What Are Common Spinal Cord Injuries Resulting from a Serious Car Crash?entry-title

Car accidents can result in a variety of different injuries, depending on the circumstances of the crash. For example, a rear-end collision from a car accident will result in injuries that are different from a roll over car accident. One of the most common catastrophic injuries that drivers can sustain from a serious car accident is a spinal cord injury. Airbags and seat belts are designed to keep your body from absorbing a full impact, but sometimes this force will shift to your spine and cause spinal cord injuries.

What Are the Different Spinal Cord Injuries That I Could Sustain From a Car Accident?

  • Whiplash. This is a very common injury that results from rear-end collisions, which send the driver’s head snapping backwards. Whiplash usually affects the upper section of your spine near the neck, and symptoms can include stiffness, headaches, dizziness, soreness and blurred vision. Physical therapy and rest are two ways to manage whiplash symptoms.
  • Spinal fracture. This injury can occur during a car accident because the seat belt doesn’t always properly keep your body in one place. Your chest and head can move a lot more than the lower half of your body. This extreme force can leave a compression fracture on the spine, which can result in pain, numbness and muscle weakness. Some fractures might have to be treated with surgery, and others with physical therapy and rest over time.
  • Disc herniation. Your spinal discs between your spine vertebrae absorb a lot of force during a car accident. One or more of these discs can shift, and when this shift happens it can compress surrounding nerves, which causes extreme pain or numbness. Surgery can fix a herniated disc or any nearby damaged structures.
  • Vertebrae shifts. Also known as “spondylolisthesis,” this happens when a vertebra shifts due to a stress fracture in the backbone. This injury is similar to a herniated disc, and the displaced bone can also compress surrounding nerves or the spinal canal. This may cause weakness, numbness and radiating pain.

If you have suffered a spinal injury in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, you could possibly receive compensation for your injuries. Contact Steve Gnau today for a free case evaluation.

Who Is Liable for Injuries From an Autonomous Vehicle Accident?entry-title

Photo of wreck involving sedans

If you have read any recent technology news in our country, then you are probably familiar with the term “autonomous vehicle,” or AV. An autonomous vehicle is also known as a self-driving vehicle. Ridesharing companies such as Uber want to start incorporating this new technology into their services in certain states. However, in the past few years since AVs have been introduced, there have been a few deadly accidents involving these special cars. Experts are now asking who is liable if there are injuries or fatalities in an autonomous vehicle accident.

How Can Liability Be Determined in an Autonomous Vehicle Accident?

When a human is not behind the wheel of a car involved in an accident, it is difficult to determine who is at fault if that car caused an injury or fatality. Since this technology is still being developed, and since there are only a few accidents to base facts and evidence off of, the answer is still not clear.

In March, a pedestrian was fatally hit by an autonomous vehicle in Arizona. After seeing a video of the crash, the city’s law enforcement claimed that it would have been difficult to avoid the collision based on the specific circumstances of the event. Volvo, who has manufactured and supplied many of these self-driving vehicles, could be potentially liable for the accident if litigation occurred. Volvo admitted that its vehicle was involved in this crash, but that the software controlling the vehicle was not its own. In 2015, Volvo stated that they would accept full liability when one of its AVs, equipped with the company’s own self-driving system, crashed while in autonomous mode.

Car accident litigation for autonomous vehicles could involve design or manufacturing defects. A plaintiff would have to prove that a defect directly caused the injury or fatality. Besides this claim, however, any other litigation involving AVs so far have been handled behind closed doors. Accidents like the Arizona tragedy are still being investigated. Litigation will depend on the certain circumstances of the event.

If you have been involved in an accident with an autonomous vehicle, then you will want an attorney to help you answer questions you might have about recovering compensation. Contact Steve Gnau today for a free consultation.

How Can I Stay Safe During the 100 Deadliest Days of Driving?entry-title

Talking On Phone And Crashing

The 100 deadliest days for teenage drivers are the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day. In 2016, more than 1,050 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents involving a teen driver during this period. This is an average of 10 deaths per day and a 14 percent increase compared to the rest of the year.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety warns drivers of the dangers during this 100-day period since school is out for the summer and more inexperienced drivers are now on the streets. There are certain safety tips that parents and teens can utilize to avoid deadly accidents this summer.

Safety Tips For the 100 Deadliest Days of Driving For Teenage Drivers?

  • Avoid nighttime driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 36 percent of all teenage motor vehicle fatalities in 2016 occurred between 9 pm and 5 am. NHTSA data also shows a 22 percent increase in the average number of nighttime accidents per day involving teen drivers during the 100 deadliest days compared to the rest of the year. Nighttime driving can involve more dangerous factors that result in increased accidents, such as intoxication, sleep deprivation, distractions and poor visibility.
  • Don’t speed. One in ten of all speed-related car accident fatalities involve teen drivers. Speeding is another huge risk that teenagers take. Parents can install devices in their teen’s car to monitor and track their speeds throughout the day.
  • Provide education. As summer takes full swing, it is crucial that parents discuss the dangers of risky driving situations with their teenagers. Education can include teaching by example, creating a parent-teen driving agreement that sets family rules for driving and generally enforcing stricter limits on when your teen can drive and how long he or she can be out at night.

If your teen does become involved in a car accident this summer, then you might want to seek compensation for injuries or damage sustained from the crash. Contact Steve Gnau to schedule a free consultation.

What Kind of Injuries Can Result from Drunk Driving Accidents?entry-title

photo of keys next to whiskey in glasses

It is not shocking news that alcohol is the leading cause of motor vehicle fatalities and severe injuries in the United States. Thousands of people are killed in drunk driving accidents every year, despite strict DUI and DWI laws. The risk of a driver being killed in a drunk driving accident with a BAC of .08 is at least 11 times that of sober drivers. With fatalities at an alarming high, drunk driving accidents also cause severe injuries that physically and mentally incapacitate people.

What Are the Main Injuries Sustained After Drunk Driving Accidents?

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI): Your head and brain can sustain serious damage upon impact in a severe car accident. Traumatic brain injuries can cause coma, motor function and cognition issues, and can also lead to thousands of dollars in medical bills. Symptoms of a TBI can be subtle and hard to point out.
  • Broken bones: Broken and crushed bone injuries can occur after a car accident. These injuries can require multiple surgeries as well as lead to physical disabilities or even the loss of a limb.
  • Back and spine injuries: These injuries can include spine fractures, spinal disc injuries, back strains and sprains and any other serious spinal cord injuries.
  • Skin injuries: Car accidents can result in lacerations or burns, which can cause serious skin damage, pain, and/or permanent scarring and disfigurement.
  • Psychological injuries: Drunk driving accidents can cause depression anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorders in victims.

Head injuries, spine injuries, and other serious bodily and mental injuries can all result from a drunk driving accident. Steve Gnau has more than 20 years of experience as an attorney advocating for victims of drunk driving accidents in California. Contact him today if you are a victim of a drunk driving accident and would like to seek damages for your serious injuries.

What Damages Are Available for Me from a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?entry-title

Overcoming Relentless Emotional Turmoil After A Loved One's Death

When a loved one dies, emotional trauma can arrive and affect an entire family and each of its members. A death in the family can also cause extreme financial hardship, and it can leave family members at a loss for what to do next. California laws have been enacted in order to decrease these struggles for families, especially when a person or other party is found legally responsible for your loved one’s death. It’s crucial that you and your family know the different types of compensation (also known as damages) that are available in wrongful death lawsuits.

What Are the Different Categories of Damages in a Wrongful Death Suit?

There are two general categories of damages in a wrongful death case.  The two categories are called economic damages and non-economic damages.

The first category involves the loss of financial support, household services and loss of benefits or gifts that the deceased would have provided.  This category also involves burial expenses paid by the family.

The second category of damages involves the loss of love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, moral support and affection that the family member suffered.  This category also involves the loss of training and guidance that the deceased would have provided to the family.

These categories of damages are designed to compensate the family for any financial losses, and they are intended to replace the value of money the deceased would have earned were it not for his or her death (lost wages). Loss of consortium can also be included in this damages category, which is where a spouse or immediate family member is deprived of the deceased’s love and companionship.

Most of the time, wrongful death damages are rewarded to spouses, children or parents of the deceased. If you are interested in filing a wrongful death lawsuit and would like to recover damages, we can help. Steve Gnau has extensive wrongful death case experience, and he will help represent you in court. Just contact our office today for a free consultation.