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What You Need to Know About Cervical Herniated Disc Injuries

Neck injuries can be serious and debilitating. The C5/C6 region of the spine is at particular risk after certain types of accidents. If you have been in a car or workplace accident,  it is important to understand and recognize C5/C6 disc herniation symptoms. What Is the Cervical Spine? Your spine consists of a series of interlocking bones called vertebrae. The vertebrae within your neck are called the cervical spine and are numbered C1 through C7. In between each vertebra are structures called discs. These discs consist of a fibrous outer layer (annulus) and a spongy gel-like material (nucleus). Discs are responsible for cushioning the vertebrae from impacts and shock. Without discs, the vertebra would smash into each other, compromising the spine and the spinal cord.  How Does a Cervical Disc Become Herniated? Cervical disc herniation occurs when the outer layer of the disc tears and the gel-like substance within the disc begins to leak out. When this happens, the leaking nucleus may cause inflammation to nearby nerves or to the spinal cord itself. Cervical disc herniations are often referred to as “slipped” or “ruptured” discs. Although age can cause discs to wear down and rupture, discs may also become herniated due to reasons such as: Car, truck, and motorcycle accidents; Impacts to the neck or back; Falls; Strenuous physical activity; and Workplace injuries. One of the most common areas for cervical disc herniation is the C5/C6 region. This area is found at the base of the neck, and it can be susceptible to damage from car accidents and other sudden trauma. What Are the Symptoms of a C5/C6 Disc Herniation? C5/C6 disc herniation symptoms can vary from relatively mild to debilitating. While tenderness and pain near the base of the neck are common, there are other signs which may indicate cervical disc herniation. Some of the other symptoms associated with C5/C6 disc herniation include: Pain radiating to the shoulders or arms; Numbness in the hands, arms, or shoulders; and Weakness in the arms or hands. More severe cervical disc herniations can cause damage or inflammation of nearby nerves or even the spinal cord. In more severe cases, C5/C6 disc herniation symptoms may include: Loss of fine-motor skills, Difficulty balancing or walking, and A shock-like or electrical sensation. C5/C6 disc herniation symptoms can vary in intensity depending on your activity level. Certain activities such as playing sports or engaging in physical labor can make symptoms worse or cause further damage to the disc.  How Are Cervical Disc Herniations Treated? When a patient comes to a physician with the above symptoms, the physician will often want to examine the neck and order imaging studies. The imaging studies may include X-rays, a CT scan, or an MRI. If you suffer a herniated disc in the neck, treatment may include: Rest, Over-the-counter or prescription pain medication, Steroid or nerve-block injections, and Physical therapy. More severe cervical disc herniations, such as those which threaten the spinal cord, may require surgery. This is often the last resort for physicians, as cervical surgery could lead to further pain and mobility issues for the patient.  Do You Think You Injured Your Cervical Disc in an Accident? Cervical disc injuries can lead to lifelong pain and mobility issues. If you believe you may have symptoms of C5/C6 disc herniation or another injury relating to an accident, we at the Zimmerman Law Firm want to help. With over 85 years of experience, our attorneys understand the uncertainty that comes with accident-related injuries. Using our deep experience and knowledge, we can guide you through the often complicated process of pursuing a personal injury claim. Contact us for your free case consultation today!

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What Are Letters of Protection?

When you suffer injuries due to the negligence of another, you may seek compensation for your losses. Unfortunately, some injured people don’t have medical insurance to pay their medical bills. This lack of insurance leaves them struggling to recover from their injuries without any financial support. In these situations, you may seek to obtain a letter of protection, often abbreviated as LOP. The purpose of a letter of protection is to alleviate your financial burden so you can receive medical treatment while you and your attorney continue to pursue your personal injury claim. What Is a Letter of Protection in Texas? Letters of protection are essentially contracts involving you, your attorney, and your medical provider. A letter of protection in Texas provides that your attorney will pay your medical provider with any funds resulting from the settlement of your injury claim before distributing any of the remaining awards. Generally speaking, two factors must be present to qualify for a letter of protection, including:  You are not at fault for your injury, Your health insurer refuses to cover your medical bills or you don’t have health insurance.  Your health insurer may deny your claim based on the belief that the at-fault party’s insurance should cover your medical expenses. Meanwhile, you are stuck with mounting medical bills for necessary medical treatment after your accident.  While medical providers are not required to enter into letters of protection, many do when an injured party retains the assistance of a qualified personal injury attorney.  Why Would I Need a Letter of Protection?  In essence, a letter of protection in Texas allows an injured party to receive medical treatment on “credit” with a medical provider. Letters of protection in Texas can be highly effective for a variety of reasons in helping your get medical treatment after an accident:  You can promptly obtain the care you need for your injuries,  Your medical providers will not demand payment until the resolution of your case,  Your provider pursues payment only if your case is not successful.  Additionally, for many, some insured persons may find that their plan fails to cover the necessary treatment needed after a serious accident. Instead, a person grapples with how to pay for important treatment “out-of-pocket” on top of the burden of recovering physically from their injuries. This is where a letter of protection can help you. How Do I Write a Letter of Protection?  Letters of protection are legally binding contracts in Texas. Therefore, it’s important to enlist the services of a qualified personal injury attorney who understands how to write these letters on your behalf.  A letter of protection generally includes a statement to your medical provider that due to the injuries you suffered, you are unable to pay for needed medical services. The letter requests that the hospital agree to provide medical treatment to be paid from any settlement or judgment rendered.  Contact Us  If you suffered injuries in an accident but worry about the financial burden of medical expenses, you may want to learn more about how a letter of protection can alleviate your concerns. The attorneys at Zimmerman Law Firm, P.C., focus their practice in personal injury law and possess extensive experience in preparing letters of protection for injured clients. Our attorneys have successfully represented thousands of Texans in recovering after devastating accidents. We know that it isn’t just about money, but about getting your life back. Contact us today to discuss your case with a free consultation. 

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What are Texas Dram Shop Laws?

If a drunk driver causes an accident that injures you, you can sue the driver for personal injury. If you die in the accident, your surviving relatives can file a wrongful death lawsuit. The problem that frequently arises is that the minimum accident insurance coverage in Texas is only $30,000 per victim—and this presumes that the driver is even insured, which all too often is not the case. Moreover, personal injury and wrongful death claim frequently exceed the minimum coverage amounts. The purpose of dram shop laws is to hold a third party (typically a bar or nightclub) liable for a personal injury or wrongful death claim. Texas dram shop laws help ensure that the victim receives full compensation. The idea behind dram shop liability is that the third-party defendant contributed to the accident by serving alcohol to the intoxicated driver. More than 40 states have enacted dram shop laws.   What is a “Dram Shop”? A “dram shop” is a bar, a club, a tavern, or any other commercial establishment that sells alcohol and allows customers to consume alcohol on the premises. A liquor store is not a dram shop because it does not serve alcohol to be consumed on-premises.  Texas Dram Shop Laws Not all dram shop laws are the same, and Texas dram shop laws carry certain distinctive features. To win a dram shop claim in Texas, you must prove that: The defendant is licensed or permitted to serve alcohol or actually sells alcohol; The defendant sold, provided, or served an alcoholic beverage to a customer at a dram shop; The customer was already obviously intoxicated at the time the dram shop served them alcohol;  The customer proceeded to cause a vehicle accident; and The accident resulted in damages (injury, death, or property damage). The basis for liability is the assumption that the accident would not have occurred if the dram shop had refused to serve alcohol to the customer.   Social Host Liability in Texas Suppose you throw a party at your home. You provide alcohol, and one of your guests causes an accident on their way home. Can the victim of the accident sue you? Well, the dram shop laws of some states do allow victims to assert liability against social hosts. This is not the case in Texas, however. A victim cannot sue you for providing alcohol as a social host, except if the alcohol was given to a minor. Social Host Liability Exception for Minors The victim can sue a social host for providing alcohol to a minor if: The minor was under the age of 18 (even though 21 is the legal drinking age in Texas), The provider was at least 21 years old, The alcohol provider was not the minor’s parent or custodian, and The provider knowingly served the minor or knowingly allowed someone else to serve the minor. Except for the case of serving alcohol to a minor, a social host is not liable under the Texas dram shop law—even for providing alcohol to an obviously intoxicated guest.  Take Decisive Action The best time to begin preparing your claim is as soon as possible. Doing the groundwork for your claim promptly prevents it from growing stale with time. The Zimmerman Law Firm P.C. has been fighting for the rights of central Texans since 1962, and our attorneys enjoy the benefit of over 85 years of combined experience. Allow us to put our knowledge of Texas dram shop laws to work for you. Contact us 24/7 by calling 254-333-8869 or by contacting us online.

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Red flags that help reveal a dangerous day care

Dropping your kids off at day care takes a leap of faith. You are putting your children’s lives in someone else’s hands. Up until this moment, you may have always been in control. Now you are ceding that control to someone else. If you feel anxious, do not just assume you have the same nerves that all parents do and that you need to get over it. Picking the right day care center is critical. If you feel especially nervous, ask yourself why. What is triggering that fear? Is this actually a dangerous day care where your child could suffer an injury? It may be. Here are a few red flags of which you should be aware: Not enough staff The center must have enough staff to actually look after all of the children. If you walk in and one overwhelmed worker is trying to care for all of the kids, the risks of accidents and/or neglect are greater. For instance, one woman dropped her daughter off at a day care center and came back to get her, but the staff did not know where the girl was. For a brief moment, the mother panicked. While they did find the girl taking a nap under a blanket, that type of negligence is very frightening. Children do not have to disappear for long to get seriously injured. No license Even if the staff seems friendly and caring, if the center does not have the proper licensing, avoid it. You have no way of knowing just how safe that location is. Likewise, the staff knows they should have a license. If they are willing to operate without one, what other rules are they willing to break? How could that put your child in danger? Obvious safety issues While some safety issues are a bit harder for a parent to uncover, some things are quite obvious. Is there a smoke detector in every room? If not, or if there are dead batteries in some of the detectors, go somewhere else. When issues are this obvious, odds are that other hidden issues exist as well. You also want to make sure that any dangerous chemicals and cleaning supplies are stored properly out of the kids’ reach, that the day care has a disaster plan for escape if there is a fire or a similar issue and that the facility has a secure system in place to connect children with their parents at pick-up. After an injury Looking for reg flags is a good place to begin, but children can still get hurt at a day care that appears safe. When this happens, you must know all of the legal options you have to seek financial compensation.

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