05/18/2017

Lawsuit Following Greenwood Explosion Injuring 9 Firefighters

Last March, multiple Seattle firefighters were injured after a natural-gas lead that led to a massive explosion.  Jeff Markoff, one of the nine injured firefighters, filed his lawsuit last Friday and reported that he was “about 90 feet from the epicenter of the alleyway explosion that leveled two buildings and damaged dozens more.  He said he has since experienced ‘ongoing cognitive difficulties, severe headaches, hearing loss, disturbances such as recurring images after the explosion, memory loss’ and other health issues.”  Markoff, having nearly 20 years serving others, only missed a few shifts after the explosion, however he claims that headaches are almost a daily occurrence. 

Before the explosion – at 1:04 a.m. – the firefighters were looking for the source of the reported gas leak and at 1:40 a.m., were surprised by the massive explosion.  Thankfully, each of the injured firefighters were treated at a local hospital and released the same day.

Rubble after Seattle Explosion

Image Source

Puget Sound Energy “reached a $1.5 million settlement with the Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) over the March 2016 explosion.  The settlement calls for PSE to complete ‘a comprehensive inspection and remediation program’ of thousands of retired gas lines.”

Markoff hopes that PSE is “held accountable so this doesn’t happen again – so guys that I work with don’t have to face something like this.”  Attorney and Shareholder James Gooding is currently working with clients in a similar explosion case.  Explosions and many other disasters of this nature are often both terrifying and preventable; through GLP Attorneys, these types of cases are classified as a Premises Liability case. 

 If you or anyone you know have been injured, physically or mentally, please reach out for a free evaluation.  Often times, people are injured and misrepresented, but with GLP Attorneys and our core values, we have helped and assisted thousands through all process from injury to recovery.


For more information on the Greenwood explosion, follow this source

05/08/2017

Did you damage your car from a pothole? Or maybe in a construction zone? Here’s what to do

Last Friday, the Washington State Department of Transportation released an article explaining that road improvements will be made on I-5 and SR 528.  Anyone who has driven on either highway knows, this is welcome news and long overdue.    

Have you ever experienced driving down the highway and damaged your vehicle because of a construction project or pothole?  Is it your fault that there is a gaping hole in the middle of a road where everyone is going 50+ mph and you couldn’t swerve into another lane to avoid it? We certainly don’t think so. 

 

Here is a list of things to keep in mind in order to make a claim if your car is damaged due to a construction project or road defect on an interstate or state highway:

large pothole in road

                            Image source

  1. Note the road you were driving on at the time the incident occurred.
  2. Note your direction of travel.
  3. The exact location of the pothole, construction zone, etc.
  4. What the road hazard was (how big, how deep, etc.).
  5. Any witnesses and their contact information.

*rule of thumb, as mentioned in yesterday’s post: What to do after a car crash and if you need to file an accident report, your phone is your friend. If possible, take as many pictures as you can, it could make the process of filing a claim a whole lot easier.

Filing the claim

If you damage your car from a construction crew’s negligence, the company in charge of that particular crew could be liable for damages.  If you damaged your car from a pothole or defect in the road due to poor maintenance, then different steps must be taken in order to make a claim against the responsible governmental entity.  According to Nolo, a reputable legal website, “if you think you may have a claim, you will need to find out which government body is responsible for maintaining the road in question.”  Give the county commissioners’ office a call to see if they are responsible (if they are not, they should be able to tell you what other government agency may be responsible). 

Remember, once you find out who is responsible, you may have LIMITED TIME to give them a notice of your claim, particularly if the responsible party is a governmental entity. Nolo has an article that breaks down the timeline for filing a claim, how long they have to respond, and more. 

You do also have the option to file a claim with your own car insurance carrier.  Your insurance carrier may then pay on your claim and seek reimbursement from any responsible party.

The governmental entity will try to help if you can prove your claim, but it may take time

Here is a good news story that appeared on KIRO 7 on April 30, 2015 to help you understand the process for making a claim.

GLP Attorneys has ample experience when working with automobile accidents and highway design cases.  Attorneys Bryan Prince-Olsen and Kaitlin Roach have excellent experience and are more than able to assist if you may have any questions. 

05/03/2017

What to do after a car crash and if you need to file an accident report with DOT

If you’re one of thousands of people and are not sure exactly what to do after a car accident, we got your back.  Here is what to do after a car accident:

Pre-Information Exchange

  1. Do not leave the accident
    1. It’s important to help after an accident if possible
    2. If you do leave after a collision, it’s very possible that you get your driver’s license either suspended or revoked
  2. Breathe! Assess the situation and take note of any traffic or dangerous situations like fire, broken glass, etc.
  3. Look for other people that may be injured, and if possible, provide assistance. However, it is important to know that when dealing with an injured person you must be very careful in helping them move, especially if they say they have any major pain.  According to the DMV, it is sometimes best to wait for an ambulance to get to the scene when attempting to move an injured person.

Information Exchange (which is required in the state of Washington)

  1. Swap name, address, and contact information with the other people that were in the accident
  2. Take a note of their driver’s license number and get their auto insurance info
  3. Vehicle information like the make and model of the car and license plate number

*it’s also a good idea to get the contact information of any witnesses if needed at a later time

Taking lots and lots of pictures of the accident and all damages can make life a lot easier later down the road if they are needed (there is a good chance that you’ll be taking the notes on a phone so, if possible, take the extra couple minutes to take as many pictures as needed)

 

Reporting an Accident

Sometimes it is required to report an accident to the Washington State Department of Transportation.  If you do not report the accident to the WSDOT, you risk having your driver’s license suspended.  Washington Law requires you to file an accident report IF the accident report was not filed by a police officer AND IF:

  1. The collision resulted in an injury OR death

OR

  1. Property damage to ANYONE’S property (doesn’t matter whose fault) is $700 or more

Important: if the other driver asks you not to report the accident if they pay for the damage that was done (even if it was exactly $700 worth of damage) you are “still required to file the report” if the above terms were met.

If you need to complete a Collision Report Form you have 4 days to turn it in. You can get a form at your local police department, county sheriff’s office or Washington State Patrol.

 

What if the accident happened due to road conditions out of your control? If you have ever damaged your vehicle from potholes, construction crews, or crumbling roads take a quick look at this article covering how Highway Design can impact you and to see how to get reimbursed.

05/02/2017

Can a chiropractor help with my back pain?

Many people experience some form of back pain at some point.  According to the New England Journal of Medicine, roughly two out of three people eventually experience significant lower back pain.  Many physicians today are beginning to consider referring patients for spinal manipulation over other treatments and remedies. 

What is spinal manipulation?

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, spinal manipulation – “sometimes called ‘spinal manipulative therapy’ – is practiced by health care professionals such as chiropractors, osteopathic physicians, naturopathic physicians, physical therapists, and some medical doctors… by using their hands or a device to apply a controlled force to a joint of the spine.”  The end goal of spinal manipulation is to dismiss pain and to increase physical functioning.  The New York Times claims that spinal manipulation “along with other less traditional therapies like heat mediation and acuMan stretching lower back to help with back painpuncture – seems to be as effective as many other more medical therapies [they] prescribe, and as safe, if not safer.”

Most cases of back pain have been found to heal overtime, therefore the best course of action often taken are methods that relieve symptoms that allow the body to heal naturally. The work done by chiropractors
and physical therapists often involve a variety of these methods.

The Tests

 The Journal of the American Medical Association found evidence from 15 randomized, controlled trials – including nearly 2,000 patients – showing that spinal manipulation improved pain by roughly 10 points on a 100 point scale along with improvement in physical functions. 

After the report was released, the Annals of Internal Medicine conducted a “systematic review of nonpharmacologic therapies [and] generally agreed with the other recent trials.”

Finally, the American College of Physicians have recently “released [the] new clinical practice guidelines for the noninvasive treatment of subacute back pain.  They recommended that patients should try heat, massage, acupuncture or spinal manipulation as first-line therapies.”

The original worries of spinal manipulation was the procedure cost and potential harms.  However, after the studies that have been conducted, “there were really no serious adverse events reported.” 

 

For more information, follow this link

05/01/2017

What to do after a truck accident?

Did you recently get into a collision with a truck?  If so, it’s important to understand what to do and what not to do in the upcoming events.  The lawyers for the trucking company begin working immediately, and often are very aggressive in their defense.  There are many issues involving being able to prove the trucking company is legally responsible which make it a very good idea to hire a skilled Trucking Accident Lawyer early.  Below are seven steps you should take after a collision with a truck:

  1. Call 911. In Washington, there is a requirement to report an accident which results in injury.  So, calling the police to report the accident is a step towards complying with this law.   Calling the police is also a step towards documenting the time and location of the accident.  If the police respond, they will also provide you with additional assistance, including getting the name and address of the person who hit you, as well as the license number of the other drivers.  They will also record the names and contact information of any witnesses.
  1. You need to preserve the evidence. Your lawyer should immediately contact the trucking company and demand that they preserve all data associated with the collision, including the computer logs on-board the truck itself.  Some of these computers quickly recycle and overwrite their data, so you need to ask for this quickly.
  1. Go to the doctor. One of the most important things you can do is go to the doctor following an accident.  It is critical that you are examined by a medical professional, to determine if you need immediate care and to assess your injuries.  Think of what you would recommend to a friend or loved one—wouldn’t you tell them to get “checked out” by a doctor?  You deserve the same. 
  1. Take pictures of the vehicles. It is important to take pictures of your vehicle and the vehicle of the person who hit you.  This can be extremely important, because this may be the only time these vehicles will accurately show the extent of the damage and forces of the collision.  This may also be the one and only time you are able to see the other vehicle; if it is “totaled” and not repaired, it will be headed to the junk yard never to be seen again.
  1. Take more pictures. If you are bruised, if you cut yourself, or if there is anything inside the car that was caused by the accident, you should take a picture of these things.  These type of pictures can be very useful in showing the true extent of the damage and injuries.  
  1. Demand all training material for the driver of the truck. The truck driver is required to keep logs of his or her hours of driving (how long they were working prior to the collision) as well as other important information.  Your attorney needs to demand this information, as well as all training that the driver has received from the trucking company; you should also obtain the complete personnel file for the driver, which could include prior instances when the driver has been in a collision or has been disciplined.
  1. Get help. The person who hit you has reported the collision.  He or she may have said the collision was your fault.  You can also rest assured that the trucking company would like to pay you as little money as possible, as quickly as possible.  Should you give a statement? (No!)  Should you sign a release for the insurance company to get your medical records? (No!)  These questions will be put to you within days after the collision, and how they are answered is important.  It is much more likely that you will receive a fair and reasonable settlement if you have an experienced legal team fighting for you at every stage.

The Trucking Injuries page has a lot of information on things like factors that are often related to collisions, different types of claims, etc.  Following these steps can prove to be invaluable to any party after a collision with a semi-truck. 

 

04/28/2017

Nearly 30 Passengers Die After Boat Accidents in Senegal and Gambia

We will be doing some travelling today for the daily post.  Almost 30 people have died in Senegal and Gambia after two boat accidents.  For reference, the image to the left displays the locations of Senegal and Gambia, two western Africa countries positioned along the coastline.

Twenty-one passengers died on Monday night after the “traditional flat-bottomed boat overturned off Bettenty, a central Senegal island area.”  Of the 72 people on board, all but two were women.  51 of the passengers were rescued after the boat flipped over, however, because of a lack of life jackets and a lack of ability to swim, 21 of the passengers died. The 72 passengers were “on their way to look for seafood, and the incident occurred in a coastal are
a well known for delicacies like oysters, where tourists flock in large numbers.”  The boat that they were using was a pirogue, which allows them to travel between islets and mangroves. 

The other disaster happened in the River Gambia on Monday night.  The Banjul police spokesman, Foday Conta, reported, “Eight fishermen died yesterday night after their boat capsized…in the Upper River Region of the country.  They were on board a fishing canoe.”  The River Gambia flows right through the middle of Gambia.  Some media sources reported that their canoe capsized due to high winds while others claimed that the boat was overloaded. 

Maritime accidents in Senegal and Gambia are “often deadly as fishermen and ordinary citizens use canoes or makeshift boats to travel.” 

While it may be difficult to compare maritime laws between different nations, it is important to know what to do in an emergency.  Click here for some great information about what to do in a legal situation while on the water.  The maritime page goes into great detail on a variety of legal remedies, the different forms on compensation for a seaman injured aboard a ship, and more.  Attorney shareholder, James Gooding, is also a great source for any maritime related injury case questions or concerns.  Feel free to reach out to him by his personal email listed on his profile page or by phone at 206.448.1992.

 

For more information, follow the link below:

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-4445056/Almost-30-die-Senegal-Gambia-boat-accidents.html

04/27/2017

Lawsuit Granted to Proceed Over UCSB Student Death

A lawsuit filed after the death of a University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) student was ruled to proceed last week by Judge Thomas Anderle. On May 4, 2015, Sierra Markee-Winkler “fell to her death from the cliffs of Sea Lookout Park in Isla Vista,” one year later, a lawsuit was filed by Siobhan Markee and Lon Winkler against “the County of Santa Barbara, Isla Vista Recreation and Park District, the Regents of the University of California, the State of California, and the California Coastal Commission for not ensuring the safety of the park they controlled where their daughter fell.” The lawsuit claims that there were no visible barriers preventing people from going to the edge, no warning signs, and no lighting for the area at night. 

The night before Sierra fell to her death, it has been reported that she was drinking and celebrating throughout the day at a festival and around 1:30 a.m., she got in an argument with a roommate.  She then left to calm down and later borrowed a woman’s phone to tell a friend that she was going to the park and that she was okay.  The following morning, a person found her on the beach below the park. 

The judge’s “ruling pertained to a motion made by the defendants who argued the plaintiffs’ claims were not substantial enough to warrant a trial.” The defendants did not believe that there was enough evidence saying that Sierra fell from the park.  In addition, they claimed that if Sierra did fall from the park, “the risk was obvious and they were not responsible for the park’s natural conditions and hazards.”

The judge allowed the case to proceed because of the presented evidence and “he suggested the park might not be considered natural, as the County of Santa Barbara had overseen significant changes to it.”  In the early 1980s, the county imported sand so that they could make the park more “beach-like,” which could have resulted in extra erosion.  Judge Anderle has ordered both parties to participate in mediation and according to the family’s attorney, “there will be a trial if the mediation does not result in an agreement.”

Since Sierra’s death, 10 people have fallen from the Isla Vista cliffs.  UCSB has created a $70,000 Community Fence Project to make the park safer and have more visible fences and signs.

 

For more information, follow the link below:

Source: http://www.independent.com/news/2017/apr/21/lawsuit-continues-over-ucsb-student-cliff-fall-dea/

04/26/2017

Crane Cable Snaps Dropping Debris Throughout Seattle Construction Zone

Earlier this month, at a construction site near Pike Place Market in Seattle, WA, a crane cable snapped dropping debris throughout the construction zone and onto a passerby’s bicycle.  Amazingly, no one was hurt during the process, however, it was reported by a local union that the construction area had unsafe worker conditions.  The “construction began last year on the eight-story building, which will include about 150 apartments above retail shops.” 

Catherine Miller, the owner of a nearby store, told press that the construction crew “really dodged a bullet.”  The materials that were dropped from the snapped cable crashed through the top floor and were scattered around the facilities.  The Washington Department of Labor and Industries have opened an investigation and have brought in a crane specialist to further analyze the situation; the department claims that it can take up to six months to officially determine what happened to the crane. 

Pedro Espinoza, “a senior organizer for the local carpenters’ union, said the union already had been protesting safety standards and other concerns at the job site before the crane accident…  Workers had picketed with signs a couple times in March.”  He continued to report that many of the workers have not been trained with any safety precautions and claims the workers are, “basically left on their own.” 

Working in construction can be very dangerous.  According to the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, a total of 70 people have died “on the job in Washington state in 2015,” nine of which were working construction.  In addition, the injury rate of full time construction workers in the state of Washington was doubled in comparison to the national rate.

GLP Attorneys has a large amount of experience in dealing with construction injuries.  Our Construction Injuries page goes into detail on topics like who to file a claim against after injury, seeking medical treatment, opening an L&I claim, and more. Please call or email any one of our 8 locations if you have any questions, comments, or concerns.  

For more information, follow the link below:

Source: http://www.lni.wa.gov/ClaimsIns/Files/DataStatistics/blsi/FATAL2015CFOIWA.pdf

Source: http://www.seattletimes.com/business/real-estate/crane-mishap-sends-debris-crashing-through-seattle-construction-site-where-workers-had-raised-safety-concerns/

04/25/2017

Aspen Plane Crash in 2014 Recently Blamed on Pilots’ Actions

On January 5, 2014, in Aspen, Colorado, a jet aircraft crashed while attempting to land killing one and injuring two.  The pilots had difficulty landing the plane because they were attempting to land at a high altitude with heavy tail winds.  Recently, it was discovered that the two pilots “had little experience in the type of plane they were flying.” 

The National Transportation Safety Board announced that the “pilots’ failure to control their Bombardier CL-600-2B16 Challenger after an unstabilized approach likely caused the crash… Contributing to the accident were the flight crew’s decision to land with a tailwind above the airplane’s operating limitations and their failure not to conduct a go around when the approach became unstabilized.” The report was released last week, in turn, revealing that the pilots were inexperienced.  The plane was recorded to have experienced winds forcing it back and forth and a voice recorder in the cockpit caught the co-pilot, Sergio Carranza Brabata, saying in Spanish, “This is screwed.”

Directly after the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport’s control tower told the pilots to, “Go around. Go around. Go around,” the plane nosedived back into the runway.  Moises Carranza, the head pilot of the plane, completed training only a couple months before the crash.  Carranza had recorded that he has had extensive experience flying other planes, like the Airbus 320 series, but had less than 14 hours of total flight time with this particular model. In addition, the co-pilot only had a “limited certificate to fly the model involved [in] the crash, according to the NTSB.”

The final crash report explains that “additional flight time would have increased the crew’s familiarity with the airplane and its limitation and likely improved their decision-making during the unstabilized approach…further, the captain stated that he asked the passenger, an experienced CL-600-rated pilot, to accompany them on the trip to provide guidance during the approach to the destination airport.  However… [he] was unable to reach the aircraft controls, [and therefore] unable to act as a qualified pilot-in-command.”

The weather at the Aspen airport is known to make flying conditions treacherous.  Since the crash, the airport has taken extra precautions and shortened the average wind-speed condition updates from every two minutes to one, despite them updating the plane the day of the crash every one minute.

For more information, follow the link below:

Source: http://www.denverpost.com/2017/04/23/aspen-plane-crash-2014-blamed-pilots/

04/24/2017

New Lawsuit Claims Wrongful Death in Soybean Explosion

A lawsuit was filed last Friday by the family of an employee who was killed in a Volga soybean plant explosion.  The suit alleges “that the company’s negligence and carelessness caused his death.”  The lawsuit claims that Randy Lee Satter, the 39 year old man, was given a “hot work permit” which allowed him to “drill, cut, grind and weld in [the South Dakota Soybean Processors plant in Volga] during the construction of the catwalk.”  Satter was sent there after his employer was contacted and hired to construct a catwalk spanning an industrial tank.  While Satter was building the catwalk, the tank exploded launching him into the air “causing Satter to fall 30 feet. He died as a result of injuries from both the explosion and fall.”

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducted an investigation and concluded that both Satter’s employer, CCM Welding Repair and Fabrication, and the Soybean Processors should be held responsible for the tragedy.  CCM Welding Repair and Fabrication are stationed in Minneota, Minnesota. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration claimed that the “controlling employer did not assess and identify that the material within the tank produced flammable vapors and failed to warn the contractor performing the welding activities.”  They failed to identify the flammability levels “through the use of atmospheric direct reading instrumentation during an initial assessment or continuous monitoring to ensure the material within the tank would not produce flammable vapors that could result in a fire or explosion.”  The Occupational Safety and Health Adminstration has fined CCM $11,200 and have closed their case; $25,510 has been fined to the Soybean Processors after the investigation brought seven violations to light, the company has appealed the citations.  The suit claims that Satter’s death has not only caused economic loss to the family, but the loss of “Randy’s love, support, comfort, aid, counsel, society, companionship, guidance and services.”

Several factors must be taken into consideration for a wrongful death suit to be filed.  Our Wrongful Death page has more information on topics like who can file a wrongful death lawsuit, who the Statutory Beneficiaries are, and other commonly asked questions.  Please don’t hesitate to reach out and contact any one of our eight offices if you have any questions.

 

For more information on this lawsuit, follow the link below:

Source: http://www.argusleader.com/