Tuesday, March 4th, a pickup truck crashed into a taxi minivan killing a pregnant woman and her baby. 34-year-old Shanna Huttenstine of Tacoma and her fiancé were riding in a taxicab minivan when pickup truck driver Anderson Hamilton crashed into them head-on. The pickup truck was heading north on Highway 167 when he crossed into the southbound lane and into the oncoming taxi. While the taxi driver swerved to avoid the pickup, it was too late and they collided in a glancing head-on crash.

Sadly, Shanna Huttenstine was killed, as was her 12-week fetus. Her fiancé and taxi driver were also injured and the taxi driver is in critical condition at St. Joseph’s Hospital.

When police officers arrived at the scene, they found injection needles and marijuana in the driver’s pockets. He refused a field sobriety test, but Washington State troopers believe that he was under the influence of drugs at the time of the fatal crash. Toxicology reports are pending. Currently, Hamilton is being held on $500,000 bail and facing charges of vehicular homicide and vehicular assault.

Drugged driving is a serious issue in Washington and throughout the United States. Drivers who drive impaired put themselves and everyone around them at risk. Drugs slow reaction time down and make it difficult for drivers to make critical decisions during emergencies. They may mistakenly apply the gas instead of the brakes, fail to notice a stop sign, or fail to comprehend changes in traffic patterns.

If a drunk driver or someone who is under the influence of drugs injures you or someone you love, it is important that you seek legal counsel immediately. Your attorney will need to work closely with police officials, accident recreation experts, medical professionals, and forensic experts to build a case designed to obtain the maximum compensation for your injuries.

Drivers who choose to drive under the influence of drugs are negligent and should be held accountable for their negligence. At the Phillips Law Firm, we fight aggressively for our clients and to ensure that they are not taken advantage of during this difficult time. We fight for you—so you can focus on your recovery.


Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental condition that develops after a terrifying ordeal that involved bodily harm or the threat of bodily harm, such as a car accident. The person who develops PTSD may have been the one harmed, the harm may have come to a loved one, or the person may have witnessed an event that brought harm to someone else.

Anyone can develop PTSD from a car crash. However, some studies suggest that people who have already experienced a traumatic event may be more at risk of suffering from PTSD after a car crash. Especially those who have already been in a car accident may be at a greater risk of developing PTSD after a second accident.

Signs of PTSD

One of the most common signs of PTSD is avoidance. Those suffering from PTSD after car accidents have disturbing memories of the crash and will often avoid any reminders of the accident. These reminders often act as triggers that cause a person to change his or her daily routine or lose interest in activities that were enjoyable in the past. Avoidance can also cause someone to feel emotionally numb or have overwhelming feelings of guilt, depression, and worry.

Another common sign of PTSD is flashbacks. Re-experiencing symptoms, or flashbacks, involve reliving the trauma over and over. This can include physical symptoms like a racing heart or sweating, as well as emotional ones like bad dreams or frightening thoughts. Objects and situations that are reminders of the event can also trigger re-experiencing.

Hyper-arousal symptoms are also common. These are usually constant, instead of being brought on by triggers, and can make the person feel stressed and angry. Hyper-arousal symptoms make it difficult to do daily tasks, such as sleeping, eating, or concentrating.

It’s natural to have any of these symptoms after a dangerous event, and some victims may not show symptoms for weeks or months. However, if you are experiencing these symptoms and they become an ongoing problem, you could be diagnosed with PTSD.

A serious car crash can be enough to trigger PTSD, but there are real challenges for a claimant who is trying to get compensation for this type of injury. If you have been in a car accident and are suffering from PTSD, contact Phillips Law Firm today and let one of our experienced personal injury attorneys assist you in recovering damages for your psychological injury and associated medical costs.


According to the first nationwide analysis of “buzzed” drivers, there appears to be no safe level of alcohol in the bloodstream when it comes to driving. Based on information from a U.S. national database, researchers have concluded that driving with even a slight buzz puts drivers at a far greater risk of causing a traffic accident.

The authors of the study analyzed data from more than 570,000 collisions between 1994 and 2011. Drivers with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .01 percent, the lowest level recorded in the dataset, were 46 percent more likely to be solely blamed for the crash than a sober driver. For both men and women, the likelihood of blame for the accident rose as blood alcohol level increased.

For a grown man, it takes only half of one 12-ounce beer to generate a .01 percent BAC reading on a Breathalyzer test, which is well below the U.S. legal driving limit of .08 percent. However, experienced drinkers begin to become impaired at a .05 BAC, and inexperienced drinkers become very impaired at much lower levels. This study demonstrates that having just one drink, no matter how small, has a real impact on traffic collisions so, based strictly on the data, the only safe driver is one with zero blood alcohol content.

Protecting Yourself from Buzzed Drivers

Some federal agencies recommend reducing the national legal BAC limit below .08 percent, and research certainly supports that. However, until this is accomplished, there are other steps you can take to keep yourself, and those around you safe. Don’t drive buzzed, and don’t get in the car with a buzzed driver. Do whatever it takes to get a sober driver behind the wheel, which may include calling a cab. Before you head out, have the number of a reputable cab company in your wallet, so you have a reliable and sober way to get home.

Contact An Attorney

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car crash involving a buzzed driver, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney, such as those at Phillips Law Firm immediately. Victims of buzzed and drunk driving crashes often face expensive medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. You focus on yourself and your family, and let your attorney handle all the details.


A recent study shows that eating while driving is responsible for 80 percent of automobile accidents and 65 percent of scary “near misses”. Eating in the car is like any other form of distracted driving, it takes your mind off the road and adversely affects your reaction time. However, with today’s hectic schedules, more and more people are taking their meals in their cars.

A separate study showed that, out of 1,000 drivers, over 70% of drivers eat while driving and 83% consume beverages. Americans are so busy and spend so much time in their vehicles, so they view eating while driving as a way to save time.

This has also led law enforcement and highway patrol officers across the country to take action. Eating while driving is not illegal, it’s just unsafe. Officers have been prompted to take advantage of Distracted Driving Awareness Month to make enforcement contacts with people who appear to be distracted while driving, and citations can be issued for unsafe speeds related to distracted driving.

What Are The Most Dangerous Foods?

The study ranked some of the worst foods to eat while driving. Some of these are very obvious but a few might be surprising. We’ll start from the bottom.

10. Chocolate


9. Soft Drinks

Soft Drinks

8. Jelly Donuts


7. Fried Chicken

fried chicken

6. Ribs/Wings


5. Hamburgers


4. Chili


3. Tacos


2. Soup


1. Coffee


That’s right Seattleites, coffee is the worst food/beverage to consume while driving. It’s very likely to spill and possibly burn you, leading to some very unsafe driving.

The Dangers of Distracted Driving

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every day in the United States, more than 9 people are killed and more than 1,060 people are injured in crashes involving a distracted driver.

The danger of distracted driving is a real and known threat. Distracted drivers cause serious injuries and claim thousands of lives every year. If you or a loved one is suffering because of injuries caused by a distracted driver, our personal injury attorneys  can help you recover compensation for your pain and suffering. Contact the Seattle personal injury lawyers at Phillips Law Firm today and let us evaluate your case and recommend a course of action.


The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has released its list of vehicles that receive its highest award for safety, TOP SAFETY PICK and TOP SAFETY PICK+. Among the standouts for 2014 is Honda. Along with its Acura division, Honda has six vehicles earning a TOP SAFETY PICK+ award and another two that earned a basic TOP SAFETY PICK award. Other standouts include smaller companies like Volvo, Subaru and Mazda. Each of these companies had three vehicles earning TOP SAFETY PICK+ awards.

The Institute introduced the TOP SAFETY PICK award back in 2006 and since then, has gradually made the criteria to win more stringent. In 2007, they added a requirement for good protection in rear crashes and required that the vehicle offer electronic stability control. They later added additional requirements for protection in rollover crashes and in front small overlap crashes.

To earn the basic TOP SAFETY PICK award, vehicles must have top ratings in all five crash tests, including a good or acceptable rating in the new front small overlap crash test. To earn the TOP SAFETY PICK+ award, vehicles also have to offer an effective front crash prevention system, either forward collision warning or auto brake.

Front crash prevention systems have been spreading quickly through the vehicle fleet. As a result, there are more 2014 TOP SAFETY PICK+ winners than regular TOP SAFETY PICK winners.

Safety Tips to Avoid Car Crashes

Regardless of how many state-of-the-art safety features your vehicle has, most people would rather avoid a car crash altogether. Here are some helpful tips for staying safe on the road;

  • Don’t allow children to climb around inside the vehicle, they should be properly buckled in their car seats or in seat belts at all times
  • Avoid driving when you’re tired or under the influence of medication. Drowsiness will adversely affect your reaction time.
  • Don’t allow your cell phone to distract you from the task at hand. Don’t text or talk while you’re driving.
  • Drive defensively. Use signals when turning or changing lanes, look both ways before proceeding through an intersection, even if you have a green light, and most importantly, don’t speed. Watching out for other drivers will increase your chances of staying out of a crash.

If you have been injured in a car accident, an experienced personal injury attorney, like those at Phillips Law Firm, can help ensure you receive full benefits from the insurance company and determine whether you can file a claim for additional damages against the party at fault for the crash.


Recently, researchers from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health collected data from six states that perform toxicology tests on drivers involved in fatal car accidents. Information gathered from California, Hawaii, Illinois, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and West Virginia on over 23,500 drivers who died within one hour of a crash between 1999 and 2010 showed that fatal car crashes involving pot use have tripled in the U.S. During the same time period, alcohol contributed to forty percent of traffic fatalities.

Researchers concluded that drugged driving accounted for 28 percent of traffic deaths in 2010, which is a sixteen percent increase over 1999. They also discovered that marijuana was the primary drug involved in the increase. Marijuana contributed to only 4 percent of fatal crashes in 1999, compared to 12 percent in 2010. The study concluded that increase in marijuana use was consistent across gender and age groups. Marijuana impairs driving similar to the way alcohol use does.

The study determined that driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol simultaneously has increased. When a driver is under the influence of both alcohol and marijuana, they increase their risk of being involved in a fatal car crash to 24 times that of a sober person.

With the legalization of marijuana in Washington and other states across the country, these shocking statistics have become a wake-up call for highway safety officials.

How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help

Every year, many lives are shattered by the unconscionable actions of other drivers, such as driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. As Seattle personal injury attorneys, we know that drugged driving is a relative plague on our state highways and city streets. We know that a wrongful death lawsuit can never bring back someone lost in a drugged driving traffic accident, but as legal experts in this area, we can help gain compensation for those families who have lost a loved one to senseless drugged driving wrecks.

Damages in a wrongful death lawsuit can be greatly contested; however, we know the best way to fight for the recovery of both tangible and intangible losses. As skilled professionals in the field of personal injury, we have the tools and experience to ensure that past, current, and future medical expenses will be covered for victims of impaired driving. Contact our office today to discuss your case.

Contact Seattle Car Accident Attorneys

The experienced personal injury lawyers at Phillips Law Firm are ready to help. If you are interested in learning more about your legal options, call us at 1-800-708-6000. Our Seattle personal injury lawsuit attorneys are waiting to assist you 24/7, offering a free case evaluation. Remember our no fee promise. If we do not recover anything for you, you do not owe us an attorney fee.


Driving under the influence is defined as operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) that is above the legal limit. In most jurisdictions, a BAC of .08% or higher is illegal and can be considered a crime; however, driving under the influence can also refer to a driver operating a vehicle while using drugs or medication. Committing a DUI is a serious crime punishable by large fines, suspension of one’s license and in the most severe cases, imprisonment. Driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs causes thousands of accidents every year that result in a devastating loss of life and take a huge financial toll on society.

The 10 Shocking DUI Accident Statistics

  1. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a person is injured in a DUI accident every 90 seconds.
  2. Every day in America, twenty-seven people will die as a result of drunk driving accidents. That is an average of one every 53 minutes.
  3. During 2010, 211 children were killed in DUI accidents. Of those, sixty-two percent, or 131 children were riding with the intoxicated driver.
  4. Traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for teens, and approximately one-third of these accidents involve alcohol or another substance.
  5. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 10,228 people were killed in DUI accidents during 2010. This accounts for 31% of traffic-related deaths in the United States.
  6. At 23.4%, the rate of DUI is highest among people aged twenty-one to twenty-five. Approximately 5.8% of 16-17 year-olds and 15.1% of 18-20 year-olds confessed to having driven while intoxicated sometime during the past year.
  7. On average, a drunk driver will drive eighty times while under the influence before their first arrest.
  8. Alcohol impairment among drivers involved in fatal DUI accidents in 2010 was four times higher at night than during the day.
  9. According to the CDC, over 1.4 million drivers were arrested in 2010 for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics.
  10. It is estimated that one in three people in the United States will be involved in a DUI accident sometime in their life.

Stay Safe!

If a drunk driver injures you or someone you love, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced personal injury attorney, like those at Phillips Law Firm. Obtaining legal council will ensure that you receive maximum compensation for your injuries.


Spring should be a time to celebrate warmer temperatures and sunshine, so don’t let seasonal spring hazards such as flooding, storm-related weather, and dangerous driving conditions be a damper.

For most of the country, the snow and ice may be gone, but it’s no less important to stay street smart this spring. Melting snow, sudden downpours, and spring showers can present dangerous driving conditions, as well.

Wet roads can be just as tricky to navigate as icy ones. Additionally, rainy weather can adversely affect driver visibility. Before you hit the roads this spring, look at these tips to help you arrive safely:

  • Replace worn tires. Tires with worn out tread provide less traction on slick streets. Properly inflating your tires will help as well.
  • Clean windows and replace worn wiper blades. Salt and other road residue accumulate over the winter. Your visibility will be greatly improved just by cleaning the glass and removing this residue. Cleaning the inside of the glass also helps the defroster clear your windows faster by reducing moisture buildup. Replacing worn wiper blades with fresh ones will clear your windshield of rain more effectively and improve visibility.
  • Check all lighting. Rain can impact visibility so check headlights, taillights, backup lights, brake lights, parking lights, and turn signals. You will be able to see more clearly and other drivers will be better able to see you.
  • Do not use cruise control during heavy rains or hail. During low traction driving conditions, cruise control can lead to hydroplaning and loss of vehicle control. Also, use of cruise control allows you to move your feet away from the pedals, and disengaging the cruise control in an emergency situation may take too many crucial seconds.

Sometimes Accidents Happen

If, despite your best efforts, you find yourself in a pile up, take pictures of everything. Document the position of your vehicle, the other party’s vehicle and the surrounding areas, and don’t forget to exchange phone numbers. Call law enforcement and file the necessary police reports. Then contact your insurance agent right away to start the claims process, making sure to relay all pertinent information. If you need expert advice on who is responsible for the accident, contact a qualified personal injury attorney, like those at Phillips Law Firm.


You’ve paid your insurance premiums each and every year and stayed loyal to the same insurance company for years. Yet in the days and weeks following a serious accident—this same insurance company suddenly can’t be bothered to return your phone call or respond to your claim. Sound familiar? Unfortunately, this is what many accident victims experience after a serious car accident.

Insurance companies are supposed to be on your side, looking after your interests and ensuring that you have the money you need to recover. After all, this is what they promised. Yet the majority of insurance companies care more about their shareholders than their policyholders. As such, they may unfairly deny your claim, offer you a low-ball settlement, or delay on important claims. When this occurs, you need an experienced Seattle car accident lawyer on your side.

Even the best insurance companies will try to limit their liabilities and offer you a settlement that is far less than you may need to fully recover. Their hope is that like most accident victims, you simply accept this offer without fighting. Yet when accident victims retain legal representation, they are usually able to recover significantly more money for their injuries.

Seattle Bad Faith Tactics So how do insurance companies get around paying you top dollar? It’s easy. Many of them engage in bad faith tactics that are designed to limit their liabilities and protect their bottom line. Some of these bad faith tactics include:

  • Denying valid claims
  • Delaying payments
  • Refusing to answer or return phone calls
  • Repeatedly losing paperwork
  • Sending claimants for unnecessary medical tests or paperwork
  • Dragging out claims process
  • Purposely targeting high-cost claims to use as basis for denials
  • Canceling insurance policy after a claim is made
  • Offering low-ball settlements
  • Ignoring medical information that is vital to a claim
  • Failing to investigate claim properly
  • Failing to defend against third party claim

If an insurance company is giving you the run around or has denied your claim unfairly, it may be time to speak to an attorney. At the Phillips Law Firm, we can help you fight the large insurance companies and ensure that you receive the money you need to fully recover.

Contact Seattle Car Accident Lawsuit Attorneys

If a negligent driver injures you or someone you love, an experienced Seattle car accident attorney at Phillips Law Firm can help. If you are interested in learning more about your legal options, call us at 1-800-708-6000. Our Seattle personal injury lawsuit attorneys are waiting to assist you 24/7, offering a free case evaluation. Remember our no fee promise. If we do not recover anything for you, you do not owe us an attorney fee.

The personal injury lawyers at Phillips Law Firm have successfully represented injured individuals and their families in Seattle, Tacoma, Vancouver, Bellevue, Everett, Kent, Auburn, Renton, Federal Way, Bellingham, Marysville, Lakewood, Redmond, Shoreline, and throughout the State of Washington.


Speed limit signs are used to inform all motorists of the speed that is appropriate for traveling safely on a particular road under favorable conditions. Factors like curves, lanes, and average road traffic are usually considered when determining the speed limit. Yet when weather conditions worsen or in times of excessive traffic, drivers are urged to use common sense and lower their speed as an extra precaution. Unfortunately, not all drivers do so, and as a result, catastrophic and devastating accidents can occur.

This month, Washington drivers who were traveling too fast for the conditions caused 2 separate collisions on Interstate 90. These accidents resulted in five separate injuries.

In the first accident, four people were injured on Saturday, February 8th when the driver of a Toyota Scion lost control of her vehicle and rolled. She was then struck by another car. Both cars were totaled and the four people were rushed to the hospital with injuries, although they were all released later in the evening.

The second accident occurred similarly when the driver of a Honda Civic slid on the highway and was subsequently hit by a Ford 250 pickup. Both accidents occurred near Cle Elum on Interstate 90. Charges are pending in both cases.

Sadly, speeding causes one out of three fatal crashes, resulting in over 13,000 lives lost each year. Statistically, young males between the ages of 15-20 are more likely to be involved in speeding related crashes. Economically, speeding-related crashes cost society over $40 billion a year annually.

Speeding drivers put all Seattle motorists in danger. If a speeding driver injures you or someone you love, it is important to know that you are not alone. You have a right to seek compensation from the “at-fault” driver, and an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you obtain justice after a devastating accident. Injured accident victims may need money to pay for medical bills, rehabilitation expenses, lost wages, and decreased quality of life.

Contact Seattle Car Accident Attorneys

If you are interested in learning more about your legal options, call us at 1-800-708-6000. The Seattle car accident attorneys at Phillips Law Firm are waiting to assist you 24/7, offering a free case evaluation. Remember our no fee promise. If we do not recover anything for you, you do not owe us an attorney fee.

The personal injury lawyers at Phillips Law Firm have successfully represented injured individuals and their families in Seattle, Tacoma, Vancouver, Bellevue, Everett, Kent, Auburn, Renton, Federal Way, Bellingham, Marysville, Lakewood, Redmond, Shoreline, and throughout the State of Washington.