Law Offices of Alan L. Pitcaithley


Specializing In Injuries Arising From Automobile Collisions


The most recent data from the California Office of Traffic Safety shows that, in 2019, there were 19,938 car accidents in San Diego County that resulted in injury or death. Every automobile collision is different with a corresponding difference in severity and damages – from head-on collisions, side-impact collisions, rear-end collisions, roll-over collisions and multi-car collisions. When compared to other personal injury cases, car crashes often carry the most severe trauma to the body with serious and disabling injuries to the head, neck, back, and spine.   Mr. Pitcaithley’s automobile collision cases have generally resulted from the following types of collision incidents:

Types of Motor Vehicle – Street, Roadway, Freeway, Interstate Accidents/Collisions

  • Automobile Collisions – Auto vs. Auto, Auto Pileups, Rollovers
  • Auto/Truck vs. Motorcycle; Motorcycle Passenger Claims vs. Motorcycle Operator
  • Auto vs. Bicycle rider; Auto vs. Pedestrian injuries
  • Auto vs. Skateboard accidents and injuries
  • Truck Accidents; Commercial Trucks; Semi-Trailer vs. automobile
  • Injured Passengers
  • Drunk Driving – DUI and Hit and Run Related Accidents
  • Uninsured and Underinsured injury cases, i.e. Injured party vs. Party’s Insurance Carrier

The kinds of injuries that are seen repeatedly in these many different kinds of “wheeled transport” collisions include:

  • Traumatic Brain Injuries – Permanent Brain Damage / Dysfunction
  • Head Injuries (TBI) – Post Concussion Syndrome; Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Spinal Cord Injury – Paralysis – Loss of Use of Arms / Legs
  • Cervical Spine / Thoracic Spine / Lumbar Spine – Disc / Vertebral Injuries
  • Discogenic Pain – Sciatic Pain – Radiating Arm – Leg Pain
  • Whiplash Trauma (Hyper-Flexion-Extension / Bending / Twisting) Injury
  • Hearing Loss – Ringing In Ears (Tinnitus)
  • Loss of Sight – Blurred Vision
  • Joint Dislocation – Derangement (Shoulder, Elbow, Wrist, Knee, Ankle)
  • Bone Fracture – Slight Displacement to Compound Fractures
  • Internal Organ Injuries (Blunt force trauma to Heart, Lung, Liver, Stomach)
  • Permanent Physical / Mental / Functional Disabilities – Disfigurement
  • Chronic Pain – Reflex Sympathy Dystrophy (RSD)
  • CRPS – Complex Regional Pain Syndrome / Fibromyalgia

Crucial Nature of Getting Prompt And Specialized Medical Care.

Based on his extensive experience in litigating these complex injury cases, Mr. Pitcaithley works with doctors and medical specialists in the San Diego Community who have the requisite skill, expertise and knowledge to both treat complex injuries but also to serve as med-legal consultants and expert witnesses.  Mr. Pitcaithley understands how important it is to get a severely injured client/patient into treatment with a specialist immediately after the collision.  This is a crucial element in the successful prosecution of the claim against the negligent parties and their insurance representatives.  It can make or break a case.  It can result in a case value going from $100,000 to $1,000,000 or more.  More significantly, it can and almost always does result the seriously injured client achieving a better medical outcome and recovery.

High Speed Whip Lash Injuries – Hyperflexion and Hyperextension Injuries Can Be Serious and Disabiling

So-called whip-lash injuries in auto accidents can be very serious. This is true even when there does not appear to be significant “crash damage or deformation” to the vehicles. Often, in front-end, rear-end or “T-bone” collision impacts, where the spine (neck, mid and low back) undergo a hyper-extension (backward motion) and flexion (forward motion) in less than a second in time (i.e. whiplash), the victim can sustain injury to the spinal discs, vertebral segments (dislocation), facet joints, and the ligaments and muscles that hold the vertebral column together. Injuries to the discs in the neck (cervical region) and low back (lumbar region) can result in nerve compression to the central cord or the exiting nerves roots that serve the arms and legs. This can result in pain (shooting pain) in the arms, wrists, hands, hips and legs (sciatic pain). This “radiating pain” indicates nerve root irritation, encroachment and/or compression that can be very painful and physically debilitating. When an older person is victimized, that person may have pre-existing arthritic conditions in the spine (spinal stenosis, disc bulging or protrusions) that make this person even more vulnerable to nerve damage and chronic pain in a vehicle collision.

Another typical injury that occurs in an automobile collision, when the head strikes some part of the interior of the vehicle, or even in a high-speed whiplash collision – is a concussion. This condition (sometimes called “mild traumatic brain injury” or “MTBI”) can result when the brain rebounds inside the skull on impact of the two vehicles (often complicated by deploying airbags). A similar response is found in the so-called shaken baby syndrome.

Common symptoms of concussion include

  • Headaches and memory loss
  • mood swings, fatigue, intellectual dullness
  • waxing and waning energy levels, irritability
  • low frustration threshold, intolerance to bright light
  • difficulty focusing vision, vertigo, anxiety and sleep disturbances.

Taken individually, such impairments may not amount to much. In many cases, the impairments are widespread and disrupt many brain systems. The overall effect can be profoundly disabling and in some cases become permanent in nature.

Chronic pain is another condition (very often a permanent condition in spine cases resulting in surgical repair and fusion) that can occur in an auto accident that is not well understood by the insurance industry. Attorney Alan L. Pitcaithley can help you articulate and “quantify” pain and suffering (and loss and enjoyment of life) – an extremely important and compensable element of every personal injury claim.

For a free initial consultation with an experienced automobile accident lawyer, contact us. Our offices are open Monday through Friday, from 8 am to 5 pm. Weekend appointments available.

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