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Winter Sports Injuries

Being from Western Pennsylvania, it's hard not to enjoy the fall, but with the changing of the seasons we know that winter is now upon us.  For many of us, this winter will include a trip to one of the three ski resorts that serve our area.  Ski resorts can be a great place to cut loose with family and friends, but unfortunately sometimes those fun times end prematurely when you or a family member is injured.  At the law firm of Attorney Douglas V.Stoehr, we have experience in handling injuries related to skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing accidents.  Sometimes these injuries can be very serious and life-altering.  If you have been injured in a winter sport activity please contact us to discuss the possibility of a personal injury claim. 

The most common causes of skiing and snowboarding injuries include:

  • Collisions with other skiers or snowboarders
  • Falls or collision with objects such as trees, fences, barriers or signs
  • Chair lift or tow line accidents
  • Accidents due to inadequate instruction from a skiing or snowboarding instructor,
  • Accidents due to skiing or snowboarding equipment failure. 

Your personal injury lawsuit will be based on the legal theory of negligence, and can be quite complex.  Furthermore, there is a Pennsylvania Statute that generally affords a defense to these types of claims.  Therefore, if you get hurt a ski resort, contact us.  We will investigate the facts and analyze the law, and will give you an opinion as to whether you have a claim.  Contact Attorney Stoehr at (814) 946-4100 for more information! 

What Is Adhesion Pain?

Have you heard of adhesion pain before? Chances are that you have not heard of this medical term unless you or a loved one has had very extensive or invasive medical treatments.  However, adhesion pain is a very real and painful medical problem.  So what is the condition, anyway?  Adhesion pain can best be described as "pain resulting from internal scar tissue that fuses together, most often in the abdominal region."  

Curious and want to learn more? Here are some fast facts about adhesion pain (resources from Pain Pathways magazine):

  • Adhesion scars can come not only from surgical procedures, but from injuries that do not require invasive surgery, such as getting hit in the stomach or being in a car accident.  
  • Adhesion scars can result in a serious medical complications, including chronic abdominal pain, fusion of internal organs, obstruction of the bowels, and infertility.
  • Adhesion scars don't not appear on medical scans, such as CAT, PET, or x-rays.  So, that means that they can sometimes be tricky to diagnose!
  • Treatment normally involves attending to the symptoms, and not the actual adhesion scar.  Although surgery is available to cut adhesion tissue, it may actually lead to more scar tissue and potentially worsen the problem. 
  • As a result of the recognition and diagnosis of adhesion scar pain, some foundations and support networks have been formed around the country for those suffering from adhesion scar pain.

The formation of adhesion scar tissue can occur after a wide variety of accidents and injuries, such as car accidents.  It is very important to monitor your pain and consult with a knowledgeable physician if you suspect that you may have a case of adhesion scar pain, especially if it leads to bowel obstruction or other painful disorders.  If you experience adhesion pain as the result of a car accident, it may be time to consult with an attorney.  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 his law firm at 814-946-4100. 

Being Aware Of Motorcycle "Trauma Season"

Recently, an article from Vanderbilt University highlighted the heightened dangers that motorcyclists face during the spring months.  According to the article, surgeons at Vanderbilt's medical center have noticed that there is a large increase in motorcycle accidents when the weather gets better.  Experts have coined the term "trauma season" from April through September and, at Vanderbilt, they typically see a 50% increase in patients injured by major trauma during this time period.  This year, the increase in trauma came early in proportion to the early onset of warmer weather.  

In an effort to avoid serious injuries, motorcyclists need to their part, too.  Motorcyclists and ATV riders should be especially careful to wear proper protective gear to avoid head injuries as a result of a traumatic brain injury.  According to the article's statistics, "motorcycle helmets reduce the risk of death by 37 percent, reduce the risk of traumatic brain injury by 65 percent, and save the U.S. approximately $3 billion each year in health care and societal costs." Vehicle drivers also need to be aware of motorcyclists on the road and be kind, careful, and alert drivers. 

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. 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.

To read the original article, please follow this link: 
http://news.vanderbilt.edu/2015/03/vanderbilt-trauma-surgeons-see-increase-in-motorcycle-crashes-with-springtime-weather-urge-proper-helmet-use/

Springtime Biking Hazards

Recently, there was a bicycle/car collision in Wilkinsburg, PA that resulted in the death of the bicyclist. The victim, who was hit on Ardmore Boulevard, died from trauma to his head and neck. Alcohol was not suspected on either the part of the bicyclist or the car driver, who stopped and cooperated with the police. To read more about the case, please click here.

http://www.wtae.com/news/bicycist-hit-along-ardmore-boulevard/37633192

Even in the winter, many people gravitate outside to run, bike, walk, and spend time with their families. Although this can provide an excellent outlet for fun and recreation, it can also lead to potential bicycle and pedestrian accidents. When driving this winter, be alert for pedestrians and bicyclists on the road, especially small children that may not be easily seen. By being alert and considerate and sharing the road, you will avoid serious injuries and complications to those around you. If you plan to bike or run outside, wear bright colors and make sure that you give appropriate and clear turning signals with your arms so that drivers know when and where you intend to turn.

Attorney Douglas V. Stoehr works with clients who have been injured in pedestrian and bicycle accidents. If you would like a consultation regarding your personal injury, please contact our law office 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.

Pool Slide Leads to Lasting Injuries

Companies often create products, such as cooking tools, toys, and medical devices that are later recalled due to resulting safety hazards associated with using that product.  Unfortunately, before these products are recalled, serious injury or death of multiple consumers often occurs. We often hear about these recalls through the nightly news or via e-mail alerts, but sometimes it is too late.
Recently, a young mother died in a pool accident relating to using a inflatable pool slide that was later recalled.  According to an online news report by Care2.com,  a young woman died after breaking her neck going down a Banzai brand inflatable water slide which had been placed over the concrete edge of a pool. Since the slide had partially deflated, the woman hit her head at the bottom of the slide and later died. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommended a recall of over 20,000 of the slides, because "during use, the slide can deflate, allowing the user to hit the ground underneath the slide and become injured. The slide is also unstable and can topple over in both still and windy conditions and carries inadequate warnings and instructions."  The slide was sold most commonly in Toys-R-Us and Walmart stores. Similar reports of injury due to this slide deflating also came from users in Pennsylvania and Missouri, whose accidents resulted in quadriplegia and a broken neck, respectively. 
Serious brain and spinal cord injuries are devastating and life-changing.  If you have been injured due to the fault of another and now have long-lasting spinal cord or brain damage, it may be time to consult with an attorney.  Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer practicing in western and central Pennsylvania. For more information on his firm, please call his office at 814-946-4100.

Ice Fishing, Snowmobiling are Potentially Hazardous Activities in PA

It is incredibly important to stay safe and out of danger when walking, driving, and participating in outdoor activities during the winter.  This warning takes even greater meaning if you participate in common recreational activities in our area such as skiing, snowmobiling, snowboarding, and ice fishing.  Unfortunately, there has been a recent ice fishing accident in western Pennsylvania that has brought another cautionary tale to life.  According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's report on the accident, a 56-year-old man died recently when he fell through the ice on Keystone Lake.  The victim had been drilling a series of holes in the ice on the lake when he accidentally fell through.  Other fishermen in the area grew alarmed when they saw his holes, drill, and gear, but not the man himself.  Emergency services arrived and found the victim dead at the scene. 

 Unfortunately, winter accidents, such as from ice fishing, skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling, are not as rare as some would like to think.  Most notably, snowmobile accidents account for a large amount of winter-related accidents and deaths. It is important to remember that snowmobile accidents affect not only the victim, but can drastically and permanently change the lives of the loved ones in their lives. Please use proper safety precautions when driving a snowmobile and/or participating in other winter activities to do your best to avoid accidents and injury.  

 Off-road vehicles, such as snowmobiles and ATVs, 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. 

Mayo Clinic Weighs In On ATV Use

Do you think that all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are safe for kids to operate and ride on? Many people think that it might be worth a second look to examine how Americans allow their children to use these vehicles.  The Mayo Clinic is now weighing in on ATV use, and you can view the article by clicking here!

ATV use can be extremely dangerous in certain situations.  Children appear to be the most susceptible, and account for a large portion of ATV injuries and deaths.  Children under the age of 12 may be especially at risk for harm. Please exercise caution when riding your ATV, wear a helmet, and remain at a safe speed.  Also, do not ride your ATV when the weather or trail conditions suggest a heightened risk for injury.

ATVs, dirt bikes, and other off-road vehicles are a leading cause of serious injury among Pennsylvanians, especially among our state's youth.   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 visit his website at http://www.stoehrlaw.com or call his law firm at 814-946-4100.

Your Cognition Suffers When You Have Chronic Pain

As stated in a recent Huffington Post article, patients who suffer from chronic pain also often have experiences with other cognitively-based problems like memory and attention difficulties.  According to the article, which can be found by clicking this link, "A study conducted by Nadine Attal and her team suggests that those who have problems with their brain's ability in attention, memory or other executive functions may have more issues with chronic pain after surgeries."  The results of this study are interesting because they suggest that, not only does your brain respond differently as a result of dealing with chronic pain, but you may respond differently to dealing with chronic pain as a result of your brain's cognitive makeup. 

It is very important to monitor your pain and consult with a knowledgeable physician if you suspect that you may have a case of chronic pain.  Many chronic pain sufferers initially develop pain after the occurrence of a serious accident or injury.  Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer located in Altoona, PA and serves the central and western Pennsylvania area. He takes cases for chronic pain patients who are suffering from their condition due to the fault of another. For more information on him and his firm, please call his office at 814-946-4100.

20% Of Americans Suffer From Chronic Pain

A leading psychological news source, PsychCentral.net, recently posted an article about the prevalence of chronic pain.  According to their research, about 1 in 5 Americans suffer from daily pain that has spanned 3 or more months.  Across the US, these numbers equate to almost 40 million Americans.  Women appear to be at a higher risk for chronic pain than men, and minorities appear less likely to report incidences of chronic pain.  For more on the article and its research, please click here

It is very important to monitor your pain and consult with a knowledgeable physician if you suspect that you may have a case of chronic pain.   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 click here.

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