Strains and sprains
Words Of Wisdom

Groundbreaking: Strains & sprains are permanent injuries!

Sprains and strains are common in auto-accidents

In general, sprains and strains are one of the most common types of injuries, and they are frequently sustained in car accidents. In both sprains and strains, your soft tissues are injured. In the case of sprains, your ligaments are stretched or torn, and in the case of strains, it is your muscles and tendons. 2

Ligament injuries—ankle sprains and ACL injuries, in particular—are the most common cause of joint pain. 1  

How a sprain or strain occurs

The most common mechanism of injury is overstretching a body part. As the soft tissue stretches, its fibers also stretch until they reach their limit. Once they reach the stretching limit, any movement beyond that point will cause a strain or sprain. Less extensive overstretching will only cause the stretching of ligaments, tendons, or muscles, but more extensive stretching can cause those structures to tear.   

In the case of car accidents, if the driver and passengers are restrained (a.k.a. wearing their seatbelts), the lower leg will be the most common site of injury. 3 Though, the ankles, wrists, and knees are also frequently injured. 4        

The driver’s wrist is usually injured in an auto accident, as they tend to grasp the steering wheel firmer at the moment of impact. Drivers also often sustain ankle injuries, which are caused by the unnatural position of the foot at the moment of impact.

Usually, the person will feel a sudden pain near the injured site. A fairly certain sign of ligament rupture is hearing a popping sound at the moment of injury. 2 Swelling occurs quickly after the injury and can last for several weeks. The swelling is frequently followed by bruising, and range of motion of the injured body part will be limited and painful for quite some time.

Treatment for sprain or strain

Treatment options will depend on the severity of the injury. Most people believe that RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) is the only treatment option for sprains and strains. But surgical intervention and treatment may be necessary for the more severe cases.

In fact, it is a common misconception that sprains and strains are a minor injury that don’t have any long-term consequences. In some cases, this kind of auto accident injury can have an extensive and enduring impact on your health and quality of life.

Though every tendon, ligament, or muscle injury will heal by creating scar tissue, there is unfortunately no treatment option that will fully restore the injured tendon or ligament. 5

Prognosis for sprain or strain

Torn ligaments require at least 6 weeks to as much as 3 months to heal. 6 However, it can take up to a couple years for a scar on the injured ligament to fully mature. Only after the healing process is completed will you know whether the injury has healed well or whether the weakened injured site will fail if heavy pressure or stress is applied. 5 The repaired tissue will remain a weak point and future injuries will increase the chance of a new rupture.

Joint instability related to sprains and strains

Many individuals with previous injuries will experience joint instability—a very serious problem, particularly if the knee, ankle, shoulder, elbow, or wrist are the injured areas. 6

Joint instability causes changes in joint motion and force transmission, which can lead to damage not only of the affected joint but also of other body parts. 5 For example, ankle instability will cause gait changes which will eventually affect the knee joints, hips, and lower back, causing cartilage damage and arthritis.

In the case of joint instability, the person might need to change or reduce their level of activity or seek out a different job, if their current one requires constant weight bearing or sudden changes of direction.

A person with chronic joint instability localized in the lower leg usually experiences pain after standing or walking for a longer period of time. Swelling is also a very common issue. If the person has a problem with an upper extremity joint (shoulder, elbow, or wrist), they will usually complain about pain after repeated motions or weight bearing.

Sprains and strains make you more predisposed for future injury

Under normal circumstances, joint cartilage will wear and tear over the course of a lifetime, and people will have symptoms of osteoarthritis in older age. However, in the case of joint laxity caused by ligament issues, such as instability, the bones will have more space to move freely and the cartilage will suffer a lot more impacts than with any other types of injury. 5 7

Previous ligament injuries will also cause muscle weakness, joint instability, decreased function, and neuromuscular deficits (balance problems, problems with sensations, reduced sense of joint position, etc.). 5

A person with joint instability might require a surgery and repeated physical therapy in order to stabilize the joint and minimize the symptoms.

Value of a sprain or strain on your car accident case

In particular, car accidents resulting in sprains and strains can cause devestating and lasting harm to accident victims. If the other side’s insurance company or attorney is giving your trouble and undervaluing your claim if you have been hurt in a car accident in Virginia resulting from the actions of another driver, you can seek representation from a Virginia car accident lawyer. You may be entitled to compensation for your bodily injuries, physical pain and mental anguish, disfigurement and deformity, inconvenience, medical expenses, earnings lost, and property damage.

Beau Correll is a Winchester, VA attorney who focuses on victims of personal injury. The professionals at Correll Law Firm, PLC are available for a free case evaluation to help you begin pursuing your personal injury case and receiving the compensation you deserve.

References:

1.       Ligament Injury and Healing: A Review of Current Clinical Diagnostics and Therapeutics R.A. Hauser, E.E. Dolan, H.J. Phillips, A.C. Newlin, R.E. Moore and B.A. Woldin

2.       “Sprains And Strains – Symptoms And Causes.” Mayo Clinic. N. p., 2018. Web. 1 June 2018.

3.       Pattimore, Dan et al. “The Nature And Cause Of Lower Limb Injuries In Car Crashes.” SAE Technical Paper Series(1991): n. pag. Web. 1 June 2018.

4.       “Sprains, Strains And Other Soft-Tissue Injuries – Orthoinfo – AAOS.” Orthoinfo.aaos.org. N. p., 2018. Web. 1 June 2018.

5.       Tendon and Ligament: Development, Repair and Disease. Samuel Tozer and Delphine Duprez.

6.       Tricia J. Hubbard and Charlie A. Hicks-Little (2008) Ankle Ligament Healing After an Acute Ankle Sprain: An Evidence-Based Approach. Journal of Athletic Training: Sep/Oct 2008, Vol. 43, No. 5, pp. 523-529.

7.       Hertel, Jay. “Functional Instability Following Lateral Ankle Sprain.” Sports Medicine 29.5 (2000): 361-371. Web. 1 June 2018.

Vehicle collision
Words Of Wisdom

Ouch! Car accidents can cause a lifetime of pain (DETAILS)

Types of car accident permanent injuries

According to Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary, a permanent injury is physical or mental damage that will indefinitely restrict normal activities or employment of an individual. 1

One of the most common causes of permanent injuries is car accidents.

Regardless of whether a person is left partially or totally disabled after being hurt in a car accident, a sudden and permanent injury can have a devastating impact on their life.

The injured person will not be able to continue performing or even enjoying their normal activities, or they may find it hard to adjust to the life they had before the auto injury. He or she may struggle to provide for their family to the same level as before, leading them to wonder what to do after a car accident injury.

While it may feel isolating, their situation is not uncommon. Every year, over 1.2 million people die in car accidents and millions more are injured in an accident. 2

In the USA alone, over 40,000 people die in car accidents annually and someone is injured in an auto accident every 10 seconds. The number of people permanently injured is over two million per year. 3 Almost 10% of people involved in car accidents suffer a permanent injury, with that total number increasing every year. 4

The risk of permanent injury depends mostly on the body part injured in a car accident. People who suffer thorax or abdominal injuries have the lowest chance of permanent injury. On the other side, neck, arm, and leg injuries are the most common causes of permanent injuries. 4

Spine injuries

Neck strain is one of the most common injuries in a car accident, and it is usually considered as a minor injury. But in 16-17% of people, it can lead to severe health issues and even permanent injuries. 4 Individuals usually complain of persistent neck pain with radiation to the head or down the arms, tingling or numbness, loss of strength in hands, and decreased range of motion, which require periodical physical therapy treatments in order to reduce these symptoms and increase mobility.

Injuries of the cervical, thoracic or lumbar spine (complete or incomplete cord syndrome) are most devastating and will lead to permanent injuries in 100% of people. These people will have paraplegia or quadriplegia for the rest of their lives. 4 Individuals with paraplegia or quadriplegia will always require help from another person, and their occupations and their quality of life will be severely restricted. They will require lifelong rounds of physical treatment or kinesiotherapy in order to prevent joint contractures (joint stiffness). Additionally, they have a much higher chance of developing bedsores, pneumonia, UTIs, and other infections.

Fractures in car accidents

Fractures often occur in car accidents. Their impact on the person’s health depends mostly on the type of fracture and injured bone. In the case of simple, non-displaced injuries, most are treated with a cast, which is removed after 4-6 weeks (depending on the injured bone) and followed by physical treatment. These injuries usually don’t leave severe or long-lasting consequences.

However, displaced fractures, intra-articular fractures, and fractures of weight bearing bones can have permanent consequences. These fractures are usually treated surgically, and intense physical therapy treatment is required in order to achieve good results. Even after that, individuals can have issues like pain, restricted motion, and non-healing which can require further rounds of physical therapy or surgery. Intra-articular fractures cause severe damage of the cartilage, leading to the much faster deterioration of the joints. The most susceptible are the hip, knee, and ankle joints, which bear significant weight. In the case of severe arthrosis (joint destruction), the person will require joint replacement surgery.

Head injuries caused by auto accidents

Head injuries are especially common in unrestrained drivers or passengers involved in car accidents. The severity of the consequences depends mostly on the type of head injury. Head contusion or concussions are not particularly severe, in most cases. On the other hand, brain contusions and hematomas will most likely leave permanent consequences. People with these types of injuries can remain in a coma for a long period of time, and later, they can develop cognitive problems, posttraumatic epilepsy, hearing or vision problems, etc. Some patients require repeated surgical procedures to correct or alleviate these issues, if possible. After a coma, individuals will spend months in intensive physical therapy in order to restore their normal functions and motions.

Amputations

Another type of injury that leads to permanent damage is traumatic amputation. The severity of the injury depends mostly on the body part being amputated. Losing a toe or a finger has less of an impact on someone’s life versus losing a thumb or a ring finger. Loss of a thumb or arm above the elbow will always lead to 100% impairment. 4

Amputees will have to wear a prosthesis for their entire lives, which can have a severe negative effect on their quality of life. Most of them will require a longer course of physical therapy. Also, in some cases, the surgical revision of a stump will be required in order to improve balance and comfort while wearing a prosthesis.

Skin lacerations and burns from auto injuries

Skin lacerations (cuts) are very common in car accidents. In the case of smaller cuts, they will often heal by themselves within a couple of weeks, leaving small or almost invisible scars. However, deeper or big skin lacerations often require stitches and leave scars. If the laceration occurs on any visible body parts (the face, for example), it can have permanent consequences not just for the skin but for the victim’s self-confidence.

Lacerations near the joints and scarring can cause joint contractures, which are a very serious problem. The person who sustains a deep or big laceration will likely require further treatments, the most common of which are surgical scar revisions, laser treatments, PRP (platelet rich plasma), microneedling, etc.

Burns can also occur in car accidents. Just like lacerations, they can leave scars. Deeper burns or burns which cover a large portion of the body can cause permanent injuries. Burns located on the face can be mutilating. Deep burns on the joints cause joint contractures in most cases. Any future treatment options will depend mostly on the severity of the burns, and people with severe burns will usually require multiple surgical procedures in order to increase their quality of life following the auto accident injury.

Contact a car accident lawyer

If you or a loved one are injured in an auto or trucking accident, reach out to the professionals at Correll Law Firm, PLC.  We know how the insurance companies determine value based on whether you have a permanent injury. Many times, insurance companies WANT you knowing the full picture of whether you are injuries.  Read our article about how it’s just one of their dirty tricks.

We serve Virginia and are happy to provide a free consultation for your personal injury or car accident matter.  You can reach out to us via the phone number above or fill out this quick form and we’ll have a member of our staff give you a call.

References:

1.            “Permanent Injury.” LII / Legal Information Institute. N. p., 2010. Web. 29 May 2018.

2.            Peden M, Scurfield R, Sleet D, et al. World report on road traffic injury prevention. World Health Organization; Geneva: 2004.

3.            https://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/national-car-accident-statistics

4.            Sigrun Malm, Claes Tingvall. “Risk Of Permanent Medical Impairment (RPMI) In Road Traffic Accidents.” Annals of Advances in Automotive Medicine / Annual Scientific Conference 52 (2008): 93. Web. 29 May 2018.

Traumatic injury from car accident
Words Of Wisdom

WHOA: Here’s what a simple car accident can do to your brain…

Types of head or brain injuries caused by auto accidents, including TBI

Car accidents are one of the most common causes of injuries and death, especially among younger people. Worldwide, over 50 million people are injured in car accidents every year. 1 Despite their frequency, many of these collisions are the result of driver negligence and as such could have been completely avoided. Instead, for millions, a split second can cause lasting emotional and physical harm, disability, and impairment. If you or someone you know has been injured in an automobile collision, you should waste no time in seeking legal advice after immediate medical care, particularly if you require the services of a head injury attorney. Particularly in the case of a head trauma, an experienced brain injury attorney can be vital in helping you negotiate the complicated legal, medical, and insurance issues following your car accident.

Head trauma is one of the most common types of injury sustained in every car accident. 2 3
Because of the head’s wide range of motion, sudden deceleration and acceleration will often cause the head to hit the steering wheel, windshield, or other hard parts of the car.
In case of a brain injury, the most common mechanism is the impact of brain on the interior walls of the skull. Under normal circumstances, the brain is protected from minor impacts by a small amount of fluid inside the skull. This fluid prevents the contact of the brain and interior walls of the skull during a minor blow or accidents (for example, minor falls, hit with a ball, etc.). However, auto accidents involve high velocity and energy, producing impacts that render the fluid unhelpful to prevent contact of the brain to the skull.

During a car accident, the human body will suddenly accelerate or decelerate, and the brain cannot follow those motions with the same speed. When a car is hit from behind, the human body will be moved forward, while the brain remains in the same position for a part of a second. Even this small amount of time is enough for the brain to hit the back part of the skull. In the case of sudden deceleration (when the car hits an obstacle), the body will be decelerated or fully stopped within a few seconds. The brain will retain inertia and will continue moving forward until it hits the front part of the skull.

During high energy impacts, the human brain will move inside the skull, hitting the walls and causing brain injuries on both sides of the brain (site of impact and the opposite side). These types of injuries are also known as a coup and contrecoup injuries. 4

There are several types of brain injuries which can occur in car accidents, depending on the severity of injury and injured tissues.

Lacerations caused to the head

The most common car accident head injuries are lacerations, which occur in over 40% people involved in accidents. 5

Some deeper lacerations require stitches. But generally speaking, they are the least dangerous injuries, and in most cases, they heal within a couple of weeks.

 Concussion

Another common injury in car accidents is a concussion. It is caused by a direct blow to the head. In the case of a concussion, the person will be confused, he/she won’t be able to remember the accident or the period after the accident, and there will always be a period of lost consciousness right after the accident. In most cases, the person will have a “hole” in their memory, but as time goes on, he/she will start remembering the accident. Concussions usually don’t lead to any major issues, but in the case of multiple concussions, they can have severe consequences. 4

On the other hand, a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can cause severe brain damage which can result in devastating consequences or even death. 6

Anoxic brain injury

Lack of oxygen, which lasts for a longer period of time and is caused by any reason, causes brain cells to die. The severity of the brain injury will depend on the time the person goes without oxygen. In the case of car accidents, anoxic brain injuries are usually caused by drowning or by heart or lung injury.

Diffuse axonal lesion

A diffuse axonal lesion is usually caused by a sudden strong rotation of the head, which is common in car accidents. During these movements, the brain tissue will stretch beyond its limits and tear. Most of the affected tissues are actually fibers (axons), which connect different brain cells. As a consequence, the brain will lose control over the affected part. Diffuse axonal lesion can cause temporary issues, which can withdraw after the brain establish control once again over the affected part. In some cases, if the extent of injury is large, the damage will be permanent. 7

Cerebral contusion

Cerebral contusion is also known as a bruise of the brain, and it is caused by an impact of the brain to the inner sides of the skull. A contusion develops directly on the site of impact, usually on frontal or occipital lobes. 7 Smaller contusions resolve themselves on their own. However, larger brain contusions cause the death of affected brain tissue, and they require surgical intervention in order to remove dead tissue.

Hematoma

A hematoma is a collection of blood, and it can occur in the brain after a closed head injury. In case of head injury, blood vessels inside the skull can tear, causing the blood to collect inside the skull. Depending on the site of blood collection, different types of hematoma can occur (subdural hematoma, epidural hematoma, intracerebral hematoma, SAH). 4

How is traumatic brain injury (TBI) qualified?

The Glasgow Comma Scale is widely used to provide qualifications for the severity of the traumatic brain injury. The examiner will check for verbal, eye, and motor responses and rate them based on the given reactions. The maximum number of points is 15.

Individuals who have a GCS score 13-15 have a mild or minor brain injury. Individuals with a GCS between 8 or 9 and 12 have a moderate brain injury, and individuals with a GCS under 8 or 9 have a severe brain injury. 8

Don’t Wait. Act Now.

Car accidents resulting in brain injuries can cause devasting and enduring harm to accident victims. If you or your loved ones have been injured in a car accident resulting from the actions of another driver, you can seek representation from a brain injuries lawyer. You may be entitled to compensation for your bodily injuries, physical pain and mental anguish, disfigurement and deformity, inconvenience, medical expenses, earnings lost, and property damage.

If you are looking for a brain injury lawyer in Virginia, please feel free to reach out to us to schedule a free consultation. The professionals at Correll Law Firm, PLC are available for a free case evaluation to help you explore pursuing your personal injury case and receiving the compensation you deserve.  The best way to contact us is reaching out at the number at the top of our screen or filling out this short contact form.

References:
1.    “Road Traffic Injuries.” World Health Organization. N. p., 2018. Web. 27 May 2018.
2.    “Types Of Car Accident Injuries – Findlaw.” Findlaw. N. p., 2018. Web. 27 May 2018.
3.    Farghaly, Afaf & El-Khayat, Roshdy & Awad, Wafaa & George, Safaa. (2018). Head Injuries in Road Traffic Accidents.
4.    Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) – Injuries; Poisoning – MSD Manual Professional Edition. (2018). MSD Manual Professional Edition. Retrieved 27 May 2018, from https://www.msdmanuals.com/professional/injuries-poisoning/traumatic-brain-injury- tbi/traumatic-brain-injury-tbi
5.    Brookes, M et al. “Head Injuries In Accident And Emergency Departments. How Different Are Children From Adults?.” Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 44.2 (1990): 147-151. Web. 27 May 2018.
6.    “TBI: Get The Facts | Concussion | Traumatic Brain Injury | CDC Injury Center .” Cdc.gov. N. p., 2018. Web. 27 May 2018.
7.    Mendelow, A. D., and G. M. Teasdale. “Pathophysiology Of Head Injuries.” British Journal of Surgery 70.11 (1983): 641-650. Web. 27 May 2018.
8.    “Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) – Definition, Epidemiology, Pathophysiology: Overview, Epidemiology, Primary Injury.” Emedicine.medscape.com. N. p., 2018. Web. 27 May 2018.

medical malpractice in Virginia
Words Of Wisdom

Did you know THIS about surgical malpractice?

Surgery malpractice

Surgery is one of the most common treatment options, and in some cases, it can be a patient’s only option. In the past, surgery was linked to poor outcomes and high complication rates. But in the last century, with the help of advancements in antibiotic therapy and asepsis, surgery has become a very safe treatment procedure.

However, it is not 100% safe, and every surgery carries the risk of potential complications. Aside from the risks inherent within each procedure, hospital errors and medical malpractice during surgery can have lasting, negative effects on a patient. That is why surgical associations and organizations research and publish guidelines, with the goal of reducing the occurrence of surgical complications and medical malpractice. One of the most detailed guidelines is published by the World Health Organization (WHO Guidelines for Safe Surgery). According to the WHO, it is important to ensure that the following recommendations are followed: prevention of infection of surgical site, anesthesia safety, and surgical team safety. 1

In order to prevent the infection of the surgical wound, the basic principles of asespsis and antisepsis should be followed. The surgeon and all members of surgical team should wash their hands, instruments should be sterilized before the surgery, antibiotics should be administered according to the recommendations before the surgery, the skin around the incision site should be prepared and draped in a sterile manner, the wound should be treated with caution, and surgeons should try to avoid unnecessary trauma to the tissue. Failure to follow any of these recommendations can lead to a wound infection. 1

Anesthesiologist malpractice

Anesthesia is one of the most important parts of every surgery. The anesthetist should be well trained in order to provide a safe anesthesia. The machine should be checked prior to surgery, and the patient’s vitals (blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen saturation, body temperature) should be monitored throughout the entire surgical procedure. 1

And last but not least, a safe surgical team should be well organized and have excellent communication in order to be best prepared for the surgery. The surgical team can reduce hospital error by confirming that they have the correct patient as well as all the correct information for the site and procedure. The patient should sign an informed consent form prior to surgery and confirm any possible allergies. The nurse working at the surgery table should note any missing surgical sponges, gauzes, or instruments in order to prevent retained foreign objects in the body and later complications. 1

If there is a breach of the standard of care, it can lead to severe and sometimes life-threatening consequences. Some of the most devastating instances of medical malpractice occur when a surgical instrument or sponge is inadvertently retained in the wound. It is hard to imagine that a well-trained surgeon could really forget to remove an instrument from the patient’s body, but this kind of surgical error does occur, and when it does, seeking the representation of a medical malpractice attorney may be the only way to ensure you receive the compensation you’re entitled to. Some reports claim that it happens once in every 1000-7000 surgeries. 2 3 4 In the USA alone, over 1500 cases are reported each year. 5

Retained foreign objects

The human body is not used to having a foreign body or material inside it (with the exception of endoprothetic materials, which are compatible). In the presence of a foreign material, the body will react and try to defend itself by initiating an inflammatory reaction. 4 In the event that the foreign material remains inside the body for a longer period of time, it can cause serious complications and even death.

Surgical instruments or sponges are most frequently forgotten during intraabdominal and intrathoracic surgeries. 6

Surgical sponges are retained the most often, followed by needles and instruments. 7

Important factors which contribute to a higher risk of retention of foreign objects are emergency surgeries, unplanned changes made during the surgical procedure, and a high BMI of the patient. 8

The main goal of surgery is to solve the problem patient has. If the surgeon leaves an instrument or sponge inside the body, that object can trigger further symptoms and create even more problems for the patient than they had before they checked into the hospital.

A patient can show symptoms immediately following surgery, or they may only notice something is wrong months or even years later. Often, they may not even connect their new symptoms to the surgery itself.

One study claims that every patient with a retained foreign body had symptoms after the surgery. Of those, the most common were sepsis caused by intestinal obstruction or fistula (tunnel) between the intestines and skin, abdominal pain, and a palpable mass. Even when the foreign object is removed, there is a high chance (18%) that a new surgery will be required in order to solve the remaining problems. 10% of the patients that required a second surgery died. 9

Another study claims that 69% of patients required a revision surgery after the retained instrument or sponge was diagnosed. These patients also have a much higher chance of having an emergency surgery (33% vs 7%). 8

Patients with a foreign body can have symptoms similar to an infection or abscess (puss formation) shortly after surgery or within a few months. 4

Lincourt et al. claim that, patients with retained foreign objects have a higher chance of multiple major surgical procedures. 6 Surgical instruments are usually well visualized using X-rays, while sponges need to be identified using more specific imaging techniques, like a CT or MRI scan. 4 In an operating theatre, the scrub nurse is responsible for counting the sponges and instruments, but he or she does so under the direction of the surgeon. 4

Every nursing organization has recommendations and standards for counting the surgical instruments and sponges in order to prevent inadvertent retention. 10 11 Most of them recommend that the scrub nurse counts sponges and that the circulating nurse performs a recount. Each time, the number of sponges should be documented.

Lately, new systems have been designed to automatically count surgical sponges and prevent possible human error. This system is based on the use of bar-coded sponges instead of regular surgical sponges. It has showed an improvement in detection of surgical sponges. 12

This can lead to significant decrease in the incidence of retained surgical instruments and sponges, though these systems and procedures have not been implemented in most hospitals in the United States. Until they are, this kind of hospital error will continue to cause devasting and unnecessary harm to many patients. If you or your loved ones have suffered from complications, infection, pain, disability, or impairment resulting from surgical errors, you may be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering, lost wages, reduction in future earning capacity, hospitalization and re-hospitalization expenses, and other types of injuries.

Beau Correll is a medical malpractice attorney who focuses on personal injury, including wrongful death, cases. If you are looking for medical malpractice lawyers in Virginia available for a free consultation to help you determine how to pursue your medical malpractice case and receive the compensation you deserve, reach out to us.  Call us at the number listed at the top of our site for free case evaluation or fill out this quick form (it takes about 30 seconds).

References:

1.    WHO, WHO Guidelines for Safe Surgery 2009, available at http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/44185/9789241598552_eng.pdf
2.    Bani-Hani, Kamal E., Kamal A. Gharaibeh, and Rami J. Yagha. “Retained Surgical Sponges (Gossypiboma).” Asian Journal of Surgery 28.2 (2005): 109-115. Web. 20 May 2018.
3.    Egorova NN, et al. “Managing The Prevention Of Retained Surgical Instruments: What Is The Value Of Counting? – Pubmed – NCBI .” Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. N. p., 2018. Web. 20 May 2018.
4.    Zejnullahu, Valon A. et al. “Retained Surgical Foreign Bodies After Surgery.” Open Access Macedonian Journal of Medical Sciences 5 (2017): n. pag. Web. 20 May 2018.
5.    P, Brisson. “Prevention Of Retained Foreign Objects. – Pubmed – NCBI .” Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. N. p., 2018. Web. 20 May 2018.
6.    Lincourt, Amy E. et al. “Retained Foreign Bodies After Surgery.” Journal of Surgical Research 138.2 (2007): 170-174. Web. 20 May 2018.
7.    “Retained Surgical Sponges, Needles And Instruments | The Annals Of The Royal College Of Surgeons Of England.” The Annals of The Royal College of Surgeons of England (2018):. Web. 20 May 2018.
8.    Gawande AA, et al. “Risk Factors For Retained Instruments And Sponges After Surgery. – Pubmed – NCBI .” Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. N. p., 2018. Web. 20 May 2018.
9.    Gonzalez-Ojeda A, et al. “Retained Foreign Bodies Following Intra-Abdominal Surgery. – Pubmed – NCBI .” Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. N. p., 2018. Web. 20 May 2018.
10.    Nurses, Association. “Guidelines For Perioperative Practice – Clinical Resources – Association Of Perioperative Registered Nurses.” Aorn.org. N. p., 2018. Web. 20 May 2018.
11.    “Australian College Of Perioperative Nurses :: Standards.” Acorn.org.au. N. p., 2018. Web. 20 May 2018.
12.    Greenberg CC, et al. “Bar-Coding Surgical Sponges To Improve Safety: A Randomized Controlled Trial. – Pubmed – NCBI .” Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. N. p., 2018. Web. 20 May 2018.

Car Accident Relief
CLF in News

Local Law Firm Goes Visual

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: 540.535.2005

WINCHESTER, VA – A local injury lawyer released a new video Sunday marketing the Correll Law Firm. The untitled promotion touts the firms practice areas in personal injury, car accidents, medical malpractice, and criminal defense in Northern Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley.

The promotion visually depicts the various national, regional, and local news outlets that Correll has appeared in including CNN, MSNBC, Fox, and WDVM.

The promotion is available here:

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Common car injuries
Words Of Wisdom

Common Car Accident Injuries

Common Car Accident Injuries

Automobile accidents are the leading cause of death among people younger than 30 years old, causing over 1.25 million of deaths worldwide. Even more people are injured every year in car accident. According to the World Health Organization, up to 50 million of people are injured in traffic accidents every year. 1

Here in the United States, over 2.35 million people are injured in traffic accidents every year. 2

The most common causes of traffic accidents and injuries are speeding, driving under the influence, not using seat-belts, helmets, distracted drivers, unsafe vehicles or road infrastructure, etc. 1

Some of the most common injuries are Whiplash injury, sprains and strains, head injuries, back injuries, chest injuries, etc. 3

In this article, Northern Virginia personal injury lawyer Beau Correll will review several of the most common injuries caused in car accidents.

Whiplash injury

Whiplash injury is the most common injury in car accidents and it’s constantly on the rise. Over half of patients involved in motor vehicle accidents have symptoms of whiplash injury. 4

Whiplash injury occurs in the neck and is caused by a combination of quick acceleration and deceleration. In most cases it is caused by being struck in the back. At the moment of impact, vehicle will suddenly accelerate, causing the head to go backwards and neck will extend, snapping forward. In the next stage, the head will go forward and neck will flex. This causes stretching of neck muscles, ligaments, nerve roots and other structures located in the neck. 4

Oddly, there is a strong link between wearing a seatbelt and increase of whiplash injuries in car accidents. In the UK, wearing a seatbelt has been mandatory since 1983. The incidence of whiplash injury prior to 1983 was around 7.7%, but the next year it was 20.5%. In year 2000, it was around 57%. 4 Still – keep wearing your seatbelt because the injuries sustained as a result of not wearing a seatbelt can be much worse!

The quick acceleration and deceleration that can cause whiplash seems to effect women differently.  A study by Krafft et al. (2010), showed that there is a higher risk of disability for females, especially rear seat passengers. 5

Severity of whiplash symptoms depends on a number of different factors which include age, sex, type of accident, vehicle speed at the moment of impact, and whether a seatbelt was worn.

When a prospective client visits our personal injury law firm, they may complain about neck pain, stiffness, and tenderness. Some will have neck muscle spasms, decreased range of motion of the neck, tingling towards the head or down the arms, numbness, loss of strength, etc. 6

The diagnosis of whiplash injury right after the accident can sometimes be tricky, because there are no radiographic signs which clearly confirm the diagnosis. 7 At the initial stage, diagnosis is based on the patient’s description of accident and physical examination.

Correll Law Firm, PLC is experienced in handling car accident cases involving whiplash – many times a patient must be aggressive to seek treatment or the symptoms may worsen.

Sprains and Strains

Sprains and strains are very common injuries in car accidents. The mechanism of injury is the same as whiplash, only the injured tissue is different. In case of sprains, ligaments are stretched or torn while in strains, damaged tissues are the muscles and tendons. 8

In case of car accidents, sprains and strains are caused by a sudden blow to the body. In most cases, the injured body part will have an unnatural position at the moment of impact (hand on a steering-wheel, ankle on the gas pedal, brake or clutch in case of driver. In case of passengers, arms are usually injured when arm hits the car door or front seat). The driver and passengers will most likely injure their ankles or wrists, although knee injuries are not rare either. 9

If a driver and passenger are restrained, such as by a seatbelt, then almost 70% of injuries which occur in a frontal car accident are below the knee. 10

Most patients with sprains/strain complain about pain, swelling, bruising, limited range of motion of injured joint/muscle, and in case of rupture there can be a feeling or sound of a “pop.” 8

Most sprains/strains are treated using RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) and in most cases the injury resolves within a few weeks. But for more serious injuries (such as tendon rupture), a surgery is the only right solution. 8  Many times, sprain/strain can result in permanent damage such as ligament laxity.

Head Injury

Head injuries, such as traumatic brain injury, are not that uncommon in car accidents.  Still, most are caused by motor vehicle accidents. 11

Mechanism of head injuries in car accidents are well known:  sudden deceleration or stopping of vehicle causes the body and head to snap forward. In case of unrestrained passengers, the head can hit something in the car (steering wheel, windshield, etc.). But even restrained passengers are not 100% safe from head injuries. They are more susceptible to acceleration-deceleration brain injuries. In this case, the brain will move backward in the skull once the head and body move forward and in the next step when body stops, the brain will go forward. This causes the brain to hit the inner sides of the skull and injury of the brain tissue which can have serious consequences. 12

Type and severity of head injury depends on a number of different factors which include age, sex, type of accident, using a seat belt, car manufactory date, etc. Most common are head contusions, lacerations, concussions, and the most severe is severe traumatic brain injury. Over 40% of patients will have lacerations after an accident. 13

One of the most important factors for head injuries is wearing a seat belt.  Studies support common sense.  A study by Javouhey et al. (2006), claims that there is a significantly higher risk of severe traumatic brain injury to unrestrained passengers. 14

The outcome of head injury depends on the type and severity of head injury. Head contusions, lacerations and concussions will heal within a few days or weeks. On the other hand, severe traumatic brain injury can lead to death or have serious health consequences. 15

One common brain injury is called “traumatic brain injury” or TBI, for short.  It can be classified as a mild traumatic brain injury or severe.  TBIs can include as short as a temporary to as much as permanent impairment in the brain’s vital functions.  Blunt force trauma can cause swelling in the skull, which can lead to disability or death. The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control found that young child and kids between 15 to 19, as well as senior citizens, are most likely to geta  TBI.

If you or a loved one are injured as a result of an automobile accident in northern Virginia or are looking for attorneys in Winchester, VA, reach out to us over the web or calling us at (540) 535-2005.

References:

1.       WHO, Global status report on road safety 2015, retrieved from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs358/en/

2.       Association for safe international road travel, Annual Global Road Crash Statistics, retrieved from

3.       FindLaw, Types of Car Accident Injuries, retrieved from http://injury.findlaw.com/car-accidents/types-of-car-accident-injuries.html

4.       C.S.B. Galasko, P. Murray, W. Stephenson, Incidence of whiplash-associated disorder. BCMJ, Vol. 44, No. 5, June, 2002, page(s) 237-240 — Articles. http://www.bcmj.org/article/incidence-whiplash-associated-disorder

5.       M. Krafft, A. Kullgren, A. Lie, C. Tingvall , The Risk of Whiplash Injury in the Rear Seat Compared to the Front Seat in Rear Impacts, Traffic Injury Prevention, 4:2, 136-140, DOI: 10.1080/15389580309862 https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15389580309862

6.       Ioppolo, F., & Rizzo, R. (2014). Epidemiology of Whiplash-Associated Disorders. Whiplash Injuries, 13-16. doi:10.1007/978-88-470-5486-8_2 https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-88-470-5486-8_2

7.       Yadla, S., Ratliff, J., & Harrop, J. (2007). Whiplash: diagnosis, treatment, and associated injuries. Current Reviews In Musculoskeletal Medicine, 1(1), 65-68. doi:10.1007/s12178-007-9008-x https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2684148/

8.       Sprains and strains – Symptoms and causes. (2018). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved 9 March 2018, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sprains-and-strains/symptoms-causes/syc-20377938

9.       Sprains, Strains and Other Soft-Tissue Injuries – OrthoInfo – AAOS. (2018). Orthoinfo.aaos.org. Retrieved 9 March 2018, from https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/sprains-strains-and-other-soft-tissue-injuries/

10.   Pattimore, D., Ward, E., Thomas, P., and Bradford, M., “The Nature and Cause of Lower Limb Injuries in Car Crashes,” SAE Technical Paper 912901, 1991, https://doi.org/10.4271/912901. https://www.sae.org/publications/technical-papers/content/912901/

11.   Farghaly, A., El-Khayat, R., Awad, W., George, S. (2018). “Head Injuries in Road Traffic Accidents”. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/268048904_Head_Injuries_in_Road_Traffic_Accidents

12.   Mechanisms of Injury | TBI Basics. (2018). Braininjuryeducation.org. Retrieved 9 March 2018, from http://braininjuryeducation.org/TBI-Basics/Mechanisms-of-Injury/

13.   Brookes, M., MacMillan, R., Cully, S., Anderson, E., Murray, S., Mendelow, A., & Jennett, B. (1990). Head injuries in accident and emergency departments. How different are children from adults?. Journal Of Epidemiology & Community Health, 44(2), 147-151. doi:10.1136/jech.44.2.147 http://jech.bmj.com/content/44/2/147?ijkey=1357f56dad00c9dd106797d03ccfd21fec378446&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha

14.   Javouhey E, e. (2018). Incidence and risk factors of severe traumatic brain injury resulting from road accidents: a population-based study. – PubMed – NCBI . Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Retrieved 9 March 2018, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16242108

15.    TBI: Get the Facts | Concussion | Traumatic Brain Injury | CDC Injury Center . (2018). Cdc.gov. Retrieved 9 March 2018, from https://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/get_the_facts.html

Statute of Limitations
Words Of Wisdom

Virginia Statute of Limitations

VIRGINIA STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

The Virginia “statute of limitations” is one very old legal concept.  The doctrine, originating from the English common law, appeared as early as the Virginia Supreme Court case Waddy v. Sturman – a full four decades prior to the Declaration of Independence and the birth of our nation.

Early on, English Courts (and Virginia Courts following the tradition) required that certain time periods for the resolution of legal matters be established due to two major considerations: witnesses move or their memories fade and evidence is destroyed or lost due to the passage of time.  By establishing time limits in which legal controveries must commence, the concern over the destruction of evidence is somewhat ameleoriated.  Virginia is not the only state with a limitations period – almost all states have some form of a limitations period to bring legal action.  Interestingly, both Maine and North Dakota have a shocking six (6) year time limit for bringing personal injury claims – nearly four years longer than the majority of states such as Virginia.

Almost all areas of the law have a Virginia statute of limitations, including personal injury torts, professional malpractice, debt collection, and criminal matters.  In addition to the applicability of the limitations period to multiple areas of law, there are many general rules and exceptions to exceptions.  As this is a general discussion, you need to seek the advice of a personal injury lawyer if your particular matter involves the wrongdoing of another party.

With regard to civil matters, Virginia Code § 8.01-243 controls many of the situations in when the statute of limitations may apply.  If the claim involves the Commonwealth of Virginia itself or municipal corporations (like cities or towns), there are other limitations periods that arise just months after the date of the negligent conduct.  In essence, it’s possible to comply with the two (2) year limitation period, but if you fail the others, you can have a claim dismissed.

PERSONAL INJURY STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

Generally, an action must commence within two (2) years for cases involving:

Other areas of law have their own limitation periods:

  • Defamation (including libel or slander) (1 Year);
  • Damage to Personal Property (5 Years);
  • Trespass (5 Years); and
  • Oral contracts (3 Years) and written contracts (5 years).

As a general rule of thumb, if a state law claim does not involve the government as a defendant, it’s generally safer to err on the side of caution and act as if there is a one (1) year statute of limitations period.  As a practical matter, not many attorneys will take a case with only a few weeks to file a lawsuit before the deadline and if you assume the statute is one year – and you’re wrong – then what did you lose?

You can learn more about the Virginia Statute of Limitations by clicking here to see a more detailed discussion.  The page includes a discussion about Virginia criminal statute of limitations.

ABOUT US

Correll Law Firm, PLC, serving Northern Virginia and Winchester, Virginia, has a solid familiarity of personal injury and auto injury claims, the factors to maximize success, and the law related to personal injury claims.  The firm also has an emphasis on defending criminal law cases including felonies, such as white collar crime, and misdemeanors.  We are pleased to advocate and fight for our clients in the legal system.  Whether you have documentation when you come to see us or not, we are ready to make your consultation and representation the best it can be.  To have us contact you, you can fill out one of these brief forms (Personal Injury or Criminal Defense) or call us at 540-535-2005.

Words Of Wisdom

Do You Need Car Insurance MedPay?

What is Car Insurance MedPay?

Medical payment coverage, commonly called “medpay”, is a “no fault” coverage typically provided by your car insurance company to cover medical services rendered by healthcare providers due to a car accident.  As a “no fault” insurance, it will kick-in regardless of who is to blame for an auto accident.  It also can be applied to assist you even if you have high health insurance deductibles or no health insurance at all.

Virginia requires all car insurance companies to offer medpay with your policy.  However, whether you choose to add this optional coverage is up to you.  Under Va. Code § 38.2-2201, medpay covers, within three (3) years from the date of the accident, all “reasonable and necessary expenses for medical, chiropractic, hospital, dental, surgical, prosthetic and rehabilitation services” and ambulance transportation. 

Why Do You Need MedPay?

  1. You can “double-dip” or even “triple-dip” in Virginia.  We at Correll Law Firm, PLC love medpay coverage because it helps our clients maximize recovery.  Say, for example, you get in a car accident that caused you $10,000.00 in medical bills, your health insurance covered $8,000 of the full bill, and you had a $10,000 in medpay coverage.  Virginia is a collateral source state in which you are not penalized for paying for health insurance (great law, by the way) and liabilty carriers generally can’t reduce their liability due to payments by your health insurance company.  Therefore, if we obtain $10,000 for your bills from the liability carrier (bad guy’s insurance company), plus obtaining $10,000 in medpay, and then you realize $8,000 in value from your health insurance carrier, you would have obtained $28,000.  That is almost twice your actual bills!  If applicable, as your car accident attorney, we will also try to obtain lost wages and pain-and-suffering as well as other classes of damages you may be entitled to following a car accident.
  2. They all add up and can be “stacked.”  If you are in a household with multiple vehicles, with each vehicle having their own medpay coverage, you can add up the individual coverages for your one accident.  Of course, you’ll have to look at your specific contract to make sure that “stacking” is allowed for your household.
  3. It’s super cheap.  The coverage is typically only a few dollars more than your usual car insurance payment.  For that small inconvenience, you get a massive convenience: due to the car accident, regardless if you’re ultimately to blame, you get medical expenses paid.
  4. Personal injury lawyers generally don’t take a fee for medpay claims.  As a general rule, does not charge a fee on medpay payments because they are generally “ministerial” acts requiring just simple accounting and submission of claims.  On the other hand, in the event a medpay claim requires the use of legal skills, knowledge, experience and advocacy to assist in a settlement, a fee may need to be discussed.  Some medpay providers are notorious for cherry-picking claims and scrutinizing every bill to meet the “reasonable and necessary” conditions.  This behavior can lead to delays in the final settlement.
  5. Your Passengers Can Get Covered.  Medpay can apply to passengers in your car that were hurt or injured.
  6. No (or limited) hoops to jump though.  Depending on your car insurance company, claims are paid quickly.  There are exceptions to this rule. 

Engaging a qualified injury attorney with established processes for evaluating and submitting medpay claims on your behalf is critical to making sure you are made “whole again” after an auto accident.  We, at Correll Law Firm, PLC, have both experience and know-how in evaluating your claim.

CALL US TODAY AT 540.535.2005 TO SCHEDULE A CASE EVALUATION

Correll Law Firm, PLC, serving Northern Virginia, has a solid familiarity of both the automobile injury claims process, the factors to maximize recovery, and the law related to personal injury claims.  

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?

CLF in News

$1.35 Million Dollar Lawsuit

This was the article was recently printed in the Winchester Star. We wanted to comment that the article, quoting heavily from the Complaint, leaves out the statements of two neutral eyewitness that the ambulance neither had it’s lights and sirens activated and caused the accident. Also, we believe sovereign immunity will not apply for a host of reasons, stay tuned.

Fire company named in $1.35 million dollar federal multi-count personal injury suit

WINCHESTER — A West Virginia man has filed a $1.35 million lawsuit against the Gore Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company and one of its volunteers for negligence and malicious prosecution stemming from a crash with an ambulance two years ago.

Robert Dale Davis’ 24-page lawsuit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Harrisonburg, cites volunteer Joshua David Bryson. It also targets three John Does and the Frederick County Fire and Rescue Association.

His lawsuit claims that on June 16, 2015, he was driving his pickup truck west on Northwestern Pike (U.S. 50) in the right lane. As he neared the fire company, which is located on the right side of the road, a Ford ambulance driven by Bryson and occupied by the two John Does pulled out of the fire company garage toward the highway.

“As the ambulance neared the fog line of Route 50, [it] did not have its warning lights, or siren, exhaust whistle or air horn activated,” the suit claims.

The lawsuit claims Bryson accelerated directly into Davis’ lane of travel, which resulted in Davis colliding into the left side of the ambulance, despite his attempts to avoid the collision by slamming on the brakes.

As a result of the crash, Davis suffered “serious, painful and permanent injuries, medical expenses, lost income and a decrease in his ability to perform activities of daily living,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit also accuses Bryson of “maliciously” lying about the ambulance’s lights being activated to the Virginia State Police and later committing perjury in court. The suit claims Bryson was told by a fire company captain or lieutenant (one of the John Does) to turn the lights on after the crash occurred.

According to the lawsuit, the state police faulted Davis for the crash and chastised him for not observing the ambulance with its lights and siren activated. He was criminally charged and prosecuted in Frederick County for reckless driving — a charge that could have led to him spending a year in jail.

He was acquitted of reckless driving, the suit states, but was found guilty of improper driving, which is punishable as a traffic infraction by a fine of not more than $500. Davis appealed his conviction to the Frederick County Circuit Court and was found not guilty due to what the lawsuit describes as inconsistent testimony from Bryson about when he turned on the ambulance’s flashing lights.

Bryson’s “false statements” and “malicious prosecution” forced Davis to defend himself and resulted in expenses, lost wages, insult, mental suffering, anxiety distress and harm to his reputation in the community, the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit includes three counts of negligence, two counts of gross negligence and two counts of malicious prosecution.

Davis is being represented by attorneys Carroll “Beau” Correll Jr., of Winchester, and Peter C. Grenier, of Washington, D.C.

Attorney Julia Judkins from the law firm Bancroft, McGavin, Horvath, & Judkins, P.C. Law in Fairfax is representing the fire company. She told The Star on Thursday that the lawsuit’s claims did not have merit. She said the ambulance’s lights were on and that Davis was negligent in his driving.

“It’s our position that neither the fire company nor the driver [Bryson] was negligent,” she said. “[Bryson is] entitled to what we call sovereign immunity. He was on his way to a lawfully dispatched event, so the law recognizes that he can only be sued for gross negligence and he didn’t lie to anybody.”

Judkins cited the police report, which said Bryson was trying to cross the traffic lane with the ambulance’s emergency lights activated and that Davis was looking to the left and did not see Bryson crossing the traffic lane. The report says that Davis swerved to the right to miss another vehicle that was stopped in the left travel lane and struck the ambulance in the driver side rear.

Judkins claims Davis was negligent, since the other vehicle stopped to let the ambulance leave the fire company parking lot because it “observed the lights” and “obviously observed the siren.”

The fire company has 21 days to respond to Davis’ lawsuit after being served a summons.

 

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