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Tips for Driving Safely in the Rain

They say April showers bring May flowers, but in the Pacific Northwest it sometimes feels like the showers never stop. So how do we drive safely when there are wet conditions on the road? recommends the following:

  • Slow down. It takes longer to stop in wet weather
  • Stay toward the middle lanes. Water tends to pool to the outside lanes.
  • Increase your following distance. You should be using the “3 second rule” in good weather, so that should be even higher in wet weather.
  • Drive in the tracks of a car ahead of you.
  • Don’t follow large trucks or buses to closely. The spray created by their tires reduces your vision.
  • Take care when passing other vehicles—be more alert and watch for brake lights ahead of you.
  • Avoid using your brakes to slow down, if possible. Take your foot off the accelerator to slow down.
  • Use your headlights in gloomy, foggy, or overcast conditions. Not only do they help you see, they help other drivers see you.
  • Never drive through moving water if you can’t see the ground through it.
  • When driving through a puddle of unknown depth, go slow. Deep water can cause damage to the car’s electrical systems and can cause your car to stall out.
  • Avoid splashing pedestrians.

In addition, you should make sure that your windshield wipers, headlights, tires, brakes, and steering are in good working order.

If you are driving on a wet road and you start to skid or hydroplane, remain calm. Ease your foot off the gas, and carefully steer in the direction of your skid. For cars without anti-lock brakes, avoid holding the brake pedal down. Instead, use a gentle pumping action and steer in the direction of the skid while your foot is off the brake to regain control. For cars with anti-lock brakes, brake firmly as you steer.

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Dog Bite Injury Tacoma

September 18, 2012 by

$2.2 Million Verdict for Dog Bite Injuries in Tacoma

On August 21, 2007, at approximately 8:30 a.m., Sue Gorman was sleeping in her bed in her Gig Harbor home.  She was awakened by the snarling and growling of two pit bulls, Betty and her son Tank, who had come in through an open pet door and made their way to Sue’s bedroom.  Sue’s service dog, Misty, managed to escape immediately, but the pit bulls pounced on Sue’s bed and began attacking her before she could get up.  Betty immediately bit into Sue’s left arm and began shaking her head, tearing into Sue’s flesh and causing a gaping wound.  

The attack continued for 20 long minutes as Sue got out of bed and was trapped.  She tried to protect a neighbor’s dog that had been sleeping in the bed and move towards the doorway of her bedroom, but the pit bulls blocked her escape.  Sue tried to get out a gun that she had under the night stand, but it jammed.  Sue tried hitting the pit bulls with a walking stick, but it did not phase them, and they continued to bite Sue’s hands.

Betty was particularly vicious, jumping up and biting Sue’s face, arms, and breasts.  Sue felt herself getting weaker and recalls an instant where she realized that Betty was trying to “bring her down” so she could get at her throat.  Sue knew that she had to get out of her house or she would die.

Her opportunity came when Betty turned to help Tank finish off the neighbor’s dog.  Sue managed to grab her telephone as she escaped through her back door and called for help.  She was rushed to the hospital with 20-30 bite wounds which required two surgeries over the next three days.  She received 27 stitches to her facial wounds alone.  Her arms were so torn up that a paramedic testified that Sue looked like she had “pieces of meat hanging from her arms” in the ambulance. 

Sue was left with over $94,000 in medical bills; permanent scarring, muscle and tissue loss, and loss of strength in the left arm; and a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder which required a year of psychotherapy.  The neighbor’s dog died shortly after the attack.  The pit bulls were ultimately euthanized.

On July 21, 2011, Mike McKasy and Shelly Speir started Sue’s trial against Shellie Wilson and Zachary Martin, the owners of Betty; Jacqueline Evans-Hubbard, the owner of Tank; and Pierce County.  The trial lasted 10 days including interruptions to accommodate the judge’s docket and a day of vacation for the Pierce County prosecutor.

At the conclusion, the jury awarded all of Sue’s past medical expenses, $12,300 for future medical expenses, and $2.1 million in non-economic damages.  All 12 jurors concurred in the dollar amounts awarded.

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Virginia G. Heidbreder was born on November 27, 1921 and is currently 89 years of age.

She is a widow and had been a school teacher inCloverPark, first in the junior high school and later in senior high.  She taught English, College Prep, Preparatory Writing and Drama, directing the school’s plays and musicals.  She retired in 1978 and currently resides atPointDefianceVillageinTacomaand helps to edit the newsletter there.

 Another resident ofPointDefianceVillageused to ride around the facility on a motorized chair or scooter called a “Jazzy.”  This was a heavy metal vehicle that approximated the weight of a motorcycle.  It was very dangerous to be transporting around without proper control.

 The resident driving the scooter suffered from dementia and Parkinson’s disease.  Unfortunately, on August 5, 2009, he struckVirginia, as she was walking along a hallway with her walker, with his motorized scooter.

 Dr. Arthur J. Ozolin of Tacoma Orthopedic Surgeons, on August 18, 2009, noted “the patient had a recent injury to her left ankle and leg on 8/5/09 when she was dragged by a motorized wheelchair with her walker, somehow straining the left leg with then subsequently increasing swelling and redness…”  His impression was chronic cellulitis of the left leg with recent aggravation status post multiple left foot and leg surgery.

 The left ankle and leg began swelling and became red and painful.

 Virginia also suffered from back pain after the incident.  An x-ray was taken of the low back on August 23, 2009 that showed a compression deformity of L4.  A later CT scan confirmed a L4 compression fracture.

 On September 4, 2009, vetebroplasty surgery for the L4 fracture vertebrae was performed at Tacoma General.  That surgery consists of basically gluing the fractured vertebra back together.

 On September 5, 2009,Virginiawas admitted toUniversityPlaceCareCenterto recover from her surgery and injuries.  On October 17, 2009, she was transported back toPoint Defiance Village. 

The services that she had at University Place Care Center included physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy.

Virginiais now back at Point Defiance Village and has resumed many of her activities, but her mobility has been more limited now due to the injury.  Her case was recently settled byMike McKasyof our firm for $95,000.00

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–Shelly Speir

If you’ve had a personal injury claim, you may have heard the phrase “statute of limitations” used a lot. So what is a statute of limitations, and why should you care?

Every state has laws (or “statutes” in legalese) limiting the time that people have to file certain types of lawsuits. In Washington, RCW 4.16.080(2) limits the time in which a person can file a personal injury lawsuit to no more than three years from the date of the injury-causing event. If someone with a personal injury claim does not file a lawsuit within the three-year time period, the claim is forever barred. Any attempt to file a lawsuit after the three-year period results in automatic dismissal.

So why should you care about the statute of limitations? You may be thinking, “I don’t want to file a lawsuit anyway, so I’ll just continue negotiating with the insurance company after the three-year time limit passes.” What you don’t realize is that your bargaining power comes from the only thing that gets the insurance company’s attention: the financial risk of a favorable jury verdict that exceeds the company’s current offer.

From the insurance company’s point of view, if you can’t do anything to prove the value of your injury claim, the claim has no value. So once you’ve lost your right to file a lawsuit on your claim, you’ve lost all your bargaining power. That is why any offers an insurance company extends after the three-year period passes—if any offers are extended at all—are drastically reduced in value. The insurance company knows that after the three-year period ends, any lawsuit you file will be dismissed. There will be no negative consequence to the insurance company for simply denying your claim if you have waited too long to file a lawsuit.

This is why you must pay attention to the statute of limitations, even if you don’t think you want to file a lawsuit—you need to resolve your personal injury claim during the time in which you have maximum bargaining power. If you have an attorney help you with your personal injury claim, the attorney will make sure that at the very least, a lawsuit is filed before the three years runs out so that your chance to get a fair settlement is preserved.

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6602 19th Street West, Tacoma, WA 98466

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