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Getting recharged with ‘The Normal Heart’ in the fight against HIV

After watching the Philippine production of ‘The Normal Heart’, John Silva recalls having lived in New York City with his lover in the beginning of the epidemic; and how he ended up looking after friends infected by HIV even when their families refused to do so. “In a way, the play, its rant, its polemics, is dated today. And it has to do with the likes of Larry Kramer, ACT-UP, and the sprouting of numerous AIDS organizations… which did turn the crisis of several years into some glimmer of hope,” Silva says.

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By John Silva

The Normal Heart, which had a weekend run at the Romulo Auditorium in the RCBC building, was a non-stop intense play chronicling the beginning of the 1981 AIDS epidemic in New York and in the rest of the country (USA).

The main character is Ned Weeks (Bart Guingona), pretty much a biographical rendering of the acerbic and confrontational Larry Kramer who wrote this play and who around that period begins to form the AIDS organization (ACT UP) and the Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) to help people being struck by the virus, to demand the Reagan Administration fund the identification of the virus, and find a cure.

In the ’80’s, a gay lifestyle was very evident in the city. Lower Manhattan is a gay ghetto, there’s Fire Island for summer weekends, and the whole flourishing culture is about uninhibited, open and lots of sex, closely identified to gay identity.

The virus, yet unnamed is unknown as to how it infects and spreads, and Ned’s friend Doctor Emma Brookner (Roselyn Perez) who’s been diagnosing hundreds of AIDS patients can only advice unequivocally that gays abstain from sex for a while. She prods Ned to get that almost laughable message out.

Ned’s organization is stocked with a variety of gay activists. There’s Tommy (Red Concepcion), the Southern queen who constantly tries to patch the yelling matches between the haranguing Ned and the diplomatic Bruce Niles (TJ Trinidad) who is the group’s president. There’s Mickey Marcus (Nor Domingo), a city employee who writes brochures on explaining various community ills but is anguished for not knowing what’s killing gays.

Ned’s personal life includes a strained relationship with his straight brother Ben Weeks (Richard Cunanan) who is as affable and understanding of gay people as best he can. But the overly militant Ned demands much too much and things sour.

In the midst of all the rancor at the office, Ned is smitten with Felix Turner (Topper Fabregas) the adroit New York Times fashion reporter. We assume they have great bonding together until Topper must reveal that purple spot on his foot, the AIDS giveaway then.

The reigning Mayor of that period was Ed Koch, a bachelor and reputed to be gay, which as we all know about closeted gays, are the worse to get sympathy from. His gay assistant/spokesperson Hiram Keebler (Jef Flores) has to face and get a lot of shit from Ned and the group for the mayor’s intransigence.

As the group’s membership grows, getting the publicity and a little more money, there’s a growing antipathy to Ned’s in-your-face approach which leads to his being expelled from the organization. His doctor friend gets rejected yet again from the National Institute of Health to study the virus; and the once lively Felix is morose, gives up and dies.

Death has, in the end, that redemptive quality. Tragedy brings hope and as the cast readies for its exit bow, statistic flash on the screen behind them showing the exponential growth of the AIDS infection here. It’s now 22 infections a day, a 500% growth from just five years ago, and its happening to our young.

Normal HeartOne marvels at the ability of seven men and one woman to recreate those hellish days with the same intensity and pathos that I recall very well having lived in New York City with my lover Jonathan in the beginning of the epidemic. There were the sketchy reports only in the gay papers, to watch out for purple lesions and night sweats. We hadn’t a fig of a clue how to protect ourselves then, though Larry Kramer’s shrill voice and Village Voice writings along with a few others pointed to the gay bathhouses as the culprits. We were wholly ignorant in reaching out to AIDS victims that when my best friend Juan Carlos got sick and we visited him at Bellevue Hospital, we entered his room with face masks and his bed area was under a plastic tent which only nurses and doctors could enter. When Juan Carlos was later brought back to their apartment by his lover Antonino to die, I thought him very brave to cuddle Juan Carlos in his arms that last night, singing tearfully to him over and over again the song Hindi Kita Malimot (“I Will Not Forget You”). All I could muster then was to stroke Juan Carlos’ cadaverous arm with my little finger being frightened, useless and heartbroken.

In a way, the play, its rant, its polemics, is dated today. And it has to do with the likes of Larry Kramer, ACT-UP, and the sprouting of numerous AIDS organizations throughout the country which did turn the crisis of several years into some glimmer of hope. Compassion and support for people with AIDS grew, the virus’ sexual transmission would be confirmed, and massive sex education and behavior modification occurred. A “cocktail” to stave the virus was found and has helped many people to live with HIV.

Despite the powerful dialogue and the forceful performance of each actor, the despairing angry tone of this piece which first showed in 1985, has been significantly muted by the advances of gay rights in the past three decades. In fact, I was watching this play which, a week before, had the United States pass gay marriage laws throughout all 50 states. In the olden days, when a person was sick with AIDS, his family would often find out too late that he was gay and had a lover . Depending on parental compassion, the lover would have little to no access to his sick friend. The Normal Heart is, therefore, a historical tribute to those who went out on a limb.

Maybe it was the large gay audience and maybe it is, happily, the times that when affectionate embraces and kisses occurred, there was not a peep, a nervous cough, or even squirming in the chairs. I’ve seen and heard the squeals and guffaws of movie audiences during a gay kiss. It most probably was the compelling performance played by the actors that immersed us in Ned’s and Felix’s lengthy and intense kisses. It felt so real.

When it opened off-Broadway, some of the critics thought the content too “pamphleteering” with cut-out characters and little depth. This Manila rendering triumphed over that stridency and managed to give each actor a depth and nuance that made contretemps and shouting matches their very own. Bart Guingona (Ned) was a consistent ranter with a belligerence so true to Kramer’s form. The characters of the rest of the cast, based somewhat on real-life characters but not as publicly known, had to be “created” and each one shone in very gripping moments. Take Nor Domingo’s (Mickey) befuddled character figuring out what AIDS is about. In a very profound moment, he lays the contradiction of being gay centered on a sexual identity and celebrating it while a disease was directly attacking that identity fought for so long.

TJ Trinidad playing Bruce Niles, the prudent activist, was not just a flat one-dimensional foil to Ken’s unbridled manners; he gave the audience an important lesson in moderation and skill, and in every battle one gauges the next steps and move onward. We may owe Ned/Larry big time, but the Bruce Niles in every organization ensures its steady and continued existence.

Normal Heart in ManilaI was enchanted with Topper Fabregas’ character Felix. I probably think and live my life like him. A realist who can inject gay sensibilities and culture on the stodgy pages of New York Times at a time when that paper only printed the word “homosexual” – not “gay” – until 1985. Felix believably seduces Ned the whiner without being coquettish. When he is dying on the floor and eating junk food, he bitterly convinces me why he is getting off the merry-go-round of life. It must be terribly excruciating being a reporter for all that life-affirming culture and fashion facing a seemingly abrupt ending. But Felix’s efforts at having his paper tackle AIDS would pay off and today, this venerable paper that I subscribe to online still influences the world with a strong gay bent too.

Red Concepcion’s Tommy provides bemused relief to the otherwise serious tone of the play. He’s no gay jester, but with that Southern nasal accent reminiscent of Truman Capote, he plays peacemaker, mending fences between Ned and Bruce, and at one point warns (a warning to all social change organizations) that we won’t advance further if we keep fighting each other.

Roselyn Perez as Dr. Brookner is the anchor in those tempestuous times. She has to see the sick. She has to be thorough in her diagnosis and when she does, she has to tell it like it is. And she is shaken up every time, especially in those days when she could just confirm but not know how the virus got there. When asked by Ned, “…even kissing?” She answers in the affirmative because there’s suspicion in the sexual terrain and that’s all she could go by. There’s a riveting soliloquy at some point, exhausted by government’s rejection yet again for her proposal looking into AIDS. She would have enough of the indifference and let them have it. The audience was stunned at her righteous vehemence.

I reserve my final plaudits for the secondary character Ben Weeks played by Richard Cunanan. Much as the appearances of Bart (Ned) and Richard as stage brothers invite doubt, a minute into their dialogue and we are suspended in judgment as Richard plays, so very hard, to prove his love for Bart who officiously rejects it. Richard uses his girth to acting advantage pulling off the nice bearish straight brother who’s got his limits. But, and this is his acting prowess playing, he manages to insinuate a deep love for his brother without saying it. It’s in the gestures, shoulders raised, hands gesticulating, and that sonorous calming voice way before and way after the requisite brotherly hugs.

When Ken painfully recounts the number of friends that have passed away in the midst of mass indifference, from the government to gays in denial, echoed by the others characters, that brings it back for me to an abnormal period in my life. I had headed the first Asian AIDS organization in San Francisco (GCHP) in 1987 at a time when the infection rates were increasing. And Asian Americans (including Filipinos) in their last stages were in hospitals and hospices. These were very painful times, with parents and loved ones coming to the bedside and learning only there and then that aside from the illness their sons were gay too. They would alternate between regretful, unending sobbing, to being stoic and spent. Sadder were those, and they were many, whose families abandoned them upon hearing their plight. Some of them who did not want a scandal, threw money at me, told me to make sure he was taken care of and disappeared.

It was the frequency of seeing clients we delivered food to, fed, cheered up, cleaned their apartments, and handle their affairs and then see them take their final breaths. First there were just a few, then a bit more and I remember saying to myself that at just age 35, I was cradling and saying many goodbyes and crying over too many bodies. It was a very hopeless period and, burnt out, I lasted not too long. I had witnessed not just heartless parents and siblings but churches who bluntly pointed at their sinful promiscuity rather than giving succour. I had to flee north and sought solace in the country. I hadn’t the rage of a Kramer.

At the end of the play, when the screen flashed the infection rates in the Philippines with a trend to an epidemic, I looked at the audience and the inspiring actors and was somewhat relieved that there will be a cadre of enlightened and compassionate people who will plan the next round of stopping this epidemic. In our days, there were fewer than the numbers in the theater and very much frightened over this unknown plague. We can do it and we have this stage production to thank and be recharged for the enormous task ahead.

The Philippine production of ‘The Normal Heart’ was staged from July 3 to 5 by the Necessary Theatre and Taal Vista Hotel, with special arrangement from Samuel French Inc., New York, New York. The artistic team was led by Bart Guingona (director), Baby Imperial and Coco Anne (set design), Mark Philipp Espina (projections), and Don Taduran (graphic design). The production team was composed of Dodo Lim, (producer), Mariko Yasuda (production manager), and Ronah Rostata (stage manager).

Health & Wellness

Trans women can safely maintain estrogen treatments during gender affirming surgery

The practice of withholding estrogen prior to gender affirming surgery was not necessary. Most transgender women can now safely remain on their estrogen therapy throughout surgery.

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Photo by @kylewilliamurban from Unsplash.com

There was no difference in blood clots when estrogen hormone therapy was maintained during gender affirming surgery.

This is according to a study (titled, “No Venous Thromboembolism Increase Among Transgender Female Patients Remaining on Estrogen for Gender Affirming Surgery”) helmed by John Henry Pang with Aki Kozato from Mount Sinai, and was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Historically, the lack of published data contributed to heterogeneity in the practice of whether doctors and surgeons advised transgender women to withhold their estrogen therapy before surgery. The sudden loss of estrogen in the blood was sometimes very uncomfortable with symptoms that amounted to a sudden, severe menopause.

So the researchers tapped 919 transgender patients who underwent gender affirming surgery at Mount Sinai’s Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery between November 2015 and August 2019. Notably, including 407 cases of transgender women who underwent primary vaginoplasty surgery.

This study found that the practice of withholding estrogen prior to gender affirming surgery was not necessary. Most transgender women can now safely remain on their estrogen therapy throughout surgery.

The bottom line: This study found that most transgender women can  safely maintain their estrogen hormone treatments during gender affirming surgery.

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Health & Wellness

Facebook posts help facilitate belief that HPV vaccine is dangerous to health

Nearly 40% of Facebook posts about the HPV vaccine amplified a perceived risk, and the data suggests these posts had momentum over time.

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Photo by @nordwood from Unsplash.com

The human papillomavirus infection, or HPV, is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). HPV is associated with health problems including genital warts and cancers, but a vaccine has been available since 2006 to help stop the virus. The CDC reports more than 12 years of data supports the HPV vaccine is safe and effective, yet HPV vaccination rates still remain low.

Social media has a history of being a popular place for sexual health discussions, and the HPV vaccine is one of the most discussed vaccines on the internet. Monique Luisi, an assistant professor in the University of Missouri School of Journalism, has studied more than 6,500 public HPV vaccine-related posts on Facebook from 2006 to 2016. In a previous study, Luisi used these Facebook posts to identify a negative trend on Facebook related to how people perceive the HPV vaccine.

Now, she suggests this negative trend on Facebook may also cause people to develop a false perception of the health risk of the vaccine. After looking at the percentage of posts that made the vaccine seem more dangerous, less dangerous or neither, Luisi found nearly 40% of Facebook posts about the HPV vaccine amplified a perceived risk, and the data suggests these posts had momentum over time.

“We should not assume that only the disease is perceived as a risk, but when research supports it, that medical treatments and interventions might unfortunately also be perceived as risks,” she said. “It’s more likely that people are going to see things on social media, particularly on Facebook, that are not only negative about the HPV vaccine, but will also suggest the HPV vaccine could be harmful. It amplifies the fear that people may have about the vaccine, and we see that posts that amplify fear are more likely to trend than those that don’t.”

Luisi suggests the spread of this negative information may lead people to have a false perception of the vaccine, so people should consult their doctor or health care provider before making an informed decision.

“Facebook remains a very popular social media platform for adult audiences, which necessitates action to address HPV vaccine risk messages,” she said. “People are going to see what they are going to see on social media, so it’s important to not only take what you see on social media, but also talk to a doctor or health care provider. Just because it’s trending doesn’t mean it’s true.”

Luisi notes research must continue to address the perception of vaccine safety where the vaccine is perceived as a greater health threat than the virus or disease it prevents, and her study could also inform officials for the ongoing COVID-19 vaccine roll out and distribution.

“As the COVID-19 vaccine is being rolled out, people are likely going to see a lot of negative information, and that negative information will be what trends on social media,” she said. “But, if the public can anticipate this negative information, it will be interesting to see if that will that make them less sensitive to the perceived risk of the vaccine.”

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Health & Wellness

Depression and stress could dampen efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines

Even though rigorous testing has shown that the COVID-19 vaccines approved for distribution are highly effective at producing a robust immune response, not everyone will immediately gain their full benefit. Environmental factors, as well as an individual’s genetics and physical and mental health, can weaken the body’s immune system, slowing the response to a vaccine.

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Photo by Nick Bolton from Unsplash.com

Decades of research show that depression, stress, loneliness, and poor health behaviors can weaken the body’s immune system and lower the effectiveness of certain vaccines.

A new report accepted for publication in Perspectives on Psychological Science suggests that the same may be true for the new COVID-19 vaccines that are in development and the early stages of global distribution. Fortunately, it may be possible to reduce these negative effects with simple steps like exercise and sleep.

Vaccines are among the safest and most effective advances in medical history, protecting society from a wide range of otherwise devastating diseases, including smallpox and polio. The key to their success, however, is ensuring that a critical percentage of the population is effectively vaccinated to achieve so-called herd immunity.

Even though rigorous testing has shown that the COVID-19 vaccines approved for distribution are highly effective at producing a robust immune response, not everyone will immediately gain their full benefit. Environmental factors, as well as an individual’s genetics and physical and mental health, can weaken the body’s immune system, slowing the response to a vaccine.

This is particularly troubling as the novel coronavirus continues to rage across the world, trigging a concurrent mental health crisis as people deal with isolation, economic stressors, and uncertainty about the future. These challenges are the same factors that have been previously shown to weaken vaccine efficacy, particularly among the elderly.

“In addition to the physical toll of COVID-19, the pandemic has an equally troubling mental health component, causing anxiety and depression, among many other related problems. Emotional stressors like these can affect a person’s immune system, impairing their ability to ward off infections,” said Annelise Madison, a researcher at The Ohio State University and lead author on the paper. “Our new study sheds light on vaccine efficacy and how health behaviors and emotional stressors can alter the body’s ability to develop an immune response. The trouble is that the pandemic in and of itself could be amplifying these risk factors.”

Vaccines work by challenging the immune system. Within hours of a vaccination, there is an innate, general immune response on the cellular level as the body begins to recognize a potential biological threat. This frontline response by the immune system is eventually aided by the production of antibodies, which target specific pathogens. It is the continued production of antibodies that helps to determine how effective a vaccine is at conferring long-term protection.

The good news, according to the researchers, is that the COVID-19 vaccines already in circulation are approximately 95% effective. Even so, these psychological and behavioral factors can lengthen the amount of time it takes to develop immunity and can shorten the duration of immunity.

“The thing that excites me is that some of these factors are modifiable,” said Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, director of the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research at The Ohio State University and senior author on the paper. “It’s possible to do some simple things to maximize the vaccine’s initial effectiveness.”

Based on prior research, one strategy the researchers suggest is to engage in vigorous exercise and get a good night’s sleep in the 24 hours before vaccination so that your immune system is operating at peak performance. This may help ensure that the best and strongest immune response happens as quickly as possible.

“Prior research suggests that psychological and behavioral interventions can improve vaccine responsiveness. Even shorter-term interventions can be effective,” said Madison. “Therefore, now is the time to identify those at risk for a poor immune response and intervene on these risk factors.”

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Lifestyle & Culture

Are you ready to start thinking about a baby?

Before you commit to this decision it’s important to think about whether the two of you are ready. That’s not always an easy question to answer however there are signs that you can begin to move forward with this new chapter.

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You might be interested in starting a family with your partner. However, before you commit to this decision it’s important to think about whether the two of you are ready. That’s not always an easy question to answer however there are signs that you can begin to move forward with this new chapter. 

IMAGE SOURCE: PEXELS.COM

You’re Both Stable 

First, you need to make sure that you are both stable in your lives. Think about your career and your profession. You should ideally both be earning a solid income where it’s unlikely that either one of you will experience redundancy in the future. While there are no guarantees, there are always signs that your career is stable. You might also want to think about setting up a side hustle to make sure that you have an extra cushion of cash to fall back on whenever you need to. 

Of course, it’s not just your career that needs to be stable. You need to think about your health – both mental and physical – and your lifestyle. Don’t forget, these are things that will be taken into consideration if you are planning to adopt. So, they should be considered when you are thinking about conceiving naturally too. 

You Both Want One 

As crazy as it sounds many couples do end up having a baby because one individual wants one rather than both. The other will often just go along with the idea because they don’t want the relationship to end. That’s why it’s important to have an open and honest relationship with your partner. It’s possible that there are things that are stopping them from seriously considering children. They might even be questioning whether it’s possible for them. If they’ve tried before with someone else, then this fear is always going to be present. However, there are options like advancedfertility.com to explore if that is indeed the case. 

You don’t Argue All The Time 

Finally, many people believe that couples shouldn’t argue and that’s not true. You need to have the occasional argument otherwise issues are going to simply lie dormant underneath the surface. This will lead to a massive blowout and the last thing that you want is to bring a child into an environment with a lot of friction. 

If you do find that you are arguing quite a lot in your relationship, then you should think about something like couple’s counseling. This can help you get back on the right track with your partner and ensure that things don’t continue to get worse. It can help you deal with some of the deeper issues that might be plaguing your relationship and causing you problems right now.  You can learn more about couples counseling on bark.com

We hope this helps you understand some of the signs that you could be ready to start thinking about having a baby with your partner. Remember, while this can be a big step forward, there are plenty of avenues and resources you can explore to help here and ensure that you do approach this the right way.

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Lifestyle & Culture

Can you earn extra money while getting SSDI benefits?

If you’re permanently disabled, you’ll likely need to apply for SSDI or Social Security disability insurance benefits. As with seeking any type of government aid, this involves going through a qualification process.

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If you’re permanently disabled, you’ll likely need to apply for SSDI or Social Security disability insurance benefits. As with seeking any type of government aid, this involves going through a qualification process. 

Once you’re approved, you don’t want to do anything to disqualify you from receiving benefits, and this includes earning too much income in addition to your monthly benefits. An overview of this issue is described below to help you stay within the Social Security Department’s guidelines.

You Cannot Earn Substantial Gainful Activity

The SSDI benefits you’ll receive are intended to provide you with the income you would otherwise earn through performing work. For this reason, the Social Security Administration has established a limit on how much you can earn in addition to the benefits you receive each month. The precise number is evaluated year by year and, as of 2020, that limit was $1,260 a month. The only exception is that people who are classified as legally blind can earn up to $2,110 a month.

There is a trial period during which you can earn more than the substantial gainful activity allowance (or SGA) and still receive your benefits. The first nine months are considered a trial period to ensure you can maintain that level of income. 

In a month in which you earn less than the SGA limit, you will receive your full benefits for that 30-day period. This will continue for 36 more months after you complete the trial period. The extended eligibility period of 36 months is implemented to keep you entered in the system in the event that you have to return to full benefits status. This eliminates the need to have to renew your initial application.

How Are Benefits Calculated Against Income?

As a matter of protecting your financial interests, you should consult a social security disability lawyer before beginning any type of work. Generally, the first $85 you earn won’t be counted towards your earned income. After reaching that limit, half of every dollar you earn will be deducted from your total eligible benefits. 

For example, if you earned $1,000 in a 30-day period, the $85 allowance would be reduced, bringing your measured income down to $915. That amount would be divided by two to arrive at $457.50. For that month only, the benefits you receive would be reduced by $457.50 to adjust for your earned income.

What Are You Required To Report?

In order to remain compliant with the conditions for receiving benefits from the Social Security Administration, there are certain employment status changes that you must report. You will have to report the dates upon which you begin or stop a job, including any periods during which you’re suspended or laid off. 

You will also have to report any changes in your position, including the number of hours you work, the duties you perform, or the wages you’re paid. Any changes in these conditions can affect your benefits, so it’s important to keep the SSA updated. Finally, you should report any expenses you have suffered in relation to your disability. 

For example, if you have had to buy a custom wheelchair to allow you to perform your work-related duties, that expense should be documented and reported. You should check with your local SSA office for exact reporting timelines. Generally, reports should be filed between the 6th and 10th day of the following month, depending on the method of reporting.

If you are trying to navigate the complexities involved with filing for SSDI benefits, consulting an attorney can help. A lawyer who’s experienced in handling Social Security law can ensure you get all of the benefits to which you’re entitled. This may mean a significant difference that can help you enjoy a better quality of life.

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Lifestyle & Culture

Hit by a DoorDash driver: What next?

It’s fair to wonder what your legal options are if you are planning on filing a personal injury claim.

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Getting into a car accident is always stressful, especially if you’ve been injured. However, it can also be confusing if you end up getting hit by a DoorDash driver. It’s fair to wonder what your legal options are if you are planning on filing a personal injury claim. This is because like rideshare drivers, DoorDash drivers are considered independent contractors rather than employees of the company.

There are certain times when a DoorDash driver may be on duty and when they aren’t actively working. In order for the company to be considered at all liable for an accident, the driver must have been working and have the app open.

What Does DoorDash Require?

DoorDash requires all of its drivers, even though they are considered independent contractors, to carry their own personal car insurance policies. The minimum requirements set by their state is acceptable. At the same time, the company itself has insurance in place to cover any injuries and damages caused by their drivers.

It’s important to know that there are a few exceptions. If a DoorDash driver has an accident but doesn’t have their own auto insurance, there would be a problem that may result in having to sue the driver personally. The DoorDash insurance policy, which provides up to $1 million in coverage for injuries and property damage, would not kick in unless an insured driver’s own policy is exhausted.

Common Injuries After an Accident With a DoorDash Driver

If you’re involved in a car accident with a DoorDash driver, just as with a collision with any other driver, you can suffer injuries. Some of those injuries may even be serious, debilitating, disabling, or even fatal. Every accident is unique, with certain factors coming into play relating to the cause and the consequences. Obviously, the type of vehicle and its size is only one of those factors.

Regardless of the circumstances and factors surrounding an accident with a DoorDash driver, the following injuries are common:

• Amputation
• Back and neck injuries
• Broken bones
Concussion
• Fractures 
• Head injuries
• Spinal injuries
• Whiplash
• Death

What Should You Do After an Accident?

After you have been in a car accident with a DoorDash driver, there are certain steps you should take. However, it should be known that these are steps you should take after any vehicle accident involving any driver. These are the things that you need in order to ensure that you have the evidence necessary to support your personal injury claim.

The first thing you should do is call 911. It’s important that the police come whenever there are injuries and significant property damage. A police accident report will be made, which is important evidence to obtain for your case. Be sure to get the name and badge number of the responding officer and ask about getting a copy of the report.

Take photos of the accident scene and get the driver’s full name, contact information, driver’s license number, license plate number, insurance information, and employer information. You will also want to get statements from witnesses. Get their full names and contact information as well.

Seeking medical attention is essential. You have to make sure you aren’t seriously injured or have some sort of internal injuries that could be very serious. You will also have evidence in the form of your medical bills and records.

Choosing a lawyer is imperative as well. You will be able to learn your legal options and go from there with your case. Your attorney will make sure your rights are fully protected and get you the compensation you deserve.

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