Tag Archive for: personal injury

What Does Maximum Medical Improvement Mean in a Personal Injury Claim?

Your journey to recovery is a big part of your personal injury claim. While many injuries follow a predictable pattern, some chart their own course. What appears to be a minor injury may cause complication after complication, while an apparently severe injury may heal with minimal delays. That’s why the term “maximum medical improvement” is important. Not only is it important in terms of your recovery, but it also plays a big role in your compensation.

If you’ve been injured because of another person’s negligence, you could be entitled to compensation. Call Kingbird Legal at 484-289-4880 to set up a consultation with our Washington DC team.

Defining Maximum Medical Improvement

The term maximum medical improvement is commonly used in personal injury claims and workers’ compensation claims. A patient has reached maximum medical compensation once they have made as much progress in their recovery as they are likely to. Further progress may be technically possible, but it’s extremely unlikely—even with additional medical interventions. In some cases, maximum medical improvement is the same as making a full recovery. If you break your arm and it sets without any loss of mobility after six weeks in a cast, you’ve both made a full recovery and reached maximum medical improvement.

In other cases, a patient may reach maximum medical improvement before they make a full recovery. Let’s look at the same example as before. You break your arm and get it set in a cast. However, it takes twice as long to heal as it should. Once you get the cast off, the bone is healed but in such a way that you can no longer fully extend your arm. You’re unlikely to recover any further, but you aren’t the same as you were before your injury.

Why MMI is So Important in Personal Injury Cases

As you may expect, medical expenses make up the largest part of many personal injury claims. Medical care is expensive in the United States, and even mild injuries can lead to thousands of dollars in bills. Reaching MMI is perhaps the best way to know exactly how much your medical care will cost you. 

Consider what could happen if you accept a settlement before reaching maximum medical improvement. You’ve been in treatment for months and the insurance company is getting pushy. They don’t want to wait for dozens of other treatments that may or may not work, and they may even be threatening to take back their settlement offer. Against your better judgment, you accept their offer.

The week after that, your injury takes a turn for the worse. You have to go back to see your specialist and they recommend a new treatment—one that will likely cost thousands of dollars. But since you’ve already accepted the insurance company’s settlement offer, you are now on the hook for this treatment. You cannot go back to the insurance company and ask for more.

How Do You Know When You’ve Reached MMI?

Determining when someone has reached maximum medical improvement is a task assigned to the healthcare professionals treating the patient in question. This can be complicated when dealing with complicated injuries, as the victim may be seeing numerous doctors as part of their treatment. Doctors may have differing ideas about when a patient has reached maximum medical improvement, so it’s important to do what you can to support your recovery. That means attending all of your scheduled appointments, taking prescriptions as intended, doing any physical therapy exercises that have been recommended, and following your treatment plan exactly.

You should also stay in clear communication with your doctors throughout your treatment. Make sure you know what your treatment plan entails and what the next step is. If you must miss an appointment, reschedule it as soon as possible to show that you are compliant with your treatment plan.

This will make it easier to know when you have reached MMI and when you can begin negotiating.

Explore Your Legal Options with the Team at Kingbird Legal

When you’re ready to start your personal injury claim, the team at Kingbird Legal is here to support you. Let’s schedule a consultation to talk more about your options. Call us at 484-289-4880 or contact us online.

The Heightened Risk of Car Accidents During the Holidays

No matter how early in the year you begin getting ready for the holidays, there never seems to be enough time. Between holiday parties, Christmas gift shopping, school performances, and other obligations, you may feel like you live in your car. Unfortunately, the same is true for many other people in and around West Chester—and that means more people on the road than you’re used to. There’s an increase in car accidents around every major holiday, and it’s important to know why this happens and how you can protect yourself.

If you or someone you love has been hurt in a car crash, let the team at Kingbird Legal help you. Call us at 484-289-4880 to set up a consultation now.

Dense Traffic and Congestion on the Roads

A big part of the increase in accidents is traffic congestion. Everyone is just as busy as you are, and that means that the roads are packed. People are rushing and taking unnecessary risks, making every trip a little more dangerous for everyone. Even a trip to the local shopping mall can be fraught with risk as shoppers battle over the last available parking spot.

It’s especially important to plan for dense traffic on major travel days around the holidays. This includes the holidays themselves and the couple of days before and after. Christmas is one of the most dangerous holidays for car travel, per the National Safety Council. In 2022, the NSC predicted 346 preventable fatalities in the Christmas Day period, which went from December 23 to December 26. Plan to leave early and give yourself extra time, and if possible, avoid the days immediately before and after the holidays.

Inclement Weather

Christmas weather can be unpredictable, especially around Washington DC. When the roads are slick and visibility is marred by blowing snow, it’s not uncommon to see cars in the ditches as you drive on the highway. Even those who have lived in snowy areas their whole lives seem to go through a readjustment period during the first snow of the season. Make sure you have everything you need for safe winter driving, including working windshield wipers, an ice scraper, and warm clothes if your car breaks down. When the weather is unpredictable, give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination and choose main roads over back roads that are often last to be cleaned.

Substance Use

Holiday parties can be the highlight of the Christmas season, but they can also lead to an increase in impaired drivers on the road. When partygoers celebrate with champagne and eggnog, they may overestimate their driving skills and try to get themselves home. These unsafe choices lead to preventable injuries and deaths every single year. If you are planning on drinking at holiday parties, have a plan in place before you reach your destination. Maybe you’ll carpool with a designated driver or turn to Uber for a safe trip home. Never leave these decisions to the end of the night, because that makes it far more likely you’ll take unnecessary risks.

High Stress Levels

As fun as the holidays can be, they can also be incredibly stressful. People may be driving while stressing out over holiday finances, worrying about figuring out the holiday visit schedule and trying to figure out how they’re going to get everything done in time. What does this mean for you? It means that you’re likely sharing the roads with plenty of distracted drivers. They’re less likely to be focused on the road, and those who are focused on the road are more likely to react to delays or obstacles with aggression or even rage. In all of these situations, your chances of being involved in a serious accident are significantly higher. While you can’t control what other people do, you can ensure that you only drive when you have the mental capacity to do so safely.

Injured in a Crash? Contact Kingbird Legal Now

The sooner you connect with the team at Kingbird Legal, the sooner we can begin working on your case. Set up a free consultation right away by calling us at 484-289-4880 or filling out our online contact form.

The Impact of Road Rage on Car Accidents

When you’re driving, few things are scarier than realizing you’re dealing with a road-raging driver. Maybe you got a little too close when you switched lanes, drove too slowly for their liking, or just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Regardless, there’s never an excuse for road rage. It dramatically increases the likelihood of an accident and has even led to shootings across the country.

If you’ve been involved in a road rage accident, you may be entitled to compensation from the at-fault driver. First, you’ll have to prove that they caused you harm. Let us help—call Kingbird Legal at 484-289-4880 to set up a time to talk to our team of car accident attorneys.

What is Road Rage?

This term refers to aggressive, violent, and provocative behavior exhibited by angry or stressed-out drivers. It covers a wide range of actions, from flipping off other drivers and tailgating them to following them to their destination or trying to egg them into responding. It often involves using your vehicle as a weapon, either by causing actual physical harm or making someone think that you’ll do so. Drivers who engage in road rage show an inherent disregard for others on the road, using their time behind the wheel to take out their anger, frustration, and stress on others.

How Road Rage Causes Car Accidents

Seeing all of the behaviors categorized as road rage, it is not a big surprise that they can increase the likelihood of an accident. Aggressive driving maneuvers are unpredictable and may cause other drivers to panic, causing them to lose control of their vehicle. Aggressive drivers are also at greater risk of losing control of their vehicles when they speed, weave in and out of traffic, or stop and start erratically.

Aggressive drivers are often flooded with adrenaline, which makes it hard to think clearly and respond appropriately to changes in circumstances. They may take unnecessary risks and fail to accurately assess the danger they are putting others in, leading to increasingly unsafe choices.

Road rage can even lead to violent confrontations. When one driver is angry enough to follow another to their destination, they can instigate a fight. This can also happen if the road-raging driver is aggressive enough to anger other drivers. This puts both at risk of assault and can cause collisions if a confrontation takes place on the side of the road.

Road Rage Can Contribute to More Severe Collisions

Not only does road rage cause accidents, but accidents caused by road rage are more likely to be severe in nature. Drivers in the throes of road rage are often driving far too fast for weather and traffic conditions. This contributes to the severity of a crash and often leads to more catastrophic injuries. 

When road rage incidents turn into violent confrontations, the damage is often worse—these altercations have occasionally led to shootings or caused secondary collisions that injured uninvolved people. Road rage is stressful for everyone involved, whether they are perpetuating it, victimized by it, or even just witnessing it. This creates a chaotic and stressful environment that puts everyone at greater risk of being involved in a crash.

Preventing Road Rage

There are several ways that people can minimize the risk of road rage and prevent accidents. Possible solutions include:

  • Focusing on individual responsibility and behavior: While it’s possible to improve infrastructure and other aspects of driving, it really comes down to each individual’s choices. By making road rage an unacceptable and societally shamed behavior, people can reduce the risk of others resorting to road rage when stuck in traffic.
  • Increasing enforcement of traffic laws: Traffic laws already forbid road rage, but they are not enforced as much as they should be. Law enforcement focusing on catching and detaining intentionally aggressive drivers could make the roads safer for everyone.
  • Increased reporting of dangerous drivers: Individuals who observe aggressive drivers can report them to the police to increase the likelihood of a traffic stop.
  • Infrastructure that limits traffic buildup: Bad traffic can trigger road rage. Infrastructure that’s appropriate for traffic density can reduce the risk of angry drivers.

Explore Your Legal Options After a Car Accident with Kingbird Legal

Ready to find out if you’re owed compensation after a car crash? The team at Kingbird Legal is here to help. Contact us online or give us a call at 484-289-4880 to set up a time to talk to our attorneys.

Important Tips for Avoiding School Bus Accidents

School buses make it possible for millions of children in the United States to get to school safely and on time. They are especially important in remote and rural areas where parents would otherwise have to drive upwards of 30 minutes just to get to school. While school buses are very safe for their occupants, they can cause serious damage to other vehicles in a collision. Furthermore, pedestrian accidents involving school buses are likely to cause severe or fatal injuries.

Find out more about school bus safety and accident prevention. For more advice regarding your school bus accident in Pennsylvania, call Kingbird Legal at 484-289-4880.

What Causes School Bus Accidents?

Whether you drive a school bus or you have a child who rides the bus, understanding what causes collisions is the first step in preventing them. Some of the commonly reported causes of bus accidents include:

  • Driver error: While bus drivers are highly trained before they’re entrusted with students, they can still make the same mistakes that other drivers make. If they don’t yield the right of way, misjudge their stopping distance, or drive too fast for road conditions, they could cause an accident.
  • Other drivers’ mistakes: Other drivers can also cause school bus accidents. They may linger too long in a bus’s blind spot, drive around a bus when it is picking up students, or fail to leave enough space between them and the bus.
  • Mechanical issues: School buses can experience mechanical issues that lead to breakdowns and accidents. Brake failure, engine issues, and other malfunctioning components often lead to collisions.
  • Bus stop safety: It is crucial for kids to prioritize safety while waiting at the bus stop, getting on the bus, or getting off the bus. When they forget the safety rules, accidents may follow.

What Drivers Can Do

Everyone must do their part to reduce the risk of school bus accidents in Pennsylvania and Washington DC, including other drivers. They can:

  • Review and follow traffic laws: Drivers must operate in specific ways around buses, especially when they are stopped to pick up or drop off children. When driving behind a bus or approaching a bus from the opposite lane, watch for its stop sign arm and be prepared to stop.
  • Be aware of a bus’s blind spot: Much like commercial trucks, school buses have blind spots that extend around the entire vehicle. When driving alongside a bus, do your best to pass or drop back behind them quickly. When driving in front of or behind a bus, leave plenty of space.
  • Be extra vigilant around children: Whenever you are driving around a bus, know that children could exit the bus or approach the bus at any time. Be prepared to stop with a moment’s notice.
  • Be patient: Every bus driver has at least one story of an impatient driver honking at them, driving too close, or speeding around them and endangering children. Make sure you are never that driver—school bus drivers are just doing their best to keep kids in the community safe.

How Parents Can Help

Educating children on the importance of school bus safety should be a top priority when they begin school. A big part of that is teaching them about a school bus’s danger zone. This extends around the entirety of the bus, but the most dangerous areas are directly in front of it and the area directly next to the back passenger tire. Children in these areas are at serious risk of being hit. When children must cross in front of a bus, they should leave enough space, make eye contact with the driver, and wait to be waved across before crossing.

In many cases, this means that parents should wait at the bus stop with their children. Young children may forget the rules of school bus safety or get distracted by their friends. It only takes one mistake to cause a tragic accident.

Fight for Compensation After a Bus Accident with Kingbird Legal

Have you or your child been injured in a school bus accident? You could be entitled to compensation. We’re here to help you figure out your next steps. Reach out online or call us at 484-289-4880.

Why Are Pedestrian Deaths Increasing in Pennsylvania?

Pedestrian accidents have followed a troubling trend across the United States in the last few years. More and more pedestrians are suffering serious or fatal injuries while walking for exercise, walking to work, or running errands. The streets should be a safe place for everyone—bikers, motorcyclists, and pedestrians included. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

Learn more about what’s behind the increasing number of pedestrian fatalities in Pennsylvania. If you or someone you love has been injured in a pedestrian crash, turn to the team at Kingbird Legal for help with a personal injury claim. Call us at 484-289-4880 to get started.

What the Research Says

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation maintains a large database of data regarding all types of traffic collisions. Their latest report covers 2022 collisions. In recent years, pedestrian crashes were highest in 2018. In 2018, there were over 4,100 crashes resulting in more than 200 deaths. Numbers dropped in 2019 and 2020, hinting at a possible turnaround. Unfortunately, numbers then increased in 2021 and 2022, leading to 3,200 crashes and 184 deaths in 2022.

It’s important to recognize the serious risks that pedestrians face when they step onto the road. In Pennsylvania, pedestrian accidents only account for 2.8% of all traffic collisions. However, they make up 15.6% of all fatalities. Pedestrians are far more likely to die in a crash than the occupant of a vehicle.

People of all ages can be affected by these accidents. The age group with the highest number of fatalities is adults aged 75 and older. Other at-risk groups include those aged 25-34, 60-64, and 70-74. Males are much more likely to be struck than females. Severe crashes are more likely to occur in cities than in boroughs and townships.

Factors Contributing to Pedestrian Accidents

There are lots of factors that have led to an uptick in pedestrian accidents and deaths, including:

  • Distracted driving and walking: Distracted drivers are a huge danger to themselves and everyone around them, including pedestrians. On the other hand, pedestrians can also put themselves in danger by walking with earbuds in or not watching while crossing the road.
  • Reckless driving: Reckless driving includes behaviors like speeding, failing to yield the right of way, and failing to use turn signals—all of which can lead to preventable pedestrian accidents.
  • Aggressive driving: Aggressive driving goes one step further, involving drivers who actively choose to take unnecessary risks. It’s often the result of driving while in a rush, stressed, or upset.
  • Poor infrastructure design: Some cities simply do not have pedestrians in mind when designing street layouts and walkways. A lack of walk and don’t walk signals, limited crosswalks, and a lack of sidewalks can all put pedestrians in danger.
  • Lack of knowledge: Some drivers and pedestrians simply do not understand the other side’s perspective. Pedestrians may not realize how much time it takes a car to come to a complete stop, and drivers may not recognize that pedestrians have substantial rights to the road.
  • Physical limitations: As noted earlier, older pedestrians are much more likely to suffer severe injuries than younger pedestrians. Pedestrians who take longer to cross the road safely may be at risk of injury when they come across an impatient driver.

How We Can Protect Pedestrians

Everyone plays a role in nationwide efforts to make the roads safer for pedestrians. Pennsylvania pedestrians deserve to feel safe when they hit the road, no matter where they’re going. Some ways we can improve safety outcomes include:

  • Improving infrastructure: This is a long-term solution, but adding sidewalks, extending the duration of walk signals, and making crosswalks more visible are all ways that municipalities can support pedestrians.
  • Enhancing enforcement: It’s all too common for drivers to ignore situations where a pedestrian has the right of way. Increasing enforcement of these violations could dissuade drivers from making the same choices again.
  • Focusing on public education: Ensuring that pedestrians and drivers know their rights and responsibilities can do a lot to make the roads as safe as possible.

Injured in a Pedestrian Accident? Contact Kingbird Legal Now

If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident, it’s time to find out if you are entitled to compensation. Set up a time to talk to the team at Kingbird Legal now by calling us at 484-289-4880 or reaching out to us online.