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

Will the Insurer Settle With My Personal Injury Attorney in Seattle?

Posted Monday, April 22, 2013 by Chris Thayer

Personal injury attorney in SeattleWhen you hire a personal injury attorney in Seattle, you may expect that the insurer will settle your case right away. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. There are many reasons why an insurer may prefer to take a claim to court rather than settling. Some of these have very little to do with the merits of your claim.

Building a Reputation

Insurers don’t want to be known for settling cases easily. Developing a reputation for settling claims to avoid court invites frivolous lawsuits. Insurance companies have to take claims to trial, at least occasionally.

Sometimes, an insurer may take a hard-line position against you just because you happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. If an insurer has just made a huge settlement, he or she may take your relatively small claim to trial just to assert that he or she can still try cases.

Money Isn’t Everything

Insurers are, ultimately, profit-driven, but sometimes giving up some money in the short term will lead to savings in the long term. Don’t think that just because your claim is not worth a lot of money, the insurer won’t take it to trial.

It is not unheard of for insurers to spend tens of thousands of dollars defending a claim when they could have settled with a personal injury attorney in Seattle for much less.

Chain of Command

As a personal injury attorney in Seattle will tell you, insurance adjusters aren’t paying your claim with their own money. So why do they seem so stingy with settlements? Insurance companies have a well-defined chain of command, and every adjuster will have his or her performance reviewed by someone higher up.

Just as the insurance company doesn’t want a reputation for paying out frivolous claims, the adjuster doesn’t want to be known for paying big settlements just to get files off of his or her desk. His or her ability to settle cases for small sums of money can factor into his or her next raise or promotion.

Increase Your Chances of a Favorable Settlement

One of the best things you can do to increase your chances of a favorable settlement is contact a personal injury attorney in Seattle. If you are not already represented, please call Chris Thayer at (206) 340-2008.

The Process for Filing a Lawsuit

Posted Monday, April 1, 2013 by Chris Thayer

alt textIf settling your personal injury case is not possible, then your Seattle, WA, personal injury attorney will most likely file a lawsuit. There are certain sequential steps common to all personal injury cases.

The Sequential Steps in a Lawsuit

Step 1. First, your lawyer will prepare a Complaint and Summons to be served upon the person, persons, or com¬pany that caused your injuries (the “defendants”). You are the “plaintiff” in the lawsuit.

Step 2. Once a copy of the complaint has been served to the defendant, the insurance company’s attorney will file a response to the Complaint (called an “Answer” to the Complaint). Typically, the Answer will:

•deny all responsibility for the injury, •deny the severity of your injuries, and •possibly seek to add other parties involved in the incident.

Step 3. Next, the process called “discovery” begins, wherein both sides request information from each other. Generally, discovery will involve the following procedures:

•Interrogatories. Questions (called “interrogatories”) will be exchanged between parties. Written answers to the interrogatories must be provided to the opposing party.•Depositions. Oral testimony may be taken at a “deposition.” Deposition testimony is taken down by a court reporter so that a transcript can be prepared.•Requests for production of documents. The lawyers will request certain documents, such as medical reports and bills, witness statements, and any other pertinent documents. •Requests for admissions. A request for admission narrows the issues. In this process, both parties admit certain facts that are not in dispute.

Step 4. Then you and your Seattle, WA, personal injury attorney will prepare for trial. This may include (among other things):

• interviewing witnesses,• preparing video depositions of your doctors, and• drafting briefs.

Step 5. Finally, the case will go to trial if it has not already been settled by this time.

An experienced Seattle, WA, personal injury attorney can further advise you of all of the procedures in a personal injury trial, as well as the likelihood of success in such a suit. If you have further questions about a personal injury claim, call attorney Chris Thayer at (206) 340-2008 for an initial consultation.

What If My Case Doesn't Settle?

Posted Monday, April 1, 2013 by Chris Thayer

alt textAlthough most personal injury attorneys in Seattle, WA settle more claims than they take to court, some cases will proceed to trial. You may be frustrated at your attorney’s inability to predict whether yours will be one of these cases, but the truth is that no one can predict with 100 percent accuracy which claims will settle and which ones will need to be litigated.

Will It Cost More?

Before he takes your case to trial, your attorney will have to collect evidence, prepare documents, take depositions, and research the relevant legal issues. This can be time consuming. Most attorneys will require a larger percentage of your recovery if they need to do additional preparation. Your attorney should discuss all fees with you upfront in order to avoid any surprises.

What Will I Have to Do?

Your personal injury attorneys in Seattle, WA handle most of the hard work with regard to preparing your case for trial. But you need to also help your lawyer by considering the following:

-Provide your attorney with your current address and phone number.-Keep your attorney informed about changes to your medical situation. You should immediately inform your lawyer about any changes to your team of treating physicians, if you start new prescriptions, and when you get results of your medical tests.-Promptly respond to any requests from your attorney. These might include requests for certain documents or requests for meetings.-Keep records of medical expenses as well as any other losses you might have incurred, such as lost wages from time off work. Take notes about any doctor visits, whether they are for treatment or exams, and be sure to note the dates of those visits. What you remember vividly now may be harder to recall once your case goes to trial.-You may have to attend a deposition. Your attorney will help you prepare.

Free Evaluation

If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, personal injury attorneys in Seattle, WA may be able to help. Contact Chris Thayer at (206) 340-2008 for a free evaluation.

Proceeding with Litigation if the Insurance Company Refuses to Settle

Posted Monday, April 1, 2013 by Chris Thayer

alt textWhen the insurance company refuses to meet your preferred settlement range, your Seattle motorcycle accident attorney may decide it is time to file a personal injury lawsuit.

Why Won’t the Insurance Company Settle My Case?It is sometimes difficult to surmise why insurance companies do what they do, but usually there are several factors that contribute to their unwillingness to settle a personal injury claim. For example, the insurance company might simply think you have asked for more money than your claim is worth. They may also refuse to settle because they think that some other party should be held responsible for the injuries.

Alternatively, it may just be company policy not to settle. (The insurance company knows that some claimants will go away to avoid the hassle of filing a lawsuit.) The insurance company may also assume that you and your Seattle motorcycle accident attorney will reduce your value of the claim if you have to sweat it out, especially if they do not believe that you were injured, or that you were injured as badly as you claim.

Who are the Defendants in the Lawsuit?Typically, the suit is not brought against the insurance company that is refusing to settle the case. Instead, the case is filed against the person, persons, or company that caused the injuries you sustained. However, if the case involves an uninsured or underinsured motorist, the insurance company will be part of the suit.

Tactics for Filing the LawsuitThere are many different tactics that your Seattle motorcycle attorney may employ when deciding when to actually file the case. In some cases, where your demand and the insurance company’s settlement offer are not too far off, your attorney may decide to wait a certain amount of time prior to filing the lawsuit.

It is possible that the insurance company will reevaluate its stance and increase its valu¬ation of your claim. However, if the insurance company’s settlement offer is not even in the ballpark of your demand, then litigation will typically need to be initiated.

A skilled Seattle motorcycle accident attorney will know when it is time to halt settlement negotiations and proceed with a lawsuit. If you have further questions about a personal injury case, call attorney Chris Thayer at (206) 340-2008.

Should I Give the Adjuster a Statement?

Posted Monday, April 1, 2013 by Chris Thayer

Seattle, Washington Personal Injury AttorneysClaims adjusters try all sorts of tactics to reduce the value and ultimate settlement amount of a personal injury claim. One of the more common techniques Seattle, Washington personal injury attorneys witness adjustors using to low-ball personal injury claims is asking for the claimant to give a statement.

This may seem like an innocent request. But keep in mind that the insurer would ultimately prefer to pay you nothing for your injury. Every word and statement you offer to the adjuster will be used against you during settlement talks and at trial.

Paraphrasing Your Statement

Some adjusters take your statement in person and ask you to sign a document summarizing what you said. Adjusters may follow certain templates based on the type of claim you are making. The questions you are asked in a dog bite claim, for instance, will be different from those you are asked in a car accident claim.

Even though the adjuster may be working off of a list of questions, you will likely talk faster than he or she can write. The document you are asked to sign most likely will not be your exact words, but a paraphrase of what you said.When asked to sign this document, you may think that it is “close enough” to what you actually said, but Seattle, Washington personal injury attorneys urge their clients to make sure their statement says exactly what was said. Small changes or omissions can become big problems later in settlement negotiations or at trial.

Phone Interviews

Because face-to-face meetings are more expensive and time-consuming for the insurance company, an adjuster may try to take your statement over the phone. Even if your statement is recorded, the adjuster assigned to your case will probably work from his or her notes on your statement. Insurers will rarely pay to have phone statements professionally transcribed, especially in routine, low-value claims.

An Attorney Can Help

Too often, by the time claimants contact Seattle, Washington personal injury attorneys, they have already spoken to the insurance company and made possibly harmful statements. Before you provide the adjuster a statement about your personal injury claim, call attorney Chris Thayer at (206) 805-1494.