Late this summer, a British insurance company conducted a survey of 1,000 British motorists. About 27% of respondents reported experiencing a “near miss” of an auto accident related to their footwear. Aside from the obvious hazard of getting your flip-flop wedged underneath one of pedals, delayed braking time is another huge issue. Although these dangers apply to all open-heeled shoes, flip-flops, which rarely conform to the true shape of the foot, are the biggest culprit.
Researchers have also performed studies with a driving simulator that quantify these delays. They found that braking with a flip flop can slow down your car’s deceleration by up to 0.13 seconds. For a car traveling highway speed – around 60 mph – this can translate to an extra 3.5 meters in braking distance. That’s about 11.5 feet – ⅔ the length of an average midsize car. . Even in optimal weather conditions, that can mean the difference between a close call and a rear-end collision.
In the British poll, 33% of drivers admitted to wearing flip flops while driving. We can only presume that the number of flip-flop wearers in the Sunshine State would be substantially greater. Because it’s unlikely that Floridians will ever abandon flip-flops completely, drivers are encouraged to keep a separate pair of driving shoes in the car at all times. The safest shoes for getting behind the wheel? Sneakers or low-heeled flats.
A person suffering from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can walk away from an auto accident with no symptoms, only to have their condition worsen hours, days or even weeks later. In fact, TBI’s can even occur without the victim losing consciousness. If damage occurs directly under the site of impact, it is called a coup injury. Brain injuries that occur opposite the impact are referred to as contrecoup injuries.
Both focal and diffuse brain injuries can cause cerebral contusions (brain bruising) or, more rarely, the formation of an epidural hematoma in the most severe cases. Injuries can range from a momentary loss of consciousness to extended periods of amnesia. The victim’s head doesn’t even need to be impacted for these injuries to occur. Whiplash can cause rapid acceleration and deceleration that slams the brain back and forth inside of the skull.
What to watch for: Common TBI symptoms
Often, a person with a TBI will look perfectly normal. If someone you know was recently in an auto accident where head trauma is a possibility, observe them vigilantly. Look for any changes in mood and behavior, even if they seem minor. Look out for any of the common symptoms listed below.
- Chronic headaches
- Changes in mood or sleep patterns
- Any changes in sensory function: blurred vision, loss of smell or taste, ringing in the ears
- Difficulty concentrating, getting confused easily
- Depression and anxiety
- Slowed reactions, both physical and mental
- Memory problems
Diagnosis & Treatment
As with all head injuries, the most important step is to seek treatment as soon as possible. If you go the hospital after your auto accident, make sure your doctor isn’t just focusing on your physical injuries. Usually, a doctor will order imaging tests like X-rays (to rule out any skull or neck fractures), MRIs or CT scans to look for signs of internal bleeding, bruising or increased pressure within the skull. It’s important to remember that mild TBI’s usually present such minor physical signs that they’re hard to pick up on conventional imaging tests. As a result, some patients might be sent home under the false pretense that nothing is wrong. While many mild TBI’s will resolve themselves, it’s still in an accident victim’s best interest keep an eye on any behavioral changes and discuss ALL symptoms, no matter how mild, with one’s doctor.
If you or a family member has been involved in an auto accident, don’t assume that a lack of physical symptoms automatically means that nothing is wrong. Get treatment immediately and be proactive about your health by monitoring any changes in your condition. And as always, contact an experienced attorney if you are planning to seek monetary compensation for any damages or injuries sustained in an auto accident.
Whiplash is one of the most common injuries sustained in a rear-end car accident. It’s a class of neck sprain that occurs when the neck is hyperextended after the kind of abrupt stop typical of a rear-end collision. Pain can be mild and last for several days or much more severe, leading to prolonged issues with pain and restricted head and neck movement. Unfortunately, since the symptoms of whiplash can take time to manifest, it’s also an injury that is all too frequently overlooked.
Common signs and symptoms
It usually takes about 1-3 days for the symptoms of whiplash to appear. However, it could also be weeks before you realize that the pain and soreness you’re feeling can be attributed to whiplash. Symptoms may include the following:
- Blurred vision
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Back pain
- Pain and weakness that also affects the arm and shoulder
- Decreased range of motion
- Difficulty sleeping
How is whiplash diagnosed?
As always, seek medical attention immediately if you believe you’ve sustained any injuries in a car accident. The doctor usually begins with a basic physical examination to check for range of motion and unusual sensitivity to pressure. If required, he or she will order some tests. An x-ray will rule out the possibility of any dislocations or spinal fractures, while an MRI will determine the extent of damage to the soft tissues.
What are my treatment options?
Many people associate whiplash with foam cervical collars, but they should never be worn for an extended period of time, as they can cause the neck muscles to weaken. If your whiplash injury is severe, your doctor may suggest rehabilitative therapy with a physiotherapist. In most cases, however, the patient can perform simple exercises and gentle stretches in their own home to regain range of motion.
The best whiplash preventative is to make sure your head restraint is properly positioned directly behind your head. Head restraints that are positioned too low can actually force the head and neck back further and cause more damage.
Can I take legal action after my auto injury?
Yes. If your whiplash injury is the result of another driver’s reckless or negligent behavior, you have a right to compensation for your medical expenses. At DDB Law, we have experience in rear-end collisions and know how to put together a strong case that proves liability. Remember – the best thing you can do is act quickly. Don’t lose a case because of Florida’s new Personal Injury Protection (PIP) law, which only leaves accident victims with 14-day window to report their injuries and qualify for compensation.