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

Motor Vehicle Deaths

Posted Tuesday, October 16, 2018 by Chris Thayer

Alternative TextNo one likes to think about being in a car accident, or their loved one being involved in an accident. Nevertheless, the number of car accidents across the United States is astounding. The National Safety Council conducts studies on the number of accidents, and the number of fatal motor vehicle accidents. On a national level, the National Safety Council estimates that there will be a total of 40,000 fatal car accident by the end of 2018. This number comes from analyzing the first six months of the year. From January to June, there were just under 19,000 fatal deaths from a car accident. This is out of 2.1 million car accidents resulting in any type of injury. From this data, the National Safety Council estimates approximately four million injuries from car crashes and 40,000 fatalities.

While it is interesting to know the national statistics, you are probably more concerned with Washington specific information. So far this year, Washington has reported approximately 234 deaths. Compared to the national statistics, this is a 1% decrease in fatalities.

Now that you know the statistics of car accident injuries and fatalities, you can focus on ways you can try to prevent accidents from occurring:

  • Be a defensive driver: In a perfect world, everyone would drive with their utmost attention on the road. Unfortunately, this is not the case. You must take it upon yourself to be a defensive driver in an attempt to stay safe. Defensive driving tactics include keeping your eyes focused ahead of you, expecting the unexpected, keeping your speed under control, quick reaction times to other drivers’ movement, and remaining distraction free. These are not all the ways to drive safely, but all good rules of thumb to stay safe.
  • It is never okay to drive under the influence of impairing drugs or alcohol: The dangers of drunk/drugged driving are well known. Take a cab, walk, or arrange another form of transportation so that you do not put yourself and others at risk by driving while impaired.
  • Understand your car: This might seem simple, but it is important to know your car. Understand the features, how to operate the features, and how to fix your vehicle if something goes wrong. Knowing the way your car functions properly will give you the best tools to fix and recognize a problem that arises.
  • Monitor the driving of young drivers: We all remember how exciting it was to get a license and be able to drive. However, lack of experience can put teen drivers at risk. Make sure that your teens know the rules of the road, stay alert, and minimize or eliminate distractions while driving.

Even the most safe, defensive, and cautious driver can be involved in an accident. In those instances, the personal injury attorneys at Pivotal Law Group are here for you. We know that the fallout of an injury from a car accident can be devastating. Contact us for a consultation. We want to work with you to get the best results possible given the circumstances of your case.

(image courtesy of Cory Bouthillette)

Mistakes that Could Ruin a Personal Injury Claim

Posted Thursday, October 11, 2018 by Chris Thayer

Alternative TextIf you are filing a personal injury suit because of injuries that were sustained in an accident, the opposing side, or insurance company, will be looking into the validity of the claim. The defense and their insurance companies are determined to discredit your claim in an effort to minimize the amount of damages they will need to pay. You might think that the only factors that will be examined are those of the accident or injury in question. However, opposing parties will look into every aspect of your life possible to discredit or disprove the claim. The following are mistakes that could ruin a personal injury suit.

Social Media

Studies show that nearly 77% of people in the United States have some type of social media profile. This is not surprising in a world of smartphones and technology being readily available. What most people do not realize is that what is posted on social media can derail a personal injury suit quickly. It may be in your best interest to deactivate your social media profiles during the life of the lawsuit, but if that is not an option, be cautious in your use.

You might be wondering how social media can affect a personal injury case. If you are filing a personal suit claiming than an accident has limited your mobility, but then post pictures of yourself engaging in physical activity, your claim could be at risk. The social media post directly conflicts with the personal injury claim. If you are going to continue to use social media, here are some tips to keep in mind.

  • Do not discuss your personal injury suit: It is imperative that you do not discuss your personal injury case, or the accident that caused it, on social media. There is always the potential that the people you discussed the case with could be called as witnesses. Something that is seemingly innocent could turn out to be highly detrimental.
  • Check your privacy settings: Regardless of a social media platform’s privacy terms, it is a good idea to have the mindset that everything you post might not be completely private. The post might not be visible for defendant personally, but there is no guarantee that the social media post will not be shared with them. Along the same lines, if you receive friend requests from people you do not know during the course of the case, refrain from accepting those requests. It could be the defendant trying to access your social media profile.

If you are considering filing a personal injury suit, choose an attorney with the experience to achieve the best results possible given the circumstances of the case. The personal injury attorneys at Pivotal Law Group can provide excellent representation and answer your questions about what might be harmful to a personal injury case. Contact us today for a free consultation.

(image courtesy of Fabian Grohs)

Four Questions You Must Ask Your Personal Injury Attorney

Posted Thursday, October 4, 2018 by Chris Thayer

Alternative TextHiring an attorney is a big deal. You are entrusting another individual, or individuals, with seeking compensation for your injuries that have been caused by the negligence or wrongful act of another. This is not to be taken lightly. The attorney you hire should be someone with whom you are comfortable and whom you think of as a trusted advisor. Therefore, it is essential that in the initial consultation with an attorney, you ask him or her a lot of questions. An attorney will ask you questions about your case to determine a good fit, but you also should be asking questions to your attorney, such as:

*What is your experience in personal injury?* The experience that an attorney has in the area of personal injury can be a good indicator that the case has the potential for success. An experienced attorney has the confidence, knowledge, and skills to push your case forward and hopefully achieve the desired results. Although, it is important to keep in mind that regardless of the amount of experience an attorney has, there is no way to guarantee an outcome in a personal injury suit.

*How much time will you be able to devote to my case?* It is not often that you will find an attorney who is only working on one case. It is expected that attorneys are handling multiple cases at once, but you need to be sure that the attorney you hire has the necessary time to dedicate to your case. Be sure to ask about other attorneys and support staff that will be used to move your case forward. If the lead attorney is very busy, you want to be sure that other staff members will be available to make sure your case is given the attention it needs.

*How many personal injury cases have you taken to trial?* We live in a litigious society, but that does not mean that every lawsuit goes to trial. The majority of lawsuits all across America are settled before they reach the inside of a courtroom. As such, not every attorney has taken a personal injury suit all the way to trial. You want to ask about their trial experience and skills so that you can be confident that they will be able to represent you fully should the case go to trial.

*What is the representation fee?* Most personal injury suits do not involve an hourly fee that is paid to the attorney on a regular basis. The attorney and client instead enter into a contingency fee agreement. With this agreement, the attorney and client agree that the attorney will take a certain percentage of the award that is given in the case. The client is generally not responsible for any fees at the outset of the relationship. It is important to establish this agreement and know exactly what each side’s responsibilities are.

If you are seeking a personal injury attorney, the Pivotal Law Group is here for you. We know that both the attorney and the client need to feel comfortable and confident with the relationship. We are prepared to answer all of your questions and fight to get you the best award possible under the circumstances. Contact us today for a free consultation.

(image courtesy of Joe Perales)

Suing for Medical Negligence

Posted Friday, September 28, 2018 by Chris Thayer

Alternative TextA couple recently filed a lawsuit against the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle after it lost frozen embryos from more than 31 patients. The 2014 incident was only recently made public when the lawsuit was filed, but the director of strategic communications for UW Medical Center has confirmed that it happened.

According to the lawsuit, the couple had a written agreement with UWMC that required them to remain in contact with the IVF program for three years. Otherwise, the couple would relinquish control of their frozen embryos. The lawsuit claims that the female patient contacted UWMC in 2012.

In 2014, “without notice and/or warning, UWMC discarded and/or destroyed (the patients’) cyropreserved embryos,” the couple argued in the lawsuit. They are claiming medical negligence, negligence, and breach of contract.

*Filing a Medical Negligence Claim in Washington*This is not your typical medical malpractice case. When someone alleges medical malpractice it is because the doctor made a mistake during surgery, or misdiagnosed the patient, or something along those lines. Most cases involve physical injury to the patient.

Here, the couple is claiming medical negligence. Their injury did not happen because a doctor erred during treatment, but because the hospital (for whatever reason) did not uphold its end of an agreement. To win any kind of negligence claim, you must prove that:

  • The defendant owed you a duty of care
  • The defendant breached that duty of care
  • You were injured, and
  • The injury happened because of the defendant’s breach of care.

In this case, UMWC allegedly had a duty to preserve the frozen embryos for three years, as long as the couple stayed in contact. They said they did so. If so, discarding the embryos was a breach of that duty.

The emotional damage caused by losing their embryos is a cognizable injury under Washington law. That damage was clearly caused by UWMC destroying the embryos. The couple wants to make UWMC puts safeguards in place to make sure this does not happen to other families.

*Statute of Limitations and Comparative Fault*The statute of limitations, or deadline, for filing a personal injury lawsuit in Washington is three years from the date of the injury. While there are some exceptions to this rule, generally you will lose the right to seek compensation if you meet this deadline.

Washington is also a comparative fault state. This means the law takes it into account when injured plaintiffs contribute to their own injuries. This usually comes into play in car accidents when maybe the plaintiff was also acting negligently. Courts reduce the amount of damages plaintiffs receive by their percentage of fault. However, it is more difficult to imagine a scenario in which comparative negligence would apply to the frozen embryo case.

*Contact Us Today*Contact one of our experienced personal injury attorneys for a free consultation if you are injured by medical negligence. We will examine the facts of your case and help recover the compensation that you deserve, including pain and suffering.

(image courtesy of Drew Hays)

What Arguments Might be Used Against You in a Slip-and-Fall Lawsuit?

Posted Friday, September 21, 2018 by Chris Thayer

Alternative TextIf you have ever walked into a restaurant or retail store and seen a bright yellow “Caution” sign alerting you that the floor is wet, then you probably understand the liabilities that business owners face when customers slip and fall. Unfortunately, not all property owners or managers do enough to protect visitors from unknown substances that can cause them to slip and fall. But even if you have a viable personal injury claim, the defendant will do everything possible to avoid responsibility.

*Common Defenses Used Against Slip-and-Fall Plaintiffs*Here are a few common defenses used to defeat a slip-and-fall claim:

  • The slippery condition was obvious. For example, it should be an obvious hazard if someone spilled a bright red smoothie on a white floor. If the substance is clear or matches the floor color, then it is not nearly as obvious.
  • The dangerous area was blocked off by cones and signs.
  • The plaintiff did not watch where he or she was going.
  • The plaintiff was wearing extremely high heels or other hazardous footwear.

These are not the only defenses that may be used against you. An experienced attorney can craft an effective litigation strategy on your behalf and prepare for any defenses that might come up.

*Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Washington*The deadline for filing a slip-and-fall injury claim in Washington is three years from the date of the accident. You may lose your right to compensation if you do not file the claim during this three-year period.

Washington is also a comparative fault state. Any damages awarded to you will be reduced by your own percentage of fault. So, if you were not watching where you were going before you slipped and fell, then you might receive less in damages. (However, Washington does not place a cap on the amount of damages you can receive.)

Common Slip-and-Fall Hazards

Business owners are responsible for maintaining their premises in a safe condition for customers. Even if they are liable when customers slip and fall because of an unsafe condition, it is always better to avoid injuries when possible. Watch out for these hidden (and unhidden) dangers:

  • A freshly mopped floor
  • An elevation change (like if there is a step down from the landing to the main floor)
  • Spilled food and beverages
  • Overflowing sinks and/or toilets in the bathroom (or just regular water spills),uneven surfaces in outdoor seating areas, like gravel or mulch, and
  • Hazardous weather conditions like snow, ice, or rain that can make outdoor areas slick (water can also be tracked inside, especially when umbrellas are involved).

A crowded store can magnify these and other hazards worse, potentially making it harder for consumers to avoid or see a slippery or uneven surface.

Contact Us Today

Contact one of our experienced personal injury attorneys for a free consultation if you were injured in a slip-and-fall accident. We will examine the facts of your case and help recover the compensation that you deserve, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

(image courtesy of Oliwier Gesla)