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

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)

Rideshare Insurance: Here is What You Need to Know

Posted Friday, July 26, 2019 by Chris Thayer

Alternative TextWe are in the midst of the height of the “gig” economy. Individuals are taking on second jobs, or gigs, that they are able to fit into their schedule to earn a little extra money. One of the biggest influxes in this so called gig economy was the introduction of rideshare applications available on any smartphone. Companies like Uber and Lyft offer the ability for a person to summon a driver to their location via smartphone and transport them somewhere else. Uber and Lyft offer a solution to those who need an affordable ride, but otherwise have no means of transport.

Even though taking an Uber or Lyft is convenient, there are still some concerns about rideshare companies, the drivers employed, and the liability the drivers or companies have for the safety of passengers. Rideshare companies often identify as technology companies rather than transportation companies. Additionally, drivers are usually independent contractors of the rideshare company, rather than employees. Because of these distinctions there can be issues that arise if an accident occurs in an Uber or Lyft vehicle.

Since their creation, Uber and Lyft have stated that they have a $1 million insurance policy that is supposed to cover damages or injuries that occur. While this may be true, there are still some caveats that determine when Uber, Lyft, or another rideshare company’s policies are in effect. There are situations in which the driver’s own personal auto policy is in effect and when the rideshare’s policy can be used:

  • Personal Insurance: A driver who does not have the Lyft or Uber app open on his or her phone is subject to that driver’s own personal insurance. A driver who has the Lyft or Uber app open on his or her phone and is looking for passengers is still only covered by his or her own personal insurance.
  • Rideshare Insurance: Rideshare insurance does not kick in until a driver has accepted a ride and is on the way to pick up the passenger, or the passenger is in the car being transported. When the passenger is dropped off, the rideshare insurance coverage ends.

Drivers are required to carry, at a minimum, the auto insurance required by the state of Washington:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury or death of one person
  • $50,000 for bodily injury or death of more than one person
  • $10,000 for property damage

While the above might seem like this is adequate insurance coverage, either through the driver or rideshare insurance, there are still some issues. Other motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists are subject to the same rules regarding rideshare insurance applicability – it is not just the passengers using the service. The driver’s owner personal policy might not be enough to cover the damages you have sustained when the rideshare app’s insurance is not applicable.

The personal injury attorneys at Pivotal Law Group are here to help you if you have been injured using a rideshare service. We know it can be confusing determining liability and holding the right parties accountable. Let us help you sort through that. Contact us today for a consultation.

(image courtesy of Abdiel Ibarra)

What to do if an Injury Occurs at School

Posted Friday, July 19, 2019 by Chris Thayer

Alternative TextNo one wants to think about the summertime being over, but it is nearly time for children to go back to school. Every child in the state of Washington is required to attend school; this requirement comes from both federal and state law. When you send your child to school, you expect that the school is looking out for the welfare and overall well-being of your child. This includes making sure that a child is safe, supervised appropriately, and otherwise being safeguarded from harm.

Children are not immune to injuries or accidents – especially if they are at school around their friends and play equipment. Accidents and injuries happen, but when an injury to a child occurs at school, parents should seek the advice of a personal injury attorney to determine what steps they should take to address the situation. If the school or staff was negligent in their duties to your child while at school, there may be potential to recover damages for injuries sustained.

A school’s duty to keep your child safe is not limited to school hours. If a child is part of extracurricular activities sponsored by the school, the school’s responsibility for safety also extends to these situations. However, there are certain instances when the school might not be responsible for a child’s injuries. An example of this is a parent signing a waiver of liability for the child to participate in a sport. If any waivers have been signed, it is important to keep a record because they could be important in a personal injury suit. The signing of a waiver does not necessarily preclude any recovery of damages for injuries, so it is important to bring it to your attorney’s attention as soon as possible.

Schools are required to abide by a variety of rules and regulations to keep your child and others safe:

  • Safety planning: Schools are required to plan for safety or emergency situations. Emergency response systems, school mapping, emergency planning, and emergency preparedness are just a few ways in which schools must abide by the law to keep kids safe.
  • Bullying: Schools are also subject to laws regarding bullying and keeping their school free of individuals who harass, intimidate, or injure other students.

Three are a variety of ways that schools demonstrate their compliance with federal and state laws to keep students safe. School districts are different in their approach to complying with various laws. The personal injury attorneys at Pivotal Law Group are here to help dissect these laws and the ways in which a school complies with them. If a school is not acting in accordance with the law or otherwise acting in a manner that causes your child injury, we are here to help determine what avenues of legal recovery there might be. We know it can be stressful and painful to see your child injured and suffering. Let up take some of that burden off of you by helping you obtain damages for injuries sustained. Contact us today for a consultation.

(image courtesy of Celia Ortega)

The Alaskan Viaduct Transformed

Posted Friday, July 12, 2019 by Chris Thayer

Alternative TextThe State Road (SR) 99 Tunnel has been open to the public since February 2019. SR 99 is the result of efforts to transform the Alaskan Way Viaduct into a usable passage for traffic to travel along Seattle’s waterfront. SR 99 is not the first attempt at such a passage, but the result of efforts to revive a previous viaduct riddled with safety issues.

The Alaskan Way Viaduct was opened in 1953 and at its peak allowed for up to 90,000 vehicles to use it per day. However, in the 1960s concerns over the safety while using the viaduct grew, with most concern being for what would happen to those in the viaduct if an earthquake occurred. After research showed that an earthquake could completely collapse the viaduct, investigation began into another option. A tunnel was decided on and construction was to begin in 2013. This construction began, but was halted after machinery needed to create the tunnel was delayed. After more delays in construction, the tunnel was finally opened in February 2019.

The creation of this tunnel has led to $1 million in various workers’ compensation claims. Many individuals who were employed to work on this tunnel were seriously injured. A workers’ compensation claim is a type of remedy available to those who have been injured on the job. An example of an on-the-job accident that led to injuries for these tunnel workers is when an elevator shaft collapsed and the elevator plunged 25 feet with four men inside.

The four men in the elevator are not the only victims of injuries in the building of SR 99. Many other workers sustained chemical burns, were hit by falling objects, and sustained other major and minor injuries. For injuries sustained while working, it might seem like a workers’ compensation claim is the only way to go, but this is not always true.

A personal injury suit may be able to open up more avenues for recovery than the workers’ compensation claim. For example, depending on who the employer is, there are certain guidelines for filing claims. Cases against the government, for example, are governed by their own statutes. Additionally, if the injury is the fault of a third-party, there can be other rules and regulations that might make a personal injury suit the better avenue for recovery than a traditional workers’ compensation claim.

The personal injury attorneys at Pivotal Law Group are here to help you after an injury. If you were injured on the job and have questions regarding what remedies are available to you, we can help. Our experienced attorneys are here to help you recover damages for the injuries sustained due to someone else’s negligence, whether those injuries were sustained on the job or elsewhere. We know that it can be confusing and difficult to sort out the options available to you after an injury. Let our attorneys help quash some of that confusion and get you on the path to recovery. Contact us today for a consultation.