Auto collision Injury Symptoms
Words Of Wisdom

Warning signs you were REALLY injured in that car accident

Numbness and tingling after a car accident can be a sign of something very serious! Don’t miss the warning signs!

After getting whiplash, individuals often complain of discomfort in the neck followed by stiffness, tenderness, and pain while moving the neck. In most cases, the pain is stronger a few days after the accident. Individuals who suffered more serious injuries, besides the above mentioned symptoms, complain about pain radiating towards the head and shoulders,  down the arms, and sometimes even to the fingers. Pain radiation is often combined with tingling and numbness in the same areas, loss of strength in the arms and hands, etc. 1 It indicates that there has been an injury of a nerve root, a nerve itself, or that the surrounding tissues (vertebra, ligaments, spinal disc, etc.) are in direct contact with nerve root or nerve and are irritating it. Spinal nerves originate from the spine and their roots are located near the spine, so any spine injury can cause nerve root injury. The most common causes of radiculopathy symptoms after an accident are disc bulges, disc protrusion, overstretching of the nerve root or nerve, contusion of the spinal cord, etc.

Another commonly injured area in car accidents is the lower back. The mechanism of injury is the same as in a whiplash injury (a combination of sudden flexion and extension), but there are also many individuals who suffer a direct blow to the lower back. In those cases, the most commonly injured structures are the lower back muscles, ligaments, nerves, small spine joints, etc. Car accident victims usually complain about lower back pain, stiffness, and tenderness. In the case of more severe injuries, the person will have pain radiation to the buttocks or down the legs, usually in combination with tingling, numbness, loss of strength, etc.

After the accident, an ambulance usually arrives on the scene within a few minutes, and paramedics provide first aid to the individuals involved in a car accident. If the patient complains about pain radiation down the arms or legs, then the spine should be immobilized. Usually a combination of a cervical collar and a long backboard (LBB) are used for spine immobilization, with the main goal being to reduce spine and neck movements in order to lessen the chance of further damage during the transport to the hospital.

After being transported to the nearest emergency room, the patient is fully evaluated. Many people decline to be transfered to the emergency room because they believe they have sustained only minor injuries, and as a result, are fine. However, they usually return to the hospital after a few days after their pain and symptoms worsen.

In most cases, the examiner will examine the patient in the emergency room to try to find red flags which indicate a possible major nerve injury. A good examiner will look at the patient as a whole and not only focus on the injured areas. One of the best protocols for a suspected spinal cord injury is provided by the American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA), which covers whole body examination guidelines and contains a number of tests to use to determine whether there is a spinal cord injury. The examiner should test sensory function, motor strength, and the level and the extent of injury. 2 The examination usually reveals tenderness at the injured site, painful spasm of the paraspinal muscles, and restricted range of motion. The examiner will conduct a number of tests which can detect a possible major injury. The examination is then usually followed by X-rays, which must be ordered by an ER doctor. X-rays are the most common imaging technique used after car accidents, and they are analyzed by radiologist, who tries to find possible signs of injury (broken bones, misalignment of vertebral bodies, changes of normal spinal curves, dislocation of bone, etc.). In most cases, if the X-ray doesn’t show any injury, the patient is released and allowed to go home.

X-rays are a great diagnostic tool for detecting bone injuries like fractures or dislocations. However, they can’t detect soft tissue injuries. MRIs are a lot more sensitive in detecting soft tissue injuries like sprains, strains, ligament tears, contusions, disc bulges, spinal cord injuries, nerve or nerve root injuries, etc. Any patient presenting with the symptoms of a nerve injury (such as tingling, numbness, pain radiation, loss of strength, etc.) should undergo an MRI to detect possible injury, even if their X-rays are normal. 3 

Every hospital should have a protocol in place for trauma patients. Most protocols require pathological findings on an X-ray or CT in order to necessitate a further MRI. But many protocols also require an MRI in case of neurological symptoms. 4

 If the person complains of tingling, numbness, pain radiation to the extremities, or loss of strength in the extremities, he/she should be taken seriously as these symptoms occur in radiculopathy, also known as a pinched nerve. Pinched nerves occur in cases where the nerve or nerve roots are compressed following an injury. 5 Any tissue located near the nerve (such as bone, cartilage, muscles, tendons, ligaments, spinal disc, etc.) can cause compression. One of the most common causes of a pinched nerve after an accident is a herniated disc.

Symptoms similar to a pinched nerve can be caused by spinal stenosis, which is a narrowing of the spinal canal located inside the spine. This narrowing is usually caused by bone overgrowth. However, it can also be caused by a disc bulge after an accident. Bulged discs will compress the spinal cord or nerve roots and cause symptoms like tingling, numbness, loss of strength, pain radiation down the extremities, and in severe cases, even paralysis. 6

Stretching during the car accident exerts enough force to cause the nerve roots located in the neck or lower back to stretch, resulting in radiculopathy.

It is very important to determine the extent of injury and to locate the site of injury, as treatment methods depend mostly on the type of injury. If the person has the symptoms of a pinched nerve, he/she should visit their physician and ask for a referral to a physical therapy specialist, orthopedic surgeon, or neurologist.

If the specialist suspects that there is even that slightest chance that the patient has a nerve injury, they will most likely ask for an MRI of the injured area. MRIs are great diagnostic tools for detecting  soft tissue injuries, including nerve injuries. They can detect nerve root injuries, spinal disc herniation, ligament or muscle injuries, etc. 7

In the event that you experience numbness, tingling, pain radiation or loss of strength, it can indicate a possible nerve root injury, and you can insist on an MRI.

The MRI findings will have a significant impact on future treatment methods. In the case of no visible nerve injury or minor injury, the patient will undergo an intensive physical therapy treatment. Also, many patients undergo acupuncture or chiropractic treatment after their accidents. These treatments can last for weeks or even months, depending on the severity of injury.

Neurologists often recommend an electromyoneurography (EMNG) study, which can detect even the smallest changes in nerves after the accident. EMNG is also known as a nerve conduction velocity test, and it is used to examine nerve activity. In the event of any nerve problems, there will be changes in the conduction of impulses down the nerve, which are detectable by EMNG.

The timing of treatment plays a very important role in the management of nerve root injuries. Patients who start treatment early have a significantly higher chance of healing than patients who delay in obtaining treatment or who don’t seek or receive any treatment at all. 8

If you don’t treat your nerve injury in time, you will probably have problems related to it (periodic or constant numbness, tingling, etc.) for the rest of your life .

In conclusion, many people suffer major nerve injuries but don’t seek medical attention because they think their symptoms are not that serious. Some of the most common symptoms they may experience are tingling and numbness in their extremities, which occur often after a car accident and can indicate a serious injury. So, if you were involved in a car accident and suffer from numbness or tingling, it is best to visit your doctor for a thorough examination. 

References:

1.            Ioppolo, F. and Rizzo, R. (2014). Epidemiology of Whiplash-Associated Disorders. Whiplash Injuries, pp.13-16.

2.            “Spinal Cord Injuries Clinical Presentation: History And Physical Examination.” Emedicine.medscape.com. N. p., 2018. Web. 6 June 2018.

3.            Radiologic Evaluation of Chronic Neck Pain, Richard H. Daffner,  Am Fam Physician. 2010 Oct 15;82(8):959-964.)

4.            “MRI In Acute Spinal Trauma.” Appliedradiology.com. N. p., 2018. Web. 6 June 2018.  So, if you have loss of strength, tingling or numbness you should insist on MRI.

5.            Cervical Radiculopathy (Pinched Nerve), Ian Rodway,  June 2015, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons).  

6.            “Spinal Cord Injuries Clinical Presentation: History And Physical Examination.” Emedicine.medscape.com. N. p., 2018. Web. 6 June 2018.

7.            Imaging after trauma to the neck, Bernard Wee, John H Reynolds, and Anthony Bleetman, BMJ. 2008 Jan 19; 336(7636): 154–157.doi: 10.1136/bmj.39433.663715.BE

8.            Caridi, John M., Matthias Pumberger, and Alexander P. Hughes. “Cervical Radiculopathy: A Review.” HSS Journal 7.3 (2011): 265-272. Web. 6 June 2018.

CLF in News

Herniated Discs from Auto-Injury

FAIRFAX, VA – Today, personal injury attorney Beau Correll attended a seminar in Fairfax focused on the science of auto-injury trauma.

 Preferred MRI Criteria for Trauma  
Preferred MRI Criteria for Trauma  

 “Doctor Lininger, who sponsored the course, has been doing this program for three years now and it gets better and better every year,” Correll observed.

The course covered age-dating herniated discs, ligament tissue damage, and other injuries caused by automobile accidents. Many auto-accidents, including low-speed impacts, can cause hidden yet lasting permanent injury. 

This type of knowledge is critical in finding hidden value, that may be overlooked, for clients injured in vehicle collisions.

Correll Law Firm, PLC, (correllfirm.com) located in Winchester and serving Northern Virginia, is dedicated to advancing the representation of criminal defendants and personal injury clients.

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CLF in News

Fairfax Auto Injury Seminar

FAIRFAX, VA – Today, personal injury attorney Beau Correll attended a Fairfax seminar focused on auto injury cases.

“It’s always refreshing to hear the newest developments and how new auto injury laws have been interpreted throughout the Commonwealth,” Correll said.

The course was billed to cover:

  • In-Depth Insurance Coverage Analysis
  • A Look Behind The Curtain of Insurance Companies
  • Smartphone and Medical Evidence : Special Considerations
  • Ethics in Auto Injury Litigation

Correll Law Firm, PLC, (correllfirm.com) located in Winchester and serving Northern Virginia, is dedicated to advancing the representation of criminal defendants and personal injury clients.

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Words Of Wisdom

Presenting The Best Case

No one (sane) wants to be in a car accident.  From a mere inconvenience, to a life-shattering years of treatment and recovery, the negligence of another driver can leave a lasting blemish on an innocent person.  

We at Correll Law Firm, PLC want to make sure that you know how to “jump start” your personal injury case to get the financial compensation that you may be entitled to through either settlement or trial.

Car accidents can be very traumatic experiences. The injuries you may sustain in the accident for the rest of your life.

In addition to the physical harm, you may be at-risk for untold financial harm as well.  One heavily-cited Harvard Medical Study found that 62 percent of bankruptcies are due to medical bills.  In the majority of those cases the individuals even had health insurance!

That’s why knowing the ins and outs of a personal injury client’s insurance is crucial as there may be coverages that a person may not be aware of.

There are many ways to make sure that you are covered in the event someone hits you in a car accident in Northern Virginia.  However, in order to maximize recovery, it’s crucial that you “document, document, document” the circumstances of your injury.

We’ll give you some tips on thoroughly documenting your injuries and making sure you support an award for adequate compensation from a car insurance company. 

Many times we ask client’s to help “jump-start” our representation by providing several key items of evidence.  That said, it is the practice of our firm to seek most of the below items for you.

  • A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words.  You won’t believe how important this is to both our understanding and that of the insurance company.   We’ll want pictures of your car’s damage, both from afar and close-up, and road conditions.  As to your damage – your personal injury – we’ll need both before and after photos that are a true and accurate depiction of the harm that was caused by the other driver.  If you are now limited in activities that you could have done before, we want to see that as well.
  • Day To Day Limitations.  We frequently ask clients to document their daily trials and tribulations, which are frequently forgotten months after the accident.  Being accurate is critical. We ask because forgetting bad things that happen is not only part of the coping process; it’s human nature.  
  • Accident Location.  We frequently use mapping tools to visually-depict what happened on the day of the collision.
  • Lost Wages.  Aside from medical expenses, this is one of the most critical items to keep track of following a car accident.  We have had cases be great or not so great based on the ability to document lost wages.
  • Medical Records.  We’ll need releases so we can get into the science and mechanism of your injury.  It’s not enough to say you were injured.  We need to make the case of how it happened even if it may seem obvious to you.  You have to assume the insurance company of the other driver will try to poke holes in your case if medical documentation is not as complete as practical.
  • Medical Billing.  If you are not able to obtain these records when you come to us for a consultation, don’t worry about it.  We’ll take care of it for you.  In addition to treatment records, we’ll want to document your pharmacy records, travel expenses for medical appointments, physical therapy equipment, and insurance treatment deductibles or co-payments.

Call us at 540.535.2005 to schedule a free case evaluation

Correll Law Firm, PLC, serving Northern Virginia, has a solid familiarity of both the auto claims process, the factors to maximize success, and the law related to personal injury claims.  It is important to us that our clients be happy with our representation.  Whether you have the documentation when you come to see us, or we obtain it to advance your case (which is most scenarios), we look forward to meeting you.

Contact Correll Law Firm
Words Of Wisdom

2018 Car Accident Victim Quick-Guide

Step One:
Call 911

Get help, if necessary.

Being in a car accident, caused by negligence of another driver, can be terrifying.

There’s frequently an initial moment of shock.

No matter where you are on the road, you need to take a solid look to see if you, your passengers, or others were injured in the accident.  This is the crucial first step before hiring a personal injury / car accident lawyer.

Yes, this is true even if there is no readily apparent property damage.  An academic study that we frequently cite to insurance adjusters from the State of Florida concluded that many times people are injured even if low-impact collisions.  

So, take a moment and assess yourself. 

  • Ask “Is anyone hurt?” to others in the car.
  • Examine them for trauma, if competent to do so.
  • Ask them to look you over.
  • Ask yourself: can you and your passengers move?  Do you potentially have a whiplash injury?  If you have any question whatsoever, get medical help immediately.  Don’t hesitate.

If someone is in immediate need of medical assistance, call 911.  

Calling 911  for injured parties is also very important in later getting compensated for your injuries.  That’s because car accident legal cases are all about documentation.  

If police also arrive, they may generate documentation and attempt to assess who caused the accident.  Usually, the person that caused the accident – if their conduct was reckless or otherwise violated the law – may be charged with either a traffic infraction or crime.

Remember:  a criminal case is about seeking justice.  On the other hand, a personal injury case is about “being made whole again.”

Before law enforcement makes a general “first look” of liability, they will gather evidence – including statements from other drivers and witnesses, as well as their contact information.  This information is crucial for a personal injury or car accident lawyer to help prepare a case.

Remember: Even if an officer believe someone violated an ordinance the other person’s insurance company may come to a different conclusion.

Interesting note: We’ve had several insurance claims representatives try to say that not calling an ambulance immediately affects the value of a claim.  We think that’s not always the case – sometimes injuries form later.

Lastly, if you or someone is injured – call for help! It may also be legally required to do so, in some circumstances.

Step Two:
Gather Information

Document, Document, Document!

Document. Document. Document!

Before law enforcement arrives you are your own detective, in a way.

If it is safe and prudent to do so, you’re going to want to get the name, address, and telephone number from the other driver.  Do the same of any witnesses.  In a world where everyone has cell phones – request to take a picture of their driver’s license.  You’re also going to want to ask for their insurance card.

We recommend that you consider not making any statements to the other driver.

If it’s safe to do so and you’re able to “get around”, consider taking pictures of your injuries, as well as physical damage to the vehicles involved.  After the accident, this includes pictures of bruising that may develop.

Take as many pictures as possible.  Most people don’t know what’s relevant and what is not.  However, a personal injury attorney will know what is relevant.

By documenting, the insurance company can’t turn a blind eye to what happened.  Documenting by taking pictures also has a second purpose and that’s to show the location of the impact on the vehicle, the road conditions, and the force of the impact.  

At Correll Law Firm, we’ll use the evidence available to help develop your case.

Document and seek medical treatment immediately if your condition after the accident worsens or new medical conditions emerge.  Go to every appointment with a health provider and follow all treatment recommendations. 

The insurance company for the other driver will draw a bullseye in any gaps in treatment to try to diminish your claim. Don’t let them!

Step Three:
Call Us at 540.535.2005

Act Quick.

As soon as the other driver’s insurance company gets wind of what happened, they’re going to want to lock you down in a recorded statement.  Let’s just say they aren’t always trying to find “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”  

Frequently they typically develop questions to either place blame on you or to minimize the conduct of the driver that harmed you. 

In Virginia (with some exceptions), if a party is 1% to blame they can’t recover.  That’s called contributory negligence.  This is the kind of information that the other driver’s claims representative is trying to extract from you.

We, at Correll Law Firm, highly recommend that – before you talk to them – that you reach out for legal advice.  Even if it’s not us!  

Having a personal injury lawyer will protect you.  What’s more, attorneys protect you from incomplete or inaccurate statements that can be played to look like you did something wrong.

A car accident / personal injury lawyer like Beau Correll will also be able to collect and preserve important evidence that will help you do well in negotiations.  If the insurance company isn’t fair in settlement negotiations, preserved evidence is also critical in any potential lawsuit.  

As your attorney and working for you, we will endeavor to protect your rights and securing the compensation you deserve.  

Your happiness, as a client, is important to us! 

You will always be able to reach the Correll Law Firm.  We try our best to return missed phone calls within 24 hours and will fight to  help you recover maximum compensation for the damages you have sustained as the result of a car crash.

Call us at 540-535-2005 to speak with us and schedule a free case evaluation.  We’ll explain the Statute of Limitations and shed light on a process that isn’t always the clearest.

Be well!

 

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The guide is for informational purposes only. You cannot rely on it exclusively, it does not contain legal advice, no attorney-client relationship exists or is implied to exist between the reader and Correll Law Firm, PLC, nor shall it impose an obligation on the part of the attorney to respond to inquiry. You are advised to secure independent legal counsel. In other words: these are just general statements of the law and every case and situation is different.

Words Of Wisdom

8 Shady Insurance Tactics

Many folks like you, when thinking of the car accident settlement process, feel that insurance company employees are simply going to fairly measure your injuries, then pay you what is “owed.”  

However, it’s not that simple.  Insurance companies make a profit by maximizing the amount of money people pay in premiums and reducing the amount paid out in claims to injured people like you.  It’s their business model and people, like you, can be taken advantage of if they’re unaware.

DID YOU KNOW: It has even been disclosed that the adjusters can get paid BONUSES in reducing payouts!

We are frequently seeing cases in which people are taken advantage of.  That said, we want to share with you 8 Shady Tactics they use to reduce paying you what you are owed.

1: They’re looking at your life!

Particularly in cases where we have a client that is severely injured, insurance claims representatives will delve into social media accounts.  They’ll even have you followed and videoed in public.  They may take a few moments of walking to your door without a cane or other assistive device (if a medical professional recommends one) and try to claim you were fine the entire time!

That’s why when we litigate cases we frequently demand any and all surveillance of clients.  During the civil discovery process they usually have to “give up the goods” on what they have on clients. Usually? It’s nothing. 

2. They’ll put up roadblocks

They don’t want you to separate the forest from the trees.

Insurance companies relish in delaying your claim.  They’ll make you get overly-involved in paperwork.  They’ll place all kinds of hoops for you to jump through.  They’ll confuse you and mix in property and personal injury policy limits.  They want to “run that clock” because guess what?  They know that if you play the game long enough you may miss the statute of limitations and you’ll lose your claim forever.

One frequently tactic they use is to only evaluate your claim based on your present injuries.  If you sign that settlement form, you may be “donezo” if you ever develop further pain and discomfort from the original injury.  That’s why it’s important to engage an attorney early.

3. Spying on your Facebook

Always be very cautious what you say on social media because they will misconstrue that, if possible, just like they will on recorded phone calls.

TIP FROM US: Hire an attorney before any discussions with the other person’s insurance company.

4. Inserting tricky clauses into routine documents

We come across this regularly.  If you don’t have an attorney representing you – and even if you do – they will frequently try to get ALL of your medical records, even if it’s not related to the accident.  In those release documents, if you examine the fine-print, you’re agreeing for them to look even YEARS back!  For unrelated things!

They do this because they may want to pin your ailment on a pre-existing condition.  Sometimes they’ll go to great lengths to draw that connection, even if it’s not entirely supported by medical science.

5: Asking Incomplete Questions / Trying to Frame You In The Wrong Light

These insurance adjusters want to blame you whenever they can for the accident.  We urge clients to contact us immediately, rather than playing “their game.”

One of the insurance adjuster “tools of the trade” is to ask incomplete questions to people that don’t have attorneys on recorded phone calls.

We had one case where a bush partially obstructed a client’s view. The client, out of an abundance of caution, pulled into the roadway for a full 30 seconds so any other cars could see him before he pulled out.  After the accident, the other driver’s insurance company denied the claim (initially) by asking on a prerecorded call if the client was to blame for pulling out into a roadway.  The client didn’t see the trickery and said, “Yes!”  However, only when the full facts came out was it clear THEIR DRIVER was at fault.  If a car is in the road for a full 30 seconds, the law recognizes it was the fault of the other driver for being negligent.

That’s but one example out of many.  In summation, don’t play the games of the insurance companies!

6: They blame Colossus.

Most insurance companies use a complex computer program called “Colossus” to evaluate a claim, using various metrics.  Not only are the metrics suspect and not properly assess certain accident-related conditions, but we know many of the limitations of this program.  

The insurance adjuster will usually just blame the computer program for the low settlement number.  Don’t be taken advantage of in this process.

7: Colossus uses a Plaintiff attorney’s “batting average.”

This program, depending on the version, may look at your attorney’s “batting average.”  By that, it looks to whether your attorney is willing to sue if the number is too low.  We take pride in fighting for our clients who wish to pursue this route and are unafraid of taking a case to trial.  We want the maximum amount of recovery for our clients so they can be made whole again.

8: “Do you really need a lawyer?” -Their Insurance Company

Keep in mind what we said before: they want to avoid or reduce payouts.  Lawyers, that know what they are doing, hold the insurance companies accountable.  You need someone that knows the rules of the road to maximize compensation.

Correll Law Firm, PLC (www.correllfirm.com) has experience confronting the insurance companies and fighting for financial recovery of our clients.  If you have been injured in a car accident or the negligence of someone in other ways, call us at (540) 535-2005 for a free case evaluation.

The insurance companies know how to reduce your claim value.  Do you know how to obtain the maximum amount you’re entitled to?