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Western Washington Personal Injury Law Blog

Two-vehicle crash leaves many questions

Some traffic accidents leave no doubt about the sequence of events and the assignment of liability. Others raise more questions than they answer. The recent fatal collision of a pickup truck and sedan near Sammamish seems to raise few questions, but a careful inquiry shows that the determination of liability rests on questions that have not yet been answered.

The accident occurred at about 4:30 a.m. on SR-202 near Ames Lake Road. A pickup truck being driven by a 24-year-old male collided with the driver's side door on a Mustang being driven by a 19-year-old woman. The Mustang rolled and left the roadway, coming to rest in a ditch. The truck also left the roadway and struck a tree.

Some businesses have no business running nursing homes

The scene at HCR ManorCare nursing home when state inspectors visited was one that could sadden even the most reserved administrator. Patients were found unkempt and dirty, claiming they were lucky to receive minimal personal care every once in a blue moon. Patients in the facility often soil themselves while waiting for a response to their call buttons, while others were left on bedpans fso long that bruises began to form.  

Unfortunately, this scene was not the only problem occurring at the nursing home. Due to lack of staffing and lack of care, there were multiple incidents where residents suffered devastating injuries. One resident had suffered an opioid overdose, another resident had flipped over his wheelchair, resulting in a brain hemorrhage, and an employee helping a paraplegic woman without the assistance of a helper resulted in a fractured hip. 

Woman pinned under pickup truck in Bellevue

Waiting at a bus stop is generally not considered to be a dangerous activity, but a Bellevue woman recently had a different experience. While waiting for a bus, the woman was struck and pinned to the bus stop bench by a pickup truck trying to make a left turn against traffic. Given the nature of the accident and the potential for catastrophic injury, the victim has proclaimed herself to be "lucky."

The woman was sitting on a bench waiting for a Rapid Ride B Line bus near a filling station in Bellevue. At the same time, a pickup truck towing a boat attempted to turn into the filling station adjacent to the bus stop. The truck driver elected to attempt the turn without waiting for traffic in the oncoming lane to clear. As the truck turned into the oncoming traffic, it was struck by a vehicle that caused the truck and trailer to jackknife. The truck struck the woman waiting for the bus and pinned her between its bumper and the bench. The driver of the truck was arrested on suspicion of vehicular assault, but police do not believe that he was impaired by alcohol or drugs.

Five injured in police chase accident

One of the most controversial police tactics is the high-speed chase. Opponents of the tactic say that high speed chases endanger other motorists and do not increase the number of arrests. Police supporters argue that such chases are a necessary arrow in the policeman's law enforcement quiver. Opponents of high-speed chases received some support for their position when a high-speed police chase resulted in a wrong-way collision and five injured people near Snoqualmie.

Snoqualmie police officers received a call about 6:15 p.m describing an attempted kidnapping in progress in the parking lot at the North Bend malls. One witness described a woman who was standing near a white van and shouting that she did not "want to get into this vehicle." As officers were racing to the scene, a wildlife officer spotted a white van being driven erratically. The officer said that the van was repeatedly changing lanes and occasionally using the wrong lane.

What are Washington’s auto insurance requirements?

There is a certain trust among Washington drivers. You and other motor vehicle operators mutually trust that each other is carrying the proper level of auto insurance. Auto insurance doesn’t exist with the expectation that you will have an accident; it exists in case you have an accident.

A 2015 study showed that roughly 1-in-8 Washington drivers were uninsured. That figure ranked 10th worst among the 50 states. Drivers know the risk of driving without insurance and this still happens too often. Why do people drive without insurance despite knowing the consequences? A couple reasons include:

Slow-moving car causes serious injury in McDonald's parking lot

Any resident of Edmonds who has walked through a parking lot at a drive-in restaurant or a big box retail store can attest to the obvious risk of being hit by a moving vehicle in such places. The possibility of suffering a serious injury in a parking lot accident, however, is often ignored. The fact that two women were recently hit by a car in a McDonald's parking lot demonstrates how a minor injury can be transformed into a serious injury.

The two women, both in their 40's, were walking through the parking lot of a McDonald's restaurant in Auburn shortly before 7:00 p.m. A slow-moving car struck both women. One suffered only minor injuries and was treated at Auburn Hospital. The other woman fell to the pavement and struck her head. When police arrived at the scene, they ordered her to be airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. The hospital said that the woman was in serious condition.

Understanding a landowner's duty of care to a social guest

When residents of Seattle visit their friends, legal liability is probably not in the forefront of the guest's or homeowner's mind. Nevertheless, serious injuries often occur in the context of a social visit, and an overview of the law of homeowner liability may provide either comfort or a warning to the homeowner.

Like most rules of tort liability in the common law, a homeowner's duty to social guests is based upon the concept of due care. The law of negligence requires each person to use due care in dealing with others. But what is "due care"? In Washington, an owner or occupier of real estate has a legal duty to inform visitors to the premises of any dangerous conditions of which the owner has actual knowledge or about which the owner can reasonably be expected to have knowledge. In other words, the owner must notify all guests of a dangerous condition, such as a loose handrail on a stairway or a missing step. The law charges the owner or possessor of the premises with knowledge of such defects. The occupier of the premises is also charged with a duty to notify any guest of such defects and the danger they pose.

What is an "affirmative defense"?

It is not uncommon for Washington residents to deny accusations of wrongdoing, and this strategy is often employed in criminal cases in which people are wrongly accused of committing crimes. If the facts do not prove that a person engaged in criminal conduct, they should not be convicted of the accusations that have been brought against them.

However, from time to time an individual may have actually committed what is technically a crime, but may still have defense strategy options. Affirmative defenses are available when certain facts surrounding an alleged crime release an individual from culpability. For example, if a person is charged with assaulting another person, they may admit to inflicting harm on the other person, but may be able to claim that the other person consented to the allegedly criminal conduct.

Truck accidents can have many different causes

An accident between a large truck and a passenger vehicle can be a deadly event. When an Edmonds resident is involved in a collision with a semi or other large commercial vehicle they may suffer serious injuries that impact the long-term quality of their life. Recovering from a truck accident can be a time consuming and expensive process and victims can decide to sue for their damages to aid them in their recovery pursuits.

Knowing how to plead a truck accident case can depend greatly on why the accident happened in the first place. There are a number of different causes of truck accidents and not all possible causes will be discussed in this post. Readers should always speak with their own personal injury attorneys to determine how best to address their pending legal claims.

Are fewer drivers driving while distracted in 2019?

Warnings against distracted driving are everywhere—on the news, on social media, in national campaigns and more. With such a vocal, constant presence warning against the dangers of distracted driving, are fewer drivers driving while distracted in 2019?

Unfortunately, recent studies point to a national increase in distracted driving. From just 2018 to 2019, a study from Zendrive reports that drivers are 10% more distracted this year. In a list of the most distracted cities in the country, Seattle just makes the list with drivers indicating they spend about 7.13% of their time in the car using their phones.

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