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

Why to Avoid DIY-ing Your Personal Injury Claim

Posted Friday, November 12, 2021 by Chris Thayer

When it comes to suffering a serious injury, few things can prepare you for the fallout. Injuries can have life-altering effects physically, financially, and emotionally. When this damage was caused by the careless, reckless, or negligent acts of another, it can be particularly hard to accept. The good news is that you do not have to shoulder the financial burden of another person’s negligence alone. By bringing a personal injury claim, you can recover for all financial harm and damage caused by the accident, as well as receive pain and suffering for the emotional and physical trauma that it caused. However, a successful recovery requires understanding the process and what is required to get a fair and comprehensive settlement. Of course, no two cases are the same, so if you would like advice and information that is specific to your unique case, it is important to speak to an attorney. If you would like to speak directly to an experienced Seattle-area personal injury attorney, you are welcome to contact the Pivotal Law Group to schedule a consultation.

Dangers of Han*dling Your Own Personal Injury Claim *The biggest danger in handling your personal injury claim without an attorney-advocate on your side, is that you will not receive a settlement that is sufficient to cover your actual needs. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including that regular people who are not attorneys generally do not know the full spectrum of damages to which they are entitled. To put it simply, you can’t know what you don’t know, and insurance claims adjusters do this for a living, so they will know more than you. A six-figure settlement may seem great until you realize your hospital bills and expenses will be nine-figures, leaving you in more debt than when you started. It is simply hard to know what a fair settlement is when this is not something that you do.

Additionally, many people do not realize that compensatory damages also include anticipated future medical expenses. Often, inexperienced people handling their own claims will simply add up their medical bills in order to determine their damages, but far more goes into calculating damages than just the bills that have already come in. Transportation costs to and from doctors appointments, medical equipment, lost wages, reduced earning potential, in-home care assistance, physical therapy, and the cost of future treatment are all also compensable, as is the non-economic damage of pain and suffering. These things can be hard to know and learn without someone in your corner, and you may be more vulnerable to accepting a settlement that is not fair or comprehensive. Another thing to consider is that there may be additional liable parties from whom you could pursue compensation of which you are not even aware.

*Schedule a Consultation With the Pivotal Law Group *If you have been injured in a Seattle, Bellevue, Kent, Renton, Burien, Mercer Island, Issaquah, or greater Washington State area accident that was not your fault, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Pivotal Law Group are ready to help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and find out how we will fight to get you every penny of compensation to which you are entitled.

How Washington’s Contributory Fault Rule Can Impact Your Slip-and-Fall Claim

Posted Friday, November 5, 2021 by Chris Thayer

Slips-and-falls may often provide laughs in film and on television, but in real life they are no joke. Statistics reflect that slip-and-fall accidents result in more than 8,000,000 hospital visits every year in this country. You may also be shocked to learn that half of all accidental deaths in the home are the result of a fall. That is especially surprising given that most of these fatal falls occur at ground level, as opposed to from a greater height, proving that even a relatively short fall can prove fatal. If you have been injured in a slip-and-fall accident, you may be able to bring a personal injury lawsuit to recover financially for the harm that you have suffered. However, slip-and-fall cases are not always open and shut. It is important to understand what is required to bring a successful lawsuit and what challenges you may encounter so that you can prepare the best possible legal defense. If you would like to talk to a personal injury attorney about the specifics of your case to get personalized feedback, you are welcome to contact Pivotal Law Group to schedule a consultation.

*Understandi*ng Washington’s Contributory Fault Rule **Every state has a law that decides how liability for negligence will be determined in their state. Washington is one of the only states to apply the contributory fault rule. In practice, this rule means that the actions of all parties involved in an accident will be assessed and liability will be allocated among them based on how much each person contributed to causing the overall accident. In some states, if you are found to be even 1% liable for causing an accident, you cannot collect any damages award at all. In other states, you must be found less than 50% liable for causing the accident in order to recover. However, in Washington, no amount of contributory fault will bar your right to recovery. Instead, your damages award will simply be reduced by whatever percentage of fault you are found to have contributed to causing the harm.

*Applying Contributory Fault to Slip-and-Fall Accidents *Contributory fault comes into play a lot when we look at slip-and-fall accidents. Sometimes, the fault for these accidents lies entirely with one party, but often, we can find that errors made by both parties created a larger accident. For instance, if you are walking while texting on your phone in the grocery store and slip on a spilled beverage, there are a number of factors that will be weighed on both sides by the court in order to determine liability. If the spill was not marked with a “wet floor” sign, or had been left unattended for a significant period of time, the store may be found primarily negligent. However, their negligence may be decreased if the jury finds that you would not have been likely to see a “wet floor” sign anyway because you were not paying attention to where you were walking. The good thing about bringing a slip-and-fall claim in Washington State is that unless you are found 100% responsible for causing your own injury, you will still be able to recover some portion of your damages.

Talk to *the Pivotal Law Group*If you or a loved one have been seriously injured as the result of a slip-and-fall accident in Seattle, Bellevue, Kent, Renton, Burien, Mercer Island, Issaquah, or greater Washington State area, the experienced personal injury attorneys at the Pivotal Law Group are ready to help. Contact the Pivotal Law Group today to schedule a consultation.

Liability for Halloween Drunk Driving Accidents

Posted Friday, October 29, 2021 by Chris Thayer

Halloween can be one of the most fun nights of the year. However, the fun often stops when the danger becomes real. Halloween parties and social events, many of which involve drinking, can make the streets a dangerous place to be. It is no surprise then, that the majority of fatal car accidents and fatal pedestrian collisions on Halloween involve at least one drunk driver. If you or a loved one was tragically injured by a drunk driver on Halloween, you have legal avenues available to you. In fact, you have the option to bring a personal injury lawsuit against the drunk driver and any other liable parties to recover for the harm that you suffered.

While nothing can keep the accident from happening, a personal injury lawsuit allows you to hold the reckless party accountable and aims to restore you to the position you would have been in financially had the accident never occurred. This includes compensation for medical care and treatment as well as pain and suffering. The information in this article is intended to be general, but if you would prefer to speak directly to an experienced Seattle personal injury attorney, you are welcome to contact Pivotal Law Group to schedule a consultation.

*Criminal Versus Civil Law* In order to succeed in bringing a personal injury lawsuit against someone, you must be able to establish that they were negligent in causing your harm. A person is negligent when they breach their duty of care. A driver breaches their duty of care when they break the law, as it puts all other drivers on the road at risk. For this reason, if a driver is drunk and causes an accident, they are automatically guilty of being negligent because they breached their duty of ordinary care by driving under the influence. It is important to understand that bringing a personal injury lawsuit does not limit or impact your ability to also file criminal charges. In fact, there can be some strategy to it. The criminal court has a much higher standard of proof than civil court where personal injury lawsuits are brought. In criminal court, charges must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt–or to near certainty–while in civil court claims must only be proven more likely than not. In other words, criminal court cases must be proven to 99% certainty while civil court cases must be proven to 51% certainty. This means that if you bring criminal charges and are successful, then you are almost guaranteed success in civil court.

*Schedule a Consultation With a Seattle Personal Injury Lawyer * If you or a loved one have been injured by a drunk driver in the Seattle, Bellevue, Kent, Renton, Burien, Mercer Island, Issaquah, or greater Washington State area, our experienced personal injury attorneys can help you hold them legally accountable as well as get you the maximum amount of compensation to which you are entitled. Contact Pivotal Law Group today to schedule a consultation to start taking your power back and moving forward with your life.

Will Dashcam Footage Help or Hurt My Personal Injury Case?

Posted Friday, October 22, 2021 by Chris Thayer

If you have been involved in a collision, you may be feeling overwhelmed and frustrated trying to navigate the insurance process. It can be daunting being pummeled by calls from insurance claims adjusters within hours of an accident from which you are still reeling, particularly when you do not know what to say or how to protect yourself. It can also be terrifying drowning in mounting medical bills while waiting for the insurance companies to make a determination of liability. Depending on the complexity of the crash and the availability of witnesses and evidence, the determination of liability can take weeks or even months.

There are a number of things that you can do to expedite this process including getting contact information and taking detailed photos and video at the scene. Additionally, having a dashcam or knowledge of dashcam footage that captured the crash or events leading up to it can quickly clear up who is responsible for the party and put an end to the investigation. Clearly then, there can be real benefits to having a dashcam. However, whether dashcam footage will be helpful or harmful in your specific case depends on whether you were at fault for the accident. The information in this article is intended to be general. However, if you would like personalized feedback based on your unique case, you are welcome to contact the experienced Seattle personal injury attorneys at Pivotal Law Group to schedule a consultation.

*Should I Get a Dashcam?*Having a dashcam is a bit of a gamble. Some insurance companies now offer discounts to people who agree to use a dashcam in their car, and many people agree to do this for the discount without a second thought. However, the reality is that insurance companies would not offer this option if doing so did not save them money. Although dashcams can provide helpful evidence in the event of an accident, they can also provide evidence that implicates you. Additionally, if you attempt to delete or destroy dashcam footage after an accident it can result in additional criminal charges. Even if someone else was liable for the crash, a dashcam can reveal grounds for limiting liability if anything you did contributed to the ultimate damage, including how you reacted to the crash, which is likely information that they would not have had otherwise. In short, it is important to fully weigh the pros and cons associated with having a dashcam and to make an informed decision.

*How Do I Get Dashcam Footage of My Crash? *If the liable driver or another driver has dashcam footage of the crash, your lawyer can likely help you to subpoena the footage as evidence. If you believe another driver has footage material to the accident, it is important to make your lawyer aware of this right away so that they can take action before the footage is destroyed, “lost,” or tampered with.

*Schedule a Consultation With Pivotal Law Group *If you have been injured in a Seattle, Bellevue, Kent, Renton, Burien, Mercer Island, Issaquah, or greater Washington State area car crash, the experienced personal injury lawyers at Pivotal Law Group are ready to help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and find out how we will fight to get you the compensation to which you are entitled.

Did Your Seat Belt Break or Fail in an Accident?

Posted Friday, October 15, 2021 by Chris Thayer

We put a lot of trust in seat belts to keep us safe, and for good reason. Studies show that wearing a seat belt can cut your risk of dying or being seriously injured in a car accident by half. That means that wearing a seat belt can literally be the difference between life and death. We are taught from an early age that we should put on our seat belts as soon as we get in the car, and that if we fail to wear a seat belt, but then get into an accident, any harm we suffer is our fault and a lesson for others to learn from.

But what happens if you wore a seat belt, just like you were supposed to, and it did not do its job? This happens more often than you might think. In fact, an estimated three million people each year are injured due to seat belt malfunctions or defective seat belts. If you were one of these people, you are entitled to compensation for any harm that you suffered as a result of the defective seat belt. In this article, we will provide general information on what you can do if a defective seat belt has caused you or a loved one harm. However, every case is different. If you would like personalized feedback based on your specific case, contact the experienced Seattle personal injury attorneys at Pivotal Law Group and schedule a consultation today.

*Types of Seat Belt Defects *There are a number of ways that a seat belt can be defective. A seat belt buckle can fail to latch securely into place, causing it to come undone in an accident. If this happened to you, it is likely that you would have been marked “unrestrained” in the accident report. This is because in the aftermath it will look like you were never wearing a seat belt at all. If you see “unrestrained” in your accident report and you know you were wearing a seat belt, it is important to address the issue right away by talking to an attorney. It is important to address because otherwise it may impact the amount of liability or coverage that you are assigned. Additionally, notifying your lawyer of this fact will allow them to consider a product liability claim for the defect. Another defect occurs when the car impacts a force and the seat belt fails to lock, instead unspooling rapidly. This can cause a passenger to fly out of the seat belt, and even to be ejected from the car.

*Suing for a Seat Belt Defect *Not every seat belt defect will provide grounds for a lawsuit. For instance, if you purchased a car and then noticed the seat belt was defective, but did not suffer any harm as a result, this would not be grounds for a lawsuit because there are not any damages yet. On the other hand, if you can show that your defective seat belt caused you harm that you would not have suffered had it functioned correctly, then you have grounds to bring a case. Additionally, you will not have to prove negligence on the part of the company. All that you will have to prove is that the seat belt was defective and that it caused you harm.

*Talk to Pivotal Law Group*If you have been injured in the Seattle, Bellevue, Kent, Renton, Burien, Mercer Island, Issaquah, or greater Washington State area as the result of a defective seat belt or other vehicle defect, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Pivotal Law Group are here to help. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.