Dr. Grossinger – Concussion after Auto Accidents and Workers’ Compensation Injuries

Attorney Ben Schwartz interviews Dr. Steven Grossinger on the topics of  concussion and traumatic brain injury.

Hi, I’m Attorney Ben Schwartz,

Today I’m going to take an interview with a good friend of mine, Dr. Steven Grossinger. Dr. Grossinger is a board-certified neurologist, I think you’re actually dually board-certified also.

Dr. Grossinger: Double board-certified in Pain Management as well.

Ben: That’s right, the term is double board-certified.

Dr. Grossinger: Certifiable.

Ben: Certifiable too, aren’t we all. I want to thank you first off for taking time out of your schedule to do a video with me. Here’s my question, here’s the topic that I want to shoot this video about today. You know I see a lot of people in my office who have been injured in car accidents, work injuries, things like that. They go to their doctor; you know perhaps they go to their doctor because after their accident their shoulders are really killing them. So, they end up going to an orthopedic doctor for the shoulder.

They come to see me in my office, I’m not a doctor, I’ve got no medical training whatsoever and they tell me things like, when I’m sitting in front of my computer it’s very hard to look at the screen for any period of time. They tell me things like I’m not sleeping at night. They tell me things like, it’s hard to go outside if they don’t have their sunglasses. It’s hard to drive because everything seems so bright.

I want to know what’s your take on that, what should somebody like me, a personal injury lawyer, what should somebody like me do when we’ve got that client in the office and they’re talking about these sort of classic concussion symptoms of a traumatic brain injury?

Dr. Grossinger: I think if the individual is frustrated enough that it is impacting their life, they do bring it to your attention, it is best that they have an assessment to try to get some objective evidence of what is going on. With a concussion, there’s been an injury to the brain which is reflected in the abnormality of function. I think that if something is that frustrating, it has a clear onset after trauma. If I were to see someone in the office, I take a detailed history and then conducting an examination, there may be features on the examination that I can document and will lead to appropriate further workup. There may be eye movement changes, coordination changes, doing a screening evaluation of mental status with memory concentration, executive function.

So, I can do a screening consultation that may point to the benefit of brainwave testing or further imaging. They may have had a CAT Scan in the emergency room or not, and an MRI may be appropriate. There are computerized assessments. So, the bottom line is when someone has had symptoms that are frustrating that started after trauma, that does involve the head, it may be that the rotator cuff tear shows up writing the MRI report that does get the main attention of the treatment.

But you hate to overlook, on various levels from the patient’s well-being, wanting to document the extent. I mean someone has had a problem that’s no part of their own and we want to try to document the full extent. I think when there are symptoms that include a change in concentration, not change in function that are frustrating beyond the problem that may stand out, such as a broken bone or something. That is worth, I mean at least getting the primary care and to do some documentation.

I’m more than happy, you know, better safe than sorry. I mean there are many ways that I and my staff, can help be sure that things are being evaluated and we can also guide some treatment approaches, some simple, some more complex that can improve the outcome and quality of life and level of satisfaction.

Ben: So, what’s the, in terms of treatability, what if someone’s got a torn rotator cuff in their shoulder, they go to an orthopedic surgeon, the surgeon can do surgery to stitch that rotator cuff tendon back together. Then typically I see them in the office afterward and in the weeks and months after that surgery, they’ll regain full, if not nearly full function of the shoulder.

What about a concussion? I see a client in the office and they’re giving me sort of these classic concussion symptoms, is that something, if it is truly is diagnosed as a concussion, is that something that’s treatable as well?

Dr. Grossinger: Various aspects may significantly benefit from treatment. It may be as simple as nutritional changes, some lifestyle changes, to possibly prescribed medication. There are various therapies now from vestibular therapy for balance problems, ocular therapy for visual problems. It may be that I might steer someone to seeing a psychologist who can get someone peace of mind because they’ve has a change and they’ve been anxious or depressed. Post-traumatic stress obviously is an important thing and is obviously a real entity that should be documented and does have specific treatment approaches.

Ben: Very good, I just want to say thank you very much.

Dr. Grossinger: My pleasure.

Ben: I hope folks that are watching this video, I sense that a lot of the people that watch my videos on here tend to be attorneys like me handling personal injury cases, handling auto accident cases, work injury cases, slip and fall cases, etc. So I just want to say I have a lot of gratitude for you taking time to sit down with me, shoot a video that I think is informative, that I think will be helpful to other attorneys not necessarily medical professionals but attorneys who see folks in the office who have these types of complaints.

Folks, I’m attorney Ben Schwartz, if you have a question for me, please feel free to send me an email. My guest today was Dr. Steven Grossinger and if you want to get ahold of Dr. Grossinger, I think your website is DrStevenGrossinger.com? Folks can learn more about you on that website or contact you directly if they have any questions. Thanks for watching.

Dr. Grossinger: Thank you.

Gay Spouse Loss of Consortium Claim

What’s your opinion? As someone who could potentially, one day, end-up on a jury listening to a personal injury case, having to render a judgment in a personal injury case. What’s your opinion? Should a gay spouse loss of consortium claim be worth the same, more, or less than a straight spouses’ loss of consortium claim?

Hi, I’m attorney Ben Schwartz,

I have a question for you. In a personal injury case, let’s say a car accident case or a slip-and-fall case, should a gay spouses’ loss of consortium claim be worth less than a straight spouse loss of consortium claim? This is a question that is confronting me this week. I want to know. If you’re out there, you’re watching the video, maybe you are a personal injury lawyer, maybe you’re a lawyer, maybe you’re not a lawyer, I don’t really care. Maybe you’re a trash man, or a teacher, or an astronaut. What’s your opinion? As someone who could potentially, one day, end-up on a jury listening to a personal injury case, having to render a judgment in a personal injury case? What’s your opinion? Should a gay spouse loss of consortium claim be worth the same, more, or less than a straight spouse loss of consortium claim?

Now, here is why I’m asking this question. Let me tell you a story. Let’s say that I have two clients. I’m going to give them some pseudonyms, let’s call them Bob and Jim. Bob and Jim are married; we’re in the state of Delaware. In the state of Delaware, it’s legal to have a same-sex marriage. Bob and Jim are married. Jim’s in a car accident, Bob is not. Bob’s not injured but while Jim is recovering from his injuries, which were quite severe, Bob helps Jim out; Bob picks up the slack. Bob cares for Jim, Bob does all the things that a spouse needs to do while their husband or wife is recovering from substantial injuries from an auto accident. Now we make a claim against the at-fault party and we file a lawsuit against the at-fault party, and we name both Bob and Jim as plaintiffs. One because he was legitimately, physically, severely, catastrophically injured in the car accident and one not because he was injured, but because he has a loss of consortium claim.

My question to you is as a juror who’s sitting in this case, who’s hearing all the evidence, do you award the gay spouse the same amount that you would award a woman if she were the wife of Jim?  That’s my question. Is a gay spouses loss of consortium worth less than a straight spouses’ loss of consortium claim?

I know that from my experience, I make personal injury claims with insurance carriers, in discussing a case with an insurance claims representative, I was told, I don’t know why you’re making the loss of consortium claim in this case. When you have a gay spouse, you know we can evaluate this, but we can’t really offer as much money. Maybe we can’t offer any money because, you know, a jury in Delaware is not going to award a gay spouse any money. It’s not as if you have a straight spouse. If you have a female wife to a male husband who’s been injured in the accident.

So, my question to you is, does that sound right to you? To me, logically, as an attorney, it sounds like discrimination. It sounds like the insurance company is saying we’re going to discriminate against a class of individuals on the basis of their orientation. But at the same time, I can understand what the insurance claim adjuster is telling me.

The claim adjuster is saying, look we make our evaluations, we make our settlements based on what we think a jury is going to do, and in Delaware we think you have a unanimous jury requirement. All the jurors have to vote in favor of the plaintiff. All the jurors have to agree on how much to award the plaintiff and Delaware tends to be a conservative state. There are a lot of religious people and they’re going to look at this gay loss of consortium claim, and they are going to say it’s against the Word of God. We’re not going to give money to a gay spouse. So the insurance company is saying if you can’t get the money out of a jury, you’re not going to get it from a pre-trial settlement.

My question to you is, does that sound right to you? Is that the way society should be? I’m interested to know your thoughts on the topic. As I said, I don’t care if you’re an attorney, a personal injury attorney, not an attorney. Trashman, teacher or astronaut. Whatever you are, whoever you are, I want to know what the feeling in the community is watching this video & listening to these guys’ story.

I’m attorney Ben Schwartz, thanks for watching. Leave a comment, let me know what your thoughts are. Let me know what your feelings are. I very much appreciate it and if you have a question, if you’d like to pose a question to an attorney who has an opinion on just about everything, send me an email below. You give me a good topic, give me a good question. If it’s something I can do a video on, the next thing you know, your question is appearing on a video just like this. Thanks for watching!

Repetitive Use Injury

Personal Injury Attorney Ben Schwartz explains how you can have a workers’ comp claim as a result of a repetitive use injury due to your job, without actually getting an actual injury on the job.

Hi, I’m Attorney Ben Schwartz,

Today we are going to take a viewer question from Kathy in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Kathy wrote in she said, “I have really bad carpal tunnel in both hands. My orthopedic asked me if I’m going to make a workers’ comp claim. How can it be a workers’ comp when I didn’t get in a workers’ comp accident?”

I think this is a really good question Kathy, I really appreciate you writing in with us. You can have a workers’ comp claim from an injury even if the injury didn’t result from an accident on the job. So, like normally a workers’ comp claim is going to be based on injuries that you sustained in an accident that occurred while you were working, but not always.

You can have what’s called a repetitive use injury and it can be something that does not come from a specific accident or a specific incident. It can be the type of injury that you get overtime. I’ll give you a perfect example, we had a case one time where our client was basically a cleaning woman and she cleaned windows. She would take the cleaning cloth and spray the cleaning spray on the cloth and then she would use her hand to hold the cloth and wipe the windows.

This is what she did all day and what happened was, in her wrists she got carpal tunnel syndrome. She would never have gotten the carpal tunnel syndrome if she hadn’t been wiping the windows all day. It’s from that repetitive motion over and over thousands of times a day over days, weeks, and years. It builds up scar tissue and it builds up small tears and the soft tissue complexes and what you end up with is an injury that did not result from an actual incident. It resulted from wearing away over time. That can be a legitimate workers’ compensation case.

I’ll give you one example of how it’s different, it’s actually better. It’s easier if you have one of these types of cases, oftentimes than a normal accident. Here’s one example of how it’s different. If you are in an accident on the job and you sustained an injury when you go before the board, before the industrial accident board in Delaware or wherever you are, you have to prove that if it had not been for that accident you would not have your injury. That is called the but-for test, but-for this accident, I wouldn’t be suffering from this injury in a repetitive use type of situation where you bring a workers’ comp claim. At least in Delaware, you don’t have a but-for standard. You have a different test it’s a substantial contributing factor test.

So, we are going to have to prove that those repetitive movements that you make on the job every day were a substantial contributing factor meaning part of the cause a substantial part of the cause in bringing about that injury it’s a lowered standard. It’s an easier thing to prove than the but-for test. So that’s one way that these types of cases are different. It doesn’t mean it’s not a case in fact, it is a case.

I would encourage you if you have one of these types of repetitive use injury, I would encourage you to contact an attorney who handles workers’ compensation claims in the county and state where you were injured on the job and learn more about your legal rights. Find out if you have a viable workers’ comp claim. I think it’s a great question Kathy, I appreciate you writing in and asking that question. I hope if you are watching this video you found it informative and helpful and entertaining. Maybe if you know who has this type of injury you can share it with them and help them to learn more about their legal rights. I’m attorney Ben Schwartz, if you have a topic question or an idea for a video like this, please send me an email.

Thanks for watching!

A motorist with an Unsecured Load

Delaware Personal Injury Attorney Ben Schwartz explains to a viewer what could happen in a personal injury lawsuit involving a motorist with an unsecured load.

Hi, I’m Attorney Ben Schwartz,

Today we’re going to do a quick video on a motorist with an unsecured load. I got an email from Ted in Newport, Delaware and he says, “I was driving on I-95, there’s a truck in front of me with a toolbox and the tools are falling out all over the highway. I swerved to avoid them and the pickup truck kept on going. Is that a case?”

So, I guess the first question that I have, Ted, is was there an accident where you were injured? What happened? Did you just swerve to avoid the tools and you kept going and it scared you? Or is this a situation where you swerved to avoid them, you hit the guardrail, spun-out and broke your neck? What happened? What are your injuries? What are your damages as a result of this accident?

Once you move past that question, the driver who had the toolbox that was unsecured in the back of the truck just kept on going; he never stopped. So, the question comes up, how are you going to sue that guy if you don’t even know who he is? Who would you name in the lawsuit complaint? Maybe the police investigated and maybe that guy was identified or maybe another motorist followed him up the road and got a tag number or was able to pull him over and get his information, we don’t know.

But let’s assume that he drove up the road, never to be seen or heard from again. You have no idea who it is; nobody knows who it was. The guy just has gone now, what do you do? Well, Ted, that is what’s called an uninsured motorist claim. In Delaware, on your auto policy, if this happened in Delaware, if you are a Delaware resident, which I’m assuming you are, on your auto policy you probably carry what’s called uninsured motorist benefits. If there’s an accident caused by a driver who flees the scene and is never heard from again, your uninsured motorist insurance coverage will pay you whatever you would have gotten from that at-fault driver. If you’d been able to locate them, identify them, and file the lawsuit against them. So, this is sounding to me like an uninsured motorist or a UM case. I hope that proves helpful and I hope that you make a successful recovery with your UM case.

If you would like to have help in regard to a car accident personal injury case, an uninsured motorist case resulting from a car accident or any other personal injury case, please feel free to contact me. If you have an interesting question about some quirk in the personal injury law or criminal law in the Mid-Atlantic region, shoot me an email. If you have a question, chances are other people out there on the internet are trying to figure out the answer to the same exact question. We can do a video and we’ll learn more about the law together.

Thanks for watching, I appreciate you and send me an email and let me know what you think.

You can also visit our Delaware DUI Website at www.delawareduidefender.com.

Unsecured Load

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What’s the difference between a wrongful death lawsuit and a wrongful life lawsuit?

Personal Injury Attorney Ben Schwartz explains the difference in a wrongful life lawsuit and a wrongful death lawsuit.

Hi, I’m Attorney Ben Schwartz,

Today we’re going to answer a viewer question from Jen in Baltimore, Maryland. Jen wrote in and she said essentially, “What’s the difference between a wrongful death lawsuit and a wrongful life lawsuit?” I thought, boy that’s a really good question, that’s a really good topic to do a video on. So, Jen thank you for writing in and asking that question.

Here is what a wrongful death case is. If you have a family member and your family member was killed as a result of the negligence or the wrongdoing of another person or a corporation, then under the laws of the state where the incident occurred or the laws of the state that apply. You may have a right to bring a lawsuit for the wrongful death, for the death of your family member. In that lawsuit, you may be able to collect things like the cost of the support that that family member would have provided to you if he or she lived and continued working and continued generating income that would have been used to support you and your lifestyle. You may be able to collect a benefit for burial expenses for your family member. You may be able to collect an award of compensation for the anguish that you have had to deal with as a result of the loss of your family member due to that defendant’s negligence. That’s a wrongful death case.

Now the law is different from state to state. Every state in the United States is going to have a somewhat different law and it’s a matter of state law.

A wrongful life lawsuit is also a matter of state law. A wrongful life lawsuit is a case where parents bring a lawsuit say against the doctor or a child brings a lawsuit against the doctor and essentially they are saying that hey if you had acted reasonably, if you had not been negligent in the care that you rendered while the mother was pregnant, we would have discovered that the baby had some terrible defect and we would have terminated the pregnancy and because you didn’t catch the birth defect then the baby was carried to term. There are millions of dollars, potentially, in medical expenses that this child is going to have over the course of her or his lifetime. We think it’s the negligence of the doctor in letting you know, letting the fetus become an infant, become an individual become a person that caused all these damages.

You may agree or you may disagree with the question of whether people should be able to bring a wrongful life lawsuit. That’s something that I think a lot of people are gonna not be able to come together on. The reason I think that is because many state legislators can’t come together to make a determination whether this is the type of lawsuit that should be allowed to exist. In some states, you can bring a wrongful life lawsuit and in some states you can’t. In some state’s it’s something that is barred. In some states it’s something that is allowed. I think it’s one of these types of cases that I’ve never handled one and I don’t think I ever would. But it’s something that I think is interesting to be aware of.

If you are a citizen in the United States, you ought to be aware that not only is there such a thing as a wrongful death lawsuit, but in some states, there is such a thing as a wrongful life lawsuit.

Anyways, Jen in Baltimore, Maryland I think that’s a great question. I hope I answered your question. If you have a question for me, my name is Ben Schwartz. I’m always interested in insightful and interesting questions having to do with the law, personal injury litigation, wrongful death litigation, criminal defense, anything that you think would make for an interesting video, that would be informative and educational and maybe a little bit interesting too, send me an email below.

Thanks for watching!

What’s the difference between a wrongful death lawsuit and a wrongful life lawsuit?

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