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

Can I Get More Than Workers’ Compensation if I am Injured in a Construction Accident

Posted Friday, January 14, 2022 by Chris Thayer

Construction is one of the most dangerous industries that a person can work in. Approximately 20% of all private worker fatalities each year occur in the construction industry. If you have been injured in a construction site injury, you may be struggling to get the workers’ compensation benefits that you are entitled to, realizing you do not qualify for coverage, or feeling frustrated at the minimal benefits you are receiving. Luckily, you may have legal avenues available to you. The best way to ensure that you are getting information that pertains to your specific information is to talk to a Seattle personal injury attorney, however, we will provide some general guidance here.

*Workers’ Compensation for Washington Construction Accidents * Whether you qualify for workers’ compensation insurance coverage through your employer depends on whether you are classified as an employee or an independent contractor. If you are classified as an employee, you can file a claim for the accident, and should receive medical care and full or partial wage replacement as you recover. You can receive this in weekly payments or as a bulk settlement, which can be negotiated. Sometimes employers intentionally misclassify employees as independent contractors in order to limit their own liability. If you believe this may be the case for you, a lawyer can help you determine whether you have been misclassified, and help you get the benefits to which you are entitled. If you do qualify for workers’ compensation coverage, it generally is a complete bar to suing your employer to recover damages, even if your employer was negligent in causing your injury. This is not the case, however, for independent contractors. They can bring a personal injury lawsuit against their employer as long as their employer was negligent.

*When Can I Get Workers’ Compensation and a Lawsuit Settlement? * In certain situations it is possible to receive workers’ compensation benefits from your employer while also bringing a lawsuit. The critical key here though, is that the lawsuit cannot be against your employer. The lawsuit must be brought against a non-employer third-party. This can happen if a contractor or other party contributed to causing your workplace injury. For instance, if your employer hired a contractor to provide and operate forklifts, and you were impaled by one that was being negligently operated, you could receive workers’ compensation from your employer as well as pursuing a lawsuit against the negligent contractor. It’s important to note that in that situation you would never want to settle the lawsuit before settling your workers’ compensation amount, otherwise the lawsuit settlement will be counted as income and will likely negate any eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits.

*Contact the Pivotal Law Group* If you have been injured in a Seattle, Bellevue, Kent, Renton, Burien, Mercer Island, Issaquah, or greater Washington State area construction accident, the experienced personal injury lawyers at the Pivotal Law Group are ready to help identify all potentially liable parties as well as all possible avenues to compensation. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

Motorcycle Accident 101: What to do After a Crash

Posted Friday, January 7, 2022 by Chris Thayer

Washington state boasts some of the most stunning natural views in the country, and can be an amazing place to ride a motorcycle. However, doing so is not without risks. In fact, each year over 5,000 motorcyclists die as a result of crashes. Often these crashes are through no fault of their own, and are caused by drunk or distracted drivers who have far more protection in vehicles, leaving motorcyclists vulnerable to hit-and-run accidents and catastrophic injuries. If you have been in a motorcycle accident in Washington state, here is what you need to know to protect yourself and your personal injury claim in the aftermath of a crash.

*Tips for After a Motorcycle Accident * - Get out of the road as fast as possible. Motorcyclists can be hard for other cars to spot, particularly when they fall off of their bike and are on the level of the road. Your top priority in the aftermath of an accident is to get out of the way of traffic as fast as possible to avoid further risk of injury or death. - Call for help. If there is any chance that you or anyone else in the accident is injured, it is important to call the police to report the accident and request paramedics. If no one appears to be injured, you should still call if the accident has left debris in the road or the vehicles cannot be safely removed from the roadway. Be sure to leave your helmet and any protective gear on until the police and first responders arrive. - Collect Evidence. If you are physically able, do what you can to take photos and videos of the scene. Make sure to photograph the damage, as well as the license plates of any vehicles involved. Take video of the scene, including any traffic signs and signals. Collect the other drivers’ insurance information, registration, and license information. Also get contact information for any possible witnesses who saw the crash. - Observe the other driver. Try not to engage angrily with the other driver or accost them. Do observe them to see if they are acting like they may be under the influence. If they seem like they may be, be sure to tell police when they arrive so that they can conduct proper testing at the scene. - Get medical attention. If you believe you may be injured, tell police and paramedics on the scene so that they can make sure that you receive proper medical care. They may transport you to a hospital if necessary. Even if you do not believe you are injured it is still necessary to get a comprehensive medical assessment as soon as possible after the accident as motorcycle injuries can be highly devastating to the body, and can result in injuries such as internal bleeding, organ damage, and brain swelling, which may not be immediately apparent, but can be life threatening if left untreated. - Talk to a lawyer if you are injured. If you are injured, it is important to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible. You will quickly begin receiving calls from insurance adjusters who can manipulate you into a lower settlement or even find ways to negate your claim to coverage if you do not know how to accurately navigate the situation.

*Schedule a Consultation with Pivotal Law Group* If you have been seriously injured in a motorcycle accident that was not your fault in the Seattle, Bellevue, Kent, Renton, Burien, Mercer Island, Issaquah, or greater Washington State area, the experienced personal injury lawyers at the Pivotal Law Group are ready to help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

What to Do if You are Injured by Product Packaging

Posted Friday, December 31, 2021 by Chris Thayer

If you have fallen victim to a really hard-to-open package, do not feel bad. You are not alone. In fact, approximately 60,000 Americans each year are injured as a result of product packaging. Product packaging often does not receive priority and rushed plans or the use of materials that have not been vetted can result in serious injuries to consumers who simply want access to the item they have already bought.

*Kinds of Product Packaging Injuries* There are a number of ways that product packaging can be designed or manufactured that make risk of harm likely to the consumer. In some cases, glass packaging or containers shatter. In other situations, packaging may be made of a thin or inappropriate material that breaks or shatters. For instance, a glass makeup tube or container that cannot be twisted open without causing the material to shatter, or a small plastic hand lotion container that splits or shatters when it is squeezed. Other times, hazardous or toxic packing materials may be used, or insufficient warnings or instructions may be given.

*When Can I Sue for an Injury Caused by Product Packaging? * It should be stated that injuries caused by product packaging are a growing problem in the United States, and their incidence is highest the week following the Christmas holiday, when everyone is opening their gifts. Nothing kills the holiday spirit quite like an amputated fingertip. Other injuries caused by defective product packaging can include severed tendons, muscle strain, lacerations, and serious injury to the eyes. If you suffer an injury that required a trip to the E.R. and resulted in medical expenses or other financial harm, such as not being able to work while you recovered, or physical therapy, you may have legal means of recovering for damages provided that the product or packaging that harmed you was defective.

Of course, not all injuries caused by product packaging give rise to a lawsuit. An estimated 6,000 product packaging injuries each year are caused by clamshell packaging alone. However, if you are injured because you tried to take a meat-cleaver to a clamshell package, you will likely not be able to recover for damages. You must have attempted to open the package and use the product as a reasonable person likely would have in the same situation, and the defect must have been such that injury was likely to result.

*Strict Liability for Defective Product Packaging * If you have been injured by a defectively designed or manufactured product and/or its packaging, the good news is that most of your case has already been established. Defective products and packaging falls under strict liability, which holds the company accountable for defective products and packaging regardless of whether they were aware of the issue or if additional negligence or malintent was involved. All that you will have to show is that the product is defective and that you were injured.

*Talk to Pivotal Law Group * If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective holiday toy or product packaging, the experienced product liability and personal injury attorneys at Pivotal Law Group are ready to help. Contact the Pivotal Law Group today, serving Seattle, Bellevue, Kent, Renton, Burien, Mercer Island, Issaquah, and the greater Washington State area, and schedule a consultation to find out how we can help you hold the liable parties accountable and get the maximum amount of compensation to which you are entitled.

Were You Injured in a Christmas Car Accident?

Posted Friday, December 24, 2021 by Chris Thayer

If you were injured in a Christmas car accident, you are not alone. While Christmas can bring lots of merriment and holiday cheer, it can also significantly increase driving risks. In fact, studies show that an estimated 42,300 people seek medical treatment as a result of Christmas day car accidents each year. The data also shows that at least 28% of Christmas Day car accidents will involve at least one drunk or intoxicated driver. This means that if you were involved in a car accident on Christmas that was not your fault, there is a good chance it was the fault of the other driver. Legally, that puts you in a much better position if you are seeking to recuperate damages suffered in the accident.

*Establishing Liability for Holiday Car Accidents * Travel increases dramatically over the holidays, with many people traveling on Christmas day to visit family and friends or attend social gatherings. This can result in a lot of tired and distracted driving. Because there is also usually alcohol at many holiday parties and gatherings, drunk driving is a major concern and cause of these accidents as well. If it is clear that the other driver was under the influence at the time of the accident, they can be held accountable for their negligence. In fact, the DUI will be de facto proof of negligence, so that you do not even have to prove it in court. Rather, all you will have to establish in court is that the other driver was negligent and you suffered harm. This makes it much more streamlined than a traditional negligence case and significantly increases your chances of succeeding in your recovery.

*What to Do if You Have Been in an Accident * If you have been injured in a car accident, it is important to seek prompt medical attention. Be sure to report the accident to police and inform them at the scene if you believe the other driver may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol so that they can conduct proper field testing. If you have suffered an injury, it is important to contact a lawyer so that they can represent your interests in negotiations with the insurance company and ensure that you get a fair settlement that will actually cover your medical expenses long-term. Your insurance company may make you an offer that seems good until you get the full facts and understand the extent and financial impact of your injury. A lawyer will make sure that you avoid the pitfalls that commonly keep people from getting the settlement that they deserve.

*Talk to Pivotal Law Group* If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in a Seattle-area car accident, our experienced personal injury attorneys are ready to help you navigate this process and ensure that you get the maximum amount of compensation that you are entitled to. Contact Pivotal Law Group today to schedule a consultation. Serving Seattle, Bellevue, Kent, Renton, Burien, Mercer Island, Issaquah, and the greater Washington State area, our lawyers are ready to help you.

Were You Injured by Someone’s Negligently Placed Holiday Decor?

Posted Friday, December 17, 2021 by Chris Thayer

It is a wonderful time of year, full of joy, gift-giving, socializing, and beautiful holiday lights. But there are always those people who take it just a bit too far. Holiday decor can be as gorgeous and festive as it is dangerous. Nothing puts an end to holiday cheer faster than a 600 volt jolt from poorly wired Christmas lights. The holidays are as full of socializing as they are rife with opportunities for injury. Extension cords negligently laid across the sidewalk, ground, or inside of a home, if not taped down or warned of, can pose serious trip-and-fall hazards that can have serious consequences, particularly for the elderly. If you have suffered an injury and incurred expenses as a result of an injury you sustained due to negligently installed or displayed holiday decorations, you may have legal options available to you to recover for your damages.

*How Can Holiday Decor be Negligent?* First off, it is important to understand that we are not being Grinchy here. Our concern is well founded. In fact, every holiday season (November and December) over 16,000 people suffer serious injuries related to holiday decorations. Although some of those injuries are caused by individual negligence, such as falling off of an icy roof while attempting to put up holiday lights, many of these injuries are caused by defective products or negligently installed decorations. Many people and businesses hang heavy decor from the ceiling, which, if not installed correctly, can fall and cause serious injury to their guests, including concussion, lacerations, eye damage, and traumatic brain injuries. Negligently maintained real Christmas trees in homes and offices pose a fire hazard which can expose guests to real danger if a fire bursts out. Amateur or over-zealous holiday decorators may also max out power-strips and electrical circuits which can also result in fires, electrocution, and other serious injuries. Decor placed in unexpected places, such as a small tree or pile of birch logs in a hallway that falls below your eye line can also cause tripping hazards. Additionally, some ornaments may be unexpectedly hot to the touch, sharp, or may shatter and cause serious injury.

*How to Know What Constitutes Negligent Holiday Decoration * There are a few different factors to consider when determining whether a person or business’ conduct rose to the level of negligence. First, you must have suffered an injury as well as financial harm (such as in the form of hospital bills, lost wages, etc.) and this injury must have been directly caused by the other party’s negligence. The other party will be considered negligent if they breached the duty of care that they owed to you. That duty will vary based on why you were on their property. For instance, a customer is owed a higher duty of care than a dinner party guest, and a trespasser is owed less than either. In general though, the court will look at whether the knew or reasonably should have known of the danger and if they made any attempt to mitigate the risk or warn you of it.

*Talk to the Pivotal Law Group* If you have suffered an injury due to another party’s negligence in Seattle, Bellevue, Kent, Renton, Burien, Mercer Island, Issaquah, and the greater Washington State area, you do not have to suffer through this alone. Contact the Pivotal Law Group and schedule a consultation today to find out how we can help you get the compensation that you are entitled to.