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

Construction Site Accidents

Posted Friday, July 23, 2021 by Chris Thayer

You may or may not be surprised to learn that construction workers face more work-related hazards than any other employee. While it is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States, it is also one of the most deadly. Studies show that every single day two construction workers die of work-related fatalities. A large proportion of these deaths are caused by falls. Construction workers are more likely than workers in any other industry to suffer death and injuries due to falling. One in 10 construction workers is expected to suffer a serious injury every single year.

*Construction Worker Accidents in Seattle *Just recently, a Seattle construction worker was killed in what is known as a “caught-between” accident, which occurred when he was pinned between a beam of steel and the flatbed of a semi-truck. The man was working on the State Route 520 Montlake Phase Project at the time, which involves replacing a bridge. While other workers were able to free him from the bind prior to paramedics arriving and began life-saving measures, it was too late and the man was pronounced dead at the scene. An investigation into the employer to determine whether any negligence or workplace safety violations contributed to the accident is still underway. Legally, the investigation must conclude within six months and will determine the cause of the accident and whether any violations of the employer were contributing factors.

*Construction Site Injuries *Construction sites provide abundant means of injury. With precarious set-ups, high-stakes and heavy equipment, and many moving components, there is essentially an infinite number of ways to become injured on a construction site. However, the most common cause of injury on construction sites remains falls from higher levels. These falls can result in permanent disability, such as when they damage the spine or cause traumatic brain injuries. Falls are sometimes precipitated by another common cause of construction site injuries, electrocution. Electrocution can destabilize an employee or cause them to lose consciousness and fall. Even when electrocution does not cause falls, it can result in heart damage, brain damage, disfigurement, and death. Caught-between accidents, which often result in crushing injuries, organ damage, and internal bleeding, are likely to be fatal or cause long-term damage. Struck-by accidents, such as when a construction worker is struck by a falling object, piece of equipment, or debris, also pose a real threat.

*Options for Legal Recourse *If you have been injured on a construction site, your options for legal recourse depend on your classification and relationship to the employer. If you are an employee, you are likely limited to seeking benefits and compensation through your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance, unless the injury was caused by a third-party or contractor. However, a lawyer can still work with you to navigate the process and ensure that you receive the maximum benefits and compensation to which you are entitled. If you are an independent contractor you do not qualify for workers’ compensation, but your option to sue is not impinged and you can file a personal injury suit against the responsible party provided their negligence, recklessness, or failure to abide by health and safety requirements, caused or contributed to your harm.

*Talk to a Seattle Personal Injury Lawyer *If you have suffered a serious injury on a Seattle construction site, it is important to talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to determine the best possible avenue to compensation. Contact the attorneys at Pivotal Law Group today and schedule a consultation. Serving Seattle, Bellevue, Kent, Renton, Burien, Mercer Island, Issaquah, or the greater Washington State area, our lawyers are ready to fight for you.

Seattle Forklift Accidents

Posted Friday, July 16, 2021 by Chris Thayer

Forklifts are a staple piece of equipment for most warehouses and many stores. However, their lack of stability and the precarious and tight areas in which they are often used can make them dangerous and prone to high-stakes and potentially fatal accidents. If you have been injured as a result of a forklift accident at work, you are not alone. In fact, statistics reflect that approximately 135,000 people nationwide were injured in forklift-related accidents just last year. Of those, 35,000 were said to have suffered serious and life-threatening injuries. An additional 100 people died as a result of forklift-related injuries. Clearly these accidents are not isolated, and must be taken seriously.

*What Causes Forklift Accidents?* Forklift accidents have many causes. Operator-error is a common one, which can be a result of inadequate training. Traveling too fast on a forklift, particularly if it is carrying a load, destabilizes it, which creates a hazard both for the operator and any surrounding workers or pedestrians. Forklifts also often operate on high loading docks, where they have little room to move around. This can result in tip-over accidents, which are often fatal. Forklifts often tip-over the edge of embankments, piers, and loading docks. Other environmental circumstances, such as narrow or overstocked aisles or crowded areas, can create a dangerous environment for forklifts and other workers when merchandise falls or racks of inventory tip over. Operating a forklift while it has an elevated load is likely to result in an accident. As the load will also eliminate visibility, doing so also increases the risk of colliding with other workers or pedestrians. Collisions between forklifts and workers are one of the leading causes of forklift accidents along with tip-over accidents.

*Forklift Injuries * Forklift injuries can be fatal, and tip-over accidents often are. In accidents where a forklift collides with an employee or pedestrian, the individual may actually be run-over or dragged by the forklift. This is likely to cause broken and fractured bones to the legs and pelvis. In instances where inventory or shelving falls on to the forklift operator, traumatic brain injuries, and injuries to the head and neck are common. Fatalities are most common in tip-over accidents, where the operator can become pinned under the forklift. Workers and pedestrians hit by a forklift can suffer broken and fractured bones and head trauma. Anyone who is hurt by a forklift should seek immediate medical attention, as there is potential for serious injury.

*Talk to a Seattle Personal Injury Lawyer * If you have been injured by a forklift or in a workplace accident in Seattle, Bellevue, Kent, Renton, Burien, Mercer Island, Issaquah, or the greater Washington State area, the experienced personal injury lawyers at Pivotal Law Firm can help. Pursuing compensation for forklift accidents can be complicated due to workers’ compensation laws. Our lawyers can help you navigate this process as well as identifying whether non-employer parties may be liable for the harm. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

Help! I Have Been in a Seattle Trucking Accident

Posted Friday, July 9, 2021 by Chris Thayer

If you have been in an accident with a commercial semi-truck, you may be facing serious damages and high medical costs. The good news is, you are not alone. The number of fatal truck accidents in Washington state has dramatically and continually increased over the past two decades. If you survived an accident with a semi-truck, you have already beat the odds statistically, although it is understandable if you do not feel particularly lucky. With the average semi-truck weighing up to 30,000 pounds, even a relatively minor collision can cause catastrophic damage to a standard passenger vehicle.

*Seek Medical Attention * The most important thing to do in the aftermath of a trucking accident is to seek medical attention as soon as possible. This is true even if you do not believe you are injured. Colliding with a semi-truck, even at a low speed, exerts a monumental amount of force on your vehicle and physical body. This can cause whiplash, soft tissue injuries, and damage to the spinal cord, neck, and head. These injuries may just feel “stiff” or even be undetectable for up to five days following the crash, however, seeking a medical assessment right afterward can allow you to receive a prompt diagnosis and treatment. Waiting until pain becomes severe to seek medical help can hurt your claim later on by making it appear that you did not take your injuries seriously. Further, some potentially life-threatening injuries, such as internal bleeding, organ damage, and traumatic brain injuries, can also be undetectable immediately after an accident. It’s important to seek professional medical help and report any pain and discomfort that you are feeling. This also generates a paper trail and evidence to support your claim.

*Talk to a Seattle Truck Accident Lawyer as Soon as Possible * Soon after the crash, the liable party’s insurance company will likely begin pressuring you to accept a settlement. They do this in part because the sooner they act after an accident, the less likely you will be to have retained a lawyer. Additionally, soon after the crash you will likely not have had an opportunity to learn about the full extent of your injuries. You may also not have had time to consult with anyone or do research to find out the amount of compensation to which you are entitled. Retaining a lawyer as soon as possible after a crash ensures that you will not be taken advantage of and that you will receive the maximum possible settlement that you deserve. For instance, soon after a crash, you may receive an offer to compensate you for your emergency room visit and vehicle damage, you may be tempted to accept without realizing that you may also require months of physical therapy and additional time off of work to recover. A lawyer can help you to avoid these pitfalls.

*Schedule a Consultation * If you or a loved one have suffered serious injuries as a result of a semi-truck accident in Seattle, Bellevue, Kent, Renton, Burien, Mercer Island, Issaquah, or the greater Washington State area, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Pivotal Law Group are ready to help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

Building a Case for Medical Malpractice

Posted Friday, July 2, 2021 by Chris Thayer

We put a lot of trust in doctors and medical professionals to treat us, and we expect that they will take reasonable care in arriving at diagnoses, administering treatment, and performing medical procedures. However, this does not always happen. When doctors act negligently in caring for patients, it can have devastating consequences. Medical malpractice can result in serious injury, permanent disability, and even death. Medical malpractice lawsuits exist in order to help victims of negligent doctors recover financially for the harm they have suffered, and to discourage negligent behavior in the medical profession by sending the message that there are consequences for deviating from the expected standard of care.

*What is Medical Malpractice? * Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor or medical professional fails to meet the standard of care that is expected in their industry and an injury occurs as a result. Medical malpractice can occur during diagnosis, treatment, prescription or administration of medication, aftercare, and health management. Medical malpractice is not limited to doctors, but can occur with any medical professional. Even pharmacists can be medically negligent by making critical errors in filling prescriptions. It is important to understand that the standard expected of medical professionals is not perfection. Rather, some errors are bound to occur and are unavoidable. Other errors are made in good faith despite every effort to adhere to industry standards of care. These do not amount to medical malpractice. Rather, medical malpractice occurs when a doctor or medical professional acts in a way that other similar professionals in their industry would not. For instance, if a doctor misdiagnosed a patient and another similarly situated doctor in a similar speciality would not have made the same mistake, that meets the threshold for medical malpractice. However, if it was a mistake that any doctor in their shoes could have made, then it likely does not amount to medical malpractice.

*Understanding the Elements of a Medical Malpractice Claim * In order to succeed in a claim for medical malpractice there must be a doctor-patient relationship. Additionally, the doctor must have deviated from the standard of care expected of professionals in their industry. The injury suffered by the patient must have been a direct result of this deviation of care. Finally, this injury must have resulted in significant physical and financial damages.

*Bringing a Claim for Medical Malpractice * A successful medical malpractice claim allows the injured party to recover for all damages suffered as a result of the injury caused by the doctor’s negligence. This includes all medical expenses, as well as all costs related to treatment for the injury. Additionally, if the injury required time off from work or prevented the victim from returning to the same job, damages can be sought for lost wages and reduced earning potential. Damages for pain and suffering, for the physical and emotional trauma caused by the malpractice, are also available. This can include things like loss of consortium, companionship, and enjoyment of life.

*Talk to a Seattle Personal Injury Lawyer * If you have suffered serious injury as a result of medical negligence in Seattle, Bellevue, Kent, Renton, Burien, Mercer Island, Issaquah, or the greater Washington State area, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Pivotal Law Group are ready to zealously advocate on your behalf and ensure that you get the support and compensation that you are entitled to. Call today to schedule a consultation.

Is My Employer Liable for Heat Stroke?

Posted Friday, June 25, 2021 by Chris Thayer

High summer temperatures can be as enjoyable as they are deadly. For employees who are required to work outdoors or in hot conditions, summertime can pose genuine health hazards, such as dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. While these conditions may seem like par for the course when working outdoors, they should not be taken lightly. All of these conditions, left untreated, or if severe enough, can result in serious cardiac episodes, including cardiac arrest. In fact, heat stroke is responsible for approximately 1,300 deaths in the United States each year.

*Does Workers’ Compensation Cover Heat Stroke?* Workers’ compensation insurance is designed to ensure medical treatment and partial wage replacement for injuries, illnesses, and conditions suffered as a result of someone’s employment. If you are required to work outdoors or in high temperatures, and develop heat stroke as a result, you qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. For heat stroke, these benefits would likely include medical treatment (for instance, if you require hospitalization or medical care) and partial wage replacement for any work missed as a result of the heat stroke. It is worth noting that many times workers’ compensation insurance companies may initially deny claims for heat stroke if the employee filing the claim has an underlying condition that contributed to the heat stroke. For instance, certain heart conditions and obesity increase an individual’s risk of developing heat stroke. Insurance adjusters may try to cite these as preexisting conditions that exempt them from providing coverage. However, pre-existing conditions are not a valid basis for denying someone a claim. The condition did not impair their ability to perform their job previously, and would not have, if not for the heat stroke, so they are legally entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

*How Can Employers Reduce Heat Stroke Risk?* Employers have a responsibility to keep workers safe. Employers should ensure that plenty of water is available on outdoor work sites and that employees have an opportunity to drink it regularly. Any employees who begin experiencing symptoms of heat stroke should immediately be moved out of hot temperatures. Heat stroke is caused by heat and not sunlight, so it is possible to develop heat stroke in high temperatures even while working in the shade. Any employees working in high temperatures who report feeling nauseous, dizzy, or having a headache, should be removed from the heat immediately and provided with medical attention if required. Ignoring early signs of heat stroke can have deadly consequences. Fostering a work culture that encourages employees to push through such symptoms can have tragic outcomes and have far greater costs than responding responsibly and taking appropriate action.

*Talk to a Seattle Personal Injury Lawyer * If you have suffered an injury at a workplace in Seattle, Bellevue, Kent, Renton, Burien, Mercer Island, Issaquah, or the greater Washington State area, and are struggling to get the workers’ compensation benefits that you are entitled to, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Pivotal Law Firm are ready to fight for your rights and ensure that you get the care you deserve. Call today to schedule a consultation.