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 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 the Kirkland auto accident lawyers at 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 a Bothell car accident attorney today, call Max Meyers at 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.


    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:


    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 Kirkland auto accident attorney Max Meyers Law 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 Kirkland,WA 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 the Kirkland car accident attorneys at Max Meyers Law today for a free consultation.

    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 the Kirkland car accident lawyers at Max Meyers Law today for a free consultation.

    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, as our Washington State car accident attorney explains, 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: 

    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 non-economic 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 to 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.

  • 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. If you contact our office, one of our Kirkland car accident lawyers will be happy to assist you with a free consultation.

    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.

  • What Is the Settlement for a Spinal Injury for a Car Accident?

    Man Holding Lower BackThe amount you receive for a settlement for a spinal cord injury from a car accident will depend on many factors, including the location, type, and severity of your injury. To find out more about specific settlement amounts from your auto accident injury, please contact our Kirkland auto accident lawyers for a free consultation.

    Factors that Affect the Settlement Value of a Spinal Injury from a Wreck

    Every case is different, so we cannot give one number to represent the amount of recoverable damages in a personal injury claim, including losses from a spinal cord injury you sustain in a car accident. Here are some of the many factors that will be part of the calculation of your claim:

    The Location of Your Spinal Injury

    A spinal injury can affect all neurological function at the level of the damage and everything below that level in your back. Another way of looking at this fact is that if you hurt your lower back with a lumbar spinal injury, it can affect your legs but not your arms. But if you suffer a thoracic spinal injury everything below your neck, including your arms and legs, can suffer damage.

    The Type of Spinal Injury You Suffered

    A back sprain or strain will receive less compensation than a complete spinal cord injury with resulting paralysis. You can usually expect to achieve a successful recovery of all function within a matter of weeks with some types of back injuries, while others can change your life forever.

    The Severity of Your Injury

    Back injuries you can sustain in a car accident range from mild to moderate to severe to catastrophic. The more serious your injury, the higher your compensation is likely to be. Within the different types of injuries, there are ranges of severity. For example, you can have an incomplete (some function remains) or complete (complete paralysis) spinal cord injury. A person can become a paraplegic or a quadriplegic as a result.

    Treatments You Had to Undergo for Your Spinal Injury

    The cost, inconvenience, and discomfort of the procedures you had to have to treat your spinal injury will affect the amount of your settlement. If you are lucky enough to recover fully from a mild back injury with only bedrest, over-the-counter pain relievers, and a few weeks of physical therapy, your claim will settle for less money than someone who had to suffer through multiple surgeries for a more significant spinal injury.

    How Successful the Procedures Were in Treating Your Neck or Back

    Not all patients achieve the same level of function after completing treatment that they had before the spinal injury. Many people endure chronic pain for years or permanently after a back injury. The less that you are made “whole” by the medical treatments, the higher your settlement is likely to be.

    Complications From the Treatments on Your Back or Neck

    Steroid injections and surgeries have inherent risks, including infection, paralysis, and nerve degeneration. Prescription medications can lead to addiction. If you suffered complications from the treatments that were supposed to help you, we can add those problems to your total claim.

    Continuing Issues and Impacts on Your Life From the Injury

    Some people are never the same after a significant spinal injury. If you continue to have problems after completing the full plan of treatments, and your injuries affect your life going forward, your settlement can include these losses.

    Lost Income Past and Future

    We will include the wages you lost because of the accident, medical treatments, and recuperation into your settlement package. Also, if you will be unable to earn as much money in the future because of your spinal injury, you should get compensation for this loss.

    The Cost of Ongoing Medical Care

    One reason you should not accept a quick settlement with the insurance company is that you do not know early on how well you will heal from your injury and whether you will need ongoing medical care. The costs of ongoing medical care should be part of your settlement.

    Long-term Care and Assistance

    In cases of paralysis, patients often need daily assistance with things like eating, bathing, and mobility. Some people need to live in a long-term care facility to receive regular medical care. These costs will be factors in a settlement.

    Non-economic Losses

    In addition to all the economic losses you can experience with a spinal injury, you should receive compensation for things like your pain and suffering, depression, and loss of enjoyment of life. Your spouse might have a claim for loss of consortium.

    The Behavior of the At-fault Driver

    If the driver responsible for the crash was guilty of reprehensible acts, such as illegally leaving the scene of the accident or driving drunk, a jury is likely to punish him by awarding higher damages. The insurance companies know this, so if there are similar facts in your case, you might get more compensation than you otherwise would.

    How to Get Legal Help for Your Injury Claim

    As you can see from the many factors that go into the calculation of a settlement for a spinal injury from a car accident, you should not try to handle your claim without professional guidance.

    All you need to do is call the car accident team at Max Meyers Law, and we will investigate your case and negotiate with the insurance company for you. For a free consultation, call us at 425-399-7000.

  • What Is the Average Settlement for an ACL Injury from a Car Accident?

    Woman's Hand Holding Her KneeThe amount of compensation you can recover for an ACL injury from a car accident will depend on the facts of your case, including the extent of the damage and how well it healed. If you'd like to discuss specific settlement amounts, please contact our office to schedule a free consultation with a Kirkland car crash lawyer today.

    These knee injuries involve tears to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). Although ACL tears happen frequently in sports activities, they can also result from car crashes. If you have a swollen knee that makes it too painful to stand, and it feels as if your knee will “give way,” you should get immediate medical attention.

    Possible Outcomes of an ACL Injury

    Some mild ACL injuries can heal with R.I.C.E., which is:

    • Rest: Keep your weight off of your knee.
    • Ice: Apply ice packs for 20 minutes every two hours or as your doctor directs.
    • Compression: Wrap your knee with an elastic bandage or compression wrap.
    • Elevation: Get your knee at a higher level by lying down and propping up your knee with pillows.

    After the R.I.C.E. self-care at home, your doctor might send you for physical therapy and rehabilitative care. You might have to wear a knee brace and walk with crutches for a few weeks.

    Your doctor might recommend surgery to repair the ACL damage if you are:

    • An athlete
    • Young and active
    • Your knee buckles with ordinary use
    • Your ACL injury is severe

    Severely damaged AC ligaments do not heal well, so your surgeon will reconstruct the ACL by removing the damaged ligament and replacing it with a tendon from another part of your knee or an organ donor. Rehabilitation can take eight to 12 months after knee reconstruction.

    Factors That Affect the Settlement Value of an ACL Tear from a Wreck

    We cannot state a dollar value for settlements of ACL injuries from car accidents because every case is different. These are a few of the many factors we will use to calculate how much your car accident case is worth:

    The Severity of Your ACL Injury

    ACL injuries include an overextended but intact (not torn) ligament, a partial tear of the tissue, and a complete tear.

    Treatments You Had to Undergo for Your ACL Injury

    If your ACL damage heals without surgical intervention, you will have lower medical expenses, which will tend to lead to a lower dollar value of your settlement. Higher medical costs usually go hand-in-hand with higher compensation.

    How Successful the Treatments Were in Treating Your ACL Injury

    Because the knee is a complex joint and load-bearing, some people do not experience a perfect recovery of function and subsidence of pain. Many people go on to have future injuries to the knee. Even with full recovery of function and returning to a pain-free state, you are at higher risk of osteoarthritis in the knee after an ACL tear.

    Complications From the Treatment of Your ACL Injury

    All surgeries come with risks, such as infection and damage to nearby tissue. The pain pills they give you can lead to opiate addiction. Costs that complications create can get added to your total settlement demand.

    Other Injuries You Sustained in the Wreck

    It takes a significant collision with a direct blow to the knee to cause an ACL tear. In this type of scenario, the patient usually suffers other injuries, such as fractures, in addition to the ACL damage. The type, severity, and locations of other injuries will be factors in the settlement value of your claim.

    Possible Compensation for an ACL Car Accident Injury

    Continuing Issues and Impacts on Your Life From the Injury

    If your knee does not heal well and you face a lifetime of mobility issues and pain, you should receive compensation for these losses.

    Lost Income Past and Future

    Your past lost income includes the time you missed from work because of the accident, medical treatments, and recuperation time. Lost future income is for when you cannot earn as much money as before as a result of the ACL injury.

    For example, a professional baseball player suffered a complete ACL tear in a car crash and after treatment was no longer able to perform at a “major league” level. He should get compensation for his lost future income.

    Non-economic Losses

    The value of your claim does not stop at the total of your economic losses. The law allows you to recover for non-economic harm as well, for things like your pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life. Your spouse might have a claim for loss of consortium.

    How to Get Legal Help for Your Injury Claim

    The personal injury team at Max Meyers Law will investigate the many factors that can affect the value of your settlement. We will negotiate directly with the insurance company so that you do not have to. We will calculate a fair settlement value of your injury claim. Call us today at 425-399-7000, and we will set up your free consultation.

  • Are There Caps on Truck Accident Lawsuits in Washington State?

    Passenger Car Struck by Large Semi-TruckThere are no limits on the damages you can recover in a truck accident case in Washington State, but judges usually do not allow successful plaintiffs to recover punitive damages. There are no limits on damages for wrongful death cases.

    If you suffered injuries in a crash, a truck accident lawyer can help you pursue compensation for your damages. At Max Meyers Law, we will investigate your accident, build a compelling claim on your behalf, and go after the party responsible for your truck accident for the full value of your losses. Call us at 425-399-7000 today for a free consultation.

    What Economic Damages Are Available After a Truck Crash in Washington State?

    Economic damages represent out-of-pocket costs you incur as a result of the wreck. You might qualify for compensation for any of the following economic losses.

    Lost Income

    This includes compensation for your lost wages, salary, and other income you did not receive because of the accident, your recuperation, and your medical treatment.

    Medical Bills

    You can recover compensation for the reasonable expenses you faced for medical treatment and care. This category can include ambulance transportation, emergency treatment, a hospital stay, x-rays and other imaging, surgery, lab tests, a stay at a rehabilitation center, physical therapy, and prescription drugs.


    If you suffered a permanent, disabling injury, you might need to purchase specialized equipment. You could qualify for reimbursement for the cost of a walker, a wheelchair, home modifications, an accessible vehicle, and other expenses incurred because of your injuries.

    Decreased Earning Capacity

    After significant injuries, you might not be able to work as many hours as you did before. Depending on the long-term consequences of the harm you suffered, you might have to switch to a lower-paying or part-time job, or you might be completely disabled and unable to support yourself through employment. You can recover compensation for that loss.

    Long-Term Care

    Some people need ongoing medical and personal care after catastrophic injuries from a truck accident. Whether you receive these services at an inpatient facility, on an outpatient basis, or in your home, the costs are compensable.

    What Non-Economic Damages Are Available to Truck Accident Victims?

    When you sustain injuries in a crash, you suffer harm that goes above and beyond your economic losses. Your non-economic damages can include such things as your pain and suffering, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, and your significant other’s loss of consortium.

    While a tort reform law from the 1980’s used to limit how much you could recover for these losses, the state Supreme Court struck down this damage cap in a 1989 decision. There is no longer a limit on non-economic damages for personal injury claims in Washington.

    When Can I Recover Compensation for Wrongful Death?

    If your family member died in a truck accident, state law allows the surviving spouse, state registered domestic partner, child, or stepchild to bring a wrongful death action. The jury can award whatever amount of damages it feels are just under the circumstances of the case.

    Does My Case Qualify for Punitive Damages?

    Washington law has three requirements for juries that want to award punitive damages in a personal injury case:

    1. The jury must find that the defendant acted with malice or with reckless disregard of the consequences to the plaintiff;
    2. The damage amount must be high enough to punish the conduct; and
    3. The amount must be high enough to deter the defendant and others from similar conduct in the future.

    Punitive damages in a truck accident case are relatively rare. However, if the truck driver or their employer acted egregiously, we might be able to build a strong case for this additional compensation.

    What If I Was Partially at Fault for My Truck Accident?

    The judge can reduce your damages award if you were partly at fault in the wreck. Washington’s comparative negligence laws allow each at-fault party to recover partial compensation that is reduced based on the amount of negligence.

    For example, imagine your damages were $40,000, but you were 10-percent responsible for the crash. The judge would take 10 percent off of your damages award, and you would receive $36,000.

    How Will a Lawyer Prove My Damages?

    At Max Meyers Law, we begin by gathering your medical records, invoices, employer records of lost wages, and all other pertinent evidence of your economic losses. We will get the police report to establish who was negligent, and we will also speak with eyewitnesses about factual issues related to your claim. We will talk with you and your loved ones to build the case for your non-economic damages.

    To get started, call 425-399-7000 today. You can set up a free consultation with a member of our truck accident team.

  • Can I Get Sciatica from a Motorcycle Accident?

    Diagram of Man With Sciatica Back PainTraumatic accidents can cause sciatica. If you damage your spine or muscles in a location that compresses the sciatic nerve, you could get sciatica from a motorcycle accident.

    If you are suffering from sciatica or another spinal cord injury after a crash someone else caused, a motorcycle accident attorney can help you fight for compensation for your related expenses. At Max Meyers Law, we handle motorcycle accident cases for clients throughout Washington State. Call us at 425-399-7000 for a free consultation about your claim. 

    How Can I Get Sciatica From a Motorcycle Accident?

    Sciatica happens when the sciatic nerve gets compressed or irritated in the lower back. Since there are several nerve components that merge to form the sciatic nerve, there are multiple points in your back where damage from a motorcycle accident could result in sciatica.

    Because the sciatic nerve is so large and consists of multiple nerve roots, several different types of injuries or conditions could cause sciatica after a crash.


    If you break a lumbar vertebra, one of the resulting problems can be sciatica. Two common causes of lumbar fractures are serious trauma, like falls or motor vehicle accidents, and weakened spines due to underlying medical conditions. If you have osteoporosis or are taking a medication that can weaken your bones, you are at higher risk of a lumbar fracture in a motorcycle wreck.

    Herniated Disc

    You can develop sciatica from a herniated disc after a motorcycle crash. Other terms for this injury are:

    • Slipped disc;
    • Ruptured disc;
    • Bulging disc;
    • Protruding disc; and
    • Pinched nerve.

    This condition happens when the gel-like substance inside a disc in your back leaks out. The gel irritates the nerve root. Discs are the small, coin-shaped parts that act as shock absorbers between the bones in your spinal column. Many people with herniated discs experience sciatica.

    Muscle Strain

    If you sustain muscle strain in your lower back from the accident, the resulting inflammation can compress the sciatic nerve and cause sciatica.

    Scar Tissue

    You can develop sciatica from the crash long after the accident. If you form scar tissue in the lumbar region of your lower back from your injuries, the scar tissue can compress one of the nerve roots and give you sciatica.


    If you develop an infection in an injured area or surgical site in your lower back, the infection can cause inflammation and can irritate the nerve root, resulting in sciatica.

    How Can I Tell If I Might Have Sciatica?

    With sciatica, you might experience pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness in your buttocks, hips, or the backs of your legs. You might have one symptom in one area and a different feeling in another. For example, you might have pain in your lower back, hip, and back of your upper leg, and your calf might feel like pins and needles. The pain could radiate all the way down the back of your leg.

    You might feel a mild ache or a sharp, stabbing pain that becomes excruciating if you sit for too long or move a certain way. Some people experience a burning sensation. Weakness in your leg muscles is another common symptom of sciatica.

    If you believe your motorcycle accident caused sciatica, it is essential to seek medical treatment.

    When Should I Seek Medical Treatment for Sciatic Nerve Pain After a Crash?

    You should seek immediate medical attention if you have symptoms of sciatica after a crash. Untreated sciatica can cause permanent nerve damage. You might even require emergency surgery if you are experiencing numbness, muscle weakness, bladder or bowel incontinence, or sudden or severe pain.

    Seeking immediate medical attention immediately will also help with the motorcycle accident claims process. If we can get a doctor to link your sciatica to your crash, you stand a better chance of proving another driver is liable for your damages. Your medical visits will also provide proof of your related treatment costs.

    Are There Non-Surgical Treatments for Sciatica?

    Not everyone with sciatica needs to undergo surgery. According to the Mayo Clinic, many cases respond well to non-surgical treatments, such as:

    • Anti-inflammatory or narcotic pain medication;
    • Steroid injections; and
    • Physical therapy.

    Even if you did not require surgery to treat your sciatica, our motorcycle accident team might be able to help you get compensation for these or other non-surgical treatments.

    How Can I Get Help If My Motorcycle Crash Caused Sciatica?

    If your doctor diagnosed you with sciatica after a motorcycle crash, the legal team at Max Meyers Law might be able to help. If we can build a strong case showing that someone else caused your accident and your injuries, we can pursue compensation for your damages. Call 425-399-7000 to get your free consultation with a member of our transportation accident team.

  • Who Is at Fault for a T-Bone Accident?

    T-Bone Car AccidentThe person whose negligence caused the crash is liable for a T-bone accident. The guilty party is not always the driver whose vehicle hits the side of the other car. Determining who is at fault in a T-bone car accident depends on who broke a traffic law that led to the wreck. Sometimes more than one person is negligent.

    At Max Meyers Law, our Kirkland, WA personal injury lawyers have experience helping clients who suffered injuries in T-bone accidents. If someone else caused your crash, you might be able to recover damages in a personal injury claim. Call us at 425-399-7000 for a free case evaluation. 

    How Can I Determine Who Caused My T-Bone Accident?

    Typically, one driver has the right of way, and the other driver does not. If a driver fails to yield the right of way, and this results in a T-bone accident, they are often at fault for the crash.

    If the other driver made one of these common driving mistakes, they could be liable for your damages:

    • They disobeyed a traffic light and proceeded into the road;
    • They failed to yield while entering the roadway from a side street or alley;
    • They did not reduce their speed or come to a full stop in the presence of a yield sign;
    • They did not follow the right-of-way rules for a four-way stop;
    • They did not react appropriately to an uncontrolled intersection;
    • They failed to yield while turning left at an intersection; or
    • They did not treat an intersection with non-functioning traffic signals as an all-way stop.

    How Do T-Bone Wrecks Happen?

    A T-bone accident, also called a side-impact collision, happens when one car smashes into the side of another vehicle. Many of these accidents involve drug or alcohol impairment or distracted driving. Some of the most common scenarios for T-bone crashes are:

    • Running a red light or stop sign;
    • Failing to yield the right of way at an intersection;
    • Pulling onto a street into the path of oncoming traffic; and
    • Backing out of a parking space without looking for other vehicles.

    Why Are T-Bone Crashes So Severe?

    T-bone accidents are so dangerous because they usually result in catastrophic or fatal injuries, depending on the point of impact on your vehicle in relation to the locations of the driver and passengers.

    Several factors can affect the severity of injuries. For example:

    • If the other vehicle hits the driver’s door, the driver will experience the worst of the impact;
    • If the other car strikes the opposite side of the vehicle, passenger injuries could be significant;
    • If the force of the collision crushes the vehicle or sends glass and shrapnel into the passenger compartment, significant cuts or lacerations, head trauma, and spinal cord injuries can result; and
    • If one vehicle is much larger than another, the occupants of the smaller vehicle could suffer serious injuries.

    What Injuries Can Vehicle Occupants Suffer in T-Bone Accidents?

    The driver and occupants of each vehicle can suffer significant injuries, including:

    • Blunt force trauma;
    • Head trauma;
    • Spinal cord injuries;
    • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI);
    • Damage to internal organs;
    • Fractures;
    • Lacerations; and
    • Contusions.

    If we can prove that another driver’s negligence caused your T-bone accident, we might be able to hold them liable for the cost to treat your injuries. You could also qualify for compensation for your other related expenses.

    What Is Negligence?

    Negligence has four legal components. If we can prove the following details were true, you could have a strong case for compensation.

    Duty of Care

    All drivers must obey the rules of the road, operate their vehicles in a reasonable and prudent manner, and follow all traffic signs and signals.

    Breach of Duty of Care

    If a driver fails to perform up to the standards of the duty of care, they are negligent.


    If we can prove their negligence caused your accident, we can hold them responsible.


    The at-fault party is liable for any damages you suffered as a result of their negligence.

    How Will a Lawyer Prove My T-Bone Accident Claim?

    We will build your claim by gathering the evidence related to the other party’s fault and your damages. This proof can include:

    • The police report to show who caused the accident;
    • Your medical records to establish the harm you suffered;
    • Your work records to back up your claim for lost wages;
    • Vocational experts to prove any long-term impact on your capacity to support yourself through employment; and
    • Any other relevant documents showing your damages.

    After we collect strong evidence for your case, we will file a claim with the at-fault driver's insurance company. If the insurer tries to deny your claim or is unwilling to offer you a fair settlement, we can file a lawsuit on your behalf.

    What Happens If Both Drivers Were at Fault for the T-Bone Accident?

    If you were partly at fault in the T-bone crash, Washington’s comparative negligence laws could allow you to recover money for some of your damages.

    For example, imagine a drunk driver blew through a red light at an intersection. You had a green light and were traveling at a prudent speed, but you looked away for just a moment to check a text message on your cell phone. Because of the distraction, you could not stop in time to avoid getting T-boned.

    Your damages total $100,000. If the judge assesses 10 percent of the negligence to you for distracted driving, you could still recover $90,000. This proportional reduction of damages represents your own degree of fault.

    How Can I Get Legal Help After a T-Bone Accident?

    At Max Meyers Law, we only handle claims and cases that are transportation-related. If you have suffered injuries in a T-bone or other traffic accident, call us at 425-399-7000 to arrange your complimentary consultation. We do not charge legal fees until you recover compensation.