Spinal Injuries

Women Face More Injury in Car Accidents

When litigating car accident lawsuits, we have always found that women seem to consistently sustain more serious injuries than males. Predominantly, back and brain injuries. We began to wonder if this was just the experience of Grazian and Volpe or if it was a statistical fact.

We began to do some research and came upon a study done by the University of Virginia in October of 2011. Interested readers can access the full report at
ajph.aphapublications.org/.

Researchers reviewed information on 45,445 crash victims gathered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration over 11 years. Compared with male drivers studied, women were 5 1/2 inches shorter and 35 pounds lighter; fewer were overweight; and more were driving passengers cars at the time of the crash(carpools, ferrying children and elderly parents and family members). After controlling for these factors and others, the study found that women were 47 percent more likely to suffer severe injuries, most notably brain and spinal injuries.

The study concludes that females are more susceptible to brain injury and spinal injury because of differences in neck strength and musculature. In addition, the positioning of head restraints and seating positions are not configured for the shorter female stature. The study posited that car safety devices have been designed with a male template and car manufacturers may need to consider designing safety features which can accommodate gender differences.

Dipan Bose, lead author of the study cautions female drivers “ensure that their safety systems perform optimally, including maintaining a good belt fit and correct seating posture.”

We have not seen any accommodations made by car manufacturers so it seems incumbent upon female drivers to take it upon themselves to provide for a more secure interior driving environment by assuring their necks and backs are secure and well-supported and their seat belts fit firmly.

Remember, it is always better to stay safe and avoid an accident and a lawyer. But if you can’t stay safe, stay with Grazian and Volpe, Chicago’s experienced car accident attorneys for over 30 years.

Bus Accidents: Beware the Low-Cost Carrier

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)  has found that so-called curbside bus companies, which pick up riders on sidewalks rather than in terminals, are involved in bus accidents involving fatalities at seven times the rate of traditional carriers like Greyhound. On September 8, 2011 Grazian and Volpe wrote of a recent NTSB study finding that bus accidents involving fatalities were greater than expected and appeared to be under reported (myaccidentlaw.com/blog 9/8/2010). As the initial report involved all bustypes,this latest study is more disturbing because it focuses on only”curbside” buses. The curbside carriers first gained popularity in urban areas, such as Chicago, by offering frequent rides betwen major cities for as little as $1 a seat. Popularand catering primarily to students and budget-conscious travelers, these carriers have racked up an alarmingly high number of fatal accidents and safety violations over the last few years. While the report found that low-cost bus companies were a safe mode of travel and that accidents happened infrequently, the bus accidents that do occur, were far more likely than traditional carriers to result in serious injury or wrongful death.

The report suggests that the reasons for the increased rate of serious injury and wrongful death is related to the disproportionate (by industry data) larger number of violations issued to these companies relating to driver fatigue and training errors. In addition, the industry has exploded due to the depressed economy. Regulators indicate that it is more difficult to inspect low cost buses because they do not park in traditional terminals and officials must locate and inspect these buses on crowded street corners. Since they are barred from inspecting buses in the middle of a scheduled trip, it is difficult to conduct the surprise inspections necessary to determine the true operating procedure of any motor carrier. Apparently, many drivers and owners of low-cost bus companies do not speak English, and their records are often kept in other languages. Officials are concerned that this language barrier may mean that some owners and drivers do not fully understand the federal regulations and how to comply.

We reported in our previous article (myaccidentlaw.com/blog) that the Transportation Department, which has oversight of the motor coach industry, had nearly doubled its safety inspection on buses in the past five years and recently issued rules banning bus drivers from talking on cellphones or sending text messages while driving. However, this increase in enforcement and regulation is not applying to the low-cost bus carriers.

Grazian and Volpe has advocated for the rights of victims of bus crashes in Chicago and South Chicago for over 25 years. We have noted an increase in clients who are involved in bus crashes involving low cost carriers. Fortunately, we have not seen a wrongful death but have noted that the injuries sustained are serious injuries often involving brain injury and/or spinal injury. We hope this report will act as a wake-up call to Congress and the National Transportation Safety Board and more inspections and pro-active regulations are promulgated to protect the lives of those using these low-cost providers. Please follow Grazian and Volpe on website or on WCIU, You and Me in the Morning the first Tuesday of every month where we take questions and inform out viewers on how to stay safe and if they have been involved in an accident-how to make sure they obtain the best compensation possible.

The Many Faces of Spinal Injuries Part III: Paraplegia

Spinal injuries are a catastrophic result of accidents: motor vehicle accidents; truck accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, slip and fall accidents and; work accidents. It is important that victims of accidents and their personal injury attorneys are aware of the many types of brain injuries that may occur.  Accident victims need to seek immediate medical attention whenever an injury to the back or neck occurs.

Paraplegia is a form of paralysis of the lower portion of the human torso, from the waist down. Quadriplegia is paralysis from the neck down. Normally paraplegia is a result of injury to the spinal cord but may also result from infection or loss of blood supply to the brain or spinal cord. Paraplegia may result in total or partial paralysis. Paraplegia results in loss of feeling and leg function. It may involve intense pain and suffering and a stinging sensation from pinched-nerves, similar to those caused by a brain or burn injury.  Loss of bladder and bowel control is normally involved as well as spasms and pain.  Sexual dysfunction is common as well as loss of fertility.  Shortened lifespan is a typical result.

Accident victims and personal injury attorneys must be pro-active in seeking immediate diagnosis and treatment of all head and spinal cord injuries. As discussed in last week’s blog (September 7, 2011) not all head and spinal injuries are immediately apparent and often overlooked because either shock is masking the symptoms or there are no external indications of impact.

Please join me at myaccidentlaw.com and the Grazian and Volpe Facebook page for the next 3 Wednesdays where I will discuss the causes and effects of spinal injuries.

 

The Many Faces of Spinal Injuries Part II: Quadriplegia

Spinal injuries are an often catastrophic result of accidents: motor vehicle accidents; truck accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, slip and fall accidents and; work accidents. It is important that victims of accidents and their personal injury attorneys are aware of the many types of spinal injuries that may occur.  Accident victims need to seek immediate medical attention whenever an injury to the back or neck occurs.

Quadriplegia is one of the most tragic and difficult spinal injuries.  It occurs when there is an injury to any of the seven (7) cervical vertebra above the first thoracic vertebrae and the spinal cord is severed from the shoulder and neck area. This injury can result not only in loss of feeling and function of the arms and legs, but also severe pain, loss of bladder control, bowel control, muscle spasm, sexual dysfunction, loss of fertility as well as shortened lifespan.  Quadriplegia also can result in involuntary bodily functions of respiratory and digestive systems. Infections in the brain or spinal cord; and a loss of blood supply to either may also cause quadriplegia.

Accident victims and personal injury attorneys must be pro-active in seeking immediate diagnosis and treatment of all head  and spinal cord injuries. As discussed in last week’s blog (September 21, 2011) not all head and spinal injuries are immediately apparent and often overlooked because either shock is masking the symptoms or there are no external indications of impact.

Please join me at myaccidentlaw.com and the Grazian and Volpe Facebook page for the next 4 Wednesdays where I will discuss the causes and effect of spinal injury.

The Many Faces of Spinal Injuries

Spinal injuries are an often catastrophic result of accidents: motor vehicle accidents; truck accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, slip and fall accidents and; work accidents. It is important that victims of accidents and their personal injury attorneys are aware of the many types of brain injuries that may occur.  Accident victims need to seek immediate medical attention whenever an injury to the back or neck occurs.  As detailed below, not every spinal injury is immediately apparent. Delay in seeking medical treatment can result in an avoidable tragedy. I will spend the next few months, each Wednesday, detailing the cause and effects of each type of injury. Today’s blog is a general overview.

Spinal injuries include the following:

  1. Quadriplegia:  also know as “tetraplegia”.  Quadriplegia occurs when there is an injury to any of the seven (7) cervical vertebra above the first thoracic vertebrae.
  2. Paraplegia: is a form of paralysis of the lower portion of the human torso, from the waist down. It is different than quadriplegia, which is paralysis from the neck down.
  3. Herniated Disc and Bulging Disc: Herniated disc injuries are also know as “ruptured disc” and “bulging disc” injuries. These can be serious and life threatening back injuries, which are unfortunately quite common as a result of the g-forces involved in high or low speed motor vehicle accidents.
  4. Back Pain: Back pain is a sure sign that a accident victim has suffered a spinal cord injury of has a bulging or ruptured disc. Lower back pain is typically the locus of the pain.
  5. Facet Joint Syndrome and Chronic Pain: Facet joints connect the vertebrae in the spine. They allow twisting, bending and other movements and affect the range of movement as well as strength, flexibility and integrity. If they become inflamed due to a motor vehicle accident, arthritis can develop into chronic pain syndrome and cause lifetime pain and stiffness.
  6. Whiplash:  This is the most common injury that occurs in a motor vehicle accident. Whiplash is an injury that occurs when the head is hurled backwards and then forward. This is a “hyperextension” injury from being jerked forward and a “hyperflexion” injury form being jerked backwards. These injuries can not only included spinal damage but may also be responsible for traumatic and mild traumatic brain injury.

Please join me at myaccidentlaw.com and the Grazian and Volpe Facebook page for the next 5 Wednesdays where I will detail these spinal injuries discussing their causes and effects.