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Getting help for a head injury

When you are in an accident and suffer a head injury, it is possible you have suffered a brain injury. The consequences may affect the rest of your life.

The most common form of brain injury is a concussion, a condition created when the brain is bruised or injured. To suffer a concussion, you need not lose consciousness. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), leading causes of brain injuries include:

  • Falls
  • Traffic accidents
  • Being struck in the head, or striking the head against an object
  • Assaults

Awareness of the long-term danger of concussion has risen with reports of the class action lawsuit filed against the National Football League (NFL) by former players who suffer disabling conditions like Alzheimer’s’ disease, dementia and other disorders as a result of taking repeated hits to the head during their playing careers. That lawsuit was recently settled for $765 million.

The danger of concussion has trickled down to questioning the safety of high school and even middle school sports. Better regulations and decisions take place when more parents and others are aware of the serious injury that can occur after even one hit to the head.

If you suffer a head injury in an automobile accident or after a fall on a slippery floor in a store, get good medical care and then speak with an experienced attorney for good legal advice.

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Your neighbors dog bites your son, who is liable?

You weren’t comfortable when your neighbor in San Luis Obispo, California decided to get herself a Pit Bull for protection. It was cute as a puppy but it grew to about 85 pounds and became very intimidating. Finally, it happened. Your discomfort became horror when the dog got loose and bit your son while playing in his own backyard. He was injured and treated for a severe dog bite.

Now you face many medical bills including the prospect of expensive plastic surgery to help your son recover. It is important to know that California Law on dog bites imposes “strict liability” on dog owners. The owner of the dog is liable for injuries to another person for an unprovoked dog bites while the person is on public property or lawfully on private property.  The dog need not have a history of violence nor does the owner have to have knowledge of any history of violence for the standard to apply.

Your best plan of action is to contact a California personal injury attorney experienced in handling dog bite cases. These lawyers know the rules and they will work with you to prove that your neighbor is liable. They also know how to deal with the homeowners’ insurance company that may not be so willing to fully compensate you for your son’s medical costs.

A dog attack can cause lasting physical and emotional scars. Don’t wait to consult an experienced attorney who can represent your interests and help heal the wounds. Make the call now.

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Injury and the payment pecking order

If you have health insurance through your employer and are in relatively good health, you probably take for granted how simple it is to have your medical needs paid for. Most likely, all you have to do is show an ID card, pay a co-payment, and the rest just seems to be taken care of.

But imagine this: You are 66 years old and still working full-time. One day, your boss asks you to drive to a shop on the other side of town to pick up some supplies. You hop into your car and head down the road. Suddenly, as you are driving through an intersection, another car runs the stop sign and slams into you. Fortunately, you survive, but you are injured badly enough that the doctor who treats you expects you will never be able to work again.

Here comes the quiz: Who pays your medical bills? Would it be:

  • Your employee health plan?
  • Workers’ compensation?
  • Your automobile insurer?
  • The insurer of the other car?
  • Medicare?
  • All of the above?
  • None of the above?

And, since you can no longer work, what about your living expenses for the rest of your life? Workers comp? Social Security Disability? The settlement from your lawsuit against the other driver? Medicare again?

One thing is almost certain: Whoever should be paying your bills will probably say it should be somebody else.

Clearly, you need a lawyer — especially a lawyer experienced in the complexities of personal injury law and work-related injuries. Even in much simpler cases, the rules for who pays for what, and when, can be quite complicated. So if you are injured in an accident of any kind, be sure you have knowledgeable, experienced and vigorous legal representation to ensure you get payment when payment is due.

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Understanding spinal cord injuries

Spinal cord injuries most commonly result from car crashes, slip and fall accidents, sporting events, and gunshot wounds. Unfortunately, even with modern advances in medicine, spinal cord injuries are very serious and sometimes completely life altering. Because the extent of a spine injury isn’t always recognizable and can get progressively worse if left untreated, it is important to seek immediate medical treatment if you suspect that you have suffered spinal cord damage. The time between when the injury occurs and when you first receive treatment is critical to your recovery.

There are two classifications for spinal cord injuries. Some are classified as “complete,” meaning that the victim loses all sensory feeling and function below the location of the spinal cord injury. Others are classified as “incomplete,” meaning that the victim still retains some feeling and movement below the injury. Generally speaking, the higher up the spinal cord the injury occurs, the more severe the effects.

Some of the symptoms of a spinal cord injury include:

  • Loss of movement and feeling
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Spasms and uncontrollable reflexes
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Weakness
  • Numbing, tingling or the loss of feeling in a particular area
  • Problems with balance

Treatment for serious injuries is usually ongoing and can be very expensive. If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury and you believe that the accident occurred as a result of another person’s or entity’s negligence or intentional wrongdoing, contact a personal injury lawyer in San Luis Obispo, California who can help you obtain rightful compensation.

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Common scenes of slip and fall accidents

A slip and fall accident can occur anywhere, but some of the more common locations or situations include the following:

  • Nursing homes — Older people in nursing homes are at greater risk of a slip and fall accident. Sometimes these accidents occur because of neglect or negligence on the part of the nursing home staff, such as when a resident is not properly escorted even though he or she needs it. When this happens, the staff can be held liable for the injuries that result.
  • The workplace — Whether you work in a busy factory or a quiet office, employers are responsible for keeping the environment safe. Recently mopped floors, loose floorboards, sidewalk potholes and other debris can all lead to injuries.
  • Bad weather conditions — Ice, snow and rain are some of the most common weather conditions that cause slip and fall accidents. For this reason, proprietors and municipalities have a legal obligation to keep their streets, steps and walkways cleared and safe for visitors.
  • Construction sites — Pedestrians and workers alike can be injured at construction sites when Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA) regulations are not followed, equipment malfunctions, debris is left out, or cracks and potholes go uncovered.

You can avoid some slip and fall accidents by wearing appropriate footwear and remaining aware of your surroundings. Don’t assume that just because the law requires proprietors to keep their properties safe and well maintained that they will comply. In the event that you or a loved one is injured in an accident that resulted from property owner negligence in Santa Barbara, California, consult Steven P. Roberts Personal Injury Lawyers.

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How to drive in bad weather

Inclement weather conditions make the roads considerably less safe for drivers and passengers. While you cannot stop the rain, you can take precautions in order to drive more safely when you find yourself out on the road in hazardous weather.

Consider the following safety tips for driving in bad weather:

  • Maintain your vehicle. Your tires are especially important when driving in bad weather and rain. Make sure they are properly inflated and replace them once they become worn. Bald tires can quickly lose contact with the road and cause your vehicle to skid or hydroplane.
  • Be prepared. Check the weather before you leave the house so that you know what to expect. And be sure to leave yourself plenty of time to get to where you’re going.
  • Drive slowly. Speeding in bad weather conditions drastically increases your chances of an accident. Also, you want to give yourself extra time to react, so don’t tailgate.
  • Minimize your risk of hydroplaning. If you are driving in the rain and begin to lose traction, stay calm and ease your foot off the gas as you gently steer until you can feel the road again. Do not slam on your breaks or jerk the wheel if you are hydroplaning, as this can cause your car to skid and lose complete control.
  • Use caution. If the conditions look really bad, use your best judgment. Don’t drive unless you absolutely have to.

If you are involved in an auto accident caused by bad weather or the actions of a negligent driver, contact Steven P. Roberts Personal Injury Lawyers. They can help you navigate the complexities of filing a claim.

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The best ways to prevent dog bites

Dog bites account for millions of injuries in the United States every year. In fact, it is such a big problem that the American Veterinary Medical Association holds an annual National Dog Bite Prevention Week in order to raise awareness and educate people about prevention strategies.

By remaining aware of some of the following safety tips and teaching them to your children, you may be able to prevent a dog bite incident in the future:

  • Avoid aggressive games. Wrestling and other high-energy games are best avoided, especially with bigger dogs.
  • Stay alert. The most common victims of dog bites are children, so when your child is around a dog, be sure to monitor the situation closely. Teach your child not to act too aggressively or in a way that might startle the dog. And of course, never leave a baby or small child alone with a dog.
  • Be smart. Don’t reach through a fence to pet a dog or bother a dog while it is feeding puppies, sleeping or eating.
  • Don’t react. If a dog approaches you, do your best to stay still and remain calm. Avoid making any quick movements, running or raising your hands. The dog is likely to sniff you and head on its way. If this isn’t the case, avoid eye contact and try to back away slowly.

If a dog attacks you, try to “feed” something (purse, jacket, baseball mitt — whatever you have available) into its mouth as quickly as possible. If you’re knocked to the ground, cover your face, curl into a ball, and do your best to remain motionless and quiet. Once you are safe from the dog, seek medical attention if needed. Then contact a San Luis Obispo County personal injury lawyer, as you may have a claim against its owner.

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Bicycle safety tips

Not only is bicycling better for the environment than driving, it is a great form of exercise as well. However, with so many cars on the road these days, bicycling can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Consider the tips listed below for staying safe on your bicycle:

  • Maintain your bike and gear. Make sure your bike has head and rear lights if you are riding at night, along with fully functioning brakes and a mirror. Also, wear a helmet at all times.
  • Signal if you intend to turn. Never turn left without putting your arm straight out to signal.
  • Ride further left. Some bikers think hugging the curb is safer, but riding further to the left can help you avoid several types of accidents. For example, if you are too far to the right side of the street you can easily be struck by an opening door or a car pulling into the street from a parking spot. You also make yourself less visible to cars pulling out from a side street or parking lot on your right.
  • Don’t ride on the sidewalk. Riding on the sidewalk is illegal in most major cities. And not just because it’s annoying for pedestrians — it’s also unsafe. When you have to cross a street and are coming from the sidewalk, you are invisible to motorists.
  • Avoid fast traffic. Drivers have less time to react and are more distracted by bicyclists on busy, fast roads. And cyclists are more in danger of collisions as well. Take side streets and slower roads when possible.

Don’t let the possibility of a bike accident deter you from enjoying the many wonderful benefits that come along with bicycling. With proper bicycle maintenance, concentration on the road, and an awareness and respect for the laws, your chances of being involved in an accident are greatly reduced. But if you are hit by a negligent driver, seek legal advice from an experienced attorney in Aurora Grande, San Luis Obispo County or elsewhere in California.

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Three myths about personal injury law

Given the various media outlets available, there is a lot of inaccurate information floating around about injury law. If you have recently been involved in a car, truck, motorcycle or other type of accident in California, you no doubt want to know if you are entitled to receive some form of compensation. The first thing you need to realize is that nothing you read or see will ever be as educational or beneficial to you as consulting with a knowledgeable attorney.

Additionally, you should be wary of the following three common misconceptions about personal injury law:

  • You don’t need a lawyer — If you suffer injury in a car accident, would you say you don’t need a doctor? The same logic applies to your legal case. The purpose of filing a claim is to obtain reimbursement for medical expenses and other damages. Without an attorney, you lower your chances of obtaining fair compensation for your injuries.
  • One lawyer is as good as another — You may have a friend or relative who is a lawyer. However, you need a personal injury attorney, not a bankruptcy lawyer or business attorney. To use the doctor analogy again, you wouldn’t visit a foot doctor if you had a brain injury, would you? Further, the attorney you hire should be someone who has extensive experience and success in personal injury law.
  • A lengthy court battle lies ahead — One of the biggest misconceptions victims have about personal injury law is that at the end of the road lies a heated courtroom battle. Truthfully, the majority of accident cases are resolved through settlement negotiations. That being said, every case is different.

When an accident of any kind — auto accident, bicycle mishap, medical malpractice, or a slip and fall — causes you injury and pain because of someone else’s negligence, contact an experienced personal injury attorney.

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When injuries hurt in other ways

Most people think of personal injury lawsuits as involving physical wounds: bodily injuries from car wrecks, slip and fall accidents, medical malpractice or dangerous products. But there are a number of personal injury claims that, while they do not involve broken bones or bleeding, can compensate you for other kinds of hurt inflicted by another person.

The legal area known as torts (from a Latin word meaning twisted) covers all kinds of ways in which one party can cause harm to another. Some examples:

  • Defamation: Oral or written publication of false statements that harm your reputation.
  • Conversion: Essentially, the non-criminal version of someone stealing or trying to steal your property.
  • Assault: In civil law, an act that causes you a reasonable fear of being injured, even if no contact actually occurs.
  • Battery: Any physical contact that occurs without your permission, even if it is merely offensive rather than harmful.
  • False imprisonment: When someone detains you against your will by force or threat of force (except in the case of law enforcement.)
  • Intentional infliction of emotional distress: This can occur with or without infliction of physical harm, but must result from extreme and outrageous behavior.
  • Trespass to land or personal property: When someone interferes with your exclusive right to your property without permission.

Of course, some of these wrongdoings happen in minor ways every day. But when the actions of another cross the line to cause you harm, you have a right to sue for damages. While your injuries in cases such as these may or may not be visible, an experienced personal injury attorney can fight for your right to be compensated for a wrong. Contact Steven P. Roberts Personal Injury Lawyers today.