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

How Do I Find the Best Issaquah Car Accident Lawyer?

Posted Friday, December 16, 2022 by Chris Thayer

Car accident victims have many choices. Washington has one of the highest number of lawyers per capita in the United States. Almost all lawyers take a fundamental tort (personal injury) class in law school. Additionally, the bar exam covers this topic. So, all lawyers have some basic skills in this area. However, there is usually no such thing as a “simple” car crash claim. Therefore, your attorney needs advanced skills that only some lawyers possess.

Liability issues usually complicate car accident claims. Most insurance companies either deny responsibility altogether or try to convince victims to settle their cases for pennies on the dollar. Additionally, many car crash cases involve advanced legal theories, like negligent entrustment owner liability and respondeat superior employer liability. Soft skills are necessary, as well. Most car crash victims just had their lives completely uprooted. Only a few Issaquah car accident lawyers have what it takes to successfully resolve your injury claim.

*Experience*Law school classes teach students how to think like lawyers. Standardized tests confirm this ability. Only experience teaches people to act like lawyers.

All courts have their own rules of evidence and procedure. Many of these rules are unwritten. Your vehicle collision claim is far too valuable to be a training tool for an inexperienced lawyer.

This experience should include a successful track record. A losing college basketball team that returns all five starters is experienced, but it is only experienced in losing. Likewise, a veteran lawyer without a successful track record is only experienced in taking the easy way out.

Additionally, this experience should include trial experience, even though almost all cases settle out of court. If the insurance company knows an Issaquah personal injury lawyer is unwilling to go the distance, the insurance company makes lower settlement offers, and clients suffer.

*Dedication*Many lawyers handle a few personal injury cases on the side, mostly for friends, former clients, or family members. Lack of dedication is often a serious issue in these cases.

The late Grant Cooper, who represented RFK assassin Sirhan Sirhan in the late 1960s, is a good example. Cooper was a well-established lawyer. However, he was a general practice attorney as opposed to a dedicated criminal defense lawyer. As a result, he may have overlooked some subtle weaknesses in the state’s case, like the inconsistencies between eyewitness statements and the autopsy report.

Incidentally, Cooper is at the center of one of the latest Kennedy conspiracy theories. Supposedly, Cooper intentionally threw the case so the Los Angeles County District Attorney would not indict him on charges stemming from an unrelated matter. But, as all the principles involved are dead, we will probably never know if that allegation is true.

*Accessibility*Many car crash victims work with very large firms, reasoning that these firms have the resources to take on large insurance companies. The lawyers at these firms often delegate most of the work to less experienced associates or even non-lawyer paralegals.

Size is not everything. David took out Goliath, mostly because he had right on his side. Similarly, a personal injury attorney has a cause. A car wreck is not just a financial statistic.

Nevertheless, David has five rocks and a slingshot. So, a lawyer must have resources like professional and paraprofessional assistants. Thus, if your lawyer always personally answers your phone calls on the first or second ring, that’s usually a bad sign.

*Count on an Experienced King County Attorney* Injury victims are entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Mercer Island, contact Pivotal Law Group, PLLC. Attorneys can connect victims with doctors, even if they have no insurance or money.

What are the Most Commonly Misdiagnosed Illnesses in Mercer Island?

Posted Friday, December 9, 2022 by Chris Thayer

A solid medical diagnosis is based on solid evidence. Frequently, doctors do not have the evidence they need. Doctors often do not run a full array of diagnostic tests, mostly because they do not want to do the insurance paperwork. On a related note, doctors often over-delegate test interpretation to nurses and other less-qualified professionals. Many doctors also do not know enough about patient symptoms. The average doctor only listens to the average patient for eleven seconds.

Doctors have a very high duty of care in Washington. This duty includes a responsibility to collect as much evidence as possible and base a diagnosis on this evidence. Doctors cannot rely on their instincts or even their professional training and experience. If a lack of care causes misdiagnosis, a Mercer Island personal injury attorney can obtain compensation in court. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Additional punitive damages are also available in many of these cases.

*Head Injuries*Doctors frequently rely on signature symptoms to diagnose injuries, especially in busy emergency rooms. Head injury signature symptoms usually include vomiting and unconsciousness. Most head injury victims are not vomiting and unconscious in examining rooms. So, doctors must listen to patients to uncover these symptoms, and as mentioned, most doctors do not listen too well.

On a related note, many heart attack victims do not have signature symptoms, such as severe chest pain. So, doctors must rely on diagnostic tests, and also as mentioned, accurate test results are often unavailable.

Furthermore, trauma is not the only cause of a Traumatic Brain Injury. Motion and a sudden loud noise could cause TBIs as well.

The brain is not the same size as the skull. Instead, the brain is about as big as two clenched fists. So, when people fall, even if they do not land hard, their brains slam against the insides of their skulls. The same thing is true for many car crash victims.

Sudden loud noises cause shock waves which disrupt brain functions. Many Iraq and Afghanistan, and other Southwest Asia veterans with head injuries were hurt in this way.

*Cancer*Pain is the initial signature cancer symptom. Many things, other than cancer, cause chronic pain and fatigue.

Additionally, as far as many doctors are concerned, cancer is a genetic or lifestyle condition unless they have enough evidence to suggest otherwise. Quite frankly, many doctors simply do not bother to collect evidence.

Furthermore, a doctor may accurately diagnose cancer but misdiagnose the type and location of cancer. Many cancers are relatively easy to manage. They are almost like diabetes. Other cancers are much more aggressive, so the treatment must be equally aggressive. Improper treatment is like no treatment.

*Autoimmune Diseases*In terms of diagnosis issues, many autoimmune diseases are like cancer. Various musculoskeletal and autoimmune diseases affect different people differently. These different diseases also have different treatments. If a doctor says the patient has the wrong disease, any treatments that the doctor prescribes may be essentially useless.

*Count on an Experienced King County Attorney* Injury victims are entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Mercer Island, contact Pivotal Law Group, PLLC. Attorneys can connect victims with doctors, even without insurance or money.

Evidence Pros and Cons in Burien Truck Crash Claims

Posted Friday, December 2, 2022 by Chris Thayer

Victims may obtain compensation for their severe injuries if an attorney proves negligence, or a lack of care, by a preponderance of the evidence, or more likely than not. Washington holds truck drivers, Uber drivers, and other common (commercial) carriers to a very high legal standard. Pretty much any driving mishap, no matter how small, usually constitutes negligence. Although it is easier to prove negligence, sufficient evidence is still the key to a successful outcome.

Frequently, the three types of evidence outlined below are enough to obtain maximum compensation. However, in many other cases, the cons substantially outweigh the pros regarding at least one type of proof. In these situations, a Burien personal injury lawyer must dig deeper and supplement the evidence in the case. Electronic evidence, such as surveillance video, often does the job. If an attorney fails to supplement the evidence, the victim must usually settle for less. Worse yet, many of these victims are ineligible for compensation.

Police *Accident Report*Usually, two heads are better than one. This old adage is almost always true regarding police accident reports in truck accident cases.

In the current political and economic environment, local law enforcement agencies, like the Burien Police Department, have fewer resources than ever. As a result, they have less time and money to invest in matters like accident reports. So, in most cases, lead emergency responders do the best they can with the evidence available at the scene, submit their reports, and move on to the next case.

Furthermore, as far as many emergency responders are concerned, truck crashes are civil disputes between insurance companies. Once upon a time, law enforcement officers often intervened in such situations. They did things like track down husbands who skipped out on their wives. Those days are long gone.

Things are different if multiple agencies, especially a large agency like the Washington State Police, contributed to the report. Lack of resources usually is not a problem in such situations. In fact, the WSP and other large organizations often work with accident reconstruction engineers and prepare much more reliable reports.

*Medical Bills*All medical bills include basic medical and financial information. This information includes basic diagnosis and treatment data, as well as basic cost information. If the victim quickly and fully recovers, this data is usually enough to obtain maximum compensation.

However, most truck crash victims don’t recover quickly or completely. Their injuries, such as serious burns and head injuries, are simply too severe. In these cases, medical bills are often inadequate. Many doctors do not include treatment notes that indicate the victim’s pain level at certain times. Almost no doctors include estimates about the need for future medical procedures.

A Burien personal injury attorney must fill in these gaps if they exist. Usually, this process means partnering with an independent doctor. This doctor reviews the bills in the case and physically examines the victim. Then, the doctor gives their expert opinion about items like pain and suffering and the need for future medical procedures.

*Witness Statements*This final type of evidence may be the most compelling kind of proof in a truck crash claim. Eyewitness testimony is incredibly persuasive in court. Unfortunately, not all witnesses are fully qualified to give court testimony.

Many witnesses don’t get good looks at truck crashes, mostly because everything happens so fast. Additionally, if the wreck happened at night or in bad weather, as many wrecks do, a witness’s credibility may be even lower. Additionally, many eyewitnesses have some relationship with a party in the case.

The good news is that not all eyewitnesses voluntarily come forward at the scene. Attorneys know how to locate additional witnesses and secure their testimony in court.

*Count on a Thorough King County Attorney* Injury victims are entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Burien, contact Pivotal Law Group, PLLC. Attorneys can connect victims with doctors, even if they have no insurance or money.

What Causes Head Injuries in Renton?

Posted Friday, November 25, 2022 by Chris Thayer

Severe traumatic brain injuries, most of which are accident related, kill over 64,000 Americans every year. Initial symptoms, like soreness and disorientation, quickly become moderate symptoms, like headaches, tinnitus (ringing in the ear), and mood swings. That is because the brain swells and presses against the skull. Shortly thereafter, these injuries are fatal or cause catastrophic injuries, like dementia-type symptoms.

Therefore, prompt and proper treatment is essential. Only a Renton personal injury attorney arranges such treatment. Lawyers have professional relationships with top-notch doctors who focus on head injuries and other injury-related conditions. So, these victims get the treatment they need when they need it. As a bonus, most of these doctors charge no upfront fees for their professional services. These doctors also hold off on other medical bills, like diagnostic and laboratory tests.

*Trauma* During car crashes, airbags absorb some, but not all, of the force. Imagine attaching a large, fluffy pillow to a concrete wall and then slamming your head into that wall at about 60mph. The pillow on the wall, like the airbag on a steering column, takes the edge off. But neither the pillow nor the airbag completely dissipates the force. It is not even close.

Additionally, many passenger areas are cluttered with backpacks, cell phones, and other small, loose objects. Once again, at 60mph, these small objects become high-speed missiles, which, in many cases, are aimed at a driver’s or passenger’s head. No airbag or other restraint system does anything to protect against such head injuries.

A severe trauma injury means the victim needs radical head surgery. Not all doctors are brain surgeons. That is why it is so important to connect victims with doctors who have the proper expertise.

*Noise* Brain injury science is still developing. That’s especially true with regard to the effect that sudden loud noises, like explosive blasts, have on brain functions.

Researchers now have many more subjects. About half of Southwest Asia veterans, not just half the injured service members, came home with TBIs. Frequently, these injuries were not trauma related. The victim did not fall or was not in a vehicle collision. Instead, the victim was close to a roadside bomb or other device when it went off.

Much like some explosions cause EMPs that shut down electric devices, these explosions create shock waves that disrupt brain functions.

What does all this have to do with collision-related head injuries? We are glad you asked. Many witnesses say that car wrecks sounded like explosions. The resulting shock waves usually are not strong enough to affect nearby pedestrians or other individuals. However, they are strong enough to affect vehicle occupants. In other words, many car crash victims with few or no visible injuries have TBIs.

*Motion* Most people assume the brain is about the same size as the skull. Instead, the human brain is about the size of two clenched fists. These clenched fists are suspended in a tank of cerebrospinal fluid.

Many people feel more alert when they pace. That is because the motion causes their brains to tap their skulls, stimulating the brain. Imagine what that effect is like in a high-speed car crash. Instead of tapping the skull, the brain slams against the skull.

Even a relatively low-speed car crash could cause a serious brain injury. The brain is so vulnerable that any excess force could injure it. The same thing is true about nerves in the cervical spine. This nerve damage usually causes whiplash, a head-neck injury that could cause paralysis.

*Rely on a Hard-Working King County Attorney* Injury victims are entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Renton, contact Pivotal Law Group, PLLC. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.

Supermarket Falls in Bellevue: A Closer Look

Posted Friday, November 18, 2022 by Chris Thayer

Grocery store falls usually cause broken bones, mostly broken ankle, hip, and wrist bones. A missed step or a bad hip often causes a fall, Then, when victims fall, they naturally extend their arms to break their falls. Head injuries are an even more serious problem. Once again, these injuries are even more severe if the victim had a pre-existing condition, such as an illness that requires blood thinning medication.

Even if a pre-existing condition contributed to the risk and/or severity of a fall injury, a Bellevue personal injury attorney can usually obtain maximum compensation for these injuries in court. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. These cases are usually complex. An out-of-state holding company usually owns the supermarket and is therefore financially responsible for these damages.

*Responsibility Issues* During initial case reviews, attorneys often emphasize the precise fall location. Depending on the location, as well as the terms of the lease and other legal documents, the supermarket, a sublessee, or the landlord could be legally responsible for damages.

Usually, this responsibility applies if the victim was a business invitee who had express or implied permission to be at the market. Additionally, the grocery store or other defendant must have received an economic benefit. Even if shoppers do not buy anything, there is an economic benefit. Foot traffic economically benefits grocery stores and other retailers.

Additionally, the tortfeasor (negligent party) must have actual or constructive knowledge (should have known) about the hazard which caused the fall or other injury.

The supermarket is generally responsible for any injuries that occur inside the market, on the sidewalk immediately in front of the store, the drive-thru (if any) on the side, or the loading area in the back.

Frequently, smaller retailers, like fast-food restaurants and nail salons, set up shop inside supermarkets. Mostly depending on the lease terms, these sub-lessors may be legally responsible for falls and other injuries which happen on or near the premises they rent.

In almost all cases, landlords are responsible for falls and other injuries which happen in parking lots, access areas, or other general common outdoor areas.

*Possible Defenses* Assumption of the risk and comparative fault are the two most common negligence defenses in grocery store fall claims.

Many people think if store workers erected a “Caution Wet Floor” or other warning sign, they’re ineligible for compensation. A Bellevue personal injury attorney can still obtain compensation in these situations. Warning signs just make it easier for an insurance company lawyer to prove the assumption of the risk defense. This defense applies if the victim voluntarily assumed a known risk. In the sign context, an insurance company lawyer must prove the victim saw the sign, could read the sign, and could understand what the sign meant.

Repeating a familiar theme, people with poor eyesight, cognitive skills, or English proficiency often have issues in one or more of these areas.

If it applies, assumption of the risk is an absolute defense. If it applies, comparative fault typically reduces the amount of compensation, but that is it. Washington is a pure comparative fault state. If a victim was 99%t responsible for a fall, perhaps because s/he did not watch where s/he was going, the tortfeasor is still responsible for a proportionate share of damages.

*Contact a Hard-Working King County Attorney* Injury victims are entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Bellevue, contact Pivotal Law Group, PLLC. We routinely handle matters throughout Washington state.