Articles Posted in Spinal Cord Injuries

Published on:

Union Tribune  Eric Edmonds report on off-roading in Southern California’s deserts, and underscores the increased risk of serious injuries to children resulting from the operation of all terrain vehicles (ATV’s).  Off-roading in California takes place all year long;  however,  in the fall when desert  temperatures become cooler,  greater numbers of off-road enthusiasts driving ATV’s such as motorcycles, trucks and quads flock to popular areas such as Glamis in the San Diego county. Consequently, these areas start to resemble war zones as a result of accidents caused by reckless drivers.

A research study being conducted at San Diego’s Rady Children’s Hospital in conjunction with Children’s Hospital of Orange County, has shown some interesting patterns regarding the peak desert season and off-road vehicle-related injuries in children. The age of the children injured ranges from 8 months to 14 years,  which is the cutoff age for trauma being directed to a children’s hospital. Fractures represent forty percent of the injuries, half of which require surgery, and 20 percent of the injuries involved  the skull, brain, spine, or other internal injuries.  Accidents involving dirt bikes are the primary  cause of serious injuries accounting for approximately 45% of injuries and  ATVs, quads, and other vehicles make up the rest. Many of those injured  fail to use proper safety equipment and or lack the safety training in the first instance. In addition, the study suggests that the lack of adequate regulation and enforcement is also of great concern.

Applicable California Law

Published on:

East County Magazine reported that Carlos Martinez a resident of Escondido was seriously injured and sustained internal and head injuries as a result of being ejected from his vehicle. The auto accident happened at around 5 a. m. on January 15, 2011. San Diego Sheriff’s office reported that Martinez, had been driving northbound on San Elijo Road in San Marcos, when he hit the center median,  causing his GMC Envoy to roll over.  As a result, Martinez was ejected from the vehicle sustaining serious injuries and was transported to Palomar Medical Center.

Applicable California Law

Martinez will have potential products liability claims for personal injury  against General Motors Corporation and the dealer where he purchased the vehicle. Products Liability claims are based on various legal theories including negligence, strict liability, or breach of warranty of fitness. They can arise out of design defects, manufacturing defects, or marketing defects such as inadequate/failure to warn off dangers. All parties in the chain of distribution from the manufacturer to distributors, to name a few, can be held liable. Under these circumstances, a thorough investigation of the accident, including a scene investigation by an accident reconstruction/ human factors expert and other experts , would be necessary to evaluate the merits of any claims. Furthermore, it is not clear why Martinez’s vehicle drifted into the center divider, or if he was wearing his seat belt at the time of the accident. If his conduct contributed to causing his own injuries, any claims he pursues will be reduced proportionately.

Published on:

San Diego News10 reported that an intoxicated bicyclist  sustained serious injuries as a result of being struck by a hit-and-run driver on October 14, 2010. The auto accident happened at around 8 p.m. in the bike lane on Pomerado Road, near Caminito Vecinos. Police stated that the bicyclist was not wearing a helmet, had no reflective gear on, or lights on his bike. The cyclist was reported to have been drinking, and at the time he was hit, was wearing a backpack with beer containers inside it, which police think may have saved his life. Police Sergeant Art Doherty said “He had a number of beverages in the backpack. It probably absorbed the impact.” The bicycle accident victim would not cooperate with police who had no description of the driver or the hit-and run vehicle. However, debris from the car found at the scene could lead police to the identity of the vehicle. The bicyclist sustained multiple injuries including abrasions, bruises, a fractured vertebra, and was transported to the hospital.

Applicable California Law

Drivers who are involved in an accident have the responsibility to remain at the scene of the accident to provide information and assistance (see my prior Blog post San Diego Hit-And-Run Auto Accident Causes Severe Brain Injury on California’s Hit-and-run laws). Bicyclist who ride on the streets have the same rights and duties, under the law, as any other vehicle on the road (see my prior Blog post Ramona Bike Accident Causes Fatality on California’s Bike Laws), which prohibit drinking while riding on the streets (see my prior Blog post San Diego Woman Arrested For Fatal Coronado Traffic Accident on California’s Drunk Driving laws). If after through investigation has been conducted, the driver of the hit-and-run vehicle cannot be identified, the bicyclist could pursue an uninsured motorist claim if he has auto insurance with UM coverage, since the accident involved a motor vehicle. However, since the bicyclist had been drinking, not wearing a helmet, proper reflective gear, or having lights on his bicycle, the value of his claim could be diminished to the extent it can be proved that he contributed to his own injuries.

Published on:

UNION TRIBUNE Pauline Repard reported that  Elizabeth Belete,19, and Cassandra Robinson, 21, received fatal injuries and another person was critically injured in the City Heights area as a result of an auto accident at around 7 p.m. on October 9, 2010. The hit-and-run accident happened on state Route 15, at or near the southbound transition lanes to I-805, causing both vehicles to fly off the freeway.  According to CHP officers, both of the woman who were killed were ejected from one vehicle, were pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics. The three occupants of the second vehicle were trapped for a period of time before being rescued . One of the occupants sustained serious injuries, the other two reportedly left the scene before police arrived. Investigating officers said “We are treating this like a crime scene.”

Applicable California Law

 

The driver of the second vehicle who left the scene could be charged with felony hit and run (see my prior Blog post San Diego Hit-And-Run Auto Accident Causes Severe Brain Injury for California Hit and Run Law). Since the accident is still under investigation, one or both drivers could be found to be at fault. Irrespective of who caused of the accident, they will be liable to the heirs for the wrongful death of the victims who lost their lives (see my prior Blog post Escondido Auto Accident Fatally Injures Man In Wheelchair for California  Law on Wrongful Death). Furthermore, they would be liable for the personal injury and property damage sustained by the others involved in the accident. There could also be potential products liability claims by the heirs of the deceased against the manufacturer and distributor of the vehicle occupied by the ones ejected, if their vehicle was found to be defective and contributing to their deaths (see my prior Blog post Valley Center Man Killed in Oceanside Work Accident for California Law on Products Liability).

Published on:

UNION TRIBUNE Pauline Repard reported that a San Marcos woman, allegedly driving under the influence (DUI), is suspected in a fatal auto accident in Vista on August 13, 2010. The accident occurred  at around 12:30 a.m. just west of Sycamore when Erica Oliva, 23, of Fallbrook, pulled her car off to the shoulder because one of her passengers was getting sick. Erica along with two of her passengers, Susana Orozco, 23, of Escondido, who worked with her at Valley View Casino, and Omar Guzman of Oceanside, exited her Nissan Altima just before it was struck. Omar stepped away from the vehicle just before it was hit by a Jeep Cherokee, driven by Debbie Sumi, 23, of San Marcos and escaped injury. However, the collision killed the two woman and injuring Gerardo Cortez, 21, of Oceanside who was still sitting in the Nissan. CHP officer Eric Newbury said that Sumi, who was not wearing a seat belt, was thrown from her vehicle, and  was seriously injured. Sumi’s passenger was crushed and received fatal injuries when the Jeep overturned. Newbury was quoted as saying,  “We’ve had a lot of fatalities from DUIs, it’s a tragedy. Only when something like this happens is there an outrage. All the people who died today, we can’t bring them back.” Sumi was taken into custody at the scene, on suspicion of drunk driving and felony vehicular manslaughter before being taken to a local trauma center.

Our sympathy goes out to the families and friends of the deceased.

Applicable California Law

Published on:

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS reported that a  private plane  crashed at  around 1:00 p.m. on August 2, 2010 when the Crane family was on their way home to Scottsdale, Arizona after visiting family in San Diego. The Cranes single engine plane, a Velocity XL-RG6, took off from Montgomery Field when George Crane, the pilot, radioed that he was turning back because one of the plane’s doors was open.  While attempted an emergency landing at Kearney Mesa airport the plain crashed at the Admiral Baker Golf Course. Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are inspecting the scene of the accident  to see if the plane door, discovered a mile from the crash site, was a contributing factor in causing the plane to crash.  Federal Investigators will analyze other factors such as, excess weight, the doors’ hinges, and latch mechanism. Air and safety investigator Tom Little, of the NTSB, said that the investigation will examine the physical evidence from the wreckage  to determine  the cause of the crash, and whether the door might have hit the plane’s engine, and or the propeller. The fatal accident caused the death of Lori Crane and her 8-yeat-old son, Austin. George Crane is in critical condition at local hospitals along with his two other children, 11-year-old Summer, and 10-year-old Tia.

Our deepest sympathy  goes out to the Crane family and friends, as well as a speedy recovery to the injured.

Applicable California Law

Published on:

 

The results of a new study were published in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons the study focused on new developments in the treatment of spinal cord injuries (SCI). According to Dr. Ranjan Gupta, MD, professor of orthopedic surgery, anatomy, neurobiology and biomedical engineering at the University of California, Irvine, the management  of injury victims and an eventual cure will involve the use expertise in different fields. The statistics reflecting the number of accident victims who sustain spinal cord injuries are compelling.

• Each year, approximately 12,000 men and women sustain and survive spinal cord injuries, and about 259,000 Americans currently live with a long-lasting SCI.

• Although traditionally associated primarily with young adults, today the average age of SCI patients has risen to 40.2 years.

Published on:

San Diego 10 News reported that several students were injured in a bus accident  on the Campo Indian Reservation at the Golden Acorn Casino on 5/18/10. The  bus carrying elementary grade students from Yuma, Arizona stopped at the casino on its way to the San Diego Zoo, when the bus driver ran into a light pole knocking the students out of their seats and causing several students to be injured. According a Cal Fire spokesperson, the students were transported to Sharp and Alvarado Hospitals for evaluation and treatment.

Applicable California Law

The parents, legal guardians and representatives of the injured students would have claims against  the driver of the bus as well as the school district if they employed the driver and owned the bus.  Claims would need to be filed with the appropriate public agencies in compliance with local Arizonian laws. Since the accident occurred in California, as a general rule, any potential law suites should be filed in San Diego. However, since the claims involve Arizona public agencies and residents, suite could be filed in federal court in Arizona. Furthermore, since the incident took place on an Indian Reservation, and the U.S. government recognizes Indian Tribes as sovereign nations, their tribal laws would govern the policies and procedures for resolving any law suites if the casino or any of there employees contributed to causing the accident. If so, in Southern California, the cases would be adjudicated by the Intertribal Court of Southern California.

Published on:

American Roentgen Ray Society, held its 2010 annual conference in San Diego and unveiled a new technique for  the diagnosis and treatment of spine injuries. The new scan, called a CT spine reformatting, has the potential of eliminating the need for x-rays, lowering radiation exposure, and is a more economical way of evaluating spine injuries to the mid and low back regions.

Ongoing Studies  at the University Of Calgary’s Foothills Medical Center with patients who had the new  scan and x-rays taken of the same parts of the spine, showed  that x-rays were less accurate than the scans. As detailed by Viesha Clure, lead author of the study, “the x-rays provide no additional information, and in fact, some of these fractures were not seen on the x-rays.” The benefit of the new technique is that it makes diagnosis and treatment of spine injuries more precise and effective.

Developing new, safer, less costly, more effective and accurate techniques for the diagnosis and treatment of traumatic spine injuries is key for injury victims’ ability to achieve the best outcome in resolving there injuries.  However, when these injuries are not properly diagnosed and treated, they may lead to permanent residual consequences. Studies and statistics show that the most common causes of spine injuries arise from vehicular accidents such as auto accidents, motorcycle accident or slip and fall accidents . Taking prompt action and obtaining prompt medical treatment, employing the latest techniques and using the latest technology can have a significant influence on the outcome of serious injuries. Having the knowledge of cutting edge techniques and  the latest treatment options is one of the many benefits of consulting an experienced personal injury attorney.

Published on:

Research Facilities around the world, including the University Of California San Diego, are looking into the benefits of  using folic acid in treating spinal cord and brain injuries. Prior studies indicate that pregnant woman who do not ingest enough folic acid (vitamin B9), have a higher risk of giving birth to babies with birth defects such as congenital deformities involving the development of the brain and spinal cord. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin, Madison have concluded through the collection of significant data, which suggests that the use of folic acid might be beneficial in treating  brain and spinal cord injuries. Folic acid was also found to be beneficial in promoting nerve cell regeneration and healing following injury in test subjects such as rodents. Researchers at Universilalsmedizin in Berlin, Germany indicate that the data from studies provides a rational for testing folic acid supplements on patients with spinal cord and brain trauma.

Hope For The Future

Progressive and cutting edge research in the use of supplements and other therapies, including stem cell, are crucial in providing alternative treatment options spinal cord and brain injury victims.  Accident victims and other individuals who have sustained significant  injuries in most cases have limited treatment options and have life long challenges, which have compelling effects on  their quality of life.