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Auto Accidents Las Cruces 

Causes for Motorcycle Accidents


Distracted Drivers


Distracted automobile drivers cause many crashes for motorcyclists.  Talking on a cellphone or texting while driving remains a major problem despite the fact that these activities are outlawed in many states.  Since motorcycles are small, they are particularly dangerous for an accident.  When a driver is distracted and momentarily does not focus on the road, there is a high probability for a motorcycle collision.  Distracted drivers are a worsening problem as indicated by statistics.  In almost 1 in 4 car wrecks entail driving and texting.  


Daily, 11 teenagers die because they are texting and driving.  In 2014, 3179 people were killed and 431,000 were injured as a result of distracted driving.  Yearly, 1,600,000 accidents occur because of texting while driving.  Roughly, 800,000 drivers are texting at any given moment across the United States.  Statistics indicate that texting while driving causing the following:


               It leads to an increase in time with eyes off the road

               Slows your brake reaction by 19%

               It is the same as driving blind for 5 seconds

               It makes you 23 times more likely to have an accident


What Motorcyclists Can Do to Avoid Distracted Drivers?


Lookout for motorists who cannot stay within their lanes

Be aware of traffic from both directions when entering a road

If you cannot make eye contact with the motorist, don’t cross in front of his vehicle

Use day time running lights

Make yourself visible with reflective clothing


As a motorcyclist, you must know your rights.  If you know the law concerning helmets, lane splitting, day time headlight use and licensing, you will have a stronger claim.   Wear safety gear.  Protect your life by wearing a helmet, along with protective jacket, gloves, and riding boots.  Ride defensively.  Be aware of cars which might not be able to see you.  Maintain your motorcycle well.  A well-maintained motorcycle is always safer. 


Rider Improvement Course


These courses are invaluable and make you a better motorcyclist and support your claim that you didn’t cause an accident.  Always care your liability insurance on your bike.  Be certain that your coverage has enough to satisfy any liability.   In order to win a motorcycle claim, do the following:  stay calm and gather the facts, even if you were cut off.  Always see a doctor.  Even road rash can become badly infected if left untreated.  Next, gather evidence.  If possible, take photos of the scene and ask for any witnesses who might have seen the accident. 






Millions of babies each year are afflicted with infant brain damage.  There are many causes for infant brain damage, but many babies experience long term, permanent neurological problems, and a vast range of physical problems. 


Infant Brain Damage Causes


Oxygen deprivation, infant stress, physical trauma suffered during labor and delivery, and infections in the mother’s body are common causes for infant brain damages.  Various disabilities and psychological problems of varying severity are attributable to infant brain damage. 


Oxygen Deprivation


Asphyxia is also known as Oxygen Deprivation which occurs in about 4 of every 1,000 9-month term births.  Premature babies are at a higher risk for Oxygen Deprivation.  Infants begin to breathe on their own shortly after delivery.  Several minutes of oxygen deprivation can lead to permanent brain damage and ailments such as cerebral palsy, autism, attention deficit hyper-activity disorder, and impaired vision. 


Umbilical cord problems, problems with the mother’s blood pressure, constricted airways are several reasons why infants are deprived of sufficient oxygen.  If the doctor is properly monitoring for fetal stress, these problems can be corrected.  In oxygen deprivation, the first state of injury involves damage to the brain cells which occur within the first few minutes due to lack of blood flow and oxygen.  The second stage of the injury, occurs after the blood flow and the oxygen is restored.  This second stage injury is called Reperfusion.  Infants with moderate oxygen deprivation normally have complete recoveries if they are given the proper medical assistance.  If the baby was to be deprived of oxygen for a longer period of time, they are likely to suffer permanent brain damage. 


Physical Trauma


Many medical mistakes can occur during labor and delivery.  Physical trauma may lead to infant brain damage.  For example, if birth assisting tools are not properly used, it may lead to brain damage due to improper placement of these tools, such as forceps or vacuums on the infant’s head.  If the delivery is performed to quickly or rapidly, physical trauma can also occur. 


Infections in the mother


As soon as possible during pregnancy, it is important for doctors to detect any maternal infections.  Infections such as syphilis, herpes and rubella, may lead to brain damage.   Maternal infections may also be a cause for developing childhood epilepsy, cognitive problems, and schizophrenia.  Symptoms of infant brain are as follows:  abnormal temperament, physical appearance, delays in development.






Placenta Previa occurs as a pregnancy problem because the placenta blocks the cervix.  Soon after pregnancy, the placenta forms on the inside wall of the uterus.  During the pregnancy, the placenta gives the baby food and oxygen.  When the placenta partly or completely covers the cervix, which is the opening of the uterus, Placenta Previa occurs.  The baby passes from the uterus into the cervix and thru the birth canal during a normal vaginal delivery.  Under normal conditions, the placenta attaches on the top of the uterus away from the cervix.

Who is at risk?

Placenta Previa happens approximately 1 out of every 200 pregnancies.  A mother might be more likely to develop Placenta Previa if the following occurs:

               1.            The mother is pregnant with more than one baby

               2.            The mother has had a C-section before

               3.            Have had other types of surgeries on the uterus

               4.            Have been pregnant before

               5.            35 years or older

               6.            Smoked cigarettes or used cocaine


The symptoms of Placenta Previa


Possibly, you will not know that you have Placenta Previa until your doctor detects it on a routine ultrasound.  The most common sign is a bright red bleeding from the vagina during the second half of the pregnancy.  The bleeding can range from light to heavy and is quite often painless.  Unfortunately, some women also have contractions with the bleeding. 


Know when to contact your doctor


If you are bleeding during the second or third trimester, make an appointment with your doctor.  If it is very severe, immediately go to the hospital.





Dangers Causing Motorcycle Accidents


Motorcycle riders always state that riding a motorcycle is a fantastic adventure.  Although it’s a fantastic adventure, motorcyclists encounter many dangers on the road.


Motorcycle Dangers


Since motorcycles only have two wheels and do not enclose the rider as in an automobile, motorcycles are much smaller and lighter than cars.  When there is an accident, a motorcyclist normally suffers serious injuries compared to car accidents.  More than likely, as a result of a motorcycle accident, there is death or serious bodily injury.  Usually there are 35 times more deaths as a result of motorcycle accidents when compared to car accidents.


Motorcycles have less visibility than cars.  Since motorcycles are much smaller than cars and more difficult to see on or off the roads, this poses a high risk for motorcycle accidents.  Road hazards are debris, uneven road surfaces, small objects and wet pavement can readily cause a motorcycle accident.  The motorcycle rider has no barrier to the road.  Car passengers are enclosed and well protected.  Motorcyclist do not have seatbelts or airbags.


Less Stabilities


Cars have four wheels and are quite stables.  Motorcyclist have two wheels and are very unstable.  Motorcycle accident occur frequently with emergency stopping and swerving.  Additionally, a front wheel can wobble at high rates of speed.  Riding a motorcycle has a high skill level.  Riding a motorcycle demands more skills than driving an automobile.  Inexperienced motorcyclist account for a high rate of deaths in motorcycle accidents.




Should You Trust Your Doctor?


Normally, the majority of people have faith in their doctors.  Although some doctors can be experts in their particular medical fields, they too can make errors.  generally speaking, these errors consist of lack of treatment or the incorrect treatment. 


The distinctions between medical misdiagnoses and failure to treat.  Doctors can be held liable if they fail or delay in diagnosing a medical disorder which results in injury or diseased progression.  Most doctors use differential diagnosis.  The diagnose the patient’s ailments based upon the symptoms. 


If a reasonably well trained doctor under certain circumstances would have considered as potential causes the patient’s symptoms determine whether or not there is misdiagnosis for medical malpractice.  If the doctor neglected to include the claimant’s correct diagnosis in the differential diagnosis list, or listed it but failed to rule it out with additional testing, then the doctor is more than likely guilty of medical malpractice.


Failure to Treat and Incorrect Treatment


If a patient were treated for a medical condition which the patient did not have, then the treatment or medication may cause more harm to him.  Additionally, this would be more harm caused by the illness that was untreated.  Erroneous treatment more than likely happens of consequence of misdiagnosis. The physician who properly diagnosed the medical condition may, however, be liable because the doctor failed to properly treat it.  Negligence could also occur because the doctor is attempting to treat the condition with a unique treatment which fails when a more conventional treatment would have been successful. 




18-wheel Truck Accident Statistics


Because of the huge sizes and the large weights carried by trucks, they can cause serious damage and death if they are involved in an accident.  There are slightly more than 2 million 1-wheelers in the United States.   Approximately 98% of 18-wheeler accidents cause one death.  $8 million annually is spent for fatal 18-wheeler accidents.  $15.1 billion which is the cost involving the loss of quality of life.  There are 2.3 deaths and 60.5 injuries caused by tractor trailers for every 100 million miles driven on U.S. highways. 

Approximately 59,150.00 is the average cost for an 18-wheeler accident.  Approximately 90% of all 18-wheeler accidents is caused or aggravated by human error.  Approximately 75% of 18-wheeler accidents are caused by the drivers of automobiles rather than the driver of the 18-wheeler. 

Driver fatigue causes approximately 30% of all 18-wheeler accidents.


Truck accident injury statistics


Approximately 22% of all truck accident result in injuries.  Approximately 70% of all truck accidents, there are no injuries or death, only property damage.  Approximately 130,000 individuals are injured each year in truck accidents.








Nerve damage because of surgical mistakes.  Surgical mistakes, which cause nerve damage, consist of the surgeons physical error and an error during administration of anesthesia. 


Surgeon physical error


When does surgical nerve damage occur?  Surgeons must operate in close proximity to nerves.  The surgeons instruments can come into close contact with the nerves and cause damage.   A nerve could be accidentally severed.  Inflammation can be caused because the surgeon’s instrument rubbed against the nerve. 


Errors which occur during the administration of anesthesia


Anesthesia is normally given locally, regionally, and generally.  Nerve damage could result if anesthesia is administered through a syringe.  The anesthesiologist must be very careful to ensure that the needle does not damage a nerve.  Regional anesthesia normally involves injecting a needle into the spinal column where there are a large number of nerves.  If the injection in the spinal column is not done correctly, it can cause severe nerve damage.  If not done properly, general anesthesia can also cause nerve damage. 






A heart patient who became blind was awarded a $6.8M verdict by a Dallas jury. 


A $6,844,543 verdict against the heart hospital Baylor Plano, which allowed a heart patient to become permanently blind from the complication of open heart surgery.  The last offer to settle was $4.4M and the last offer was $750,000 by the hospital attorneys. 


Mr. Fortner, 50, who was a school maintenance supervisor, had open heart surgery at Heart Hospital.  Approximately one day after the surgery, he slowly lost his vision.  After two days, he was completely blind after the surgery.  Nurses neglected to accurately report what was happening to Mr. Fortner’s vision. When they did report the vision problem to the critical care doctor, he neglected to consult with an ophthalmologist.  The critical cares doctors mistakenly thought that anesthesia or medication are what caused Fortner’s eye vision problems.  When they finally called an ophthalmologist, it was too late and Mr. Fortner was already permanently blind.  He suffered an anterior ischemic stroke of the optic nerves which resulted in the combination of blood loss and anemia during the surgery.  If he had been properly treated for the blindness, he could have kept his eye sight. 





$9.1M medical malpractice verdict for leg amputation after broken ankle


The patient was a public safety dispatcher for the City of Tonawanda, New York.  One day he fell on steps while he was on route to work.    A physician treated him for an ankle fracture that caused pain on the side of his foot near his small toe.  Approximately after one year of treatment, the patient selected another physician.  The defendant physician amputated the man’s little toe which caused him to suffer an infection.  The defendant physician then amputated the man’s fourth toe which caused the patient severe pain.  Subsequently, the patient had his leg amputated below the knee.  During the course of the medical treatment by the medical malpractice defendant physician, the patient had 12 surgical procedures.


A post-surgical infection following the below the knee amputation caused an above the knee amputation to be performed by another physician. 


The man file his medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant physician and the subsequent physicians under medical malpractice that treated him. 


Trial Results


The jury returned a verdict in favor of the medical malpractice claimant in the amount of $9.1M, which included $2.8M for economic losses, past and future medical expenses and loss wages, $6M for non-economic damages, $2M for past pain and suffering and $350,000 to the Plaintiff’s ex-wife for lost services. 







Preventing 18-wheeler Accidents


Many 18-wheeler accidents can be prevented if one follows these recommendations: 


               1.            Be aware of your blind spots

               2.            Be aware of all 18-wheelers around you at all times, especially when

                              changing lanes or passing an 18-wheeler

               3.            Maintain your car.  Make sure that your vehicle is properly maintained.

               4.            It is necessary to have your brakes repaired. 

               5.            Never drive under the influence.  Do no drink and drive or take medication

                              which will make you drowsy while driving.  If you are too tired, pull over

                              off the road and rest.

               6.            Keep a safe distance.  Never follow an 18-wheeler too closely.

               7.            Remember that 18-wheelers take much more time to stop than automobiles.







What to do and things not to do after an 18-wheeler accident.


Things to do after the accident


1.            Immediately call 9-1-1 and be certain that a police officer comes to the accident scene and writes a report. 

2.            Obtain photographs or video of the accident site. 

3.            Obtain as much information at the scene as possible.

4.            Obtain the names and addresses of any witnesses and contact information.

5.            Obtain as much information as you can while at the scene.

6.            Seek medical treatment.

7.            Comply with the doctor’s orders.

8.            Concentrate on your recovery to mitigate your damages. 

9.            Bring your car to a repair shop to obtain estimates.

10.         Inquire about your attorney’s reputation for handling 18-wheeler accidents.



Things NOT to do after an 18-wheeler accident


1.            Do not give a recorded statement to the adjuster, before being released by your doctor, attempting to settle your claim.

               2.            Be certain that your future medical bills are accounted for.

               3.            Do not avoid seeing the doctor.

               4.            Do not wait to hire an attorney who is experienced with truck accidents.

               5.            Do not wait until the statute of limitations has expired



The teenager complained of intermittent nausea and episodes of vomiting.  The pediatrician diagnosed the teenager with having symptoms of migraine and told her to return if the symptoms continued. 


On April 27, 2016, the teenager awoke with continuing symptoms.  She returned to see the pediatrician.  She complained of a pounding headache that morning and now she had numbness in the tongue.  The pediatrician diagnosed the teenager as suffering from migraine and sinusitis and prescribed anti-nausea medications without ordering further diagnostic testing. 


On May 1, 2016, the teenager awoke with a severe headache and nausea.  She had vomited for several hours and she went to the Defendant hospital emergency department.  The emergency room physician documented that no imaging had been conducted of the teenager for her headaches and prescribed medication to alleviate her symptoms.  The emergency room physician recommended an MRI to be performed on an outpatient basis but failed to order a CT scan to be completed on this visit.  The medical malpractice lawsuit further alleges that if the pediatrician in the emergency room on the same day examined the teenager who failed to follow verbal commands.  The pediatrician attributed this to the medication.  The pediatrician recommended the teenager be kept in the emergency room for observation.  However, the pediatrician did not order a brain CT scan.  The emergency room physician returned to reevaluate the teenager, she did not respond to verbal stimulation or attempts at shaking her.  The physician still did not order an emergency CT scan and assumed that the teenager was exaggerating her symptoms.  The physician admitted the teenager for observation and ordered medication, IV fluids, but did not order a CT scan.  


When the teenager arrived to the hospital’s pediatric  floor, the nurses noted she had rapid respiration, swollen eyes, and dry blood in her nose.  Finally, the physician ordered a CT scan which showed a large brain tumor.  The neurosurgeon drained the fluid that built up on her brain to relieve the pressure but the prognosis by that time was poor. 


The teenager was transferred to another hospital where the tumor was removed during emergency surgery.  Unfortunately, she never did regain consciousness and was declared brain dead several days thereafter.  The teenager then died. 







A Florida Appellate Court refuses to enforce Nursing Home Arbitration Agreement

On January 8, 2015, a male patient was discharged from a Florida hospital.  The man was admitted to the Defendant nursing home facility.  the patient’s daughter, on the following day, signed an agreement prepared by the nursing home.  This agreement contained an optional arbitration agreement that waived the resident’s right to a trial by jury and agreed to finding arbitration.


On January 11, 2015, the resident suffered a severe aspirational event at the Defendant nursing home.  He was transported to a local hospital and never returned to the nursing home.  Subsequently, the resident’s daughter obtained a Power of Attorney from her father and filed a suit on his behalf against the Defendant nursing home.  She is the same daughter who signed the admission document that contained the arbitration provisions.


In the lawsuit, she claimed that her father’s hospitalization and injuries were caused by the Defendant nursing home’s negligent care and treatment.  The Defendant nursing home, in response, filed to compel arbitration, being that the resident gave verbal and written consent to his daughter to sign the admission agreement containing the arbitration agreement on his behalf.  The Defendant nursing home argued that the resident had to resolve all his claims against the Defendant nursing home using arbitration. 


The Trial Court, after conducting an evidentiary hearing, denied the nursing home’s motion to enforce the arbitration agreement.  The Court held that the binding agreement for arbitration had not been entered by the resident or his daughter on his behalf.  The nursing home appealed.


Appellate Court Decision


The elements considered by the Appellate Court under the revised Florida Arbitration Code when ruling on a motion to compel arbitration:


               1.            Whether a valid written agreement to arbitration exists

               2.            Whether an arbitrable issue exists

               3.            Whether the right to arbitration was waived


In deciding the case, the Appellate Court said that the first element was an issue and the Defendant nursing home had the burden of establishing an enforceable written agreement to arbitrate.


The Appellate Court stated that the Defendant nursing home produced evidence suggesting the daughter was acting as her father’s agent when she signed the admission agreement.  It was also evidenced before the Court that 1) the resident did not sign the agreement, 2) the daughter was not authorized nor did the father give her consent to execute this agreement on his behalf, and 3) the daughter specifically advised the Defendant nursing home that she had no authority to sign the documents on behalf of her father, and 4) the nursing home’s Director of Admissions had no independent recollection of either the resident or the execution of the Admission Agreement.


The Appellate Court ruled that the Trial Court found that the Admission Agreement was not explained to the residence nor was his consent requested and that no legal authority had been given by him to his daughter to make decision regarding arbitration.  There was no apparent or implied agency when there was no representation of authority by the principal.  The Appellate Court found that there was sufficient evidence to support the lower court’s ruling that there was no binding Arbitration Agreement.






What knee is the correct one?


Elective knee arthroscopic surgery for a torn meniscus was done on a 50 year old patient.  Before the surgery began, the patient said, and the physician documented, that both knees were symptomatic with menial joint pain, but the right side was worse.  X-rays showed early signs of osteoarthritis with mild joint space narrowing in both knees.   Finally an MRI showed that the right knee had a medial meniscus tear.  Arthroscopic treatment was recommended by the surgeon because of the nature and the persistence of the symptoms.  Finally, it was noted that the patient was satisfied with the results of the right knee operation, possibly the patient would want left knee arthroscopy and it would happen several weeks thereafter.


Records showed that the knee operation was performed at the hospital where the surgeon had several similar operations scheduled that day.  The right knee was marked by the surgeon before the patient was wheeled into the operating room.  The mark was off to the side, just above the knee.  The circulating nurse placed and prepped the knee appropriately after which the scrub nurse the physician’s assistance draped it per the standard protocol.   Next, the surgeon scrubbed and a time out procedure was done according to the records whereby all parties verbally agreed on the proper side to be operated on. 


The surgeon trimmed away the torn piece of the degenerative medial meniscus.  When the surgeon was shaving some of the chondrolytic changes on the medial femoral condyle, the circulating nurse found that the team was operating on the left leg.  After looking under the drape, they saw the mark on the right knee.  Unfortunately, by this time the arthroscopy was complete and the surgeon informed the family of the error and asked if they wished for him to address the correct right side.  The family refused and the patient subsequently filed suit for wrong-sided surgery.


The jury awarded a verdict of $25,000 and apportioned culpability as:  the surgeon was 50% at fault, the hospital 40% at fault, and the anesthesiologist 10% at fault.  Before the trial, the hospital and the anesthesiologist settled for an amount in excess of $25,000. 





Tim Chelpaty Law Office

121 Wyatt Dr. Suite #2

Las Cruces, NM 88005


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