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Phoenix Personal Injury Law Blog

Accidents and traumatic brain injuries

People in Arizona who have been involved in serious auto or work accidents often sustain traumatic brain injuries as a result. Traumatic brain injuries occur when a person suffers from a penetrating head injury that disrupts the function of their brain. A sudden blow to the head or a violent shaking of the head can cause a traumatic brain injury.

According to data provided by the Arizona Department of Health Services, about 1.4 million people in the U.S. suffer from a traumatic brain injury every year. Currently, there are about 5.3 million people living with a disability that is related to a traumatic brain injury they have sustained. Fifty thousand deaths are linked to these types of brain injuries each year, and between 80,000 and 90,000 people become permanently disabled from these injuries.

Arizona birth injuries may be preventable

Arizona parents who are expecting a child may wish to examine their healthcare provider's safety protocols for delivery methods. A report in the Huffington Post indicates that four different hospital groups had initiated basic safety programs that showed a vast reduction in the frequency of birth injuries and a correlative drop in malpractice actions undertaken because of them. These findings suggest that such protocols had a major impact on the potential well-being of mother and child, both during and after birth.

Among the safety measures the report cited were improved communication and the use of simulation-based training to teach medical personnel how to respond properly to possible problems or dangers to the mother or child presenting during childbirth. An institutional reluctance to undertake Caesarian section procedures is also credited with reducing birth injuries as the procedure tends to be more traumatic to both the baby and mother but has nonetheless become more popular among providers in the last several decades.

Problems with breast cancer misdiagnoses

Many women in Arizona undergo breast cancer biopsies every year. Some receive an incorrect diagnosis of cancer, while others suffer while the disease remains untreated. This particular problem is one of almost epic scope, as a recent study pointed out.

According to research published by the Journal of the American Medical Association, as many as 75 percent of women receiving biopsies are either incorrectly diagnosed as having cancer or are victims of a diagnostic failure in which breast cancer is missed. This appears to indicate that a majority of women who have breast cancer biopsies are incorrectly treated for cancer that may or may not be present.

Concussion treatment guidelines in Arizona

In 2013, the American Academy of Neurology updated their sports concussion evaluation and management guidelines for the first time in 16 years, and one of the biggest changes is to how it deals with return-to-play recommendations for young adults and children. Currently, recommendations say that young athletes should not be allowed to play again until they have been looked at by a healthcare professional.

Additional highlights from the updated guidelines include that medication does not appear to do anything to improve recovery and that those who have had concussions are at greater risk for future concussions. It is also suggested that the first 10 days after a concussion pose the greatest risk for an additional injury. Furthermore, although helmets can help prevent concussions, there is no clear data on whether different types of helmets are more beneficial.

Contributory and comparative negligence in Arizona car accidents

Arizona, like many other states, has a specific formula for determining fault, and therefore available compensation, in the litigation phase of a car accident trial. The formula is predicated on the notion of two types of liability. These are known as comparative and contributory liability, and may affect the outcome of a case by adjusting the potential jury award lower than the plaintiff initially demanded.

Comparative negligence guides the jury rulings on awards in most car accident cases. The premise of contributory liability assumes if both parties' actions in some way contributed to the accident, the plaintiff is not entitled to the full amount of damages specified because the plaintiff's actions increased the likelihood of an accident. If the jury finds the plaintiff was 20 percent at fault, the requested award may be reduced by at least that amount and may be eliminated altogether if the plaintiff is determined to be more than 50 percent liable.

1 woman killed in fiery Arizona crash

A San Tan Valley accident left one woman dead after she accepted a ride with a 21-year-old man from a bar. Allegedly, the man was speeding when he lost control of his car and hit a fence. The car rolled over, and as the fire department arrived, it caught fire and exploded.

A deputy says the man tried to bribe him at the accident scene. According to reports, the man is also wanted in Texas, and as a result, he gave a false name at first. The man was charged with false reporting to a law enforcement agency, bribery and manslaughter. He may also face alcohol-related charges once the result of a blood test is returned.

Arizona car crash puts 6 people in hospital

A crash occurred at Cochie Canyon Trail and Interstate 10 Frontage Road in Marana that involved three vehicles. The crash occurred in the afternoon on Feb. 28. Police continued to investigate possible causes of the accident but had not yet released anything conclusive.

The local fire department was the first to respond to the crash and rescued those injured inside the three cars. The crash involved a sedan, a pickup and an unspecified third vehicle. The two individuals in the sedan, a male driver and 63-year-old female passenger, suffered the most serious injuries. The man was airlifted to the hospital, and the woman was taken by ambulance. The two individuals in the pickup, a 39-year-old male driver and 60-year-old female passenger, were trapped in their vehicle and had to be rescued using the jaws of life. They were both taken to the hospital by ambulance as well. The two individuals in the third vehicle appeared the most fortunate. The 30-year-old male driver suffered only minor injuries, but was still taken to the hospital. A 2-year-old passenger appeared uninjured but was also taken to the hospital as a precaution.

Death caused by allegedly intoxicated driver

On Feb. 22, a head-on collision between a Ford Mustang and an F-150 pickup truck resulted in the death of one person and injuries to two others in Tucson. The 27-year-old Mustang driver was charged with three felonies including second-degree murder, and, according to authorities, alcohol was a factor that led to the crash.

Investigators who examined the scene reported that the F-150 pickup truck was heading eastbound on Valencia Road at the time that the Mustang driver emerged from a private drive located near Tucson Boulevard. The Mustang driver attempted to travel westbound on Valencia Road, but he was unable to maintain control of his car, which leapt over the median, crashing head-on into the F-150 that was carrying three people.

Laryngeal nerve injury during birth

Expectant mothers and their infants in the state of Arizona sometimes have a difficult and risky experience before them. It is possible for conditions in the womb to be such as to cause harm to the developing fetus, and the stress and trauma of the delivery process also has the potential to inflict serious injuries. One of the most commonly encountered forms of birth trauma is disturbance of the laryngeal nerve, an important nerve located in the neck.

Paralysis of the vocal chord is one well-known effect of birth trauma, and disruption of the laryngeal nerve accounts for approximately 10 percent of these cases. It can lead to difficulty breathing and swallowing. The disturbance can be first noted when the infant has a hoarse cry or a distinct noise while breathing known as stridor. However, there are a wide variety of causes that may result in these conditions, and a doctor should thoroughly examine the affected area to ascertain that stress of the laryngeal nerve is the cause.

Whiplash injuries in Arizona

Whiplash is a neck injury that is commonly seen in people who are involved in head-on collisions or other auto accidents. The condition is often a combination of injuries that occurs in the cervical spine when the head is violently thrust forward and then suddenly jerked back or from side to side. Most people are unaware that they have suffered a whiplash injury at the accident scene because symptoms do not usually develop until 2 to 48 hours after the crash.

Typically, the injuries suffered with whiplash involve a tearing, or spraining, of the vertebral ligaments. Also, the muscles and tendons that provide support to the cervical spine are over-stretched resulting in a strain, and the nerve roots in the spinal column may become inflamed. Less often, the vertebral discs may become herniated, or the vertebrae may be pushed out of line or fractured.

*Certified Specialist in Injury and Wrongful Death Litigation by the State Bar of Arizona, Board of Legal Specialization