As an Elk Grove personal injury lawyer since 1982, I’ve had occasion to represent hundred’s of motorcyclist’s and their families

and discover quite a bit about motorcycle accidents.

1. A motorcyclist is 30 times more likely to die in a highway accident than is an occupant of a car or SUV.  This is thought to be

because of the lack of protection of the motorcyclist and the failure of other drivers to see the motorcyclist.

2. Alcohol is involved in 30 percent of motorcycle fatalities compared to around 20 percent of other vehicle deaths.

3. Forty Five percent of motorcycle accident fatalities are single user accidents where the motorcyclist is thrown from the bike and crashes into a tree or other obstacle or is thrown down and embankment.

and crashes into a tree or other obstacle or is thrown down and embankment.

4. Even though a motorcycle helmet can save lives (although it actually increases neck injuries), drivers, even inCalifornia,

are wearing helmets 10% less often than they did 20 years ago.

5. Contrary to popular belief, bad weather (such as rain or icy strets) is only a factor in a smll number (2 percent) of motorcycle crashes.

6.  Speeding is a factor in almost 35% of all motorcycle deaths (either the motorcycle or the other vehicle) while the comparable figure for other vehicle accidents is only 22 percent. Speeding motorcyclists have less control over their vehicles than do

automobile or truck operators.

7. By far, the greatest number of motorcycle accidents happen between 4PM and 8PM. Tuesday is the most likely day for an accident.

8. Males are involved in 85 Percent of motorcycle accidents.

 

I’m Ed Smith, Founder ofAutoAccident.com and I can help you on any Elk Grove Motorcycle Accident.  Call me anytime

for free, friendly advice at 916-694-0002.

I ride myself, but think everyone can benefit by being aware of the risks involved.

Or Send for my  book on Amazon entitled The California Motorcycle Accident Handbook.

(Hint, if you call Tami of my office, we’ll send you one Free.)

Look up our Ratings on Yelp or Avvo.

We’re members of Million Dollar Advocates, an organization of attorney’s who have achieved multiple million dollar awards or settlements.

 

 

 

 

 

 

When a person has spinal pain, plain film x-rays can be done that will show the outline of the bone and will detect the presence of bone spurs in facet joint disease. Discs, however, are made of soft tissue and are not detected on plain films. Plain films can, however, show narrowing of the disc space as is seen in degeneration of the discs.

A CT scan or MRI scan of the body can show a great many more things than a plain x-ray. These can show disc material impinging upon the spinal cord or on the spinal nerves. They can also show the presence of bone spurs at the level of the facet joints.

A CT myelogram can show fine detail by injecting a dye into the intrathecal space around the spinal cord. Areas of defect are revealed as places where the disc has herniated into the spinal canal or near the spinal nerves.

Treatment of Spinal Disc Injuries

Most people can undergo conservative management of their disc injury. The same is true if the disc is damaged in an accident of some sort. Surgery is reserved for those cases in which pain relief has not been relieved after conservative measures.

The first step in healing a disc injury is to avoid those activities that make the pain worse. This includes most sports and heavy lifting. There should be no activities that require you to twist or rotate the back or neck, depending on the location of the disc disease.

There are several exercise programs that aid in the recovery from disc disease. One of these is hamstring stretching, which can lower the stress on the back. Other back strengthening exercises can be done along with low impact aerobic workouts. Aerobic workouts can include walking, biking or swimming. Too much rest is actually not a good thing for disc disease. Staying mildly to moderately active is what will ultimately heal the back.

You can apply ice alternating with heat to reduce inflammation and reduce the muscle spasm around the spinal column. Ice has the added effect of reducing pain by gently numbing the affected area.

Medications used include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen, naproxen or COX-2 inhibitors. Even Tylenol can be used for pain relief. Some patients take oral steroids, narcotic pain relievers, or muscle relaxants, depending on their doctor and on the types of symptoms they are having.

Chiropractic manipulation can relieve the pain on a temporary basis. It uses bony manipulation to take pressure off damaged nerves and increase the spine’s range of motion. It can also relieve spasm of the muscles.

In some cases, the doctor can provide the patient with an epidural steroid injection. Steroids are delivered right to the affected area of the spine, reducing pain and inflammation.

If the pain does not get better using conservative measures, spinal fusion surgery might be recommended or perhaps an artificial disc replacement. These are surgical measures that can ease the pain of disc disease, especially if it is at one or two levels.

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-cervical-spine-front-image196847The most common segment which is fused because of disc disease is L5-S1. This is the spinal level most likely to break down over a person’s lifetime. Fusing the spine at this level does not much affect the mobility of the spine. Fusion of L4-L5 vertebral bodies does lessen the degree of spinal motion about the spine. This is a major segment for motion in the lumbar spine. A fusion at multiple levels is rarely done unless the patient has severely disabling pain from spine disease at multiple levels.

Treatment of Facet Joint Injuries

There are several treatments available for facet joint injuries that will allow the patient to live without pain. One such treatment is chiropractic care. The chiropractor can manipulate these joints so that they are in proper position and so that the spasm around the joints is improved. The chiropractor can order hydrotherapy, skeletal manipulation, activity modification, soft tissue massage, spinal adjustment, trigger point treatment, electrotherapy modalities, exercises, traction, and NSAIDs. Sometimes, several chiropractic sessions are recommended in order to progress from a painful spine to a painless spine.

Physical therapy can work to decrease facet joint pain. They can direct the proper kinds of exercises to relieve muscle spasm and increase the flexibility of the back. They can teach proper posture so that you always maintain the proper spinal curvature. They can teach the proper way to transition yourself from a lying to a sitting to a standing position.

Another form of therapy is called prolotherapy. It involves the injection of a non-pharmacological irritant into the facet joint, which leads to inflammation and the induction of a wound healing cycle. It strengthens the surrounding muscles and ligaments so there can be less pressure on the facet joints.

Steroids can be injected into the facet joint space to ease inflammation. The problem with injecting steroids too many times is that it can ultimately weaken the structures around the joint. This can lead to disruption of tissues and further pain.

EdwardSmithI’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Personal Injury Attorney with the most comprehensive and informative accident information site on the web,AutoAccident.com.

If you or someone you know has been injured in an auto or motorcycle 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.

Be sure to read our reviews at Yelp! and Avvo.

Spinal Anatomy

The spine consists of 33 separate bones that are carefully stacked one on top of the other. There are multiple muscles and ligaments that keep the bones in their correct alignment so that the spine can be the main supporting portion of the body. It allows for being able to bend, twist, and stand upright, and it protects the spinal cord from damage by creating a cage around it with various processes in the vertebrae.

Each of the vertebrae is different and they allow for a normal spinal curvature. There is a curve in the neck, a slight kyphosis, or reverse curvature of the thorax and a curve in the lumbar spine. It is the responsibility of the lumbar spine to bear the brunt of the weight of the body. The average vertebra has a cylindrically-shaped body, a posterior spinous process, two lateral transverse processes and two upper and lower processes for articulating the vertebrae to one another.

The vertebrae have a cushion-like structure called an intervertebral disc. It is made from an annulus, which forms a tough fibrous ring around the top of one vertebra and the bottom of the vertebra above it. Inside the annulus is a gelatinous substance called the nucleus. It provides the bulk of the cushioning between the vertebrae.

Unfortunately, there can be too much stress on the disc, resulting in bulging of the annulus or rupture of the annulus, with spillage of the nucleus into the intrathecal space. In such cases, the material can put undue pressure on the spinal nerves that exit the spinal cord or on the spinal cord itself.

The back portion of each cylindrical spinal vertebral body contains several projections as mentioned above. The two supporting pedicles and the two laminae together form the vertebral arch. They form the spinal canal to hold the spinal cord, fatty tissue, blood vessels and ligaments. Beneath each pedicle is a canal through which the spinal nerves exit to the body. Each vertebra also contains a superior facet and an inferior facet, which form the joints that connect each vertebra to the one above and below it. These connections are known as the “facet joints”.

spineThe facet joints are the joints that allow the back to move in its directions. Each vertebra has four different facet joints: two near the top of the vertebra and two near the bottom of the vertebra.
The ligaments of the back are long fibrous bands that connect the vertebrae together. There are three major ligaments in the back. They are the ligamentum flavum, the posterior longitudinal ligament, and the anterior longitudinal ligament. The run the extent of the spinal column and prevent too much movement from occurring in the vertebral bodies. The ALL and PLL run along the vertebral bodies, while the ligamentum flavum connects the lamina of each of the vertebrae.

The spinal discs can cause pain and disability in two ways. It can become disrupted due to a sudden trauma such as a car accident, fall, or sporting injury. In such cases, pain has a sudden onset as the annulus is disrupted and the nucleus herniates out from inside its tough outer shell.

There can be symptoms of disc injury in the cervical area, the thoracic area or the lumbar area of the spine. Common symptoms include:

• Pain in the cervical region
• Pain in the back
• Pain in the arm or arms
• Pain down the leg or legs
• Any combination of the above symptoms

In extreme situations, the patient can have a large herniation of the disc. This can result in weakness in an arm or leg, or signs of compression of the spinal cord, including gait abnormalities, loss of coordination, or difficulties with bladder or bowel control.

Facet Joint Injury

The facet joints are present in the spine in order to prevent over twisting or tipping over of the vertebral bodies. Facet joints provide about twenty percent of the twisting ability of the low back and the cervical spine. These joints are present at all levels of the spine except at the level of the first cervical vertebra. The thoracic area vertebrae do not twist much at all but are permitted a minor amount of flexion and extension and a bit of bending to the side. In the low back, forward and backward motion is allowed to about twelve degrees with lateral bending allowed to about 5 degrees. Rotation of the lumbar spine can occur to about 2 degrees for each segment.

The facet joints normally do slide against each other. Each part of the joint is coated by low friction cartilage that allows for free movement. There are lots of nerve endings around the joint in order to tell us when the joint is inflamed or in danger of being dislocated.

Trauma can disrupt the cartilage and send the joint into a dislocated state. The raw bone without cartilage can form a bone spur around the joint, thus enlarging the joint. This can lead to osteoarthritis of the spine—a situation of chronic back or neck pain. When this happens, it is also called faced joint syndrome or facet joint disease.

When the facet joints are irritated or inflamed, there is a protective reflex which occurs. It causes the nearby muscles to become spasmed. This is especially true when the facet joints become dislocated. The person cannot move the back in any direction until the facet joints are put back in their proper place.

Symptoms of facet joint injury include:

• Sudden episodes of lumbar or cervical pain in the area of the facet joints. These are unpredictable and intermittent episodes that occur every few weeks or months.
• There will be an ongoing point tenderness directly over the location of any inflamed facet joints.
• There will be guarding, which is a relative immobility of the spine due to lack of flexibility of the muscles.
• The pain is worse when leaning backward more than leaning forward.
• If the facet joints impinge on the spinal nerves, there will be pain radiating down the back of the leg to about the level of the knee.
• Cervical facet joint injury will cause radiating pain to the shoulder or down the upper part of the back. Rarely does it go past the elbow.

EdwardSmithI’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Personal Injury Attorney with the most comprehensive and informative accident information site on the web, AutoAccident.com.

If you or someone you know has been injured in an auto or motorcycle 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.

Be sure to read our reviews at Yelp! and Avvo.

dirty kids

We all have heard about the dangers of distracted driving, drunk driving, speeding, etc., but do we ever stop to consider the dangers involved with driving with kids?  Kids are loud, and messy.  These two factors can cause distraction – a high-pitched squeal can divert a driver’s attention from the road.  So can reaching to catch an airborne ketchup packet.  If there are more than one kid in the vehicle, they are nearly guaranteed to start fighting – especially during long road trips.  Refereeing while driving is hazardous.

But in all seriousness, children should be aware of their responsibilities when riding in a vehicle in order to help themselves, the driver and other passengers enjoy a safe ride.  They should be aware that these responsibilities extend to all car rides, no matter who is at the wheel or how long or short the trip is.

CAR RULES

  • Of course, the seatbelt must be worn properly at all times.  This means it should be fastened before the trip begins and stay on until the car is parked at its destination.  During the trip, the child should wear the belt properly.  Many times, a kid will tuck the shoulder harness under his or her armpit claiming it is “more comfortable” that way.  Not allowed!  The belt is far less effective when not worn properly, and in fact could cause greater injury in a crash.
  • The place for kids is the back seat.  Children less than 13 years of age should always be seated in the back to avoid injuries caused by passenger-side airbag deployment.  The airbags are designed to protect a larger person and can cause additional injury to smaller people, which children usually are.
  • Keep calm and ride on.  Horseplay is not safe in a vehicle.  Being loud and moving around a lot is distracting to the driver and puts everyone at increased risk.
  • Remember that the rules apply to every vehicle.  Even if a relative or friend’s parent offers the front seat, explain that the child should say he or she prefers to sit in the back.

Long road trips can test the patience of adults and children alike.  Bringing along quiet distractions such as card games, books, or hand-held electronic devices with headphones can make for a smoother journey for all.

And obviously, when traveling with very young children, correctly installed and properly used child safety and booster seats are not only smart, but are required by law.

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Auto Accident Attorney with the most comprehensive and informative accident information site on the web, AutoAccident.com.

If you or someone you know has been injured in an auto 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.

Be sure to read our reviews at Yelp! and Avvo.

Tragic stories about wrong-way drivers and resultant horrific accidents on Sacramento freeways have been all over the news lately.  Fourteen confirmed lives have been claimed this year in this region as a result, and another recent fatal crash is under investigation to determine whether a wrong-way driver was the cause.

U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) statistics show that wrong-way drivers cause approximately 3% of collisions on divided highways.  Despite the low percentage, that type of accident is far more likely to cause fatalities and/or catastrophic injuries.

Most wrong-way driving incidents occur at night and a significantly higher percentage of the involved at-fault drivers are found to be under the influence of alcohol.

The recent surge in these traumatic accidents in our region has generated a lot of chatter with regard to counter-measures.  Some of the suggestions bandied about have included flashing neon “wrong way” signs and tire damage strips placed in the opposite direction at off-ramps.

Other cities, such as San Antonio, Texas, have implemented some strategies to address the risk of wrong-way driving.  Many more wrong-way drivers were reported than actually caused accidents, so the city’s task force created a map illustrating the sites of wrong-way driver reports.  They did this by combing, among other resources, 911 calls that included the phrase “wrong way”.  Unfortunately, although there were over 350 calls reporting wrong-way drivers, only 5 documented the point of entry onto the highway, a crucial piece of information when trying to determine where to implement more intense preventative measures at the entry point.

Instead, the program identified an area of highway with the most in-progress wrong-way events reported and implemented a countermeasure program that involved equipping highway sections and exit ramps with radar units that could detect when a driver was going the wrong way and activate a “wrong-way” illuminated warning signs in both directions to alert not only the errant driver by vehicles that could encounter it.  After 14 months, the data was analyzed and it showed a reduction of nearly 30# in wrong-way driving events.

The Texas Department of Transportation had originally considered using highway exits near areas that housed a high-concentration of drinking establishments (i.e., in Sacramento’s case, midtown), however investigation revealed that drunk drivers often entered the highway correctly at first, then later exited and attempted to re-enter in the wrong direction.

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Auto Accident Attorney with the most comprehensive and informative accident information site on the web, AutoAccident.com.

If you or someone you know has been injured in an auto 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.

Be sure to read our reviews at Yelp! and Avvo.

The Recent Amtrac train accident in Pennsylvania has brought  to the fore the problems of the government limiting liability for Railroad accidents.

Federal Law passed to “Save” Amtrac years ago, limited total liability for any one accident to $200 Million Dollars. Clearly, this will no be enough to

even cover the medical bills (past and future) of injured passengers and the families of dead passengers.

 

Interestingly enough, employees on the train will be fully covered for their own injures under FELA, a Federal Law that allows railroad employees a full recovery

so long as they can prove “some” negligence by the Railway.

 

It’s unconscionable that railroad employees can obtain a full recovery for their own injuries, but passengers are put in a position where they cannot.

There are many types of injuries that occur from or on railroad trains.

There can be derailments, train v train collisions, train vs car collisions or railroad crossing accidents.

Derailments are almost always the result of failing to follow established safety procedures.

Railway crossing accidents can be the result of a train failing to sound its horn, of defective signals or gates or inattention on the part of the train operator.

Train accidents are complicated and an experienced Sacramento Train Accident Lawyer can help. Call me, Ed Smith, anytime at 916-921-6400 if you

were injured in or by a California train.

Our office has been handling accident claims since 1982.

See our reviews on Yelp Train accident lawyer or Avvo (The Attorney Rating site).

 

 

 

 

dog.bite.preventionIt’s National dog bite prevention week, May 17 – 23.

The CDC reported 4.5 million people in the U.S. were bitten by dogs last year.  Most dog attacks happen to children, the elderly and postal workers.

The American Veterinary Medical Association is sponsoring National Dog Bite Prevention Week to help stop dog bites by educating the public about dog behavior and pet ownership. Information provided on dog bite facts and prevention can be found here.

Educate yourself and loved ones by listening to the following pod casts and videos:

Dr. Ilana Reisner, a board-certified veterinary behaviorist discusses dog bite prevention in a pod cast here.

Victoria Stilwell, dog trainer and host of Animal Planet discusses canine behavior, and what dog owners can do to prevent their dogs from biting in a pod cast here.

Educate your children by watching “Jimmy the Dog” videos here.

California is the state with the highest number of dog bite claims made to one of the largest insurers (State Farm). If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, you may be able to recover damages for your injuries and medical bills. The Attorneys at the Law Offices of Edward A. Smith have over three decades of experience handling dog bite claims. Contact our Sacramento office at (916) 921-6400. If your out of the area contact 1-800-404-5400, www.autoaccident.com. Reviews about our office can be found on Yelp and Avvo.

Dog attacks most frequently occur on small children, the elderly and Postal Service carriers. Dog bites to postal workers continue to rise every year. The USPS reported 29 postal workers were attacked while working in Sacramento county last year.

A total of 5,767 postal employees were attacked by dogs last year. Eighty cities comprise the top 30 rankings.

California has 9 cities in the top 30 rankings as follows:

Los Angeles, CA – ranked #1 with 74 attacks
San Diego, CA – ranked #3 with 53 attacks
Sacramento, CA – ranked #12 with 29 attacks
Long Beach, CA – ranked # 14 with 27 attacks
San Francisco, CA – ranked #18 with 22 attacks
Oakland, CA – ranked #19 with 21 attacks
San Jose, CA – ranked #20 with 20 attacks
Fresno, CA – ranked #23 with 17 attacks
Pasadena, CA – ranked #24 with 16 attacks
Richmond, CA, # 25 with 15 attacks
Riverside, CA #27 with 13 attacks
Chula Vista, CA #29 with 11 attacks
Whittier, CA #30 with 10 attacks

For more information about the top dog attacking city rankings, see the USPS release here.

The postal service provides letter carriers with training on how to respond to dog attacks.

The following tips were released by the U.S. Postal service on the issue:

“If a letter carrier delivers mail or packages to your front door, place your dog in a separate room and close that door before opening the front door. Dogs have been known to burst through screen doors or plate-glass windows to get at strangers.

Dog owners should remind their children about the need to keep the family dog secured. Parents should remind their children not to take mail directly from letter carriers in the presence of the family pet as the dog may view the letter carrier handing mail to a child as a threatening gesture.

The Postal Service places the safety of its employees as a top priority. If a letter carrier feels threatened by a vicious dog or if a dog is running loose, the owner may be asked to pick up the mail at the Post Office until the carrier is assured the pet has been restrained. If the dog is roaming the neighborhood, the pet owner’s neighbors may be asked to pick up their mail at the Post Office as well.”

If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, you may be able to recover damages for your injuries and medical bills. The Attorneys at the Law Offices of Edward A. Smith have over three decades of experience handling dog bite claims. Contact our Sacramento office at (916) 921-6400. If your out of the area contact 1-800-404-5400, www.autoaccident.com. Reviews about our office can be found on Yelp and Avvo.

If you were bitten by a dog and don’t know who owns the dog, contact animal control as soon as possible and file a report. You will be required to give them a description of the dog so that they can try to identify the dog and locate the dog’s owner.

Every year approximately 4.7 million people in the U.S.A. are bit by a dog. Most people are bitten by a dog that is owned by either a family member, friend or neighbor.  Others are bitten by a stray dog or a loose or lost pet.

The following steps will help increase your change of finding the owner of the dog that bit you:

• It is important to get a good mental description of the dog such as breed, size, color and markings.

• If you are carrying your cell phone with you, take a picture of the dog that attacked you.

Don’t Give Up!

• Check with neighbors in the area where you were attacked to find out if they have any information whatsoever about the dog or dog’s owner.

• Call authorities such as animal control or the police department as soon as possible. They may be able to retain the dog and locate the owner.

Keep in mind the following:

Without knowing the dog’s owner, you won’t know the vaccination and health history of the dog. In that case, you will likely need to get further medical care including rabies shots.

Without being able to find the dog’s owner, you will not be able to get reimbursement for your medical bills and other damages.

If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, you may be able to recover damages for your injuries and medical bills. The Attorneys at the Law Offices of Edward A. Smith have over three decades of experience handling dog bite claims. Contact our Sacramento office at (916) 921-6400. If your out of the area contact 1-800-404-5400, www.autoaccident.com. Reviews about our office can be found on Yelp and Avvo.

Riding in a hot air balloon can be an exhilarating and once in a lifetime experience.  But despite its tranquility and sight seeing potential, there are risks and dangers.

Since 1964, the National Transportation Safety Board has investigated 775 hot air balloon incidents in the United States, 70 involving fatalities. Sixteen people died while hot air ballooning from 2002 to 2012.  While experts stress the safety of flying, some of the most deadliest hot air ballooning accidents have occurred in recent years.

The deadliest occurred in February 2013, when a hot air balloon caught fire while floating over Luxor, Egypt, killing 19 of the 21 on board.

In 2012, a hot air balloon hit a power line in New Zealand and burst into flames, killing 11 people. In 2008, a balloon caught fire in Phoenixville, Pa., killing 4 passengers.

All hot air balloons operated in the U.S. must be inspected annually or every 100 hours of flight time if operated commercially, according to Federal Aviation Administration rules. Hot air balloon pilots are required to successfully complete a flight review every two years.

Recently the NTSB expressed concern about “the number of recurring accidents” involving similar safety issues. The board recommended that the Federal Aviation Administration treat hot-air balloons carrying paying passengers the same as helicopters and planes by subjecting tour operators to more regulation.

Balloon pilots must be certified and their balloons regularly checked by authorities. But the NTSB has stated recent studies of accident data showed the current lack of surveillance checks and other oversight contributed to “operational deficiencies” in commercial hot-air balloon flights. Some went up in the air despite risky weather, while others failed to follow the flight manual.

The deadliest accident involving a hot-air balloon in the U.S. killed six people near Aspen Airport in Colorado in 1993, when a sudden change in wind speed and direction shot the balloon into a power line, according to the NTSB. In a flash, the basket cut off from the balloon and crashed. Eleven of the 67 investigated balloon accidents in the U.S. have involved three or more deaths.

After a study released last fall, Johns Hopkins University researchers said that, in addition to the fatal crashes, the number of serious leg injuries suffered by passengers during hard landings was also worrisome. The researchers called on passengers to wear helmets and for gondolas to contain more cushioning and crash-worthy seats.

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 traumatic injury caused by negligence, 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.