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Brain Injuries Take A Long Recovery Time!

Sometimes, people who are victims of a car crash often experience concussions or another form of traumatic brain injury (TBI).  Although the signs associated with this injury may not immediately be present, the symptoms may manifest themselves days or weeks later.  Many common symptoms related to TBIs include headaches, dizziness, disorientation, changes in sleep patterns, and gaps in or loss of portions of memory.  Other more immediate symptoms may include vomiting and/or loss of vision.
Post-TBI, many patients find that the road to recovery is long, hard, and takes a variety of different professionals to manage the healing process.  Major news source NBC took a hard look at instances of TBIs in America and what the recovery process looks like for those victims.  The article can be found by clicking this link.
If you have recently been in a car crash, it is important to closely monitor your body's response and recovery after the accident.  If you suspect a TBI, immediately seek help from a qualified physician who can diagnose you and develop a comprehensive treatment plan.  If your car accident was due to the fault of another, it may also be time to seek legal action.  This is especially true if your injuries cause you to miss extended periods of work or not be able to continue your line of work at all.  Other major expenses resulting from an accident may include medical bills.  If you or a loved one has recently been in a car accident due to the fault of another, please contact Altoona, PA area personal injury attorney Doug Stoehr to set up an initial, free consultation.  His law office can be reached by visiting his website at http://www.stoehrlaw.com or calling his firm at 814-946-4100.

Chronic Pain and Substance Abuse

Sufferers of chronic pain often find relief through an individualized regimen of prescription medication and physical therapy/regular exercise.  Unfortunately, many of these same patients also often develop drug addictions to their painkillers, since many of these medications include a form of methadone or other narcotics.  In an effort to understand more about developing drug addictions in chronic pain patients and to reduce the occurrence of this phenomenon, a recent study took a closer look.
The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota took a look at chronic pain patients who were also addicted or at-risk for addiction for prescription drugs.  The Mayo Clinic instituted a substance abuse education portion to the chronic pain section of their clinic and recorded the results.  According to the press release, "The study addressed substance use in chronic pain patients, and the researchers aimed to determine the efficacy of a 3-week interdisciplinary pain rehabilitation treatment for patients with chronic pain who have an increased risk of substance abuse. With 50 percent of their patients clearly candidates for an addiction treatment program, the Center began to incorporate substance use education into their interdisciplinary pain rehabilitation program. Not only could patients improve their functioning and mood as it related to their pain, but they could also begin to explore and increase their awareness of their substance abuse risk.".  Hopefully, other chronic pain clinics and pain specialists will follow suit and continue to incorporate substance abuse education into their treatment procedures.
Chronic pain is a serious and life-altering diagnosis.  If you have been having trouble sleeping and have also had consistent pain lasting over six months, it might be time to consult with a doctor.  If this pain was caused by an accident due to the fault of another, it may also be time to consult with an attorney.   If you would like more information about this page or central Pennsylvania attorney Doug Stoehr's areas of practice, contact our Altoona, Pennsylvania, law firm by calling 814-946-4100. 

Whiplash Injuries: What You Need To Know

How much do you know about whiplash injuries? Check you knowledge as you read the facts below!  Whiplash is a painful and common cause of complaint after an injury such as an automobile accident.  Also known as Whiplash Associated Disorder (WAD), this disorder is characterized by soft tissue damage to the neck and upper spinal area, and in some cases the face and back as well.  Due to the sudden flexion and extension of the neck following an accident such as an automobile collision, the body does not have enough time to compensate for the sudden change in motion and reacts by snapping the head front and back.  Unfortunately, this puts too much strain on the neck muscles and can lead to lasting pain, chronic headaches, restricted range of motion, and dizziness for months following an injury.  In some cases, the pain associated with whiplash is so severe that it interferes with work and sleep, thus leading to both fatigue and irritability.  In even more severe cases, these problems can develop into depression and lowered cognitive abilities, such as problems with memory and concentration.  Disc herniation may also have occurred during the accident and will need to be addressed by a physician.  
It is important to realize that the symptoms of whiplash may not manifest themselves until a few days after an accident, so if you or a loved one are in an automobile accident and have unexplained neck and back pain a few days later, whiplash may be the cause of your discomfort. The most common way to experience whiplash from an automobile accident is from a rear-end collision.  Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer located in Altoona, PA and serves the central and western Pennsylvania area.  He takes cases for victims of car accidents who have experience injury.  For more information on him and his firm, please call his office at 814-946-4100.  

New MRI Technique Can Help Identify Chronic Pain in Whiplash Patients

According to a new article, posted here, scientists have developed a special MRI imaging technique that will allow professionals to predict which patients who are suffering from a whiplash injury will later develop chronic pain, disability, and PTSD.  This new MRI imaging technique works by measuring the fat to water ratio in the muscles.  Patients who are more likely to develop chronic pain having more fat enter the injured neck muscles than the average patient. This infiltration of fat into the neck muscles leads to accelerated atrophy.  If physicians can identify these differences in the specialized MRI scans early enough, they may be able to change their treatment plan to better help their patients who are prone to more long-term injury. 
This research is especially relevant, given that about a quarter of all whiplash patients will have pain that lasts several months or years. Whiplash-associated issues affect over 4 million Americans every year.  Whiplash is a painful and common cause of complaint after an injury such as an automobile accident.  In some cases, the pain associated with whiplash is so severe that it interferes with work and sleep, thus leading to both fatigue and irritability.  In even more severe cases, these problems can develop into depression and lowered cognitive abilities, such as problems with memory and concentration.  Disc herniation may also have occurred during the accident and will need to be addressed by a physician.  It is important to realize that the symptoms of whiplash may not manifest themselves until a few days after an accident, so if you or a loved one are in an automobile accident and have unexplained neck and back pain a few days later, whiplash may be the cause of your discomfort. The most common way to experience whiplash from an automobile accident is from a rear-end collision.  Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer located in Altoona, PA and serves the central and western Pennsylvania area.  For more information on him and his firm, please call 814-946-4100. 

Social Media May Influence Your Personal Injury Claim

According to an article by the Rockland County Times, Facebook and other social media sites are changing the ways that laws are interpreted and executed in terms of evidence and discovery. The article cited a particular example that outlined the following:
"In another local case, a Westchester County jury dismissed a man's personal injury case when it was discovered that he lied during his testimony regarding his injuries. During examination, the man testified that a slip and fall from a loading dock caused extensive back injuries that prevented him from engaging in many physical activities. However, when defense lawyers introduced the man's Facebook page, a different story emerged.
The man had posted pictures of himself playing basketball, water skiing on vacation and even hauling heavy lumber used to rebuild the deck on his house, all while he claimed to be injured (and he didn't have a permit to build the deck). It took the jury only 30 minutes to reach its verdict, denying the man's claim in its entirety."
In the wake of social media being used as evidence in court cases, some experts anticipate a few issues will start to creep up in national news.  One of the most pressing is publicity rights as they relate to social media.  When a person posts information and pictures, it may or may not be considered allowable for companies to use the information commercially without written consent.  This issue has not formally been decided, but will play a huge role in how internet advertisers create ads in the future.  Additionally, the concept of who actually owns a Twitter account is another hot-button issue. If a company uses a Twitter account for marketing and branding, does the employer or the employee own the account?  This becomes an issue if the employee chooses to leave the company and may request to take his/her account and followers somewhere else.  
Interestingly, the Rockland County Times article also mentioned that National Labor Relations Board is currently trying to enact guidelines on to protect employee activities on social media sites. Last year alone, the NLRB was involved in many court cases based on employer-employee conflict regarding social media posts.
Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury attorney serving western and central Pennsylvania. Please contact his law firm at 814-946-4100 with questions regarding your personal injury claim. 

Dirtbiking Accident in Philly Area Led To Injury Io One, Death To Another

As we enjoy this spring weather, please remember that some motorized outdoor activities carry a higher risk!  A recent report by 6ABC.com posted that one such activity, dirtbiking, lead to the death of one rider and serious injury of another in Philadelphia PA.  The riders were both in their late teens.  According to the report, the two bikes crashed into each other head on, and one driver had his head turned as the accident occurred, so he did see the other bike approaching.  It appears that these bikes were not being used for their intended purpose, and were being used in a more urban environment.  Dirt bikes and other similar vehicles, such as ATVs, are not meant to be used on city streets and carry a much higher risk when used inappropriately.   Even when used properly, dirt bikes, ATVs, and other related vehicles can very dangerous when not used properly and/or while not following all safety precautions.  Please heed all state laws and use common sense when operating one of these vehicles this spring and summer.
Many Pennsylvanians enjoy using ATVs and dirtbikes during our warmer months of spring and summer.  However, these off-road vehicles are potentially dangerous vehicles for many of our state's youth.  Improper ATV use is leading cause of serious injury among Pennsylvanians.   Attorney Doug Stoehr of Altoona, PA handles cases involving injury as a result of accidents involving off-road vehicles.  For more information about Attorney Doug Stoehr and his central Pennsylvania practice, please call his law firm at 814-946-4100.

PA Sees Marked Decrease In Traffic Deaths--Lowest Since 1928!

Good news, Pennsylvania drivers! According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, fewer people have been killed in car accidents last year than since 1928.  Additionally, the number of overall car crashes also fell.  It is great to know that the number of state highway accidents has also fallen over 20% in the past 15 years, which is close to the nationwide trend of a 25% decline in the past 10 years.  Some of these great statistics are due, in part, to enhanced safety features in newer cars and also heightened campaigns to battle drunk driving and texting/cell phone use while driving.  In Pennsylvania alone, over $50M has been used to improve safety at 4,000 areas across the state, including repainting highway lines and putting in rumble strips. More PA drivers and passengers are using seat belts than in previous years, and fewer drivers are also driving while intoxicated.  Great job, Pennsylvania drivers! 

One of the only areas that saw an increase in the percentage of accidents was distracted driving, such as texting while driving.  Many trial lawyers see a large amount of car accidents involving drunk and/or distracted driving.  Since, by nature, these accidents are preventable, the fact that they occur at all is particularly aggravating.  It also extremely emotional, painful, and psychologically damaging for friends and family of the victims as well.  Attorney Doug Stoehr is an Altoona based personal injury lawyer who takes claims for many clients who have been injured in automobile accidents.  He also takes cases for victims of distracted driving accidents in Altoona, Blair County, and the seven surrounding counties in Pennsylvania. For more information on his central Pennsylvania practice, please call his office at 814-946-4100 or visit his website at http://www.stoehrlaw.com.

Video Cameras in Nursing Homes? PA Laws Are Currently Unclear

What is your opinion?  Do security cameras in nursing homes work to help or harm residents that are under watch?  One recent article on PublicSource.com, a website devoted to Pennsylvania news, took a look at this issue.  According to their report, some PA seniors are currently unable to use video cameras as a way to connect with the outside world.  According to some nursing home owners and staff, they feel that cameras may intrude upon the privacy of other residents and the employees.  However, this also deprives residents of a way to maintain contact with friends and family outside of their room through the use of videochatting and other similar media activities.  This is complicated by the fact that Pennsylvania does not have clear video surveillance laws for nursing home and assisted living facilities.  As stated in the article, " Pennsylvania doesn't have regulations pertaining to cameras in nursing homes. A state wiretapping statute forbids audio recording without the consent of all parties; video is fine, though. Federal guidelines prioritize residents' rights, but there are conflicting interpretations."  This creates a sticky situation for family and friends of loved ones in nursing homes who not only want them to be able to connect with the outside world, but also know that they are being watched for instances of abuse and neglect.  What are your thoughts? 

Elder abuse can come in many forms, not just physical abuse.  Other, equally as damaging forms, of elder abuse can occur in settings such as nursing homes or hospitals.  Mental and psychological abuse, as well as financial and sexual abuse occur all too often to the elderly population.  If you feel that a loved one has been a victim of elder abuse, please contact Attorney Doug Stoehr to set up a free consultation.  Attorney Stoehr has experience and knowledge pertaining to elder abuse legal claims, and will work hard to fight for the rights of your family or friend.

A Young Man's Commentary on PA's Elder Abuse Problem

A recent commentary piece by a contributor to NewsWorks.org highlighted one man's experience having a grandmother who worked for nursing homes and assisted living facilities in eastern PA.  Within the commentary, the man describes his grandmother's work in a high-end nursing home, and how well the residents were treated.  He also reported that these instances are not always the norm, as about 20% of nursing home residents report abuse or neglect each year.  This is most likely a gross underestimate, as many seniors appear to be hesitant to report experiences of abuse or neglect.  Additionally, many seniors suffer from dementia and are unable to report any ill treatment. 
PA is among the states that should be the most concerned about how our seniors are being treated.  We are the state with the fourth highest percentage of elderly citizens over 85, and our state's nursing homes and assisted living facilities take care of over 130,000 seniors.   Please take a moment and read the entire article from Newsworks.org to get an idea of one man's battle against elder abuse how to inform change in our state.
Elder abuse can come in many forms, not just physical abuse.  Other, equally as damaging forms, of elder abuse can occur in settings such as nursing homes or hospitals.  Mental and psychological abuse, as well as financial and sexual abuse occur all too often to the elderly population.  If you feel that a loved one has been a victim of elder abuse, please contact Attorney Doug Stoehr to set up a free consultation.  Attorney Stoehr has experience and knowledge pertaining to elder abuse legal claims, and will work hard to fight for the rights of your family or friend.

Dauphin County Is Raising Awareness About Elder Abuse

In the Harrisburg area, a lead detective has been commissioned whose sole job is to investigate elder abuse cases.  The new detective was formerly a police officer in State College and also supervised the area's Department of Aging.  Dauphin County has an excellent reputation across the state for their Elder Abuse Task Force, in which there were 450 reported elder abuse cases last year.  This represents over a 150% increase in reports over the past ten years.  

Most likely, the increase in elder abuse reports is generally due in part to increased awareness of what constitutes elder abuse, as well as the fact that Pennsylvania's population is becoming more and more composed of elderly citizens (which is currently 14% of Dauphin County's population).  For these reasons, many feel that elder abuse will continue to become more common in the coming years. Unfortunately, many elder abuse cases involve people that the victim personally knows, such as family members. 

Elder abuse can come in many forms, not just physical abuse.  Other, equally as damaging forms, of elder abuse can occur in settings such as nursing homes or hospitals.  Mental and psychological abuse, as well as financial and sexual abuse occur all too often to the elderly population.  If you feel that a loved one has been a victim of elder abuse, please contact Attorney Doug Stoehr to set up a free consultation.  Attorney Stoehr has experience and knowledge pertaining to elder abuse legal claims, and will work hard to fight for the rights of your family or friend.

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