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Personal Injury Articles for the Injured of NJ

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Tracy Morgan Files NJ Lawsuit for Injuries from Truck Accident

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By Francis M. Smith

When one is fortunate enough never to have been the victim of a serious automotive accident, it's easy to think of car crashes as things that happen to other people. Unfortunately it's not always possible to maintain that illusion of safety; whether you suffer a car accident yourself, know a friend or family member who has been injured in a crash, or hear about a celebrity or public figure who was involved in a serious accident nearby, the reality of these dangers becomes all too apparent. Many people here in New Jersey experienced this realization last June, when actor and comedian Tracy Morgan was severely injured in an accident in which a commercial truck allegedly struck his vehicle from the rear. A friend of Morgan's, also a comedian, was killed in the accident, and the driver of the truck involved has been charged with vehicular homicide under New Jersey state law.

Due to its greater size and weight, a commercial truck has the potential to cause much more damage in an accident than a typical passenger vehicle, so there are additional regulations in place intended to reduce the risk of equipment failure and driver error. A specific set of laws aims to prevent drowsiness and fatigue on the part of the truck driver from contributing to serious accidents. The Federal Carrier Safety Administration (FCSA) has a very precise set of regulations governing the "hours of service" that mandates off-duty rest times and limits the number of consecutive driving hours a commercial truck driver can work within set periods of time. These limitations prohibit truck drivers from:

Frank Smith Car Accident $1,975,000 Recovery Featured by NJ Jury Verdict Review & Analysis

NJ Jury Verdict Review & Analysis

By Francis M. Smith

Riding in the back seat of her son’s car, my 69-year old client felt safe and secure. No one expected a pick-up truck to run a red light and crash into her side of the car. The impact was so fast and sudden, her son had no way to evade the collision, which left her with multiple pelvic fractures, a sacral fracture, knee and shoulder ligament tears. a mild traumatic brain injury, and dizziness that was caused by a vestibular (inner ear) dysfunction.

Until the accident, my client led a full life and enjoyed her independence, worked in her son’s restaurant business more than 60 hours a week, and kept up with her extended family. The accident left her to endure significant pain and dramatically restricted her activities of daily life. She now requires a cane to walk. The transition from being an active energetic mom to the person in the family needing care was a significant and dramatic change, and as a result of this major loss in her life, she succumbed to a clinical depression. She is now completely reliant on her adult son for day-to-day assistance. Her medical treatments included:

Accidents Cause Injuries: Torn Ligaments of the Shoulder

Torn Ligaments of the Shoulder

By Francis M. Smith

Not only is your shoulder one of the most essential joints of the body, allowing you to engage in many important everyday tasks, it's also the most flexible joint. The ball-and-socket configuration of the shoulder allows it a very wide range of motion, enabling you to move your arm back and forth, up and down, and in a circular motion. However, the extreme flexibility of the shoulder joint comes at a cost: your shoulder is more vulnerable to injury than other, more limited joints. Injuries to the shoulder are common in accidents of any sort, from slip and fall accidents to car crashes, because of the natural reflex to put your hands out in front of you to brace against an impact and protect the rest of your body. A sudden impact or twisting force can damage the ligaments of your shoulder, resulting in a painful sprain and putting you at risk of further injury.

Ligaments are the flexible, fibrous tissues that connect one bone to another, allowing the joint to move while keeping it stable. When the ligaments of a joint are torn or damaged, this is called a sprain. Shoulder separation is a type of sprain that commonly results from slip and fall accidents; the ligaments connecting your clavicle (collar bone) to the upper part of your shoulder tear, allowing the clavicle to slide out of position and resulting in severe pain and inability to move your arm normally. In a similar way, if the ligaments securing the ball-and-socket joint of your shoulder (where the humerus, or upper arm bone, joins with the shoulder blade) become damaged, you run the risk of a dislocated shoulder in which the head of the humerus slips out of its socket.

Accidents Cause Injuries: Torn Ligaments of the Knee

Anterior Cruciate ACL Rupture

By Francis M. Smith

In many people's minds, the idea of suffering a sprain conjures up images of ice packs, compression bandages, and over-the-counter pain relievers – in other words, a relatively minor injury that is more inconvenience than crisis. That's certainly how an insurance company will try to portray your injury if you sustain torn ligaments in a car crash, slip and fall injury, or other preventable accident caused by someone else's reckless or negligent behavior. Unfortunately, the reality isn't quite as gentle as the insurance company's lawyers would have a jury believe. Torn ligaments in the knee can result in serious mobility issues that may permanently impact your ability to engage in activities and tasks that had been part of your normal lifestyle before your accident.

The knee joint has four major ligaments that are often injured in accidents: two that brace either side of the knee, and two that cross from front to back. The ligament that most frequently suffers the brunt of knee injuries is the anterior cruciate ligament, commonly referred to as the ACL. It connects the femur (thighbone) and tibia (shinbone), running between the two, and controls rotation and extension of the knee. The ACL can be injured if the knee is twisted suddenly or is forced to hyper extend. About 95,000 ACL injuries happen in the U.S. every year. Other major knee ligaments that are likely to suffer injury in an accident are the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), which runs in the opposite direction as the ACL and controls backward bending of the knee, and the medial and lateral collateral ligaments (MCL and LCL), which stabilize the knee joint from the inner-leg side and the outer-leg side, respectively. Different types of movement are likely to stretch or tear each of these ligaments.

Suing the Federal Government - the Federal Tort Claims Act and Why You Need an Attorney

Francis M. Smith, Esq., NJ Personal Injury Attorney Settles NJ Wrongful Death Case for $2 Million

By Francis M. Smith

Many of the same kinds of accidents causing injury or property damage that might result in a lawsuit against a private citizen can also be pursued when a federal government or agency is the responsible party. However, there are limitations to the kinds of circumstances under which suing the federal government is possible. There is a legal doctrine called "sovereign immunity," dating back to the time when we had a literal sovereign – a king. You couldn't sue the king, and the American law is descended for the most part from English "Common Law". So a federal statute had to be passed which changed that old common law standard. Now a lawsuit can be brought against the federal government, in many cases, just like suing a private corporation. The Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) outlines how to do this, and must be followed carefully in order to sue the federal government successfully.

The parameters outlined by the FTCA are complex and detailed, and can be difficult to navigate. As such, it is best to seek the advice of an experienced legal professional if you believe you have an eligible case to pursue against a federal body. In broad terms, the FTCA allows you to seek monetary compensation for injuries, property damage, or wrongful death caused by negligence on the part of a federal employee while that employee was acting within the scope of their official duties. There are numerous exceptions and caveats in the law, but the major points include these limitations:

Accidents Cause Injuries: Replacement Disc Surgery Injuries

spinal disc injuries

By Francis M. Smith

Injuries to the back and neck are among the more serious possible consequences of car crashes or other accidents. Some of the most vulnerable parts of the spine are the discs of cartilage that separate the vertebral bones, allowing your back to bend and twist. When these joints suffer an impact, the cartilage discs can rupture, causing the tissue inside to squeeze out, and press against a nerve exiting the spine. The severe pain that usually results from this type of injury may require surgical intervention to eliminate.

Traditionally, the preferred disc surgery treatment has been spinal fusion, in which the two vertebral bones on either side of the injured disc are fused together through the insertion of bone material between them, and the implantation of hardware screwed into the vertebrae. This surgery is intended to induce the bones to grow together into a single unit. This treatment is often highly successful in reducing the patient's pain, but since it effectively eliminates the joint entirely, the patient's range of motion in their back becomes more limited. Adjacent vertebral bones are also subject to increased stresses as a result of the inability of the treated joint to move. In the event that the bones fail to fuse together, additional surgical intervention is required. Adjacent discs are subjected to increased forces, which can cause them in turn to fail and lead to more fusion surgery.

Accidents Cause Injuries: Spinal Fusion Surgery

spinal fusion

By Francis M. Smith

A slip and fall injury, car or motorcycle crash, or other accident can cause serious injuries that have lasting repercussions for your health and well-being. Most people tend to think of accident injuries in two general categories: the kind that will heal completely with proper treatment, and the kind that causes a permanent disability. But injuries resulting from preventable accidents can also cause chronic problems, especially when the back and neck are affected. Impact or trauma to the spine can result in a number of conditions that cause pain during normal movement of the body.

Almost every kind of typical, everyday movement affects or involves the spine – walking, lifting, reaching, and even turning your head to respond to someone speaking. When you have chronic back or neck pain caused or aggravated by an injury, there are few if any activities that won't cause you pain. This can render you unable to work, interfere with the activities you enjoy, and may cause you to need help with basic tasks.

Accidents Cause Injuries: Shoulder Replacement Surgery

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By Francis M. Smith

The shoulder joint plays a central role in allowing you to move your arm, and when that joint is damaged, basic tasks become painful, difficult, or altogether impossible. Even staying perfectly still is painful. Sleep is disrupted. In the most severe cases of damage to the bones, cartilage, and other tissues that make up your shoulder joint, doctors may recommend shoulder replacement surgery. This type of surgical procedure is most commonly used when loss of cartilage or other damage has caused serious pain on movement or use of the shoulder joint. But traumatic injuries in which the bones and tissues of the shoulder are broken and damaged extensively can also require drastic surgical intervention in order for the accident victim to regain something close to normal use of the arm.

Dislocated Shoulder Injuries from Traumatic Car Accidents

dislocated shoulder

By Francis M. Smith

Dislocated shoulder injuries sometimes appear in fictional media like television and movies, and the injured action-hero usually resolves the injury by popping the bones back into place themselves. This serves to underscore how tough the character is – but in a real-life situation in which you have sustained a dislocated shoulder injury as a result of a car crash or other accident, you should seek immediate medical treatment, as dislocations can result in damage to the nerves and blood vessels surrounding the joint. Some types of soft tissue injuries associated with shoulder dislocation may require surgery to resolve, and improper or incomplete treatment of the injury may result in a condition known as adhesive capsulitis, or "frozen shoulder."

The shoulder works by means of a ball-and-socket joint, which allows the arm to move forward and backward, up and down, and around in the full range of motion that most people usually experience. When a dislocation injury occurs, the rounded end of the humerus, or upper arm bone, is forced out of the socket, resulting in pain, swelling, and impaired mobility of the arm. Other dislocation injuries that affect the shoulder may involve the clavicle, or collar bone, becoming dislocated at either end. Damage to the bones or soft tissues surrounding the joint may also be involved, especially if the injury is the result of the sort of physical trauma that occurs in a serious car accident.

Traumatic Car Accident Injuries That Result in Elbow Dislocation

dislocated elbow

By Francis M. Smith

When most people think about traumatic car accident injuries, what most often comes to mind are back and neck injuries, head trauma, and broken bones. Dislocation injuries don't typically top the list of ways a person can be hurt in a car crash, but a particular kind of joint dislocation is a very real possibility in automotive accidents, and it can have serious consequences for the accident victim. People use their arms and hands as one of the primary ways they interact with the world, and an injury to those parts of the body severely limits the victim's ability to affect their environment and perform basic tasks. Unfortunately, that's exactly what can happen when an elbow dislocation injury occurs as a result of a car accident.

For anyone who has not experienced this kind of injury, it might not be obvious how a person's elbow can become dislocated during a car accident. Indeed, most elbow dislocations occur as a result of slip-and-fall injuries, when the victim extends an arm in front of them to break their fall and the force of the impact pushes the bones out of alignment. However, severe elbow dislocation injuries can also result from a specific car accident scenario: a sideswipe.

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