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

Is a Judge or Jury Trial Better for My Civil Suit?

Posted Friday, October 8, 2021 by Chris Thayer

Most people assume that when they go to court they will be facing a jury, but did you know that you actually have a choice? That is right. While you have a legal right to a jury trial, you are not compelled to have one. So, what happens if you choose not to have a jury? A judge will try your case solo. This is also known as a bench trial. In a bench trial, the judge will be the only person to hear both sides of the case and render a decision.

Why would anyone choose to forgo a jury? Well, perhaps the nature of your case is highly technical, and could bore or confuse a jury of regular people. Additionally, if the case involves primarily complex legal questions and/or emotional subject matter that could bias a jury against you, a judge may be a wiser selection. On the other hand, in many cases having a jury of people who are sympathetic to the subject matter of your claim could result in a completely different outcome. Ultimately, every case is different, and the kind of trial that will be best for your case rests on the specific facts and circumstances that you are dealing with.

The information in this article is intended to be general, but the best way of getting specific feedback on your individual case is to talk to an attorney and allow them to assess your claim. Many people avoid talking to a lawyer because they think it will be too expensive, but scheduling a consultation often costs very little or even nothing at all. Additionally, if your case could result in a large settlement, the law firm may be able to take it on without any up-front costs. In short, you will not know until you try talking to a lawyer, and not talking to one could result in missing out on life-changing legal guidance. The experienced Seattle-area personal injury lawyers at Pivotal Law Firm are ready to help. If you have a personal injury claim and would like personalized feedback, contact our lawyers today to see how we can help you.

*Choosing the Best Kind of Trial *If you decide to have a lawyer represent you, your lawyer will review the facts and circumstances of your case to determine the best legal strategy, including whether it would be most beneficial to request a bench or jury trial. As noted above, the subject matter of your claim plays a major role in determining the most advantageous trial format, as does what will be required of the decision-maker. If the decision-maker will have to review emotionally difficult photos that work against you, a judge is likely a safer bet, as jurors may be biased (consciously or unconsciously) by the graphic subject matter. On the other hand, if your case is mostly straightforward from a legal standpoint, having a bench trial can be a safer bet. If you choose to represent yourself and not retain counsel, a bench trial is almost always preferable, as jurors can be easily prejudiced by your incompetence, and may not be as forgiving as a judge. Jurors may also mistake the stress you are feeling at having to represent yourself as an indication that you are not trustworthy.

*Schedule a Consultation *If you have a personal injury claim in the Seattle, Bellevue, Kent, Renton, Burien, Mercer Island, Issaquah, or greater Washington State area, and are interested in moving forward with a lawsuit, the experienced personal injury lawyers at Pivotal Law Group are ready to help you navigate the entire process. Call today to schedule your consultation.

Did You Know About These Common Vehicle Defects?

Posted Friday, October 1, 2021 by Chris Thayer

Alternative TextIf you have been in a car accident, you know how quickly things can go wrong. A defect in your vehicle can occur at any time and in any component. In the aftermath of a car crash, it can sometimes be hard to pinpoint exactly what happened. Some vehicle defects will be obvious, such as defects to the steering mechanism which would make you feel like you have no control over the vehicle, or to the brake system, which would leave you unable to come to a complete stop. While other defects may only be apparent upon investigation afterward. The bottom line is that your vehicle is supposed to protect you. If any component of your vehicle is defective and that component causes or contributes to physical or financial harm, you have grounds to hold the manufacturer liable. You can do this by bringing a product liability lawsuit.

*What is a Product Liability Lawsuit? *A product liability lawsuit is intended to hold manufacturers liable for the safety and integrity of their products. Unlike in a personal injury lawsuit, all that you have to establish in a product liability lawsuit is that a defect was present and harm occurred as a result. It is not necessary to prove that the company was negligent in causing or failing to notice the defect. Its existence is sufficient to have standing to claim compensation. This is all the more reason to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible if you believe a vehicle defect may have been involved in your car accident. The information in this article is meant to be general, but if you would like to talk to a lawyer about the specifics of your case, you are encouraged to contact the experienced Seattle personal injury and product liability lawyers at Pivotal Law Group to schedule a consultation and receive personalized feedback.

*Common Vehicle Defects*Vehicles are complex and defects can be present in any component, from the visors to the latching mechanisms in the seat belts. However, some of the most common forms of vehicle defects are the following:

  • Seat Belt Defects. Seat belt defects include defects to the locking mechanism to the spool, which can cause the seat belt to rapidly release rather than lock upon impact. Other defects may include issues with the seatbelt’s ability to latch, such as becoming unlatched upon impact or for no reason.
  • Airbag Defects. When an airbag functions properly it can save your life, but when it fails to deploy, deploys for no reason, or deploys with unreasonable force, it can result in serious injuries to the face and upper body, including burns, bruising, broken bones, whiplash, soft tissue injuries, and traumatic brain injuries, including concussions and brain hemorrhage.
  • Door Latch Mechanisms. Defective door latch mechanisms can cause doors to launch off of the car when they are closed too hard or when any pressure is applied against them. This can cause passengers to fall out of the car.

*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 accident that was not your fault, and you believe a vehicle defect played a part in your injuries, contact Pivotal Law Group and schedule a consultation today.

Compensation for Washington State Train Accident Injuries

Posted Friday, September 24, 2021 by Chris Thayer

Train accidents are relatively rare, but may not be as uncommon as you think. There are about 40 train accidents a year in Washington state, which boasts over 3,000 miles of active railroad tracks. However, nationally, a person or car is hit by a train every three hours. The vast majority of these accidents are collisions that take place between cars and trains at railway crossings. These accidents can occur due to defects or malfunctions with the railroad gate or signals, breaking problems with the train, speeding or negligent conduct by the driver, or motorist issues, such as their vehicle stalling out on the track, ignoring proper railroad signals, or getting caught on debris in the track.

*Railroad Accident Injuries *Although railroad accidents and train accidents are far less common than vehicle accidents, the consequences can be far more devastating and catastrophic. A single train derailment can result in thousands of injuries and deaths. In instances of train collisions with other vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists, the chance of fatality is incredibly high. There is little chance of surviving an impact with a train. For this reason, these accidents must be taken seriously, and in order to deter them, railroad companies and their employees are held to a much higher standard of care than regular motorists or employees in other fields.

*Suing for Railroad Injuries or Wrongful Death *If you or a loved one have suffered serious injuries or even death as a result of a train or train company, you are likely wondering what options, if any, you have available to you. While each case must be assessed individually on the basis of its facts, the good news is that as noted above, train companies are held to an incredibly high standard of care. This means that the burden falls on the train company to establish that it and its employees did everything they reasonably should have to prevent the accident that resulted in your injury. On the other hand, if they cannot meet this burden, or you can demonstrate that they deviated from their required standard of care by acting negligently, then they will become liable for all harm that resulted due to their negligence or breach.

*How a Lawyer Can Help *Suing for railway accidents can be complicated. An experienced Washington personal injury attorney can review the specifics of your case to ensure that you have a claim and determine the best way forward. A lawyer can also ensure that your rights are protected and that you are not taken advantage of by receiving or accepting a lowball settlement offer. The biggest thing that a lawyer can do is give you the peace of mind of knowing that someone else is fighting for you while you can return your focus to moving forward in life.

*Talk to a Seattle Personal Injury Lawyer *Serving Seattle, Bellevue, Kent, Renton, Burien, Mercer Island, Issaquah, and the greater Washington State area, Pivotal Law Group is ready to fight to ensure that you get the representation and compensation that you deserve. Contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at Pivotal Law Group today to schedule a consultation.

Suing for a Concussion

Posted Friday, September 17, 2021 by Chris Thayer

The head is so critical to life and function that any injury to it should be taken seriously. Concussions are sometimes written off as a sports injury or something that can just be iced, but concussions result in real trauma to the brain, and can result in long-term symptoms and consequences that can significantly impact one’s ability to work and even enjoy life. If you have suffered a concussion in an accident or due to someone else’s negligence, you may be unsure of what legal options you have available to you. Concussions can necessitate time off work, resulting in lost wages, in addition to expensive medical bills and rehabilitative therapies. The good news is that you may be able to bring a personal injury lawsuit to recover for the harm that you have suffered.

*Injuries and Accidents That Cause Concussion * There is no limit to the kind of injuries that can result in concussion. Concussions can be caused by blunt force trauma to the head, such as when someone falls and hits their head, hits their head during a car accident, or is punched or struck in the head by another person or object. Concussions can also be caused by a severe jolt or impact to the head or body, such as may be experienced when being tackled, struck, or shaken. The most common causes of concussions in adults are slip-and-fall accidents, and the most common place for these accidents to occur is in parking lots and on sidewalks due to uneven or unstable ground. Other common places for slip-and-fall accidents to occur include slick floors, such as marble or tile floors, slippery surfaces, such as by pools, water features, water fountains, and soda machines, and on stairs.

*Suing for a Concussion * If you are thinking about suing for a concussion, there are a number of factors to consider. First, it is important to understand that in order to have standing to bring a lawsuit, you have to have suffered damages. This means that the harm you suffered must be financially quantifiable. If you do not have any medical bills, lost wages, or costs associated with your concussion, you will not likely have a claim. However, if you have suffered significant damages as a result of your concussion, which can be quantified by bills and lost wages, then you will meet this threshold requirement. It is also necessary that your concussion be caused by the intentional or negligent conduct of another person or party. This is the person or party who you are holding accountable by bringing a lawsuit. The more evidence you have to support that this person acted negligently and that their negligence caused your concussion and subsequent damages, the stronger your claim will be.

*Talk to a Seattle Personal Injury Attorney * If you or a loved one have suffered significant harm due to a concussion that was not your fault, Pivotal Law Group is ready to help. Serving Seattle, Bellevue, Kent, Renton, Burien, Mercer Island, Issaquah, and the greater Washington State area, our lawyers will fight to get you the compensation that you are entitled to. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

Have You Been Injured at Your Seattle Restaurant Job?

Posted Friday, September 10, 2021 by Chris Thayer

Restaurants are among the most demanding places to work, and it is often the employees who pay the price. Restaurant employees face a veritable gauntlet of potential hazards on their way through the kitchen room to the dining room, from hot boiling liquids and slippery floors to unstable trays and spilled beverages, restaurant employees can suffer serious injuries on the job. If you have been injured at work, you may be feeling overwhelmed and wondering what your options are legally. To some degree, that will depend on your classification. If you are an employee of the restaurant, as opposed to an independent contractor, then you qualify for workers’ compensation coverage.

*Common Restaurant Worker Injuries * It probably comes as no surprise that the majority of restaurant employee injuries occur in the kitchen. Whereas most restaurant patron injuries occur due to slip-and-fall accidents in the parking lot or sidewalk outside of the restaurant, employees suffer cuts and lacerations more than any other form of injury. These cuts and lacerations are often due to knives and equipment used in food preparation, however, they can also be caused by broken glasses, dishes, and other accidents. The second leading cause of injury among restaurant employees is slip-and-fall accidents. These accidents are most often caused by oil or spilled liquids on the ground, and are most likely to occur in the kitchen by the fryer or sink. However, these accidents can occur anywhere, and spilled beverages, obstacles, uneven floors, steps, and heavy and unstable trays are all likely to contribute to slip-and-fall accidents at work. Burns are also common (but very painful!) injuries experienced by restaurant workers. These can be caused by hot pans, boiling pots and liquids, hot beverages or items that are being transported, equipment, and the stovetop, among other possible causes. Finally, strains, sprains, and soft tissue injuries are also frequently experienced by restaurant employees.

*Recovering for Restaurant Injuries * If you are an employee, you must file a workers’ compensation claim with your employer. You are entitled to workers’ compensation insurance benefits for injuries that you incur in the course of your employment and for the benefit of your employer. This means that you may not receive coverage for an injury that you received while pranking a coworker, but provided the injury was caused by doing things required by your job, you are entitled to coverage. Workers’ compensation coverage provides medical care and paid time off while you recover from your injury. If you are having trouble receiving the benefits that you are entitled to, a Seattle personal injury lawyer can help ensure that you get the full benefits and maximum compensation to which you are entitled. If you are not an employee, you may be able to bring a personal injury lawsuit against the restaurant or a third-party if their negligence contributed to or caused your injury. Talking to a personal injury lawyer will allow you to determine the best path forward to compensation.

*Talk to Pivotal Law Group* If you have suffered an injury at your Seattle, Bellevue, Kent, Renton, Burien, Mercer Island, Issaquah, or greater Washington State area workplace, the experienced personal injury lawyers at Pivotal Law Group are ready to help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.