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“Fantastic Service”

“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 posted on Yahoo Local 02/17/2007.

Each case presents unique and specific factual and legal circumstances.

Past performance does not guarantee future performance.

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“Do yourself a favor and use [Travis] Scott Eller as your attorney.”

“Do yourself a favor and use [Travis] Scott Eller as your attorney.” Read More

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Elderly Woman Dies from Fall in Puddle of Water

An elderly woman fell in a puddle of water near an elevator in a hospital. She was taken to the ER, treated for a dislocated shoulder, and released. Family members found her unconscious the next morning. She died less than a week later from intracranial bleeding. Read More

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Medical Malpractice Statute Held Unconstitutional

A nine-year-old boy suffered headaches, dizziness, nausea, weakness in the legs, and double vision. He underwent an MRI, which a doctor reviewed and found to be normal. Later when the boy was 17, he underwent another MRI reviewed by a different doctor. The second doctor found a serious condition, and reviewed the previous MRI that had been conducted when the boy was nine. The second doctor found the condition had been present at that time as well.

The boy brought a medical malpractice lawsuit. The trial court ruled that they claim was barred by the statute of limitations.[1]

Any personal injury or medical malpractice claim must be brought before the applicable statute of limitations runs. If a person is not competent to bring the lawsuit, the statute is tolled.

A medical malpractice claim must be brought within three years of the act or omission, or within one year of discovering the alleged malpractice.  The statute imputes to the minor a parent’s or guardian’s knowledge of facts that give rise to the medical malpractice claim.

The combined effect of the two statutes is that for any other type of claim, a minor may bring the claim within one year of reaching the age of 18, rather than one year of when a parent or guardian knew or should have known of the claim. Also, the statute of limitations is tolled for someone incompetent to bring a medical malpractice lawsuit for reasons other than being a minor, but is not tolled for minors.

The Washington Supreme Court ruled there was no reasonable grounds to discriminate against minors. The Court noted that courts in other jurisdictions had reached the same conclusion. The rule places a disproportionate burden on a minor whose parent or guardian lacks the sophistication or incentive to bring a medical malpractice claim – for instance foster children, children whose parents themselves are minors, or who are simply unconcerned.

While this was a victory for minors who are victims of medical malpractice, it is far better to contact an attorney early and avoid the whole issue. Potential claims can be properly investigated and brought well in advance of the statute of limitations if an attorney is on board early.

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By personal injury attorney Travis Scott Eller



[1] Schroeder v. Weighall, M.D. et al., ____ Wn.2d ____ (No. 87207-4 January 16, 2014).

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U-Haul Hits Tree, Tree Wins

A man hit a tree with a U-Haul truck. He sued the city of Seattle for personal injury.

The tree was in a planter along a sidewalk on a Seattle street. The man claimed the City failed to maintain a reasonably safe roadway. The trial judge found for the City. The man appealed.[1]

lawblog disclaimer

In Washington, government entities are held to the same negligence standard as private parties. A government entity has a duty to maintain its roads so that they are reasonably safe for ordinary travel. The Court of Appeals concluded that the City of Seattle did not breach that duty.

The man argued that the tree was dangerously overhanging the roadway. Buses use the same street, but Metro had not complained about that tree, nor had anyone else. A photograph taken a year earlier undermined the man’s theory that an overhanging branch was too low. The trial court concluded that the U-Haul struck the tree over the curb – not a low, overhanging branch.  The Court of Appeals upheld the trial court.

The Court found that the City had no notice of the dangerous condition, and did not create a dangerous condition. Therefore, the City is not liable.

By personal injury attorney Travis Eller



[1] Nguyen v. Seattle, ____ Wn.App. ____ (NO. 69263-1-1 January 27, 2014).

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Wrong House

Michael ran a stop sign and hit a car, allegedly injuring people in it. Michael and his wife lived in Granite Falls, Washington at the time. Michael later lost his house in foreclosure. He moved in with his dad, and on a few nights slept at this brother’s house in Everett. Shortly afterwards Michael and his wife moved to Arkansas. Read More

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Look Before Crossing

A bus stopped to let passengers on and off. The bus did not stop at a crosswalk. A passenger got off and then jaywalked in front of the bus.  Meanwhile a car that had been behind the bus moved into the on-coming lane and passed the bus. The car struck the pedestrian. The pedestrian sued the driver for personal injury.

Read More

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Emergency Vehicles Duty

Emergency vehicles responding to an emergency must exercise “due regard for the safety of all persons” but do not, of course, have to fully comply with all the normal rules of the road.[1] Read More

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Harder Than It Looks

A man was rear-ended in a motor vehicle accident. He treated with his doctor and with physical therapy. Months later he suddenly felt severe pain in his neck, shoulders, and down his left and right arms. He was in such severe pain that he believed he would die. He went to the emergency room for treatment, and spent three days in the hospital. The pain was so intense he lost consciousness at one point.

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Will the Real Big Lots Please Stand Up?

A woman was shopping with her two-year-old child in a Big Lots store in Washington. A Big Lots employee was stacking heavy boxes across the aisle. The employee knocked over some of the heavy boxes, which struck the child on the head. The boxes pushed the child head-first into metal shelving, cutting a large gash in the child’s forehead. Read More

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Personal Injury Case Against McDonald’s Survives Appeal

A woman filed a personal injury lawsuit against McDonald’s. McDonald’s served interrogatories (written questions). The woman’s attorney did not hear from her for a very long time, but told McDonald’s attorneys that he was aware she had not been well. In fact, it turned out she was in the hospital.

The court ordered that McDonald’s questions be answered within 40 days. Finally, her attorney was able to get in touch with her and get the information McDonald’s had requested, but not until about 17 days after the judge’s deadline.

The judge dismissed the case because of the missed deadline – in spite of the fact that the woman had been in the hospital, had ultimately provided the answers, and the trial date and crucial case schedule deadlines were months away.

The Court of Appeals ruled that the trial court made no findings whatsoever with respect to whether the failure to comply with the order compelling discovery responses was willful, whether McDonald’s was substantially prejudiced by the failure to comply, and whether any lesser sanction than summarily dismissing the personal injury complaint would suffice under the circumstances of the case and in light of the purposes of the discovery order and the length of time to trial. The Court reversed.[1]

lawblog disclaimer

 

This was not one of our cases, but it illustrates the importance of not losing contact with your attorney – though in this case it was not the woman’s fault, which is why the Court of Appeals reversed.

By personal injury attorney Travis Scott Eller

 

[1] Howe v. McDonald’s, Inc., unpublished (No. 68315-2-1  September 23, 2013).

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Breast Implants and Bungee Jumps

A doctor goes bungee jumping and injures his eye. He ends up having surgery on the eye.

He then performs a breast augmentation surgery for a patient, using saline implants. Later the patient notices rippling on her left upper breast. She goes back to the doctor who replaces the saline implants with gel implants. She is unhappy with the results and the doctor performs additional revision procedures.

The doctor’s vision changes and he seeks care, resulting in more surgery on his eye. The surgery is unsuccessful so he retires.

The woman then sues the doctor and argues he violated the Washington Consumer Protection Act (CPA) by not disclosing the eye problem.

Learned professions are not exempt from application of the CPA. However, the CPA applies only to the entrepreneurial or commercial aspects of professional services – such as marketing – but not the substantive quality of services provided. Malpractice claims directed at the competence of and strategies employed by a doctor or other professional amount to allegations of negligence and are exempt from the Consumer Protection Act.

The trial court dismissed the CPA claims and the Court of Appeals agreed.[1] The patient may still pursue a negligence claim, but not a CPA claim with its provisions for treble damages, attorney fees, and other relief.

A medical or other professional may be liable for malpractice, and depending on circumstances may also violate the Consumer Protection Act. If you believe you or someone you know may be a victim of professional negligence contact our office for a free case evaluation.

lawblog disclaimer

 

By personal injury attorney

Travis Scott Eller

[1] Dalien v. Jackson, unpublished (No. 39875-3-II).