O'Mara & Padilla, Attorneys at Law

Encinitas Legal Blog

Chronic pain can accompany traumatic brain injury

Fortunately, the vast majority of car accidents result in relatively minor injuries. Victims in these wrecks are often able to walk away with scratches, bruises, and maybe a cut or two. Many others, though, suffer serious harm, such as brain and spinal cord injuries. These individuals often have a long road to recovery ahead of them, and for many recovery itself is limited.

Making matters worse, a new study has found that chronic pain among traumatic brain injury (TBI) sufferers may be more common than we think. According to the study, approximately 50 percent of those who suffer TBI wind up being confronted with chronic pain, defined as pain that can last for six months or more. Most frequently, this pain manifests itself in the form of migraine-like headaches, but chronic pain is not limited to this one symptom.

Auto recalls reaching record highs

Nowadays, we all take driving for granted. Forget that at one time people had to spend days riding a horse to get to town for supplies. Now we can cruise across multiple states in a matter of hours. With this acceptance of the ease travel also comes a complacency with vehicle safety. Negligent drivers can pose a significant threat to motorists, and so, too, can a defective product. Making matters worse, there may be more defective auto products than most of us are aware.

Last year alone, in fact, the U.S. saw 927 recalls that affected more than 53 million vehicles. This is a significant increase over the past several years. In the year 2011, nearly 14 million vehicles were recalled. This means that millions of Americans have been put in harm's way through acts taken by at least one negligent manufacturer. Making matters worse is that many people don't get their cars repaired. This could be attributed primarily to a lack of ability to track down and contact owners of all of these vehicles.

When can I sue my employer?

A workplace injury can bring your world to a crashing halt. Even a minor injury may hamper your ability to work and cause you pain and suffering that interferes with your daily life. In the hours and days following your injury, you may replay the accident in your mind, allowing your emotions to take over.

Certainly, you are not alone if you find yourself asking "what if?" What if you had been standing one foot to the right or left? What if you hadn't been wearing your safety harness? What if your coworker hadn't reacted quickly to stop the bleeding? All these questions may lead you to the decision to file a lawsuit against your employer.

Which injuries qualify for workers' compensation?

On its surface, the workers' compensation system can seem fairly straight-forward: if you are injured on the job then you can be compensated for your medical expenses and lost wages. While this may be true to a certain extent, the matter is often much more complicated than that. Those who are left unaware of this fact can wind up having their claims denied. When this happens, an injured worker can face significant financial hardship as he or she tries to reclaim his or her health and get back to work. Therefore, it is crucially important that injured workers understand the workers' compensation system in its entirety.

One of the first steps in doing this is to learn which injuries are compensable under the workers' compensation system, as not all injuries qualify. The most obvious injuries are those physical ones that are caused by the strain of the job. Repetitive stress injuries, for example, will likely qualify for workers' compensation. Preexisting conditions may qualify, too, if it is aggravated or the condition deteriorates on account of one's work duties.

The many causes of motorcycle accidents

Southern California is a perfect place to ride a motorcycle. The weather is often dry and warm, and the scenery can be beautiful, not to mention riding a motorcycle can be a cost-effective way to travel. Despite the benefits of riding a motorcycle, there are many disadvantages, several of which can leave a motorcyclists susceptible to being injured or killed in a motorcycle accident. It is crucial that motorcyclists are aware of these dangers and the legal actions they can take in the event that they are harmed by the negligence of another.

Motorcyclists are more than 25 times more likely to be killed in a wreck when compared to those traveling in a car. Most often, these wrecks occur when drivers of passenger vehicles fail to yield to motorcyclists. This frequently happens when a vehicle is making a left turn, and its driver neglects to recognize an oncoming motorcycle. Of course, since motorcycles are smaller vehicles, they may be harder to see, but this is no excuse for a driver whose motorcycle unawareness causes an injurious or fatal accident.

Are your headaches a sign of traumatic brain injury?

When you heard the impact of the other car smashing into yours on a California highway, you may have thought it was the end. Thankfully, you survived, and rescue workers got you to the nearest hospital in the nick of time for treatment of your injuries. Since then, you have spent weeks working your way back to good health and have been thankful for the many people who are part of your support network. It's the headaches that have you worried.

You are right to concern yourself, as repeated headaches following a car accident may be a sign of traumatic brain injury. If you have other symptoms as well and are not feeling well but aren't sure if it's related to your accident, you can reach out for help and take steps to address the matter as needed. If the driver who hit you was negligent in some way, you may also want to talk to someone about how to recover your losses.

How comparative fault can affect a personal injury claim

Anyone can be responsible for a car accident and, in fact, in most cases more than one individual can be found to be at fault. Although this may sound like a common occurrence, it may complicate matters when a personal injury lawsuit is filed by one party against the other. So, how is proportioned fault dealt with in lawsuits in California?

California recognizes comparative negligence. This means that the court will assess each party's percentage of fault and issue damages accordingly. Therefore, if a defendant is found to have been 60 percent at fault in causing an injurious accident, then he or she will only be ordered to pay 60 percent of the damages suffered by the plaintiff. For example, if a defendant is found to be 55 percent responsible for an accident where the damages equal $10,000, then he or she will be ordered to pay $5,500. The plaintiff, then, will have to absorb the rest of his or her damages.

Teen driving week comes to a close with accidents still common

Negligence can affect any driver, regardless of age, gender, or even driving ability. Any motorist can climb behind the wheel while he or she is tired, intoxicated, or distracted. So, negligence itself is the enemy when it comes to preventing car accidents. With that being said, though, negligence does tend to affect certain age groups more than others.

That is why the federal government, in conjunction with state and federal governments, take part in national teen driver safety week. This initiative seeks to raise awareness about some of the most common issues affecting teen drivers. Amongst these are the use of seatbelts, cell phone usage while driving, and drinking and driving. The sad reality is that motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death amongst teens, and their negligent acts affect many other motorists as well.

How does alcohol affect one's driving abilities?

Car accidents can occur in any number of ways. Treacherous weather conditions or a poorly maintained vehicle, for example, can lead to a serious collision. Yet, most car accidents are caused by distracted and drunk driving. It's a tragic reality that many motorists either fail to recognize the dangers of this type of driving, or are aware of the risks and choose to engage in this risky behavior. This week, we will briefly look at how alcohol affects one's ability to drive, and how those facts can be used as the basis for a personal injury lawsuit.

Alcohol can affect one's ability to drive in a number of ways. First, it can affect one's judgment, which can have a direct impact on one's ability to reason clearly. This deficiency can start at as little as .02 percent BAC. Alcohol can also diminish one's concentration, which can include the ability to multitask, maintain vehicle speed, and yield to other traffic and pedestrians. Comprehension can also be affected. This can lead to an inability to properly interpret one's surroundings, which, in turn, can lead to confusion.

Can communication change perception of pain?

A workplace injury can take many different shapes. Some workers suffer repetitive stress injuries, while others are crushed by moving machinery. Others suffer cuts when moving materials or broken bones when they fall from scaffolding. The list of potential injuries goes on and on. Yet, one type of injury, a back injury, accounts for about one-third of all workers' compensation injuries, which means that medical diagnoses and treatment of these injuries is critical to ensuring that workers can get back to their jobs.

According to some medical professionals, how an individual rates the severity of his or her injury can depend on how his or her medical provider talks about the injury. For example, some claim that asking an individual about his or her injury rather than about his or her progress shifts the focus toward what is still wrong, rather than what is going right. They claim that this, in turn, can cause an injured worker to misrepresent the extent of his or her pain. These medical professionals claim that medical imaging can do the same-- injured individuals may report more severe pain after receiving image test results even though there has been no change to the injury or its recovery.

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