Articles Posted in Personal Injury

Two men sustained serious injuries after the scaffolding they were standing on collapsed, according to a recent report. The construction accident occurred in the 3900 block of 48th Avenue South in Seattle’s Mount Baker neighborhood. The two men were taken to Harborview Medical Center. One of the victims was listed in serious condition while the other was in satisfactory condition. Officials are looking into what caused the accident. The men were apparently construction workers who were working on a house in the area.

As a skilled Washington personal injury attorney, Kirk Bernard is familiar with how falls from scaffolds are one of the main causes of Washington construction accidents. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that more than 2 million construction workers operate on scaffolds each year. In addition, OSHA estimates that protecting these workers from scaffold-related accidents would prevent 4,500 injuries and 50 deaths every year. However, not all construction companies or contractors follow the safety standards and procedures that are meant to keep workers safe on scaffolds. These are injuries and deaths, which can be easily prevented.
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A 66-year-old man sustained fatal injuries in a Washington auto accident after his car collided head-on with a bridge support on the southbound Valley Freeway at 15th Street Northwest in Auburn. According to a news report in the Auburn Reporter, the man was driving a Toyota pickup truck, when he struck the bridge support at a high rate of speed. In fact, eyewitnesses told investigators that there were no brake lights from the Toyota before the impact. The man died at the scene. The incident is being investigated by the Washington State Patrol and the Washington State Department of Transportation.

In such cases, it is extremely important to have a skilled Seattle car accident lawyer help you determine whether the accident was caused by a defective auto. The vehicle involved in this incident was a Toyota pickup truck. Witnesses state that the driver made no attempt to stop and went speeding right into the bridge support. It might be useful in this case to find out whether the vehicle malfunctioned and whether it is one of the models included in Toyota’s recall of more than 8 million vehicles for defective gas pedals or floor mats said to cause sudden or unintended acceleration.
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The driver of a Toyota was injured in a Bellevue auto accident after he drove the wrong way and collided head-on with a construction vehicle. According to a news report, the crash occurred when a man in a 1998 Toyota entered the Interstate 90 the wrong way from an HOV off-ramp. He ended up crashing head-on with a large road construction vehicle parked near an exit at 150th Avenue SE in Bellevue. The driver of the Toyota was trapped inside and had to be extricated. He was taken to a Seattle hospital with critical injuries. No one else was injured in this crash. Washington State Patrol officials say the driver may have been under the influence of alcohol.

This accident is yet another reminder that driving under the influence is extremely dangerous and can result in serious injuries or death. In this case, it is extremely fortunate that this wrong-way driver did not injure anyone else. Yet, it is unfortunate that the driver sustained injury. As any motorist or Seattle car accident attorney should know, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is also a serious crime in Washington State. According to the Revised Code of Washington Section 46.61.502, driving under the influence is when “a person is guilty of driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug if the person drives a vehicle within the state.” It is also illegal to drive with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent or higher.
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The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is warning consumers about defective cribs, which have been responsible for three infant deaths. According to an Associated Press news report, the federal safety agency is recalling 500,000 drop-side cribs, manufactured by Generation 2 Worldwide and ChildESIGNS. The plastic hardware on these cribs can break and allow the drop side to detach, creating a space where the child can become entrapped and suffocated. Also, the mattress supports in these cribs can break away from the crib frames creating a gap where children can suffocate.

CPSC has received three reports of children who died after getting trapped and being suffocated in these defective cribs. The victims were an 8-month-old boy from Ohio who died in June 2007; a 6-month-old boy from Indiana who suffocated in a crib and died in October 2003; and another 6-month-old boy from Virginia who died in September 2002 after two missing screws allowed the lower drop-side track of his crib to pull away from the headboard post. These cribs were sold at retailers nationwide including Buy Buy Baby, Kmart and Wal-Mart.

Several consumers and Seattle products liability attorneys are aware of the fact that more than 5 million cribs have been recalled over the last few years because of similar defects and hazards. Almost all of these recalled cribs were drop-side cribs. These cribs were recalled because when the drop-sides detached, an entrapment and suffocation hazard was created. Inferior parts and poor quality control have also contributed to these product defects.
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Men’s Health and USA Today released a recent study, which lists Spokane 51st among the “Drunkest Cities” in the United States. According to a KREM news report, these rankings are based on 100 major cities in the country that have high numbers of DUI car accidents, high death rates from liver disease, DUI arrests and severe binge drinking. In fact, Spokane ranked higher than Seattle on this list. Seattle is ranked the 64th drunkest city in the United States.

According to Washington State Patrol officials, there were 100 DUI auto accidents in Spokane County in 2009. Last year there were three high-profile DUI crashes in Spokane, which may have drawn attention to the Lilac City. In December, there was a triple fatal crash on the Interstate 90 where the driver was drunk.

Driving drunk is illegal in all 50 states. In Washington State, as in most other states, it is against the law to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent or higher. If you or a loved one has been injured in a DUI car accident caused by another driver, please remember that you have a legal right to seek compensation for your injuries, damages and loss. Seattle car accident attorneys may be able to help an injured individual hold a driver who was under the influence financially responsible for causing the accident and resulting injuries.
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Troopers and tow truck drivers in Washington State are supporting a bill that creates “emergency zones” which they believe will protect them and other first responders who help stranded motorists on the state’s highways. According to a news report in King 5 News, 23 Washington State Patrol vehicles were hit in 2009 on the side of the state’s highways. Under the proposed law, drivers who are caught speeding within 200 feet of a vehicle that has flashing lights – police cars, tow trucks or ambulances – would receive citations for double the standard speeding amount.

The new law, if passed, would also require drivers to move out of the far right lane as long as it is safe. Also, drivers who operate their vehicles recklessly in those zones could face a $5,000 fine and lose their license for two months. It is not known yet when this law would go into effect. However, Washington State Patrol officials would be responsible for educating and informing drivers about the law before they start writing out these citations.

As a Seattle auto accident lawyer, I’m absolutely in support of this law. This law is necessary to keep these first responders, who are the first to get to the scene of an accident on the highway, safe and secure so they can do their jobs. Anyone who has had their vehicle break down on the highway knows that it can be a very scary place. A lot of times, motorists are negligent, driving recklessly or simply not paying attention to their surroundings.
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A 78-year-old man suffered injuries in a Washington auto accident after he failed to yield to another vehicle at a Cle Elum intersection on State Route 903. However, according to a news report in the Yakima Herald-Republic, this accident occurred because the stop sign at that intersection had been knocked into a snow bank. Thus, the injured driver had no idea he had to stop at that intersection and yield right-of-way to passing vehicles. The man was making a left turn as another man in a Chevy pickup truck was passing the intersection. Police say neither driver will face charges. The 78-year-old man suffered shoulder and ear injuries.

If a vehicular accident is caused by a dangerous condition on the roadway, the injured victims could file a claim against the city or governmental entity responsible for the maintenance of that roadway. In this particular case, it is important to look into when the stop sign fell and for how long it was not fixed. If a reasonable amount of time passed without the stop sign being fixed, then the responsible governmental agency could be held liable for the injuries caused to the 78-year-old man. When it comes to governmental entities or agencies, there are time limits within which you need to file your personal injury claim. So, it would be in your best interest to contact a qualified and experienced Washington car accident attorney as soon as possible.
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A 35-year-old man was recently hospitalized with injuries he sustained in a Washington bicycle accident. According to a news report, the bicyclist was headed east on a road in Bainbridge Island when a driver pulled out in front of the bike and caused the collision. The bicyclist was transported to a Seattle hospital with serious injuries. However, officials said that his injuries were not life-threatening. The bicyclist was wearing proper reflective gear and had lights on his bicycle; however, the car’s driver apparently told officials that he was not able to see the bicyclist. The Kitsap County prosecutor’s office is reviewing the case to determine whether any charges should be filed.

According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 698 bicyclists died in 2007 nationwide and about 43,000 were injured. Bicycle accidents often occur because motorists are not actively looking for smaller vehicles such as bicycles or motorcyclists when they attempt a turn on the roadway or come out of a parking lot. As a bicycle accident victim, if you have been injured by a negligent driver, you could seek compensation to cover medical expenses, lost earnings, cost of hospitalization, physical therapy and other related damages.
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So far, Toyota has recalled more than 7 million vehicles over faulty gas pedals and floor mats. The auto maker has also stopped production and sales of eight models, including its top-selling Camry and Corolla models. The first Toyota recall was issued last year after an auto accident in California killed a highway patrol officer and three members of his family. The officer was in a loaner Lexus and the defective floor mat in the car allegedly caused the accelerator pedal to become jammed. The car accelerated out of control at 120 mph, crashed, and caused four fatalities.

Toyota officials say they have come up with a fix for the gas pedals, which has been approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The problem with the gas pedals was that the pedal mechanism could become worn and harder to depress or it could get stuck in a partially depressed position, thus causing sudden or unintended acceleration.

Toyota engineers have been working to insert a spacer in the pedal mechanism in order to increase the tension in a spring and reduce the risk of the gas pedal sticking or staying down. The auto maker has also come under quite a bit of criticism for failing to act quickly on unexpected acceleration issues related to the faulty floor mats. Federal officials say Toyota has known about the problem with the mats since 2007 and has still done nothing to fix it.
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Falls from scaffolds are one of the main causes of Washington construction accidents. When a worker is on a scaffold, a number of things could go wrong. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that more than 2 million construction workers work on scaffolds each year. In addition, OSHA estimates that protecting these workers from scaffold-related accidents would prevent 4,500 injuries and 50 deaths every year.

As a skilled Seattle personal injury attorney, Kirk Bernard knows that some of the most common hazards include falls from elevation due to lack of fall protection; scaffold collapse; being struck by falling tools or object; and electrocution because of the proximity of the scaffold to overhead power lines. If you work on scaffolds, here are the top 7 safety tips:

  1. Make sure that a competent person has inspected the scaffold before you work on it.
  2. Wear protective gear, including a hard hat whether you are working on or under a scaffold.
  3. Use a personal fall arrest system such as a harness.
  4. Wear sturdy shoes with non-slip soles.
  5. Always use common sense and move slowly and carefully. If you are not sure if a scaffold is safe, talk to a supervisor.
  6. Never overload a scaffold or hit a scaffold with anything heavy such as truck or forklift.
  7. Use an outdoor scaffold in stormy or windy weather or if it is covered with ice or snow.

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