Posts Tagged ‘injury’

Can Damages for Accident Injuries be Recovered If a Motorcyclist is Not Wearing a Helmet

Many motorcyclists who have been in accidents wonder how helmet wear or non-use of a helmet affects their recovery for injuries or other damages as part of a personal injury claim. The bottom line in these cases is that your individual state’s motorcycle laws play a major role in these matters. To get all of the answers you need and guidance as part of a motorcycle accident injury claim, you need to gain the consultation of a personal injury lawyer in your state, or the state where your accident occurred.

Almost all U.S. states require motorcyclists to wear helmets. Only in Illinois, New Hampshire and Iowa are there no requirements for helmet wear during motorcycle use.

Arizona Laws Regarding Helmet Wear by Motorcycle Riders

In Arizona, only riders under the age of 18 years are required by law to wear a helmet. Anyone else aged 18 or older can make their own choice regarding head protection during use of their motorcycle.

In early 2016, Arizona House Bill 2052 was an attempt by some legislators to change the law to mandatory helmet wear. That bill failed and was not passed into law. So Arizona riders can still feel the wind in their hair, as they ride without this form of protection on the state’s roadways.

While Arizona does not require adult motorcyclists to wear helmets, these laws exist in other states for the riders’ own safety. According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, of every 100 motorcycle riders not wearing a helmet who are fatally injured in an auto accident, approximately 37 of those would have survived their crash injuries if a helmet had been worn. Even more injured victims would have suffered less significant injuries if they had been wearing a helmet.

Mandatory Helmet Laws Affect Damages for Accident Injuries

If you are riding your motorcycle in a state that does have a mandatory helmet law, not wearing a helmet at the time of your accident can affect your case against the at-fault driver. In fact, it could make it very difficult to recover some forms of compensation. This is because your choice to not wear a helmet despite the law qualifies your actions as comparative fault.

Comparative fault refers to your carelessness that contributed to your own accident injuries. Because you chose to ignore the helmet law in such a state, you may not be able to recover anything for head or neck injuries. But you may still be able to recover damages for injuries on other parts of your body not typically protected by a helmet, as well as for other losses.

How States without Helmet Laws View Your Personal Injury Claim

Any personal injury claim filed after a motorcycle accident can be affected by non-use of a helmet, even in states where helmet laws do not exist. How the case is affected is reliant upon the type of damages sought for recovery. Insurance adjusters typically try to prove through documented evidence how wearing a helmet could have protected you, therefore asserting that you made a bad decision that contributed to your own injuries and reduced the defendant’s responsibility in some regards.

If injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident were not of the head and neck, helmet wear will not be a factor in your case. But if it can be shown that wearing a helmet may have saved you from your accident injuries, it may be hard to recover the full amount of the damages you seek. This is because you made the conscious decision to not wear protective head gear, knowing that a helmet could prevent injury in an accident.

If you were wearing a helmet in your accident in a “no helmet required” state, that could help your case because it reflects responsibility on your part, as a motorcycle rider. If you suffered injury to your head or neck despite wearing a helmet, your claim will certainly benefit. Showing that you tried to keep yourself safe and were not careless about that safety is a definite positive as a plaintiff. This also shows how much more serious your injuries could have been due to the negligent driver’s actions, if you did not make that responsible choice.

How to Gain the Compensation You Deserve for Arizona Motorcycle Accident Damages

If you are an Arizona motorcyclist and you were not wearing a helmet in your motorcycle accident that was someone else’s fault, you can still work to prove that your injuries would have been equally serious if you had been wearing a helmet. By having a skilled and experienced Arizona motorcycle accident and personal injury lawyer, you can recover the compensation you deserve – helmet or no helmet. For any personal injury or motor vehicle accident claim, having an experienced personal injury lawyer helps you stand up to insurance adjusters who will try to prove how their insured driver was not responsible for your injuries.

Brain Injuries, Adding Insult to Injury

It’s one of the tragedies of modern life that Keith Lamont Scott was not responsible for attracting attention to himself.  Nor were the police responsible for misunderstanding his intentions.

It takes all kinds to make a world, according to the old saying, and today – on any ordinary city street – an observer might be able to see anything from couples so in love they fall off the curb to a homeless derelict shuffling his or her way to a safe sleeping spot for the night.

In between these extremes are otherwise ordinary people who may have mental difficulties resulting from head injuries, fetal alcohol syndrome, mental or physical abuse, or simply an imbalance of brain chemicals.

What Happened

In Scott’s case, it was a TBI, or traumatic brain injury. For more general information on TBIs, please visit the Brain Injury Clubhouse.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, or CDC, people who incur TBIs are twice as likely to die from “unintentional injury”. This is because TBIs affect both thought and balance. People with TBIs can’t always think clearly, and this leads them into compromising situations. They also tend to lose their balance, which makes them appear to be drunk, or on drugs. In Scott’s case, his injuries were so severe he had to relearn how to walk.

TBIs contribute to about one-third of all injury deaths in the United States, and Scott was no exception. In fact, he was only one of 1.7 million people in 2015 to sustain a serious head injury. In Scott’s case, it was the result of a motorcycle accident.

His shooting, on September 20, was prompted by what police later described as disturbing, or threatening, behavior. By one report, he was rolling a marijuana cigarette and holding a gun.  The fact that he was African-American, and living in Charlotte, North Carolina, is – or should be –irrelevant. Scott’s wife disputes the report, notes that Scott was not only injured but on medication, and tended to slur his words, stagger, and behave erratically and impulsively. These are all hallmarks of a TBI and the medications given to help people living with one.

TBIs, the Worst of the Worst

The hardest part of having a TBI is trying to live in the “normal” world and act like nothing is wrong. Alzheimer’s and other dementia victims are pitied and given special consideration, but the victims of TBI are basically self-reporting. If they happen also to be black and living in a poor neighborhood, the likelihood is that they will not be believed, perhaps particularly by law enforcement.

A similar situation exists in the workplace. Most TBI victims go first to the ER, and then later to the doctor. But not all head injuries can be immediately assessed or evaluated. It may take months, in fact, to separate TBI-related effects from lack of education or opportunity, and other lifestyle situations impacting the way a person talks, acts and even dresses.

In fact, of the approximately three million TBI victims appearing in the ER each year, only 11 percent are hospitalized, and – thanks to the miracles of modern medicine – 7 percent fewer now die than a decade ago.

Who Are TBI’s Victims?

Most of the victims of traumatic brain injury are either young or old; that is, over 65. Most of the causes are falling, with accidental blunt trauma (being struck on the head) coming second, and motor vehicle crashes coming third. Most of the ER visits for head trauma were among children aged ) 0-4 years. Between the ages of 15 and 44, the most common causes of TBIs are motor vehicle accidents.

Three times as many men as women are afflicted with TBIs, and more likely to die from them simply because males are more active and aggressive.

The Legacy

“Not having an appropriate response in a stressful, chaotic event is certainly a potential effect of a TBI,” said Jeffrey Kutcher, director of the NBA’s concussion program and current owner of a sports neurology clinic in Detroit, Michigan.

According to Kutcher, who never personally treated Scott, the “zoning-out” that Scott’s friends described was likely a direct result of the TBI or the medication Scott was taking. Either way, it is sad that an innocent man died, but the only place to lay blame is on the failure of the human skull to protect against all injuries.

Preventing Brain Injuries During Summer Activities

summer safety

Summer is the quintessential season for heading outdoors, soaking up the sun and fresh air, and getting active. While children are typically more active than adults during the summer season, both children and adults are at risk of suffering a traumatic brain injury while engaging in a summer activity. Here are some tips for preventing a brain injury during your favorite summer activities:

Swimming & Water Sports

 

Summer wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the beach or pool and it’s a great way to cool off and relax at the peak of summer, but it’s also a potentially dangerous season for brain and head injuries. According to the most recent data available on brain or head injuries released from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), 28,716 head injuries occurred in 2009 during a water sport (diving, scuba diving, surfing, swimming, water polo, water skiing, and water tubing. One of the best ways to avoid a head injury while participating in a water sport is to be careful and responsible about diving. Here are some tips to avoid an injury while diving:

 

  • Always enter the water feet first.
  • Never dive into the shallow end of a pool or before checking for objects beneath the water’s surface.
  • Avoid alcohol when you’re participating in any water sport.
  • Know how to avoid and get out of a rip current.

 

Experts also recommend that individuals wear a safety helmet when wakeboarding, kayaking, or when river rafting.

Bicycling, Skating, & Skateboarding

 

According to a study from the New England Journal of Medicine, safety helmets can reduce the risk of severe brain injuries by 88%. Both children and adults should wear a helmet when participating in any wheeled sports like bicycling, in-line/roller skating, scootering and skateboarding. Even the most skilled and experienced individuals are at risk for falling and hitting his or her head on or against a hard surface or be struck by a car.

 

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that each year about 2% of motor vehicle crash deaths are bicyclists and head/brain injuries were responsible for the majority of deaths. The best way to avoid a serious brain injury while riding a bicycle is to simply wear a bicycle helmet, regardless if you’re just riding around your neighborhood, on a trail free from motorists, or on the roadways. There are no federal laws in the U.S. requiring the use of bicycle helmets, but in 22 states, bicycle helmets are required for most individuals under the age of 16. Law or not, always encourage your child to wear a helmet and be a good (and safe) role model by wearing one yourself.

Motorcycles

 

Just like bicycling, motorcyclists are at risk of suffering head and brain injuries when involved in an accident. Currently, only 19 states require that motorcyclists wear a helmet, but all motorcyclists and their passengers should wear a helmet, law or not. Motorcyclists that wear a helmet have up to a 73% lower fatality rate than unhelmeted riders. Additionally, unhelmeted motorcyclists are over three times as likely to suffer a brain injury than those who were a helmet.

 

Careers with TBI Risks

injured

Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can devastate people’s lives. One simple blow to the head can send any person to a lifetime of difficulty. Returning to work after a TBI can be challenging, and even impossible for some TBI patients with former careers.

 

Some jobs are friendlier to your brain—physically speaking—than others. If you’re taking TBI into account when deciding on your career, consider how well or how poorly these careers will affect your brain.  

Office Worker Careers

Office workers rarely suffer blows to the head. Office work may be boring, but it will probably not leave you with a cognitive disability. Office workers do many things, and almost none of those things will leave you with a TBI.

 

  • Pros: When you work in an office, you’ll be safe. White collar workers make their living using their brains, and upper management understand that endanger those precious resources would put the entire business at risk. If you’re interested in avoiding a TBI, office work is for you.
  • Cons: Office work can be dull. You’ll sit behind a computer screen most of the day and be immersed in vexing politics. Your brain may be safe, but it might not get the top notch exercise it desires.

 

Careers in Law Enforcement

Law enforcement workers are regularly put into dangerous situations. Policemen and policewomen frequently need to engage in physical conflict, drive at high speeds, and put themselves in the front lines against the forces that bring ugliness into our lives. This career may be noble, but it is not a great choice for the TBI-concerned worker

 

  • Pros: Police officers work hard to improve their world. Because of the dedication they often show to their mission, police officers display satisfaction with their lives and careers. The work is exciting, dynamic, and will provide long lasting opportunities for development.
  • Cons: Law enforcement officers deal with physical violence. It’s part of the job. As a police officer, you’ll be facing some of the most frequent causes of TBI: blows to the head, high speed driving, and running around in dangerous situations.

 

Careers in Retail

Cashiers, sales clerks, and other retail professionals do not get hit in the head too much. Sellings things to people is good, reliable work, and by doing so you won’t be putting yourself at risk of TBI. Retail is good long term work only for some people. If you’re interested in talking to new people every day and keeping your brain comfortable, go for it. But if you’re interested in risks and excitement, look elsewhere.

  • Pros: You’ll be safe. Retail workers spend most of their time in comfortable places talking to people. Customers can be incredibly rude, sure, but they rarely assault workers. Choose retail if you think you will like walking around stores and helping people find things.
  • Cons: While you’re unlikely to face TBI risks, you could get bored. Retail workers are frequently insulted by members of the public who do not view them as fully human; any seasoned retailer will have countless stories of being bullied and abused by people they don’t even know. You’ll be safe from TBI, but many other forms of psychological violence make provide their own forms of damage.  

TBI: Injury Location Matters

When a person is the victim of a traumatic brain injury (TBI), his brain’s nerve cells become damaged. The normal process of information transfer between brain cells changes, and sometimes it stops altogether. Since the three primary areas of concern with TBI victims include emotional, cognitive and physical development, the injury can result in a noticeable shift in the person’s overall behavior and motor skills. But not all people experience the same symptoms.

In order to understand how a traumatic brain injury may impact the life of a victim and those around him, it’s necessary to first understand the basics of how the brain is divided, and the function of each section. The information is important because the type of challenges the victim will face will depend on the location of the injury.

Left or Right

The brain has two hemispheres, or halves. For 97% of people, the left half of the brain houses logical and verbal functions, such as writing, speaking, listening, and reading. The right half of the brain is where intuitive and nonverbal functions originate. These can include recognizing patterns (visual and oral) and understanding and expressing emotions.
So, a person who suffers a TBI in the left hemisphere may have difficulties with language and communication, while someone who has a TBI in the right hemisphere may face challenges with interpretation, orientation and organizational abilities. This information serves as an excellent starting point in our effort to understand how the location of a traumatic brain injury will impact a person’s abilities and behavior. But, it’s not exactly as clear cut as that, because the brain is divided even further.

Six Regions

In addition to the split halves, the brain is also comprised of six areas, each with its own purpose and functions. The areas do work in coordination with one another, however, with some functions being supported by multiple regions. The six sections of the brain are as follows:

  • Brain stem: swallowing, heart rate, balance, site and sound reflexes, alertness level, body temperature, blood pressure, sweating, digestion.
  • Cerebellum: voluntary movement coordination, equilibrium, reflex motor memory.
  • Frontal lobe: awareness and initiation of activity, judgments, emotional and expressive control, word association, reasoning, abstract thought comprehension, motor activity memory.
  • Parietal lobe: perception of touch, focused voluntary movement, integration of senses.
  • Occipital lobes: vision
  • Temporal lobes: hearing, certain visual perceptions, classifying objects, emotion, processing of verbal data, memory.

Emotional Changes

As evidenced by the list, there are countless ways that a traumatic brain injury can impact a person’s cognitive and physical abilities. But, it’s just as critical that troubling emotional changes not be ignored. A TBI can cause disturbing deviations in behavior that can include aggression, restlessness, mood swings, lack of self-awareness, irritability, and lethargy. Therapy and rehabilitation can help with, not only the physical and cognitive challenges, but the emotional ones as well. Fortunately, help is available even if insurance won’t cover it.

Traumatic brain injuries impact both the victims and their families, and can lead to cognitive, physical, behavioral and emotional challenges. But, understanding the location of the injury, and what functions the impacted areas affect, will go a long way in helping victims and their families understand, face, and conquer those challenges.