What to Do If Injuries Appear Long After a Car Accident

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Car crashes often result in injuries. There are instances, however, when symptoms for physical and psychological injuries appear months or years after a car accident. If you or someone you know is experiencing “delayed” injuries or symptoms caused by a car crash, this article will be helpful.

Watch Out for Delayed-Onset Injuries from Car Accidents

One of the things you must do when you get into a car accident is to let a doctor or medical first responder assess you for injuries. If you’re feeling any pain or have bruises and cuts, allow them to tend to you. It will also be wise to take photos and videos of any visible injuries. These will serve as evidence for claims and will help a car accident injury attorney create a strong case for you.

However, injuries and symptoms may appear long after an accident. Passengers and drivers can feel perfectly fine immediately after a crash but experience chronic pain weeks later. These injuries are referred to as delayed-onset car accident injuries.

If you walked away from a car accident unharmed, observe your health and watch out for symptoms that might hint at a delayed-onset injury. Below are some examples:

  • Chronic headaches – This can be a red flag for a severe injury if the victim only started getting frequent and painful headaches after the accident. It’s crucial to see a doctor as soon as this happens (and document the tests and results, too). You could be looking at soft tissue injury, swelling, blood clots, and other types of traumatic brain injury.
  • Shoulder, neck, and back pain – If you were wearing your seatbelt when the crash happened, you might have experienced whiplash from the opposing torques of your car and the other vehicle. Whiplash can be treated at home, but you must still consult a doctor if only to rule out serious injuries, like a lumbar strain or disc fractures.
  • Psychological symptoms – Car accidents may cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression. Victims who experience mental and emotional trauma sometimes don’t recognize that they are suffering from it. Listen to your companions at home if they observe something different in your behavior or reaction to certain things or events.

File Your Claims Immediately

California has a two-year statute of limitations for claims and lawsuits related to car accident injuries (California Code of Civil Procedure 335.1). Car accident victims typically have two years from the date of the accident to file insurance claims against the negligent driver.

There are exceptions for delayed-onset injuries. Under the delayed discovery rule, the injured victim can have one more year from the date he or she discovered the injury to file a claim.

Prove that Your Injury is Related to Your Car Accident

Although it is widely acknowledged that car accident injuries can appear belatedly, victims still have to prove that the symptoms they’re experiencing are because of the car accident.

When you file your claims, expect the defendant or the negligent driver responsible for the accident to cast doubt on the nature of your symptoms. They may argue that your symptoms are due to a pre-existing medical condition, or a health problem that developed after the accident but is entirely unrelated.

The defendant’s insurance company will also scrutinize your claim. You must follow the claims process carefully and present all the necessary documents so that you can negotiate for the maximum settlement possible.

To raise your chances of getting full compensation, get the help of an experienced car accident injury lawyer. They will file your claims and fiercely negotiate on your behalf. Doing so will make the process smoother because your attorney already knows what documents to gather and how to beat the deadline for your insurance claim.

More importantly, you can have peace of mind knowing that your case is in capable hands — a comfort, considering the physical pain or emotional distress you’re already going through due to your delayed-onset injury.

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The Impact of Pre-Existing Conditions in Personal Injury Claim After a Car Accident

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If you’re involved in a car accident, a pre-existing condition can either help or hurt your personal injury case. It all depends on the circumstances of the accident and how it affected your situation.

Personal Injury Claims in Car Accidents

Millions of vehicular accidents occur on U.S. roads every year, leading to thousands of casualties and injuries.  These injuries result in lost wages and hefty medical bills, not to mention physical and emotional distress. If you were involved in a car accident that is not your fault, you could file a personal injury claim against the liable party.

This process involves the insurance company determining the extent of your injuries and whether the crash caused them. However, if they discover that you have a pre-existing condition, they might have grounds to deny your claim or minimize the value of the compensation you’re set to receive.

How Pre-Existing Conditions Impact Your Claim

Often, a new injury or traumatic experience exacerbates a pre-existing condition. If this is the case, you may be eligible to get compensation for the aggravation of your condition. Below are some health problems that may worsen after you get involved in a car accident:

  • Cardiovascular diseases

The stress and trauma of car accidents can lead to irregular heartbeats and cause heart attacks.

  • Chronic conditions

The crash’s impact can exacerbate chronic and degenerative conditions such as back or neck pain and arthritis.

  • Broken bones

You may get re-fractured if you have been involved in a car accident while having bone fractures that have only recently started to heal.

  • Brain injury

If you have recently suffered from a traumatic brain injury, getting into a car accident might worsen your condition, like turning headaches into memory loss.

Disclosing Pre-Existing Injuries

If these pre-existing conditions worsen, not only will your health be in jeopardy, but they will also result in costly medical bills.

This is the exact reason insurance companies might scrutinize your claim and try to deny you compensation. They might allege that the severity of your suffered injuries is due to your pre-existing condition and not the accident. They might also say that your pre-existing condition may have contributed to your fault in the accident.

Despite these, you should not be afraid of disclosing your pre-existing conditions. In fact, if you have some, it’s pertinent that you tell the insurance adjusters about them. Hiding pre-existing conditions might decrease your claim’s credibility, especially if the insurer finds out that you didn’t disclose them.

The Eggshell Doctrine

The eggshell doctrine, recognized by California law, states that a personal injury victim’s existing health issues prior to an accident cannot be used against them to lower the value of their claim. So, even if a person without pre-existing conditions may have gotten less severe injuries if they were involved in a similar accident, the liable party must still compensate you for the full extent of your injuries.

Apart from the eggshell doctrine, an attorney that specializes in brain injury and other personal injuries can help with your case and get you the compensation you deserve. Haffner Law’s experienced personal injury attorneys are ready to help.

Contact us at 1-844-HAFFNER today.

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What To Do If You’re a Passenger in a Car Accident

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When you become involved in a car accident as a passenger, the courts generally regard you as a victim of the incident. The first assumption is you’re not directly involved in the accident and are therefore entitled to receive insurance benefits from the people responsible if you sustained any injury.

California is a tort state. This means that for car accidents in Los Angeles, the driver who is at fault in an accident is liable for the damages and injuries that resulted from the incident. As the passenger, you can file for personal injury claims against the person responsible for the accident, whether that is your companion behind the wheel or the driver of the other vehicle.

No-Fault Passenger

Regardless of who you were riding with, you may file a personal injury claim from the responsible party and get reimbursed if you paid out-of-pocket for emergency treatment. Depending on the nature of your injury, the court may also grant you compensation for lost wages and long-term treatment.

Ideally, you would have done the following immediately after the accident:

  1. Called 911 and asked for medical assistance.

  2. Called a personal injury attorney.

  3. Collected the following information about the driver or drivers involved in the accident:

  • NAP (full name, address, and phone number)
  • Driver’s license number
  • License plate number
  • Description of the other vehicle (brand, model, color)
  • Insurance company and policy number
  • Photos and videos of the cars after collision (for documentation)

Note: You are not required to provide your personal information to any other party because you’re just a passenger.

  1. Called your insurance company.

The last entry in this checklist is necessary because the claims process takes time to complete. It would be foolish to wait for your claims to push through before seeking proper treatment for your injuries.

If your policy covers car accidents, your insurance company can cover your medical expenses in the meantime. The payout you receive from your personal injury claim can go towards reimbursing your insurance provider afterward.

At Fault Passenger

With California being a tort state that observes a pure comparative negligence system, the court can also explore the possibility of a passenger being partly or entirely at fault in an accident. A passenger’s insurance claims may be denied or adjusted to a lower amount if there is sufficient and credible evidence proving his or her liability.

When determining liability, the court and insurance providers will assess whose negligence caused the accident. A passenger can become liable, too, if:

  • He/she did something that broke the driver’s focus (e.g., an argument led to the passenger getting physical with the driver)
  • He/she distracted the driver
  • He/she consented to the driver getting behind the wheel despite being intoxicated.
  • He/she encouraged the driver to disobey traffic rules (e.g., egged the driver to exceed the speeding limit and disregard road signs like Stop, One-Way, and No Entry)

If your claims are challenged by allegations of partial liability, you must consult with a personal injury lawyer right away. California law allows individuals who are 90% responsible for an accident to still file a claim for 10% of the damages against the other party. A lawyer will ensure that you get the compensation you deserve.

Haffner Law’s personal injury attorneys can help you whether you’re a passenger without fault or with fault. Call us if you get into a car accident in L.A. You can reach us at 1-844-HAFFNER or 213-514-5681.

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Vehicular Accidents Increases During Coronavirus Pandemic

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The coronavirus pandemic has significantly reduced the number of vehicles on the streets and freeways of Los Angeles as people are encouraged to stay at home. Despite the mostly empty roadways, normal life attempts to go on. Unfortunately, that includes vehicular accidents of all sorts.

Compiled reports during the nationwide lockdown indicate that there has been a marked increase in car accidents. This makes the services of car accident lawyers and expert Uber accident attorneys even more important. You should also be aware of the necessary precautions you should employ if you’re involved in a vehicular accident during the lockdown.

Empty Roads, Reckless Drivers

According to a report published by the National Safety Council, fatalities from motor vehicle accidents climbed by 14%. The increase in fatalities in roadways are more notable in the following states:

  • Connecticut: 42%
  • Louisiana: 23%
  • New York: 17%
  • Arkansas: 16%
  • Nevada: 10%
  • North Carolina: 10%
  • Oklahoma: 9%
  • California: 8%

But why would roadway death increase when there are fewer people out driving? Experts suggest that the open streets and lanes appear more inviting to irresponsible drivers. The decreased number of vehicles makes the roads more tempting to reckless drivers looking for an excuse to break the speed limit. The pandemic could also have reduced the number of law enforcement personnel monitoring the streets.

The temptation to break speed limits and behave dangerously on the road could affect private car owners as well as drivers for ride-hailing apps. But what should you do if you or the ride-share car you’ve booked get into a car accident?

Necessary Precautions

The coronavirus pandemic has decreased vehicles on the road but increased car accidents. You need to follow some important precautions if you want to avoid unnecessary exposure.

  • Get medical help immediately if you or someone else involved in the accident sustained an injury. Do not hesitate to cooperate with first responders.
  • Maintain social distancing procedures as much as you can. If you have to give a statement to law enforcement or interact with anyone, keep a minimum of six feet away.
  • If you are exchanging phone numbers or insurance information, verbally share these details clearly instead of handing pens and paper with other people.
  • Do not wait to go to the hospital if needed. You may be hesitant to go anywhere near a medical facility now, but not doing so might exacerbate any injuries sustained and could be dangerous in the long run.
  • Brace yourself for delays, from processing your insurance to resolving lawsuits you may file. The pandemic and the measures employed to control its spread might impede most processes. Be patient and remember that these measures are in place for a reason.

Car accidents are some of the most serious incidents that could happen to you or a loved one. The pandemic will present some difficulties in processing any legal action you may want to pursue against a reckless driver. You need to work with a professional law firm with years of experience in handling similar cases if you’re going to receive the justice you deserve.

Vehicular and Ride-Hailing Accident Attorneys in Los Angeles

Haffner Lawyers have successfully represented multiple clients and have won millions of dollars in settlements for our clients. Our team has years of experience building cases involving car accidents and have the expertise to pursue justice for the victims of incidents involving ride-hailing apps. Check out our successful cases and see what we could do for you.

Call us today and schedule a free consultation.

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The Four Major Causes of Traumatic Brain Injury

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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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