Articles Posted in Catastrophic injuries

kneeA Magnetic Resonance Image (MRI) is an advanced diagnostic test can be incredibly helpful. I am a big believer in them.

In fact, this week I’ve had two to the knee pictured here. I unfortunately twisted it running on the beach on the last day of my recent trip so I thought this would be a good time to blog about this important topic.

I went to my first physical therapy session early this morning hoping my partially torn medial meniscus doesn’t need surgery. I experienced what my clients go through on a daily basis – more about that later.

Why not just rely on an x-ray?

Magnetic resonance imaging uses powerful magnets and radio frequencies to create a 3-D image that clearly shows bones, cartilage, blood vessels, muscle, tendons, and ligaments.

An x-ray only creates a flat image of the skeleton. An x-ray is useful to detect broken bones, but not to diagnose herniated disks and soft tissue injuries, which are common types of car crash injuries. The surgeon also had me x-rayed.

Furthermore an MRI does not release radiation. Although the small dose of a single x-ray is safe, your doctor will probably recommend an MRI if you are pregnant, have an underlying medical condition, or have had multiple recent x-rays or CT scans. Because your doctor can refer you to an MRI without concern about radiation exposure, he can do so in gray-area cases in which he only suspects an injury.

Is an MRI worth the cost?

There is of course one disadvantage to an MRI — the price. It can cost $2,000.00 or more, although your health insurance or my ability to secure my clients a much lower price should moot this concern. When deciding if it’s worth the cost to you, ask these questions:

  • Will an MRI more accurately diagnose my injury?
  • Does my doctor or do I suspect that I may need surgery?

If the answer to either is yes, you should have one. Continue reading

dreamstime_s_4245594Doctors call traumatic brain injuries the silent epidemic. Victims often don’t realize they’ve suffered one until many hours or days later — if they ever find out. In the meantime, they don’t receive the medical treatment they need, not to mention the financial compensation they deserve.

It’s a terrible scenario and one that a personal injury lawyer sees often. But this could all change with a new blood test approved by the FDA on Wednesday.

Currently the only reliable way to detect brain injury is through an expensive computerized tomography scan. But because of radiation exposure and costs, doctors won’t order a scan unless they believe that a brain injury has definitely occurred. If a person doesn’t exhibit strong symptoms and have good insurance coverage, he or she might never know they have a TBI.

Now doctors will now be able to use the Banyan Brain Trauma Indicator blood test to evaluate a potential head injury. This is exciting news for patients’ medical treatment and at the same time might boost their personal injury financial recovery. Continue reading

A rare Congressional victory for injured plaintiffs.

Buried within the 600 pages of the federal Bipartisan Budget Act enacted on Friday is an obscure provision that allows some auto accident victims to keep more of their settlement or verdicts.

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This resolves an ongoing reimbursement battle that has been an ongoing issue in personal issue cases since a catastrophic 1996 Arkansas vehicle collision crash.

All states have statutes requiring tort claimants to repay them for medical expenses paid by their Medicaid programs. But calculating exactly how much of the plaintiff’s verdict or settlement should be reimbursed has caused vexing problems for attorneys.

For example, was it fair that the state be repaid in full while the injured person received little — if any — money? How much of the recovery had been allocated to those medical bills as opposed to other damages? And what happened in those all too frequent cases with difficult liability and damage issues and small insurance policy limits and assets that had affected case valuations in the first place?

With the new law, Medicaid enrollees will no longer be forced to reimburse state agencies from money they recovered for their non-medical expenses. As a result, they will be able to keep more of the funds for their own use.

Hurray!

The 1996 case: Arkansas Dept. of Health and Human Services v. Ahlborn

A young woman named Heidi Ahlborn was severely injured and her medical bills were astronomical. A portion ($215,000.00) was paid by her state’s Medicaid program. The Arkansas Department of Human Services (ADHS) obtained an assignment of rights from Ms. Ahlborn to repay the state from her settlement or verdict.

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What you need to know about recovering for serious cervical injuries

dreamstime_s_70848750Being hit from behind is shocking. You might not have even seen it coming. Afterwards, you may feel just fine, relieved that the accident wasn’t worse, only to feel neck pain and stiffness hours later. Even then, your symptoms might initially be mild, but could lead to chronic pain and disability.

Because of its delayed onset, car crash victims often don’t seek medical care for whiplash right away. Even if you received emergency treatment for another auto accident injury, you may fail to mention the neck injury you didn’t know you had. Predictably, insurance companies seize onto your silence as proof that your neck injuries are unrelated to your car crash.

I often have to educate insurance agents about whiplash. During 37 years of helping accident victims, I have acquired substantial data about the most common rear-end collision injury. I have also built a network of experts who provide important medical analysis of how whiplash occurs, the manner in which symptoms manifest, and potential complications of the injury. Continue reading

imagesHurray, it’s finally football season! Tomorrow TCU takes on Arkansas and Sunday the Cowboys – Giants rivalry resumes.

After last week’s tragic weather in Houston and soon in the Florida area, we could all use a diversion from bad news. But many football players face their own crisis every time they play.

Each tackle can cause a concussion which can accumulate over the course of a football career. The level of brain damage they suffer came to light when former professional players sued the NFL to recover for their permanent brain injuries and scientific research showed permanent brain damage to many players.

Those medical studies could now be helpful in shaping auto accident treatment and lawsuits. Continue reading

https://www.fortworthinjuryattorneyblog.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/233/2017/08/Screen-Shot-2017-08-14-at-12.23.04-PM-300x148.pngMayhem on Dallas Fort Worth highways continues

On Friday night a man was driving while intoxicated as he sped down Interstate 30 in Grand Prairie at speeds of over 100 MPH. The drunk driver lost control of his Honda Civic and crashed into a light pole. The impact killed his 29-year-old girlfriend and his two children, who were only four and three years old. Adding to the horror, the driver had recently been convicted of DWI and been arrested on other charges and his children were not restrained in their required child seats.

Then on Saturday night a driver lost control of the vehicle on the I-20 ramp to Loop 820 in Southeast Fort Worth. During the roll-over accident another 4 year-old girl died after being ejected. It is not clear how fast the driver was going or how the child was thrown out of the car. But you can guess that alcohol was probably involved here too.

My condolences go out to the families of these young victims.

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dreamstime_xs_20287446-300x189A local high school student sustained a serious head injury when he was hit by a jet ski during his family’s annual holiday to Lake Palestine on Sunday. 18 year-old Tyler Haessley was climbing into an inner tube tied to a boat when his older brother, 26, tried to splash him with a wave runner. But he misjudged his distance and speed and hit Tyler in the head, causing serious injuries.

Tyler has undergone several surgeries, can’t speak, and remains hospitalized in the intensive care unit of a Tyler hospital. He faces a long period of rehabilitation ahead of him. Please consider making a small contribution to his gofundme account.

Now that it’s summer and the busy Fourth of July weekend is in a few days, we’ve got to keep this from happening again.

A boat is not a toy

People have to stop horsing around on a boat or a jet ski. While they are fun and feel less dangerous than cars, it’s easy to forget that they can cause serious injuries.

Some wave runners can reach speeds of 70 mph and have a 250-horsepower, four-cylinder engine, similar to a motorcycle. However even a smaller one that hits a swimmer can do severe damage, especially with its hidden propeller blade.

And it’s shocking how young you can be and legally drive one. Continue reading

220killed20on20I-2020in20Arlington-300x169It was another deadly weekend on the roads of North Texas. Unfortunately driving on our highways is getting more dangerous every year.

Here are a few of the sometimes astonishing automobile, truck, and motorcycle collisions and illegal activities that were reported in the news:

  • A Garland father on his motorcycle tragically died Monday night in Forney when a presumably DWI driver of an SUV swerving and speeding the wrong way on Highway 80 crashed into his bike. Fortunately his son who was riding with him — not to mention other people — was not hurt seriously.
  • A man tragically died in north Fort Worth Monday in a multi-vehicle pileup on N.E. Loop 820 near Mark IV Parkway at noon.
  • Three people were tragically killed in a collision early Monday morning at 1:45 PM. An 18-year-old man lost control of his car when he hit the guardrail in Arlington near Kelly Elliott Road on Interstate 20. The vehicle rolled over and he was ejected, killing him and his passenger. A good Samaritan who stopped also died when she was struck by a hit-and-run driver. That driver has contacted Arlington Police and is cooperation with its investigation.
  • The new Dallas Cowboys cornerback, Nolan Carroll, was arrested Monday morning for DWI. He was pulled over after committing a traffic violation on McKinney Avenue in the bar-heavy Uptown area of Dallas around 2:15 AM after overindulging at a nightclub which had used him to promote a big party. Not that these guys can’t afford it (Carroll signed a $10 million contract) but the Cowboys offer a free Uber ride to their players who need assistance leaving bars, a good idea after this player’s death several years ago in a terrible tragedy.
  • A Dallas police officer’s car plunged 30 feet from an overpass Monday after a pickup truck ran a light and crashed into the officer’s car on South Westmoreland Road in west Dallas. Several people gallantly jumped into a creek to save the officer. He was in critical condition but fortunately is now reported as stable. Police are searching for the driver of the 2007 white Chevrolet Silverado pickup that hit him.

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dreamstime_xs_4902386“I didn’t realize I was injured until a few days later.” I often hear this explanation as to why my client did not seek medical treatment immediately after a car wreck. But insurance adjusters and attorneys have sometimes claimed the injured victim is exaggerating or his symptoms are not related to the car accident.

That’s unfair. An auto accident is a traumatic event. A person’s body is hit with tremendous force and thrown around in an unnatural way. You may have lost consciousness. You will be in shock and dazed. And your car is wrecked. It’s not surprising that you could have suffered severe injuries that are not obvious right away but you don’t know what to do next.

Even if you feel okay immediately after the crash, you should always seek a medical evaluation. You should also be aware of common delayed symptoms that might not manifest for hours or days later, especially the following ones.

1. Headaches

Early diagnosis of a brain injury, concussion or blood clot is particularly important. A blood clot puts you at risk of stroke as the oxygen supply is cut off from that segment of your brain. You must also take special precautions with a concussion to avoid a second concussion before the first one has healed. And yet these injuries are notoriously silent at the early stages.  Continue reading

https://www.fortworthinjuryattorneyblog.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/233/2017/04/Screen-Shot-2017-04-07-at-11.31.31-AM-300x201.pngA person who creates a problem should also be part of the solution. That’s why Texas has had the Driver Responsibility Surcharge Program (DRP) since 2003.

The program requires reckless drivers to pay fines that fund trauma centers where the victims of car accidents receive care. Under the program, drivers receive points for various traffic infractions. Drivers pay $100 for six points in three years and an additional $25 per point above six. A drunk driver wracks up even more fines — $1,000 for a first time DWI conviction and $2,000 if the drunk driver’s blood alcohol concentration was above .15. A driver who has an invalid license owes $250.

The money goes to Level I trauma centers such as John Peter Smith Hospital (pictured here) in Fort Worth that accept all patients regardless of ability to pay. Often these trauma centers are the only place critically injured patients can receive lifesaving urgent care.

Now some Texas lawmakers have deemed this program unfair to the bad drivers and have introduced a bill to repeal it. There’s no word on how the victims of these bad drivers will get the medical care they need without the funding.

Often they have no health insurance, and if they do their company denies or minimizes payment, the hospital is out-of-network, and/or deductibles and co-pays are prohibitive.  Continue reading

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