The brain is one of our most vital organs, and because it affects literally everything we do, brain damage is nothing to take lightly. That’s why it’s critical to pay close attention to anyone who has recently suffered a blow to the head, or any type of head injury, since it could result in anything from a minor bump to major cognitive problems.
The Different Levels of Brain Trauma
Head injuries are generally classified as “mild,” “moderate,” or “severe,” and while symptoms for each may vary, many remain the same through all levels of injury. And no matter the severity, anyone with a head injury should always be examined by a medical professional as soon as possible. Even a mild case of brain trauma is still brain trauma and could have lasting consequences if not handled properly.
Some Immediate and Long-Term Effects
Immediate vs. long-term effects also need to be taken into consideration after a head injury. Immediate effects generally include things like confusion/disorientation, a headache, or nausea/vomiting. Long-term consequences can include a change in sleeping habits and/or mood, as well as memory problems or trouble concentrating. Even if someone does not exhibit any immediate symptoms of brain trauma after suffering a blow to the head, they may exhibit more serious symptoms a few days, or even weeks later, so it’s important to remain vigilant.
Moderate-to-severe brain trauma can include anything from a few minutes of lost consciousness, to an inability to wake from sleep, to coma. Convulsions or seizures, loss of balance or coordination, slurred speech, and unusual behavior are also all signs of moderate or severe brain trauma. Again, some of these symptoms may appear immediately after the incident, whereas others may take a significant amount of time before they make themselves evident, so always make a note of any blow to the head that may have occurred and have them see a medical professional as soon as possible.
Symptoms From Body Parts Other Than The Head
While many of us might think a head injury could only result in things like headaches or mood changes, it’s important to remember that brain trauma can affect the entire body. Not only are nausea and vomiting common symptoms, but numbness in the fingers or toes could be a sign of moderate-to-severe head trauma.
Your brain sends signals to and receives signals from all over the body, so depending on where the brain trauma occurred, it can result in odd or unusual sensations anywhere on the body. That’s why it’s so important to monitor all unusual sensations or behaviors that occur any time after experiencing a blow to the head. You never know what could be the result of a serious head injury, so monitor the victim and alert your doctor to any changes immediately.
Symptoms in Babies and Small Children
Because babies cannot tell us exactly how they feel or what hurts, it’s particularly important to watch out for and try to prevent blows to the head, especially since their skulls are soft and still developing. Any change in eating/nursing habits, sleeping habits, or mood or behavior could be a sign of brain trauma. Crying incessantly or displaying signs of irritability are also indications of a potential head injury in an infant.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury or some other type of accident, you need the advice of an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking your car insurance will cover your motorcycle unless your insurance plan specifically says so. Just like you need a special license to legally drive a motorcycle, you also need to make sure you have the right insurance to cover your motorcycle and anything that might happen to you or anyone else while you’re riding your motorcycle.
Types of Motorcycle Insurance
As with buying car insurance, the type of motorcycle insurance you’ll need will likely depend on you, your driving history (on vehicles with four wheels, as well as those with two wheels), the kind of motorcycle you have, and the area around which you’ll be driving the motorcycle. Vintage motorcycles may require special insurance, but most motorcycles can be covered by the right plan from almost any company that offers motorcycle insurance.
While all those factors will influence the premium your insurance agent will charge you, there are additional things you can do to lower your premiums, including taking a class on motorcycle safety, installing an alarm on your motorcycle, and storing the motorcycle in a secure garage when you’re not riding it.
Where to Buy Insurance
If you already have insurance on another vehicle, you’ll probably want to get insurance from the same company for your new motorcycle, since most insurance companies offer a multi-vehicle discount.
If this is your first vehicle, there are a few things to consider. The good news is there are a lot of insurance companies out there and all you need is internet access and a credit card to get coverage for your new motorcycle almost immediately.
Do Your Research
But not all insurance is created equal, so be sure to do your research before handing over payment in any form. And although no one wants to pay more than they have to, you always want to make sure you have all the coverage you need. Like car insurance, you can include things like liability, medical, comprehensive and collision, uninsured and underinsured motorist, roadside assistance, and full coverage insurance.
While some of these are additional coverage you can ask your insurance agent to include, some of them are required by law. For example, liability insurance (which covers any damage done to any people or property from your motorcycle) is required in every state.
Uninsured and underinsured insurance is often mandatory, in addition to just being a good idea. If someone else without insurance (or without enough insurance to cover the damages) damages you or your bike, your insurance will pick up the extra costs. This coverage is especially important for motorcyclists since any crash is likely to cause significant injuries.
Medical coverage is separate from liability coverage, but some states require motorcycle owners to have both. Even if your state does not require you to buy medical coverage in addition to liability coverage, it’s a good idea. Because motorcycle drivers are more exposed than car drivers, they’re more likely to suffer bodily harm and to suffer more extensive bodily harm than car drivers. Medical bills can add up very quickly and you don’t want to have to worry about going bankrupt in addition to healing and trying to get back to work.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury or some other type of accident, you need the advice of an experienced personal injury lawyer.
There are a number of reasons a driver might not want to report an accident to the insurance companies. In some cases, the person might not have insurance at all and they don’t want that to get reported to the authorities.
Even those with insurance often hesitate to report accidents, especially if it was their fault, because they don’t want their insurance rates to go up. Most insurance companies jack up the rates for a driver after they’ve been in an accident, so depending on the extent of the damage, it might be in their best interests to pay for the damage out of their own pockets, rather than handing it over to the insurance companies.
If the damage is minor, there’s probably no harm in handling the costs yourselves, as long as you follow a few ground rules:
Contact the Police
Just because you’ve decided not to tell your insurance agencies does not necessarily mean it’s a good idea not to have an independent party record the incident. That way, the other party can’t come back later on and twist the truth in their favor.
Also, don’t talk about the details of the accident with anyone other than the other person/people involved, the police, and the insurance agencies if you decide to contact them. It’s their job to determine who was at fault and what the next steps should be, not yours.
Get a Receipt
If whoever caused the accident offers to pay for any repairs to the other car, that person needs to make sure they see a receipt from the repair shop before they hand over any money. Otherwise the other person could have all sorts of repairs and additions made to their car on someone else’s tab, or they might not spend any of the money on their car. Any time you hand over money, you need to be certain it’s being spent on what they say it’s being spent on.
If you’re the one who doesn’t want to contact the insurance agencies, but the other person won’t provide you with a receipt for the damage done to their car, then you’ll be better off contacting your insurance agency and letting them handle it.
Check Your Insurance Plan
Some insurance plans require you to let the company know any time anything happens that might result in a claim. It’s a way for insurance companies to reduce liability and make sure they don’t have to try to deal with claims that get filed months, or even years after the incident, by which time no one remembers the details of the accident very clearly and any evidence they might have been able to collect has likely been lost or destroyed.
Check your insurance papers after you’ve been in an accident to determine if this is the case for your plan. If it is, then you definitely want to go ahead and notify your insurance company about the accident as soon as possible, no matter what the other person says. Failing to do so could potentially result in you losing your insurance coverage.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury or some other type of accident, you need the advice of an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Medical malpractice is defined as injury to a patient as a result of a healthcare professional’s negligence or omission. It could be anything from a misdiagnosis to mistakes made during treatment or health management.
In order to qualify as malpractice, there are three requirements that need to be met:
Violating the Standard of Care
Each medical profession adheres to certain standards of care, which determine things like which treatments are acceptable to administer. They are based on the kinds of treatments other competent health professionals would administer in similar situations. They determine the level of care patients can expect to receive, and if those standards are not met, the patient may have a case for negligence against their healthcare professional, but only if the next two qualifications have been met.
Injury Caused by Negligence
People seek out healthcare professionals to help them feel better, not worse. If a patient suffered an injury while in the care of a healthcare professional, they will need to prove the injury was a result of negligence. If they are simply unhappy with the level of care they received, that won’t necessarily be enough to sue for malpractice if they suffered no harm as a result of the care and/or the care they received met the standard of care.
Significant Damages as A Result of The Injury
Medical malpractice lawsuits are extremely costly to litigate. They generally require testimony from multiple expert witnesses, leading to countless hours of deposition and testimony, on top of attorneys’ fees and legal costs. If a patient wants to sue for medical malpractice, they need to first make sure their claims are large enough to justify the costs of bringing a medical malpractice suit to trial.
Common Examples of Malpractice
Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis
Before our doctors can treat us, they first need to determine the cause of our suffering that brought us to them in the first place. There are a number of reasons a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis can happen: if the patient did not provide a full list of symptoms; if some, but not all, of the symptoms become apparent; or if the diagnosis is something unusual the doctor would never have encountered before.
After all, doctors are only human and mistakes happen. But if the patient can prove the misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis was the result of negligence, and the failure to provide immediate care resulted in significant damages, they may have a malpractice case.
Errors in Prescribing or Administering Medication
Many Americans these days expect to just take a pill to make them feel better. While drugs can do marvelous things these days, they must be treated with the utmost caution. Anything from prescribing the wrong drug (especially in cases of misdiagnosis) to giving the right drug to the wrong patient can have serious consequences. But the most common types of medical malpractice involve dosage, whether it’s a doctor prescribing the right drug but the wrong dose, or prescribing the right dose but a nurse administered the wrong dose to a patient. If it can be proven that the mistake was a result of negligence, there could be a valid case for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
When car insurance companies claim you could save a certain amount of money by switching to their plan, there are a few reasons not to do so, however tempting it may be. First of all, when they say you could save “up to” a certain amount, that means that’s the upper limit and few people, if anyone, actually save that much by switching.
Second, it’s important to remember that you get what you pay for. While getting the minimum insurance your state legally requires you to buy might keep you from having to pay a fine, you’ll end up having to pay more if something happens to your car and your insurance doesn’t cover all the expenses. Here are some optional insurance policies that you should probably consider mandatory:
Collision and Comprehensive Coverage
This pays for the costs of any repairs that need to be done to your car after an accident. If the car has been totaled, your insurance company will pay you the amount the car was worth at the time of the accident.
Currently, no state requires drivers to buy collision and comprehensive coverage, but your lender might require it if you’re leasing or financing a car.
If you have collision and comprehensive coverage, you’ll get a check for the amount the car was worth at the time it was totaled. But if you were leasing or still paying off the car, that amount might be less than you still owe on the car due to depreciation and other factors.
Again, most states don’t require citizens to buy gap insurance, but most lenders will. They don’t want to be the ones left holding the bag if you can’t finish paying your loan after the insurance company has paid for the value of the car.
Custom Parts and Equipment
If you made any changes or additions to your car, such as custom seats or a new stereo, that won’t be covered by your insurance unless you specifically buy a customized parts and equipment policy, which many insurance companies do offer.
People Who Live With You But Are Not Listed On Your Insurance Plan
If you give someone who does not live with you permission to drive your car, they’re generally covered by your insurance. But anyone who lives with you must be listed on your insurance plan if they want to drive your car. Otherwise they may not be covered if anything happens while they’re at the wheel.
With the rise of ride-sharing services, such as Lyft and Uber, almost everyone has become a part-time taxi driver. But if you’re using your personal car for transporting goods (such as pizza delivery) and/or people (Uber), you’re going to need business insurance. If anything happens to your car while you’re using it for business purposes, the insurance company can refuse to pay for it. So if you’re earning some money on the side (or full time) by driving for a ride-share company, make sure you have the proper insurance.
Whether you’ve been injured or are accused of causing an injury to someone else, you’ll need an experienced personal injury attorney to represent your side of the story in court. But choosing the right attorney is not a task to be undertaken lightly. Not only will you probably end up spending a lot of money on their services, but you’ll also be working very closely with this person for an extended period of time, so you want to make sure you’re choosing a good partner. Here are some tips for doing that:
Do your research.
A quick Google search can give you an idea of the eligible attorneys in your area, but it won’t tell you everything (and watch out for the links at the top that say “Ad” right below them because those were paid for). If/when you do go this route, be sure to use the most keywords possible, because the more specific you get, the more likely you are to find someone who can help you.
Ask your friends, neighbors, coworkers, family members if they know of any good personal injury attorneys who can help you. A personal referral is always preferable to the internet, especially from someone who’s been through what you’re going through now.
Ask other attorneys.
You may not know a personal injury attorney, but you probably know at least one attorney and they might know a good personal injury attorney. The law is a unique practice and lawyers tend to get to know each other pretty well through work, networking, and other events. This will give you an inside scoop that asking friends and family can’t get you. Other attorneys will have a better idea of their record, what they’re like to work with, and how competent they are.
Narrow it down.
Make a list of your top choices, but try to keep it to a minimum. The longer your list, the more time it will take to conduct your follow up research on all of them before making your selection – and it is important for you to do your follow-up research on ALL of them. If you fall in love with the first one upon speaking with/meeting them, that’s great. You can always come back to them after you’ve spoken with the rest of the lawyers on your list.
Know ahead of time what you’ll be asking them.
When you meet with the attorneys, tell them about your case and be sure to have questions prepared to ask them about whether they think you have a case, and if so, how they would approach it, including how much they’ll listen to you when determining next steps in the case. It’s true you’re hiring an attorney because they know the law and practices better than you, but they’re supposed to be representing your best interests. They can advise you, but ultimately the decisions on how to proceed should be up to you. You are paying them, after all.
Get an idea, not only of how much they charge, but how they charge. Do they charge hourly, or do they only take a percentage if they’re successful? If so, what’s their percentage? If they charge by the hour, what’s their hourly rate and what activities are considered billable? Don’t forget there will likely be other legal costs in addition to your attorney’s fees. Filing documents with the court, making copies, requesting documents, etc. all have fees associated with them, and while the attorney will probably pay them initially, those costs will end up on your bill, so make sure you’re prepared to pay them in addition to your attorney’s fees.
It’s tragic, but it happens all the time. Senior citizens are particularly vulnerable to abuse and exploitation, especially as they start to lose some of their physical and mental capabilities. The more dependent they become on those around them, the more opportunities there are for them to suffer abuse, most often at the hands of those they love and trust the most. If you’re worried about a senior citizen in your life, whether it’s a family member, or just someone you’ve seen around the neighborhood, here are some warning signs of elder abuse you should be looking out for.
Physical abuse is probably the easiest to spot. It includes things like bruises, broken bones, burns, inadequate explanations for the injuries, and isolation. If the caregiver doesn’t let others visit the senior citizen alone or at all, it’s a red flag that something’s up and the caregiver doesn’t want anyone to know about it. Taking them to multiple medical facilities is another indication that there’s something fishy going on. It means they don’t want the doctor or nurses to suspect why this elderly patient needs treatment for so many injuries.
It’s awful to think about, but it happens. As with other forms of abuse, senior citizens are often unable to fend off their attackers, making them targets for sexual predators. The signs can be harder to spot, as the physical damage often occurs in places that tend to be covered up, such as the breasts, groin, and anus. Some of the more noticeable signs include trouble standing and/or walking, evidence of STDs, and signs of being depressed or withdrawn. If the caregiver appears flirty with their charge or is touching them inappropriately, that can also be an indication that something is not right.
Sometimes abuse can be unintentional, but it’s still abuse. If the caregiver is overworked, stressed, and/or uneducated about the kind of care their charge needs, it can lead to neglect. Failure to give them the proper medicine if/when they need it, or to provide medical aids, such as a cane or glasses, can all be signs of neglect. Clothes that are constantly dirty, unchanged diapers, and bedsores are all signs of neglect.
Abuse isn’t always physical. Sometimes words can hurt more than daggers, but senior citizens are often unable to stand up for themselves or too frightened to do so. They may not even know they are being abused or they may be afraid of the consequences if they do speak up. Victims of emotional abuse are often withdrawn and apathetic; nervous and/or fearful, especially around the caregiver; and there may be signs that the relationship between the caregiver and their charge is especially tense or strained. The caregiver snapping or yelling at their charge is an obvious indication of abuse, but it might not always be that evident. If the senior citizen is exhibiting unusual behavior, such as rocking or nail-biting, especially if it was something they’ve always done when nervous or uncomfortable, contact a professional for help.
As the elderly tend to lose their mental faculties, it’s common to have a trusted person take over their finances for them. The importance of that person’s trustworthiness cannot be emphasized enough because, for some people, the temptation to use those funds for their own gain is difficult to overcome. Other people may need to be added to the senior citizen’s bank accounts and/or credit cards so they can access them to pay for the patient’s care. But, be cautious because new additions to those accounts can also be a red flag that the primary recipient is not the owner of the account. If this is followed by an increase in activity on these accounts, especially for purchases the senior citizen would not normally make, there’s a strong possibility of financial exploitation.
How many things do we sign without actually reading them? We agree to all kinds of Terms and Conditions just by using a website or checking a box. We think they are too long for us to actually take the time to read. But every time we sign our name to something or check a box, we are agreeing to abide by the terms of that contract. So when we’re signing a waiver of our rights, it is critical to know exactly what we’re signing away and what we get in return.
Know what you’re signing.
The first thing you need to know before signing a waiver is what you’re signing. Make sure you carefully read and understand the entire contract before signing it. If anything at all seems the least bit fishy, or you’re having trouble understanding it, just ask. You have every right to ask for clarification and shouldn’t ever worry about looking bad when it comes to knowing your rights. If you sign something away without realizing it, you’ll feel worse.
You can make changes.
A lot of companies get away with including ridiculous clauses in their waivers because no one ever questions them. They may or may not hold up in court, even with a signature, but you shouldn’t risk it. If something doesn’t seem right, question it and don’t agree to it. Tell the other party you’re not agreeing to that part of the contract and tell them to remove the portion you do not agree to and provide a new version without the portions you disagree with.
You might also feel the need to do this if a clause is common in a lot of other instances, but doesn’t apply to your unique situation. Never be afraid to point this out and adjust the contract accordingly.
Ordinary vs. gross negligence.
Most waivers are designed to protect against ordinary negligence, which is a result of someone breaching a duty of care that they owe to others. This can include things like giving bad advice when they thought they were giving good advice; or using equipment they did not know was broken; or driving too fast on the highway. If someone is injured as a result, some waivers can protect the company or individual against a lawsuit by requiring certain actions from the injured party before pursing legal action.
On the other hand, gross negligence is when a company or individual recklessly disregards the consequences of an act or failure to act, a conscious and voluntary disregard of the need to use reasonable care. Waivers do not generally include injuries that result from gross negligence, but be sure to check. Never sign a waiver that removes all your rights to recover damages, even when the other party knowingly failed to address problems, which knowingly put you in danger.
Do your homework.
Research the company or individual before you even consider signing their waiver. Accidents happen, but if it seems like they have more accidents than the average for their industry, that’s a red flag. Regardless of whether they were taken to trial or made to pay a settlement for the accidents, a string of them is an indication that their safety standards are more relaxed than they should be. In that case, it’s best to not take the risk so you can avoid getting injured in the first place.
If a dog bites someone, the owner of the dog is almost always the one responsible for any medical bills that result from the bite.
Most homeowners’ and renters’ insurance policies cover medical bills and/or property damage caused by dogs, up to the liability limit (which is usually between $100,000 and $300,000). Any claim that exceeds the limit must be covered by the dog owner.
Laws covering injuries caused by dogs vary from state to state, although in most cases, the law does not care whether the owner knew the dog was potentially violent and might bite someone – these are known as strict liability dog-bit laws. The dog owner is always responsible for any damage their dog causes to anyone. Some states do maintain the “one-bite rule,” in which the owner of the dog is liable for injuries caused by the dog only if the owner knew the dog was dangerous.
There are also negligence laws, in which the dog owner can be held responsible for failing to properly control or restrain the animal.
Most state laws apply to more than just dog bites – any time a dog injures someone, even if the dog was acting playfully, the owner is responsible. This can include things like the dog jumping on someone and knocking them over or chasing someone and causing them to fall and become injured. It doesn’t matter if the dog was trying to attack the person or merely acting playfully, as trying to prove the dog’s intention before a jury is nearly impossible.
However, if the dog owner can prove the dog was provoked, they might be able to escape liability. If the injured person was teasing or goading the dog immediately before they were injured, the dog owner may have a case that the injured person was provoking the dog, thereby releasing the owner from any liability for the injury.
By the same token, victims of dog bites have to prove, not only that they were injured by a dog and that the person they’re trying to sue for damages is the owner of the dog, but also that they did not provoke the dog and that they were acting peacefully in a place where they had a right to be, such as a park or any other public place. This includes the dog owner’s home, but other private properties might not be protected.
Some states have labeled certain breeds dangerous and have enacted laws that place certain restrictions on those breeds. Some insurance companies refuse to insure homeowners with certain dog breeds that have been categorized as dangerous, but some states maintain laws that forbid this kind of selective coverage.
Dogs can be great pets, but it’s important to remember they are still wild animals at heart. They will never be entirely predictable, and of course, you can’t control what other people will do around your dog, but you can take precautions. You can take your dog to classes that specifically work to eradicate any biting or violent behavior. You can keep them chained and/or muzzled when outside if you know they have a tendency to get aggressive, and always keep them on a short leash when passing strangers on your walks, for the safety of everyone involved – including the dog.
Accidents in a parking lot tend to be fairly minor, since the cars are generally moving at low speeds, but it’s still a good idea to contact your insurance provider if you are involved in an accident in a parking lot.
While we’re all familiar with the rules of the road as they normally apply to moving traffic out on the streets, the rules in parking lots might be a little less clear, but they’re really not that different.
Some parking lots (especially the larger ones) include traffic signs, such as stop and yield signs, which must be obeyed just like traffic signs at street intersections. If you fail to follow one of these signs (or a traffic cop) the fault of the accident will fall squarely on your shoulders.
Cars in thoroughfares (a lane that exits directly onto a street) always have right of way over cars in feeder lanes (lanes that do not exit directly onto a street, such as the lanes between rows of parking spaces). Likewise, any time a car is moving out of a parking lot onto a street, that driver must always yield to oncoming traffic on the street.
When moving out of a parking space, drivers must always yield to moving traffic, including cars, bikes, motorcycles, pedestrians, etc.
If you hit a car that is legally parked in a parking lot, you are automatically at fault, no matter the circumstances. On the other hand, if the car was illegally parked, the owner of that car might be liable for any damages. Likewise, if you hit another car while opening your car door in a parking lot, you will also be held liable for any damages that may result.
If someone else hits your car while it is legally parked, they are automatically responsible for any damages.
If an accident occurs, it should be reported to the police and to each party’s insurance company if the damage exceeds the province’s limit. Limits vary, so be sure to check your local traffic accident laws to see what the limit is. Of course, you won’t know the exact cost of the damage until you get an estimate from an auto repair shop, but you and the other driver can make an educated guess before deciding whether to notify the authorities.
Some people choose to pay for the damages out of their own pocket to avoid having their insurance company increase their insurance premiums, but beware of this option. The other party might still contact their insurance company and file a claim against you, even after you’ve already paid for the damages. That way they get paid twice and your insurance premiums still go up, even though you’ve already paid for the damages on your own. If that happens, you have no recourse.
If you hit a parked car and the driver of the other car is not present, leave a note on their windshield with your contact and/or insurance information. Not only is this common courtesy, but failing to do so can land you with a hit-and-run violation, which is not something you want on your record.
If your parked car was hit and you were not present and no note was left, you can ask the owner of the parking lot if they have surveillance cameras so you can try to identify the other driver and file a report against them, but it’s most likely you’ll have to pay for the damages out of your own deductible, even though you were not at fault.
But if both drivers are present, the procedure is very similar to being involved in an accident on the road: move your vehicle out of traffic if possible; make sure no one is injured; get as much information as you can (date, time, location, other car’s license plate, etc.); report the accident to the authorities (if the damage exceeds the local limit); and call your own insurance company to make a report.
St. Louis Personal Injury Attorney