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Dockless Electric Scooter Injuries in Austin

Rentable scooters are a common sight in Austin and many other cities. These scooters may be rented for short periods of time using an app on a mobile phone. Typically, they have have a very narrow platform where the rider stands with one foot in front of the other. E-scooters can typically travel at speeds up to 15 miles per hour.

The Problem – Scooter Injuries on the Rise in Austin

E-scooters first appeared in Austin in early April of 2018. Since that date, hundreds of thousands of e-scooter trips have been taken. This had a stong correlation with doctors, hospitals, and local emergency rooms seeing an uptick in the number of cases associated with e-scooter-related injuries.

A recent study by Austin Public Health analyzed e-scooter injuries using 271 potential e-scooter injuries. This study reviewed 271 persons with probable e-scooter injures. The general results of this study showed:

  • Age group 18-29 had the highest number of injured riders, followed by riders age 30-39.
  • First-time riders were the most likely to be injured, and injury rates generally decreased with the experience level of the rider.

Common Injuries on e-scooters.

Of the 190 riders injured on e-scooters in the study, nearly half had injures to the head. These included lacerations, abrasions, and fractures to the head. In addition, 70% of riders had injuries to the hands, wrists, arms, and/or shoulders. 55% had injuries to the lower limbs, including the legs, knees, ankles, and feet. A frequent occurrence included injures to the arms, knees, face, and hands.

Of the riders surveyed, over one-third of injured riders broke bones. This statistic did not include breaks to the nose, fingers, and/or toes. 19% of this group had fractures involving multiple regions of the body, with a high number of fractures to the arms and legs. Six people had fractures to the bones of the head.

Severity of e-Scooter Injuries

Nearly half of the riders in this study sustained a severe injury. Such severe injuries included:

  • Broken bones – 84%
  • Nerve, tendon, or ligament injuries – 45%
  • Hospital stay of more than 48 hours – 8%
  • Severe bleed – 5%
  • Organ damage – 1%

Frighteningly, 15% of riders sustained injuries suggestive of traumatic brain injuries. Despite this, less than 1% of riders was found to be wearing a helmet at the time of the crash. 88% of the riders in this study were seen at an emergency room, suggesting a high cost for treatment of e-scooter injuries. 14% of riders were hospitalized. Thankfully, none of the riders involved in the study died.

Where e-Scooter Injures Occur in Austin

Unsurprisingly, most of the e-Scooter injuries in Austin occurred in the downtown and surrounding area. 31% occurred in the area between South Lamar Blvd, Cesar Chavez, IH35, and 12th street. 16% occurred in the UT campus area. In total, nearly half of all injures on e-Scooters were found to have occurred in these areas alone.

Sidewalk versus street injures were broken down as follows:

  • Street – 55%
  • Sidewalk – 33%

A minimal number of injures (8) occurred where no motor vehicles were allowed and there was no path. 4 occurred in parking lots.

Surprisingly, the majority of riders were injured while riding on flat surfaces. Specifically, 65% or riders were injured while traveling on a level surface. Downhill riding resulted in 25% of the injuries, while uphill riding made up only 6% of injuries.

e-Scooter Injuries and Motor Vehicle Involvement

16% of e-Scooter injuries in the study involved motorized vehicles. This included colliding, swerving to avoid, stopping, and jumping off e-Scooters in order to avoid a collision. 10% of riders in the study actually collided with a motor vehicle. As Austin is one of many cities with a vulnerable road user ordinance, one would have hoped the vehicle-related crashes would be lower.

Other Contributing Factors

  • 29% of injured riders reported consuming alcohol within 12 hours of riding
  • 37% reported that excess speed contributed to their injuries (recall that most scooters top out at just 15 miles per hour)
  • 19% believed scooter malfunction contributed to their accident (brakes, wheels, other components failing to work properly)
  • 60% of injured riders received training before riding from the e-Scooter company’s app

Conclusion

While e-Scooters are a convenient means of transportation, they are not 100% safe. Riders should ensure that they are familiar with how to operate these vehicles. They should also ensure that they have the coordination necessary to control the vehicle’s direction and speed. That being said, it is not always rider error that causes a crash. Other drivers, mechanical failures, and hazards on the road are frequent contributor to e-Scooter injuries.

If you or someone you know has been injured in an e-Scooter accident, you should seek immediate medical attention. If your injury resulted from someone else’s negligence (such as a defective vehicle, another driver, or a hazardous situation), you should seek advice from an experienced injury attorney.

Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury is a leading cause of death and lifelong disability among younger populations in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated that 1.5 million Americans survive a traumatic brain injury each year. This article will help you understand what traumatic brain injury is, its symptoms, and some common types of traumatic brain injuries. Additionally, this article will help you to begin to understand the long-term effects of traumatic brain injury and how you can restore the health condition of the patient.

An overview of traumatic brain injury 

Traumatic brain injury is a type of injury that occurs due to a mechanical force that gives the head/skull a great amount of impact. This can be a bump, a blow, a jolt, or any other impact that disrupts normal brain function. This impact diminishes the cognitive, psychological, and physical function of the body either temporary or, in more unfortunate cases, permanently. 

TBI is a brain injury that is primarily caused by a collision of the skull with any hard surface. The brain is a very delicate organ that is responsible for our conscious behavior. 

When the brain is hit by an external force the function gets disturbed and the brain stops responding. This is where the body feels the trauma. When the brain is physically damaged, the results can be mild to serious injuries like a temporary effect in brain cells, or internal bleeding and torn tissues. 

The treatment of the injury can be minimal, or it can involve other actions like – emergency surgery, medications, and even additional surgeries years later. If the victim requires rehabilitation, he or she must go through physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, vision therapy, and possibly more. Treatment is often determined by the type of injury sustained. 

Globally, traumatic brain injury has been a major cause of death and disability. Teenagers and old age people were more victims than adults. However, in recent years the medical field has set-up advanced diagnostic technologies and treatments that have decreased the death rate. 

Traumatic Brain Injury Statistics

Traumatic brain injury is a leading cause of death and disability among children and young adults in the United States. Each year an estimated 1.5 million Americans sustain a traumatic brain injury. The results of these traumatic brain injuries are startling:

  • 230,000 people are hospitalized and survive.
  • 50,000 people die.
  • 80,000 to 90,000 people experience the onset of long-term disability.

It is estimated that 5.3 million men, women, and children are living with a permanent TBI-related disability in the United States today.

It has been reported that falls (52%) and motor vehicle crashes (20%) were the second leading causes of traumatic brain injury hospitalizations. Additionally, among deaths resulting from traumatic brain injury-related deaths, motor vehicle crashes were the leading cause for persons aged 15-24, 25-34, and 75 and older.  Motor vehicle crashes were also the number one cause of TBI hospitalizations for individuals aged 15-44.

While the risk of sustaining a traumatic brain injury exists regardless of one’s age, this risk is highest among adolescents, young adults, and persons older than 75 years. Interestingly, the risk of TBI for males is twice that of females.

The major causes of TBI are:

  • Motor vehicle crashes: Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries resulting in hospitalization.
  • Violence: Suicidal behavior and assaults that involve firearms are the leading cause of traumatic brain injury-related death.
  • Falls. Falls are the leading cause of TBI among elderly populations.

Traumatic brain injuries have both short-term and long-term effects on individuals, their families, and society. The financial cost of a traumatic brain injury is enormous. According to one study, the annual economic burden in the United States was approximately $37.8 billion in 1985.

For well over 5 million Americans living with a traumatic brain injury-related disability, the financial cost is only part of the burden. The long-term impairments and disabilities associated with traumatic brain injuries are massive. As these disabilities are not readily apparent to the public (such as is the case with a broken arm showing a cast), traumatic brain injuries are often referred to as the invisible epidemic. TBI-associated disabilities, arising from cognitive, emotional, sensory, and motor impairments, can permanently alter a person’s vocational aspirations and have profound effects on social and family relationships.

Prevention of Traumatic Brain Injuries 

Listed below are certain actions that you can take to minimize the likelihood of someone you love sustaining a traumatic brain injury. Many of these are obvious, but each is good to keep in mind:

  1. Always wear your seatbelt.  Wear your seatbelt every time you drive or ride in a motor vehicle.  If you see a passenger or driver not wearing his or her seatbelt – call them out on it. It is the law. 
  2. Do not drink and drive. Operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or other drugs is a frequent contributing factor in TBI crashes.
  3. Always use a reliable, current, unexpired child safety or booster. You must also ensure that the safety seat is installed properly. An improperly installed car seat can injure those it was designed to protect. Texas has specific laws regarding rear-facing, forward-facing, boosters, and adult safety belts. The American Association of Pediatric Medicine’s child passenger safety guidelines are available HERE.
  4. Prevent older adult falls. Falls are the number one cause of traumatic brain injuries among the elderly. Pay special attention to any medications that may make you sleepy or dizzy. Having your eyes and ears checked at least yearly can also help minimize falls.
  5. Wear helmets while riding motorcycles, bicycles, skateboards and any other wheeled vehicle. 
  6. Lighting. Make sure to provide enough lightning on dark stairs. 
  7. Removing Obstacles. Avoid playing on a rough surface or in any environment that has obstacles in the pathway. 

A definition of traumatic brain injury 

There is no common definition of traumatic brain injury as every medical practitioner has their own elaboration for the term. The reason behind that is – the term “brain injury” is often used as a synonym of head injury that may not be associated with neurologic deficits. 

Neurologic deficits involve an inability to speak, abnormal reflexes, walking problems, etc. This is because the brain, muscles, spinal cord and nerves become weak and function abnormally.  

Whereas, TBI is just an intracranial (within the skull) injury that occurs dues to external impact on the head. 

Symptoms of a traumatic brain injury 

Some symptoms of TBI can appear instantly after the accident and some symptoms can appear after a few days or weeks. TBI can affect the physical, sensory, and mental state of the body.  

Mild symptoms – 

Physical  

  • Loss of consciousness 
  • Dazed and confused without losing the consciousness 
  • Vomiting and nausea 
  • Headache 
  • Difficulty in sleeping 
  • Loss of balance or dizziness 
  • Speech problem 
  • Fatigue 

Sensory  

  • Sensitivity to sound and light 
  • Bad taste in the mouth 
  • Blurred vision 
  • Ringing in ear 
  • Unable to recognize common smells 

Mental or cognitive 

  • Low concentration 
  • Mood swings 
  • The feeling of anxiety and depression 

Moderate to Severe TBI Symptoms – 

These symptoms may appear in the first hour or first two-three days after the accident. 

Physical  

  • Unconscious for several hours. 
  • Severe headaches 
  • Seizures 
  • Continuous vomiting and nausea 
  • Dilatation of pupils 
  • Fluid running from nose and ears 
  • Numb fingers and toes 
  • Lack of coordination 

Mental or cognitive 

  • Intense confusion 
  • Unusual behavior or agitation 
  • Mumbled speech 
  • Consciousness disorder or coma 

TBI Symptoms in Children

  • Change in eating pattern 
  • Lack of attention 
  • Poor sleep habits 
  • Depression 
  • Loss of interest in toys and fun activities 
  • Persistent crying 

Classifications and types of traumatic brain injuries 

There are 5 classifications of TBI that are based on –  

1: Primary and Secondary Injuries  

Primary Injury – It occurs at the time of the accident when the mechanical force is applied to the head. 

Secondary injury – It occurs after a certain period of time, a few hours or a few days, not at the time of the injury.  

2: Focal versus Diffuse Injuries 

Focal injury – Occurs in a specific location of the brain. 

Diffuse injury – It occurs in a widespread area of the brain. 

3: Open and Closed Injuries 

Open Injury or Penetrating Injury – This type of injury occurs when a sharp object pierces into the brain. 

Closed Injury or Non-Penetrating Injury – The skull remains unbroken in this injury, however, it is the most common injury for physical and mental disability. 

4: Degree of severity 

Traumatic brain injuries are classified as mild, moderate, and severe. As discussed below, a traumatic brain injury can be as simple as a brief loss of consciousness. It can also extent to the severe, where a person is unconscious for more than 24 hours, may slip into a coma, or may enter a persistent vegetative state.

  • Mild 
    • Brief loss of consciousness, usually for a few seconds or minutes
    • Post-traumatic amnesia for less than one hour from the time of the traumatic brain injury
    • Brain imaging results are normal
  • Moderate 
    • Loss of consciousness for 1-24 hours
    • Post-traumatic amnesia for 1-24 hours from the time of the traumatic brain injury
    • Abnormal brain imaging results
  • Severe
    • Loss of consciousness or coma for more than 24 hours
    • Post-traumatic amnesia for more than 24 hours from the time of the traumatic brain injury
    • Abnormal brain imaging results.  

Severe traumatic brain injuries may also result in the following states:

  • Coma – a state of unconsciousness from which the patient cannot be awakened;
  • Vegetative state – a state in which the patient is not in a coma but is not aware of his or her environment;
  • Persistent vegetative state – a vegetative state that has lasted for more than one month;
  • Minimally conscious or minimally responsive state – a state in which a patient with a severe traumatic brain injury is no longer in either a coma or a vegetative state. In this state, the patient may interact with his or her environment or respond inconsistently.

5: Symptoms 

Traumatic brain injury diagnosis on the basis of symptoms is mentioned above with more information.  

Long-term effects of a traumatic brain injuries 

Depending on the nature of the injury, the affects from a TBI can last for months to an entire lifetime. Here are some long-term effects of TBI. 

  • Mood swings 
  • Concentration and memory loss 
  • Speech problem 
  • Coma or unconsciousness 
  • Loss of sensitivity in toes and fingers 
  • Seizure 
  • Partial paralysis 
  • Abnormal cognitive function 

Treatment of traumatic brain injuries 

Before the treatment of TBI, the patient must go through a procedure where a CAT or CT (computed tomography) scan is required to help diagnose and prepare a report of the medical condition of the patient. Once the examination is complete the treatment can begin. 

1: Surgical Treatment – This is an operation where TBI is treated and after that patient is monitored in ICU for further recovery. 

2: Medical Treatment – After the surgery, the patient is still vulnerable to secondary injuries.  In order to prevent these, his or her medical treatment in ICU becomes a priority.  

Unfortunately, the patients must go through surgery after a TBI because there is no medical treatment for the primary injury of TBI. 

3: Glasgow coma scale – The Glasgow Coma Scale is a scale that is used in medical service to evaluate the patient’s level of consciousness. This is mostly used in ICU for patients who suffer from a head injury. 

Rehabilitation following traumatic brain injuries 

Once the patient gets discharged from the acute-care hospital he or she can improve their health condition through rehabilitation therapy. Here are some rehab therapies that you can choose from according to your deficit needs. 

  • Speech and language therapy 
  • Physical therapy 
  • Psychological care 
  • Psychiatric care 
  • Social Support 
  • Occupational therapy 
  • Physical therapy 

Traumatic Brain Injuries in relation to Car Crashes. 

In 2014, a report mentioned that the leading cause of traumatic brain injury was by falling (people with 65 years of age and above), automobile accidents (Teen above 15-24, adults from 25-34 and adults below 75 years) and other head injuries. 

The second most common reason for TBI is motor accidents. It is the responsibility of the driver to be attentive while driving which means – following the lane, maintaining the speed limit, not driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, etc. However, even people who keep everything in mind, also get into car accidents. 

The reason for the accident can also be an automobile defect. These defects include and are not limited to defective seatbelts, defective airbags, improperly designed roofs, defective brakes and acceleration pedal, defective child seat safety and many more. 

These defects are prime contributors to the causes of accidents on the road. The biggest culprit in this scenario is the manufacturing company or the dealer. If you prove 100% that it is the manufacturing defect that brought you or your loved ones into the accident, then it is time to take necessary steps against them. 

The victim can claim compensation if the accident happened due to the negligent behavior of the manufacturing company or aggressive driver who is responsible for the injury. 

Whiplash Injury Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

If you have ever been involved in an auto accident or in a fall while playing any sport, you may already be familiar with whiplash injury. It is a pain that anyone would want to avoid.  This injury, however, can lead to bigger complications if left untreated. The pain due to a whiplash injury is persistent and ranges from a sharp unbearable pain to faint but persistent pain depending upon the extent of the injury. 

In this article, we will discuss the causes, symptoms, and treatment of a whiplash injury. We will also focus on how road-accidents can be a major cause of this injury.  

What is Whiplash? 

Whiplash is a neck sprain or injury which is caused due to some rapid forceful movements of the neck. The “whip” reference in this injury’s name is synonymous with the movement of a whip being cracked. This kind of neck injury is most common during a car accident. However, whiplash may also occur when there is a crash landing or a collision of any other kind. Physical abuse, trauma, or a fall may also lead to a whiplash injury. 

Causes of Whiplash 

A whiplash injury occurs when the head is forcefully moved and thrown forward and backward in swift motions. This sudden and swift motion may injure the spinal bones, discs, muscles, nerves, ligaments, and tissues in the neck. These swift motions may result due to one of the following reasons: 

  • Automobile Accidents – Collisions to the rear-end of the car are a major reason for whiplash injury 
  • Assault, Trauma or Physical Abuse – This injury may also occur if you are shaken or hit or punched or due to any sudden trauma or abuse. 
  • Contact Sport – On the field during a football tackle or playing rugby or any other games in which you may collide with an opponent, whiplash injury is common. 

Often, the pain and the sprain caused by a whiplash injury does not set in instantly. You might start feeling the pain much later. It is therefore important for you to know about the symptoms and signs of this injury. There are a whole set of symptoms and in case of a whiplash injury, of which one, two, several may be present. Let’s have a look at these symptoms. 

Symptoms of Whiplash 

As mentioned, the symptoms and pain associated with a whiplash injury often set in within the first 24 hours. This, however, is not always the case. Pain might appear a few days after the injury occurred as well. Symptoms of a whiplash injury include:  

  • Stiffness and pain in the neck
  • Pain worsens as you move your neck 
  • Being unable to move your neck too much / range of motion decreases 
  • Headaches that often start from the base of your skull and radiate outward
  • Tenderness and pain in the upper back, arms or shoulder 
  • Numbness and tingling of the arms 
  • General fatigue 
  • Dizziness 

In addition to the above symptoms, some isolated instances of whiplash injury also recorded the following conditions in patients: 

  • Cases of blurred vision 
  • Tinnitus or ringing inside the ears 
  • Disturbed and poor quality of sleep 
  • Getting irritated easily 
  • Concentration issues – difficulty in concentration 
  • Memory lapses and issues with remembering simple things 
  • Signs of depression and anxiety 

Potential Complications Associated with Whiplash 

While many symptoms of a whiplash injury subside in a few weeks, some people may experience pain continuing for several months and even years after the injury has occurred. The exact circumstances and the conditions under which a whiplash injury occurs are different for every individual.  Therefore, it is difficult to predict the recovery time for a whiplash injury.  

Your initial symptoms, if left untreated, may also lead to chronic pain.  It can start with severe pain in the neck that spreads and radiates to the arms. A whiplash injury might also lead to a chronic headache that fails to relent. This injury and the pain linked to this injury can get worse if the patient has had a similar injury before or any existing conditions of back pain or if the patient is too old. 

Diagnosis of Whiplash 

Your doctor will ask you basic questions for preliminary investigations and to recognize your symptoms. You will be asked questions to determine the cause of the injury, the nature and the extent of the sprain to your neck and to determine the severity of the pain and the symptoms. You will be asked questions about your range of motion and about obstructions to the neck movements, if any. Let’s look at the procedure of the diagnosis and the examination in detail. 

Examination 

While examining your sprain or injury, your doctor would need to move your head, arms, and neck. You may also be asked to twist and turn your neck to the farthest extent that you are capable on either side. You may also be asked to do some simple day to day tasks to help your doctor determine the following: 

  • The maximum range of movement in your shoulders and neck. 
  • The degree and the angle or the position at which you experience the pain 
  • Tenderness in the back, shoulders or neck area 
  • Reflexes, sensation and the strength in the limbs 

 Imaging Tests 

After the preliminary examination and investigation, your doctor will order imaging tests to look for any condition that may worsen the pain. These tests can include one or a combination of different tests. Imaging tests commonly ordered for whiplash injuries are as follows: 

  • X-rays – X-rays are the most common imaging tests ordered to figure out fractures or any possible dislocations of the neck 
  • Computerized tomography (CT) – This special X-ray imaging technique produces a cross-sectional view of the bones and helps to detect any possible bone damage 
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) – A combination of a magnetic field and radio waves are used to get clear 3-D images. MRI scans can detect everything from bone injuries, spinal cord damage, soft tissue damage, ligament, or muscle damage. 

 Now that we have seen the diagnosis, let’s have a look at the treatment procedures. 

Treatment of Whiplash 

The treatment plan administered by your doctor is based on the severity of your pain and other conditions like restriction of movement. Treatment procedures are generally aimed towards controlling the pain and restoring your range of motion in your neck.  Hopefully, getting you back to normal activities fast.  

While some people will only need some over-the-counter medication and care at home, others may need prescribed medication, specialized pain treatment or even physical therapy. 

Treatment can be further classified as: 

Pain Management 

For pain management, doctors may primarily recommend ample rest during the initial 24 hours of the injury. This allows the muscles to start recovering themselves. 

The doctors may also recommend heat or cold compress for fifteen minutes several times a day. Additionally, the doctor may also administer over-the-counter medications or even prescribe medicines for severe pain. In many cases, muscle relaxant drugs and injections that control and reduce pain may also be given. 

Exercise 

To achieve and restore the full range of motion of your neck your doctor may prescribe certain movement and stretching exercises which may include rotating your neck to either side, tilting your head, bending your neck to touch your shoulder, etc. These exercises help relax and free the affected area.  If your doctor recommends exercise to help relieve your symptoms, it is very important that you follow his or her instructions and so as not to re-injure the affected area.

Physical Therapy 

You may also be recommended to see a physical or occupational therapist in case of persistent, chronic pain. Physical therapy works is vitally important when it comes to the treatment of any pain or achieving and restoring your range of motion. This is because the therapy aims at strengthening your muscles naturally. The length and the frequency of these sessions vary on a case to case basis. 

Duration of Pain/Injury 

Based on the severity of the injury as mentioned earlier the pain due to whiplash injury can last for a week, to several months or even years. The best approach is to identify the symptoms and to make sure that a proper treatment plan and procedure are followed. 

Whiplash and Automobile Accidents 

Many cases of whiplash injuries are found in cases where the patient is involved in an automobile or car accident. This is particularly true in cases of rear-end collision, where the patient’s body and head moves ahead and backward in a forced manner and as a result of the impact. Many practitioners refer to the head and neck as the “bowling ball on a spring.” This description illustrates how an impact from a rear end collision could force the head to whip back and forth. It is easy to imagine, then, how the soft tissue and muscles supporting the head could become injured during an impact. 

Conclusion 

Though a whiplash injury can be treated, the unpredictability of the recovery time can be frustrating. Additionally, the lack of motion resulting from this injury makes the experience difficult and uncomfortable for the patients. The pain that follows may take a long time to resolve, thus making participation in many daily activities difficult or impossible. 

If you have been injured in an automobile accident, you will need professional treatment, healing time, and an experienced attorney who can deal with the insurance companies while you heal.

Traumatic Brain Injury Following a Car Crash

Automobile accidents are one of the more common causes of injury and death in the United States. In Texas, thousands of people die every year in car crashes. In the United States, there are 37,000 auto accident deaths per year [2]. While the vast majority of those who are in car accidents survive, millions of people are still injured per year in U.S. car accidents. 

Car accidents result in many different types of non-fatal injuries. The kind of harm depends on the nature of the crash and what safety precautions the driver was using. Wearing, or not wearing, your seat belt influences the type and seriousness of the injury. Whether the impact occurred at the front, side, or back is also relevant. If the person was not facing straight ahead when the accident occurred, this might affect the injury type. Airbags are also a relevant factor. 

Types of injuries include soft tissue injuries (to the muscles, tendons, ext), scrapes and cuts (often from being cut with broken glass or other objects), head injuries (potentially fatal but sometimes minor), and injuries to the chest, arms, or legs. Higher speeds, of course, result in more severe injuries. 

There are two main types of injuries suffered in car crashes. These are penetrating injuries and impact injuries. Impact wounds result from the head, limbs, or body slamming against a hard object. Penetrating injuries usually involve being cut by broken glass, although many other objects may penetrate the body in a severe accident. Either type of damage can be minor or can cause disability or death. Car accidents are the ninth most common cause of death in the world and one of the most common reasons for serious injury as well [3]. An auto accident lawyer can help you if you have been injured. 

Brain and head injuries 

Wounds to the head can easily be fatal. If the head hits the windshield or the steering wheel hard enough, he or she may be killed. A seat belt can save lives by preventing the head from hitting the windshield, but seat belts do not work as well to prevent the head from colliding with the side window. 

Blows to the head can result in traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). A traumatic brain injury sounds like it must always be dire, but some TBIs are minor concussions that heal on their own and do no harm. Lasting and permanent mental disability can result from brain injuries. Sometimes the head can be seriously injured without any damage to the brain. One can fracture the skull, break the jaw, or lose teeth in car accidents. Head injuries can be long-lasting, even if they do not damage the brain. Suffering a severe concussion can lead to problems decades later. Even if a victim initially fully recovers from a brain injury, it can still come back to haunt them later on. Many people are luckier with serious concussions and do not face problems as a result of their old injuries. Consult an auto accident attorney or truck accident attorney if you have suffered a serious concussion. 

Neck and back injuries 

When a car accident occurs, the neck can be jerked back and forth so quickly that it leads to injury. Being hit from the rear is less dangerous than being hit from the front of your car. However, being hit from the back is more likely to jerk the neck and spine around violently. A neck injury of this type is known as a whiplash injury. As for all car accident injuries, it can be anywhere from minor to fatal. 

One can also suffer a spinal cord injury without whiplash. The impact can damage the spine as well, pushing spinal discs out of place, which may lead to disability. The vocal cords may become paralyzed, leading to difficulty speaking after an accident. Permanent or temporary loss of sensation in one’s arms and legs can occur with a back injury. One’s arms and legs may also become harder to control even if they are still functional. 

Injuries to the chest or abdomen 

Chest injuries are widespread in these accidents. The impact can cause broken ribs or, even more seriously, internal injuries. Sometimes it can be less severe, for example, bruising or not much more than that. One’s chest might collide with the steering wheel. While seat belts prevent far more injuries than they cause, a seat belt can injure the chest. 

Injuries to the chest can cause heart attacks if the person already has heart problems. A heart attack as a result of a car crash is much less likely if the person has a healthy heart. A chest injury can also lead to internal bleeding in the chest area, which can kill without medical attention. Damage to the organs of the lower abdomen is more dangerous due to these organs not being protected by the rib cage. 

Leg and arm injuries 

In a car, especially in the driver’s seat, one’s legs have little room for movement. Car accidents can, therefore, break and bruise legs easily. The shock of an impact can also because one’s arms to flail around, hitting the doors and windows hard. These injuries are much less likely to lead to disability or death than injuries to the head or body. 

Psychological injuries 

Physical injuries can cause lasting mental harm. Injuries and deaths to others can also mentally harm a person who is involved in a car accident. This can lead to a person developing post-traumatic stress disorder, which can be a debilitating condition. Even if a person does not suffer from the symptoms of PTSD, anxiety can occur after a car accident. A person may find driving stressful for a long time after a severe collision. About 10% of people who are in severe car accidents end up with PTSD [4]. Legal settlements for car accidents can undoubtedly take post-traumatic stress disorder into account. Car accident and injury attorneys understand the concept of mental anguish following a car accident and take it very seriously.

Legal help 

If you or someone you love has experienced a traumatic brain injury due to the negligence of another driver, you should retain the services of an experienced, diligent attorney. Dealing with an injury of this type can be very difficult, and being forced to deal with an adverse insurance company can make things worse. Take care of yourself, focus on your recovery, and let experienced injury attorneys handle dealing with your claim.

Distracted Driving and its Dangers

To drive, we must be 100% focused.  A small, unforeseen situation at today’s highway speeds, can have deadly consequences. Being inattentive or unprepared can cause serious injuries to yourself or others. The technological advances of vehicles today can impart a false sense of security.  They allow you to move at a very high speeds without realizing it. This leads to drivers frequently failing to be attentive and aware of their surroundings.  

This behavior has increased recently according to official statistics provided by the NHTSA, which indicates that 20% of traffic accidents involving injuries were a consequence of a distracted driver. 

Types of distractions: 

Manual Distractions

These occur when you occupy one or both hands with something else other than the steering wheel. As a result, you won’t be fully in control. Some examples of Manual Distractions include: 

  • Texting or using the cellphone;
  • Driving only with one hand;
  • Doing any activity other than driving while operating a vehicle;
  • Applying makeup while driving; and
  • Listening to music while driving – and becoming distracted while changing the radio station or song. 

Visual Distractions

This happens when you’re not watching the road. It is very easy to become manually and visually distracted at the same time. This could include: 

  • Reading or typing anything on your cellphone or tablet;
  • Looking at navigation or GPS;
  • Looking at a passenger to talk;
  • Watching a video on an electronic device; or
  • Watching shows on cell phones or other digital entertainment systems.

Cognitive Distractions 

This is when your mind is too busy thinking about other things for a long period of time. In these cases, you’re not only distracted physically and visually but mentally too. Some examples are: 

  • Paying attention to a phone call;
  • Focusing on work, social situations, or thoughts other than driving;
  • Caring for or disciplining children while driving; or
  • Stress or anxiety. 

Statistics 

People usually don’t realize how serious this is and how a simple moment could be decisive, because not only do you endanger your own life but also put at risk other peoples’ lives. 

A studio developed in Florida recorded one of the busiest roads for 20 min. In this time, more than 2000 cars were recorded, the results showed 8% of the vehicles that passed, the drivers were not attentive to the road, they were distracted. Luckily, as they filmed there were no accidents. 

According to official statistics by NHTSA In 2017, 9% of car accidents that had fatalities were a consequence of distracted drivers. This is a shocking figure.  More than 3,000 people died that year as a result of this bad habit. Among these figures, we can highlight that the population under the age of 20 had more accidents of this type. And what is even more shocking is that from all those fatalities, almost 600 were not in the vehicles.  These fatalities included people walking, running, riding bicycles, etc. 

Another study was conducted at the Universidad Externado of Colombia. They evaluated the response time when people were driving 100% focused, and then they analyzed the reaction time when they were driving distracted. 619 persons of different ages participated in the study, the results were impressive. 

In the first phase of the study, everyone had a high level of concentration and attention in the test where the average response time was measured. Then they measured it again but this time each person was talking as driving with both hands. This phase gave a result that the response time decreased by an average of 19%. In the next test they used the cellphone with one hand and drive with the other, this gave the more impacting results because the response time decreased by almost 50%.  

The most frustrating part of distracted driving accidents is that they can be avoided. It is easy to assume that we have learned to drive with distractions, but it is not safe at all. Distracted driving endangers you, your passengers, and those around you. However, if becoming educated regarding the types of distracted driving and then taking affirmative staeps to avoid those distractions can make you a safer driver.  

Talk to you friends and family about the dangers of distracted driving.  In doing so, you just might save someone’s life. 

Other sources to learn more about Distracted Driving:

Rotator Cuff Injuries

Specific groups of muscles and tendons stabilize the shoulders and allow movement of the arms. These muscles are known as rotator cuffs, and when they become strained, torn, or damaged, it is called rotator cuff injury. This type of injury is common among many people, with the most types reported being bursitis, tendinitis, and strains. If one or more of those muscles becomes torn, it is called rotator cuff tear. 

Causes of Rotator Cuff Injuries

Rotator cuff injuries caused by different factors resulting in different categories of injuries. Overuse of the cuffs is one cause. Overuse results are an injury known as tendinitis. Tendinitis is most common among those who play tennis, or anyone involved in activities that require repetitive movement of the arms upwards. The muscles will become swollen and painful. Another common cause is the swelling of the fluid sacs that are found between the muscles. These sacs are called bursae, and they cushion the bones, tendons, and muscles near your joints. Injury to the bursae is known as bursitis. Tearing of the tendons that join the muscles is another common cause of rotator cuff tear. This usually happens when the tendons are overused as the muscles degenerate or during a car accident or other types of accidents. 

Symptoms of a rotator cuff tear 

Rotator cuff injuries or tears don’t always have symptoms. You may have a tear but not feel any pain. However, you may also feel the pain that comes and goes or is only present when the arms move in a specific direction. Most of the time, the pain is present when the arms move upwards or when the injured arm is used for support when sleeping. The pain can be so intense that it prevents sleeping, or it can be mild. Cracking sounds when the arms move is another common symptom. Immobility and weakness of the arm are also common symptoms. Weakness may progress, starting as mild, progressing to severe.  It may make it impossible for you to reach your arms behind you. 

The parts of the body that are damaged

As the name suggests, rotator cuff injuries affect the rotator cuffs. The rotator cuffs are four muscles together with tendons that are found in the shoulders. Rotator cuff sprain or tear, therefore, damages these muscles or tendons. Pain can be felt on the shoulders, the arms, or the neck. 

Different types of rotator cuff tears (partial or full) 

Rotator cuff tears can be partial or complete. A partial tear happens when only a small part of a tendon becomes torn. If not treated immediately, the tear can extend, resulting in a full tear. Both types of tears can be excruciating and may occur in one or multiple tendons. 

Diagnosis and treatment 

Rotator cuff injury diagnosis is relatively easy, but requires a thorough history check. Self-diagnosis isn’t recommended. You should see a doctor whenever you feel pain on your shoulders or when you can’t lift something upwards because of pain. The doctor will ask questions regarding your history before further exams. The conventional methods of diagnosis are magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and X-Ray. MRI will show the tendons torn and the pattern of the tear while the X-Ray will use electromagnetic energy to show the internal structures of the injured surface. Most doctors use MRI or ultrasonography because of their precision and clarity. Ultrasonography is also less expensive and is easier to use compared to other diagnostic measures. 

Different treatment options can be used depending on the level of the injury. If the tear isn’t very extensive, then the doctor will recommend adequate rest, or you’ll be given non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to take orally. Therapy is another treatment option. This may involve exercises that can strengthen your shoulders and arms. If treatment is recommended, then you should take care to ensure that the therapist is experienced and qualified to provide care for these types of injuries. Corticosteroid injection may also be given, or you may be asked to go for ultrasound therapy. Your doctor will provide you with all the possible options available, and you can choose the most suitable one for you. Just remember to stick to the treatment plan as recommended to prevent any chances of failure. 

If the rotator cuffs are just swollen but not torn, you may use cold or hot packs to reduce the swelling. You may also have to wear a sling to reduce the range of motion of the arm to prevent further damage. 

Oral drugs, rest, and therapy are frequently adequate treatment. Accordingly, if this treatment is effective, you may not require additional treatment. However, if these methods of treatment fail, surgery may be required.

Surgery is often given as the last option when others have failed or if the damage is too extensive. If you are given other alternatives as treatment options, but you don’t follow the instructions, the tear could worsen. In that case, surgery will be performed to correct the tear. In some cases, if the diagnosis shows that other treatment options won’t work because of the extent of the damage, surgery will be recommended. It is usually done once and may be used with oral prescriptions. 

Rehabilitation following a rotator cuff tear

Rotator cuff injuries are common and may occur again after the first treatment. It is, therefore, essential to take precautions to ensure they don’t reoccur. Avoiding overuse of the arm is one of the best ways to rehabilitate a rotator cuff tear. You need to ensure that you don’t use the arm too much. If you’re a sports person, then you need to take frequent brakes. Avoiding over-stretching of the arms is also essential. You need to be careful about the range of motion that you give your arms. In case you feel pain, you need to see a doctor immediately. Procrastinating a visit to the doctor could worsen the arm. 

Rotator cuff injuries and relation to automobile accidents 

Although most rotator cuff tears are caused by wear and tear, some injuries can result from automobile accidents. Most of the time, this happens when someone sees a potential collision and uses their arms to protect themselves against the steering wheel. Since the body will be in tension, the shoulders will be venerable, and this makes it very easy for a tear to occur.

Many insurance companies don’t take responsibility for this type of injury, even if the party they insured is at fault in the accident. For this reason, it’s a good idea to work with a law firm that understands that this type of tear is possible in an accident and will ensure you are compensated adequately for current treatment, future treatment needs, and any loss of use or mobility.