Richard H. Adler

Richard H. Adler graduated with honors from Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C., where he received his Juris Doctorate degree in 1980.  He was called to the Washington State Bar that same year.

Mr. Adler is the founding principal and partner of Adler ♦ Giersch PS, a law firm dedicated exclusively to representing those with traumatic injuries, and specializing in brain and spinal cord trauma.

Mr. Adler has served as President of the Brain Injury Alliance of Washington (BIAWA) from 2003 to 2009, and currently serves as Chairman of the BIAWA Executive Board.  As President of BIAWA led a multi-year effort organizing a powerful coalition of healthcare, businesses, sports, and community partners to enact the “Zackery Lystedt Law.”  The law, named after Mr. Adler’s client who suffered from a traumatic brain injury while playing youth football, was the nation’s first law intended to “prevent preventable brain injuries” of young athletes by requiring medical clearance before returning to practice or competition following a concussion.  The core principle of the law has been adopted as legislation by all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and has been endorsed by medical, legal, sports, and health care professionals and organizations.   For his leadership and advocacy of the Lystedt Law, Mr. Adler received  the first ever award to an attorney  from the American College of Sports Medicine, the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the nation, for “protecting the health and safety of young athletes.”  Mr. Adler received the “Advocacy Award” from the BIAWA for his work in representing victims of traumatic brain injury and their caregivers. He was nominated for the prestigious Jefferson Award in Washington State presented by the Seattle City Club.   In 2016 he was the only attorney to receive the national Pro-Bono Award from the American Association for Justice for his leadership in prompting civil justice that led to the enactment into law of the core principles of the Zackery Lystedt Law in all states and the District of Columbia.

Mr. Adler, and law firm of Adler ♦ Giersch PS, are “AV Rated,” the highest rating available to attorneys as established by a confidential survey conducted by Martindale-Hubbell.  He is an invited member of the Million Dollar Advocate Forum and the Multi-Million Dollar Advocate Forum, organizations for the top trial lawyers in America.  He has been selected to the Washington SuperLawyers™ (2012-2016) and a “Top Lawyer” by the Seattle Metropolitan for his exemplary legal representation and advocacy for those suffering from traumatic injury. He has also received the Pro Bono Award from the Washington State Bar Association every year since 2003 for his commitment and leadership in providing legal services to those in need.

Mr. Adler has authored many publications on traumatic injuries for attorneys, healthcare providers, and injured persons.  His recent book, From Injury to Action: Navigating Your Personal Injury Claim, joins his other top-rated publications, Understanding Traumatic Brain Injury: A Guide for Survivors and Families; and Spinal Trauma and the Personal Injury Case.  He is currently working on a second edition to the Understanding Traumatic Brain Injury book due out in 2017-2018.  Mr. Adler is frequently an invited speaker at legal, medical, insurance, and health care organizations on issues of traumatic brain injury, personal injury law, expert testimony, and the insurance processes.

Mr. Adler is licensed to practice law in all jurisdictions in the State of Washington.  He is a participating member of the Washington Bar Association, the Washington State Association of Justice (Eagle Status), the American Association for Justice, the Brain Injury Alliance of Washington (BIAWA), the Brain Injury Alliance of Oregon (BIAO), the Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, and Trial Lawyers for Public Justice.

Mr. Adler enjoys spending time with his family, friends, and colleagues   He also enjoys a good glass of red wine, travel, food, and sports.

1.  “10” out of “10” Superb Rating and Client’s Choice Awards on

2. “Av Rated”  by Martindale Hubbell: Highest rating available through confidential survey of attorney-peers (2008-Current)

3.  Million Dollar Advocate Forum: Top Trial Lawyers in America (2005 – Current)MillionDollarAdvocateForum

4.  Multi-Million Dollar Advocate Forum: Top Trial Lawyers in American (2010 – Current)

5.  Selected to Washington SuperLawyers(2012, 2013, 2014, 2015)

6.  “Advocacy Award,” Brain Injury Alliance of Washington for “Exemplary legal    representation and advocacy for those with traumatic brain injury.” (2009)
American College of Sports Medicine’s Award “For protecting the health and safety of young athletes” (first attorney to receive an award from ACSM) (2009)





7.  Selected for Inclusion in Legal Leaders Top Rated Lawyers – Insurance Law 2013

Top Lawyer RA

8.  Washington State Jefferson Award, SeattleCityClub (2012)


9. “President’s Award,” for “providing the highest quality legal presentation and legendary service through advocacy, accessibility and knowledge.” American Massage Therapy Association – Washington Chapter (2008)

10. Washington State Association for Justice Eagle Member






11.  “Steward” Award, Massage Therapy Foundation (2011)

12.  “Giving a Voice to Others,” Featured Attorney, King County Bar Bulletin (2009)

13.  Pro-Bono Public Service Commendation, Washington State Bar Association (2003-2012)

  1. R. Adler, M. Carter, J. Gent, A. Leritz. Understanding Medical and Treatment Concepts and Terms. Word Association Press (2013)
  2. R. Adler. From Injury to Action: Navigating Your Personal Injury Claim. Second Edition. Word Association Press (2012)
  3. R. Adler, M. Carter, J. Gent, A. Leritz. Understanding Legal and Insurance Concepts and Terms. Word Association Press (2012)
  4. R. Adler. “Youth Sports and Concussions: Preventing Preventable Brain Injuries.  One Client, One Cause, and A New Law” Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics –  Youth Sports and Concussions. Nov 2011 Vol. 22 No. 4
  5. R. Adler, S. Herring. “Changing the Culture of Concussion: Education Meets         Legislation.” PM&R Vol. 3, S468-S470, October 2011
  6. R. Adler. From Injury to Action: Navigating Your Personal Injury Claim. Second Edition. Word Association Press (2012)
  7. R. Adler. From Injury to Action: Navigating Your Personal Injury Claim (2011)
  8. R. Adler, Understanding Traumatic Brain Injury: A Guide for Survivors and Families (2006)
  9. R. Adler, Whiplash, Spinal Trauma, and the Personal Injury Case (1995 – Current)
  10. R. Adler, “Medical Aspects of Soft Tissue Injuries,” Handling Motor Vehicle Accident (1990); Clark-Boardman Publishers
  11. Editor, The Advocate, Monthly Publication on Medical-Legal-Insurance (1990-Current)
  12. R. Adler, Survival Guide: Chiropractic Practice Guidelines (1993)
  13. Understanding and Responding to Common Cross Examination (video)November 2001.
  14. Testimony:  Deposition and Trial (video), October 1993.
  1. “Introduction to Personal Injury and Insurance Law for New Massage Therapists,” “Understanding Personal Injury and Insurance Law,” and “How to Get Paid in a Personal Injury Claim.” American Massage Therapy Association – Washington Chapter Annual Convention.  Yakima, WA. (2013)
  2. “Navigating the Personal Injury Claim for Today’s Healthcare Professional.” Adler Giersch PS. Bellevue, WA. (2013)
    “Youth Sports and Concussions: Preventing Preventable Brain Injuries.  One Client,
    One Case, and a New Law.” Puget Sound Spine Interest Group. Seattle, WA (2013)
  3. “Brain Injury, Adversity, and Never Ever Giving Up,” Third Annual Santa Clara Valley Brain Injury Conference. San Jose, CA. (2013)
  4. ” Practical and Legal Implications of the Lystedt Law For Today’s Physicians,” Sports Medicine Prevention/Training/Therapy Head Injury to Upper Extremity. Overlake Medical Center (2012)
  5. “Legal Issues with Concussion Management,” 63rd Annual Meeting & Clinical Symposia.  National Athletic Trainiers’ Association. St. Louis, MO (2012)
  6. “Mandating Player Safety by Increased Accountability for Non-Compliance on the Sidelines and Exam Room,” The 6th Annual National Summit on Sports Concussion & Other Athletic Injuries. Los Angeles, CA (2012)
  7. “The Zackery Lystedt Law,” Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems Leadership Forum, Seattle (2012)
  8. “Concussions: Issues Above and Away from the Playing Field,” Presenter, AAPM&R 72nd Annual Assembly, American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation    (2011)
  9. “The Zackery Lystedt Law,” Presenter, Concussion Prevention and Education Summit,    Yakima Medical Society Association (2011)
  10. “Testifying at Deposition and Trail:  Effectively Presenting Your Treatment and Patient  Injuries,” Presenter, Washington State Chiropractic Association Fall Convention (2011)
  11. “Apportioning Preexisting Conditions and New Trauma: Understanding the Core Cases from the Washington Supreme Court and the Impact for Chart Notes, Narrative Reports and Testimony,” Presenter, Faculty of Naturopathic Physicians Meeting, Bastyr Center for Natural Health, (2011)
  12. “What it Takes to Win a Traumatic Brain Injury Case,” Ninth Annual Pacific   Northwest Brain Injury Conference Portland, Oregon. Brain Injury Association of   Oregon (2011)
  13. “Management of Sports Concussion Injuries with Special Reference to the Zackery Lystedt Law ” Stanley A. Herring M.D. & Richard H. Adler J.D. Seattle Spine & Sports  Medicine Bi-Monthly Seminars (2011)
  14. “Forensic Physiatry: The Basics of Expert Testimony and Life Care Planning,” American Academy of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Annual Assembly, Seattle, WA (2010)
  15. “Winning the Traumatic Brain Injury Case: Using Lay Witnesses, Illustrations, New Laws, Imaging, Neuropsychologists, and Other Practice Pointers,” Eighth Annual   Pacific Northwest Brain Injury Conference Portland, Oregon.  Brain Injury Association of Oregon (2010)
  16. “Legislation: The Story of the Zackery Lystedt Law – Youth Sport Concussions:   Education to Legislation.” Continuing Medical Education (CME). University of Washington Medicine. Stan Herring, MD & Richard Adler, JD
  17. “Proven and Effective Ways to Illustrate Evidence in a Traumatic Brain Injury Case,”  Brain Injury Association of Washington, Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Seattle, WA (2010)
  18. “Handling the Traumatic Brain Injury Case” Brain Injury Association of Washington, Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Seattle, WA (2008)
  19. “The Winning Focus for Your Traumatic Brain Injury Case – Including Use of Before and After Lay Witnesses,” Brain Injury Association of Washington, Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Seattle, WA (2008)
  20. “An Overview of the Challenges of Brain Injury Litigation: Preparation, Presentation and Roles,” Contemporary Forums (2005)
    Legal Case Preparation: Screening TBI Cases; Working with your TBI Client and Family; Effectively Navigating Obstacles in TBI Cases, Contemporary Forums (2005)
  21. “E.R.I.S.A. Subrogation Issues” Brain Injury Association of Washington, CLE (2004)
  22. “Practice Tips on Handling Traumatic Brain Injury Cases” Brain Injury Association of  Washington and Washington State Trial Lawyers Association, Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Seattle, WA (2002)
  23. “Medical-Legal Aspects of Advising the MVA Patient for Today’s Consulting ER Nurse,” Highline Hospital (2001)
  24. “Who Pays and When? List Care Planning Initiatives,” Evergreen’s Head Injury Re Entry Center (1999)
  25. “An Attorney’s Role in the Rehabilitation Team of the Spine-Injured Patient,”       NeuroSpine Conference, Everett General Hospital (1993)
  26. “Using Forensics to Describe Brain Injuries to a Jury,” Pacific Northwest   Neuropsychological Association, Harborview Medical Center (1993)
    Automotive Medicine.  Northwest Hospital, (1990)

My family and I were in a car accident. We sustained life-long injuries. I started out with one lawyer and was not getting results. Frustrated with the lack of progress I asked around for recommendations in the professional arenas and Richard Adler’s name kept surfacing. I called Richard and was fortunate to have him accept my case. He was at a disadvantage not having my case from the beginning but that did not deter him. He and his staff went to work and Richard’s approach was night and day from my previous counsel. I was kept informed of the progress he made and whenever I had a question his staff were quick to respond. Due to Richard’s perseverance and thoroughness, the outcome of my case worked in my favor. I am very pleased. Mr. Adler is a kind and caring person who during my time of duress was able to relieve me of some of my legal concerns. Would I recommend him? Absolutely! You want this attorney on your side. Richard Adler’s card is in all of our vehicles and if we ever have another accident we will be calling Richard. Insurance companies have many attorneys. They have good attorneys; Richard Adler is definitely better!

Nick Alvanos

I would like to recommend Richard as a friendly, experienced and a trustworthy personal injury and auto accident Lawyer, who really cares about well being of his customers.

I have had a personal injury as a result of an auto accident in May 2005. At that time I was almost 8 month pregnant with my child and was very stressed out by insurance companies who wanted to “close” the case as soon as possible. I definitely needed some legal assistance to go through the challenge of dealing with the insurance companies plus to be able to pay to the medical providers.

My friend recommended contacting Richard Adler who helped her to settle her case. Richard took his time to listen to me and to learn all little details, and provided me with very clear information about the legal aspect of my case. The most important, he and his assistants took over the burden of dealing with the insurance companies so I could focus on my new-born child.

It took longer that I expected to settle the case, however I can not imaging doing it by myself without Richard’s help.

I would like to recommend Richard Adler to anyone who needs a professional to handle their personal injury case.


About 3 years ago I was involved in a car accident that left me with some back, neck, shoulder and head injuries with my car totaled…… As a result of the concussion I had in the accident, I was left with a mild traumatic brain injury which made me feel dizzy, confused, and somewhat unable think straight for months afterwards.

I had the good fortune of being referred to Richard Adler via word of mouth……….I discovered his deep knowledge and expertise in handling brain injury claims. In fact, he’s written a solid easy to understand primer on the subject which I would recommend to anyone who has had a head trauma.…. He did a very thorough and professional job in guiding me in our efforts to support my case and when the time came, he prepared an excellent demand letter for the insurance companies. Both of whom settled via his negotiations for the full policy limit amounts without the cost or effort of a trial. Having read other legal briefs before, I was impressed with the level of knowledge, detail, preparation, persuasiveness, and thoroughness of his demand letter which reflect the talents of the man who prepared it. …. He gave it his full efforts to drive it to a successful conclusion. Now that we have settled and although his fee is complete, he continues to negotiate with the medical providers to reduce their subrogation claims on the settlement in order to help me get the most net proceeds from it. An extra effort for which I very much appreciate.

In the end, he negotiated a settlement with the offender’s insurance company and my insurance company (for uninsured/underinsured motorist) for both full policy limits which by far exceeded my expectations in the matter. Working with Atty. Adler is the most satisfying instance of any of those I’ve had dealing with the legal/judicial system. …. I’m a very satisfied client and would recommend Atty. Adler to anyone who needs a top notch personal injury lawyer.


Richard Adler provided outstanding representation for my husband regarding the MTBI [Mild Traumatic Brain Injury] he received January 21, 2006 in an automobile accident. We were faced with having to sue our own insurance company in order to receive the full coverage provided under our policy. It is our certain belief that without Richard’s representation we would never have received the compensation my husband was entitled to under our coverage. We found Richard Adler to be experienced, thorough, capable, helpful and efficient in preparing and moving our case forward. He knows how to succeed! He was prepared to do whatever was necessary to achieve the maximum compensation possible for my husband’s injuries. When a person is injured, just dealing with the recovery process is overwhelming. Difficulties facing an insurance company, even your own insurance company, without the excellent representation we received would have been impossible. We have no reservations recommending Richard Adler to anyone who has suffered a traumatic injury and is in need of outstanding legal representation.


Genuine, Professional and Caring. Who can say that about their Lawyer. I can! I’ve always heard bad things about lawyers. Richard is different. He really loves his job and likes to help people. I went to Richard Adler about a year and a half ago. I would not have gotten the medical help I needed without him (91 thousand dollars worth of medical that is). I am now back to skiing and mountain biking. Through out the year, I was always informed about what was going on. They always seemed to be working on my case. My case was recently settled at the maximum amount! Richard also gave me some really great financial advise that I really appreaciate! Mary-Ellen (Richard’s Para legal) was also great. She was always there for any questions or concerns. I would recomend Richard Adler to any friend or family member.


Mr. Adler handled my case with intelligence. He developed a strong legal structure around my brain injury case. … He was always ready to advise me on situations regarding my employment, retirement and future. … He absolutely held me up when I most wanted to give up. He is good counsel, wise advocate and a good person.

Mrs. Jovita Angelica Guillen Hernandez

Three years ago, my husband, Jeff, sustained a severe traumatic brain injury in a bicycling accident. Life as I knew it abruptly and dramatically ended. I found myself, at 28, trying to navigate and manage the very complex and demanding life of a person living with a severe TBI. There are not appropriate words to explain how difficult of a time it was and how uncertain our future looked.

From our very first meeting, Richard showed me the utmost respect, understanding, and compassion. Richard and his amazing team literally jumped in with both feet and helped me tackle all aspects of Jeff’s care; hospitals, surgeries, rehab, group homes, etc. Richard was unbelievably committed to our case and in the end, was able to ensure that Jeff would have the quality of care he will need for the rest of his life.

To be quite honest, it is difficult to sum up just how instrumental Richard Adler has been in my life. He stood by me during the most difficult time in my life. His dedication to helping TBI families is nothing short of amazing. I am forever grateful for the compassion and understanding Richard and MaryEllen, paralegal extraordinaire, have bestowed upon us.

Danielle Leavell

Richard Adler changed my life to be liveable again! He is without exception the most excellent and compassionate Personal Injury advocate with whom I ever had the pleasure of working. He is caring and understands the difficulties involved in sustaining oneself and one’s family during a period of major pain, surgeries, absences from work, sudden high expenses and less income, all while dealing with the nasty intricacies of an insurance case. He is a master at his work, always focused on doing and being the best he can be, and focused on providing the best service for his clients.

If you like to read on, here is a little bit about how my case developed: I was rear-ended in a car accident by a very fast moving vehicle. I sustained a lot of soft tissue-whiplash type injuries, but unfortunately, unbeknownst to anyone, I also herniated a disk severely. Initially, I tried dealing with the situation personally, through my family doctor, physical therapy, and chiropractic care. I had (Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage from my auto insurance, which I thought – as one would – should cover the initial doctors’ bills. They paid – up until the point that I had to have neck surgery. At that point my own insurance decided they had paid enough, though didn’t give me such decision, and just prolonged the process of payment and decisions with lots of red tape. However, as is the rule in my state, my health insurer through my work would not pay until the PIP insurance was exhausted. As I had no way of proving that (they simply dragged things out), I was caught between insurers with thousands of dollars in medical bills and no way to move forward.

This is when I found Richard, who was referred to me by a friend. First off, Richard was reachable immediately. No long wait or “we can talk to you in about a month or two”. A quick intake questionnaire with one of the highly competent Adler Giersch assistants, and I had an initial meeting with Richard within a day. I had interviewed several other attorneys and I work in the legal field, and even initially was I was quite impressed with Richard’s approach and very professional, yet caring demeanor. The meeting covered many details of the case, of my injuries (including a first surgery that was unsuccessful), and the probability of Richard’s involvement in the case helping to move it forward. He was quite straight with me that not every case is improved by a lawyer’s involvement (e.g. property damage only cases) – some cases are more costly with an attorney that without, while not leading to different results. This impressed me as very ethical.

However, in my case, there were so many complications that Richard took my case. What a blessing this was for me and my family! Richard took over dealing with the red tape, always keeping me informed and explaining even the most complex situations in a clear and concise way to make them easily understood. Initially, it was hard for me – a type A personality – to let go and let someone else take care of the direction of what to do. However, Richard put me at ease immediately by saying that he would not only keep me informed and advising me on the issues, but never make a decision without my input.

He clearly explained to me the approximate timeline from the beginning and showed me the steps and the reasons for the steps. He never promised anything he couldn’t keep, but he did forecast the steps and direction with an accuracy that comes only from major experience (or a crystal ball). His initial forecast was that it would take approximately 2 years for the case to settle all around, assuming it didn’t go to trial (which he didn’t think it would – and he was right once again). He was compassionate about my injuries and about my frustration that things took such a long time. He helped me navigate the medical jargon and medical networks, so that I could find the best doctors for my care.

Richard navigated the case from the beginning as if “we were preparing for trial”, which meant that we all worked hard to have all of the ducks in a row at any given point in time. During verbal or written communications with opposing parties, this fact clearly came across and worked in our favor. Richard never got “rattled” – he stayed calm no matter what tactics the other side(s) tried. He had seen many of these tactics in his 25+ years of practice and understood clearly why they were employed and how to counter them. He is an expert in dealing with personal injury cases and the “dark side” of the insurance industry. Furthermore, he is a master negotiator and probably could sell the proverbial refrigerator to an Eskimo.

Much credit also goes to his assistant MaryEllen – the queen of documents. As you can imagine, in two years a lot of paper or electronic material accumulated, and MaryEllen knew at any given point in time which documents were where, what was missing or complete, or any other status.

With some smaller victories along the way (e.g. getting the PIP problem straightened out), my case settled finally, and for the maximum possible, almost exactly two years after Richard stepped in to help. I cannot explain the elation and almost disbelief that came with the settlement – not for the money, but simply that through Richard’s help we got there! There is absolutely no way that I could have reached this point without Richard’s guidance, advocacy, tenacity, and expertise! If you need a PI attorney, Richard Adler is the man!

Tina Torres

A serious motorcycle accident put me out of work for four months. Progressive Insurance, who represented the motorist cited in the accident, refused to respond to me in any meaningful way, and eventually would not answer my phone or email inquiries. We could have gone on that way for years.

Richard explained up front his fees, costs and possible outcomes. He was accurate on all counts, and I just received my check from Progressive. Professional and aggressive.

What more could you ask of an attorney?

Bart Baxter

My wife and I wanted to thank you for the outstanding service you provided us. We were very impressed with your knowledge of accident recovery, insurance, medical records and the entire gamut of personal injury law. We could never have recovered what we needed without your expertise. We appreciate the time you took with us to explain the process of recovery and of course the settlement which was more than we had hoped for.

Thanks again and to MaryEllen and your entire office for their kindness and professionalism.

John and Linda McCarthy