Articles Posted in Blunt Trauma

coasterHave you ever wondered who is liable if you get injured while riding a roller coaster?  We’ve all seen the dramatic footage of unfortunate thrill seekers hanging suspended from a malfunctioning roller coaster, precariously dangling and hoping for a quick repair.  Many times, the damage to the park visitor is simply more thrills than he or she bargained for, but sometimes physical injuries do happen.  On average, about 5-7 amusement park accidents happen per year in California.  Sometimes even being stuck for hours in an awkward position while waiting for the ride to be fixed is enough to cause soft tissue injuries such as neck and back strain.  Unfortunately there have even been cases where freak roller coaster accidents have resulted in passenger deaths.

Some people may think that riding a “thrill ride” means that they assume some risk of injury and that perhaps the amusement park is absolved of liability, or fault.  However, the courts in California have not found that to be the case.  In fact, they hold the amusement parks to a high standard of care with regard to roller coasters.  When there is negligence involved, such as when a pine tree fell and landed across the tracks of a roller coaster in Southern California, resulting in injuries, the injured parties have a valid cause of action against the park.

seatelt injuriesSeat belts have been perhaps the most important innovation in motor vehicle safety since automobiles were invented. However, even though these devices can greatly improve motor vehicle safety, they can also result in seat belt injuries. Often this occurs when the seat belts are improperly used, but sometimes it happens even when they are used as intended.

Although the idea of a belt being used to secure a person for safety purposes had been around since the 19th century and had been in use in airplanes since shortly after they were invented, they did not begin to become commonplace in automobiles until the late 1940s and the 1950s when a few auto manufacturers began to offer them as optional equipment. They did not become mandatory equipment in passenger vehicles in the United States until 1968.

airbags are most likely to cause injuries toAirbags have probably been the most significant car safety device to be developed since the invention of seat belts, however even though they can provide significant protection against major injury, they can also cause injuries both when they work as intended and when they don’t. Airbags first began appearing in passenger vehicles in the 1970s, with driver airbags becoming common by the early 1990s, and with vehicles of today now often including both driver and front passenger airbags to protect against impacts from the front and side torso and side curtain airbags to protect against collisions from the sides and rollovers.

In order to protect a vehicle occupant from serious injury in a collision, an airbag must react with an equivalent significant force — it does this by exploding a pyrotechnic device that rapidly and forcefully fills the bag with gas. Some systems are smart enough to detect the severity of an impact and “explode” the airbag with just enough force to provide protection, but most systems — especially older ones — simply inflate the bag to its fullest. And in the United States, design standards require a more forceful bag inflation than do international standards.

Short_Leg_Walking_Cast
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer and over the years I’ve handled cases for hundreds of clients who sustained a fracture to the leg.  If you’re never had a broken leg, you have no idea how difficult it is getting used to this injury and healing from it.

Here’s a few things I’ve learned about that I’d like to share.

airbag
There is little doubt based on safety studies that vehicle airbags offer protection against severe injuries in automobile collisions; that said, the deployment of airbags during a crash can also in and of itself cause injuries – albeit in a vast majority of cases, those injuries were classified as minor.  So while data reveals that airbag deployment can cause injuries – most often to the face, upper extremities and torso – those injuries should be considered in the context of the more serious injuries that the deployed airbag prevented.

Studies have found that the eye area is especially prone to airbag injury, moreso if the party wears glasses.  Such injuries include retinal detachment, lens ruptures and orbital fractures.  Also, when the airbag deploys it releases chemicals which can be injurious to the eyes.  Children seated in front are at risk of eye injuries due to height/position.  However vulnerable the eye/face area appears to airbag injuries, studies have consistently shown that airbag deployment reduces the risk of skull fractures.

A blunt spleen injury is one of the most commonly injured organs after an auto accident. It’s caused by a forceful blow to the abdomen.

The spleen is the organ that filters poorly functioning or damaged red blood cells. It also removes bacteria from the body and produces antibodies.

What are the Different Levels of Trauma Centers?

What are the Different Levels of Trauma Centers?

As a Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer, over the years I’ve been asked what the difference is between the different types of trauma centers. There are different levels of trauma centers: Level I, II, III, IV, and V. These refer to the types and kinds of resources available at the facility and the number of trauma patients admitted each year. The categorization is different for adult and pediatric facilities. Category requirements are different from state to state and are outlined by legislation. Verification of a trauma center’s level is set through the American College of Surgeons and is designed to improve overall trauma care. Verification lasts for three years and then is reevaluated.

A study was done looking at two vehicle collisions that included a passenger car and a light truck, defined as a minivan, van, pickup truck or SUV). They looked at the likelihood of having a fatality, a hospitalization, and the hospitalization charges, looking at vehicle type to see if there was any difference between passenger vehicles and light trucks.

They used data from Minnesota’s Crash Outcome Data Evaluation System or CODES between the years 2004 and 2005. They looked specifically for crash data involving a car and a light truck; only police-reported accidents were used. They were curious about defining a model that predicted the rate of hospitalization depending on various variables. They also did a model of the likelihood of a fatality. In all models, they made a distinction between the two types of vehicles and controlled for factors like occupant, vehicle and crash characteristics. There were separate models for drivers and passengers.

There have been more motorcyclists on the road in many countries over the last few decades. This has led to an increase in severe collisions and rider morbidity and mortality. There have been improvements in helmet technologies and better helmet wearing strategies that have reduced the incidence of serious injuries to the head. Now, chest trauma is surpassing head injuries and is the most serious injury seen in motorcyclists. Unfortunately, few changes have been made to change the situation when it comes to chest injuries.

A new study has looked at finding the needed information to help reduce the incidence of thoracic trauma to motorcyclists. In addition, the article looked at helping motorcycle advocates and road officials to develop ideas and put them in motion so that motorcyclists can be safer. Police and hospital data were compiled. The study looked at nearly 20,000 hospital records on motorcycles and looked at all of the particulars of the incidents. It was found that the incidence of severe chest trauma has more than doubled in the past 2 decades and they comprise 3.2 percent of all registered vehicles. One fourth of all serious chest trauma cases in the hospital have come from motorcyclists. There was an even mixture between fixed object crashes and non-collision crashes. More older riders suffered from chest trauma when compared to younger drivers.

In car accidents, there can be many cases of blunt abdominal trauma. One study looked at an isolated jejunal tear in a 24 year old male trucker who exhibited abdominal pain after sustaining blunt abdominal trauma after hitting the steering wheel in an accident. The treating abdphysician missed the isolated jejunal tear and a nearby contusion and secondary tear so conservative care was recommended. He gradually deteriorated and died from his injury. The autopsy showed the jejunal tear in the small bowel with secondary peritonitis. An exploratory laparotomy and special x-rays would have uncovered the problem and he would likely have survived his injuries.

Another study looked at the pattern of small bowel mesenteric injuries caused by contact with the steering wheel during a motor vehicle. They recognized that small gut mesenteric injuries were rare after blunt abdominal trauma from steering wheels. The researchers did a 10 year retrospective study on these types of injury. They found that all such injuries occurred in males with 13 jejunal mesenteric injuries and four ileal mesenteric injuries.