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

Seattle Hit-and-Run Driver Found and Arrested on Suspicion of DUI

Posted Friday, June 4, 2021 by Chris Thayer

A serious accident took place earlier this week at the intersection of East Marginal Way South and Diagonal Avenue South in Seattle. The collision occurred around 10:00 p.m. between two sedans. According to witnesses, an Infinity sedan was driving recklessly before it drove over the median and into oncoming traffic, where it hit another sedan head-on. Both vehicles were totaled by the accident, with the second vehicle almost entirely compacted. The 25-year-old driver of that car had to be cut out of his vehicle by emergency crews and transported to a hospital for treatment. When police arrived at the scene, however, the driver of the Infinity sedan was already gone. According to witnesses, a male driver who had been following the Infinity sedan stopped at the scene of the accident, pulled the reckless driver from the car, and put him into his car before quickly driving away. Police were later able to track the missing responsible driver to Harborview Medical Center, where his friend had taken him for treatment of his serious injuries (coincidentally, the same place the victim of the accident was taken as well). Police say the driver’s friend had been following him home when he got in the wreck, and the friend removed him from the scene and eventually took him to receive medical treatment. Police arrested the driver at the hospital on suspicion of DUI. Additional charges have not yet been announced, and the conditions of both men are currently unknown. However, the police investigation into the crash remains ongoing.

*Suing Someone for Reckless Driving * If you have been injured in a car accident in Seattle due to someone else’s negligence, you have options legally to seek compensation for the harm you have suffered. When someone drives drunk or under the influence of drugs (even legal ones) that impair their ability to drive safely, they breach their duty of care to you and all other drivers on the road, and they can be legally held accountable for the harm that they cause as a result of this breach. While the civil process for bringing a personal injury lawsuit is separate from the criminal process of charging someone with DUI or another driving-related offense, these processes are not mutually exclusive. In fact, you can pursue both criminal charges and a personal injury lawsuit. A conviction of DUI or reckless driving can support your civil claim. This is especially true because the criminal court system has a much higher standard of proof than the civil court system. For this reason, if evidence of negligence (such as intoxication, reckless driving, etc.) is found in criminal court, it will almost certainly suffice to meet the lower standard of proof required in civil court. While a lawsuit cannot keep the accident from happening, it can restore you to the position you would have been in financially, had the accident never occurred.

*Consult With a Seattle Personal Injury Attorney * If you have been involved in a Seattle, Bellevue, Kent, Renton, Burien, Mercer Island, or Issaquah accident and suffered serious injury, contact Pivotal Law Group and schedule a consultation today.

Rollover Crash Causes Miles-Long Backup in Washington State

Posted Friday, May 28, 2021 by Chris Thayer

A woman is being hospitalized for serious injuries after an accident on Interstate 5 just south of State Route 516 in Kent occurred around 5:30 a.m. earlier this week. The woman was pulled over in a disabled vehicle when it was struck at a high speed by a large box truck. The woman’s car was almost entirely crushed, and was sent flying into a ditch, where she remained trapped and seriously injured until a crew was able to extricate her. The woman is now being treated at a local hospital for serious injuries. It is unclear at this point what her condition is or whether the injuries are believed to be life-threatening. The right lanes of northbound I-5 South were blocked for several hours while crews worked on the scene. Police say they believe it is possible that the driver of the box truck fell asleep behind the wheel, however, they do not suspect intoxication or impairment otherwise.

*The Dangers of Rollover Crashes * Rollover crashes account for approximately 35% of all traffic fatalities. Considering how traumatic they can be to the passengers, it is easy to understand why. When a truck rolls over, both the truck and its contents become a threat to all other drivers on the road. A rolled-over truck can easily act as a barrier across several lanes of traffic, and when these accidents occur unexpectedly, drivers may not have sufficient time or space to avoid colliding with it. This can result in dozens of collisions within the span of a few moments. Additionally, trucks carry everything from rocks and timber to hazardous chemicals and livestock. All of these pose unique threats to drivers when they are unleashed on a highway. When standard passenger vehicles roll over, it can cause significant trauma to the necks and spinal cords of occupants. In cases in which occupants are not wearing seatbelts or where a child is not properly strapped into a carseat (or the car seat is not properly fastened to the car) occupants are generally ejected from the vehicle, which can cause extensive physical trauma and even death. Further adding to the damaging impact of these kinds of collisions, a rolled over car or SUV also becomes a hazard to all others on the road, often impacting or colliding with other vehicles, passengers, or ejected occupants. Once the vehicle’s wheels are no longer in contact with the ground, it is simply a 6,000 pound weapon that is entirely out of control.

*Avoiding Rollover Crashes * The best way to avoid rollover crashes is to adhere to posted speed limits, leave plenty of space between you and other cars and trucks, and to make sure that you are alert and awake when driving. However, while these actions can mitigate the risks associated with rollover crashes, it is impossible to avoid them completely. Sometimes you can take all necessary precautions and adhere to all laws and speed limits and still find yourself the victim of a devastating crash due to another driver’s negligence. In these cases, a personal injury lawsuit can help you recover compensation for the physical harm and damage that you have suffered.

*Talk to a Lawyer * If you have been injured in a Seattle, Bellevue, Kent, Renton, Burien, Mercer Island, or Issaquah accident that was not your fault, the experienced personal injury lawyers at Pivotal Law Group are ready to help you get the compensation that you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

When to Call a Lawyer After an Accident

Posted Friday, May 21, 2021 by Chris Thayer

If you have been injured in an accident, the time to contact a lawyer is as soon as possible. Many people mistakenly believe that they have to wait until things get really bad before they reach out for legal help from an experienced personal injury attorney, but the longer that people wait, the harder it is to get effective help.

It is a common misconception that people will know the full extent of their injuries immediately after an accident. Whereas some injuries are immediately apparent, such as broken and fractured bones, other injuries, such as concussions, soft tissue injuries, whiplash injuries, herniated disks, torn ligaments, and more, often do not become apparent for days (and, in some cases, even weeks) after the crash. Additionally, while broken bones and more obvious physical trauma may be immediately apparent, its long-term effects can take much longer to appear.

While you may know that you have a broken femur, it can take multiple consultations with doctors, specialists, and physical therapists before you know the full extent of the treatment plan and how likely you are to be able to recover fully from the injury or if it will have lasting or permanent effects. Insurance companies know this and take advantage, by pressuring you to accept a settlement as soon as possible after an accident, before you could have any idea as to the actual value of your claim or an accurate understanding of the harm done. If you accept a low settlement offer before knowing the full extent of your injuries, you will likely be stuck shouldering the remaining financial burden, and may not be able to afford or pursue helpful treatments that may otherwise have been covered.

Additionally, many people do not realize that when they accept an insurance settlement, their medical insurance can seek reimbursement from it. If they do not plan for this, it can effectively wipe out everything they received or even leave them in further debt. For this reason, it is critical to have a lawyer on board, representing your rights, protecting your interests, and helping you to navigate the process, starting as soon as possible after the accident.

*Suing for Damages *In order to bring a personal injury lawsuit you must have suffered financial damage as a result of the accident. This can be in the form of property damage, medical bills, lost wages due to being too injured to work, and more. Many people are bankrupted as a result of attempting to cope with the costs from a single car accident. A successful personal injury suit aims to put you back into the position you would have been in financially, had the accident never occurred. This allows you to recover for all medical costs and expenses related to the accident, including any necessary therapies and equipment, and compensation for the mental and physical trauma caused by the accident, known as pain and suffering. In some cases, punitive damages may also be appropriate, where the offender’s conduct was particularly reckless, negligent, or can be used to send a message to deter this kind of behavior.

*Talk to a Seattle Personal Injury Attorney *If you have suffered an injury in a Bellevue, Kent, Rento, Burien, Mercer Island, Issaquah, or greater Washington area car accident that was not your fault, the personal injury attorneys at Pivotal Law Group are ready to zealously advocate on your behalf and ensure that you get the compensation to which you are entitled. Call today to schedule a consultation.

Coping With Shoulder Pain After a Car Accident

Posted Friday, May 14, 2021 by Chris Thayer

Car accidents can be physically and personally catastrophic to those involved. The shoulder, despite being a critical and foundational joint, is actually quite fragile. While seatbelts absolutely keep us safer during an accident, protecting our heads and organs from serious trauma, that often comes at a cost to our shoulders. The intense force and impact placed on the shoulder during an accident can result in a number of forms of trauma to the shoulder, including tears, fractures, soft tissue and tendon injuries, and dislocations.

*Seek Medical Attention *Depending on the type of shoulder injury you have sustained, it may or may not become apparent to you immediately following an accident. A fracture or dislocation will likely result in immediate and debilitating pain and discomfort, requiring urgent medical attention, while soft tissue injuries and even tears may take longer for someone to notice. This is in part because high levels of adrenaline, triggered by a fight-or-flight response, can dull our pain signals, and in part because tears and soft tissue injuries may not register as a serious problem at the time, particularly if we have other injuries sending more urgent pain signals.

Regardless of your level of pain, if you are experiencing any stiffness, pain, or discomfort in your shoulder following a crash, it is critical to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Even if you are tempted to shrug off the discomfort or write it off as “nothing serious,” it is important to treat it as though it might be, because you really cannot know at that point how a minor discomfort will grow or evolve and shoulder injuries are often serious and debilitating. The longer you leave a shoulder ache or pain uninvestigated, the more serious it can become. Additionally, the longer you wait to seek medical attention following a crash, the harder it is to prove that it was the crash (and not some other intervening event) that caused the harm.

*What if I Did Not Seek Medical Attention? *Even if you did not seek medical attention right after the accident, it is important to see a doctor as soon as you begin experiencing symptoms and follow their advice regarding treatment. The longer you wait after you begin experiencing symptoms, the less serious your injury will seem. After all, if you were on a jury and someone said they were experiencing pain but sought no relief or help, you might also assume their pain could not have been too debilitating. Another way to begin developing a paper trail at this point is to keep a journal or log of your symptoms, pain level, and how they are impacting your daily life. It is also important to contact a lawyer as soon as possible so that they can begin to help you navigate this process and develop the best possible path forward.

*Talk to a Seattle Personal Injury Lawyer *If you have suffered a serious or debilitating injury in a Bellevue, Kent, Rento, Burien, Mercer Island, Issaquah, or greater Seattle area car accident, the experienced personal injury lawyers at Pivotal Law Group are ready to zealously advocate on your behalf and help you get the compensation that you are entitled to. Call today and schedule a personalized consultation.

What to Do After a Seattle Car Accident

Posted Friday, May 7, 2021 by Chris Thayer

Collisions are jarring when they happen. Even if you were not seriously injured, car accidents can still be physically and financially catastrophic, and it is not uncommon to find yourself gripping the wheel in a state of shock, unsure of how to proceed. Luckily, the more you familiarize yourself with the steps to take after a vehicle collision, the more you will internalize them and be able to rely on that knowledge in an emergency.

*Breathe * This may sound like unnecessary advice, but I promise, it is not. Following a car accident, your central nervous system will be in a state of fight-or-flight, making rational thinking difficult and pain signals less strong (meaning you can be injured and not realize because you don’t feel the pain). Take a deep breath to activate your parasympathetic nervous system and ground yourself. Scan your body, paying careful attention to anywhere that you feel pain or discomfort. Note that sometimes it takes soft tissue injuries days or weeks to appear, so taking a moment to tune into your body and really pay attention to how you feel can catch injuries that your eyes or drowned-out pain signals might otherwise miss. This becomes relevant because injuries that are not reported at the scene can be harder to prove later on when you need coverage. Something as simple as mentioning that your neck does not feel right can help ensure that you will receive coverage for the treatment should that off-feeling later turn out to be a slipped disk or other serious injury.

*Decide if You Need to Call the Police * In Washington State you are not required to call the police about every accident. However, if anyone has been injured, you should call the police immediately. Additionally, if there is more than $1,000 in damage you are legally required to report the collision to the police. You should also call the police if the vehicles are obstructing traffic, unable to be moved from the roadway, or if the collision has left debris in the road that could pose a risk for other drivers.

*Collect Documentation * While you wait for the police to come, it is a good time to photograph the scene of the accident, including any damage to vehicles involved and license plates of all involved vehicles. It is also a good idea to photograph the driver’s license, insurance information, and vehicle registration of any other drivers involved. It can be better to photograph the documents as opposed to trying to write down the information because errors in transcription are likely when nerves are high. It is also a good idea to get names and contact information for any bystanders or other drivers who witnessed the accident. This will be helpful information for police and insurance adjusters.

*Seek Medical Attention ASAP* Many people think they can put off seeking medical attention after an accident if their injuries do not seem “serious,” however, it is often possible that injuries are far more serious than they seem. Concussions, internal bleeding, hemorrhage, whiplash, and other spinal cord injuries are often not visible, but can be life-threatening if left untreated. Additionally, the longer you wait to seek medical attention after the crash, the more you are sending the message (to insurance adjusters, judge, and jury) that you do not believe your injuries are serious. It also becomes harder to establish the causal link between the accident and the injury as more time and possible causal events elapse in between.

*Talk to a Seattle Personal Injury Lawyer * If you have been injured in a vehicle collision that was not your fault in Bellevue, Kent, Rento, Burien, Mercer Island, Issaquah, or the greater Seattle area, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Pivotal Law Group are ready to zealously advocate on your behalf and get you the compensation that you deserve. Call today to schedule a consultation.