Brain injury animations help jurors with a difficult medical issue.

Brain injury lawyers often use animators that help jurors understand the seriousness of brain injury. An animation need not be exact, but it must be based on the medical evidence and a judge will usually allow the animation if it’s illustrative, not deceptive and helps a jury understand an injury.


Here are a few animations explaining Brain injuries that have been allowed into evidence.




This is a video animation that shows what happens in a deceleration injury. It shows how the brain swells, blood flow can be cut off and coma or other serious injuries can result. The video quality may be a little jarring on this video depending on your computer speed.

This video explains a diffuse axonal injury and how brain damage can continue for hours or days after an initial injury.

The brain is the same consistency as jello. Mild diffuse axonal injury can result in reduced memory, lower social inhibitaion as well cognitive difficulties. Severe axonal injury can result in coma or death.


The above animation shows how doctors go about diagnosing an epidural hematoma.



Finally, this  animation  shows how a skull fracture looks and occurs.

In serious brain injury cases, the attorney will often have an animation made to help educate the jury.

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Brain injury lawyer since 1982. I’m a member of the million Dollar advocates

Google plusand my firm has the highest ratings on Yelp, Avvo and Google plus.

Call me anytime at 916-921-6400 in Sacramento or 800-404-5400 Elsewhere in California.

A 4 year old girl  from Lodi was tragically killed today at Rancho Seco when a 4 year allegedly  old darted out between 2 cars.

According to the Sacramento Bee story, the accident could not have been avoided.

This 4th of July accident must have taken a terrible toll on everyone and yet I wonder if the Newspaper is concluding

far too quickly that the accident was unavoidable.

Child “dart out” accidents happen relatively frequently. They happen  more often around ice cream trucks, schools, and parks.

As a Sacramento Auto Accident Attorney, I have handled many of these cases.

Most adults driving a motorized vehicle are supposed to be alert for small children to run in front  of their truck because

that, unfortunately, is what small children often do.

This is especially true at a park where people are being carefree.

If a driver anticipates small children may be in the vicinity he has a duty, as an adult to proceed very carefully.

Sometimes, it is true that a driver really has no chance to avoid an impact with a small child.

But many times, an accident reconstructionist finds that the driver, if he had kept a proper lookout might either have avoided the impact or at least mitigated it.

California is also a comparative negligence state. If the driver of the truck was negligent in some degree after proper investigation, he would be responsible to the extent he was negligent.

I don’t know if the driver of this truck was free of fault at this point, but neither does anyone else.

To state someone is “Fault  free” several hours after a serious accident does a disservice to all involved.

Sending wishes of peace to all in this tragedy.

Ed Smith 



The injured party (Plaintiff’s) deposition is a most critical part of every personal injury case. This article will discuss how the attorney should best prepare for it.

One of the key elements in every case is that the attorney for the Plaintiff should have all of the injured party’s medical records before he allows his client to be deposed. Hopefully, he or she obtained them earlier in the case, but if treatment is ongoing, new records need to be obtained promptly so they can be reviewed by the attorney and shared with the client.

It’s important to obtain medical records going back for several years before the accident in any serious case, because the insurance defense attorney will always ask about past medical issues that relate to the area of injury in dispute.

Once all the records are obtained, they should be summarized in outline form. We use the program, NoteMap  , but there are other good outlining programs as well. A word processor simply doesn’t cut it when summarizing medical records as the structure of the treatment by provider is not clearly shown and it makes it more difficult to make sense and quickly scroll to a medical issue in question.

When outlining medical records, it is useful to have Stedman’s medical dictionary close by or an equivalent as well as a book of

cross-sectional anatomy that details body parts in context of their position within the body. Surface Anatomy books simply

don’t cut it.

If unusual medical issues are present, the attorney should do a Medline or Paperchase search and find medical articles that

support his theory of the case.

In most serious cases, it’s valuable also to make a timeline of events in the case. With a program such as Timemap, one can easily color code various types of pain, different specialists who have treated the Plaintiff, or various categories of medications that were given to the patient throughout the case.

Next, the attorney should revisit the scene of the accident, so he can understand all the details that can make or break a case.

He should have the police report and statement of the witnesses and photographs with him as he refreshes his memory of the scene.

All this information will become useful when he meets with the client to prepare him or her.

Any discovery responses of Plaintiff or Defendant should be reviewed and the Answer and Jury Instructions showing the ultimate elements to be proved should be reviewed.

The above are the basics. In catastrophic cases, there is much more ot be done, but an attorney having a routine of performing the above actions will find he is ahead of 95 percent of his peers.

The attorney should schedule a meeting with the client to go over all of the above and leave adequate time to prepare the client so the client does not feel rushed.

My preference is to meet the client a few days in advance of the deposition, often over dinner, and to take the time to ensure the client is very familiar with the documents in the file as well as with the issues in the case. The meeting with the client can take as little as an hour in a soft tissue case, to as much as 8-10 hours spead over several days in a catastrophic injury case.

The details of how to explain to the cleint the details of answering questions at deposition, will be left to another day.

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Auto Accident Lawyer who handles personal injury cases throughout California and has since 1982.

I’m the founder of, the most comprehensive vehicle accident web site in California. Call me anytime for free, friendly, advice. My telephone number in Sacramento is 916-921-6400. Elsewhere it’s 800-404-5400.

Read our Reviews on Yelp, Avvo and Google Plus.




Workers Comp medical benefits in California  are provided  to any employee injured on the job so long as the medical treatment is reasonably necessary to cure or relieve your work injury.

If an employer does not provide that care when appropriate, he will need to reimburse the employee for the employee’s reasonable medical expenses. An employee is not required to pay any medical bills for a work related injury so long as he fills out the required form and reports his injury to his employer. (Bell v Samaritan Medical Clinic (1978).

The term “reasonably required” is a weasel term and employers or their insurers often try to dodge expenses of care by alleging that the treatment was not reasonably required.

If a medical provider receives a notice that the employer rejects liability for an injury, the medical provider must give such notice to the employee. If he doesn’t give such notice to the employee, he or she cannot bill the employee. If they do, such provided may be subject to a penalty of triple what they bill the employee.

Note, however, that an injured employee can make his own arrangements for consulting or attending physicians at his own expense.


There are guidelines for medical treatment called Medical Treatment Utilization Schedules which are recommended guidelines for treatment. They are presumed correct as to the scope and extent of treatment BUT, this is a presumption that can be rebutted.

The Medical Treatment Utilization Schedule (MTUS) is organized by body part:

Neck and Upper Back



Forearm, Wrist and Hand

Low Back


Ankle and Feet

Stress Related Conditions


If an injury is not designated above, it can still be treated in accordance with evidene based medical treatment.

If an employee’s pain persists beyond the anticipated time for healing, chronic pain medical guidelines apply.

If surgery becomes necessary, there are also guidelines for surgical and post surgical care.

There are also so called “Special topics” that occur in the guidelines. These guide treatment by


Chronic Pain

Postsurgical treatment.


Many employers maintain control of the employees medical treatment by means of a medical provider network or MPN.

After 30 days, however, an employee can treat with a qualified doctor of his choice in the same geographic area.

An employee can only have one primary treating doctor.

An employee IS allowed to pre-designate his primary treating doctor if he or she has medical coverage outside of his work and notifies the employer in advance.

That primary doctor can refer to other doctors in the nonregulated health plan if necessary.

Finally, if an employee redesignates a personal chiropractor who is his regular chiropractor, he can be treated by that chiropractor after he goes to the employers selected doctor the first time.

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Workers Comp lawyer.  My main site is Call me anytime for free, friendly advice at 916-921-6400 or 800-404-5400.

See my firms reviews on Yelp and Avvo.



Workers  comp earnings replacement in Ca pays an injured worker for the time he loses time off due to an on the job injury up to certain limits. These payments are in addition to the payment of any medical expenses that are reasonably necessary.

If an employee gives his employer notice of an injury but he misses no time from work, he does not receive these temporary wage loss benefits. The employee may still be entitled to permanent disability if the injury is permanent, however, even when he doesn’t take any temporary time of work.

The workers comp earnings replacement the  worker receives only partially replaces his lost income.

The weekly amount paid is 2/3 of the weekly earnings (Over a past base period) subject to a minimum and maximum set by statute.

The rates applicable are those that  are in effect on the date of the worker’s injury.

Here’s a table of the rates currently paid for temporary disability in Workers Comp cases in California.

Temporary Disability WC Table (Workers Comp Replacement Earnings)

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Workers Comp Lawyer. Call me anytime at 916-921-6400 or 800-404-0500 for free, friendly advice.

See my Firm’s ratings on Yelp and Avvo.




In each knee, we have a menisci. (Plural: meniscus) We don’t think of these C-shaped rubbery disks much until they cause us problems.  The menisci disperse our body weight which keeps our knees steady and our bodies balanced.  So when they start to give us problems, our entire life can be turned upside down.  It’s only then we realize how much we depend on the knee meniscus.

Meniscus tears in the knees often occur in athletes bodies.  Sports that require pivoting, turning, or squatting like basketball, soccer, tennis and football can cause this type of injury.

In the case of personal injury victims, often it is direct pressure or forced contact with another solid object directly to the knee that causes this injury. Since the meniscus loses strength as we age, the meniscus in people over the age of 30 become more susceptible to injury when their knees are exposed to direct pressure or force.  This injury can occur in slip and falls. If a person was in an auto accident and their knee was slammed into the dashboard, steering wheel or door of their car upon impact, this forced pressured can cause a meniscus tear.  Motorcycle riders who fall off their bikes or fly into other objects where they strike their knees at a high rate of speed may also experience this injury.

Initially, a person may experience pain and swelling.  The swelling may not occur all at once but rather can present gradually.  Stiffness may accompany the pain and you may begin to notice you are limited when you try and bend the knee.  The pain may become sharp in nature when you try and twist or squat.  If the injury is severe, you may feel ‘wobbly’.  Or perhaps you may experience your knee giving way without any apparent reason. Some people report being unable to straighten their leg.  Other report the symptoms in their knees with words such as ‘catch’ ‘lock’ or ‘pop.’

See a physician for any of these symptoms as soon as possible.  The physician  will likely ask you perform a series of movements or tests to determine if this is the proper diagnosis.  These tests may cause pain or clicking noises but the tests are necessary to determine that you are diagnosed correctly.

Additionally, if the physician suspects you have torn your meniscus due to your reaction to the tests, you will likely be sent to get diagnostic studies which may include x-rays, arthrography and MRI’s.

Treatment plans include surgical and non-surgical approaches.

Nonsurgical :   A non-surgical approach that will be initially be prescribed is rest, ice and medication.  However, it is not uncommon, for a course of physical therapy to be prescribed fairly quickly.  While physical therapy cannot heal the torn menisci, it can help strengthen the rest of the muscles around the knee and in the legs to help provide additional support to the knee joint.  In this way,  the injured menisci can be relieved of some of its work.  Physical therapy will also help maintain mobility to the knee and surrounding areas.  Arch supports or shoe inserts may also be prescribed to decrease some of the stress that we put on the knee.  Some patients report improvements with hyaluronic acid injections or cortisone injections.  These do not ‘heal’ the tear but help the patient experience reduced pain levels.

Surgical:  A surgical approach is often used especially if a person is still in the workforce and they are not responding to physical therapy.  Your doctor will perform the surgery to see if the meniscus can be repaired (which is potentially a possibility in younger people) or to trim the tear so that it causes less pain, discomfort and swelling.  Physical therapy will likely be prescribed again after the surgery.

Whichever treatment plan is chosen, ice, home exercises and pain medication may now be a’permanent’ way of living for those who have sustained torn meniscus.

As a personal injury law firm, we usually have several clients each year who are recovering from meniscus injuries to the knee after a trauma inducing event.  Please contact my office, Law Offices of Edward A. Smith ( if you have any questions or want to discuss your claim.

I understand that this injury has changed your life and want to help you recover.  Compensation for treatment, future treatment, wage loss and future wage loss are all issues that need to be addressed on your claim.  This injury can have future complications which also need to be factored in to your case.

Please call me, Ed Smith, at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 to discuss your matter.

I want you to get to know my office and encourage you to learn about us on our website.  Third party sites such as Avvo, Google and Yelp also demonstrate how people feel about their experience of working with our office.

Image Attribution: By Mysid [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons











You may be diagnosed with a Baker’s Cyst after a car accident if you experienced trauma to the knee.  This injury can also occur in other types of traumatic falls or collisions.

A Baker’s Cyst  may also be diagnosed as popliteal cyst.

Due to trauma, excess knee joint fluid (also called synovial fluid) can be pushed into the sacs of tissue that exist behind the knee joint.  The joint fluid that builds-up and accumulates in the tissue sac may eventually bulge out.

If these symptoms develop without a trauma inducing incident,  you likely suffer from arthritis or osteoarthritis.

If the cyst occurred after an accident, you may have a tear to the meniscal cartilage.

If you have a Baker’s Cyst, you may or may not have pain.   If you do not have pain but notice a tender soft fluid build up behind the knee it may startle you.  The injury may also come to your attention if you suddenly experience swelling behind knee that worsens with standing.  It may seem like a water filled balloon has just appeared behind your knee.  Seek treatment immediately to prevent the injury from worsening.

Most people who have a Baker’s Cyst report a first feeling pain, stiffness or tightness behind the knee. Most people do experience pain behind the knee.  Some experience pain behind the knee and pain in the upper calf.  If you experience this symptom, it will be worse when you bend the knee or attempt to straighten the knee all the way.

Many people who have pain in addition to the swelling describe the pain as ‘unbearable’ and ‘almost as bad as childbirth.’

Almost all patients report loss of motion to the knee due to the cyst.  The pain and loss of motion in the knee will make walking difficult.

One complication of Baker cysts is when the cyst ruptures.  The fluid that should have remained in the knee joint now is in the inner leg.  This will cause a ‘bruise-like’ appearance under the inner ankle and perhaps will cover a large part of your leg.  Depending on the amount of fluid in the cyst, the rupture of it can cause severe and rapid swelling of the leg.

See a medical provider when you notice the cyst and its symptoms to prevent the rupture of the cyst.  Since the pain or swelling may be bearable at first, many people, ‘just keep going.’ The pain and swelling may severely worsen which will impact your recovery time.

After a visual examination, the physician may request that you obtain an ultrasound, an x-ray or an MRI.  The ultrasound can help determine the contents of your cysts and help the physician understand its location.  An x-ray make be taken to see if there are any abnormalities, such as arthritis, causing the cysts.  An MRI may be ordered to determine if there is a meniscal tear to the knee and also helps pinpoint location and size.

The physician after examination, may not order further testing, but instead ask that you rest, elevate the leg and ice it for a certain period of time and then to return if the symptoms do not disappear.  If your symptoms do not disappear, the additional tests may then be ordered and a course of treatment may be prescribed.

Treatment can include a corticosteriod injection to reduce the inflammation you are experiencing.

The physician may drain ( or aspirate) the cyst.  Some patients may have to undergo this procedure more than once.

It is rare, but a surgery to remove the cyst, may also be performed on patients who have very severe pain.  Since the surgery can cause complications such as damaging blood vessesls and nerves that are vital to the knee, the physician will only perform this surgery on patients who have pain that experience severe uncontrollable pain.

Seeking medical attention is important as failure to do so can cause the cyst to return in the future.  Symptoms for this injury may continue to come and go.

I’m Ed Smith of the  My office has been helping Californian’s with traumatic injury claims since the 1980’s.  Since traumatic injury claims is the focus of our practice, we have a tremendous amount of experience with claims involving every and any kind of injury and diagnosis imaginable.

I have had client’s who have had Baker Cysts following auto accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian vs auto crashes, slip and falls, and trucking collisions.  If you need legal assistance after sustaining a traumatic injury, please contact me to discuss your options.

I can be reached via my website or telephone (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400.

It is always a good practice to make sure that the law firm you choose is the right fit for you.  Please learn more about us on Avvo, an attorney rating site and see what my past clients say about their experience with our office on Google and Yelp.

Image Attribution: By Hellerhoff (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons






A 62-year-old Woodland man was killed in a big rig accident near West Sacramento and Woodland. On early Monday Morning, at about 6:40am, a Pontiac Grand Prix was driving westbound on Highway 16, just south of County Road 93. For unknown reasons, the Grand Prix drifted out of its lane and side-swiped a big rig travelling eastbound. The big rig was hauling two trailers.

The impact caused the big rig to lose control. As the driver of the big rig tried to regain control of the truck, it was hit by a Honda Accord. After that, the big rig swerved into the westbound lane of oncoming traffic, colliding with Ford F-150. The 62 year old driver of the F-150 died on impact. According to the CHP, the big rig and the F-150 were then propelled left off the north side of the road.

The big rig overturned, and the Ford came to a stop up against the pole. The sheer force of impact with a power pole sheered it off at its base. The two other vehicles cars came to a stop on the other side of the road, heading south.

All three surviving drivers were hospitalized with moderate to major injuries.

The cause of the accident is still under investigation. It is unknown where the drivers originated their travels, or how long they had been on the road. Fatigue can play a role in many accidents. Although little is now known about crash, there are many regulations governing the operators of big rigs, regarding the number of hours they work, the acceptable use, quantity and quality of prescription drugs, medications and substances they are allowed to use, partake of or imbibe. There are maximum driving time limits for property-carrying vehicles and passenger carrying vehicles.

Generally, a driver of a commercial vehicle may drive during a period of more than 14 consecutive hours following 10 hours of off duty. A driver may only drive a total of 11 hours during that 14 hour period. There are also limitations on the number of hours a driver can work in any consecutive 7 day or 8 day period. (49 CFR 395.3) The penalties for violation of hours of service rules can vary from monetary fines, suspension of licenses, criminal and civil penalties. Evidence that a driver violated an hours of service limitation might also be evidence of negligence in a civil action.

In every case involving a trucking accident, insurance company investigators for the owners of the big rigs have teams that go out to the scene immediately to portray the evidence in the best light favorable to their insured. As a result, it is vitally important for victims or their families to have someone in their corner immediately on these cases as well, before evidence evaporates, disappears or is even destroyed. Evidence at a crash site may have a short life span due to various natural factors, including wind, rain, snow and heat. A prompt and thorough analysis of the evidence left behind at a crash scene can help ultimately determine what happened and who, if anyone, was at fault in the collision.

An experiencedTrucking Accident Lawyer  can help you figure out what happened and what to do after a trucking accident.

Attorney Edward A. Smith has been practicing personal injury law for over 30 years.

Our office has handled many West Sacramento Trucking Accidents.

If you or a loved one have suffered serious personal injuries or death from a trucking accident, contact the experienced Trucking Accident Injury Attorneys at the Law Offices of Ed Smith for a free consultation at (916) 921-6400 or toll free at 1-800-404-5400. You can get more information on my website at .

Reviews of our office can be found on YELP! and Avvo.

On Sunday, June 28, 2015, a young boy was killed in a boating accident with a jet ski or personal watercraft on Bass Lake. The facts of the accident are not entirely clear.  ABC reported that a family had been inner-tubing on Bass Lake when two teens fell into the water.  KCRA reported that the teens had been swimming behind their family’s pontoon boat when the accident occurred. The family had put out proper flagging to warn others that there were people in the water. One boy was killed and another teen was taken by life-flight to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno, where she was listed in critical condition with serious head injuries.

Emergency responders were quick to attempt to render aid, but the 13 yr old boy died at the scene.  The girl was transported by airlift to with serious head injuries.

The driver of the PWC was questioned by detectives. Authorities do not  believe alcohol or drugs played a role in the accident. There has not been any arrest and no citation was issued. The cause of the accident is under investigation.

The Coast Guard compiles statistics on the causes of boating accidents.  In 2014, there were 4,065 accidents involving recreational boats. As a result of those accidents, there were 2,678 injuries and 610 deaths. For every 100,000  recreational vehicles that were registered, there were 5.2 deaths.  That figure represents a 10.6 increase from the previous year’s rate of 4.7  fatalities per 100,000 registered recreational vehicles.

Fatalities were 8 percent higher in 2014 than they were the year before.

There are a variety of factors that need to be considered in investigating the cause of any boating accident. These include:

  • The age of the parties involved;
  • Experience of the operators;
  • Weather conditions;
  • The extent of supervision of any activity;
  • Nature, type, design and condition of the equipment involved in the accident;
  • Evidence from the accident
  • Statements from witnesses,
  • Physical evidence, photographs, video cameras, or other recording devices.

The chief cause of accidents is inattention of the operator in failing  to keep a proper lookout, an inexperienced operator, excessive  speed, and, of course, alcohol.A more detailed discussion of the factors to be considered can be seen on our blog regarding

A more detailed discussion of the factors to be considered can be seen on our blog regarding causes of boating accidents.

In a boating accident with a jet ski or personal water craft,   operators and those swimming free in the water are  extremely vulnerable as they are unprotected from injury by seatbelts or other protective equipment. Accidents involving personal watercraft accounted for 17% of boating accidents in 2014, according to statistics complied by the Coast Guard.

Accidents involving personal watercraft accounted for 17% of boating accidents in 2014, according to statistics complied by the Coast Guard.

Not surprisingly alcohol is the leading factor in all fatal boating accidents, being present in 21% of deaths.

With water levels at an all time low, the proximity of boaters to other recreational users is closer than ever.  Boaters on personal water crafts or jet ski’s  need to pay extra careful attention to avoid collision with swimmers or other boaters nearby.

Whether inattention, lack of supervision, or other factors played a role in this accident is subject to further investigation.

An experienced Sacramento Boating Accident attorney who is familiar with boating accidents should be called immediately.

Ed Smith has been practicing injury law for over 30 years.

If you or a loved one have been injured  in a boating accident, contact the  Law Offices of Ed Smith for a free consultation at (916) 921-6400 or call us toll free at 1-800-404-5400.
You can find out more information on our website, at

Reviews of our office can be found on YELP and AVVO.

Workers Compensation Premiums in California are based on a classification scheme that consideres the dangers of a particular business or occupation as well as the duties and functions of a particular job.

The past safety record of the employer is also considered.


The Insurance Commissioner does not set the actual premiums to be paid by the employer, but every WC insurer needs to develop rates based on some classification system of job risks and safety data. The system developed by the insurance commissioner can be utilized by a given Workers Compensation Insurer but an insurer can also use their own privately developed rating system.

There are over 500 Classification Codes found in the Uniform Statistical Reporting Plan (USRP). The Insurer may use this rate per $100 of pay to determine, in part, the premium that an employer must pay.

The above rate may be modified by an experience modification under the regulations of the California Experience Rating Plan (CERP).

The experience rating modification is based on the employers past record of workers injuries, considering both frequency and severity.

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Worker’s Compensation Attorney. Call me anytime for free, friendly advice at 916-921-6400 or 800-404-5400 outside of Sacramento.

Our Main website is and you will find my firm’s ratings on Yelp and Avvo.