WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: STATISTICS ABOUT TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY (TBI)

TBI Lawyer Long Island

What You Need to Know: Statistics About Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

It can happen in an instant: an accident occurs, and you or a loved one suffers traumatic brain injury (TBI). If you’re fortunate, it’ll prove a relatively easy injury to recover from. If not, you or your loved one could suffer from a lifetime of injury and paralysis or even death. Recognizing the facts about TBI can help you decide whether or not to pursue legal action following an incident.

Consult the ExpertTBI Lawyer Long Island

The TBI lawyer Long Island residents rely on to help them learn more about what to do following an injury is Frederick W. Altschuler. When you make an appointment with our law offices, we’ll answer any questions you have about traumatic brain injuries and counsel you on where to go from here. Every case requires individualized guidance.

The Basic Facts

The CDC estimates that 1.7 million Americans deal with traumatic brain injury each year, 52,000 of which die and 275,000 of which experience hospitalization and long-term effects. While 80 percent are released from the emergency room, they could still suffer from some residual effects and require treatment. These bills add up quickly, as does any time the injured party spends missing work during recovery.

Types of TBIs

Traumatic brain injury includes but is not limited to:

  • Concussion
  • Open head injuries
  • Shaken baby syndrome
  • Contusion
  • Anoxic brain injury

Any vehicular accident, fall or sudden impact to the head can lead to a brain injury. If you even suspect a head injury, get to the ER.

If you or someone you love experienced TBI, contact the law offices of Frederick W. Altschuler as soon as possible. We’ll go over the facts of your case and let you know if you or your family is entitled to compensation. Compensation could be the key to being able to afford immediate treatment, to keep your finances afloat and to afford long-term therapy and care.

SIGNS YOU NEED A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER

Personal Injury Lawyer | Suffolk County

Signs You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer

personal injury lawyer suffolk countyIf you’re like a lot of people, you don’t like to make waves. You believe the best of those around you, and you wouldn’t dream of confronting your employer or a friend or family member about a personal injury you incurred while on their premises. After all, accidents happen. However, you’d be cheating yourself if you don’t recognize the signs that you need a personal injury lawyer Suffolk County following an accident.

Mounting Bills

The best personal injury lawyer Suffolk County residents rely on make sure those injured are compensated for their medical bills following an accident on someone else’s property and/or while performing work for an employer. It’s possible that some negligence is to blame on the part of the employer or property owner, even if it wasn’t intentional. You should not have to pay in addition to your suffering when there preventable conditions that could have played a role in your incident.

Little Cooperation

Employers and property owners who recognize their role in the accident should be willing to compensate you. If they’re not offering to pay for your medical bills from the outset, contact a lawyer. Even if they are willing to pay part or all of your bills, it’s still best to have a lawyer involved to protect your best interest and make sure you’re properly compensated.

Lost Work Time

If your injury has made it so you’ve had to miss work, you should be compensated for your salary lost during your recovery time. If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, an injury could prove devastating to your finances. Don’t risk losing your home in the wake of an injury that could have been prevented.

Even if you’re not sure about pursuing legal action, schedule a consultation with the law offices of Frederick W. Altschuler today. It’s quite possible that a letter will be enough to get what’s owed to you without causing a lot of problems for your colleagues or friends.

STATS ON CAR ACCIDENTS IN LONG ISLAND, NY

Car Accident Lawyer | Long Island

Stats on Car Accidents in Long Island, NY

car accident lawyer Long IslandLong Island is such a beautiful place to live — and with Manhattan only a short drive away, it’s ideal for the commuter who wants all the benefits of suburban life with big city entertainment, careers and dining mere miles away. Unfortunately, that usually means a lot of time spent on the road commuting — and the more often you drive, the more likely you are to get into an accident and possibly need a car accident lawyer in Long Island.

Consult the Expert

After an accident, schedule a consultation with the car accident lawyer Long Island area residents rely on for all of their accident-related needs. Not only do we know all the statistics so we can compare your accident to see if it’s an outlier and needs some special consideration, we have the experience needed to make legal action as stress-free and quick as possible.

Nationwide

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2015, 35,200 Americans died as a result of a vehicular accident; 31 percent of these are a result of alcohol usage. That was an increase from 32,600 in 2014 and 32,000 in 2013. As many as 3,000 deaths could have been prevented if the people involved wore their seatbelts. On average, every 13 minutes, someone dies from a car accident.

Locally

On Long Island, Suffolk County, in particular, is home to the island’s most alcohol-related crashes. In 2013, there were 853 alcohol-related crashes in Suffolk County alone, more than 10 percent of the state’s total, and 548 in Nassau. Because commuting is more necessary in suburbs, you’re more likely to get into a car accident on Long Island than you are in the city.

No matter how minor your fender bender, contact the law office of Frederick W. Altschuler to see how you can be compensated for your inconvenience, injuries and car repair bills. Even if you think you may be at fault, it’s best to have the right attorney on your side as soon as possible to minimize the damages you might owe. Call us today.

The Rules of the Road, Bicycle vs. Automobile

Bicycle Accident Lawyer | NY

The Rules of the Road, Bicycle vs. Automobile

bicycle accidents long islandBicycling is one of the best forms of exercise, and it’s a wonderful way to explore the beauty of Long Island. However, you put yourself at greater risk for injury when you bike on roads alongside traffic instead of on designated bike trails alone. Nonetheless, you have to bike on roads to get to a lot of places on the island you might want to get to. Just be certain you understand the rules of the road to protect yourself and others from bike and automobile accidents and needing a bicycle accident lawyer in NY.

Behave Like a Car Driver

Many of the bicycle accidents Long Island, NY residents experience are because a bicyclist or a nearby driver don’t understand that bikers should be treated like other vehicles on the road in the vast majority of cases. That means they drive with traffic, not against traffic. They must come to a stop at stop signs and red stoplights and only go or turn when legally allowed. Car drivers can pass a biker, giving them a wide berth, although only when there’s room to do so, it’s legally allowed and there’s no oncoming traffic.

Wearing Helmets and Other Precautions

The NY law regarding helmets applies only to minors, although to vastly decrease the likelihood of permanent injury, riders of all ages should wear helmets. Also, do not bike while inebriated. You cannot operate a bicycle on public property while under the influence.

Bike Lanes

Some areas of Long Island have designated bike lanes right alongside vehicular traffic. Vehicles cannot drift into these lanes at any point except to turn right — and only then if there are no bikes to impede the maneuver.

Contact the law offices of Frederick W. Altschuler, your bicycle accident lawyer in NY, if you or a loved one ever experiences injury or damage to your bike or vehicle as a result of a bicycle or vehicular accident. If something is found to the be the fault of a property owner, the city or the other person involved in the accident, you could be poised to seek compensation for your medical and repair or replacement costs.

 

HERNIATED DISC

Anyone who has ever been in an accident and injured their back will be familiar with the term “Herniated Disc”

WHAT IS A DISC ?

The human spine is made us of a series of vertebrae which provides the structural support for the spine. The spine has 7 vertebrae in the neck (cervical vertebrae), 12 vertebrae in the mid back (thoracic vertebrae), and 5 vertebrae in the lower back (Lumbar vertebrae).  In between all the vertebrae are DISCS. The discs are jelly like substance that acts a cushion or shock absorber between the vertebrae, allowing for free flowing movement of the spine. Healthy discs provide  pain free movement for all of us.

WHAT IS A HERNIATED DISC ?

Herniated discs can be caused by age and\or traumatic injury. What happens with an injury is the disc can rupture (herniate) or move outside of its normal position between the vertebrae. A herniated disc can be very painful & can greatly restrict free flowing movement. When a disc herniates it basically leaves the vertebrae with out any protection or without any shock absorbers so any movement can be potentially painful.

SYMPTOMS OF A HERNIATED DISC:

The symptoms of a herniated disc depend on how big the herniation is, where the herniation is, and whether or not there is any impingement on exiting nerve roots.  However, it is safe to say that any herniation can cause pain locally at the herniation spot, and cause pain at the adjacent areas related to the vertebrae area.

If a disc herniation is large enough, the herniated disc tissue can press (impinge) on the adjacent spinal nerves that exit the spine at the level of the disc. This can cause severe pain and be debilitating. An common example of this is seen with a herniation at the Lumbar 4th & 5th vertebrae (L4-L5 disc herniation).   A L4-L5 herniation, in addition to lower back pain,  can cause a severe shooting pain down the buttock into the thigh & down the entire leg. This pain can also be associated with numbness & tingling in the leg.

Bottom line is a severe, large herniated disc can cause severe pain & lead to life altering consequences.

DIAGNOSIS & TREATMENT:

Once a patient has symptoms & pain, a doctor can do a variety of tests to determine if there is any neurological issue. However, the definitive test to determine if there is a herniated disc is a MRI exam. The MRI exam will show the exact status of the disc and whether or not there is a herniation.

Once a herniation is diagnosed, there are a number of different treatments available to the patient. Among the most common are physical therapy, muscle relaxation medication, anti inflammatory medication, pain medication, epidural injections, and if all fails there is surgical intervention.

Herniated discs are a common result of a traumatic accident \ injury and can result in severe pain & have life changing ramifications.  if you have suffered a herniated disc, call The Law Office of Frederick Altschuler to discuss your options.

NECK & BACK INJURIES

Neck & Back or spinal cord injuries are often the result of an auto accident or a slip and fall accident. The sudden force and impact of an accident often results in a movement that can dislodge or damage both vertebrae and disc material. Damages can range from simple whiplash, which generally lasts for a couple of weeks, to major fractures and herniated discs requiring surgical interventions.

SERIOUS INJURY:

A previous BLOG discussed that in order to receive monetary compensation for a injury there must be proof of a serious injury as the LAW defines it. As neck & back injuries are very common, often the proof of serious injury comes from these very injuries.  Medical records documenting & detailing various levels of spinal injury are often considered a “serious injury” under the law and result in successful cases and monetary recoveries.

TYPES OF SPINAL INJURIES:

Compression Fracture:   A compression fracture is when the bones of the spine break due to severe trauma \ impact. In a compression fracture the bone tissue within the spine collapses on itself due to the severe force of a impact. Obviously, this a painful and severe injury and often leads to other injuries \ symptoms such as loss of sensation \ feeling, loss of range of motion in the affected area, damage to ligaments, nerve root damage, and spinal cord damage.

Treatment for compression fractures include rest, pain medications, bed confinement, and wearing a back brace. In the most serious cases, surgery may also be required.

Thoracic Spine Injury:  The thoracic spine is located in the chest area and contains 12 vertebrae. Along with the rib cage, the thoracic spine protects many vital organs including the heart & lungs. Thoracic injuries are very common in high impact accidents such as auto accidents. These high impact accidents often result in thoracic herniated discs, bulging discs and fractures. The most common area of fracture is the lower thoracic spine at disc levels T11, T12, & L1.  A serious thoracic injury can be life altering and result in permanent disability, nerve root damage, & paralysis.

Cervical Spine Injury:    The NECK or cervical spine consists of 7 vertebrae (C1 to C7) which are separated by vertebral discs. The discs are jelly like and act as a type of shock absorber between the bones and allows the free and easy movement of the spine. As a majority of the bodies nerves pass through the neck area, a injury to the neck can be very painful & life altering.  Neck fractures can result in long term issues and even paralysis. Neck herniation’s can result in  nerve damage causing  severe pain in the arms and neck, numbness and weakness in the arms and hands, and tingling in the hands & fingers. Treatment includes various forms of physical therapy & rest, and if the therapy is not successful than surgical intervention may be necessary.

Lumbar Spine Injury:  The lower back or Lumbar spine consists of 5 vertebrae and disc material. The lumbar area is probably the most common area injured from falls & auto accidents.  As the lumbar back supports the legs, injuries to the lumbar can effect the ability to walk and walk pain free. Herniations to the lumbar region can cause nerve damage and resultant pain, numbness, and weakness in the legs & feet.  Lumbar injuries can be treated with therapy and surgery.

Obviously, an injury to the back has the potential to life altering and permanent. If you have injured your back as the result of an accident contact the attorneys at The Law Office of Frederick Altschuler with any questions or concerns you may have.

PROTECTING YOUR CHILD

SCHOOL SAFETY

Obviously there is NOTHING more important to a parent than the safety & well being of their child. When a parent sends their child off to school every morning, they trust that the school,  teachers, and the administrators will provide them with a safe & secure learning environment. Most of the time this is the case, we all have a teacher or a class that we remember fondly from our school days but there are, unfortunately , exceptions where accidents & events do occur that place our kids in danger.

Unfortunately, there are many different scenarios in which a child may be injured at school. Some of these include the following:

School Bus Accidents:

If your child is involved or injured in a school bus accident there may be multiple parties at fault. Did the bus driver operate the bus properly and within both VTL & school board rules ? Was there another vehicle who was partly or wholly responsible ? Was the driver properly licensed  & trained ?

Other Students \ School Yard Bully:

Bullies have been around for as long as there have been schools. It is a sad part of adolescent life. It is important to know that it is NOT just the bully\student who is responsible for their behavior. The school, the administrators, and the teachers are also responsible for the behavior of the students. Failure to properly instruct, monitor, & discipline a student for aggressive behavior is grounds for legal liability against the school. The school may also be responsible for implementing a code of conduct and may be liable for not doing so, or for not following and enforcing such code. Additionally, the school may be liable for negligently hiring incompetent personal and either implementing negligent security or for failure to hire security.

Teacher Conduct &\or Assaults:

Thankfully, teacher assaults on students are not common but they do happen. Obviously, the school or school district will be legally liable for this (there may also be criminal charges as well), but there are other less obvious ways in which teacher conduct may result in legal liability. Failure for a teacher to properly monitor behaviors, offer proper instructions, & provide & enforce student guidelines may result in liability if your child is injured. Additionally, teachers must properly instruct & monitor students who are using potentially dangerous instruments in a science class or a shop class.  Essentially, the teachers and administrators are responsible for providing a safe environment for your children to learn & socialize with each other.

Playground Accidents:

Unfortunately, there are always going to be playground accidents & injuries when children are running & playing. NOT every playground injury is the result of fault and imposes legal liability on the school. Sometimes kids are just gonna be kids & accidents do happen. However, many playground accidents can be avoided and will impose legal liability on the school, teachers, & administrators. Some example’s are as follows:

  • Negligent Supervision
  • Faulty playground equipment
  • Negligently maintained or repaired equipment
  • Inadequate security
  • Dangerous & dirty playground \ unsafe area

In short, there are unfortunately many ways in which children are injured at school.  While not every incident or accident results in legal liability, many do. if you are faced with the horrible experience of having your child injured at school, contact the Law Office of Frederick Altschuler to discuss your legal options.

 

 

 

 

DO YOU HAVE A “SERIOUS INJURY” ?

In order to receive money damages for injuries sustained in a automobile accident you must have sustained a “Serious Injury”.  However, to the dismay of many clients, Serious Injury is not a lay term, but is a specific legal term that carries specific legal meaning.

In order to receive a monetary award for injuries sustained \ pain & suffering beyond the No-Fault limits of a insurance policy, one must suffer a Serious Injury. It is NOT unreasonable for a lay person who has been injured to feel they have suffered a Serious Injury.  It is NOT unreasonable for a lay person to feel, “I’m really sore and really banged up, I ache all over so I definitely have a serious injury”.  However, the law defines “Serious Injury” in a way that doesn’t always match up with the definition of a injured lay person

Serious Injury is defined in Section 5102 of NY Insurance Law as a personal injury that results in:

  • Death
  • Dismemberment
  • Significant Disfigurement
  • Fracture
  • Loss of a Fetus
  • Permanent loss of use of a body organ or member, function or system
  • Permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member
  • Significant limitation of use of a body function or system
  • A non permanent injury which prevents the injured person from performing substantially all of the material acts which constitute such person’s  usual & customary daily activities for not less than 90 days during the 180 days immediately following the occurrence of the injury or impairment

So now it all makes sense, huh ? Of course NOT ! Clearly some of these terms are vague and ambiguous. How much  disfigurement is needed for it to be “significant” ? What is a “consequential” limitation ?? Obviously there are certain elements of the serious Injury Law which are clear and simple such as Fracture, or Loss of Fetus. These are clear and unambiguous. However, many of the other legal elements needed to prove Serious Injury are vague & unclear.

Due to the ambiguity in the law, often times it is left to a jury to decide exactly what is a serious injury. If your injury is not clear and obvious like a fracture, than you must be able to prove your injury with other medical documentation such as:

  • MRI Exam
  • Cat Scan
  • Physician reports & opinion
  • EMG Testing
  • Range of Motion (ROM) testing
  • Other tests as your treating physician sees fit.

What a lay person feels is a Serious Injury, may not be so under the law. What qualifies as a Serious Injury can often appear confusing & ambiguous and even unfair. If you feel you have suffered a serious Injury as the result of a auto accident, call the Law Office of Frederick Altschuler and we will guide you through the process and insure your rights are protected.

 

NO FAULT INSURANCE

WHAT IS NO-FAULT AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE ?

Any automobile coverage issued in NY State has No-Fault coverage. The insurance covers anyone in your vehicle at the time of an accident. (It may cover others as well such as pedestrians but that’s a conversation for another time) No-Fault coverage will cover your medical bills, lost wages, and other medically necessary expenses.  As this coverage is “No-Fault” , the coverage is available regardless of whomever was at fault for the accident. “Fault” is not a factor.

Your No-Fault coverage may also cover you and\or family members you reside with if you are involved in a accident while a passenger in a UNINSURED vehicle. If you do not have your own auto coverage and the auto in the accident is uninsured, you may still be able to claim No-Fault benefits from NYS MVAIC Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation (MVAIC). Regardless whom the coverage is with, you must file your application for benefits within 30 days from the accident date. If you are unsure about what coverage may be available to you, The Law Office of Frederick Altschuler is available to help you through the process.

30 DAYS

Your insurance carrier MUST be placed on written notice of the accident & your claim within 30 days of the accident. If you fail to submit your application for No-Fault benefits within 30 days you risk losing ALL benefits otherwise available to you.

$50,000 NO-FAULT COVERAGE

No-Fault coverage provides  $50,000 of coverage for every occupant of the vehicle. That $50,000 will cover any combination of medical bills, hospital, lost wage, medical supplies and other miscellaneous expense related to the case & your injury. Lost wage is paid at 80% of your gross monthly wage up to $2000 per month max.

Note that $50,000 may be a cap, and not a guarantee. The reality is that at some point in your case the No-Fault carrier will try to terminate coverage. This termination is after they conduct a Independent Medical Exam (IME) by a doctor of their choosing. If this doctor determines that you do not need any further medical treatment they will attempt to terminate your benefits. Lastly, it is possible to obtain coverage in excess of the $50,000 limit. Most carriers will allow you to purchase additional coverage and\or higher limits of coverage.

ADDITIONAL NO-FAULT COVERAGE

For a minimal price, you can purchase additional coverage’s beyond the $50,000 basic limits. You can purchase Optional Basic Economic Loss coverage (OBEL) and Additional Personal Injury Protection (APIP). This coverage will give you limits beyond the $50,000 coverage. Speak to your insurance agent for specifics & pricing.

DOCTORS

Unlike many personal health care insurance policies, you do NOT need a referral to see a medical provider. You can see your primary care provider as well as various specialist including orthopedist, neurologist, and surgical specialists. Note that you will need a referral for various testing such as MRI or CAT scans. Obviously, the amount and type of treatment you receive is between you & your doctor. It is important that your doctor documents and verifies your treatment, especially if (when ?) the carrier attempts to terminate your coverage and treatment post IME. If your coverage\treatment is terminated, there are various avenues available to contest the termination and fight back. If you have any questions or concerns about your No-Fault benefits contact The Law Office of Frederick Altschuler and we will be happy to discuss your options with you.

The Examination Before Trial

Anyone who has been through a Personal Injury lawsuit will be familiar with the Examination Before Trial or EBT or Deposition. But what exactly is an EBT ?

An EBT is a fairly informal proceeding which occurs prior to a trial (often months or years prior to the trial) where the attorneys for each side get to question, under oath, the other sides party to the lawsuit. It usually occurs at the office of one of the attorneys, or at the county court house. The only people present are the parties (usually just plaintiff & defendant), their attorneys, and a stenographer to record the proceedings.  Each party is questioned by the other sides attorney with the purpose to illicit information about the lawsuit, high light the issues, and eliminating surprise at the trial.

While each case and each EBT is unique unto itself, the basic guidelines to follow are universal:

TELL THE TRUTH: Like your mother always told you, honesty is the best policy. If you are caught lying it can severely damage your credibility, your claim, and in a worst case scenario, may actually completely kill your case. Simply tell the truth and explain what happened to cause your accident \ injuries

DO NOT GUESS:  If you are asked a question and do not know the answer, than simply say so.  There is nothing wrong with saying , “I DO NOT KNOW”. Guessing can only lead to problems.

UNDERSTAND THE QUESTION: If you do not fully understand the question posed to you, than DO NOT ANSWER IT. This is just as bad as guessing. If you don’t understand the question than say so. Do not be shy. Have the opposing attorney repeat or rephrase the question as many times as needed in order to feel comfortable with the question.

ANSWER THE QUESTION:  This may seem like an obvious thing to say but it isn’t . Obviously, you are going to answer the question posed to you, but there are good & bad ways to do so. Quite simply, answer the question AND ONLY THE QUESTION ! Do not volunteer additional information or continue to ramble on after you have answered.

STAY CALM & BE POLITE:  Often times the other attorney will try to “get a rise” out of you. Don’t fall for it. Be polite , calm, and carry yourself like a professional. Simply answer the questions as they come and keep your cool.

AVOID JOKES & WISE CRACKS:  First off a lawsuit is a serious matter and deserves to be treated with respect. Secondly, remember that everything you say is being recorded by a stenographer. Even funny jokes don’t always seem funny later on when they are in written form.  Sarcasm, tone of voice,  & facial expressions do NOT come across in a transcript.

An Examination Before trial is a very important part of the case. A poorly conducted EBT can damage a case, if not totally destroy it. Conversely, a good EBT can set you up for a successful trial, or even force your adversary into a favorable settlement.