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Why You Should Visit a Doctor After Any Car Accident

Why You Should Visit a Doctor After Any Car Accident

After a car accident, you might feel completely shocked or angry or scared about the situation. That’s all normal, but you shouldn’t let the jarring experience of a car accident affect whether or not you take care of yourself.

You might be tempted to avoid calling police, or you might want to leave the scene quickly because you need to get on with your life. You might view the car accident as minor, and not realize that you need medical treatment. As we’ve covered, there are dozens of injuries that can have delayed symptoms but result in life-long injuries. Just a few signs a car accident is delayed include:

  • Back pain
  • Headaches and dizziness
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Deep bruises
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Vision problems
  • Jaw issues
  • Ringing ears
  • Mental health issues

Not going to see a doctor after a car accident can also seriously affect your ability to successfully pursue a car accident claim in the future, if another driver’s negligence was to blame for the accident. Here are some reasons to get medical attention after any car accident you’ve been in.

Why You Should Visit a Doctor After Any Car AccidentIf You Delay Treatment, the Cause of Pain May Be Questioned

Say you are in a car accident, and a few days later, you experience back pain that was caused by the accident. You get medical treatment and decide to file a claim against the other driver.

Having waited, the defendant can claim:

The back pain was caused by something else, anything else, that happened in-between the car accident and the doctor’s visit. It’s more difficult to prove that the pain was caused by the accident, when you could have tweaked your back making a sudden sharp movement, performing a work duty, exercising or a whole host of other behaviors you did after the accident.

The pain was always there, and the car accident did nothing to exacerbate it. If you’ve seen a chiropractor in the past or visited a doctor for back issues previously, the defendant could point to previous pain as the cause.

You’re making up the pain. If the pain is so bad now, why didn’t you go to a doctor immediately after the car accident? The defendant could argue maybe you decided to try and file a lawsuit, but you never really had severe pain to begin with.

For your own legal protection, you should visit a doctor after a car accident to get a medical opinion and to show that you were serious enough about any possible pain or injury to get treatment. If emergency services are offered to you at the scene, take them. At the very least, visit an urgent care office or your primary physician as quickly as possible right after the accident.

Why You Should Visit a Doctor After Any Car AccidentYou Could Suffer More Severe Injuries

After a shocking event like a car accident, it’s common for the body to go into a fight-or-flight mode that is powered by endorphins and adrenaline. These hormones may mask pain to prepare the victim to stay safe and alert in a dangerous or high-pressure situation. For example, there are many cases of professional athletes breaking bones but continuing to finish a game without noticing their injury. These hormones could affect you after a car accident, too, making you feel physically fine but really covering up an injury that will only get worse with time.

A doctor will be able to feel your body for broken bones, perform an X-ray if they think that’s wise, and see symptoms of injuries that may not be noticeable to you but that are apparent to medical professionals. You might blame your dizziness for feeling anxious due to the car accident, but it could be an early sign of a brain injury. Waiting days or weeks for treatment can cause an injury to develop into something far worse that doesn’t respond as well to treatment.

Even if a doctor concludes you aren’t injured at your initial visit, you can get advice for symptoms to watch out for. If those do develop, you can revisit your physician for treatment.

A Doctor’s Visit Begins a Vital Paper Trail

Visiting a doctor results in proof that you took every precaution to get treatment for any possible injuries from a car accident. This proof can be essential if you decide to file a claim in the future. Because injuries can develop in a variety of ways, you may not decide to file a claim until several months down the road. Those doctor visit records can keep you protected and be used as evidence if you decide to file a claim.

Always review all records you receive from your doctor, and work to correct any errors you spot. You should also review your medical history. For example, if a doctor notes that you’ve had neck problems in the past, but you had never mentioned those to your doctor or received treatment for them, then make sure the record is corrected and updated to reflect the truth.

If you are in a car accident, no matter how severe it is, it is in your best interest to visit a doctor. If you feel the negligence of another driver is to blame for the accident and your injury, contact the Birmingham car accident lawyer team at Pittman, Dutton & Hellums for a free consultation for how we can help you.

Workplace Falls from Height: What to Do

Workplace Falls from Height: What to Do

Workplace Falls from Height: What to DoWorkplace falls from height are the leading cause of private sector worker death in the construction industry, accounting for nearly 39 percent of construction fatalities in 2016. They’re also among the leading causes of serious work-related injuries and deaths. While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports worker injuries and illnesses are down drastically from nearly 11 percent of workers in 1972 to nearly 3 percent of workers in 2016, there are still dangerous risks anyone working from a substantial height faces.

Workplace falls from height include incidents like the following:

  • Falling off ladders
  • Plummeting from scaffolding
  • Being struck by an object from above, then losing balance and falling off another object
  • Cascading off a roof or vehicle
  • Falling into a hole in the floor or a wall

Any fall from 6 feet or more can cause serious injury, but even falls covering fewer distances can cause broken bones, cuts, head injuries and more. Here’s a look at what to be aware of concerning workplace falls from height, what to do if you experience this type of situation, and when negligence may be to blame for your fall.

Workplace Falls from Height: What to DoCauses of Workplace Falls from Height

Any time you’re working high off the ground, it’s vital to be aware of the risks you incur. One of the top preventable causes of workplace falls from height is a lack of training. If you ever feel uncomfortable with the amount of training you have before working from a significant height, voice your concerns to an employer. You should never be forced to do work you are uncomfortable with.

As you’re working above the ground, keep these other risk factors in mind:

Inadequate edge protection: If you are not properly secured to a harness that can protect you in a fall, and there is no edge protection, you could slip off the edge and plunge.

Poor securing of flooring or objects: If what you are walking on is not stable and secure, you might fall or slip off the flooring. Objects above you that are not properly secured and that may fall on your could also cause you to fall.

Vehicle movement: If you are scaling a vehicle, and the vehicle starts moving without warning, you could fall off it. A moving vehicle could also cause you to collide with another object and fall off.

Weather: A 2016 study of falls from height found weather conditions are one of the most common factors in falls. Inclement weather like windy or rainy conditions can exacerbate risk factors.

Protect yourself in situations where a fall is a risk factor by wearing slip-resistant shoes, helmet equipment and protective clothing. Always make sure any equipment you use has been tested first to ensure it’s in proper working condition.

What to Do If You Fall at Work

If you experience a fall at work, call for help, and don’t move because you may be injured. Get medical attention immediately. Try to take a mental note of what you were doing before the fall, what the conditions were like, and what happened immediately after.

Workplace Falls from Height: What to DoYou will want to file a workers’ compensation claim with your employer. The insurance firm of your employer will handle compensation for medical bills and money lost from time missed off work.

Sometimes, the compensation you are offered is much lower than you deserve, or a workers’ compensation claim may be turned down. When an employer’s negligence is to blame, getting help from a workers’ compensation attorney may be wise. OSHA’s outline of fall protection states that employers must install fall protection at elevations at 4 feet or higher depending on the work environment. Employers should also guard holes, provide guardrails and toe-boards around elevated flooring, provide safety harnesses, and more depending on the work situation.

If you suspect adequate protection was not given to you while working, and you sustained a serious injury after a fall, contact an attorney. The statute of limitations prevents workers from filing a lawsuit after a certain amount of time, so it is best to get a free consultation as soon as possible from an attorney. Workers’ compensation claims don’t necessarily account for pain and suffering, or psychological damage incurred from a fall. An attorney can help you get the full compensation you deserve.

Need Help for a Serious Fall from Height Injury?

If you have experienced a serious injury from a fall, the team at Pittman, Dutton & Hellums may be able to help. We specialize in workers’ compensation issues and offer a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

Dog Bite Personal Injuries: What You Should Know

Dogs are some of our closest companions, but unfortunately, they can also injure us if proper precautions are not taken. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports there are about 4.5 million dog bites in the United States each year. Dog bites and injuries from dogs account for more than one-third of all homeowners insurance payments each year, up to $600 million, according to the Insurance Information Institute. While dogs can be amazing pets, your dog or someone else’s may pose a danger at some point.

In Alabama, dog bite laws have many nuances.
The owner of a dog that is known to be vicious or dangerous is at fault if another party is injured by that dog. In this case, if the dog is rabid during an attack, the owner is liable for twice the amount of damages. Sometimes no prior vicious behavior needs to have happened — simply, the type of breed of the dog may be enough to constitute prior knowledge. Dog bite cases can be further complicated when landlords are involved and may be deemed at fault.

If there is no knowledge of dangerous behavior and the dog bite victim was trespassing on the dog owner’s property or provoked the dog, the dog owner may build a case against the victim around factors like these. When injuries are caused because of a dog bite, often hiring a lawyer is beneficial for the victim and/or the dog owner, depending on the circumstances.

How Dog Bites Commonly Occur

The CDC reports that most dog bites happen with dogs we are familiar with, with half happening at home. Children are at high risk, which is why it is essential to be vigilant of your dog when it is near any kids. Dog bites can suddenly occur in situations where a dog seems calm — they can come out of nowhere once a dog is agitated. Be wary of situations including:

  • Interactions with breeds that may be considered aggressive, such as pit bulls
  • “Playing rough” with a dog, such as getting a dog to chase a person or lightly pushing it during play time
  • Interacting with a dog while it is eating, sleeping or caring for puppies
  • Being exposed to any dog that is unfamiliar

If you encounter a strange dog, always ask the owner for permission to interact with the dog before approaching it. Let the dog sniff you before touching it. If the dog seems anxious or uneasy, do not proceed.

Be cautious around stray dogs. Dogs that are off-leash and without an owner may be aggressive or have diseases such as rabies. Nearly 20 percent of dog bites become infected and may result in sickness or death of the victim.


What to Do If You Are a Dog Bite Victim

If you are bitten by a dog, treat the wound and get medical assistance if necessary. Ask the owner for information on current vaccines, including rabies, and be sure to obtain the rabies vaccine license number and full contact information of the dog owner, since you will need this information if you file an insurance claim and decide to file a personal injury lawsuit. Depending on the severity of the wound, you may also call emergency services and have a police report filed.

If your own dog was the one who bit you or someone in your family and you sustain significant injuries, you may file an insurance claim if you have homeowners insurance that covers dog bites. If your dog attacks your children or you feel unsafe around your dog, you will want to consider enrolling the dog in behavioral therapy or removing it from your home altogether. Be especially careful when introducing the dog to others, and be aware of the risks your dog poses.

What to Do If Your Dog Bites Someone Else

It can be heartbreaking when you witness your beloved pet causing physical injury and emotional stress to someone else. You may not have realized your pet had an aggressive side to it, and you may have thought you did everything in your power to keep those around your pet safe. In the case of your dog biting someone, it is important to focus on staying calm and not letting emotions dictate your actions. Do not admit fault or compromise your innocence, but help the victim obtain the medical assistance they need.

Do not leave the scene of the dog bite until you have exchanged contact information with the victim and provided police with your account of the situation if they are called to the scene. Comply with providing rabies vaccination information — and make sure all your animals are fully vaccinated, in the first place. If you believe your dog may be in danger or you might face a lawsuit, contact a lawyer immediately for a consultation.

If you are still in possession of your dog after they have bitten someone, it is important to prevent future dog bites and keep everyone else, including yourself, safe. Do not allow your dog to be in any public situation where they may attack someone else. Consult with a dog trainer to modify your dog’s behavior. If your goal is to keep your dog after they’ve attacked someone, you should work toward ensuring an attack never happens again by properly training your dog.

Get Help for Dog Bite Personal Injuries

Dog bites are some of the most traumatic personal injuries around. They’re painful for both the victim and the dog owner. Often the dog is cherished and loved. Protecting it in a case such as this may be a top priority, and protecting others from any harm it may cause in the future is paramount.

If you are a victim of a dog bite, you are entitled to compensation for physical injuries and emotional stress. You may also want to help prevent others from becoming a victim, too. A Birmingham personal injury lawyer than handles premises liability for dog bite cases can help you get the compensation you deserve and help increase safety for others.

If you are a dog owner of a dog that bites someone else, ensuring the protection of others while allowing your dog to have a healthy and happy life going forward requires expertise. If you are facing a dog bite lawsuit, consult with a lawyer to learn how to improve the situation.

No one wants dog bites to happen, but when they do, it’s important to take lawful steps to remedy the situation. Dog bite laws in Alabama can be confusing and complicated. If you have questions, contact Pittman, Dutton & Hellums to find out how we can help.

How Drugged Driving Affects Car Crashes

 

Drugged Driving Infographic 1

 

With an increase in the numbers of states decriminalizing marijuana, or completely legalizing it for medicinal or recreational uses, laws regarding drugged driving are trying to keep pace with increased incidences of drugged driving and how it affects accidents and fatality cases. As of 2017, 32 states and the District of Columbia have some type of law that correlates with increased marijuana use.

 

 

In addition to more people using the substance at home, it is also being found in more vehicle crashes. According to the report Drug Impaired Driving: A Guide for States 2017, fatally-injured drivers are more likely to test positively for drugs than for alcohol, and drugs are found in 43 percent of drivers who have died on the road. Even if your state, like Alabama, completely outlaws marijuana, you could still be a victim of drugged driving. Many different drugs, including misused prescriptions, are being cited in drugged driving incidents. Here’s what to know about the trends and what to do if you’re in an accident where drugs may have been involved.

 

What Effects do Drugs Have on Drivers

 

Because of the diversity of drugs that may impair driving and how nuanced the effects may be depending on the person’s physical makeup, determining exact outcomes based on drug use is much more difficult to define compared to alcohol use. Also, often drivers who have drugs in their system during a crash have also ingested alcohol, which makes determining effects based on the drug versus alcohol more difficult.

Drugged Driving Infographic 4

Some substances that are completely legal, such as over-the-counter cough medicine or a daily prescription, may cause dire effects when they are paired with driving. A mental decline in older adults may cause an unintentional misuse of drugs, either via inaccurate frequency or dosage. Here are some drugged driving basics, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

  • Sedatives: Increase dizziness and drowsiness
  • Marijuana: Slows reaction time, impairs judgment of time and distance, decreases coordination and decreases attention
  • Cocaine and methamphetamine: May increase aggression and reckless driving

 

Currently, in the United States, 16 states have zero-tolerance laws for drug-impaired driving, these laws often only focus on illegal drugs. If a person takes too much of a prescription that has a warning that it causes drowsy behavior, this drug may not be an obvious factor in a crash where the driver fell asleep at the wheel. A breathalyzer test will show a police officer immediately whether or not a driver has been drinking alcohol. Currently, very few police departments have testing that detects the presence of narcotics such as the Dräger DrugTest® 5000. These types of tests only detect the presence of illegal substances and cannot determine levels of intoxication. However, once detected or simply if an officer suspects that someone is under the influence of a substance, that officer can still detain and require that the suspect undergoes a urine and/or blood test. If the effects of the drugs are not clear, the person at fault may never be tested. Often times “sleepiness” may be ruled as the accident cause, not the prescription. In situations like this, it is crucial to enlist the help of an accident attorney that is well practiced in cases involving substances.Drugged Driving Infographic 3

 

Why a Lawyer is Necessary for Any Accident

 

Because so many drug-related crashes may go unnoticed by the victim and even police officers, hiring a car accident attorney for any case is wise, because drugs may be at play in affecting other drivers. Contacting your attorney immediately after a crash can help to ensure proper drug testing is done, which protects you and your case. An attorney will also be able to help gather the proper data that protects you, including what prescriptions other drivers have taken, what over-the-counter medicine they’ve used, whether or not they possess a medical marijuana card and may have been using marijuana before driving, or whether an illegal substance is found in their system.

Even if the accident seems minor, the damage to your vehicle, your body, your finances, your mental health and your time is worth protecting. Due to shock, stress, and adrenaline people often don’t realize that they have an injury or how bad the damages really are. Once the report is made and the officer has left the details of the accident and the damages or compensation are left to the insurance companies, an insurance company has their bottom line in mind first. A lawyer will have yours and will know how to correctly navigate the insurance process. Secondly, if you are at fault a lawyer will be able to help protect your assets and freedom.
Drugged Driving Infographic 2

 

How to Protect Yourself Against Drugged Driving

While you will never be completely safe from the possibility of drugged driving on the road, there are many precautions you can take to increase your protection.

 

  • Never drive after using illegal drugs. If you are found guilty of driving under the influence of illegal drugs, you will likely incur similar or worse penalties as the consequences of an alcohol-related (D.U.I) charge.
  • Always adhere to medicine labels. Thoroughly read the label of any over-the-counter or prescription drug you take. If there is language warning against driving, you should never drive after taking the medication
  • Avoid risky behavior at all costs. If there is a chance you will be drinking or using drugs always plan to stay where you are or have a designated driver. If you drove and worry that you may be tempted to drive while impaired, give your keys to someone who will not allow you to drive. Other options include using public transportation, a driving service, or a taxi.
  • Employ defensive driving on the road. Indicators of drugged driving include improper lane changes, drifting and swerving, extremely slow or fast speeds, delayed actions (such as taking too long to drive after a light turns green) and much more unusual behaviors. Watch out for unsafe driving around you while you’re on the road. If you suspect drugged driving, take note of the license plate number, and notify emergency services. Do not drive near a driver you suspect is dangerous. Pull off to the side of the road, and take a different route.

 

As prescription drugs become more prevalent and States loosen laws around marijuana usage it is essential to be aware of the risks you face as a driver. Currently, measuring drug usage and its effects in accidents still has some significant milestones to achieve before more reliable testing is instituted. Having a relationship with an accident attorney will keep you protected if you are in an at-fault accident or are the victim of an impaired driver.

 

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