In over 30 years working as a personal injury attorney in Utah there is one key principle that stands out when it comes to getting what a case is worth. Here it is:
Identify And Make Sure All Vehicle Accident Injuries Are Diagnosed And Treated
"What?", you say, "Isn't that the doctor's job?"
Maybe. But is it the doctor's job to make sure you get maximum recovery on your vehicle accident injury case?
In this day of specialization doctors are increasingly aware of their own area of specialization. An orthopedic surgeon, for example, can certainly spot a bone break. But is it realistic for him to also know symptoms of TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder)?
[Note: the temporomandibular joint is one of two joints connecting the lower jaw bone to the temporal bone of the skull. It is a combined hinge and sliding joint.
Temporomandibular joint disorder is an abnormal condition with facial pain and poor function of the lower jaw. It is caused by a defective or dislocated TMJ joint.
Some common signs are the clicking of the joint when the jaws move, and partial dislocation. [Mosby Medical Encyclopedia, Revised Edition.]
I once represented a client from China. He came to this country to go to school and decided to stay. While cruising the freeway in his Volkswagen bus one night, he was struck from behind by a large semi-truck.
His injuries were numerous and various and one day, after he had seen many doctors, he was visiting with me in my office discussing his Utah vehicle accident legal case. My attention was drawn to an audible "pop" sound which coincided with the opening of his mouth.
One of the worst cases I had ever seen (or heard) of TMJ. I brought it to the attention of one of his doctors so a referral could be made to a TMJ specialist.
Another common malady in vehicle accident legal cases is a closed head injury. A closed head injury is when there is trauma (injury) to the brain that does not result in a skull fracture.
One type of closed head injury is a concussion. "Concussion" is a violent jarring or shaking injury to the brain. [Mosby Medical Encyclopedia, Revised Edition]
Closed head injuries are actually quite common after car accidents and can occur even though the injured person did not strike his/her head.
"A rapid acceleration and deceleration of the head can force the brain to move back and forth across the inside of the skull. The stress from the rapid movements pulls apart nerve fibers and causes damage to brain tissue. This type of injury often occurs as a result of motor vehicle crashes and physical violence, such as Shaken Baby Syndrome." [Brain Injury Association of America]
There at least twelve (12) common symptoms of closed head injury. Years ago I obtained a list of these common symptoms from a neuropsychologist. (A "neuropsychologist" is the medical professional who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of closed head injuries.)
These symptoms have been incorporated into a checklist which is included in my Utah vehicle accident legal paperwork that all new clients are required to complete.