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James Edmund Oliver JR
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James Oliver’s Answers

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  • Do I have a claim?

    I was rear ended on I-5 in Washington, 2013 car damages $5k, I had no injuries other than stiff and sore did not go to doctor. My passenger is still being treated medically. Insurance company sent me a diminished value check $250. Did not cash it

    James’s Answer

    You have a claim and three years in which to file it if you are over the age of 18. There are a lot of factors that go into determining the value of a claim, but the basics are vehicle damage, type(s) of injuries, medical bill amounts, length of treatment, type of treatment, medications, lost wages, loss of consortium and other property damage.

    You should call around and speak with an experienced PI attorney. Before doing personal injury work, I did insurance defense, which means I worked hard at making sure that people in your position got paid as little as possible. Insurance companies aren't in business to pay money out, so they will work you over every chance they get. The above attorney's answer is correct. Don't cash the check, and do call an experienced attorney. I think any capable attorney will come to you after hours or over the weekend to answer your questions.

    Good Luck!

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  • Should I speak with the prosecutor before my arraignment to tell my side and possible get charge dropped?

    I received a summons that I am to be in court for arraignment on theft 3 charge for a fraudulent return amounting to $77. From the description of the video surveillance submitted as evidence I appear guilty, but a different camera angle, or at lea...

    James’s Answer

    Any Seattle criminal defense attorney will advise you to keep quiet about your theft three charge. The prosecutor's job is to charge and convict people. The defense attorney's job is to defend those who have been charged. Their respective roles are clearly defined. Do not talk to the prosecutor!

    Most Tacoma and Seattle criminal attorneys will meet with you for free about your case. Start calling around and speaking with defense attorneys. Pick the Seattle defense attorney you like and retain him to negotiate on your behalf.

    That is your best chance at getting a dismissal. Your criminal defense attorney can advise you on all the possible ways to make this charge go away. Make sure you ask about a compromise of misdemeanor, stipulated order of continuance, or diversion program. Good luck

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  • Orting police is threatening to send the judge a statement to arrest me if I don't drive 30 mls. to make a statement tonight?

    6 days ago I said I'd try to male it to orting to give a statement. I was drinking tonight. Cop. told me to get down there & how "it never stopped me before" when I said I didn't have insurance?! I had him on speaker phone & 2 of my friends were...

    James’s Answer

    Never, ever talk to the police. Your officer already thinks you committed a felony and there is nothing you can do to convince him otherwise, so don't try.

    The cop needs your help getting information to send off to the prosecutor, so you can be charged. Incidentally, prosecutors decide who gets charged, not parents.

    Start calling lawyers now. We all offer free consultations. Your lawyer should be talking to the cop, not you.

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  • Our right when being interviewed by police.

    1. Would being interviewed by police affect my right to travel outside the country? (Canada) 2. How come the police did not explain why they are interviewing me. (They did not explain what they are investigating) 3. Do I have to right to ask the...

    James’s Answer

    Let me be the first to tell you to never, ever speak with the cops without a lawyer. The only reason they want to talk to you is to get information to use against a person they believe committed a crime. As they didn't let you use the bathroom, you must be the suspect in a criminal investigation.

    To answer your questions:
    1) you can travel to Canada unless a judge has ordered otherwise, or Canada doesn't want you;
    2) cops don't have to tell you anything, and can even lie to you;
    3) see Answer No. 2.
    4) you may have a basis for challenging the "voluntariness" of the statement depending on how long they kept you from relief;
    5) you can refuse to speak with police at any point.

    Start calling lawyers, and don't talk to the cops. Good luck!

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  • Farmers Insurance denied my accident claim because there insurer lied about the accident. What kind of lawyer do I need?

    On Nov. 21st 2013 I was rear ended. I did not have insurance at the time. The gentleman that hit me has farmers insurance. Police arrived, police report was made ( I have a copy ). They have denied my claim because the insurer says that I hit him....

    James’s Answer

    I'm going to take a little bit different approach and suggest you find a Personal Injury lawyer with a background in Insurance Defense. That one attorney would be in the best position to both defend you and pursue a claim for your injuries.

    You need to act quickly as the Insurance Company will soon report you to Dept. of Licensing for failing to comply with the State's Financial Responsibility Act. DOL will then take your license.

    In my insurance defense days I spent a lot of time helping drivers accused of causing accidents they didn't cause. Stay positive! Crash damage, witness statements, police observations and even statements of the person who hit you can paint a favorable picture of you and your case.

    In the meanwhile you need to continue to treat your injuries. You should also keep a log of aches and pains. Indicate where you hurt and how bad the pain is on a scale of 10, with 10 being unbearable pain.

    You should also get pictures of your vehicle damage ASAP. Oh, and find a lawyer to help you. We all offer free consults. My office, like some others, will also send an attorney to meet you at, or near, your home for the free consultation.

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  • How can I obtain the audio/video from my arrest, and is doing so a bad idea?

    I was arrested for obstructing an officer and resisting arrest. My case was quickly closed without any charges being filed. My memory of the incident is somewhat blurry, but to my knowledge I didn't commit a crime. I remember saying a few rude com...

    James’s Answer

    There likely isn't any video. There may, however, be other witnesses, or your facts my be consistent with the officer's behavior in other cases.

    My office is currently preparing a case against a couple Tacoma police officers. Which officer arrested you, and when did it happen?

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  • I was pulled over for (to me) no reason, then issued a citation for no registration. Is this legal?

    I was pulled over for do 32 in a 20, however, I was not in the 20 mph zone yet and confronted the officer with such. He told me that it didn't matter because of the limited visibility and wet roads (it had been raining but was not at the time) He...

    James’s Answer

    Interesting fact pattern. I think the cop can probably justify pulling you over, at east enough so that a judge won't kick out your ticket for that reason. That being said, the cop has to give you a reasonable amount of time to track down your registration.

    Incidentally, which cop was it? When I see a fact pattern like this, my first thought is "fishing expedition". The cop likely made up a reason to stop you to see if you were drunk. These stops generally are made after 10p.

    Anyway, you can either contest or mitigate your ticket. Contest means you argue the bogus stop and that the cop didn't give you a reasonable amount of time to locate your registration (if this is true).

    Mitigation means you admit to the violation, but are asking for a reduced fine. Whether you seek to contest or mitigate you'll need a signed copy of your registration when you go to court. Seriously, who was the cop? I love tracking such things.

    Good luck!

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  • Can someone press charges on me for changing their computer password while they were living with me?

    I am the only one on the lease, I was letting him stay with me but we had a dispute and I changed his password before he picked up the computer the next day. An officer called me and said he may be able to press charges for malicious mischief. I t...

    James’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    Don't speak to police, or anyone other than an attorney. You have already admitted to the following crime:

    RCW 9A.52.120
    Computer trespass in the second degree.

    (1) A person is guilty of computer trespass in the second degree if the person, without authorization, intentionally gains access to a computer system or electronic database of another under circumstances not constituting the offense in the first degree.

    (2) Computer trespass in the second degree is a gross misdemeanor.

    Our office defends these sorts of offenses a few times each year. You may have a defense depending on your prior use of the computer and what you said to police and the former roommate. Good luck!

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  • Auto accident

    I was involved in a car accident where a driver rear-ended me we are both covered under insurance and I have filed a claim with his insurance. I can't afford an attorney what should I do ?

    James’s Answer

    I think everybody covered the high points. The only thing I would add is that a few attorneys, myself included, will actually drive to Olympia to give you a free consultation. A few of these attorneys, myself included, will visit you after hours and weekends wherever you would like to meet.

    You deserve someone who will fight for you, make sure bills get paid, and answer your questions. The insurance companies hire professionals to protect them; so should you. Good luck!

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  • ATTENTION PLEASE HELP...I NEED TO FIND AN ATTORNEY FOR MY BOYFRIEND. I NEED TO KNOW IF WE HAVE A CASE?????PLEASE READ

    MY BOYFRIEND WENT TO THE MALL AND WENT INTO THIS NEW STORE, ITS CALLED UNLIMATED IMPORTS. I GUESS IT WOULD BE CONSIDERED A SMOKE SHOP KIND OF STORE OR SOMETHING TO THE SORT. THE STORE HAD MILITARY LIKE SWORDS AND AX'S ON THE WALL. THEY WERE HELD ...

    James’s Answer

    Wow, I'm so sorry, and so not surprised about what happened to you. My law firm partner and I were at the Mall just before Christmas, and I stopped in the shop. Man, it was sparse and ghetto. Based on the facts you laid out you definitely have a claim.

    The store has a duty to display its knives, swords, axes, etc. in a safe manner. That is, the store owner has a duty to offer you a safe shopping environment. If they don't provide a safe shopping environment, then they are liable for any injuries that their negligence, or recklessness causes.

    Negligence is when someone doesn't do something that a reasonable person would do in a similar situation. Securing bladed objects, or at least keeping them away from where they might fall and injure someone would be a reasonable - and obvious - thing to do. The store's failure to secure their axe was at least negligent.

    They could also be liable if they were reckless. Reckless is simply when someone knows something - axe storage on a flimsy shelf - is dangerous, but they do it anyhow.

    In any event, the store is liable. There is a latin phrase used for situations like this: Res Ipsa Loquitor, which means "the thing speaks for itself." The fact that a sharp axe fell off of a shelf and injured someone speaks for itself. The axe was improperly, and dangerously, displayed. Your boyfriend didn't do anything wrong, and the fact that he is injured speaks for itself. The shelf was defective.

    Most business have insurance that would cover your BF's injuries. In fact, every store space lease for the Tacoma Mall that I have ever seen requires that the business carry insurance. It's this insurance that will likely eventually pay for your BF's damages.

    You will likely be contacted shortly by an insurance company representative. Do not speak with them until you have met with an attorney. They will want to interview you and get you to say things that they can use to show that your BF was at least partly at fault for his injuries. That's their job. Your job, and your BF's is to not help them.

    The insurance company should be required to pay for your BF's medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and any future damages such as lost wages, rehab, possible job retraining if that becomes necessary, and they may also have to pay for damaged clothing.

    Your BF has three years from the date of the incident to file a lawsuit. I'll be the first of many to tell you that you should speak with an attorney. The insurance company will offer to pay the medical bills and throw in another grand, or so, to make you guys go away. A lot of people accept these lowball offers. The only way to know what your case is worth is to meet with an attorney.

    I've worked on both the defense side - representing businesses whose negligence injured people - and I've been helping injured people since 2000. Until you find an attorney, tell your dude to ice, elevate, and keep that wound clean. Good luck!

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