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Back Injuries Caused by Albuquerque Car Accidents

- Mark Caruso

Albuquerque Car Accidents Can Cause Very Serious, Permanent, and Painful Back Injuries Requiring Years of Treatment and Surgery

The spine is one of the most important structures in the human body.  It encases the spinal cord in a boney case to protect it from injury.  The spine also gives our body strength and stability, and the large muscles around the spine are used in almost every single motion we make.  The spine is also the delivery system for the nerves which branch out of our spine and to the various parts of our body, including our extremities.  Many vital arteries or veins also hug the spine and weave in and out of it, which the spine affords the extra protection.

But the spine is vulnerable to certain traumatic impacts.  One of these is a motor vehicle accident.  The large the impact, such as with a tractor trailer accident, the larger and more dangerous the injury.  If you or a loved one have been injured in an Albuquerque car accident causing serious back injuries, contact the experienced Albuquerque car accident attorneys at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. for a FREE consultation by dialing (505) 883-5000.  We have the legal experience and the medical knowledge to help advocate for your position and ensure you obtain the maximum compensation you may be entitled to for your injuries.

Anatomy of the Spine

Our spine is comprised of 33 different bones, known as vertebra or the plural vertebrae.  Of these, only the top 24 vertebrae are movable because the bottom are fused.  The first set of vertebrae are called the cervical vertebrae, and there are seven of them.  These generally form your neck from the base of your head to the start of your shoulders.

The second set of vertebrae are called thoracic vertebrae and are your mid-back.  These vertebrae hold the rib cage, protect the heart and lungs, and make up the largest section of vertebrae in your body.  There are twelve thoracic vertebrae.

The third set of vertebrae are called lumbar vertebrae, and these form your lower back.  This portion of your spine is meant to bear the weight of the body and they are much larger in size.  There are five lumbar vertebrae.

The fourth set of vertebrae is called the sacrum and these five sacral vertebrae are fused together, meaning they do not move.  The last set of vertebrae is called the coccyx region, and there are four fused bones here which make up your tailbone.

All vertebrae are surrounded by large muscle groups which help protect them from damage.  All vertebrae also contain a varying amount of your spinal cord, which is a crucial anatomic structure originating in your brain and traveling through your spinal cord; this is called the central nervous system.  Each vertebra in your spine is separated by a disc, which essentially provides a cushion between each vertebra and prevents them from grinding each other down.

Albuquerque Car Accidents Causing Injuries to the Back

Any car accident, no matter the speed, can cause serious injury to a victim’s back.  These injuries can be caused even at low speeds, such as an 8 MPH car accident in a parking lot.  Of course, the faster the speed and the greater the impact, the more likely there will be very serious back injuries.

Rear end car accidents generally cause some of the worst back injuries because the body and the spine is placed in a vulnerable position.  The forward motion and the quick snap-back, known as a whiplash motion, can easily cause the discs between your vertebra to rupture, herniate, or slip out of place.  This can place pressure and pain on the nerve coming out of your spinal cord.  In very serious instances, this violent motion can even severe the spinal cord causing paraplegia or quadriplegia.

Back injuries sometimes do not always manifest themselves right away.  After a car accident, the back can take several days, weeks, or even months to get sore, swell, and cause the pain.  This does not mean that the defendant is not liable for your injuries, only that it may be harder to prove.  This happens because the injuries to the discs and muscles surrounding the back may be slightly damaged initially, but not heal properly and cause further complications.  Other times the injuries simply do not begin to cause symptoms until weeks later.

Back Injuries Caused by Albuquerque Car Accidents may be Eligible for Compensation

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, call the experienced New Mexico car accident attorneys at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. today by dialing (505) 883-5000 You can also contact us on our website through the easy to use and convenient Contact box located by clicking here.

Spinal Injuries in New Mexico Rear End Car Accidents

- Mark Caruso

Rear End New Mexico Car Accidents Can Cause Serious Spinal Injuries, Including Permanent and Debilitating Injuries

All car accidents have the potential to cause serious personal injuries.  This can be no more true than tractor trailer accidents, high speed collisions, and rear end car accidents.  In fact, rear end car accidents are very dangerous because of the vulnerable position that the victims in the lead car are in.  Injuries from rear end car accidents can cause life-threatening and permanent injuries, including quadriplegia, paraplegia, and even death.

If you or a loved one have sustained a spinal injury in a New Mexico car accident due to a rear end collision, you may be entitled to compensation.  Contact the experienced New Mexico car accident lawyers at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. for a free consultation by dialing (505) 883-5000.  We will review your case and advise you how to protect your rights to compensation.  We have the experience and knowledge handling serious spinal injuries, including fractures or spinal cord injuries, and we can help ensure you receive the maximum compensation you may be entitled to.

Reasons Why Spinal Injuries Are Common in Rear End Car Accidents

Rear end car accidents force the passengers in the lead vehicle to lurch forward and then whip backwards.  The faster the impact, the more violent this lurch and whip will happen.  Generally speaking, this is known as whiplash.  It places great pressure on the neck muscles, ligaments, and tendons.  It also places great pressure on the spinal column and spinal cord.  This can, in turn, cause pressure on the nerves coming from the spinal cord.

Many times the victims of rear end car accidents do not see the impact coming before it happens.  This means that many times a rear end car accident occurs before a victim can brace.  This creates a greater whiplash type injury as the body is not braced for impact.  This causes serious injury.

Types of Spinal Injuries from Rear End Car Accidents

There are many different types of injuries which can be caused by a rear end car accident.  Most of these injuries are focused on the neck (cervical) and mid-back (thoracic) spine.  This is generally the part of the spine which will take the most abuse from the whiplash motion.  Some common injuries include the following:

  • Ruptured discs;
  • Herniated discs;
  • Torn ligaments or tendons it the neck;
  • Fractured vertebrae;
  • Nerve damage;
  • Nerve impingement;
  • Concussions;
  • Dislocated shoulder;
  • Facial injuries from hitting the steering wheel;
  • Orbital blowout fractures;
  • Spinal cord ruptures;
  • Spinal cord injuries;
  • Fractured bones; and
  • Related injuries.

If You Have Been in a Rear End New Mexico Car Accident Causing a Spinal Injury, Don’t Delay—Call Us Today!

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, call the experienced New Mexico car accident attorneys at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. today by dialing (505) 847-3206  You can also contact us on our website through the easy to use and convenient Contact box located by clicking here.

Airbag Injuries Caused by Albuquerque Car Accidents

- Mark Caruso

Airbag Injuries Can Be Caused in Albuquerque Car Accidents Due to Various Factors

Airbags are one of the most important safety devices in a motor vehicle.  Unfortunately, sometimes they cause more damage than good.  This could be because of a defect in the airbag, such as deploying too late, too fast or powerful, improperly opening up, or failing to deploy all together.  Additionally, airbags could actually cause worse injuries than may have occurred without them, such as being triggered in a non life-threatening but causing injuries that would not have occurred otherwise.

If you or a loved one were injured in an Albuquerque car accident, contact the experienced attorneys at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. if you think an airbag caused or contributed to your injuries.  Every single car accident needs to be investigated so it can be determined whether the airbag was a contributing factor in your car accident.  In addition to finding the negligent driver who caused your injuries, you may also be entitled to compensation from your vehicle’s auto-manufacturer or repair company.  Call us today for a FREE consultation by calling (505) 883-5000.

Common Causes of Defective Airbag Injuries 

There is no question that airbags safe lives and do more good than harm.  But sometimes, an airbag could be the cause—sometimes even the sole cause—of an injury to the victim of an Albuquerque car accident.  Some common causes of airbag injuries include the following:

Failure to Deploy – sometimes an airbag does not deploy when it is supposed to, which can result in serious personal injuries that an airbag could have prevented.  This is particularly dangerous when there is a serious or high speed collision which the driver relies on the airbag to help mitigate or prevent injuries.

Too fact or Powerful Deployment – sometimes instead of not deploying the airbag actually deploys too quickly and too powerfully.  This could be because the airbag was overpacked with its charge, or defectively manufactured with a design defect or individual product defect.  Injuries in an excessively powerful airbag can cause significant head and facial injuries.

Late DeploymentWhat can even be the worst is when the airbag deploys late, thus propelling the victim into the apparatus which could cause injuries like the steering wheel or dashboard before deploying and causing additional injuries.  This can also be very dangerous because the victim could be closer to the steering wheel than he or she should be when the airbag deploys, causing serious injury.

Common Injuries Caused by Airbags in Albuquerque Car Accidents

In addition to the injuries which could normally be caused by a car accident, sometimes airbags can cause serious injuries by virtue of just deploying.  Remember, there is an explosive charge in every airbag.  This is a serious force that comes out to protect a car accident victim.  Usually an airbag does its job, but sometimes it does not.

When an airbag does not do its job very well, it can cause the following injuries:

Airbag Injuries Caused by Albuquerque Car Accidents Should be Investigated by Us!

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident due to an airbag injury, call the experienced New Mexico car accident attorneys at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. today by dialing (505) 883-5000  You can also contact us on our website through the easy to use and convenient Contact box located by clicking here.

Traumatic Brain Injuries Caused by Albuquerque Motor Vehicle Accidents

- Mark Caruso

Albuquerque Traumatic Brain Injury Attorneys Explain How Easily Motor Vehicles can Cause Serious Injuries 

Any motor vehicle accident can cause a traumatic brain injury, no matter how small the vehicles involved are or how low the speed of the impact.  This is particularly true of tractor trailer truck accidents on the interstate, where these large, bulky vehicle have significant weight and speed to them.  Pedestrians hit by motor vehicles are also very vulnerable to sustaining brain injuries, particularly because they have no protection around them to protect their heads in the form of a vehicle shell or a helmet.  Similarly, bicyclists and motorcyclists are also vulnerable to traumatic brain injuries even if they are wearing a helmet because they are not protected by airbags or enclosed in a steel shell like other motorists.

Even a mild traumatic brain injury can have significant ramifications and cause debilitating conditions affecting an entire family.  These traumatic brain injuries can take months if not years to heal, and sometimes they never do heal.  Traumatic brain injuries are also difficult to treat and diagnose, and often cost a lot of money out of pocket to help the victim.

Here are the Caruso Law Offices, P.C., our experienced Albuquerque traumatic brain injury attorneys have the medical and legal knowledge necessary to protect the rights of a traumatic brain injury victim.  Contact us today for a FREE case evaluation by calling (505) 883-5000!

Common Types of Brain Injuries Sustained

There are many different types of traumatic brain injuries which could be caused by a motor vehicle accident.  These injuries vary widely in severity, but all can cause significant and debilitating effects on a victim.  These include the following:

Concussions – These may be the most common type of traumatic brain injury from a motor vehicle accident, but one of the least predictable in how it will affect a victim.  This is because the symptoms greatly vary and the impairments can range in duration from just temporary to an entire lifetime.  A concussion is simply when the brain receivers trauma from an impact, sudden movement change, or change in momentum or acceleration.  Concussions can be caused by whiplash injuries, shaking of the head, or a direct blow to the head.  They can be difficult to diagnose because no visible physical injury may be present on the brain, i.e., no fracture, bleeding, or swelling.

Contusion – A contusion is a bruise which is bleeding on the brain.  Contusions generally are the result of a direct impact to the brain causing the injury.  The larger the contusion, the more dangerous it is and it will likely need to be surgically removed to reduce pressure in the skull.

Diffuse Axonal Injuries – These types of injuries are caused by violent shaking or rotational forces which creates tears, rips, and other damage in the brain structure as the skull shears and rubs the edges of the brain.  These types of injuries are very common in severe motor vehicle accidents, particularly rollover accidents or tractor trailer truck accidents.  The damage done to the brain can cause severe and permanent brain damage, particularly when vital structures in the brain are torn and damaged.

Contact an Experienced Albuquerque Traumatic Brain Injury Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one has sustained a traumatic brain injury in an Albuquerque motor vehicle accident, call the experienced Albuquerque traumatic brain injury attorneys at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. today by dialing (505) 883-5000  You can also contact us on our website through the easy to use and convenient Contact box located by clicking here.

Common Types of Injuries in an Albuquerque Car Accident

- Mark Caruso

Injuries or Death in Albuquerque Car Accidents

Car accidents can be very violent events.  These large boxes of metal can collide at high speeds which can twist and bend metal, and tear apart thick rubber tires.  It is no surprise that any individuals inside of these motor vehicles can be seriously injured, maimed, or killed.  Even at low speeds car accidents can cause debilitating injuries to the most sensitive and prone areas of our bodies, such as the lower back or neck.

Here at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C., our experienced Albuquerque car accident attorneys have handled some very serious and deadly car accident.  We have a strong knowledge base not only on the law, but also on the medicine to help explain a car accident victim’s injuries to the judge or jury.  We understand how devastating it can be for a family to have a member seriously injured or killed as a result of a car accident, and we help take the burden of worrying about the law off the victim’s shoulders and onto ours so the victim can focus on healing.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed in a car accident, please contact us today for a FREE consultation by dialing (505) 883-5000.

Most Common Types of Injuries in Albuquerque Car Accidents

There are many different types of potential injuries which could occur in any car accident.  Generally, the higher the speed and the larger the vehicles involved, the worse the injuries following a car accident.  This is why tractor trailer truck accidents, semi accidents, or other large, commercial trucking accidents on interstates or highways are some of the most catastrophic motor vehicle accidents.

The most common types of injuries in car accidents are the following:

  • Whip lash injuries;
  • Broken bones (particularly in the feet, hands, or ribs);
  • Lacerations, cuts, abrasions, or bruises, including deep or large ones causing permanent scars;
  • Back injuries, particularly to the lower back and neck (cervical neck), some which may require surgical intervention such as fusions or discectomies;
  • Burning injuries, especially in truck accidents due to chemicals being transported;
  • Torn rotator cuffs or shoulder injuries, usually due to seatbelts;
  • Spinal cord injuries;
  • Torn or damaged knee cartilage or ligaments, including the meniscus, ACL, LCL, PCL, MCL;
  • Nerve damage;
  • Brachial plexus injuries;
  • Traumatic brain injuries;
  • Broken bones in the limbs, like the legs (femur) or arms (humerus);
  • Post-concussion injuries;
  • Airbag injuries, including broken nose or loss of teeth;
  • Embedded glass injuries, particularly in arms or hands;
  • Loss of eye or eyesight due to collision or airbag deployment;
  • Permanent paralysis;
  • Wrongful death; and
  • Other serious injuries.

Contact an Experienced Albuquerque Car Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in an Albuquerque car accident, call the experienced Albuquerque car accident attorneys at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. today by dialing (505) 883-5000  You can also contact us on our website through the easy to use and convenient Contact box located by clicking here.

Injuries Caused by Albuquerque Rear End Collision

- Mark Caruso

Albuquerque Rear End Accident Attorney

One of the most common types of motor vehicle accidents is a rear end collision.  These crashes can be caused by a variety of factors, such as districted driving, following too closely, or speeding.  Due to the nature of the collision, rear end accidents can cause serious injuries, particularly to the neck and back.  Even at low speeds, rear end collisions can be dangerous and cause debilitating injuries.

Of course, the bigger and heavier the vehicle the more catastrophic the injuries.  This is why Albuquerque rear end accidents caused by large trucks, tractor trailers, commercial trucks, buses, or other large vehicles can cause significant injuries.  The shear momentum of these types of vehicles causes such destructive force that personal injuries are almost always the result of a truck rear end collision.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a rear end accident, contact the Caruso Law Offices to speak with an experienced Albuquerque rear end accident attorney for a FREE consultation by calling (505) 847 3206.  We understand what it takes to protect your rights and ensure you get the compensation you are entitled to.

Proving Liability in Rear End Accidents

Generally under New Mexico law, the vehicle that crashes into the rear end of another vehicle is negligent and liable for the accident and any injuries related to such accident.  This negligence is both through common law, which is judge made law, and through a violation of a statute, known as negligence per se.

The applicable statute is NM Stat Section 66-7-318, which governs following too closely, and provides under subdivision (A) that “[t]he driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicles and the traffic upon and the condition of the highway.”  When a vehicle crashes into the back of another vehicle, generally it is considered to have followed too closely than is reasonable and prudent thus creating liability.

Injuries Caused by Albuquerque Rear End Accidents

The victim of a rear end collision, even at low speeds, can suffer significant and debilitating injuries.  This is because the force of the impact and momentum is coming from behind, and can create whiplash injuries stressing the spine.  Some common types of injuries caused by rear end include the following:

Contact an Experienced Albuquerque Rear End Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one has been injured in an Albuquerque rear end accident, call the experienced Albuquerque car accident attorneys at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. today by dialing (505) 384-6322  You can also contact us on our website through the easy to use and convenient Contact box located by clicking here.

Understanding Spinal Cord Injuries Caused by an Albuquerque Motor Vehicle Accident

- Mark Caruso

Albuquerque Motor Vehicle Accidents Causing Spinal Cord Injuries

According to research, every year about 12,000 people sustain a spinal cord injury, which is almost 33 new injuries every day.  A large majority of these injuries are caused by motor vehicle accidents.  Many of these accidents occur in Albuquerque, particularly on many of the interstates and highways going through New Mexico.  And a large number these Albuquerque motor vehicle accidents causing spinal cord injuries involve tractor trailer trucks collisions.

The costs of medical treatment and care for a spinal cord injury can be significant.  Whereas the spinal cord injury itself can be absolutely debilitating, crippling, and cause excruciating pain and suffering.  The experienced Albuquerque motor vehicle accident attorneys at the Caruso Law Offices understand this, and fight for you to help ease the financial and physical burdens caused by a spinal cord injury.  If you or a loved one suffered a spinal cord injury due to a motor vehicle accident, call us today by dialing (505) 384-6312.

Understanding the Spinal Cord and Injuries to the Spinal Cord 

The spinal cord is 18 inches long and is encased in the numerous vertebrae going up and down the back.  All of the vertebrae function to protect the spinal cord from damage.  Nerves branch off the spinal cord and out the individual vertebra to other parts of the body.  Some of these nerves are motor nerves and control movement, whereas other nerves pertain to sensation.

While each vertebra is very strong, the spinal cord inside can still be injured.  When the spinal cord is injured, it may no longer send signals between the brain and the nerves that branch out of the vertebrae.  Thus, a spinal cord injury is damage done to the spinal cord which results in a loss of function or feeling.  This loss of feeling can be partial or full, and it can be temporary or permanent.

Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries in Albuquerque Motor Vehicle Accidents

Motor vehicle accidents are common causes of spinal cord injuries because of the momentum generated by motor vehicles.  The type of the collision can also cause the forces of a motor vehicle accident to affect the body different.  Some common causes of serious spinal cord injuries in motor vehicle accidents include the following:

  • Rollover accidents;
  • T-bone collisions;
  • Seatbelt failures;
  • Rollover accidents;
  • Head-on crashes;
  • Left hand turn accidents;
  • Rear-end collisions;
  • Seat back collapse;
  • Side swipe accidents;
  • Tire tread separations or failures; and
  • Other serious types of motor vehicle collisions.

Spinal Cord Injuries are Expensive and You Need to Protect You Rights

When the victim of an Albuquerque motor vehicle accident suffers a spinal cord injury, the treatment and care can be very expensive and create a heavy financial burden on a family.  Many surgeries may be required, extensive physical therapy may be necessary, and the necessary medical equipment can be very expensive.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an Albuquerque motor vehicle accident and suffered a spinal cord injury, call the experienced Albuquerque car accident attorneys at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. today by dialing (505) 384-6322  You can also contact us on our website through the easy to use and convenient Contact box located by clicking here.

Albuquerque Police Reports and APD Collision Reports Help Determine Who Caused Accident

- Mark Caruso

Accident and Collision Reports by Albuquerque Police Department and Bernalillo Sheriff Department for Auto, Truck, Motorcycle, Bicycle and Pedestrian Injuries

By Mark Caruso, Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Attorney (Albuquerque, NM)

 

 

The police report, accident report or crash collision report prepared by the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) or Bernalillo County Sheriff Department (BCSO) is the best way to determine who was at fault for your  car accidenttruck accident or  motorcycle accident.

 

If you have been in an accident in the Albuquerque area, then most likely an APD officer or Sheriff deputy showed up at the scene to investigate the accident and prepare the accident report.

 

At the scene the officer talked with the drivers of the vehicles and any witnesses who presented themselves to him/her with information about the collision.

 

The officer most likely took handwritten notes of the individuals which will be typed on to a computer form. The officer will also assess the amount of damage and location of the damage to the vehicles and other property that might have been involved.  The officer will also look for other physical evidence such as skid marks, broken glass.  Most importantly the officer will assess the actual location of the accident taking into consideration the number of lanes, traffic control devices like stop signs and traffic signals and the amount of traffic. The officer will also note any complaints of personal injuries from the collision.

 

Based on his/her own training and the laws of the state of New Mexico, the officer will determine which driver was at fault.  In some instances the officer will cite one of the drivers.

 

Normally the officer will not give each driver any information on the other driver.  Instead, the officer will give you his/her business card with the accident report record locator number written on the card.  The officer will tell you that the accident report will be available in 7 to 10 days.

 

The APD officer or Sheriff deputy will then enter all the information from the handwritten notes on to a computerized form approved by the State of New Mexico.  The report includes all of the information discussed above, but the report has a separate section called “Contributing Factors“.  It is this section that is the most important section of the report, because it determines who is at fault for the collision.

 

Let me explain to you how to read this section.

 

Each “Contributing Factors” section on the accident report identifies a specific vehicle such as vehicle 1, vehicle 2, vehicle 3, etc. You will need to look at the first few pages of the accident report to determine which driver and vehicle you are to determine which section of the “Contributing Factors” applies to you.  So, if you are vehicle/driver one on the page 1 of the report, then your “Contributing Factors” are only those listed for vehicle on on about page 3 of the report.

 

A perfect notation in the section would be something like “No Contributing Factor” or “None” meaning that you did absolutely nothing to cause the collision.  Other notations like “Speeding Too Fast for Conditions” or “Failing to Yield” or “Disregarding Traffic Controls” mean that you caused the collision.

 

In my experience as a personal injury attorney I believe that the “Contributing Factor” section of the accident report is the primary factor that insurance companies and attorneys use to determine who is at fault.

It is very difficult to get an insurance company to reject the findings of the officer unless the officer clearly made a mistake and reversed the parties. (This does happen!)

 

The officer is the best person to make a decision on who is at fault for the vehicular collision.  He is at the scene minutes after the collision. The officer can judge the character of the drivers and witnesses to help determine who he/she believes is telling the truth.  The officer sees the physical evidence and the location first hand.

 

If you review the accident report prepared by the officer and find errors, you can file a supplemental report to be attached to the accident report. You can do so by taking the original report with you to the local APD or BCSO office and requesting a supplemental sheet.  You can handwrite your version of the collision together with the accident report number appearing on the original accident report and submit it to staff at the office.

 

Witnesses who are not listed on the accident report are not very credible.  The exception is the witness who may be noted on the 911 transcript. It is important to get a copy of the transcript from the APD or BCSO if the fault of one of the parties is important.

 

Often times the transcript will indicate that a particular witness used his/her cell phone to report an accident that they actually witnessed.  However, because of time constraints they did not stop to talk with the individuals involved or wait for the investigating officer.

 

If you have questions concerning your vehicle accident please contact Caruso Law Offices at 505-883-5000 for a free consultation.  Also, visit our web site at  www.carusolaw.com   We only handle  personal injury  and  wrongful death  cases as a result of a car, truck, motorcycle, bus, bicycle or pedestrian accidents.

 

 

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Medical Care and Expenses From Your New Mexico Car Accident

- Mark Caruso

If you are involved in an accident or collision that is not your fault, New Mexico law clearly states that you are entitled to be paid your  medical expenses from the at-fault driver or its insurance company. Since you didn’t cause the accident, it is reasonable for you to expect that they would pay for all of your medical expenses.  The question I am most oftern asked as an Albuquerque Personal Injury Attorney is, “What types of medical care will be covered?    This is the topic of today’s blog by Mark Caruso, Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Attorney.

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Let’s look at the actual law according to the New Mexico Statutes.  For this we turn to the NM Jury Instuctions 13-1804.  This is the law that the judge reads to the jury, and is the law that is applicable to before trial and during settlement as well.  The law states, You are entitled to “The reasonable expense of necessary medical care, treatment and services received and the present cash value of the reasonable expenses of medical care, treatment and services certain to be received in the future.” Also, 13-1802 states that the injury must have resulted from the negligence of the other person.  Taken together, and in layman’s terms, the law is this…You are entitled to reasonable medical expenses you need as a result of the negligence of the other driver.

Clearly transport by ambulance and ER care meet this criteria. But questions are always raised by insurance companies about follow up care with your primary care doctors, medications, physical therapy, chiropractice care, medical massage therapy and other medical care.  Note that the law does not limit the care to anything except two words…..(1) result and (2) reasonable.  The law doesn’t say that you don’t get reimbursed for chiropractic care or medical massage therapy or limit you in advance of the type of medical care from your accident.

Auto insurance company claims adjusters try to limit your medical care or scare you into believing that certain medical care will not be paid for These are interpretations, restrictions and limitations wrongly placed on NM law by greedy insurance companies trying to save money for their shareholders.  You shouldn’t let claims adjusters from State Farm, Farmers, Allstate, Geico, Progressive, USAA, Fred Loya, Travelers, Hartford, Nevada General and other insurance companies decide the medical care you should get.  They are not doctors, they are just claims adjusters!  Only your doctor and health care providers should decide your medical care.

In order to prove that the medical care from your wreck should be paid to you, you merely need to be able to show the following:

A.  You gave your doctor or health care provider an honest history or your prior medical condition and what happened in the wreck?

History of Prior Injuries:    It is extremely important to tell your doctor about prior problems, symptoms and medical care to the part of the body that you are currently claiming was injured as a result of the wreck. Clearly, he cannot state that you suffered an injury from the current wreck unless he knows about prior problems.  Your doctor may be able to state that you aggravated your prior condition in the current wreck if your symptoms are now worse than before the wreck.

History of Current Wreck:   It is also important to tell your doctor exactly how the wreck happened, the speed of impact, the location of the impact and the amount of damages to your vehicle, if known.  The doctor needs an accurate history of the wreck to determine whether you sustained a significant impact to cause the injuries you are now claiming were from this same wreck.

B.  Your doctor or health care provider examined you.

The doctor needs to perform an actual examination of your injuries.  The doctor will normally check your range of motion and areas of sensitivity and pain.  Make sure to report all of your symptoms to your doctor so that your doctor can examine each area of your body that is painful.

C.  Your doctor performed diagnostic tests such as x-rays.

Don’t be surprised if your doctor asks your permission to perform diagnostic tests such as x-rays to help the doctor determine the extent of injuries.  X-rays are important to determine broken bones but are also useful in determining the effects of a soft tissue injury on your spine.

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D.  Your doctor reached a diagnosis that your injuries were a result of the accident.

Once your doctor takes your history, completes your examination and reviews the diagnostic reports he/she will reach a diagnosis of your injuries.  The diagnosis will tell you the injury that you suffered and will also state the cause of the injury.  An example would be that you suffered a broken leg as a result of the wreck or that you suffered a whiplash as a result of the wreck.

E.  Your doctor will recommend and prescribe treatment or medications for your injuries.

Now that you have been told that your injuries are a result of the wreck, the doctor’s job is to try and fix those injuries.  Some doctors will give you drugs and send you home.  Better doctors will make a referral for physical therapy, chiropractic care and perhaps medical massage therapy.  At the conclusion of your care, the doctor will state that that care that has been provided is reasonable.  Usually, the doctor’s final report lays out all of the doctor’s findings about history, examination, diagnostic tests, diagnosis and treatment.  It is extremely important that you doctor create this final report, because you will need it for the insurance company and perhaps even for litigation.

Our firm asks the doctor to also state that the treatment was reasonable, necessary and customary.  This means that the treatment  was the type of treatment that would have been provided by other doctors of the same qualifications in the area for the same or similar price of other doctors in the area. It also means that the treatment was necessary to treat the injuries, not just optional treatment.

Often times, outside sources can be used to help prove that the injuries were reasonable and customary.  Our firm utilizes two such sources for chiropractic injuries and treatment.

The first is the Croft Guidelines.   These Guidelines have been accepted by the New Mexico Chiropractic Association as the guidelines for chiropractic care in our state.  The Guidlines permit a specific number of treatments over a specific duration of time based on the findings of degrees of injuries. As long as the treatment of the chiropractor falls within these Guidelines, the treatment is deemed reasonable. It is important that your chiropractor limit treatment to that which is permitted by the Guidelines, or the insurance company will use the Guidelines to argue that the care was excessive. You should only use chiropractors who are familiar with the Guidelines and agree to treat you in accordance with the Guidelines.

The second is the PMIC. The PMIC is a national publication used by health care providers and insurance companies nationwide to determine the customary charges for a particular service or procedure.  Each individual service or procedure done by a health care provider is designated a code,  and each code is designated a customary price in the community. Compare your charges from your doctor with the average charged by other doctors to determine whether your doctor was charging a customary charge in the community. You will have problems getting the insurance compoany to pay or reimburse you for charges that exceed the customary charge in your community.

Conclusion

Under NM law you are entitled to reasonable medcial care to take care of your injuries from the collision.  In communicating with all health care providers you must be honest in reporting your history and when cooperating with your doctor for the examination, the diagnostic tests and treatment.  The doctor’s diagnosis will determine whether the insurance company will pay for these injuries  provided the health care providers complies with Guidelines established by the doctor’s profession and PMIC.

Caruso Law Offices exclusively handles personal injuries and wrongful death as a result of accidents, collisions and wrecks from autos, trucks, motorcycles, buses, bicycles and pedestrians. We do our best to insure that the health care providers our clients see have done everything possible to prove that the injuries claimed by our clients were reasonable and a result of the accident. Sometimes that means pressuring the doctors to write reports, and other times it means arguing with a doctor why their charges are too high.

We fight for our clients not only with the insurance companies but also argue on their behalf to their health care providers. After  all, we work for our clients–not the insurance companies or the health care providers.

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Located in Albuquerque, Caruso Law Offices handles cases statewide throughout New Mexico.  We have two locations in Albuquerque–Northeast Heights and Westside.  Free consultations with an attorney can be scheduled by calling us at (505) 883-5000. You can also visit our web site at www.carusolaw.com  Mark Caruso is a former insurance company attorney who now works against these same insurance companies to get his clients the most money possible.  Licensed since 1982 our firm has represented tens of thousands of personal injury and wrongful death clients with vehicular accidents,  malpractice, product injury and other negligence. Our firm handles injuries whiplash, spinal injuries, head trauma, PTSD, permanent injuries and wrongful death.  Please contact our firm if we can help you in any way.

We are highly rated and ranked as one of the top New Mexico personal injury and wrongful death attorneys by www.AVVO.com as a 9.6 SUPERB.   We have peer reviews by other attorneys and reviews by our clients at this site.   We have received a Client Distinction Award and been rated a 4.5/5.0 by Martindale Hubbell ratings.  We have an A+ rating by the New Mexico Better Business Bureau.  We have been selected as a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Formum.  We are members of the NM Trial Lawyers Association and the American Association for Justice.  Also, as  a Christian attorney, Mark Caruso believes in honesty and fairness in everything he does at the office and away from the office.  We take care of our clients and it shows in these reviews. We continue to strive to receive the best reviews possible.

We offer a discounted 29% attorney fee on all cases that are settled prior to a lawsuit being filed. This discounted fee puts more money in your pocket when compared with other personal injury attorneys who charge the higher 33 1/3% fee to help pay for their expensive television, radio, billboard and bus advertising.  We pass this savings directly to you. However, you still receive the same quality care by a firm which fights for its clients to get them the most money possible on their personal injury claim.

Watch this Blog for future topics by Mark Caruso  about your right to money for  Pain and Suffering,  Lost Earnings,  Permanent Injury,  Punitive Damages  under NM law.

If you have a question that you need answered quickly, call Mark Caruso and he will be happy to share his knowledge with you, for FREE!

Just call 505-883-5000 and ask for Mark Caruso