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

Hit-and-Run Accidents and Their Consequences

Posted Friday, January 25, 2019 by Chris Thayer

Alternative TextBeing involved in a car accident is difficult and frustrating. Being involved in a car accident and having the other driver flee the scene of the accident can be extremely frustrating and make an already bad situation worse. Washington law requires you to stop at the scene of an accident and exchange information with the other party and inform the police. However, not every driver follows this requirement, unfortunately. If you are involved in an accident and the other driver flees the scene, here is what you should do.

Commit the Incident to Memory

The biggest problem with hit and run accidents is finding the other driver so that they can be held accountable. Without the other vehicle stopping, it is important for you to make mental notes of anything you can remember about the other vehicle. If you can remember the make, model, color, license plate, or any other distinguishing feature, this could be helpful in finding the vehicle. In addition to remembering vehicle information, try to remember what the driver looked like and the direction that the car was heading after the accident.

Call the Police and Seek Medical Attention

Even though the other vehicle fled the scene, you should still call 9-1-1 and have police and medical emergency personnel come and check on you and passengers in the car. The police officer can make a report of the accident and take down notes on what your remember about the other party. The police are likely going to be the ones to find the other vehicle, so it is best that they have that information as soon as possible.

Additionally, it is imperative that you seek medical attention as soon as possible. If you have been injured, it should be your number one priority to get the proper medical attention. Receiving medical attention immediately after an accident is helpful in the event that a personal injury suit results from the incident.

Take Note of the Scene

After you have called the police and remembered everything possible about the other driver, it is important to document the scene of the accident. Accidents scenes lose their evidence when the parties leave the scene. You should take pictures of your car and any damages made, pictures of injuries, any circumstances that led to the accident, and anything else that could be proof of the accident and its causes. Additionally, if there were witnesses to the accident try and obtain their information because they could be instrumental in future litigation. Finally, make sure to obtain a copy of the police report and the names and badge numbers of the officers at the scene.

Contact an Attorney

If you have been involved in a hit and run accident, hiring an experienced personal injury attorney can be helpful. The personal injury attorneys at Pivotal Law Group have experience representing individuals involved in hit and run accidents. Contact us today for a consultation.

(image courtesy of JP Valery)

The Dangers of Drowsy Driving in Seattle

Posted Friday, January 18, 2019 by Chris Thayer

Alternative TextWe have all had those nights when we just can not get to sleep. Normally, the biggest consequence of this is feeling tired the next day and maybe more irritable. However, the consequences of inadequate sleep grow when driving a vehicle becomes part of the picture. Driving while drowsy or sleep deprived can prove to be extremely dangerous or even fatal. Drowsy driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents all across the country, including in Seattle and the surrounding areas. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that approximately 1 out of 25 adult drivers have reported that they have fallen asleep at the wheel while driving. Adult driver refers to an individual over the age of 25. Drowsy driving might not seem as serious as driving while impaired, but every situation in which a driver is not fully focused on driving should be taken seriously.

*Common Causes of Drowsy Driving*The most common cause of drowsy driving is not getting enough sleep. Adults with small children, truck drivers who are driving late into the night, and those who stay up late or wake up early are just a few categories of people more susceptible to drowsy driving. The phrase “drowsy driving” seems like it only encompasses situations in which the driver has not gotten enough sleep. While this is true, there are other situations that can be considered drowsy driving.

  • Long Drives: Even a person who has gotten adequate amounts of sleep can become tired and drowsy while on a long drive. Driving long distance, especially driving long distance on a straight road for long periods of time, can cause a driver to become drowsy.
  • Medication: Some medicines, both prescription or over the counter, can cause the taker to become drowsy. It is important to know the side effects of medication before you take it and also to see how you are affected after taking a new medicine for the first time.

*Consequences of Drowsy Driving*Drowsy driving is a leading cause of car accidents. The National Sleep Foundation even equates drowsy driving to driving with a blood alcohol concentration of .08, the legal limit. A car accident caused by drowsy driving can leave you with serious injuries, or even prove to be fatal. In addition to causing the accident, drowsy driving can result in unsafe driving accidents that also increase the chances of getting into an accident — speeding, slower reaction times, disobeying traffic signs or signals, etc.

If you or someone you love has been injured because of a drowsy driver, the personal injury attorneys at Pivotal Law Group are here to help you. We know that recovering from an accident can be extremely difficult and a financial burden. Our attorney can potentially represent you in a personal injury suit to recover compensation for your damages, depending on the circumstances. Contact us today for a consultation.

(image courtesy of Kyle Jewell)

Evidence in Washington Personal Injury Cases

Posted Friday, January 11, 2019 by Chris Thayer

Alternative TextFiling a personal injury suit can seem like a complicated process. Regardless of the complexity of the case, however, each personal injury case follows the same process. In Washington, a personal injury suit can be brought when the negligence or wrongful act of another has resulted in your injury. In an ideal world, the person responsible for the accident or injury, or any insurance company involved, would be willing to pay for the damages and injury that resulted from the accident. Unfortunately the world is not perfect, and most people and companies do not want to pay for the injuries of another. As such, having the strongest personal injury case possible is a key component of being successful in a personal injury suit.

One of the best ways to strengthen your personal injury case is to have an abundance of evidence that backs up your claims. There are many different types of evidence that can be relevant in personal injury cases and they all should be examined together to present the strongest case.

*Medical Records* In a personal injury suit, medical records are an extremely important component. The medical records are proof that an actual injury has occurred. These records should include the doctor’s diagnosis and prognosis, the cost of medical treatment, and the cost of future medical treatments that will be necessary because of the injury. If the medical records are a match to the injuries that you are claiming, that gives validity to the injury claim being made. Of course, there are many different factors that go into the final decision of a personal injury suit, but having accurate medical records definitely does not hurt the case.

*Police Report* If the injury is the result of a car accident, a police report is important evidence. In Washington, the law requires that an accident be reported to the Washington Department of Transportation. Usually, law enforcement will be called to the scene of the accident to make an official report. An officer will report to the scene of the accident, take witness statements, talk to the drivers of the vehicles, and try to come to a conclusion surrounding the circumstances of the accident. The police report is an important part of a car accident injury case because it establishes that an injury occurred and potential causes of the accident.

*Witness Statements* If there were witnesses to the injury, having their contact information is helpful. A witness can corroborate a victim’s statement and make his or her claims more credible. Taking down the contact information of a witness can prove to be helpful later on in a personal injury case.

If you have been injured through the negligence or wrongful act of another, you need the help of a dedicated personal injury attorney. The personal injury attorneys at Pivotal Law Group are here to help you present the strongest case possible. Our attorneys know that the keys to a successful case are accurate claims and strong evidence. Contact us today for a consultation and find out the options available to you.

(image courtesy of Jack Finnigan)

Nursing Home Abuse in Washington

Posted Friday, January 4, 2019 by Chris Thayer

Alternative TextElderly patients in nursing homes are abused at an alarming rate. Some estimate that up to four million elderly patients in the United States are victims of professional malpractice every year. Unfortunately, approximately two million of these elderly patients are still under the care of their abusers in nursing homes all across the country. Nursing home abuse cases are far too common and result in personal injury. There are both federal and state laws that protect the elderly from abuse, neglect, and mistreatment at the hands of those who are supposed to be caring for them at a nursing home facility.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, more commonly known as HIPAA, is a federal statute that protects patients from malpractice. Regardless of whether the elderly resident themselves give informed consent, or a guardian family member gives consent, the patient is entitled to receiving adequate care from a nursing home, assisted living community, or another similar facility. Similarly, Washington also has state level laws that govern the resident’s right to a standard of care.

*The Standard of Care*Nursing homes are required to abide by, at a minimum, a reasonable standard of care. The Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 established a federal standard of care for those who operate nursing homes. Simply maintaining the minimum requirements required by the state of Washington is not enough. Nursing homes are required to maintain medical malpractice insurance, including provisions for the administration of medicines and pharmaceuticals that are part of a resident’s care plan.

*Common Signs of Abuse*Nursing home abuse and neglect do not have to be obvious to the naked eye. Abuse and neglect can be physical, psychological, or emotional abuse. Psychological and emotional abuse are just as important to catch as physical abuse, but can be difficult to see because it might not have any physical evidence. The following are common signs an elderly patient is being abused:

  • Physical marks or bruises on the body
  • Bed sores – indicating that the patient is not being moved often enough
  • Changes in mood or behavior
  • Changes in appetite
  • Dramatic weight loss

The above is not an all-inclusive list of signs of abuse or neglect. You know your loved one better than anyone and can discern the slightest mood changes. If you suspect a patient is a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, speak up. Report your suspicions, talk to the caregivers, and ask your loved one questions.

Washington courts will award damages for personal injury claims based on nursing home negligence or abuse. The personal injury attorneys at Pivotal Law Group are here to help you. Placing the well-being of your loved one into the hands of a nursing home facility is a difficult decision. It is devastating when the facility that is meant to care for your loved one fails to provide the proper care. Contact us today to find out if you might have a personal injury claim for nursing home abuse and neglect.

(image courtesy of Alex Boyd)

Protecting Yourself and Your Family From Brain Injuries

Posted Friday, December 28, 2018 by Chris Thayer

Alternative TextWe have all seen the medical drama unfold on TV: A patient is rushed into the emergency room with a head injury and every doctor and nurse suddenly begins to work to save his life. While these scenes are dramatic, they are not completely exaggerated. Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are a silent epidemic in Washington and across the United States. TBIs can go unnoticed or undetected until they cause problems that can not be fixed. As such, it is important to be aware of these injuries and know the signs so that you can protect yourself and your loved ones from an injury.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), TBIs make up about 30% of all injury related deaths. Across the United States, 153 people per day died from injuries including TBIs. Those who do not die from their injuries are often left with significant effects that can last a day, week, month, year, or even a lifetime. People often misinterpret the signs of a TBI and refrain from seeking medical attention because they think they just have a headache.

*Causes of TBI*There is not one instance that can be blamed for a traumatic brain injury. Generally, though, a TBI is the result of a hit, bump, jolt, or blow that disrupts the normal functions of the brain. The damage can be anywhere from mild to severe. Regardless of the level of severity, it is important to be checked out be a medical professional to determine any effects of the injury.

Not every bump to the head is going to result in a TBI. There are signs that you can look out for that might indicate more than just a bump to the head. There are four categories of signs that can be attributed to a TBI - physical, thinking or remembering, emotional/mood changes, and sleep. Specifically, symptoms can include:

  • Difficulty in thinking clearly
  • Trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep
  • Headaches
  • Blurry vision
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Decreased energy
  • Changes to emotions, including increased anxiety, nervousness, irritability, or sadness

The above does not include every symptom that could indicate a TBI, but some of the more common symptoms.

*Dealing with a TBI*If you have a head injury, or suspect a potential head injury, it is important to get checked out by a medical professional as soon as possible. Failure to treat a TBI in a timely fashion could result in permanent changes to your memory and reasoning skills, sight, ability to speak in a clear and communicative fashion, mood changes, or even death. The medical bills that can result from a TBI can be astronomical. If your injury was caused by the actions or negligence of another, you may be entitled to compensation for your injury. The personal injury attorneys at Pivotal Law Group are here to help you recover from your injuries. We know that traumatic brain injuries can be life changing events that come with a substantial financial burden. Our attorneys are dedicated to advocating on your behalf and getting you the compensation appropriate given the circumstances. Do not hesitate to contact us as soon as possible.

(image courtesy of Ken Treloar)