January 26

Can You Recover if Your Accident Aggravates an Old Injury

By: Heath C. MurphyPersonal Injury

So you have been involved in an accident. You were not in perfect condition before the accident. Perhaps you had an old injury to your back. Perhaps your prior back injury had not flared up in years or perhaps you noticed minor pain only when performing certain activities. After the accident, you notice that the pain levels have increased. You may even have additional symptoms, such as numbness in an extremity. You may find that you are unable to perform activities which you able to perform prior to the accident. Now, you are worried that if you go see a personal injury attorney that they will tell you that you have no case. So, the million dollar question is whether you can recover monetary damages for the aggravation of a preexisting condition.

Florida Standard Jury Instructions

The standard Florida Jury Instruction which speaks to this issue states,
“If you find that the defendant caused a bodily injury, and that the injury resulted in [an aggravation of an existing disease or physical defect] [or] [activation of a latent disease or physical defect], you should attempt to decide what portion of (claimant’s) condition resulted from the [aggravation] [or] [activation]. If you can make that determination, then you should award only those damages resulting from the [aggravation] [or] [activation]. However, if you cannot make that determination, or if it cannot be said that the condition would have existed apart from the injury, then you should award damages for the entire condition suffered by (claimant).”

Jury Instructions are provided to the jury when they are ready to deliberate the case at trial. A careful reading of the jury instruction in this instance, give us the answer. Yes, you can recover for worsening of an old injury. The jury must attempt to apportion the damages between the old injury and the negligent driver who caused the new injuries. If they cannot apportion those damages, you will be awarded all of the damages caused by the injury.

The Proof at Trial to Prove the Existence of the New Injury

The next logical question asked by someone who has been in an accident and suffered an injury which aggravates an old injury is, “How can I prove that the accident caused my current level of pain or aggravated an old injury?” It is a fair question. A good personal injury attorney will use a variety of methods to prove that the new injury has aggravated a preexisting condition. Evidence which will assist in proving your case includes:

1. Your own testimony. You know how much pain you were in both before and after the accident.
2. The testimony of your friends and relatives. The guy that you ran a 5k with the week prior to the accident will make an extremely convincing witness.
3. The testimony of doctors.
4. Expert testimony.

Have you been involved in an accident caused by another driver which your injuries consisted of aggravating old injuries? Contact an experienced St. Petersburg personal injury attorney at Jones Law Grouptoday. When you contact our office we will immediately set an appointment where you will meet your attorney and be provided with his/her personal contact information. If you do not have transportation or you cannot drive, your attorney will travel to meet you and discuss your case with you.

Whether you were a pedestrian, a bicyclist, or occupant of a car, motorcycle or boat and have been injured in an accident, you should immediately call Jones Law Group at (727) 571-1333 during regular business hours or (727) 753-8657 on weekends or after regular business hours. We will evaluate your case for free and you will never pay us a dime unless we recover compensation for your injuries.

Jones Law Group
5622 Central Avenue
St. Pete, FL 33707

http://jlgtampabay.com/personal-injury/

January 25

Headaches after a Car Accident – Normal or Serious?

By: Heath C. MurphyPersonal Injury

Many people are involved in car, motorcycle, bicycle or pedestrian accidents from which they walk away without broken bones or major lacerations. They might get treated and quickly released from the emergency room with standard orders of rest and over the counter pain medications or they might not seek medical assistance at all. They will suffer through headaches, dizziness, vomiting and cognitive issues. These symptoms often go unreported to doctors. Each of these issues are symptoms of a closed head injury.

What is a Closed Head Injury?

Closed head injuries are common in car accidents and sports related accidents. They generally result from a blow to the head. Closed head injuries are the number one cause of death in Floridians under the age of 45. Closed head injuries can range from relatively mild to extremely severe and debilitating. Common closed head brain injuries include

1. Concussion Concussions can be caused by both a direct blow to the head or the violent shaking of the head and upper body such as that experienced in car or motorcycle accident. There may or may not be a loss of consciousness when the concussion occurs.
2. Intracranial Hematoma Usually, an Intracranial Hematoma occurs because the fluid that separates the skull and brain cannot absorb the shock of a sudden impact and the brain becomes bruised. This causes bleeding either within the brain or between the brain and skull. This condition is extremely serious and may require surgery.
3. Cerebral Contusion A cerebral contusion is what is commonly known as a brain bruise. Cerebral contusions can be accompanied by microhemorrages which cause blood leaks into the brain.
4. Diffuse Axonal Brain Injury A diffuse axonal brain injury is a severe closed head injury that is often found in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents and pedestrian accidents. Essentially, this injury causes the nerves cells in the brain to not operate properly and brain cells may die. Brain swelling can accompany this injury which will prevent the brain from receiving proper blood flow which may cause permanent brain damage.
Treatment of Closed Head Injury

There is no one cure fits all treatment of closed head brain injuries. Each situation is different and must be treated as such. The important thing is to seek treatment and not conceal symptoms. As a general rule, patients should be monitored for an increase in symptoms. Likely, doctors will treat the symptoms with various medications. The nature of the symptoms will influence which medications will be utilized. However, these medications are ineffective to resolve the true medical issue. The general goal of the treating physician is monitor the patient and be ready to intervene surgically should the patient’s condition worsen.

Contact Jones Law Group

Have you or a loved one been involved in an accident caused by another driver which you believe that might have caused a closed head injury? Contact an experienced St. Petersburg personal injury attorney at Jones Law Group today. When you contact our office we will immediately set an appointment where you will meet your attorney and be provided with his/her personal contact information. If you do not have transportation or you cannot drive, your attorney will travel to meet you and discuss your case with you.

Whether you were a pedestrian, a bicyclist, or the occupant of car, motorcycle or boat and have been injured in an accident, you should immediately call Jones Law Group at (727) 571-1333 during regular business hours or (727) 753-8657 on weekends or after regular business hours. We will evaluate your case for free and you will never pay us a dime unless we recover compensation for your injuries.

Jones Law Group
5622 Central Avenue
St. Pete, FL 33707

http://jlgtampabay.com/personal-injury/

January 24

Victims of Drunk Drivers – Can You Get Punitive Damages?

By: Heath C. MurphyPersonal Injury

It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle in Florida with a blood alcohol content of .08 or more. The penalties for the driver who is caught driving while intoxicated can be severe. The first offense carries a possible fine of $1,000.00 and up to six months in jail. Though it sounds severe, it does not deter many drivers from going out and consuming alcohol past the point of legal intoxication and driving on a regular basis.

Drunk drivers endanger the general public with slowed reactions, poor decision making and reckless behavior. Too often, I read about the drunk driver that was involved in an accident, severely injuring or killing the other driver while the drunk driver managed to walk away unscathed. The victims, or the victim’s family, in these cases often want justice in the way of making sure that the drunk driver receives the maximum penalty. They also want to be compensated for their injuries or the loss of a loved one. In the case of a death or a catastrophic injury, money damages seem insufficient.

Punitive damages are damages which are awarded not to compensate the victim for their injuries or loss. Punitive damages are awarded in excess of those damages and are designed to punish the wrong doer financially. To determine whether punitive are appropriate a court will examine the nature of the defendants behavior and the injuries suffered by the plaintiff. Some factors the court will consider are:

1. Did the accident result in a death or a catastrophic injury?
2. Did the defendant plead guilty to DUI?
3. Did the defendant behave in a reckless or intentional manner?
4. Did the defendant leave the scene?
5. Did the defendant voluntarily become intoxicated?

Have you been involved in a car or motorcycle accident which you believe you believe may have been caused by a drunk driver? Contact an experienced St. Petersburg personal injury attorney at Jones Law Group today. The decision to hire an experienced personal injury attorney is an extremely important one. We at Jones Law Group invite you to come in, meet us, question us and experience the level of customer service that each of our clients receive.

Whether you were a pedestrian, a bicyclist, or operating car or motorcycle and have been victim of drunk driver, you should immediately call The Law Offices of Bobby Jones at (727) 571-1333 during regular business hours or (727) 753-8657 on weekends or after regular business hours. We will evaluate your case for free and you will never pay us a dime unless we recover compensation for your injuries.

Jones Law Group
5622 Central Avenue
St. Pete, FL 33707

http://jlgtampabay.com/personal-injury/

January 23

Right Turn on Red vs. U-Turn – Who has the Right of Way?

By: Heath C. MurphyPersonal Injury

I continue to notice a problem in St. Petersburg that concerns me. At fully controlled intersections, that is to say that all directions of traffic are controlled by traffic signals, I see many near misses between a driver executing a legal u-turn on the green light and a driver attempting to turn right on red. Who has the right of way is the five dollar question. My driving experience in St. Petersburg says that most people believe that the person turning right on red has the right of way. Nothing could be further from the truth. According to Florida Statute 316.075 vehicles may execute a u-turn on a green signal as long as there is not signage prohibiting a u-turn at the intersection. The driver executing the u-turn must yield the right of way to pedestrians and other vehicles which are lawfully in the intersection. Likewise, Florida Statute 316.075 permits a driver to make right turn of red if it can be safely accomplished. Essentially, a driver attempting execute a right turn on red must yield to everyone else lawfully within in the intersection. Therefore, screaming, honking and obscene gestures aside, the driver executing a lawful u-turn has the right of way.

There are numerous derivations of the same situation. If there is no signal or sign for the driver making the u-turn, but a stop sign facing the driver attempting to make a right turn, the driver making a legal u-turn still has the right of way. As a general rule, the driver attempting to execute a right turn on red will be at fault for accidents which occur at the intersection involving the right on red driver. The driver attempting to execute a right on red has a duty to make sure that the intersection is free of pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcycles and other cars lawfully in the intersection. I know people will complain because it is impossible to discern whether cars in the left turn lane will execute a u-turn or simply make a left turn. It is a good practice when turning right on red to check the traffic approaching from the left, both crosswalks and the left hand turn lane so that you are certain it is safe to proceed with the right turn.

The results of an inattentive driver turning right on red can be devastating. The only logical excuse for accidents caused in this manner is driver impatience. The best result of such an accident is usually a collision with a car making a u-turn. Car accidents with other cars or motorcycles approaching the intersection at full speed can have fatal consequences when the driver executing a right on red failed to do so properly. Collisions with bicycle riders or pedestrians lawfully in the crosswalk will also cause significant and serious injuries to the riders and pedestrians.

Unfortunately, the results of this type of car accident can be devastating and include:

1. Death;
2. Traumatic brain injury and/or concussions;
3. Spinal cord damage and/or paralysis;
4. Disfigurement;
5. Fractured or broken bones; and
6. Neck and back injuries.

Have you been involved in an accident caused by a driver attempting to turn right on red failed to properly yield the right of way? Contact an experienced St. Petersburg personal injury attorney at Jones Law Group today. The decision to hire an experienced personal injury attorney is an extremely important one. It should be a personal decision based upon research and a comfort level with your attorney that is only reached after a face to face meeting with the attorney that will handling your case. Experience the personalized service that you will receive at Jones Law Group.

Whether you were a pedestrian, a bicyclist, or operating car or motorcycle and have been injured in an accident, you should immediately call Jones Law Group at (727) 571-1333 during regular business hours or (727) 753-8657 on weekends or after regular business hours. We will evaluate your case for free and you will never pay us a dime unless we recover compensation for your injuries.

Jones Law Group
5622 Central Avenue
St. Pete, FL 33707

http://jlgtampabay.com/personal-injury/

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