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Tom
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Tom
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PostMon Jan 29, 2024 9:56 pm 
I realize internet is not necessarily the best place to ask for legal advice but looking for feedback from any lawyers here or others that might have experience with something like this. A month or so ago my wife and I were involved in an incident as a result of DOT negligence to adequately safeguard construction entrances. We were driving down a road with construction unfamiliar to us and came upon what appeared to be a divided highway. I was confused and opted to bear right as I didn't want to veer head on into oncoming traffic. Before we knew it our vehicle left pavement and landed on gravel. It eventually dead ended and I realized we had driven into a construction entrance. I asked my wife if she felt OK. She said she had braced herself and thought she was OK but saw my neck jerk forward as we landed. We were on a way to an appointment and didn't necessarily have time stick around to file a police report. I did leave a voicemail message with the city of Newcastle as I believed it was their jurisdiction as I was concerned someone else could be injured unless the entrance was safeguarded. Nobody ever called back. We stopped by to take a picture on our way home.
As you can see the road used to bear right (as noted by the reflectors)
As you can see the road used to bear right (as noted by the reflectors)
I decided not to file a police report and I am generally healthy and thought I'd be fine. Fast forward a month later, my wife who has a history of back and neck issues and suffers from migraines has seen a dramatic increase, of a debilitating nature that aren't responding to medication or treatments. I'm also suffering from neck and upper back issues which I've never had. I decided to drive back to the scene of the incident and file a police report today, better late than never. I was shocked to see the entrance gate was still open, no cones, no warning signs, nothing had been done. After calling non-emergency 911, they determined the incident occurred in Renton not Newcastle, so I filed a report with Renton PD. They told me they can't really file a report because the construction zone falls under DOT responsibility / jurisdiction. I went to the DOT site to file a report and it seems you can file a tort claim, but wondering if it makes sense to do that before consulting a lawyer. I gather personal injury lawyers don't generally take cases unless there are lots of medical bills, etc. Not looking for a payday, but I believe there is clear negligence here after pulling up google maps. This is what it's supposed to look like.
Far cry from what it was the day of the incident or today. Our health insurance has so far denied MRI and more expensive treatments for my wife to get her migraines and pain under control. They are demanding a month of PT first, which isn't possible since she can't make it to PT with the non-stop migraines, neck and back pain she is in. Her specialists say if we had filed a police report, we wouldn't be dealing with our health insurance.

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fourteen410
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fourteen410
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PostMon Jan 29, 2024 10:22 pm 
You should be using your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage under your auto insurance to pay your bills. Unless you specifically waived it, you have $10k by default in WA. The nice thing about PIP is it's no-fault, so even if you are found liable, your medical bills are covered. Your wife was your passenger, so she gets her own $10k in coverage. Granted, your insurance carrier may ultimately decide to send you to an "independent" medical exam to see if your/your wife's treatment is necessary (which is a separate issue). Health insurance is considered secondary coverage for motor vehicle injuries, only to be used when your PIP runs out or if you don't have it. I highly encourage you reach out to a reputable personal injury attorney (don't use one that advertises on TV / buses / billboards). Most don't charge for an initial consultation. I know a great one. PM me if interested. Source = used to work in personal injury law.

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Damian
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PostMon Jan 29, 2024 11:37 pm 
Wow. I can easily see how the right lighting and a little bad luck would cause a reasonable person to interpret the barrier as a temporary divider to facilitate construction. Keep at it Tom. Best of luck my friend.

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catsp
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PostTue Jan 30, 2024 11:29 am 
I don't intend to be harsh or cause offense (it truly just comes naturally), but I have some bad news for you. You likely need not one lawyer, but two. Well, you only need one, but another one for your wife. Because whatever potential claims you might have against whomever, your passenger has those same claims plus a potential claim against the driver. I understand how much it sucks to have to deal with lawyers. After all, didn't Shakespeare write "the first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers," following that up with "second thing, let's run over their bodies with spiky-wheeled Roman chariots." And let's not even think about the "third thing" that plagiarizer suggested - egads man! But I don't intend to be harsh or cause offense to lawyers. Really, some of my best friends are lawyers (full disclosure: I don't have many friends). Hold on ... I forgot where I was going with this ... Oh yeah - In this instance, however, I think I would follow fourteen41[1]'s advice and consult with an actual lawyer (well, two really). Promptly. Like today. Take up the offer of a referral, that way if the attorney turns out to be shite, you have someone to blame. Bona fides: Have read 2 (two) Grisham novels and enjoy arguing.

zimmertr
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Malachai Constant
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Malachai Constant
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PostTue Jan 30, 2024 12:20 pm 
Unfortunately most decent attorneys including me do not dispense free legal advice over the internet other than find a good PI attorney preferably one who does not advertise on TV (Better call Saul).

"You do not laugh when you look at the mountains, or when you look at the sea." Lafcadio Hearn
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Tom
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Tom
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PostTue Jan 30, 2024 2:55 pm 
Thanks and good point about likely needing two lawyers, I'm sure any decent attorney is going to suggest that. I will follow up on the recommendation I have from Lauren, but if anyone else has a personal injury attorney recommendation feel free to message me.

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catsp
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catsp
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PostWed Jan 31, 2024 9:20 am 
Malachai Constant wrote:
Unfortunately most decent attorneys including me do not dispense free legal advice over the internet
Well of course not! How would they bill you for the time?

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Malachai Constant
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Malachai Constant
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PostWed Jan 31, 2024 9:36 am 
It is a liability question.

"You do not laugh when you look at the mountains, or when you look at the sea." Lafcadio Hearn
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JVesquire
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PostWed Jan 31, 2024 10:28 am 
As a lawyer, I would recommend asking friends and family (like you are doing here) for who they've worked with before and liked. There's a million PI lawyers out there, some of whom run mills and some of whom are really good to work with. Your case is potentially a smaller dollar case from their perspective but with government entities as potential defendants they at least know there is someone who can pay the bill at the end of the day. I might call Connelly Law Offices or Schroeter Goldmark Bender for a consult. They will refer you to another lawyer if your case is too small to take, and their referrals are likely to be good ones.

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tsoisnkroejb
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tsoisnkroejb
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PostThu Mar 14, 2024 6:23 am 
While I'm not a lawyer, I can understand your concern about seeking legal advice. It's good that you reached out to the city about the issue for safety reasons. Reminds me of a time when I had a similar situation with a faulty product. I stumbled upon a helpful resource at https://federal-lawyer.com/whistleblower-lawyers/securities/ that shed light on my rights as a consumer. Sometimes, knowing where to turn for guidance can make all the difference.

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