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

Using an App Should Not be Your Only Option After a Car Accident

Posted Friday, April 26, 2019 by Chris Thayer

Alternative TextEveryone with a driver’s license has probably thought about what they would do if they were ever in a car accident. Aside from calling the police and other emergency personnel to the scene to get the medical attention needed and reporting the accident, one of your next calls will probably be to your car insurance provider.

After an accident, regardless of the extent of your injuries, you are likely going to be in shock. The last thing that you are going to want to do is to pull out your phone and navigate to an app so that you can report the accident you were just in to your insurance company. Unfortunately, it seems like insurance companies are moving toward communicating with their customers via app. There was even an advertisement during the Super Bowl that encouraged more insurance users to get on board with using apps.

Insurance companies are attempting to persuade clients to use an app in an effort to streamline the process and make things “easier” for everyone. They also claim that using apps by insurance companies could end up saving a client money. In reality, neither of these things end up being true. Unless there is a discount offered for the price of insurance, you are not saving any money. Additionally, using an app eliminates the human interaction of the customer and customer service representative at the insurance company. The insurance company might save money on personnel, but this does not necessarily translate into cheaper prices for the customer.

A car accident can result in many financial hardships with which an app simply cannot help you. Yes, apps can be programmed to ask certain questions or ask for information, but every accident is unique. There are additional questions that might arise in a conversation with someone that might never be asked on an app. Accidents can lead to devastating financial hardships. Repairing the damage to your vehicle, the cost of transportation while your vehicle is being fixed, medical care for any injuries you might have sustained, lost income from injuries preventing you from working, and accruing bills are just a few troublesome situations that might arise. You deserve to talk to a real person to figure out how to recover from these hardships.

Your insurance company might ask you to use an app, but your attorney will not. The personal injury attorneys at Pivotal Law Group are here to help you following an accident. We can help you navigate the insurance claims process, including and pushback from an insurance company in getting you the damages to which you are entitled. In addition, we can help you file a personal injury suit to hold the other driver and his or her insurance company liable for the injuries you sustained and the damages that have resulted. You do not have to rely on using an insurance app to succeed. Let us take some of the worry and pressure off of you to help you recover financially, so that you can focus on physically healing from your injuries. Contact us today.

(image courtesy of Priscilla du Preez)

Washington State Might be Changing Wrongful Death Laws

Posted Friday, April 19, 2019 by Chris Thayer

Alternative TextThe state of Washington might be changing its laws surrounding wrongful death action, according to the Spokesman Review. The law of wrongful death suits in Washington has not been updated or modified in nearly a century. The new law poses two main changes to the existing law. These changes revolve around who is eligible to file a wrongful death claim for the death of another.

The current wrongful death statute states that there are generally three broad categories of individuals who have the ability to file a wrongful death claim of a deceased person:

  • The personal representative of the deceased individuals estate;
  • The spouse of the deceased individual – this includes a registered domestic partner of a deceased person; or
  • A child of the deceased, including step children.

The statute also states that those bringing the wrongful death claim need to be a resident of the United States at the time of the decedent’s death. Additionally, parents are able to bring a wrongful death claim for children under the age of 18. The parents bringing the action must have regularly supported the child in order to bring the claim. For claims for children over the age of 18, parents are required to be economically dependent on their child.

The above-mentioned parties able to bring a wrongful death suit have been unchanged for nearly a century. The new law looks to change two of those categories: parents of a non-minor child and the residency requirement of living in the United States.

Non-Minor Children

As stated above, wrongful death claims for children over the age of 18 are only permitted in situations in which the parent or parents are economically dependent on the adult child. The new law eliminates this economic dependency requirement. Instead, parents will only need to show that they were psychologically or emotionally supported by the adult child.

Residency Requirement

The second major change that this law seeks is to eliminate the residency requirement of living in the United States at the time of the decedent’s death. There will no longer be a residency requirement. As long as an individual meets the other requirements of bringing a wrongful death action, his or her place of residence of will not be a hindrance to filing a claim. The residency requirement dates back to trying to protect the American businesses from the wrongful death suits of migrant workers.

The changes to the wrongful death statute passed the Washington House of Representatives, and the State Senate, and now will go to the governor to receive his signature. Once the governor signs the new law, it will go into effect.

The wrongful death attorneys at Pivotal Law Group are here for you. The loss of a loved one is devastating, and you should not have to jump through hoops to succeed in a wrongful death action to hold another party responsible for your loved one’s death. We want to help you file your wrongful death action. Contact us today for a consultation.

(image courtesy of Mayron Oliveira)

Proving Fault in Seattle Slip and Fall Cases

Posted Friday, April 12, 2019 by Chris Thayer

Alternative TextNo one goes into a store, walks on the sidewalk, or does anything with the anticipation and desire to slip and fall. Slip and fall injuries can be detrimental to your health and livelihood. In many Seattle slip and fall cases, the biggest issue is determining who is at fault for the fall and injury, and therefore who is responsible for damages that result from the injury. Usually, the property owners are the first people considered to be responsible for injuries that occur on their property. The crux of many slip and fall cases is determining whether the property owner where the fall took place was acting responsibly in the maintenance of his or her property.

Property owners have a duty to those on their property to fix dangerous conditions that arise on the property that any ordinary person would see, know the danger that it could pose, and subsequently avoid that danger. Failure to keep a property free from danger can result in liability if a slip and fall occurs on that property.

A common type of slip and fall case is a customer slipping on a puddle of water in the grocery aisle and being injured. In order to prove fault, there are a few conditions that need to be met:

  • The property owner, or one of their employees, was the cause of the dangerous or hazardous condition; or
  • The property owner, or their employee, knew that the dangerous or hazardous condition exists, but did nothing about it; or
  • The owner, or their employee, should have reasonably known of the dangerous condition’s existence.

In the grocery store example, the property owner may be found liable for the victim’s damages if the owner or employee spills water and fails to clean it up or warn customers about it, the spill is seen and no warning or remedy is present, or too much time has passed since the spill such that the employee or owner should have known about it.

The difficult part of determining liability is determining what the reasonable expectation is for a property owner to keep his or her property safe. To determine this, there are some questions that need to be examined:

  • How long did the dangerous condition exist?
  • Does the owner regularly inspect their property?
  • Did the dangerous condition have reason to be where it was?
  • Was the dangerous condition once safe, but after time passes it no longer is?
  • Could a simple warning be issued?

Proving that a property owner is at fault, or anyone at all, in a slip and fall case can be difficult. The personal injury attorneys at Pivotal Law Group are here to help you collect the damages that you are entitled to under the circumstances. We work diligently to prove who was at fault in causing the slip and fall so that you have the resources necessary to recover fully and get your life back to the way it was. Contact us today for a consultation.

(image courtesy of Lucas Carl)

I Was Hit by an Uninsured Motorist: Now What?

Posted Friday, April 5, 2019 by Chris Thayer

Alternative TextBeing involved in any sort of car accident can be frustrating. This frustration only grows if the driver of the other vehicle does not have proper car insurance. Even though the law requires that drivers all throughout Washington have auto insurance while driving, and driving without valid insurance is against the law, there are some drivers who do not have the proper auto insurance. In fact, Washington state has the tenth highest number of uninsured drivers throughout the entire United States. Normally, someone else’s insurance does not have any affect on your day-to-day life. However, when you are involved in an accident, and it is the other driver’s fault, you want his or her insurance to provide compensation to fix damage to your car and for any injuries that you might have sustained.

Washington law requires drivers to have auto insurance and proof of coverage with them anytime they drive a vehicle. Every driver must at least have:

  • $25,000 for injuries or death of another person;
  • $50,000 for injuries or death to all other people;
  • $10,000 for damaging another person’s property.

The above are the minimum insurance requirements. Drivers can have additional insurance coverage on their vehicles. When a driver with whom you have been in an accident does not have the required insurance, you have a couple options.

*Insurance/Healthcare Coverage
In some insurance coverage plans, there are personal injury protection (PIP) benefits included. This is additional coverage from the required insurance amount that provides compensation for various damages such as medical bills, hospital bills, lost wages, funeral expenses, etc.) PIP is a no-fault insurance, which means that you can still receive the benefits of the coverage even if you were at fault in an accident. After an accident, check your insurance policy to see if you have this coverage option or look into adding it to an additional provision in your current policy. Also look into insurance policies of members of your family to see if you are covered under their insurance plans.

In addition to PIP coverage, your policy might include an Uninsured Motorist policy that provides damages if the uninsured motorist in the accident was responsible for the accident. You can also look into using your personal healthcare plan to cover injury expenses.

*The Personal Injury Option*While you may have insurance policies, or healthcare coverage, to help you recover from the accident, the other uninsured driver can be held liable for his or her actions. Even if the other driver did not have insurance, you can seek compensation through a personal injury suit. A personal injury suit holds the other driver legally responsible for his or her negligence. This could result in a damage award for you to help with the damages caused by the accident.

The personal injury attorneys at Pivotal Law Group are here for you after an accident. We know how frustrating it is when the other driver does not have insurance. Our attorneys will go through the options available to you – from using various insurance policies to suing the other driver in a personal injury suit. Contact us today for a consultation.

(image courtesy of Guillermo Sanchez)

What to Expect at a Deposition for a Personal Injury Case

Posted Friday, March 29, 2019 by Chris Thayer

Alternative TextOnce a personal injury suit is filed, there are many other steps that take place before the case is decided. One of these steps that is likely to take place is a deposition. In many personal injury cases, the injured plaintiff will be deposed by the opposing party to have an opportunity to ask questions directly to the plaintiff regarding their injury. A deposition is a legal process in which the parties are able to ask questions to the plaintiff or others relating to the case under oath. Usually in personal injury suits, a lawyer will want to depose the other party, but third parties can also be deposed.

*Before the Deposition*Before the deposition, there are a number of things that you can do to prepare. While you will not know exactly the questions the deposing party might ask, your lawyer will likely be able to anticipate some of the questions that will be asked. You can go through these with your lawyer and make sure you are comfortable answering them and will not be completely blindsided.

*During the Deposition*The parties present during a deposition include you and your lawyer, the deposing parties and their lawyers, and a court reporter. There is no reason to be nervous about a deposition. Go in, answer the questions you are asked, and your lawyer will be there to make sure that things go according to plan. If there are any questions that your lawyer deems inappropriate or irrelevant, they will make an objection. Usually, however, you will still be instructed to answer the question. The objection will be noted in the deposition transcript created by the court reporter. Later on, a judge can decide if that question was permissible or if it should not have been asked and the answer prevented from being used moving forward.

*After the Deposition*The court reporter will type up every word that was said and each party can request a transcript for review to use for preparation of trial. Parts of the deposition may be used at a trial and read to the judge and/or jury. It is important to remain consistent with your testimony because if your account of events differs between the deposition and trial, this may cast doubt on the validity of your claim. Preparing for the deposition with your attorney is the best way to prevent any mistakes at the deposition that could harm you at a subsequent trial.

The personal injury attorneys at Pivotal Law Group are here to help you every step of the way. We know that depositions might seem scary, but we are committed to preparing you for the event and making you as comfortable as possible throughout. Our attorneys are ready to see you through the entire case, from filing to trial to receiving your award. Contact us today for a consultation and find out how we can help you recover damages for an injury you have sustained due to the negligence of another.

(image courtesy of Matthew Henry)