From news articles to television programs to events in our own lives, we are exposed to a blizzard of terms relating to head injuries. Sometimes they’re used correctly, sometimes they’re not, and in either case they can be confusing.

brain injuriesTraumatic Brain Injuries

A traumatic brain injury — often abbreviated as TBI — is brain damage that has resulted from some outside event or force. This trauma can be from a direct blow to the head, such as hitting one’s head on part of a car’s interior during a motor vehicle collision. It can also be concussive, such as a soldier might experience from a nearby explosion. A TBI can also result from rapid movement of the head, such as the “whiplash” movement that can occur in a car crash — in this instance, no direct blow to the head occurs, rather the brain “sloshes” back and forth, impacting the inside of the skull.

TBIs include “closed head injuries” in which the skull and the membranes underneath it remain intact and “open” injuries in which the skull is fractured or penetrated and the membranes ruptured. Open injuries present additional concerns in the form of routes for infection, possible bone fragments, etc., but closed head injuries can be just as devastating.

“Concussion” is a term that is used less frequently these days by doctors to describe a brain injury, but which is still in common everyday use. The more common term used in medicine is “mild traumatic brain injury” or MTBI. Concussions or MTBIs can result either from direct blows to the head or from the rotational or acceleration/deceleration forces such as from the “whiplash” movement of the neck and head.

Brain Injuries from Intracranial Bleedingbrain injuries

“Subdural and subarachnoid hemorrhage and hematoma” — The brain is surrounded by outer protective membranes called the dura mater and the arachnoid, and these terms simply refer to bleeding that has occurred under (sub) either the outer dura mater membrane or the inner arachnoid membrane. The active bleeding event is the “hemorrhage,” and a “hematoma” is a pooling or collection of blood. These conditions, especially when the result of an acute injury, can be life-threatening. The bleeding can exert pressure on the brain that can produce widespread brain damage, even death.

“Brain damage” simply refers to the destruction of brain cells, whether as a result of trauma or disease. If traumatic, it can be from the blows, concussive, and/or acceleration/deceleration forces that produce TBI and/or from pressure within the skull that results from subdural or subarachoid hemorrhages and hematomas.

Symptoms of Brain Injuries

Some people are fortunately able to recover from brain injuries without significant permanent symptoms, although even for them there may be microscopic damage to the brain cells and tissues.  Others may experience problems such as post-concussive disorders with significant cognitive and emotional problems.

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento personal injury attorney with the primary accident information site on the web, AutoAccident.com.

If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury, including any type of traumatic brain injury, call me now at (916) 921-6400. If you are outside the Sacramento area, you can call at (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly advice.

You can find out more about our office by looking for us either on Yelp or on Avvo, the attorney rating site.

There is a recent boom in a brand new industry — ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft. As more and more vehicles with pink mustaches appear on the streets, more and more traffic accidents will occur in which the challenging question, “Who is financially responsible?” will be asked.

Taxis and Limousines

In traditional transport services such as taxis and limousines, there are requirements for commercial insurance policies for the transportation companies and their drivers. Even in situations where the taxi driver is considered a sub-contractor of the taxi company, there are still typically state and local requirements for large insurance policies to be in place. Essentially, if someone is injured as a the result of a motor vehicle accident caused by a negligent taxi driver, there will virtually always be a large insurance policy available to cover their injuries and property losses.accidents with ridesharing services

Insurance Arrangements with Ridesharing Services

The new ridesharing services, however, have much more of an “arms length” relationship between the service — whose smartphone application acts as a communication tool between customer and driver — and the people who are picking up fares and driving them about. Until recently, there has been no separate requirement for these drivers to carry any insurance coverage beyond whatever minimum amounts may be required for private drivers in general. In California, for example, this is only the $15,000 per person / $30,000 per accident coverage that all drivers are required to have.

Although the ridesharing services have begun to carry their own liability insurance coverage, the requirements for this are still very sketchy. Cities and states are only just beginning to draft rules to cover this new type of business arrangement, and accidents involving ridesharing companies are just starting to test the insurance and legal processes for people injured in accident involving ridesharing services.

Ridesharing Services vs. Taxis

There are other matters to be resolved as well.

A taxi driver who is driving his taxi during his work day is obviously acting as an employee. A ridesharing driver, however, may choose to be looking for fares whenever they like. Is a ridesharing driver who just dropped off a passenger still “on the clock” for this ridesharing service if he gets in an accident a minute later?

The driving records of taxi and limo drivers are usually monitored by their employers — they don’t want to be employing drivers who have serious problems on their driving records. To some degree, this increases the safety of their passengers. What, if anything, will the ridesharing services be doing to monitor their drivers? If they don’t monitor them, should this increase the financial responsibility of the ridesharing services to passengers and other members of the public who are injured by their drivers?

This is a brand new industry that is expanding quickly due to the easy spread of the communications technology that makes it possible. Local and state governments and insurers are hurrying to catch up.

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento personal injury attorney with the primary accident information site on the web, AutoAccident.com.

If you in a motor vehicle collision, including one involving a ridesharing serivce, call me now at (916) 921-6400. If you are outside the Sacramento area, you can call at (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly advice.

You can find out more about our office by looking for us either on Yelp or on Avvo, the attorney rating site.

Traumatic Injury Rates

Traumatic injury is far and away the leading cause of death in children in the United States, and a major portion of those traumatic fatalities are due to traffic accidents — for ages 11 through 14, traffic accidents are the leading cause of mortality in the U.S. For the most recent year for which full data is available (2012), more than 1,100 children under the age of 15 died in traffic fatalities in this country, and more than 160,000 were injured. Protecting children from traffic accident injury has been a top goal of safety analysts and regulators for years.

Protecting Children from Traffic Accident Injury

protecting children from traffic accident injuryThe proper use of car seats, seat belts and lap/shoulder belts is especially effective at protecting children from traffic accident injury. For crashes involving passenger cars, seat belts cut the fatality rate in half, and for crashes involving light-trucks (including many SUVs) the rate is cut by nearly two-thirds. Child safety seats used in passenger cars reduce fatalities among infants by more than 70% and by more than 50% among toddlers. Numbers from 2012 suggest that if all children under 5 years of age were in car seats, approximately 340 lives could have been saved in that year. Of course, restraints such as seat belts, child safety seats, and booster seats must be used in accordance with the instructions for each — improper use can actually increase the chance of certain types of injuries.

Children are particularly vulnerable to injury as pedestrians. More than one-fifth of the child traffic incident fatalities in 2012 were as pedestrians. Children face the double threat of their small size, which makes them less visible to motorists, along with their relative lack of maturity and tendency to move toward traffic when they should not — three-quarters of child pedestrian fatalities did not occur at intersections, meaning that the children were in roadways in the middle of blocks rather than at intersections where protections such as pedestrian traffic signals and marked crosswalks could have helped prevent injuries. Increased educational efforts can reduce this danger.

Injuries in vehicle vs. bicycle incidents are also a vulnerable point for children, though substantially decreased rates of fatalities among older children in recent years have been observed and credited in large part to the increased mandatory use of helmets for young bicyclists.

Drunk Drivers

A major cause of fatal car crashes involving children is alcohol use. Approximately 1 in 5 of the children killed in motor vehicle accidents were in crashes involving drunk drivers, and slightly more than half of those were passengers in vehicles who drivers had blood alcohol of .08 or higher — the legal limit in California. Think about those numbers for a moment — half of the children killed due to alcohol-related accidents were killed because their own drivers were drunk. One of the best ways of protecting children from traffic accident injury is for parents simply not to drink and drive, and to be aware of the condition of other people who may be transporting their children.

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento personal injury attorney with the primary accident information site on the web, AutoAccident.com.

If you or your child has suffered a serious injury in a motor vehicle collision or other traumatic event, call me now at (916) 921-6400. If you are outside the Sacramento area, you can call at (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly advice.

You can find out more about our office by looking for us either on Yelp or on Avvo, the attorney rating site.

car accidentHip fractures most often occur in front end impacts. There are several types of hip fractures. Some fractures near the femur bone and joints may affect the pelvis. Besides fractures, there can also be extensive bruising and/or dislocation of the hip joints.

Every hip fracture is painful. Treatment may be surgical or non-surgical.

If the fracture is surgical, the surgery is usually performed within 48 hours followed by around 5-6 days in a hospital. After that, there may be 4-6 weeks of subacute care in a rehabilitation facility followed by another month of rehabilitation.

Hip fractures are expensive injuries and if they occur to the elderly can be especially deadly.

Care for these fractures is very expensive, another reason to have high uninsured/under-insured motorist insurance limits or a personal umbrella policy that provides UM/UIM coverage.

The best thing one can do if he or she has a rib fracture is to move as soon as possible after the surgery. Any kind of weight bearing activity encourages the bones to heal more quickly.

Slowly  and gradually increase the weight put on the hip. Try to do frequent short walks. You will need physical therapy and its important to be fastidious at not missing sessions.

Diet wise, make sure you are taking in a lot of protein, calcium and foods with Vitamin D. All these increase the chances of healing.

Socially, try to go out and meet people. Isolation can be a result of a serious injury like a fracture, and studies show that isolation and a lack of social contact increases your risk of death.

Some tips from my past clients with hip fractures.

 

-Wear an apron to put things in. It leaves your hands free for balance.

-Use a bathtub stool with nonslip mats.

 

– Buy a long handled “Reacher” to grab nearby things

 

-Avoid waxing the floors as long as you can. You don’t want to fall with a fractured hip!

 

– Be aware of where your pets are at all times. It’s easy for them to get underfoot and with you’re bad hip, you can’t avoid them as you used to .

 

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Personal Injury Attorney who has represented many people with fractured hips over the course of my career. If I can help you,

call me anytime at 916-921-6400 for free, friendly advice. Outside of Sacramento call me at 800-404-5400. I take fractured hip cases throughout

California.

See my firm reviews on Yelp and  Avvo (The attorney Rating site). Also see our verdicts and settlements.

 

 

 

 

Driver Fatigue

Driver fatigue is a well-recognized cause of motor vehicle accidents, injuries, and fatalities. Most often we probably think of long-haul truckers and graveyard-shift workers when the term “driver fatigue” comes up, but there is a twice per year ritual that apparently exposes all of us to an increased risk of vehicle crashes due to driver fatigue. Simply put, daylight saving time kills.daylight saving time kills

History

Although proposals for the shifting of our clocks that became daylight saving time have been around for centuries, they first came into common use in North America and Europe in times of crisis during the 20th century, especially World War I, World War II, and the energy crisis in the 1970s. The main argument in favor of daylight saving time has been that during the summer months, when hours of daylight are much longer in temperate regions in the Northern Hemisphere, moving clocks forward an hour would allow people to experience an extra hour of waking, daylight time — thereby avoiding the increased use in energy that occurs during waking, nighttime hours. The advantages and disadvantages continue to be a source of argument, but a recent study that finds daylight saving time kills may add a significant point to counter the practice to which approximately one-and-one-half billion people are exposed each year.

Daylight Saving Time Kills

An economics PhD candidate in the United States recently presented a paper to the American Economic Association in which he described his analysis of motor vehicle accident statistics as compared to the dates for the bi-annual clock shifts. His results are stark — over a period of 6 days immediately following the spring time change (in which clocks are “sprung forward”) motor vehicle accident fatalities increase by 6 percent. On a nationwide basis, this is a large number of fatal incident. No similar change was seen in accident statistics following the autumn time change (in which clocks “fall back”), perhaps because we lose an hour of sleep in the spring but gain an hour in the autumn.

The author of the paper also notes that more study needs to be done looking at possible reductions in motor vehicle crashes during summertime daylight saving time hours when there is an extra hour of daylight-condition driving time each evening. But at least for the week or so after the spring change, daylight saving time kills, and we should be especially alert to other drivers and our own levels of fatigue.

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento personal injury attorney with the primary accident information site on the web, AutoAccident.com.

If you have suffered a serious injury in a motor vehicle collision or other traumatic event, call me now at (916) 921-6400. If you are outside the Sacramento area, you can call at (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly advice.

You can find out more about our office by looking for us either on Yelp or on Avvo, the attorney rating site.

Tinnitus

 

Recently a neighbor informed me that he was experiencing loss of hearing and tinnitus. Initially, I assumed this was age related. He went on to explain however that this was a side effect of a medication he was recently prescribed.

Hearing loss due to medication use is medically described as ototoxicity.  Medications that can cause hearing loss or tinnitus can include prescriptions such as: antibiotics, chemotherapy treatments, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s), diuretics, cardiac medications, and psychopharmacologic drugs (Xanax, Wellbutin.)  A complete list of such medications can be found here.

People using medications that are considered otoxic (another words have the potential to harm the ear) may not suffer any hearing loss or tinnitus issues at all simply because peoples bodies react differently to the same medication.

Why may hearing loss due to medication use occur in some people and not others?

*  Hearing loss and tinnitus may occur in people that already have existing issues with their auditory nerve damage.

*  Some people who experience hearing loss may find that the symptoms reverse once the medication is discontinued.  It may simply be the way their body reacted to the medication.

*   Hearing loss may be due to taking one or more medications that are considered ototoxic putting them at higher risk.

*  Loss of hearing may occur if the recommended dosage is exceeded.

*   Magnesium deficiency.

*   Dehydration.

*  Prexisting perforation of the eardrum can cause increase the risk of hearing loss due to medication.

*  Sufferers of chronic kidney disease may have greater susceptibility to hearing loss with certain medications.

*  Family history.

Some medications used to treat cancer have been associated with hearing loss. In these cases, many who are forewarned of this side effects by their medical provider, feel that the advantage of beating cancer and surviving is worth the risk of loss of hearing due to the medication.  However, others feel frustrated that they now have permanent hearing loss or tinnitus, due to feeling ‘blue’ and using a psychopharmacologic drugs for a very short time and are now left with an adverse permanent effect.

What can you do to avoid loss of hearing due to medication usage? 

First, make sure that you inform your doctor of any pre-existing ear or auditory issues such as a perforation of the eardrum, etc.  Talk to your doctor and pharmacist if you are using several medications about the specific combination of medications you have.  It may be possible that if two or more drugs have a high risk of loss of hearing with medication use that your medical provider may change one of the prescriptions to a less ototoxic medication. Take only the prescribed quantity of the medication and no more. Contact your medical provider immediately if you notice any hearing loss due to medication use.  Do not minimize your hearing loss as ‘aging’ if it begins after you have started taking a new medication. It’s possible that early detection and changes in prescription use can reverse the issue or keep it from getting worse.  If it cannot be avoided that you must take multiple medication whose use may lead to hearing loss, your doctor may require monitoring of your blood levels. Make sure you comply. Advise your medical provider if others in your family have suffered hearing loss with the use of certain medications.

In our personal injury practice, we have seen cases where medications prescribed to a client can cause hearing loss or tinnitus. This has included medications such as NSAID’s that were prescribed as a result of injuries after a traumatic accident. If a medication is taken because of a traffic accident and the medication causes hearing loss or problems, the driver of the at fault vehicle will be responsible for compensation.

The Law Offices of Edward A. Smith (also known a AutoAccident.com) is a leading personal injury law firm in California. We specialize in cases involved traumatic injury due to accidents involving auto, big rigs, motorcycles, boats, ATV’s and personal water crafts.  Choosing a law firm to represent your rights should not be taken lightly. We encourage people to make sure the law firm the choose is the right fit for them. Please learn more about our practice by visiting our website and by learning about what our past clients have said via review sites such as Google, Yelp, Facebook and Avvo.  If you would like to talk to someone regarding your potential claim, please call us at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400.

 

Photo Attribution: By Jason Rogers [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Does a dog owners legal defenses hold up in court if their dog bite’s someone?

Angry_German_Shepherd_glaring_through_the_fence

 

 

 

 

In California, when a dog bite’s any person, the dog owner is held liable for any damages sustained by the victim. The Law Offices of Edward A. Smith has handled hundreds of dog bite cases including cases in which the dog owner has attempted to avoid liability or decrease their share of liability using legal defense. In a dog bite case, a dog owner may be able to defend a claim or lawsuit by some of the following common legal defenses:

Provoking the dog – A dog owner may be able to defend a lawsuit by showing the injured person provoked the dog. For example, hitting or teasing a dog. Simply, walking toward a dog does not constitute provocation.

Knowingly risked being injured by the dog – For example, a person who saw a dog barking viciously behind a fenced gate and proceeded to go through the gate may be construed as assuming the risk of being bitten.

Trespassing – the injured person was trespassing. Note, however, that a trespasser still can base a claim on strict liability for a dangerous propensity, or negligence.

Breaking the law – the injured person was committing a crime on the owner’s property.

It is important to note, a child under 5 in California cannot be prevented from a recovery because of a provocation.

If you were bitten by a dog and were lawfully on private property and were not committing a crime, or tormenting the dog then the dog’s owner is liable for your injuries and damages under California’s dog bite laws. Even if a dog owner is defending it’s dog and liability appears to be in question, it is important to consult with an experienced dog bite attorney to help sort out the facts. Oftentimes, the dog owners defenses are not legitimate legal defenses at all.

Contact an experienced dog bite attorney at the Law Offices of Edward A. Smith for a free consultation on your dog bite case. We can be reached in Sacramento office at (916) 921-6400 or if your out of the area in California at 1 (800) 404-5400. You can learn more about our office by visiting www.autoaccident.com. Reviews are on Yelp.

carseat

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has stricter guidelines for children in car seats than most states.  California is one of the most stringent in terms of state laws for children.  According to California law, a child must be in a booster seat until they reach age 8, or a certain height.  Violations of this standard will result in the driver being fined.  Other states that require car seats to age 8 are Maryland, Texas, Maine, New Jersey and Washington.

The reason for these car seat laws is that the standard adult seat belt does not fit a small child correctly.  To avoid more serious injuries, the lap belt should not sit at the abdomen, but rest at the upper thighs/pelvic area.  The shoulder harness should sit across the chest from the shoulder, not from the neck.  A booster seat ensures that the seatbelt hits the proper bodily areas.

The NHTSA recommends that children 8-12 use booster seats, indicating age 13 as a safe transition to adult seat belts.  However, larger children may reach the size that the adult belt will hit the proper points, which is really the most important criteria – size vs. age.  Age 13 is not a magic number.

To ensure that your child is secured property in a car seat or adult seat belt check the following:

  • Make sure they stay seated during the entire car ride.
  • Sit straight and back in the seat with knees bend at the edge of the seat.
  • The seat belt should sit low on hips, not across the abdomen.
  • The shoulder strap should cross at the center of the chest and not rub against the child’s neck or face.

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Auto Accident Attorney with the primary personal injury information site on the web, AutoAccident.com.

If you or someone you love has been in a car accident, call me at (916) 921-6400. If you are outside the Sacramento area, you can call us at (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly advice.

You can find out more about our office by looking either Yelp or on Avvo, the attorney rating site.

Truckers are often involved in preventable rear end collisions.  If a driver is professionally trained, one of the most important issues stressed in training is keeping  a safe distance between the truck

and the vehicle ahead at all times.

stock-photo-37092192-big-burgundy-rig-in-rain-on-high-way

 

Sometimes, there are obstructions on a roadway hidden by the top of a hill or by a curve. A professional driver should be prepared for such obstructions as they occur from time to time and are

foreseeable.

When driving at night, a driver’s headlights should illuminate the area in front of him and a driver should be able to stop a truck within the distance illuminated by the headlights.

 

Some important questions a jury should determine in a truck rear end accident are:

 

– Did the truck driver keep a safe following distance at all times?

 

-Did the driver observe traffic in front of him carefully, slowing down when necessary?

 

– Did the truck driver misjudge the rate of overtaking?

 

– Was the truck too close to the vehicle in front when trying to pass that vehicle?

 

-Did the truck driver leave sufficient room for a passing vehicle to get safely get back on the road?

 

In every accident involving a truck, a trucking accident expert should be retained as well as an experienced accident reconstructionist.

 

I’m Ed Smith, an experienced Sacramento Truck Accident attorney. If you or a family member or friend were involved in a truck accident, call me as soon as possible. My telephone number in

Sacramento is 916-921-6400 and 800-404-5400 elsewhere in California.

 

You can find more about my firm on Yelp or on Avvo (the Attorney Rating Site). My web site www.AutoAccident.com is the leading site in California for Motor Vehicle Accidents.

 

In every trucking accident, insurance companies have their investigation teams on site almost immediately. Delay can really hurt a case so please call me immediately.

 

 

 

 

What kind of dog bite injury compensation can I get if I was bitten by a dog?

In California, if you are bitten by a dog the dog owner is held strictly liable. What that means is that you only need to prove that you were bitten and were injured as a result of the dog bite.
An experienced dog bite attorney can determine the amount of compensation you deserve injuries and damages caused by a dog bite.  A victim is entitled to receive compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and any future medical related care or lost income.

In addition to these loses a dog bite victim is entitled to compensation for physical pain and suffering as well as emotional trauma, associated with the dog bite attack.

Understandably, with medical bills piling up, a dog bite victim typically wants to know the value of his or her case as soon as possible. Don’t short change yourself. If you or someone you love has been bitten by a dog, it is best not to sign a release for immediate compensation that only covers the victim’s medical bills. There is no way to determine the value of a dog bite injury by the medical bills alone. There are other important factors to consider before settling a dog bite claim that only an experienced dog bite attorney will carefully investigate.

What Determines the Value of a Case?

Factors such as whether there is any physical disfigurement and/or scarring will increase the amount of pain and suffering that the jury will likely award and the amount the insurance adjuster will feel comfortable paying. The location of a scar can make a difference as well. A scar on the face is considerably more emotionally disturbing than a permanent scar in a non-visible place. The age of the victim should also be factored in to the value of the case, especially in cases involving children, who can be emotionally traumatized for years after a vicious dog bite attack.

The need for on-going and future medical care will also be taken into consideration when calculating the amount of compensation or an award by a jury.   The costs of plastic surgery to reduce or remove scars can also be included in a settlement or award.

The dog bite attorneys at the Law Offices of Edward A. Smith have over 30 years of experience in handling dog bite injury cases. If you sustained injuries from a dog bite, contact our office at (916) 921-6400 or 1 (800) 404-5400, www.autoaccident.com to speak with an experienced dog bite attorney for a free case evaluation. For reviews please visit Yelp and Avvo.