Tag: personal injury lawsuit

5 Hidden Injuries from Car Accidents

Hidden injuries from car accidents can cause debilitating symptoms for crash victims. It’s one of the many reasons why you should get checked by a medical practitioner following an auto collision. Self-checks – including medical evaluations by emergency medical technicians at the scene – can miss these hidden injuries.

You may be lulled into a false sense of security, thinking you’re fine when you have concealed trauma. Those injuries might not become physically obvious for hours, days, or even weeks after an accident.

Even after a minor fender-bender, consider visiting a local emergency room or your primary care doctor for a thorough examination. It may seem like an overreaction, but a medical professional familiar with hidden injuries from car accidents is more likely to spot any of these serious conditions.

1 – Internal injuries

Airbags and seatbelts save lives during car accidents. However, they can cause some hidden injuries in the process. These safety devices accomplish the greater task of preserving your life by holding you in your seat. Depending on the force of impact during the collision, the restraint can cause extensive trauma to your internal organs.

The pressure from your seatbelt can cause internal bleeding, which is life-threatening. You may not have any immediate symptoms, so it can be easy to think you’re fine when you’re not.

Some of the warning signs of internal bleeding include:

  • Abdominal pain.
  • Chest pain.
  • Dizziness.
  • Low blood pressure.
  • Numbness in the extremities.
  • Severe headache.
  • Weakness on one side of your body.
  • Vision problems.

Get to an emergency room immediately if you have any of these symptoms in the hours or days after a car crash. You could be dealing with a hidden injury.

hidden injuries car accidents neck injury
Whiplash can be a common hidden injury in car accidents. It can take days to surface sometimes.

2 – Neck injuries

Whiplash can be common among car crash victims. During a collision, the force of impact creates a whipping action between your head and neck. Whiplash causes soft tissue damage that might not be immediately detected.

If in the days following a car crash you begin to experience these signs or symptoms, it’s a good idea to get checked by a medical practitioner:

  • Dizziness.
  • Headaches.
  • Neck pain and stiffness.
  • Tenderness in your arms, shoulders, or upper back.
  • Loss of range of motion in your neck.

Treatment can include physical therapy and pain management techniques to resolve whiplash sooner.

3 – Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

While not a physical injury, posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, can happen after a car accident. It’s a hidden psychological injury that can sometimes get overlooked.

Depending on the severity of the crash, victims can be left traumatized by what they’ve witnessed. PTSD can be more common in automobile accidents with fatalities.

It can take days or weeks for PTSD to surface. If you begin to experience any of these symptoms after a car crash, it’s time to see a mental health expert:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Flashbacks
  • Nightmares
  • Phobias

4 – Soft tissue damage

You may not be thinking about your ankles, back, feet, or knees after a car accident, but they can be the location of soft tissue damage that cause pain or mobility issues later. Other places that can experience soft tissue injuries are your elbows, shoulders, and wrists.

It might take a few days for soft tissue damage from a car accident to surface, but when it does, you can experience any of the following symptoms:

  • You can’t bear weight on the injured area.
  • You experience joint instability.
  • You have knots or lumps at the injury site.
  • You have limited range of motion.
  • You have muscle cramps or spasms.
  • You have swelling at the injury site.

Call your doctor right away if any of these signs surface after a car accident. They may prescribe pain management strategies that include medications and physical therapy.

TBI hidden injuries car accidents
TBIs are among hidden injuries from car accidents. TBI can only be detected with a CT scan or MRI.

5 – Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Brain injuries can be scary. They also can be common after a serious car crash. Whiplash, which we mentioned earlier, can cause concussions and TBIs that go unnoticed at first. If you lose consciousness during a crash, you should automatically be evaluated for brain injuries.

However, it’s possible to get a concussion or a TBI without losing consciousness. Symptoms of concussion and TBI that signal it’s time to get a medical evaluation include:

  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Memory loss
  • Nausea
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)

It can be difficult to tell the difference between a concussion and TBI because they share some common symptoms. TBI has lasting cognitive effects that impact daily living. If you start to have any of these symptoms, it could be a warning that you’re suffering from a hidden TBI:

  • A decreased awareness of yourself and others.
  • A failure to follow multiple-step directions.
  • An inability to understand abstract concepts.
  • A shortened attention span.

CT scans and MRIs are the only way to determine if you have hidden brain injuries from a car accident.

How to handle hidden injuries from car accidents

Seeking medical attention right after a car accident can help identify hidden injuries. It also can provide valuable documentation needed if you decide to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault party.

Car crash victims should consult with a personal injury attorney experienced in handling hidden injuries from car accidents to ensure their rights are protected.

Avoid These 5 Mistakes After an Accident

No one starts their day off expecting to get into an automobile accident. Most people go to great lengths to avoid it by practicing safe driving techniques behind the wheel. Despite your best laid plans, all it takes is one careless driver to turn an otherwise pleasant outing into a serious crash.

Albuquerque has a lot of busy roadways, including the infamous “Big I” intersection of I-25 and I-40. It’s one of the most dangerous intersections in the country because of the amount of traffic that travels through there each day.

If you’re unfortunate enough to be in an accident anywhere in New Mexico, it’s important not to make these 5 common mistakes as a car crash victim. If you do, it can affect the outcome of a future personal injury lawsuit should you suffer long-term effects from the accident.

mistakes after accident call police
Calling the police ensures you get an accident report that lists the at-fault party.

Mistake #1: Not calling the police

When an accident is serious enough to cause injuries and disrupt the normal flow of traffic, the police must be called to conduct an official report and direct traffic if necessary. Even if you aren’t seriously injured (or don’t think you are at the time), it’s important to still contact the police to come and provide a written report of the accident.

The police can conduct an official investigation and create an accident report that details who was at fault in the accident. Official police reports can be valuable supporting evidence if you later file a personal injury lawsuit in Albuquerque or anywhere else in New Mexico.

accident mistakes witness information
Failing to get witnesses’ contact information can hurt your personal injury claim.

Mistake #2: Not getting witness information

Getting the contact information for any witnesses to an accident is another reason to call the police to the scene. Police officers can talk to witnesses and make note of how to find them in the future should they need further information.

Your personal injury attorney can use crash witnesses to pursue a personal injury claim in Albuquerque. Witness statements and testimony can be particularly useful if there is a question about who was at fault. Without witnesses to back up your claims, the at-fault party’s insurance company can create a narrative that puts you fully or partially at fault for the accident.

Mistake #3: Failing to get a crash report

Remember when we said it was a good idea to call the police to the scene of an accident, even if you don’t think you’re seriously hurt?  It doesn’t do you much good to have the police investigate and file a report if you forget to get a copy of that report.

Most police departments provide both parties with a summary of the accident report on the scene. At the very least, they’ll give you their card so you can contact them or their department later.

If you’ve forgotten to get a police report for your accident, let your personal injury attorney know right away. They can reach out to the police to review the report and ensure all information contained in it is correct.

Mistake #4: Failing to seek immediate medical attention

Even if you think you’re OK after an accident, it’s important to be checked out by a medical professional. You could have a hidden injury that takes a few days to surface. Among the most common include:

  • Concussions.
  • Herniated disks.
  • Internal bleeding or damage to internal organs.
  • Soft tissue injuries to ankles, elbows, feet, knees, and shoulders.
  • Whiplash.

If you have a serious hidden injury like a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) or internal bleeding, those conditions can become life-threatening if misdiagnosed or ignored.

Getting a medical evaluation right after the accident also can help in a personal injury claim. It provides supporting evidence of your physical trauma that can be used by a personal injury attorney to seek fair compensation for your injuries.

car accident victim personal injury attorney call
Calling a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an accident can help crash victims protect their rights.

Mistake #5: Failing to call a personal injury attorney immediately

Accident victims can sometimes make the mistake of trusting the insurance companies – theirs and the at-fault party’s – of doing the right thing after an accident. Insurance companies sometimes lowball accident victims with settlement offers that require you to sign away your rights to pursue additional compensation later.

Never talk to an insurance company or agree to a settlement without first talking to an experienced personal injury attorney. Your attorney serves as your official negotiator and can determine if it’s in your best interest to accept a settlement or push for additional compensation.

How a personal injury attorney can help

Consulting with a personal injury attorney in Albuquerque can help crash victims avoid these five common mistakes. Bill Russell has represented injured people and their families for years throughout the state of New Mexico. He goes the extra mile to stand up for automobile accident victims, ensuring they receive fair compensation for their injuries.

Book a free case evaluation with Bill and the team at Cameron & Russell Law today to get started.

Injured Playing Sports? You Can Sue.

Cross-country track. Football. Soccer. Tennis. All are among the most popular fall sports with athletes at all competition levels. Playing a fall sport can be a great way to engage in a physical activity for all ages. It’s also a common way to get injured.

Whether you’re playing a team sport in your high school athletics program, or you’re a star in the pro leagues, you can get injured at any time. All it takes is one wrong collision on the football field or a fall during a hurdle event at a track meet to leave you with serious injuries that can affect you for the rest of your life.

No one likes to think about getting hurt playing a sport they love. If the unthinkable happens, you have the right to seek fair compensation for your pain and suffering. Contacting a personal injury attorney in Albuquerque is an important first step.

fall sports injuries sue
Cheerleaders do some risky stunts. They easily can get hurt.

Where do sports-related injuries happen?

Some sports are more prone than others to provide the perfect atmosphere for sports injuries. Any sport that provides an opportunity for players to collide – football, lacrosse, soccer – are among the highest-risk activities.

Football players accept the risk of serious head and neck injuries every time they go out onto the field. In recent years, the list of former NFL players diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) has grown. The degenerative brain disease can happen to football players who suffer repeated blows to the head.

Soccer players also are at an increased risk for the kinds of injuries that happen when players crash into one another at top speed on the field. Broken bones, concussions and wrist fractures are among the most common soccer injuries.

Cheerleading is an often-overlooked fall sport that can lead to some devastating injuries. The sport has evolved in recent years to include more than just rooting for the home team from the sidelines. Most cheer teams compete in skills competitions that require risky physical routines that can lead to concussions, broken bones, and other injuries.

What kinds of injuries happen in fall sports?

No matter what kind of fall sport you choose, most share a common list of possible injuries you can experience. Concussions top the list of fall sport injuries, especially for athletes who play football, soccer, and lacrosse. Even cheerleaders who fall while executing flips, lifts, and pyramid mounts can suffer a blow to the head.

Concussions can sometimes take a day or two to become apparent. Watch for these signs and symptoms if you’ve had a collision with another player or hit your head from a fall:

  • Confusion and disorientation.
  • Fatigue.
  • Head and eye pain from bright light.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Ringing in the ears.

Fractures also happen while playing fall sports. Maybe you got kicked in the face while covering the net in soccer. Or someone accidentally cracked you with their stick during a particularly physical game of field hockey. Fractures can cause severe and lasting pain and suffering.

Strains and sprains also are common in fall sports. If you twist your ankle during a landing on the way down from an epic catch on the football field, you’re going to end up with a sprain that requires medical attention. Even the most in-shape athletes can experience muscle strain from overuse.

fall sports injuries negligent coaching
Negligent coaching can lead to fall sports injuries that qualify for a personal injury lawsuit.

Does assumption of risk affect my lawsuit?  

When you choose to play a fall sport, you assume a certain risk of injury. Called assumption of risk, it can prevent you from suing for some injuries you experience during the normal course of a sporting event. However, there are some exceptions.

Intent to injure

Sometimes athletes get heated during play. Poor sports can engage in dirty plays with injury in mind. If another player intentionally injures you, a personal injury lawsuit can be filed to recover the costs of medical treatment and ongoing pain and suffering.

Negligent coaching

Athletic coaches are supposed to guide you during play, providing advice on the best way to play your position. Just like some poor sport players, sometimes coaches put players in dangerous situations because they want to win the game. If this happens, and you become injured, you may have a personal injury case.

Product liability

Fall sports come with all kinds of equipment designed to protect athletes while they play the game. Under New Mexico products liability law, designers and manufacturers of defective products can be held liable for injuries from using their product. For instance, some older football helmets manufacturers have been sued for failing to prevent brain injuries in football players.

Seeking help for fall sports injuries

If you’re unsure whether your fall sports injury falls under assumption of risk, the best way to clarify is to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney in Albuquerque. An attorney well-versed in personal injury law in New Mexico knows what evidence you need to support your case.

For a free consultation with the team at Cameron & Russell, call 505-218-7844 or contact us online.

How to Spot Neglect in Senior Citizens

Elder abuse and neglect sadly are not uncommon in the United States. Roughly 1 in every 10 Americans over the age of 60 has experienced some form of elder abuse or neglect. Sometimes it’s an assisted living facility or nursing home responsible for the mistreatment. Other times, it might be a family member living with the senior citizen carrying out the cruelty.

Regardless of who is responsible for abusing or neglecting a senior citizen, the signs and symptoms that can alert you to a problem are the same. Learning how to spot them, and knowing where to report an issue, can save a senior citizen’s life.

What is elder abuse and neglect?

Elder abuse includes emotional, physical, and sexual harm inflicted on an older adult. It also can involve financial exploitation. Abuse happens where senior citizens live, whether that’s at home with a relative or in an aging care facility run by the state or a private entity.

Neglect happens when the individual charged with an elderly person’s care fails to carry it out. It includes not assisting with daily living tasks like bathing and meals. When a caregiver neglects a senior, it can impact the senior citizen’s health and well-being.

When elderly persons are neglected, they can become depressed and withdrawn.

What are signs of neglect in the elderly?

It can be difficult to spot the early warning signs of neglect in the elderly if you’re not close to the victim. However, neglect tends to manifest itself in the same ways in most older Americans. Once you know the signs, you can spot them in anyone.

If an elderly person’s appearance is unkempt – hair not combed, clothes looking disheveled or unclean – it can be a sign that they’re not receiving proper care in their living environment. Body odor can be another indication of neglect.

When the neglect includes failing to provide adequate nutrition, the elderly person may struggle with maintaining weight and become frail and uncoordinated.

What are signs of physical abuse in the elderly?

Most people think that physical abuse in the elderly is easy to spot, but that’s not always the case. Visible bruises and other injuries can be an indication that someone is physically assaulting an elderly person in their care. However, sometimes abusers go to great lengths to inflict damage in places not easily visible to others.

Other signs of physical abuse in the elderly can include:

  • Emotional changes (becomes more withdrawn).
  • Frequent trips to the emergency room or other healthcare facilities.
  • Hair or tooth loss.
  • Improperly-healing wounds.

If you suspect elder abuse – even in someone you don’t know that well – it’s important to report your suspicions immediately. You can learn more about how and where to report in the section below.

Seniors who are emotionally abused may become agitated or nervous around their abuser.

What are signs of emotional trauma in seniors?

Not all abuse reveals itself through physical scars and signs. Verbal abuse can include intentionally inflicting emotional anguish, distress, or pain on another person. Oftentimes, this kind of abuse includes harassment, humiliation, intimidation, and threats.

Sometimes when an older person is abused or neglected in this way, it causes deep emotional trauma that causes a specific set of behaviors in the abused person. Warning signs of emotional trauma include:

  • Agitation.
  • Avoiding eye contact with abuser.
  • Increasing depression.
  • Nervousness around abuser.
  • Reluctance to talk openly.
  • Sudden changes in eating or sleeping habits.
  • Withdrawal from others.

If you suspect a senior citizen has suffered emotional trauma, it’s important to report your suspicions immediately. You can learn more about how and where to report in the next section.

Who do you call to report suspected elder abuse?

The New Mexico Aging and Long-Term Services department handles reports of suspected elder abuse in the state. You can call the Adult Protective Services Statewide Intake toll-free number at 866-654-3219 to speak with a member of the team who can document your concerns and open an investigation.

Any time you believe an elderly person is in immediate, life-threatening danger from an abuser, call 911. A police officer can be dispatched to the scene and take appropriate action.

How do you help abused or neglected senior citizens?

If you have a personal relationship with an elderly person who you suspect is being abused or neglected, you can report the abuse to the correct authorities. Additionally, you can encourage the senior citizen to seek assistance from a New Mexico attorney skilled in elder abuse and neglect cases.

Working with a lawyer can ensure the abused or neglected person receives adequate compensation for their injuries and emotional trauma, especially if they were inflicted by an assisted living facility or nursing home.

Driverless Trucks Increase the Risk of Crashes

Driverless trucks are part of the push toward automation in the United States. With the truck driver shortage continuing, some companies have developed autonomous trucks that can handle the task without a human behind the wheel. While most people are familiar with other kinds of self-driving vehicles, many may be uncomfortable with the idea of an 80,000 pound fully loaded tractor trailer driving itself.

Yet, in the U.S., it’s estimated that 90 percent of all long-haul trucking may soon be done without drivers.  One company, TuSimple, already has an autonomous truck performing depot-to-depot runs in Arizona and Texas. The San Diego-based company said it plans to use driverless trucks to improve safety and efficiency in the trucking industry.

How safe are you on the roadways with self-driving trucks? Considering self-driving cars caused nearly 400 crashes in less than a year in the U.S., it’s understandable that you might be concerned about autonomous trucks.

Drivers who are injured because of autonomous trucking technology have rights. You can speak with a personal injury attorney in Albuquerque, who can help you receive fair compensation for your injuries and property damage.

Driverless trucks are on the nation’s highways, increasing the risk of truck crashes.

How safe are autonomous trucks?

The answer to this question is still relatively unknown, as most companies pursuing the technology are still testing their autonomous trucks. During the testing phase, a human driver is behind the wheel, ready to take over if there is an issue with the automated system.

Torq Robotics, an autonomous vehicle company in Albuquerque, said that its goal is to reduce trucking accidents by eliminating the human error component. The company has an advisory council that oversees working relationships with fleets and logistics suppliers.

At the moment, self-driving trucks and their testing are limited to the Sun Belt states because the technology doesn’t perform well in bad weather like snowstorms and fog.

What are the risks to other drivers?

Tech companies working to develop and market autonomous trucks claim they have many benefits. What are the risks to other drivers?  One of the biggest downfalls is software failure. Driverless trucks are controlled by complicated software programs designed to replace a human behind the wheel. If that software fails, the truck can malfunction, losing the ability to brake or steer.

Another potential risk is autonomous vehicles can be susceptible to hacking. Cyberattacks could focus on the truck’s software, which controls the navigation system. If an unauthorized person gained control of the program running the truck, they could disable it or cause disruptions that compromise the safety of everyone and everything in the truck’s path.

Lastly, another danger of autonomous trucks is the artificial intelligence that runs them lacks the ability to predict human error on the roadways. So, while a human truck driver might anticipate the car in front of him not using a turn signal correctly, a driverless truck might misinterpret the signs, causing a rear-end collision.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is one of the most serious kinds of injuries autonomous trucks can cause if you’re involved in a crash with one.

What kinds of injuries can autonomous trucks cause?

Driverless trucks can cause the same kinds of injuries to other drivers as those experienced when a truck crash happens when a human is in the truck’s cab. Due to the size and weight of most tractor trailers, they can cause significant bodily harm and damage to your property.

The most serious physical injuries you can suffer include brain and head injuries which can leave you permanently disabled or, in a worst-case scenario, dead. Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) physically damage the brain. You can suffer from headaches, memory and mood problems, and sleep disturbances after suffering a brain injury.

Some other devastating physical injuries from truck accidents include:

  • Back and neck trauma that can lead to whiplash, bulging discs, and other painful injuries.
  • Broken bones that can cause lifelong pain and suffering.
  • Burns that can be challenging to treat or require plastic surgery.
  • Lacerations and puncture wounds to the face or body that can cause disfigurement.
  • Spinal cord injuries that can leave you with paraplegia or quadriplegia.

It’s not uncommon for wrongful death lawsuits to happen after accidents with trucks. If you or someone you love dies because of a malfunctioning autonomous truck, there is legal recourse.

Can you sue a driverless trucking company?

As with any kind of personal injury because of someone else’s negligence or carelessness, you can sue a driverless trucking company if you’re involved in a serious crash with one of their trucks. The knowledgeable personal injury attorneys at Cameron & Russell understand the devastation that trucking accidents can cause. They’re here to help you receive fair compensation for your injuries.

You can request a free consultation to discuss your case by calling 505-218-7844 or requesting a free consultation online.

Picnic fun without the lawsuits

June 11 is national corn on the cob day. It’s not the only food-themed national holiday this month. There are days for German chocolate cake, peanut butter cookies, and even strawberry shortcake. All of these are perfect picnic foods.

Picnics are part of summertime fun for many people. Avoiding the personal injury and premises liability lawsuits that can come with them isn’t difficult when you practice some basic safety guidelines.

Backyard parties and premises liability

Premises liability is the legal term for a property owner’s responsibility to take reasonable precautions to ensure the safety of guests and other visitors. If you ignore an issue, hazard, or danger that leads to the serious injury or death of someone on your property, you’ll be accountable under premises liability laws in New Mexico.

While it may make you feel like a Debbie Downer, it’s important to establish rules and make sure you guests follow them to ensure everyone’s safety. Here are some other things you can do to reduce your liability risk.

Choose physical activities wisely

Outdoor picnics lend themselves to games and other physical activities. Some are more dangerous than others and should be avoided if you want to avoid the possibility of accidents and injuries. Watersports and other swimming pool games can be fun, but they also increase the risk of someone getting hurt. It’s best to avoid these types of activities, especially if alcohol is involved.

Establish a safety perimeter around grills, bonfires, and other outdoor fires when having a backyard party or picnic to protect your guests from accidental burn injuries.

Establish a safety perimeter

Most outdoor parties involve grilling food or having some kind of bonfire for roasting hotdogs and marshmallows. Establishing a safety perimeter around your grill can keep your guests safe and you free from lawsuits. Outdoor grilling accidents send thousands of Americans to the emergency room each summer. The numbers increase when those in charge of grilling indulge in alcoholic beverages until they’re drunk.

Whether your party guests are adults, children, or a mix of both, make sure you keep people away from the grill – or a bonfire – when it’s in operation. Make the grill or bonfire a “no-kid zone” and don’t make any exceptions. Lastly, keep people from horsing around near the grill or bonfire.

Install extra lighting

If your party extends into the evening hours, installing extra lighting can help prevent slip-and-fall accidents that lead to serious injuries. This precaution is especially important if you have a swimming pool on your property that guests can use during the festivities.

Lighting along areas that can be tripping hazards – patio pavers, sidewalks, stairways – should be a priority.

Limit guests to no more than 2 alcoholic beverages an hour and cut off anyone who appears visibly drunk.

Limit alcoholic beverages

Any time you introduce alcohol at a party, you open yourself up to liability issues. Guests who don’t know when to stop drinking can become belligerent and injure themselves or others. If you own a swimming pool, drinking at picnics and other gatherings can increase the risks of one of your guests drowning, or slipping and falling poolside.

Limiting or completely excluding alcoholic beverages from your party can reduce your liability risks. If you just can’t go without alcohol, be willing to cut off your guests if they run the risk of becoming so drunk it affects their judgment and everyone’s safety.

Practice food safety guidelines

Swimming pools and other outdoor hazards aren’t the only things you must monitor closely when hosting a summer picnic or outdoor party. If you plan to serve food, you’ll want to make sure you follow food safety guidelines to avoid giving any of your guests food poisoning. As a rule, you should:

  • Avoid cross-contamination when preparing foods, especially foods on the grill. Never use the same utensils for cutting or priming meats and other food products.
  • Keep cold foods cold by placing them in a cooler with ice. Store it at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower to prevent bacteria growth. Make sure cooler lids stay closed to maintain ideal temperatures.
  • Keep hot foods hot by wrapping them well and placing them in an insulated container. Hot food must be kept at around 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Never let it sit out for more than 2 hours (1 hour if the temperature is 90 degrees or higher) without refrigerating.
  • Use a food thermometer to ensure you’re cooking meats and other raw foods to a safe temperature for consumption.

How to handle negligent party hosts

If you attend a backyard party or picnic and the hosts fail in their duty to provide a reasonably secure environment, you can discuss your legal options with one of our experienced premises liability lawyers. Give us a call at 505-218-7844 or request your free case evaluation online.

How to Prevent Auto Accident Injuries

Auto accident injuries can be life altering. They cause death, serious injuries, and trauma to more than 2 million Americans each year. Defensive driving can help protect you from ever getting into an automobile accident. Sometimes, however, it’s not enough to avoid a collision with another vehicle or pedestrian.

It’s difficult to prevent auto accident injuries. There are some steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim. Here are some proactive steps you can take to protect yourself every time you get behind the wheel.

Help prevent auto accident injuries by maintaining your vehicle.

Maintain your vehicle

Automobiles are complex machines. Newer vehicles can be even trickier because they contain more electronic components that their predecessors. Keeping your vehicle in proper working order can prevent accidents that cause serious injuries to you and others.

Every vehicle comes with a recommended maintenance schedule from the manufacturer. If you bought a used vehicle that didn’t come with one, you can find a copy online. Some things require the assistance of a car mechanic. Others you can do on your own, including:

  • Check oil levels, adding more if you’re low.
  • Evaluate the air pressure in your tires.
  • Test your windshield wipers and top off your wiper fluid.

If you notice something amiss with your automobile, trust your instincts and schedule a check-up with your mechanic.

Never drive impaired

Driving while under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances doesn’t end well for most people. A recent DUI report for New Mexico indicates law enforcement made 289 arrests for every 100,000 drivers in the state. The numbers earn the state a DUI severity score of 7 out of 10.

Drinking alcohol or taking controlled substances – including legally-prescribed medications that can affect your judgment and reflexes – should be avoided when you know you have to drive.

Obeying traffic laws designed to protect you, other drivers, and pedestrians can help prevent auto accident injuries.

Obey traffic laws

It can be tempting to coast through a stop sign or drive over the speed limit if you think it’s safe to do so. Breaking the rules of the roadway increases your risk of being in an automobile accident, especially if you get in the habit of doing so.

Traffic laws exist for a reason. They protect you, your passengers, other motorists, and pedestrians. If you have an accident and the police discover you violated driving laws, you might get fined or lose your license. A police report noting your fault also can be used against you in a personal injury lawsuit.

Pay attention to your surroundings

Paying attention to your surroundings can help prevent auto accident injuries by reducing the likelihood you’ll be in an accident in the first place. If you’re on a busy roadway, frequently check your mirrors to note the positioning of other vehicles. While no accident is 100 percent preventable, defensive driving techniques offer protection.

Some common tactics you can use when behind the wheel include:

  • Follow the 2-second rule when behind other vehicles.
  • Plan an escape route if you observe driving dangers.
  • See and be seen by other drivers.
Cell phones are the number one reason for distracted driving. Prevent auto accident injuries by staying off your phone while behind the wheel.

Stay off your cell phone

Distracted driving is the most common reason for auto accidents. Talking and texting on cell phones is by far the most cited reason for becoming unfocused behind the wheel. According to the National Safety Council, 26 percent of all vehicle crashes involve cell phones.

Cell phones should be for emergency use only while behind the wheel if you hope to prevent auto accident injuries. Calls and texts can wait. If you must check your messages or answer a call, safely pull off the roadway first.

Wear your seat belt

Always wear your seat belt to help prevent auto accident injuries. New Mexico requires all drivers and their passengers to buckle up while the vehicle is in motion. All children up to age 7 must ride in a child safety seat suited to their age and weight.

According to the most recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 47 percent of people killed in automobile accidents were not wearing their seat belts. Some people mistakenly think if they have air bags that they don’t need to buckle up. The force from an air bag deploying can cause serious injury or death without a seatbelt to keep you in place in your seat.

The only thing worse than not wearing a seatbelt is wearing one improperly. Check out this step-by-step tutorial on how to secure your seatbelt as the manufacturer intended.

When you can’t prevent auto accident injuries

You can be the best driver in the world and still find yourself in an accident. If you are injured because of someone else’s carelessness behind the wheel, you have recourse. Consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney can get you fair compensation for your injuries. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation.

Nursing Home Patient Rights: Know the Facts

Nursing home patients have rights in New Mexico. Depending on someone else for your care doesn’t eliminate those entitlements. Whether you (or a loved one) lives in a personal care home or a skilled nursing facility, you deserve access to quality medical and personal care services.

Accidents can and do happen in New Mexico aged care facilities. Deliberate negligence also has been uncovered in the state over the years. The best way to ensure you or a loved one doesn’t fall victim to abuse or neglect is to know your nursing home patient rights.

You have the right to choose your own physician when you live in a nursing home.

The Right to Choose Your Own Physician

You’re not required to use a physician to whom you aren’t comfortable entrusting your care. Some nursing homes and other aged care facilities provide residents with on-site medical personnel as part of their services. Just because they offer it doesn’t mean you have to use it.

Beyond the freedom to choose your own doctor, you also have the following rights regarding your medical care and well-being, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

  • Complete information about your health status in clear language that makes sense to you.
  • Full disclosure about your medical condition, prescriptions, and over-the counter drugs, vitamins, and supplements prescribed or recommended by a physician or other healthcare provider.
  • Total access to your medical records and reports, and to make important decisions about the development of care plans and other medical treatment decisions.

The Right to be Free from Discrimination

You don’t abandon your Constitutionally protected rights when you decide to live in an aged care home. One of those protections is to be free from discrimination based on age, color, disability, national origin, race, or religion.

If you think nursing home staff are engaging in acts of discrimination, you have the option of filing a civil rights complaint. Contacting an ombudsman can get the process started. You also can reach out directly to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights to lodge your formal grievance.

Contacting a civil rights attorney or one skilled in aged care abuse cases is another option for filing a discrimination complaint. Your attorney can review the circumstances and help determine the best course of action to resolve the issue.

You have the right to refuse any kind of restraints, including medication designed to make you drowsy.

The Right to be Free from Restraints

Personal care homes and nursing homes can’t use physical restraints on you for discipline purposes or to make life easier for the staff. Side rails on beds and medications that encourage drowsiness both fall into this category.

The Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 prohibits physical restraints for nursing home residents without their consent. Emergencies are the only exception to the rule. A total of 10 items appear in the act under the Residents’ Bill of Rights.  

Aged care facilities that do not follow the guidelines in the act can face civil and criminal penalties and possibly lose their licenses to operate.

The Right to be Treated with Respect

Choosing to live in a personal care home or other aged care facility doesn’t mean you surrender your right to be treated with dignity and respect. You have control over when you go to bed at night and get up in the morning, what you eat during mealtime, and what activities you participate in throughout the day.

Nursing homes must provide you with the rules for their facility before you agree to live there. They also must give 30 days written notice any time they change an existing rule or add a new one.

You have a right to privacy for making personal phone calls or visiting with guests without the oversight of a staff member.

The Right to Privacy

You don’t surrender your right to privacy because you choose to live in an aged care facility. It’s not a trade-off. What does privacy look like in a nursing home? Here is what you can expect.

  • The access to private phone calls and visits without oversight from a staff member.
  • The ability to send and receive postal mail and electronic communication (email) without oversight.
  • The advance notice about roommate changes and other living arrangement alterations before they are made.
  • The right to keep and use your personal belongings if it’s not interfering with the health or safety of others.

The Right to be Free from Abuse and Neglect

Nursing home abuse and neglect is a serious problem in the U.S. A 2020 study from the World Health Organization discovered that more than 64 percent of nursing home staff members admitted to committing some form of abuse or neglect. That’s a frightening statistic.

Abuse and neglect take many forms. There is physical and sexual abuse, but also psychological abuse. For instance, if a nursing home punishes you by isolating you from other residents, that’s a form of emotional abuse.

If you’re needs aren’t being met, or you are the victim of deliberate abuse or neglect, you can file a complaint with your long-term care ombudsman. Depending on the type of abuse, criminal charges may be warranted in addition to civil recourse.

The Right to File Complaints

You have a right to file a formal complaint to the staff of the nursing home, or any other authorized person, without fear of retaliation. From the quality of care you receive to a failure of staff to respect your privacy, there are many reasons you may want to lodge a grievance.

If you report your concerns to the proper authorities and do not get the response desired, it may be time to consult with an attorney skilled in handling nursing home complaints.

How to Sue a Private Prison

Prison isn’t a fun place to be, but that doesn’t mean prisoners should be subjected to abuse and neglect in the name of punishment. Yet, prison abuse allegations are on the rise in the United States in both state-owned and privately held prisons. Reports of abuse and inhumane treatment continue to surface about prisons in New Mexico, with some inmates filing a civil lawsuit.

There are nine prisons in New Mexico. Six are owned by the state and another three are owned by private entities. When prisoners feel their civil rights are violated, they have recourse. Contacting a law firm skilled in prison abuse violations is a crucial part of the process.

What rights do prisoners have behind bars?

Just because you are imprisoned as punishment for a crime doesn’t mean you lose all your rights while behind bars. You still have the right to a minimum standard of living and to be treated fairly without discrimination based on your race, sex, national origin, or religion. You also retain free speech and religion rights if they do not interfere with the status of other inmates.

The Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution also protects prisoners from cruel and unusual punishment. Access to the parole process and due process for administrative appeals are included in these safeguards.

Map of all private prisons located in teh United States. Source: The Sentencing Project.

How is a private prison different from a state-owned prison?

Unfortunately, New Mexico’s use of private prisons exceeds that of other states. More than half of all prisoners incarcerated in the state are serving their sentences in private prisons, according to data from The Sentencing Project, which monitors private prisons in the U.S. In comparison, only 8 percent of prisoners nationally are housed in private prisons.

Public prisons are owned and operated by the state or federal government. Taxpayers foot the bill to operate them. Because they are taxpayer-funded, public prisons have strict reporting requirements and oversight by the government.

Private prisons receive funding from government contracts and other third-party investors. They are not required to release information about inmate populations or how the money they receive is being used to run the prison. Private prisons can pick and choose which prisoners they accept, with a tendency toward less violent inmates.

Despite favoring less violent inmates, a 2017 Justice Department report concluded that private prisons were more dangerous and less effective at reforming prisoners.

Why would you sue a private prison?

Injuries and abuse are the top reasons inmates sue private prisons. Other reasons may include becoming ill or injured due to negligence on the part of prison administration or staff. How you handle these kinds of incidents in a private prison is severely limited by the Prison Litigation Reform Act.

One of the starkest differences between public and private prisons is how inmates seek legal recourse for abuse and other mistreatment. Prisoners in public prisons can sue under Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act if they are injured or abused.

Detainees in private prisons do not have the same ability since the prisons aren’t government-run. They must instead file standard tort lawsuits based on negligence or intentional torts like those used for battery.

What is private prison negligence?

Private prisons exist for one reason only: to make a profit. Putting profit above prisoner safety and security can be a common theme among private prisons. It’s not rare to see them accused of engaging in careless, dangerous, and negligent acts to save money. Failing to maintain adequate staffing levels is one way that private prisons put profit over prisoner well-being.

An attorney skilled in personal injury and civil rights laws can help prisoners and their families navigate abuses and other forms of neglect within the private prison system. The team at Cameron and Russell have the knowledge and experience to help you resolve private prison issues. Give us a call at 505-218-7844 or contact us online to schedule your case evaluation.

Can You Sue More Than One Person?

Personal injury claims sometimes require victims to sue more than one person. Car crashes are a perfect example of when it might be necessary to pursue personal injury claims against more than one person. Workplace accidents are another instance when multiple parties may be responsible for your injuries.

When you’re hurt by someone else’s negligence, it’s important to ensure you get the full amount of compensation afforded to you by personal injury law in New Mexico. Filing multiple claims can maximize your damages.

Hiring an experienced Albuquerque personal injury lawyer can help you determine whether more than one person is responsible for your injuries.

How to determine personal injury liability

Whether you are dealing with one party or two, proving personal injury liability by New Mexico personal injury law standards is the same.

To establish liability, your personal injury attorney must prove the responsible parties:

  • Owed you a duty to act reasonably.
  • Failed in their duty by acting negligently.
  • Caused your injuries because of their carelessness.
  • Produced damages through their negligence.

Let’s take the case of a car crash, where a manufacturing defect in the vehicle caused the driver to lose control and collide with your vehicle, causing you serious injuries. The at-fault driver admits to police investigating the accident that his car had been acting weird for a few days, but he failed to call a mechanic or the dealership to have it checked. In this case, you could sue the driver plus the car manufacturer if a true defect caused the accident.

Benefits of suing more than one person

The biggest benefit of suing more than one person when you suffer a personal injury is maximizing on your damages. Let’s go back to the example of the car crash with a defective car. That kind of accident could leave you with debilitating spinal cord injuries that cause paralysis. You would be unable to work and may accumulate millions of dollars in medical bills.

Suing all responsible parties for an accident of this magnitude ensures you get enough compensation to cover all your medical bills, plus any ongoing expenses related to a permanent disability.

Joint and severable liability with multiple defendants

Something to keep in mind if you decide to sue more than one person is the joint and severable liability laws in New Mexico. Joint liability means all defendants named in your personal injury claim are equally responsible for your losses. Several liability means the defendants are only responsible for a part of your losses.

Let’s take the car crash example again. You could sue the driver of the vehicle for causing the crash, and the driver could turn around and sue the vehicle manufacturer. When this happens, it’s called joint and several liability by the legal system.

You might be able to sue the driver and the truck company in a personal injury lawsuit stemming from a truck crash.

When to sue more than one person

New Mexico law allows you to recover damages from more than one person if you can meet the burden of proof in establishing each party’s liability. Working with an experienced personal injury attorney can help with determining whether more than one party shares responsibility for your injuries.

Here are some examples of when you might want to sue more than one person to maximize your chances of receiving fair compensation.

  • Truck crashes. If you are the victim of an accident involving a truck driver, you might be able to sue the truck driver and the trucking company for which he works. An example of when this tactic might be successful would be a trucking company pressuring one of its drivers to cut their required breaks short to make more deliveries. The driver falls asleep at the wheel and crashes into your car.
  • Slips-and-falls. Let’s say you slip and fall on an uneven sidewalk while shopping at a local retail outlet. The tenant knew the sidewalk was in ill repair and did not post a warning to shoppers about the hazard. The landlord failed to make the necessary repairs when notified by the tenant of the issue. You might be able to sue both the tenant and the landlord for your injuries since each played a role.

Hiring a personal injury lawyer can help

Living with temporary or permanent disability can affect your current and future earnings, plus rack up expensive medical bills. You want to make sure all parties responsible for your injuries share in the damages. Hiring a personal injury lawyer can help you determine who is at fault and how best to pursue personal injury claims against them.

Contact Cameron & Russell for a free case evaluation. They go the extra mile in personal injury cases to ensure you get fair compensation.

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Call Cameron & Russell for a Free Case Evaluation

Bill Russell and Marcus Cameron are the faces behind Cameron & Russell. We go the extra mile for our clients to pursue personal injury claims and provide criminal defense. We approach every case with a fresh eye to detail and the determination to represent our clients to the fullest extent the law allows. We passionately defend clients facing criminal charges, and relentlessly seek out fair compensation for personal injury claims. No matter your situation, we promise to tirelessly represent your legal needs. 

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    Albuquerque, NM 87102

  • P: 505-218-7844
    505-268-5304
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