Not All Injuries Heal: Understanding the long-lasting effects of a traumatic brain injury
Imagine a shooting pain in your skull. Forgetting where you placed your keys (again). Sudden feels of despair or anger — with no provocation, nothing “setting you off.” Abrupt confusion. Slurring. Feeling as though you’re on a ten-second delay when someone asks you a question.
These are the realities for many who have endured a traumatic brain injury (TBI). A TBI is a serious and debilitating injury resulting from traumas such as motor vehicle accident, sporting injuries, and falls. While some TBIs are obvious (as is the case in a brain bleed and/or a fractured skull), other impacts to the brain can be construed as “minor.” Despite the nature of the injury, any type of brain injury should be treated as a TBI with serious potential consequences. TBIs are all too common and can forever change the course of your life. Here’s what you need to keep in mind when it comes to traumatic brain injuries:
1) It’s easier to get a TBI than you might think
While many people envision horrific car wrecks as the impetus for a TBI, brain injuries can occur from far more common activities as well. In fact, sports-related head trauma is the second most common cause of traumatic brain injury. Concussions are the most common variety of TBIs, and concussions are—unfortunately—a near certainty for many types of athletes. According to a recent study of high school athletes, about 300,000 of the 1.54 million TBIs that occur each year are the result of sports-related concussions.
As we approach summer, football camps and baseball launch full-force. These are two of the most concussion-laden sports people of all ages participate in. That means running plays, tackling practice, a wonky pitch, or fielding a pop fly can subject your student athlete to brain injury.
2) You don’t have to lose consciousness for a TBI to have occurred
The human brain has a consistency quite similar to Jello. In a car accident, the brain can move rapidly though the course of a rigid skull lined with tons of bony protrusions. The brain can actually bounce off the skull and hit the opposite end of the skull resulting in a TBI. Additionally, the myth that you must be knocked out to have a TBI is also disproven in instances of whiplash (i.e., head jerks forward and the movement stops suddenly). From hard braking in a vehicle to being tackled during a football game, the blow doesn’t have to be direct to have massive impacts to the brain. Whiplash has even been discovered, in certain cases, to cause a disruption in the nerve cells of the brain that are responsible for sending messages.
3) Recovery can be a lengthy process and is not always possible
Claims adjusters and insurance defense lawyers often attempt to downplay the extent of a brain injury by claiming that the ailment is minor and therefore the claimant (read: victim) will quickly recover. And while some symptoms of brain injury are minor, more subtle memory issues (like walking into a room and not knowing why you went in there), any kind of traumatic brain injury can produce long-lasting, dire consequences.
In recent years, studies of deceased athletes’ brains have revealed that one dramatic consequence of repeated brain injury can be chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). CTE is a degenerative brain disease marked by a protein called Tau that grows and spreads clumps. These clumps actually kill off brain cells. While research is ongoing to determine more concrete facts about CTE, we do know that the brain disease is caused specifically by repetitive brain trauma—both concussions with obvious symptoms and subconcussive hits to the head with no symptoms at all. CTE often doesn’t present any symptoms until years after the brain injuries have occurred, but the effects have proven to be dire. Memory loss, confusion, impulsive control, impaired judgement, aggression, depression, parkinsonism, and even suicide have all been linked to CTE.
4) You have a right to seek legal representation if you’ve endured a traumatic brain injury
When brain injuries are more severe in nature, they can result in a lifelong disability leaving you unable to work, care for yourself, or even communicate. Concussions, even when seemingly insignificant in the present, can increase the risk of degenerative brain diseases like CTE for those who have experienced multiple TBIs—meaning the stakes are higher than ever. The experienced, knowledgeable attorneys at Taylor Martino, an award-winning plaintiff firm based in Mobile, Alabama, consistently deal with insurance adjusters, Alabama insurance defense lawyers, and even physicians who are simply unfamiliar with TBIs and their long-lasting consequences.
The catastrophic injury law attorneys at Taylor Martino, can spot the tactics employed by insurance carriers and defense lawyers in combating TBI claims a mile away. They realize that insurance carriers often strive to discredit those who have suffered TBIs if those brain injuries do not present obvious symptoms right away. If you have suffered an injury as catastrophic as a traumatic brain injury, you deserve to be compensated for all your costs and non-economic harm, both present and future. The compassionate attorneys at Taylor Martino can help fight for your rights in the aftermath of these life-altering injuries.
It’s your American right to take legal action if you’ve been injured
In today’s world, we’re surrounded by billboards advertising lawyers with catchy phrases and commercials with easy-to-remember jingles encouraging us to seek legal action. Still, many folks are reluctant to contact a lawyer when they’ve been injured—even when it’s by no fault of their own.
“I’m not sue-happy,” they say.
“I don’t want a handout,” they say.
“It was an accident,” they say.
But when you’re injured, you face lost wages from the weeks or months you’re out of work recovering. You may also face permanent disfigurement or difficulty getting around. You may not even be able to return to work. When life has been thrown out of whack as the result of a personal injury, sometimes there’s simply nothing left to do but seek legal action. Here are three reasons you should contact an attorney to begin the process of rebuilding your life:
1) It’s your right.
In the United States, we enjoy various rights that those living in other countries simply don’t have. According to Ed Rowan, a personal injury attorney at Mobile-based Taylor Martino, P.C., the fact that it’s your American right to justice matters. “America was founded on the principle of being treated fairly. Our founding fathers believed it was absolutely necessary to have a judicial branch to keep things in check—and that’s still the case today. There’s nothing wrong with being treated fairly, with getting what’s owed to you,” he says. Though our right to justice is often an afterthought, we must not take for granted the fact that when we’ve been wronged or hurt, we have a civil right to take legal action to remedy the situation. “It’s your job, your life, your household being affected when you’ve been hurt, but we’re fortunate enough to be in a country where we have rights and options. You can see a lawyer,” stresses Rowan.
2) There’s no shame in seeking legal action.
According to Rowan, one of the most common reasons for hesitation in pursuing a case is a sense of guilt. He says that often times, even though a potential client has been hurt, he or she will fixate on the fact that the injury was an accident and so they feel guilty about pursuing punishment against them. “Filing a claim when you’ve been hurt is not about revenge or punishment,” says Rowan. “It’s important to remember that when you file a personal injury lawsuit, you’re not actually going after an individual—rather, it’s the insurance company you’re seeking compensation from. And insurance companies have millions of dollars of coverage.” Rowan says he strives to put his clients at ease, all the while eliminating any negative connotations or guilt they may feel. “I ask my clients, ‘Are you hurt? Were you at fault? Ok, so why is it not fair that you be compensated for that? It’s not a handout; it’s what is owed to you,” he says.
3) A settlement isn’t something for nothing.
One of the most common misconceptions about filing a personal injury lawsuit tends to be that the money being sought is a windfall. But nobody wants to be hurt just to get a payout. Furthermore, Rowan says it’s critical to remember that you have signed a contract with your insurance to receive specific services. When those specific services are not rendered—when the insurance doesn’t “kick in” like it’s supposed to—you owe it to yourself to get what you paid for. “The money you’re seeking isn’t just falling from the sky,” says Rowan. “You’ve signed a contract with your insurance. The insurance is taking money for a premium from you—it’s being paid for already, which means those services should be served. That’s where I come in—to make certain that happens.”
When you’re injured, your life gets turned upside down. You are subjected to emotional stress, physical pain, constant discomfort, financial hardship, and even perhaps a drastic change in appearance—all of which dramatically impact your day-to-day life. If you’ve been hurt by no fault of your own, it is your right to yourself and to the loved ones who rely on you to explore your legal options. Even if you decide not to pursue a suit, you can receive complimentary legal advice (and peace of mind) from the experienced, compassionate attorneys at Taylor Martino courtesy of their free consultation by clicking here or calling 1-800-256-7728. For more information about your American right to seek an attorney, visit taylormartino.com.
Elderly population vulnerable to abuse and neglect—here’s what you can do to help
According to the Alabama Department of Human Resources, the fastest growing segment of the state’s population are the elderly. These are NaNas and Pop-Pops, mothers and fathers, WWII vets, grocery greeters, bankers, and former boardroom wonders. Despite myriad backgrounds and life stories, one thing all elderly individuals have in common is a susceptibility to abuse.
While we often think of neglect, exploitation, and physical and sexual abuse as grievances enacted upon the very young, a recent expose from the Minnesota StarTribune shows that elder abuse is on the rise—particularly within state care facilities. And while state regulations and treatments standards are in place, state regulators lack the staff and expertise to effectively and appropriately investigate, leading to investigations that drag on for years with penalties never enforced. Many state prosecutors allege that they are not notified of these investigations until months after the abuse has occurred, creating overall difficulty in bringing about criminal charges at all.
Closer still to our state, in Georgia charges have been brought against elderly care facilities with scathing incidents like one in Atlanta where nurses laughed at a WWII veteran as he lay dying, gasping for air and crying out for help. In this instance, the nursing staff responsible for caring for him waited an hour to contact 911. Despite video evidence of the nurses’ cruelty, it took three years to bring the family of that veteran justice—with the damage, of course, already done.
Recently, Mobile, Alabama-based Taylor Martino attorneys Richard Taylor and Ed Rowan arbitrated a case and obtained a substantial monetary award for the family of nursing home resident. In this case, the elderly resident demonstrated signs of a stroke. Instead of procuring medical care for the resident, the medical staff at the nursing home ignored the man and went to lunch. When they returned from their break, the man had died. Who knows what would have happened had they taken the time and effort necessary to stop and care for the man rather than abandoning him to grab a bite to eat.
Nursing homes are charged with looking after senior citizens, providing them with regular assistance and even around-the-clock care. However, many nursing homes are understaffed with workers underpaid and overworked, thereby opening a potential floodgate for neglect. Still, regardless of the circumstances surrounding an abuse or neglect situation, there is no excuse for failing to uphold a standard of decency for the elderly under the care of the nursing home. When this standard of decency is not enacted, legal action must be taken to ensure these same grievances do not continue occurring to other susceptible individuals.
Whether physical, mental, sexual, or neglectful in nature, abuse against the elderly robs them of their dignity, comfort, and basic human rights. The elderly individuals living in care facilities in our state and others exist there under the expectation that they will not only be cared for, but that they will be treated with respect and kindness. The Alabama Department of Human Resources describes elder abuse as a grievous mistreatment not limited to any one race, ethnic group, or socioeconomic status. Even within their own homes, the elderly can be vulnerable to manipulation, exploitation, and abuse by family members and friends—those claiming to love them.
We must be vigilant about the safekeeping and care of our treasured older friends and family members. Not all abuse is physical, so not all abuse is obvious. Here are red flags of which to be aware:
- Bruises, wounds, cigarette burns, signs of physical restraint like lacerations and scraping around near the wrists and ankles (from rope or handcuffs)
- Torn or bloody undergarments
- Lack of physical grooming; dirty, uncombed hair; unwashed clothing; body odor
- Lack of medical aid necessities like eyeglasses, dentures, hearing aids, walkers, etc.
- Bedsores, malnutrition, dehydration
- Unexplained, uncharacteristic changes in behavior such as acting withdrawn or tense, anxious, edgy, and/or fearful
- Unexplained financial changes (such as changing over Power of Attorney or paying excessive fees for care) that the elderly individual cannot explain or comprehend
The dedicated attorneys at Taylor Martino, P.C. understand the unique changes that accompany the aging process and believe that our elderly population deserves the utmost respect and regard. Taylor Martino attorneys can and will serve as skillful advocates in the event that abuse or neglect has occurred to an elderly individual in your life. Contact our compassionate attorneys today if you suspect something is wrong with a senior you love. Click here for a FREE case evaluation today or call 1-800-256-7728 for more information.
Is your knee replacement causing you extreme discomfort or inhibiting your lifestyle? Read on to learn what you can do to seek help
Nearly anytime one hears of an FDA recall in the news, it’s a common reaction to make certain one doesn’t have that item in the pantry, the refrigerator, or the medicine cabinet. Likewise, when we receive recall info regarding our vehicles steering column or airbags, we rush the vehicle down to the shop to have it investigated. Still, not all recall information is so openly communicated. In fact, when it comes to medical device recalls, those who have a faulty product or device operating within their body are often unaware of the danger they face until symptoms begin to arise or until it is entirely too late.
In February 2013, the FDA issued a Class I recall for the diaphyseal sleeve used in DePuy’s knee Limb Preservation System (LPS). Class I recalls are reserved specifically for when there is reasonable probability that a product will cause serious adverse health consequences or death. According to the FDA, the segment of the DePuy Knee LPS simulating a joint poses a fracture risk, which can lead to serious complications for the recipient.
Specifically, the FDA states that the taper connection between the sleeve and the base of the joint segment may not be able to withstand weight as it is shifted to the joint during normal, everyday movement. Walking, running, and even bending at the knee for those with this replacement mechanism are at severe risk of injury. Should the sleeve fracture at the taper joint, those with the DePuy Knee Replacement product are at an increased risk of loss of function, loss of limb, infection, compromised soft tissue, and even death.
DePuy Knee Replacement Problems
If you had a DePuy Knee Replacement implanted between 2008 and July 2012, you may be subject to complications related to the faulty medical device. Signs of failure may include the following:
- Limited range of movement
- Device dislocation
- Warm, inflamed, or red skin
- Instability in the knee
- Fracture of implant components, femur or tibia
- Loosening of the knee implant
- Swelling and/or pain in the knee
- Abnormal sound in the knee implant
- Decreased ability to walk
- Abnormal gait
In January 2012 the FDA informed hospitals and surgeons of the potential risks associated with the sleeve, requesting that these product lots no longer be used in knee replacement surgeries. According to the FDA, all diaphyseal sleeves manufactured between 2008 and July 2012 are subject to the recall.
Currently, the FDA has received 10 reports of device malfunction related to fracture and loosening of the knee implant. It is, however, likely that many individuals living with DePuy Knee Implants are not aware of the danger posed by the faulty device. If you have had a knee replacement surgery or know someone who has, now is the time to take action to ensure the wellbeing and safety of you or your loved one.
Knee revision surgeries are considered more painful and invasive than a first-time knee replacement, as they usually require breaking the faulty device away from the bone and, in many cases, the implant is cemented into place. Occasionally, these implants can damage the surrounding bone so severely that a reconstructive surgery is required to completely rebuild the knee before a replacement device can be installed. In addition to an excruciatingly painful surgery and rehabilitation period, revision and reconstructive surgeries can also expose patient to an increased risk of infection and other undesirable surgical complications, such as excessive bleeding, deep venous thrombosis, nerve or blood vessel damage, and pulmonary embolism.
Each year, thousands of Americans fall victim to severe injuries at the hands of Big Pharma’s irresponsibility and inaccurate reporting on the safety of their products. If you have a medical implant such as the DePuy Knee Replacement, it is imperative to remain informed about the latest recalls and legal actions against manufacturers responsible for the device.
Taylor Martino, P.C., a personal injury firm based in Mobile, Alabama, seeks to right the injustices performed at the hands of Big Pharma companies. Since 1988, Taylor Martino has embodied one singular, straightforward purpose: the passionate pursuit of justice for plaintiffs. In their nearly 30 years of operation, attorneys at Taylor Martino have obtained more than a billion dollars in compensation for thousands of clients on a local, regional, and national level. Now, the attorneys at Taylor Martino have made it their mission to investigate all claims of injuries related to the implantation of the DePuy knee LPS in all knee replacement procedures. Their team of passionate attorneys possess the knowledge, experience, and dedication necessary to take on Big Pharma using the testimony of those who have had their lives put on hold because of defective devices.
If you’ve suffered any injury, pain, or complications as a result of medical devices such as the DePuy Knee Replacement, contact a Taylor Martino personal injury attorney for a FREE case evaluation today. For more information, visit taylormartino.com or call 1-800-256-7728.
Complications From Hernia Surgery Stall Your Life. Seek a Professional to Help You Take Control Today
Every year, hundreds of thousands of Americans undergo surgery for hernia repair. Surgical repairs can either be done through an open repair (“under the knife”) or laparoscopically, which is minimally invasive. In many cases of hernia repair, a surgeon will use a medical device known as hernia mesh (also called a hernia screen or hernia patch) to reduce the risk of recurrence. As the most common procedure occurring in the United States, hundreds of thousands of patients are implanted with hernia mesh each year.
Naturally, the goal of surgery is to alleviate pain resulting from hernias. And while the intentions of patients and doctors alike were to repair hernias, various companies manufacturing hernia meshes did so irresponsibly—resulting in faulty products. In early 2016, the FDA issued a report regarding complications caused by faulty or defective hernia mesh. Everything from pain and infection to bowel obstruction were reported as resulting complications caused by defective mesh. The mesh may dissolve or deteriorate inside the body.
Now, numerous hernia mesh products used to repair hernias during surgery have been reported as having serious health complications. The companies responsible for defective hernia mesh include Atrium/Maquet, Bard/Davol, Ethicon/Johnson & Johnson, and Covidien. The reported health issues related to the hernia mesh include the following:
- Severe pain in the abdomen, groin, testes, and upper thigh (adhesions)
- Bowel obstruction
- Organ obstruction and/or tearing
- Scar tissue between abdominal organs and other tissue
- Fistula (tunnel formation) between intestinal tract or stomach and other tissue
- Severe infection or abscess
Many patients who were implanted with faulty hernia mesh have undergone additional surgery to remove mesh or treat complications associated with mesh. These painful complications and additional surgeries result in consequences that negatively affect day to day lives. Time must be taken off work to have the surgeries and recover resulting in lost wages. Arrangements must be made to perform even the smallest of household tasks because it’s difficult to lift items larger than a few pounds. Those who are unfortunate enough to have experienced any of the physical pain and unnecessary problems associated with faulty hernia mesh often feel worse than before their hernia was treated! People are hurt and inconvenienced. But why?
The companies who manufacture these faulty medical products either refuse to adequately test the product before launching it onto the market OR they know the product’s problems and simply refuse to report the findings. As a result, innocent people suffer. Taylor Martino, P.C., a personal injury firm based in Mobile, Alabama, seeks to right the injustices performed at the hands of Big Pharma companies. Since 1988, Taylor Martino has embodied one singular, straightforward purpose: the passionate pursuit of justice for plaintiffs. In their nearly 30 years of operation, attorneys at Taylor Martino have obtained more than a billion dollars in compensation for thousands of clients on a local, regional, and national level. Now, the attorneys at Taylor Martino have made it their mission to investigate all claims of injuries related to the implantation of hernia mesh in hernia repair procedures. Their team of skilled lawyers possess the knowledge, experience, and dedication necessary to take on Big Pharma using the testimony of those who have had their lives put on hold because of defective hernia mesh.
None of us plan of being hurt. Whether it’s a car wreck or a wet floor you’ve taken a tumble on, accidents happen—often by no fault of our own. However, the consequences of these accidents can last for weeks, months, years, and even the rest of our lives. When you’re faced with mounting medical bills and extensive time out of work to recover from an injury that was not your fault or was, in fact, caused by the negligence of someone else, you are left with no other choice but to seek legal action.
It doesn’t make you “sue happy,” and it doesn’t mean you want a handout. It’s your legal right. Of course, attaining the results you want in taking legal action will be greatly dependent on the type of attorney you enlist to help you. If you are ever find yourself in the market for an attorney, here are some aspects you should keep in mind.
1. Winning record
There are thousands of plaintiff lawyers across the state, so there’s truly no reason to involve yourself with an attorney without credible experience. You’ll want an attorney with a track record of searchable judgments. Ask about their experience is and request past verdicts to help you understand just how good he/she is at their job.
Past successful verdicts don’t guarantee a successful outcome on your case, but they certainly do provide you a comprehensive look at the competency and experience of the firm or attorney you may be considering.
According to longtime attorney and former U.S. Marine Ed Rowan of Taylor Martino, P.C., having a fighter’s spirit is critical in being a successful attorney. “As a former Marine—as you may know there are no retired Marines—I’ve got a background that gave me a mindset to never quit. I have pride in my work and I look for the positives in any situation,” he says.
Just as the attorney must be persistent in the pursuit of justice, so must the plaintiff himself/herself as the wronged party. “I have all this enthusiasm that I want to always channel in the right direction—I think this is something that makes me a successful attorney today,” says Rowan. “You just can’t make it through some of the challenges of being hurt or out of commission if you’re a quitter. I always ask my clients, ‘Are you fighting? Can you continue to fight?’ because I’m dug in this for the long haul when I take their case and I want them to be in it with me from start to finish.”
While there is often physical and emotional strife involved in moving through your case, Rowan notes that perspective can make all the difference. “I often find myself telling the folks I represent that I hate that I’m meeting them under such circumstances and that I know it’s tough, but we can make the best out of a bad situation. I try to approach it from the most positive angle possible and stay the course.”
Many personal injury cases are require multiple attorneys for an all-hands-on-deck approach. At Taylor Martino, multiple lawyers, paralegals, and several support staff work on cases to ensure that no stone is left unturned.
More resources simply equal better bottom-line results. Firms with plenty of people on hand mean more eyes and ears to handle each case, with more perspectives and various levels of experience. For the team at Taylor Martino, this means over 30 years of reputable experience.
Accolades matter. The best law firms will have a laundry list of accomplishments that are easy to find out about. For instance, several Taylor Martino attorneys have made the Super Lawyers list or have had the distinction of being on the Rising Stars list. Client reviews should also always be readily available on a firm’s website or Facebook page. These reviews will give you firsthand knowledge of the kind of attorney you can expect when you enlist their services.
5. Fee policy
The first thing you should expect with any plaintiff attorney worth his/her salt is a fee policy explaining that your attorney(s) won’t be compensated until you are. This type of guarantee ensures that you aren’t hit with fees throughout the process of your representation. Additionally, this type of fee policy means your lawyer works hard to get you paid as that’s the only way he/she is getting paid.
A free consultation is another must when it comes to selecting the right attorney to represent you in a personal injury case. The free consultation is the hallmark of any compassionate, decent plaintiff firm.
“Even if you can’t stand law suits or plaintiff lawyers or injured people bringing about claims but you unfortunately find yourself lumped into that injured person category, just come talk to me,” says Rowan. “There are absolutely no strings attached. Just see what I have to say—there’s no charge. It’s just about receiving free information that you can choose how to use for yourself. If you’re comfortable, I’d be honored to help you.”
Being subjected to an injury, a permanent disability, or even the loss of a loved one due to negligence of another are realities no one wants or deserves. However, you do have rights and options in the aftermath of these terrible situations. If you’ve suffered an injury or disability through no fault of your own, seek advice from the experts at Taylor Martino during a FREE consultation by clicking here now or calling 1-800-256-7728 today.
If the negligent actions of another party have caused a significant injury, you may be thinking about suing that person to recover financial compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and other economic costs associated with the incident. This includes actual expenses as well as compensation for things like physical and emotional pain and suffering.
Since Alabama imposes a two-year statute of limitations on personal injury cases, you need to act as quickly as possible. You may be wondering how much money you might collect and how a judge and jury determine financial damages in a case like yours. Before you proceed with your claim, it’s important to understand that the burden of proof lies with you as the injured party. That means you’re required to demonstrated how the negligent actions of the other party have had negative effects on your life that you wouldn’t have experienced otherwise.
Alabama also allows for punitive damages in extreme situations. The law stipulates that a personal injury victim may be entitled to this additional compensation when the responsible party acted in a way that demonstrates clear and convincing evidence of intentional malice, fraud, oppression, or wantonness towards the victim.
Payments for Expenses You Could Receive
In a personal injury lawsuit, the judge and jury consider both economic and non-economic damages. The first category includes actual expenses in several categories as well as anticipated future expenses or losses in the same category. Typical examples include:
- Loss of income and/or earning capacity: If the nature of your injuries forced you to miss work unpaid or to use your own vacation time or sick leave, you’re eligible to sue for lost income. You will need a doctor’s report estimating how much work you might miss in the future to receive payment for the work hours you expect to miss. It’s also possible that you can no longer perform your regular job and need to accept a part-time or less physically taxing position to accommodate your new physical limitations. The court would consider your current and past salaries as well as missed promotions due to the injuries when determining your award amount.
- Medical costs: Between emergency care, hospital admission, ongoing supplies, physical therapy, and other costs, it doesn’t take long before you could potentially owe hundreds of thousands of dollars. As with lost wages and earning capacity, the court estimates your future medical expenses when determining the amount of this portion of your personal injury lawsuit.
- Damage to property: If the other party seriously damaged your vehicle or any of its contents, you could receive compensation for repair or replacement. For example, you may have been on your way to a sporting practice with several hundred dollars of equipment in your vehicle that is now unusable due to the crash.
Pain and Suffering and Other Non-Economic Damages
While it can be challenging to determine future expenses for economic damages, the judge and jury base these awards off pre-determined amounts. However, non-economic damages are completely subjective and often depend on how much sympathy the court has for your situation. Pain and suffering, as mentioned above, may cover a variety of issues you experience due to the accident. In addition to physical pain, you could receive compensation for anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, reputation damage, and much more. The only caveat is that you must prove the other party caused these issues with his or her negligent actions.
Loss of enjoyment of life or loss of companionship are two other common categories of subjective damages in a personal injury case. If you can no longer participate in an activity that brought you pleasure before the accident, you could qualify for loss of enjoyment compensation. Loss of companionship is more for the spouses of injured people whose relationship dynamics changed considerably due to the accident.
Schedule a Free Consultation to Learn More
Because everyone’s personal injury case is so different, we can’t say before filing a lawsuit on your behalf exactly how much you might receive. However, we can provide rough estimates based on similar cases in the past when you come to our Mobile, Alabama office for a no-obligation case review with one of our personal injury lawyers. We invite you to contact us at 1-800-256-7728 to request your one-on-one session.
As the driver of a private vehicle, you have the option to pull over when you feel tired. Commercial truck drivers usually don’t have this choice. They’re paid to spend many hours a day on the road, regardless if they’re too tired to operate a truck safely.
Whether it’s pressure from their bosses, greed, or the lack of realization about their own tiredness, too many commercial truck drivers are on the road when it’s not safe for them or anyone else. It should come as no surprise then to learn that driving while drowsy is a major cause for truck accidents across the United States.
Drowsy Driving Nearly as Dangerous as Drunk Driving
Recently, the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) conducted a survey that determined a person being awake for 17 consecutive hours produced the same effect as having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of five percent. The legal definition of impairment in Alabama is eight percent. The NSF also identified five factors that lead to fatigue while driving, all of which affect people who drive a truck for a living more than others. These include:
- Erratic behavior caused by sleepiness: While falling asleep at the wheel is an obvious cause of trucking accidents, it’s far from the only one. Sleepy drivers engage in other types of dangerous behavior, including driving too fast and exercising poor judgment. Like driving while intoxicated, driving while drowsy causes slower reaction times, poor coordination, lack of concentration, and unclear vision.
- Highway hypnosis: This condition occurs after long stretches of driving, with or without passengers in the vehicle. It causes drivers to be less aware of their surroundings and almost as though they are operating in a dream instead of real life.
- Shift work: People who work irregular hours, including those who work overnight shifts, are more likely to feel drowsy while driving than those who work a typical daytime schedule. Driving at night is already more challenging due to the reduced visibility and dealing with the constant glare from headlights and stoplights. Night shift workers must also fight the body’s natural tendency to desire sleep once it’s dark outside. This is one reason why crashes involving commercial trucks peak in the overnight hours.
- Sleep apnea: According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA), up to 25 percent of big rig drivers suffer from sleep apnea. This condition disturbs normal breathing patterns and makes it challenging for people who have it to get a good night’s rest. Although federal laws prohibit those with sleep apnea from driving a commercial truck, many people who apply for this work don’t know that they have the condition. Sometimes employers do know about a trucker’s sleep apnea and insist that he or she drive anyway.
- Sleep deprivation: With their regular long shifts, commercial truck drivers are more likely than other drivers to suffer from chronic sleep deprivation. The NSF reports that the risk of a crash increases by up to five times when a driver has had less than eight hours of sleep the night before the accident.
There’s also the fact that employers may offer incentives to drivers who disregard safety rules such as a mandatory rest period and focus on production instead. In addition to providing bonuses for deliveries that arrive on time or ahead of schedule, employers may illegally threaten to fire drivers who don’t meet their daily quota even if it means compromising on safety.
Laws to Prevent Drowsy Driving
Together with the FMSCA, the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) has helped to push through legislation aimed at reducing these accidents. Truck drivers may not work more than 70 hours in eight days or drive more than 11 hours after being off duty for 10 hours. Even so, it’s not uncommon to falsify driving and rest break reports due to employer pressure. This is one reason why accidents between big rigs and passenger vehicles keep happening.
You Need an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
Trucking companies have the resources to protect themselves from personal injury claims even if it means denying the truth. If you have been injured by a commercial truck driver, we invite you to contact the experienced Alabama truck accident attorneys at Taylor Martino in Mobile, Alabama at 1-800-256-7728 to request a free and confidential review of your case. We’re prepared to fight for your right to receive fair compensation and are not intimidated by commercial trucking companies, their lawyers, or their insurance agents.
Alabama’s Department of Transportation reports that there were more than 9,000 vehicle crashes involving trucks in 2015, the most recent year that data is available at this time. This is the highest number of truck-involved crashes in nearly a decade.
When these accidents happen, they are nearly always preventable. Unfortunately, due to their size and weight, semi-trucks tower over other passenger vehicles and are at a distinct disadvantage. While many people believe that these truck drivers have a bird’s eye view of everything happening on the road, this isn’t the case. The truth is that commercial trucks have limited visibility. Specifically, they have several blind spots that are referred to as “no zones.”
What is a Truck’s “No Zone”?
The term “no zone” comes from the Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCSA), which has identified large areas around a commercial truck where the truck’s driver is unable to see passenger vehicles clearly, if at all. These are areas of limited visibility and where a truck crash is most likely to happen. There are four “no zone” areas around a truck.
The Front No Zone
Large commercial trucks can often move slow, which is frustrating for other drivers on the road. If you’ve ever been stuck behind a semi-truck for miles, you probably understand the temptation to swerve around them at the first opportunity.
This is a dangerous maneuver because there is a front blind spot with tractor-trailers that can extend as far as 20 feet beyond the truck’s cab. A Semi truck driver generally can’t see a vehicle in this zone, which can be deadly if a sudden stop becomes necessary.
If the truck driver can’t see a car directly in front of them, they will not be able to accurately judge their distance to stop. Thinking that the car ahead of you is the next car in line could lead to a dangerous accident where your vehicle becomes sandwiched in between a massive truck and another car.
The Rear No Zone
Tractor-trailers also have a significant blind spot immediately behind the semi’s trailer. Extending up to 200 feet, the no zone in the rear of the truck is not something you want to ignore. A motorist who follows a semi too closely could become involved in a serious accident since the truck driver may have no idea that you are behind them.
If a truck stops too fast and your car is in this no zone, you risk being involved in an underride accident. This happens when a passenger vehicle slides underneath a trailer, usually cutting off the top of the car and causing significant injury or even death to the vehicle’s occupants.
The Right No Zone
Believe it or not, a truck’s right no zone is the largest of the four blind spots. This area can extend as far as three lanes of traffic and begins roughly around the semi’s passenger side cab door. The blind spot extends outward to cover the lanes to the right of the truck.
Therefore it is so dangerous to pass a truck on the right or remain in a truck’s right no zone. If the driver can’t see you, you run the risk of getting hit or trapped when a truck makes an unexpected wide right turn.
The Left No Zone
The no zone on the left side of the truck is the smallest blind spot, but it can still be a dangerous zone for drivers. The rule of thumb is that if you can’t see the tractor-trailer’s mirrors, the driver of the truck probably can’t see you either.
Safely Sharing the Road with Semi Trucks
There are an estimated 15.5 million commercial trucks in the U.S., 2 million of which are tractor trailers. Sharing the road with these trucks can be dangerous, but you can take some steps to keep yourself and your passengers safe.
The first thing you can do is stay out of truck no-zones as much as possible. If you must pass a tractor-trailer, always do so on the left. Also, adjust your vehicle’s mirrors so that you can minimize your own blind spots and reduce the chances of an accident. If a crash does occur, you should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney about your rights.
Speak with a Qualified Alabama Truck Accident Attorney
If you have been involved in a crash with a commercial truck, please contact Taylor Martino as soon as possible. Our experienced truck accident attorneys will investigate your accident and fight for the compensation you deserve. To schedule your free consultation, call us at 1-800-256-7728 or contact us online today.