Brain Injury Awareness Month: What You Should Know About TBI

March 7, 2018 Brain Injuries

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month. For more than 30 years, the Brain Injury Association of America (“BIAA”) has taken

mri head scan brain injury

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month. For more than 30 years, the Brain Injury Association of America (“BIAA”) has taken the opportunity throughout March to promote public awareness of brain injuries.

The campaign theme for 2018-2020 is “Change Your Mind”. Using #ChangeYourMind, the campaign hopes to de-stigmatize brain injury, empower survivors and their caregivers, and emphasize the supports available to those living with brain injury.

What is a traumatic brain injury?

A traumatic brain injury (“TBI”) is a disruption to the normal activity of the brain that is not caused by degeneration or a congenital issue.

A TBI is often an acute injury that damages the brain and results from a bump, blow, or jolt to the head. Non-injury-related TBIs can result from strokes, infections, or exposure to substances that damage the brain. A mild TBI, like a concussion, might have only a temporary affect on brain cells, while a more serious injury can cause permanent brain damage or even death.

How common are TBIs?

It is estimated at least 10 million people around the world suffer traumatic brain injuries annually. They account for more than 2 million American emergency room visits.

Half of all TBIs are the result of motor vehicle accidents. Other common causes are sports, military combat, and slip and fall accidents.

What are the risks of a TBI?

For serious TBIs, the risks have been long-acknowledged: they can lead to death, impairments in memory, cognitive ability, and emotional functioning, sensory issues, hormonal imbalance, or a host of other problems.

It has been a common misconception that mild TBIs, including concussions, do not have a lasting effect. However, recent research has linked repeated concussions to an increased risk of dementia. The study highlights the need to take safety measures seriously.

How are TBIs diagnosed?

Depending on the severity, a TBI may be diagnosed based on clinical observations of symptoms or with the use of tests like a CT scan. Symptoms can include:

  • Persistent or worsening headaches
  • Nausea or repeated vomiting
  • Convulsions
  • Seizures
  • Weakness in limbs
  • Trouble waking from sleep
  • Dilated pupils
  • Slurred speech

Recent developments may simplify the diagnosis of serious TBI, though not concussions. The Banyan Brain Trauma Indicator is a test newly-approved by the FDA to detect a serious TBI. It is a blood test that can detect two proteins in the brain when they leak into the bloodstream, with the ability to pick up on the proteins within 12 hours of an injury. The new test can cut down on exposure to radiation through CT scans, the usual method of detecting a TBI. Though the test cannot detect a concussion, doctors behind the test are hopeful that a test for concussion will follow.

Protecting your rights after a brain injury in California

A brain injury can leave lasting physical, emotional, and financial effects for years to come. If the injury occurred because of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to recover compensation.

Schedule a consultation with Los Angeles traumatic brain injury lawyer Sean Salamati to discuss the circumstances of your case. Facing an insurance claim or court battle alone can be emotionally draining and leave money on the table. We are dedicated to protecting the rights of injury victims and do not charge a fee unless we win compensation on your behalf.

 Additional Brain Injury Awareness Month Resources:

  1. Brain Injury Association of America, March is Brain Injury Awareness Month, https://www.biausa.org/public-affairs/public-awareness/news/march-is-brain-injury-awareness-month
  2. Brain Injury Association of America, Brain Injury Awareness: Public Awareness, https://www.biausa.org/public-affairs/public-awareness/brain-injury-awareness
  3. WIVB, FDA approves first blood test to diagnose traumatic brain injuries, http://wivb.com/2018/02/19/fda-approves-first-blood-test-to-diagnose-traumatic-brain-injuries/
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What Do I Do If the Other Driver Has No Insurance in California?

February 14, 2018 Auto Accidents

Driving without auto insurance in California has a number of dire consequences, but thousands of motorists continue to take this

Two Drivers Arguing After Traffic Accident looking at damageDriving without auto insurance in California has a number of dire consequences, but thousands of motorists continue to take this risk. According to the Insurance Information Institute, 15.2 % of all California drivers are currently uninsured, meaning your odds of getting into an accident with someone who has zero liability coverage are not that small.

Any type of collision can be stressful and confusing, but what happens if the other driver has no insurance? Nearly half all of traffic accidents in California involve at least one driver who is uninsured or underinsured. 

If you find yourself in this situation, follow these steps to protect your rights.

Step 1: Report the accident

Call the police after any type of collision. A written police report provides evidence to support any claim filed with your insurance provider or it may be used in a personal injury lawsuit.

Step 2: Document the scene

It’s a smart move to take pictures and/or video following any type of car accident, but particularly relevant when the other driver is uninsured. Using your smart phone, record the damage to both vehicles, location shots that illustrate the scene of the crash, skid marks and other pertinent details.

Step 3: Call your insurance provider

Contact your insurance company and report the accident. If you purchased uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage in California, and the other party is at fault, you would bring a first party claim against your insurance company. This UM policy would provide money damages to cover property damage and medical bills, however, the amount typically will not exceed your personal liability coverage.

Let’s say you only purchased the minimum liability insurance for bodily and property damage coverage, which in California totals a mere $40,000. This sum may cover bills stemming from a minor accident but will fall short if the crash resulted in catastrophic injuries.

Step 4: Get legal counsel

Even if you purchased uninsured motorist (UM) coverage in California, there is no guarantee that your provider will accept or pay the full amount of the claim. If denied or delayed, you may be bearing the burden of accident-related expenses out of your own pocket, adding further insult to injury. Having an experienced attorney will greatly improve your leverage when it comes to settlement negotiations. You always stand a much better chance of receiving full compensation when armed with skilled legal counsel.

Legal guidance filing a car accident claim in California

Driving without car insurance is illegal in California. It goes without saying that adding UM/UIM coverage on your policy is recommended. While suing a negligent uninsured driver seems logical, few have the assets or income to pay a final judgement.

Reach out to Los Angeles car accident lawyer Sean Salamati to discuss your rights when dealing with uninsured drivers. Put our experience and talent to work for you – call today and schedule a free case evaluation.

Additional Resources on Uninsured/Underinsured Drivers in CA:

  1. California Department of Insurance, Liability Coverage and California Law http://www.insurance.ca.gov/01-consumers/105-type/95-guides/01-auto/auto101.cfm
  2. CarInsurance.com, Penalty for driving without insurance for every state https://www.carinsurance.com/driving-without-insurance-penalties-state.aspx
  3. The Balance, Penalties for Driving Without Car Insurance in California https://www.thebalance.com/penalties-for-driving-without-car-insurance-in-california-527033
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4 Busiest Truck Routes in California

February 9, 2018 Truck Accidents

Trucking is the principal mode of freight and cargo transportation in California. An essential mode for regional, intrastate and long-distance

traffic jam southern California with trucksTrucking is the principal mode of freight and cargo transportation in California. An essential mode for regional, intrastate and long-distance commerce, 18-wheelers haul everything from machinery and industrial supplies and manufactured goods, to extracted resources and food products. On any given day, tractor trailers and large commercial trucks move more than 5 million tons of freight through California, with San Bernardino, Riverside and Los Angeles Counties seeing the heaviest amount of traffic.

Given the amount of freight transport, it comes as no surprise that California’s highways have some of the highest concentrations of truck crashes per mile traveled.

Truck Accident Hotspots in Southern California

The Southern California Association of Governments has been researching truck accidents in the state, identifying “hotspots” with the worst rates of truck accidents. According to their data, the 710 Freeway at the 60 in the East L.A. Interchange rates among the most dangerous for crashes involving tractor trailers. With more than 42,000 daily truck trips, the 701 Freeway is among the busiest, followed by the 60, which handles some 27,000 rigs every day.

Transportation officials recognize that driver error is the leading cause of commercial truck accidents, but are quick to point out that heavy congestion also plays a role. On some of California’s busiest trucking highways, the constant interface between passenger vehicles and 18-wheelers, combined with merging lanes, is another contributing factor.

Researchers at the Texas Transportation Institute recently ranked the country’s most congested highway corridors, analyzing urban freeway truck delays at different times throughout the day. According to their report, California is home to many of the nation’s worst corridors for truck congestion.

California’s Most Congested Trucking Routes

Although several routes in Chicago, New York, Pittsburgh and Austin ranked high for tractor trailer congestion, the analysis showed that L.A.’s Harbor Freeway between I-10 and Stadium Way had the highest rate of truck delay per mile.

Some of California’s busiest trucking routes include:

  • Interstate 405 – also known as the San Diego Freeway, is one of the busiest in the country
  • 1-10 – running from Santa Monica through downtown Los Angeles to the AZ border
  • Interstate 5 – spanning from Mexico to the border of Oregon
  • Interstate 15 – covers more than 1,450 miles from San Diego to the Canadian border.

The top corridors for truck congestion in California are:

  • LA Harbor Freeway/CA-110 from I-10/Santa Monica Fwy to Stadium Way/Exit 24C
  • LA Harbor Freeway/I-110 from 111th Pl. to I-110/I-10/Santa Monica Fwy
  • LA San Gabriel River Freeway/I-605 from Beverly Blvd to Florence Avenue
  • LA San Diego Freeway/I-405 from I-105/Imperial Hwy to Getty Center Dr.

If you or someone you love were injured in a truck accident in southern California, legal compensation may be available. Crashes involving commercial vehicles are best handled by a skilled Los Angeles truck accident lawyer who has an established record of successfully navigating complex injury cases against trucking companies, drivers and other liable entities.

Call the Salamati Law Firm in Los Angeles to explore your options for legal recourse. Our attorneys have the investigative skills and resources to prove negligence and secure money damages for your losses.

Additional Resources on CA Truck Routes:

  1. CAHighways.org, Busiest California Highways, based on Average Daily Traffic http://www.cahighways.org/stats3.html#Busiest
  2. CA.gov, California Truck Network Map http://www.dot.ca.gov/trafficops/trucks/truck-network-map.html
  3. LA Times, 4 stretches of freeways tally most big rig crashes per mile annually http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-california-commute-20150602-story.html
  4. FleetOwner.com, Ranking the nation’s most congested highway corridors http://www.fleetowner.com/management/news/ranking-most-congested-highway-corridors-1121
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3 Reasons to Use Uber and Lyft at LAX

February 5, 2018 Auto Accidents

Air travel can be exceedingly frustrating, especially when you’re flying in and out of Los Angeles. Serving more than 72

LAX Los Angeles International Airport Sign at NightAir travel can be exceedingly frustrating, especially when you’re flying in and out of Los Angeles. Serving more than 72 million passengers each year, LAX is the world’s 5th busiest airport and the second most trafficked in the U.S. While long check-in and security lines can be a nightmare, getting to and from LAX has gotten much easier, thanks to ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft. In recent years, taxicab drivers in L.A. — like those in countless other cities — have struggled keep up with this new competition and lower fares.

Last August, LAX eased regulations on ride-sharing companies to help reduce the traffic that so often congests the terminal loop, giving Uber and Lyft users shorter waiting times in the process.

Ride-hailing services continue to gain traction, becoming the most popular mode of transportation at the SFO and Oakland airports introducing the potential for car accidents for Uber and Lyft. Here are three reasons why ride-hailing is the smarter choice at LAX.

Save big bucks

It comes as no surprise that lower prices will win over customers. When you consider that the base taxi fare between LAX and downtown is a flat $46.50, plus a $4 surcharge and tip, it pays to shop around. Taking an Uber or Lyft instead of a taxicab from LAX has the potential to net you $15-$35 in savings, depending on your final destination. You will still pay a $4 pick-up or drop-off surcharge, but a tip is not mandatory or expected with Uber drivers, keeping things simple if you have little cash on hand. Your fare is automatically charged to your debit or credit card.

For steeper cost savings, UberPOOL lets you share a ride with someone going in the same direction, essentially cutting your fare in half. UberPOOL allows one companion per ride and is a convenient and cheap way to get to or from LAX.

Shorter wait times

During holidays and other peak travel times, the wait lines for LAX taxicabs can be ridiculously long. If you’re eager to get home quickly, hailing an Uber just got faster. Lyft and Uber drivers who have just completed an airport drop-off are instantly notified of arriving passengers who request a ride. Not only does this minimize wait times, airport authorities believe that by reducing the number of airport trips ride-sharing drivers make each day will help ease traffic in the terminal loop. In many cases, Uber and Lyft passengers are picked up curbside in under 5 minutes.

Better customer experience

Ridesharing drivers are very eager to please in exchange for a top-notch rating. If you have never taken an Uber, you may not be aware that upon reaching your destination, you can rate your driver, giving them from one to five stars. This rating affects the driver’s overall score and helps determine their future success and ability to get passengers. Beyond this, Lyft and Uber drivers are generally known for their friendliness and engaging conversations, with some keeping drinks and snacks on hand for passengers. Ratings are also based on the cleanliness of the vehicle, which is often questionable in taxis.

If you were hurt in a ridesharing accident in California, legal compensation may be available. Learn more about your options for legal recourse by calling Los Angeles car accident lawyer Sean Salamati. For more than two decades, The Salamati Law Firm has been advocating for auto accident injury victims throughout the greater Los Angeles area. Arrange a complimentary case review by calling today.

Read More on Uber and Lyft accidents:

  1. 5 Things To Do If You Are Involved in a Lyft or Uber Accident in Los Angeles 
  2. What Do I Do If My Uber Ride Crashes?

Read More on Ridesharing Services at LAX:

  1. LA Mag, LAX Just Made It Easier to Catch a Lyft/Uber from the Airport http://www.lamag.com/culturefiles/lax-lyft-uber-from-airport/
  2. Daily Breeze, LAX changes the way Uber and Lyft do business at the airport https://www.dailybreeze.com/2017/08/28/lax-changes-the-way-uber-and-lyft-do-business-at-the-airport/
  3. Uber, Ride with Uber Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) https://www.uber.com/en-CR/airports/lax/
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4 Signs It’s Time to Buy a New Motorcycle

February 2, 2018 Motorcycle Accidents

There are more than 8 million registered motorcycles in the United States, and anyone who has felt the freedom of

Driver riding motorcycle on the empty asphalt road

There are more than 8 million registered motorcycles in the United States, and anyone who has felt the freedom of open road on a bike understands the attraction. Motorcycles offer less protection to riders than passenger cars or larger vehicles, so it is important to ride the right bike for you. Here are some signs that it may be time to upgrade your motorcycle or replace some parts.

Do I need a new motorcycle?

The needs of a rider change with experience. Evaluate your needs and preferences to be sure your bike still suits your situation. It might be time to move on to a new motorcycle if:

  1. You are ready for a larger bike. Lighter weight motorcycles are appropriate for novice riders because they provide for easier control. The lower height of a smaller bike’s seat also helps a beginner’s balance when stopping. If you have mastered steering, braking, and balancing, and are looking for more power, consider a larger option.
  2. Your older bike does not have anti-lock brakes. In recent years, more and more bikes have hit the market with ABS. Statistics show that bikes with ABS brakes are 37% less likely to be involved in a fatal crash.
  3. Your use has changed. If you have outgrown your off-road days and now prefer long-road riding, it may be time to upgrade to a touring bike with features like a larger fuel storage capacity and more luggage space. Maybe you find yourself drawn to the social aspects of riding; it may be time to invest in a cruising bike from a recognized manufacturer.
  4. Your finances have changed. A higher-profile custom bike is going to cost quite a bit more than a beginner-friendly moped. If you find your financial situation improving along with your riding experience, it may be time to invest in a larger bike.

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Keep your motorcycle in safe condition

Even if it is not time to replace your motorcycle, it is time to take a look at its components and gear to make sure they are in safe condition. Inspect your bike and equipment regularly for damage or signs of wear – here are some places to start.

  • Tires. Tires are literally your bike’s connection with the road. Check for wear, physical damage, and proper inflation.
  • Chain. If you cannot get the chain tension correct, it may be a better use of time and money to replace it. An incorrectly adjusted chain can break on the road or hit the chassis.
  • Helmet. Riders who skip helmets are 3 times as likely to suffer brain damage and 40% more likely to sustain a fatal head injury than riders wearing helmets. Generally, helmets can last about five years with proper care, but inspect the outer shell for damage. Be aware that damage to the absorbent material inside may not show that it is compromised, so you may be better off replacing it if it may have been damaged.

Consult with a Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyer

These tips are intended to help you ride safely. Unfortunately, no one can control other drivers on the road and motorcycles bear the brunt of other drivers’ negligence. If you suffer injuries in a motorcycle accident in California, speak with Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyer Sean Salamati to find out how to protect your rights. Call us today for a free consultation.

Have you been injured? Click here to call our office now!

Additional “When to Buy a New Motorcycle” Resources:

  1. DMV.org, Choosing the Right Type of Motorcycle, https://www.dmv.org/how-to-guides/choosing-a-motorcycle.php
  2. Consumer Reports, 10 Motorcycle safety tips for new riders: Expert advice for first-time and returning riders, https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2013/04/10-motorcycle-safety-tips-for-new-riders/index.htm
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Insurance Issues You May Face After a Motorcycle Crash

January 30, 2018 Motorcycle Accidents

In the aftermath of a motorcycle accident, injured riders are confronted with challenging questions concerning medical bills, liability for the

A car and motorbike in an accident

In the aftermath of a motorcycle accident, injured riders are confronted with challenging questions concerning medical bills, liability for the accident, and what role the insurance companies will play in covering their costs. Here are two significant insurance issues faced by motorcycle accident victims after a crash.

Liability Depends on Who Caused the Accident

Reagrding motorcycle crashes, California is a tort liability state. In other words, insurance companies pay out claims depending on who was at fault in the accident.

If a car changed lanes, didn’t see you on your motorcycle, and collided with you, they are likely 100% at fault, and your claims will be paid by the car driver’s insurance company. If you skidded in the rain, you are likely 100% at fault and your insurance will pay.

Fault can also be divided, if two or more parties were at fault. If, for example, a car collided with you, but you weren’t wearing a helmet, a court may find that you are partly at fault for certain injuries you sustained. California law requires motorcyclists to wear a helmet, which have been demonstrated to lower the risk of injuries and deaths.

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You Need to Have Records of What Happened

Insurance companies pay depending on who was at fault. This may be clear cut, but it also may be subject to dispute. What if the driver of a car who hit you claims that you swerved into his lane, and he didn’t have time or space to brake, for example?

Disputes happen in traffic accidents all the time, and motorcycle collisions are no exception. It’s important, then, to have records of what happened.

If you are in a motorcycle accident, you should:

  • Take pictures of the scene and any injuries or damages to property. If you have a smartphone, use the camera. Take multiple shots, both from a distance and up-close, of damage or injuries. Remember, cuts and bruises fade. It’s important to take pictures as soon as you are safe.
  • Call the police. Police will interview the parties and write up an official report about what they found. If the case goes to court, the police report can be evidence about what happened.
  • Take notes. Jot down how fast you were going, what the weather conditions were like, and what occurred. Don’t rely on your memory. As soon as you are out of danger, safe, and have been cared for medically, make your record.
  • Get the names and phone numbers of any witnesses.

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Let a Seasoned Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Los Angeles Help

To make sure you take full advantage of your legal rights to monetary compensation after a road accident in southern California, contact Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorney Sean Salamati. If you anticipate having difficulties getting payment for insurance claims, or the other parties are claiming you were at fault, you need a lawyer who is skilled in negotiation strategy and has the track record to prove it.

Don’t settle for anything less than you have a legal right to! If you or a loved one been injured or killed in a motorcycle accident, let the Salamati Law Firm help. Call us today! We will provide a complimentary consultation about your case. We charge no fees whatsoever unless we take on your case and win!

Have you been injured? Click here to call our office now!

Additional “Motorcycle Accident Insurance” Resources:

  1. Consumer Reports. State-By-State guide to motorcycle helmet laws. July 4, 2014. https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2011/06/state-by-state-guide-to-motorcycle-helmet-laws/index.htm
  2. Insurance Information Institute, Motorcycle Crashes, http://www.iii.org/issue-update/motorcycle-crashes
  3. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Costs of Injuries Resulting from Motorcycle Crashes, https://one.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/pedbimot/motorcycle/motorcycle_html/overview.html
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What Do I Do If My Uber Ride Crashes?

January 25, 2018 Auto Accidents

Uber and Lyft are gaining momentum as America’s largest and most popular ride-hailing companies, serving hundreds of cities throughout the

Uber and Lyft are gaining momentum as America’s largest and most popular ride-hailing companies, serving hundreds of cities throughout the country. Thousands of happy customers will attest that taking an Uber is an easier, cheaper method of transport compared to traditional cabs. For the uninitiated, summoning a ride is as simple as a few quick taps on your smart phone— no more flagging down cabs on busy roads. The quality of the drivers for ride hailing companies is definitely improving, and the rates are much more affordable, but what happens if you’re in a crash while riding passenger?

The odds of getting into a Lyft or Uber accident aren’t so low when you consider that drivers often work long, tiring hours shuttling customers to unfamiliar neighborhoods and towns. In fact, traffic accidents involving Uber and other ridesharing drivers are becoming more commonplace, as increasing people use this service.

Steps to take after an Uber crash

Even in crash scenarios where the passenger escapes serious or life-threatening injury, medical bills can still add up, compounded by loss of income and out-of-pocket expenses. In any type of Uber or ridesharing accident in which you are the passenger, it’s essential to take some basic steps to protect your legal rights.

Even minor incidents that seem to produce no evidence of physical injury should be reason enough to see a doctor for a medical evaluation. Soft tissue injuries like whiplash – often sustained during a rear-end collision—may not have any symptoms for hours or even days. Headaches, neck tension, pain and other symptoms often manifest much later.

If you live in California, safeguard your rights by taking the following steps after a crash:

  • Call 911
  • Using your smartphone, take photos or video of the accident scene including damage to all vehicles
  • Get the full name of the Lyft or Uber driver
  • Take down the names, email and contact information of any witnesses to the accident
  • Print screenshots of your ridesharing receipt that shows the date and route taken
  • Check yourself for injuries and seek medical attention
  • Speak with a qualified attorney about your rights

Insurance & liability issues

If the Uber or Lyft driver is at fault for the crash, passengers are covered by a $1 million liability policy. Note that this insurance coverage does not apply to UberSUV, UberTaxi ride or UberBLACK, which has a separate coverage of $300,000 per accident or $100,000 per person. In cases where another party is to blame for the crash, that driver’s own insurance policy would be tapped. If their policy isn’t adequate to cover all hospital and medical costs incurred, Lyft and Uber have policies that cover underinsured motorists.

Without the guidance of an experienced attorney, Uber passengers will likely face an uphill battle when it comes to obtaining just compensation. If you were involved in a ridesharing crash as a passenger, Los Angeles auto accident lawyer Sean Salamati will ensure you obtain the settlement monies you deserve. Call today for a free, no-obligation consult.

Additional Resources on Uber Crashes & Legal Liability:

  1. Time, My Uber Got Into a Wreck. Can I Sue? http://time.com/money/4851877/my-uber-got-into-a-wreck-can-i-sue/
  2. Fortune, Here’s what happens when you get in an Uber crash http://fortune.com/2015/10/13/uber-crash-insurance/
  3. WIRED, CALIFORNIA FORCES UBER AND ITS RIVALS TO BOLSTER INSURANCE https://www.wired.com/2015/07/california-forces-uber-rivals-bolster-insurance/
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Drug Testing Laws for Truck Drivers After Accidents

January 22, 2018 Truck Accidents

Commercial truck drivers have one of the toughest jobs, usually characterized by grueling schedules, low pay and monotonous hours behind

Truck Driver Sitting In CabCommercial truck drivers have one of the toughest jobs, usually characterized by grueling schedules, low pay and monotonous hours behind the wheel. Most truck drivers are expected to work 11 consecutive hours each day – a tiring schedule that invites the use of stimulants and other medications simply to make it through a shift. The physical and mental exhaustion of being a big rig driver is responsible for not only high burnout rates in the industry, but increasing numbers of serious injury-causing accidents in California and across the nation.

Anecdotal evidence has shown that drugs (such as marijuana, cocaine and amphetamines) –as well as fatigue—plays a significant role in hundreds of interstate accidents involving 18-wheelers and tractor trailers. Drivers may take illicit substances in an attempt to ease their boredom, or to keep themselves alert on long, cross-country hauls. Unfortunately, both prescribed and illegal medications can adversely affect their reactions times, motor skills and ability to drive safely. While amphetamines can keep a driver from nodding off, they have been shown to cause everything from hallucinations and vertigo to extreme agitation.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has special regulations in place for drivers of all commercial vehicles. In addition to pre-employment drug screening and random tests, there are also post-accident drug test requirements for truck drivers in certain scenarios.

Post-accident drug testing for commercial truck drivers

According to federal law, employers are required to test truck drivers for controlled substances as soon as possible following a crash.

This regulation applies to commercial truck accidents that meet the following requirements:

  • If the truck accident resulted in any fatalities
  • After a truck accident that results in serious bodily injury requiring immediate medical treatment AND the truck driver is cited by police
  • If any vehicle is disabled and towed from the accident scene

Within 32 hours of the accident, drivers are tested for the presence of amphetamines, methamphetamines, marijuana, Phencyclidine (PCP), cocaine, and opiates (painkillers like Oxycontin, codeine and methadone). These urine-based drug tests, whether conducted by state, local or federal officials, must comply with all FMCSA requirements.

Various studies conducted over the past decade on drug use among truckers have shown that addiction is a major problem. Drivers resort to cocaine, alcohol, amphetamines and cannabis to combat fatigue, loneliness and boredom. According to one study, more than 90 percent of the drivers admitted to drinking on the job, while 82 percent reported use of amphetamines.

In cases where a driver tests positive for alcohol or illicit substances that leads to an accident, litigation is not uncommon. The commercial truck driver and/or his or her employer may face liability for the personal injury or wrongful death of any victims.

Consult a truck accident attorney in Los Angeles

If you were involved in an accident with a commercial rig and believe the driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the Salamati Law Firm can help you determine if you have a claim for damages. Get insight from legal experts who understand drug testing laws and will safeguard your rights.

Call our office to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a qualified truck accident attorney in Los Angeles today.

More Resources on Drug Testing for Truck Drivers:

  1. AllTrucking.com, Drug Testing at Trucking Companies: What You Need to Know http://www.alltrucking.com/faq/drug-testing-trucking-companies-what-you-need-know/
  2. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, What tests are required and when does testing occur? https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/drug-alcohol-testing/what-tests-are-required-and-when-does-testing-occur
  3. American Addiction Center, Truck Drivers https://americanaddictioncenters.org/rehab-guide/truck-drivers/
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Hand Surgery After A Dog Bite

January 22, 2018 Dog Bite Injuries

An estimated 4.7 million Americans are bit by dogs each year. This figure includes roughly 600,000 children. Senior citizens and

Furious barking dogAn estimated 4.7 million Americans are bit by dogs each year. This figure includes roughly 600,000 children. Senior citizens and mail carriers are the second and third most-common victims of dog attacks. Some of these bites are nips from the family dog, but more vicious attacks occur when dogs break out of an enclosure or dart off a leash, which causes injuries so severe they require surgery to repair. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons performs 33,000 of these surgeries a year – most routinely to the hands fending off the attack.

Hospitalization and hand surgery after a dog bite

Every day, there are 866 Emergency Department visits and 26 hospitalizations related to dog bites in the United States.

While only about 1% of dog bite injuries in the United States require hospitalization, the cost of that hospital stay costs the average patient $18,200.

Reasons for hospital stays and surgeries include:

  • Skin and tissue infections (43.2%)
  • Open extremity wounds (22.1%)
  • Open head, neck, trunk wounds (10.5%)
  • Upper limb fractures (5.3%)
  • Connective tissue disease (2.1%)
  • Infective arthritis and osteomyelitis (1.1%)
  • Septicemia (1.1%)
  • Crushing injury or internal injury (1.1%)
  • Lower limb fracture (1.1%)
  • Other (1.1%)

Common dog bite-related surgical procedures include:

  • Wound debridement
  • Suture of skin and tissues
  • Tendon and muscle therapies
  • Skin grafts
  • Fracture or dislocation procedures
  • Joint repairs
  • Nose, mouth, and pharynx repairs
  • Eye surgeries
  • Traction, splints, and other wound care

Dog bites to the hand

Most dog bites to the hand occur when owners are trying to separate two dogs that are fighting. One study from Sweden found that 75 of 81 hand dog bite victims were treated at the Department of Hand Surgery. Of the 75, 51 patients were operated on, and 31 patients required a hospital stay at some point within six months. Injuries included lacerations of skin, muscle, and tendon, as well as hard fractures, arterial and nerve injuries, and traumatic finger amputations. Infections, necrosis, arthritis, osteomyelitis (bone infections), and sepsis were some of the serious complications. In the worst case scenario, dog bite injuries can be associated with Capnocytophaga canimorsus, an aggressive organism that leads to sepsis and death, particularly in immunocompromised individuals.

What to do if you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog

California’s strict liability laws under Section 3342 of the Civil Code assigns a legal duty for dog owners to keep their canines under control at all times, whether they have a past history of aggressive behavior or not.

If bitten, request proof of rabies vaccination from the dog owner. Take down the owner’s name and contact information from his or her driver’s license, and contact the dog’s veterinarian to verify vaccination records. Immediately contact a doctor to ensure proper wound treatment. If the wound does not stop bleeding when pressure is applied, go to the Emergency Room at once. After the wounds have been properly treated, consider issues of liability to help you cover escalating medical expenses and make sure the same attack doesn’t happen to another person.

Contact Los Angeles dog bite lawyer Sean Salamati for free legal assistance within 2 years of sustaining a serious dog bite injury. You only pay a legal fee if we win your case. In one successful resolution, a disfigured boy received $300,000 for his injuries. We cannot guarantee a particular dollar amount for your case, but we know a fair settlement offer when we see one.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

  1. American Society of Plastic Surgery – Hand Surgeons Provide Update on Wild Animal Bites, https://www.plasticsurgery.org/news/press-releases/hand-surgeons-provide-update-on-wild-animal-bites
  2. Dean Smith MD – Animal and Human Bites, http://www.deansmithmd.com/Animal-and-Human-Bites
  3. Healthcare Cost & Utilization Project – Stat Briefs, https://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/reports/statbriefs/sb101.pdf
  4. Research Gate – Dog Bite Injuries to the Hand, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/51061952_Dog_bite_injuries_to_the_hand
  5. NCBI – Mammalian Bite Injuries To The Hand And Their Management, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4110393/
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How Does Whiplash Occur?

January 22, 2018 Auto Accidents

Whiplash occurs when the human body is forced back and forth rapidly. Unfortunately, it is a common occurrence in automobile

neck x-ray, painful injury, whiplash

Whiplash occurs when the human body is forced back and forth rapidly. Unfortunately, it is a common occurrence in automobile accidents, especially when a vehicle is struck from behind.

People sometimes think that whiplash cannot occur if the vehicles are relatively undamaged. In fact, people in vehicles that have suffered accidents can suffer whiplash no matter what the damage to the vehicle was. It is the force exerted on the people in the car that makes the difference, not how much the car was damaged, it is important to know what to do after an accident, because of the effects a car crash can have on your life.

Contortions of the Cervical Spine (Neck) Lead to Whiplash Symptoms

Research at the Biomechanics Laboratory at Yale University has indicated that the impact from auto accidents can force the cervical spine (neck) to shape itself into an S-shape, rather than its usual C-shape.

The impact causes the neck to be thrown backward and then forward, often rapidly and several times. The rapid movement is why the injury is termed “whiplash.”

As a result, the neck is moving beyond its usual range of motion. This can cause ligament and disc injury. When a whiplash accident occurs, the lower part of the cervical spine moves well beyond its normal range of motion, causing the potential for injury to the ligaments and discs.

The injury can be severe, causing pain, limiting range of motion, and necessitating physical therapy.

Whiplash injuries can also be affected by a person’s posture on impact, their general physical health, and whether or not they are aware that an impact is coming.

  • If a car crash victim is sitting upright, in a good posture, the cervical spine will stabilize efficiently. But if they are slumping over, the effects of the S-shape could be worse.
  • A person in good condition, their cervical spine will stabilize more efficiently than if they are not.
  • If a person is conscious that an impact is coming, they may stabilize their cervical spine automatically. If they don’t see the impact coming, they may not.

Multiple Factors Affect Whiplash Recovery

Whiplash injuries can be complex to treat. Patients may experience pain, difficulty in moving, headaches, fatigue, dizziness, difficulties in focus and concentration, and many other symptoms. These symptoms may appear immediately after the accident or not surface for some time.

The following risk factors affect whether one can fully recover from whiplash injury:

  • Symptoms from whiplash that last more than 6 months. Forty-three percent of victims whose symptoms or pain last longer than this generally fail to completely recover.
  • Ligament, disc, nerve, or joint capsule injuries that are significant.
  • Not receiving prompt treatment.
  • Pain causing resumption of treatment.
  • Symptoms include initial radicular area (arm pain, numbness, tingling)
  • Injuries require a cervical collar used for over two weeks.
  • Being over 65 years of age.
  • Head restraint in the vehicle being more than 2 inches from the occupant’s head
  • Accident occurring in a small car
  • Alcohol over 0.08 blood alcohol content at time of accident.

In addition, several preexisting conditions can affect the speed and rate of recovery from whiplash injuries, including degenerative changes in the neck and back, a previous whiplash injury, and previous cervical spine fusion.

When You Need a Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney

Car accidents cause injuries and death along southern California roads every day. Whiplash can be one of the most serious because of the possibility of long-lasting and debilitating injury.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a whiplash injury, you may be eligible for compensation for medical bills, physical therapy bills, lost time at work, and more.

Discuss your case with the Salamati Law Firm today. We are experienced car accident attorneys in Los Angeles with a long track record of winning substantial damages for our whiplash clients. There is no charge to you for an initial consultation, and we charge no fees unless we win you money.

Additional “Whiplash Injury” Resources:

  1. Ito, S., et al. “Identification of Soft Tissue Whiplash Injuries Through Biomechanical Testing of the Cervical Spine Before and After Simulated Trauma.” 49th Annual Meeting of the Orthopaedic Research Society, Poster #1100. https://www.ors.org/Transactions/49/1100.pdf.
  2. WebMD. Neck Strain and Whiplash. https://www.webmd.com/back-pain/neck-strain-whiplash#1.
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