Driving in the Rain: Even Washington Drivers Aren’t Invincible

If you have been involved in a car accident, contact us today!

If you have been involved in a car accident, contact us today!

Washingtonians talking to out of state friends may be surprised by their hesitance to drive in the rain. After all, it is a matter of necessity here. If Washington drivers didn’t drive in the rain, they would miss a lot of work. Because of weather conditions, Washington roads are generally designed to handle rain better than a lot of other states’ roadways, but rain still does cause hazardous conditions. Furthermore, because driving in the rain is habitual, local drivers are often less likely to be as careful as an out of state driver might be in similar conditions.

There are other factors that lead to inclement weather collisions. Rain contributes to nearly three-quarters of all inclement weather accidents. In part, its dangers include reduced visibility, reduced traction, increased braking distances, and reduced maneuverability. The clogged roads can add to a slower response time by police and medical professionals responding to folks in distress.

Reducing the number of collisions caused by rainy weather is difficult because the most surefire method (waiting until the rain stops) is not very realistic. That means it is up to drivers to remember to drive like they were taught in their drivers ed classes. When driving in the rain we must be more careful. We have to be patient. Change lanes slowly. Maintain a longer distance from the car in front of us. Check blind spots often and maintain our cars, particularly windshield wipers and tires.

If you have been a victim of a careless driver in bad weather, do not let the insurance company convince you it was the weather’s fault. Remember that not all drivers out there were getting into accidents. The Everett accident attorneys at Duce Bastian Peterson will fight for you to get the compensation you deserve. Contact our office today for a consultation.

Are Dangerous Roads Inevitable?

dangerous raods

If you have been in an accident, contact us today!

Sometimes we see potholes, overgrown and obscured traffic safety signs, or faded paint as just part of our commute. But these are all elements that can be dangerous to drivers. As much as drivers want to avoid the traffic headache that comes with roadwork, road maintenance, this work is crucial to keeping roadways safe.

In Washington, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is in charge of all things pertaining to state roads. It operates under a set of standards, and supervises all construction on those roads to be sure that roads are within those guidelines. If a state roadway isn’t up to standard, people can get hurt, and the WSDOT may be liable for the accident. Cities and counties have the same responsibility for their roadways.

Our Supreme Court has made it clear that we have the right to drive on reasonably safe roadways and we do not need to tolerate dangerous roadways that seriously injure and kill people. State or local governments who break roadway safety rules when building and maintaining our roadways may be held accountable for the consequences of dangerous roads.

The bottom line is, if you’ve been involved in a car accident that had something to do with dangerous roads or construction zones, it’s important to find legal help as soon as possible. A lawyer can take action to preserve important evidence and determine whether the rules about roadway construction and maintenance have been followed. We all depend on those responsible for roadway safety to follow rules that keep us safe while using on our roadways. If rules have been broken and you have been hurt as a result, we can help you receive the compensation that you deserve and by holding those responsible accountable we can help see that the same dangerous roadway doesn’t injury anyone else. The legal team at Duce Bastian Peterson understands Everett accident law and will fight for you. Contact the law office for a consultation today.

Motorcycle Accidents: Are They Treated Differently?

motorcycle_accident

If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact us today!

When most people thing of motorcycles, they immediately think of risk. There is nothing separating the driver from the road and other vehicles, and they’re smaller and harder to see. Because of these factors, sometimes collisions or accidents can be seen as inevitable. However, the truth is, motorcyclists are less likely to be at fault for their accidents than other drivers.

One potential struggle that motorcyclists face after accidents is that many do not have insurance on their motorcycles. This is because Washington state does not require it.

Because of the potential insurance headache and the prejudice motorcyclists often face, it is important to start building a case as early as possible. Potential witnesses are often biased against the “dangerous” motorcyclists for no reason other than their belief that motorcycles are unsafe, and as such, recording as many details of the crash as possible is vital to having the proof you need to establish liability of any other driver.

Owning and operating a motorcycle allows for a level of freedom that a car does not, but it comes with risks, too. It is wise to make sure your motorcycle is properly maintained and safety equipment used. A helmet is required by law in our state as is a special motorcycle endorsement for your driver’s license. Always wear your helmet and taking care to avoid riding when weather conditions are hazardous. If you have been a victim of one another driver’s carelessness while riding a motorcycle, finding competent legal help as soon as possible after the crash is very important. An experienced attorney can deal with insurance companies, collect the necessary evidence, and help you navigate other legal hurdles that stand between you and justice. The Everett accident attorneys at Duce Bastian Peterson are available today for a consultation.

Green, Yellow, Red: It’s Actually More Complicated Than That

If you have been injured due to a faulty traffic signal, contact us today!

If you have been injured due to a faulty traffic signal, contact us today!

Traffic signals are like advanced stop signs to many of us. They’re staples of the road, signs that we obey to keep our commute running smoothly and safely. However, they are also machines, and the timing of traffic signals requires a lot more thought than we commuters generally realize.

Traffic engineers constantly evaluate data to determine traffic signal timing, which includes the amount of time a traffic light is green, the length of a pedestrian WALK signal, and many other factors that regulate an intersection’s right-of-way. Some intersections are fixed on timers, but more and more are queued to change by detecting waiting vehicles using some sort of mechanism, such as induction loops, video, and digital radar. These “smart” intersections are called actuated signals. To save money, semi-actuated signals exist, which only detect vehicles on the minor streets—this gives the major roadway more time with the right-of-way.

Beyond the timing, traffic engineers determine the length of many things: maximum and minimum green and yellow light intervals, the Walk and Flashing Don’t Walk signs, and even the cycle length of green lights between major intersections on the same street. These variables can change depending on time of day and even time of year.

If traffic signal timing isn’t accurate, there are many potential accidents that can occur. For example, the WALK signal needs to be appropriately timed for the width of the intersection, or else the pedestrian could still be in traffic’s way when the light turns green. Another example is that a long wait for cars leads to a higher likelihood of cars running the light which is a clear cause of accidents.

There is a high chance your car accident involved an intersection in some way, shape, or form, so contact an Everett personal injury lawyer who understands traffic patterns, such as the attorneys at Duce Bastian Peterson today.

Wills: Not Just for the Rich

If you have questions about an estate plan, contact us today.

If you have questions about an estate plan, contact us today.

When we think of wills and inheritances, we generally couple those thoughts with images of mansions and fancy dinner parties. Statistics prove this—about 70% of Americans don’t have a will. Most assume that after death, everything goes to their spouse or closest family member. In some cases that’s true. In others, laws determine a division of property between, for example, spouse and children. Either way, your will gives you the opportunity to distribute your assets in a way you find appropriate, according to your wishes and the needs of those you leave behind.

Wills are especially important if your children are minors, as the terms can be used to determine guardians while you wait for them to come of age. If you don’t appoint a guardian, court costs can apply to this, in addition to the obviously imperfect situation of a guardian who is not your choice. Your will is also the only official way you can effectively parent a child after your death. Appointing a guardian and applying stipulations to the inheritance will allow you to guide education and lifestyle.

Without a will, your family may feud over the separation of your assets. Your will has the potential to limit these fights. Even verbal agreements may be forgotten in favor of hurt feelings and greed. Additionally, wills allow you to leave money or assets to a wider variety of people—and even charities.

Even if you’re in perfect health, preparing a will can give you and your family peace of mind. To learn what you can protect with a will, contact the Everette Estate Attorneys at Duce Bastian Peterson today for a consultation.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind? When to Start Your Settlement

settlement

If you have been injured in a car accident, contact us now! We can help.

When you’ve been in a car accident, the first thing you often want to do is square everything away. Settling into the hospital with the peace of mind regarding who’s paying your medical bills can be calming, and crossing things off your “to do” list always feels productive. However, there are many reasons why waiting a little to settle your personal injury case can be beneficial.

Most importantly, within the first day or two, you rarely have a full idea regarding the scope of severity of your injury. There are often medical complications that can arise later on, and settling for a broken leg, when there’s something wrong internally that takes a while to manifest, can leave you in dire straits down the road.

Of course, delaying your settlement too much can also be a problem, collecting evidence, clearly remembering what happened and who said what, as well as laws known as the Statute of Limitations are all reasons to avoid unnecessary delay. In Washington State, the Statute of Limitations for negligence is generally three years. After that three-year mark, you are no longer allowed to seek compensation. Attorneys prefer to start working on an injury case well before the Statute of Limitations is upon them. Being able to gather important evidence and consider whether or not the case can be settled without filing a lawsuit are just some of the advantages of seeking legal advice from an experienced injury attorney well before the State of Limitations expires.

Often times a person can consider settlement after their doctor has run all of the needed tests and either given her a clean bill of health or said that she is as good as she is going to get. Determining the fair compensation for what someone else’s carelessness has done to a person requires knowledge and experience. In the case of significant injury, the value of a person’s medical bills and lost wages are just a small part of how an injury effects a person.

If you or someone close to you has been in a crash and been injured a great first step would be to contact an experienced Everette personal injury lawyer like the ones at Duce Bastian Peterson.

Crosswalk Law Basics

crosswalk_crossing

If you have been injured by a reckless driver, contact us now!

Most people know that cars are big, fast, and strong — at least in comparison to small, slow, and weak pedestrians. Because of that, it seems intuitive that a car would stop for a pedestrian in the crosswalk, as the ramifications otherwise would be severe. However, drivers often argue that a pedestrian shouldn’t have been crossing in an unmarked section of road. What those drivers don’t know is that in Washington all intersections have an implied crosswalk where pedestrians always have the right of way.

There are multiple types of crosswalks. First, marked crosswalks outside of intersections are called uncontrolled crossings. The markings are key for the pedestrian to know she is following the law and for the driver to be alert for the pedestrian. Second, the unmarked intersection crosswalk at a one-, two-, three-, or four-way stop is more complicated. Because the driver doesn’t see the tell-tale white lines, he could be unaware of the possibility of a pedestrian crossing, even though the pedestrian would be fully within the law to cross at this intersection —even across the lanes without a stop sign.  Finally, intersections with stoplights have a few more rules, most notably the situations when a driver must wait outside the crosswalk when pedestrians are crossing the street. In Washington, drivers are required to stay out of the cross walk until the pedestrian is at least one lane away from the drivers’ half of the roadway. This does not mean until the pedestrian is one lane away—the pedestrian must have cleared or not yet entered the driver’s half of the roadway by at least one extra lane.

If you’ve been injured in a crosswalk, whether unmarked or marked, make sure you understand the laws that apply to your situation. Contact an experienced Everette personal injury lawyer at Duce Bastian Peterson today.

 

You First Accident

If you have been involved in a car accident, call us now!

If you have been involved in a car accident, call us now!

You’re on your way to work, bleary-eyed, sipping your coffee and slowly transforming into a human being. Then the car in front of you decided to stop at the yellow light you’ve already decided to power through. You slam on the brakes, but you’re still going ten miles per hour when you reach their stretch of pavement.

The first time you’re in an accident, especially alone, you’re most likely confused and shaken. All the things you know to do are jumbled in your brain, and that can result in doing none of them. So what are the key steps to take and what circumstances are they dependent upon?

If someone is injured, immediately call the police. If not, the first step is to try to get all vehicles involved out of the street. Proceed on the shoulder or in a nearby parking lot, not somewhere where you will be walking around, exposed to cars zipping by.

Then, check the damage on both cars and exchange insurance information. Though sometimes it seems unnecessary to call the police if no one is hurt, a police report makes sure you have legally covered your bases in case the other driver decides to sue. If the other driver refuses to exchange insurance information, call the police for assistance. Throughout the entire exchange, do not admit guilt or apologize. Let the insurance companies apportion the fault.

Sometimes, though, you’re not just in a fender bender, and an auto accident can cause great personal injury. At that point, consider contacting a lawyer, who can help you in a way an insurance adjuster can’t. The lawyer will work for you, whereas the adjuster simply works to make his company lose as little money as possible.

The experienced Everett auto accident attorneys will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today!

Recognizing the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

If you have a loved one living in a nursing home, there can hardly be anything more heartbreaking than finding out he or she was a victim of elder abuse by caregivers. Unfortunately, countless residents in nursing homes and care facilities are abused or neglected by those who should be treating them with kindness and respect during their final years. For this reason we recommend everyone with a relative in a nursing home look out for warning signs that might alert them their loved one is being mistreated.

caregiver and unhappy elderly patient

Nursing home residents may be mistreated by staff. If you suspect a loved one is being abused, contact our law office.

Elder abuse comes in many forms. Besides physical harm, a nursing home resident may be abused emotionally, verbally, sexually or financially. Caregivers might ignore the nutritional, medication or hygiene needs of residents, or neglect them to the point that they wander off and come to harm. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration on Aging has provided the following clues that may signal abuse or neglect:

• Bruises, abrasions or other injuries that don’t appear normal and are difficult for the victim or caregiver to explain
• Poor hygiene, dirty clothing or bedding, bedsores and other apparent signs that the resident is not being cleaned or moved often
• Dehydration and unexplained weight loss, especially if the loss is dramatic
• A change in personality or behavior, particularly signs of depression, withdrawal, anxiety and tension when the caregiver is around

Frequently, elderly nursing home residents will be either too intimidated or unable to speak up about mistreatment. During visits, it is important to watch for any of the above red flags, as well as to listen to your gut instinct that something might be wrong.

If you suspect or have proof that your loved one is being deliberately abused or neglected, you have the right to report the incident to the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services. You may also want to speak with an Everett personal injury attorney who has experience in nursing home abuse cases.

The Dangers Elderly Drivers May Present

senior citizen behind the wheel

Despite years of experience, some senior citizens may develop cognitive or physical conditions that can make it dangerous to drive. Contact our law offices if you need help.

At some point, nearly everyone who lives to a ripe old age will need to decide whether or not they should give up the car keys. The matter involves more than just losing one’s independence – some elderly drivers may put their own lives and the lives of others at risk by continuing to drive. Statistics from Consumer Reports show that after age 80, drivers are six times more likely to be involved in fatal car accidents than drivers who are younger.

In many ways, age equals superior experience. While this is certainly true of those who have had driver’s licenses for a few decades, driving ability can decline with many age related conditions. What are the ways that an older driver might pose a danger on the roads? According to NIH Senior Health, elderly people may suffer from numerous physical or cognitive conditions that can affect driving safety. These may include the following:

• Reduced vision or hearing, which may impair a driver’s ability to see hazards or to hear horns or emergency vehicles
• The early symptoms of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease leads to confusion and decreased reaction time
• Injuries, chronic illnesses or other medical conditions that may affect muscle function and reflexes
• Medication that causes drowsiness, dizziness or confusion
• The reduced ability to judge an oncoming vehicle’s speed or distance
• An impaired ability to quickly react to dangers or the agility to safely operate a vehicle in emergency conditions

If you fear that you or a loved one has any condition, age related or not, that puts people at risk of injury or death by continued driving, seek a consultation with a competent medical professional before putting a dangerous driver behind the wheel of a car.

Some states have driver’s license renewal conditions that address residents as they age. The regulations are rather lenient in Washington State; our state does require all drivers age 70 and older to renew their driver’s license in person rather than by mail.

You may be eligible for compensation if you are injured by an older driver, or by any person who is negligent or reckless. An experienced Everett personal injury attorney should be able to explain the legal process to you and determine if you may have a case.