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Phobias are associated with an irrational fear that people have or carry with them. Vehophobia is the fear of driving. Why would someone fear driving?  In many cases, the fear stems from a traumatic injury in a previous car crash.   Call it vehophobia or call it PTSD the result is the same: severe anxiety getting into a motor vehicle.

From a car accident attorney’s perspective, emotional harm is the single biggest harm in the vast majority of our cases.  So the PTSD that stems from car accident is right along the line of the damages bring in these lawsuits.  Is this harm correlated to the severity of the crash?  It generally is.  But regardless of the severity of a car accident, vehophobia is a very real and prevalent issue many people experience after enduring car accident.

What Is Vehophobia?

The fear of driving after a car accident is technically a form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD, which is most commonly associated with war veterans, actually can be set off by any terrifying incident, including the trauma of almost dying or being in a serious car accident.

The COVID-19 pandemic sparked a massive economic shutdown and prompted millions of people in Maryland and across the U.S. to stay at home and off the highways. Anyone who has ventured out or maybe retracted their daily commute recently has probably noticed the amazing impact this has had on eliminating traffic. Even at the peak of rush hour these days you can expect to find traffic on both the Baltimore and DC beltways free and clear. With few people commuting to work there are just way fewer cars to share the roads with. It’s like we turned back the clock 30 years on traffic volume but kept all the new road improvements.

Not surprisingly this has caused the number of auto accidents on the roads to dramatically plummet. Auto insurance companies like State Farm and Nationwide are even advertising premium refunds to policyholders.  But if you assume that this means that the roads are now safer think again. The sudden emergence of wide-open space on Maryland’s highways has apparently tempted many drivers to unleash their inner need for speed.

The Maryland State Police and other organizations that monitor highway safety have reported that drivers are going much faster and getting more reckless. People feel like they can drive as fast as they want to now and the result is an alarming trend. Instead of being safer because of reduced traffic, the roadways in Maryland and the U.S. are actually much more dangerous now.

No matter the circumstances, getting into a car accident is a frightening and sometimes traumatic experience. This fear can multiply tenfold for pregnant women that are concerned not only for their own health but for the health and wellbeing of their baby.

Our law firm has represented many mothers-to-be injured in car accidents in Maryland and Washington, D.C.  There is typically no serious injury to the mother in most car crashes and the mother’s injuries rarely meaningfully impact the unborn baby.  But there are several of the more severe injuries that pregnant women can suffer from as a result of a car crash. 

Injuries to the Mother

Sciatica is a type of nerve pain that my team and I repeatedly hear about from our auto accident clients. It is also known as lumbar radiculopathy. Below, I outline this condition, what causes it, treatment options, and similar conditions.

sciatica infographic

What is sciatica?

Sciatica is pain that runs down the back of the leg. It is named after the sciatic nerve, a nerve that originates in the lower lumbar spine and then travels down the back of both legs. Sciatica pain is felt all along this nerve, from the lower back, to the pelvis, hips, and buttock, and to the thighs.

This pain is usually described as shooting jolts of pain, and sometimes as a burning pain. Sitting or standing in one place for a long time or certain movements, such as twisting, may cause more severe pain.

The misconceptions and misinformation about what you can do and what your legal options are after a car accident flood the Internet.  Here is what you should and should not do after a car accident in Maryland:

Do NOT leave the scene until police and other emergency responders arrive.

If you want to be on the safe side, you should always call the police after an accident and stay at the scene until they arrive. Even if you are not seriously injured, you could potentially get in trouble for leaving the scene too early. Plus, you want to make sure that the police hear your side of the story. If the accident involves serious injury or death, you could actually face criminal charges for leaving the scene.

Car collisions can be terrifying, stressful events and cause both personal injury and property damage.  There are 16,000,000 car accidents (no typo there) a year in this country.  There are more than 4.5 million automobile accidents that resulted in property damage and 1.7 million crashes that resulted in personal injuries.

It is amazing how much we are doing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and yet we don’t take the simplest steps to we could to prevent car accident deaths (although that may be an unfair comparison).

The sheer number of collisions, the varying results, and complex outcomes all contribute to many misconceptions about car accidents. What’s important to remember is that if you suffered an injury as the result of a car collision, you should contact a personal injury attorney.  It can be us at Miller & Zois or another attorney.  But if you have been hurt, you should be talking to someone to make sure you understand your rights and options. (You know, we will make this the last misconception.)

Traumatic brain injuries can occur in car accidents in a number of different ways. For example, the head may collide with the airbag or be pierced by a projectile. It is possible for other bodily injuries to lead to brain damage, such as a broken trachea that deprives the brain of oxygen. This article discusses the different mechanisms of brain injury in car accidents and their effects on the brain.

Coup-contrecoup Injury

Coup-contrecoup is a term used to describe a particular mechanism of brain injury in whiplash and similar traumatic scenarios. When the head whips back and forth and/or collides with an object, the brain moves inside the skull. This causes the brain to collide with the skull.

Our motorcycle accidents see a lot of cases involving lane splitting. Let’s talk about what lane splitting is and what the Maryland law is on this subject.

What is Lane Splitting?

Lane splitting is a term used to describe when motorcycles drive on the lines between lanes, allowing them to pass cars by going in between them. Related to lane splitting is lane filtering. This is when motorcyclists move up between cars stopped at a stoplight.

Maryland Laws on Motorcycle Lane Splitting

Most of us have experienced some neck pain or lower back pain in our lives. As a personal injury lawyer who handles car accident cases, I see these complaints all the time. Car accidents exert extreme forces on the human body, particularly the spine

The neck and lower back are two areas that are commonly injured in accidents because of car crash mechanics. The vertebrae in the neck are called the cervical vertebrae and those in the lower back are called the lumbar vertebrae.

As the car comes to a sudden stop, the body lurches forward and is caught by the seat belt, causing the neck to whip quickly. This is what is commonly known as whiplash

The last clear chance doctrine is a frequently litigated and extremely confusing exception to Maryland’s contributory negligence law.  Even the names are confusing.  The doctrine has also been called the doctrine of discovered peril,  supervening negligence, subsequent negligence, and the aptly named humanitarian doctrine.  The most common incorrect assumption is that it is a defense to the case.

In fact, the opposite is true.  The gist of the doctrine is that even if the plaintiff contributed to her own injury, her lawsuit will not be barred if the defendant had a clear opportunity after the plaintiff had put herself peril, to avoid the injury by the exercise of ordinary care.  Another way to frame this same idea is that ‘if the defendant has the last clear opportunity to avoid the harm, the plaintiff’s negligence is not a ‘proximate cause’ of the result” (Prosser, Law of Torts § 66).

So the way this works, at least in Maryland, is that the jury can find contributory negligence but still award damages if it found that the defendant blew a last clear chance to avoid the accident.