Liability

Seattle Pot Holes and Bike Accidents

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Who is at fault if you hit and crash in one of the many potholes around Seattle on a bike? 

While many people may say that someone should have seen a pothole and got out of the way, some times it is impossible to see a pothole on the street depending on the conditions, depth of the pothole, and how many other people are on the road.

Seattle is becoming notorious for not filling potholes in quickly enough. I am sure you will encounter a pothole on the next drive you take after reading this blog. Whether it is because the city has too many potholes to deal with, they are lazy, or they don’t have time to get to them, the city is responsible for filling pot holes and making sure people are safe on the roads.

The city of Seattle is responsible for filling potholes on city streets and some other roads as well. If a bicyclist is injured because they run into a pothole, the city is responsible for the resulting injuries including bicycle replacement, medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If there are permanent injuries, the city is also responsible for future lost wages, future medical bills, and other damages resulting from the fall.

If you are injured by a fall due to a pothole in Seattle, you need to hurry to preserve your case. Generally, there is a three year statute of limitations for personal injury cases in Seattle, Washington. This means that you have three years to file a lawsuit or settle a case against the city of Seattle. In addition to this, the city has a notice requirement that states that you must give them 60 days advance notice before filing a lawsuit against the city, in accordance with RCW 4.96.020. This means you must fill out a claim form on Seattle’s municipal website and mail it in to them following the directions on the website.

If you are injured in a bike accident on a Seattle street, it is best to contact a Seattle personal injury lawyer to figure out your rights and compensation possibly owed to you. Most offer free consultations and are paid out of the settlement. This means that everyone can afford a personal injury lawyer, but you cannot afford to not hire one.

 

Andrew CherinSeattle Pot Holes and Bike Accidents
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Seattle Solar Eclipse and Car Accidents

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August 21, 2017 marks the first solar eclipse to hit Seattle since February 26, 1979 when the total solar eclipse was nearly total 99.6% totality. This year Seattle will have a 92-93% totality but if you head down to Salem, OR you can see 100% totality, just 3 and a half hours south of Seattle.

This years solar eclipse will start around 9:08 a.m. and maximize at 10:20 a.m., where 92-93% of the sun will be blocked by the moon in Seattle. The partial solar eclipse will last until about 11:38 a.m. This means that most people will be at work on Monday when the eclipse starts. However, if you are on the road, traffic may be dangerous as people slow to look at the sun.

There are a couple of distractions that could cause drivers to get into a car accident in Seattle including taking a picture while driving, looking into the sun which causes temporary blindness, and being distracted by looking at the sun and not looking at suddenly stopped traffic ahead.

Distracted driving is already one of the largest causes of car accidents on the road today. With it being the summer time, many teenage drivers will not be at school but could be on the road trying to snap a picture of the solar eclipse. This is creating another distraction among the many we already deal with. Many drivers will be tempted to get a picture of the eclipse with many picturesque freeways and roads giving perfect picture opportunities but with a huge risk of hitting someone in front of them or others.

If you can avoid it, try to stay off the road during times of the eclipse as some drivers may be tempted to look at the sun and become temporarily blinded as they mistakenly think they can look at the eclipse for a couple seconds. Such temporary blindness may cause them to rear end someone in front of them or swerve over into oncoming traffic. Please do not look at the sun while you are driving.

Some drivers may believe their sun glasses will do enough to protect them from the sun but they would be mistaken. Most sunglasses do not offer enough protection to look at the solar eclipse.

Here are a few ideas for looking at the solar eclipse from the ground and not in your car: you can buy a pair of welders’ glasses, a self made pin hole projector that you can make at home, special solar eclipse glasses you can buy on Amazon or at a local store, or through your iphone or smart phone. You can use your iphone by shielding your eyes with the phone or looking over your shoulder in selfie mode with your camera function on.

Looking at the solar eclipse and being distracted is not an excuse in a car accident. If you have been injured in a car accident in Seattle by someone looking at the solar eclipse, please call me for a free consultation. Everyone can afford a lawyer, as we are paid out of the settlement, but you cannot afford not to hire a lawyer.

Andrew CherinSeattle Solar Eclipse and Car Accidents
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Duty to Seek Treatment ASAP?

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Many people who are injured in car accidents, especially men, try to tough out their injuries. The reason can be anything from not having enough time to go to a chiropractor, massage therapist, physical therapist, etc. to not wanting to “cause problems” for the other person. However, insurance companies are increasingly trying to crack down on people that wait three to five months start chiropractic or physical therapy following a car accident and denying their relatedness of such. While there are some good arguments to stop insurance companies from making these arguments, why not get the treatment needed immediately so not to create this possible complication.

If you wait too long to get treatment, the insurance company may have a good argument for denying the treatment – to a certain degree. This is because there is law in Washington State that requires a victim of a car accident injury case to get treatment within a reasonable amount of time as a reasonable person would so as to not make their injuries worse. However, this does not mean that the insurance company is completely off the hook for covering these medical bills but it does mean that it may be reduced to a certain degree.

Example: Let’s suppose the following: If someone who is injured in a car accident would have gone to a chiropractor right after the car accident, they would have been able to be healed within 6 months with massage and physical therapy. The insurance company will be responsible for 100% of the treatment because the person injury in the car accident mitigated their damages.

Now let’s say that if they wait to start chiropractic, PT, and massage three months after the car accident, their injuries will have gotten so bad to the point where they need an extra three months or nine months to heal. In this second scenario, the insurance company will have a good case that those extra three months of treatment are not coverable because the person injured in the car accident waited too long to get healed without a valid excuse. However, the question will come down to would a reasonable person have sought medical treatment when the person did in this case – within three months of the car accident.

This rule not only applies to medical treatment, but also to lost wages. Would a reasonable person have sought jobs they could have applied for given their injuries and situation. Would they have gotten a job so not to lose their house. A victim of a car accident has a duty to mitigate their damages as much as reasonably possible.

Washington State Pattern Jury Instruction 33.01 lays out the argument that the insurance company can make. However, they must also prove that a reasonable person would have sought medical treatment and thus the delay in getting medical treatment was the proximate cause of the now more complicated treatment and not the car accident. Proximate cause means sufficiently related to a legally recognizable injury to be held to be the cause of that injury.

If the court finds a duty to mitigate was not followed, the court may apportion what percentage of the medical damages the car accident injury victim was partially at fault for based on comparative fault rules in Washington State, which does not bar recovery if someone was partially at fault but merely just takes off their percentage from 100%. This means if someone was found to have been 10% at fault for worsening their symptoms and treatment for not getting treatment within a reasonable time, they would only recover 90% of their total personal injury award instead of 100%.

Conclusion: Get the therapy you need as soon as possible in order to avoid complications and delays in getting your personal injury car accident case settled as soon as you are 100% back to normal or as close as possible.

Andrew CherinDuty to Seek Treatment ASAP?
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Dash Cams Save Time and Money?

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With more and more Youtube videos coming out showing someone trying to perpetrate a fraudulent car accident by the perpetrator backing up into a car and trying to blame it on the innocent victim, do we all need dash cams? Could this happen in Seattle instead of China or Russia where most of these videos are taking place? Could a perpetrator try to back up their car into yours and claim a personal injury car accident in Seattle?

Dash cams have been the saving grace for most of these people as once the perpetrator trying to fake a car accident injury case sees the dash cam they high tail it out of there. Dash cams are a great idea because it gives independent evidence of what actually happened instead of a he said she said coupled with the damage to each car. Since most rear end car accidents are deemed the rear end driver’s fault, dash cams could definitely come in handy to prove innocence in these rare but extreme cases.

What else could dash cams help with? Dash cams could help prove liability in a car accident where one person says they had a green light and the other claims they had the green light. They could help prove liability where one person says they had control of an uncontrolled intersection and thus the right of way in a car accident. They would also speed up the liability determination of every case and help get the victim compensation for the damages to their car and help them move forward with their case. They can even record when you are not in the car to record people that crash into your car while it is park or vandalize your car.

How much do dash cams cost and how hard are they to install? Dash cams cost anywhere from $50 to $200 on Amazon with most costing around $100. They range from mounted to the dashboard cams to dash cams that just wrap around your review mirror, with almost instant installation. Most plug into a USB outlet or the cigarette lighter plug. Installation seems like anyone can do it without having it professionally installed.

The video recording on the dash cam mount generally is either saved on a disk on the dash cam and able to be taken out or backed up to your phone with footage being erased and tapped over every 24 hours or 48 hours depending on the model that you have. It’s unclear whether it is driving time, recording time, or just time that quantifies the 24 to 48 hours. You can even use your phone as a dash cam camera with certain mounts.

In summary, dash cams are not very expensive and could save you from a lot of trouble if you don’t have any independent witnesses and one person is claiming something that is untrue in a car accident injury case. While there are ways to prove whose fault a car accident injury case is independent of a witness and a dash cam, it could take a lot of time to figure it out and money to prove whose fault it is. A dash cam would save all this time and bring 100% clarity to most car accidents.

 

Andrew CherinDash Cams Save Time and Money?
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Can you cross on a counting down blinking hand?

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Seattle is one of the worst cities for controlling pedestrians crossing the street, which has led to some of the worst traffic in a city. While there appears to be many routes out of the city, you will almost certainly be caught in only one car making a light during rush hour due to pedestrians continually crossing all intersections even when the hand is blinking stop. Many car accidents and traffic jams are caused by pedestrians darting in front of traffic.

 

Can a pedestrian cross the street in Seattle with a blinking or steady don’t walk sign or hand?

According to RCW 46.61.060 states that pedestrians may not enter the roadway when there is a blinking hand or do not walk sign. This means that anyone that enters the roadway when the hand signal is counting down is violating the law and jay walking.

Is the countdown the time you have to cross the street and if you make it you are not jaywalking?

The countdown is not the amount of time you have to cross the street. You cannot jump into the crosswalk and run across in time and be considered to be in compliance with the law. If you start crossing the street after the do not cross sign or hand starts to blink and countdown, you are in violation of the law. You legally cannot start crossing the street no matter if you can make it in time or not if the hand is blinking and the countdown has begun.

Who is at fault if you accidentally hit a pedestrian that runs into the street without notice to you?

Pedestrians generally have the right of way in cross walks and at unmarked cross walks. Cars have a duty to be mindful of people darting into the street and stop if possible to avoid hitting another car or person, according to RCW 46.61.245. However, pedestrians do not have the right of way to just run into the street without looking at traffic no matter if it is a cross walk or not. RCW 46.61.235(2) – No pedestrian or bicycle shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk, run, or otherwise move into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to stop.

If you are injured in a car accident or hit by a car as a pedestrian, you have a lot more rights than may appear. You may have a case for personal injury damages even if the police report states that you are at fault. Preserve your rights and your case now by contacting a Seattle personal injury lawyer for your car accident injury case immediately.

Andrew CherinCan you cross on a counting down blinking hand?
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Can the owner of a car be held responsible for another driver of the car?

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People often wonder whose insurance covers a car accident where someone other than the owner of the car is driving the vehicle. The answer is that there are multiple insurance companies that could be responsible for the car accident depending on a number of factors.

If someone drivers your car and gets into a car accident, the victim of the car accident can possibly go after your car insurance if the driver of your car was a permissive driver. This means that the driver had permission to drive your car when they got in an accident. Permissive drivers can be assumed where the driver of the car was a family member in some situations. Common situations where it could be assumed is a child that is under 18 years old and lives with you or your spouse.

Your insurance will not have to cover the car accident injury of the other person if the person you gave permission to drive your car has their own car insurance. Since the other person caused the car accident, their insurance will be primary and your insurance would be secondary on the car accident, in general.

If the driver did not have your permission to drive your car, the person injured in the car accident probably cannot go after you for your insurance. These situations usually come into play where your car was stolen. Stealing of a car can be a situation where you did not give permission for the driver to drive your car.

The person that is injured in the car accident will also have their own car insurance that will cover injuries they sustain should there not be any insurance coverage on the car at the time of the collision.

If there was a passenger injured in the car accident, they can get coverage from their own insurance as well as the driver of the car they were in. Additionally, pedestrians have similar rights and options if they were hit by a car while crossing the street or somewhere else.

These situations may vary where your car accident injury insurance dictates other language. You should look at your policy to determine what your insurance coverage states you may be responsible for. If you are injured in a car accident, you need a Seattle personal injury lawyer to represent you in your case. If you have been in a car accident, call me immediately so you don’t lose your right to be compensated for your injuries sustained in the car accident.

 

Andrew CherinCan the owner of a car be held responsible for another driver of the car?
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