The Four Major Causes of Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer Los Angeles

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the most devastating injuries a person can suffer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines TBI as “a disruption in the normal function of the brain that can be caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, or penetrating head injury.”

While the brain is surrounded by cerebrospinal fluid, which protects it from direct contact with the skull, a sudden, violent action can cause the brain to collide with the skull. This may result in the bruising of the brain, tearing of nerve fibers, and even bleeding. Because a person’s brain is a delicate thing and vulnerable to severe injuries, even the bumps which aren’t all that strong can lead to TBI.

Suffering from TBI has many long-term consequences, from minor ones like headaches and dizziness to more serious illnesses like impaired brain function and memory problems. Unfortunately, brain injuries are quite common. According to the CDC, TBI is the leading cause of death and disability among children and young adults. Every year, about 1.5 million Americans sustain a TBI.

Different circumstances can lead to TBI. The most common ones are as follows:

  1. Slips and Falls

An icy sidewalk, the bathroom, a highly polished floor—slip-and-fall accidents can happen almost anywhere. These accidents happen suddenly, so a lot of people do not have the time to regain or find their balance and they end up hitting their head on a hard surface. The impact may result in all manner of head injury, like skull fracture, internal bleeding, or TBI.

  1. Vehicular Accidents

Vehicular accidents are the most common causes of TBI. Drivers and passengers may get TBI from striking their heads on the vehicle’s interiors or from suffering whiplash, which can cause the brain to collide with the skull.

  1. Playing Sports

Football and hockey are some of the most popular games in the U.S. However, they are also some of the most common causes of TBI. Despite protective gear, athletes knock their heads against each other or on the ground when playing these sports. The first few times may cause mild concussions, but continuous head injuries, especially when neglected, can result in severe damage down the road. Many athletes in these sports end up with a diagnosis of chronic brain trauma or suffer from degenerative diseases after they retire.

  1. Acts of Violence

Gunshot and knife wounds, repeated blows to the head, and being violently shaken by another person are acts of violence that may result in TBI. The first example is a type of open head injury that can penetrate the skull and injure the brain. The latter two, meanwhile, may cause the brain to rock back and forth within the skull, creating lacerations, bruises, and other damage.

Compensation for Traumatic Brain Injury

The symptoms of TBI do not often manifest physically. Some people even ignore the symptoms, such as dizziness and headaches, thinking they will pass. This makes TBI a tricky and dangerous illness, so it is essential to seek medical attention.

If you have been diagnosed with TBI from an incident that was due to someone else’s negligence, you can claim compensation for what will likely be a long and expensive medical treatment course. An experienced brain injury attorney from Haffner Law can help you get the compensation you need in Los Angeles. Contact Haffner Law at 1-844-HAFFNER today for a free consultation.

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Factors That Complicate a Rental Car Crash

Car Accident Lawyer in Los Angeles

Resolving truck accidents can be a complicated matter because several parties may be to blame for the accident — Los Angeles is a comparative fault city, after all. Moreover, the parties involved may have acquired serious injuries, substantial medical debt, damaged property, and emotional trauma.

The situation becomes even more complex if one of the vehicles involved is a rental car. There are insurance coverage issues, not to mention the rental company might be liable for the accident. The parties involved, therefore, need a truck accident lawyer in Los Angeles who’ll help them navigate this difficult legal matter.

Haffner Law explores how the rental nature of a car plays into the legal aspects of the accident and compensation claims.

Determining Who’s at Fault

California’s comparative fault rule states the multiple parties can share the blame for the accident. This rule holds even if one of the cars is rented.

For instance, the driver of the rental car may be found 20% responsible for the accident, while the truck driver would be accountable for the remaining 80%. So, if the driver of the rental car is injured, he or she can still recover damages, even if he or she is partly to blame. Twenty percent will simply be deducted from his or her compensation.

If one of the drivers is found 100% accountable for the accident, then he or she will be liable for the innocent party’s damages and injuries, even though one of them is driving a rental car.

Evaluating the Insurance Coverage

If the driver of the rental car is the innocent party, then he or she will be awarded compensation for the accident. If, however, the driver is at-fault, there are certain types of insurance coverage that may apply, like the driver’s:

  • Personal Auto Insurance Policy – This is the first coverage that will be depleted for the compensation of the innocent party.
  • Additional Insurance – Most rental companies require clients to purchase extra insurance, which can be a source for the reimbursement of the innocent party.
  • Credit Card Company – Some credit card companies offer insurance when used for a rental car. The at-fault driver can check if this covers the damages for another party.

We stress that drivers shouldn’t speak to their insurance companies by themselves. Often, insurance providers contact victims and offer unfair settlements. Worse, some mislead victims to make statements that can be used against them when determining who’s at fault.

The best recourse is to have an attorney speak with the insurance company. The driver would have the peace of mind that a legal professional works toward getting fair compensation.

Determining if the Rental Car Company Is Liable

In a few cases, the rental company is liable for the accident. It’s the businesses’ responsibility to keep their rental vehicles in good working condition and conduct repairs as soon as they spot problems. Moreover, they have to inspect the cars thoroughly before they rent them to clients.

The rental company could be blamed for the accident if:

  • They hired unqualified technicians to fix and look after the car, which resulted in defects that caused the accident.
  • They used low-quality replacements, which resulted in vehicle defects that caused the accident.
  • They knowingly or negligently rented out a defective vehicle, which caused the accident.
  • They rented the car to a person with a suspended license and, therefore, someone who isn’t authorized to drive.

Due to the complex nature of rental car accidents, you need a lawyer who will help you understand and resolve this legal matter. If you’re involved in a rental car and truck accident, get in touch with Haffner Law today.

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Rideshare Car Accident: Who Pays for the Damages and When to File a Lawsuit

uber lyft accident attorney los angeles

When you get into a rideshare car accident in a comparative fault city like Los Angeles, California, liability for the damages depends on the at-fault driver or drivers, even if this driver happens to be the one working for a rideshare company like Uber or Lyft.

In cases where the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage falls short, the rideshare company’s insurance may compensate for it.

How much you will receive in damages, however, is another question. The adjuster of the at-fault driver’s insurance company will investigate matters, and he’ll most likely offer an amount that is more favorable to the insurance company than you.

If you want the best settlement you can get, know how to assert your right to the amount you deserve. In this case, getting the help of a rideshare car accident attorney is a good move.

A rideshare car accident lawyer is experienced in negotiating with insurance companies and can help you determine damages. He or she will also help your assessment of the following:

  • How much should the damage claims be?
  • Who’s at fault, by what percentage, and who should pay how much?
  • Should you file a personal injury lawsuit or not?

Let’s look at them one by one.

How much should you claim as damages?

In a car accident, there are what we call economic and non-economic damages.  Economic damages are easier to compute and straightforward.  It includes:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Damaged property repair and replacement
  • Lost wages and loss of earning capacity
  • Burial expenses

It’s the non-economic damages that are more difficult to assign a monetary value to:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Physical injury
  • Disability
  • Emotional distress
  • Other losses or inconveniences

 Who should pay how much?

As mentioned earlier, damages fall on the driver who is at fault, since he is considered an individual contractor. He is not the rideshare company’s employee, and therefore, is responsible for his insurance. If his insurance cannot cover the damages, the rideshare company’s insurance policy will cover the remaining cost.

In some car accidents, multiple parties may be at fault. In California’s pure comparative negligence system, each of these parties is held financially responsible, to the degree of their fault.  Based on investigations, if your driver is 25 percent at-fault and the other driver is 75 percent at-fault, then the damages will be divided accordingly.

What if the at-fault party’s insurance company refuses to pay?

When an insurance policy does include occupational accidents or a rideshare insurance extension, your at-fault driver’s insurance company may refuse to pay for the damages. It may also have insufficient coverage. When one of these two happens, you can file claims from the rideshare company’s insurer.

Should you file for a personal injury lawsuit?

A personal injury lawsuit is tedious and stressful. And it puts you in a win-all or lose-all situation. If you lose the case, you don’t receive anything, not even the pre-litigation settlement offer by the insurance companies.

However, where outright negligence has resulted in extensive damages like permanent disability or loss of a loved one, filing for a personal injury lawsuit may be the only way you can get the compensation you deserve.

When you’re in this situation, you may want to consult an attorney who is experienced in a car accident or rideshare injury to know your chances of winning the case.  At Haffner Law, we have experienced Uber or Lyft accident attorneys who can help you determine the best course to take after a car crash in a ridesharing trip. We will thoroughly investigate your accident and negotiate for the compensation you deserve, whether through an amicable settlement or a lawsuit.

Contact us at 1-844-HAFFNER (423-3637) to schedule a consultation today.

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Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries Caused by Car Accidents

traumatic brain injury lawyer los angeles

In a car accident, many kinds of injuries can happen, but there is one kind of injury that causes a lot of concern: a brain injury. Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are caused by unnatural movement, bumps, blows to the head, or violent shaking, resulting in a sudden striking of the brain against the skull. The brain’s soft tissue absorbs the force of the impact, which can disrupt the brain’s normal function. TBIs can range from mild to severe and may take months to appear.

Motor vehicle crashes are the third overall leading cause of TBI-related hospital visits and deaths, after falls and being stuck by or against an object. During a car crash, a person may experience whiplash and be subjected to sudden violent movements. Their head may even hit surfaces such as the steering wheel or dashboard. No matter if you were rear-ended or were in a head-on collision, there are a few different brain injuries that you may sustain.

Concussion

Concussions are mild TBIs and are one of the most familiar types of brain injuries, especially in car accidents. It can occur after an impact to the head that causes your head and brain to quickly shake back and forth, like when you get whiplash.

The symptoms of a concussion differ depending on the injury’s severity. While some people experience a loss of consciousness after a concussion, not all people do. Some more symptoms of a concussion include:

  • Balance problems
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Dizziness
  • Double vision or blurred vision
  • Drowsiness or feeling sluggish
  • Headache
  • Lightheadedness
  • Memory problems
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Slowed reaction to stimuli
  • Slurred speech

Contusion

A contusion is a localized bruise on the brain tissue and can occur after a direct impact on the head, like when your head strikes the window or steering wheel when in a car accident. Like other bruises, brain contusions range from minor to life-threatening.

Some symptoms of a contusion include the following:

  • Cognitive changes
  • Difficulty balancing or coordinating
  • Difficulty forming new memories
  • Difficulty forming sentences
  • Finding it hard to concentrate
  • Numbness or tingling in the affected area
  • Slurred speech

Penetration

A penetrating head wound happens when an object punctures your skull and hits your brain. In a car accident, the objects both inside and outside the vehicle may become dangerous projectiles that can cause severe penetrative injuries.

Injuries such as this can be fatal. They may cause serious complications such as the following:

  • Bleeding from the ears
  • Coma
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Heavy blood loss
  • Loss of bowel and bladder function
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Loss of movement or sensation in limbs
  • Paralysis
  • Seizure

No matter what kind of TBI you or someone you love has sustained in a car accident in Los Angeles, you should get in contact with a brain injury attorney from Haffner Law. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Haffner Law is committed to our clients. We will review your case and determine which legal options are available for you to recover compensation. Get in touch with us today for a free consultation.

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How is Accident Liability Proven Against Rideshare Companies?

uber lyft accident lawyer

The convenience of ride-hailing apps such as Uber and Lyft has attracted an incredible number of users these past few years. But a study from the University of Chicago and Rice University revealed there has been a 2 to 3 percent rise in the number of fatal auto accidents at the same time that ride-sharing services gained traction.

The uptick in vehicle fatalities is a concern enough, but what exacerbates the problem is the transportation network companies’ (TNC) protocol when it comes to accidents involving their drivers.

In an Uber or a Lyft accident, the TNC doesn’t automatically become liable for the negligence of their drivers. The process of proving liability is more complex than a regular auto crash, which places an importance on lawyers knowledgeable specifically in Uber and Lyft accidents..

An Uber or a Lyft lawyer can help you prove liability in an accident in two ways.

   1. Countercheck with the TNC’s car requirements

Each state has varying regulations for TNCs and their drivers. These include car specs, driver requirements, and insurance coverage. In California, general car requirements include:

  • The TNC’s decal must be on the vehicle’s window whenever the driver is using the app
  • The car must be registered in and have a license plate from the state
  • The car must be insured by an auto insurance policy issued in the state
  • The car can’t be classified as a salvage or rebuilt
  • The car must not have aftermarket parts
  • The car must pass an annual inspection and keep the inspection form inside at all times
  • The car must have four doors and four to six passenger seats

An accident lawyer in Los Angeles or any other California city can countercheck these regulations to see if the driver committed any violations. Although you can’t sue the driver or the TNC on these grounds alone, your lawyer can use these violations to strengthen your personal injury claim in the case of an accident.

   2. Determine Whose Insurance Policy Applies

Normally, you can make a personal injury claim under the driver at-fault’s insurance policy to cover your medical and hospital expenses. But in a ride-sharing accident, two insurance providers are involved. The question of who will compensate for your damages depends on which “period” the accident happened.

Period 0: When the driver accidentally hits someone but doesn’t have the ride-sharing app on, his or her policy will apply. The TNC immediately assumes that the driver is off-duty in this case, so they can’t cover the damages.

Period 1: When the driver has the app on but hasn’t found a passenger yet, his or her personal rideshare insurance policy applies. If the driver doesn’t have this coverage, the TNC’s policy will kick in. California requires TNCs to provide at least $200,000 of excess liability insurance coverage.

Periods 2 and 3: When the driver is carrying a passenger when the accident happens, the TNC’s $1 million liability insurance policy applies. This will cover both the driver and the passenger.

An Uber or Lyft accident lawyer will identify at which period the accident occurred and collect the rest of the details of the accident. This will determine whom the personal injury claim should be directed to. Your lawyer will then help you gather evidence from the incident to strengthen your case.

Determining liability in accidents involving ride-hailing vehicles can get complex. This is why you’ll need the experience of a capable attorney who has handled similar cases.

Have a Capable Lawyer on Your Side

Our experienced Uber or Lyft accident attorneys at Haffner Lawyers can help you navigate the process and get you the compensation you deserve. We know how to investigate your accident, determine who’s at fault, and prove it in the court of law.

Contact us at 1-844-HAFFNER (423-3637) to schedule a consultation today.

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