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Complex personal injury

While checking Facebook, driver hits, kills man changing tire on I-5 in Tacoma

Man changes Flat Tire by the Highway

Stranded on the side of the highway with a blown tire and cars ripping past is a nightmare scenario for many people, and for good reason. Every year people are killed on the roadside while trying to change tires.

In Tacoma, a woman who was distracted by her cellphone allegedly struck and killed a man while he was changing a tire on I-5. Police say the crash happened in the northbound lane of the I-5 collector-distributor section at South 38th Street around 8:40 a.m. on May 10, 2021.

According to a local news report, the man died at the scene of the accident. The woman who hit him is now being charged with vehicular homicide after she admitted she was checking Facebook on her cellphone at the time of the crash.

Washington state has some of the strictest distracted driving laws in the country, but there will always be drivers who throw caution into the wind and put themselves and everyone else on the road in danger. A recent study even found that Washington state has some of the most distracted drivers around —  and that the state is taking great strides toward changing the situation.

Distracted driving in Washington state

A recent MyCarInsurance123 study ranked Washington as the state with the 4th most distracted drivers in the U.S. In 2018, distracted driving was a factor in nearly 15% of all fatal crashes in the state. The only other factor that contributed more often to deadly crashes was speeding.

Soon after the ranking was released, Washington rolled out a new set of strict anti-distracted driving laws with tough penalties. In Washington, you can only use a cellphone while driving if it is a hands-free device, you’re parked outside of the flow of traffic, or you are contacting emergency services. You cannot use your cellphone while stopped in traffic.

The new laws seemed to be working. There was a 25% reduction in fatal accidents involving distracted drivers in its first year, but progress may have been interrupted by COVID-19. While distracted driving fatalities continue to drop, the number of distracted drivers observed on Washington streets shot up in 2020.

It appears many Americans used the empty streets provided by pandemic lockdowns to drive recklessly. Across the U.S., the number of citations issued for drivers going above 100 mph spiked. In Washington, the statewide distracted driver rate increased from about 7% of drivers to 9.5%.

People we’ve helped

Send distracted drivers a message that's loud and clear

If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, you have the right to seek financial compensation for all your losses. This can include compensation to cover the cost of your medical bills, lost income, your pain and suffering, and any other compensable damages you suffered as a result of the crash.

At Herschensohn Law Firm, PLLC, attorney Zach Herschensohn has been representing accident victims in Kent and the Seattle Metro area for years. Known for his strong work ethic, high energy, and professionalism, Attorney Herschensohn can protect your legal rights and fight for the money you’re entitled to.

Don’t waste your time and energy arguing with an insurance company about compensation. Let an experienced car accident lawyer deal with them instead so you can focus on moving forward from your injury.

Contact us today at our office in Kent, WA for a free consultation.

Our results speak for themselves

CONTACT HERSCHENSOHN LAW

Hurt? Let our law firm handle the details

When you request your free consultation, Kent personal injury attorney Zach Herschensohn will listen to you, answer your questions, lay out your legal options, and give you down-to-earth legal advice.

When you work with our law office, there are no obligations, hidden fees, or fine print. It’s that simple.

Request your free case evaluation

We’ll meet with you to help you understand your legal options and what to do next.

Enter your contact information:

We’re proud to fight—and win—for injured people in Kent, Washington. View our case results to learn more.

Complex personal injury

What to expect from your personal injury claim

blog-03

If you sustained an injury due to someone else’s negligence, you’re likely looking for answers. Don’t expect to get anywhere with the at-fault party’s insurance company. They will put their own interests ahead of your needs. The at-fault party responsible for causing your injury will likely try to change the story and cover their tracks. These factors — and more — make pursuing a personal injury claim complicated and frustrating.

Meanwhile, you need to get medical care for your injuries. Perhaps you need an operation or months of physical therapy. Your doctor advises you to take time off from work and avoid certain activities until you recover. The bills continue to pile up and you’re unable to make ends meet without income. The good news is, you have legal options. It is important to be patient and know what to expect when pursuing a personal injury claim.

Kent, WA personal injury lawyer Zach Herschensohn discusses the benefits you’re likely eligible for and how personal injury cases are resolved. Here’s what you should know.

Getting first-party benefits

When pursuing first-party benefits, you don’t file a claim against the at-fault party’s insurance company. Rather, you file for no-fault benefits with your own insurance company. Most first-party benefits are paid from your personal injury protection (PIP) insurance policy. Under Washington law (Section 48.22.085), your car insurance provider must offer you PIP.

Whether or not you want PIP coverage is your choice. If you choose not to purchase PIP coverage, you must notify your insurance provider in writing. Otherwise, your insurance company will automatically add it to your policy. We highly suggest that you purchase PIP in case you sustain an injury during a crash. You won’t have to prove the negligence of another party, but getting benefits from your own insurance company can be difficult. Attorney Herschensohn can help you with that.

What first-party benefits cover:

  • Medical expenses: A comprehensive PIP policy pays for up to $10,000 in reasonable and necessary medical costs. If you purchase additional coverage, you can receive up to $35,000 for medical expenses.
  • Wage loss: PIP pays for up to $200 in wage reimbursement for up to one year if you’re unable to work due to your injuries. You must have been out of work for at least 14 consecutive days after your crash to be eligible. If you purchase additional coverage, you can receive up to $700 per week. PIP pays for wage reimbursement for up to one year from the date of your crash.
  • Home assistance: If you’re unable to perform daily tasks at home due to your injuries, you’re likely eligible for home assistance. PIP pays up to $200 per week for assistance from a non-family member. Comprehensive PIP policies have a limit of $5,000 for home assistance. You have the option to purchase additional coverage to increase the limit to $14,600.
  • Funeral expenses: PIP pays up to $2,000 for each person killed in a crash to the closest surviving family members.

People we’ve helped

Getting third-party benefits

Third-party benefits apply to injured parties whose damages exceed the PIP limit. When you pursue a third-party claim, you file a claim against the at-fault party’s insurance company. Third-party benefits pay for:

  • Current and future medical costs
  • Lost wages
  • Home assistance
  • Non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, mental anguish and loss of enjoyment of life
  • Death benefits to the family of the victim if the injuries are fatal
  • Damage to property or loss of property

Unlike first-party claims, third-party claims are fault-based. That means you must prove that someone else’s negligence caused your injury. Third-party benefits are paid when your lawyer and the insurance company agree on a fair settlement. Most personal injury cases are resolved through settlements. Sometimes, an agreement can’t be reached or the insurance company acts in bad faith. This is when your case will go to trial. Both your lawyer and the insurance company will present their arguments and evidence they have gathered. Should your case go to trial, you will only be compensated if a verdict can be reached.

Connecting your injuries to negligence

Negligence occurs when an individual fails to use caution or acts in a reckless manner when any reasonable person would have used caution in the same situation. For instance, any reasonable person would avoid texting and driving. The driver who causes a crash while texting and driving acts in a negligent manner.

When litigating your case, it will take solid evidence to connect your injuries to someone else’s negligence. In most cases, your lawyer will gather evidence by:

  • Reviewing police reports or incident reports
  • Surveying the scene where the incident occurred
  • Checking video footage from nearby surveillance cameras
  • Interviewing witnesses and cross-referencing their statements with other evidence
  • Getting a copy of your medical records

The value of your personal injury claim

Your lawyer will leave no stone unturned when determining the value of your claim. No two personal injury claims are alike, so determining how much compensation you’re eligible for will take some time. These are the factors that will determine the value of your claim:

  • Your current and future medical expenses
  • An estimate of how long it will take for you to recover
  • Your loss of wages or earning capacity
  • Damaged or lost personal property
  • The amount of physical pain, suffering and mental anguish you endured
  • If you will need home assistance, vocational rehabilitation or other long-term assistance
  • Punitive damages (this only applies to recklessness or malicious behavior)

Why hire an experienced personal injury lawyer?

The at-fault party’s insurance company will likely start building a case against you from the get-go. They have no interest in compensating you and will do everything in their power to downplay your claim. They’ll likely shift the blame, change the story or request a recorded statement from you. Their goal is to close your case out as quickly as possible. If they don’t have a strong basis to deny your claim, however, they’ll likely drag the process out or offer you a quick lowball settlement. You won’t be able to recover additional damages if you accept a lowball settlement.

Knowing what to do when you’re injured is only half the battle. Choosing the right personal injury lawyer to handle your case isn’t always easy. Injured people in Washington put their trust in Attorney Herschensohn because he never stops fighting for the best possible outcome. He has fought to recover millions of dollars in damages for his clients and has the case results to prove it.

If you’ve been injured, there is simply too much at stake. Get experience on your side. Set up your free and confidential legal consultation with Herschensohn Law Firm, PLLC to learn about your legal options. We serve injured people in Kent and throughout the greater Seattle Metro area. Contact us online or call us today.

Our results speak for themselves

CONTACT HERSCHENSOHN LAW

Hurt? Let our law firm handle the details

When you request your free consultation, Kent personal injury attorney Zach Herschensohn will listen to you, answer your questions, lay out your legal options, and give you down-to-earth legal advice.

When you work with our law office, there are no obligations, hidden fees, or fine print. It’s that simple.

Request your free case evaluation

We’ll meet with you to help you understand your legal options and what to do next.

Enter your contact information:

We’re proud to fight—and win—for injured people in Kent, Washington. View our case results to learn more.

References

  1. Texas Department of Transportation. (2020, April 15). Texas Motor Vehicle Traffic Crash Facts Calendar Year 2019. https://ftp.txdot.gov/pub/txdot-info/trf/crash_statistics/2019/01.pdf
  2. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (2019, December). Fatality Facts 2018, Large Trucks. Retrieved from https://www.iihs.org/topics/fatality-statistics/detail/largetrucks

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as
legal advice on any subject.

Complex personal injury

What does Washington's Move Over law require?

Roadside construction warning signs

There are far too many drivers who aren’t aware of Washington’s Move Over law. Motorists stranded on the side of the road, law enforcement officers making traffic stops, and roadside workers risk their lives each day on Washington highways. Many freeways in Washington have posted speed limits as high as 70 mph (some drivers exceed the posted speed limits). When roadside crashes occur, they tend to be severe.

Federal lawmakers have recently requested a review on the effectiveness of state Move Over laws from the Government Accountability Office. According to AAA, there is very little data regarding Move Over law violations. Moreover, Move Over laws aren’t widely known among drivers, and states don’t often have the resources to educate the public.

 

Washington’s Move Over law requires that drivers switch to the left lane (on multi-lane highways) or reduce their speed when passing emergency or assistance vehicles. State lawmakers passed the law in 2007 to protect roadside emergency workers. But since then, crashes involving roadside emergency vehicles have increased. Police officers, emergency technicians, tow operators, construction workers, and DOT workers died or sustained severe injuries as a result.

In 2010, state lawmakers passed the Emergency Zone Law, which requires drivers to switch lanes or slow down within 200 feet before and after passing a roadside emergency. Violators face double fines for speeding in Emergency Zones.

Why is it important that drivers comply with the Move Over law?

Roadside workers and stranded motorists often don’t have any choice but to situate themselves on the side of a high-speed roadway. It’s important that drivers not only become aware of the Move Over law but also comply with the law. Distracted driving, impaired driving, and speeding are often the leading causes of roadside crashes. Since these crashes often happen at a high speed, they tend to result in catastrophic injuries and fatalities.

Crash victims who survive roadside collisions often sustain:

  • Severe traumatic brain injury
  • Broken bones
  • Crushed limbs and amputations
  • Damage to internal organs
  • Severe spinal cord injuries such as quadriplegia, paraplegia, and paralysis
  • Severe burns
  • Coma

People we’ve helped

Contact an experienced Kent attorney after a roadside crash

Did you sustain injuries in a roadside crash? If so, you’re likely faced with mounting medical expenses. You may need an operation, as well as months of physical therapy and pain management until you recover. Meanwhile, you’re unable to work and earn a living. You’re also unable to engage in activities you enjoyed before your crash. Don’t let the at-fault driver’s insurance company take advantage of you. Never give them a recorded statement or accept a quick settlement without first consulting with an experienced Kent car accident attorney.

You deserve to be compensated for your financial losses and the pain and suffering you endured due to someone else’s negligence. Herschensohn Law Firm, PLLC will fight to recover it all. If you’re a worker who was injured on the side of the road, you can recover damages through a third-party workplace injury claim. That’s as long as the at-fault party isn’t your employer or a fellow employee (this is covered by workers’ compensation). To get started on your claim, contact our Kent law office and set up your free consultation. We have fought to help our clients recover millions of dollars in damages.

Our results speak for themselves

CONTACT HERSCHENSOHN LAW

Hurt? Let our law firm handle the details

When you request your free consultation, Kent personal injury attorney Zach Herschensohn will listen to you, answer your questions, lay out your legal options, and give you down-to-earth legal advice.

When you work with our law office, there are no obligations, hidden fees, or fine print. It’s that simple.

Request your free case evaluation

We’ll meet with you to help you understand your legal options and what to do next.

Enter your contact information:

We’re proud to fight—and win—for injured people in Kent, Washington. View our case results to learn more.

References

  1. Texas Department of Transportation. (2020, April 15). Texas Motor Vehicle Traffic Crash Facts Calendar Year 2019. https://ftp.txdot.gov/pub/txdot-info/trf/crash_statistics/2019/01.pdf
  2. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (2019, December). Fatality Facts 2018, Large Trucks. Retrieved from https://www.iihs.org/topics/fatality-statistics/detail/largetrucks

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as
legal advice on any subject.

Complex personal injury

Zoom trial: $150K settlement for retired nurse

Justice gavel and laptop computer keyboard

When people are injured due to the negligence of another, they have the right to take legal action to seek financial compensation through the courts. This process can take years under the best of circumstances, but the pandemic has led to even further delays.

“Because of COVID-19, the court system has taken measures that have limited the ability for injured plaintiffs to get their personal injury cases to jury trials,” said personal injury lawyer Zach Herschensohn of Herschensohn Law Firm PLLC. “This has made it much more difficult for us to help clients resolve their cases.”

Earlier this year, however, King County Superior Court began holding jury civil trials via Zoom to help people get their day in court while also implementing safeguards to help keep them safe from the virus.

Fighting for clients with the help of technology

Herschensohn Law Firm PLLC participated in one of these trials and as a result, a retired nurse injured at a Barnes & Noble store will receive $150,000 in a settlement reached before a jury considered evidence.

The retired nurse was left with a permanent disability after tripping on a stool at a Barnes & Noble store on July 1, 2016, suffering a meniscus tear and an avulsed hamstring requiring two surgeries, said Zach Herschensohn.

He said the trial took place in a specially constructed courtroom in the Meydenbauer Conference Center in Bellevue, Washington. Jury selection and witness testimony was conducted via Zoom.

Court officials told a reporter at KUOW they consulted public health experts before conducting the trials. Masks were required, while witnesses who appeared in person were provided with clear masks to help jurors assess their credibility. Start times for each trial were slightly staggered to prevent crowding in the building.

Herschensohn said it was one of fewer than 10 cases presented at the time that were tried in King County through video conferencing during the pandemic.

A bailiff managed the Zoom session through a laptop. A camera was located at the back of the courtroom. Another laptop was at the podium and connected to the Zoom session. This allowed lawyers to question witnesses or share digital evidence remotely. A large screen was also set up in the courtroom to display the session.

“It was definitely unusual and took some getting used to for everyone,” Herschensohn said. “But everybody adjusted and we were able to present our case to a jury.”

People we’ve helped

Getting results under difficult circumstances

The settlement was reached in September after both sides presented their case at trial via Zoom but before the jury was able to reach a verdict.

“We’re proud to have had the opportunity to go to trial even during a pandemic,” said Herschensohn. “This settlement came after a long fight, but we’re happy to finally get our client this well-deserved compensation.”

Zoom trials are continuing in King County and will likely be a part of legal proceedings well into 2021. It remains to be seen if Zoom will continue to be used after the pandemic is under control. In the meantime, Herschensohn said he appreciates the opportunity to move cases forward.

“This pandemic has affected every aspect of our lives and the trial courts are no exception,” said Herschensohn. “The legal system has found a way to continue the business of the courts and we will continue to use this new process to get justice for our clients.”

In our case, ALL of the witnesses appeared via zoom, there were no in-person witnesses, only the lawyers, jurors, and judges were in the same room. We were socially distanced.

About our law firm

Herschensohn Law Firm, PLLC is committed to serving injured people in Kent, Washington and throughout the greater Seattle area. We handle a wide range of personal injury cases such as car and truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, slip and falls, workplace injuries, negligent security, dog bites, and wrongful death. Attorney Zach Herschensohn possesses a wealth of legal knowledge and experience litigating cases. He fights for maximum compensation for his clients. If you were injured, contact us online or call us to schedule your free legal consultation.

Our results speak for themselves

CONTACT HERSCHENSOHN LAW

Hurt? Let our law firm handle the details

When you request your free consultation, Kent personal injury attorney Zach Herschensohn will listen to you, answer your questions, lay out your legal options, and give you down-to-earth legal advice.

When you work with our law office, there are no obligations, hidden fees, or fine print. It’s that simple.

Request your free case evaluation

We’ll meet with you to help you understand your legal options and what to do next.

Enter your contact information:

We’re proud to fight—and win—for injured people in Kent, Washington. View our case results to learn more.