Call Us Now - Available 24/7 - 888-CZR-FIRST

Blog

An Introduction to Traumatic Brain Injuries

- SimpleSEO Group

Any time a person is injured, it should be taken seriously. But, there are some injuries that are far more serious than others. One of the most devastating and life-changing injuries is a traumatic brain injury, or TBI.

There are two types of TBIs: open and closed. An open TBI injury occurs when a foreign object such as a bullet breaks the skull and enters the brain cavity. A closed TBI, on the other hand, occurs as a result of a violent blow or jolt to the head. The impact from a violent blow and the sudden movement from a jolt can cause the brain to hit against the skull, which damages brain cells.

Over one-third of all TBIs are caused by falls, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Another 17.3% of these injuries occur in traffic accidents, either when the victim’s head jolts back and forth or when the victim’s head makes impact with the steering wheel, window, or another part of the car. Falls and car accidents are the two most common causes of TBIs, but they’re far from the only causes. Unfortunately, the cause of 21% of TBIs is still unknown.

What are the Symptoms of TBIs?

The symptoms of a TBI will vary depending on whether the victim has sustained a mild, moderate, or severe injury. A victim who has suffered a mild TBI may or may not lose consciousness, however if they do lose consciousness, it should not be for very long. Mild TBI victims can also experience extreme confusion, memory loss, and disorientation after an accident. Later, other symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, intense headaches, mood swings, sensitivity to light, and dizziness can set in if the victim has suffered a mild TBI.

Moderate and severe TBI victims experience nearly identical symptoms, so they are often grouped together even though severe TBIs are more serious. Anyone who has suffered either one of these injuries will lose consciousness. The loss of consciousness can last for anywhere from several minutes to hours, depending on the severity of the injury. But, this is just one of the many symptoms that a moderate or severe TBI victim may experience. Other symptoms include seizures, loss of coordination, clear fluids coming from the nose or eyes, vomiting, slurred speech, and numbness.

It’s obvious when someone has suffered a moderate or severe TBI because they will immediately lose consciousness. But, since mild TBI victims may not ever lose consciousness, it can be difficult to tell when these victims are in need of immediate medical attention. In addition, many of the mild TBI symptoms may not set in until hours or days after the accident. For these reasons, it’s recommended that you seek medical attention as soon as possible any time you are involved in an accident where you hit your head or jerked your head back and forth quickly.

How Are TBIs Treated?

A doctor cannot treat a mild TBI, so many victims wonder why it’s so important to seek medical attention. Even though there is no treatment for mild TBIs, a doctor still needs to evaluate and monitor your condition to ensure it does not get worse. A doctor may also be able to prescribe you medications to treat some of the symptoms of a mild TBI, such as insomnia, pain, and anxiety.

Treating a moderate or severe TBI involves much more than simply monitoring a patient. Doctors will need to focus on stabilizing the patient’s condition before moving any further with treatment. This means ensuring the patient has enough oxygen and keeping the patient’s blood pressure down.

Many moderate and severe TBI victims will need surgery right away when they arrive at the hospital. Surgery is often performed to remove a piece of the skull, which reduces the pressure inside the brain cavity and alleviates swelling of the brain. If the skull is fractured, a surgeon may need to repair the fracture as soon as the patient arrives in the emergency room.

Every TBI victim’s recovery is unique. There are no guarantees when it comes to recovering from a moderate or severe TBI. Some patients regain consciousness, while others will never emerge from their comas. Even if a patient regains consciousness, they will most likely need extensive rehabilitation and physical therapy to relearn certain skills they have lost due to brain damage. Some TBI patients notice a huge improvement in their condition after rehabilitation and physical therapy, while others only see minor improvements.

How to Recover Compensation For TBIs

TBI victims can incur thousands and sometimes even millions of dollars in expenses. In fact, it is estimated that the lifetime cost of caring for a severe TBI victim can be between $600,000 and $1.8 million. The vast majority of TBI victims cannot afford these expenses, which is why the law allows personal injury victims to recover compensation from the party that caused them harm.

For example, let’s say you are involved in a car accident that was the other driver’s fault. If you sustained a TBI in the car accident, the other driver’s insurance company is responsible for compensating you for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. But unfortunately, recovering the compensation that you deserve is no easy feat, especially if you attempt to do so without the help of an attorney.

Have you suffered a TBI due to the negligent acts of another person? If so, contact Carpenter, Zuckerman, & Rowley right away to discuss your case. Our team of personal injury attorneys will fight tirelessly to recover the compensation that you deserve. Let us handle the legal aspect of your case so you can focus solely on recovering from this devastating injury.

How to Prevent Personal Injuries in the Winter

- SimpleSEO Group

Winter is right around the corner! Many people associate winter with colder temperatures and the holiday season, but personal injury attorneys often associate winter with an increased risk of accidents. There are a number of different types of accidents that are more common in the winter, including car accidents and slip and falls, to name a few. To protect yourself this winter, follow these tips from our experienced personal injury attorneys:

Stay Safe on the Roads

A lot of people travel during the winter, especially around the holidays, which means there will be more drivers on the road than usual. To avoid getting into a car accident, make sure you remain focused on the road every time you are behind the wheel. Give yourself plenty of time to get to your final destination so you don’t feel the need to speed to get there faster. Remember, because there are more drivers on the road, it may take longer for you to get where you’re going.

If the temperatures drop, the roads can start to get icy, even here in Los Angeles. Stay in control of your vehicle by leaving plenty of room between your car and the car in front of you. It may take longer for your car to come to a complete stop when the roads are icy, so this extra room can help you avoid rear-ending the person in front of you.

Finally, be mindful of the state that you are in before getting behind the wheel. There are fewer daylight hours in the winter, so you may find yourself getting tired earlier than you usually do because of the darkness. Drowsy driving can be dangerous, so it’s never a good idea to get behind the wheel if you’re fatigued.

Many people catch a cold in the winter and take over-the-counter medication to help them feel better. If you take any medication, even if it is prescribed or sold over-the-counter, make sure you read the label to understand how it will affect your ability to drive. Many cough, congestion, and sore throat medications list drowsiness as a side effect, so they shouldn’t be taken before you have to drive.

Keep Your Footing

Ice often accumulates on sidewalks and other walkways when the temperatures drop, which is why slip and falls are so common during the winter. To prevent this type of injury, be sure to wear appropriate footwear. If you know it’s icy outside, wear slip resistant shoes. Put your phone away while walking outdoors so you can pay attention to where you’re stepping. If you have to walk over a patch of ice, go slowly instead of racing to get across it.

If ice starts to accumulate around your house, protect yourself and your guests by using a de-icer that is pet-friendly. A pet-friendly de-icer does not contain any salt or harmful chemicals, so it will melt the salt around your home without putting animals or little ones in harm’s way.

Shop Safely

As the holidays inch closer and closer, you may find yourself rushing around town to buy all of your loved one gifts. Retailers are typically more crowded than usual during the winter, especially right around the holidays. This means that the stores may be more dangerous as well, so it’s important to pay attention to your surroundings while you shop. Look for products that have fallen off of the shelves, carpeting that has ripped, or puddles on the floor that may have been caused by spills. These are all safety hazards that could lead to slip and fall accidents and serious injuries. Even though you may be in a hurry to get all of your holiday shopping done, nothing is more important than your wellbeing, so slow down and shop safely.

At-Home Injuries

The roads and shopping malls may be dangerous, but many injuries occur at home during this time of the year. If you use a space heater, for example, be sure not to leave it on if you do not plan on staying home. In fact, the heater should be turned off even if you have just moved to another room. The heater should always be kept far away from flammable items such as bedding, curtains, clothing, and Christmas trees. Once something catches on fire, it only takes a few minutes for the fire to spread, so be incredibly careful when using these heaters.

Speaking of Christmas trees, if you plan on putting one up this year, do not use any decorative lights that appear to be frayed or damaged. These lights could be defective and dangerous, so inspect them closely before putting them on your tree. Even if the lights appear to be completely safe, turn them off before leaving the house or going to bed. The same safety tips apply to any decorative lights that are placed on the outside of your home.

If you light holiday candles in your home, never leave them lit while you are not in the room. Make sure they are placed on a table or countertop that is out of the reach of small children. They should also be placed in a spot where pets cannot reach them or knock them over, such as a high countertop. By following these tips, you can keep everyone in your home safe this winter.

No one ever plans on getting injured, but it’s important to know what to do in the event that you are. If you are injured due to another person’s negligence this winter, contact Carpenter, Zuckerman, & Rowley right away to discuss your case. Our personal injury attorneys will immediately begin to gather evidence, identify the liable parties, and fight for the compensation that you deserve.

How Do You Know If You Have A Slip and Fall Claim?

- SimpleSEO Group

Everybody loses their footing at some point in their lives, but some slip and falls are far more serious than others. If you’ve sustained injuries as a result of a slip and fall that occurred on someone else’s property, a personal injury attorney may be able to help you recover compensation. But first, you must be able to prove that someone else was liable for your injuries.

Sometimes, the blame falls on the owner of the property where the injury occurred. Due to premises liability laws, property owners have a legal obligation to maintain safe conditions on their properties in order to protect visitors from harm. If they fail to fulfill this obligation and someone is injured as a result, they are liable for the injuries. However, this does not mean that a property owner will be liable for every slip and fall accident that takes place on their property. How do you know when it’s worth your time to seek compensation from the property owner? You have a valid slip and fall claim if you are able to prove these three elements:

Duty of Care

First, you must be able to prove that the property owner owed a duty of care to you. “Duty of care” is a legal term that refers to a person’s legal obligation to act in a reasonable and responsible manner. In slip and fall cases, a property owner owes a duty of care to anyone who is legally on the property. For example, a grocery store owner owes a duty of care to the store’s customers. However, a property owner does not necessarily owe a duty of care to someone who is illegally trespassing on the property. Therefore, proving the property owner owed you a duty of care boils down to showing that you were on the property legally at the time of the accident.

Negligence

The most challenging part of a slip and fall claim is proving that the property owner was negligent. A property owner is negligent if one of these three conditions is met:

  • The property owner created the safety hazard that caused your accident, but did nothing to fix it.
  • The property owner knew about the safety hazard that caused your accident, but did nothing to fix it.
  • The property owner should have known about the safety hazard that caused your accident, because a reasonable property owner would have known about it.

Proving that one of these statements is true is crucial to your case. To do this, an attorney will need to gather evidence, including witness testimony, surveillance footage, maintenance records, and photographs from the scene. For example, let’s say one of the property owner’s employees testifies that the safety hazard was present for months prior to the accident. Even if it cannot be proven that the owner created or knew about the safety hazard, this is enough evidence to prove the third condition, which is that they should have known about it. If they were a reasonable property owner, they would have been aware of a safety hazard that was present for months.

After establishing negligence, you must also prove that the property owner’s negligence directly led to your injuries. This can be done by showing how the safety hazard, which was a result of the owner’s negligence, caused you to slip and fall.

Comparative Negligence

It’s important to note that you might share fault with the property owner if you were also negligent. For instance, if you ignored a “do not enter” or “wet floor” sign and were injured as a result, the court will probably find that you are partly to blame for the accident. California is a comparative negligence state, which means you will still be able to recover compensation even if you were partly to blame, however you will not be awarded as much. Say the court finds that you are 40% responsible for the accident, and the property owner is 60% responsible. If you were initially entitled to $100,000 in damages, the court will only award you 40%, which is $40,000. The property owner may try to place as much of the blame on you as possible in order to reduce the amount of compensation that they owe you.

Damages

Lastly, you must prove that you have incurred expenses or suffered losses as a result of the slip and fall injury. Have you incurred medical expenses? Did you have to take time off of work during your recovery? Have you experienced emotional anguish? If it can be proven that these expenses and losses are related to your injuries, the defendant will be ordered to compensate you.

To prove damages, it’s important to document all of your expenses and losses so you can keep track of how much you are owed. Hold onto all of your receipts, medical records, pay stubs, and any other documents that are relevant to your case. It may also be a good idea to keep a journal beginning immediately after so you can write down your symptoms on a daily basis. The entries don’t need to be long, but they should touch on how you are feeling both physically and emotionally. These daily entries can prove that you were experiencing pain and suffering for a long period of time following the accident.

If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, contact Carpenter, Zuckerman, & Rowley right away to discuss your case. Our personal injury attorneys will review the details of your case to determine if someone else is liable for your injuries. If we are able to prove the property owner was liable for your injuries, we will aggressively fight for the compensation that you deserve.

How Long Will It Take to Resolve A Personal Injury Case?

- SimpleSEO Group

Personal injury victims are often eager to resolve their case so they can use the money from the settlement or verdict to pay their medical bills and focus all of their attention on their recovery. For this reason, many clients often ask during the initial consultation how long it will take to resolve their case. This is a difficult question for any personal injury attorney to answer since there are so many factors that could affect the time it takes to wrap up the case. Here’s a look at some of the factors that could cause your personal injury case to drag on longer than expected:

Going to Trial

Only about 5% of all personal injury cases make it to trial—the rest are resolved through settlements that are negotiated out of the courtroom. Cases that are settled outside of the courtroom are typically resolved much faster than those that go to trial. If you end up going to trial, it’s important to understand that this means it could be months or even years before you recover compensation.

Extensive Damages

The value of your claim can also affect how long it takes to resolve your case. If you are not seeking a significant amount of compensation, the at-fault party’s insurance company should be willing to work with you to resolve the case quickly. However, insurance adjusters will be far more careful in high-value cases. They will painstakingly review all of the evidence to look for weaknesses in your case that could lower the value of your claim. Reviewing evidence can be time-consuming, especially if the insurance adjuster attempts to discredit the records or witness testimony that you have provided. The insurance adjuster will typically not make a large offer to you unless he is absolutely certain that after reviewing the evidence, there is no way for him to dispute liability or the legitimacy of your injuries.

Length of Recovery

A personal injury attorney will not initiate negotiations with the at-fault party’s insurance company until you have reached maximum medical improvement, or MMI. You will reach MMI when a doctor has determined that you should not expect your condition to improve any further in the future. Some victims will be fully recovered when they have reached MMI, but others will not. For example, a victim with a broken bone will be completely healed when the doctor determines they have reached MMI, but a victim with a traumatic brain injury may still experience symptoms that are not expected to improve when they have reached MMI.

Your attorney will not be able to accurately calculate the value of your claim until you have reached MMI. Using the example above, the victim with the broken bone probably will not be entitled to any damages for future expenses, lost wages, or pain and suffering, however the victim with a brain injury will. A personal injury attorney cannot determine if you should receive damages for your future expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering until you have reached MMI. In addition, it’s impossible to estimate how much compensation you are entitled to for your medical expenses before you have completed treatment. Therefore, the longer that it takes for you to reach MMI, the longer it will take to resolve your personal injury case.

Stalling Tactics

Insurance adjusters know that some personal injury victims are eager to recover compensation. These victims have massive medical bills and may not be able to work and earn an income due to their injuries. Instead of showing compassion, insurance adjusters often use stall tactics to delay the case further. They may request additional documents that they claim they need to review before making an offer or they may start off with an incredibly low offer so you are forced to engage in lengthy negotiations. Some insurance adjusters will continue to delay the case in anyway possible in order to see if you are wiling to give in and accept an offer that is much lower than you deserve. However, a good personal injury attorney should be able to prevent these tactics from affecting your case.

Complex Cases

Every type of personal injury case has its own complexities, but there are some that are typically more challenging than others. Medical malpractice, product liability, and truck accident cases tend to be more complicated than others. In these cases, expert witnesses often have to be called in to provide testimony that supports your version of events. Multiple parties could be to blame in these cases, which is another reason why they are usually more complex. Dealing with one insurance company is hard enough, but it becomes even more difficult with multiple insurance companies involved. In general, the more complex a case it, the longer it will take to resolve.

Disputes Over Liability

Sometimes, the insurance adjuster will immediately accept that their policyholder is to blame for the accident. But, if the insurance adjuster is not convinced that the policyholder is to blame, this could affect the time it takes to resolve your case. An insurance adjuster will not even think about negotiating a settlement if they are not certain that their policyholder is to blame. It is up to your attorney to present evidence that clearly shows the other party was at fault, but building this type of case takes time. If liability is being questioned, you should expect a delay in your case.

If you have been injured due to the negligent acts of another person, contact Carpenter, Zuckerman, & Rowley right away. Our personal injury attorneys will work tirelessly to recover the compensation that you deserve as quickly as possible. Call us today to schedule a free consultation with our team of knowledgeable lawyers.