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Motor Vehicle Accident

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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$1.58M Verdict in Thurston County


In May 2014, Frank Ladenburg tried a personal injury case in Thurston County on behalf of a 46-year-old clerical worker.  As a result of a car wreck, the worker suffered a

permanent chronic strain/sprain injury to her mid- and low back, and aggravation of pre-existing arthritis in her right thumb.  The force of the impact jammed her right hand into the steering wheel, causing a previous hand surgery to the hand to fail and leading to a second hand surgery, which also did not turn out well.  The worker continued to work with pain, using mainly her left hand, even learning to write left-handed.  She was eventually terminated from her job because of her inability to perform her clerical job as she did before the accident.

Prior to trial, the woman collected policy limits of $50,000 from the responsible party’s insurance company, in addition to PIP (“Personal Injury Protection”) benefits of $25,000 from her own insurance, State Farm. The woman also had a $100,000 UIM (“Underinsured Motorist”) policy with State Farm. State Farm made no offer of any kind on her $100,000 UIM policy, forcing the woman to go to trial.

Car Accident Personal Injury Case Decision

The woman claimed past and future lost wages of over $1 million, and six figures in past and future medical bills and prescriptions. After the five-day trial, the jury awarded $1,581,400.00 in damages. The Court then allowed the woman to amend her complaint to add an Insurance Fair Conduct Act claim against State Farm. That claim is now being litigated. If the woman is successful, the court will determine if she is eligible to receive triple damages.


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On February 17, 2009, our client was the back seat passenger of a Pierce Transit shuttle that was headed westbound on Highway 512.

The shuttle came to a stop for traffic ahead.  A semi-truck owned by Di Pietro Trucking did not stop and hit the shuttle.

The force of the impact caused our client’s head to whiplash and hit the back window, breaking out the glass.

Before to the collision, our client suffered developmental delays, but had never suffered from epilepsy.  Within 48 hours after the collision, she began having seizure activity ranging from short periods of staring to grand mal seizures.  The seizures were physically painful, but were also emotionally troubling to our client, who had the mental capacity of a five- to seven-year-old.  Our client’s doctors opined that she would need to take medication for the rest of her life to keep the seizures under control.

Shelly Speir settled the case for $591,095.  Because our client was on public assistance, Shelly helped to establish a special needs trust so her benefits would continue after she received her settlement. Also, her parents had not been appointed as her guardians, so Shelly helped them find a guardianship attorney and get officially appointed in court.

Our Tacoma Personal Injury Law Firm specializes in all sorts of highway collision claims.  If you have been injured in a collision in Tacoma or anywhere in the Puget Sound region please call our firm at 253.777.1900.  We are hear to help protect your rights and fight aggressively for a positive financial outcome for your injuries.


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The estate of a Fircrest man who was killed when a Pierce County Deputy Sheriff hit his moped has settled its claim with Pierce County for $1,650,000.

Dale Neel was 61 years old and driving home from work on his moped when Deputy Jason Smith approached in the opposite direction travelling over 55 mph to a traffic stop already covered by another deputy and a Tacoma city policeman. 

Smith had his lights and siren on, so Neel moved from his position in the center turn lane to the curb.  Smith inexplicably crossed the center lane and entered the opposing lane, striking Neel at the curb.  Neel died an hour later in the hospital.

Smith was working under contract at the time for the City of University Place.  He had a history of 5 prior accidents, 3 of which had been determined to be “preventable” by the Pierce County Sheriff’s office.

Neel was survived by his wife, Linda, and two adult children.  Mike McKasy, attorney for the estate, said that as part of the settlement, Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor agreed to meet with Linda Neel to discuss what changes could be made to emergency responses by deputies that could avoid another tragedy.

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Ladenburg McKasy Durkin, Inc. P.S.
6602 19th Street West, Tacoma, WA 98466

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