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 Prove a Drowsy Truck Driver Injury Claim in Kent?

Posted Friday, August 19, 2022 by Chris Thayer

Since a missed early delivery bonus could be the difference between making money and losing money on a run, many truckers stay behind the wheel as long as possible. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which is supposedly a consumer watchdog group, has encouraged this behavior. It has recently watered down some key HOS (hours of service) rules. As a result, many truckers are dangerously fatigued. Driving after 18 consecutive awake hours is like driving with a .05 BAC level. That is above the legal limit for commercial drivers in Washington.

To impede the effects of fatigue, many truckers use amphetamines. These drugs might make users feel more alert. But they also make them edgy and suspicious behind the wheel. Furthermore, when amphetamines wear off, users often crash hard and fast.

If drowsy driving, or any other kind of impaired driving, caused a wreck, a Kent personal injury attorney may be able to obtain substantial 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 available as well, in some extreme cases. Generally, the company that owned the big rig, or its cargo, is financially responsible for these damages, thanks to the respondeat superior doctrine.

*Medical Records* This compensation is available if a victim/plaintiff proves negligence, or a lack of care, by a preponderance of the evidence, or more likely than not. Typically, the more proof a victim presents, the more compensation jurors award.

Medical records, both from the victim and from the tortfeasor (negligent driver) are often key in this area.

The victim’s medical records establish clinical information, like diagnosis, treatment, and cost data. Furthermore, these records usually include treatment notes that show the victim’s pain level and emotional state at certain times.

The only medical information these records do not show is the need for future medical treatment if any. If a personal injury settlement does not account for these costs, the victim could be financially responsible for them. So, a Kent personal injury lawyer often partners with a medical expert who evaluates these records, and other evidence, and predicts probable future expenses.

The tortfeasor’s medical records often contain information about sleep apnea. This condition, which is very common among truck drivers and others who sit a lot, makes it impossible to get deep, restorative sleep. Instead, since the primary airway closes during sleep, these individuals nap all night. So, they are fatigued the next day, even if they got a full night’s rest.

On a related note, circadian rhythm fatigue is also a serious problem among commercial operators, especially if their work schedules are erratic. Most people are naturally drowsy late at night and early in the morning. Most truckers are behind the wheel at these times.

*Electronic Evidence* Before the government’s Electronic Logging Device requirement took effect, the trucking industry fought the mandate all the way to the Supreme Court. These lawyers knew these gadgets give a Kent personal injury lawyer game-changing evidence in drowsy driver cases.

Until recently, truckers logged their hours manually. These records were easy to fake. An ELD provides almost bulletproof evidence of fatigue. These devices, which are attached to the drivetrain, accurately track truck drivers’ driving hours and rest periods.

Attorneys must overcome some legal hurdles to access ELDs. For example, Washington has very strict vehicle information privacy laws. Attorneys usually need court orders before they can inspect and download ELDs.

*Reach Out to a Thorough King County Attorney* Injury victims are entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Kent, contact Pivotal Law Group, PLLC. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.

Five Kinds of Driving Impairment in Bellevue

Posted Friday, August 12, 2022 by Chris Thayer

Most vehicle collisions are not “accidents.” People accidentally leave the lights on. They do not accidentally get behind the wheel when they are too sleepy to drive. The number of fatal car crashes has increased significantly since 2020. During coronavirus lockdowns, when roads emptied and traffic enforcement all but disappeared, many drivers picked up bad habits. These bad habits include impaired driving, as outlined below.

Crash victims need money to pay crash-related bills and otherwise put their lives back together. They should not have to pay this money from their own pockets. So, a Bellevue personal injury attorney can obtain 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. Additional punitive damages may be available, as well, in some extreme cases.

*Alcohol* We mentioned driver habits above. A long-term “drunk driver” crackdown has meant more arrests, but it has not changed driver habits. Alcohol still causes about the same proportion of fatal accidents today as it did in the 1980s before the crackdown began.

If tortfeasors (negligent drivers) violate a penal safety law, like the DUI law, and that violation causes injury, the tortfeasor is liable for the aforementioned damages as a matter of law.

Frequently, drivers are not intoxicated (complete loss of mental or physical faculties), but they are impaired (partial loss of mental or physical faculties). The duty of care, which applies to most noncommercial motorists, requires them to be at their absolute best, physically, mentally, and otherwise, when they drive. Evidence of impairment, which begins with the first drink, includes:

  • Prior alcohol consumption,
  • Erratic driving before the wreck,
  • Physical symptoms, like the odor of alcohol or unsteady balance, and
  • Tortfeasor’s statements about alcohol use.

The burden of proof in a civil case is only a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not). If Mary ate at a restaurant that served alcohol, it’s more likely than not that she consumed alcohol there. So, a Bellevue personal injury lawyer can use this evidence to prove alcohol impairment.

*Fatigue* Many people do not know that drowsiness and alcohol affect the body and brain in about the same way. Driving after 18 consecutive awake hours is like driving with a .05 BAC level. That’s above the legal limit for many Washington drivers.

Drowsiness and alcohol impairment/intoxication have something else in common. There is no shortcut to recovery for these individuals. Only time cures alcohol impairment and only sleep cures fatigue.

Fatigue is especially a problem among truck drivers. These individuals are under intense pressure to stay behind the wheel as long as possible. Unfortunately, regulators are willing to look the other way in these situations.

*Drugs* Marijuana is, by far, the leading cause of drugged driving. It may be legal to possess and use marijuana, but it is illegal and dangerous to drive under its influence. Usually, drug impairment, like alcohol impairment, begins with the first puff or pill.

Other people use drugs to counteract the effects of fatigue. Almost half of all truckers admit they use amphetamines while they are behind the wheel. These drugs are not just impairing. When the drug wears off, users crash hard and fast.

*Distraction* Hand-held cell phones get many of the headlines in this area, mostly because these gadgets combine all three types of distraction, which are:

  • Manual (hand off the wheel),
  • Cognitive (mind off driving), and
  • Visual (eyes off the road).

Hands-free devices may be more dangerous than hand-held devices. Hands-free gadgets are visually and cognitively distracting. Additionally, these devices give many drivers a false sense of security.

Non-device distraction is even more common than device distraction. Examples include drinking while driving and eating while driving.

*Medical Condition* Many chronic and serious medical conditions, like heart disease and epilepsy, could cause motorists to suddenly lose consciousness as they drive. The result is a dangerous out-of-control collision.

Short-term and mild medical conditions, like the flu, are a constant hazard as well. Symptoms of these illnesses, like watery eyes and trouble breathing, reduce driving ability by as much as 50%.

*Contact a Dedicated 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 do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.

Can You Sue for Injuries Sustained on a Ferry in Issaquah?

Posted Friday, August 5, 2022 by Chris Thayer

Washington State is right on the beautiful Pacific Coast – home to whales, otters, and plenty of incredible islands. One of the best ways to experience this maritime splendor is to take a ferry. But what happens when this ocean adventure turns out to be a danger-ridden, horrifying experience? What happens if you are injured while taking a ferry in Issaquah?

If you have been injured on a ferry in Issaquah, your best bet is to get in touch with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Our legal professionals can guide you toward justice and help you pursue the settlement you need and deserve to pay for your losses. These damages might include medical expenses, missed wages, emotional distress, and much more. Remember, the statute of limitations can prevent you from suing if you wait too long, so it is best to act as soon as possible.

*Ferry Accidents are More Common Than You Think*Becoming injured on a ferry might seem like an unlikely scenario – but these accidents may be more common than you think. On July 28th, it was reported that some kind of accident had occurred on a vessel operated by Washington State Ferries. The boat was traveling from Vashon Island to Seattle when it somehow crashed during the docking procedures. Judging by the images that have come out of this report, it seems obvious that the boat sustained heavy damage. In addition, several cars on the vehicle deck appear to have suffered significant damage. According to The Seattle Times, the left side of the boat was “completely crumpled.”

While no injuries were reported in this specific incident, you can see how a ferry accident could potentially lead to all kinds of harm.

Of course, many other ferry accidents have been much worse. One of the most notable examples was the MS Estonia, which encountered heavy waves and sank along with hundreds of its passengers. In 2012, the Costa Concordia disaster captured the attention of the entire world, causing the deaths of over 34 people.

*Can You Sue Washington State Ferries?*You can indeed sue Washington State Ferries for personal injury. According to their official reports, numerous people file personal injury claims against them each year, suggesting that this situation is common. Numerous employees have also sued Washington State Ferries over the years for various injuries.

*Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today*If you have been searching the Issaquah area for a qualified personal injury attorney, look no further than Pivotal Law Group. Over the years, we have assisted numerous injured plaintiffs. We know how serious and life-altering injuries can be, and there is no reason you should have to pay for these damages if they were caused by someone else’s negligence. Internet research can only get you so far, so book your consultation today to get started with an effective action plan.

What Kind of Injuries May Result from a Head-on Collision in Kent?

Posted Friday, July 29, 2022 by Chris Thayer

If you have been involved in a head-on collision, you already know that these kinds of crashes can be serious. In fact, it is difficult to imagine a type of crash that would lead to more serious injuries. When two vehicles crash into each other from completely opposite directions, the force generated can be tremendous. But just how bad can these accidents be, and what kind of injuries may result?

If you have been injured in a head-on collision, you already know just how serious these accidents can be. Dealing with these injuries can be extremely difficult – not to mention costly. The good news is that you can hold negligent parties accountable and pursue a fair settlement with help from a qualified personal injury attorney in Washington State. With assistance from one of these lawyers, you can get the compensation you need to cover medical expenses, missed wages, emotional distress, and any other damage to which you might have been subjected.

*It Depends on a Number of Factors*The severity of injuries caused by a head-on collision depends on a number of factors. First of all, you need to consider the speed of each vehicle. Vehicles moving faster will result in a higher amount of force upon impact, thereby creating more severe injuries. You also have to consider the weight and size of each vehicle. A smart car impacting a semi-truck head-on will likely result in catastrophic injuries for the occupant of the smaller vehicle. On the other hand, you might walk away with relatively light injuries if you were driving a large SUV when you impacted a smaller, lighter vehicle. Finally, you need to consider safety equipment such as seatbelts and airbags. All of these factors can affect the severity of injuries after a head-on collision.

*Common Injuries After Head-on Collisions*Common injuries after head-on collisions include:

  • Head injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Lacerations
  • Amputations
  • Death
  • Broken bones
  • Internal bleeding
  • Organ damage

*A Recent Head-on Collision in Kent*With all that being said, head-on collisions are not always as catastrophic as you might think. A recent head-on collision in Kent shows us that these accidents can actually result in minor injuries. The collision was reported on July 14th, and it occurred at 5 AM. So why were the survivors able to walk away with relatively light injuries? Police stated:

“We would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that seat belts and airbags DO save lives. This outcome could have been very different.”

*Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today*If you have been searching for a qualified, experienced personal injury attorney in Kent, look no further than Pivotal Law Group. With our help, you can hold negligent attorneys accountable and strive for the best possible results. We will assist you as you fight for your rights and pursue a fair, adequate settlement that reflects the true extent of your damages. Remember, the statute of limitations can prevent you from suing if you wait too long – so get in touch today.

Man Man Fires Shots at Motorists in Bellevue Before Burning Stolen Car

Posted Wednesday, July 20, 2022 by Chris Thayer

Things can get pretty intense on the roads of Bellevue. A relaxing drive can turn into utter mayhem when someone steals a car, discharges rounds, and then abandons their vehicle in a flaming heap. Although this might sound like something from an action movie, the truth is that it is more common than you might think. In fact, this exact incident happened in Bellevue recently, prompting fresh concerns about road safety and criminals on the loose.

If you have been injured by a negligent driver in Bellevue, your best bet is to get in touch with a qualified personal injury attorney in Washington State. Our legal professionals can assess your unique situation before guiding you forward. With our assistance, you can strive for a considerable financial settlement for your injuries and non-economic damages. In addition, we can help you hold negligent drivers accountable for their misconduct. It is important to book your consultation as soon as possible to avoid issues with the statute of limitations.

*Mayhem on the Streets of Bellevue*On July 13th, it was reported that a fiery crash had occurred on I-5 near Fife. When police responded to calls for help, it immediately became clear that the guilty party had fired shots at a 50-year-old motorist after an altercation that seems to have arisen at a stoplight. It was also revealed that the suspect was driving a stolen vehicle that had been taken from Bellevue.

Although the suspect got away at first, he did not get very far. His vehicle was found in a blazing heap about a mile from the crash site, and it had obviously been run off the road completely. The incident occurred at 3 AM, and the 50-year-old victim was taken to a nearby hospital to treat unspecified wounds.

According to eyewitnesses, the victim was actually being chased by the stolen BMW. During this chase, shots were fired in a wanton display of lawlessness. During this chase, the suspect also rammed the victim’s vehicle, forcing it off the road and down an embankment. Fortunately, the victim was able to pull himself from the wreckage and hide in nearby shrubbery until police arrived at the scene.

Organized criminal activity cannot be ruled out, as the suspect is believed to have intentionally torched his vehicle to destroy evidence. Rumors of an assassination attempt are swirling, but the 50-year-old victim insists he has no idea who was trying to kill him or why.

*Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today*Unfortunately, stories like these have become all too common in Washington State. The truth is that you are at risk from being injured or even fired upon every time you take to the road. The good news is that you can strive for the best possible results with the help of a qualified attorney. If you have been searching Bellevue for a qualified personal injury attorney, look no further than Pivotal Law Group. With plenty of car accident experience, we are well-equipped to guide you toward justice.