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Here is a collection of articles about various types of car accident injuries written by a personal injury lawyer in Oregon.  If you think you have a car accident injury claim in Oregon or Washington state, contact us now for a free consultation.

Air Bag Injury Claims

Air bag injuries are often serious injury cases because air bag injuries are often to the lips, eye, face and head. Lacerations, facial scaring, serious cuts to the face, eyes, and lips are common with air bag car accident injury claims in the state of Oregon and the state of Washington. Its common in air bag injury cases for short people or young drivers to bear the brunt of such injuries because they are seat lower in the car and the air bag will often right in the face.

Fatal injuries have occurred with young drivers and shorter drivers. Air bag injury cases are complicated and involve consultation with specialized experts in the field. In any air bag injury case a cost benefit analysis is made to determine whether the case should be pursued against the manufacturer of the car or whether the bodily injury insurance limits of the bad or at fault driver are enough to pay for the damages.

Despite the increase in airbags in cars, drivers and passengers are still vulnerable to severe head injuries from an accident. Some of these injuries are less common than others, but are nonetheless severe and can cause profound problems.

For example, vision disturbances following traumatic brain injury are seen in 30% to 85% of cases. These symptoms are often the last to be treated and often escape detection. Standard treatment by an eye doctor or ophthalmologist can often fail to find the cause of blurred vision, photo sensitivity, change in field of vision and anomalies of accommodation commonly found after a traumatic brain injury.

The most common difficulties may result in blurred vision. This is the inability to accurately change focus from far to near or vice versa. Other symptoms may be the loss of place while reading, skipping lines, or re-reading lines due to abnormal movements of the eye. Thirdly, there are abnormalities which result in occasional or constant eye strain or a sense that the print on a book is “shimmering” or “floating” on the page. Finally, there can be abnormalities in light sensitivity which can cause pain and headache.man leaning over car with a car accident injury on his arm

Gasoline Injuries And Injuries To Drivers At Gas Stations

Injuries at gasoline pumps and gas stations often involve gas explosions and eye damage from sprayed gasoline can usually be traced to negligent fueling operations.

Gas injury negligent claims in Oregon may range from eye damage to loss of life and death when explosions occur.

Because Oregon is one of two states nationwide that do not allow drivers to fill their tanks at self service gas stations the real question in gas injury claims will come down to whether the pump attendant followed the usual gas dispensing safety protocols.

Orthopedic Accident Car Accident Injury

Drivers involved in car crashes often incur injury to hands, forearms, arms, shoulders, wrists and fingers. Fractures are typical and treatment generally involves splints and casts. Occasionally, such injuries will require surgery in addition to splinting and casting and therapy may be a necessary follow-up to regain strength and range of motion of arms and shoulders.

Rotator cuff injuries are other frequent results of driver-involved accidents. MRI scans are often used to diagnosis rotator cuff tears but since these tests are costly doctors will typically not order them immediately after a car accident and will wait for completion of physical therapy before ordering a scan.

Since all of these procedures may occur days, weeks or even months after the crash itself, victims should never sign or record a statement for the insurance company before every test and procedure has been completed.

Nerve Damage Injuries In Car Accident Claims

Everyone is familiar with whiplash and concussion as results of injuries to the head from an auto accident. There are, however, other types of injuries which are not as common, but are nevertheless serious. One such result is cranial nerve damage, often found in mild to moderate head injury.

One symptom of damage to the cranial nerves may be a loss or alteration in the senses of smell and taste. The loss of smell is called anosmia. Many neurologists and other physicians now have the ability to test for loss of smell. This loss can occur on each or both sides, so each nostril should be tested separately. In a recent study a PET scan was able to detect the specific brain damage associated with anosmia, and is recommended if any change or lessening of the sense of smell is detected after an accident.

Aside from diminution the quality of life, this loss can be dangerous, since a person with anosmia cannot tell if food is spoiled or even if there is smoke from a fire in the area and so can unwittingly put himself in danger.

Because cranial nerve damage may not be diagnosed for some time after a car accident, it is important upon any victim of a car crash to get your medical care as soon as you can depending upon the situation.

Hidden Injuries after car accident

It’s no trick to identify external injuries you got as a result of the car accident you have been in. We can see cuts, bruises, abrasions and wounds. X-Rays can diagnose broken bones and other hard tissue damage. More difficult to find and treat are internal and soft tissue tears and lesions.

Internal injuries from a car accident may include injuries to

  • bowels
  • kidneys
  • the spleen
  • liver
  • lungs
  • heart
  • or aorta.

Fractured ribs are quite common and may also puncture lungs and other internal organs. In representing injury people for 15 years. I have seen many rib fractures go unidentified even with a series of x-rays being taken.

Torn spleens are also a frequent injury and may require extensive hospitalization. The problem lies in the fact that many of these injuries don’t show up immediately. The initial examination, made at the site of an accident, is generally cursory and, unless wounds are obvious, may be overlooked.

I have had several cases where compression fractures go unidentified until a chiropractor decided to take an x-ray. And many times, an insurance adjuster will swoop in before all the injuries are diagnosed and offer a measly settlement on the spot. Don’t fall for a short settlement.

Disk Injuries In Car Accidents

Cervical (neck) discs are not the only ones injured in car accidents. Mid-back and lower back disks may also be damaged and cause back pain after an accident. Compression fractures are also common results of car crashes and may even cause permanent disability.

Symptoms of spinal injuries include arm and/or leg weakness, paralysis, difficulty breathing, numbness, tingling, and abnormal bowel or bladder control. Disc injuries causing those symptoms may require surgery to remove disc material or spinal fusion.

In the same way whiplash injures soft tissues of the neck, back nerves, ligaments and muscles may be traumatized by a car accident causing pain and inflammation. Prescriptive medications are often used initially but for continuing pain and inflammation, patients are sent to physical therapists or chiropractors for rehabilitative therapy.

Such therapy generally includes infrared heat, hot packs, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, muscle strengthening, traction, massage, or acupuncture. All these treatments must take place over time, and will incur continuing expense.

For this reason, it is essential that accident victims consult a knowledgeable attorney after a diagnosis is made, so a timely legal advice can be given in light of the particular diagnosis you have.

Prior Injuries in car accident claims

Insurance companies will look at prior injuries (you have had in the past) in evaluating how much your case is worth in terms of pain and suffering money. So it is very important to skillfully contrast your health before the car accident and afterwards. It is better in an injury claim if you were in good health before the car accident but bad health or related or similar injuries at some point in the past do not necessarily mean an injury claim is barred or is not winnable. It is also important with prior injuries to look at how far back the pre-car accident injury was in evaluating your car accident injury in Oregon State and Washington State.

I never tell people who are in car accidents in Oregon state or Washington state to sign medical releases from the insurance company for the at fault party because this will give the insurance claims adjuster a green light to delve into private medical issues that are nobody’s business but your own. I have had many cases where drivers injure their back or neck and have had prior back and neck injuries. Peterson Law Offices’ staff of lawyers and paralegals have a lot of experience in evaluating and distinguishing prior injuries with the injuries you suffered in the car accident.

If the evaluation of your medical history is not properly performed and this information is not thoroughly explained and documented to the insurance company if may affect your bottom line which should be a maximum injury settlement that you as a victim deserve. There is a maxim called the Egg Shell Plaintiff Theory of recovery. This means the person who is liable and at fault is responsible to his or her victim no matter what the consequences. Elderly accident victims may suffer greater injuries than a healthy twenty something accident victim. Children accident victims may suffer greater injuries than adults.

The Egg Shell Plaintiff Theory applies to prior injuries too, so if you suffered injuries in the car accident and are worse off for it. The at-fault party is responsible for your car accident injuries even if you hurt that area before or it aggravated and made worse a preexisting injury.

The Long Term Effect Of Car Accident Injuries

It is an unfortunate fact that many car accidents result in lifelong physical problems. The most common of these is whiplash, which can cause injury to vertebrae, discs, ligaments, cervical muscles and nerves. Whiplash leads to long-term disability in 10% of people injured in car accidents.

Approximately 1,000,000 people are exposed to whiplash injury in the U.S. every year. Nearly 25% of these cases result in chronic pain and disability. 1 in 7 whiplash victims will still have significant pain more than 3 years after the accident.

Whiplash can be diagnosed with a simple physical examination or using x-rays. X-rays will also be used to see if there are any fractures of the vertebrae and the extent to which the alignment of the neck has been altered. After a whiplash injury your neck’s natural curve may be reversed, which unevenly distributes the weight of your head and may further misalign the vertebrae. This condition can lead to arthritic degeneration and recurring pain in later years.

Because accident injuries can cause pain and suffering for many years after the initial incident, an accident victim should never make a quick settlement with an insurance company.

Seat Belt Injuries

Although seat belts certainly prevent a great many serious injuries, they are also the cause of a different set of injuries. The seat belt syndrome injury consists of skeletal, soft-tissue, and visceral injuries associated with use of two- and three-point restraints in patients involved in motor vehicle accidents.

Skin abrasions of the neck, chest, and abdomen–the classic seat belt sign–indicate internal injury in about 30% of cases. Neck abrasions are associated with injuries to the carotid artery, larynx, and cervical spine; chest abrasions, with fractures of the sternum, ribs, and clavicles and injuries to the heart and thoracic aorta; and abdominal abrasions, with mesenteric tears, bowel perforation and hematoma, chance fractures, and injuries to the abdominal aorta. The seat belt sign should prompt a diligent search for related injuries.

So, although I certainly do not recommend not using seat belts, I am aware that they do not prevent all accident injuries. For this reason, if you are the victim of an auto accident in Vancouver, whether or not you were wearing a seatbelt, you are more than likely entitled to a money settlement.

Todd Peterson, Oregon accident attorney on the telephone

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