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

The Use of Fitbits in Personal Injury Cases

Posted Friday, November 22, 2019 by Chris Thayer

Alternative TextTechnology has now reached a point at which computer equipment that once took up an entire building complex now fits onto a person’s wrist. Personal fitness tracking devices are commonly used for those people attempting to engage in a healthy lifestyle by tracking their daily steps, heart rate, calorie intake, rate of speed during physical activity, and even sleep habits. These devices track physical activity in every way and can prove either extremely beneficial or detrimental to your personal injury claim in a court of law.

*Personal Fitness Tracking Devices*A personal fitness tracking device (such as a Fitbit) is an electronic device that is worn typically on a person’s wrist. Technology has advanced so exponentially that these devices can even include the internet and a telephone. Many companies have broken into this market including Garmin, Nike, and Apple. Similar to a “black box” on an airplane, these personal fitness tracking devices can establish with certainty several details of a person’s movement throughout the day.

*Personal Injury Claims *As these personal fitness devices detail and record all information regarding the physical activity of the wearer, they can become incredibly important sources of information within a personal injury case. In fact, several cases have already been heard in courts that include as evidence personal wearable fitness tracker data. Courts have allowed the following information to be introduced as evidence:

A person was not physically present at a location they said they were.The activity levels of the person did not match the claim that they were not active.

Not only can a personal fitness device determine the level of activity of a person, but also if they were in a certain location and a given time. The court standard has always been that medical expert witnesses were used to testify in personal injury cases, however, it appears that Fitbits and other personal fitness devices are now becoming witness testimony themselves.

It is always important to remember that if you have suffered a personal injury due to someone else’s negligence and are filing a claim in court, the opposing counsel may request your personal fitness tracker data to attempt to prove that your injuries are not as serious or severe as you claim. Contacting an experienced personal injury lawyer will help you understand your rights regarding the private and personal information located on your personal fitness tracking device.

*Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer Today *If you have suffered a physical injury due to someone else’s negligence, it is possible that your personal wearable fitness tracking device could help, or possibly hurt your lawsuit. The technology that surrounds these devices is new, and visiting with an attorney can help you understand how to build your case, and your next steps. You only have a limited period of time in Washington to file your personal injury claim. For a complimentary consultation of your case, contact our legal team at the Pivotal Law Group at 206-340-2008 or online today. We proudly serve the Seattle, Bellevue, Kent, Renton, Burien, Mercer Island and Issaquah areas.

Can a Passenger Sue a Driver in a Car Accident Personal Injury Case?

Posted Friday, November 15, 2019 by Chris Thayer

Alternative TextIf you have been injured as a passenger in a car accident, you likely have medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. While you are not liable for any damages (unless you acted negligently or recklessly to intentionally distract the driver), you may be wondering how you can receive compensation for your damages, and if you can sue the driver of the vehicle in which you were a passenger. As a passenger, you have many legal options to receive compensation for your injuries.

*Who Can You Sue as a Passenger? * As a passenger, you should obtain information from all the parties involved in the accident and receive the accident report and all pertinent information regarding your accident. You may file a claim and receive compensation from the following:

  • Your Driver. You have the right to file a claim with the insurance company of the driver of the vehicle in which you were a passenger. If that insurance company does not offer you an adequate settlement, you have the legal right to pursue compensation through a court of law. Always remember, you are attempting to receive a monetary recovery from the insurance company, not the actual driver.
  • Any Other Driver Involved. You also have the right to file a claim with the insurance company of any other driver who was either partially or completely negligent that either caused or contributed to the car accident.
  • Your Own Insurance Company. If you happened to be the owner of the vehicle that was in the accident, with another driver, you may be able to file a claim with your own insurance company.

*What if the Driver Has No Insurance Coverage?* If you make the determination that your driver or any of the other drivers that were either partially or completely at fault for the car accident do not carry car insurance coverage, you may still have an option to receive compensation for your injuries. Always check your own insurance coverage to see if you have opted for either “Uninsured Motorist Coverage” or “Underinsured Motorist Coverage” on your own personal car insurance. These specific provisions within a car insurance policy may provide you coverage and compensate you for your injuries, losses, and damages.

*Should You Negotiate With Insurance Companies? * As an injured passenger in a lawsuit, you will likely have to negotiate settlement offers with insurance companies. With teams of people working on their side, insurance companies are notoriously known for attempting to get victims to make statements taking the blame, recording statements to be used against them, or manipulating what victims say to indicate that their injuries are not as substantial as they truly are. Insurance companies also attempt to delay settlement payment to attempt to have a victim miss a statute of limitations deadline to file their claim in court. If you decide to negotiate with an insurance company, make sure to never let them record you, and always know that they are not working for your side.

*Contact an Experienced Accident Attorney Today * If you were injured as a passenger in a car accident, you may have many questions regarding who you are allowed to sue, how to move forward with a claim, or how to negotiate with insurance companies. Our knowledgeable car accident attorneys can help you recover the compensation you deserve for your injuries. For a complimentary consultation of your case, contact our legal team at the Pivotal Law Group at 206-340-2008 or online today.

Personal Injury in Nursing Homes

Posted Friday, November 8, 2019 by Chris Thayer

Alternative TextWhile placing a loved one in a nursing home is always a difficult decision, family members take solace in the idea that every nursing home has a moral and legal obligation to care for its residents. Two million Americans live in nursing homes or assisted living facilities, and sadly, nursing home abuse is on the rise. Learning the signs of elder abuse can help you ensure that your loved one is always safe.

*Federal Law *In 1987, Congress passed the Nursing Home Reform Act. According to this federal law, nursing home residents have the right to the following:

  • Right to privacy
  • Appropriate physical, mental, and social services
  • Free communication and participation with family, residents, and the community
  • Dignity and respect
  • Freedom from abuse, neglect and physical restraint
  • Decision-making authority with regard to their health and finances (where appropriate)
  • Ability to file a complaint without fear of retaliation

*Signs of Elder Abuse*Unfortunately, the statistics show that personal injury and abuse to elders in nursing homes and long term care facilities are underreported, widespread, and increasing. Knowing the signs of elder abuse can help you spot it in your loved ones, and hopefully, prevent any negligence on behalf of the nursing home or nursing home staff.

*Physical Changes
Elder abuse may be present if the following physical changes are present:

  • Broken bones without explanation (or fractured bones)
  • Unexplained infections
  • Failure to wash sheets or clothing
  • Challenges to normal sleep habits
  • Failure to bathe your loved one or keep them clean
  • Weight Loss
  • Dehydration or Malnutrition
  • Bedsores
  • Overmedication or Oversedation
  • Bruises
  • Physical markings unrelated to any illness
  • Torn or ripped clothing
  • Injury in or around the genital area (possible sexual abuse)
  • Newly developed sexually transmitted disease

*Emotional Changes *While many seniors have dementia, drastic emotional or mental changes that occur suddenly can signal elder abuse. Acting out against family and friends could be a sign or way that an elderly loved one is trying to communicate distress without retaliation from the nursing home staff. Blaming themselves for small problems, refusing to participate in activities, fear around the staff, mental regression, or visible anger or depression can all be signs of abuse.

*Financial Changes
Oftentimes, the family will be in charge of all finances. However, some nursing home residents will still maintain a certain amount of independence regarding their finances, spending or even their legal documents. If you notice that a last will and testament has changed, or money missing from a bank account unexpectedly, there may be a nursing staff member manipulating your elderly loved one.

*Negligent Behavior by the Nursing Home Staff*If your phone calls are going unanswered, the staff seems disorganized or secretive, your questions remain unanswered regarding living conditions or medication, or the nursing home is making it somehow challenging to visit your elderly loved one, you may be experienced warning signs of an attempt to cover up elder abuse.

*Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney *Your elderly loved one deserves respect, dignity, and care. Abuse of the elderly is not only morally wrong, but it is also an illegal act, punishable by law. Your loved one may have a fading memory, and it is always important to contact an experienced attorney right away while they still remember the facts and circumstances of their abuse. Contact our legal team at the Pivotal Law Group at 206-340-2008 or online today to learn your options, and how we can help you with your nursing home abuse case for your loved one.

Personal Injuries Due to Boating Accidents

Posted Friday, November 1, 2019 by Chris Thayer

Alternative TextThe state of Washington enjoys beautiful views of the ocean, and many take to the water for recreation. However, the United States Coast Guard indicates that there were over 4,000 boating accidents in the United States last year, leading to thousands of injuries and hundreds of deaths. If you were injured in a boating accident, knowing your rights can help you determine if you can receive compensation for your injuries.

*Federal Boating Laws*Washington state has enacted laws specific to the operation of water vessels and boats. However, in 1971, Congress passed the Federal Boat Safety Act. This federal law includes requirements for registration as well as navigational rules and regulations for boats. Depending on where your boating accident occurred, there also may be a chance that admiralty law may also apply. The laws regarding boating accidents in Washington state can be challenging to understand. Contacting an attorney who specializes in boating accidents and personal injury can help you determine which laws will apply in your case.

*Types of Boating Accidents *Coast Guard reports show that most boating accidents happen when operators have little to no formal boating instruction or safety training. Learning safety rules, taking formal instruction, and always wearing a life vest can help you possibly prevent an accident. However, the following are the most common causes of boating accidents on the waterways.

  • Distracted boat operator
  • Negligent, reckless, or careless boat operation
  • Slippery boat deck
  • Negligent maintenance of a boat
  • No safety gear
  • Inadequate safety gear
  • Operation of a boat under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Collision between boats or vessels
  • Vessel or boat hits a wake or another boat’s wake
  • Collision with an underwater object
  • Overload of passengers
  • Bad weather
  • Boat operator has restricted vision
  • Congested waterways
  • Inexperience of boat operator
  • Boat equipment failure

Unfortunately, many of these accidents are preventable. Twenty percent of all boating deaths include the use of alcohol.

*Proving Negligence*In order to prove negligence in a boating accident case, four elements must be met.

  • Duty: A boat operator has a duty to operate a boat or vessel in a safe manner according to all state and federal laws and regulations.
  • Breach of Duty: If the boat operator is negligent, reckless, or careless in any way during the operation of the boat that leads to an accident, they have breached that duty.
  • Causation: The direct cause of your injuries must be due to the breach of duty from the other boat operator.
  • Damages: You must have suffered actual damages.

*Contact a Boating Accident Lawyer*If you were involved in a boating accident in the state of Washington and suffered injuries, you may have the right to recover compensation. Depending on your case, you may have the right to receive monetary recovery for medical bills, lost wages, or even pain and suffering. Contact a boating accident lawyer that specializes in personal injury law at the Pivotal Law Group at 206-340-2008 or online today to learn your options and how we can help you build a strong case.

Road Rage Injuries on the Rise

Posted Friday, October 25, 2019 by Chris Thayer

Alternative TextRecent studies have shown that road rage incidents are on the rise nationally. According to a CNN report this year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has revealed data showing that road rage incidents resulting in fatalities have increased 500% in the years between 2006 and 2016. Sadly, when aggressive driving and road rage occur, insurance companies often use a little-known and little-understood insurance tactic to avoid paying for the damages that are caused.

Imagine someone being intentionally run off the road, killed or maimed by the accident, then the insurance company claiming that no coverage should extend. Sadly, it happens all the time. If you or someone you care about should ever suffer a road rage injury, auto accident attorneys in Seattle may be able to help you recover more quickly and receive maximum compensation for the damages.

*What Exactly is Road Rage?* Road rage is exactly what it sounds like; it is aggressive and unsafe driving caused by drivers getting so angry that they intentionally use their vehicle to intimidate, harass, or threaten others on the road. Road rage can escalate quickly. Just consider the example of the recent road rage shooting that took place near Tiger Mountain and ended at the Issaquah Hobart Road exit. When people get angry while driving, they often forget that they are operating heavy machinery at high speeds. In some cases, people even get out of their cars and fight or they use firearms to “settle the score” on the road.

*Road Rage and Insurance Coverage* Almost all insurance contracts have some provision allowing the insurance company to deny coverage where the injury is the result of an intentional or criminal act. In other words, we all buy car insurance to protect ourselves. If we should accidentally or even negligently injure someone while behind the wheel, this insurance kicks in to hire a lawyer to defend us and pay for any liability we may have. The amount of insurance we purchase is the limit of what the insurance company must pay to protect us. If the liability is in excess of that amount, we can still be sued, but we would be on the hook for the difference between coverage limits and the judgment.

Insurance coverage is there to protect us from situations in which we are careless or negligent – not when we commit crimes. Therefore, insurance policies are written to exclude intentional acts of violence. For this reason, when a person gets out of his or her car and begins assaulting someone, insurance coverage often stops.

*How to Collect Insurance When Injured by Road Rage* Often, the injuries are compounded. First, the victim is hurt by a collision, then the victim receives other injuries during a roadside assault. An insurance company will try to attribute the majority of the injuries to the assault, while downplaying the injuries from the crash. It is very important to hire an experienced attorney immediately, so that you can focus and get the insurance company to pay.

The attorneys of Pivotal Law Group have decades of experience helping victims of aggressive driving accidents recover money for their injuries. To protect your rights, call or visit us online today.