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

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.

Breaking Down a Kent Motorcycle Accident Claim

Posted Friday, November 11, 2022 by Chris Thayer

Over the years, cars and trucks have advanced by leaps and bounds, especially in terms of safety. However, today’s motorcycles are not much different from the one Lawrence of Arabia rode when he died in a 1935 motorcycle accident. Additionally, even more than a century later, the facts surrounding Thomas Lawrence’s motorcycle wreck are still unclear. This uncertainty underscores the conflicting fact issues that affect many motorcycle crash claims in Washington.

Regardless of vehicle engineering, witness statements, or anything else, a Kent personal injury lawyer is committed to maximum compensation for motorcycle accident victims. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Additional punitive damages may be available as well, in some extreme situations.

*What Causes Motorcycle Wrecks?* Driver error causes about 98% of motorcycle wrecks and other vehicle collisions in Washington. Normally, this driver error is:

  • Operator Impairment: These wrecks basically happen when an impaired tortfeasor (negligent driver) gets behind the wheel. Alcohol and substance abuse, mostly marijuana, are the leading causes of driver impairment. Others include fatigue, distraction, or a medical condition. The first two impair judgment and/or reaction time. A medical condition could cause a sudden and unexpected loss of consciousness.
  • Aggressive Driving: Speeding, which increases the risk of a wreck and the force in a motorcycle collision, is the most common kind of aggressive driving. Velocity reduces reaction time and multiplies the force in a collision between two objects. Other kinds of aggressive driving include changing lanes unsafely, ignoring a traffic control device, and tailgating.

A defective product, like a defective tire, causes most of the other 2% of the motorcycle wrecks in the United States.

*Establishing Liability* Generally, manufacturers are strictly liable for the injuries their defective products cause. This defect could be a design or manufacturing defect.

In driver error claims, a Kent personal injury attorney must establish negligence, ro a lack of care, by a preponderance of the evidence, or more likely than not.

Usually, the lack of care is a lack of ordinary care. Under Washington law, motorists have a duty of reasonable care. They must be at their best, mentally, physically, and otherwise, when they start their cars. Additionally, as they drive, they must avoid accidents whenever possible, not drive in such a way that increases the risk of a wreck.

The negligence per se doctrine, which is a lack of statutory care, applies in a few cases. If a tortfeasor violates a safety law and that violation substantially causes injury, the tortfeasor could be responsible for damages as a matter of law.

In both cases, a third party, like an employer or a commercial alcohol provider, could be financially responsible for the aforementioned damages.

*Possible Defenses* Comparative fault and the helmet defense are the two most common insurance company defenses in motorcycle crash claims.

Basically, comparative fault shifts blame for an accident from the tortfeasor to the victim. For example, an insurance company lawyer might admit the tortfeasor was intoxicated, and blame the wreck on the victim’s unsafe lane change. Washington law is quite complex in this area.

The helmet defense is even more complex. Washington is one of the few states with a universal helmet requirement. However, under R.C.W.A. § 46.61.688(6), that non-use may not be admissible in court, at least for the purposes of reducing or denying compensation.

*Reach Out to a Diligent 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. Attorneys can connect victims with doctors, even if they have no insurance or money.

Most Commonly Misdiagnosed Conditions in Mercer Island

Posted Friday, November 4, 2022 by Chris Thayer

When it comes to healthcare matters, doctors have considerable education, training, and experience. On the other hand, their patients have almost none of these things. Since patients depend entirely on doctors for most or all of their healthcare needs, doctors have a fiduciary duty. They must bring all their education, training, and experience to bear whenever they meet with a patient, especially when the doctor diagnoses a serious or chronic illness.

Unfortunately for their patients, many doctors take dangerous shortcuts as they diagnose illnesses. Some doctors do not order a full array of diagnostic tests. So, they do not issue an evidence-based diagnosis. Instead, they rely on their instincts. On a related note, some doctors over-delegate test result interpretation tasks to nurses or even patient care technicians. These professionals are not qualified to interpret tests.

Because of this high duty of care, and also because many doctors flagrantly disregard this responsibility, a Mercer Island personal injury lawyer is often able to obtain substantial compensation in medical misdiagnosis claims. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Additional punitive damages are often available, as well.

*Head Injuries* Since 2007, head injury-related ER visits have increased more than 50%, to almost three million a year. About 90% of these victims are treated and released. Primarily, that is because of confusion over head injury symptoms and over the nature of these wounds.

Car wrecks are, by far, the leading cause of head injuries in the United States. Accident shock and initial head injury symptoms are almost identical. Therefore, many doctors immediately dismiss symptoms like neck soreness and general disorientation as temporary maladies that will soon pass. As a result, victims do not get the treatment they need until their injuries are much worse and much more difficult to treat.

Additionally, although science has proved otherwise, many doctors still believe head injuries are temporary conditions that soon pass. As far as they are concerned, rest and hydration are the only necessary treatments.

The higher duty of care applies in both areas. Doctors must thoroughly examine patients, even if these exams are more time-consuming. Additionally, the duty of care requires doctors to keep up with the latest advances in medical knowledge.

*Cancer* Head injuries, especially car crash-related head injuries, can happen to anyone at any time. The same thing is true for cancer. However, to many doctors, cancer is a genetic or lifestyle condition.

Family history is a key cancer predictive tool. However, family history is not always accurate. Toxic exposure cancer is a good example. Many people who work around dangerous chemicals, including Roundup, develop cancer, even though they have no family history of this disease.

Lifestyle is very similar. Many doctors believe that only women get breast cancer, only heavy drinkers get liver cancer, only smokers get lung cancer, and so on. While these things are generally true, they are certainly not always true.

Cancer survival rates have almost shot up since the 1990s. Nevertheless, a delayed diagnosis still causes the survival rate to plummet. As most of us know, it is much harder to win a game if you must play from behind.

*Count 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 Mercer Island, contact Pivotal Law Group, PLLC. Attorneys can connect victims with doctors, even if they do not have any money or insurance.