Medical Examinations – What you Need to Know

Medical Examinations – What You Need to Know

As part of a personal injury claim, you may be asked to submit to a medical examination. You are probably dreading the prospect of being examined by an unknown physician or chiropractor. That is totally normal.  At the same time, submitting to an exam can be necessary to move your case forward. It is therefore important to understand the purpose of these exams and what you can do to best prepare.

Types of Examinations

There are two main types of medical exams in a personal injury case.  The first is referred to as an independent medical examination (IME) which has been scheduled by your own insurance company via the Personal Injury Protection (PIP) portion of your auto insurance policy. In this instance your insurance carrier is trying to ascertain your medical status to see if it can justifiably refuse to pay for treatment.

The second type is a defense medical examination (DME) that has been scheduled by the defense when your claim is in litigation. The defense will use this exam to diminish or defeat your claims of injury and the necessity of treatment.

What to Expect

The examiner will be a chiropractor, physical therapist or medical doctor who has reviewed your medical records and any other documents provided to him/her.  At the appointment he or she will first ask interview questions to get some background on your version of the facts and your resulting pain symptoms and injuries. He or she will then examine you to determine the cause and extent of injury and supply an opinion as to the past and future medical treatment needed, whether maximum medical improvement has been reached, and whether any permanent impairment exists. Remember that you do not have a doctor-patient relationship with this examiner and nothing you say is confidential.

What to Do During an Examination

When an IME/DME has been scheduled for you, it is important to do the following:

  1. Tell the truth: The most important thing about an IME or DME is to be truthful and be yourself. If you exaggerate  or lie, you put your credibility in serious doubt, and that will damage your case significantly.
  2. Do not exaggerate: Many people have a tendency to exaggerate, even on accident, in order to prove that they are right. Be very careful not to exaggerate your injuries and pain. These doctors are trained to detect exaggeration and your case will be weakened if they believe you are doing so.
  3. Organize your thoughts: Take a little time to sit down and organize your thoughts. Recall the specific areas of your body that were injured and in which you have felt pain or weakness. It will be critical to provide a complete and accurate description of your injuries and pain complaints, so take the time to mentally relive this difficult portion of time in your life. Also, never discuss prior or unrelated pain complaints and/or injuries unless specifically asked by the doctor.
  4. Support: You can bring a family member or friend to the appointment with you.  Not only can they offer moral support, but they can monitor the length of time you are in the exam and can attest to their observations (if necessary) before and after the examination.  It is likely that someone from our office may be able to accompany you to the examination as well.
  5. Be punctual: Be on time or even slightly early for your examination.
  6. Be respectful: Be courteous with everyone you encounter in the office.  Even if you get frustrated or feel uncomfortable, it is very important to be polite.  Everything you do will be documented at this visit.
  7. Only answer the question asked: When responding to the doctor’s questions listen carefully to what is being asked, and only answer the specific question asked, nothing more.  Do not volunteer any additional information.
  8. Focus on the location of the pain: You will be asked about your injuries and pain symptoms. It can be helpful in fully describing each and every injury you suffered to begin with your head and work down your body to your feet. Be sure to address the parts of your body that still cause you pain and limitation.  If at any time during the examination you are experiencing pain, be sure and tell the doctor.
  9. Do not sign paperwork without talking to us: As a general rule, do not sign anything that has not been reviewed and approved by our office.
  10. The exam begins when you arrive: You are being watched the entire time you arrive at the examiner’s office and possibly even after you leave and make your way to your car. Be aware of what you say and how you behave at all times.
  11. Don’t share medical docuemnts: Do not take any documents, x-rays or medical reports to the exam unless instructed by us to do so.
  12. Don’t ask the examiner for medical advice: Do not ask the doctor to give you any opinions about your injury or your case.
  13. Don’t let other doctors examine you: No other doctor should examine you or even be present other than the specific doctor scheduled to see you.
  14. You can take notes: You or your witness should feel free to take notes during or after the examination.  This would include any observations, thoughts, questions or comments you may have about the exam. Share this with our office.

It is normal to fee anxious about an upcoming medical exam. Please call us if you have any additional questions or concerns before your appointment. We want you to feel as comfortable as possible during this process.

Pedestrian Accidents – What you Need to Know

Pedestrians are far more vulnerable to serious injury in accidents than vehicle drivers, passengers or cyclists. When walking or jogging, you have to worry about bicyclers, skateboarders, other pedestrians and all the vehicles on the roads. And if you have a child with you in a jogging stroller, pram or alongside – or have your dog along – that’s even more to be mindful of. If you or a loved one have been in a pedestrian accident in Tacoma, you need to choose among pedestrian accident lawyers in order to pursue a compensation claim for your injuries and damages.

What You Need to Know About Pedestrian Accidents

Even if you’re doing everything right – sticking to crosswalks, watching when you cross and monitoring traffic signals – you can still be seriously injured in a pedestrian accident. Injuries to pedestrians are often traumatic (and sometimes fatal). The least serious injuries will be sprains to your extremities, road rash from skidding along pavement, scrapes, cuts or dislocations.

The most worrisome pedestrian injuries are those to the head, neck, spine or severe lacerations resulting in rapid blood loss. Even for those that survive a pedestrian accident, depending on the severity of the injuries suffered, recovery can be time consuming, painful and costly. Hiring a good accident lawyer can get you compensation to cover these costs.

Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents

If you are paying attention while you’re out for a walk or run, you may feel safe, but the fact is cars move much faster than you do and can come out of nowhere. Some of the most common causes of pedestrian accidents are drivers rolling through crosswalks, running red lights, ignoring pedestrian right of way, turning corners into a crosswalk without looking and texting or talking while driving.

Other reasons include driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol which slows reaction times, distracted drivers, driving above the posted speed limit, driving faster than road conditions warrant or driving with no headlights on early in the morning or at dusk when visibility is already an issue. A vehicle doesn’t have to be moving fast to do serious damage to a pedestrian.

What to Do After a Pedestrian Accident

If you are seriously injured, the best you can likely do is to remain calm and wait for police and emergency responders to show up and help. If you’re able and no one else has, dial 911 for help. If you have a smart phone and your wits about you, snap a few photos of the vehicle that hit you and how it’s positioned relative to where you were struck.

If there are bystanders, ask one to gather witness names and numbers so you can contact them later. If you are laid out, you can loan your phone to someone and ask them to take photos for you using your phone. Video never hurts either and this is a great way to gather witness statements. Be sure not to make any statements saying you are to blame in any way.

After Medical Care, Look for a Lawyer to Handle Your Claim

You may be contacted right away by the insurance company of the driver that struck you. They may come to see you in the hospital or while you’re recuperating at home. After an accident, you may not be thinking clearly, you will be in pain and may be medicated. You never want to talk to a lawyer under these circumstances. Send them away immediately and tell them you’ll be in touch. Don’t agree to anything and never, ever sign anything!

You need a lawyer of your own and should choose a local attorney with a good reputation and experience with pedestrian accident cases. Consider Park Chenaur and Associates. We have years of experience, excellent client reviews and a track record of winning significant settlements for pedestrian injury cases. We will take your case on a contingency-fee basis which means you won’t pay us until we get you a settlement.

We can come to you in the hospital or while you’re recovering at home to make sure the driver’s insurance company doesn’t take advantage. We offer multi-lingual services in English, Korean andSpanish. Contact Park Chenaur now so we can get to work winning you the best settlement possible as soon as possible for your pedestrian accident. Call for a free consultation today. You can contact usvia our website or call (253) 839-9440 .

What to do After a Car Accident

Tacoma’s roads can be congested and dangerous with all the texting, distracted and aggressive drivers. Combine that with wet weather and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. If you’ve been seriously injured, there are some steps you can take from the moment metal meets metal to protect your rights and give you the best chance of winning your Tacoma car accident case.

Here’s what you need to know…

car accident attorney tacoma

#1 Keep Calm and Carry On

This is a good time to heed the old British mantra and keep your wits about you even if you (or a passenger) are seriously injured. If you’re able, call 911 and request police and emergency medical assistance. Major accidents usually trigger a number of 911 calls, so even if you can’t dial yourself, likely someone else will. It’s important not to panic and to wait calmly for help to arrive and to let the police and EMTs do their job.

#2 Be a Good Patient

Allow the EMTs to examine you and if they recommend emergency treatment, take a ride in the ambulance to the hospital. If they recommend urgent treatment but tell you that you can transport yourself to the doctor or ER, that’s fine, but be sure to follow up. Not only can neglecting medical attention cause you harm but it can also lower your chances of winning your car accident case. To make sure you get the best result, get medical care!

#3 Pay Attention (If Possible)

While you’re waiting for the police and ambulance, if you have your wits about you, try to notice what’s going on, where the cars ended up and try to recall the circumstances of the wreck. If you have a smart phone that takes pictures, snap some photos of the positions of the cars, skid marks on the road, any damage you can easily see without hurting yourself. Also, if you can record witness statements, that’s helpful too.

#4 Get an Attorney ASAP

Insurance companies love accident victims that try to deal with a personal injury claim without a lawyer because they know they can take advantage. Not only do you need legal expertise to win a car accident claim, but you need experience dealing with insurance company tactics designed to lower (or eliminate) compensation to you for the accident, injuries and pain you suffered. Call an attorney as soon as possible so they can protect you!

#5 Limit Contact With Your Insurance Company

After an accident, you have to be careful about talking to any insurance company – yours or the other driver’s. Either may try to take advantage. You usually must notify your insurer within 24-48 hours to let them know about the accident, but don’t talk to them in depth without advice from your lawyer. Tell them the date and time of the accident but don’t discuss blame or tell them anything about your injuries. Let your lawyer handle all this!

#6 Focus on Recovery

Let Your Lawyer Focus on Winning

Being in an accident can be stressful. Physical pain is bad enough, but if it’s accompanied by financial worries such as dealing with your damaged vehicle, worrying about medical bills and costs of treatment and medications, it can feel overwhelming. That’s enough to deal with without dealing with legal matters too. And your anxiety may lead you to make a poor decision just to get the situation done with. This is not in your best interest.

Contact Us Today for Help Winning Your Case!

If you’ve been seriously injured in a car accident, contact Park Chenaur at (253) 839-9440 or via our website for a free consultation about your claim. Choosing our firm to represent you is one of the simplest ways to give yourself the best chance of winning your Tacoma car accident case. If you are recuperating at home or in the hospital, we can come to you.

Park Chenaur & Associates is ready to help you now. Give us a call.

Important Supreme Court Ruling on Personal Injury

Last Friday, the Washington State Supreme Court issued a ruling that helps to clear up an interesting debate in personal injury law. Washington State law, specifically RCW 4.24.210, gives landowners immunity from personal injury lawsuits if their property is open to the public for recreational purposes, such as hunting, fishing, camping, or hiking, so long as they don’t charge a fee.

This law is a great benefit to the public, because it incentivizes public and private entities to open recreational spaces, such as parks, paths, hiking trails, and camp sites for everyone to enjoy. It assuages the fear felt by many city administrators and private companies, who want to open up land for the entire public to enjoy, but fear lawsuits from individuals who hurt themselves on the property. Everyone benefits.

An important question, then, is how do we define a “recreational” space? If most people use a piece of land for recreational use, but it was originally intended for another use, does the landowner receive immunity from personal injury lawsuits?

The Washington State Supreme Court took that question head on last Friday, in a case called Camicia vs. City of Mercer Island.

 What happened in this case

 Susan Camicia, an avid outdoors enthusiast, was training for a triathlon and cycling on Mercer Island on June 19, 2006. She was cycling on the well-known I-90 bicycle trail, which runs all the way from Seattle to Mercer Island. Of vital importance for the case, it is the only non-motorized path across Lake Washington to Mercer Island.

Howard Wright Construction Co. was working on a project near the trail. Though they fenced off their site, part of the fencing went outside the project zone and into the trail. Camicia approached the site, saw the misplaced fencing, and veered left to avoid it. Unfortunately, while she was able to avoid the fence, she ran into a wooden post in the middle of the trail, a feature designed to prevent cars from driving on the path. Her injuries were very severe; she somersaulted over her bike’s handlebars, breaking her neck. Today, she remains a near-quadriplegic, with only a very small bit of mobility and strength in her hands.

Camicia sued the Howard Wright Construction Co. and the City of Mercer Island, alleging that both entities were negligent in creating the conditions that caused her injury, namely, placing fencing on the clearly-marked path.  The City of Mercer Island claimed immunity: they said that the trail was intended for recreational use, and therefore, they could not be held liable for Camicia’s injuries.

Initially, the city won the case. Camicia appealed, and the appeals court reversed the decision, ruling in her favor. The city then appealed that decision to the Supreme Court of Washington, setting the stage for a showdown in the state’s highest court.

The Supreme Court’s Decision

 The Supreme Court had to answer a difficult question; was the I-90 bicycle trail intended for recreational use? Or, as Camicia claimed, was its primary purpose transportation? If the land’s use was classified as transportation, the city could not claim immunity from any liability for her injuries.

On the one hand, this might seem like an easy question to answer. Clearly, the vast majority of people, including Camicia, use the path for recreational purposes, and the path was maintained with that use in mind.

On the other hand, however, several legal facts definitely buttressed her claims. First, the path is the only non-motorized path from Seattle to Mercer Island. Certainly, the distances between the cities are such that most would want to drive a car, but if one wanted to bicycle or walk the journey, this path was the only option.

Second, the deed for the property suggests that it was established for transportation. Its previous owner, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), gave the land to the city in 1987. In 2000, WSDOT executed a deed for the land, clarifying that, “It is understood and agreed that the above referenced property is transferred for road/street purposes only, and no other use shall be made of said property without obtaining prior written approval of the grantor.”

In other words, though city experts and avid users agreed the path was for recreational use, and always had been, the deed confirmed that the land was explicitly transferred to the city under the assumption and condition that it be used and maintained for transportation.

The Supreme Court ultimately ruled 5-3 in favor of Camicia. The court’s majority opinion noted that WSDOT had conducted a review of the property in 2002, concluding that it was primarily for transportation. In addition, the court noted that when the trail was built, the federal and state funds used to build it were appropriated for transportation purposes.

Moreover, the opinion quotes the deed to the land, which seems to not only establish that the trail is intended for transportation, but also seems to explicitly forbid the city to use it for other purposes without receiving permission from WSDOT.

The court took the city’s ultimate argument to its logical, but absurd limit. In Seattle, the city must maintain the streets and sidewalks, and is responsible when its failure to do so causes injuries. Yet, under Mercer Island’s legal theory, Seattle could claim immunity, since tourists use Seattle’s streets and sidewalks while sightseeing and visiting historic landmarks. In that sense, the city of Seattle could argue its streets were intended for recreational use, when in fact they were obviously designed for transportation.

We are pleased with the court’s decision, not just because we believe that Camicia is entitled to her day in court, but because there are wider issues at play that could affect the rights of individuals injured on public and private property.

If the city had received immunity in this case, it would set a wide-reaching precedent, causing other entities to potentially claim that even incidental recreational use of their property entitled them to immunity from liability.

Even more importantly, it would have harmed the current incentives for cities and private entities to take care in protecting the public when building spaces that are open to the public. The entity building and maintaining the space is in the best position to see potential dangers and take action, and the law should encourage them to do just that.

PIP Coverage for the Injured Pedestrian

We all know the inherent dangers of walking on the roads. We also know that there are affirmative steps that you can, and absolutely should, take to protect yourself. Walk on sidewalks where possible, observe crossing signals, cross only in marked crosswalks where feasible, wear bright clothing to stay visible, and most importantly, always remain alert. These steps will definitely mitigate the risk of an accident.

However – even when you have done everything as a pedestrian to protect yourself, sometimes a collision cannot be avoided.

The CDC reports that in 2010 alone, 4,280 pedestrians were fatally injured in pedestrian-vehicle collisions in the United States, and another 70,000 pedestrians were injured.[1] This averages out to one vehicle collision-related pedestrian death every 2 hours, and a pedestrian injury every 8 minutes.

Because the dangers are so prevalent, and the injuries potentially so catastrophic, most pedestrians injured from contact with a vehicle will require extensive and costly medical treatment. It is crucial then to identify the insurance available to pay for this treatment as early as possible.  Unfortunately, insurers are not always forthcoming with available coverage. One of the benefits of hiring a personal injury attorney is identifying the available sources of benefits.

Personal Injury Protection coverage (PIP) is coverage in an auto policy that will pay for reasonable and necessary medical expenses and income loss caused by a collision. The policy will specify who is covered via PIP and will define who is considered an insured under this portion of the policy. The amount of coverage will typically range between $10,000 and $35,000.

The insurer is required by law to offer PIP, but an insured may decline coverage by signing a written waiver (electronic waivers can be considered valid).  To be effective, this waiver must be in writing.  When an insurer asserts there is no PIP coverage, we always demand to see the written (or electronic) waiver.  If the insurer cannot produce a written or electronic waiver, then the insured has PIP coverage.[2]

Often, more than one policy of insurance will be available to potentially cover a pedestrian’s medical expenses and compensate for damages.  When more than one policy of insurance is available, there is an order in which to access benefits.  For example, in an auto claim, health insurance will usually refuse to pay until PIP has been exhausted.  Coverage is always a source of anxiety for a severely injured pedestrian with quickly mounting medical bills, particularly when that pedestrian has limited or no health coverage. When a pedestrian has been injured by a vehicle, we begin our claim analysis by seeing what available auto policies exist.

Most injured pedestrians do not realize that the place to start in the investigation is with the driver of the vehicle and examining their insurance policy. The PIP portion of a policy will identify who is covered as an insured and under what circumstances benefits are available.   We always request information from the driver’s insurance company, and specifically inquire as to whether PIP benefits are available.  Again, if the insurer asserts there is no PIP, we demand to see the written waiver. Most policies with PIP coverage will contain language similar to the following: We will provide medical benefits for bodily injury to each insured caused by a motor vehicle accident, all reasonable and necessary medical and hospital expenses.  Insured person means a pedestrian if struck by your car.

In fact, RCW 48.22.005 5(b) states that unless there is specific language to the contrary, an insured means, “a person who sustains bodily injury caused by accident while: (i) Occupying or using the insured automobile with the permission of the named insured; or (ii) a pedestrian accidentally struck by the insured automobile.”

Unfortunately, too many injured pedestrians do not know that insurance benefits providing coverage for their medical expenses are available under the driver’s auto insurance policy.  And too many insurance company adjusters will not divulge that this coverage is available unless coverage is asserted by the injured pedestrian.  If that driver’s PIP coverage is insufficient to cover all the medical costs, the pedestrian can then claim under their own insurance policy’s PIP coverage if applicable.  Health insurance is another source of coverage for the injured pedestrian.

Investigating all available coverage is important not only in assessing potential sources of monetary recovery for damages suffered by the injured pedestrian. It can also be crucial in ensuring that the injured pedestrian is able to receive all the reasonable and necessary medical care required to ensure maximum healing and recovery, as well as the recovery of lost wages when they are needed the most.



[1] See Department of Transportation (US), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Traffic Safety Facts 2010: Pedestrians. Washington (DC): NHTSA; 2012 [cited 2013 April 11].http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/pedestrian_safety/factsheet.html

[2] See Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 48.22.085.

How to Read your Auto Insurance Policy

Many people treat auto insurance as an either-or commodity; either you have it and are fully covered or you don’t and are completely vulnerable. In reality, auto insurance policies vary widely in their coverage, limits and exemptions from person to person and vehicle to vehicle.

It is important to know what your policy covers so that if you ever find yourself in an accident, you know exactly what benefits you are entitled to under the policy.

So how do you figure out what your policy covers?

First, let’s review the different types of coverage in your policy.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

Personal injury protection, or PIP, covers you, your passengers, and other pedestrians and bicyclists in an accident, no matter who is responsible. It covers both medical bills and lost wages due to an injury. In Washington State, insurers must offer PIP coverage, and you are automatically given PIP coverage unless you explicitly ask to waive the coverage by writing your insurer.

Liability Coverage

Liability coverage applies when you are found at fault for an accident and resulting damages. It covers both medical costs as well as property damage caused by an accident. This coverage is important because it helps shield your personal assets from legal action if you are at fault.

Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM)

Underinsured Motorist Coverage, or UIM, covers you if you get in an accident with a driver who is uninsured. It covers you, your immediate family and passengers in your car who are injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver. It also applies if you or your family are injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver while walking as a pedestrian or riding a bike.

Collision Coverage

Collision coverage insures your vehicle against damage, no matter who is responsible for the accident. It covers necessary repairs or replacement of a damaged vehicle. This coverage includes a deductible that must be met before your insurer will begin paying benefits.

Comprehensive Coverage

Comprehensive coverage pays for damage caused by a number of other circumstances besides an accident, such as theft, vandalism or a fire. Like collision coverage, this type of policy typically includes a deductible.

So now that you know what your insurance covers how do you know who is covered?  More importantly, who should be on your policy?

The answer boils down to the distinction between “named” and “other” insureds. Named insureds are individuals who are explicitly named as insured under the policy. For a family, this typically means both spouses, who are named on the policy and covered. The policy language will also extend coverage to other individuals not explicitly named, usually including family members of the named insureds. However, a cohabitating girlfriend or boyfriend is typically not covered, and thus, will have to be added to the policy to give them coverage.

So now you have a good grip on what your insurance should cover. Here are some important steps to take after an accident to put yourself in the best position to make a claim on your policy.

  1. Get medical treatment immediately. The longer you wait, the more likely the insurance company will fight your claim, arguing your injuries are not as severe as you say.
  2. Take photos of the scene and both vehicles before moving them, unless the vehicles’ positions pose an immediate danger to traffic. Wait to move vehicles until police arrive so that they can note the positions of the vehicles in their report.
  3. Collect contact information from witnesses who saw the accident. These individuals can help prove your account of what happened if there is a dispute later.
  4. Request a police report, especially if the other driver is at fault. This will help prove what happened, in the absence of any witnesses or an admission of guilt by the other driver.
  5. Report your injury to the police. This will ensure that your injury is part of the police report and give the insurance adjuster more confidence that your injuries were caused by the accident.
  6. Talk to an attorney if you have a serious injury. An attorney can help advise you on improving the strength of your claim with the insurance company and help you assess whether a settlement offer is fair or not.
  7. Alert your insurance company immediately and tell them exactly what happened. Keep in mind that in Washington State, there is a time limit on claims, also known at the statute of limitations. Usually, this is three years from the date of the accident. If you have injuries and wish to open a PIP claim, you may have to sign a medical authorization form giving your insurer permission to look at your medical records
  8. Do not give a statement to the other drivers’ insurance company, or sign medical authorizations for them, without speaking to an attorney first.

 

If you have been injured in an accident, please contact us for a free consultation. We can help deal with your insurance company and make sure you receive the full benefits as required by your insurance policy.

Attorney Rick Park

Partner Rick Park Featured on Business Show

Rick Park was featured on the Business Leaders Spotlight Show last week.

In the interview, Rick discusses some of the most important things people need to know about personal injury law, including why and when you should hire an attorney after a serious injury.

You can listen to the full interview here: http://legal.businessleaderspotlight.com/personal-injury/attorney-in-federal-way-wa-rick-park/

What to Look for in a Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you’ve been injured as a result of improper medical care – whether it was misdiagnosis, delayed treatment, improper treatment or negligent care – you need a good malpractice lawyer. Tacoma consumers may be looking for tips on how to find a good malpractice lawyer and we can help. It can be challenging to know what skills to look for and how to know up-front if you’ve made the best attorney selection for your circumstances.
For those who have been the victims of medical malpractice or medical negligence, you’ve already suffered enough. You need a good malpractice attorney who can make things better for you.

Here’s five things to consider to help you find a good malpractice lawyer in Tacoma:

#1 Specialization

Just because an attorney handles personal injury cases in general doesn’t mean they have medical malpractice expertise in particular. Some lawyers will focus mostly on workers compensation and on-the-job accidents while still others do mostly car accident cases. Still others are jack-of-all personal injury tradesmen with general skills rather than particular expertise. You want a lawyer with an impressive roster of medical malpractice cases successfully negotiated or litigated. You can usually research this on the attorney’s website.

#2 Experience

It’s not enough that an attorney h as had a handful of malpractice cases over their years of experience – but rather that they’ve had a great many and the bulk of them successful. And when it comes to experience, you don’t want someone who’s fresh out of law school – they won’t have the chops to get you the best settlement for your circumstances. Of course they need to gain experience somewhere, but it doesn’t need to be with your case.

You want your malpractice attorney to have years of experience prior to taking on your case. You can usually also research this on the attorney’s website.

#3 Size of Law Firm

You may get loads of attention at a one or two person law firm, but they may not have the resources to properly handle your case. But you must also be cautious about using a very large law firm. Your initial consultation may be with an experienced medical malpractice attorney but then your case can be delegated to one of their huge roster of lesser qualified and experienced attorneys.

The preference is a medium sized firm that has a handful of experienced attorneys with an adequate support staff present. A law firm that offers bios and photos of team members including support staff indicates both the size of the firm and the value of their support staff.

#4 Reputation

You want a medical malpractice attorney that is well thought of both by their peers and by former clients. A respected ratings site such as Avvo.com is a good venue to gauge reputation and professional standing. Look for a rating of very good and customer reviews that show the attorney is accomplished, competent and treats their clients well.

Also look for someone with peer reviews that show that they are respected in the local Tacoma legal community. Someone who has positive client experience, high ratings and respectful peer reviews is an attorney who will likely treat you well.

#5 Local Location

There are two main reasons you want a local Tacoma medical malpractice lawyer. First is that it will make it more convenient for you to meet with your attorney when needed. But more importantly, they will be plugged into the local courts and know the local judges. Conversely, choosing an attorney from outside the system where your case will be filed can throw up roadblocks.

How to Get Started

If you or a loved one have been seriously impacted by medical malpractice or medical negligence, Park Chenaur can help you immediately. No matter what happened – whether it was misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, failure to treat, inadequate or improper treatment – we are here for you. Park Chenaur always works on a contingency basis with our medical malpractice clients, so we can represent you right away with no up-front payment. Plus we don’t charge a fee until you get a settlement!

Please contact us for a free consultation today to discuss your medical malpractice or medical negligence injuries and circumstances. At Park Chenaur, we pride ourselves on providing compassionate counsel and aggressive advocacy. We offer multi-lingual services in English, Korean and Spanish.

Contact Park Chenaur today so we can work on getting you the best settlement as soon as possible. Reach us today via our website or call us at (253) 839-9440 .

Pedestrian Accidents – What you Need to Know

Pedestrians are far more vulnerable to serious injury in accidents than vehicle drivers, passengers or cyclists. When walking or jogging, you have to worry about bicyclers, skateboarders, other pedestrians and all the vehicles on the roads. And if you have a child with you in a jogging stroller, pram or alongside – or have your dog along – that’s even more to be mindful of. If you or a loved one have been in a pedestrian accident in Tacoma, you need to choose among pedestrian accident lawyers in order to pursue a compensation claim for your injuries and damages.

What You Need to Know About Pedestrian Accidents

Even if you’re doing everything right – sticking to crosswalks, watching when you cross and monitoring traffic signals – you can still be seriously injured in a pedestrian accident. Injuries to pedestrians are often traumatic (and sometimes fatal). The least serious injuries will be sprains to your extremities, road rash from skidding along pavement, scrapes, cuts or dislocations.

The most worrisome pedestrian injuries are those to the head, neck, spine or severe lacerations resulting in rapid blood loss. Even for those that survive a pedestrian accident, depending on the severity of the injuries suffered, recovery can be time consuming, painful and costly. Hiring a good accident lawyer can get you compensation to cover these costs.

Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents

If you are paying attention while you’re out for a walk or run, you may feel safe, but the fact is cars move much faster than you do and can come out of nowhere. Some of the most common causes of pedestrian accidents are drivers rolling through crosswalks, running red lights, ignoring pedestrian right of way, turning corners into a crosswalk without looking and texting or talking while driving.

Other reasons include driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol which slows reaction times, distracted drivers, driving above the posted speed limit, driving faster than road conditions warrant or driving with no headlights on early in the morning or at dusk when visibility is already an issue. A vehicle doesn’t have to be moving fast to do serious damage to a pedestrian.

What to Do After a Pedestrian Accident

If you are seriously injured, the best you can likely do is to remain calm and wait for police and emergency responders to show up and help. If you’re able and no one else has, dial 911 for help. If you have a smart phone and your wits about you, snap a few photos of the vehicle that hit you and how it’s positioned relative to where you were struck.

If there are bystanders, ask one to gather witness names and numbers so you can contact them later. If you are laid out, you can loan your phone to someone and ask them to take photos for you using your phone. Video never hurts either and this is a great way to gather witness statements. Be sure not to make any statements saying you are to blame in any way.

After Medical Care, Look for a Lawyer to Handle Your Claim

You may be contacted right away by the insurance company of the driver that struck you. They may come to see you in the hospital or while you’re recuperating at home. After an accident, you may not be thinking clearly, you will be in pain and may be medicated. You never want to talk to a lawyer under these circumstances. Send them away immediately and tell them you’ll be in touch. Don’t agree to anything and never, ever sign anything!

You need a lawyer of your own and should choose a local attorney with a good reputation and experience with pedestrian accident cases. Consider Park Chenaur and Associates. We have years of experience, excellent client reviews and a track record of winning significant settlements for pedestrian injury cases. We will take your case on a contingency-fee basis which means you won’t pay us until we get you a settlement.

We can come to you in the hospital or while you’re recovering at home to make sure the driver’s insurance company doesn’t take advantage. We offer multi-lingual services in English, Korean and Spanish. Contact Park Chenaur now so we can get to work winning you the best settlement possible as soon as possible for your pedestrian accident. Call for a free consultation today. You can contact us via our website or call (253) 839-9440 .

5 Very Important Questions To Ask Your Car Accident Attorney

When you’ve been injured in a car accident, if your injuries are serious and the blame isn’t yours, consulting an attorney is a wise move. But you don’t want just any run of the mill lawyer handling your case – you need a reputable attorney with expertise to get you the best possible settlement for your particular accident and injury circumstances. But how can you know you’re getting the best lawyer for your needs? Here are five questions you must ask your Tacoma car accident attorney:

#1 How long have you been practicing personal injury law?

This is a great opening question when you’re evaluating whether a lawyer is the best one for you. If the answer is five years or less, likely you want to move on to someone with more time practicing law under their belt. Preferably, you want someone with at least a decade of experience. Law school is great but lawyers really hone their skills once they’re practicing law out in the real world. You also want to ensure that all the years they’ve been in the profession have been dedicated to personal injury law.

#2 How many car accident victims do you represent each year?

This is an important question because there are many aspects of personal injury law, but to get the best results for your case, you want someone who deals heavily with car accident cases. You want a lawyer who deals regularly with accidents and injuries similar to yours. Not only that, you want an attorney who has a winning track record with car accident cases. Ask for examples of recent settlements for motor vehicle accidents to ensure that the lawyer has a history of significant settlements won in similar cases.

#3 Do you have trial experience?

Some attorneys spend their entire careers without ever setting foot in a courtroom either because they practice an area of law where litigation is rare or because they actively avoid trial situations. You want an attorney who has a record of wins at trial and isn’t scared to take your case to a full-on fight in court if need be. Find out how often the lawyer you’re considering fights it out in court, what their success rate is and whether they think the circumstances of your case indicate that litigation may be necessary.

#4 What is my case worth?

An attorney with years of personal injury experience and expertise in cases similar to yours will have an idea of what your case is worth based on handling prior cases. While there’s no guarantee of a particular settlement amount, an attorney who knows their stuff will be able to give you a likely range of what you can expect depending on the specifics of your car accident. If the lawyer has no idea what your case might be worth, that’s an indication that they don’t have expertise dealing with injury cases like yours.

#5 Will you be handling my case personally?

You want to have a conversation with the specific lawyer who will be handling your case. At a larger firm, they may only offer you a consultation with a paralegal and a handshake with a lawyer on your way out or in. You want to talk to the lawyer that will actually be handling your case. If the firm won’t commit to who will be representing you, that’s a red flag. Or if you meet with one lawyer and then end up handed off to a brand new associate by the end of the consultation, you may want to keep looking.

Call Park Chenaur for Help With Your Car Accident Case Today

If you’ve been seriously injured in an accident and are looking for help making a compensation claim, contact Park Chenaur today. We can answer all these questions and more that you should ask when searching for a Tacoma car accident attorney. We pride ourselves on always providing our clients with compassionate counsel and taking an approach of aggressive advocacy toward those who injured you.

Park Chenaur works on a contingency basis for car accident cases, so we can represent you immediately with no up-front payment. We won’t charge a fee until you get a settlement! If English isn’t your first language, we also offer services in Korean and Spanish. Contact Park Chenaur today so we can get to work getting you the best settlement possible as soon as possible. Take advantage of a free consultation today – contact us via our website or call us at (253) 839-9440.