Frequently Asked Questions

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  • Can You Take My Florida Accident Case if I Live in a Different City or State?

    Yes. Whether you were on vacation in Florida or here on a business trip, if you were injured in a Florida accident you need an experienced Florida attorney. We can represent you regardless of where you live. In fact, we often represent clients who live across the state, in other states and even in other countries!

    Every accident, whether it is a motor vehicle accident involving bicyclists, motorcyclists or pedestrians, involves a special set of circumstances. Some of our clients are too injured to visit us in the office so we meet them in their homes, while others prefer electronic communication. Distance is never a factor when it comes to your representation.

  • How Can An MRI Be Used To Diagnose My Brain Injury?

    MRI MachineMagnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) tests are used to create pictures of the brain (and other parts of the body) without the need for invasive procedures. There are many ways MRIs can help doctors diagnose, evaluate and monitor brain injuries because they give detailed information that does not show up on CT scans or X-rays.

    In a standard MRI (whether open, closed or wide-bore) you lay still on the table throughout the entire test. This allows doctors to see the structure of your brain. A contrast material is used in some instances to emphasize certain parts of the brain more clearly. Different contrasts do different things - some show blood flow, others show infections or tumors - depending on why you are having an MRI.

    Different MRIs Serve Different Purposes

    Functional MRIs or fMRIs help doctors visualize brain function as you perform certain activities. For example, you may be asked to tap your fingers, speak or listen. As you do each activity a different part of your brain will light up. This allows doctors to evaluate how your brain has been affected by injury or trauma.

    A special type of MRI called Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) or diffusion MRI shows how water travels along the white matter in your brain. White matter works like telephone wires to transmit communication between different parts of the brain. Sometimes when the white matter is damaged, information will reroute and find a new way to relay the messages within the brain. Other times, the messages are completely lost along the pathway. Because white matter is made up of axons, DTI allows doctors to detect axonal damage (often referred to as diffuse axonal injury) based on abnormal pathways and microbleeds. Standard MRIs do not provide this degree of detail.

    3D MRIs allow doctors to rotate the brain and visualize the many parts of the brain in relation to one another. They are better for monitoring growth of tumors and cysts and examining blood flow in many directions. This makes them better for visualizing the intricacies of the brain with its many tiny parts. 3D MRIs are created by taking 2D slices from various angles and combining the pieces to form a single 3D image of the brain.

    MRIs can help doctors determine the cause of headaches, diagnose a stroke, check for water in the brain, check and monitor tumors, cysts and infections, and check for symptoms of head injuries. DTI and fMRIs allow doctors to see beyond the structure of the brain and tissue to see how injuries are actually impacting your cognitive functions. In many serious brain cases, you may have the fMRI and the diffusion MRI done at the same time so your doctors can combine the data and get the most accurate picture of your brain functions and impairment. This allows them to create more specific treatment plans and better monitor your progress.

    Medical Malpractice In Brain Injury Diagnosis

    In order to have a legitimate medical malpractice claim, your surgeon or doctor had to have been grossly negligent in reading and understanding the results of your MRI. 

    Also, a medical malpractice case must have a witness, an expert in the medical field or related area, that is willing to testify on your behalf. Without one there is no chance of trying, let alone winning, your case.

    There is a huge misconception regarding the simplistic nature of winning a medical malpractice claim. There is a lot at stake for the doctor or surgeon making a medical malpractice case very, very complex. They are not going to simply settle in order to keep the case from going to court. Accusations of medical malpractice can ruin a medical care practitioner's reputation and career. They will be more than willing to go to court in order to protect their themselves and definitely don't take medical malpractice accusations lightly. If you don't have a claim of negligence that can be proven you simply don't have a medical malpractice claim.

    A Personal Injury Attorney Can Help If You've Suffered a Brain Injury

    Traumatic head and brain injuries can leave someone with a lifetime of potentially serious side effects, and sadly, a full recovery isn't always possible for everyone. Learn more about the long term effects of brain injuries in this free guidebook: The Layman's Guide to Brain Injuries. It may be possible to recover compensation for your injury, but you'll need a personal injury attorney with experience handling brain injury claims. Jim Dodson is just such an attorney. Serving all of Florida from several offices, Jim will fight for your rights if you've suffered a brain injury.

    Have You Suffered A Brain Injury Due To An Accident?

    If you've suffered a brain injury following an accident you should speak with an experienced brain injury attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 727.446.0840 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.

  • What is a SPECT Scan and How is it Used to Diagnose a Brain Injury?

    Doctor Looking at a SPECT ScanSPECT scans are extremely useful in the diagnosis process because they allow doctors to see blood flow inside your body. This is essential when it comes to diagnosing brain injuries because each part of the brain handles different cognitive functions and tasks. SPECT scans help identify problem areas in the brain based on blood flow because damaged brain tissue typically uses less blood than healthy tissue.

    SPECT Scans Allow Doctors to Monitor Blood Flow Within the Brain

    You will receive a radioactive tracer shortly before the scan. The tracer stays in your blood, lighting it up for the scanner. Areas of the brain with heavier blood flow show up as darker colors while areas with less blood flow show up lighter and brighter on the images. By monitoring blood flow within the brain, doctors can spot areas with less than normal blood flow and compare them with your symptoms to locate the damaged part of your brain and diagnose your injury.

    SPECT scans are more sensitive to brain injury than both MRI and CT scans, while the cost is roughly the same as an MRI. Often, lesions apparent on an MRI or CT scan show up much smaller than the same lesion when viewed on a SPECT scan. In cases where you have a ‘normal’ reading on an MRI or CT scan but are still suffering from serious brain damage, a SPECT scan is more likely to identify the problem. Because standard MRIs and CT scans show the structure of the brain and not the functions, they are limited in their findings of nerve damage.

    As a matter of fact, we are currently helping a client with a brain injury who had a negative MRI and soft tissue swelling on a CT, but upon having a SPECT scan was found to have multiple abnormalities and areas of decreased blood flow. Among other side effects, he is suffering from short term memory loss, depression, narcolepsy and blurred vision.

    Many recent studies urge the importance of SPECT scans done on people with brain injuries because of the known limitations of other imaging tests.

    If You've Suffered a Brain Injury, and Attorney May Be Able to Help Your Recovery Process

    Brain injuries are often serious, and can have significant long term effects on health and well being. If you or someone you know has suffered head trauma, you may benefit from speaking with experienced brain injury attorney Jim Dodson. We have offices throughout central Florida, and are headquartered in Clearwater to provide accident victims the best possible representation. Learn more about the true consequences of traumatic brain injuries by downloading our free guidebook The Layman's Guide to Brain Injuries, or request a free, no-obligation consultation by calling 727-446-0840 today.

  • How Can a CT or CAT Scan Be Used to Diagnose My Brain Injury?

    Brain CT Scan

    CT scans are the most commonly used imaging tests. They are a series of X-ray images taken one slice at a time and combined to form images more detailed than a traditional X-ray. They are invaluable in the diagnoses of acute and life threatening problems and often used in emergency rooms when someone arrives with a head injury. They are superior to MRIs for viewing changes in the structure of the brain such as hemorrhages, lesions, subdural hematomas, and temporal bone, skull and face fractures.

    CT Scans Are Not Perfect at Diagnosing Brain Injuries

    However, they can miss signs of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) for various reasons. The findings on CT scans sometimes lag behind the actual injury if the test is performed too soon after the trauma, leading doctors to underestimate the extent of the injury. Damaged axons, which manage the transfer of information within the brain, are microscopic in size but the CT scanner doesn’t reproduce microscopic details so they often go unseen. CTs can also miss small amounts of blood because the images are taken one slice at a time and later combined. If a blood pool or other abnormality is smaller than the width of a slice, 5 to 10 mm generally, it may not show up on the images.

    I recently learned of a case where a brain bleed was not discovered until months after the accident even though the patient had a CT of the brain done immediately. It went undetected until the bleeding had gotten severe enough to affect that person’s balance and required a follow up scan.

    Even though CT scans miss certain things, they remain the prominent choice of doctors for immediate diagnosis and treatment of brain injuries for their quickness and accuracy in detecting life threatening conditions. A CT scan only takes about 15 minutes (or 30 minutes if contrast is used) to complete the test and be of use for doctors. For someone suffering from a stroke or aneurysm where time is crucial, the CT is a life saver.

    In Certain Circumstances, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) May Be More Accurate and Effective

    The story changes two to three days after trauma when MRI becomes more accurate at detecting slight abnormalities in the brain than CT scans. As blood ages it becomes denser and can look more like tissue on a CT. MRI scanners do not rely on density, but instead on magnetic charges and radio waves, so the changing composition of the blood does not impair the results.

    When looking at the results of a CT scan you will see a grayscale image of the brain. The lighter in color something is, the denser the tissue, fluid or bone is. So, your skull will show up as white and the brain tissue will show up as different shades of gray with any gas or air appearing the darkest. Doctors use these shades to determine which areas are ‘not normal,’ such as a lesion, fluid, air or another mass in the brain instead of standard brain matter.

    CT scans are undeniably vital in the diagnoses of potentially lethal injuries. They exist to rule out and diagnose problems that need to be treated immediately. Keep in mind, a ‘negative’ or ‘normal’ CT scan does not conclusively mean there is no brain damage, particularly when the patient has suffered a concussion or loss of consciousness. It is crucial that caregivers and patients carefully monitor and report any physical signs of brain injury (memory loss, balance issues, confusion, etc.) to a physician for a follow-up examination.

    Misconception Regarding Brain Injury Medical Malpractice

    It's important to note, to have a legitimate medical malpractice claim, your surgeon or doctor had to have been grossly negligent. This means they had to have completely misread or ignored the fundamental findings of your CT scan.

    Have You Suffered A Brain Injury Due To An Accident?

    If you've suffered a brain injury following an accident you should speak with an experienced brain injury attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 727.446.0840 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.

  • I Had A Serious Concussion But The MRI Came Back Negative. What Does this Mean?

    The results of an MRI, or Magnetic Resonance Imaging test, while very thorough, don't show every injury in the brain. A ‘normal’ result cannot single-handedly rule out brain trauma.

    In some instances, the MRI test may have been performed too soon. The effects of serious concussions are not always immediately apparent. For example, if you have a slow bleed in the brain after an injury, but were given an MRI right away, there may not have been enough blood to cause concern in your results at the time of the test. A follow up MRI taken days or weeks later may show a totally different brain.

    In other cases, the MRI doesn’t have the power to see the injuries. The standard MRI scanners used in most ERs can detect blood and lesions as small as 1 millimeter. That sounds really small, but the brain has a lot of even smaller parts. Persons with diffuse axonal injuries often don’t show any indicators of brain injury on an MRI test because the axons in the brain are so tiny (one thousand times smaller than a millimeter) the tests can’t even detect them.

    The brains of people with Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Schizophrenia, and Parkinson ’s disease would all appear to be normal based on MRI or CT imaging, but we can all agree there is something wrong in those brains.

    Simply put, a negative MRI does not mean you don’t have any brain damage. If you are experiencing symptoms of a serious concussion or brain injury after an accident, speak to your doctor about your concerns.  Please note, to have a legitimate medical malpractice claim, your surgeon or doctor had to have been grossly negligent, completely misreading your MRI.

    Have you suffered a serious brain injury? You need to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney.  Jim Dodson Law is here to help. Contact us online or call us directly at 888.815.6398. We will be happy to answer any questions during your free consultation.

    Have You Suffered A Brain Injury Due To An Accident?

    If you've suffered a brain injury following an accident you should speak with an experienced brain injury attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 727.446.0840 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.

  • Does the 3-Foot Rule Apply to Other Bicycle Riders Passing Other Cyclists?

    Jim Wheeler from the Sarasota Manatee Bike Club called me a week or so ago and had a question. He had been riding with his weekly group when they were passed by another group of riders. His concern was the passing riders did not announce their approach and passed, in his view, dangerously close to them. His question was whether the “3 foot” rule applied to riders. My answer may surprise you.

    Let’s start by looking at the statute language that applies. First, Fla Stat 316.003 defines a “driver” as any person who drives… a vehicle. A “vehicle” is defined as every device in, upon or by which any person or property is or may be transported… upon a highway. A “highway” is virtually every way open for vehicle traffic. A “bicycle” includes every vehicle propelled solely by human power. This means a bicycle is a vehicle.

    Section 316.083 requires the driver of every vehicle passing another vehicle going in the same direction to give an appropriate signal (this means to warn other drivers of the intent to move left and can be given by hand). The three foot rule requires “the driver of a vehicle overtaking a bicycle… must pass at a safe distance of not less than three feet between the vehicle and the bicycle…”

    Two things: first, in my view the 3 foot rule applies to “people on bicycles.” Second, the rule is the minimum for us and for vehicles passing us. The law says “a safe distance of not less than three feet.”

    Have You Been Injured In A Bicycle Accident?

    If you've been hurt in a Florida bicycle accident you should speak with an experienced bicycle injury lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 727.446.0840 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.

  • I was Hit By a Car on My Bicycle. Will I Have to Pay Out of Pocket for My Medical Bills?

    If you are hit by a car in Florida while riding your bicycle, your medical bills will be covered by No-Fault Insurance, also known as Personal Injury Protection or PIP. In Florida, PIP pays up to $10,000 in medical bills. This coverage will come from the policy you carried on your own car or from a policy carried by a family member with whom you resided on the date of the accident. If neither you nor a family member owned a car, then you would be covered under the PIP coverage on the car that hit you.

    We get calls from injured cyclists who have PIP on their own auto policy, but who are concerned because they carry a deductible of $500 or $1,000. If you carry a deductible on your PIP coverage, your insurance company will deduct the amount of the deductible against the medical bills they receive for payment under the policy. This means if there is a $500 deductible, you will have to pay the first $500 in medical bills. You are still entitled to the full $10,000 in PIP benefits, but the first $500 will be your responsibility.

    There are several ways to handle a deductible so you will not have to write a check to the doctor or hospital. Feel free to call us to talk about your concerns and how we can help.

    Have You Been Injured In A Bicycle Accident?

    If you've been hurt in a Florida bicycle accident you should speak with an experienced bicycle injury lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 727.446.0840 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.

    Here are some other questions you might have about your cycling accident:

    If I Hire You as My Lawyer for My Bicycle Accident, Will It Cost Me Money Up Front?

    Are There Any Hidden Lawyer Fees?

    How Do I Pay Your Legal Fees?

  • What Cities in Florida Do You Handle Bicycle Accident Cases?

    I handle cases all over the State of Florida. My main office is in Clearwater, but I have multiple satellite offices along the Gulf Coast and in Central Florida. I will come to you when it’s needed.

    Have You Been Injured In A Bicycle Accident?

    If you've been hurt in a Florida bicycle accident you should speak with an experienced bicycle injury lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 727.446.0840 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.

    Here are some other questions you might have about your cycling accident:

    Why is It Important to Hire an Experienced Cycling Accident Lawyer?

    Do I Have to Come to Your Office to Discuss My Cycling Accident Case

    How Do I Pay Your Legal Fees?

  • Why is it Important to Hire an Experienced Cycling Accident Lawyer?

    A former client told me he felt it was the best decision to hire a cycling lawyer because “you’re one of us, you see the world through my eyes.” Only a cyclist understands how and where cyclists ride, what damage to a carbon frame means, and what it means when you’re unable to ride like you had before  being injured in a crash. As a cycling lawyer, I’m in the best position to make an insurance adjuster or a jury understand the consequences suffered by an injured rider. I understand traffic laws that affect cycling; many of these laws are misunderstood by claims adjusters as well as the police.

    Have You Been Injured In A Bicycle Accident?

    If you've been hurt in a Florida bicycle accident you should speak with an experienced bicycle injury lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 727.446.0840 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.

    Here are some other questions you might have about your cycling accident:

    Do I Have to Come to Your Office to Discuss My Cycling Accident Case?

    Will My Bicycle Accident Case Take Up A Lot of My Time?

    How Long Does it Take to Settle a Bicycle Accident Claim?

  • Will I have to Go to Trial for My Florida Cycling Accident Case?

    Probably not; the vast majority of cases are settled without a trial. It is important, however, for the insurance company to believe your lawyer is willing to try your case, if necessary. It keeps them honest. Yet, each client makes the decision whether to accept a settlement or take their case to trial.

    Have You Been Injured In A Bicycle Accident?

    If you've been hurt in a Florida bicycle accident you should speak with an experienced bicycle injury lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 727.446.0840 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.

    Here are some other questions you might have about your cycling accident:

    How Long Does it Take to Settle a Bicycle Accident Claim?

    Will My Bicycle Accident Case Take Up A Lot of My Time?

    If I Hire You as My Lawyer for My Bicycle Accident, Will It Cost Me Money Up Front?