Legal Action after Wrongful Death in the Seattle Area

There are few words to offer people who lose a loved one prematurely. As a long time auto accident attorney in Seattle I have handled wrongful death matters in the Seattle area for more than a decade, and no case is any less troubling than the last. Life is a gift, and when it is taken away through the negligence or mistake of another, words are just not enough to comfort the family of the victim.

But there is much that can be done. Though life is irretrievably lost, our culture uses laws to require a wrongdoer to pay for ending the life of another. Money will not buy back his familiar smile, or the silly phase that only she used, but it can provide crucial economic support for the future.

A wrongful death case in Washington is brought by a personal representative of the immediate family of the deceased. In the aftermath of wrongful death, you must contact good legal counsel as soon as possible.

While the time limit for filing a wrongful death action is three years, valuable evidence, testimony, and documentation can be quickly destroyed or forgotten. While a family grieves, our firm gathers needed information to create a strong case for settlement or litigation.

When the unthinkable occurs — there are no words that adequately express profound loss. If your loved one was taken too soon, take action to secure your future, and the future of your family damaged by the negligence of another. Get in touch with a knowledgeable attorney right away.

18 Tips for 18 Wheels: Sharing the Road with Big Rigs in Washington

Trucking is a dangerous, necessary profession. Big rigs are 18-wheeled machines that dwarf everything else on the road. Just driving near a semi-truck makes car drivers nervous — with good reason.

Big truck accidents are usually severe — and many are deadly. In 2010, there were 22 fatal collisions involving heavy trucks according to the Washington State Department of Transportation.

As a semi truck accident attorney the victims I represent suffer permanent injury from a drive they never thought would change their life. Knowing how to share the road with a semi-truck makes a difference. Consider these tips the next time you share the road with a big rig:

Respect size and speed
If you cannot see a truck driver, they cannot see you
Do not drive distracted or impaired
Pass on the left
After passing, pull in when entire truck is visible in rear view
Stay out of no-zone areas to sides and rear of trucks
Maintain speed after passing
Big trucks do not slow quickly
Never cut-off any vehicle — but especially not a truck
Do not draft or tailgate
Maintain more car lengths
Respect wide turns
Avoid tire debris
Be cautious in high wind
Watch for lane changes at on-ramps
Use caution on sloppy roads
Be patient
Yield — no matter what

Big rigs are dangerous. Always exercise caution when on the road with them. And remember to contact a knowledgeable attorney if you or a loved one suffers injury in an accident with an 18-wheeler.

Keeping Your Commercial Driver License in Washington State

Driving a truck or bus for commercial, transport, or other reasons generally requires a commercial driver’s license (CDL) in Washington. Just like a regular driver’s license, obtaining a CDL requires training and testing before issuance of the license. And just like a driver’s license, the privilege of driving a commercial vehicle can be suspended or revoked with enough underlying cause. Obviously, this can destroy the livelihood of a commercial driver.

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According to the Washington State Department of Transportation, almost 3,000 heavy trucks were involved in collisions in 2010. Of those, 78 accidents involved alcohol. Keeping a CDL relies on a good driving record, and it will be suspended under several conditions, including:

  •     Revocation or suspension of a basic driving license
  •     Conviction of driving a non-commercial vehicle under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs
  •     Driving a commercial vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) over .04 percent
  •     Causing a fatality through negligent operation of a commercial vehicle
  •     Leaving the scene of a vehicle accident

Collisions give rise to many of these violations. Most carry a one-year CDL suspension — three years if transporting hazardous materials. Lifetime suspension of a commercial license occurs after two violations. Commission of successive serious traffic offenses leads to license suspension of 120 days.

In all cases, you can appeal the disqualification and seek administrative review. Driving a truck, like driving a car, requires care, caution and clear thinking. If you have trouble with your CDL, contact The Jones Firm for help.

Birthdays are Milestones Worth Reaching

Young drivers have not had a lot of birthdays. Senior drivers have had quite a few. These two groups make up populations most likely to be involved in a serious or fatal car accident.

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Reasons for the high risk nature of senior and young adult driving are different. While all drivers are affected by distracted driving, teen and young adult drivers are particularly at peril as they move from novice to experienced driver.

A teen driver in Washington moves through a graduated licensing process. Each stage is accompanied by restrictions and requirements. A basic license is issued at age 18 with proper identification, a fee and passage of medical, vision, knowledge and driving tests.

Penalties for violations of graduated licensing restrictions range from a warning letter to suspension of driving privileges until age 18. In Washington, the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08 percent. If under 21, arrest is made if an officer has probable cause to believe BAC is .02 percent or over.

Distracted driving can kill, and it leads to many of the personal injury matters handled by The Jones Firm. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), talking on a cell phone — hands on or off — affects driver response time similarly to driving with a BAC of .08.

Driving is a complicated task, especially for those with fewer birthdays — and those with a lot. Drive safe and make sure you reach that next birthday.

Share the Road – Seattle Motorists and Motorcycles

Although road safety is paramount during every season, summertime brings the bikes out in droves — both the motorized kind and pedal power. In Washington, motorcycle fatalities climb in the summer months and drop off in October.

As a motorcycle Accident Attorney in Bellevue, I’ve seen a lot of horrible crashes due to driver negligence. Sharing the roadway means watching for motorists of all kinds. Given their speed, maneuverability and small size, motorcycles are easy to miss in traffic and accidents often result. In my legal practice, per accident claim, motorcycle injuries are suffered more frequently and severely than automobile injury. And although declining in Washington, motorcycle fatalities are trending upward across the country, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

To help prevent such fatalities, it is important to follow these traffic tips:

  • Motorcycles are easy to overlook. When you survey traffic, take a fresh look for all vehicles.
  • Never tailgate a motorcyclist. Leave sufficient room to stop should the motorcyclist lose control of his or her vehicle, or be thrown from it.
  • Motorcycle speed is deceptive. An oncoming motorcycle may look farther away than it is. When in doubt, wait it out.
  • Give them room. Motorcycles have a right and a need for their whole lane to avoid road damage and debris.

Giving ground to all motorists is important. When you share a road — share it safely. And if you get hurt through the carelessness or recklessness of another driver, be sure to contact an experienced personal injury attorney right away.