Monthly Archives: September 2014

Traumatic brain injury associated with auto accidents

California motorists may be interested to learn that roadway accidents are the leading cause of death from traumatic brain injuries in the U.S. TBI causes immediate or delayed physical, psychological and cognitive injury and significant financial issues related to treatment and loss of income.

The force of the crash determines the effect it will have on the human body. A vehicle traveling at 60 mph that suddenly stops due to impact may have significant effects on internal organs and the brain. When impact occurs, the vehicle stops abruptly, but the occupants’ bodies do not stop. They keep moving at the same velocity until something else, such as a seat belt or an airbag, stops them. When the skull is hit, the brain slams into it since it too continues to move. This causes injury and symptoms.

Striking the windshield has the greatest potential for harm. Two types of head injury occur. Open head injury is where the skull is fractured and may result in brain tissue laceration and glass impregnation into the brain. Surgery may be needed to extract shards and repair the tissue. Closed head injuries where skull fracture does not occur may result in bleeding and swelling of the brain. It causes a range of symptoms including memory and speech difficulties, balance problems, seizures, personality change and cognitive issues as well as coma and death.

Brain injuries may require long stays in intensive care as well as physical and cognitive rehabilitation. Recovery depends on the injury, and it may be slow and accompanied by unemployment due to physical and brain injuries. An attorney may evaluate the need for extended care by consulting with physicians. An attorney may assist someone who suffers TBI due to someone else’s negligence by filing a personal injury suit to recover financial losses.

Source: Brain Injury Institute, “Closed Head Injury,” 2011

Source:, “Auto Accident”, September 28, 2014

California passes law mandating bike buffer zone

Bicyclists in California may have safer rides as a result of a bill that went into effect on Sept. 16. The state law, called the Three-Feet-for-Safety Act, states that drivers must allow a buffer zone of at least three feet in between their vehicles and bicycles. A representative for a bicyclists’ advocacy organization said that the law might help drivers understand how to conduct themselves more safely around cyclists.

The new law imposes a $35 fine for not allowing cyclists enough room to ride safely and a $220 fine for drivers who cause accidents while not observing the three-foot rule. However, with court costs and other fees, drivers who violate the rule may receive a ticket totaling around $230, while drivers who cause accidents could pay more than $950.

The nationwide rate of car accidents injuring bicyclists rose 18 percent from 2007 to 2012. A San Diego police chief said that more than 500 bicyclists, four of whom died, suffered injuries as a result of car accidents in San Diego in 2013. She urged drivers and cyclists alike to have patience when sharing the road, adding that drivers could avoid tickets and cyclists’ lives could be saved.

Bicycling enthusiasts quoted in reports noted that although the law is a good start to making roadways safer for cyclists, other problems endanger Californian cyclists every day. Most cyclists only suffer minor injuries in car accidents, but many suffer serious injuries or death as a result of driver negligence. The types of injuries that can occur in bicycle accidents may cause severe, lifelong complications that could leave accident victims out of work or dependent on their loved ones for around-the-clock care. Personal injury attorneys are sometimes able to help victims or their families seek compensation from the drivers responsible for their accidents.

Source: UT San Diego , “Driver alert: Bike buffer zone now the law“, Lyndsay Winkley, September 16, 2014

Driver sentenced for accident that killed man on sidewalk

On Oct. 27, 2013, a 20-year-old male pedestrian was struck and killed by a sport-utility vehicle in Spring Valley, California. The driver left the scene and later bought beer. On Sept. 10, that driver, a 34-year-old man, was sentenced to 30 years in prison in El Cajon Superior Court. The period of incarceration was lengthened as a result of his history of felony offenses, which include possession of a stolen vehicle, burglary and attempted robbery.

The fatal accident occurred on Campo Road near Cordoba Street as the victim was on the sidewalk and walking home from his shift at a fast food restaurant. The driver was in his grandfather’s sport-utility vehicle. According to the deputy district attorney who prosecuted the case, video surveillance of the crash revealed that the victim saw the vehicle approaching and attempted to run, but he was unable to get out of the SUV’s path.

The sadness and emotional shock felt upon learning of a loved one’s death can be accompanied by financial uncertainty. An accident victim’s family members may face the loss of that person’s income, which could compound their grief.

The immediate family members of a fatal accident victim whose death may have been caused by the negligent actions of someone else can pursue compensation via civil litigation. Damages awarded to plaintiffs of wrongful death lawsuits could be tied to medical expenses incurred before the victim’s death, burial and funeral costs and the loss of that person’s future earnings. Survivors of an individual killed in an auto-pedestrian accident may wish to consult a personal injury attorney.

Source: UT San Diego, “DUI driver kills pedestrian, then buys beer“, Kristina Davis, September 10, 2014

Suit filed against FIFA in California court

A new class action suit was filed against the Federation Internationale de Football Association and several soccer associations in the United States. Rather than seeking monetary damages, the suit hopes to establish a medical monitoring program for soccer-related concussions and change the rules to better cope with these injuries.

The lawsuit was originally filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. According to an attorney representing the plaintiffs, changes that the medical community had called for over ten years ago were never put into place. There is a concern that the leagues put the players at a needless risk because of current policies. One of the main issues in the case is whether the defendants, which also include American Youth Soccer and U.S. Youth Soccer in addition to FIFA, knew about changes that could be made and failed to properly adopt them.

One of the allegations made in the complaint is that players who have possibly suffered a concussion are expected to self-diagnose their own brain injuries. Some of the changes that the plaintiffs wish to see include the requirement of a medical professional to evaluate whether the injured player should stay in the game. These changes would also diminish the power that referees have to determine whether players stay on the field following an injury.

Suffering a brain injury can be physically and emotionally traumatizing, and such injuries could cause cognitive impairment and personality changes. In some cases, problems that develop after a head injury might not be immediately noticeable. Those who have suffered serious head trauma due to the negligent actions of another could consult an attorney to see if legal remedies are available.

Source: Forbes, “Class Action Concussion Lawsuit Filed Against FIFA And U.S. Soccer Associations“, Darren Heitner, August 27, 2014

California man died from injuries suffered in accident

Investigators sought witnesses to a fatal motor vehicle accident that occurred in Huntington Beach on Sep. 2 at approximately 6:30 p.m. A 2013 Mercedes-Benz C250 crashed into a motorized bicycle operated by a local resident near the intersection of Oahu Drive and Bolsa Chica Street . The authorities allege that the two vehicles were traveling south on Bolsa Chica when the Mercedes ran into the bicycle.

Police responding to the scene questioned the 51-year-old male driver of the Mercedes whom they suspect was driving while alcohol impaired. An accident reconstruction team was working this investigation as well, and eventually, the driver of the Mercedes was arrested and charged with a DUI.

Witnesses at the accident scene tried to assist the 55-year-old man who was riding the motorized bike, and emergency responders took him to UCI Medical Center. A spokesperson later reported that the man had died from the injuries he suffered in the crash.

When a car and bicycle accident like this one occurs, catastrophic injuries may result and could ultimately lead to the premature death of a loved one. The family of the man in this case could decide to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver of the car to recover such damages as medical expenses and a loss of future financial support that the man might have provided to a wife and children.

Civil litigation is handled separately from any criminal court proceedings that might take place, and the outcome of a criminal case would not have any bearing on a civil lawsuit. A personal injury attorney might advise family members seeking financial compensation in a case like this one. He or she could obtain investigative reports and represent a family in a lawsuit or help them with negotiating insurance settlements.

Source: KTLA, “Officials Identify Huntington Beach Bicyclist, 55, Killed in Suspected DUI Crash“, John Moreno, September 03, 2014

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