Were You Injured Because Of Someone Else's Negligence? Browse Our FAQs

In addition to coping with a lot of stress and frustration, personal injury cases also come with a lot of questions. Here are some of the questions we hear the most at Max Meyers Law.

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  • How Does Insurance Work for a Dog Bite Case?

    Dog Showing TeethIf a dog attacked you, you need to know about insurance coverage that might pay some of your damages. Unlike car accidents in which automobile liability insurance can pay your losses, most people are unclear about what insurance, if any, will compensate you for dog bite injuries. You have several possibilities for insurance benefits in these situations.

    How Insurance Works in Dog Bite Cases

    Types of insurance that can pay some of your dog bite damages include:

    The homeowner’s liability policy of the dog owner.  The homeowner’s liability policy of the dog owner might provide some compensation for your injuries, but the odds are against this situation. Most homeowner’s insurance companies limit the amount of money they will pay on dog bite claims, exclude particular breeds from any coverage, or refuse to pay any dog bite claims whatsoever.

    For example, if the dog that bit you was a pit bull, it is unlikely that the dog owner’s residential policy will pay you any benefits because of the breed of the dog. If the policy provides some benefits for animal bites but limits the recovery to $5,000, by way of example, $5,000 is all you can collect from that policy, regardless of how high your losses were. Because the average payout for a dog-related claim is over $35,000, policy limits are often inadequate.

    Dog owner’s umbrella liability policy. Many people pay an additional premium to have a rider to their homeowner’s insurance policy. This extra coverage, often called “umbrella liability” covers the homeowner if someone successfully sues the homeowner for negligence not specifically mentioned in the standard homeowner’s policy.

    Unfortunately for dog bite victims, however, many of these unless umbrella policies now exclude coverage for animal bites or impose limitations similar to those in many standard homeowner’s policies. In these situations, the language of the policy will control how much, if any compensation you will receive under that insurance.

    Dog owner’s dog bite insurance. For many people, having a dog is a necessity, not a luxury. People often need:

    • Service dogs
    • Therapy dogs
    • Guard dogs

    Also, some people have dogs that their municipality declares as dangerous because of their breed, but the dog owner has no acceptable options. For circumstances like these and the “work” dogs, the insurance industry created a form of coverage for animal liability. Even people whose dogs do not fit into these categories sometimes buy animal liability insurance simply for the peace of mind it provides.

    Animal liability policies usually only cover injuries to third parties, not the dog owner or members of the owner’s family. That said, these policies provide some much-needed protection for the more than 4 million dog bite victims each year.

    Your health insurance. If all else fails, your health insurance can be a way for you to receive the medical care you need. You can then pursue a claim for compensation against the dog owner.

    Your Options If There Is No Insurance Coverage That Will Pay Your Losses

    If there are no insurance policies that can help you, we can go after the dog owner’s personal assets. The first step is to sue the owner in civil court seeking compensation for your losses. Once we get a judgment from the court, we can attempt to collect that amount of money from the dog owner.

    What Happens If You Were Partly Negligent

    Does fault on your part matter in dog bite cases in Washington State? No, unless you were trespassing or your dog bite was the result of the lawful use of a police dog. If you do not fall into either of those situations, the dog owner is strictly liable for your damages.

    Strict liability for dog bites in our state means that it does not matter how careful the dog owner was. If the person’s dog bit you and you were not within one of the exceptions, the owner has to pay all of the damages you incurred because of the dog attack.

    Here are some scenarios that explain Washington’s strict liability law on dog bites:

    • You were bicycling through a public park when Fido attacked and bit you. Fido’s owner is liable.
    • The same situation, except that you had just robbed a store and Fido was a police dog, lawfully pursuing you. Fido’s owner is not liable.
    • You are in a friend’s backyard at his invitation when his dog Spot bit you. Spot’s owner is liable.
    • You trespassed into your neighbor’s backyard and his dog bit you. The dog owner is not liable.

    Getting Legal Help for a Dog Bite Damages Claim

    Do not worry about sorting through all the possible sources of insurance coverage for your damages. We handle those issues for our clients. Give us a call at 425-399-7000, and we will set a time to meet with you and talk about your legal options. There is no charge for the initial consultation. We do not charge legal fees until you get compensation.

  • Statute of Limitations for Dog Bite Cases in Washington State

    ClockYou must file a lawsuit for dog bite injuries within three years in Washington State or you will lose your right to recover compensation for your damages. There are different types of dog bite injuries and health issues that can arise from them, but they are all categorized as personal injury, thus it is bound by this three-year statute of limitations and applies to dog bite cases in Washington State.

    Tolling of the Statute of Limitations

    Under some circumstances, the court will toll or suspend the state of limitations. Most of these situations involve either:

    • The plaintiff (injured person) cannot legally file a lawsuit due to lack of capacity, such as being under the age of eighteen, or
    • The defendant cannot be the subject of a lawsuit because of military duty, having left the state, or having gone into hiding.

    When the Defendant’s Actions Can Toll the Statute of Limitations

    If the dog owner is not a resident of Washington State, she might try to prevent you from suing her by staying outside of the state until the three-year deadline expires. This tactic will not work, however, because our laws say that the time limits will not run while a defendant leaves the state, lives elsewhere, or conceals herself. This extension of the statute is known as “tolling.” The same provision applies to Washington State residents who leave the state or hide to keep plaintiffs from serving them with lawsuits.

    Example of tolling the statute of limitations. Let’s say that defendant Dave owned a dog that attacked and mauled plaintiff Pam. Fearing a lawsuit with a massive damages award, Dave left the country and stayed out of the public eye. Plaintiff Pam tried unsuccessfully to find him. After three years, Dave returned to Washington, thinking that Pam could no longer sue him for the dog bite. Fortunately for Pam, our state law does not count the time Dave was in hiding toward the three-year statute of limitations. The clock does not start to run until Dave comes out of concealment.

    When the Law Considers a Lawsuit Filed for Purposes of the Statute of Limitations

    You must either file the complaint with the court or serve the summons on the defendant to satisfy the requirement of commencing a lawsuit. You must accomplish both filing the complaint and service of the summons in compliance with the state law to be timely. This means that:

    • If you filed the complaint before you served the summons, you must accomplish service of the summons personally or start service by publication within 90 days of when you filed the complaint.
    • If you served the complaint personally or by publication before you filed the complaint, you must file the complaint with the court within 90 days of when you served the summons.

    If you miss these deadlines, even if the first action took place before the three-year statute of limitations expired, the law will not consider the lawsuit as commenced in time. If you miss the deadline, you cannot file your lawsuit. Find out more about whether your dog bite case will go to court.

    What We Have to Show in a Dog Bite Lawsuit in Washington State

    Our dog bite liability statute says that:

    "The owner of any dog which shall bite any person while such person is in or on a public place or lawfully in or on a private place including the property of the owner of such dog, shall be liable for such damages as may be suffered by the person bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of such dog or the owner's knowledge of such viciousness."

    All we have to show is that you were:

    • In a public place or lawfully on private property when the dog bit you, and
    • That you were not trespassing or bitten due to the lawful use of a police dog.

    Once we establish those factors, we then identify the owner and make a claim for your damages.

    Dog Owner’s Defense as to the Viciousness of the Dog

    As you can see, the statute specifies that the owner is liable for damages regardless of whether the dog had ever been vicious before. The dog owner might deny being aware of the dog’s viciousness in the event that the dog had bitten someone in the past, but the statute also makes that denial irrelevant. There is no “one free bite” rule in our state. Contact our firm at 425-399-7000 should you have any questions regarding the three-year statute of limitations for dog bite cases in Washington State.

    How to Get Help for a Dog Bite Case in Washington State

    You do not have to navigate the complexities of a dog bit case alone. At Max Meyers Law, PLLC, we take care of those issues for our clients. Just make sure that you do not delay in coming to talk with us so that you do not miss the deadlines imposed by the statute of limitations which would be three years for dog bite cases in Washington State.

    We can meet with you at no cost to you to evaluate your claim for compensation for your dog bite injuries. Call us at 425-399-7000, and we will arrange your free consultation.

  • What Are the Dog Bite Laws in Washington State?

    Beware of Dog SignIf you have experienced the terror of a dog attack, you might wonder how the law can allow this to happen. Our state statutes are supposed to protect us and make it safe for us to walk around peaceably without fearing that animals will maul us.

    The laws of Washington state do offer some protection by making owners responsible for paying whatever damage their dogs cause when they bite people. Here is the language of the statute:

    “The owner of any dog which shall bite any person while such person is in or on a public place or lawfully in or on a private place including the property of the owner of such dog, shall be liable for such damages as may be suffered by the person bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of such dog or the owner's knowledge of such viciousness.”

    Who Is Liable Under Washington State’s Dog Bite Statute

    The owner is the one liable when a dog bites someone. So, if some kids take the family dog for a walk and the animal bites you, the owner has to pay your damages. It is not a defense that the children could not control the animal or that the owner did not permit the kids to walk the dog.

    Dog Breeds Do Not Affect Your Right to Compensation

    Legislation in some parts of the United States targets specific breeds, but the law in our state cares more about the victim than the breed of the dog. It does not matter if the dog that bit you is a massive St. Bernard or a tiny Chihuahua. The law says “any dog.”

    Who Gets the Protection of Washington State’s Dog Bite Law

    The law protects “any person,” who got bitten when they were:

    • In any public place, or
    • Lawfully on private property

    Trespassers cannot sue the dog owner for their dog bite damages.

    No Cap on the Damages for Dog Bites

    The owner has to pay “such damages as may be suffered by the person bitten.” Notice that the law does not say something like “up to $50,000,” or any other limiting language. Whatever damages you sustained from the dog bite are the responsibility of the owner.

    So, if you had a $3,000 emergency room bill and did not need additional medical care, the owner has to pay the $3,000 expense. On the other hand, if a dog bit someone in the face and the person needed several reconstructive and plastic surgeries, with medical bills totaling over $200,000, the dog owner is liable for that amount.

    No Free Bite Rule in Washington State

    In many states, you cannot hold the owner responsible for your damages unless the dog previously bit you or someone else. Known as the “one bite” or “one free bite” rule, this law puts the burden on the injured person to investigate and prove what the dog did in the past. Washington State protects dog bite victims and does not treat you differently because of the animal’s history.

    It is also no defense in our state for the owner to declare that the dog has always been gentle. The law says the owner is responsible for the bite damages “regardless of the former viciousness of such dog or the owner's knowledge of such viciousness.”

    No Negligence Required

    In most personal injury lawsuits, you have to prove that the person who caused your injury was careless or negligent. Thanks to Washington State’s dog bite statute, you do not have to show any negligence on the part of the animal’s owner. Our state law makes dog owners strictly liable to people their dog’s bite unless the victim is a trespasser.

    Local Dog Leash Laws

    Many municipalities throughout the state of Washington require that pet owners keep their dogs and other domestic animals on leashes whenever the animals are in public places. State law does not require the use of leashes except in state parks.

    If a dog is violating the local leash law when the animal bites you, the owner can be subject to fines and other consequences in addition to having to pay your damages. Also, a judge and jury are likely to “throw the book at” a dog owner who refuses to obey the local ordinances, resulting in the injury of an innocent person.

    Washington State Law on Reporting Dog Bites

    Health care providers must report animal bites if they suspect that a human experienced possible exposure to rabies. They must notify public health authorities to prevent and “control communicable and noninfectious diseases” throughout the state.

    The health care provider’s records can be valuable evidence for us to prove your dog bite damages case. The report will contain information about your case that can establish the owner’s liability for your losses.

    How to Get Help for a Dog Bite Case in Washington State

    You can meet with us for free to find out if you might have a claim for compensation for your dog bite injuries. Call us at 425-399-7000, and we will arrange your no-cost consultation.

  • How Much Is a Dog Bite Settlement?

    Gavel on Top of Money Symbolizing a SettlementEvery dog bite situation is unique, so there is not one set dollar amount for all dog bite settlements. We can, however, explore the common topics that tend to affect how much compensation you can get in these claims. Here are seven factors that can impact the value of your dog bite case:

    1. Medical treatment. You should always get professional medical treatment right away for a dog bite injury. The trauma professionals will clean your wounds to minimize the risk of infection, repair tissue damage, administer painkillers, and call in surgeons or other specialists if appropriate. The emergency room personnel will also assess the risk of exposure to rabies            and determine if you need to undergo a series of rabies shots. Although these injections are painful, they are the only hope for people bitten by an animal with     rabies. Once symptoms of rabies show up, there is no treatment. The costs of all the medical treatment you needed because of the dog attack will      be part of your damages claim. Your medical records will also serve as valuable    evidence that the dog bite caused your injuries.
    2. Lost wages. Depending on the severity of your injuries, you might not be able to work for a while after a dog bite. You can collect compensation for the income you missed out on because of the attack, including recuperating time afterward.
    3. Ongoing medical care. You might need follow-up surgeries, physical therapy, or other medical treatment after the initial trauma care. As long as we can link these services to the dog bite, they are compensable.
    4. Decreased earning potential. A significant dog attack can cause you to be unable to make as much money as before. For example, if a carpenter suffers shoulder damage from a dog bite incident, he might not be able to perform all the tasks of his job. If he has to take a lower-paying job, the difference in his income can be part of his claim.
    5. Disfigurement. In addition to physical harm, terror, and pain, dog bites can be disfiguring. Dogs often go for the face and hands, causing disfiguring injuries. A mauling can subject a victim to the need for multiple reconstructive surgeries and scar revision procedures. The best medical care cannot always erase the scars of a dog attack.
    6. Disability. Dog bites can rip flesh apart and crush bones. The deep puncture wounds from a dog’s teeth and powerful jaws can destroy muscles, nerves, tendons, and ligaments. You can lose the use of your hands, arms, or legs. Some catastrophic dog attacks can leave the victim unable to work. When this happens, the dog owner is responsible for the disability of the victim.  
    7. Complications. Dog bites are particularly prone to infection. A dog’s saliva carries many types of harmful bacteria. Since the dog’s teeth can carry the bacteria deep into a victim, an infection can develop deep in your muscles or other tissue. Some of these infections are lethal, and others can be debilitating. If you suffer different types of complications from the dog bite, the owner can be liable for those damages, as well.

    What We Have to Prove for the Defendant to Be Liable for Your Injuries

    Most personal injuries lawsuits make you prove that the defendant was negligent and that his carelessness caused your injuries. Dog bites in Washington State, however, are strict liability cases. That means that, no matter how careful the owner was, he is liable if his dog bites someone.

    There are two exceptions to the strict liability for dog bites rule in Washington State:

    • Trespassers
    • Lawful actions using police dogs

    For all other dog bite injuries in Washington State, under the legal theory of strict liability, we must prove these elements:

    • A dog bit you.
    • The defendant owned the dog that bit you.
    • The dog attacked you when you were in any public place or lawfully on private property.
    • You were not trespassing at the time of the dog bite.
    • Your bite was not the result of the lawful use of a police dog.

    Note that we do not have to prove that the dog had bitten someone before you or that the owner knew the dog was vicious. Washington State does not have a “one free bite” rule. Even if the dog was as docile as a lamb in the past, the owner is liable for all damages the victim suffers when his dog bites someone.

    How to Get Help for Your Dog Bite Claim

    The team at Max Meyers Law can investigate the dog attack, collect the evidence to prove liability, gather the proof of your damages, negotiate with the insurance company, and see your case through trial. Call us today at 425-399-7000 to set up your free consultation. There is no obligation, and we do not charge legal fees until you get compensation.

  • Is the Owner Liable for a Dog Bite?

    Dog Owner Walking DogIf you were the victim of a dog bite, you probably experienced pain and physical injuries. While some people might think that there is nothing you can do about your losses if an animal bit you, that is not necessarily the case. Washington State law protects people from vicious dogs and makes their owners pay for the harm they cause.

    The Washington State Dog Bite Statute

    Our state protects dog bite victims by making the animal’s owner financially liable. RCW 16.08.040 provides that:

    “The owner of any dog which shall bite any person while such person is in or on a public place or lawfully in or on a private place including the property of the owner of such dog, shall be liable for such damages as may be suffered by the person bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of such dog or the owner's knowledge of such viciousness.”

    Examples of Dog Bite Liability

    The owner can be liable in situations like these:

    • You were walking, running, or otherwise present in a public area, such as on a sidewalk, street, or park.
    • You were on the job performing your required tasks, like delivering mail or packages or reading a water or electric meter, whether you were on private or public property at the time of the attack.
    • You were on your own property or legally present on anyone else’s property.

    Damages the Owner Has to Pay

    The law provides that the owner has to pay “for such damages as may be suffered by the person bitten.”

    We can seek compensation for your economic damages, like:

    • All reasonable medical expenses related to the injury, including plastic and reconstructive surgery. Dog bites can be disfiguring, and people often need and want to remove or minimize the scars. The emergency room, doctors, surgical, hospital, physical and occupational therapy, and other medical costs are compensable.
    • Lost wages if you missed work because of the injury, surgeries, therapy, and recuperation time.

    We can also pursue your non-economic damages, such as:

    • Physical pain
    • Mental suffering and anguish
    • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which many dog bite victims suffer
    • Disfigurement
    • Loss of enjoyment of life, if the experience causes you to be unable to do things you used to enjoy, like going for walks or riding your bike, out of fear of being attacked again

    Dog Bites and Homeowner’s Insurance

    Many homeowner’s insurance policies cover dog bites. If the person whose dog bit you does not have homeowner’s insurance that will pay your damages, we can help you explore other options for recovering compensation for your damages.

    Liability for Dog Bites to Trespassers

    The statute does not make owners liable for dog bites if a trespasser comes on their property. There is only liability to people in public places or people who are lawfully on private property.

    What Happens if the Dog’s Owner Claims the Dog Has Never Bitten Anyone Before

    Faced with a lawsuit for monetary compensation, a dog owner might try to avoid having to pay for your damages. Some people will deny anything that is adverse to them.

    But the statute makes the dog owner liable “regardless of the former viciousness of such dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.”

    Liability for Police Dog Bites

    If a law enforcement officer uses a police dog within the bounds of the law and the animal bites someone, the bitten person cannot bring a lawsuit under RCW 16.08.040. The statute specifically excludes the lawful application of police dogs from liability.

    How We Prove Your Dog Bite Case

    We will gather the evidence to build your claim for compensation. Here is how we will establish what happened and what you suffered:

    The factual allegations: we can use the police or incident report, animal control services report, your testimony, and other eyewitnesses.

    The medical expenses: we will establish the amount of these costs through your medical records and invoices. Your medical records can also link your treatment and injuries to the dog bite, which is essential for proving causation.

    Your lost wages: we show how much time you missed from work. If you are self-employed, we will use other available records.

    Your non-economic losses: we support your claim for things like pain and suffering by performing calculations and using your testimony and medical records.

    Getting Legal Help for a Dog Bite Lawsuit in Washington State

    You do not have to puzzle through the legal technicalities to determine whether you have a viable lawsuit if you experienced a dog bite. All you need to do is call Max Meyers Law at 425-399-7000. We will explain your legal options. We do not charge legal fees until you get compensation.

  • How Do I Report a Dog Bite in King County?

    Dog BarkingDog bites are significant medical issues for the person bitten and public health issues for the community at large. There is no cure for rabies once the symptoms appear. You should always get immediate medical attention after a dog bite so a health care professional can assess whether you need to undergo a series of rabies shots. As soon as you address the medical issues, you might need to report the dog bite to the authorities.

    When You Need to Report the Dog Bite to Animal Control

    The Public Health Department for Seattle & King County mandates that the owner should confine and observe the animal for 10 days after the bite. If confinement and observation are not possible, such as in the case of a stray or wild dog, you should report the bite to the local animal control agency where the dog lives. If you do not know where the animal lives, report to the agency for the location where the bite happened.

    How to Contact Your Local Animal Control Agency in King County

    Multiple animal control agencies serve residents of King County. You should call the agency for the appropriate location as follows:

    • Seattle Animal Shelter: 206-386-7387
    • Cities of Algona, Pacific, and Milton: 253-841-5595
    • City of Burien: 206-241-4647
    • City of Des Moines: 206-870-6549
    • City of Federal Way: 253-835-7387
    • City of Medina: 425-233-6420 or 425-233-6400
    • City of Normandy Park: 206-248-7603
    • City of Renton: 425-430-6850
    • City of Skykomish: 360-677-2388
    • Other cities and unincorporated areas should call this number for Regional Animal Services of King County: 206-296-7387

    Confining an Animal After a Dog Bite in King County

    If the dog that bit you gets sick or dies within the 10 days, you need to call the Department of Public Health at 206-296-4774 to see if it is necessary to have the remains tested for rabies.

    During the confinement, you need to observe the dog every day. For the entire 10 days, DO NOT:

    • Let the dog escape.
    • Allow the dog to be in the yard by itself or run loose.
    • Take it off of the property even in your vehicle, for a walk, or to a dog park.
    • Let any people, pets, or wild animals have any contact with the animal.
    • Vaccinate the dog for rabies within the 10-day confinement – but if its rabies shots are not current, DO get it vaccinated after the 10th day.
    • Sell, give away, destroy, or dispose of the animal.

    Risk Factors and Dog Bites

    There is a low risk of rabies throughout the state of Washington, but it can happen. Your highest risk factors of contracting rabies from a dog bite or scratch are if the injury occurred:

    • When you were outside of the United States
    • From an animal brought into the U.S. from another country during the last six months
    • From an animal that has been in contact with bats or other wild animals
    • From a hybrid dog, in other words, a dog that is a mixture of domestic and wild
    • From a dog that was sick and not behaving the way it usually does
    • From a wild animal, even if someone has made a pet of the dog

    Mandated Reporting of Dog Bites

    Washington State law requires that all healthcare providers immediately report animal bites to public health authorities (the local health department) when there is a suspicion that the bite has exposed a human to rabies.

    Public Nuisances and Vicious Dogs

    You can report a dog bite to your local animal control for them to be on notice that the animal might be a public nuisance or a vicious animal. Each designation carries different consequences.

    If a dog attacks, bites or tries to bite one or more persons two or more times within a two-year period, it is a public nuisance. The authorities can impound and dispose of the animal.

    A dog that endangers the safety of people, other animals, or property because of its tendency to attack or bite people or domesticated animals without provocation is a vicious animal. The authorities can investigate and require necessary measures to protect the public or can impound the animal. The county can charge the owner with a criminal misdemeanor.

    How to Get Legal Help for a Dog Bite in King County

    If you or someone close to you has experienced a dog bite, call Max Meyers Law for help with your legal case. There is no charge for the consultation. Call 425-399-7000 for your free case evaluation.

  • How Much Is a Car Accident Settlement for a Child?

    Three Children in Car SeatsEvery case is different, so we cannot estimate the value of any child’s car accident settlement without evaluating the evidence.

    Several factors determine how much compensation your child should receive for injuries. Some of those factors are discussed below. If you would like to discuss your child’s car accident case, call Max Meyers Law at 425-399-7000.

    Damages for Car Crashes Involving Children

    The damages can vary based on the age of the child. For example, a five-year-old is unlikely to have lost wages because of a wreck. If a teenager misses time from work because of a car accident, however, he can recover for lost income.

    A child of any age can, however, incur bills for treating his injuries. You can get compensation for any reasonable medical treatment your child needs for his injuries, as well as long-term medical treatment and life care.

    Children can also recover for their pain and suffering.

    Here is a longer list of possible recoverable damages for child car accident cases:

    • Medical bills (current and future)
    • Lost wages, depending on the child’s age
    • Loss of future earning potential
    • Pain and suffering
    • Disability
    • Disfigurement
    • Loss of enjoyment of life

    This is not a complete list of recoverable damages in child car accident settlements. Other damages may be recoverable depending on the circumstances of the accident. We recommend working with a car accident lawyer for a more detailed evaluation of recoverable damages for your case.

    Set up a consultation with Max Meyers Law by calling 425-399-7000.

    Tolling the Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Cases Involving Children

    There are time limits for filing lawsuits for damages in personal injury cases. However, you may be able to toll the statute of limitations if the injured person is a child. Under RCW 14.16.190, the statute of limitations tolls until the child turns 18, meaning the clock does not start to run until the child turns 18.

    But parents may bring a case of their own separate from the child’s case. Parents may bring their case before the child’s 18th birthday and seek compensation for their damages, which often include medical bills and other financial losses.

    What Happens When More Than One Person Is at Fault for a Child’s Injuries?

    Sometimes more than one person’s negligence contributes to the wreck.

    Let’s say that your child was riding in the car with a family friend. The family friend took his attention away from the road for a moment, just as an inattentive driver ran a red light and t-boned your friend’s vehicle, injuring your child.

    If the family friend was 10 percent at fault for the wreck, he would be responsible for 10 percent of your child’s damages, with the other driver responsible for 90 percent. The total should cover your child’s damages.

    Establishing Liability for a Car Accident Case

    In any personal injury case, whether the plaintiff is an adult or a child, the plaintiff must establish the defendant is liable for damages.

    Proving liability for personal injury requires proving these four things:

    • Duty of care. All drivers owe a duty of care to others on the road, including children who are passengers in other vehicles or who are walking or bicycling on or near the roadway.
    • Breach of duty (negligence). Drivers who fail to meet their duty of care are negligent. Examples of negligence include speeding, aggressive driving, or failing to check for pedestrians and bicyclists (such as children) at intersections.
    • Causation. A personal injury case must also establish that the defendant’s negligence caused your child’s injuries. For example, if the defendant failed to stop at a stop sign and struck the vehicle in which your child was a passenger, then the defendant’s negligence caused your child’s injuries.
    • Damages. Your case must prove your child suffered damages because of the wreck. These may include the damages listed above such as medical bills, loss of earning potential, pain and suffering, and more.

    Your child’s case will need evidence to establish these four elements. Evidence might include not only proof of who caused the accident but proof of your child’s damages, such as:

    • Wage records (if applicable)
    • Medical bills
    • Medical evaluation of future disability
    • Medical assessment of future medical needs
    • And more

    Getting Legal Help for Your Child’s Injury Claim

    We know how traumatic it can be when your child gets hurt in a car crash. At Max Meyers Law, we can help.

    When we handle your case, you can focus on helping your child recover from injuries while we handle the personal injury case. Your initial consultation is free. In fact, we will not charge any attorney fees unless you recover compensation.

    Call us today at 425-399-7000 to get your free consultation.

  • What Is Accident Reconstruction for a Car Accident?

    Accident Reconstruction ExpertWhen people disagree on what caused an accident or on details like the speed at which the vehicles traveled before impact, lawyers sometimes use accident reconstruction experts. These professionals perform scientific analysis of the vehicles, people, equipment, and the scene of the accident.

    An accident reconstruction expert’s report can help us in settlement negotiations and, if need be, in the trial. Call Max Meyers Law at 425-399-7000 today, to schedule a free consultation and case review.

    Evidence Used by Experts for an Accident Reconstruction for a Car Accident

    Accident reconstruction experts can evaluate what actually happened by exploring the evidence and applying accepted scientific principles and formulas. For example:

    • Photographs of the vehicles and the scene of the accident: show the points of impact, the location of the collision, where each vehicle came to rest after the crash, and other local details.
    • Videos: when security video or other recordings are available, the expert can calculate precise details. They can also measure distances, speeds, and time and determine the sequence of events.
    • Measurements: the experts can go to the scene and make their own measurements, which can support or challenge the police report. Let’s say that the police report accuses you of causing an accident. Through taking her own measurements of the accident scene, an accident reconstruction expert might be able to prove that the police report was inaccurate and that the other driver caused the wreck.
    • Physical evidence: can establish what happened before, during, and after the crash. The vehicles are physical evidence. When the expert examines the points of impact and extent of the damage to the vehicles, he might be able to prove that one of the parties is lying about who was at fault or the speed at which the vehicles traveled. The expert can also obtain valuable information from pieces that broke off of the cars.
    • Related documents: if someone is claiming that brake failure or some other equipment malfunction caused the collision, an engineer may be able to review the specifications, engineering reports, and other manufacturing documents to evaluate the equipment in question.

    Methods used for accident reconstruction for a car accident, include:

    • Accident simulation
    • Video analysis
    • Impact testing
    • Photogrammetry
    • Computational analysis
    • Other methods

    Accident reconstruction experts analyze cases involving:

    How We Can Use Accident Reconstruction to Help Prove Your Case

    Judges and juries like to see scientific evidence. In motor vehicle accident cases, one category of scientific evidence is accident reconstruction (AR).

    AR experts can show the judge and jury calculations, computer simulations, and other scholarly evidence to build our case on issues like these:

    • Whether the occupant of a vehicle was wearing a seat belt
    • If a seat malfunctioned
    • A vehicle’s speed
    • How long before impact a driver hit the brakes
    • What happened after the driver braked
    • The sequence of events that led to the crash, who hit who first, and what happened throughout the entire event
    • Environmental factors
    • What caused the event
    • Additional contributory factors

    An Accident Reconstruction Example

    An SUV struck a bicyclist in an intersection. The SUV driver accused the bicyclist of drifting to the left side of the street, hitting the SUV head-on. The bicyclist sustained head injuries and had no memory of the event.

    The AR experts proved that the SUV driver was lying and that the SUV driver was at fault. The driver turned right at the intersection, hitting the bike, that was going through the intersection in the bike path. The SUV driver failed to yield right of way to through traffic. The crash could not have happened the way that the SUV driver claimed that it did.

    The AR expert proved these vital factors by:

    • Analyzing the police report and photographs
    • Visiting the scene of the accident and taking precise measurements
    • Looking at the damage to the SUV and the bike
    • Evaluating the bike rider’s injuries

    Getting Help for Your Motor Vehicle Accident

    There is a statute of limitations in Washington state for car accidents, so it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible after a car accident. We can help you through every step of the process, including settlement or trial discussions, collecting evidence, working with accident reconstruction experts, and more.

    Call us today at 425-399-7000, to arrange your free consultation. We will not charge you to evaluate your case.

  • What is the Settlement for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome from a Car Accident?

    Man With Neck Pain From Thoracic Outlet SyndromeEvery thoracic outlet syndrome case from a car accident is different, so we cannot give a dollar amount that would be appropriate to settle your case. We can, however, discuss your case and investigate your accident, injuries, and damages to estimate a fair settlement value, and then fight for the compensation you deserve.

    Several factors go into settlement value for thoracic outlet syndrome after a car accident, including:

    • Severity of your injury
    • How well your injury heals
    • How your injury affects your life
    • Financial effects of your injury
    • Other damages related to your injury

    Get a free consultation from Max Meyers Law. Call 425-399-7000.

    The Severity of Your Thoracic Outlet Syndrome Injury

    The thoracic outlet is the space between your first rib and your collarbone. Physical trauma from car accidents is one of the causes of thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS), according to the Mayo Clinic. TOS happens when the trauma compresses the nerves or blood vessels in the thoracic outlet.

    TOS can make your neck and shoulders hurt, and can cause your fingers to feel numb. You may require surgery, physical therapy, or other treatment.

    How the injury severity affects your settlement. The severity of your injury affects the medical treatment you require and the effects of the injury on your life. Your settlement should account for your medical bills and disability.

    How Well Your Thoracic Outlet Syndrome Injury Heals

    If your TOS heals completely, you can count yourself fortunate. Some people experience residual symptoms of TOS long after completing initial treatment.

    Residual symptoms of TOS can include:

    • Muscle wasting in your hand
    • Pain in your neck, shoulder, and hand
    • Numbness and tingling in your fingers or arm
    • Weakness when you try to grip something
    • Discoloration in the arm from obstructed blood flow
    • Cold arm, hand or fingers
    • Your arm fatigues quickly when you use it
    • Your hand turns blue or lacks color

    How Thoracic Outlet Syndrome Can Affect Your Life

    When you suffer continuing problems from TOS, it can be hard to perform the daily tasks of living or working. This situation is particularly true if the injury affects your dominant arm or when you are performing tasks that require the use of both hands or arms.

    If you cannot do your job as before, you might have to cut back your hours or seek a lower-paying job. In extreme cases, you might not be able to work at all. You might also need assistance at home with personal care, housekeeping, meal preparation, yard work, and home maintenance.

    Your Financial Losses

    We will collect evidence to show your economic losses. These damages can include any reasonable medical treatment you needed because of the accident, like the emergency room, hospital, surgery, doctor, prescription drugs, and physical therapy. The income you lost because of the crash and medical recuperation is also recoverable in a car accident claim.

    We can also seek damages for the loss of your earning capacity, if the injury affected your job. Additionally, if you had to hire help at home because of the TOS, we can add that amount to the settlement demand.

    Your Non-Economic Damages

    Since you suffered physical injuries, you may also be eligible for non-economic damages. This category can include:

    • Pain and suffering: for your physical discomfort, inconvenience, and emotional distress.
    • Disfigurement: if you have extensive noticeable scars from the injuries.
    • Loss of enjoyment of life: if the TOS makes you unable to do things that you used to enjoy, like playing a musical instrument or drawing.

    Your Other Injuries from the Wreck

    If you sustained other injuries in the accident, we will include the damages for all of your injuries in your claim. You do not have to pursue separate claims for different injuries as long as they happened in the same crash.

    If You Were Partly at Fault, How Will Your Settlement for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome Be Affected?

    Do not assume that you cannot get compensation for your injuries if you were partially to blame for causing the car crash. You should not get stuck with all of your losses just because you made a mistake. As long as someone else was also at fault, our state’s rule on comparative negligence will allow you to receive some compensation.

    The way Washington’s comparative fault works is that the law will reduce the amount of your settlement to account for your fault. For example, if you were 20 percent at fault, you will get 80 percent of your damages (100 percent reduced by 20 percent). If you would have gotten $100,000, you will get $80,000 after the 20 percent reduction for your partial negligence.

    Getting Legal Help for Your Thoracic Outlet Syndrome Injury Claim

    There is a time limit for filing a car accident claim, so contact a lawyer as soon as possible.

    Call Max Meyers Law today at 425-399-7000, to get your no-cost consultation. We will talk with you about your case for free.

  • Can You Toll the Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury in Washington State?

    Statute of LimitationsAlthough state law only gives you three years to file a personal injury lawsuit in Washington State under ordinary circumstances, there are quite a few ways to toll (suspend) that deadline.

    Some of the exceptions apply to the plaintiff, and others apply to the defendant. Work with a lawyer who can help you file your lawsuit and address any issues pertaining to the tolling of the statute of limitations.

    Absence From the State or Concealment

    If the defendant goes into hiding, you can sue her when she is located, per RCW 4.16.180.

    Let’s say that a person who lives in our state kills another driver because of driving while intoxicated. The drunk driver goes into hiding after the wreck. When she is located, the clock starts running on the deadline to sue. The time she was unavailable does not count toward the three-year time limit.

    Personal Disability

    A plaintiff who cannot bring a lawsuit because of a personal disability can toll the statute of limitations. For purposes of tolling the deadline, Washington statues define “personal disability” as being:

    • Under the age of eighteen (except for medical malpractice cases);
    • Being incompetent;
    • Not being able to understand the nature of the legal proceedings because of a disability; or
    • Being held in jail or prison prior to sentencing for a criminal offense.

    The person must have had the disability at the time that the cause of action arose if he wants to use the condition to delay the statute of limitations. Also, if a person has more than one disability when the right to file a lawsuit accrues, all such disabilities must be removed before that person can sue or be the subject of a lawsuit.

    Death

    If either the person who wants to file a lawsuit or the defendant dies before filing the lawsuit, different time limits kick in that could affect the deadline. For example, if the right to sue survives the death of the plaintiff, his representatives can file a lawsuit within one year of his death, even if that date is longer than three years after the original personal injury accident.

    Person in United States Military Service

    A person who is in active military service for the United States has the right not to be sued for specific causes of action and in certain situations. The time during which the law prohibits you from suing this person will not count toward the three-year limit to file a personal injury lawsuit.

    Judicial Proceedings

    Sometimes, a statute or a court order (injunction) will prohibit anyone from filing a lawsuit against a person. When this happens, the time of prohibition will not count toward the three years.

    For example, A wants to sue B for personal injuries sustained in a car crash that B caused. A judge issues an injunction that prohibits any lawsuits against B for six months. That six-month period will not count toward the three years A has to file a personal injury lawsuit.

    When the Law Deems an Action Commenced

    Whichever happens first, the service of summons on the defendant or the filing of the complaint, will be the point at which the law considers the action begun for purposes of cases involving tolling of the statute of limitations.

    You have to file the complaint with the court within 90 days of serving the defendant if service happened first. If filing the complaint was the first thing to happen, you must get personal service or begin service by publication within 90 days of filing the complaint.

    Getting Legal Help for Your Personal Injury Accident Lawsuit

    You do not have to stress out about how much time you have to file your injury lawsuit or whether there is some reason that the law will extend the deadline. At Max Meyers Law, we can help you file your lawsuit after a car accident and meet any applicable deadlines to preserve your right to file a lawsuit.

    Call us today at 425-399-7000 for your free consultation.

  • What Is the Settlement for a Pregnant Woman in a Car Accident?

    Pregnant Woman DrivingThe settlement value of every case is different because the facts vary from one car accident to the next. We need to explore the plaintiff’s financial, physical, and emotional damages. In a collision involving a pregnant woman, you have the additional variables of:

    • Unique harm a pregnant woman can suffer in a car accident
    • Injuries to the unborn child

    Err on the Side of Caution If You Were in an Accident While Pregnant

    Even if you feel perfectly fine and the wreck was a minor fender bender, you should see to your doctor or go to the emergency room for an assessment and evaluation of your and your baby’s health.

    The force from a car accident may be enough to injure the baby. If caught early enough, medical professionals may be able to intervene and save the pregnancy.

    You do not have to be in a significant collision to suffer injuries when you are pregnant. So, if you were in a car wreck, seek medical evaluation as soon as possible even if you do not feel injured.

    Trauma Pregnant Women Can Sustain in Car Wrecks

    Since you are growing and carrying another life inside you, a collision can harm you in different ways than if you were not expecting. The four main categories of medical issues the trauma team will assess are:

    1. Your immediate condition. They will evaluate whether you are physically stable and check your airway, breathing, and circulation.
    2. Obstetric injuries.
    3. Non-obstetric injuries.
    4. Fetal well-being.

    What Constitutes Major Trauma for a Pregnant Woman in a Crash

    The rules are different for evaluating trauma when you are expecting. If you experienced anything more significant than minor cuts or bruises, the hospital may treat you as having major trauma.

    Some symptoms that may indicate a severe injury include:

    • Pain
    • Abdominal injury
    • Decreased fetal movement
    • Vaginal bleeding or fluid loss

    Recoverable Damages for a Pregnant Woman in a Car Accident

    Some of the damages recoverable in your injury claim may include:

    Hospitalization

    Doctors may keep pregnant women in the hospital for observation and monitoring after a car accident. Some women have to remain hospitalized for several days or weeks. It could be necessary to stay in the hospital for the remainder of the pregnancy.

    The diagnostic tests, monitoring, and hospitalization can increase the medical expenses significantly over someone in a similar crash who was not expecting.

    Your car accident claim should seek compensation for the costs of hospitalization after your accident.

    Medical Expenses

    Your settlement will not include your ordinary obstetric expenses, but it can include expenses above the cost of expected medical care for an uneventful pregnancy and delivery if we can tie the medical treatment to the accident.

    The emergency room, diagnostic work, procedures, doctor bills, and hospitalization that were necessary because of the accident should be part of your settlement.

    Lost Wages

    As with any negligence case, the income you lost because of the collision is compensable. When a pregnant woman suffers an injury in a car crash, lost wages can be significant, as she may require hospitalization and extended bedrest that keeps her out of work.

    Necessary Childcare If You Are in the Hospital or on Bedrest

    You may be able to recover compensation for what you had to pay someone else to perform tasks you could not do because of hospitalization or bedrest from a car accident.

    If you have other children at home, your spouse or partner, friends, and family might pitch in to replace the care you routinely provided before the crash, but if your circumstances require hiring someone, we can pursue compensation for this expense.

    Assistance in the Home

    The law applies the same approach to other tasks, like cleaning and yardwork you cannot perform because of your injuries from the car accident. If you have to hire somebody to do household chores or yardwork that you normally do, you may pursue compensation for those expenses as well.

    Protecting Your Right to Compensation After a Car Accident

    We know that you have a million things on your mind if you suffered an injury in a car crash while pregnant.

    Be sure to call Max Meyers Law at 425-399-7000 right away, so that we can take the legal matters off your plate.

    Do not delay. If you miss the filing deadline, you will lose your legal right to a settlement or award of damages.

  • What Is the Statute of Limitations in Washington State for Car Accidents?

    Statute of LimitationsIn Washington state, you have to file an action for personal injuries resulting from a car accident within three years of the wreck. (R.C.W. Section 4.16.080) If you do not meet this deadline, you may be unable to file a lawsuit to get compensation for your injuries.

    An Insurance Company Cannot Change the Amount of Time You Have to File a Lawsuit

    Notify the insurance company right away about an accident, but the insurer cannot change the legal deadlines for filing a lawsuit for your injuries. If an insurance company denies your claim, saying that you waited too long to file your personal injury claim, but you are within three years of the wreck, contact a Washington car accident lawyer.

    Do Not Wait Until the Eleventh Hour to Talk to a Lawyer About Your Case

    A great deal goes into filing a lawsuit. Some of the possible steps we might take before filing a lawsuit, depending on the facts of your case, can include:

    • Investigating the accident to determine who caused the wreck;
    • Finding out if there are multiple liable parties;
    • Working with experts in accident reconstruction to figure out how the collision happened; and
    • Obtaining police reports that identify all the parties involved in the wreck and that may describe the weather and road conditions at the scene of the accident.

    All these actions take time. After we complete our investigation and identify fault and liability, we prepare the required legal documents to initiate a lawsuit.

    Act Quickly to Preserve the Evidence for a Car Accident

    Although you might still have time left under the statute of limitations, you can lose essential evidence we need to prove fault if you wait too long to act. Here are a few examples:

    • The insurance company declared one of the vehicles a total loss and sent it to the scrap yard, where it became a compacted hunk of metal and plastic, useless as evidence. If a defective design or part in the vehicle caused the wreck, you may have difficulty proving it without the vehicle available for inspection.
    • You suspect that one of the drivers was texting while driving. Her cell phone carrier only keeps detailed records for a short period of time, which has passed. She denies that she was inattentive, and you have no records to prove to the contrary.
    • One of the parties liable for your accident is a company, but the company has now gone out of business. You may now be unable to obtain records or documents from the company, let alone file a lawsuit to recover compensation from the now-defunct business.

    Act Quickly to Obtain Eyewitness Statements

    Police reports may only portray a part of the story. It might be necessary to talk with witnesses. When too much time passes, it can be difficult if not impossible to locate people. Further, eyewitness’ memories of the accident may begin to fade as time passes, so act quickly to locate and secure the testimony of eyewitnesses to the accident.

    Tolling the Statute of Limitations

    Under limited circumstances, you may be able to toll the statute of limitations for your car accident lawsuit.

    Here are some of the scenarios where you may be able to delay the statute of limitations under RCW 4.16.190:

    • Plaintiff is under 18. In such cases, the statute of limitations tolls until the plaintiff turns 18 years old.
    • Plaintiff is incompetent or disabled. If the plaintiff is deemed incompetent or disabled and cannot understand the nature of the proceedings, the statute of limitations tolls until the person is no longer incompetent or disabled.

    Tolling the statute of limitations is uncommon. If you were hurt in a car accident, act now to get help filing your lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires for your case.

    Call Max Meyers Law today at 425-399-7000 today so that we can get the ball rolling for you. The consultation is free and there is no obligation.

  • Do I Need Uninsured Motorist Coverage in Washington State?

    Uninsured Circled on PaperWashington State only requires drivers to buy and maintain liability coverage to pay the medical bills and property damage of other people if the policyholder is at fault for a car accident.

    So, to follow the law on minimum auto insurance, no, you do not have to carry uninsured motorist coverage in Washington State. There are plenty of reasons, however, to buy this optional type of motor vehicle insurance.

    Situations in Which You Will Wish You Had Uninsured Motorist Coverage

    You will wish you had uninsured motorist coverage if you are in a car accident and:

    • The at-fault driver is uninsured, in other words, does not have motor vehicle insurance. Some people do not buy the required auto insurance, or their policies lapse because of non-payment. Your liability insurance only pays the damages of other people if you cause a wreck, not your damages if somebody causes a wreck with you. So, if you only carry liability coverage, your insurance company will not pay your medical bills and other damages. If you have UM coverage, it will pay your damages if an uninsured driver caused the wreck.
    • Your vehicle is in a wreck with a hit and run driver. Since the car did not stay at the scene, you have no way to find out which insurance company should pay your damages. If the other driver caused the crash but took off, your liability coverage does not cover your damages. Your uninsured motorist coverage would cover your damages.
    • An uninsured or hit-and-run driver struck you when you were a pedestrian or bicyclist. Your uninsured motorist coverage may cover you if you were a bicyclist or pedestrian at the time of the wreck.

    Related Coverage: Underinsured Motorist Coverage

    The minimum required coverage in Washington State is:

    • $10,000 for property damage
    • $25,000 for the injury or death of one person
    • $50,000 total for all injuries or deaths in an accident

    The medical bills in a significant crash can exceed the minimum coverage of $25,000. If the at-fault driver carries only the minimum coverage or has higher limits, but they are not enough to pay all your damages, you will be stuck with the excess medical bills to pay on your own.

    To avoid getting caught in this situation, you can buy optional under-insured motorist (UIM) coverage as part of your auto insurance. The way UIM coverage works is that the at-fault motorist’s insurance pays first. After you reach the policy limits from that company, your UIM insurance should cover your damages that exceed the other driver’s coverage.

    Another Option to Protect Yourself: PIP

    Personal injury protection (PIP) is a first-party coverage that can pay some of your damages from a car accident, whether you or the other driver was at fault.

    Washington State does not require drivers to buy PIP coverage, but your insurance company has to offer it. PIP can pay medical expenses, lost wages, and funeral expenses. PIP usually has relatively low policy limits, but the coverage can make the difference in having enough money to pay your damages.

    Learn more about other types of optional car insurance coverage that may help after an accident with an uninsured or hit and run driver.

    Get Help After a Car Accident With an Uninsured or Hit and Run Driver

    If you suffered an injury in a car crash caused by an uninsured or hit and run driver and you have questions about whose insurance coverage should pay your losses, call Max Meyers Law.

    We will be happy to evaluate your claim, analyze the insurance policies, and help you pursue a claim for damages. Call us today at 425-399-7000.

  • Who's at Fault for a Parking Lot Accident?

    Cars in Parking LotFault for the parking lot accident depends on how the accident happened and which party acted negligently or violated traffic laws.

    This is an overview of common causes and types of parking lot accidents, how to prove fault, and which party or parties may be liable. For legal help with your parking lot accident case, call Max Meyers Law at 425-399-7000.

    Types of Parking Lot Accidents

    Some of the common scenarios that lead to car accidents or pedestrian accidents in parking lots include:

    • Failure to yield to a pedestrian
    • Failure to yield to another vehicle
    • Backing out a parking space without looking for other vehicles or pedestrians
    • Speeding or aggressive driving
    • Distracted driving

    Evidence to Establish Who Caused a Parking Lot Wreck

    The evidence you may use to prove fault for the parking lot accident will depend on what evidence is available. Some of the common types of evidence used in parking lot wreck cases include:

    • Surveillance video from parking lot or store cameras
    • Cell phone video (if anybody recorded the incident)
    • Eyewitness statements
    • Police/accident reports

    If you were involved in an accident in a parking lot, write down the other party’s contact and insurance information. Jot down eyewitness names and phone numbers. And call the police to report the accident. Also, be sure to seek medical care.

    Any evidence you gather may help prove fault and liability for your accident. We can further help you collect evidence and request testimony from eyewitnesses. Call 425-399-7000 for help.

    Who Can Be Liable for a Parking Lot Collision

    Whoever made a mistake that caused or contributed to the wreck can be responsible for the damages. Some of the parties who can be at fault include:

    • A driver who drove too fast for the circumstances, failed to keep a careful lookout, did not take reasonable action to avoid a crash, or failed to yield to a pedestrian or another vehicle.
    • The shopping center or store if the parking lot contained inherently dangerous conditions, such as an unsafe crosswalk in which vehicles do not have a clear view of pedestrians.
    • A vehicle manufacturer if a vehicle defect contributed to the wreck, such as faulty brakes or accelerators.
    • A pedestrian who darted out from between parked cars or stepped into the path of a vehicle without looking.
    • A passenger whose horseplay distracted the driver, blocked his vision, or otherwise contributed to the wreck.

    Factors That Govern Liability in Parking Lot Accidents

    Here is how the law evaluates who is at fault in parking lot accidents:

    • We all have a duty of care. Pedestrians must pay attention to their surroundings, keep a lookout for vehicles and other hazards, and proceed with caution. Drivers have a duty to drive at an appropriate speed for the circumstances while keeping a close lookout for pedestrians and other cars.
    • Breaching the duty of care (negligence). When someone fails to meet the duty of care, he or she is negligent. A pedestrian who walks into traffic without looking breaches the duty to pay attention to surroundings. A driver who backs out of a parking space without checking for other vehicles or pedestrians is negligent.
    • Causation. The other party’s negligence must have caused the accident. If a driver was not paying attention and strikes another vehicle, then that driver’s negligence caused the wreck. Or if the pedestrian walks into traffic without looking and causes a driver to swerve and strike another object, then the pedestrian’s negligence caused the wreck.
    • Damages. The claimant or plaintiff must have suffered damages (e.g., medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering). The types of damages that are recoverable in a parking lot accident case depend on the physical, emotional, and financial effects of the accident on the parties involved.

    Get Help After a Parking Lot Crash

    Our accident injury team is waiting for your call so that we can help you. Max Meyers Law can help injured drivers and pedestrians who were involved in accidents in parking lots.

    We will arrange a free consultation when you call 425-399-7000. We do not charge legal fees unless and until you get compensation.

  • Who's at Fault for a Side-Impact Car Accident?

    Damaged Vehicle After Side Impact Car AccidentFault and liability for a side-impact car accident depend on how the accident happened (e.g., sideswipe, T-bone) and which party acted negligently.

    Sometimes a driver runs a red light and slams into another vehicle, making it relatively easy to assess fault. At other times, however, both drivers blame each other for the wreck. The facts of the case will determine who is at fault.

    Determining Fault for Different Types of Side-Impact Collisions

    Here are some of the common side-impact accident scenarios:

    Driver Drifts Into Other Lane

    A driver who drifts into the other lane could sideswipe another vehicle. Some possible reasons a driver could drift into an adjacent lane include:

    In most cases, the driver who drifted into the other lane will be at fault for the wreck. In some cases, an insurance company might try to argue that the claimant/plaintiff is partially at fault for failing to avoid the wreck.

    See our article on comparative negligence and call Max Meyers for help fighting allegations of partial fault: 425-399-7000.

    Left Turns

    A side-impact wreck can happen in two ways when one driver is turning left:

    • Car turning left strikes another car
    • Car going straight strikes a car making a left turn

    We will explore the behavior of both drivers to learn whose negligence caused the collision.

    If the turning vehicle was supposed to yield the right of way but did not, and hit a car, the turning driver is responsible.

    On the other hand, if a driver was making a legal left turn with a green turn arrow and someone ran a red light and crashed into the turning driver, the non-turning driver is liable.

    Running a Stop Sign or Red Light

    Intersections are inherently dangerous. If a driver does not follow the rules that govern intersections, the driver can strike the side of another car.

    For example, a driver who fails to stop at a stop sign, runs a red light, or otherwise violates a traffic law at an intersection can cause a crash. Also, a driver who is confused, impaired, or inattentive can be oblivious to the other cars and unsafely enter an intersection.

    Driver Loses Control of the Vehicle

    If a driver loses control of his vehicle, he can strike the side of another car. Liability will depend on the reason the driver lost control.

    For example, if the driver was driving too fast in inclement weather (e.g., snow, rain) and this caused the car to go into an uncontrolled skid or spin, the fault is on the driver. On the other hand, if the car goes out of control because of a mechanical failure, the car manufacturer could be responsible.

    Damages in a Side-Impact Collision

    You can get the same types of damages for a side-impact accident that you can for any other kind of collision. Ultimately, the recoverable damages for the side-impact crash will depend on the economic and noneconomic effects of the accident on the claimant/plaintiff.

    Some possible recoverable damages include:

    • Medical expenses to treat your injuries
    • Income you lost because of your injuries
    • Decreased earning potential if your injuries prevent you from making as much money as you did before the accident
    • Pain and suffering for your physical pain and emotional anguish
    • Ongoing or long-term care because of your injuries

    Please speak with a lawyer to discuss your accident and for help pursuing the full amount of your damages. Call Max Meyers Law at 425-399-7000 for a free consultation.

    Comparative Negligence if Both Drivers Were Negligent

    Washington State uses the doctrine of pure comparative fault, which means that you can still get a recovery for your losses even if you were partly to blame for the crash.

    The law will reduce the amount of your recoverable compensation in proportion with your negligence.

    For example, if your damages were $100,000 and you were 20 percent responsible for the accident, comparative negligence would reduce your damages to $80,000 to account for your percentage of fault.

    Get Help for Your Car Accident Injuries After a Side-Impact Crash

    We will be happy to give you a free evaluation of your car accident case. There is no obligation, and we do not collect attorney fees unless you get compensation.

    Please call us today at 425-399-7000 to set up your free consultation.

  • What Is Vehicular Homicide in Washington State?

    Two Wrecked Cars in Front of a Police CarVehicular homicide in Washington State is a criminal charge. If a person dies from injuries sustained in a crash in Washington State, under some circumstances, the negligent driver can face charges of vehicular homicide.

    If you are suing someone for the wrongful death of a loved one, you cannot add a charge of vehicular homicide to your lawsuit. Because vehicular homicide is a criminal matter, only a prosecutor can take someone to trial for this charge. A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil case, not a criminal case.

    A Driver Can Face Both Vehicular Homicide Charges and a Wrongful Death Case

    Let us say that a person was driving while under the influence of methamphetamines (meth) when they struck and killed a pedestrian. The prosecutor can file criminal charges against the driver for vehicular homicide. The pedestrian’s family can file a civil lawsuit seeking monetary damages for the loss of their loved one.

    For example, in the O.J. Simpson case, there was a criminal murder trial and a civil wrongful death case. And just as in the Simpson case, a “not guilty” verdict on the criminal charges does not preclude the decedent’s survivors from filing and winning a civil wrongful death case. The two cases proceed independently of each other because the law imposes a different burden of proof in criminal cases than it does in civil cases.

    What Constitutes Vehicular Homicide in Washington State

    There are four elements the prosecutor will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt to support a conviction of vehicular homicide in Washington State. These elements are:

    1. A vehicle caused the death of someone other than the driver.
    2. The death was a proximate result of an injury caused by the driver.
    3. The person died within three years of the injury and as a proximate result of the injury. (In other words, if something unrelated to the crash — like an allergic reaction to a bee sting — caused the person’s death within three years of the crash, it is not a case of vehicular homicide.)
    4. The injury happened when the driver operated the motor vehicle in a reckless manner, with disregard for the safety of others, or while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug.

    Penalties for Vehicular Homicide

    Vehicular homicide is a class A felony in Washington State. Class A felony convictions in Washington can carry maximum penalties of life imprisonment in a state correctional institution, or a fine of $50,000, or both incarceration and a fine. The court can add two extra years to the sentence for each prior offense.

    Prosecutors are allowed to recommend restitution instead of a fine. The statute provides that the defendant would pay the restitution money to the victim which, in a death case, would be the survivors of the decedent.

    Do Not Delay in Filing a Civil Wrongful Death Action

    While it is understandable that you might want to wait and see what happens in the criminal court before you file a wrongful death action, doing so could make you lose all rights to compensation in the civil courts. Felony cases can drag on for a long time, and you will have no control over the speed at which the criminal vehicular homicide case makes its way through the court.

    Even after the criminal trial, judgment, and sentencing, there can be lengthy appeals.

    If you do not file the wrongful death action before the deadline, state law will bar you from ever getting to seek damages for the loss of your loved one. Washington's statute of limitations does not prevent you from pursuing a wrongful death case just because the prosecutor might file vehicular homicide charges against the driver.

    How to Get Legal Help

    If your loved one died as a result of a crash that might end up in a vehicular homicide trial, you should talk with a wrongful death attorney right away. We will protect your rights and help preserve your claim to compensation. We will explain the two different cases — the criminal vehicular homicide case and the civil wrongful death action — to you and evaluate whether you might be eligible for compensation for your loss.

    Please call the Max Meyers Law wrongful death team today at 425-399-7000, and we will set up your free consultation. There is no obligation, and we only charge legal fees if you get compensation.

  • What Is Restitution?

    Stethoscope and MoneyRestitution is a penalty a judge can order a defendant to pay in a criminal case for hurting a victim when committing a crime. Restitution is not the same as compensation in a personal injury lawsuit.

    Civil Cases vs. Criminal Cases

    There are two types of cases in America — civil cases and criminal cases.

    In a civil case, people or companies sue each other, trying to get an award of money or other civil damages.

    In a criminal case, the government brings charges against someone (a defendant) for an alleged violation of a criminal law. If the judge finds the defendant guilty, the judge can impose a monetary fine and/or incarceration on the defendant. The judge can also order that the defendant pay money (restitution) to the crime victim, the victim’s family, or the state victim’s compensation fund.

    How Restitution Works in Different Cases

    Judges tailor restitution orders to the facts of each case. Traditionally, judges tend to order restitution when the defendant behaved outrageously, willfully, or with reckless disregard for the safety of others. For example:

    • If a jury finds the defendant guilty of his fourth DUI, in which he demolished a food truck and caused severe burns to the victim when a fuel tank on the food truck exploded, the judge might order the defendant to do jail time and pay restitution to the victim for his medical bills and the loss of the food truck.
    • The court could order convicted defendants to pay the funeral bills of a hate crime victim as restitution.
    • If a jilted romantic partner keyed the ex’s car and busted the headlights with a baseball bat, the restitution could be paying for the repairs to the vehicle.
    • A person convicted of defrauding seniors out of their life savings could have to pay restitution to restore some or all of their money to them.

    Criminal defendants who plea bargain to a lesser included offense may also have to pay restitution. The judge has to order restitution if the victim is eligible for crime victim’s compensation fund benefits. The victim or the state can enforce court-ordered restitution just as they would a civil judgment.

    When Victims Do Not Receive the Restitution Money

    Sometimes, even when a judge in a criminal case orders the defendant to pay restitution, the money (or a portion of the money) does not go directly to the victim of the crime. This result can happen when:

    • Someone else paid the victim’s bills, such as the victim’s health insurance paid the victim’s medical bills.
    • The state’s victim compensation fund collects all restitution payments and distributes them to many victims across the state.
    • The victim received compensation through a personal injury claim. To receive full compensation for one’s damages in a personal injury claim and get restitution would be “double dipping.” For example, if the victim of a car accident reached a settlement with the defendant’s auto insurance company and the amount paid the victim’s damages in full, the victim cannot get paid twice for the same damages.

    How Restitution Works in Washington State

    Usually, the court must order the restitution at the sentencing hearing or within 180 days of that hearing. The judge determines how much the offender has to pay every month in restitution toward the total amount ordered. The offender must accept employment offers while incarcerated to earn funds to make the monthly payments.

    What Restitution Can and Cannot Cover

    In Washington State, the court can calculate restitution using the damages for:

    • Injury to or loss of property
    • Medical bills for treatment of injuries
    • Lost wages from the injury
    • Counseling reasonably related to the crime

    The court cannot include these items when determining the amount of restitution:

    • Pain and suffering
    • Mental anguish
    • Other intangible losses

    The limit of restitution is two times the amount of what the offender gained or the victim lost from the crime.

    Restitution Does Not Prevent Civil Liability Claims

    You should not wait to see if the criminal court will order the defendant to pay restitution if your injury resulted from a criminal act.

    Under Washington law, there is a time limit on pursuing civil action. The deadline (statute of limitations) could expire on your civil personal injury case before the criminal case is final. If you wait too long, the law will bar you from ever filing a lawsuit to collect damages for your injuries.

    At Max Meyers Law, we help you make sense of what happens when you get hurt when someone else committed a crime. We will not charge you any legal fees to evaluate your case and explain your legal rights.

    Please call us today at 425-399-7000, and we will line up your free case evaluation.

  • What Is the Value of a Scar from a Car Accident?

    Woman's Neck With ScarWe cannot state the settlement value of a scar from a car accident without more information about your case. Each case is different. There are five factors that go into the calculations of the anticipated recovery for your claim.

    First Factor: The Severity of Your Scar

    The size and type of your scar will have an impact on the settlement value of your injury claim. For example, a straight one-inch scar that heals to the same skin tone as the surrounding tissue and does not cause any lasting discomfort will likely not have as high a settlement value as a massive burn scar or a long, jagged, dark purple scar.

    Here are some aspects of scars that have higher or lower settlement value in general:

    Higher Value

    Large scar

    Lumpy or other texture changes

    Burn

    Color changes

    Lower Value

    Small scar

    Smooth and flat

    Laceration

    Heals to skin tone of the area

    Second Factor: The Location of Your Scar

    When people think of the location of a scar, they usually reflect on whether the scar is in a noticeable place, like on your face, hands, or throat. If your car accident scar is in an area that you would generally consider disfiguring, it may carry a higher settlement value than one on your foot, for example.

    There is another essential distinction about scar locations. Internal scars can cause just as much distress as external scars, but not for cosmetic reasons. Internal scars are tough bands of tissue that grow between your tissues and organs inside your body. They can “cement” your organs, muscles, and connective tissue together. Internal scars can be the result of surgery to repair damage to your internal organs from the crash or direct injuries from the wreck.

    Third Factor: Long-Term Impairment or Other Consequences of the Scar

    The value of a scar from a car accident may be higher if you suffer long-term effects of scarring. Adhesions, keloids, and ongoing pain are some of the common residual problems one can experience from car accident scars.

    Adhesions and Keloids                                                                                   

    Adhesions (connecting two organs or two areas of the body, like fingers) and keloids (overgrowth of scar tissue) can be rigid and prevent you from moving an area of the body correctly. Adhesions can prevent an organ from performing its intended function, or they can restrict movement. Adhesions and keloids are hard to treat because doing additional surgery to relieve the problem can worsen it if the body then grows more scar tissue in response to the surgery.

    In addition to the pain of restricted movement and organs being “welded” together, scar tissue itself can be painful. Some scars, like burns, can hurt for years or the rest of your life. Suffering pain is a legitimate type of damage for which you can receive compensation.

    Fourth Factor: Other Injuries from the Crash

    When you sustain injuries severe enough to cause scarring, you might have experienced other injuries as well. Let’s say that you had a direct blow to the chest and head in a multi-car accident. The impact caused a deep laceration to your face, a traumatic brain injury, several broken ribs, and bruising of your heart. It is possible to recover compensation for all of these injuries. We will add your damages together to reach a lump-sum figure for your settlement.

    The higher your other injury damages are, the more value your total claim may have. Even a minor scar can have a high settlement value when coupled with other significant injuries.

    Fifth Factor: Whether You Were Partially at Fault in the Wreck

    You can still get some compensation for your scarring and other injuries even if you were partly to blame for causing the wreck, as long as someone else was also at fault. Washington follows the legal rule of comparative negligence, which means that your mistakes may reduce the amount you can recover, but your errors will not bar you from recovery if someone else was at least one percent at fault.

    For example, if your damages were $100,000 and you were 20 percent negligent, you will get $80,000 in compensation, because comparative fault reduces your recovery the same percentage as your fault. If, however, you were the only person at fault in the wreck, you cannot get compensation from the other driver.

    How to Get Legal Help for a Scar from a Car Accident

    Our car accident injury team at Max Meyers Law examines police reports and reviews medical records to determine the eligibility for compensation for a scar from a car accident. We will negotiate with the insurance company for you. We do not charge legal fees until you get a settlement or damages award. There is no obligation in speaking with us about your case.

    Call us today at 425-399-7000 to get started.

  • How Much Is a Car Accident Concussion Settlement?

    Injured Man Holds Gauze to Head in Front of Car CrashA car accident concussion settlement does not have a fixed amount. The settlement value of each case is different because no two cases are identical. The facts of your case will determine how much you may receive in a settlement of your car accident concussion claim. Even though each case is unique, there are five factors that determine the settlement value of every car accident concussion claim.

    Factor One: How Severe Your Concussion Is

    A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that may prevent your brain from being able to function normally. Usually, the impaired function is temporary, but sometimes people experience long-term consequences from this type of head injury.

    Contrary to popular belief, most concussions do not cause the victim to lose consciousness. The typical effects of a concussion include headaches and difficulty with:

    • Coordination
    • Balance
    • Concentration
    • Memory

    You might not be able to remember the event that caused the concussion — the car accident. In addition to the above, you might experience:

    • Confusion, dizziness, or a “foggy” feeling
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Ringing in the ears
    • Slurred speech
    • Tiredness

    Several days after the head injury, you can develop:

    • Sensitivity to noise and light
    • Depression and other psychological problems
    • Irritability and other changes in your personality
    • Difficulty with concentration and memory
    • Sleep disturbances

    Degrees of Concussions

    Concussions range from mild to moderate to severe. Also, you might have other head injuries, such as a skull fracture. With a severe head injury, you might have to undergo surgical treatments to remove pressure on the brain or correct bleeding within the brain. Those complications can be life-threatening or result in permanent impairment of brain function. The worse your concussion and the complications, the higher the value of your damages claim.

    When to Get Immediate Medical Care for a Concussion

    Every head injury should receive prompt medical attention. Even if you already had a medical evaluation for your concussion, it is a medical emergency if you develop any of these symptoms, whether right away or days after a concussion from a car accident:

    • Dilated pupils (larger than usual), unequal sizes of pupils, or other eye or vision abnormalities
    • Ongoing or repeated dizziness
    • Seizures
    • Any of your symptoms worsen
    • Large bumps or bruises on the head
    • Difficulty with coordination or mental function

    Factor Two: Whether You Suffer Chronic Headaches or Other Pain

    Depending on the severity of your traumatic head injury, you might experience headaches for weeks or months after the accident. This result may be more likely if you have sustained previous head injuries. Noise and light sensitivity from the brain injury can inflict pain on the victim as well. A person who suffers chronic headaches or other pain may have a higher claim settlement value than someone who does not have those symptoms.

    Factor Three: Any Long-Term Consequences or Impairment

    Post-concussion syndrome is not limited to football players. Sometimes the brain injury symptoms that usually last only a few days in a typical concussion may linger for weeks, months, or longer — a condition known as post-concussion syndrome. Your risk of developing post-concussion syndrome is the same, whether you sustain a mild or severe concussion.

    Although medical science still has a great deal to learn about this devastating condition, experts speculate that post-concussion syndrome happens when the concussion damages the structure of the brain or disrupts the messaging system within the nerves.

    Factor Four: Other Injuries from the Car Accident

    When you are in a crash that is significant enough to cause a head injury, you might have other injuries as well. In an accident injury settlement, we add the value of all of your injuries from the wreck together to reach a lump sum case value. If you sustained injuries in addition to the concussion, they may increase the expected settlement amount of your claim.

    Factor Five: Whether You Were Partly at Fault in the Crash

    Some people do not pursue legal action if they were partially to blame for the accident, but there is no reason to bear the full cost of your injuries if someone else was also at fault. A lawyer may help with the apportion of the negligence and calculate how much your settlement is worth, even if you were partly at fault.

    Washington uses the legal rule of comparative fault, which reduces your settlement to account for your negligence but still allows you some compensation.

    Getting Legal Help for A Concussion from a Car Accident

    The car accident injury team at Max Meyers Law will talk with you and let you know if you might be eligible for compensation for your concussion. The only cases we handle are motor vehicle injury claims. We review accident reports and the medical records for our clients and deal directly with the insurance company, so our clients do not have to.

    Call us today at 425-399-7000 for a free consultation.

  • How Do I File a Lawsuit for a Brain Injury from a Car Accident?

    Woman Looking Down Holding HeadA personal injury lawyer may help you file a lawsuit from a brain injury from a car accident, but one is not necessary to file one. Filing a lawsuit can help you get compensation to help you with the financial costs of a traumatic brain injury (TBI).

    Determine Liability

    Before you can make someone pay for your injuries, you have to prove that they were negligent. To hold the careless person accountable, we have to prove all four of the elements of liability:

    1. The person must have had a legal duty toward you. Drivers have a legal duty to keep a careful lookout and operate their vehicles in a safe manner. For example, if you were driving your car responsibly and a vehicle came flying out of a side street, ran a stop sign, and smashed into your car, the driver of the vehicle that hit you had a legal duty of care toward you.
    2. We must show that the driver breached their duty of care. Running a stop sign, speeding, and crashing into oncoming traffic breached the driver’s duty of care. Violating a duty of care is negligence.
    3. The negligence must cause the harm you suffered. The collision caused you to sustain a traumatic brain injury. This fact satisfies the causation requirement of liability.
    4. The harm must be measurable. If the reckless driver’s car had careened at the last second and barely missed crashing into your vehicle, you would not suffer measurable harm. Momentary fright is not sufficient as harm. However, if the speeding car slammed into your vehicle and caused you to sustain a traumatic brain injury, this harm is measurable.

    Do Not Delay in Filing a Lawsuit

    In every state, the legislature sets time limits (called statutes of limitations) for filing different kinds of lawsuits. If you file suit accusing the defendant of negligence, you will have a different amount of time to bring the lawsuit than if you sued someone for a breach of contract or a defective product. Your personal injury lawyer will explain the deadlines, but if you wait too long and the time for filing has passed, a lawyer cannot help you.

    Getting Damages for Your Traumatic Brain Injury

    Once we establish who was liable, we will build your case for compensation. Here are some of the damages you can receive, depending on your facts, for a traumatic brain injury from a car accident that was someone else’s fault:

    • Medical costs: You can recover all the reasonable and necessary medical expenses because of the accident. We will use your medical bills, insurance statements, invoices, and receipts to prove your losses for the ambulance, emergency room, hospital, surgery, diagnostic testing, medical treatment, therapy, rehabilitation center, and prescription medications.
    • Lost income: This includes wages and other income you missed out on because of the accident, treatments, and recuperation. We use your employer’s records and other documents to prove these losses.
    • Pain and suffering: This is for your physical pain and mental anguish. We will calculate a fair amount for this type of damage.
    • Disability or decreased earning potential: If you are unable to work or earn less because of the traumatic brain injury’s impacts on your cognitive abilities, memory, coordination, and other skills, we will use your medical records and a vocational expert to determine the extent of your disability or decreased earning capacity.
    • Long-term care: If you need assistance with daily living activities or medical care because of the brain injury. We establish the value of this aspect of your claim using experts.
    • Your spouse’s loss of consortium: If the brain injury adversely affected your relationship, your spouse’s testimony may be vital in making this claim.

    Filing a Lawsuit for a Traumatic Brain Injury if You Were Partly at Fault

    In many cases, more than one person was negligent in causing an accident. Let’s say that you were speeding and another driver changed lanes without looking. The two cars collided and you suffered a traumatic brain injury.

    Both of you were negligent, but you can still get some damages for your injuries. The Washington law of comparative fault will apportion the fault between the two drivers and reduce the compensation to each injured person relative to that person’s proportion of the total fault.

    In other words, if the judge decides that you were 20 percent at fault, comparative fault will reduce your damages of $100,000 by 20 percent ($20,000). You will recover $80,000.

    How to Get Help with Your Traumatic Brain Injury Claim

    At Max Meyers Law, we dedicate our time to helping people who have sustained injuries in motor vehicle accidents. We will schedule your free consultation to see if you might be eligible for compensation if you call us at 425-399-7000. We will never charge you fees until you win.