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Are Atlanta Bike Riders Disregarding Driver Rights?

Many people ride bikes for their commute because they want to get exercise or because they believe it is better for the environment. Bikers have been vocal about encouraging local municipalities to improve conditions for riders and have largely been successful in getting bicycle lanes installed and ensuring that lawmakers consider the needs of riders. In fact, just recently, Atlanta was chosen for a bike lane project that WABE reports will result in the construction of safer bike lanes in the city.to-work-by-bike-1440576-m

Some drivers, however, are questioning whether bike riders may have gone too far. In several recent articles in the Washington Post, bikers have been described as “bullies” and as trying to “rule the road.” If bikers do indeed behave in an aggressive way and fail to follow the rules, this could affect their right to recover compensation after a collision. A personal injury lawyer can help those involved in a bike accident to determine who is to blame.

Criticisms of Bicycle Riders

According to the Washington Post, bike riders have pushed to have bicycle lanes installed in places where parking previously was located, causing shortages of convenient parking in some areas. Bicycle riders are also accused of traveling too slowly on busy streets during rush hour and not respecting motorists who want the bikers to get out of the way. The columnist even suggests that “bikers routinely worm their way to the front of a line of cars waiting at a red light” and then poke along at a “snail’s pace” and hold up traffic when the light turns green.

In a separate article also picking on bike riders in the same newspaper, a columnist lamented that bicycle riders frequently ride on sidewalks where pedestrians travel.

Yet another columnist complained about “bicycle ninjas” who ride without lights at night or when visibility is low. This makes the bicycle riders difficult to see and puts pedestrians at risk as well as increases the chances of a bike accident occurring. Some of these bikers may also go the wrong way in bike lanes and ride on sidewalks even when they are difficult to see.

These criticisms seem to suggest that some bicycle riders have a sense of entitlement and it is disrupting the orderly operations of the road. The reality, however, is that bicycle riders still face significant dangers even though bike lanes have become more common.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 726 bicycle riders killed in 2012 and another 49,000 got hurt in motor vehicle collisions. While bike riders made up just two percent of people killed and two percent of people injured in traffic accidents, the number of fatalities is on the rise. In 2012, for example, there were six percent more bicycle riders killed in collisions as compared with the prior year. Urban areas are the most dangerous for riders, with 69 percent of all deaths occurring in urban areas.

Both bicycle riders and drivers need to be respectful of each other and need to obey the rules of the road. The risk of accidents can be reduced only if everyone is careful.

Call the Law Offices of Gary Martin Hays & Associates, P.C. at 1-800-898-HAYS or visit http://www.garymartinhays.com to schedule a free consultation.

Atlanta Accident Risks – Driving With Pets

Driving with your pet in the car may seem harmless, but the reality is that you put yourself, your animal and other motorists at risk. If you have your pet in the vehicle with you, your dog needs to be restrained for his own safety as well as to avoid increasing the risk of a dangerous accident. dog-1442782-m

Pets can turn into projectiles if a collision occurs, and pets can also be a major distraction and increase the risk of an accident happening. If you are involved in a collision with someone who was distracted by a pet in the car, you should consult with a personal injury lawyer for information about making a car accident claim.

The Risks of Driving with Pets

AAA Pet Spot provides some important information about driving with a pet in the car. According to a survey of pet owners, 65 percent of pet owners who took their dog in their vehicle had engaged in at least one distracting behavior while their pet was in the car, although only 29 percent admitted they were distracted by the animal.

Distracting behaviors included petting their dog while driving, which 52 percent of respondents said they did. A total of 17 percent of drivers said they let their pet sit in their lap while operating their vehicle, and 13 percent said that they had given food or treats to their dog as they drove. Finally, four percent of drivers said that they had played with their dog as they were operating their vehicle.

When dogs go in the car, many of them are not restrained. A full 84 percent of survey respondents said that they had taken their dog on a variety of different car trips including running errands and going on leisure trips. Despite this, only 16 percent had any kind of pet restraint system that they used in their vehicle.

As Esurance points out, an unrestrained dog could not only be killed in a collision but could also seriously injure or kill others in the car at the time. A 10-pound dog that is not restrained could generate as much as 500 pounds of force if he is in a vehicle that crashes while the car is traveling at 50 miles-per-hour. If the dog weighs 80 pounds, the animal can generate 2,400 pounds of force even in a slow-moving crash where the vehicle is traveling only 30 miles per hour.

Drivers with pets need to be aware of these dangers. Keeping their animal restrained can both prevent distractions and ensure that a dog doesn’t fly around a car when a crash happens. There are different types of pet restraints that can be used in the car including a pet crate and special pet seat belts. Human seat belts should not be used to try to restrain pets as this can be dangerous and ineffective.

Drivers who plan to travel with their pets need to be aware of the risks and should ensure they are taking precautions to keep their animals, and themselves, safe.

Call the Law Offices of Gary Martin Hays & Associates, P.C. at 1-800-898-HAYS or visit http://www.garymartinhays.com to schedule a free consultation.

Measuring the Losses from Motor Vehicle Accidents

Measuring the losses and damage that motor vehicle accidents cause illustrates the scope of the issue in the United States. In 2010, there were 32,999 deaths due to accidents as well as an additional 3.9 million non-fatal injuries and 24 million damaged vehicles. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, (NHTSA), the total combined cost of these collisions was around $871 billion. This includes both economic costs as well as societal impact on citizens in the United States. grungy-money-4-1361620-m

Individual car accident victims may experience significant financial harm resulting from accidents. They may be faced with medical bills and lost wages, as well as a decreased quality of life and ongoing pain. Family members of those who are killed also experience great injustice. The driver responsible for causing the motor vehicle collision needs to be held accountable, and accident attorneys in Atlanta from the Law Offices of Gary Martin Hays & Associates, P.C. can help those who have been injured.

Measuring the Scale of Loss

The $871 billion in losses that the NHTSA calculated included $277 billion in actual economic expenditures like medical treatment. These costs average out to around $900 per U.S. citizen. The total also included $594 billion in harm resulting from the loss of life, the decreased quality of life from those seriously injured, and the pain that the injured endure.

There are three specific types of collisions that are responsible for the majority of these costs and losses: drunk driving accidents, speeding accidents and collisions caused by distracted drivers.

Crashes caused by drunk drivers accounted for a total of 18 percent of all of the economic losses and 23 percent of the overall societal harm that resulted from motor vehicle collisions in 2010. In total, there were $49 billion in economic losses and another $199 billion in losses to society that occurred because of drivers who were impaired by alcohol. The economic losses alone averaged out to $158 for every single person in the country.

Crashes caused by speeding drivers accounted for 21 percent of all of the economic losses and 24 percent of the overall societal harm that occurred due to motor vehicle accidents in 2010. In total, the economic losses from speeding drivers equaled $59 billion or an average of $191 per person in the United States. The costs of overall societal harm from speeding drivers totaled around $210 billion.

Finally, crashes caused by distracted drivers accounted for 17 percent of total economic loss and 15 percent of overall societal harm. The economic losses totaled $46 billion and the societal losses totaled $129 billion. Again, just the economic costs averaged out to around $148 for every single individual in the United States.

Because of the high costs of collisions, those who are injured or who lose loved ones must take legal action to protect their finances and get the compensation they deserve. An experienced attorney can help in pursuing a damage claim after a motor vehicle accident.

Call the Law Offices of Gary Martin Hays & Associates, P.C. at 1-800-898-HAYS or visit http://www.garymartinhays.com to schedule a free consultation.

Recent Motorcycle Accidents Raise Concerns over Driver Safety

A motorcycle accident occurred in Gwinnett County in late May after a car crossed the center line on Winder Highway and struck an oncoming motorcycle in a head-on collision. According to WSB-TV, the three-vehicle accident caused two vehicles to roll over, and occupants of all vehicles were hospitalized.Brappp

While thankfully there were no fatalities in the Gwinnett County crash, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported a motorcyclist in Buford wasn’t so lucky in April after being struck from behind by a vehicle following too closely. The accident caused a chain reaction resulting in the motorcyclist being struck by multiple vehicles and sustaining fatal injuries.

The Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA) reports a sharp decrease in fatal motorcycle accidents across the United States from 2012 to 2013. However, evidence suggests this decline was caused by weather and not better safety measures. Motorcycle accident victims who believe their accident was caused by a careless driver should discuss their legal options with an accident attorney in Atlanta immediately after their crash.

Preventing motorcycle accidents in Georgia

According to GHSA statistics, 97 fatal motorcycle accidents occurred in Georgia during the first nine months of 2013, representing a 13 percent decrease from same time period in 2012. Georgia’s motorcycle fatality rates reflect a national trend in declining fatal motorcycle accidents. In fact, the state exceeded the average decrease of 10 percent nationwide.

The GHSA suggests the reason for the nationwide decline in fatal motorcycle accidents was due to 2013 being a colder, stormier, wetter year than 2012. The trend appears to have carried into 2014 with February’s unusual snow and ice storm. Severe weather typically leads to fewer riders using Georgia roads.

While there may be fewer riders on the road, drivers of cars still must keep an eye out for motorcycles. They must respect motorcyclists’ right to use the road in the same way they respect the rights of other drivers on the road. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently published a list of important tips that can improve safety conditions for motorcyclists.

Published in May as part of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, the report by the NHTSA advises drivers to:

  • Give motorcyclists the full width of the lane they’re occupying.
  • Use turn signals when merging or changing lanes.
  • Check mirrors and blind spots carefully for motorcycles.
  • Allow at least a three-to-four second following distance to avoid rear-end accidents with motorcyclists who have to stop quickly.
  • Avoid driving distracted or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Motorcyclists are urged to follow a number of safety tips, too, including:

  • Use helmets compliant with Department of Transportation (DoT) specifications.
  • Drive only with a valid motorcycle license and after receiving safety training.
  • Wear brightly colored and reflective clothing.
  • Use turn signals and hand signals while changing lanes or turning.
  • Stay in the middle of the lane where you are most visible to drivers.

If motorcyclists and drivers follow these basic safety tips and respectfully share the road with one another, hopefully further motorcycle accidents will be prevented in Georgia in the future.

Call the Law Offices of Gary Martin Hays & Associates, P.C. at 1-800-898-HAYS to schedule a free consultation

Atlanta Car Accident Lawyers Raise Awareness of Distraction

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and as part of a collaborative effort, the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, the Georgia Department of Highway Safety and retired NBA player Shaquille O’Neal have teamed up to educate young drivers of the potential dangers.atthewheel

Distracted driving car accident lawyers in Atlanta believe this is an excellent time of year to drive home the point, given that graduation and summer break are right around the corner.

The “Ghost Out” program features a series of reenactments, speakers and presentations designed to let teen drivers at Georgia high schools know that every second they are distracted behind the wheel creates the potential for a fatal crash.

Study finds 1 in every 4 accidents involves cell phone use

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, accidents involving distractions account for nearly half of all roadway fatalities, or about 5,000 annually. Distractions can also be blamed on approximately 450,000 injuries each year.

Another recent report from the National Safety Council indicates that 1 of every 4 wrecks can be attributed to cell phone use. Interestingly, only a small portion of those are blamed on text messaging, though teens are more prone to texting than other drivers.

What is especially scary about this revelation is the fact that most people don’t view talking on the phone as being especially dangerous. This kind of faulty thinking is perpetuated by the fact that while all states have some form of text messaging ban, none ban talking on a phone for all drivers. What’s more, none forbid hands-free cell phone devices, despite the fact that research has proven they are equally as dangerous as handheld devices.

In Georgia, all drivers are forbidden from text messaging, and it’s considered a primary offense, meaning officers can pull over a driver solely for violation of this statute. However, only school bus drivers and those drivers under the age of 18 are banned from talking on a phone while driving.

Perhaps it’s no wonder, then, that the latest NSC research found that 80 percent of drivers believe that hands-free cell phones are safer. This is despite the fact that more than 30 studies in recent years have proven that when it comes to the level of distraction, hands-free devices affect the brain the same way as handheld cell phones.

Research suggests driving distracted more dangerous than drunk driving

Here’s another reality of which many teens may not be aware: Researchers with the University of Utah recently found that drivers who were using their cell phones actually had slower reaction times than those who had a blood-alcohol content of 0.08 percent. While it may take a drunk person hours to sober up, a person on a cell phone can immediately eliminate the risk by simply hanging up.

Meanwhile, those who drive drunk are hit with heavy fines and penalties, while those who are caught driving while distracted are treated far more leniently.

New drivers especially need to be taught that just because the law hasn’t quite caught up with the research doesn’t mean that talking or texting on a phone is any safer or better than driving drunk.

Traffic crashes are the No. 1 killer of teens in Georgia, claiming some 175 young lives in this state annually and injuring countless other young motorists.

Largely, these incidents are preventable. To learn more about initiating a Distracted Driving Family Contract with your teen, visit the the NSC’s website here.

Call the Law Offices of Gary Martin Hays & Associates, P.C. at 1-800-898-HAYS to schedule a free consultation

Prescription Medication, Sleeping Pills & Traffic Accident Risks

If you are among the 10 to 15 percent of people who suffer from chronic insomnia, sleeping pills may seem like the answer to your prayers. Unfortunately, these medications may significantly increase the risk of becoming involved in a motor vehicle collision. In fact, one recent study showed that a person who filled a prescription for a sleep aid at a pharmacy had double the risk of a traffic collision within the first week. untitled-1334367-m

The risk of a collision caused by sleeping pill use is not uniform among all drivers. People who are on multiple different types of medications and people who are over the age of 80 may be in the greatest danger of being involved in a collision. Innocent victims could also be harmed by an accident that is caused by a motorist impaired by sleeping pills. Those harmed in an accident should contact accident attorneys in Atlanta for information about their right to pursue a claim for damages.

Are Sleeping Pills Putting Your Life At Risk?

Sleeping pill use has increased dramatically. A decade ago, around two percent of the U.S. population took a prescription sleeping pill. Now, 3.5 percent of the population is on some type of sleep aid. This amounts to about six million people who use “z-drugs” including zopliclone, zolpidem, nitrazepam and flunitrazepam.

Sleeping pill use is especially common among people who have other physical or mental problems in addition to insomnia. For example, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and other types of mental illnesses can also affect sleep patterns and can thus necessitate a prescription for a medical solution.  Physical ailments such as arthritis can also result in sleep trouble, especially for seniors. This helps to explain why around five percent of people over the age of 80 are on sleeping pills. Seniors have actually become the heaviest users of sleep medication.

This is bad news for road safety for many reasons. First, people who suffer from insomnia along with other physical problems are more likely to be on multiple sedating medications. Second, people over the age of 80 are already at greater risk of motor vehicle collisions due to age-related declines in vision and in cognitive function. The use of sleeping pills exacerbates these problems and makes elderly motorists even less safe at a time when 500 seniors per day are already injured in collisions.

The number of people on multiple sedating medications is very high. One recent study showed that 55 percent of people taking sleeping pills were also on other drugs that had a sedating effect, including opioid pain killers or Xanax, Ativan and other benzodiazepines.  As many as 10 percent of people were taking three or more sedating drugs.

Drivers need to ensure that they do not put themselves at risk of accidents with the drugs that they are taking. Roadwise RX can be used to enter your medications and obtain confidential information about how the drugs you take will impact your ability to safely drive.

Accident attorneys in Atlanta can help after a car accident. Call Gary Martin Hays at 1-800-898-HAYS to schedule a free consultation

Dealing with an Insurer After an Atlanta Traffic Collision

When Hurricane Katrina destroyed the beach house of U.S. Senator Trent Lott, he was dismayed that State Farm Insurance denied his claim. The Senator eventually settled with the insurance company, but his experience caused him to turn against the industry and he sponsored legislation requiring insurance companies to provide “plain English” summaries of what policies actually covered. untitled-1334367-m

Homeowners’ insurance companies aren’t the only ones that don’t pay as promised. Auto insurers, health insurance companies, and long-term care insurance providers are among the companies that treat claimants unfairly and that try to get away with paying out as little as they can.

Unfortunately, most people who have legitimate claims denied by an insurance company don’t have the power to go after the insurance industry with new laws. The only options you have to protect yourself when dealing with an insurer after an accident are to know your rights and to get a lawyer. An experienced Atlanta accident lawyer can stand up to the insurer on your behalf.

How Insurance Companies Avoid Paying After Your Accident 

A recent report from the American Association for Justice shows the lengths that insurance companies will go to in order to avoid paying out claims.

One insurance company denied coverage for a 60-year-old policyholder injured in a motor vehicle collision. The policy provided $2 million in damage coverage and the claimant had suffered serious injuries including a collapsed lung and broken bones. The injuries occurred when the driver of a pickup truck crossed into her lane. The insurance company, however, denied the claim and said it was not an accident. The collision was not covered because it was caused by “road rage.”

This is just one of many examples of a situation where insurance companies used tortured logic to avoid paying a claimant. Denying claims is standard practice for many major insurers, including Allstate which had a three part claims handling processes dubbed the “Three D’s” by employees.

Allstate’s “Three D’s” stood for delay, deny and defend. Delaying can be just as useful a tactic as denying claims. For example, for some long-term care policies, insurance companies deny claims and avoid paying until the covered policyholder has died. For auto insurance claims, delaying payment could leave a seriously injured person with no income if he cannot work and with mounting medical bills. Desperate to get at least some money coming in, the victim might be tempted to accept even really low settlement offers.

Defend, of course, stands for aggressively litigating cases. Allstate is not the only one that does this. AIG is known for fighting even really mundane claims in court and tying them up for years.

Employees at these insurance companies are encouraged to go along with this and to help the insurers deny legitimate claims. In fact, many insurance companies throw pizza parties and give gift certificates or other incentives for keeping payout rates low.

It is the injured victims of motor vehicle accidents and others who make insurance claims who suffer as a result.  An attorney can help to stand up to the insurer, and victims of collisions should not sign any paperwork or agree to a settlement until they talk to a lawyer.

An Atlanta accident attorney can help after a car accident. Call Gary Martin Hays at 1-800-898-HAYS to schedule a free consultation

Atlanta Traffic Accidents & Risk of Smartphone Apps

New Smartphone apps aim to make commutes easier for drivers by providing real-time traffic updates and information.  These apps go beyond turn-by-turn directions, giving you updates based on GPS data and first-person reports from other drivers on your route. Your phone can alert you to a red light camera, an accident or a traffic jam and can reroute you to get you around traffic. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This may all sound great, but you should think twice before you install these apps. Many smartphone programs, including those that are designed to be used while driving, can be very distracting and very dangerous.    Drivers who use their phones in any capacity while behind the wheel could be held liable for damages and injuries they cause. Victims of distracted driving crashes can speak to an Atlanta personal injury lawyer at the Law Offices of Gary Martin Hays & Associates, P.C. to learn more about their right to compensation in the wake of a motor-vehicle collision.

Cell Phone Apps Behind the Wheel

Cell phone apps that try to make your commute easier typically include voice control features so you won’t be tempted to take your hands off the wheel. However, this does not guarantee that the apps won’t reduce your concentration. In fact, studies have shown that even when you are not using your hands, phone use is a cognitive distraction. Your brain pays attention to the phone or the software program and less energy is devoted to watching the road and avoiding collisions.

Not only that, but a review of a popular transportation app, Waze, contends that voice commands didn’t work that well.  This is a common criticism of all kinds of different voice-controlled programs, and a lot of people who start out talking to their phones will end up using their hands when oral commands fail.  This is true even for programs like Waze that disable touch operation for drivers. It is easy to get around this limitation by simply signifying you are the passenger, not the driver.

Waze actually encourages you to interact with the phone while driving, since you are awarded points for entering traffic information. A lot of features on your phone encourage this kind of interaction, from the ding of a text message to a popup telling you that you have a new email. Many people respond to these cues by habit, using the phone even when they are driving.

Fortunately, there actually are some apps that really will make driving safer. These are apps designed to stop you from using your phone. The Times Free Press reports on one of them, MyKey, has been implemented in six million cars already. MyKey has a “Do Not Disturb” mode that prevents a phone paired to the car from accepting either texts or calls when the vehicle is in motion.  Parents routinely use MyKey on equipped cars to ensure their kids don’t text or talk while driving.

To reduce the risk of a collision, you should be careful and install only those apps that will actually make your commute safer, rather than those that could backfire and force your attention off the road.

An Atlanta personal injury lawyer can help if you are in an accident. Call the Law Offices of Gary Martin Hays & Associates, P.C. at 1-800-898-HAYS or visit www.garymartinhays.com to schedule  a free consultation. 

Will Truck Safety Rules Really Reduce Accidents?

The number of hours a trucker is allowed to drive was reduced recently.  The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) changed the rules on maximum hours of drive time to prevent drowsy driving collisions.   The Administration claims that this change is already having a positive effect and will prevent thousands of crashes. truck-delivery-1042539-m

However, not everyone agrees that FMCSA’s new rules will actually bring the promised benefits. Further, other problems within the trucking industry also spell trouble for road safety.  Victims of truck accidents need to understand their rights and should contact an Atlanta truck accident lawyer at the Law Offices of Gary Martin Hays & Associates, P.C. for help after a collision.

FMCSA Promises Safety Rules Will Reduce Collisions

The FMCSA limits truckers to driving 60 hours over a seven-day period and 70 hours over an eight-day period. Once a trucker hits these limits, he is required to rest for 34 consecutive hours. His rest time must include two periods between the hours of 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m.   Other new limits include a daily maximum drive time and a requirement that truckers take a break of at least a ½ hour after eight hours on the job.

The new limits went into effect on July 1, 2013, and FMCSA is now touting a study on drivers who start their work week with just one period of nighttime rest. instead of two. These drivers reportedly are more sleepy, are more likely to exhibit lapses in attention, and are more likely to deviate from their lanes at all times of the day. Because the two-night rest period has been made mandatory, the FMCSA asserts that 1,400 crashes, 560 injuries and 19 fatalities will be prevented every year due to drive-time limits.

Some trucking groups, however, question whether the promised benefits will actually materialize. By requiring drivers to sleep at night, truckers are more likely to drive during the day during higher traffic times. This could actually result in more collisions occurring.

Further, enforcement of the maximum number of hours on duty can be difficult.  Drivers have to keep log books of time spent on the job, and employers are supposed to monitor truckers to ensure they don’t exceed the legal allowable time.  Unfortunately, both truckers and employers have a lot of incentive to break these rules because there is a severe trucker shortage. There are not enough truckers to do the routes that need to be done, and the shortages of qualified drivers are only likely to grow worse.

If a trucker does violate the rules and drive when he is not supposed to, the FMCSA regulation could make it easier for crash victims to obtain compensation. A victim injured in a collision could point to the trucker’s rule violation to show the driver was negligent in a way that caused injury.  While this may help accident victims to recover traffic-accident losses, it would be far better to prevent the accident in the first place. The FMCSA’s rules may not be effective and may not be the answer to saving lives. Truckers and trucking companies making a commitment to safety is the only way to protect motorists on the roads.

An Atlanta truck accident lawyer can help if you are in a collision. Call the Law Offices of Gary Martin Hays & Associates, P.C. at 1-800-898-HAYS or visit www.garymartinhays.com to schedule  a free consultation. 

Head Injuries in Georgia: An Important Study on Concussions

Head injuries are a common injury in the United States, with the Mayo Clinic indicating that most of the incidents of head trauma happen because of falls, motor vehicle accidents or as a result of violence. Unfortunately, as many as 1.7 million traumatic brain injuries occur annually, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control. Head and brain injury attorneys in Atlanta know that as many as 75 percent of these millions of brain injuries are concussions. nurseii-4-1158337-m

Concussions may seem like relatively minor injuries, but the reality is that the consequences of this disruption of normal brain function can be long lasting and can affect your health even months or years after the initial trauma occurred. A study published in the medical journal Neurology recently shed more light on the lingering changes to the brain that a concussion can cause.

Concussions Can Have Long-Term Effects

The Neurology study revealed that patients who had suffered a concussion still had changes to the brain four months after the incident. These changes were not generally visible on the most common medical tests, including traditional MRIs and CT-scans, so many medical experts and patients may be unaware that the prefrontal cortex is not yet fully returned to normal several months after head trauma.

The changes were detected in a special test called a diffusion MRI, which traces how molecules (especially water molecules) move throughout the subject’s brain. By tracing the movement of the molecules, the test provides a clearer picture of the underlying architecture and structure of the brain. Diffusion MRI tests were performed on 26 patients who had suffered a concussion. The researchers performed the tests 14 days after the original trauma caused the concussion and then performed the test four months after the original date of injury. Researchers also gave the study participants behavioral and memory tests to observe memory and cognitive function. The researchers also performed tests on healthy subjects who had not suffered a concussion to compare the results.

Both the diffusion MRI results and the results of the behavioral tests indicated that the concussed victims were still experiencing after-effects of their head injuries.  As was consistent with prior data, the patients who had experienced a concussion performed slightly worse than the healthy patients on both memory and cognitive function tests. The diffusion MRI performed four months after the concussion occurred also showed that the concussed patients still had 10 percent more fractional anisotropy in grey matter.

The reason for the higher levels of FA was not clear but possible explanations include the healing process; the lingering effects of fluid accumulation from the concussion or changes to the brain’s structural cells. More research is needed to determine the reason for the lingering change to the brain, but victims of head injuries should be aware that a simple concussion may not be as minor of an injury as some tend to believe.

Contact Gary Martin Hays & Associates in Atlanta at 1-800-898-HAYS to schedule your free consultation. Attorney is not the author of this blog.