Should I Sign A Release To Have The Insurance Company Pay Medical Bills?

It seems so innocuous.  ”We’ll mail you a release and just sign it and return it – and we’ll pay your medical expenses.”

The question you might ask is: “If I’m still needing treatments 8 months from now, will you still be paying?”

SEE VIDEO:    Question: Who Pays For My Medical Expenses?

Posted in Car Accident, Injury, Insurance | 1 Comment

Hit-And-Run Driver Sentenced To 41 Months In Prison

We posted the story of the bike commuter who was hit and killed on Dexter Avenue North on July 28, 2011. Here’s the follow-up story on how the police caught the driver

What’s interesting is the reference to “old fashioned police work.” The article doesn’t go into a lot of detail in this, but checking the original story, the missing key details from the eyewitness account were the exact make of the vehicle and the license number. The increase in bicycling and bicycle commuting will likely kick-up the incidence of auto-bicycle collisions, at least until auto drivers begin to realize that slower is better, their car isn’t a fun toy to play around with, or that driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs isn’t a risk worth taking. Here’s another story about a car-bicycle crash that killed the bicyclist:

Drivers are sometimes stunned when they first encounter the “Rise Up Angry” attitude of some local bicyclists. Some of the injuries and deaths are caused by collisions, but there are other threats. Here’s a report on a bicyclist who died by crashing down an unmarked staircase on a Seattle bike trail.

Drivers may feel a bit threatened when another driver veers into their lane, or someone makes a dangerous turn in front of us without signaling, but after-all, we have a big metal structure around us to protect our fragile bodies.  Part of the joy of bicycling is being in the open air, and the downside is when an auto bumps us we don’t have protection.  When an auto comes close the surge in adrenaline can be punishing, and the fearful memory can last a long time.  And the anger can build if we see auto drivers making lousy mistakes every day.

For ideas and insights on how to survive a crash, visit

Posted in Bicycle Accident, Car Accident | Leave a comment

Seattle Student Kelsey Rennebohm Killed In Boston Bike-Bus Accident

Seattle native Kelsey Rennebohm, age 28, was struck and killed by a Boston transit bus while riding her bicycle on a Boston street.

She was a Seattle native who was enrolled in the Boston College masters degree program in counseling psychology.

Boston College reported Rennebohm was an experienced teacher and a gifted student.

Immediate details of the accident have not been released by city and transit police, and the name of the bus driver has not been released. Boston city police say the cause of the accident is still under investigation.

We hope Seattle residents who know the Rennebohm family will offer their condolences.

Posted in Bicycle Accident | 3 Comments

This Crash Won’t Ruin Your Month

A month-long slow-motion car crash is an art presentation at Newcastle On Tyne, UK. Details and video here. Yes, what took you less than a second last month has now been captured in such unbearably slow motion that watching a speeded-up video is pretty absurd. The car moves inexorably at 7 millimeters (about the width of your little finger nail) per hour.

The artist’s point, one imagines, is that car crashes are a common occurance every minute of every day around the world, and many of them are terrifying for people in the car(s) and nearby. Why not take out all the terror out and produce something civilized? You almost expect one of the passers-by to put a Starbucks cup on the hood as it all-so-slowly crumples over a period of days.
Month-Long Car Crash Art Installation
While I’ve been in crashes that produced more damage to the auto than this wreck, somehow I’d like to visit the exhibit. Sorry it’s all over and the car is in the body shop. Wonder what the insurance company thought of the claim?

For more ideas about crashes and how to survive them, please visit

Posted in Car Accident, Insurance | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Nutrition For Injury Healing

We sometimes encounter people who were in an injury accident and didn’t get good treatment to heal themselves. They sometimes tell us they later learned there were simple steps they could have taken to heal themselves better, but didn’t know about them. If they were brain-injured maybe they wish they had received hyperbaric treatment or cognitive therapy.

One of the most common failures is nutrition. Even when the injury is severe and painful. There are some great websites that provide practical ideas on “Wound Healing” diets. You can start with this site: LiveStrong, and there are links to many more specific pages and topics. One thing is clear: you’re going to need more protein to recover from a serious injury.
Some great sources of protein:
Protein Rich Foods

Imagine the changes you need to make in your diet when, for instance, you’ve broken your arm. The good news about breaking your arm is you know it’s broken. This may sound obvious but a broken arm is difficult to hide from yourself. Other injuries may be very serious but not so obvious. Your arm is in great pain and you can’t use it. This is pretty clear. Before you broke your arm you were playing tennis twice a week. After the injury, no tennis.

What about the notorious “whiplash” injury?
Maybe your pickup truck was t-boned in an intersection. But you don’t feel that badly afterward and you don’t go to an emergency room to get a checkup. First, the symptoms may not appear for hours, days, even weeks, especially if the damage is to soft nerve tissue or brain tissue. Second, there’s the tendency we have mentioned in so many Crashville posts – to wish you are getting better, hope you are getting better, tell your family and boss you’re getting better. You’re fooling yourself. Your neck isn’t getting better. Your headaches are getting worse.

And you still haven’t switched over to that high-protein diet.

If you break your arm your doctor may hand you a sheet with some tips on wound recovery. We sincerely hope they do, and that you go right to Whole Foods and make yourself some turkey hash and a lentil-brown rice wrap with seaweed.

For more ideas on recovering from your next crash visit

Posted in Brain Injury, Healing | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Will An Asteroid Strike Seattle on February 13?

According to Seattle’s local CBS broadcasting affiliate, NASA has projected that a 60 meter asteroid will pass within 16,500 miles of Earth on February 13, 2013. Their scary-sensational Chicken Little treatment: “Should We Be Afraid? Should we? Should we?”

To put this in perspective, the earth’s diameter is about 8000 miles. This is like saying “Next year a tiny little toy truck is going to go down the street in front of your house! Should you be afraid? Should you?
Asteroid Heading For Seattle?
Put another way, the asteroid will fly well within the Moon’s 240,000 mile orbit.

What is the chance of the asteroid striking earth? Well, practically speaking – none. But this sort of scare-mongering has become a staple of all kinds of (formerly) legitimate news outlets. Sure, our perceptive readers will say “Well, you’re doing it too, aren’t you?”

Perhaps. Well, no. We want people to understand the difference between the kind of “crash” that is pretty common, the kind of “crash” that is very unlikely, but very significant, and the media grandstanding that’s done because it attracts attention.

Let’s look at some examples:
1. Everyday household accidents, sports accidents, workplace accidents. Frequently the damage is minimal, and your sprained ankle heals completely. If it doesn’t heal you may need a better diet, or some physical therapy, sports therapy.
2. Severe auto accident where you are injured. You probably need to go to a hospital emergency room immediately for diagnosis. There are many injuries that, if not immediately diagnosed, you can try to convince yourself they aren’t serious. These include soft tissue injuries similar to example one above, but are much more serious because of the amount of tearing, or because there is also nerve damage or brain trauma (concussion).
3. Made-up no-risk news panic-mongering. We all know there are tsunamis, earthquakes, landslides. We all know that sometimes a hillside in Seattle will collapse and a couple homes will slide a few feet, or a hundred feet. People who build their homes on Queen Anne Hill’s mud cliffs are taking a bit of a risk, but really…. …a headline that says “Will A Tsunami Strike Seattle” or “Asteroid Headed Our Way” is just grandstanding. See story in our local CBS Broadcasting website:

There are a lot of simple steps you can take to avoid those common sports injuries and household injuries. Warm-up and stretch-out before working out. Make sure the ladder is placed against the wall at the right angle. Don’t drop the 35 lb. kettlebell on your foot.

Look both ways before crossing the street. But you don’t have to look up for an asteroid.

For more ideas about avoiding your next crash, and dealing with it if it happens, visit

Posted in Injury, Seattle | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Making Seattle Streets Crash-Proof

This Seattle Times article highlights a perspective that most Seattleites would likely have difficulty understanding.

The topic is reducing deaths and injuries from driving, bicycling, walking. What city would Seattle be smart to copy? What city does traffic safety better than Seattle? What city has been slowly reducing driver, bicyclist, and pedestrian deaths and injuries for a century? What city provides a walk-to-the grocery experience for most of its residents? What city provides easy public transportation to almost everyone who lives there?

OK, if you haven’t guessed yet, the answer is New York City.

What’s so hot about New York? How about more sidewalks? All five of New York’s boroughs have sidewalks on nearly all of their streets. Compare that with Seattle’s streets north of Northgate and south of South Park.

How about timed pedestrian signals that enable pedestrians to time their street-crossing more effectively? Yes, we’re starting to see more and more of these in Seattle, but they are still the exception, not the rule.

How about pedestrian-only paths and elevated trails? New York has converted abandoned rail lines to very popular pedestrian bikeway/walkways that attract tourists.

Another thing that distinguishes New York from Seattle is the per-capita policing figures. Beginning with a ramp-up of police in 1990, New York led the nation in per-capita police staffing with 53 per 10,000 citizens in 2000. Seattle reported 23 police officers per 10,000 in 2000 – less than half the coverage for pulling-over and ticketing careless drivers and harassing errant pedestrians.

Seattle still believes that if you build an expensive tunnel under our waterfront drivers will come and pay a high toll. What about New York? The simple answer: “Not so much.” New York reflects a different sensibility: “Even if we’re providing more pedestrian opportunities than ever, the more we provide the more people flock to walk.”

The reason we get expensive car tunnels and New York gets bike paths is their emphasis on reducing traffic fatalities. The federal transportation budget allocates less than 1% of yearly spending to bike and pedestrian transportation. As a result, nationally, per-capita pedestrian deaths in the U.S. are 3 times higher than in Germany, and 5 times higher than in the Netherlands.

So what is Seattle doing right? Though it may make auto-lovers unhappy, there’s no doubt that parking in downtown Seattle has become more difficult and more expensive year after year after year. Parking in areas around light-rail stations is limited by the local-residents-only sticker system. The red-light-runner capture cameras are becoming more and more ubiquitous. Another burr under the driver’s saddle is having to deal with an out-of-state collection agency when a parking ticket is lost or forgotten. You may get your car boot-impounded if you don’t pay your parking tickets. You will also get collection letters from Diamond Parking if they think you didn’t put enough money into their lot-payment machines. The list goes on and on and on.

We are sending a very clear message to people in Seattle: if you drive we will play a very expensive cat-and-mouse game with you to extract more and more non-tax revenue for every mile driven. So far, nicey-nice Seattleites aren’t minding this death-by-1000-cuts, so expect more of the same!

Want safer streets, Seattle? Want to save your hard-earned money? Want to reduce your stress? Park your cars and walk.

For more ideas about getting about safely and what to do if you’re in a crash go to

Posted in Bicycle Accident, Car Accident, Seattle | 1 Comment

Seattle Bike Commuters Get Into Fewer Crashes

Time to get your bike in for its Spring tune-up?

This article in the Seattle Times is one of a series about bicycling in the city, both as sport, recreation, and transportation to work.

The upshot is it’s safer to bike around Seattle, but only if you accept per-capita, or miles-ridden numbers. The numbers of people injured and killed are about where they’ve been.

The accompanying map shows the most likely spots for a cyclist to crash – which is helpful for someone calculating whether to make the plunge and start commuting-in from West Seattle.

Let’s focus on the good news. The map shows it is incredibly safe to bike around Green Lake, or even to bike across the I-90 bridge to Mercer Island and back.

Nevertheless, the City of Seattle is continuing to provide more miles of ever-safer paths for bike riders. This Seattle Times article shows the map of proposed greenways.

The City of Seattle estimates the total number of regular bike commuters has increased to 3000 in 2010, from 2200 in 2007.

With the cost of gasoline going up and the difficulty and expense of parking in downtown Seattle going up, what’s preventing people from biking to work?

It’s a long list of factors, and only one of them is the rain and cold. As you might guess, people are worried about their safety. Crashes Hit Even Experienced Cyclists Dexter Avenue North has been a long-standing trouble lane with many commuters who follow the bike-lane south and north being knocked off their bikes and injured, some killed.

A second factor is fitness. Though many might find a daily bike commute a great way to get some cardio fitness in, many aren’t in good enough shape to make a trek in from even Fremont.

The city and local bike clubs have a pretty impressive communication strategy in place to spotlight places to securely park your bike, places to change clothes, ways to piggy-back on light-rail and then complete your trip by bike. One focus is to encourage employers to encourage employees to commute-in, even if it’s only one day per week. Employers are nudged toward establishing ever more-detailed transport plans: where can an employee shower and change in the Starbucks or Frank Russell headquarters?

But for a prospective bike-commuter, it may come down to such mundane concerns as getting a flat tire. And there’s a solution for that – solid rubber tires. Problem solved!

For more ideas about solving the problems that arise from a crash visit

Posted in Bicycle Accident | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Here’s Some Powerful Healing!

In 1995 Dr. Terry Wahl was struggling with Multiple Sclerosis and after years of treatment was losing her health. She could no longer walk and relied on a motorized wheelchair to get to her medical practice. Five years later, after changing her diet, she’s a distance walker, accomplished horseback rider, and is standing in front of an audience giving a talk about the Hunter-Gatherer Diet.

Yes, people have posted many skeptical comments on this video. They say that many hunter-gatherers starved to death. They say the average lifespan for hunter-gatherers was short.

We think two things are going on here:
1. If it’s plausible that taking-out all the unhealthy things from our diet and substituting a very wide variety of simple foods like nuts, seaweed, greens (including unusual leafy greens like dandelion and mint), salmon, organ meats, garlic, ginger root – all of these and a hundred more – if you could give yourself 10 more years of healthy living – would you do it? For most people, isn’t making such a huge change in a big area of their life like food scary? Would family pressure and other factors put a big kibosh on that kind of change? What if my mom or my sister made fun of my diet?
2. Is it difficult to understand the “Hunter-Gatherer Diet” is just a metaphor. In this video we don’t see Dr. Wahl wearing a skin dress. She doesn’t carry a spear. She doesn’t suggest we have to go out and gather berries in the woods or pluck seaweed from
Seattle’s Alki beach. The idea is eating a very wide variety of natural foods – and the best ones that one of our ancestors might have dreamed of eating in the best season of abundance of their entire life.

What’s certain is there is now more detailed fact-based, research-based information on boosting immune system health, avoiding auto-immune system problems, and boosting the function of our cells’ mitochondria. And ice cream and coke isn’t a part of it.

For more ideas about recovering from your next crash or injury visit

Posted in Holistic Healing, Injury | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Why You Should Know What Your Ancestors in 2000 BC Ate…

Chances are your ancestors had crashes. Trees fell on them. They got chased over cliffs by big wild animals. They fell off horses.

What’s certain is they didn’t go to the Emergency Room where a highly-trained and experienced doctor set their broken bones, and gave them high-quality painkillers.

In fact, if they got any help at all it was probably from a member of their family or clan.

What they did have going for them was their diet. They were used to eating acorns, dandelion leaves, insects, berries, wild rice, small birds they caught in string traps, fish, seaweed, clams… …this list is a long one. In 2000 BC most of your ancestors were either hunter-gatherers, or small-time farmers who also relied a lot on local fish and game. They ate everything and anything.

And there’s now a diet called the “Hunter-Gatherer” approach to food – suggesting that though we now buy our food at the West Seattle Safeway, we’d be much healthier if we only ate the things our way-back ancestors did.
Every root, leaf, insect is fair game.
There’s a certain logic to this. We know that diets offered by, for instance, the Mayo Clinic, remove excess sugar, excess refined starchy foods, and people lose weight and experience less diabetes and heart disease.

Taken to the next stage, some physiologists suggest all immune functions from the blood’s T-Cells to the mysterious workings of every cell’s mitochondria can get jumped-up when people eat only beets, leafs, seaweed, squash, organ meat, salmon, nuts, – and the widest variety possible. Seaweed sorbet anyone? For more ideas on the Hunter-Gatherer Diet, check out John Durant’s website.

For more ideas about surviving and thriving a crash, visit

Posted in Holistic Healing, Injury, Pain | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments