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Encinitas Legal Blog

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month

During the month of March, safety advocates draw attention to the frequency, prevention and consequences of brain injuries. Injuries to the brain, even mild ones, can have life-altering consequences, and neither you nor your loved ones may completely understand the changes in your behavior.

A head injury following a car accident can affect many aspects of your life, from your motor skills, your ability to make decisions, the control you have over your emotions and how you communicate, among others. In some cases, the victim of a head injury loses those abilities altogether, but in other cases, the victim may have to relearn certain skills. Seeking quality medical care for your rehabilitation is key to your recovery, but that kind of care can be expensive.

Dangerous cell phone use continues to plague the roads

If you look at other drivers who are around you on the road, the chances are pretty high that at least one of them is using a cell phone while driving. This type of distracted driving has become an increasingly dangerous problem that threatens far too many innocent California motorists. After all, a distracted driver can swerve into oncoming traffic, fail to stop at a stop sign or traffic signal and neglect to yield to pedestrians who are crossing the street.

Sadly, cell phone usage while driving is becoming even more problematic. According to a recent study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway safety, motorists manipulated their phones 57 percent more often in 2018 compared to 2014. While overall cell phone usage for actual phone conversation while driving is down, more people are using their phones by engaging in texting and driving and checking email while operating their vehicles.

Personal injury cases and the subpoena power

When it comes to building a competent personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, there are many moving parts. While a victim focuses on recovering physical and emotional health, the victim must also think about gathering evidence and building strong legal arguments that will spur negotiations and persuade a judge and jury. This is no easy task, which is why it is critical that car accident victims engage in well thought out discovery to ensure that they are proceeding with their claim with as much knowledge as possible.

One way to ensure that a car accident victim is able to acquire all the information needed to build a strong case is to issue appropriate subpoenas when necessary. A subpoena is a legal document that requires an individual to appear in court or turn over specified documentation. This is how a plaintiff can secure the presence of critical witnesses at trial and gather documentation that can help impose liability. Those who fail to abide by a subpoena can face criminal and civil penalties.

Do you know what to do if your vehicle catches on fire?

Fires are dangerous under any condition. Even if you have a fire pit and are simply roasting marshmallows, the flames still present a hazard to you and others around you. Of course, in this type of scenario, you likely have safety measures on standby, such as fire extinguishers or buckets of water, in case the flames get out of hand. However, some fires may start without you having the ability to get them under control.

If you find yourself involved in a car accident, the possibility exists that your vehicle or another vehicle involved could catch fire. In this case, you and others around face a serious risk of suffering burns or other severe injuries as a result. Many people do not prepare for this situation, and you may not know what to do.

Traumatic brain injury can lead to mental health issues

Some California residents who are involved in a car accident are lucky enough to escape with little to no harm. These individuals may need to nurse some bumps, bruises and cuts, but overall they are able to walk away with no long-term damage. Sadly, however, many other California residents suffer serious harm, such as brain injuries. As medical professionals continue to research these injuries they are finding that their impact can be much more significant than initially thought.

For example, one recent study found that 20 percent of those who suffer even mild traumatic brain injury experience some sort of mental health disorder within six months of their injury. These mental health conditions can be severe, too. The study found that many traumatic brain injury sufferers developed post-traumatic stress disorder and major depressive disorder.

A car accident may mean your child needs to go to the ER

You may consider yourself someone who likes to remain prepared and organized for various scenarios. When it comes to your children's care and safety, you may have many plans in place for taking the necessary action quickly and for locating any information you may need in the event of an emergency.

Though planning ahead is often useful, you may experience a situation that throws all of your planning out the window. For example, if you are involved in a car accident that results in one of your children suffering serious injuries, you may not have the time or the ability to implement a pre-made plan, and instead, you may have to think on your feet. If you have also suffered injuries, you may need to trust others to carry out their own effective plans.

Will the insurance company make you give a recorded statement?

After suffering a serious injury in an event like a car accident, you will likely have to deal with the insurance companies. If authorities considered another driver at fault for the incident, that person's insurance company will likely have an obligation to provide the applicable payout to you. Of course, the insurance company will likely try to get out of the situation with the lowest payout possible.

During the course of its investigation, the insurance representatives may attempt to obtain a recorded statement from you. They often want this statement so that they have your side of the situation on record, which makes it more difficult to change your story later. However, providing such a statement may not be in your best interests.

Recklessness and negligence in car accidents

A car accident can have a profound impact on an individual's life. A vehicle may be seriously damaged, requiring extensive repairs or replacement, but of more concern is the physical, emotional and financial harm caused to the car accident victim. Head and neck injuries, broken bones, torn muscles and severe lacerations are all very real possibilities, any of which can result in the need for extensive medical treatment. These injuries can also force an individual to miss work and suffer emotional trauma.

Such damages are unacceptable. Yet, without taking action, car accident victims are left to cope with the undeserved damages that have been thrust upon them. However, this doesn't have to be the case for those who choose to take legal action against those responsible for the accident in question. Succeeding in a personal injury lawsuit injury can be challenging, which is why California residents need to know the law and how to use it to their advantage before moving forward.

More defective airbags recalled

It seems like it wasn't long ago when millions of vehicles were recalled due to defective airbag inflators that were known to throw shrapnel throughout a vehicle, including into drivers and passengers. These Takata-made airbag inflators have caused 290 injuries worldwide, and 23 people have been killed by them, which is nothing short of tragic. As of recently, 37 million vehicles in America had been recalled to replace defective air inflators, but another recall has increased that total even more.

Toyota has now recalled more than 1 million vehicles in the U.S. for these same defective auto parts. The recall affects a number of models produced from 2010 to 2016, including the Corolla, Matrix, 4Runner and Sienna. Some Lexus models have been recalled, too, including many of the IS models produced between 2010 and 2015. Given the risk involved with driving with these defective inflators, motorists should take caution.

Improperly maintained headlights can increase car accident risk

Oftentimes on this blog we discuss motor vehicle accidents caused by the negligence of another. This negligence is usually found in the form of intoxication, distraction, fatigue, or reckless disregard for traffic laws. There can be many contributing factors to a car accident, though, including improper maintenance.

In fact, a new study by AAA found that yellowed or clouded headlights can reduce illumination by 80 percent. It goes without saying that reduced visibility can increase the risk of a car accident. A driver with reduced visibility may be less likely to detect a pedestrian in a crosswalk, identify slowed or stopped traffic, and identify intersections demarcated with stop signs.

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