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These Numbers Are NO Good! Fatal Accidents Are On The Rise

Do you think that PA's drivers are getting safer as the years progress? So many laws have been put in place to protect drivers, passengers, and bikers from injury on our roads and highways that we must be safer drivers.  However, that is NOT the case.  Pennsylvania has seen a 7% increase in fatal motor vehicle accidents as compared to this time last year.  Although this is not as bad as the nationwide trend of a 14% increase, it is still alarming!  Over 500 people were killed in PA car accidents from January-June of this year.  In general, over half of our states reported increases in fatal accidents this year. 
According to an article from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, " Should the national trend continue at the same pace for the remainder of the year, total motor vehicle fatalities for 2015 could exceed 40,000 for the first time since 2007".  Additionally, " Motor vehicle injuries across the country for the first six months this year are estimated to be about 2.25 million, an increase of 30 percent from 2014".  These numbers are sobering and alarming, to say the least.  Some state officials are hypothesizing that this increase may be due in part to distracted driving.
If you were recently in a car accident due to the fault of another, it may 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. 

It's Throwback Thursday! How Does Chronic Pain Affect The Brain?

Once again, it's Throwback Thursday on our blog! We love to give you some of our most popular previous blog posts to review and learn some new information.  This week's post focuses on the important issues of chronic pain and mental fatigue.  Enjoy!
How does your brain work when you are suffering from chronic pain? As you may or may not know, chronic pain not only affects your physical body, it also has other secondary effects.  Most notably, sleep deprivation and psychological disorders (such as depression or anxiety) seem to be the most prevalent and debilitating side effects of chronic pain.  Many researchers are interested in this phenomenon, and took their studying a step further to examine how all of these relationships affect the brain.  
Specifically, scientists at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine studied these interactions and found that, in patients with chronic pain, the emotional center of the brain is in constant overdrive.  This, in turn, deactivates other parts of the brain and changes neural connections and wiring.  Constant overfiring of some neurons while little to no activation of other neurons could lead to permanent damage and changes in the brain.  For example, it may be harder for a patient with chronic pain to make rational decisions or make them more likely to suffer from mood disorders.  Implications of this study are to have physicians not only help chronic pain to manage their chronic pain, but also to help identify possible areas of cognitive dysfunction as a result of the pain and treat those areas as well.
 
Attorney Doug Stoehr is a lawyer located in Altoona, PA who has successfully negotiated claims for those who have chronic pain as the result of personal injury, such as a car accident, motorcycle accident, or slip-and-fall, just to name a few.  For more information on him and his firm, please call his office at 814-946-4100.

Are You STILL Participating in Distracted Driving? This Post May Change Your Mind

If you're still driving while using your phone, you may want to think again!  Pennsylvania law enforcement are noticing a significant increase in car accidents caused by incidences of distracted driving, such as texting and driving.  Policemen are aware of this trend and are on the lookout to catch people who are driving unsafely.  One such law enforcement officer that was interviewed in Erie, PA states that distracted driving is especially dangerous because it takes away from three separate aspects of driving--visual control, manual control, and mental focus.  To add to the problem, PA law states that you can dial a phone number and use it for voice communication while driving in our state, which is really unsafe as well! Nationally, over 1.6 million accidents were caused by distracted driving last year.  That number is simply outrageous and should not be a danger for traveling Americans on the road!

Additionally, did you know this fact? If you are involved in a car accident, Pennsylvania has at least one section on the incident report to address to distracted driving violations. Fines and charges may increase if you are cited with one of these violations. In addition to fines and charges for distracted driving, you also are putting yourself and others in serious danger.  
Attorney Stoehr represents those injured through no fault of their own, including automobile and pedestrian accidents. Call today for your free case evaluation 814-946-4100.

New App Can Monitor Gait of Spinal Stenosis Patients

We here at Stoehr Law take spinal stenosis pain very seriously.  As such, we try our best to keep our knowledge of spinal stenosis research and treatment as current as possible.  Recently, we discovered that there is a new medical app available for smart phones that can track the gait of spinal stenosis sufferers.  Gait, the way in which an individual walks, can sometimes be a sign of a serious medical condition.  In spinal stenosis patients, your gait can change due to pain in your legs and back and weakness in certain muscle groups. Most often, this compensatory walk is due to pain in the back due to arthritis or injury from something such as a car or motorcycle accident.  This gait is often maladaptive and can cause additional medical problems down the road.  
To read more about the new app and its corresponding scientific study, you are welcome to view an article from a Biotech website in Asia, where the research originated.  Overall, the study determined that this new app is a "more convenient and affordable method for long-term monitoring in an outpatient setting", meaning fewer medical visits and (hopefully) lower bills for many chronic patients.  
If you suspect that you have spinal stenosis and were recently injured, like in 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!

Throwback Thursday: Elder Abuse Nationwide

In our second week, it's Throwback Thursday on our blog!  Take some time to read one of our most popular blogs form several years ago.  It highlights the important issue of elder abuse on the national scale!  Please read the original article below:

Unknown to many, an organization known as the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), is a branch of the Administration on Aging.  The NCEA has compiled a wealth of information regarding elder abuse across the country and where our country seems to be headed on the topic in the future. Some of the most interesting results of their research can be found below.  I strongly urge you to check out their website at http://www.ncea.aoa.gov/Library/Data/index.aspx for more information and to read the entire compilation!
Here are some interesting pieces of data collected by the NCEA:
  • The 2010 US Census recorded both the greatest number and proportion of people 65+ years old in the entire census history.  This amounts to 40.3 million elderly residents.
  • By 2050, the population will most likely be 20% comprised of people aged 65 and older.
  • Data from the Adult Protective Services (APS) reports an increase in the number of reports of elder abuse in the past several years. They expect that this trend will continue.
  • Only about 1 in 14 cases of elder abuse come to the attention of authorities.  Some report this statistic to be as high as 1 in 24 cases. 
  • Financial exploitation is the highest self-reported form of elder abuse.  
  • The majority of those who engage in elder abuse are family members, at a percentage of about 90% of all reported elder abuse cases. 
  • The proportion of abuse of the elderly with disabilities is particularly high, as well as those with dementia and those who live in nursing homes or long-term assisted living facilities.
Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer serving western and central Pennsylvania.  He takes cases for older Pennsylvanians who have been abused or neglected.  For more information on his Altoona, PA area practice, please call his office at 814-946-4100 or visit his website at http://www.stoehrlaw.com.  Attorney Stoehr takes cases in Blair and the seven surrounding counties.


Motorcycle Accident In Pittsburgh Sends Two To Hospital

Recently, two people were transported to a Pittsburgh-area hospital as a result of a motorcycle/car collision.  The impact was so significant that the motorcycle was found 30 feet from the original site of the accident.  Both the motorcycle driver and the motorcycle passenger were taken to a UMPC hospital to treat their leg injuries.  We wish them a safe and speedy recovery!
Unfortunately, not only do cars frequently hit motorcycles, but tour bus and commercial truck drivers are a significant cause of accidents as well, especially on our state's highways. Often, these commercial drivers are fatigued and are driving above the mandated allotment of hours. Additionally, many of them are driving large vehicles that are not up to federal and state safety standards. As a result, other vehicles and motorcycle riders often bear the brunt of their illegal activity and are often seriously injured or die from a collision with the tour bus or commercial truck. 
In addition, wearing a helmet is a common safety procedure that this law office feels should be followed at all times to protect yourself, whether you are on a bicycle or a motorcycle. However, we recognize that, at this time, mandatory helmet laws for those over 21 are not yet in effect in all areas of the country. We also strongly feel that motorcyclists, cars, and bicyclists should share the road in a responsible and respectful manner. If you are a motorcyclist who has been wrongfully injured in a motor vehicle accident and may suffer from a spinal cord, brain, or other serious injury, please contact our law office at 814-946-4100 for a consultation at no cost to you.
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