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Western Washington Personal Injury Law Blog

Pedestrian deaths hit highest point since 1990

According to a recent report, which has attracted national media attention, 6,227 pedestrians across the country lost their lives in traffic accidents during 2018. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, which analyzed the report, this was an increase of 250 deaths over 2017 and was also the highest number of pedestrian deaths since 1990.

Over the last 10 or so years, the number of pedestrians killed on this country's roadways has increased by over 40 percent. Pedestrians now account for over 15 percent of all traffic fatalities. Safety experts and others are continuing to evaluate ways to make pedestrians safer and thereby reverse this alarming statistical trend.

Drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving

Getting behind the wheel after having one too many drinks can have disastrous consequences for you and for the drivers around you. But did you know that driving when you’re sleep deprived can be just as dangerous?

In 2017, there was an estimate of nearly 91,000 accidents that involved drowsy drivers. Here’s why drowsy drivers pose a risk to other drivers on the road.

Whiplash is not a minor injury

Whiplash injuries have to some extent gotten a bad name, even to the point where advocates of so-called tort reform use whiplash as an example of how people misuse the legal system to get hefty compensation for minor injuries. Thankfully, it is true that whiplash often clears up on its own after a few weeks. However, the fact that the outlook for recovery is often good does not make whiplash a minor injury. A person suffering from whiplash may suffer stiffness and pain in the neck, a limited range of motion, tingling, chronic fatigue, headaches and the like.

The symptoms of whiplash can put a person out of work for days or weeks, and it is recommended that a person experiencing whiplash seek out medical care. Moreover, it is important to remember that, as the name implies, whiplash involves a sudden throttling of the neck, much like the sudden back and forth motion of a cracking whip.

Modification to federal rest rules on the horizon

Many truck drivers and drivers of other commercial vehicles in Washington are subject to what are officially called the Hours of Service Regulations, but which commonly get referred to as the federal rest rules. The goal of these regulations is to prevent fatigued truck driving by requiring truckers subject to these rules to take an extended rest period, 10 hours off duty, from time to time.

The goal of this extended rest period is to give a trucker the opportunity to sleep. The rest rules also require truck drivers to take a 34-hour break after driving a certain number of hours each week.

Shots at Seattle light-rail station leave one dead, two wounded

Many thousands of people pass through Washington's light-rail stations every day without incident, but these crowds can provide effective cover for anyone who wants to inflict injury on someone else. A recent shooting incident at the Westlake light-rail station left one man dead, two men injured and the police searching for suspect.

The incident occurred at about 9:20 p.m. on the west side of the north bound tunnel platform. According to witnesses, a man dressed in a dark hoodie began shouting at a group of three other men. Witnesses then say that the man in the hoodie pulled a gun and begin shooting at the three men. The three victims were each hit by one or more shots.

Stage barrier collapse injures dozens, including four seriously

Stage barriers in Washington and throughout the country are a familiar sight at outdoor events, especially musical performances. Audience members frequently press against these barriers for a better view of the performers. Whether they succeed is a question that has never been conclusively answered. When the audience at a Saturday night performance at the Bumbershoot Festival in Seattle pressed against a stage barrier, the barrier collapsed and more than two dozen persons suffered injuries. No one commented on whether they achieved a better view.

The incident occurred during the last set of the performance by electronic artist, Jai Wolf. As concertgoers pressed against the barrier, it collapsed and fell on the audience. Twenty-five people had their injuries evaluated at the scene. Ultimately, four persons who were injured in the collapse were taken to Harborview Medical Center, where they were reported to be in stable condition.

What are Washington’s teen driving laws?

Does it feel like just yesterday you were sending your child off to school for the first time? Now, your child is a teenager and preparing to obtain their driver’s license. It’s amazing how fast time flies.

While you’ve always known that this day would come, you may still feel uneasy. Inexperienced drivers are among the most disadvantaged on the road. Car crashes are the leading cause of teen deaths and because of their youth, injuries can become lifelong problems.

Mechanical failure sends truck crashing into Subway sandwich shop

Washington trucks that are intended to haul construction materials or debris, such as large dump trucks, are necessarily large and powerful. Stopping, such a vehicle in the event of a mechanical failure, can be difficult, if not impossible. A recent crash caused by a driver losing control of her dump truck illustrates the point.

Shortly after 9:30 a.m. on August 19, 2019, a dump truck was traveling west on James Street near Pioneer Square. According to police, the truck suffered a catastrophic mechanical failure that caused the driver to lose control. The truck rolled forward and struck a pedestrian at the corner of James Street and Second Avenue. The driver responded by attempting to weave through traffic. The truck struck three cars on James Street and then crashed through the front window of a Subway Sandwich Shop. A video recording of the incident shows the truck resting completely inside the sandwich shop with its windshield shattered.

One killed when car collides with shuttle bus at Sea-Tac Airport

One the most familiar sites at big city airports, like those here in Washington, is the number of shuttle buses carrying airline passengers to or from the airport. How safe are the passengers on the shuttle buses? Are seat belts available? Can these vehicles withstand the impact of a standard sedan? The recent collision of an automobile and a shuttle bus near the Sea-Tac Airport in Seattle is providing uncertain answers to some of these questions.

A shuttle van from the Seattle Airport Marriott was headed north on International Boulevard at about 1:00 p.m. on July 25. A car heading south in the opposite lane crossed the median and hit the shuttle bus. The force of the impact tipped the van on its side. The van was carrying nine persons, but police were unable to determine how many, if any, were using the available seat belts.

Head-on crash kills driver on notorious stretch of SR 202

For the second time in less than a month, a stretch of State Road (SR) 202 near Sammamish has claimed a life in an automobile-truck accident. According to a state trooper who responded to reports of the most recent accident, this stretch of road is "kind of notorious." According to the trooper, the road in this area has several blind corners and narrow driving lanes, and accidents on this stretch are "not ever easy little fender-benders." The latest accident proves both points.

A sedan was heading east on SR 202 when the driver veered to the left as he entered a severe curve. A semi-trailer truck heading in the opposite direction collided head-on with the sedan. The impact broke the steering mechanism on the semi, and the large truck careened toward the side of the road. The truck smashed through the guardrail and toward a 25-30 feet drop into a creek.

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