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Seattle Motor Vehicle Accident Law Blog

How many distracted drivers are on Seattle roads?

By now, Seattle residents are likely aware that distracted driving is a problem, both in Washington and around the country. The dangers of distracted driving are also pretty clear; the news is full of reports of people who have been involved in serious, sometimes fatal car accidents due to a driver looking at a phone or being distracted from the task of driving in some other way. But, in reality, how many people are there on the roads who are driving while also dealing with some distraction or another, thereby putting everyone at risk?

While there is no way to have a definitive answer to this question, the Washington State Traffic Safety Commission undertook an attempt to reach an estimate of the number of distracted drivers utilizing the state's roadways. To do this, it relied on observation teams at sampled intersections in incorporated areas throughout the state. Teams were sent to the sampled intersections to observe and record driver behavior while driving. In the end, over 22,000 drivers were observed across the state, and the numbers can be extrapolated from the sample with a fairly high degree of confidence.

Why is "subrogation" important in Seattle motorcycle accidents?

Previous posts here have covered the basics of negligence in a Washington personal injury lawsuits arising from a car or motorcycle accident. Those previous posts have focused on the way an injured person could attempt to recover damages from another person who had caused the injury through carelessness. However, as many Seattle residents are no doubt aware, the two drivers are hardly ever the only ones involved in the aftermath of a motorcycle accident.

The most obvious other parties likely to be involved in any discussion of damages are the drivers' insurance companies. Because the law generally requires some minimum form of insurance, just about every crash is going to involve insurance issues. One of the main parts of insurance law with regard to accidents is the concept of "subrogation."

Seattle could be liable in fatal accident involving bicyclist

Most Seattle residents are probably aware that the loved ones of people killed in accidents may have some legal rights to compensation if someone else is at fault. Most of the time, people likely think of these situations as those in which the family must look to a negligent driver who was to blame for the death. However, as one local case may show, motorists are not the only ones who have legal duties to those who use the public roads.

The family of a young woman who was killed last year while riding a bicycle in Seattle is looking to hold someone responsible for her death. The 27-year-old was riding along a street that contained trolley tracks when she tried to pass another cyclist, according to camera footage from the Seattle police. At some point, she crashed her bicycle, and died of head trauma some 11 days later, even though she was wearing a helmet. According to the police, the accident was caused by the woman's own error. Her family, however, maintains that the trolley tracks she was riding over are known to be dangerous and caused her death.

What is "comparative negligence" in pedestrian accidents?

Some Seattle residents may think that the city is not very pedestrian friendly. Due to the geographic limitations of the urban center being sandwiched between the sound and the lakes, many road junctions and other interchanges are awkwardly constructed and designed. Further, the growing number of people living in the area has created traffic volume that makes being a pedestrian even more dangerous.

Even so, there are things people on foot in Seattle can do to decrease their likelihood of being in a pedestrian accident. Obeying the rules of the road, such as crossing at designated points and waiting for the proper signal before crossing streets will help lower the risk. However, there are places and times when it may not be feasible or practical to use a crosswalk or other designated area. So, what happens if a pedestrian is hit outside one of these crossings?

Are there laws to regulate truck driver's hours?

Much has been said about truck drivers and the fact that they drive long hours without any resting period and how this can lead to fatigue which can cause accidents. The question that many Seattle residents may have then is: why aren't there any laws regulating truck driver's working hours? The answer to this is, yes, they are regulated.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has listed the hours of service regulations that apply to property and passenger carrying drivers. Property carriers can drive a maximum of 11 hours after taking 10 consecutive hours off-duty. Passenger carriers may driver 10 after 8 hours.

Seattle bus accidents not the only source of mass transit injury

Most residents of the greater Seattle metropolitan area will agree that it is a nice place to live. With a cosmopolitan city center, major sports franchises, plenty of artistic outlets, as well as access to nearby outdoor activities like skiing, hiking and water-related activities, the city has much going for it. Then there are the spectacular views of Mount Ranier and other local vistas, making western Washington a beautiful place to live or visit. Like any urban area, however, there are also dangers present underneath that shining façade. Having many people in a small area, and allowing them to travel from place to place relatively conveniently usually means some form of mass transit, like busses or trains. When an accident happens involving one of these vehicles, there are usually many people affected, many of them seriously.

It is important to realize that, in the grand scheme of things, mass transit accidents are not particularly common. Many thousands of person-trips occur each day, and most end safely. However, when some problem does occur, the extent of the potential casualty pool, and the often catastrophic injuries incurred, make such incidents especially serious and memorable. Bus accidents, for example, can involve not only those on the bus, but also those on the street in the vicinity around the accident, and in vehicles and buildings close by. As large, heavy vehicles, the damage busses can do in collisions with other objects is significant.

Mukilteo Restaurant Patrons Injured by Deep Fryer Explosion

Speedway Cafe.jpgOn Sunday morning, three people were injured when a can of Pam cooking spray fell into a deep fryer causing an explosion at the Speedway Café in Mukilteo. The injure patrons were transported to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle for treatment, and their condition remains unknown. The restaurant remains closed today, and a sign on the door indicates it will reopen on Tuesday.

What is 'proximate cause' in a Seattle car accident?

From the time we are children, we learn that being careless can bring about unwanted consequences. When we were told to pick up our toys so our parents didn't trip and "break their necks," we were getting a lesson not only in carelessness, but also in causation. The fact that the act of leaving the toys out (or alternatively phrased, the inaction of not picking them up,) might be the cause of injury to someone we cared about was meant to instill some kind of sense of responsibility for what we did.

While the above example was prospective; that is, it was warning of possible future harm, causation is also sometimes a factor that needs to be examined after events have already occurred. This blog has previously discussed the fact that negligence, or carelessness, is the root of most injury suits based on car accidents. We have also touched on some of the elements of a negligence action, such as legal duty, breach, and cause in fact.

The face of a lawyer

cropped_edited-1.jpgThis afternoon, several of us travelled to SODO to have professional headshots taken for our website. As we were riding to the studio I was thinking to myself, "how can a single photo capture everything we want to communicate to a potential new client?" How can a photo communicate that we are caring and compassionate people who genuinely care about our clients and at the same time that we are dedicated, experienced and tenacious advocates for our clients?

Do pedestrians have the right of way?

pedestrian2.jpgRecently I was contacted by a woman who was hit by a car while she was crossing the street. She wanted to know if I could represent her in a claim for injuries against the driver of the car that hit her. Upon investigation, I learned that the woman had been crossing a busy street mid-block, had passed between two cars that were stopped for traffic, and was hit by another car that was approaching a red light. When I told her that I could not represent her she was shocked. "Don't pedestrians always have the right of way?" she asked. Sadly for her, the answer is no - pedestrians do NOT always have the right of way.

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