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Tag Archives: Lawyer

Injury Attorneys: Low-Impact Crashes Cause Injuries

One of the most common arguments made by insurance companies is that “your low impact car accident did not cause your injuries.” At Althauser Rayan Abbarno, our injury attorneys won’t let the insurance companies discount your injuries and bully you to settle for less than you deserve.

Injured? Injury Attorneys Althauser Rayan Abbarno.
Call Althauser Rayan Abbarno at (360) 736-1301 for a FREE Injury Consultation in Olympia or Centralia.

We have all heard or seen the stories where a car was totaled in a collision but the driver walked away unharmed. We also have seen the story where a relatively minor car accident resulted in major injuries that caused a lifetime of problems for the driver or passenger. At Althauser Rayan Abbarno, we have seen just about everything.

In most car accidents, regardless of the severity of the impact, the driver’s and passengers’ bodies are jolted and jostled in various directions. They may be sitting straight, reaching for the radio at a red light, or turning their head to speak to another occupant of the car. Speed, direction, and body positioning are all factors that determine the severity of an injury.

Too often, insurance companies equate minor vehicle damage with a minor physical injury. It is also true that the driver and/or passengers may also believe they are not hurt from a low-impact collision because they do not experience immediate symptoms. It is not uncommon, for victims of an automobile collision to wake the next day stiff and in pain.

Victims of car accidents should not be punished for the negligence of other drivers. Insurance companies often fail to realize that it is costly and time consuming to obtain reasonable medical care, coordinate the repair of a vehicle, or lose precious time with family and friends because of pain, discomfort, and physical limitations. Our legal system can’t take pain away or rewind time. All it can do is compensate the victims financially. Don’t give up your legal rights.

peter-abbarno-(left)-and-todd-rayan-(right)
Injury Attorneys in Centralia and Olympia! Call (360) 736-1301 for Free Consultation.

Proving to insurance companies that your injuries are worth compensating financially is what Althauser Rayan Abbarno attorneys do daily. If you are a victim of a car accident, don’t delay, call (360) 736-1301 for a FREE Injury consultation and evaluation in Olympia or Centralia.

For more than 70 years, the Injury Attorneys with Althauser Rayan Abbarno have been representing injury victims in the South Sound, Southwest Washington, and throughout the State of Washington.

Althauser Rayan Abbarno sponsors St. Patrick’s Day 5k Community Dash

The Attorneys and Staff with Althauser Rayan Abbarno proudly sponsored the 2018 St. Patrick’s Day 5k Community Dash hosted by the Run Amok Irish Running Club based in Centralia. Althauser Rayan Abbarno is a law firm with offices in Centralia and Olympia.

“This is the third year in a row that we sponsored this great community event,” said Peter Abbarno, Partner with Althauser Rayan Abbarno. “More than 250 runners and walkers participated this year!”

Althauser Rayan Abbarno raffled off an LED TV and Echo Dot to registered participants of the 5k dash! Free water bottles were also available to registered participants.

“Long ago, our law firm made a conscious effort to be more active in fun, healthy, and family events,” said Todd Rayan, Partner with Althauser Rayan Abbarno. “The law firm has been in this community for more than 70 years and we see real value in community involvement.”

The Run Amok Irish Running Club meets every Thursday between St. Patrick’s Day and Halloween at 5:30pm at O’Blarney’s Irish Pub next to the law office of Althauser Rayan Abbarno. The group has a 3 mile run/walk each week with walkers starting at 5:45pm and runners starting at 6:00pm.

“We encourage you to visit the Run Amok Club on Thursdays and be part of something really special,” said Abbarno.

The attorneys and staff of Althauser Rayan Abbarno, LLP are once again supporting the Miss Lewis County Scholarship program!  Miss Lewis County 2017 Kennedy Woods and the 2018 Contestants for the Miss Lewis County Scholarship Program are hard at work preparing for the pageant on Saturday, March 10th. The Miss Lewis County Scholarship Program was not only supported by the law firm of Althauser Rayan Abbarno, but by Peter Abbarno who served as a mock judge for the contestants for the month prior to the competition.

“I was honored to be a mock judge for the contestants and help them prepare for the pageant,” said Peter Abbarno, Partner with Althauser Rayan Abbarno.  “I am very proud of all of them! They are all very deserving.”

Continue reading Miss Lewis County Pageant Supported by Althauser Rayan Abbarno

Police ‘Emphasis Patrols’: Your Rights and Responsibilities

The holiday season means a lot of traveling and fun with family and friends. It also means the driving conditions become dangerous because of traffic congestion, rain, snow, and slippery leaves on the roadway. The attorneys with Althauser Rayan Abbarno want to remind you to drink responsibly and stay focused on road conditions and avoid a DUI.

The State Patrol announced this past weekend that it will be conducting emphasis patrols in Lewis, Thurston, Cowlitz, and Clark counties. This means law enforcement will patrolling more aggressively, actively looking for infractions, and making more contact with drivers. At no other time is it more important to stay alert and stay sober. Unfortunately, mistakes happen and you, a friend, or a family member may find themselves detained by law enforcement. If you are stopped by law enforcement, remember the following:

1. Be calm and respectful. No one ever made a case better by arguing with an officer.

2. You have the legal obligation to share the following information: Your Identity, Your driver’s license, Your automobile registration, and Your proof of liability automobile insurance. RCW 46.61.020. Other than the above information, you have the right to remain silent. Inform the officer you don’t want to answer any questions and that you choose to invoke your right to silence.

3. Follow all lawful commands the officer makes, including getting out of the vehicle if ordered to do so. However, all roadside testing is voluntary, and you have no duty to perform any tests or answer any questions, including roadside sobriety tests.

4. If you are arrested for a DUI, you will likely be asked to provide a sample of your breath for testing. Before you do so, you have the right to contact an attorney, which you should exercise. RCW 46.20.308. It is important to unequivocally invoke your right to silence, and ask to contact an attorney for advice. Remember, ask to speak with your attorney, and at your first opportunity call Jake McGhie 24/7 at 360-880-2399.

The first and most important priority for your holiday season should be spending time with loved ones, and getting there and home safely. That’s the goal of law enforcement as well. Be safe, drive sober, but know your rights in case the unexpected occurs.

If you or a loved one has been arrested or charged with DUI, a traffic infraction, or any felony or misdemeanor crime, call Jake McGhie with Althauser Rayan Abbarno 24/7 at 360-880-2399 for a free consultation in Centralia or Olympia.

Another Reason to Choose Althauser Rayan Abbarno!

The Associate Attorneys are another reason to choose Althauser Rayan Abbarno by Kristina Lotz at Thurston Talk!

The associate attorneys with Althauser Rayan Abbarno are passionate about serving the Lewis and Thurston County communities – a place they work, play and call home.

Allyson Felt

Associate Attorney Allyson Felt focuses on civil litigation, including contract disputes, estate planning, probate and real property. “I appreciate being able to truly help our clients and make a difference for them during a struggle they are having,” she says. “For me, that is what is most rewarding about it.”

She calls Thurston County home and loves to hike with her dog, a five-year-old Golden Retriever, Henry. She also loves participating in the local sport groups that meet to socialize and get healthy, as well as the “watch parties” for a variety of teams like the Seahawks, Mariners, and Sounders, though truth be told, she is a Packers fan at heart. She is also a member of the Thurston County Bar Association.

Emily Laz

Associate Attorney Emily Laz focuses on family law, including divorce, child custody, child support, adoption, domestic violence protection orders and anti-harassment orders. “When families are in need of a family lawyer, they are incredibly stressed out and at a very traumatic point in their lives,” she says. “I like to help them through it. My job is equal parts counselor and attorney and I very much enjoy that.”

Emily loves hiking through Capitol Forest and the waterfront with her dog, a one-year-old Border Collie named Tucker. Allyson and Emily go on doggy playdates with their four-legged friends.

Jakob McGhie

Associate Attorney Jakob McGhie’s practice focuses on criminal defense, including felony and misdemeanor criminal defense, firearm rights restoration, traffic infractions and the expungement and sealing of criminal records. “The reason I became a lawyer is because I love the fact that we live in a nation that is ruled by a set of laws and core principles,” he says. “And I see being a criminal defense attorney – defending people who could be wrongly accused – and making sure they receive a strong, thorough and complete defense, as necessary for a functioning democracy.”

He represents the greater Olympia region on the Washington State Bar Association Young Lawyer Committee and is a member of the Thurston County Bar Association. Jake also loves to hike in Capitol Forest and can often be found at Olympic Card and Comics.

Althauser Rayan Abbarno prides itself on being a firm that takes care of all your legal needs. Whether you were injured in an automobile collision or at work, or have any other legal need, the Althauser Rayan Abbarno team makes sure clients and their families are represented from top to bottom.

Read more at ThurstonTalk!

For more information visit Althauser Rayan Abbarno’s website or call 360-352-1134.

Todd Rayan: Local Lawyer Passionate About our Community

Injury attorney and Althauser Rayan Abbarno partner Todd Rayan is a Local Lawyer who is Passionate About our Community!

When you need an injury attorney, there is nothing better than one who not only knows the law, but knows the local area.  Knowing the law, local rules, community, as well as experts to call when needed for an injury case, are very important. Todd Rayan, partner at Althauser Rayan Abbarno, is Thurston County’s hometown lawyer. Rayan was born and raised in Rochester and has a passion for helping the people of Thurston County.

Todd Rayan works side by side with the attorneys at Althauser Rayan Abbarno to help clients navigate complex cases during challenging times. Photo courtesy: Althauser Rayan Abbarno, LLP.

“I have been a lifelong resident of Thurston County and I am looking forward to continuing to expand our service area to make it more convenient for our clients,” Rayan says.

Rayan didn’t go far when it came time to go to college, choosing Saint Martin’s University where he received degrees in History and Political Science, along with a teaching certificate. He did his student teaching in Rochester and was a teacher and coach at River Ridge High School.

Read more in ThurstonTalk

If you or someone you know was injured in an automobile collision or at work, contact the injury attorneys with Althauser Rayan Abbarno for a FREE injury consultation and evaluation in Centralia or Olympia by calling (360) 736-1301.

 

How your health insurance plan can hurt your personal injury case!

When a person is a victim of another person’s negligence, they expect to be compensated for their medical bills and out of pocket expenses, loss of income and for their pain and suffering.

Insurance plays a vital role in securing recovery for these losses. But what happens if the medical expenses exceed the amount of insurance coverage available to compensate the injured party?

Though no two injury cases are the same, some similarities exist in coverages which can be used to illustrate a typical coverage scenario.

Scenario One: Suppose Dorothy is driving and Sam fails to stop at a stop sign and T-boned her vehicle. Dorothy is injured and is taken to the hospital. She has car insurance, including PIP (personal injury protection) in the amount of $10,000, as well as health insurance. The hospital bills skyrocket because she needs surgery and the $10,000 PIP coverage is quickly exhausted. Her health insurance begins to pay for her care.

After Dorothy is fully recovered and ready to make a claim to recover for her losses her medical bills total $100,000, $10,000 paid by PIP and $90,000 paid by her health insurance. These policies paid for injuries that arose out of someone else’s negligence so the insurance companies are entitled to be paid back, this is called subrogation. Dorothy was out of work for two months and has lost income of $7,000.

Scenario Two: Suppose the at fault driver had insurance coverage in the amount of $250,000 and Dorothy had UIM (Underinsured Motorist) coverage in the amount of $250,000. After negotiations the case settles for $360,000, $250,00 from the at fault driver and $110,00 from Dorothy’s UIM. The PIP is entitled to be paid back as is the Health Insurer’s subrogation lien, and Dorothy would receive the rest, $260,000, to pay the expenses and to compensate her for her pain and suffering and future medical expenses.

Now, let us suppose the same scenario exists but the at fault driver only has $25,000 in coverage and Dorothy only has $50,000 in UIM coverage. There is not enough to pay back the PIP and the Health Insurer and there is certainly not enough to make Dorothy “whole”, so the law in the state of Washington would apply which states that an injured party must be fully compensated before any other party is entitled to receive anything. Clearly Dorothy will not be made whole so she will get the entire $75,000 and the PIP and Health Insurer will get nothing. The at fault driver has no assets to collect.

These principals are fairly static. However, there is one factor that can impact this analysis with sometimes devastating consequences. If a person’s health insurance is an ERISA plan, the injured party is not entitled to be made whole which, under the above analysis, would leave Dorothy with nothing.

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) covers certain insurance plans that are established or maintained by an employer or by an employee organization. The act does not apply to public health insurance programs or by plans provided by the government as an employer. When a plan does fall under the scope of ERISA they are in most cases exempt from state regulation as federal law preempts state law under the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution. ERISA plans that have language requiring reimbursement to the plan for costs expended for services to the insured due to the fault of another must be repaid if any recovery is made from the at fault party, without regard to whether or not the insured is made whole.

As one can imagine, this can create significant obstacles to recovery, especially where there are very high medical expenses.

ERISA Scenario: John and Susan were driving along a two lane highway when an oncoming vehicle entered their lane and struck them head on. Both passengers had to be taken by ambulance to the hospital and both suffered life altering injuries. The medical expenses after multiple surgeries exceeded $700,000. John and Susan had policy limits of $100,000 each and the at fault driver had $100,000 in limits for a total amount available for recovery of $400,000. John and Susan had PIP in the amount of $10,000 each, leaving the rest for their health insurance to pay, which they did. Because their health insurance was an ERISA plan, the Insurer was entitled to receive the entire $400,000 and John and Susan are left with nothing but their injuries.

Had it not been an ERISA plan the entire $400,000 would have been available to John and Susan as state law requires them to be made whole before any subrogated interests need be satisfied.

What can someone do to avoid this unjust result?

You have a choice of insurance plans through an employer, research them and get copies of the plan documents so you can review them to make sure you select a plan not administered under ERISA. If you do not have a choice, as in many cases where employers simply provide health insurance, get a copy of the plan documents and review them. If it is not an ERISA plan you will not be subject to the injustice John and Susan suffered. If it is an ERISA plan, increase your insurance limits and if possible, obtain an umbrella policy to limit the risk of being injured and having no means for recovery. If your employer changes your plan from one year to the next, make sure you check each time you have a new plan and proceed accordingly.

You cannot rely on other drivers to be adequately insured as the minimum amount required by law is only $25,000, and many times people simply do not insure themselves. Also, you should consider increasing your PIP coverage to the highest amount you can afford. Most people only maintain $10,000 in PIP. That can get exhausted almost immediately if an ambulance or ER visit is required, so increase those benefits!

Most of our clients who are put in one of these unfortunate situations have never considered the topics covered here. Take a few moments and protect yourself by asking a few simple questions and making sure you have an avenue for recovery if you are the victim of another’s negligence.

If you have any questions regarding these issues feel free to contact Todd S. Rayan or Peter J. Abbarno with Althauser Rayan Abbarno, LLP at 360-736-1301 or www.centralialaw.com. We offer free injury consultations and evaluation in our Centralia and Olympia offices.

Seahawks Week 3 Injury Report

Your personal injury and workers compensation attorneys at Althauser Rayan Abbarno are proud sponsors of the live Seattle Seahawks broadcast on KELA-KMNT 104.3 in Centralia-Chehalis and also provide a Seahawks injury report each week. Althauser Rayan Abbarno has been providing quality legal services for more than 70 years and has office in Centralia and Olympia. For a free injury consultation, call (360) 736-1301.