Gardner Trabolsi & Associates PLLC

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Avvo Q&A

I’m a contributor to Avvo.com.  Below are some of the answers I submitted over the past couple months:

Q: Washington State car accident with injuries, my 3 kid were in the car with me..: I was rear-ended pretty severely a week ago while my 3 kids were in the car with me (ages 10, 11 and 12). The other driver admitted fault immediately. We all went to the ER that night, and my 10 yr old had a concussion, the rest of us had soft tissue strain/etc (whiplash) and sore necks, headaches and general aches and pains. The insurance company is telling me that in Washington State, I can’t get compensated for the kids injuries beyond the actual cost of their medical bills, and they have to file their own claims after they turn 18?! 

How much should I ask for in terms of compensation? I missed 4 days of work and am still sore and my kids are a bit traumatized. They are having bad dreams and keep talking about the collision and reliving it.

A: David’s answer: I agree with my colleagues. Hire a lawyer. You have 3 years to file suit on your own behalf — it’s called a statute of limitations. But for your children, the time to file suit doesn’t start ticking until they turn 18 y/o. If there is a settlement on behalf of your kids, it would need to be approved by the court. Your lawyer should be able to help you with that. It’s hard to estimate the settlement value. It depends on treatment and injuries.


Q: Do I have a wrongful death claim for my son?: My 34 year old son had drug addiction problems. Hospitalized several times for intravenous drug related health treatment. Went to treatment where he recovered again several times. Approximately 6 months after his last self commitment to a treatment facility during which time he had completely corrected his life path he had scheduled a day surgery to remove a cyst like growth on a testicle. I’m told the doctor prescribed 50 opioid pain pills. 48 hours later he was dead. I’ve been waiting for the official medical examiner’s report but the preliminary version sited probable drug abuse related cause of death. Shouldn’t this doctor bear some responsibility for prescribing so large a volume of pain medication to someone who’s body bore numerous scarring from drug use? Or wouldn’t a pharmacy have some ability to access a data base identifying people you don’t hand large amounts of drugs to?

A: David’s answer: The answer depends on whether you can find an expert, likely an MD, who can certify that the doctor failed to adhere to the standard of care. Cases of this nature are hard to prove and you need a solid expert opinion before you spend time and money perusing this.


Q: No warning label on bottles of Gatorade to say you should drink in moderation: There’s no label on bottles of Gatorade that days you should drink in moderation and if you don’t you will essentially give yourself a cleanse. Ive had numerous Dr. Appointment’s colonoscopies to try and understand why Im going to the restroom 5-10 times a day. I feel like I have long term issues due to drinking so much Gatorade.

A: David’s answer: If you came to me for legal advice, I would recommend that you not pursue this claim.


Q: State Farm served my son papers for causing an auto accident by negligent driving

Nov.2 2013 my son was traveling on a back road and a car pulled out in front of him so he swerved into the other lane to avoid collision and the 2nd car back coming at him in other lane served into a tree. He did not even know there was an accident. There is a police report but he never got a ticket and they never claimed it on our insurance or even talked to him. State Farm is suing for 7300.00 for the damage to their vehicle. I have contacted out insurance and they said they cannot help as there was never a claim set up. What do we do? We have 20 days to respond to the court.

A: David’s Answer: You need to get the summons and complaint to the insurance right away. Fax it or email it and request that they respond in writing. “Are you accepting or denying the claim?” Use those words. The adjustor is wrong. Once you are sued, they have to provide coverage.


Q: My ex-husband says that he will sue me for defamation. Can that really hurt me when I only have told the truth?

My ex-husband was very abusive and even if most people didn’t see the physical violence (our young sons saw it unfortunately), many people witness the way he stalked me by car, by my credit card and by phone. 

He is now threatening to sue me for defamation and slander since I speak up against domestic violence and talk about my own story. I do it both in front of an audience and I’m open with talking about it with friends and family as well. I don’t mention his name, but I say “my ex” or “my ex-husband”. I have two exes -and they are also both my ex-husbands -, but my other ex has nothing against me saying it that way. He supports it, and we had a really short marriage many years ago when we were far too young. 

Now I have heard through friends that my abusive ex-husband is preparing to sue me, because he claims I have no right to talk about what he did to me. 

I never called 911 because I was too afraid of him, and knew it would get worse if I did. He threatened to take our sons away from me if I called 911 and he had the financial means to do so. (He was going to claim “false accusations in a custody case”. 

Won’t he hurt himself to try to sue me? I am telling the truth. 

A: David’s answer: While truth does not amount to defamation, it doesn’t mean he can’t sue you. You might win in the end, but proving that you did nothing wrong may be expensive and would require an attorney. Same goes to your ex. Litigation is costly. He might not have the resources to pay. Also, what are his damages? Sometimes in defamation suits people allege “nominal” damages – e.g. $1, just to make a point.

You might consider talking to the organizations on whose behalf you spoke about domestic violence. They might have insurance covering this.

Good luck


Q: I’m looking for a lawyer to write a Cease & Desist letter on my behalf to someone that is threatening my name with slander.

I’m looking for a King county lawyer who would charge me a reasonable rate to write a Cease & Desist letter on my behalf to someone who is threatening my name with slander and false statements. 

I’m dating someone who is currently going through a tough divorce and his ex is slandering my name via mutual social circles where we have the same circle of friends. The offended person has been communicating via text and email of which I have copies to share. I think a hefty letter outlining legal ramifications will suffice to stop this type of action. 

Please respond back ASAP as I would like to hire someone immediately.

A: David’s Answer: If you live in King County, you should also consider consulting a volunteer attorney at the King County Neighborhood Legal Clinic. Providing help with drafting a letter like this is definitely within the scope of what they do.


Q: What I do?

I was driving over the narrows bridge,i started running out of gas, I turned on my hazards, got out of automobile, ran to the side walking path because I didn’t feel safe in the truck, called 911 told them what was going on, and they said they would let the trooper know, then a vehicle that was driving by picked me up to go get gas, 15 mins or so later state patrol called me to say that my truck was involved in a collision… anyway I’m not sure what to do really,i went to tow yard to get my truck and that’s when I found out it’s not drivable, so I called the guys insurance and made a claim but this was about 11 days ago now and they still haven’t sent out an adjuster or whatever and I’ve been without my work truck, missing work, losing money and really just don’t know what to do, also got two tickets in the mail, one for negligent driving 2nd degree, and the other no insurance total of $1100 witch I wasn’t even in the truck when it got hit so how could that be negligent? Also his insurance is trying to say I am partly responsible witch is crazy to me because my hazards were on and I was the one who got hit…help please thanks

A: David’s Answer: If you have liability insurance, you need to submit a claim to your carrier. Also, you need to file a claim with the other driver’s insurance. Sounds like they are taking a position that you are at fault, and it’s hard to say anything conclusively without knowing more about how the accident happened. Just because you were issued a traffic citation, doesn’t mean you are at fault. I would take a view that the other driver is at least “comparatively” or “partially” at fault for not paying attention. He has a duty to see what’s there to be seen and use reasonable care to avoid an accident. I tried a similar case to a jury, arguing that the driver who left the car on the side of the road was 25% at fault, and the driver who ran into him — 75% at fault. While this is a very fact specific inquiry, the jury in my case found that the driver who hit the car was 100% liable. Good luck