Articles Posted in Car Accidents

In this post, we will look at the effectiveness of anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) as a surgical option for the treatment of chronic back pain. ACDF is a special type of back surgery in which a spinal disc is actually removed in order to relieve nerve root pressure and eliminate chronic pain.

ACDF Surgery

ACDF SURGERY LAWYERACDF surgery involves 2 steps: (1) anterior cervical discectomy; and (2) fusion. The anterior cervical discectomy involves the surgical removal of the targeted spinal disc in the cervical region of the spine. The discectomy is “anterior” because the surgical entry point is done in the front of the neck instead of through the back of the neck like in most back surgeries.

Distracted driving is a big thing these days thanks to the proliferation of smartphones and the millions of people in the U.S. who are hopelessly addicted to using them. As recently as 10 years ago, distracted driving was not really even a “thing.”

As of 2021, however, distracted driving claims an estimated 3,000 lives each year, and states across the U.S. have enacted targeted laws making it illegal. In this post, we will explain what impact a ticket for distracted driving could have on your auto insurance rates.

Does a Distracted Driving Ticket Affect Your Car Insurance?

Spinal fusion surgery significantly increases the potential value of any back injury claim.  Our Maryland personal injury lawyers see a lot of back injuries and we have seen first-hand how spinal fusion surgery can double or triple the settlement value of these cases.

This post looks at lumbar spinal fusion settlements and verdicts in cases where the victim was required to undergo spinal fusion surgery.

About Back Injury Cases

The purpose of this post is to help you better understand how epidural steroid injections impact the settlement compensation payouts in motor vehicle accident cases where the victim suffers a herniated or bulging disc.

A disc herniation is a type of disc injury that is frequently caused by car accidents.  The impact of a car accident often exerts significant force and pressure on the spine.  This pressure can cause a tear and rupture or bulge of the spinal discs, which act as pads or cushions for the spine.   Sometimes, the best treatment for this injury is epidural steroid injections.

Our firm has handled scores and scores of herniated disc injury cases.  Our first trial at Miller & Zois was a herniated disc verdict in 2003.  Our doors had been open for about a month. The defendant offered $25,000 to settle a no property damage herniated disc injury case where the most aggressive treatment was epidural steroid injections.

In Williams v. Baltimore City, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland examined the establishment of actual or constructive notice. The court found that the mere fact that a municipality knows of a defective hydrant does not ordinarily include notice of a particular danger. Rather, there must be actual or constructive notice of a particular defect that caused the injury. The court concluded that there was no error in granting summary judgment in favor of the municipality because the plaintiff failed to produce sufficient evidence that a leaking hydrant created a dangerous roadway condition that caused her accident, even though the plaintiff did provide evidence that the hydrant itself was defective.

Factual Background

This is a car accident case.  The plaintiff hit her brakes as another car pulled in front of her on Franklin Square Drive near its intersection with Balistan Street in Baltimore City.  Her car swayed and she lost control and her car ended up on its side.  The fire department had to cut her out of the vehicle. She sought immediate treatment at Franklin Square Hospital .

The Maryland Court of Appeals is still working during the coronavirus shutdown.  The court put out a new opinion Monday in Nationwide v. Shilling that addressed the question of when the 3-year statute of limitations begins to run on a claim for underinsured motorist benefits.

The gist of the court’s holding is good for plaintiffs.  The court found that a claim for underinsured motorist benefits is basically a breach of contract action. So the statute of limitations begins to run when the insurance carrier breaches the contract by denying the insured’s UIM claim.  Our lawyers have always interpreted the law this way.  But we always pretended that the statute of limitations was not extended because even having to fight this issue and win is not worth the trouble of not fighting the issue at all.

But this case has dicta that has two big problems that are very troubling with respect to the insurance company’s ability to modify the statute of limitations in uninsured motorist cases by putting a different statute of limitations in their contracts.  This would be a disaster and lead to a ton of litigation over any issue that is well understood by everyone.

proving fault car accident
Our firm has handled thousands of Maryland car accident cases over the years. As discussed below, the law of negligence in Maryland is somewhat unique compared to most other states and it makes clear proof of fault for an accident more important.  This page will look at some of the unique features of Maryland auto tort law and how to properly manage them in order to recover money in an accident.

Maryland’s “Contributory Negligence” Rule

In Maryland, establishing clear, definitive fault after an auto accident is more important than in other jurisdictions. This is because Maryland is one of only a few remaining states in the country, which has an extremely onerous law called “contributory negligence.”

If you are having back pain after a car crash, you are not alone.  Our law office represents hundreds of victims every year who have suffered back pain — typically low back pain — from a car accident.  I’m hoping this post answers a lot of questions you might have if you have suffered a back injury from a car accident.

What is causing lower back pain after a car accident?

Being involved in a car accident can lead to a wide variety of injuries from bumps and bruises to broken bones and even death. We have handled all of these types of cases too many times. But of all the cases we see, back injuries and the subsequent pain are common consequences of car collisions. If you were involved in a car accident, you may have wondered what caused your lower back pain.

back injury car accidentFirst, whether your vehicle struck another vehicle, a stationary object, or suffered a rollover, a vehicle’s passengers experience a tremendous amount of force during an accident. This force strains muscles, joints, and bones and can cause serious injuries. Even if a passenger is wearing a seatbelt or is protected by an airbag during an accident, the force of car collision can cause a jerking motion often referred to as whiplash. This can happen with little or no damage to the vehicle.  This is not just plaintiffs’ car accident lawyer puffery. There are many scientific peer-reviewed articles that show that the damage done to the vehicle does not always reflect the damage to the occupants.  Can you break eggs in a carton without damaging the carton? Whiplash can cause two types of lower back injuries—discogenic and facet joint injuries. Because of the physiology of the back and the proximity of the thirty-one pairs of nerves known as spinal cord, lower back injuries can lead to nerve damage and paralysis.

What is the lower back physiology?

The lower back is made up of the five lowest vertebrae (referred to as L1-L5) and is known as the lumbar region. This complex system of joints, ligaments, and tendons is responsible for supporting much of the upper body’s weight and protecting the spinal cord.

A series of intervertebral disks – rubbery donuts that act like cushions – serve as shock absorbers for the back. Disc herniation is a condition that occurs when the soft inner filling of the disc protrudes through the more robust outer encasing. Discogenic pain can be unpredictable and happen when a person is sitting, lying down, or moving. Discogenic pain generally causes a sharp, shooting pain that can radiate down the body.

What are some common lower back injuries?

Another type of back injury is a lumbar sprain. Lumbar sprains occur when muscle fibers are abnormally stretched or torn. Another common condition of the back is spinal stenosis, where a ruptured disc or bone fragment enters the spinal canal space, applying pressure to the nerves or spinal cord, which can lead to severe pain.

cervical spine herniated disc Facet joints work with the disks to facilitate and limit movement between the vertebrae. Cartilage surfaces surround facet joints and provide for low-friction motion. These joints define the back’s range of motion and prevent injury from occurring when a person bends too far in one direction. Facet joints have a large number of nerve endings and damage to these joints and the nearby nerves can cause severe pain. Frequently, sufferers of facet joints injuries can cause muscle spasms, which may force the spine out of alignment causing back and neck pain. For example, a patient may experience a muscle spasm that causes the joint to freeze or lock in place; this can occur abruptly and without notice.

How much money do back injury cases settle for when bringing a personal injury claim?

It is impossible to give an average back injury settlement number in a vacuum with completely misleading victims. But here are some statistics and sample verdicts and settlement in back injury cases.

Last week, the Baltimore City Department of Transportation announced that it is pushing its chips to the center of the table when it comes to speed and red light cameras.

Baltimore has a program called the City’s Automated Traffic Violation Enforcement System (ATVES).  Not so much to me because I’ve seen too many people’s lives ruined by speed and running red lights, but ATVES sounds very Orwellian to many Baltimore City drivers. ATVES is in charge of the automated speed trap and red light enforcement cameras in Baltimore City.

ATVES also does something that troubles people less, particularly those who have seen truck accident statistics in this country. It has a Commercial Vehicle Height Monitoring System Camera Program to enforce violations of commercial vehicles traveling on truck restricted roadways in Baltimore City.  We got a million dollar verdict in a case a few years back in no small measure because the jury was annoyed that the truck was in a place that it clearly should not have been.   This system definitely uses some bring brother technology,  using the truck’s height to determine whether the vehicle is over ¾ of a ton).

Insurance companies do not think the way you and I think. But, by understanding how insurance adjusters think and what is important to them, you can maximize how much money you receive in a personal injury case.

What Is the Adjuster’s Goal?

Insurance adjusters are trained to try to rip you off. Although, adjusters do not call it that. They also do not think of it in those terms. But, they are not charged with the task of making a reasonable settlement offer to you. An insurance adjuster’s mission is to pay you as little money as possible to settle your claim, which allows the insurance company to keep as much of its money as it can.