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

Six Things to Bring to Your Initial Consultation with a Personal Injury Attorney

Posted Friday, October 4, 2019 by Chris Thayer

Alternative TextIt is no surprise that when people get into a motor vehicle accident, they become flustered and often forget really important things. Like any trauma, a car accident can play tricks on your mind, making you forget key details or, worse yet, make you say and do things you should not. This is why all drivers should consider making a plan. This can be as simple as jotting down a few notes on the envelope where you keep your registration and insurance, or as thorough as saving an attorney’s contact information in your phone.

The following are six key things you should remember to gather when going to an initial consultation with an attorney. Keep in mind that some of these will require you to take immediate action at the time of the collision, or else you will not have them later.

*Crash Report* Every law enforcement agency in Washington State has a means for recording information. For those agencies that investigate traffic accidents, there will generally be a crash report generated. This is the official record of the accident, the parties involved, and other helpful information. Contact the police department that responded to the scene, and they should be able to give you a copy. For the Washington State Patrol, you can go here to obtain a copy online.

*Photos of the Crash Scene and Damage* In this modern, high-tech world, it is shocking how many people do not take photographs of the damages after an accident. Many people are so shaken up by the event that they simply forget to document everything. But it is critical that you get photographs of the scene and the vehicles involved. If you are so badly injured that you are unable to do so, do not worry. It is important for sure, but human life and safety are always the first priority.

*Insurance information* While it may be obvious that your attorney will need a copy of your auto insurance, do not forget to bring proof of any health insurance, Medicaid, and Medicare coverage you may have. If you are in the military, you should also be prepared to bring Tricare information. This is because these insurance companies may have liens that your attorney will need to address.

*Medical Reports and Discharge Papers* Chances are if you are hiring an attorney due to injuries in a car accident, you probably have injuries that put you in the hospital or at least required you to go to a doctor. Whatever records you have thus far, bring those to your free consultation with a Seattle auto accident lawyer. This information will help your attorney know where you got care.

*Paystubs or Employment Verification* It is usually helpful to bring some paystubs, too. This is not a necessity, but if you are losing work due to the injuries, your attorney may be able to get you compensated for these lost wages. To do that, the attorney will need a reference for how much you are losing.

*Adjuster Information* While it is always best to hire an attorney early in the process, many times injured people have already been contacted by insurance companies immediately after the wreck. If so, do not fret. Just bring in the contact information, including claim number, phone number, and anything else you were given by the insurance company. Be sure to bring any paperwork the insurance company sent you, as well.

If you have suffered injuries in a Seattle motor vehicle collision, call Pivotal Law Group today to schedule your free consultation with an attorney.

What are My Rights After a Truck Accident?

Posted Friday, September 27, 2019 by Chris Thayer

Alternative TextAs one of the busiest and fastest growing parts of the country, the Seattle metro region can be notoriously congested. Large 18-wheelers must navigate the busy streets, as well as make deliveries on treacherous hills and difficult terrain. Add to this the fact that Washington State also gets its share of bad weather, and you have got a recipe for potential disasters. Sadly, each year, many people are seriously hurt or killed by dangerous truck drivers who fail to follow basic road rules.

If you have been injured by a semi-truck driver, you need to seriously consider your options before speaking to an insurance adjuster or company rep. These people will want to immediately settle out to make you go away, but at Pivotal Law Group, we keep things fair. Understanding your rights is one of the biggest benefits of working with an experienced truck accident lawyer.

*Right to Counsel* No matter what anyone tells you, you always have the right to hire an attorney and let him or her deal with the trucking company and insurance carrier. If anyone tries to tell you they “cannot” talk to your lawyer, then they are lying.

*Right to Compensation* You actually have a Constitutional right to pursue compensation. It is right in the Seventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees that you have the right to file suit against someone who owes you money. Make no mistake: Serious trucking collisions will cost you money. You can potentially recover money for:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost time from work
  • Medical expenses
  • Emotional distress (in limited circumstances)
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Wrongful death compensation (if you lose a loved one)

*Right to Fair Insurance Claims Handling* The Washington Insurance Commissioner actually promulgates rules for how insurance claims must be handled. Very few people other than insurance claims adjusters and experienced personal injury attorneys know these regulations because they can be a bit obscure. However, they dictate how insurance companies can treat claims. They tell adjusters how long they have to make decisions, and they even set forth many of the basic rights a victim has. If the insurance carrier wrongfully denies a valid claim, they can even be subjected to additional legal actions for something called “bad faith.” Though rare, having a skilled attorney at your side will reduce the chances of this happening, and if it does, it will help to ensure you are compensated for it.

*Right to Privacy* While it is true that initiating a lawsuit or injury claim will open you to some scrutiny about your medical history and your injuries, this is not unlimited. When a person is hurt in an auto or truck accident, the insurance company will generally send template healthcare releases, asking the person to sign and return them in order to be compensated. These forms often give the insurance company complete and unrestricted access to the victim’s entire medical history. In most cases, this is an unnecessary and overreaching intrusion.

At Pivotal Law Group, we work to protect our clients from overreaching and unfair practices. If you would like to learn more or need to schedule a free consultation to discuss your truck accident in Seattle or a neighboring community, give us a call today.

Mold in Hospitals: Is it Medical Malpractice?

Posted Friday, September 20, 2019 by Chris Thayer

Alternative TextEarlier this summer operating rooms were shut down at Seattle Children’s hospital when mold, specifically aspergillus, was discovered in several rooms and equipment storage areas. Aspergillus is a common type of mold and it is often ingested in everyday life. However, when one has a weakened immune system, like patients at the hospital, ingesting the mold could create additional complications. One patient died and five others became ill from the mold over the last couple years, according to NBC News.

The hospital made the decision to shut down the operating rooms when tests confirmed the presence of mold. Shutting down the operating rooms resulted in approximately 1,000 surgeries scheduled needing to be moved to other hospitals. The operating rooms have since been opened since the initial shut down. The hospital did multiple things to rid the rooms of mold — a deep clean of each room, upgrades in the air purification systems, upgrades to the air handling situations, and a new humidification process being installed.

It is great the hospital took the appropriate steps to make the operating rooms safe for patients again. Shutting the operating rooms down until it is safe for patients was definitely the right step to take, but also may have been necessary to prevent medical malpractice suits against the hospital. When most people think about medical malpractice they think about a doctor or other hospital staff making an error an injuring a patient. However, a hospital itself can also be negligent and a party to a medical malpractice suit. If a hospital fails to follow the standard of care attributed to most hospitals, the hospital can be found negligent and guilty of medical malpractice.

*Common Types of Medical Malpractice*Negligence of the hospital is not the only type of medical malpractice. The following are common types of medical malpractice:

  • Misdiagnosis: If a doctor incorrectly diagnoses a patient. This creates a variety of dangers for the patient: risks associated with taking the wrong medication and not receiving the needed treatment are two major concerns.
  • Surgical errors: When a patient needs to undergo surgery, they are putting their life in the doctors hands while they are unconscious. Surgical errors can be fatal or cause serious additional injuries and complications.
  • Incorrect treatment: Even if the diagnosis is right, if the right treatment is not prescribed there can be serious issues.
  • Hazardous hospital conditions: Like the story above, hazardous hospital conditions, like mold, can be construed as medical malpractice.

In most instances, if a doctor, medical staff, or the hospital makes an error, they will apologize to the patient. Sometimes this apology is enough, but other times the patient needs more than an apology. The personal injury attorneys at Pivotal Law Group are here to help you recover damages for injuries and damages you might have sustained because of medical malpractice. Our attorneys are dedicated to getting the best result possible under the circumstances. Contact us today for a consultation.

Injuries on Public Transportation in Seattle

Posted Friday, September 13, 2019 by Chris Thayer

Alternative TextRecently, WalletHub released a study that looked at cities across the country and compared their public transportation systems based on accessibility, convenience, safety, reliability, and public transport resources. At the end of this study, Seattle was ranked number one among various public transportation systems across the country. There were different factors examined to come to this overall number one ranking. So, while overall Seattle is ranked number one in public transportation, this does not translate to a number one ranking in all categories across the board.

For example, Seattle ranks number eight for the fewest number of public transportation injuries, according to KOMO news. Even the number one public transportation system can have its faults and cause injuries to passengers or passersby. If you have been injured on or by Seattle’s public transportation system, a personal injury attorney can help you determine the best course of action for recovering damages for your injury.

Causes of Accidents

There are any number of causes of public transportation accidents. Bus drivers are not immune from the threat of car accidents that other drivers face. An accident can be the result of both human error or mechanical issues with the vehicle itself. A bus is a large vehicle. Stopping times increase and turns can be difficult. If other drivers make a sudden stop or cause the bus to make any sudden movements, passengers within the bus can be injured. Additionally, buses can also have mechanical failures and errors that affect the functionality of the bus and cause injuries to passengers.

*Steps to Take*If you have been injured while riding a bus or other mode of Seattle public transportation, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Here are steps to take after an injury:

  • Seek Medical Attention: First and foremost, it is imperative that you seek treatment and medical attention for injuries sustained. Keep a record of doctors visits, costs, treatment plans, and other recommendations from medical staff.
  • Accident Report: Car accidents, or bus accidents, require that the accident be reported and a record made of it. Obtain a copy of the police report or accident report that is compiled.
  • Be Wary of Conversations: After an accident or injury, a lot of people are often in shock. It is important to not admit fault or say anything about the accident that could harm a potential personal injury case. When in doubt, speak with an attorney before talking to anyone else.

The personal injury attorneys at Pivotal Law Group are here to help you after an injury on Seattle’s public transportation system. Even the number one public transportation system can result in injuries. We know that an injury can be devastating to your livelihood. We are dedicated to obtaining the best possible outcome given the particular circumstances of the case. Responsible parties of an accident may be help liable for your injuries and be required to pay damages. Contact us today for a consultation.

Bellevue Bicyclist Dies After Crash

Posted Friday, September 6, 2019 by Chris Thayer

Alternative TextA Bellevue man who was hit by a vehicle died two days after a crash. The injuries sustained in the accident were too great and the bicyclist succumbed to those injuries. The accident happened near the corner of 8th street and 132nd avenue when a driver, attempting to make a turn, was allegedly blinded by the sun, resulting in the collision with the bicyclist, according to KOMO News. The bicyclist was rushed to the hospital, but later died from the injuries. It does not appear that drugs or alcohol were a factor in the crash, but the investigation continues.

Visibility can be a major factor in auto accidents all across the country. While any auto accident can result in injury, accidents involving bicycles can often result in more serious injuries and death. In a battle of bicycle versus automobile, it is not hard to see that the automobile has the advantage.

It is not just the common culprits of decreased visibility – rain, fog, snow, etc., - that can result in accidents. Even sunshine can decrease a driver’s visibility of a bicyclist when driving, as evidenced by the accident detailed above. It is important to bicyclists to be vigilant when riding near auto traffic to do the most they can in keeping themselves safe and free of injury. The following are safety tips that every bicyclist should know:

  • Wear a helmet: There is no state law that currently requires all cyclists to wear a helmet, but different cities and counties do have their own laws regarding the necessity of wearing a helmet. Even if you are riding in a county that does not require a helmet, every bicycle rider should wear one. Hitting the ground without a helmet can result in serious injury or death.
  • Reflective Clothing: It is important to wear clothing that other drivers, or even cyclists around you, can see. Wear reflective clothing, bright colors at night, and anything that increases your visibility those around you.
  • No Distractions: Keep constant lookout around you when riding your bike. Avoid wearing headphones, using a cellphone, or doing anything that might distract you from keeping full attention on the road in front of you and cars around you.
  • Familiarity with Bicycle Laws: Before riding a bicycle, you should know the laws you must follow. Laws are put in place to keep you, and those around you, safe. Brush up on Washington bike laws before venturing out.

Even the most vigilant bicycle riders can get in an accident. You can take every precaution possible, but you cannot control the actions of the drivers around you. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, the personal injury attorneys at Pivotal Law Group are here to help. Injuries can be costly and have a serious financial impact on your life. Our attorneys are dedicated to looking into every legal option for recovering damages sustained during a bicycle accident. Do not let one accident dictate your financial future. Contact us today for a consultation.