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Throwback Thursday: PA's Teen Drivers Are Safe!

It's Throwback Thursday here in our blog!  Take a minute to read one of our most highly viewed and shared blog posts from several years ago.  On happy note, it's celebrating how safe our state's teen drivers are! Read the original post below:
Teen drivers in Pennsylvania seem to be driving more safely in recent years, according to the Radnor Patch and AAA.com.  AAA, Mid-Atlantic region, recently reported that the driving deaths of early teenage drivers has decrease in Pennsylvania.  This is opposite of the national trend, which saw an increase of 19% in early teenage driving deaths.
Taking data from the first half of 2012, six teenage drivers between the ages of 16-17 died in automobile accidents.  This is a decrease of 4 from the same six months of 2011.  Nationally, the death toll in this age range between the first six months of 2011 to 2012 increased from 202 to 240.
Some AAA representatives feel that the decreased driving deaths for Pennsylvania teens is due to the recent legislation that tightened up teenage driving rules in PA.  It is also important to recognize the parent's role in keeping teenage drivers safe as well. Teaching teens proper road safety and etiquette is the first step to avoiding a potentially fatal accident.  
Others are concerned that the improving economy will lead more teens to travel longer distances in cars, either for work or pleasure, which could potentially lead to more automobile accidents.  Either way, at the moment, Pennsylvania teens are proving to the state that they can be safe and responsible on the road.
For more information about automobile accidents and their related personal injury claims, please visit Altoona area personal injury lawyer Doug Stoehr's website at http://www.stoehrlaw.com. You can also call his law firm at 814-946-4100.

Your Brain After A Car Accident

Do you know about how traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) occur?  How common are they in car accident victims? Today we will be covering how TBI's occur and debunk some myths about TBIs.  
First and foremost when it comes to car accidents and TBIs, According to Dr. Glen Johnson, a clinical neuropsychologist, "It is important to note that you do not have to be traveling at a high rate of speed to get a head injury. Nor do you have to hit your head on an object (steering wheel, windshield) to injure the brain. Even at moderate rates of speed, traumatic brain injuries can and do occur."
 In the case of TBI due to a motor vehicle accident, I think it is a common misperception that brain injuries can only occur if you physically hit your head on a part of the car and/or that you must be traveling at a high rate of speed to do any significant damage.  Neither one of these things is true; in fact, you can be traveling at a relatively low rate of speed and still significantly damage your brain if you are hit by another car.  To put this in perspective:  if you are a passenger or driver in a car, going 25 miles an hour, and another car hits you from behind and your body propels forward, the impact from that accident may have a significant effect on your brain.  The brain would propel forward into your skull, going from your previous rate of speed, 25mph, to 0mph in a matter of seconds.  That impact may significantly damage some of the soft tissue of your brain, leading to lasting problems.  Additionally, in this situation, the head did not hit any other part of the car, such as a window or dashboard.
 Keeping these things in mind, it is important to monitor your cognitive abilities after being in a car crash.  Look for your ability to remember events, procedures and people, as well as pain and stiffness of the neck and back.  Additionally, monitor frequency and intensity of any headaches, as well as problems with your 5 senses (hearing, touch, taste, smell, and sight).  A persistent or worsening problem in any of these areas may indicate the presence of possible brain trauma and should be look at by a physician.
 Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer practicing in western and central Pennsylvania.  He has successfully litigated cases involving motor vehicle accidents as well as cases involving serious brain injuries. For more information on him and or to schedule your free initial consultation, please call his firm at 814-946-4100.

Social Media is Fair Game in Legal Cases

In recent years, legal guidelines have not been updated to reflect the changes made in technology, such as social media sites.  Social media sites include popular websites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, and Google+.  Social media sites, in addition to being a way to keep in contact with friends and family, are also a way for lawyers to gather information about personal injury claims.
For those people who are pursuing a personal injury claim, it is becoming increasingly common for the defense to request the plaintiff's social media usernames and passwords.  Even if the plaintiff refuses, a court order might force them to turn over their log-in information.  With this knowledge, the defense can access your pictures, posts, friend activity, etc. to compile information about you that might be used in court.  This may range from social habits, physical activity, and any travel the plaintiff might have done.  Although this might not seem relevant, the information gathered may be used to argue that a person is more physically able than they let on (such as in the case of a personal injury claim) or that they might not be reliable (such as evidence of heavy drinking habits or illegal drug use).  For this reason, along with many others, it is important to monitor your Facebook profile and really think before you post anything.   Although you might have your privacy settings activated, they are not as effective as you might think and does not give you license to post anything you wish.  Additionally, if you are not really injured or not as extensively injured as you let on, you should not be pursuing a personal injury claim in that line.  A good rule of thumb is to remember that everything you post online could potentially be public information, so monitor your internet usage accordingly.
Information from Facebook and other social media sites is becoming increasingly popular to use in the "discovery" aspect of personal injury litigation.  In recent years, several cases involving personal injury claims and social media have set the precedent for the admittance of social media into the courtroom for years to come.  One of these cases involved an employee of Weis Supermarkets suing the company because he claimed to have suffered an injury to his knee while working.  Although he did require surgery to correct his knee, he claimed that he could not participate in physical activity and never wore shorts because he was embarrassed by his surgical scar.  Discovery material provided from Facebook resulted in pictures of the employee engaging in intense physical activity, as well as wearing shorts that plainly showed his surgical scar.  Because the bulk of his case rested upon his inability to take part in the physical activities he had previously enjoyed, his case did not have much merit once the Facebook pictures were admitted as evidence.
This is just one of may cases in which social media had a negative impact on a client's personal injury claim.  If you are pursuing a personal injury claim, you should be careful about what you choose to post on social media sites.  Even if you are significantly injured, defense attorneys might try to twist what you write or update to compile a case against you. One picture, taken out of context, may cost you a significant amount of money in a personal injury case. 
Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer serving western and central Pennsylvania. For more information on his firm or to schedule a free initial consultation, please call his firm at 814-946-4100.

DMV.Org Provides Information For Post-Accident Help

Do you know the steps to take when you are involved in a motor vehicle accident?  Maybe you or a friend or family member was recently a part of a car accident and has questions about what will happen next.  Anticipating this need, the Pennsylvania Department of Motor Vehicles has information in DMV.org that  walks you through the steps to take in an accident.  Of course, getting the other party's information is critical, as well as notifying any emergency and first responders of the accident.  

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 serious injury, immediately seek help from a qualified physician who can diagnose you and develop a comprehensive treatment plan.  In the case of a traumatic brain injury or spinal injury, the effects may not show up until days or weeks later.
 Additionally, 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.  He also takes cases in the surrounding counties, including Bedford, Huntingdon, Clearfield,  Cambria, Mifflin, Jefferson, Somerset, and Fulton.  His law office can be reached by calling his firm at 814-946-4100.
To visit the DMV website, please click here

Car Crashes Are Often Associated With Chronic Pain

If you or someone you know has ever been in a car crash, the idea that chronic pain often follows seems like common sense.  However, it may be startling to hear that crash victims have over an 84% increased risk of experiencing chronic pain.  This is one of the many new aspects of a research study going on in University of Aberdeen School of Medicine, Scotland.  Researchers from the university have been studying chronic pain as it relates to accidents, such as motor vehicle, workplace injuries, fractured bones, surgical operations, childbirth, and other miscellaneous hospitalizations.  By interviewing 241 participants three times over a period of four years, researchers found some interesting results.  In addition to the car crash statistic listed above, 1/3 of patients who were victims of any kind of trauma were more likely to experience a new onset of chronic pain.  There was no significant link between childbirth or surgery and chronic pain.  
These results are extremely important when it comes to making a legal claim after a traumatic event, such as an automobile accident or a slip and fall.  By gauging your pain over a period of months and years, it becomes apparent when pain has resulted from the accident and is now chronic pain, or whether it's due to the healing process.  Talking to a physician may aid in helping to sort out your type, frequency, and intensity of pain in order to best treat you.  Chronic pain is also a significant factor in legal practice and is often taken into consideration when filing a claim surrounding the traumatic event.
Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer serving western and central Pennsylvania, including Blair, Somerset, Huntingdon, and the surrounding counties.  For more information or to schedule your free car accident consultation, please contact his firm at 814-946-4100. 
To read more about the University of Aberdeen study, please click here

The Nitty Gritty of Spinal Stenosis

In case you weren't tuned in to our blog earlier this week, our law firm has been focusing on the medical condition called spinal stenosis, how it develops, and what your legal and medical options may be.  First of all, as a recap, spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal, which causes nerve pain that is often in the lower back.  It is much more common than you may think, and affects over 10% of our American population every year.  Some medical experts are even projecting that spinal stenosis may be diagnosed in almost 2.5 million people by 2021!  
As stated previously, spinal stenosis can be caused by a variety of things--aging, chronic use of a certain body motion (such as in professional athletes), and through accident or injury.  At our law firm, we handle cases for people who have spinal stenosis as a result of things like car, truck, motorcycle, and bike accidents as well as chronic back pain caused by situations such as slip-and-fall accidents.  Things like slipping and falling on an untreated, icy sidewalk, or through injuring your back and neck in a motor vehicle accident can lead to some serious and long-lasting spinal stenosis pain.  The pain may be bad enough to keep you from working, exercising, or even walking.   
Some people use the diagnostic tool of the "toothbrush test" as highlighted in our blog post earlier this week, and others state that if you feel nerve pain in your legs when you walk, you very may well have some degree of spinal stenosis.  This type of pain may lessen when you're sitting down, but the average person can't sit for 24 hours a day, making mobility and quality of life a huge issue.  The pain will NOT go away on its own, so it is imperative that you see a doctor if you start to develop these spinal stenosis symptoms.
If you think you're developing spinal stenosis and were recently injured, such as through a car accident or something like a slip-and-fall, you should consider consulting with an attorney.  Not only may your injury worsen over time, you may also be facing situations like time off of work, limited mobility, and potentially permanent pain.  If you don't consult with an attorney and see what your options are, you may be missing out on some choices that may considerably help you and your family in the future.  If you're located in the central PA area, such as Altoona, Tyrone, Martinsburg, Bedford, and other surrounding areas, Attorney Stoehr is an expert attorney who is skilled in handling these types of cases.  Give him a call at 814-946-4100 to schedule a meeting and discuss your potential legal claim!

 

Background information provided by CoastalPoint.com

The "Toothbrush Sign" And Pinpointing Spinal Stenosis

You may have been reading the sports section of your local paper recently and noticed that several athletes have been out of commission due to something called spinal stenosis.   Your doctor may have also brought up the diagnosis to you if you've recently complained of lower back pain.  So, what is spinal stenosis, anyway?

Basically, spinal stenosis is a medical condition where the spinal canal (where your spinal cord fits into your spinal column) is smaller than it should be.  This smaller canal causes your nerves to rub against each other and cause inflammation, followed by significant and often debilitating pain.  Doctors can sometimes diagnosis spinal stenosis through something called the "toothbrush sign", wherein patients complain of back pain when they brush their teeth in the morning.  It is a pretty unusual, but effective diagnostic tool!

Sometimes spinal stenosis is something you're born with, and other times it develops later on in life, such as through a chronic injury or work-related problem.   Others have developed spinal stenosis as a result of back surgery or injury, such as from a car accident.  Recently, New York Mets baseball player David Wright had to take off time from the game due to worsening pain from his spinal stenosis. 

If you think you're developing spinal stenosis and were recently injured, such as through a car accident or something like a slip-and-fall, you should consider consulting with an attorney.  Not only may your injury worsen over time, you may also be facing situations like time off of work, limited mobility, and potentially permanent pain.  If you don't consult with an attorney and see what your options are, you may be missing out on some choices that may considerably help you and your family in the future.  If you're located in the central PA area, such as Altoona, Tyrone, Martinsburg, Bedford, and other surrounding areas, Attorney Stoehr is an expert attorney who is skilled in handling these types of cases.  Give him a call at 814-946-4100 to schedule a meeting and discuss your potential legal claim!

Background information provided by this New York Daily news article

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