Free personal injury case evaluation. No recovery, no fee.
We handle personal injury claims on a contingency fee basis. That means you never pay an attorney fee unless and until the case is resolved in your favor either in settlement or in court. There are no up front costs. We do not get paid until you do. Any personal injury or medical malpractice case must be brought within the statute of limitations. Also, it is important to properly investigate any personal injury claim early. Contact us for a free personal injury case evaluation.
Representing personal injury victims is about ensuring justice. People who have been injured by the negligence of others are entitled by law to be made whole, including recovery for personal injury damages such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of income, and medical expenses. Contact us today for a free personal injury case evaluation.
Home/hospital/work place visits.
Home or hospital visits are available if your injury makes an office visit difficult. Weekend or evening visits are available. An experienced and highly rated Seattle personal injury attorney will personally handle your case from start to finish. Injury cases accepted include auto accident injury, dog bite injury, pedestrian accident, product liability, and medical malpractice. Travis Eller has been representing personal injury victims in Seattle and the Puget Sound area for over seventeen years. He has earned the National Institute for Trial Advocacy “Advocate” designation. Travis Eller has been rated “Superb” by independent attorney rating service avvo.com.
Insurance companies are not on your side.
Insurance companies have their shareholders' interests at heart, not yours--but do not just take our word for it:
“I ripped off a lot of people and I feel bad about that….My goal at the time was to save [the insurance company] money, not settle claims for what the case was worth.”
--An adjuster for a major insurance company as quoted in the Wall Street Journal.
Dog Bite Injury
Dog bite attacks may result in puncture wounds, scarring, rabies, and/or emotional trauma.
Under certain circumstances strict liability may apply to a dog bite injury.
Dog Bite FAQs
Does Washington have a “one-bite “rule?
In Washington a dog owner is liable for any injury caused by his/her dog. It does not matter whether the dog has any history of dangerously aggressive behavior. The owner is liable automatically, unless the injured person was trespassing or provoking the dog. This strict liability rule only applies to dog owners, not to others who act only as a keeper of the dog.
To pursue a claim against a dog keeper the dog bite victim will have to prove the dog was dangerous. To prove the dog is dangerous the injured party will need proof of the dog’s past behavior. The breed of the dog does not matter.
Both strict liability and negligence apply against the dog owner.
The dog owner rents. Can I go after the landlord, or the landlord’s insurance?
Neither the landlord nor the landlord’s insurance company are not responsible for dog bite injury caused by a dog owned by a tenant. Only the tenant is responsible.
The landlord would only be responsible for dog bite injury by a tenant’s dog if the landlord was dog sitting.
Does the dog owner’s insurance cover dog bite injury claims?
Usually, but not always. Home owners insurance will often cover dog bites that occur in the dog owner’s home. Some policies may have exclusions or limitations that apply, meaning insurance might not cover the dog bite claim.
Even if insurance covers a claim, do not assume the insurance company just automatically writes a check. Insurance companies routinely challenge the fairness of all types of personal injury claims and refuse to pay the amount presented, often even challenging the medical bills for treatment approved by a doctor.
If there is no insurance coverage it may be very difficult for the dog bite victim to receive any compensation. The dog bite victim could sue the dog owner, but without a guaranteed source to pay the judgment it may not be economically feasible to pursue.
Lawsuits are very expensive. Court fees, expert fees, court reporter fees, and similar costs will run thousands of dollars, even in a relatively small case. While a lawyer may front these costs (and if there is insurance, we will usually do so), the Washington State Bar Association ethics rules require that clients be ultimately responsible for these costs. Note we are just talking about costs here, which is separate and distinct from the attorney fees.
If there is no insurance, in theory you could sue the dog owner and get a judgment. Collection, however, is not automatic or guaranteed. You could garnish the dog owner’s paycheck in small increments, or try to go after the dog owner’s assets. This may make it slow and tedious, at best, to collect. Collection efforts have costs of their own, as well.
It is important to understand that the if the landowner does not own the dog, the landowner may not be responsible for a dog bite injury. Landlords are not typically responsible for dogs that belong to their tenant, for instance. Also, merely dog sitting for someone else may not be enough, depending on the particular facts, to make the person handling the dog or their insurance company responsible for injury claims.
It is important to act early to determine whether the dog owner has insurance or other assets that will cover the dog bite injury claim.
If you are injured by a dog or other animal you should consult with an attorney.
Doesn’t Animal Control have to impound dangerous dogs? Are they responsible for dog bite injuries?
Animal control authorities must immediately confiscate any dangerous dog. A dangerous dog under Washington law is a dog that 1) inflicts sever injury on a human without provocation, 2) kills a domestic animal off the owner’s property without provocation, or 3) the dog has been previously found potentially dangerous, notice has been served on the owner, and the dog again bites, attacks, or endangers the safety of humans.
Whether a dog meets the definition of a dangerous dog, and whether a government animal control agency might be responsible for personal injuries because of failure to impound a dangerous dog will depend on the particular circumstances.
If you have questions about dog bite injury, ask a personal injury attorney for a free case evaluation.
Does the breed of dog matter?
A dog owner is strictly liable, meaning the dog’s past behavior is not relevant. The breed is also not relevant. The strict liability rule only applies to the owner, not to someone else who is harboring or keeping the dog.
If strict liability does not apply, the injured person must prove the animal was dangerous. Again in this situation, the breed of dog is not the focus. The focus legally is on whether the individual dog is dangerous, not on any particular breed. It does not matter how the dog became dangerous, whether intentionally, through negligence, or merely through a dog’s heredity.
Both strict liability and negligent handling of a dangerous animal may apply.
Who is at fault for an auto accident and to what extent will depend on a multitude of factors, some or all of which may be disputed by various parties and witnesses.
Auto Accident FAQs
I was rear-ended by another driver. Doesn’t that mean the other driver’s insurance will have to just pay up?
Even when liability is clear insurance companies often look for ways to resist claims. They may question how badly you were insured. They quite often question the amount of treatment, or how much your medical provider charged you for their services–even if you were simply faithfully following medical advice.
Generally a following driver is disfavored under the law. If, however, there was a sudden emergency, the following driver may be relieved of some or all of their responsibility for the injury. Also, the other driver’s insurance may claim you are to blame in whole or in part. The other driver may claim you cut them off, for instance.
Someone was is injured in a rear-end auto accident usually has a strong argument the following driver was at fault. Sometimes that may not be clear. Even if fault is clear in a rear-end accident, the insurance company may resist paying a fair settlement amount.
It is always best to seek a free personal injury case evaluation early.
What if the other driver had no insurance, or not enough to cover my claim?
To recover monetarily for your personal injury claim you first need to look at the insurance coverage of the at fault driver. If the other driver has no insurance, or not enough, hopefully you have uninsured motorist/under-insured motorist (UIM) coverage on your insurance policy.
If there is no or not enough coverage between the other driver and your own UIM policy, you might be able to recover from the at-fault driver, assuming the other driver has sufficient assets to pursue. A personal injury attorney can hire an investigator to perform an asset check.
I was not wearing my seat belt. Will I be blamed for my injuries?
Under Washington law (unlike some other states) lack of using a seat belt is not admissible in court as evidence of negligence on your part. In other words, generally you will not be blamed for your injuries because you were not wearing a seat belt.
Similarly, failure to comply with child restraint laws is not negligence, and not admissible in court as evidence of negligence.
Contact a personal injury attorney if you have further questions.
What about the property damage to my car?
Get you own estimates. Many people accept a property damage offer only to find that it will not fully cover repair to their vehicle. If an insurance company offers an amount differing from your estimates they must fully disclose the reason or reasons for the difference and must thoroughly document the circumstances in the claim file.
An insurer is required to repair the vehicle to pre-accident condition and to make a good faith effort to honor a claimant’s request to have their vehicle repaired at their shop of choice.
If your insurance company pays you and then pursues a property damage claim against the other driver’s insurance company, your insurance company must keep you reasonably informed. This means that the insurer must contact you within sixty days after the start of the subrogation process, and no less frequently than every one hundred eighty days until the insured’s interest is resolved.
There have been at least two important appellate court decisions recently in Washington concerning property damage issues.
Having said all that, if fault is not contested the property damage claim is usually settled while the injury claim is pending.
By personal injury attorney Travis Eller
The other driver was cited by police. Doesn’t that mean he is automatically responsible? Or: I was cited by police. Doesn’t that mean that I have no claim?
Although an important consideration, law enforcement citation at the scene does not end the inquiry as to fault.
Law enforcement is trying to determine if a traffic rule was violated, not whether or which party or parties were negligent. Law enforcement officers are not judges, and do not have the final say on any legal issues. And, fault may be apportioned between the parties in any percentage that adds up to 100 regardless of whether any or none of the parties were cited for violations of the rules of the road.
So, it is erroneous to assume that the outcome of a personal injury case has been determined once an officer cites one of the drivers.
Does the at fault person’s insurance company pay my medical bills while the case is pending?
The at fault insurance company will not pay medical bills while the case is pending. They will pay one lump sum for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. There may be an exception if you were injured as a pedestrian.
You are responsible for your medical bills unless and until the at fault party’s insurance company settles the claim. If the insurance company denies the claim or makes an offer that is just too low you will have to sue the at fault party.
In the meantime your medical bills might be covered by Personal Injury Protection (PIP). This is coverage on an auto policy that pays medical bills incurred as the result of an accident. Unless you waived this you have $10,000 in coverage. If you were injured as a pedestrian and the driver has PIP coverage then the PIP coverage extends to you.
If you do not have PIP or your own health insurance then you will be responsible for all medical bills. You may need to seek a payment plan or ask if they will accept a lien on your personal injury claim.
If your medical bills are paid through insurance provided through employment then federal law known as ERISA applies. This law may work serious consequences to your rights and ability to recover monetary compensation for your personal injury claim.
These issues can get quite complicated. This is general information and not a substitute for legal advice. Contact us about a free personal injury case evaluation.
Defective Product Injury
Insurance Bad Faith
If you believe your insurance company unfairly denied your claim, or misled you into buying the wrong coverage, you may be right. Insurance law gives you important protections and rights as an insurance policy holder. Do not give up hope. Contact us to find out more.
“Mr. Eller is always responds in a timely manner and always answers all the questions one may have without making things more complicated…Not all attorneys are the same and trust me, I shopped around and Mr. Eller was not only reasonable but also provided fantastic service. I won’t use any other attorney.” Actual client comments […]
“Do yourself a favor and use [Travis] Scott Eller as your attorney.”
You go to a public event at a city park. A tent set up by a public utility district collapses. You are injured. You make a personal injury claim against the public utility district, but if you delay contacting an attorney you risk making it difficult and possibly impossible to pursue the claim. A couple […]
Two recent appellate decisions illustrate some of the challenges injured parties face in premises liability claims. Our firm did not participate in either of these cases. Chair Collapses and Injures Customer Mark Haubrich went to a pizza place with a friend. They sat outside on the deck. About forty-five minutes later Haubrich’s chair broke where […]
Recreational use statutes encourage landowners to open land for public recreational use by providing the landowner immunity from liability for personal injury. The purpose of the recreational use statute is to encourage the opening of lands to the general public that would otherwise be closed. Immunity under the recreational use statute applies only if 1) […]
Seattle Personal Injury Attorney
No recovery, no fee.
Personal Injury Blog Categories
- Airport and Airplane Accident Injury Claims
- Auto Accidents
- Case Results and Client Testimonials
- Child Safety
- Child Sexual Abuse
- Consumer Protection
- Dog Bite Injury
- Drunk Driver Injury Accident
- Injury Claims Against Government
- Insurance Bad Faith
- Insurance Coverage
- Issaquah Personal Injury Attorney
- Medical Malpractice
- Overservice of Alcohol ("Dram Shop") Liability
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Premises Liability
- Product Liability
- Washington Personal Injury Law
- Wrongful Death
Who pays the attorney fee?
We handle personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning you owe nothing unless we recover a settlement or verdict for you. Even then, your own insurance may owe you for some of the attorney fee. It is called Mahler after a court case.
Whose money is it?
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Can I get my insurance to pay personal injury legal costs?
In most situations you must reimburse your insurance for medical bills and other benefits paid on your behalf if you collect on a personal injury claim from the third-party who was at fault.
Personal injury attorney fees are contingent on the outcome – you do not owe the personal injury attorney a fee unless the case is successfully resolved. Still, in the end the fees come from your settlement money. And, costs can up to a lot of money, too – especially if the case is litigated.
Meanwhile, your insurance company benefits from the efforts of the personal injury attorney who has been working on your behalf. Your insurance company gets paid out of the same personal injury settlement. It is only fair that your insurance company also contribute to the attorney fees and the costs. Under most circumstances they do have to.
In Washington this rule was established in a case called Mahler.
Be sure to ask any personal injury attorney about Mahler and and whether it – or other similar rules – apply in your case.
Be sure to also ask what happens to the money. Personal injury attorneys have different fee agreements with different terms.
Contact us for more information.
What is the statute of limitations on personal injury claims in Washington?
Generally three years, but the statute of limitations is not something to mess with. The personal injury claim is lost forever if the case is not both properly filed and properly served within the statute of limitations.You should not wait until the three years is almost up before you to start a personal injury lawsuit.
A lot can happen in three years. The at-fault party may move, and be difficult to locate. The legal documents that start the lawsuit cannot just be posted on the at-fault person’s door or left with a house-guest. Service must meet legal requirements, and even if the documents are actually received by the at-fault party this may not be enough to meet the legal definition of service.
Also, witnesses may move and be difficult to track down. Their memories fade. Other evidence may also be difficult or impossible to preserve if you wait too long.
We always try to settle out of court both before and after filing a personal injury lawsuit. But, as a general policy if we are within six months of the statute of limitations – we file and serve. If you call us with less than six months left we may consider accepting the case, and have sometimes accepted cases with only a little time left under the statute of limitations. But, we often refuse to take a case on this basis alone.
Do not delay. Seek a free personal injury case evaluation right away.
If I make a personal injury claim will my whole medical history be disclosed?
Personal injury defense attorneys and insurance companies are not allowed to contact treating physicians except through formal discovery processes, or as agreed by the parties. There are two reasons for this – 1) to promote proper treatment by facilitating full disclosure of information from patient to physician and 2) to protect the patient from embarrassment or scandal which may result from revelation of intimate details of medical treatment. (more…)
A minor caused my injury. Do parents and/or their insurance have to pay my claim?
Many assume that parents and their insurance carriers must pay for any personal injury caused by minor children. It is not a given that parents or their insurance will be responsible to pay for injures caused by minor children. Whether the parents and their insurance company will have to pay your personal injury claim will depend on the details of your case. It is best to consult with an attorney.
Can we just settle out of court? Do we have to go to court?
Unfortunately this is not entirely within your control. It takes two to tango. Insurance companies quite often make unreasonable offers. Offers that do not even repay medical bills. Or, no offer at all.
I love being a lawyer. I love what I do. But, I also know lawsuits are no fun for clients. We make every reasonable effort to settle cases before and also after they are filed in court. Some cases settle without a lawsuit ever being filed. Some settle on the eve of trial. Most will settle before trial, but many will not.
See our more complete discussion of factors that can keep your case from settling.
The at fault insurance company wants me to authorize them to obtain my medical records. Should I sign this? Do I have to give them this information?
No. Do not sign a medical records authorization without consulting with an attorney. The insurance company will use this to dig through your medical history to find any excuse to lower or deny your personal injury claim, even things that are simply embarrassing and/or have nothing to do with the injury claim.
Do I need an attorney?
To you, you are just asking for what is fair for your personal injury claim.
To an insurance company, your personal injury claim is a business expense and nothing more.
A former insurance adjuster for a major insurance company was quoted in the Wall Street Journal as saying “I ripped off a lot of people and I feel bad about that….My goal at the time was to save [the insurance company] money, not settle claims for what the case was worth.”
From the very first moment they work on a claim the goal of the insurance adjuster is to find ways to minimize the amount the company will pay for your personal injury claim, zero being optimum. That is what the adjuster is trained to do and paid to do.
You have a lot to lose by not seeking the advice of a personal injury attorney, and nothing to lose by getting a free personal injury case evaluation.