Frequently Asked Questions

Every accident is unique, but many clients have similar questions about personal injury law. Read some of the most commonly asked personal injury questions—and answers to those questions—here.
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  • Can a Car Accident Cause Degenerative Disc Disease?

    A car accident can cause degenerative disc disease. Any kind of trauma to the neck or back, even an unnoticed minor injury, can speed up the process of spinal degeneration. Degenerative disc disease is not actually a disease; it is a natural part of aging. Over time, the flexible discs between the vertebrae in your back become worn. A back injury from a car accident can accelerate the breakdown of your discs.

    Degenerative Disc Disease Symptoms

    When your discs are breaking down, you might feel pain and stiffness in your neck, back, arms, or legs. You might have weakness, numbness or tingling in your arm or leg. If your injury was in your neck, your shoulders, arms, and hands might be affected. For a lower back injury, your legs and buttocks can be the locations of your pain.

    Some people do not notice any symptoms, while others experience debilitating pain. As you get older, your symptoms generally worsen because the discs continue to deteriorate. If your spine becomes unstable, you can experience painful muscle spasms from your body trying to hold itself in place correctly.

    Treatments for Degenerative Disc Disease

    Non-invasive treatments include:

    • Physical and occupational therapy to strengthen the back muscles and restore flexibility
    • Medications to reduce inflammation and relieve pain and muscle spasms
    • Using adaptive furniture, such as kneeling or reclining chairs
    • Wearing a corset or brace
    • Facet rhizotomy, which involves applying a radiofrequency current to the damaged disc area to deaden the nerves and prevent the transmission of pain messages from the spine to the brain.

    Invasive treatments include:

    • Injections of local anesthetic and steroids into the joints around the damaged disc, also called facet injections
    • Thermal treatments, such as intradiscal electrothermal annuloplasty (IDET), which involves inserting a catheter into the disc and applying heat to the disc to reduce pain
    • Spinal fusion/stabilization surgery, to fuse two vertebrae together and relieve extreme pain in an unstable neck or back.
    • Decompression surgery removes pieces of the bony material around the disc to lessen the pressure on the nerves and reduce pain

    How Degenerative Disc Disease Can Impact Your Life

    Degenerative disc disease can make it challenging to maintain gainful employment if you suffer from chronic pain or if your job involves activities that you cannot perform because of the condition, such as:

    • Lifting heavy objects
    • Bending
    • Twisting
    • Sitting for long periods of time

    The condition can also impact your ability to perform activities that bring enjoyment to your life, such as hiking, engaging in sports, or traveling. In severe cases, it might be hard for you to live independently without assistance.

    How We Prove Your Damages for Degenerative Disc Disease Related to a Car-Accident

    You can get compensation for your injuries if you suffered a neck or back injury and developed degenerative disc disease from a car accident that was not your fault. Every case is different, but here are some of the more common types of damages in these situations:

    • Medical Expenses: We will use your bills, receipts, and insurance statements for the ambulance, hospital, doctor, surgery, physical therapy, prescription drugs, and any other medical intervention you had to undergo because of the crash.
    • Lost Wages: Your employer records will show the income you lost because of the collision, medical treatments, and recuperation from your injuries.
    • Ongoing Medical Problems: Since degenerative disc disease is a condition that gets worse as you get older, people often continue to have medical problems. We will gather the medical records to prove the amount of this loss and use experts to estimate your anticipated future medical expenses.
    • Decreased Future Earnings: If your injuries and disc degeneration cause you to have to take a lower-paying job or not work as many hours, we will work with a vocational expert to calculate the amount of your lost future income.
    • Pain and Suffering: We will determine a fair amount to compensate you for the physical pain and mental distress you suffered from your injuries.
    • Loss of Enjoyment of Life: It can put a damper on your outlook on life when you are enduring chronic pain, cannot engage in enjoyable activities, and know that things are only going to get worse as you age. We will seek damages for this loss.

    How to Get Legal Help for Your Injury

    The Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, PC helps people who have suffered injuries due to the negligence of someone else. If you are suffering from a car accident which caused degenerative disc disease, call us today at 404-474-0804, and we will set up your free consultation. There is no obligation.

  • Can a Car Accident Cause Fibromyalgia?

    Physical injury can cause fibromyalgia. People who sustain harm to their bodies in car accidents are at higher risk of developing fibromyalgia than people who have not suffered trauma. Despite the skepticism of some doctors to the very existence of fibromyalgia, researchers proved more than 15 years ago that the condition is a legitimate illness and can result from physical trauma.

    Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is not a psychological or psychosomatic issue. FMS is a chronic musculoskeletal condition in which patients experience pain spread over a regional, as opposed to a discrete, area of the body, plus an increased sensitivity to pain in specific locations. FMS is one of the most common illnesses that rheumatologists treat.

    How a Car Accident Can Cause Fibromyalgia

    Medical researchers do not yet understand the mechanism by which physical trauma can lead to FMS, but they do know that people with the illness often have experienced a physical injury to the same area of the body during the six months before the onset of FMS symptoms.

    If you have chronic muscle pain, tenderness, fatigue, or other signs of FMS shortly after injuring that part of your body in a car accident, the crash might be the cause of your current problems. Also, other medical conditions make you more susceptible to developing FMS after trauma, including:

    • Lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus)
    • Spinal arthritis (ankylosing spondylitis)
    • Rheumatoid arthritis

    There might be a genetic component to FMS, because having a family member with FMS might make you more likely to have the disorder.

    How FMS Can Impact Your Life

    In addition to chronic muscle pain, fatigue, and tenderness, FMS can cause you to experience:

    • Numbness or tingling in your hands and feet
    • Headaches
    • Sleeping disorders
    • Stiffness when you awaken
    • Painful menstrual periods
    • Memory and processing problems

    Damages You Can Get for FMS Caused by an Accident

    When you develop FMS after a collision, you can have two categories of possible recoveries in a settlement:

    • Damages from the initial injuries suffered in the crash
    • Damages from the FMS you later developed

    For both categories, your compensation could include these items:

    • Medical expenses: This includes expenses for ambulance rides, emergency rooms, hospital stays, surgery, doctors, physical therapy, painkillers, and equipment like crutches or a wheelchair.
    • Lost income: This includes replaced wages and other income you lost because of the wreck, your medical treatment, and recuperation time.
    • Decreased future earnings: This includes your current and anticipated future medical condition that will lead to lower income for you.
    • Long-term care and assistance: This is if the accident leaves you needing help with daily living activities and frequent medical treatments.
    • Pain and suffering: This is for the physical pain and mental distress you experienced.
    • Loss of enjoyment of life: If you no longer can perform activities that brought joy to your life, you may be able to recover this expense.

    What to Do After a Car Accident

    After a car accident, you should get immediate medical attention, even if you do not perceive significant injuries right away. The professionals in urgent care centers and emergency rooms know how to detect problems that might not exhibit visible signs at the time of the wreck. Some trauma, like internal bleeding and soft tissue damage, is not always apparent until a day or more after the accident. Even broken bones can go undetected.

    Document your injuries from the wreck. If you try to tough it out with physical injuries from a collision and only go to the doctor six months later when you develop FMS symptoms, it will be challenging to link the FMS to the car accident.

    Contact A Car Accident Lawyer

    Do not settle your claim with the insurance company too early. If you accept a settlement and later develop FMS, you cannot go back to the insurance company and get more money. Make sure that you complete all treatment for your injuries and have no lingering effects, and even then, make sure you hire a lawyer to handle the resolution of your injury claim.

    Get an evaluation of your claim from an experienced personal injury lawyer. If you contact the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, PC, we will review your facts and tell you if you might be eligible for compensation. Call us today at 404-474-0804 to set up your free consultation. There is no obligation.

  • What is the difference between complete and incomplete spinal cord injuries?

    What is the difference between complete and incomplete spinal cord injuries?

    There are two main categories of spinal cord injuries: complete and incomplete.

    A complete spinal cord injury is a worst-case scenario. A person who suffers a complete spinal cord injury will have no physical capabilities and no sensation below the point of the injury. Before modern advances in medicine, complete spinal cord injuries had a high fatality rate.

    A complete spinal cord injury can happen at any level of the spine and will equally affect both sides of the body.

    What is an incomplete spinal cord injury?

    With an incomplete injury, a person still has some function below the level of the injury. An incomplete spinal cord injury can happen at any level of the spine.

    A patient with an incomplete spinal cord injury may:

    • Retain movement in one limb but not the other;
    • Experience movement in one limb more than the other;
    • Have more function on one side of the body than the other; or
    • Retain feeling in parts of the body.

    Does it matter where the injury occurs on the spine?

    The higher up the level of the injury is to the spinal cord, the more severe the impact for the patient. For example, if you suffered an injury in the lower part of your spine, or lumbar area, it may affect your muscle and nerve control to your legs, bladder, and bowels, but it will not affect your arms. If your injury occurred at the neck, or cervical, level, you may lose nerve and muscle control to your arms, legs, bladder, bowels, and respiratory muscles.

    How can a spinal cord injury affect my life?

    Depending on the location of your spinal cord injury and whether it is complete or incomplete, the daily impact to your life will vary. The victim of a high, complete spinal cord injury will be unable to move or feel sensation and will require lifelong assistance with bowel and bladder function, breathing, and feeding.

    Lower, incomplete injuries may allow the victim some independence, but there will still be impacts to sensation, mobility, and self-care. Many spinal cord injury victims require a wheelchair to get from one place to another and will need help performing daily tasks for the rest of their lives.

    What are my damages for my spinal cord injury?

    You may be able to recover significant compensation after a catastrophic injury like spinal cord damage. Several factors will determine your damages, including:

    • The severity of your injury;
    • Whether it is a complete or an incomplete spinal cord injury;
    • The level of the spine at which the injury occurred; and
    • How much residual function and sensation you have after recuperation.

    Your initial medical bills will be significant, as spinal cord injury patients often spend time in the intensive care unit, both for respiratory issues and to protect them from further injury to the spine. After the initial trauma care, you may spend months in the hospital or spinal cord injury rehabilitation center.

    When you get home, your costs will continue to accumulate. These expenses can include the cost of:

    • Medical equipment and mobility devices;
    • Long-term physical and occupation therapy;
    • Frequent medical care;
    • In-home healthcare and daily assistive care;
    • Adaptive equipment and modifications to the home;
    • Special transportation vehicles;
    • Lift equipment and physical therapy equipment in the home; and
    • Adaptive clothing, feeding devices, bladder and bowel program supplies, and special self-care items.

    How can I get help collecting damages for my injury?  

    The lifetime costs following a spinal cord injury, whether complete or incomplete, can be astronomical. If you have suffered a complete or incomplete spinal cord injury, you need to talk with one of our experienced spinal cord injury lawyers. At the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, PC, we will evaluate your case and fight to get you the compensation you need. Call us today to set up your free consultation at 404-474-0804.

  • Can athletic mouth guards really protect against brain injury?

    There is quite a bit of disagreement on whether athletic mouth guards protect against brain injury. Many experts argue that the evidence simply isn't there to recommend wearing a mouth guard as protection from brain injury like concussion.

    The Ongoing Debate on Mouth Guards as Protection from Brain Injuries

    Last year an international team of researchers released an update to the global Consensus Statement on Concussion in Sport. They state there isn't enough evidence linking mouth guards to the prevention of concussions.  They do note that it may reduce head and face injuries.

    A neurosurgeon in Canada, Dr. Michael Cusimano, found mouth guards have little or no impact on reducing concussions. The results were published in the journal Neurosurgery in 2010.

    Yet manufacturers of mouth guards and other experts claim they do reduce the risk of a severe head injury, such as brain damage. But based on the research findings, it may be best not to count on a mouth guard to protect against a serious brain injury. Of course, they can help protect the face and mouth from injury. So it's not that they don't provide some benefit.

    Techniques That May Help Prevent Concussions in Sports

    Nothing can guarantee a child or other participant in an athletic event will not suffer a concussion, especially in a contact sport. But there are ways to at least reduce the risk. Using proper techniques in the sport is one example. For instance, football coaches should teach children the correct way to block and tackle, which means not lowering their head.

    Children should wear good quality helmets that fit right. It's also important they wear it the correct way and always buckle the chinstrap. Coaches should also make sure that any child suspected of having a concussion is held out from play until cleared to return by a doctor.

    When a party does not take appropriate measures to protect children in sports, it could cause serious injury. It's possible that negligence may apply in such cases, which could allow the parents of an injured child to file a claim. The liable party will greatly depend on the circumstances. For example, a sports league that fails to implement safety protocols may be liable.

    To learn more about your specific legal rights, contact an attorney at the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz. Call us at 404-474-0804 to set up a consultation.