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Information about Personal Injury in Washington State

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Monthly Archives: July 2011

Getting the Most Out of Your Doctor’s Visit

Categories: Practical Tips You Can Use

By PI-Advisor. Posted on .

Doctors are busy.  It is a simple fact of life.  This can sometimes mean that patients may feel railroaded and not have questions answered.  The doctor may want to spend a leisurely half hour chatting, but there is likely a line a patients waiting for his or her time.  You can respect the situation that the doctor is in, but still get your needs met.  Here are some guidelines to consider to make the most of your time, money and health.

1. Schedule appropriately. If you have more than one issue to discuss, make that clear at the time the appointment is set.  The time scheduled for an exam is often dictated by the complexity of the problem(s) presented.  Make sure to tell the scheduler everything you want to talk about at the appointment.

2. Be prepared. Know what your questions and concerns are before you walk in.  Write them down.  Spending time trying to remember that one more question you knew was important is time you will not have to get the answer.

3. Know thyself. History and other medical issues are important for doctors to know in order to properly advise a patient regarding an acute issue.  Being vague about your own history or current medications leaves the doctor with unanswered questions that could affect treatment decisions.  Be prepared to give a thorough yet concise summary of your medical history, family history and details of any medications you are taking.  Again, it doesn’t hurt to write it out.

4. Be honest. Don’t try to hide embarrassing facts from your doctor.  They have heard it all.  You will not shock them.  It is important to be honest and thorough so that the doctor can make the right recommendations for you.  If you conceal important facts, the treatment recommendation may not be appropriate and you will have wasted your time and the doctors.

5. Be assertive. But not aggressive.  You are the CEO of your health care.  You have the right to competent medical care.  If you feel a doctor has not answered your questions or is not listening, you have the right to tell them. However, as in any relationship, being rude or making personal attacks never gets you far.

6. Set the tone. Let your doctor know how involved you want to be in treatment decisions and if you have particular opinions or beliefs that would affect decision-making.  Some patients just want to be told what to do with absolute faith in the doctor’s recommendation.  Other patients need a lot of information to feel part of the decision-making process and control of health care.  Doctors don’t know which you are unless you tell them.

7. Take the reins. If you feel you are consistently not getting what you need from a doctor, change doctors!  Even if your health insurer has constraints on who you can see, there are usually several doctors within a single clinic to whom you can transfer care.

    Preparation and self-advocacy are the keys to getting the most out of your time with your doctor.  Trust that confidentiality laws protect your privacy and are taken seriously.  Respect the doctor’s time and expect the same in return.  Making the most of this time will help you make the most of your health.

    Crash Data Retrieval Systems – The "Black Box" that's Already in Your Car

    Categories: Auto Accidents

    By Arthur D. Leritz. Posted on .

    We are all familiar with the “black box” recording system used in airplanes that records voice and electronic data that is used after a crash to determine what happened.[1] What you may not be as familiar with is that this same type of system is in every new car manufactured today with an airbag.  This Crash Data Retrieval (CDR) system does not record voice transmissions, but it records a variety of other data, including speed, velocity, brake application, etc.   Depending on the manufacturer, this CDR system records data ranging from 5 minutes before to several milliseconds after a crash.  Even if the airbag is not deployed in a collision, the CDR system still records the information.

    This information can be potentially very useful in a wide variety of motor vehicle collisions to determine the forces involved in the collision and can conclusively determine the speed of the vehicle and forces involved with that vehicle.  Speed is notoriously under reported in motor vehicle collisions by all drivers.

    Several manufacturers[2] have released their proprietary codes so that forensic accident reconstruction experts so equipped can access the “black box” and get a CRD Report that shows this information.  By 2012, all manufacturers are required to disclose their CDR codes on new cars sold in the US.

    If you are ever involved in a frontal collision, even if your airbag does not deploy, your CDR system has recorded the crash data.  It is therefore important to take steps to preserve this information, as this data is typically lost forever once the vehicle is turned off and then started again.  For example, if you are in a collision in an uncontrolled intersection, this information can corroborate your speed and braking prior to the collision.  If you are in this situation, it would be a good idea to first ask the investigating policy agency if they can retrieve this data from your car – many police agencies are so equipped.  If the police cannot retrieve this data, have your car towed to a repair facility equipped to download this information.  It could make the difference between the other driver’s insurance company deny liability or accepting it.


    [1] Interestingly, the box is actually orange, not black, so that it can be seen and identified easier.

    [2] Ford, GM, Chrysler, Suzuki, Isuzu, Mitsubishi, Sterling, Fiat, Saturn, Toyota and Scion.  A special thank you to Officer Steve Harbinson of The City of Edmonds, WA Police Department for providing this information.

    Pedestrian Injuries and Deaths: Some statistics and safety tips

    Categories: Auto Accidents, Practical Tips You Can Use

    By Jacob W. Gent. Posted on .

    Walking.  It’s a great way to get and stay in shape.  It helps ease traffic woes by reducing the number of vehicles on the road.  And with today’s gas prices, walking can help stretch those dollars at the pump a little further.  Now that summer and good weather are finally here, you can expect to see more people out and about for a leisurely stroll, running errands, or working off those extra winter pounds.

    The problem is, pedestrians are extremely vulnerable.  According to the Centers for Disease Control, over 300 people nationwide will be injured and receive emergency room care as a result of pedestrian-related injuries in an average 24 hour period.  On average, one person will die from traffic-related trauma in the next two hours. In 2007, more than 4,800 pedestrians were killed and over 118,000 were injured by motor vehicles.

    A survey of pedestrian-related injuries and deaths in 2009 by the Department of Transportation  revealed the following statistics:

    • Males are more likely to be injured or killed than females.
    • Pedestrians aged 65 years and older have a higher fatality rate than all other age groups.
    • Almost 20% of traffic-related deaths of children under 14 are pedestrian fatalities.
    • Approximately 40% of all pedestrian fatalities involving children 16 and under occur between 3:00 and 7:00 PM.
    • 48% of all pedestrian traffic fatalities occur on the weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday).
    • An overwhelming majority (77%) of all pedestrian deaths occur between 4:00 PM and 4:00 AM.
    • Alcohol was involved, in either the driver or pedestrian, in 48% of all pedestrian fatalities.
    • Urban pedestrians are more likely (72%) to be killed than their rural counterparts.
    • Three quarters of pedestrian fatalities occur at non-intersection locations.
    • A whopping 89% of collision-related pedestrian fatalities occurred during normal weather!

    In light of these numbers, it is important to keep these simple things in mind to avoid the risk of injury or death when walking near roadways:

    • Always cross the street at intersections and use designated crosswalks whenever possible.
    • Even though crossing the street at intersections is vastly safer than elsewhere, pedestrians should be wary of drivers who fail to yield the right of way to pedestrians when turning onto another street.
    • Pedestrians should increase their visibility at night by carrying a flashlight and wearing light-reflective clothing.
    • Walk on the sidewalk whenever possible.  If a sidewalk is not present, walk on the outside of the lane facing oncoming traffic.
    • Don’t drink and walk on or near roadways!
    • When driving, remember to always yield the right of way to pedestrians at all times.

    In addition to the tips above, additional resources for increasing safety for children pedestrians are provided below.

    • International Walk to School in the USA: http://www.iwalktoschool.org/
    • Safe Kids USA:  http://www.safekids.org/
    • National Center for Safe Routes to School:  http://www.saferoutesinfo.org/