Personal Injury FAQ
Copyright: hafakot / 123RF Stock Photo So you’ve been in an accident and now you’re dealing with a painful injury, expensive medical bills, and other physical, mental, and financial burdens. What makes the situation even worse is the fact that the accident wasn’t even your fault! Why should you have to suffer for someone else’s mistakes? The answer is, you don’t. Check out this FAQ provided by Wilshire Law Firm to learn about your rights and legal options after an accident. If you would like to discuss the specifics of your case with one of our dedicated personal injury attorneys, call (800) 522-7274. We offer FREE consultations. How Much is my Personal Injury Claim or Lawsuit Worth? While an attorney cannot provide you with an exact figure – and you should not trust one who claims otherwise – he or she can give you an estimate based on several factors, including but not limited to: the severity of your injuries, the circumstances surrounding your accident, the identity of the liable party, and the limits of his or her insurance policy. The amount of compensation you receive will be affected by not only the extent of your damages but also the strength of the evidence supporting your claim. That is why it is essential to get help from a personal injury lawyer who has experienced investigating and resolving cases like yours. If you are in the process or filing a personal injury lawsuit, it is perfectly natural to wonder how much compensation you are entitled to. And while this is not an easy question to answer, there are ways to predict a potential settlement or case resolution. The answer will always rely on what are known as “damages.” Damages are whatever harm has been inflicted on you, and how much that harm is worth: Monetarily Physically Mentally In some cases, the defendant may be punished further, which could also increase your reward. This is known as punitive damages. Monetary damages will be paid to a successful plaintiff who can prove that the defendant was legally responsible (at fault) for any negligence that caused the plaintiff property damage or personal injury. A damage reward is sometimes agreed upon with a negotiated settlement before the case goes to trial. These settlements must be agreed upon by the parties, the attorneys, and the insurance companies involved. If the parties cannot come to an agreement, the case will go to court, and a judge will decide the amount of your reward. Before you can begin to guess what your reward will be, it’s important to know what kind of damages for which you’re claiming compensation. Damages for which you can claim compensation Compensatory damages are the most common form of personal injury rewards. They are meant to compensate the plaintiff for what was damaged or totaled, during the accident for which the defendant was at fault. The parties will attempt to put a dollar amount on the actual damages, which can be tricky if you don’t have an experienced personal injury lawyer. The point of putting a dollar amount on the damages is to reimburse the plaintiff for their losses. Some compensatory damages are easy to quantify, while others are not so straightforward. Check out some of the more common forms of compensatory damages below: Medical treatment Most personal injury cases involve some form of compensation for medical treatment. Hospital bills, doctor visits – these items add up fast. If you have sustained any type of injury, it is very important that you seek medical treatment. If you don’t have medical records for your injuries, with hospital bills, your chances at recovery for physical injuries will be severely diminished. Income If you’re unable to work, due to injuries sustained in your accident, and lose your ability to earn income, you may be entitled to compensation for future and past wages. This is commonly referred to as “loss of earning capacity.” Property loss Any personal property that is damaged or lost during your accident is potential for compensation. Repairs, replacements, and more, may be compensated for at fair market value. Pain and suffering Any pain and suffering that you experienced during the accident, in the immediate aftermath of the accident, or for extended periods of time after the accident will be factored into your reward. Emotional distress If you have any psychological damage from your accident, you may be entitled to emotional distress compensation. Types of emotional distress include, but are not limited to: Fear Anxiety Loss of sleep Loss of enjoyment Many cases involve injuries that deter the victim from participating in everyday hobbies and activities that, in the past, contributed to their happiness and overall enjoyment. If your injuries keep you from your favorite activities, you may be entitled to loss of enjoyment remedies. Loss of consortium If the injuries of your accident result in any negativity with regards to your spousal relationship, you may be entitled to consortium compensation. The loss of companionship or sexual relationship is common forms of consortium remedies. Punitive damages in personal injury cases When the defendant’s conduct is found to be egregious, or particularly careless, your compensation may include what are known as “punitive damages.” Punitive damages are designed to inflict extra monetary punishment on the defendant, which, in turn, may deter them from repeating their actions. Punitive damages are a major source of massive personal injury settlements and verdicts. In many states, punitive damages have caps because they run up so high. How your actions affect your recovery amount If you are deemed to have had any partial fault for the accident, that will be reflected in your claim. Comparative negligence If you are found to be at fault (wholly or partially), this can seriously diminish your chances at full compensation. Contributory negligence In some states, if you are deemed to have any fault for the accident, you may not recover any compensation. Failure to mitigate damages You need to take reasonable steps toward minimizing your damages, or else the courts may deem that you did the exact opposite. For instance, if you don’t go to the hospital and receive medical treatment, your injuries will not be recorded. When Should I File a Lawsuit in California? In California, the deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit, also known as the statute of limitations, is two years from the injury or date of discovery in most cases. However, there are exceptions. It is best to speak with an attorney as soon as possible following your accident if you want to ensure that your suit is filed in time. Missing the deadline can result in you being barred from pursuing compensation for your injury. How Long will my California Personal Injury Case Take? To put it simply, it is extremely difficult to determine how long it will take to a resolve a personal injury case. Each and every case presents its own unique set of circumstances which affects its length, so it’s impossible to come up with a general timetable. Some lawsuits may settle in a few months without the need for litigation, while others can take years to complete. Why Do Personal Injury Cases Take a Long Time to Settle? Some personal injury cases take longer to settle than others. Does this mean there’s something wrong with your lawyer? No, probably not. But there are many factors that may affect how long your personal injury case will take to settle, such as: Injuries you have suffered and recovery time Legal issues How extensive damages are in your case Due to the numerous factors involved in personal injury cases, it’s impossible to determine exactly how long a case will take to settle. Injuries you have suffered and recovery time For a better representation of the compensation you deserve, you should reach your maximum medical improvement (MMI) before settling. Your MMI is the point where you have recovered enough to be considered stable. It is only once you have hit your MMI that your attorney can better assess how much your case is worth and any future impacts your accident will have on you. Unfortunately, there’s no universal formula dictating what everyone’s MMI is going to be. In fact, two people could experience the exact same type of collision and suffer from the same injuries, and their MMI’s still might be different! The only way to know for sure is to be patient and heal. If you settle before reaching your MMI, you could end up paying thousands of dollars out of your own pocket to pay off medical bills. Legal issues Insurance companies want to draw out the settlement process for as long as possible, hoping you’ll settle for a lower amount. They can do this by disputing liability, damages, and the value of your case. Insurance companies will fight your case, especially when liability is unclear. Settlement negotiations will open up once it has been made clear to an insurance company that your injuries were, in fact, from their client’s negligent and/or reckless action. But this process can take time. Sometimes, for insurance companies who refuse to acknowledge the plaintiff’s claim, a judge will have to grant them the right to sue. A personal injury lawyer will fight to push through these legal issues as quickly as possible to help their client earn the money they need and deserve. But even the most experienced lawyers need time. How extensive damages are in your case Cases involving extensive damages are likely to be worth more. In situations like these, expect insurance adjusters to use delaying tactics. Tactics can include: Adjusters requesting small bits of information at a time, instead of asking for it all at once Insurance companies constantly changing your adjuster An adjuster trying to convince you to use your medical insurance to pay for your medical bills Furthermore, when a lot of money is on the line, an insurance company will want to do their own investigation before settling. They will investigate every aspect of your case using a fine-tooth comb, until they are convinced of all the following: Your injuries were not exaggerated Your credibility is solid Your defense is better than theirs Experiencing harm and extensive damages from an accident is stressful. You want to get paid, quickly. But by moving and settling too quickly, you risk losing valuable compensation. By waiting, you can earn more money for your accident. Take, for example, a few of these cases Wilshire Law Firm’s lawyers have won on behalf of their clients: $1,000,000 motorcycle vs. automobile settlement $985,000,000 motorcycle vs. automobile settlement $2,000,000 motorcycle vs. automobile settlement Cases like these are not resolved in a manner of weeks, but the payoff was more than worth it! The key, though, is to wait. What Is Involved in the Personal Injury Lawsuit Process? Hire a lawyer Once you have decided to file a lawsuit, the first thing you need to do is hire a skilled and experienced personal injury lawyer. Although you can represent yourself, we would highly recommend hiring an attorney, anyways. They have a deep understanding of the law surrounding personal injury claims, the legal processes, and how to deal with insurance companies who will use many unsavory means to lower your compensation. Schedule a free case consultation with a lawyer. During this consultation, a lawyer will ask you questions about your injuries and request information relating to the accident, such as medical treatments, repair costs, and potential witnesses. File a lawsuit Starting a lawsuit involves filing a complaint or petition, which is a document that identifies the plaintiff (you) and the defendant (the person or party that caused the injuries), sets the court’s jurisdiction over the dispute, states your legal claims, and relates the facts leading to the claim. In it, you will set forth what you want the court to require the defendant to do. The court then issues a summons, which is an order stating where the lawsuit will be litigated (heard). The court notifies the defendant about the lawsuit and establishes the window within which he or she must file an answer or seek to have the lawsuit dismissed. If the defendant fails to respond within the given timeframe, he or she will be “in default”. Discovery Process The lawyers of both parties (the plaintiff and the defendant) collect the facts pertaining to the accident and injuries to present in the court as evidence. This is called ‘Discovery’. The discovery process involves the following: Interrogatories and requests for admission: Interrogatories are written descriptions of your version of the facts. Request for admission involves asking a party (plaintiff or defendant) to admit or deny certain facts. Document production: The lawyers of one or both parties may request the other party to provide documents pertaining to the case. The documents may include diaries, photos, letters, emails and computer files. Depositions: A deposition is a question and answer session in which the opposing party’s attorney asks the plaintiff, defendant or a witness a series of questions in the presence of a court reporter, who records everything that is said and produces a transcription to be used at the trial. Deposition takes place in the attorney’s office and may last from a few hours to several days. The discovery process may be long, but it is absolutely necessary to build your case. Once the discovery is finished, lawyers from both sides will begin preparing for trial. Pretrial Motions Before the lawsuit goes to trial, the lawyers of one or both parties may file a motion asking the court for a ruling on a particular matter. It may be to have the case dismissed, change the venue of the court, grant a summary judgment, etc. If the ruling on the motion can resolve the dispute and terminate the lawsuit before trial, it is called a dispositive motion. If the ruling resolves some questions that have arisen during the litigation, it is called a non-dispositive motion. Trial The trial is the final and the most high-profile phase of a lawsuit. In this phase, the judge or jury examines the evidence presented by both parties and decide, by a “preponderance of the evidence,” whether the defendant should be held liable for the injuries and harm caused to the plaintiff. The plaintiff is given the opportunity to present his or her version of the facts with evidence. The defendant is also given the opportunity to refute the plaintiff’s allegations, presenting his or her own version of facts with evidence. A trial has six phases: Jury selection: The judge selects jurors from a pool of eligible citizens, both the lawyers and judge will question jurors for bias, and dismiss biased jurors for cause. Opening statements: Both parties make their first statements through their lawyers. Witness testimony and cross-examinations: One or both parties call witnesses and ask questions. The opposing party’s lawyer cross-examines the witnesses with questions. Closing arguments: Both parties make their final statements through their lawyers. Jury instruction: The judge establishes a set of legal standards that the jury must adhere to when making their decision. Jury deliberation and verdict: The jurors gather in a separate room to discuss the case and make a decision. The verdict is then announced in the court. That ends the lawsuit. If you win, you can collect your claim. If you lose, you can either forget about it or file an appeal in a higher court. Since a personal injury lawsuit can be a lengthy and complicated process, never go to the court without help from a skilled and experienced personal injury lawyer. What Should I Expect at a Personal Injury Deposition? If your case has a good chance of going to trial, you will likely undergo a deposition, an oral question and answer session with the opposing attorney. Be prepared for the following questions: Have you suffered other illnesses and/or injuries in the past? Is this the first time you have been involved in a legal claim? Can you produce any witnesses to the accident? Have you filed an insurance claim? What is your employment history? How has your injury affected your life? When was the last time you received medical treatment for your injury? An attorney can help you prepare for a deposition by going over important documents related to your injury claim and coaching you on your answers. He or she will also be at your side during the deposition itself. Can I Still Pursue Compensation if I was Partially at Fault for my Injuries? Yes. The state of California uses a “pure comparative negligence” system for determining damages in a personal injury suit. Under this system, your compensation amount will be deducted by an amount equivalent to your percentage of fault. So, for instance, let’s say a jury awards you $100,000 in a verdict but also determines that you were 50 percent at fault for the accident. In the end, you will receive $50,000 ($100,000 minus 50 percent). When Should I Sue in a Personal Injury Case? Let’s say that you were injured in a car accident or when your new cellphone exploded in your hand. Besides the pain and suffering, there will be added burdens of medical bills, lost wages and other associated expenses. There may even be the possibility that you will never be able to work again. Naturally, you will want to be sufficiently compensated for your injuries and losses. The law offers two options: negotiated settlement and lawsuit. Claim vs Lawsuit Let’s say that you were injured in a car accident or when your new cellphone exploded in your hand. Besides the pain and suffering, there will be added burdens of medical bills, lost wages and other associated expenses. There may even be the possibility that you will never be able to work again. Naturally, you will want to be sufficiently compensated for your injuries and losses. The law offers two options: negotiated settlement and lawsuit. Should you file a claim and try to negotiate a settlement or should you sue the person or entity responsible for your injury? You should talk to experienced personal injury lawyers for advice. Before you can decide the right course of action, you need to know the difference between a claim and a lawsuit. Personal injury claim: A personal injury claim is filed with the insurance company of the responsible person or entity. This is before considering any lawsuit. Once you have filed your claim, a series of negotiations take place between you and the insurance company. You may be asked to attend an independent medical examination (IME) to have your injuries assessed and verified. If the negotiations conclude with a mutually satisfactory settlement, then will be no need to go to the court. Personal injury lawsuit: If a mutually satisfactory settlement can’t be reached with negotiations, then you should consider filing a personal injury lawsuit. A lawsuit is often a complicated and lengthy process that includes a petition, discovery of harm, depositions and trial. You will be required to appear several times at the court and produce witnesses. Before your cases reaches the trial stage, your defendant’s lawyer will try to have it have it thrown out. Even after the court gives a decision in your favor, the defendant may appeal to have the decision overturned or to have the compensation reduced. Consider the Following Before Filing a Lawsuit If you have received an offer of settlement that you did not find satisfactory, then consider the expenses and the time needed to pursue the lawsuit to its successful conclusion before rejecting it. Even when you have a strong case, there is no guarantee that you will win or that court will award you the full amount of your claim even if you win. If you lose the lawsuit, you will not be able to recover any of your expenses. Your lawsuit expenses may include petition filing fees, payments to law enforcement officers, costs of depositions and transcripts, costs of medical examination, travel expenses, copying costs for medical records, witness statements and police reports, and other associated expenses. Add to that the loss of wages due to time off from work and even the possibility of losing your job. Arbitration is Often a Better Recourse If the negotiations for settlement have failed, then you should consider arbitration as the next step. Arbitration takes place after the failure of the negotiations but before filing a lawsuit. It is the use of an independent person or a group of persons officially appointed to settle a dispute. The arbitrator listens to both sides and gives his decision. In most cases, the arbitrator’s decision cannot be appealed. Arbitration is an excellent alternative to a lawsuit. It takes less time and the costs are much lower. There are various types of arbitrations, including one that guarantees that you will be paid at least some amount of money even if the arbitrator’s decision goes against you. Sue Only After You Have Run Out of All Other Options Technically speaking, you can file a personal injury lawsuit at any time you like after the accident. You can file it the same day you were injured, if you want to. But considering the complexity of the legal process once it goes to court, it is sensible to seek a negotiated settlement first. Experienced personal injury lawyers will give you the same advice. Therefore, you should consider filing a lawsuit only after you have run out of all other options, including arbitration and mediation. How Much will it Cost to Hire Wilshire Law Firm? At Wilshire Law Firm, we provide our services on a contingency fee basis. In other words, you won’t have to pay us any attorney fees unless we make a recovery. We advance witness fees, court filing fees, deposition costs, and other legal expenses. We have ways to take care of your medical costs as well! Once we obtain a settlement or verdict, we will take a fair percentage of the proceedings as payment for our services. We won’t ask for even a single cent beforehand. So there is literally zero risk to seeking our help! If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident caused by another party, contact Wilshire Law Firm today to get started on the road to recovery. Since opening the doors of our first Los Angeles office in 2007, we have obtained more than $100 million in verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients. Our attorneys have years of experience and the results to show for it. You won’t go wrong with our legal team at your side. Call us today and let us fight for you.
Bicycle Accident FAQ
Common Questions about Bicycle Accidents How long do I have to file a bicycle accident claim? In most cases, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a claim. This deadline is known as the statute of limitations. Since the window to file your claim can vary depending on the circumstances (e.g. the statute of limitations for cases involving government employees is six months), it is best to consult with a trustworthy attorney ASAP. Otherwise, you may miss the opportunity to pursue compensation for your damages. How long does a bicycle accident case take? A typical bicycle accident case in California can take anywhere from a few months to several years. There is no clear answer, though there are a few guidelines. More serious injuries usually lead to longer cases, as do liability disputes and other complicating factors. While no attorney can give you an exact figure regarding the length of your case (and don’t trust those who tell you otherwise), he or she can extrapolate an estimate from the facts of your case. What if I was partly at fault for my bicycle accident? Bicyclists are subject to the same rules of the road as motorists, and thus have a general duty to exercise reasonable care for the safety of themselves and others. However, bicycle accident victims who are partially at fault can still get compensation for their injuries, albeit reduced by their percentage of fault. For instance, if the jury awards you $100,000 in damages but determines that you were 30% at fault, you would still be entitled to recover $70,000 ($100,000 – 30%). What damages may I claim for bicycle accident injuries? If you have been injured in a bicycle accident that wasn’t your fault, you may be entitled to compensation for the following damages: Past and future medical expenses Lost income and loss of earning capacity Pain and suffering Loss of enjoyment of life Property damage Only by getting an experienced legal professional on your case can you ensure that the value of your case is preserved. The faster, the better. What if my child was injured or killed while riding a bicycle? There are a few major differences to claims where a child is injured. First, a guardian ad litem is appointed by the Court to act on behalf of the child. Second, the child’s personal injury compensation is placed into a blocked account that is made accessible only once the child turns 18. For more information, reach out to a lawyer experienced in these cases. Do I need an attorney after a bicycle accident? Yes, only a qualified bicycle accident lawyer can protect your rights and make sure the insurance company does not take advantage of you. To discuss the specifics of your bicycle accident claim with a dedicated legal expert, call Wilshire Law Firm at (800) 522-7274. We represent bike crash victims all throughout California.
Can I Choose My Own Repair Shop After A Car Accident?
The law says yes, you are well within your rights to choose your own repair shop after an accident, and there’s nothing the insurance company can do to stop you. They are allowed to give you recommendations, but the choice is ultimately yours. That being said, there are advantages – both for you and the insurance company – to going with the insurance company’s preferred repair shop. First, you don’t have to deal directly with the repair shop since all transactions go through the insurance company. Second, the insurance company provides a guarantee on repairs, meaning if you’re dissatisfied with the repairs for any reason, you can contact the insurance company and have them resolve the situation. Third, the shop doesn’t have to wait for approval from an adjuster to start repairs. As for the insurance company, they benefit from significant discounts on parts and labor … But they may also cut corners, partnering with unreliable repair shops that work with cheaper, lower quality parts. There are many reasons why you may want to go to another repair shop, and that’s perfectly fine – again, the choice is yours. However, the insurance claim representative will likely attempt to persuade you otherwise, telling you that estimates on your car will be needlessly delayed, that they won’t be able to warranty the repairs if you decide to have your car repaired at another shop. Don’t fret. As long as you go to a reputable repair shop, an experienced shop estimator will handle the estimate process and repairs efficiently. After all, it is in their best interests to do so. Do you have any questions regarding your auto accident injury claim? If so, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Wilshire Law Firm for answers. We can provide you with a comprehensive understanding of your legal rights and options in a FREE consultation.
Spinal Cord Injury Resources in California
If you have recently sustained a spinal cord injury (SCI), you may feel overwhelmed by the many obstacles that await you. However, you are not alone. There are many resources in California you can turn to for help in all aspects of your post-SCI life. We have compiled a list of resources below along with descriptions and links to their websites. It is our hope that these resources work to minimize your hardships and speed up your recovery. Accessible Fitness: This fitness organization based in Santa Clara provides in-home personal training and a Fitness Center to the physically challenged. Believe Ability: Believe Ability provides personalized therapy services, including occupational and speech therapy, to children and adults of all abilities in the home, school and community settings. California Centers for Independent Living: Centers for independent living (CILs) are private, nonprofit corporations that provide, among other things, several core services: advocacy, independent living skills training, information and referral, and peer counseling. Californians for Disability Rights: THE oldest and largest membership organization of persons with disabilities in California, CDR works to improve the quality of life for all disabled persons by working to remove barriers through advocacy and change in public policy. Care Meridian: With specialty skilled nursing and rehab facilities through California, Care Meridian provides personalized care plans, which include one-on-one physical, occupational, speech and respiratory therapy, to patients with spinal cord injuries and other equally catastrophic and medically complex injuries. Centers for Accessible Technology: CfortAT’s focus is on making computers and technology accessible to people with disabilities so they can live independently. Disability Benefits 101: DB101 gives disabled persons tools and information on health coverage, benefits and employment. EmpowerTech: EmpowerTech trains disabled children and adults throughout Los Angeles County on Web browsers, computer screen readers, note takers, popular office software, and other assistive technology and devices. HeadNorth Fund at the Sharp Healthcare Foundation: Their mission is to provide financial assistance and resources to help and guide SCI survivors and their families, while also supporting research for a cure. Life Goes On: Life Goes On is a nonprofit organization devoted to helping people with various disabilities improve their home environments to maximize accessibility, independence, safety and social interaction. NextStep: NextStep is a nationally recognized nonprofit organization that provides all persons living with paralysis and other physical disabilities the opportunity for health and recovery through affordable and progressive community fitness, health, and wellness facilities. Project Walk: Project Walk provides an improved quality of life for people with disabilities through intense activity-based recovery programs, education, training, research and development. Smile Partners: Smile Partners is a Los Angeles-based “Portable Dental Hygiene Services” dedicated to serving patients with a wide variety of challenges, including those with complex medical conditions. Since they are a portable service, they come to you. Triumph Foundation: A non-profit organization based in Canyon Country, Triumph Foundation’s mission is to help SCI survivors triumph over their disability and maintain the highest possible quality of life. They provide information and resources about many organizations, assistance programs, and activities that exist to help SCI survivors get access to necessary health services, expand fitness and recreational opportunities, receive mentorship and advocacy, and reintegrate back into the community. Similar groups include United Spinal Association Southern California Chapter and San Francisco Bay Area Chapter. If you are in need of legal representation because your spinal cord injury was caused by the negligence of another party, please contact Wilshire Law Firm for immediate assistance. Our experienced personal injury lawyers will fight to get you the compensation you need to get access to the best medical treatment and rehabilitation services available. Call us today at (800) 522-7274 to learn more about what our firm can do for you in a FREE consultation.
Ways Family Can Help a Loved One with a Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injuries can take a major toll on the life of your loved one as well as yours. Learn how to help someone suffering from a TBI and improve their quality of life) Watching a loved one struggle with the symptoms and life effects of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) isn’t easy. A concussion or head injury could cause changes to a person’s mobility, cognition, speech, everyday functioning, or personality. TBI affects not just the injured person but their entire family, who may have to change their lives to help their loved one recover or support them long-term. To make matters worse, brain injuries are often “invisible,” with subtle effects that can get worse over time. A moderate or severe TBI victim may not even be aware they have a TBI until they get checked out. There’s still so much the medical establishment doesn’t know about brain injuries and the way they affect brain function. As a result, even your doctors may not fully know what to expect. Even “mild” traumatic brain injuries are often quite serious. While some cases may resolve in a couple of weeks, others may take much longer. As many as 30% of concussion victims experience post-concussion syndrome for months or years after their initial injury. You want to be there for your loved one but you probably don’t have any more experience at dealing with TBI than they do. What’s the best way you can help? What is the Definition of Traumatic Brain Injury? According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a traumatic brain injury is defined as an injury that affects how the brain works. TBI symptoms can either be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the individual. TBI is one of the leading causes of death and disability in the United States, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders. Traumatic brain injury includes head trauma, restriction of blood flow, or other damage to the brain. What Are the Long-Term Effects of a Traumatic Brain Injury? The CDC estimates that 13.5 million people in the U.S. live with a disability due to a traumatic brain injury. An estimated 50,000 people die from TBI-related deaths every year. The more severe the head injury, the more serious the prognosis. 60% of victims with moderate brain injury recover with minimal lingering issues. But for patients with severe TBI, 25-33% recover to a functional degree, 33% live with a disability, and the remaining 33% do not survive. The first step to helping a TBI patient is to better understand what they’re going through. Ask their doctor about the details of their diagnosis. You may not understand all of the medical jargon but that’s okay. You can ask questions and take notes to continue your research later. A traumatic brain injury can have symptoms ranging from anxiety, depression, and PTSD to memory loss, difficulty concentrating, slurred speech, light sensitivity, and paralysis. Post-concussion syndrome involves neurovascular coupling, affecting the communication between neurons in the brain and the blood vessels that give them energy. The effects of a TBI depend on which parts of the brain were affected and the severity of the injury. The most debilitating cases could require supportive care or even live-in care. As a family member caring for a TBI patient, you may struggle to balance the needs of your loved one with your work and other family responsibilities. This could be even harder if the TBI caused your household to lose a source of income because the patient can no longer work. Medical treatment and rehabilitation therapy for TBI can get expensive, too. If your loved one’s TBI was caused by someone else, a personal injury lawsuit can help you cover the costs. How to Help Someone Recovering From TBI Do not hesitate to talk to the therapists, nurses, and doctors providing your loved one’s care. They can instruct you best on how to help – physically, mentally, and emotionally. Depending on the severity and type of injury, specialists may be able to put together a plan for in-home care to improve their quality of life. The fact that you’re concerned about how you can help means that your heart is in the right place. The following tips (more here) can help your loved one be as comfortable as possible without overstepping their boundaries. Restore Structure and Normalcy Establish and maintain a daily routine Keep the items the patient needs within easy reach Let the patient rest as much as recommended Make sure the patient gets the prescribed amount of exercise or cognitive activity Include the patient in family activities and conversations even if they’re unable to speak Keep a calendar within view to establish a sense of time and date Use photo albums of family, friends, and familiar places to help with memory Be Considerate and Respectful Respect your loved one’s wishes and personal choices Avoid talking down to the patient or blaming them for small mistakes Remind the patient of the gains they’ve made since the onset of their injury If a patient has memory issues, simplify activities down to more manageable steps Avoid Overstimulation Allow no more than a few visitors at a time Use simple language and keep your voice calm Avoid crowded places or groups of people speaking over each other Introduce thoughts and ideas one by one and wait patiently for a response Try to limit stimulation to a single sense (sight, hearing, touch) at a time Unfortunately, traumatic brain injuries rarely come with a reliable timeline to recovery – and the road to recovery is usually not linear. Some days may be worse than others. Some days may feel like one step forward while other days may feel like a few steps back. It’s important to have patience, forgiveness, and grace for both your loved one and yourself. How a Personal Injury Lawsuit Can Help If someone else caused your loved one’s TBI, you can sue for personal injury and get damages that compensate you and your family for your losses. That includes the cost of: Current and future medical bills Transportation to and from the hospital Lost wages or income from becoming unable to work Pain, suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life Even though traumatic brain injuries can have major effects on someone’s life and health, they can happen in everyday, ordinary moments, like a car accident during your daily commute. You only have a limited amount of time after an incident to file a TBI lawsuit for damages. That means you should talk to a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. If your loved one lost their life because of a TBI-related cause, you could have a claim for wrongful death. For a FREE consultation of your case by a team of top-rated personal injury lawyers, call the Wilshire Law Firm 24/7 at (800) 501-3011 or use our online contact form now.
Construction Workers: Beware of Silica Exposure
Copyright: olegdudko / 123RF Stock Photo Dangers of Silica Exposure to Construction Workers At construction sites, the air is usually full of dust, as workers pulverize rocks or concrete with high power tools. Although it may not seem like it, the dust can actually be harmful, even deadly. Studies have shown that construction workers are at risk of developing silicosis and other lung diseases if they are exposed to high levels of concrete and rock dust over a significant period of time. What Is Silicosis? Inhaling dust containing crystalline silica particles (a main component of the earth’s crust) can cause lung fibrosis – a disease marked by scar tissue formations in the lung that can interfere with the ability to breathe. There is no known cure for this disease. Other diseases associated with silica exposure include chronic airway obstruction and bronchitis, tuberculosis and lung cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. What Construction Activities Have High Risk? Construction activities which have the highest risk of silica exposure include the following: Sandblasting to remove paint and rust Jack hammering Rock/well drilling Concrete mixing and drilling Brick and concrete block cutting and sawing Tunneling Setting, laying, and repair of railroad tracks Although the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) imposes certain site standards to protect workers from the dangers of silica exposure, recent studies suggest that the current OSHA standard may actually be insufficient. What Are the Symptoms of Silicosis? If you are a construction worker and are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may have contracted silicosis during the course of your work: Shortness of breath Fever Bluish skin at the ear lobes or lips Chronic fatigue and shortness of breath Loss of appetite Chest pains Respiratory failure Chronic silicosis, which usually occurs after 10 or more years of exposure, may eventually lead to death, depending on the severity of the symptoms. Am I Entitled to Compensation? If you or someone you love has developed silicosis or another respiratory illness due to construction work, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, loss of income, future medical treatment, pain and suffering, and more. However, it is up to you to take action to ensure maximum recovery. Get in touch with an experienced construction accident attorney as soon as possible. At Wilshire Law Firm, our legal team can conduct a thorough investigation of your claim and help you prove that your employer and/or the equipment manufacturer caused your exposure to silica dust. For years, we have helped injured and sick construction workers get the financial support they need to cover their medical bills and secure their financial future. To learn more about your rights and legal options, call us today at (800) 522-7274.