Monday, April 20, 2015

Florida Motorcycle Deaths and Injuries on the Rise

In the decade ending in 2013 motorcycle accidents resulting in injury increased dramatically by 50% according to a data obtained by the University of South Florida, Center for Center for Urban Transportation Research. The same source shows that deaths from crashes involving motorcycles increased by an alarming 90% over that same period. The repeal of the mandatory helmet laws may be held in part responsible for the increase in injuries and death but there are many other contributing factors.

  • Driver inattention - Inattentive operating of a motor vehicle has been responsible for an increase in motorcycle accidents involving another vehicle or vehicles. Increased use of hand held devices, along with other distracting practices, while driving, creates a greater hazard for motorcycles than other vehicles because of their low visibility and the vulnerability of the rider.
  • Poor road conditions – The degradation of road surfaces that are neglected creating loose pavement, gravel, stones potholes along with improperly marked road construction, or other known road hazards, all contribute to Florida motorcycle accidents.
  • Increased riding hours – Motorcycles that were once used for weekend recreational driving are being used more frequently due to high gas prices. More riding hours means more bikes on the road during times of increased traffic volume.
  • An increase in motorcycle popularity – Motorcycle sales have increased steadily over the years leading to more motorcycles on the road. Many of these are driven by inexperienced drivers. In Florida there are over 500 thousand registered motorcycles, placing the state 4th in the nation.

While statistics show that wearing a Department of Transportation approved helmet does reduce the incidence of fatality and traumatic brain injury, many bike riders will argue that helmets increase the chances of an injury. With all the distracted drivers they encounter on the road, it is necessary for bikers increase their diligence. Some studies have shown, and many riders will agree, that helmets reduce hearing and limit peripheral vision. This reduction in rider awareness leads to a greater chance of an accident. One fact that can’t be disputed is that anyone involved in a motorcycle accident has a much greater chance of being killed or injured than any other driver on the road. The injuries that are common include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries – While a helmet will offer protection against blunt force trauma to the head, brain injuries are still possible. The brain can be severely injured from shaking or rotating within the skull. Rotational injuries can cause diffuse axonal injury, an injury that is spread out in the brain. This is the most common cause of death to motorcycle riders.
  • Bone fractures – Compound fractures to bones are common in motorcycle crashes. They can be so severe that muscle is torn and the bones protrude through the skin. These injuries often require surgery followed by months and even years of rehabilitation.  They may also cause permanent disfigurement.
  • Spinal cord injuries – Spinal cord injuries may lead to partial or complete paralysis completely robbing a person from leading a normal independent life.
  • Abrasions, contusions and lacerations – These types of injuries are almost always present as the result of a motorcycle crash.
  • Neck and back injuries – These injuries vary in severity and may lead to a lifetime of restricted movement and pain.

Motorcycles have the same rights to the road as any other drivers. A road surface that is poorly maintained may not affect a four wheeled vehicle but can be a pending disaster for a motorcycle rider. Other drivers are required to check for motorcycles as well as cars when changing lanes or proceeding thought intersections. A distracted driver is as much responsible for striking a motorcycle as any other vehicle.

If you are involved in a motorcycle accident, it is important to seek medical attention immediately regardless of how you may feel at the time. It is equally important that you contact a law firm that has experienced Florida motorcycle accident attorneys to defend your rights. Do not expect insurance companies to provide the compensation for your pain and suffering to which are entitled. They will try to make you feel responsible for not seeing the person that hit you or for not noticing that rut left in the road by the construction company. You need a law firm like Dolman Law on your side.

The Florida motorcycle accident attorneys at Dolman Law have extensive experience in reaching large settlements for victims of motorcycle accidents. If you, or someone you know, have suffered injuries on a motorcycle due to the negligence of others, call Dolman Law today. You could be entitled to a substantial cash award.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33756

Monday, April 6, 2015

What Are Common Injuries and Symptoms Associated With Whiplash Trauma?

Our firm has written several articles in the past about the causes and symptoms of whiplash injuries suffered by individuals involved in car crashes. Whiplash injuries are generally associated with injuries to one’s cervical spine. However, whiplash injuries are not confined to the cervical and lumbar spine and can also cause injury to the shoulder, hips, knees, and ankles.

Acceleration/Deceleration can cause whiplash to body parts other than your spine

The most common shoulder injury associated with whiplash trauma is injury to the rotator cuff. Historically, medical providers had a difficult time determining the mechanism of injury to the shoulder following whiplash trauma. As with other soft tissue injuries, symptoms may not immediately present themselves. After years of research and with the advent of human crash tests, researchers discovered that the trauma resulting from the force of the impact if someone is holding onto the steering wheel at the time of the crash it can actually distract the joint and the rotator cuff. If minor, undergoing conservative care can often resolve these issues. If your shoulder symptoms progress, diagnostic testing such as MRIs can aid in determining whether there has been an actual tear in the rotator cuff and whether surgery is required.

If a crash occurs from the front, injury to the knees and hip are also common. Depending on the impact and the distance of the driver’s seat to the dashboard, the impact can cause the knee to collide into the dashboard. If the force is strong enough, it can be transmitted into the legs and hips causing fractures. Injuries to the muscular system are also common as muscle tissues and tendons are frequently strained during a crash which can result in a tear. Of course, even small amounts of force can aggravate or exacerbate a preexisting condition. As we age and the discs in our spine degenerate, we become more susceptible to injury. In the past, I’ve written about the law as it relates to recovering damages for the aggravation of preexisting conditions and how to best document the difference in your condition before and after a car crash. Even if you’ve suffered whiplash injuries in the past, a subsequent crash can easily cause new and worsening symptoms.

Suffering from “radiculopathy” or “radicular symptoms” can also occur after whiplash trauma. These symptoms include feelings of pain, numbness and tingling in the upper extremities. It is your nerve roots that make up the motor fibers and sensory fibers to your upper extremities. If there is an injury to the nerve root, the sensory fibers can be damaged and produce radicular symptoms. Luckily, medical providers can accurately determine which nerve roots the radicular symptoms are coming from by using a “dermatomal map.” Your dermatomes are regions on your skin that represent different spinal nerve root levels. Making this determination allows your medical provider to render the most appropriate care and treatment for your injuries.

Seatbelt and shoulder harness-induced injuries are also common in a car crash. The shoulder harness can easily tighten and cut across the neck during the deceleration phase of a collision and vascular injuries to the neck may result. In addition, during a frontal collision the seatbelt can ride up over the abdomen and organs and actually compress them between the seatbelt and the spine. Bruising and swelling may be an indicator of this sort of trauma.

Because the injuries and symptoms associated with whiplash trauma and motor vehicle collisions in general are vast, it is critical to seek necessary medical treatment and to recognize that a delay in the manifestation of symptoms does not mean that treatment is unnecessary. Documenting your medical treatment, being thorough in providing a list of your subjective complaints to your doctors and following up with necessary medical care is critical.

Contact Clearwater and Saint Petersburg Neck and Back Injury Lawyers

The attorneys at Dolman Law Group are well versed in the injuries that can occur as the result of whiplash trauma and how to best present those injuries to the insurance company in order to compensate you for your losses. For more information call 727-451-6900.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765