What is a Bimalleolar Fracture?

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The medical term for a broken ankle is a bimalleolar fracture, or a break at the lower parts of the tibia and fibula. Bimalleolar fractures commonly occur due to falls, car accidents, and sports-related activities. A number of bones in the ankle can fracture in an accident, leading to severe pain and temporary disability. The displacement of bones in the ankle often requires surgery to treat. Post-surgery recovery generally takes several weeks of physical rehabilitation and home exercises. Bimalleolar fractures can cause great pain and suffering as well as financial losses. When someone else’s negligence results in a broken ankle, take action against the responsible party.

Types of Bimalleolar Fractures

Ankle fractures can be simple breaks in a single bone or can include several complex fractures and displaced bones. There are three main categories of bimalleolar fractures: unimalleolar, bimalleolar, and trimalleor. One-third of all ankle fractures are either bimalleolar or trimalleor. Ankle fractures often occur in traumas such as car crashes or trip and fall accidents. Depending on the severity of the fracture, the ligaments in the ankle can suffer damage as well.

Three main bones make up the ankle: the tibia, fibula, and talus. Each bone has different areas doctors use to classify the fracture. For example, if the end of the fibula fractures, it’s a lateral malleolus fracture. The ankle also has two main joints, the ankle join and the syndesmosis joint. Multiple ligaments hold these joints together, making the ankle stable. When an accident compromises the bones, joints, or ligaments, the victim may be unable to walk for 12 to 16 weeks during recovery.

Common Symptoms of a Bimalleolar Fracture

If your bimalleolar fracture isn’t severe enough that you can immediately identify you have a broken ankle, this is probably a good sign. However, every ankle fracture injury requires the attention of a physician. Common symptoms of a bimalleolar fracture include:

  • Severe and immediate ankle pain
  • Swelling of the fractured area
  • Bruising or hematoma
  • Painful to the touch
  • Inability to put weight on the injured foot
  • Physical deformity, in the case of joint dislocation

These symptoms can be very painful. Walking may also be labored and/or difficult for several months. The effects of a bimalleolar fracture can be severe, preventing a victim from returning to work during the recovery process. Lost wages and mounting medical bills can also put a strain on the victim’s finances.

Treatment for Bimalleolar Fractures

A physician will assess your fracture using an imaging test and will recommend treatment. The level of the fracture determines the type of treatment that’s best for your injury. If your ankle is stable and the bone is not dislocated, physicians most often recommend non-surgical treatment. Your doctor can prescribe several different non-surgical treatments, including a short leg cast or a high-top tennis shoe.

If your fracture makes the ankle unstable, you may need surgery to reconstruct the normal shape of the broken anklebone, decrease ligament damage, and accelerate recovery. During surgery, the surgeon will reposition the ankle and hold it in place with special screws or metal plates. After surgery, you will need a cast to keep the ankle in place while it heals. Your rate of recovery will vary depending on the severity of the bimalleolar fracture, but ankles can typically bear a complete weight load 12 to 16 weeks after treatment.

Complications are rare in bimalleolar fracture surgeries, and if there are complications, they typically relate directly to the surgery. Risks can involve complications due to infection, nerve damage, anesthesia, bleeding, or blood clots. However, the majority of bimalleolar fractures do not result in complications and do not require additional surgery to repair.

Posted by at 8:57 pm

Can I Sue a Doctor for Giving Me Bad Advice?

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Society relies on health care professionals to provide life-saving procedures, treatments, and medical advice. When patients suffer an illness or injury, they trust physicians to locate the source of the problem and recommend a solution based on years of special training and expertise. Doctors have a duty to uphold high standards of patient care, by law and under the Hippocratic oath. While an honest mistake is not grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit, negligence resulting in injury is a reason to seek legal counsel.

Negligence and Medical Malpractice

The foundation of every medical malpractice case is a physician’s alleged negligence. When a doctor fails to exercise the proper standards of care, including giving bad advice to a patient, it isn’t necessarily malpractice. Bad advice can simply be an honest oversight. People rely on physicians for help deciding on a course of treatment based on information and symptoms the patient provides. Unfortunately, this treatment may not always be what is best, and if another physician reasonably would have given different advice in the same situation, it may be negligence.

For a case of medical negligence, you must prove four things:

  1. The doctor owed you a standard of care. A doctor-patient relationship must exist between you and your doctor at the time of the alleged bad advice. To do so, you must show that the doctor in question was in fact your doctor at the time of the incident.
  2. The doctor breached an ethical duty to uphold this standard of care. In this case, the doctor gave you bad advice. You must prove the doctor’s reason for breaching the standard of care stemmed from negligence, such as not listening to your symptoms or reading your patient chart.
  3. The doctor’s breach of duty caused your injury. It’s not enough to prove that a doctor was negligent and breached the acceptable standards of care. The breach must have caused you an injury. For instance, you must provide proof that taking the doctor’s bad advice worsened your condition.
  4. You suffered damages as a result of the negligence. If you didn’t suffer damages from the doctor’s breach of duty, there’s no point in pursuing a lawsuit.

If you can prove these four things, you likely have a case of medical negligence on your hands. Your doctor may have been distracted during your appointment, or the hospital could have mixed up your medical records. There are many types of negligence and reasons a doctor may give bad advice to a patient, but in every case the injured patient has the right to pursue recovery.

How to Establish Wrongdoing

Medical malpractice cases can be complex, with a heavy burden of proof on the victim. Establishing a doctor’s wrongdoing requires interviewing eyewitnesses, such as nurses or maintenance crewmembers, analyzing your medical records, and hiring an expert key witness to testify. The key witness can tell the jury what the defendant reasonably should have advised according to professional standards. In a case of bad advice, proving negligence is especially difficult. The doctor may have believed the actions or advice he or she provided was best based on the symptoms.

Luckily, the law recognizes the difficulties a plaintiff faces when proving medical negligence. If your injuries were the direct result of a doctor’s negligence but you can’t pinpoint exactly what the doctor did wrong, you can invoke a legal doctrine called “res ipsa loquitur,” Latin for “the thing speaks for itself.” This implies you only have to show you suffered an injury that must be the result of negligence. Consult with an expert Personal injury attorney about your bad advice incident and subsequent injuries to find out if you have the elements of a medical malpractice case.

Posted by at 10:43 pm

What Are the Motorcycle Laws Every Texan Should Know?

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Motorcycles are more than just a mode of transportation – they are a hobby and pastime for many Texans. Although motorcycles are a fun way to get around and enjoy pleasant weather on the road, it’s vital for Texans to understand state motorcycle laws. Knowing these laws not only keeps riders safer on the road, but also helps ensure riders are compliant and needn’t worry about fines or legal problems due to parking or mechanical issues.

Motorcycles must have the same basic mechanical features as other motor vehicles – brakes, reflectors, head and taillights, and the other typical parts of a vehicle. Just like passenger cars, motorcycles must be registered and riders must obtain the proper motorcycle license. Some states place restrictions on exhaust and muffler decibels for sound concerns, but Texas has no such laws.

Parking

Just like passenger cars, motorcycle riders may only park their bikes in disabled parking spaces if they have the proper authorization and affix a disabled license plate or windshield placard to the bike. Additionally, a disabled license plate or windshield placard may not be given or lent to other motorists.

Some motorcycle riders believe that because their bikes are smaller than typical passenger cars, they may park in the striped areas near handicap parking [RELATED: Can You Sue for Falling in a Parking Lot?] spaces or other similar “Do Not Stop” areas of pavement. This is against the law. Motorcycles may not be parked on sidewalks, either.

Helmet Laws

In Texas, helmets are required for any rider under the age of 21. Riders over the age of 21 may forego wearing a helmet if they obtain the proper certification or insurance coverage. Such riders must either complete a Department of Motor Vehicles-approved Motorcycle Operating Training Course or obtain at least $10,000 in medical insurance. As with automobile insurance, these riders must keep a copy of their medical insurance card on their person while riding or stowed in the bike. However, Texas police are not permitted to stop or detain any rider solely to determine whether the rider has completed a training course or possesses medical insurance coverage.

Although the decision to wear a helmet is at the rider’s discretion if over the age of 21, helmets have been proven to save lives. Consider wearing a Department of Transportation-approved helmet while riding.

Passengers

In Texas, no one under the age of five years may ride as a passenger on a motorcycle. Any passengers over the age of five and under 21 years old must wear a helmet. Passengers over the age of 21 may opt to ride without a helmet if the driver has the met the proper requirements. Additionally, the motorcycle must have a permanent passenger seat.

Lane Splitting

Many motorcyclists engage in a practice known as “lane splitting,” which is when a motorcyclist passes other vehicles by traversing between lanes of traffic. Some decry this practice as dangerous, and it can be in certain situations – specifically, when riders are splitting a lane with a larger vehicle or at high speeds. Lane splitting is NOT legal in the state of Texas.

Motorcycles are fantastic fun, but they are also inherently more dangerous than other motor vehicles because riders are almost entirely exposed. Passenger cars shield their drivers much more effectively than motorcycles. Therefore, if you ride a motorcycle in Texas, exercise more caution on the road than you might when driving a regular motor vehicle. Following the rules of the road and keeping these Texas laws in mind will reduce your risk of serious injury.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 3:50 am

What is Drowsy Driving?

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The dangers that exist when behind the wheel are perilous and apparent; drunk and distracted driving garners much attention, and is something most drivers avoid themselves while remaining vigilant for it in others. One danger that we perhaps don’t pay enough attention to, however, is distracted driving, which, according to a AAA study, is just as likely to cause an accident as driving while intoxicated.

Fatigue Behind the Wheel

Lack of quality sleep can affect a lot of areas of your life, but driving is perhaps the most hazardous. Even if you’re awake, less than six hours of sleep per night can drastically increase your chances of being in an accident. Side effects of such little sleep include:
Car Accident Liability

  • Impaired reaction time
  • Problems processing information and with short-term memory
  • Decreased performance and vigilance
  • Increased aggravation or short temper

If you’ve ever reached your destination and realized you don’t remember any of what you saw while driving there, yelled at another driver for a minor inconvenience or have felt yourself take an extra second to apply the brakes, this could be an indicator of lack of sleep.

Fatigue cannot be measured or tested for after an accident like drunk driving can. It’s therefore tough to tell just how often driver fatigue is the main cause of an accident. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 2.5 percent of fatal car accidents involve drowsy driving. However, because of the difficulty estimating drowsiness, that number could actually be anywhere from 15 to 33 percent.

Drowsy Driving Statistics

Of 19 states surveyed in a 2010 study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 6.1 percent of Texas drivers reported falling asleep at the wheel within the past 30 days, the highest rate of any state. It’s unclear why Texas was the worst of the states surveyed, but it’s well above the national average of 4.2 percent.

An interesting anomaly in the CDC study concluded that it’s not just how much sleep we’re getting, but how well we sleep. Those who get less than six hours of sleep and snore reported falling asleep at the wheel at a rate of 8.5 percent, compared to 5.2 percent for those who don’t.

Getting the recommended amount of sleep is easier said than done, but it’s imperative to recognize the signs of a drowsy driver, whether it’s yourself or someone else. If you notice the driver appears fatigues, offer to drive for a while. If you feel sleepy behind the wheel, pull off the road and close your eyes for a few minutes. If you have taken a medicine that may cause drowsiness, don’t drive until you know how it affects you.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 11:01 am