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Are you showing signs of a severe concussion?

What happens when New Jersey drivers like you get into a crash? You will likely suffer from injuries. Some of the most common are head injuries. Among those, you are more likely to suffer from a traumatic concussion. 

Severe concussions are no joke. But how can you tell that is what you are dealing with? What are the signs that differentiate a severe concussion from other head injuries? 

The variety of concussion symptoms

According to Mayo Clinic, concussion injuries vary in severity. The severity depends on where the injury is. The amount of force involved in the trauma also contributes to this. The good news is severe concussions are easier to identify than mild ones. With a mild concussion, you may experience tenderness and headaches. You might have a few other symptoms, like trouble balancing. But on a whole, a mild concussion does not stand out much. 

By contrast, severe concussions involve many physical and mental effects. These effects are easy for you or others around you to notice. Some examples of physical effects include: 

  • Severe nausea, dizziness or vomiting 
  • Crippling head pains 
  • The inability to fall asleep or wake up 
  • Disordered senses 
  • A lack of fine motor control 

Identifying mental symptoms of concussions

You may have trouble identifying mental symptoms as the person living through them. But others around you can likely tell. For example, you may suffer from confusion. Amnesia is also common. It is especially common to forget incidents surrounding the injury itself. Short-term memory often suffers as well. This makes it hard for you to recall things that just happened. 

If you notice any of these things, or a loved one notices, what next? You can seek medical attention. Only trained professionals can identify a concussive injury and decide how to treat it. 

Can I sue if I am partially at fault for my injuries?

New Jersey is a modified comparative negligence state, meaning that you may be able to sue for damages after a personal injury even if you were partially at fault. Your eligibility to receive damages depends upon the relative degree of negligence a court attributes to each party, and whether or not that negligence constitutes proximate cause.

Understanding state interpretations of negligence and proximate cause may help determine whether your claim is worthwhile. When in doubt, a lawyer can help you assess your options.

Negligence

Personal injury claims essentially depend upon the way a court assigns negligence contributing to an injury. Negligence in layman’s terms is the failure to exercise the degree of care society expects of you. The law typically measures this according to how a reasonably prudent person would behave in your shoes.

Judges see negligence as a sliding scale between ordinary negligence, gross negligence, recklessness and willful misconduct. But these are not the same as a percentage of fault. Many personal injury cases are due to ordinary negligence. Courts treat more severe forms of negligence as particularly egregious.

Proximate cause

Negligence does not always result in injury. People can act carelessly or recklessly without negative consequences. Proximate cause is a legal doctrine meaning that the negligence you or the other party demonstrated directly contributed to the injury in question.

Comparative fault

When evaluating a personal injury claim, a court will assess negligence and proximate cause as a percentage. For example, if your negligence contributed 40% to the injury, and the other party contributed 60%, then you would be eligible for all assessed damages less 40%. Modified comparative negligence dictates that in New Jersey, you must be less than 50% at fault for the incident to collect damages.

4 Tips for keeping your teen safe behind the wheel

You likely have worries about your teenager driving independently, especially since in the U.S., motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death among teens. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also states that 2,364 teens between the ages of 16 to 19 died in car accidents in 2017, and 300,000 teens went to the emergency room for car accident-related injuries the same year.

Lack of driving experience and immaturity are two factors that contribute to the high car accident rate among teenagers. Luckily, there are steps you can take as a parent to help your teen stay safe and make good decisions when he or she gets behind the wheel.

1. Lead by example

Your behavior when you drive makes an impression on your teen driver. Show your teen what safe driving looks like by always wearing your seat belt, never texting while driving, keeping your cool in stressful driving situations and obeying the posted speed limit.

2. Make time for practice

Your teen will become a better driver, and less likely to sustain injuries in a car crash, if he or she has plenty of driving practice. Consider enrolling your teenager in a driver’s education course and make sure you drive with him or her frequently to solidify his or her driving skills.

3. Discuss the dangers of unsafe driving

Your teen will be less likely to drive recklessly and engage in unsafe driving behaviors if he or she understands the impact of these actions. Sit down and talk to your teenager about why it is so important to drive safely and how his or her actions can significantly affect others when behind the wheel of a car.

4. Institute a set of rules

The state of New Jersey maintains a Graduated License Program for new drivers that places restrictions on permitting, night driving and passengers. You may desire to institute a set of rules that go beyond these restrictions to keep your teen driver safe, such as not letting him or her drive on busy freeways or only letting him or her drive to and from work.

Does New Jersey award punitive damages?

If you sustain an injury in an accident that a negligent party causes, you may file a personal injury lawsuit for damages. When you file a personal injury claim, you typically file for compensatory damages. Compensatory damages are those designed to compensate you for actual injury and loss you sustained as a result of the defendant’s misconduct. In contrast, punitive damages are those the court awards as a means of punishing the wrongdoer and to deter the wrongdoer from engaging in similar actions in the future. In your pursuit of compensation, you may wonder if New Jersey allows you to recover punitive damages. The answer depends on the circumstances surrounding the accident.

The courts allow punitive damages in exceptional cases

Per the New Jersey Courts, the state does not award punitive damages as a matter of routine. Rather, the courts will only seriously consider punitive damages in exceptional cases in which the defendant acted in an especially outrageous or reckless manner.

If you hope to recover punitive damages, you must file a separate claim for them, and you may only file such a claim if you recovered compensatory damages. To support your claim for punitive damages, you must show, through clear and convincing evidence, that the loss, injury or harm you suffered was the result of the defendant’s acts or omissions. Furthermore, you must show that the defendant’s conduct was malicious in nature, or that he or she acted in a willful and wanton manner.

The law further clarifies what constitutes as “malicious” or “wanton and willful.” Malicious conduct refers to intentional wrongdoing that stems from an evil-minded motivation. Wanton and willful behavior is behavior in which the defendant engaged despite knowing that said behavior was likely to result in the harm of another person.

: Is there insurance for bicycles?

You get auto insurance to cover you for a car accident and homeowner’s insurance to protect your home, but what about your bicycle? Do insurance companies offer bicycle insurance? This may be an important thing if you ride your bike a lot and face the potential of an accident or other issue with your bike.

According to Progressive, you usually do not need an insurance policy specifically for your bicycle because your other insurance policies will typically cover any needs you have. As long as you have auto insurance and either renter’s or homeowner’s insurance, you should have coverage for a variety of issues you have with your bicycle.

Coverage

In the event you have an accident on your bicycle, you can usually make a claim to your renter’s or homeowner’s insurance and get money to fix any damage to your bike. If you cause an injury accident, these policies may also payout on any claims against you.

When your accident involves a vehicle and injuries to you, your auto insurance will usually pay for some medical care. It may also pay for lost wages. If the other driver has no insurance, you may also get paid on a claim if you carry uninsured motorist coverage.

If you damage your bike in some way other than an accident situation, then your renter’s or homeowner’s insurance will likely cover the damage.

One note

You should note that some companies may make you specify that you want coverage for your bicycle. Policies may also have exclusions for bicycles. It is imperative to know what your policy says and covers to avoid not having coverage when you need it.

What should you do after a dog bite?

In the aftermath of a dog bite, you may feel frightened or disoriented. However, it is important to take care of your injury as soon as possible. There are a few things you should do right after the bite occurs. 

After a dog bite, it is important to get away from the animal. Healthline says that once you are not near the dog, you can assess the severity of your injury. If an injury is not serious, you may sometimes be able to care for it at home. You should typically use soap and water to wash the bite. Sometimes a dog bite breaks the skin and in this situation, you may want to put some pressure on the bite so it bleeds a bit. This is because a bit of bleeding can help remove germs from the wound. Once you clean the wound, it is a good idea to cover it with a bandage. 

Sometimes you may think that if a dog bite does not look serious, you do not need to worry about it. However, it is important to remember that dogs typically have bacteria in their mouths. These bacteria might cause an infection. Because of this, it is a good idea to keep an eye on the wound as it heals. You should usually look at it every day to make sure the bite spot does not get swollen or turn red. Additionally, the wound should not become tender. If you notice these developments, it is a good idea to go to the doctor. 

Sometimes you may need to seek medical care immediately after the bite. You should generally go to the doctor if you can see muscle, tendons or bone. If the wound is very painful or will not stop bleeding, it is also a good idea to get treatment. Sometimes the dog that bit you may look sick or behave oddly. In this situation, it is important to seek medical attention. 

Personal injury: Motorcycle riders face greater risks

The experience of riding a motorcycle is wholly different than that of sitting behind a steering wheel. Although there is no right or wrong choice when it comes to transportation preferences, New Jersey motorcyclists often enjoy the sense of freedom that only comes on two wheels. That freedom comes at a cost. When it comes to accidents and injuries, motorcycle riders are especially vulnerable and may need to understand how personal injury claims can help. (more…)

Slip-and-fall accidents commonly cited in personal injury claims

It does not matter how comedy movies or sitcoms portray them, there is nothing funny about slip-and-fall accidents. Suffering a personal injury during a fall is actually quite serious, and victims may suffer broken bones and even brain injuries. Falls can even happen outside even though they are most commonly associated with indoor accidents. Here are a few things that holiday shoppers should keep in mind when visiting stores. (more…)

How serious is whiplash?

If you are like a lot of people who live in New Jersey, you have heard others talk about whiplash injuries. Most of the time, conversations about whiplash arise after a car accident or when the topic of a car accident comes up. Whiplash is often thought of as a common and even a minor injury. This mindset may lead to some people being a bit dismissive about any symptoms that they associate with whiplash. It is important to understand whiplash so that it can be properly addressed.

As explained by WebMD, not every whiplash injury is something that just will magically clear up in a couple of days. Some people end up experiencing chronic and even life-long problems after incurring whiplash. Vehicle crashes are the most common cause of whiplash, especially wrecks that involve a person’s vehicle being hit by another vehicle from the rear.

Whiplash occurs when the neck muscles or the tendons in the neck are strained. The tendons are the things that hold muscles to the bones. This is a different injury than a sprain. A sprain involves the ligaments being torn. Ligaments hold bones together. With whiplash, a person may have persistent headache pain that radiates up from the neck. They may also have limited ability to move their head to the side.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to give residents in New Jersey a clear understanding of what whiplash really is, how it may impact their lives, and the importance of addressing any whiplash injury promptly and thoroughly.

Can you tell how severe a brain injury truly is?

In the immediate aftermath of your loved one suffering a traumatic brain injury in Toms River, you may assume that they will require significant around-the-clock care for the rest of their lives. Such knowledge might certainly influence your decision to seek legal action following such an incident. Yet not all TBI’s will leave one needing extensive care. How can you know what your family member or friend’s prognosis may be so soon after their injury. 

There may indeed be a way of estimating this, thanks to a clinical test known as the Glasgow Coma Scale. A TBI will affect certain functions whose impairment is immediately noticeable, and such observations might serve as indicators of how extensive an injury is. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the indicators used in this test include how your loved one responds to external stimuli, how well they can verbally communicate, and how visually responsive they are. 

Point totals are assigned in each of the three categories (1-4, 1-5 and 1-6 for eye opening, verbal response and motor response, respectively). The totals from each category are then summed to come up with a final score. The score breakdown is as follows: 

  • 13-15: Mild brain injury
  • 9-12: Moderate brain injury
  • Less than 8: Severe brain injury

You can likely guess that the long-term prognosis for a severe brain injury is probably more bleak than for a mild one. Yet that is not to say that mild brain injuries cannot cause lingering effects that could require continued recuperative care. Such care can be costly, and assistance in covering such costs may be recovered through legal action. This observation is not meant to serve as legal advice, but rather information to consider when developing your loved one’s long-term care plan. 

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