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

Case Weaknesses: Property Damage, Soft Tissue

Posted Wednesday, April 16, 2014 by Chris Thayer

If your claim involves minor property damage or your injuries are low impact or soft tissue, it is getting considerably harder to win your claim in court.alt text

A Seattle personal injury law firm is keenly aware that insurance carriers are raising their main defense of low impact soft tissue damage in thousands of cases across the country. The American people have been influenced in recent years by the insurance industry and the millions of dollars they have spent advertising that people with pre-existing conditions and alleged injuries from low-impact collisions are trying to scam insurers out of billions of dollars with excessive and phony claims. Their approach has been backed up by stories produced on popular news TV programs such as “Dateline,” “20/20” and “60 Minutes” as well as articles in Time and USA Today regarding the “lawsuit crisis in America.”

Because of this influence, many verdicts in these low-impact, low property damage collisions result in only a low portion of medical bills or just the medical bills. Potential jurors are angry with TV advertising by lawyers as they believe the lawyers are creating the lawsuit. Often, after a verdict, jurors tell lawyers that their decision is meant as a warning to television advertisers.

There are other factors that a Seattle personal injury lawyer thinks you should know when it comes to assessing these cases. For example, when people drive past a serious automobile accident with significant damage, they believe there may have been serious injury. Conversely, when the there is no visible damage they believe there isn’t serious injury. Because of modern car technology, property damage is lowered even if the impact is great.

Insurance companies teach their representatives how to assert the defense of low-impact or low-visibility damages, and judges now believe that these cases are a strain on the system. Therefore, the judges are recommending a lower value in settlement conferences.

The challenge for a Seattle personal injury law firm is to convince the judge and jury that the injuries are serious, even if the property damage is light. It is their job to convince medical providers, insurance carriers and a mediator if the case goes to mediation. The defense has the advantage because they don’t have to do anything when the damage is not as apparent.

For more information on how a lawyer can assist you in a case with low property damage and soft tissue injury, contact attorney Chris Thayer at (206) 340-2008.

A Few FAQs About Settlement

Posted Thursday, April 10, 2014 by Chris Thayer

Reaching a settlement in your case can be a drawn out process (taking as long as several years) that will be affected by numerous underlying factors. Your Seattle personal injury law firm will explain the basics of settlements and provide instructions on how to prepare for them.

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Negotiation Tactics

Posted Wednesday, April 9, 2014 by Chris Thayer

A good attorney can help you deal with insurance companies regarding your personal injury claim.alt text

Even though you have insurance, your claim will initially not be handled by your insurance carrier. Instead, your claim will initially be handled by adjustment companies. These companies are either local or national and are very conservative with their claims. They rarely, if ever, have full authority to authorize settlements. If you feel you have been presented with an unusually low offer, a Seattle personal injury law office can request to negotiate directly with your insurance carrier. If that request is denied, then a suit can be filed. Then your insurance carrier may be more willing to negotiate directly with your attorney.

One common technique your insurance carrier may use is known as “the one and only offer.” When your letter of demand is received, often the insurance adjuster will contact your lawyer and say that they do not want to waste time with any back and forth negotiating, and their offer will be their one and only. A good attorney will reply that if their one and only offer is the same as what was demanded, then you and your lawyer will happily agree. However, your attorney may remind the insurance carrier that the settlement process requires a give and take, and “the one and only offer” is not a sign of good faith negotiating. Also, your attorney may say that you are not amenable to “the one and only offer” and will need room for movement.

Another technique that Seattle personal injury law office notices that insurance carriers use is known as the “bounce back double low-ball.” Here is an example: let’s say your attorney expects $20,000 in your case. Your attorney will demand $40,000 from the carrier, who counters with a very low $5,000. Then your attorney counters with $30,000 and hopes for a reasonable response, but your carrier only increased their offer to $5,500. This is what they call the “bounce back double low-ball.”

Your attorney will most likely deal with this tactic by filing suit. A low-ball offer from your carrier sends the message that they have no intention to settle yet. At this time, they expect your lawyer to either accept or litigate.

For more information on insurance negotiating tactics, contact Seattle personal injury attorney Chris Thayer at (206) 340-2008.

Cross-Examination Tips

Posted Wednesday, April 2, 2014 by Chris Thayer

You will likely encounter some difficult questions during cross examination. What’s more, your Seattle accident attorney may not object by mistake or out of strategic reasons, or the judge may instruct you to answer. Fortunately, your attorney will prepare you by going over the following common cross-examination questions and the best ways to address them.

Seattle Accident Attorney

How Your Personal Injury Claim Will Be Investigated by the Insurer

Posted Thursday, March 27, 2014 by Chris Thayer

Once you file a personal injury claim with the help of a Seattle personal injury lawyer and it has been given to an insurance adjuster to handle, the adjuster will commence an investigation into your claim. The goal of the investigation will be to answer the question of coverage: Who was responsible for the accident, are they properly covered under their insurance policy and might there be reasons to deny coverage?alt text

The exact course of the investigation will depend on the facts of your claim, but the adjuster will likely contact you and your Seattle personal injury attorney. For insurance companies, the carrier will closely examine the case for red flags that could be signs of an exaggerated or fraudulent claim, such as pre-existing injuries, frequent chiropractic treatment and complaints of soft-tissue injuries without matching evidence. The adjuster will also probably check the “claims index” to see if you have a history of filing personal injury claims.

For normal cases, the adjuster will then inquire into the question of property damage and whether it is going to be paid, especially if there was damage to an automobile. The adjuster will contact their insured and ask them for a statement about what happened. As your Seattle personal injury lawyer will know, the insured often shapes their accounts in order to suit themselves and deflect responsibility. The insured will likely be worried about insurance rate hikes, a policy cancellation or other consequences of being found liable for the accident.

The adjuster will then want to obtain a statement from you. It is a good idea to wait until you have retained a Seattle personal injury attorney to give this statement. Your attorney will tell you that he should be present when you give your statement.

The insurance adjuster might choose to investigate the scene of the incident in person and take photo evidence and diagrams. These will be used along with police reports to try to make a determination of liability.

If you have more questions about how the investigation into your case will proceed, talk to an experienced Seattle personal injury lawyer. Call Chris Thayer at (206) 340-2008.