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

Will Dashcam Footage Help or Hurt My Personal Injury Case?

Posted Friday, October 22, 2021 by Chris Thayer

If you have been involved in a collision, you may be feeling overwhelmed and frustrated trying to navigate the insurance process. It can be daunting being pummeled by calls from insurance claims adjusters within hours of an accident from which you are still reeling, particularly when you do not know what to say or how to protect yourself. It can also be terrifying drowning in mounting medical bills while waiting for the insurance companies to make a determination of liability. Depending on the complexity of the crash and the availability of witnesses and evidence, the determination of liability can take weeks or even months.

There are a number of things that you can do to expedite this process including getting contact information and taking detailed photos and video at the scene. Additionally, having a dashcam or knowledge of dashcam footage that captured the crash or events leading up to it can quickly clear up who is responsible for the party and put an end to the investigation. Clearly then, there can be real benefits to having a dashcam. However, whether dashcam footage will be helpful or harmful in your specific case depends on whether you were at fault for the accident. The information in this article is intended to be general. However, if you would like personalized feedback based on your unique case, you are welcome to contact the experienced Seattle personal injury attorneys at Pivotal Law Group to schedule a consultation.

*Should I Get a Dashcam?*Having a dashcam is a bit of a gamble. Some insurance companies now offer discounts to people who agree to use a dashcam in their car, and many people agree to do this for the discount without a second thought. However, the reality is that insurance companies would not offer this option if doing so did not save them money. Although dashcams can provide helpful evidence in the event of an accident, they can also provide evidence that implicates you. Additionally, if you attempt to delete or destroy dashcam footage after an accident it can result in additional criminal charges. Even if someone else was liable for the crash, a dashcam can reveal grounds for limiting liability if anything you did contributed to the ultimate damage, including how you reacted to the crash, which is likely information that they would not have had otherwise. In short, it is important to fully weigh the pros and cons associated with having a dashcam and to make an informed decision.

*How Do I Get Dashcam Footage of My Crash? *If the liable driver or another driver has dashcam footage of the crash, your lawyer can likely help you to subpoena the footage as evidence. If you believe another driver has footage material to the accident, it is important to make your lawyer aware of this right away so that they can take action before the footage is destroyed, “lost,” or tampered with.

*Schedule a Consultation With Pivotal Law Group *If you have been injured in a Seattle, Bellevue, Kent, Renton, Burien, Mercer Island, Issaquah, or greater Washington State area car crash, the experienced personal injury lawyers at Pivotal Law Group are ready to help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and find out how we will fight to get you the compensation to which you are entitled.

Did Your Seat Belt Break or Fail in an Accident?

Posted Friday, October 15, 2021 by Chris Thayer

We put a lot of trust in seat belts to keep us safe, and for good reason. Studies show that wearing a seat belt can cut your risk of dying or being seriously injured in a car accident by half. That means that wearing a seat belt can literally be the difference between life and death. We are taught from an early age that we should put on our seat belts as soon as we get in the car, and that if we fail to wear a seat belt, but then get into an accident, any harm we suffer is our fault and a lesson for others to learn from.

But what happens if you wore a seat belt, just like you were supposed to, and it did not do its job? This happens more often than you might think. In fact, an estimated three million people each year are injured due to seat belt malfunctions or defective seat belts. If you were one of these people, you are entitled to compensation for any harm that you suffered as a result of the defective seat belt. In this article, we will provide general information on what you can do if a defective seat belt has caused you or a loved one harm. However, every case is different. If you would like personalized feedback based on your specific case, contact the experienced Seattle personal injury attorneys at Pivotal Law Group and schedule a consultation today.

*Types of Seat Belt Defects *There are a number of ways that a seat belt can be defective. A seat belt buckle can fail to latch securely into place, causing it to come undone in an accident. If this happened to you, it is likely that you would have been marked “unrestrained” in the accident report. This is because in the aftermath it will look like you were never wearing a seat belt at all. If you see “unrestrained” in your accident report and you know you were wearing a seat belt, it is important to address the issue right away by talking to an attorney. It is important to address because otherwise it may impact the amount of liability or coverage that you are assigned. Additionally, notifying your lawyer of this fact will allow them to consider a product liability claim for the defect. Another defect occurs when the car impacts a force and the seat belt fails to lock, instead unspooling rapidly. This can cause a passenger to fly out of the seat belt, and even to be ejected from the car.

*Suing for a Seat Belt Defect *Not every seat belt defect will provide grounds for a lawsuit. For instance, if you purchased a car and then noticed the seat belt was defective, but did not suffer any harm as a result, this would not be grounds for a lawsuit because there are not any damages yet. On the other hand, if you can show that your defective seat belt caused you harm that you would not have suffered had it functioned correctly, then you have grounds to bring a case. Additionally, you will not have to prove negligence on the part of the company. All that you will have to prove is that the seat belt was defective and that it caused you harm.

*Talk to Pivotal Law Group*If you have been injured in the Seattle, Bellevue, Kent, Renton, Burien, Mercer Island, Issaquah, or greater Washington State area as the result of a defective seat belt or other vehicle defect, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Pivotal Law Group are here to help. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

Is a Judge or Jury Trial Better for My Civil Suit?

Posted Friday, October 8, 2021 by Chris Thayer

Most people assume that when they go to court they will be facing a jury, but did you know that you actually have a choice? That is right. While you have a legal right to a jury trial, you are not compelled to have one. So, what happens if you choose not to have a jury? A judge will try your case solo. This is also known as a bench trial. In a bench trial, the judge will be the only person to hear both sides of the case and render a decision.

Why would anyone choose to forgo a jury? Well, perhaps the nature of your case is highly technical, and could bore or confuse a jury of regular people. Additionally, if the case involves primarily complex legal questions and/or emotional subject matter that could bias a jury against you, a judge may be a wiser selection. On the other hand, in many cases having a jury of people who are sympathetic to the subject matter of your claim could result in a completely different outcome. Ultimately, every case is different, and the kind of trial that will be best for your case rests on the specific facts and circumstances that you are dealing with.

The information in this article is intended to be general, but the best way of getting specific feedback on your individual case is to talk to an attorney and allow them to assess your claim. Many people avoid talking to a lawyer because they think it will be too expensive, but scheduling a consultation often costs very little or even nothing at all. Additionally, if your case could result in a large settlement, the law firm may be able to take it on without any up-front costs. In short, you will not know until you try talking to a lawyer, and not talking to one could result in missing out on life-changing legal guidance. The experienced Seattle-area personal injury lawyers at Pivotal Law Firm are ready to help. If you have a personal injury claim and would like personalized feedback, contact our lawyers today to see how we can help you.

*Choosing the Best Kind of Trial *If you decide to have a lawyer represent you, your lawyer will review the facts and circumstances of your case to determine the best legal strategy, including whether it would be most beneficial to request a bench or jury trial. As noted above, the subject matter of your claim plays a major role in determining the most advantageous trial format, as does what will be required of the decision-maker. If the decision-maker will have to review emotionally difficult photos that work against you, a judge is likely a safer bet, as jurors may be biased (consciously or unconsciously) by the graphic subject matter. On the other hand, if your case is mostly straightforward from a legal standpoint, having a bench trial can be a safer bet. If you choose to represent yourself and not retain counsel, a bench trial is almost always preferable, as jurors can be easily prejudiced by your incompetence, and may not be as forgiving as a judge. Jurors may also mistake the stress you are feeling at having to represent yourself as an indication that you are not trustworthy.

*Schedule a Consultation *If you have a personal injury claim in the Seattle, Bellevue, Kent, Renton, Burien, Mercer Island, Issaquah, or greater Washington State area, and are interested in moving forward with a lawsuit, the experienced personal injury lawyers at Pivotal Law Group are ready to help you navigate the entire process. Call today to schedule your consultation.

Did You Know About These Common Vehicle Defects?

Posted Friday, October 1, 2021 by Chris Thayer

Alternative TextIf you have been in a car accident, you know how quickly things can go wrong. A defect in your vehicle can occur at any time and in any component. In the aftermath of a car crash, it can sometimes be hard to pinpoint exactly what happened. Some vehicle defects will be obvious, such as defects to the steering mechanism which would make you feel like you have no control over the vehicle, or to the brake system, which would leave you unable to come to a complete stop. While other defects may only be apparent upon investigation afterward. The bottom line is that your vehicle is supposed to protect you. If any component of your vehicle is defective and that component causes or contributes to physical or financial harm, you have grounds to hold the manufacturer liable. You can do this by bringing a product liability lawsuit.

*What is a Product Liability Lawsuit? *A product liability lawsuit is intended to hold manufacturers liable for the safety and integrity of their products. Unlike in a personal injury lawsuit, all that you have to establish in a product liability lawsuit is that a defect was present and harm occurred as a result. It is not necessary to prove that the company was negligent in causing or failing to notice the defect. Its existence is sufficient to have standing to claim compensation. This is all the more reason to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible if you believe a vehicle defect may have been involved in your car accident. The information in this article is meant to be general, but if you would like to talk to a lawyer about the specifics of your case, you are encouraged to contact the experienced Seattle personal injury and product liability lawyers at Pivotal Law Group to schedule a consultation and receive personalized feedback.

*Common Vehicle Defects*Vehicles are complex and defects can be present in any component, from the visors to the latching mechanisms in the seat belts. However, some of the most common forms of vehicle defects are the following:

  • Seat Belt Defects. Seat belt defects include defects to the locking mechanism to the spool, which can cause the seat belt to rapidly release rather than lock upon impact. Other defects may include issues with the seatbelt’s ability to latch, such as becoming unlatched upon impact or for no reason.
  • Airbag Defects. When an airbag functions properly it can save your life, but when it fails to deploy, deploys for no reason, or deploys with unreasonable force, it can result in serious injuries to the face and upper body, including burns, bruising, broken bones, whiplash, soft tissue injuries, and traumatic brain injuries, including concussions and brain hemorrhage.
  • Door Latch Mechanisms. Defective door latch mechanisms can cause doors to launch off of the car when they are closed too hard or when any pressure is applied against them. This can cause passengers to fall out of the car.

*Schedule a Consultation with Pivotal Law Group *If you have been injured in a Seattle, Bellevue, Kent, Renton, Burien, Mercer Island, Issaquah, or greater Washington State area car accident that was not your fault, and you believe a vehicle defect played a part in your injuries, contact Pivotal Law Group and schedule a consultation today.

Compensation for Washington State Train Accident Injuries

Posted Friday, September 24, 2021 by Chris Thayer

Train accidents are relatively rare, but may not be as uncommon as you think. There are about 40 train accidents a year in Washington state, which boasts over 3,000 miles of active railroad tracks. However, nationally, a person or car is hit by a train every three hours. The vast majority of these accidents are collisions that take place between cars and trains at railway crossings. These accidents can occur due to defects or malfunctions with the railroad gate or signals, breaking problems with the train, speeding or negligent conduct by the driver, or motorist issues, such as their vehicle stalling out on the track, ignoring proper railroad signals, or getting caught on debris in the track.

*Railroad Accident Injuries *Although railroad accidents and train accidents are far less common than vehicle accidents, the consequences can be far more devastating and catastrophic. A single train derailment can result in thousands of injuries and deaths. In instances of train collisions with other vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists, the chance of fatality is incredibly high. There is little chance of surviving an impact with a train. For this reason, these accidents must be taken seriously, and in order to deter them, railroad companies and their employees are held to a much higher standard of care than regular motorists or employees in other fields.

*Suing for Railroad Injuries or Wrongful Death *If you or a loved one have suffered serious injuries or even death as a result of a train or train company, you are likely wondering what options, if any, you have available to you. While each case must be assessed individually on the basis of its facts, the good news is that as noted above, train companies are held to an incredibly high standard of care. This means that the burden falls on the train company to establish that it and its employees did everything they reasonably should have to prevent the accident that resulted in your injury. On the other hand, if they cannot meet this burden, or you can demonstrate that they deviated from their required standard of care by acting negligently, then they will become liable for all harm that resulted due to their negligence or breach.

*How a Lawyer Can Help *Suing for railway accidents can be complicated. An experienced Washington personal injury attorney can review the specifics of your case to ensure that you have a claim and determine the best way forward. A lawyer can also ensure that your rights are protected and that you are not taken advantage of by receiving or accepting a lowball settlement offer. The biggest thing that a lawyer can do is give you the peace of mind of knowing that someone else is fighting for you while you can return your focus to moving forward in life.

*Talk to a Seattle Personal Injury Lawyer *Serving Seattle, Bellevue, Kent, Renton, Burien, Mercer Island, Issaquah, and the greater Washington State area, Pivotal Law Group is ready to fight to ensure that you get the representation and compensation that you deserve. Contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at Pivotal Law Group today to schedule a consultation.