teens and distracted driving

Distracted Driving and Teen Crashes

Whether you’ve been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver or you are a parent afraid for their teenager driver’s safety, the facts are unavoidable: teenage drivers are prone to distractions, and those distractions can be fatal. If you have been hurt in a crash, being able to prove that the other driver was distracted at the time of the accident can make your case much stronger. If you are a parent, knowing that your teenager is at risk of driving while distracted can help you implement safeguards that minimize their chances of succumbing to distracted driving.

Teens’ Brains are Primed for Distraction

Teenagers don’t drive distracted because they are lazy, or they don’t care about other people; it is simply how their brains work. Research out of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia from 2017 indicates that 40% of high school students reported texting or emailing while driving in the month prior to the survey. That’s only the teens who admitted to it; the real number is likely much higher.

Research from NPR backs up this claim. Drivers younger than 25 are three times more likely to use their phones while driving than older drivers are. Teenagers’ brains are still working on regulatory competence. Regulatory competence refers to your brain’s ability to control your emotions and decide where to focus your attention. A lack of regulatory competence is what leads to teenage meltdowns, rash decisions, and distracted driving.

Teenagers Often Think They Are Invincible

On top of that, you have the fact that many teenagers still think they are invincible. They know that bad things can happen to those who drive while texting or using social media, but in their minds, those things happen to other people—not to them. There’s a tendency to believe that they are more capable than other people. So yes, they text while driving, but they text faster and are better able to react to the car in front of them suddenly stopping, so it is not dangerous—or so they believe.

The Consequences Are Deadly

When you combine all of these facts about teenagers’ development with the multitude of distractions available to teenagers, the whole situation is a perfect storm. Unfortunately, many people aren’t willing to realize the consequences of their actions until those consequences affect them. A teenager might be told to avoid using their phone while driving 100 times, but until they get in a crash that causes their car to get taken away, they may not think twice about picking up the phone to send “one quick message.”

AAA has seen this issue grow dramatically over the years, which is why they have enacted public education initiatives and programs to teach teenagers about the dangers of distracted driving. Their analysis of crash statistics indicates that over 3,500 people were killed in crashes caused by teen drivers between 2013 and 2017.

By analyzing crash data, they found that many crashes happen during the 100 deadliest days of the year. This time frame spans Memorial Day to Labor Day, when teenagers are hanging out with their friends, staying out late, juggling summer jobs and other obligations, and taking road trips.

If you are injured in a crash caused by a teenage driver, this means that you have to consider the possibility that they were distracted at the time of the crash. Your attorney may be able to gather evidence that the other driver was using their cell phone, eating or drinking, or otherwise focusing on other activities at the time of the crash.

Know that there may be pressure to avoid seeking legal help or pursuing compensation. Parents have been known to fight for their children by arguing that they shouldn’t have their future ruined by one mistake or, even worse, deny that their child had any role in causing an accident.

Remember, though, that you have to do what is best for you. If an accident causes you to accumulate medical bills, take time off work, or deal with other losses, it simply isn’t fair for the other party to walk away without making amends for what they’ve done.

After a car crash, you need an experienced personal injury attorney to help you get the compensation you deserve. That’s where the team at Burns, Cunningham & Mackey comes in. Call us at 251-260-3815 or reach out to us online to find out how we can help you with your personal injury claim.

How Can Social Media Impact Your Personal Injury Case?

How Social Media Can Impact a Personal Injury Claim

You’ve been hurt by someone else’s negligence and you’re ready to seek compensation. Have you considered how your social media presence could be harming your case? When it comes to limiting payouts and even completely denying settlements, there isn’t much that insurance companies won’t do to prove that their client is not responsible for an injury. Here’s how your social media accounts could weaken your personal injury claim.

What You Say About the Accident

Any posts you make about the accident, what led up to it, and how you are recovering could be used against you. Maybe you posted pictures of the accident, described it, and ended with “Don’t worry—everyone is safe and doing well!” That seemingly innocuous statement could be used against you as proof that you weren’t actually injured in the accident.

Maybe you posted a Facebook update shortly before the time of the accident. The other side’s attorney could use this as proof that you were using your phone at the time of the crash and are, therefore, responsible for your own injuries.

Perhaps you went out a few days after the crash and posted pictures from the beach. Sure, you just laid on the beach and rested your still-sore-from-an-accident body while your friends swam, but the pictures you posted sure made it look like you were getting around fine and that your life was not at all impacted by the accident.

Yes, all of this is unfair—but that doesn’t stop the other side’s team from using it against you.

Comments from Friends

Even your friends’ and family members’ posts could be used against you in a personal injury case. Maybe your well-meaning mom posts pictures of you at the hospital after a slip and fall. You’re giving a thumbs up and smiling, so how hurt can you be, really? What the picture doesn’t reveal is that you were under massive amounts of pain medication because of the severity of your injury. Again, no matter what the reality of a post, the appearance of it can easily weaken your case.

Or think about how friends often connect with each other when someone is going through a hard time. You post about your car accident. Your best friend, trying to lighten the mood and help you smile during a difficult time, replies, “So, when are you taking us all out for dinner and drinks with that sweet settlement money?” You know it’s a joke and anyone who reads it knows it’s a joke, but suddenly the other side is using it to show that your claim is a scam and that you’re just making a cash grab.

Your Activity Level

As noted earlier, it is possible that completely innocent posts will be used as evidence that your injuries aren’t as extensive as you claim. If you are sitting around trying to recuperate after an accident, you might think it is a good time to catch up on social media. You flood your page with photos from your last family vacation, including tons of photos where you are going out dancing, hiking, and otherwise enjoying an injury-free life. While a quick clarification about the timeline of those photos would clear this matter up in court, it could still delay your case and cause you unnecessary stress.

How do you avoid these pitfalls? Ideally, stay off of social media after an accident until the claim is settled and paid out. This is hard for many people, especially when you need support and want to turn to your friends and family. However, do your best to keep these interactions private.

No matter how careful you are about your social media posts after an accident, they can only weaken your case. The other side will never present this information in a way to support your case; they will do whatever they can to use your own words against you. If you have a public social media presence, lock down your profiles so only current friends can see them. This will prevent investigators and others from digging through your old posts for information that may discredit you.

If you’re facing serious losses due to injuries caused by someone else, you shouldn’t have to foot the bill. To get help with your personal injury case, call the team at Burns, Cunningham & Mackey at 251-260-3815 or reach out to us online.

The Basics of Personal Injury Law

Personal injury is a massive area of law, encompassing civil damages for everything from car accidents to medical malpractice. However, the general public also has many misconceptions about it. People believe that those who file personal injury claims are exploiting a minor injury for massive compensation and that personal injury claims are widely misused, while victims actually have to go through many steps to get compensation.

Keep reading for an overview of the personal injury process and the different parties involved in these cases.

What Types of Accidents Are Included in Personal Injury?

Personal injury is a complex area of law that covers many types of accidents and injuries. Types of accidents that could call for a personal injury claim include:

  • Vehicle accidents
  • Animal bites and attacks
  • Slips and falls on public, private, or residential property
  • Injuries caused by defective products
  • Intentional assault
  • Medical malpractice
  • Nursing home abuse
  • Wrongful death

Essentially, any injury that occurs because of someone else’s negligence or malice could result in a personal injury claim. This is separate from the criminal justice process; this type of case seeks justice through a civil suit resulting in financial compensation for the victim.

The Role of Insurance in Personal Injury

In many cases, insurance companies have a prominent role in personal injury cases. In almost every type of personal injury case, the defendant is backed by a relevant insurance policy. In a claim related to a vehicle accident, the liable party’s car insurance company plays a role. In a slip and fall accident, the homeowner’s or commercial insurance company steps in. In a dog bite case, the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance should be involved.

The insurance company represents the liable party during the settlement process. Their goal is to prevent legal action by paying a settlement that is less than what they could be forced to pay in court.

The Role of the Court in Personal Injury Law

Few personal injury cases make it to the courtroom, but the court is still an important part of the process. If a case is filed and is not settled prior to the court date, the judge and jury hear both sides of the case. They determine whether or not the offending party was truly liable, and if so, how much they must pay to the victim.

The Personal Injury Process

After you have sustained an injury, you begin the personal injury claim process. It is recommended that you contact an attorney as soon as possible, since any delay can result in the loss of evidence needed to secure your compensation. The same steps are followed in almost every personal injury case:

  • The victim seeks medical care and begins gathering evidence for a personal injury case, including medical records, photos, video evidence, and witness contact information. They reach out to an attorney after their injuries.
  • The victim’s attorney begins investigating the accident and creates a paper trail of receipts, medical bills, medical reports, and other types of documentation that they will need to prove their client’s injuries. With this, they will come up with an amount that they believe their client deserves for their injuries.
  • With an amount in mind, the attorney will draft a settlement proposal that they will take to the insurance company. The insurance company very rarely accepts this amount and counteroffers with their own amount.
  • Negotiations continue. In most situations, both parties compromise and come to a mutually agreeable number. Everyone involved signs paperwork agreeing to the amount and waiving the right to future lawsuits related to the incident. A payment amount and plan is agreed upon and documented.
  • If negotiations are unsuccessful, the victim’s attorney files a lawsuit and prepares for court. In many cases, a settlement still occurs between initial court filings and the court date. If not, the case goes to court. Both parties make their case and the court decides in one party’s favor.
  • If the victim is awarded compensation, either through a settlement or a court award, attorney fees and other expenses will be deducted from the total amount. The victim receives the remaining funds.

Turn to Burns, Cunningham & Mackey, P.C. for Experienced Representation

The personal injury claim process can be confusing and overwhelming, especially if you’re in the middle of trying to heal from a serious injury. That’s where we step in to help. The team at Burns, Cunningham & Mackey, P.C. represents victims and fights hard to secure the compensation they deserve. To set up a consultation now, call us at 251-260-3815 or reach out to us online.

brain injury attorneys

How Long Does a Traumatic Brain Injury Last?

Traumatic brain injuries are commonly caused by car accidents, leaving victims with lingering pain, limited mobility, and impaired judgment. Those diagnosed with TBIs have no shortage of concerns or questions. They often wonder how long a TBI lasts, what their treatment options are, and how much it will cost. Knowing the duration of TBIs and what to expect from recovery can help victims move through this process peacefully.

Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injuries can be categorized in several different ways. The type of brain injury you sustain is a primary factor in the duration of your injury and your prognosis. Injuries are commonly categorized in these ways:

  • Primary vs. secondary. A primary injury is one that occurs at the time of the accident or event. For example, you may sustain a blood clot, a skull fracture, or a contusion at the time of the accident. A secondary TBI is one that occurs due to physiological changes caused by the accident. Examples include hydrocephalus and ischemia.
  • Closed vs. penetrating. A closed injury is one in which the dura, the outer layer of the meninges, is intact. A penetrating injury is one that impacts dura. A penetrating TBI may occur when a bone fragment, knife, or projectile cuts through the dura.
  • Mild vs. moderate vs. severe. Mild injuries are those that produce normal brain imaging results and include a brief loss of consciousness. A moderate TBI results in a loss of consciousness that lasts between one and 24 hours. Severe TBIs result in a loss of consciousness or coma for more than 24 hours.

The Period of Maximum Recovery

In the days and weeks following a traumatic brain injury, it is very difficult to know the likely prognosis or longevity of the injury. A patient who appears to be recovering well in the days following an accident could take a sudden turn for the worse, and a patient with a severe TBI could unexpectedly make a full recovery.

However, there is a point at which a patient reaches their limit of recovery. Neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to adapt to trauma or other changes, plays a part in determining how much a patient can recover full function.

Among clinical practitioners, there is some disagreement about how long it takes to estimate a patient’s ability to recover. Some believe in a 24-month rule, stating that the amount of progress a patient makes in 24 months is likely the most they will recover. Doctors often determine maximum recovery with frequent brain scans. By figuring out when brain structures have stopped changing, they can assess how much more healing is likely to occur.

Average Healing and Recovery Times

It should come as no surprise that the severity of your TBI is a primary factor in your healing and recovery time. Those with mild traumatic brain injuries generally have the quickest recovery times, often healing in a matter of days or weeks. Those with moderate and severe traumatic brain injuries could have much longer paths in front of them. Much is determined during the first six months after an injury. Medical specialists indicate that better outcomes are associated with early intervention. Patients who receive consistent, ongoing treatment generally enjoy much better outcomes than those who receive delayed care or do not have access to rehabilitative care.

The Cost of TBIs

It’s clear that positive outcomes are related to high-quality care. However, since TBIs are different for every patient, patients need a substantial amount of care. From brain scans and functionality assessments to rehabilitative treatment and medications, the costs of a traumatic brain injury can be astronomical. This is why it is so important to reach out to a personal injury lawyer if your TBI was caused by someone else’s negligence. If they are liable for your injuries, they could be required to pay your medical bills and other expenses related to your injury.

Get Help for Your TBI—Call Us Today Healing from a traumatic brain injury can be a long, painful process. You shouldn’t have to deal with legal issues on top of everything else you are going through. With the help of Burns, Cunningham & Mackey, P.C., you can fight for your right to compensation. Learn more about your op