If you have a herniated disc injury, the results of your MRI will be crucial to the settlement value or trial value of your case.  The insurance adjusters and lawyers will likely spend more time debating the significance of your MRI than any other part of your case.

Why so much debate of radiological films we can all see?  The reality is that you can look at two identical MRIs.  One patient will be in extreme pain.  The other will not even know that she has a herniated disc.  This is the backdrop for the battle over the value of these claims.

Our law firm has had a lot of success in these cases.  Let’s talk about herniated disc injury cases and the significance of the MRI results to your claim.

recordedstatements

Recorded Statements Rarely Help

I’m getting another case ready for trial where I have to explain honest and consistent statements given in good faith to the insurance company that their lawyer is not trying to take completely out of context to make them stand for something very different than I originally contemplated.

The answer, as always, is don’t give a recorded statement to the at-fault carrier. This rule should be followed in 98% of the cases I have prepared where a statement was given.

In Carr v. Cinnamon, a California appellate court applied the same rule we have here in Maryland: the finder of fact can award whatever they want for noneconomic damages, including zero even when it seems preposterous that a person could suffer medical bills and have no pain and suffering.

Plaintiff’s premises liability lawsuit alleged that her leg fell through the floor of a patio on defendant’s property. The jury found the defendant partially responsible and awarded a whopping $6,207.08 with no damages for pain and suffering. Improbably, Plaintiff’s attorney appealed, arguing that the damages award was inadequate as a matter of law and the trial court should have awarded damages (additur) or awarded a new trial.

The appellate court disagreed, finding juries can essentially do whatever they want. One thing is for sure: this jury was not a big fan of this plaintiff.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published a study this week, showing that three separate devices designed specifically to alert drivers when infants and children are left alone in a car do not work properly. Part of a campaign to raise awareness and prevent heatstroke, the study results say that these devices are unreliable when used on their own.

According to the San Francisco State University Department of Geosciences, in 2012, 15 children and infants have died from hyperthermia from being left alone in a vehicle. Since 1998, almost 550 children have died, half of them under the age of two years old. These tragic deaths are unnecessary and several companies released products that are supposed to alert the driver if he or she walks away from the vehicle without extracting the child.

Three of those devices were tested by researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. They tested the ChildMinder Smart Clip System, the ChildMinder Smart Pad, and the Suddenly Safe Pressure Pad. The main problem they discovered was that carseats with lots of padding made it hard for the sensor to work properly.

One thing I have been trying to do with our blogs is to give our readers an opportunity to hear from other lawyers. Today, I have another guest post from Anthony Castelli, a personal injury lawyer in Cincinnati, Ohio. You can learn more about Tony’s practice here.

Tony is writing about a topic that is both near and far from my heart: jury selection. I say near to my heart because it is so incredibly important. Sadly, we probably have the most most restrictive voir dire in the country. That may change soon. But I doubt it.

Tony also has some interesting commentary about trying to use the suggestions of other lawyers and trial consultations, most notably David Ball whose work we have written about a great deal.

I read an interesting article in the European Spine Journal titled “The association between a lifetime history of a neck injury in a motor vehicle collision and future neck pain: a population-based cohort study.”

Yes, that’s a big title. But the study looked at an incredibly simple issue: are neck injuries in car accident a harbinger of neck pain later in life after the injury has resolved. So the study looked at the association between a lifetime history of neck injury from a motor vehicle collision and the development of troublesome neck pain.

The answer was what plaintiffs’ car accident lawyers were sure to tell you would be the case: patients with a history of neck injury in a traffic collision are more likely to experience future neck pain.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has firmly stated its opinion: “[t]he trampoline should never be used in home environments or in school physical education classes or outdoor settings or recreational settings.” Yet, in massive numbers, no one follows this advice. Injuries can still occur despite padding and netting.

Trampoline Statistics

  • There are over 90,000 trampoline injuries/deaths in the U.S. every year

This is a guest post by Anthony Castelli, a car accident personal injury lawyer in Cincinnati, Ohio.

A car accident attorney’s primary job is to put as much money as they can in their client’s pocket. It does not benefit the client that has serious injuries and damages to get a large settlement, but after the attorney’s fee, expenses of preparing the case, and payment of medical bills and subrogation claims, there is little left for the client.

The old adage “it takes money to make money is also true.” The good personal injury lawyers know that in most cases they will need to pay a doctor for a comprehensive report detailing the nature and extent of the car accident victim’s injuries, how those injuries will affect the client in the future and the cause of the injuries. This helps drive the car accident settlement amount up, in some cases substantially.

I remember learning about spoliation in law school. I never imagined how frequently these issue would affect my law practice. Particularly in truck accident case where defendants seem to lose everything imaginable. Spoliation, for non lawyers and new lawyers, is when the defendant purposefully or stupidly destroys evidence that it knows or should know would be relevant evidence at trial. Under Maryland law, there are many means to deter, penalize, and ameliorate the prejudicial effects of spoliation. The most common weapons, evidence sanctions, and/or corrective jury instructions, are available to Maryland trial judges as remedies to deal with acts of spoliation. These judges have wide discretion to deal with these parties that destroy evidence.

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In a bizarre story this morning, U.S. Secretary of Commerce John Bryson was charge with felony hit-and-run. Police say Bryson caused two car accidents within minutes of one another in southern California.  He was found unconscious in his car.

If you have a pulse, you first thought was that he was drunk out of him mind. But the preliminary reports show that alcohol was not involved. Let’s put tis together. He causes two accidents. No alcohol. They find him essentially in a third accident because he was found unconscious. My prediction is that the man was either on drugs or, more likely, suffered some sort of seizure.

Let’s wait and see how it plays out. But my prediction is that this is not a bad guy, hit and run case but something very different.