Sometimes a headache is just a headache, other times…

By Frank Natale, Malpractice Associate

A condition which can cause headaches and potentially lead to aneurysms is known as a cerebral arteriovenous malformation.
Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM) is an abnormal connection between arteries and veins, bypassing the capillary system. Although many AVMs are asymptomatic, they can cause intense pain or bleeding or lead to other serious medical problems.
The most general symptoms of a cerebral AVM include headaches and seizures with more specific symptoms occurring that normally depend on the location of the malformation and the individual. Such possible symptoms include:[2]
• Difficulties with movement coordination, including muscle weakness and potentially paralysis;
• Dizziness;
• Difficulties with speech and communication;
• Difficulties with everyday activities;
• Abnormal sensations (numbness, tingling, or spontaneous pain);
• Memory and thought-related problems, such as confusion, dementia or hallucinations.
Cerebral AVMs may present themselves in a number of different ways:
• Bleeding
• Sudden onset of severe headache. May be described as the worst headache of the person’s life.
• Seizure or brain seizure.  Depending on the place of the AVM, it can cause loss of vision in one place.
• Worsening of neurologic functions.

Treatment for brain AVMs can be based on symptoms, and is usually coordinated by a  neurologist for symptoms such as: seizures, headaches, or focal neurologic deficits.
AVM-specific treatment may also involve endovascular embolization, neurosurgery or radiosurgery.  Embolization (cutting off the blood supply to the AVM) with coils, or other materials introduced by a radiographically guided catheter, may be used in addition to neurosurgery or radiosurgery, but this type of treatment is rarely successful in isolation except in smaller AVMs. Gamma knife may also be used to eliminate the AVM in some cases.

Follow up care is extremely important where invasive (surgery, lasers, coils) care is undertaken.  For example people who undergo these procedures may have swelling of the tissue around the AVM, atrophy (wasting away or dying of tissue) from a lack of blood supply to the area, and other effects.  It is extremely important to understand what options your physician would consider to treat any of those effects.  Discuss those in detail with your family and the people you rely on for medical care.

If you or a loved one experiences complications arising from the treatment of a cerebral AVM, please feel free to contact Frank Natale at Bowers Law to discuss any legal options you may have. We can be reached any time at 410-885-6200.

PIP waiver tricks- Stop paying for nothing

Imagine that I am making you a simple offer, and you must choose one of these options:

A) Give me $1.00 today, and each year after this one, and if you ever get in an accident I’ll give you $100. I’ll also give $100 to anyone else in your car. I don’t care who is at fault for the accident, I’ll give you the $100 because you got into an accident.

B) Give me forty cents today, and each year after this one, and if you ever get in an accident, too bad.

Which one would you choose? No-brainer, right? Regardless of the amount of money you’re being asked to give me, you’d expect at least something in return for it, right? In fact, as a lawyer, if I charged you money for absolutely no work or no benefit, I’d likely lose my license, or at least be sanctioned by the bar!

The problem is….insurance companies in Maryland are making this deal with drivers in the state ALL THE TIME, and they are getting people to choose option B far too often!

What am I talking about? I’m talking about Personal Injury Protection coverage, or PIP. I’ve talked about PIP countless times in various ways on my site, and to my clients. If you haven’t had a conversation with me about PIP coverage, you’ve probably never been my client.

The photo linked to this article is a scan of a real PIP waiver premium disclosure. This is a general document that is contained within every single auto insurance policy written in the State of Maryland. It discloses the cost of having PIP insurance, and it also discloses the cost to WAIVE that coverage. Yes, the COST to WAIVE the coverage. As you can see from the disclosure, most insurance companies charge a minimum of 40% of the normal premium to have the coverage in order to waive it. Over the years in this business, I have seen this number as high as 60%.

Yes, paying money to waive a coverage. This is an offer that is made in every auto insurance policy. We’re not talking about $100 here, either! The minimum PIP coverage on a policy that doesn’t carry this waiver is $2,500 per person, per accident. They don’t just give you this money for getting in the accident, but it can be used to pay for medical bills, ambulance bills,  and time missed from work.

Don’t do it. Don’t save a few dollars on your insurance policy, and lose out on important medical payment or wage payment coverage should you ever be in an accident.

Call us any time to talk about your insurance coverage. We’re not insurance agents, and we cannot sell insurance. What we are, is happy to talk to you about your policy, or a quote from a new insurance company, and let you know what we think about the insurance coverage that is being offered, and if anything is missing that you’d want to have if you were involved in an accident.

Our office always takes calls at 410-885-6200 and is happy and available to discuss auto insurance at absolutely no cost to you!