Monthly Archives: June 2017

How to Reduce your Risk of Bicycle Accidents

The warm weather is here, and that means more Neenah residents are heading out for bicycle rides. For some, a bicycle is purely a recreational vehicle and for others, it is a primary mean of transportation to work, school, or to run errands. Any individual who rides a bicycle is at risk of being injured in a bike accident in Wisconsin.

Although you can never completely eliminate your risk of being injured in a bicycle accident, you can reduce it significantly by taking safety precautions when you ride. Safe bicycle riding starts before you even leave your home. Wearing a helmet shields your head from the trauma of hitting the asphalt or another object, reducing your chance of suffering a traumatic brain injury. Keeping your bicycle in good working condition, which includes using chain lube, keeping your tires inflated to a safe pressure level, and replacing your brake pads as needed will also reduce your chance of being injured in a bicycle accident.

When sharing the road with motorists and pedestrians, keep the following in mind:

Make yourself as Visible as Possible
It can be difficult for drivers to see bicyclists on the roadway, even in broad daylight. No matter what time of day you ride, take care to stay out of vehicles’ blindspots.

If you ride at night, you need to take extra care to make yourself visible. Wear white or light colored clothing and use reflective tape on your clothing, bicycle, and helmet to make yourself visible to drivers. A light on your bicycle or helmet can be a great way to make yourself visible when riding at night.

Follow the Rules of the Road
When you ride your bicycle on the roadway, you are subject to the same laws that govern motorists. This includes stopping at red lights and stop signs, signaling before making a turn, and yielding to traffic and pedestrians where appropriate.

Ride on the right-hand side of the road, just as you would when driving a car. Give cars enough following distance and never between lanes of traffic. Although this can be an easy way to get through tight traffic, it is also quite dangerous because drivers might not see you riding between the lanes.

Find the Safest Place to Ride your Bicycle
If there is a bicycle lane on the roads you use, this is the safest place for you to ride. Otherwise, you generally have the option to ride in the roadway or on the sidewalk. Check with your municipality to determine whether local laws prohibit bicycles on certain sidewalks or roadways. When you must ride in the roadway and there is no bicycle path, ride in the shoulder or as far to the right of the roadway as safely possible.

Designated bicycle trails are also a safe place to ride your bicycle. When riding on a trail, the sidewalk, or the roadway with another bicyclist, ride single file to avoid blocking others or creating a hazard.

Be Aware of your Surroundings at All Times
Just like you need to make others aware of your presence, you should be aware of your surroundings at all times. Do not use your cell phone while riding your bicycle. This diverts your attention from the roadway and can reduce your reaction time, putting you at greater risk of collision. If you ride at night, equip your bicycle with a sufficiently bright light to see the roadway ahead and to your sides. This will allow you to see potholes and other roadway hazards like uneven pavement and debris.

Do not wear earbuds while riding your bicycle. Hearing can be as important as sight when riding in public, so make sure that none of your senses are compromised when you are riding. If you plan to ride through an unfamiliar area, take some time to research the area’s roadways and traffic patterns beforehand.

Be careful when riding around parked cars, particularly when riding to the immediate left of parallel parked cars. It is not uncommon for bicyclists to be hit and seriously injured when car doors are swung open in front of them.

Work with an Experienced Appleton Bicycle Accident Lawyer

A bicycle accident can leave you suffering from severe, sometimes permanent injuries. If you are in this position and facing significant expenses, consider working with a member of our team of experienced Appleton personal injury attorney to seek compensation for your damages through a personal injury claim. Contact Hammett, Bellin & Oswald, LLC today to set up your initial consultation in our office.

Whiplash Injuries

Whiplash is the injury that can occur when the head is jerked forward, then rapidly snapped backward. It can be extremely painful for the victim and cause him or her to suffer complications like chronic headaches. When whiplash occurs because of a preventable accident, the victim can seek compensation for his or her related financial damages through a personal injury claim.

If you are involved in any type of accident, it is important that you seek appropriate medical care as soon as possible after the accident. This way, you can receive an accurate diagnosis and prompt treatment. The sooner you receive medical treatment for your injury, the better your chance of making a relatively easy, quick recovery. Seeking treatment in a timely manner also increases the likelihood of your personal injury claim resulting in an appropriate settlement because if you wait a while after the accident to seek medical care, the other party’s insurance provider may assume that you were not hurt badly and offer you a minimal settlement amount.

Which Accidents Can Cause Whiplash Injuries?

Generally, whiplash is associated with car accidents, particularly rear end car accidents. But it can occur in any type of accident where the victim’s head is rapidly jerked forward and back, such as a pedestrian accident or a fall.

Symptoms of Whiplash

Common whiplash symptoms include:

  • Dizziness;
  • Stiffness in the neck;
  • Headache; and
  • Neck pain.

Sometimes, victims experience additional symptoms like irritability, ringing in the ears, and difficulty with concentration and memory. Numbness or weakness in the arms and pain in the shoulders or arms can indicate more severe trauma. Individuals with these symptoms should seek immediate medical care.

What are the Complications of a Whiplash Injury?

Initially, the vertebrae, muscles, discs between the vertebrae, and tendons and ligaments in the neck can be stretched, broken, and fall out of place. These can all cause the victim to suffer severe pain and can potentially require surgery to correct.

Long-term complications of whiplash include chronic pain, particularly in the neck, and headaches. Complications following whiplash are rare. Typically, whiplash symptoms subside within a few weeks.

What Should I Do if I Suffer a Whiplash Injury?

Seek medical attention as soon as possible to receive a diagnosis. In many cases, the only treatment for whiplash is to alleviate your pain with ice, heat, and over-the-counter medication. If you have severe pain at the site of your injury, your doctor may prescribe painkillers or muscle relaxants. In some cases, doctors also prescribe foam collars to hold patients’ heads straight, aiding the neck as the patient recovers.

Physical therapy is also a common component of a whiplash recovery plan. This involves exercises guided by a physical therapist to help the victim regain strength and range of motion in the affected area of his or her body. It can also involve relaxation techniques to aid in pain reduction and recovery.

Some whiplash victims find relief through chiropractic care, massage, or acupuncture. Talk to your doctor about incorporating one or more of these therapies into your recovery. He or she can provide advice and potentially refer you to an appropriate therapist.

If you are considering filing a personal injury claim, you will need to start working with a car accident attorney in Wisconsin as soon as you can and have your claim filed within three years of the date of your injury. Your lawyer can help you obtain the evidence you need to support your claim, such as expert testimonies or a digital reconstruction of your accident, and organize the evidence to reach its maximum potential with your claim. Other evidence can include photographs you took at the scene of the accident and documentation showing your medical bills and lost wages. After your claim is filed, your lawyer can negotiate with the other party’s insurance provider on your behalf to help you reach a fair compensation package to cover your damages related to the injury. While your claim is pending, focus on your physical recovery by following your doctor’s instructions and getting a sufficient amount of rest.

Work with an Experienced Appleton Personal Injury Attorney

If you are suffering from whiplash after being involved in an accident caused by another party’s negligence, you have the right to seek monetary compensation for your damages through a personal injury claim. To learn more, contact our team of experienced Appleton whiplash injury lawyers at Hammett, Bellin & Oswald, LLC today to set up your initial consultation in our Neenah, Wisconsin office.

FIGHT COMPLACENCY ON SUMMER SAFETY NIGHT

The National Safety Council recently reported that motor vehicle deaths rose by 9% in the first 6 months of 2016 over 2015, and 18% over the same period in 2014. After years of downward trending, deaths have been on a steep curve upwards. According to the CEO of the National Safety Council, “our complacency is killing us.” Americans should be outraged at the high number of preventable deaths. In an effort to curb the increase, the NSC has recommended the following:

  • Every passenger should use a safety belt
  • Designate a drug or alcohol free driver
  • Get plenty of sleep and take breaks to avoid fatigued driving
  • NEVER use a cell phone behind the wheel, not even hands free
  • Stay engaged with your teens and their driving habits; they are 3 times as likely as an experienced driver to be in a crash
  • Learn all of your vehicle’s safety systems

Here in the Fox Valley, there are many law enforcement sponsored safety events. Take advantage of them. On Thursday June 15, 2017, the Village of Fox Crossing, Wisconsin is holding their Summer Safety Night. They have 300 bike helmets to give away, several hundred Home Depot building kits, and more. The event will be held at the Police Department, and it is a great time to learn more about keeping you and your family safe, and obtaining free safety items. Thanks to Fox Crossing Police.