Buckland and Schumm Personal Injury laywers

Welcome to our news & articles page!

April 20th, 2009

In this section of our web site, we’ll be posting news and articles that are relevant to Buckland & Schumm and injury law.

Buckland & Schumm is experienced in personal injury law and has a long history of success helping accident victims understand their legal rights.

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Ten Steps to Buying Auto Insurance – Continued

August 16th, 2010

When it comes to auto insurance, you want to be adequately covered if you get in an accident, but you don’t want to pay any more than you have to.  Navigating your way through this murky subject is tricky, so here on some tips to follow:

 

Continuing from the last post on July 19th:

 

Step 3 – Review your driving record and current insurance policy:  First, verify your driving record with the state DMV. If your record will soon improve and the points you earned will finally disappear, wait until that happens before you get quotes.  Nothing drives up the price of insurance like a bad driving record.

 

Next, should contact your auto insurance company or pull out a recent bill.  Jot down the amount of coverage you have and what you are paying for it, noting both the yearly and monthly costs since many of your quotes will be given both ways.  Then you’ll know what you need to beat.

 

Step 4 – Solicit Competitive Quotes:  It’s time to start shopping.  Try to set aside at least an hour for this task.  Bring all your records—your current insurance policy, your driver license number and your vehicle registration.  Have a phone at your elbow and power up your computer.

 

Begin with the on-line services.  If you go to InsWeb.com or other online insurance quote sites, you can type in your information and get a list of comparative quotes.   You can also try getting quotes from the insurance companies’ web sites.

 

A few things to keep in mind:  1) when you use quote sites, you may not get instant quotes.  Some companies may contact you later by email and some companies that use agents may put you in touch with a local agent, who will then calculate a quote for you.  2)  Its not easy to get quotes from these sites in all states.

 

Adapted from an article by Philip Reed, Senior Consumer Advice Editor of CarInsurance.com

 

Next Blog- Steps 5 and 6 of Ten Steps to Buying Auto Insurance.

 

Law Offices of Buckland & Schumm, P.S.  We offer free consultations and have over 27 years experience EXCLUSIVELY in personal injury law, with a long history of success helping accident victims understand their legal rights.

 

Ten Steps to Buying Auto Insurance

July 19th, 2010

When it comes to auto insurance, you want to be adequately covered if you get in an accident, but you don’t want to pay any more than you have to.  Navigating your way through this murky subject is tricky, so here on some tips to follow:

Step 1 – Starting Out:  Keep telling yourself there is money to be saved.  How much?  Possibly hundreds, even thousands of dollars per year.  If you type all your insurance information into an online comparative insurance service, you’ll get quotes that could vary as much as $800 or more per year.

Step 2 – How much Coverage Do You Need:  To find the right auto insurance, start by figuring out the amount of coverage required, which varies from state to state.  Next, you need to decide what you need in addition to the required coverage, which is partially based on your assets.  You want to carry enough liability coverage to ensure your home and savings are safe.  General recommendations for liability limits are $50,000 bodily injury liability for one person injured in each accident, $100,000 for all people injured  in an accident and $25,000 property damage liability (in insurance terms, this would be 50/100/25).  However, you should let your financial situation be your guide.

Next, different types of coverage should be considered, such as Personal Injury Protection.  This type of coverage pays your accident-related medical bills no matter who is at fault.  If you have good health insurance coverage, you may decide to forego PIP insurance; however, you will be responsible for any deductibles, co-payment, or co-insurance as dictated by your policy.  Remember, the insurance company for the at-fault party isn’t required by law to pay medical bills as they are incurred; they need only pay at time of settlement which means you are initially responsible for any bills incurred.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) coverage will protect you in the event you are involved in an accident caused by someone who is not carrying insurance or who does not carry sufficient insurance to fully compensate you for your injuries.  Remember, though, that you cannot purchase higher limits of UM/UIM coverage than you do for liability coverage.

Finally, remember that your driving habits may be a consideration, especially when deciding whether to buy collision and/or comprehensive coverage.  Your driving history, what types of roads you typically drive on, and how old your vehicle is will help determine what type and how much coverage you should purchase.

Adapted from an article by Philip Reed, Senior Consumer Advice Editor of CarInsurance.com.

Next Blog- Steps 3 and 4 of Ten Steps to Buying Auto Insurance.

Law Offices of Buckland & Schumm, P.S.  We offer free consultations and have over 27 years experience EXCLUSIVELY in personal injury law, with a long history of success helping accident victims understand their legal rights.

Insurance Coverage Definitions

June 18th, 2010

Continuation from June 6, 2010 blog—more coverage definitions:

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury – Covers bodily injuries to you and your passengers when the at-fault person has no insurance or not enough insurance to fairly compensate you for your injuries.  In some states, there is also uninsured motorist coverage for damage to your vehicle.  Given the large number of uninsured and underinsured motorists, this is very important coverage to have, even in states with no-fault insurance.  Coverage is limited to the terms and conditions contained in the policy.

Property Damage Liability – Covers you if your car damages someone else’s property.  Usually it is their car, but it could be a fence, a house or any other property damaged in an accident.  It also provides you with legal defense if another party files a lawsuit against you for property damage.  It is a good idea to purchase enough of this insurance to cover the amount of damage your car might do to another vehicle or object.  Coverage is limited to the terms and conditions contained in the policy.

Adapted from an article from CarInsurance.com – 05/14/2009

Next month – 10 Steps to Buying Auto Insurance.

Law Offices of Buckland & Schumm, P.S.  We offer free consultations and have over 27 years experience EXCLUSIVELY in personal injury law, with a long history of success helping accident victims understand their legal rights.

Insurance Coverage Definitions – Continued

June 10th, 2010

Continuation from April, 2010 blog—more coverage definitions:

Bodily Injury Liability:  Covers other people’s body injuries or death for which you are responsible.  It also provides for a legal defense if another party in the accident files a lawsuit against you.  Claims for bodily injury may be for such things as medical bills, loss of income or pain and suffering.  In the event of a serious accident, you want enough insurance to cover a judgment against you in a lawsuit to ensure your personal assets won’t be jeopardized. Bodily injury liability covers injury to people, not vehicles; therefore, it is a good idea to have the same level of coverage for all your cars.  Bodily Injury Liability does NOT cover injuries to you or other people on your policy.  Coverage is limited to the terms and conditions contained in the policy.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP):  Covers within the specified limits (often, up to $10,000 or three years, whichever comes first), the medical, hospital and funeral expenses of the insured, others in his/her vehicle and pedestrians or bicyclists struck by the insured’s vehicle.  It will also cover a portion of the lost income, within specific limits, of the covered parties listed above.  PIP is only available in certain states, Washington State being one of them.

Adapted from an article from CarInsurance.com – 05/14/2009

Next – Continuation of coverage definitions of car insurance.

Law Offices of Buckland & Schumm, P.S.  We offer free consultations and have over 27 years of experience EXCLUSIVELY in personal injury law, with a long history of success helping accident victims understand their legal rights.

How Much Car Insurance Should You Buy?

April 14th, 2010

Any insurance agent worth their salt will tell you that you should buy as much car insurance as you can afford.  While this is a good rule of thumb, your question might be what you are actually covering on your car once you have purchased the insurance.  Below are coverage definitions:

Comprehensive:  Covers your car, and sometimes other cars you may be driving, for losses resulting from incidents other than collision.  For example, comprehensive insurance covers damage to your car if it is stolen, or if it is damaged by floor, fire, or animals.  It also covers windshields that are cracked from passing vehicles throwing stones.  There is usually a deductible, which means you have to pay that amount towards repair before your insurance kicks in.  The amount of the deductible varies, but to keep your premiums low, select as high a deductible as you feel comfortable paying out of pocket.

Collision:  Covers damage to your car when your car hits, or is hit by, another vehicle, or another object.  There is usually a deductible, as described above.  Older cars owners might consider dropping this coverage, since coverage is normally limited to the cash value of your car.

Remember, whatever you purchase, your coverage is limited to the terms and conditions contained in your own policy.

Adapted from an article from CarInsurance.com – 05/14/2009

Next month – Continue discussion on coverage definitions of car insurance.

Law Offices of Buckland & Schumm, P.S.  We offer free consultations and have over 27 years experience EXCLUSIVELY in personal injury law, with a long history of success helping accident victims understand their legal rights.

The Major Causes of Low Back Pain

February 1st, 2010

As we age, most of us will experience some wear and tear to the discs and vertebrae that make up the structural components of our spines.  Here are the most common things that can go wrong:

1.    Joint & nerve problems

  • a.    Spinal Arthritis-Inflammation of the facet joints between the vertebrae.
  • b.    Sciatica-Pain that radiates down one or both legs.  It may be caused by compression of the sciatic nerve.

2.    Disc Problems

  • a.    Degenerative Disc-a disc that is gradually wearing down and thinning over time.  Most likely due to the natural aging process.
  • b.    Bulging Disc- one that is shifting out of its normal radius, extending beyond the circumference of the vertebrae.
  • c.    Herniated Disc-occurs when the inner material of the disc pushes through its outer membrane into the spinal canal.

3.    Vertebra Problems

  • a.    Bone Spur-occurs when the body builds more bone as a natural response to the age-related deterioration of vertebrae.
  • b.    Spinal Stenosis-refers to a narrowing of the spinal cord, typically as a result of bone spurs or joint enlargement.
  • c.    Spondylolisthesis-forward or backward slippage of one vertebra relative to another, causing pressure on spinal nerves.
  • d.    Osteoporosis-a disease marked by progressively decreasing bone.  In the spine, this can lead to a compression fracture.

Adapted from an article by Perry Garfinkel in the AARP Magazine

If you sustain an injury, consult with an experienced injury attorney.  Buckland & Schumm offers free initial consultations by telephone or in person.

INVASIVE TREATMENTS FOR LOW BACK PAIN

December 29th, 2009

In our previous blog we discussed conservative approaches to the treatment of chronic low back pain.  This blog will discuss more invasive procedures.  If conservative approaches do not work, many physicians refer their patients for more invasive procedures—typically injections or surgery.

 

Injections:  A neurologist injects anesthetics, steroids, or narcotics into the soft tissues and joints around your spine to reduce inflammation and relieve pain.  One of the most commonly injected medications is a synthetic version of cortisone, which is a natural steroid released by the adrenal glands when your body is under stress.  However, a review of studies found insufficient evidence that injection therapy is more effective than other treatments.

 

Surgery:  The most invasive approach “is the last resort—even for surgeons,” says James Weinstein, D.O., chair of the Orthopaedic Surgery Medical School and Dartmouth Medical School and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.  Three of the most common operations include:

 

1.    Discectomy, or surgical removal of part of the damaged disc, is most often performed on herniated discs.  A 2006 study, though, found that lumbar discectomy offered only modest short-term benefits. 

2.    Laminectomy is the removal of part of a vertebra, and is used in certain cases of spinal stenosis or spondylolisthesis to decompress the nerve.

3.    Spinal fusion is the fusing together of vertebrae using bone grafts and metal rods.  In a 2001 study of patients with severe long-term back pain, pain was reduced by 33 percent after two years of those who had spinal fusion, compared with 7 percent for those who received more conservative treatment. 

 

Adapted from an article by Perry Garfinkel in the AARP Magazine

 

If you sustain an injury, consult with an experienced injury attorney.  Buckland & Schumm offers free initial consultations by telephone or in person.

 

Next Month—The Major Causes of Low Back Pain

Treating Chronic Low Back Pain-Continued

October 28th, 2009

Treating chronic low back pain can be frustrating.  Part of that frustration is because the outcomes vary so dramatically from one patient to the next.  Although acupuncture might offer relief to one person, it may do nothing for another.  Neurologists speculate that this may be due in part to the way pain signals travel up the spine to the brain.  It also may be because most people who see a doctor for low back pain actually have several things wrong with their back.

Emerging research suggests we are getting closer to discovering what works best.  A review in the February 2009 “Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons” concluded that physical therapy combined with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS, such as ibuprofen or naproxen) is the most effective treatment for degenerating discs.  If physical therapy isn’t doing the trick, it’s time to try other approaches.  Here are a few of the most commonly prescribed therapies for chronic low back pain—and the potential benefits of each:

Chiropractic:  A study published in 2002 found that patients with low back pain treated by chiropractors showed greater improvement after one month than those treated by physicians.
Acupuncture: Studies show that the needles used in acupuncture cause the brain to release natural opiates which relieve pain.
Medication:  NSAIDs, including ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen (Aleve), help reduce swelling and inflammation.

Adapted from an article by Perry Garfinkel in the AARP Magazine

If you sustained an injury, consult with an experienced injury attorney.  Buckland & Schumm offers free initial consultations by phone or in person.

Next Month—More invasive procedures to treat low back pain and the major causes of low back pain.

Treatment of Low Back Pain

September 8th, 2009

Treatment of Low Back Pain

Did you know…one out of every five American is suffering from back pain RIGHT NOW and the numbers are growing!

Timothy Carey, M.D., director of the Sheps Center for Health Services Research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill believes the main reasons back pain is growing in America are the rising rates of obesity and stress. Accidents, whether automobile collisions or falls, also contribute to the cause of low back pain.

Low back pain should really be called spine pain because that’s where it originates.  The adult spine consists of 26 bones, called vertebrae.  Picture a stack of pancakes, with butter between each pair, all loosely held together by maple syrup.  The pancakes are the vertebrae, the butter pats are the water-absorbent discs between the bones, and the syrup is an intertwining collection of ligaments, joints, and muscles, all tangled with the cables carrying nervous system signals, including pain.  Over time, your discs, the shock absorbers for your body weight, wear out.  As you age, your bones become weaker, and you may develop osteoporosis (which can lead to fractures) or osteoarthritis (a breakdown of cartilage that may cause bones to rub to together).  Add something as simple as a low-impact, rear-end automobile collision, and it can topple the stack.

So what should you do if you feel low pack pain?   First, determine whether it’s acute or chronic pain.  Acute pain can be caused by a muscle that stretched so far it tears. It can feel like a sudden stab followed by a burning sting, and it may last for as little as a day or as long as several weeks.   Chronic pain may have started as acute but never went away.  If pain pasts longer than three months, it’s chronic.

How to treat acute pain:  Ice the injured area for 20 minute intervals to reduce inflammation and swelling, says Marilyn Moffat, D.P.T. Ph.D., professor of physical therapy at New York University.  After 72 hours, switch to heat to soothe the muscles.  Heal also helps with muscle spasms, which are involuntary contractions that send pain signals to the brain.  After the initial pain passes, the best thing is to move.    Until recently, doctors advised those with acute back pain to lie in bed until the pain passed.  But a 2005 study found that people on bed rest have more pain and a slower recovery than those who stay active.  To aid movement in the early days of pain, try wearing a lumbosacral corset, which supports the lower back.

Adapted from an article by Perry Garfinkel in the AARP Magazine.

Next month—how to treat chronic pain and the major causes of low back pain.

UNDERSTANDING YOUR SPINE

July 22nd, 2009

Understanding Your Spine

The spine is made up of four sections—cervical (neck); thoracic (bottom of neck to top of low back); lumbar (lower back); and sacrum (the fused levels of bone below the waist).  At the very bottom of the sacrum is the coccyx, familiarly known as the “tailbone.”  The vertebrae of each section are numbered, such as C-4 for the fourth vertebra down from the skull or L-5 for the last vertebra before the sacrum.

In between the vertebral bodies are the discs, which hold the vertebrae together, absorb shock and act as pivot points allowing the spine to rotate and bend.  Discs are comprised of the annulus fibrosus (the outer “container” part of the disc) and nucleus pulposus (the fluid inner part of the disk).  These disks are named by the vertebral bodies above and below it, such as L5-S1, which is the disk between the bottom lumbar vertebra and the top sacral fuse bone section.  The sacrum is the only part of the spine that does not have discs.

One spinal injury is an “annular tear,” meaning the outer “container” part of the disc has torn open, allowing the fluid from the disc to leak out.  Other, more commonly known, disc injuries include “bulge,” “herniation,” “protrusion,” and “extrusion.”  Though these names should reflect the severity of the disc coming out, they are frequently used interchangeably, often causing confusion.

The spinal cord runs down the back from the brain stem down to the sacrum.  The spinal cord is surrounded by the thecal sac (the outer “container” part) which contains cerebral spinal fluid.  If a disc protrudes, it can push on the thecal sac, which can cause the fluid to put pressure on the spinal cord.  Because the spinal cord branches out at each level of vertebral body and disc (called nerve roots), sometimes the pressure can be on the nerve root resulting in pain down the arm or leg.

As our bodies age, it is common for discs to bulge, protrude, or even herniate, often without causing any pain.  We may never know this has happened because we have no symptoms.  However, if we experience trauma to our backs, such as, from a fall or an automobile collision, symptoms can occur—either from a newly injured disc or from a previously injured disc that didn’t cause pain until trauma “lit up” the pain.  It’s vital to consult with a doctor if pain radiating down the arms or legs is experienced or if ongoing back pain despite conservative treatment (massage, physical therapy, etc.) is experienced.  And if an injury caused the pain, consult with an experienced injury attorney.  Buckland & Schumm offers free initial consultations by phone or in person.

Adapted from an article by Jeff Davis in the May 2009 edition of Trial News.  Next month will focus on treatment of back pain.

Buckland and Schumm Personal Injury laywers
Buckland and Schumm Personal Injury laywers

Buckland & Schumm
Injury Attorneys

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Buckland and Schumm Personal Injury laywers