you are in an accident involving someone else with PIP insurance.

*PIP Insurance*PIP is a category of auto insurance coverage. While some states require their drivers to purchase PIP insurance, the state of Washington does not require this coverage. However, under Washington law, an insurance company must offer this type of coverage to each consumer. The consumer must reject PIP coverage in writing. If a person does not reject the PIP coverage in writing, they will receive it and the insurance company will charge them for this coverage.

*Understanding PIP Insurance *PIP car insurance operates differently than typical car insurance in that a driver must first file an insurance claim following a car accident under their own insurance policy before filing a claim with the car insurance from the other driver, even if the accident was their fault. PIP auto insurance coverage applies to three different types of damages available — medical costs, wage loss costs, and funeral costs.

  • Medical costs. Many victims of a car accident suffer injuries as a result of the accident. PIP insurance will cover emergency room services, diagnostic imaging or testing, hospital expenses, specialist appointments, medication, physician appointments, rehabilitation, therapy and more.
  • Lost wages. Depending on the amount of PIP coverage a driver has, they may be able to cover a great deal of the wages they lost due to their inability to return to work following an accident. Death benefits. If a victim dies as a result of their injuries from a car accident, PIP - insurance provides compensation to the family of the loved one that passed away. PIP coverage compensation can be used for any funeral expenses.

*Legal Right to Sue *If you have PIP coverage, or if the other driver in your accident has PIP coverage, it may not cover the complete amount of expenses suffered due to the car accident. Having PIP coverage does not eliminate a person’s legal right to file a claim in court for compensation for the remaining amount in a personal injury case. Every PIP insurance policy will be different and may include an unlimited right to sue for all economic and non-economic damages including pain and suffering, or only include a limited right to sue for damages following a car accident.

*Arbitration*Due to the fact that there are oftentimes insurance disputes, many claims regarding car accidents will result in arbitration. If a PIP case ends up in arbitration, a neutral third party will make the decision regarding how best to resolve any disputes.

*Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney *If you were injured in a car accident, and either you or the other driver has PIP insurance, you may be confused about how best to proceed with your claim to receive the compensation you deserve. Contact an experienced car accident attorney familiar with product liability law at the Pivotal Law Group at 206-340-2008. We proudly serve the Seattle, Bellevue, Kent, Renton, Burien, Mercer Island, and Issaquah areas.

Personal Injuries Due to Automobile Defects

Posted Friday, April 24, 2020 by Chris Thayer

Alternative TextOftentimes, car accidents are the result of the negligence of a driver either speeding, failing to stop at a stop sign, driving while fatigued, driving while distracted, or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. However, research from the National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey (NHTSA) indicates that 44,000 car accidents occur yearly due to no fault of a driver, but rather due to defective or faulty vehicle parts or components. These defective design and manufacturing flaws lead to millions of automobile recalls every year, and unfortunately, also hundreds of injuries and deaths.

*Manufacturing Defects*Automobile parts and components from brakes to tires to engine parts are all regulated by the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards established by the NHTSA. Some commonly seen defective parts and components of automobile parts that result in recalled vehicles include the following:

  • Defective accelerators that stick or fail
  • Failure of airbags to deploy, or the deployment of airbags unnecessarily
  • Fires due to electrical flaws or failures in fuel systems
  • Defective wheels (cracked or broken)
  • Defective steering parts that result in the loss of control of the vehicle
  • Failure of windshield wipers
  • Failure of seats (or seat backs)
  • Any other defectively designed or manufactured vehicle part or component

*Two Types of Accidents *The two types of accidents that occur from defective automobile parts and components include the following:

  • Direct Cause. In some cases, a defective or flawed manufactured part or component will directly cause a car accident. Some examples include the following: brakes fail, steering wheels fail, airbags deploy at inappropriate times, or the acceleration pedal sticks. When these manufacturing defects exist, the driver oftentimes loses control of the vehicle directly causing an accident.
  • Increased Severity. In other cases, the defective part or component of the vehicle does not directly cause the accident, but either makes the accident much more severe or causes more severe injuries to drivers and passengers in the vehicle. For example, the airbag could fail to deploy. In this particular case, the failure of the airbag to deploy did not cause the accident but will make the injuries of the victims much more serious. Products Liability Case

If an investigation into your car accident determines that a manufacturing defect of a vehicle part or component either caused your accident or caused injuries to be more severe, the manufacturer will be responsible for the resulting injuries and losses. Manufacturing defects fall under product liability law, which is a strict liability law. This means that if an investigation determines that a manufactured part or component of a vehicle is defectively designed or manufactured, then no further proof is needed regarding proving legal liability and responsibility, and the manufacturer will be held responsible.

*Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney*If you were injured in a car accident, and you suspect that it may have occurred due to a defectively manufactured part or component of your vehicle, contact an experienced car accident attorney familiar with product liability law at the Pivotal Law Group at 206-340-2008. We proudly serve the Seattle, Bellevue, Kent, Renton, Burien, Mercer Island, and Issaquah areas.

The Financial Impact of Car Accidents

Posted Friday, April 17, 2020 by Chris Thayer

Alternative TextIn 2016 alone, there were 6.2 million car accidents officially reported in which 2.4 million people were injured, and over 37,000 victims died. The financial impact of car accidents throughout the United States is staggering, and can financially devastate a car accident victim.

*$871 Billion Dollars *Along with personal injuries and loss of life, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) determined that the economic impact of car accidents every year in America totaled $871 billion dollars. This aggregate amount was broken down into the following categories:

  • $57.6 billion lost productivity due to loss of work or household chores and activities
  • $76 billion in property damage
  • $23.3 billion related to medical costs
  • $10.9 billion in legal costs
  • $1 billion in emergent services
  • $20.5 billion in insurance costs

Additional factors such as traffic congestion following an accident, or the loss of actual wages to workers are added to these amounts to total the eye-popping sum of $871 billion dollars per year.

*Car Accidents With the Highest Economic Impact*While every car accident will ultimately have an economic cost associated with it, the following car accidents have been shown statistically to have the greatest economic impact on an individual and society.

  • Alcohol-Related Crashes. Over 10,000 victims died in 2016 due to drunk driving accidents, which accounts for nearly one-third of all car accidents. Estimates suggest that drunk driving accidents cost the nation $49 billion per year.
  • Speeding. According to the NHTSA, another 10,000 victims died due to drivers’ failing to obey the speed limit regulations. Speeding accidents actually cost the nation over $40 billion per year.
  • Driver Fatigue. An AAA Traffic Safety Foundation research study showed a shocking 37% of all drivers have actually admitted to falling asleep behind the wheel. It is likely this number is actually much higher. Over 21% of all car accidents that result in a fatality are related to driver fatigue.
  • Distracted Driving. The NHTSA looked seriously at “distraction-affected crashes” which involves all types of distraction, but most specifically the use of cell phones to either talk or text while driving. Over 660,000 people drive while distracted every day and ultimately cost the economy of our nation $46 billion per year.
  • Pedestrian and Bicyclist-Related Crashes. While not nearly as high as other accidents listed above, both pedestrian and bicyclist-related crashes actually cost the nation $19 billion.

*Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney *If you or a loved one was involved in a car accident, the national statistics regarding the financial impact of a car accident will hit close to home. You will likely suffer the medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering described above. If you, or a loved one, suffered injuries or death related to a car accident, contact an experienced car accident attorney at the Pivotal Law Group at 206-340-2008. We can help you understand your legal rights, and how you attempt to receive compensation to pay for your injuries and damages from those who were negligent in your car accident. We proudly serve the Seattle, Bellevue, Kent, Renton, Burien, Mercer Island, and Issaquah areas.