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

Were You Injured by Someone’s Negligently Placed Holiday Decor?

Posted Friday, December 17, 2021 by Chris Thayer

It is a wonderful time of year, full of joy, gift-giving, socializing, and beautiful holiday lights. But there are always those people who take it just a bit too far. Holiday decor can be as gorgeous and festive as it is dangerous. Nothing puts an end to holiday cheer faster than a 600 volt jolt from poorly wired Christmas lights. The holidays are as full of socializing as they are rife with opportunities for injury. Extension cords negligently laid across the sidewalk, ground, or inside of a home, if not taped down or warned of, can pose serious trip-and-fall hazards that can have serious consequences, particularly for the elderly. If you have suffered an injury and incurred expenses as a result of an injury you sustained due to negligently installed or displayed holiday decorations, you may have legal options available to you to recover for your damages.

*How Can Holiday Decor be Negligent?* First off, it is important to understand that we are not being Grinchy here. Our concern is well founded. In fact, every holiday season (November and December) over 16,000 people suffer serious injuries related to holiday decorations. Although some of those injuries are caused by individual negligence, such as falling off of an icy roof while attempting to put up holiday lights, many of these injuries are caused by defective products or negligently installed decorations. Many people and businesses hang heavy decor from the ceiling, which, if not installed correctly, can fall and cause serious injury to their guests, including concussion, lacerations, eye damage, and traumatic brain injuries. Negligently maintained real Christmas trees in homes and offices pose a fire hazard which can expose guests to real danger if a fire bursts out. Amateur or over-zealous holiday decorators may also max out power-strips and electrical circuits which can also result in fires, electrocution, and other serious injuries. Decor placed in unexpected places, such as a small tree or pile of birch logs in a hallway that falls below your eye line can also cause tripping hazards. Additionally, some ornaments may be unexpectedly hot to the touch, sharp, or may shatter and cause serious injury.

*How to Know What Constitutes Negligent Holiday Decoration * There are a few different factors to consider when determining whether a person or business’ conduct rose to the level of negligence. First, you must have suffered an injury as well as financial harm (such as in the form of hospital bills, lost wages, etc.) and this injury must have been directly caused by the other party’s negligence. The other party will be considered negligent if they breached the duty of care that they owed to you. That duty will vary based on why you were on their property. For instance, a customer is owed a higher duty of care than a dinner party guest, and a trespasser is owed less than either. In general though, the court will look at whether the knew or reasonably should have known of the danger and if they made any attempt to mitigate the risk or warn you of it.

*Talk to the Pivotal Law Group* If you have suffered an injury due to another party’s negligence in Seattle, Bellevue, Kent, Renton, Burien, Mercer Island, Issaquah, and the greater Washington State area, you do not have to suffer through this alone. Contact the Pivotal Law Group and schedule a consultation today to find out how we can help you get the compensation that you are entitled to.

Were You Ejected From Your Vehicle During a Seattle Car Accident?

Posted Friday, December 10, 2021 by Chris Thayer

It should come as no surprise that your chances of surviving a crash are substantially greater if you remain in the vehicle. Those who are ejected from the vehicle face a much higher likelihood of fatality and catastrophic injury. The greatest way to reduce your chances of being ejected from a vehicle during a crash is to wear a seat belt. Some studies suggest that nearly half of all passengers involved in accidents who were not wearing accidents were ejected as a result. However, sometimes passengers take all necessary precautions, including wearing a seat belt, and are still ejected from the vehicle. This is because wearing a defective seat belt is no more effective than wearing no seat belt at all.

*Defective Products and Occupant Ejection * If you were wearing a seatbelt and were still ejected from your vehicle, something went wrong, and chances are, it was not your fault. There are a number of ways in which vehicles and vehicle components can malfunction or contain defects that can result in ejection. Seat belts may fail to completely latch with the buckle, coming undone upon impact. In other situations, the seat belt, which is meant to quickly tighten upon impact, will instead unspool, releasing the full belt, and instead of stopping the passenger’s inertia upon impact, allows their momentum to carry them right out of the vehicle. If you were ejected from the vehicle and your seat belt was still buckled after the accident, there is a good chance that this is what happened.

Another defect that can result in vehicle ejections involves improperly functioning door handles or latches. If a door comes off during an accident–particularly a roll-over accident–this can result in ejection even if the individual was wearing a seat belt. Be sure to tell the officers at the scene (if you are able) in the event that you were wearing a seatbelt but were ejected from the vehicle. Otherwise officers will generally just see an unbuckled seatbelt or an ejected person and assume in the report that the passengers were not properly restrained, which can affect your legal options and recovery.

If your police report improperly reflects that you were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident, be sure to contact a lawyer as soon as possible so that we can work to remedy the issue and determine the cause of the seat belt malfunction before the misinformation can impact your insurance settlement or any findings of liability. If you have suffered or survived a vehicle ejection, chances are that your medical bills are huge, and will only continue to get bigger. A personal injury lawyer can help you determine your legal options.

*Schedule a Consultation with Pivotal Law Group * If you have been seriously injured in a vehicle accident that was not your fault, the experienced personal injury lawyers at the Pivotal Law Group are ready to help. Serving Seattle, Bellevue, Kent, Renton, Burien, Mercer Island, Issaquah, and the greater Washington State area, contact Pivotal Law Group today to schedule your personalized consultation and find out how you can start moving forward again in life.

Did You Slip or Fall in a Washington Hospital?

Posted Friday, December 3, 2021 by Chris Thayer

Most of us go to hospitals when we want to get better, so it can be especially frustrating for someone when they return with more injuries than they had previously. Unfortunately, that is the case all too often. Hospitals are fast-paced environments full of hazards and risks. One of the largest risks that people face at hospitals is slip-and-fall accidents. With patients, debris, countless sources of fluids and spills, and constant chaos, it is easy for circumstances at hospitals to get out of control and pose real risks to guests and patients alike. Although many people often dismiss slips and falls, they can have serious consequences and even be fatal. If you suffered a slip or fall accident at a hospital and sustained injuries and financial damage as a result, you may have legal avenues available to you. In this post, we will explore the bases from bringing a personal injury claim for a slip-and-fall accident and when the hospital may be liable. Of course, the best way to ensure that you are receiving information that is pertinent to your specific case is to speak directly to an experienced personal injury lawyer. Feel free to contact Pivotal Law Group if you would like to schedule a consultation and receive personalized feedback.

*When to Sue for a Hospital Slip-and-Fall Accident * First off, it is important to understand that simply slipping and falling in a hospital is not, in and of itself, sufficient to bring a lawsuit, even if you were hurt as a result. Accidents happen all the time and people can trip over their own feet just about anywhere. In order for the hospital to be liable for your harm, you will have to be able to demonstrate that the hospital or their agents or employees (staff, doctors, nurses, etc.) acted negligently in some way.

Establishing negligence requires showing that they breached the expected duty of care. This can happen in a number of ways. For instance, if a patient was being treated by a doctor when they fell, the inquiry will be whether the doctor was negligent in any way in allowing this to happen. This will be determined by considering whether another similarly situated doctor would have made the same choice. If a similar doctor would have acted differently, this is evidence that the original doctor’s care likely failed to meet the standard of expected care and could constitute negligence. This may be the case if a doctor or nurse failed to adequately assist a patient while transferring them to another bed, into a wheelchair, or during an examination. In these cases, their negligence would be considered medical malpractice. However, you do not have to be a patient at a hospital in order to suffer an accident due to their negligence. If hospital staff knew or should have known about a hazard and failed to remedy it or warn of it, they can be held liable for any harm that results.

*Talk to Pivotal Law Group * If you have suffered injuries and financial harm as a result of a slip-and-fall accident or medical malpractice in Seattle, Bellevue, Kent, Renton, Burien, Mercer Island, Issaquah, or the greater Washington State area, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Pivotal Law Group are ready to help. Contact us today to schedule a personalized consultation.

Negligence Per Se in DUI Accidents

Posted Friday, November 26, 2021 by Chris Thayer

Driving drunk can have fatal consequences, and the state government has passed a number of laws to attempt to keep people from driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol for that reason. Drivers who are intoxicated are over three times more likely to be involved in a collision than drivers who are not intoxicated, putting everyone on the road at risk. If you have been involved in an accident with a drunk driver, you may be feeling frustrated, overwhelmed by medical bills, and unsure of how to move forward. The costs of these accidents, physically, financially, and emotionally, can be catastrophic. For many victims, the only way to recover is by bringing a personal injury lawsuit against the liable party.

*How Negligence Per Se Can Help Your Personal Injury Claim * A personal injury claim allows the victim of another party’s negligence to hold them accountable for the harm that they caused, and recover all costs incurred as a result of the injury. This includes all medical and care costs, as well as lost income, lost earning potential, and compensation for pain and suffering, in addition to property damage. In order to succeed in your personal injury claim, you must generally first prove that the other driver was negligent. This requires demonstrating that the driver breached the duty of reasonable care owed to other drivers on the road. Generally, the jury will have to consider the evidence presented and make a determination as to whether the other driver was being reasonable or if they had breached their duty of reasonable care.

However, in Washington state, drunk drivers are considered to be negligent per se, or negligent as a matter of fact. Drunk driving laws were created in order to keep everyone on the road safe, so breaking this law is considered evidence of negligence on its face. In other words, the drunk driver will automatically be considered negligent and you will not have to spend valuable time convincing the jury of that fact. Rather, you will only have to demonstrate that the other driver was driving drunk in violation of the law and that their drunk driving was the direct or proximate cause of your injuries. In many cases, this will be easy to prove, particularly if the police charged the other driver with DUI. However, even if the police did not charge the driver with DUI that night, you can still present evidence to argue that they were in fact driving under the influence. This evidence may consist of video taken after the crash in which the driver was slurring their speech, or even a confession that the driver made for you. Circumstantial evidence such security camera footage or dashcam footage of erratic driving and witness accounts may also be beneficial. However, if you suspect the other driver may be drunk it is always best to speak up at the scene so that the police can properly test the driver and document any relevant information.

*Talk to the Pivotal Law Group * If you have been injured as a result of a drunk driving accident in Seattle, Bellevue, Kent, Renton, Burien, Mercer Island, Issaquah, or the greater Washington State area, that was not your fault, the experienced personal injury lawyers at Pivotal Law Group are ready to help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

Look Out for Wrong-Way Drivers

Posted Friday, November 19, 2021 by Chris Thayer

Few things are more terrifying than imagining yourself driving down the highway at 75 miles per hour only to see another vehicle dead-on in your path, barreling toward you at a high speed. Chances are, you would not even have time to think about reacting before impact. Unfortunately, this is a situation in which more and more drivers are finding themselves; the number of wrong-way driving collisions has been rapidly increasing since the pandemic began. Experts believe that these kinds of accidents, which occur primarily late at night and on weekends, are largely caused by alcohol, which is also responsible for the increase in fatal wrong-way driving accidents. Of course, there are many other factors that can contribute to causing these accidents as well, which we will discuss more below. The information provided here is intended to be general, but it is important to remember that no two crashes are exactly the same, and even one factor can result in an entirely different legal strategy. For this reason, the best way to get accurate and applicable legal information is always to talk directly to a lawyer. If you would like to speak with one of the experienced Seattle area personal injury lawyers at Pivotal Law Group, feel free to reach out and schedule a consultation.

*Causes of Wrong-Way Driving Accidents *Negligence is almost always a given when it comes to wrong-way driving accidents. These kinds of accidents are highly unlikely to happen when everyone is obeying traffic laws and driving responsibly. Although inclement weather, such as icy or snowy roads, large or sudden debris, and vehicle defects can contribute to causing wrong-way accidents, there is usually another contributing factor, such as speeding, drowsy, or distracted driving, which are all forms of negligence. Alcohol also cannot be overlooked as a likely cause, given that a recent study showed that over 60% of wrong-way drivers involved in a fatal collision were legally intoxicated. As if that is not shocking enough, the data reflects that an additional 36% of wrong-way drivers involved in fatal collisions had some amount of alcohol in their system which was below the legal limit, but which may have still been sufficient to impair their driving ability. This means that if you are hit by a wrong-way driver, there is essentially a 96% chance that the driver who hit you is some level of intoxicated. This is relevant because it helps you to establish both liability and negligence.

*Schedule a Consultation with Pivotal Law Group*If you have been involved in a Seattle, Bellevue, Kent, Renton, Burien, Mercer Island, Issaquah, or greater Washington State area vehicle accident that was not your fault, you do not have to shoulder the burden of the physical, emotional, and financial consequences alone. The experienced personal injury attorneys at Pivotal Law Group are ready to help. We will fight to get you the maximum amount of compensation you are entitled to, so that you can get back to living your life. Contact Pivotal Law Group today to schedule a consultation.