Car Accidents

Tips for Driving in the Seattle Rain

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With the rainy season upon us, I thought it would be a good idea to post my tips for driving safe in the rain. Seattle has some of the worst traffic in the nation. Couple that with lots of rain and you get a recipe for unsafe driving conditions and car accidents.

  1. Drive with your head lights on – many cars come with all day running lights so this is not as big of a thing as it used to be. It can be hard to see in heavy rains and if you don’t have your headlights on, someone might try to merge into your lane right in front of you and cause a car accident.
  2. Look out for large pooling water and drive slow through them – we all know certain locations where rain collects and pools. Drive slow through these areas and keep an eye out for other areas where water collects like near sidewalks and dips in the road. Hitting large pools of water at a fast speed can cause your car to lose traction (hydroplane) and cause a car accident.
  3. Give extra room for cars behind you when you are coming to a stop – this seems weird but slowing down and easing into your stop by periodically showing your brake lights will make it so the car behind you has adequate time to see that you are about to stop. This can help you avoid someone hitting you from behind and causing a car accident.
  4. Take corners slower than normal – turning around a corner in the rain can cause your car to spin out. Taking a corner fast in the rain can cause loss of traction as the momentum of the car and slick water underneath pushes your car in the direction of the turn.
  5. Stay away from cars that are driving fast and anticipate their moves – cars that are driving erratically are hazardous to you, stay away from them. They are more likely to lose control and not see you when switching between lanes.

Stay safe in the rain and look out for others as you drive.

Andrew CherinTips for Driving in the Seattle Rain
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Most Common Causes of Distracted Driving Car Accidents

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What is the number one cause of distracted driving car accident deaths? A Pennsylvania Insurance Company did a study in 2013 about the most common cause of distracted driving the past two years leading to car accident deaths, posted in the Insurance Journal in 2013.

The study showed that contrary to popular belief, daydreaming was the number one cause of distraction for drivers involved in fatal car accidents from 2010-2011. I think this would probably also include sleeping or falling asleep at the wheel – too tired. This is probably more common because it has to do with the trucking industry, where truckers have to drive a long time and have mandatory breaks while driving requiring them to sleep or rest.

  1. 62% – Day Dreaming or Lost in Thought 
  2. 12% – Cell Phone Usage
  3. 7% – Outside Person or Event
  4. 5% – Other Occupants in Car
  5. 2% – Using A Navigational Device or Headphones
  6. 2% – Eating or Drinking
  7. 2% – Adjusting Audio or Climate Controls
  8. 1% – Adjusting Mirrors or Seats
  9. 1% – Pets or Insects in Car
  10. 1% – Smoking Cigarettes 

The study was based largely on the police officer’s judgment at the time of the crash and could be underrepresented of the true numbers because most people will be unwilling to say they were distracted at the time of a car accident especially in one where the other driver dies. The use of cellphone related car accidents is probably higher given the negative response around texting and driving some people may be hiding the fact they were using their phone.

This is just a reminder of the many distractions in your car that could be taking your attention from driving carefully to keep you and other drivers around you safe. One second of distractions could be the difference between you seeing a stop sign, a person crossing the street, a car stopped in front of you, or a car merging into your lane.

Here are some tips you can use to drive safe and avoid car accidents:

  • Make sure other drivers around you see you – don’t drive in their blind spots.
  • Anticipate cars merging into your lane to give them room.
  • Keep your pets in the back seat.
  • Set your music up on your phone’s playlist before you start driving.
  • Keep your eyes on the road.
  • Explain to your children the dangers of driving and the reason you need absolute quite while driving.
Andrew CherinMost Common Causes of Distracted Driving Car Accidents
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Can you wear headphones with a chord connected to your phone while driving?

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We have all seen the person driving while wearing earbuds with a physical chord attached to their phone. Have you ever wondered if that was illegal? Does this qualify under the new handsfree requirement law for driving and using your phone in Seattle? No, it is illegal. You can only wear headphones that are approved as hands free headphones for the new driving law. These are paired with your phone via bluetooth.

What is somewhat misleading is the fact that you can wear blue tooth enabled headphones and listen to your iphone podcast or music but you cannot wear chorded headphones even though they both function basically the same. I guess the reasoning behind this is that the chord could cause a driving hazard, which could cause a car accident.

Looking further, the listening device must only cover one ear according to WAC 204-10-045

If you are caught wearing headphones with chords, you will most likely be pulled over and fined $124.

RCW 46.37.480

(2) No person shall operate any motor vehicle on a public highway while wearing any headset or earphones connected to any electronic device capable of receiving a radio broadcast or playing a sound recording for the purpose of transmitting a sound to the human auditory senses and which headset or earphones muffle or exclude other sounds. This subsection does not apply to students and instructors participating in a Washington state motorcycle safety program.

(3) This section does not apply to authorized emergency vehicles, motorcyclists wearing a helmet with built-in headsets or earphones as approved by the Washington state patrol, or motorists using hands-free, wireless communications systems, as approved by the equipment section of the Washington state patrol.
Andrew CherinCan you wear headphones with a chord connected to your phone while driving?
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How far is too far in a left turn lane?

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How far can I go in a left turn lane that is in the center dividing two lanes of traffic in each direction for the purpose of turning left before it is illegal? We have all seen them around. We have all wondered how far can I travel in them to overtake traffic.

How far can you go in a turn lane to make a turn? If you are planning on taking a left turn into a business in a turn lane, you cannot use this lane unless the business you are turning into is less than 300 feet away or about the length of a football field. This is not very far.

Can I travel in a turn lane to overtake traffic? No, you cannot enter a turn lane in order to overtake or pass other cars going in the same direction. Turn lanes depicted like this are for left turns only.

What happens if you cause a car accident while driving in a turn lane too far? If you are in a turn lane for more than 300 feet or your destination from when you entered the turn lane was more than 300 feet away, you are potentially at fault for a car accident that you cause. However, the other vehicles around you must have also acted reasonably in their assumption that there is no traffic in the center lane and they took precautions to enter the turn lane safely.

Therefore, if you want to get into a left turn lane to take a left, you should make sure that where you want to take a left turn at is less than 300 feet away. 300 feet away is about 6 seconds of travel for a car going 35 mph, about 5 seconds for a car traveling 40mph, and about 4 seconds for a car traveling 45 to 50mph.

The law-

RCW 46.61.290(3)(c) Upon a roadway where a center lane has been provided by distinctive pavement markings for the use of vehicles turning left from either direction, no vehicles may turn left from any other lane. A vehicle shall not be driven in this center lane for the purpose of overtaking or passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction. No vehicle may travel further than three hundred feet within the lane. A signal, either electric or manual, for indicating a left turn movement, shall be made at least one hundred feet before the actual left turn movement is made.


Andrew CherinHow far is too far in a left turn lane?
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Out of State Car Accidents in Seattle

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Did you know that if you are on vacation in Seattle or another state and get in a car accident, you will have to hire a lawyer that is licensed to practice law in that state to represent you for your car accident injury case? This is because there are different laws for different states and a lawyer must be barred in that state in order to represent someone injured in that state. Therefore, if you don’t live in Seattle but live out of town, you will need to find a Seattle personal injury lawyer.

Therefore, if you are traveling to Washington State to go see the space needle in Seattle and are injured in a car accident while driving on I-5 in Seattle, even though you live in New York or Arizona, you will have to hire a Seattle personal injury lawyer in Seattle to represent you for your car accident injury case.

It’s not too hard to find a lawyer to represent you for your car accident injury case. In fact, it can be really quite easy. Today we can do a whole lot of different things to sign clients from other states. We can talk on the phone, video conference call, send docusigns, and send emails with documents straight from our phones in a second.

Many people think that they will need to be present in the state where they are injured in order to hire a lawyer and get their case settled. This could not be further from the truth. Many times I can talk on the phone to my potential clients, send them a docusign fee agreement, and then they send me all the information I need to represent them like claim numbers and medical records.

Additionally, once I have a claim number, background story, and some general information about injuries and treating doctors, my clients can focus on healing. Also, if they have PIP, I can obtain all their medical records and bills very quickly once my client completes treatment. This speeds up the process tremendously and allows my clients to focus on healing while I talk to the insurance adjusters.

I periodically check in with my clients while they are healing and they send me updates on their progress. Once they are healed, then I can begin collecting medical records and start settling their case. Once I have the best offer from the insurance company, we email or talk over the phone on the best options moving forward whether that be going to trial or accepting the settlement offer. At that point, I can easily send a docusign for my client to sign the settlement release and move forward with settling the case. The insurance company sends me a check for the settlement and I place the funds in a trust account governed by the Washington State Bar Association and then I write a check and mail it to my client the next day for the settlement amount they are owed.

The whole process from an out of state client to an in state client is basically the same. Most cases settle within a couple months of a client healing and being back to 100% or as close to as possible. If you are injured in a car accident in Seattle but live out of state, give me a call or email for a free consultation. Everyone can afford a personal injury lawyer (lawyers are paid out of the settlement usually 1/3 or 40% and never out of client’s pocket) but no one can afford not to.

Andrew CherinOut of State Car Accidents in Seattle
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Signup is easy and hassle free

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Hiring a Seattle personal injury lawyer for your car accident injury case could not be any easier. You only need to meet me once and then focus on healing while I work on negotiating with the insurance company. The only other time you usually will need to come in is to pick up your settlement check.

What to expect when you meet a personal injury lawyer and questions that you have should be answered in my videos but you can always ask for more information regarding your Seattle car accident injury case.

Questions you may have include how much does a personal injury lawyer for your car accident injury case cost? We do not charge hourly fees only contingency fees meaning we are not paid unless we receive monetary compensation for you in your settlement. Most personal injury lawyers charge between 33.333% of the case and 40% but we only charge 33.3333%.

Will your case have to go to trial? Most cases settle without filing a lawsuit and usually settle within 2-3 months of you completing your medical treatment and being released from care. This is much different from the horror stories that most people hear about personal injury cases taking years to settle and receive anything.

Additionally, if you do not have a way to pay for medical treatment right now, we can find you a chiropractor or physical therapist to treat you without up front payments – a huge benefit. If you have insurance to pay for the treatment you need, we will find it.

Consultations are free and I am paid out of the settlement so what are you waiting for!? Contact us today for your Seattle car accident injury case at 206-850-6716

Andrew CherinSignup is easy and hassle free
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Seattle Personal Injury Lawyer Car Accident Injury Handbook – FREE!

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Here is a great book for anyone that has been injured in a car accident in Seattle or Washington State. It is regularly $16.99 on Amazon but you can get yours free when you sign up for my newsletter here

This book will show you:

  • how to navigate the insurance company
  • what you are entitled to
  • how to pay for your medical bills now and who will pay
  • figure out if you have a good case
  • how much your case is worth
  • determine if you need a lawyer
  • and more

I also offer free consultations and am paid out of the settlement so what are you waiting for! Download my book or contact me today. 206-850-6716

Andrew CherinSeattle Personal Injury Lawyer Car Accident Injury Handbook – FREE!
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Should you replace your child’s car seat following a car accident?

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Yes, you should replace your child’s car seat following a car accident because the stability of the car seat could be compromised. Your insurance company or the other driver’s insurance will pay for the replacement of your child’s car seat in a car accident.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has changed their stance that car seats should be replaced in every car accident and now only recommends replacing a car seat where there is a high impact car accident and not to for minor car accidents. The NHTSA states that their position is due to parent’s unable to buy or receive a replacement quickly from the insurance company and don’t use a car seat in the mean time.

This seems risky to me, to put your child’s life in the hands to an estimate whether the car seat is damaged and safety compromised. While this makes sense on the outside, a more practical approach may be to require insurance companies to pay for a replacement ASAP instead of parent’s just thinking the car seat is fine and continuing to allow the child to ride in a ticking time bomb.

NHTSA cited several international studies which showed that after minor vehicle crash tests, even when there is visible stress to the child restraint, the restraint still performed well in subsequent crash tests. The NHTSA defined a minor car crash as the following:

  • The vehicle was able to be driven away from the crash site;
  • The vehicle door nearest the safety seat was undamaged;
  • There were no injuries to any of the vehicle occupants;
  • The air bags (if present) did not deploy; AND
  • There is no visible damage to the safety seat

If you have a car seat that was damaged or you no longer use it, you can recycle your car seat in Seattle. Local recycling center Total Reclaim is partnering with Old Car Seat, New Life to offer ongoing booster and car seat recycling services.

Puget Sound area parents and caregivers can bring car seats and boosters to the Total Reclaim recycling facility at 2200 6th Ave. S. between 8 am to 4:30 pm daily. Car seats with covers, straps and foam removed cost $5 to recycle, or $7 as is. Details are at

Andrew CherinShould you replace your child’s car seat following a car accident?
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Uber and Lyft Required to Have PIP

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What if you are in an Uber or Lyft car that is hit by another car? Many people have wondered who is going to pay for their car accident injuries immediately following the car accident. Can you go to the emergency room and not have to pay out of pocket? Can you go see a chiropractor and not pay out of pocket?

Who is going to pay for your medical bills right now? The defendant’s insurance, if you are hit by another car while riding in a Lyft or Uber, will not pay for your medical bills immediately. This is because they will only make one settlement payment to you that will encompass compensation in full for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering, among others. In order to maximize your recovery, you should wait until you no longer require any further medical treatment to settle your case with the defendant’s car insurance. They will not pay your right away for medical bills so don’t expect them to, even though they will in the end (there is an exception if you are a passenger of an at fault vehicle, a pedestrian, or a bicyclist hit by a car).

What to do to pay for your medical bills after a Lyft or Uber accident? Contact Uber or Lyft and get your claim number and PIP application from them. Washington State now requires Uber and Lyft to carry PIP insurance for their passengers.

Senate Bill 5550 in 2015 was passed and now amends the law on required automobile insurance to apply to ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft. Now Uber and Lyft must provide at a minimum $10,000 in PIP benefits to their passengers if there is a car accident involving their drivers no matter if it was their driver’s fault or not.

If you have been injured in a car accident while riding in an Uber or a Lyft car, you are entitled to PIP from Uber or Lyft today! Don’t let them fool you into thinking they are not required to cover your medical bills and the other driver at fault is required to pay for your medical bills. If you have been injured in a Seattle Uber or Lyft car accident, contact me today for a free consultation. 

Andrew CherinUber and Lyft Required to Have PIP
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Do you have to yield to buses signaling they are merging in Seattle?

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Everyone has seen a bus signaling that they are re-entering traffic but what are the rules? Do they have special rights that other cars do not because they are a bus? Some bus drivers will force their way into traffic making close calls with drivers making it seem like they believe they have the right of way over cars behind them. Do they?
Actually, buses do have more rights than other cars. When a bus signals it is re-entering the flow of traffic from a stop, the drivers behind the bus going the same direction must yield to the bus re-entering traffic. This does not mean that a bus has the right of way to move over into your lane of travel and move wherever they want. This code applies to re-entering the flow of traffic not moving around the flow of traffic.
Why give buses the right of way? The law was written to allow buses to move around faster. It is hard for a bus to stop and then re-enter traffic if traffic is congested and no one is letting them merge back in. Buses are large and carry a large amount of people so they may not be able to see every car around them. Also, they are seen as 20-40 people on the bus that would represent 20-40 cars had they not taken the bus so that saves travel time for others in cars and alleve traffic congestion.
Who is at fault if a bus merges quickly with no warning or time for other drivers to yield? Buses may not force themselves into traffic if another car could not avoid them. The bus would be at fault for merging into a car if the car could not have yielded to the bus. This could be the case where a bus signals and merges at the same time without giving time for others to recognize the bus is signaling and causes a car accident. The bus driver and city of Seattle would be liable for any resulting injuries due to the bus driver’s negligence.
What is the penalty for failing to let a bus in? Seattle traffic tickets are issued at $124 for drivers who fail to yield the right of way to a bus re-entering the flow of traffic from a stop. Additionally, the driver of the car would be at fault if they caused a car accident if they failed to yield the right of way to a bus re-entering traffic. However, the bus may be seen at fault if the bus driver did not give enough warning to the driver, causing the car accident injury case.
The Law:

A. The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a transit vehicle traveling in the same direction that has signalled and is re-entering the traffic flow.

B. This section shall not operate to relieve the driver of a transit vehicle from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons using the street or alley.

C. For purposes of this section, “transit vehicle” means a motor vehicle, street car, train, or trolley which is owned or operated by a city, county, county transportation authority, a public benefit area, or the state, and which is used to carry passengers on a regular schedule. (RCW 46.04.355; 69.50.435(5), (6)).

Andrew CherinDo you have to yield to buses signaling they are merging in Seattle?
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