Articles Posted in Car Accidents

lacerNo 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 a car crash. 

What Are the Four Major Risks to the Fetus from a Car Accident?

The four major risks to the unborn child in a car accident are placental abruption, uterine rupture or laceration, and direct fetal injury.

What Is the Greatest Fear After a Car Accident While Pregnant?

One of the most dangerous injuries that can occur is placental abruption. This is a condition in which the placenta partially or completely separates from the uterus before the baby is born, which disrupts the baby’s supply of oxygen and nutrients.

According to a study by the American Journal of Epidemiology, placental abruption causes the mortality rate to increase 12-fold. This spike in the mortality rate is due largely to the correlation between placental abruption and early delivery. A car accident is a significant cause of placental abruptions. At least one study has suggested that broadside car accidents cause the greatest risk of placental abruption.

A placental abruption can lead to internal bleeding, hemorrhaging, premature labor, and miscarriage. What’s even more concerning is that sometimes there aren’t necessarily any noticeable symptoms of placental abruption immediately following the accident. It is potentially fatal to your baby and dangerous to your own health.

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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, ischias, nerve root pain, and nerve root entrapment.  It is It’s a neurologic condition that involves a nerve being pinched by something external to the nerve. Sciatica can be extremely painful. 

Below, I outline this condition, what causes it, treatment options, and similar conditions.

sciatica car accident

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.

What causes sciatica?

Car accidents commonly cause nerve damage because the sudden stop or change in direction causes injuries to the spine, usually a herniated disc. 

Other causes of sciatica include spinal stenosis, piriformis syndrome, osteoarthritis, spondylosis, and spondylolisthesis.  But, as our lawyers often see, these injuries can be exacerbated by a car accident. 

Sciatica after a car accident may be a symptom of one of the conditions described below.

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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.

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

You get in an accident. The other driver’s insurance company denies the claim.  Your question is: what do I do if my car insurance claim is denied?

Insurance companies deny car accident claims for good reasons and bad.  The reality is insurance companies make money by taking premiums and not paying out claims.  So their default thinking is finding a reason to deny a claim.  Is this bad faith?  Maybe.  But you really don’t care.  You just want to get compensated.  The important thing to remember is this is why we have car accident lawyers and a civil justice system.

What are some reasons insurance companies deny car accident claims?

A recent study conducted by the Highway Loss Data Institute found that collision avoidance systems installed on 2013-2017 BMW models showed claim rate reductions in collisions, property damage, and injuries. This shows that this technology has the potential to reduce auto collision and injury rates.

As we are seeing with the coronavirus, fewer accidents don’t only save precious lives. There is less of a toll on our hospitals and, yes, our insurance companies that that can help reduce health care and insurance costs.  So anything that comes along that can move us to a safer future is a very good thing for all of us.

What are collision avoidance systems?

I’m always reading about how State Farm and Allstate dominate auto insurance nationally. Our accident lawyers seem to see more of GEICO than any other insurance company. This morning, I found an article with auto insurance market share data that lists the top 5 car insurance companies by market share in Maryland for private passenger cars.

Maryland Market Share for Car Insurance

1. Berkshire Hathaway/GEICO:  25.3%

In the context of auto accident insurance claims, the acronym SIU refers to “Special Investigation Unit.” All the big auto insurance companies have an SIU of some type. The primary purpose of these investigation teams is to uncover fraudulent claims activity in auto accident cases.

special investigation unitInsurance companies seem to think that auto accident claim fraud is widespread and pervasive. I disagree with this view as to how prevalent claims fraud is. However, there is no dispute that many car accident claimants either exaggerate their injuries or even make them up entirely.

What is an SIU?

In the world of insurance injury claims, “SIU” means “Special Investigation Unit.” Almost all insurance companies have special investigation units (SIUs), although the actual name of the unit may vary depending on the insurer. The core purpose of SIUs is to root out fraudulent injury claims. The SIUs seek to determine whether victims in car accident cases are exaggerating the scope of their injuries, getting unnecessary medical treatment to try to increase the value of their case, or even staging the car accident. As GEICO explains, the goal of an SIU is “to detect, deter, and defeat insurance fraud.”

maryland pedestrian deaths

Pedestrian Deaths Rose in 2018

Pedestrian deaths in Maryland jumped 25 percent in 2018 to a 28-year high.  We had 48 pedestrian deaths in 2017 and that jumped to 60 in 2018.

We are not the only ones.  The national average is also at a 28-year high, according to a Governors Highway Safety Association report published Thursday.

Our law firm handles a lot of brain injury cases, both from childbirth and from traumatic collisions like a car or truck accident.  Below are questions we are frequently asked about these claims.

Traumatic brain injury overview

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is caused by force impact or force to the head disrupting normal brain activity and causing neurologic damage. TBIs account for about 30% of injury deaths in the United States. According to the CDC, about 153 people die from TBI-related injuries every day in the United States.