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

Personal Insurance and Personal Injury

Posted Friday, November 9, 2018 by Chris Thayer

Alternative TextYou have been in a car accident in Kent, in Burien, Mercer Island, or any of the cities surrounding Seattle. The car accident has resulted in an injury – a pain in your leg, a pain in your back, or anywhere else on your body. You might be overwhelmed, devastated, and overall wondering what you should do next. An accident is never expected or welcome. Even so, it can have devastating effects on your life. An injury can prevent you from going to work for a period of time. This results in worry about your budget being tight; how you will possibly keep up with medical bills, and other costs that come along with an injury? If the accident was the result of the negligence or wrongful act of another, you might be entitled to compensation through a personal injury attorney. However, a personal injury suit takes time. Who is responsible for medical bills as they occur? Should you use your personal health insurance for medical bills?

General Rules

You are responsible for your medical bills, or any other bills, as they occur. This is the general rule. Even if the injury is caused by another person’s negligence or wrongful act, the bills are your own responsibility as they come in. While you may be responsible for the costs at the outset, you may receive repayment for the bills. This repayment will not come directly from the at-fault driver deciding to compensate you for your injury, but through an award in a personal injury suit. A judge or jury could decide that the medical bills you incurred as a result of the car accident should be included in a damages award. The court could include the medical bills in their calculation of compensatory damages. Compensatory damages are meant to make an injured party “whole” again. The damages are meant to return the injured party to the life that they had before the accident. Other than the medical bills being included in the damages award in a personal injury suit, the other driver has no responsibility to pay your medical bills.

Personal Health Insurance

It is in your best interest to pay for medical bills through your insurance after an accident, as much as they will cover. Your personal insurance provider can be sent the medical bills you incur and they will pay whatever your plan allows. Your insurance might also include Personal Injury Protection (PIP)coverage that is used to defray the costs after an auto accident. The law does not require you to purchase this coverage, but your auto insurance coverage provider can inform you of this option.

If you have been injured in a car accident, you need the help of a qualified personal injury attorney. The personal injury attorneys at Pivotal Law Group are here to help you. Call upon us if you are in an accident in Kent, Burien, Mercer Island, or other cities surrounding Seattle, Washington. Contact us today.

Avoiding Car Accidents in Bellevue

Posted Friday, November 2, 2018 by Chris Thayer

Alternative TextThere is nothing enjoyable about being involved in a car accident. You are left with a damaged vehicle, injuries, trauma, and any other damages suffered as a result of the accident. Unfortunately, accidents happen. Not everyone on the road is driving with the care and caution they should be. As such, it becomes your responsibility to employ driving techniques that can reduce the chance of being involved in an accident in Bellevue, Washington.

  • Minimize Distractions: First and foremost, your attention should be completely on the task ahead of you – driving. Avoid using your cell phone, typing an address into the GPS, eating/drinking, or any other activity that can distract you from putting your full attention into driving. Studies have found that texting and driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. Therefore, it is imperative to avoid texting and driving, or using your phone at all while driving.
  • Follow All Road Rules: This may seem like a simple task, but it is important to note that following all local Bellevue laws can help you stay safe. Follow traffic signals, traffic signs, obey the speed limit, and be conscious of other local laws. These actions make the roadways safer for everyone.
  • Be Alert: When driving, it is important to be aware of your surroundings. This includes being aware of the space that is between you and the cars around you, construction on the road, and distance to fixtures in the road and surrounding land. Driving requires a person to be spatially aware. The more aware you are of your surroundings, the more likely it is that you will have more time to react to sudden changes to the road. Being alert also involves making sure to drive when you are well rested. Drowsy driving is dangerous. It lowers your reaction time, depth perception, and other cognitive functions that are essential for safe driving. Finally, inclement weather can create the need for increased alertness. Inclement weather has been known to cause more accidents.
  • Know Your Blind Spots: There is always a spot behind, or next to, a car that is not completely visible in the mirrors of a car. Therefore, it is imperative that a driver is aware of these spots when driving. Being aware of the blind spots can help you know where to look when changing lanes.

Even the most cautious of drivers can be involved in a car accident. In the event that you, or a loved one, have been injured in a car accident, the dedicated personal injury attorneys at Pivotal Law Group are here to help you. We know that a car accident can have a devastating impact on your life. We want to help you recover from the accident and get the compensation you deserve under the circumstances. Our attorneys want the best for our Bellevue, Washington clients. Contact us today for a consultation and find out how we can help.

(image courtesy of Victor Xok)

Lime, Bird, Uber, Spin, Lyft, Jump and other electric scooter injury attorney in Seattle

Posted Thursday, November 1, 2018 by Chris Thayer

Alternative Text Residents of Seattle have become accustomed to the presence of Lime Bikes, the colorful green and yellow bicycles for rent via an app on your smart phone. An increasing number of these bikes are electric, and soon Lime (and perhaps others) will be adding to their fleet of electric vehicles for pedestrians: electric scooters. Electric scooters are small 2-wheeled scooters with a rechargeable battery and an electric motor.

Common in other parts of the country, including Santa Monica, California, the small 2-wheel electric scooters are intended to help commuters with an alternate “clean” means of transport – plus they can be loads of fun. But, they are also potentially dangerous and can cause serious injury.

Seattle streets and sidewalks may soon be overrun with Bird, Lime, Jump, and Spin electric scooters. Having seen them in California, I can say that one of my first thoughts was, “wow, that looks like fun,” and my immediate second thought was “jeez you would really get hurt on one of those.” While on a recent vacation in Santa Monica, I was nearly run over by someone riding an electric scooter on the sidewalk.

The benefits, like ease of use and access, are key to the popularity of electric scooters. They are not without risk, however. Some factors to consider:• Speed: The electric motors are powerful and can propel riders up to 15 miles per hour. Although that may not seem all that fast – you may have a different conclusion if you hit a telephone pole at that speed. Keep in mind the average walking speed of a pedestrian is approximately 3 miles per hour.• Riding on sidewalks: Whether electric scooters will be allowed on sidewalks (vs roadway or bike paths) remains to be seen. Electric scooters and pedestrians on a busy sidewalk is a dangerous combination – something I can attest to personally having nearly been knocked off my feet by a person zipping by on a scooter.• Trip hazards: once people are done riding a scooter they can just leave it in the middle of the sidewalk, posing a potential trip/fall hazard.• Potholes and sidewalk cracks: anyone who lives in Seattle can tell you about the cracks and potholes in the paved roads as well as the cracked and uneven sidewalks. With their small diameter wheels, electric scooters are not well suited to deal with these hazards.Some of the risks for electric scooter riders include: • Scooter Riders are hard to see: Scooters are small and have a low profile; therefore, motorists are less likely to see them. • No barrier between scooter rider and road: Scooters do not have roll bars or any other safety protection. Moreover, most scooter riders do not wear helmets. • Less stability: With only two small wheels, the scooter can be difficult to maneuver, particularly during emergency braking. • Inexperienced riders: A high percentage of electric scooter riders have never ridden one before. There is no special licensing, training or qualifications required. If you can download the app and enter your credit card information, you are good to go.
• Emergency stop: Under hard sudden braking conditions, the rider can be thrown off the scooter – potentially into traffic. • Intoxication or impairment: A person who knows well enough not to drink and drive might well be tempted to hop on a scooter as an alternate means to get home after an evening at a bar, but operating a scooter on the roadway or even the sidewalk when impaired could prove disastrous.

How do I obtain fair compensation in the event of an electric Scooter Accident?This can be a challenge, and is an area of evolving law, which may well prompt legislative changes with ripples to the insurance industry. Finding a source of compensation for injuries caused by Bird, Lime, Jump, and Spin electric scooter accidents can present serious challenges. Though Washington law requires motor vehicle drivers to have liability insurance, there is no such requirement for electric scooter riders.

Who is at fault for the accident involving an electric scooter (Bird, Lime, Jump, or Spin, etc.) will determine whether there are resources to compensate you for your injuries: • Rider at fault for someone else’s injuries: If the scooter rider was at fault for an accident then the rider is liable for your injuries. If the scooter rider had homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, their insurance company may cover your claim. • Scooter company at fault: If the scooter malfunctions resulting in injury, the manufacturer may be liable for your injuries, if it can be proven the electric scooter was unsafe.
• Car vs. scooter: If you are riding an electric scooter and are struck by a vehicle, the driver’s auto insurance carrier will be liable for your injury claim, and there may be insurance coverage for your medical expenses – regardless of fault. • Scooter v. Pedestrian: If a pedestrian causes a scooter rider injuries, by stepping out suddenly in front of a scooter, then the pedestrian’s homeowner’s or renter’s insurance may pay. • Hazard created by private property owner or business: If a scooter rider is injured due to an unsafe condition (hazard) created by a property owner or business, that person or entity may be at fault and the scooter rider may be able to make a claim against the homeowner or business owner’s insurance. • Government liability: In Washington, municipalities are required to keep the roads and sidewalks “reasonable safe for normal travel”. If the municipality fails to satisfy this obligation, there may be a claim against the government entity.• Dog owner at fault: If a dog chases an electric scooter rider, and bites or attacks the rider, the dog owner is liable and their homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy may apply.

Do you need a lawyer for an Electric Scooter Accident?Because electric scooters are a new form of transportation and there are few laws in place to deal with their use (and potential abuse), electric scooter accidents can involve complicated and novel legal issues. You will want a lawyer who has experience handling electric scooter accidents and is familiar with Washington and local laws. Accidents on electric scooters can cause serious injuries, which may dramatically affect your quality of life. If someone else was at fault for causing your injuries, you have the right to seek payment for your medical bills, lost income, and your pain and suffering.

Medical Malpractice in Washington

Posted Friday, October 26, 2018 by Chris Thayer

Alternative TextWhen you are sick or injured or a loved one is sick or injured, you put your trust in medical professionals to provide the best care, treatment, and outcome possible. You do not go to a doctor expecting him or her to make mistakes and further injure you or your loved ones. Doctors and medical providers go through extensive training, but this does not mean that they never make mistakes. In these instances, the injured party has the option of filing a personal injury suit for medical malpractice. The aim is to hold medical professionals responsible for injuries that they cause from that incorrect, or negligent behavior. An injured party is often awarded monetary compensation to help them recover from their injuries.

Prior to 2009, medical malpractice suits in Washington were harder to “win” than they are today. This does not mean that winning a medical malpractice suit today is easy, just that there are not quite as many hoops for a plaintiff to jump through to get compensation. A “certificate of merit” was previously required in filing a medical malpractice suit. This certificate was a sworn statement by a medical expert that could declare with “reasonable probability” that the medical provider failed to provide proper care for the patient that resulted in the injuries. This was ruled unconstitutional and is no longer required in a medical malpractice suit. Instead, there are different standards that a plaintiff must meet to hold a provider responsible.

Proving Medical Malpractice

The basic premise of a medical malpractice suit is that a healthcare provider was negligent in his or her care, causing you additional injuries. A medical malpractice suit seeks to compensate you for those injuries. Not every mistake made by a healthcare provider is considered medical malpractice, however. In order to succeed in a medical malpractice suit, a plaintiff must show that the injury sustained resulted from “the failure of the healthcare provider to follow the accepted standard of care.”

There are two elements to proving that the defendant was not exercising the proper standard of care:

  • The medical provider failed to “exercise the degree of care, skill, and learning” that other health care providers in the area would use. Each medical provider must act as a “reasonably prudent health care provider” would under the same circumstances; and
  • The failure to exercise the proper degree of care was the proximate cause of a plaintiff’s injury.

Proving the proper standard of care can be difficult. However, qualified medical experts can be brought in to make this burden of proof easier to achieve. If you have questions about whether an injury was caused by the medical malpractice of a medical provider, you need a qualified personal injury attorney. The dedicated personal injury attorneys at Pivotal Law Group are here to help you. We know that injuries can be devastating. We want to help you get back on the right track by getting you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a consultation.

(image courtesy of Hush Naidoo)

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)