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

Understanding Comparative Negligence in Burien Personal Injury Cases

Posted Friday, September 8, 2023 by Chris Thayer

Contributory negligence is an important legal principle in personal injury cases. What is the law in Washington? If contributory negligence may seem mysterious, but now it is time to lift the veil. Find out how Washington law could affect your claim in a Burien personal injury case.

If you have been injured and want to talk with a Burien personal injury lawyer, you may realize that you are within your rights to pursue legal action.

*Basics of Negligence in Personal Injury Cases in Burien*What does negligence mean in terms of Washington law? The simplest way to understand negligence is as failure to exercise an expected degree of care, leading to another’s injuries.

Consider a simple example. A motorist is required by their driver’s license to wear glasses—but fails to wear them. When this motorist causes an accident, they may be found liable for the other party’s injuries. If the driver had been wearing the required glasses, the accident may have been prevented.

*Contributory Negligence in Washington State*State negligence laws tend to have some similarities from state to state. Some states allow for what is known as ’contributory negligence.’ The concept is that fault can be assigned percentages, and this percentage affects the amount a plaintiff can recover. Consider the example of a car accident. A driver is found to be 20% responsible for an incident. Under the contributory negligence theory, they may only claim 80% of their damages for their injuries. In effect, they were partially responsible for the accident, and this affects the amount of rewards they are entitled to claim.

A few states do not allow recovery at all if the plaintiff is partially responsible. Washington State, however, does recognize degrees of contributory fault.

*Elements Needed to Prove Negligence in Burien Personal Injuries*To prove negligence, a plaintiff must prove five elements. These are terms that you will hear frequently in a court case. Getting familiar with the terms can help you understand how a jury or judge evaluates negligence and how this may affect your case.

  • Duty: The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty. Think of our earlier example of eyeglasses. The defendant owed the plaintiff the reasonable duty of wearing the required eyewear.
  • Breach of Duty: The defendant acted or failed to act contrary to their duty. In this example, the driver did not wear the glasses.
  • Cause in Fact: This is legal terminology that means the defendant’s breach of duty resulted in the plaintiff’s injuries. In other words, by not wearing glasses, the driver could not see properly, and this resulted in injuries.
  • Proximate Cause: This is a complicated term that means the defendant should have known that their actions or inactions were risky and could cause an injury. If the driver was, for instance, legally blind, they should have known the risks.
  • Damages: The plaintiff suffered injuries. These injuries could be physical, emotional, mental, or other as a result of the defendant’s negligence.

*Talk to a Dedicated King County Personal Injury Attorney*If you have been involved in an accident, it can be extremely stressful to navigate all the legal and medical issues regarding your case. A dedicated attorney may be able to provide legal insights related to your injury.

Filing a Claim After an Accident in Kent

Posted Friday, September 1, 2023 by Chris Thayer

“What do I do if I’ve been in an accident?” When someone else’s negligent behavior causes you a personal injury, you have options. In Washington, you have a couple of options for getting compensation.

*Getting Compensation After an Accident in Kent*In simple terms, getting compensated for damages boils down to two options. First, you can bring an insurance claim or file a lawsuit against the responsible party. Second, if you have coverage, you can file a claim against your own insurance company. Being involved in an accident in Kent can be challenging both physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially. Knowing the steps of how to file a claim can help you to proceed with more peace of mind.

If you have been injured and are unclear about how to file a claim against someone who is responsible, consider talking with a personal injury lawyer. Your legal counsel can help you understand Washington state laws about filing an insurance claim or lawsuit.

*Filing an Insurance Claim in Kent*A key thing to understand about Washington law is the concept of negligence. Under Washington law, you can bring an insurance claim against a person, business, and, in some cases, a government entity you believe to be responsible for your personal injury.

*What Kind of Damages are You Allowed to Collect in Kent?*When you prove negligence, you are proving that the other party is responsible for your personal injury. This is a complex legal concept that is important to understand before proceeding. You may want to talk with a legal expert to gain a deeper understanding of how to prove negligence.

If you can prove that the other party is responsible, in Washington state, you are allowed to collect damages. Damages may include obvious bills such as medical bills and lost wages. Damages may also be towards other types of loss, such as pain and suffering and emotional distress.

*How to File an Insurance Claim in Kent*To start an insurance claim, you will want to know the basics. You may be able to simply send the responsible party a claim notification letter. If you know the insurance company of the responsible party, you can start the claim online. This may be via the insurer’s online claims page or with a mobile claims app.

*How to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Kent*If you are not able to settle a personal injury case with the insurer, you may be considering filing a lawsuit. If thinking about filing a lawsuit is something you are considering, it is wise to consult with an experienced Washington personal injury attorney first.

Even if the case seems straightforward, personal injury lawsuits may be expensive, time-consuming, complex, and stressful. An experienced attorney can help you evaluate your case, identify the strength of evidence, and explain your options.

*Talk to a Diligent King County Personal Injury Attorney*If you have been involved in an accident and are worried about filing an insurance claim or lawsuit, you may have questions and concerns about the process. An experienced personal injury attorney may be able to provide legal insights for moving forward.

Tips for Understanding Financial Responsibility in Washington

Posted Friday, August 25, 2023 by Chris Thayer

“Do I have to pay for damages?” This question may be troubling you, especially if you have just been involved in a car crash, collision, or motor vehicle incident.

Knowing the basics of financial responsibility may help to provide peace of mind.If you have been injured and are unclear about financial responsibility, consider talking with a personal injury lawyer. Your legal counsel can help you understand Washington state laws about financial responsibility.

*Financial Responsibility Law in Renton*One of the most important things to understand about driving a motor vehicle in Washington is that Washington law requires “proof of financial responsibility for the future.” (Wash. Rev. Code § 46.29.260 (2023).)

This law can be understood as a requirement for drivers. If you are driving a motor vehicle in Washington, you must demonstrate that you are financially able to pay for damages. The key here is that if you cause damages, you must be able to pay for them, or at least some of the damages you cause in an accident.

*Understanding Minimum Financial Responsibility in Renton*You may hear the term “25/50/10,” which is a shorthand way of referring to Washington’s minimum financial responsibility requirements.

  • 25 refers to a $25,000 minimum coverage for bodily injury to, or the death of, one person in a single accident.
  • 50 refers to $50,000 minimum coverage for bodily injuries to, or the deaths of, two or more people in one accident.
  • 10 refers to a $10,000 minimum coverage for property damage in one accident.

These coverage amounts are ones that you will hear when speaking with an insurance agent or talking to a personal injury lawyer regarding financial responsibility.

*Most Renton Drivers Buy Auto Liability Insurance*To comply with Washington law, most drivers in Renton and Washington state purchase an auto liability insurance policy with at least minimal coverage limits.

If you are in an accident, liability insurance pays up to the limits of your policy for personal injuries and property damages suffered by others involved.

*Prepare Yourself With Adequate Coverage*It is important to understand two key points about liability insurance. First, liability insurance does not pay for your injuries. Liability insurance does not pay for property damages to your property. Second, if you are responsible for an accident that causes losses greater than your policy limits, you will be responsible for any damages over the coverage.

*Talk With an Experienced Insurance Agent*The best time to hammer out the best coverage limits for your needs is before you get into an accident. Talking with a reputable insurance agent can provide peace of mind and help you decide on the types of auto insurance and coverage limits that are best for your needs and circumstances.

While it is challenging to prepare for every event, getting the best coverage can help you be ready for a potential incident.

Talk to a Dedicated King County Personal Injury Attorney

If you have been involved in an accident, it can be extremely stressful to sort out all the insurance, legal, and medical issues regarding your case. An experienced personal injury attorney may be able to provide legal insights related to your injury.

Strategies to Avoid Kent Car Crashes

Posted Friday, August 18, 2023 by Chris Thayer

According to a story in the Auburn Reporter, a 21-year Kent man died as a result of a single-vehicle crash along westbound State Route 18 in the Auburn/Black Diamond area. According to the State Patrol, the vehicle was traveling westbound at a high rate of speed. In attempting to exit, the car was moving too fast to navigate the curve. The vehicle left the roadway and rolled several times, ejecting the rear passenger.

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.

*How Washington Traffic Fatalities are Increasing*According to a King 5 report, the Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC) finds that traffic deaths have increased by 39% statewide between 2019 and 2022. Similar spikes are seen in speed crashes and impairment-related crashes.

King5 notes that the fatality increase was unexpected and took researchers by surprise. The spike came at the same period as the pandemic. This is when people were driving less, working from home, not attending events, holding parties, or eating out at restaurants.

According to the report, speeding and reckless driving behavior have become the new normal. Fatalities in King County have been increasing since 2018, with notable spikes in 2021, with 126 deaths, up from 2020. In 2022, deaths leaped to 146 fatalities.

With this backdrop, it is prudent to drive safely and to understand what steps to take immediately if you are involved in an accident.

*Six Steps to Take Immediately After A Car Accident in Kent* - Check For InjuriesAn Allstate guide recommends checking yourself for injuries. If you are injured, call 911. If you are not able to call, ask someone for help in doing so. - Check on OthersCheck on the well-being of other passengers or the driver of the vehicle. If anyone is injured, contact emergency services immediately. - Stay SafeIt is vitally important to move to safety. Get to the side of the road. If you can drive and your car is drivable, move it out of the flow of traffic. This can help traffic move forward and may be useful so that emergency vehicles can reach you. - Call 911Contact police. You may need to talk with the police or authorities to fill out an accident report. This report helps with the claims process going forward. - Be ProactiveTurn off the engine. Turn on the hazard lights. Use road flares to warn other vehicles of the accident. Be alert for ’bandit tow trucks.’ This is a crime where unauthorized tow truck drivers persuade people to let their vehicles be towed and hold the vehicle hostage for unreasonable fees. Stay safe and wait for the tow truck you called.Exchange Contact Information

Share contact information with other drivers. Share details such as your name, insurance, driver’s license, license plate, vehicle make and model, and the location of the accident.

*When to Talk to a Personal Injury Lawyer in Kent*In Washington, the statute of limitations is three years from the date of an 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.

Rear End Collisions on Mercer Island: Here is What You Need to Know

Posted Friday, August 11, 2023 by Chris Thayer

A rear-end collision in Washington is when one motorist drives into the back of another vehicle.

This type of collision is responsible for approximately 29 % of all crashes. The Insurance Information Institute statistics reveal that rear-end collisions are responsible for over seven percent of traffic-related fatalities; and almost 20% of fatalities involving two cars.

In the United States, nearly 2.5 million rear-end collisions are reported every year.

*Common Rear-End Crash Scenarios on Mercer Island*Consider some of the most common scenarios for a rear-end collision.

  • A highway crash where a driver slams into another car that is slowing down to make way for oncoming traffic.

  • A driver on a highway or a smaller road fails to notice that the car in front is slowed or stopped to make a turn. The crash occurs when the driver collides with the front car as it prepares to turn.

  • A driver is speeding through traffic and fails to notice that the car in front needs to make an unexpected stop. This may be due to traffic conditions, an obstruction in the road, a pedestrian, pet, or child that the driver in the rear does not anticipate or may not see.

  • A driver assumes that the car in front will drive immediately when a traffic light turns green. There may be a variety of internal and external reasons for the front driver that are unknown to the rear driver. The rear driver accelerates and smashes into the back of the front vehicle.

In each of these examples, the rear driver may be considered at fault.

*Circumstances Vary in Mercer Island Car Accidents*However, there are cases where both drivers may share the blame for a rear-end collision. Consider these situations:

  • A driver in front stops unexpectedly. There is no apparent or visible reason that the rear driver can see.
  • The leading driver suddenly moves their car in reverse. This may be to make a move to another lane, avoid hitting something, or for another reason. The rear driver has no previous indication that this would occur.
  • The front driver’s brake lights are not working. They stop, but the rear driver does not indicate the stop.
  • The front driver’s signal lights don’t work or are not used to indicate they are making a turn. The rear driver has no way of knowing and is unable to avoid a rear-end collision.

In these cases, one or both drivers may share the responsibility for the accident.

Provi*ng Fault After a Mercer Island Car Accident *Washington is a state that requires proof that a motor vehicle driver was negligent. To prove this, you need to show that the driver owed you a duty to exercise reasonable care to avoid harming other people on the road.

In addition, you will have to show that the driver failed to exercise this duty. This may be shown with evidence such as that a driver was texting or holding a cell phone while driving. Third, you must show that their failure caused your accident.

*When to Speak to a Personal Injury Lawyer in King County*You may want to speak with a personal injury lawyer to discuss your situation and understand how to prove that someone is at fault for the crash and your injuries. This can be useful in understanding possible legal actions.