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

What to Know About Serious Injuries and Fatalities in Kent Accidents

Posted Friday, December 22, 2023 by Chris Thayer

According to the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), in 2021, there were 663 fatalities on all public roads in Washington. Compared to 2020, there was a 15.5% increase from 574 traffic deaths.

WSDOT data shows that serious injuries from traffic accidents also increased between 2021 and 2020. The trend showed an increase of 20.4% from 2,428 serious injuries to 2,924 in 2021.

If you have been involved in a traffic incident involving serious injuries or fatalities, talking with an experienced King County Personal Injury lawyer may help you decide how to move forward.

*Identifying Dangerous Roads in Kent and Washington*WSDOT tracks the most dangerous roads and intersections in Kent and in the state.The organization is dedicated to tracking where and when accidents occur. They identify the main factors causing the accident and the kinds of injuries reported. To identify trends, WSDOT tracks the frequency of accidents in our state.

*Roads and Hotspots for Dangerous Accidents in Kent*Data shows that specific Kent roads are especially dangerous and have a high rate of serious injuries as well as fatalities.

South King County road is a hotspot for fatal crashes, according to a report from KIRO 7 News Seattle.

A Money Geek report analyzed fatal accidents to determine the most dangerous roads in Washington. Three of these dangerous roads include Kent: Pacific Highway (SR-99) between S. 252nd Street to S. 176th Street; Pacific Highway (SR-99) from S. 16th Ave to S. 263rd Street; and SR-516 between WA-167 Interchange and S. Military Road.

*How to Cope With Dangerous Kent Roads *First, be sure to wear your seatbelt. Even if you are just dashing out for a quick errand, a seatbelt can be the difference between a critical injury and a moderate one. Check road conditions as you drive, walk, or bike on a road. Be alert for objects, trash, or fallen items on the road. Note potholes or construction areas. Be aware of changes in street lights, as this can impact visibility.

Check the weather conditions. Changes in the climate may include unpredictable storm systems, flooding, winds, or rain. These can change the slickness of the road or make visibility challenging.

Naturally, be alert about other drivers, pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicyclists. Notice if anyone is weaving in and out of traffic, frustrated, angry, or impatient. Stress and tension may ignite erratic driving and can be dangerous for pedestrians, drivers, and bystanders.

Watch for unexpected people and animals on the roadways. A child may inadvertently run after a ball or step into traffic. A dog or cat can run across a busy road. A deer may step out of the trees into oncoming traffic.

*Stay Alert and Drive Safe in Kent*Take extra precautions to drive safely if you notice hazardous conditions. Slow down. Be prepared to pull over in poor weather. Use your headlights and signal lights. Allow drivers to pass and have plenty of space if they are driving unpredictably.

*Speak to an Experienced King County Lawyer*If you have experienced an accident in Kent or around King County, you may have questions about compensation and legal process. Our experienced team at Pivotal Law is here to discuss your situation, answer your questions, and explain legal options.

Staying Safe: Dog Bites in King County, Washington

Posted Friday, December 15, 2023 by Chris Thayer

According to the Regional Animal Services of King County (RASKC), Animal Control Officers (ACOs) respond to more than 5,000 calls a year. RASKC covers unincorporated areas of King County as well as 25 contract cities such as Kent, Bellevue, Issaquah, Redmond, and Mercer Island, covering nearly 1,100 square miles and a population of just over one million.

While RASKC is the place to turn for a 24-hour response, it is important to know how to stay safe and keep your animals safe.

If you have been involved in a traffic incident, talking with an experienced King County Personal Injury lawyer may help you decide how to move forward.

Dangers of Dog Bites in King County, Washington

King County, Washington, is home to many beloved pets, yet even the gentlest dog can attack if they are provoked. A dog may bite, leaving not only physical damage but also psychological impact. Aggressive dogs can knock a person to the ground, which may result in broken bones, spinal injury, or head injury.

While some injuries may be a minor impact, such as bruising, others can be serious, life-altering, and even fatal.

Cities in Washington state have identified several breed-specific laws banning the ownership of pit bulls and other breeds that are identified as dangerous.

*Liability for Dog-Bite Injuries in Washington*Some states have what is known as a “one-bite” rule, which enables the dog owner to have a single chance to identify their dog as dangerous or vicious. In Washington, the rules regarding dog bites are different and termed ‘strict liability.’

This law means that a dog owner is fully liable for injuries that their dogs inflict on other people. Yet, liability can be contested with two possible defenses” provocation or trespassing.

Provocation means that the victim has to prove that they did nothing to provoke the dog. The victim must also prove that they were not trespassing on private property and had a lawful right to be at the location where the attack took place.

These defenses are somewhat limited, and if the dog owner knows that their dog was dangerous or vicious but did nothing to stop the attack, they may also face criminal liability.

*Dog Licensing and Control Zones in Washington*According to the RASKC, pet owners should be aware of and abide by Washington dog bite laws. Chapter 16.10 RCW covers the guidelines for dog licensing and dog control zones. Understanding these rules can help pet owners keep their dogs safe and be responsible citizens in the community.

*Be a Responsible Pet Owner in King County, Washington*If you are a pet owner, keep your pets’ rabies vaccinations up to date. In King County, all dogs, cats, and ferrets must be vaccinated for rabies by the age of 4 months and have booster vaccinations regularly.

Further, keep your pets under direct supervision. This may help your animal stay out of contact with a wild animal and prevent your pet from attacking another person. Finally, spay or neuter your animal to help reduce the number of stray and unvaccinated pets.

*Speak to a Compassionate King County Lawyer*If you have experienced a dog bite injury in Kent or King County, you may have questions about compensation and the legal process. Our experienced team at Pivotal Law is here to discuss your situation, answer your questions, and explore legal options.

Drunk Driving, Speeding, and Distracted Driving in King County

Posted Friday, December 8, 2023 by Chris Thayer

According to a recent Money Geek report, from 2017 to 2019, King County had the most fatal accidents of any county in Washington. 308 fatal accidents with 325 fatalities. The data shows that the majority of these occurred on SR-99. In diving further into the causes, 100 were related to drunk driving, 98 to speeding, and 64 to distracted driving.

If you have been involved in a car accident in King County or another Washington county, you may have questions regarding compensation, legal process, and next steps. Talking with an experienced King County personal injury lawyer may help you understand your legal options.

*Drunk Driving in Washington Accidents*Drunk driving in Washington contributed to 500 of the 1,518 total fatal accidents in Washington between 2017 and 2019. During this time, drunk driving contributed to 33% of fatal car accidents, more than speeding and distracted driving.

Driving while intoxicated is illegal in Washington. Even what seems like a small drink of alcohol can affect a person’s ability to drive, including loss of judgment and reduced visual acuity.

*Speeding in Fatal Accidents in Washington*Speeding contributed to 468 fatal accidents in Washington. This is nearly as many fatal accidents as drunk driving - almost one-third, 31%, from 2017 to 2019.

Speeding is a preventable action. Drivers may feel in control at high speeds but may not be able to stop in time to avoid danger. Crashes tend to be more severe, and injuries are more critical when driving at high speeds.

*Distracted Driving in Deadly Washington Crashes*Distracted driving refers to focusing away from the road. The behaviors refer to texting, cellphone use, changing the radio, grabbing a fallen phone, tending to a pet, talking to a passenger, and getting something for a crying child.

Just a moment of distraction results in accidents. In Washington, from 2017 to 2019, distracted driving resulted in 367 fatal accidents.

RCW 46.6.672 is a Washington law regarding using a personal electronic device while driving. Simply put, it is illegal to use a personal electronic device while driving, and it may result in a fine.

RCW 46.61.673 is the law stating that it is illegal to engage in any activity that takes your focus off driving safely. This law doesn’t spell out all the specific distractions - but you can imagine it might be a long list. Among the distracting behaviors are putting on makeup, personal grooming, eating, interacting with other passengers, feeding a hungry child, or petting a puppy.

*How to Practice Safe Driving in King County*Consider a few easy practices to help you drive safely in Washington:Drive only when you have not been drinking alcohol. Designate a sober driver before you head out. Stay put if everyone has been drinking and wait until the next day.

Drive within the speed limits. Do not speed. Do not go over the limit, even if it seems that no one else is on the road.

Turn off your cell phone. Put it out of reach. Designate a passenger to handle all texts and electronic equipment. If you are driving alone, pull over to a safe spot to make a call or text.

Talk to a Caring King County Personal Injury Lawy*er*If you have been involved in a King County accident, you may have questions about the legal process, getting compensation, and potential next steps. Talking with a compassionate and experienced personal injury lawyer may help provide peace of mind.

Safe Driving for Teens in Washington

Posted Friday, December 1, 2023 by Chris Thayer

According to the Washington State Department of Licensing, car crashes are the leading cause of death and injury for Washington teens. Most of the crashes are caused by teens who are distracted, speeding, or driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Experts advise parents and teens to be proactive about safe driving. The key is to learn about the dangers of distracted driving, reduce distracted driving, and practice safe driving techniques. WSDOL notes that it is possible to travel more than the length of a football field - in the time it takes to read a text message or dial a number on your cellphone. Distracted driving laws are in effect in Washington state.

If you have been involved in a traffic incident, talking with an experienced King County Personal Injury lawyer may help you decide how to move forward.

*Dangers of Distracted Driving in Washington*In a WSDOL report, numerous statistics reveal the dangers of distracted driving.

In Washington state, 6,000 people were killed in crashes that involved a distracted driver in 2008, and 500,000 were injured.

A driver talking on a cell phone is considered as impaired as a driver with twice the legal limit of blood alcohol, or a .16 blood-alcohol level.

Further, a distracted driver has a slower response rate. In emergencies, drivers talking on cellphones are half a second slower to hit the brakes. Compared with attentive drivers, drivers talking on cell phones miss more than half of the visual cues due to distraction.

*Hands-Free Law in Washington*Washington state is serious about preventing crashes and prohibits drivers from holding a wireless device.

Chapter 46.61.667 RCW is the Washington Law defining the rules of the role regarding cell phone use. Talking on a cellphone or sending a text message while holding a wireless device is punishable with a $124 fine. Washington police can pull you over and give you a ticket if they see you holding a phone.

Hands-free devices are required in Washington. Except in emergencies, new drivers with instruction permits or intermediate licenses cannot use wireless devices.

*How Parents Can Help Teens Stay Safe in Washington*According to the WSDOL, parents can help teens by having an open conversation about the dangers of distracted driving.

For many families, giving a teen a cell phone was an important way to support communication. It was a vital tool to stay in touch, stay safe, and stay informed.

However, when teens start driving, this same device can become one of the most dangerous tools and should used with awareness.

Parents can set an agreement with teens. A written agreement outlines the terms for driving, cellphone use, expectations, and safety practices. The agreement is a written document confirming the precise terms teens and parents agree to uphold.

*Stay Alert and Be a Role Model in Washington*Parents are role models for safe driving, using hands-free devices, and not using cell phones or texting while driving. One simple tip is to keep the cell phone in the trunk to avoid temptation.

Take extra precautions to not use a cell phone or text while driving. Your actions can help teens learn how to drive without texting or talking on a cell phone.

*Speak to an Experienced King County Lawyer*If you have experienced an accident in King County, you may have questions about compensation and the legal process. Our experienced team at Pivotal Law is here to discuss your situation, answer your questions, and explore legal options.

Helping in a Mercer Island Car Collision

Posted Friday, November 24, 2023 by Chris Thayer

Picture for a moment that you are near a car collision that has just occurred. No one is on hand, such as local police, ambulance, highway patrol, or fire services. What should you do?

The first thing to do is to call 911. Be a good witness and notice what is going on around you. Then, if you can safely administer help, consider how you can help in an emergency.

If you want to help, you may still worry if it is a smart idea. You may be concerned that you don’t have proper medical training — and in helping, you could open yourself up to a personal injury lawsuit if something goes wrong.

In Washington state, it is good to know that there are laws covering this kind of situation. They are called Good Samaritan laws and are designed to protect people who voluntarily try to help at the scene of an accident.

If you or a loved one have been involved in a car crash, talking with an experienced Personal Injury Lawyer can help provide peace of mind.

*If You Come Across a Mercer Island Car Accident*No one goes out of the door and envisions coming across the scene of a car accident. Perhaps you were walking your dog. Maybe you were popping out to the grocery store to pick up a carton of milk.

Good Samaritan laws can protect you if you try to help in an emergency.

*What is the Good Samaritan Law in Mercer Island?*According to RCW 4.24.300, in Washington state, a Good Samaritan is someone who gives aid or assistance in an emergency. The definition of a Samaritan is a person who does not expect compensation and is generally applied to people who are not trained professionals. Essentially, Good Samaritans are people who help others, commonly called a rescuer. In Washington state, you are immune from liability unless you have been willfully negligent or reckless when you render aid.

*What is Washington’s 911 Good Samaritan Law?*In addition to protecting people who can help save lives, such as in a car crash, Washington state goes a step further.

In Washington, if a person seeks medical assistance for someone who is experiencing a drug-related overdose, they are also protected. The person helping those in need will not be charged with possession of a controlled substance. The overdose victim is also protected from drug possession charges.

*What Should You Know About the Good Samaritan Law?*When someone is fighting for their life, ideally, a bystander would not question whether or not to be helpful. Your efforts could save a person’s life. Yet, we live in a litigious society.

Have you been a good samaritan? Have you received help from a good samaritan? If you have questions, talking with an experienced personal injury attorney may help you understand your case.

*When to Talk to a Personal Injury Lawyer in King County*In Washington, the statute of limitations is three years from the date of a car accident to file a legal suit. If you have been involved in a car collision, the clock starts ticking on the date of the accident.

Talking to an experienced Washington Personal Injury Lawyer may help to clarify your legal options.