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

When You are in a Mercer Island Hospital, Does the HELPER Mnemonic Really Help?

Posted Friday, September 23, 2022 by Chris Thayer

SD (Shoulder Dystocia) is one of the most common labor and delivery complications in Washington. The baby’s shoulders are so large that the baby cannot naturally float down the mother’s narrow birth canal. About 2% of births involve SD emergencies. Most large King County hospitals handle several hundred births a day, which means several SD emergencies per day.

The consequences of these situations are swift and drastic. In less than five minutes, the baby’s umbilical cord restricts the flow of oxygen to the baby’s brain, causing cerebral palsy. The symptoms of this disease range from barely noticeable to completely debilitating. The good news is that CP is not degenerative, so it never gets worse. The bad news is that CP is not curable, so it usually never gets better.

If an SD emergency arises, the medical staff often relies on the HELPER mnemonic for guidance. However, as outlined below, this process often does more harm than good. If a doctor negligently injured a baby by not being prepared and/or reacting properly, a Mercer Island personal injury attorney can obtain substantial compensation in court. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as future medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as overall pain and suffering.

*Call for Help* Some doctors do not call for help when they need it. They see such calls as admissions that they cannot handle the situation or that they did not prepare properly. No professional likes to admit to such things. Additionally, especially at smaller hospitals and at night, help may not be immediately available.

*Episiotomy Evaluation* Bad idea. Once upon a time, doctors administered episiotomies, or small incisions between the mother’s anus and genitals, to widen the birth canal, whether the mom needed them or not. In the late 2000s, the American Academy of Pediatrics advised doctors to discontinue this practice. The most recent and best evidence clearly shows that episiotomies caused excessive maternal bleeding and were not very effective. Therefore, this evaluation almost always ends up negative.

*Move Legs for the McRoberts Maneuver* This intervention should probably be at the top of the list. Simply repositioning the mother’s legs shifts the mother’s center of gravity, making it easier for the baby to float down. However, this maneuver is only effective about 80% of the time. So, if it fails and the medical team has not tried it before now, about two minutes have melted off the five-minute CP clock.

*Suprapubic Pressure* SP is a little like CPR, except that the doctor targets the mother’s abdomen instead of her chest. Basically, tries to push the baby down the mother’s birth canal. The possible adverse effects of CPR on people are well-documented, which is why this procedure is only a last resort. The possible adverse effects on babies are even worse. Unless you have been through the process yourself, it’s hard to imagine how small and fragile a newborn baby is. Any excess force causes permanent injury.

*Enter and Perform Rotational Maneuvers* If external and indirect pressure causes permanent injuries, internal and direct pressure is even more dangerous. Yet that is the next step in the HELPER process. The doctor reaches inside the mother and tries to pull the baby out. Many doctors use even more dangerous mechanical devices, like forceps, in this step. Forceps are essentially large salad tongs, which the doctor uses like a crowbar.

*Remove Posterior Arm* At this point, the five-minute clock is near zero, and most doctors are desperate. They reason that going through life with only one arm is better than going through life as a CP victim. They are probably right about that. However, if not for the doctor’s negligence, things never would have gotten to this point.

*Count on a Dedicated 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. Virtual, home, and hospital visits are available.

Gumshoe to GPS Evidence in Issaquah Car Crash Cases

Posted Friday, September 16, 2022 by Chris Thayer

To obtain compensation for their injuries, victims/plaintiffs must prove negligence, or a lack of care, by a preponderance of the evidence, or more likely than not. Insurance companies have a legal duty to turn over all evidence in their possession during a lawsuit’s discovery period. Therefore, many passive attorneys do not do much evidence collection and wait for the insurance company to do the work. Active attorneys know the value of early and thorough evidence collection. This effort makes negligence claims much easier to settle on victim-friendly terms.

Frequently, an Issaquah personal injury attorney partners with a private investigator to collect evidence in car crash cases. Other professionals, such as doctors and accident reconstruction engineers, often lend a hand as well. All this effort may seem unnecessary. But extra effort on the front end pays dividends on the back end, in the form of maximum compensation for serious injuries.

*Gumshoe Evidence* Back in ye olden days, private investigators walked so much that they got gum on their shoes. At least we think that is where this expression came from. Now, largely thanks to an attorney’s legal connections and know-how, a simple phone call is enough to collect evidence like the police accident report, medical bills, and witness statements.

The quality of this evidence, such as the police accident report, varies. Issaquah is a relatively small community with a relatively small police force in a relatively isolated part of King County. So, if a car crash happens on a surface street, even a busy one like Highland Drive or Front Street, the Issaquah police department may be the only investigating agency.

The IPD has limited resources, which means limited accident investigations. Thus, the same emergency responder who spearheaded activities at the scene often writes the report. These individuals do the best they can. However, their written reports are often little more than afterthoughts. Additionally, they usually base their conclusions solely on the evidence immediately available at the scene.

In contrast, if a wreck happens on Interstate 90, multiple agencies often contribute to the investigation. Many larger agencies, like the Washington State Police, have in-house professional accident investigators. All that means more resources and a more comprehensive report.

At the minimum, gumshoe evidence is always a good starting point. It is up to an Issaquah personal injury lawyer to fill in the gaps.

GPS Evid*ence* Back in the day, surveillance cameras recorded blurry images on grainy videotape. Now, surveillance cameras digitally record sharp images. Image quality is just one advantage. Assuming the gadget was working right and a lawyer lays the proper foundation in court, insurance company lawyers usually cannot challenge surveillance video accuracy or authenticity.

These same things apply to a vehicle’s Event Data Recorder. An EDR is like a black box flight data recorder for a motor vehicle. Depending on the make and model, EDRs measure and record data like:

  • Vehicle speed,
  • Engine RPM,
  • Brake application, and
  • Steering angle.

A skilled attorney uses these bits of evidence to build a case like a painter uses dollops of oil paint on a palette to create a painting.

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

Can You Sue a Float Plane Company for Injuries in Renton?

Posted Friday, September 9, 2022 by Chris Thayer

Floatplanes are a popular choice for travelers on the Pacific Northwest coast. They are faster and less stressful than ferries, and they’re also exponentially more exciting. With plenty of reputable floatplane companies to choose from, some travelers even find cheaper deals compared to ferries. But what happens when a floatplane journey goes wrong? What happens when you suffer an injury during one of these flights? Worse still, what happens if you lose a family member to a fatal plane crash?

If you find yourself in this situation, you should get in touch with a personal injury attorney in Renton as soon as possible. If your injury was caused by negligence, you could strive for a settlement that covers your medical expenses, missed wages, emotional distress, and much more. If you have lost a loved one in a plane crash, you may receive compensation for funeral expenses and other damages. It is important to book your consultation as soon as possible for the best results.

*Fatal Crash Reminds Us All How Dangerous Float Planes Can Be*On September 4th, a float plane crashed near Whitby Island, killing all 10 occupants. These passengers were on their way back to Renton from the San Juan Islands – and some had probably spent the last few days vacationing in the beautiful Pacific Northwest island chains. Over a week later, it was reported that the wreckage of the crash had been found, and at least one person’s identity had been confirmed.

The exact cause of the crash has yet to be revealed, and it may take years to find any real answers. This will obviously be a difficult period for the surviving family members of these victims, as they all want answers.

Witnesses say that the plane first engaged in a steep climb before nose-diving almost vertically into the water. During the plane’s fall to the ocean, it was reportedly “spinning” or “rotating.” Although the exact details are still quite murky, this would suggest that the cause of the crash could have been some mechanical error or failure.

*Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today*If you’ve been searching for a qualified, experienced personal injury attorney in Renton, look no further than Pivotal Law Group. Over the years, we have assisted numerous injured plaintiffs in the Seattle area, and we know how daunting these injuries can be. Whether you have lost a loved one or you are suffering from injuries yourself, it is important to take action quickly. The statute of limitations may prevent you from suing altogether if you wait too long. Internet research can only get you so far, so book your consultation today to get started with an effective action plan.

What Causes Truck Crashes in Washington?

Posted Friday, September 2, 2022 by Chris Thayer

Since 2009, the number of large truck wrecks has increased by a staggering 47%. When these cases go to court, they are incredibly complex. Truck crash victims usually sustain severe burns, head injuries, internal wounds, and other catastrophic injuries. As a result, the medical bills often exceed $100,000. Additionally, most truckers have licenses in several different states. That makes evidence collection difficult. Finally, the shipping or transportation firm that owns the truck, usually an out-of-state conglomerate, is financially responsible for damages, at least in most cases.

A Burien personal injury attorney helps victims get through this trying experience. Attorneys immediately connect victims with doctors and other providers who usually charge nothing upfront for their services. Then, our team does the dirty work and collects evidence that supports your claim and refutes insurance company defenses. Much of this evidence, like electronic evidence, is unavailable at the scene. Finally, when the case goes to court, we never stop fighting for you. The long and winding road that leads to fair compensation begins with determining the cause of the wreck.

*Driver Impairment* Driver error causes about 98 percent of the truck wrecks in Washington. Some specific driver errors include:

  • Drugs: To try and counteract the effects of fatigue, which is another common kind of truck driver impairment, about half of truckers admit they use amphetamines while they are behind the wheel. These pills help drivers feel more alert, but they do not address other fatigue issues. Moreover, when these drugs wear off, users almost always crash hard and fast.
  • Fatigue: Due to continuing supply chain issues since COVID-19 hit America in 2020, federal and state regulators have relaxed many HOS (hours of service) rules. These regulators often don’t strictly enforce the remaining rules. Therefore, many truckers stay behind the wheel for dangerously long periods of time. Driving after eighteen consecutive awake hours is like driving with a .05 BAC level, which is above the legal limit in Washington.
  • Distraction: Many truckers, especially long haul drivers, spend long hours on mostly empty highways. As a result, the temptation to use cell phones and other devices while they drive is strong. Most of us are well aware of the dangers of using a hand-held device while driving. Using a hands-free device isn’t much safer. In fact, according to one study, using such a gadget while driving is as dangerous as driving drunk.

The Safety Maintenance Report, which is a multistate driving record, helps a Burien personal injury attorney obtain valuable information about these impairments and their underlying problems, like sleep apnea (fatigue) and a history of alcohol use (drugs).

*Aggressive Driving in Burien* Trucks are so large and so heavy, and the driver’s line of sight is usually so poor that almost any aggressive driving violates the duty of care. That’s especially true in Washington, where common carriers, like truckers, usually have a higher duty of care. As a result, almost any driving error constitutes negligence, or a lack of care.

Excessive speed may be the most common form of aggressive driving. Velocity multiplies the risk of a wreck as well as the force in a collision.

Other kinds of aggressive driving include tailgating, making an unsafe lane change, and failing to obey a traffic control device. Aggressive truck driving is especially common on surface streets. Many truckers aren’t used to sharing the road.

Connect With a Dedicated 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 don’t have any money or insurance.

Electronic Evidence in Renton Car Crash Cases

Posted Friday, August 26, 2022 by Chris Thayer

The burden of proof in a negligence claim is only a preponderance of the evidence, or more likely than not. That is one of the lowest burdens of proof in Washington. However, as is usually the case in life, the minimum effort usually means minimum results. To obtain maximum compensation, attorneys often must go beyond minimal evidence, like the police accident report, medical bills, and witness statements.

As outlined below, electronic evidence often makes the difference between maximum compensation and settling for less. Only an experienced Renton personal injury lawyer has the know-how and resources necessary to obtain this evidence and present it properly in court. A lot is at stake. Compensation in a car crash claim usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.

*Surveillance Video* Even in smaller towns like Renton and Mercer Island, at least one camera, like a traffic or security camera, overlooks almost every intersection and stretch of highway in the area. In court, a surveillance camera is like an eyewitness who is never biased or incorrect and always has a good view of a crash.

Additionally, most cameras record footage in high-definition digital video. So, it’s easy to present in court, and the high-quality footage is easy for jurors to see.

Some hurdles exist. Human eyewitnesses often voluntarily come forward. Cameras never come forward on their own. Instead, a Renton personal injury lawyer, sometimes in conjunction with a private investigator, must find them. Moreover, Washington law requires a special electronic evidence authentication proceeding.

*Event Data Recorder* Just like all large commercial jets have a black box flight data recorder, all commercial and noncommercial vehicles have an EDR. These gadgets first appeared in the 1970s. Today, they’re much more sophisticated. Most EDRs measure and record things like:

  • Vehicle speed,
  • Engine RPM,
  • Steering angle, and
  • Brake application.

A Kent personal injury attorney can put these bits of evidence together like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle and create a clear picture for jurors.

Much like surveillance video, EDR information, which is often critical in car crash cases, is not always available.

Washington has strong vehicle information privacy laws. Normally, attorneys must go to judges and convince them to issue court orders before they can inspect and download EDR information. Furthermore, because these gadgets are so sophisticated, the inspection and downloading process requires a lot more than a screwdriver and a laptop.

That’s assuming the EDR is available at all. Most insurance companies destroy wrecked vehicles within a few days of a crash. If that occurs, all physical evidence in the vehicle, including the EDR, is lost.

To prevent insurance companies from “accidentally” destroying vital evidence, attorneys must immediately send spoliation letters to insurance companies. These letters create a legal duty to preserve any potential physical evidence for later inspection.

*Connect With a Dedicated 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.