Friday, September 30, 2011

Managing Bills For Chronic Pain

For sufferers of chronic pain, the medical expenses often add up and can become overwhelming very fast.  A recent article by the New York Times offered some tips and tricks for effectively managing healthcare bills related to chronic pain expenses.  One of the most important tips the NYT offered was to find a knowledgeable primary care physician that can take care of you on a more personal level.  They may be able to administer tests and perform procedures in their office, avoiding costly specialist visits and the possibility of duplicate tests.  Additionally, the article recommends finding affordable mental health services, since people with chronic pain are much more likely to suffer from mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety.  Although your health insurance may not cover psychological visits, you might be able to find some community resources or self-management resources.

One of the most important and least expensive ways to keep medical costs down for chronic pain is to exercise.  After consulting with a doctor, it could be very helpful to do stretching or light cardiovasular excerises.  Your insurance company may also pay for a small number of physical or occupational therapy visits, which may be enough sessions to allow you to learn the exercises and techniques you need to master in order to stay fit and regain some health back.  Also, it is important to find a doctor who can effectively manage your pain medications to keep your costs down while still regulating your pain relief effectively as much as you can.

Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer located in Altoona, PA.  For more information on him and his firm, please click here.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Is Chronic Pain Genetic?

Those suffering from chronic pain can often name others in their family who suffer from the same or similar type of chronic pain.  Researchersat The University of Utah have investigated this phenomenon.  In a large-scale study analyzing data regarding chronic back pain, taken from over one million Utah citizens, the researchers discovered some interesting results.  Chronic back pain does indeed seem to be related, or exacerbated by, genetic factors.  If someone in your immediate family (parents or siblings) has chronic back pain, you are over four times more likely to experience chronic pain as a result of a back injury.  Additionally, having a second-degree relative (aunts, uncles, or grandparents) or third-degree relatives (cousins) that also suffer from chronic back pain will increase your likelihood of suffering from chronic back pain as well.  All of these differences were found after environmental factors, such as smoking, exercise, and career choice (manual labor versus desk job, for instance) were taken into consideration.  It is important to note that this study only focused on chronic back pain as a result of a degenerating or herniated disc; however, this leads the door open for other scientists to research the relationship between other forms of chronic pain and familial likelihood of contracting the same pain problems. 

Chronic pain, especially back pain, is common after a wide variety of accidents and injuries, such as car accidents or slip and fall 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 chronic pain. 

Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer located in Altoona, PA.  For more information on him and his firm, please click here.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Teen Driving Bill Moves On To Governor

New drivers and teenage drivers in Pennsylvania are seeing many new changes come into effect after the passing of a House bill today.  State representatives voted in the House this week to approve many changes to Pennsylvania's driving laws as they apply to teenage and new drivers.  Some of the major changes that will take effect once Governor Corbett signs the bill into law (which he states that he intends to do)  are:

-For the first six months after a new driver receives their license, they are not allowed to carry more than one passenger in the car if a parent is not present.  After the driver has been accident-free for six months, the passenger limit increases to three passengers.
-For drivers and passengers under the age of 18, failure to wear a seatbelt will be made a primary offense.  This means that a police officer can pull over a teen driver for not wearing their seatbelt, even if they are obeying all other traffic laws.
-The number of driving experience hours to receive a permit will be 65, which is a significant increase of the previous amount (50 hours).  10 of those hours must be night driving, and 5 hours should be in inclement weather conditions.

Inexperienced driving is a major component in many motor vehicle accidents. Teenage drivers are arguably the most likely group to cause a car accident, due to a lack of experience, a tendency to talk on their cell phones and text while driving, and distractibility by other friends in their vehicle. Our law office hopes that these changes in driving laws will lead to a decrease in accidents and will result in more responsible and experienced teenage drivers. 

Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury attorney serving western and central Pennsylvania.  Please contact our office if you would like more information about a potential claim. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

PA Department of Aging Recognizes Fall Prevention Day

The Pennsylvania Department of Aging, as well as the Pennsylvania Department of Health, officially recognized yesterday, the first official day of fall, as Fall Prevention Awareness Day.  43 other states observed this day as well.  Accidental falls are a major source of medical care and early nursing home admittance for Pennsylvania's elderly population.  It is estimated that, across the United States, fall-related deaths claim about 18,000 people every year.  Hospital bills and medical costs also associated to fall-related accidents amount to about $2B per year. Pennsylvania is an aggressive proponent of preventative safety measures targeted at the elderly population, since the state has such a large percentage of aging residents.  Currently, PA has over 2.4 million residents over the age of 60.  It is also estimated that every 11 minutes, an elderly Pennsylvania resident is hospitalized from a fall injury, and every week, approximately 20 PA residents die from a fall-related injury. 

Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer serving clients in western and central Pennsylvania.  He is experience with claims involving older Pennsylvanians, most often in regard to nursing home abuse and negligence, hospital negligence, and slip and fall injuries.  For more information on Attorney Stoehr and his law firm, please click here.

Monday, September 26, 2011

MacArthur Genius Grant Goes to Elder Abuse Prevention Advocate

Every year, the MacArthur Genius grant is awarded to a few American citizens who are working to better the world in the areas of U.S. programs (such as community and economic development), and media, programs, and special initiatives.  This year, one of the winners of the grant is Maria-Therese Connelly--a lawyer who worked in D.C. for the Department of Justice and now spends her time working to raise awareness about elder abuse.  One of her most harrowing cases involved a mother and son, in which the son literally allowed his mother to spend her final days confined to bed, covered in severe bed sores and her own waste.

Connelly has been trying for years to make elder abuse a prominent social justice issue in America through writing, lecturing, and even testifying before Congress.  As a result, the MacArthur Foundation is giving her a $500,000 grant in which she may continue her good work.  During her time at the Department of Justice in the Clinton administration, Connelly was put in charge of a new initiative to fight elder abuse, called the Elder Justice and Nursing Home Initiative.  She was also part of the creation of the Elder Justice Act in 2007, the first of its kind in national history. Since that time, she has started an organization called "Life Long Justice" which works to fight elder abuse, and is in the process of writing a book on the same subject.

Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer serving western and central Pennsylvania.  He has litigated several claims involving elder abuse. For more on his career and firm, please click here.

Friday, September 23, 2011

New Steps in Research for Spinal Cord Damage/Neuropathic Pain

Scientists in San Diego, working for the University of California, have been researching nerve regeneration and nerve repair after significant injury.  Through their studies of over two years and looking at 654 genes, they have discovered over 70 genes that play a role in nerve regeneration after injury.  Surprisingly, little is known about how adults grow and regenerate damaged nerves, although much is known about how embryos perform the same biological tasks, leading the field of scientific inquiry wide-open for new discoveries and strides in the field.

Interestingly, the scientists working on this project also discovered six genes that seem to work to repress nerve growth and regeneration, which also serves an important biological function.  Many of the genes that the researchers identified as being important for nerve regeneration also play a role in other neurological processes, such as creating and sending neurotransmitters (such as dopamine and seratonin, which regulate emotions).   This new discovery can lead to great strides in research regarding recovery after spinal cord injuries, strokes, paralysis, and neuropathic pain.  It may also serve to inform scientists as to how depression is linked to a prolonged injury and/or chronic pain, due to the role of the neurotransmitting genes.

Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer serving western and central Pennsylvania.  For more on his career and firm, please click here.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Car Crashes 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.  For more on his career and firm, please click here.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Common Chronic Pain Disorders

Chronic pain, the theme of this blog for the past week, is often a blanket diagnosis used to explain pain that persists consistently over a period longer than 3-6 months.  However, chronic pain can result from many different disorders and injuries.  Below please find the more common disorders associated with chronic pain, courtesy of Unfortunately, many of these problems come from common accidents, such as motor vehicle accidents or slip and falls.

Chronic pain can frequently come along with a back injury.  The major back injuries that can lead to chronic pain are slipped/bulging discs, spinal stenosis, compression fractures, soft tissue damage, traumatic fractures (such as from accident or crash injuries), or diseases like lordosis and scoliosis.  Additionally, headaches (such as migraines and cluster headaches) and joint pain (rheumatoid arthritis, repetitive strain injury, and osteoarthritis) are also major sources of chronic pain.

As mentioned in my blog post earlier this week, a subset of chronic pain is neuropathic pain.  This type of pain involves problems with nerve endings, not musculoskeletal problems.  Common sources of neuropathic chronic pain are sciatica, bulging/slipped discs (leading to nerve compression in the spinal cord and the immediate surrounding area), diabetic neuropathy, and carpal tunnel.  Unfortunately, not a lot is known about neuropathic pain and effective treatments are still being researched and developed.

Chronic pain can take many forms, but the important thing to remember is that this pain should not be ignored or underestimated.  If not properly treated by a trained physician, it most likely will remain the same or worsen over time. 

Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer serving western and central Pennsylvania.  For more on his career and firm, please click here.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pain Assessment Can Be Measured By Brain Waves

At Stanford University School of Medicine in California, researchers are working to overcome one of the first major hurdles in effectively treating patients with pain problems--properly diagnosing pain levels.  Traditionally, physicians have relied on self-report from patients as to the severity of the pain they are experiencing, and this self-report leads to large variations in frequency, intensity, and duration of pain between patients.  Stanford scientists are working to find a more objective way to measure pain by a new technique that would measure brain activity. This new program would take a scan of the brain using MRI imaging techniques to accurately gauge patient pain over 80% of the time.  The largest challenging to the develop of this tool is to be able to distinguish between different types of pain (acute, chronic, neuropathic) and to distinguish pain from mood disorders, such as depression or anxiety.  As of the present time, physicians still rely on patient self-report as the primary method of pain analysis and assessment, but perhaps in the future this may coincide with a brain scan for pain as well.

Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer serving western and central Pennsylvania.  For more on his career and firm, please click here.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Differentiating Between Types of Pain

Often, when a client comes into a legal firm to pursue a claim, they complain of pain as a result of an injury--such an auto accident or a slip and fall.  Initially, it may be difficult to tell whether the pain a client is suffering from will last, which is why so many people tend to wait a long time after an accident to start a claim for their personal injury. In this blog post, the three major types of pain will be discussed, along with differences between them.

The first major  type of pain is acute pain.  This pain traditionally lasts less than 3-6 months and is directly related to the area of tissue damaged--the faster the tissue heals, the faster the pain goes away.  Some good examples of this are burns, needle pricks, and bruising.  In this case, the medical focus is on healing the underlying cause of the pain, not the pain itself. 

The second major type of pain is chronic pain.  In this instance, pain is the primary medical diagnosis and is the main problem being treated, not another injury causing the pain.  Chronic pain is pain that persists over 3-6 months, even after other bodily injuries originally associated with the pain have healed.  In this situation, it seems that the body has created a new pain pathway.  Much less is understood about chronic pain than acute pain.

The third and final major type of pain is neuropathic pain.  A relatively new medically recognized type of pain, neuropathic pain seems to result from injury to the nerves that regulate pain, not an injury to the musculoskeletal system.  This type of pain could be mistaken for chronic pain, except that it tends to be much sharper, stabbing, lightning-like pain that is often found in the periphery of the body. 

Chronic pain is a disease and should be treated as such.  Historically, if doctors felt that there was no underlying cause for pain, then the pain must have been made up in the patient's head.  However, physicians are moving away form that idea and are now treating chronic pain as a primary diagnosis on its own.  Chronic pain is still not that well understood, and it may take a different combination of treatments and medications for effective pain management to be established.  As this is a relatively new field of study, there is much research going on in the field and doctors hope to find more effective and reliable treatments in the near future.

Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer serving western and central Pennsylvania.  For more on his career and firm, please click here.

Friday, September 16, 2011

New Genetic Markers for Controlling Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is a serious and life-altering problem that millions of people across the world deal with every day.  With all the advances in our medical research and technology, scientists are still determining the causes of chronic pain, how to effectively treat it, and how to prevent it from happening to others in the future.  Very recently, a Canadian news article focused on the discovery of a gene that acts to regulate chronic pain.  Through scientific studies with laboratory mice, researchers have discovered the role of the HCN2 gene, a genetic marker that was commonly known to be somehow involved with pain sensation.  By removing the HCN2 gene in mice, Cambridge University scientists in the United Kingdom monitored how the mice respond to pain.  When the gene was deleted, the mice did not suffer from neuropathic pain--the type of pain associated with chronic pain, often linked to nerve damage.  Furthermore, deleting the HCN2 gene did not have an affect on acute pain (such as when you accidentally burn yourself or stub your toe).

Scientists hope that these new pieces of information involving the separation of neuropathic and acute pain may lead to new drugs that will block only neuropathic pain at the HCN2 gene marker.  This may prove to be a more effective and less damaging and addicting pain management program than the ones currently in place for those dealing with chronic pain.

This blog post is courtesy of Douglas V. Stoehr, Attorney at Law.  Attorney Stoehr a personal injury lawyer serving western and central Pennsylvania. For more information on him and his firm, please click here.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Allegheny County Nursing Homes See Outbreak of Disease

Nursing homes, unfortunately, are places where disease can be easily spread if the proper precautions and safety measures are not in place.  Several Allegheny County, PA nursing homes in close promixity to each other are experiencing outbreaks of Legionnaire's Disease in the past several days.  Legionnaire's disease is a form of pneumonia caused by the Legionella bacteria, which thrive and grow in warm water supplies.  Symptoms of this disease occur 2-14 days after exposure, and most commonly consist of complaints of fever, chills, cough, muscle aches, and headaches.  Older people are mores susceptible to this disease, which has a mortality rate of between 5-30%.  For the Allegheny County nursing homes, local health officials believe that the cause of the outbreaks may be linked to a new water system that was installed to prevent residents from scalding from hot water.  Water from the facilitates has tested positive for the Legionella bacteria, and all residents are now using bottled water until the problem can be resolved. 

Private nursing homes vary greatly in the care they give to their patients, from exceptionally good to unreasonably bad.  In some cases, nursing home staff may even abuse their patients sexually, physically, mentally, and financially.  Attorney Doug Stoehr has litigated many claims involving nursing home abuse and negligence in the western and central Pennsylvania area.  If you suspect that a loved one may not be receiving proper care in a nursing home setting, it is worthwhile to look into the matter and, when necessary, consult with an attorney about a possible claim. For more information about Attorney Stoehr's law firm, please click here.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Semi-Truck Drivers Using Cell Phones on the Job

Cell phone use while driving is irresponsible, reckless, and a threat to the safety of the driver, their passengers, and other vehicles on the road.  Most drivers recognize these facts, however, many still choose to ignore safety laws and continue to text and talk on their cell phone while on the road.  Drivers of cars are not the only people who are guilty of not obeying the safety laws; semi-truck drivers have also been caught using their cell phones while driving.  As startling as this phenomenon seems, it is not uncommon on the highways.  As a result of this and in response to a recent semi-truck accident that was supposedly caused by a truck driver on his cell phone, the National Transportation Safety Board hasrecommended banning the use of cell phones for truckers nationwide (except foremergency purposes).   The recent accident, cited by the NTSB as a possible reason for cell phone bans for truckers, involved a truck driver who was talking on his phone while driving and caused an accident that killed 11 people.  Directly before the accident, the driver made a call and crossed a median on an interstate, crashing into a van carrying twelve people that were coming home from a wedding.

Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer serving the western and central Pennsylvania area.  One of his major areas of practice is injury or death due to motor vehicle accidents.  He has noticed a trend of accidents involving cell phone usage, either talking or texting, and urges you not to use your phone while driving and be wary of other drivers on the road who may be using their phones.  For more information on his law firm, please click here.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Financial Elder Abuse Costs $3B Annually

Elder abuse is an increasingly common problem affecting the millions of aging Americans across the country.  Although elder abuse is often thought of in terms of physical abuse, in additional to mental and sexual abuse, there are many other ways that people take advantage of the elderly.  One of these major other ways is through financial abuse.  It is very easy for caretakers, family members, friends, or strangers to manipulate an elderly person's bank account, take out large sums of money, or use credit cards in the elderly person's name.  A recent report by MetLife, Inc. estimated that over $2.9 billion dollars are being taken from the elderly without their knowledge every year.  This is up 12% from a similiar study from 2008.  The most alarmingly part of these statistics is that 4 out of 5 financial abuse cases go unreported, so these numbers reflect an inaccurately low representation of the situation. 

It was estimated that, in half of these cases, strangers were the ones taking advantage of the elderly party.  Some people have made a living by staking out cars with handicap stickers, canes, or a look of confusion on the face of the older person and then take their money or try to befriend the person.  35% of the remaining cases came from parties the elderly person knew, such as neighbors, family, or friends, and the remaining 12-15% came from businesses.  Additionally, women were twice as likely as men to be the victim of financial abuse.  It is not quite sure why there is such a large difference between genders, but some propose that it may be because women are living longer than men.

Attorney Doug Stoehr has handled cases involving elder abuse in both nursing homes and hospitals. For more information on Attorney Stoehr's law firm, please click here.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Spinal Cord Injuries--Statistics and Causes

Spinal cord, brain, and other serious injuries are frightening, life changing, and complicated to live with and treat.  A recent press release by the Shriners Hospital for Children offered up a few surprising and eye-opening statistics related to the prevalence and common causes of spinal cord injuries.  Their list included the following statistics:

-At least 30, if not more, American citizens every day are victims of a spinal cord injury that results in some form of paralysis
-There are over 12,000 new cases of spinal cord injury every year in the US
-About half of all spinal cord injuries occur higher up the spinal column (around the neck area), which affects the ability to breathe, as well as motor control and sensation in all four limbs
-Specifically for children, between 1,500 and 2,000 new spinal cord injuries are reported every year in the US
-Among the most commonly reported causes of spinal cord injuries, especially for children and teenagers, are motor vehicle accidents, diving accidents, trampolines, and falls.

Attorney Doug Stoehr knows how difficult it can be when you or a family member has suffered a debilitating spinal cord or brain injury.  His legal practice is focused solely on personal injury, including cases where severe spinal cord, brain, and other serious injuries have occurred.  He has successfully handled cases for clients involving motor vehicle accidents, premises liability, and falls; most recently, one of his cases involving severe brain injury settled for over $1.2 million dollars. For more information, please contact our office to set up a free consultation. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

Traumatic Brain Injury and Car Accidents

Yesterday, our blog posted an article about traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and the National Institute of Health’s initiative to start a $10M database for TBI research.  Stemming from that article, today we will be covering how TBI’s occur and debunk some myths about TBIs.  According to Dr. GlenJohnson, 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 travelling at a high rate of speed to do any significant damage.  Neither one of these things is true; in fact, you can be travelling 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 his firm, please click here.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

NIH Starts TBI Database

TBI, otherwise known as traumatic brain injury, is a serious medical condition that affects thousands of Americans every year.  The effects of this injury can last a lifetime and inhibit almost every aspect of a person’s life.  The National Institute of Health (NIH) has recognized this problem as well, and is working to compile at $10M digital database, the Federal Interagency Traumatic Brain Injury Research database (FITBIR),  for research and treatment of such problems.  Additionally, physicians will be able to share CAT scans, MRI scans, and other test results to better diagnose and treat the more specific brain injuries of their patients.  NIH estimates that, in peacetime, over 1.7 million Americans experience a TBI every year, leading to $60 billion in lost productivity and medical expenses.  NIH hopes that the creation of this database will lead to more effective and affordable patient care.

Traumatic brain injuries are perhaps the scariest and most complicated injuries that can result from an accident, such as a car accidents, slip and fall, or construction accidents.  It is important to continue research into the treatments for TBI patients, especially since this particular injury can affect so many aspects of a person’s daily life.  TBI can affect speech, hearing, sight, bodily movements, cognitive abilities, as well as many other important areas.

Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer focused on practicing in central and western Pennsylvania.  For more information on him and his law firm, please click here.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Chronic Pain and Psychological Disorders

Often, chronic pain also has secondary, but not insignificant, repercussions that many do not consider.  One of these secondary issues is the development of psychological disorders; of this category, one of the primary disorders that may develop is depression.  According to an article by Harvard Health Publications (a division of Harvard Medical School),  “Pain, especially chronic pain, is an emotional condition as well as a physical sensation. It is a complex experience that affects thought, mood, and behavior and can lead to isolation, immobility, and drug dependence.”  Patients suffering from chronic pain are three times more likely to suffer from an anxiety or mood disorder than a pain-free counterpart. 
Due to the knowledge of the intimate biological and psychological relationship between pain and depression pathways, some rehabilitation centers are working to treat the two disorders in tandem.  In addition to the traditional methods of physical therapy to relieve pain from injuries, cognitive/behavioral therapy and psychotherapy can work well to help heal the psychological damage that results from a significant injury.  Sometimes, families of those injured can also be a part of these psychological therapies, since they are also significantly affected by a serious injury.
            Chronic pain frequently occurs as a result of a serious injury, such as a motor vehicle accident, slip and fall, or brain or spinal cord injury.  Attorney Doug Stoehr is an experienced trial lawyer who fights for those who have suffered significant person injury at the expense of another.  Attorney Stoehr primarily serves the central and western Pennsylvania area.  For more information about his law firm, please visit our website.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Summer Dog Attacks in Pottsville Make Other Towns Consider Their Policies

Throughout the summer, this blog has been mentioning a series of meetings and legislation in the works for Pottsville, PA regarding vicious dog ordinances.  Pottsville has been hit with a wave of dog attacks throughout the summer, which has lead to concern for the safety of the town's residents, especially the elderly and children.  The town passed an ordinance on August 9th that would require owners of dogs viewed as dangerous to take extra precautions in order to own such pets.

Since that ordinance has passed, other towns have considered making similar ordinances to protect their citizens.  Once such place is Minersville, PA.  As a result of nearby Pottsville's ordinance, Minersville is strengthening their vicious dog ordinance.  The new amendment to the ordinance is being voted upon in early September and will include an updated and more specific definition of what a dangerous dog is, as well as removing breed-specific language, which is prohibited by Pennsylvania law.  There will also be more directions and restrictions for owners of dangerous dogs, as well as an outline of applicable fines for not following the ordinance.  The goal of this ordinance is to protect the safety of the citizens and prevent dog attacks in the future.

Attorney Doug Stoehr is a lawyer specializing in personal injury in Central and Western Pennsylvania. For more information on Attorney Stoehr and his law firm, please click here.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Highmark/UMPC Spat Results In Advertisement Lawsuit

Over the summer, our blog has covered the ongoing dispute between Highmark (a major medical insurance company) and UPMC (a major healthcare provider) in western PA.  A few weeks ago, this blog mentioned that Highmark and UPMC were heavily advertising in the Pittsburgh area in order to gain and maintain their clients.  Since that time, Highmark has sued UPMC, claiming that UPMC is falsely advertising that they will be unable to serve patients under Highmark's insurance policy when the two companies' contract expires next year.  The results and progression of the lawsuit remain to be seen.

As mentioned multiple times in this blog, if you have Highmark insurance and are also a patient within the UPMC Healthcare system, Attorney Doug Stoehr advises you to carefully examine any correspondence that your health insurance and medical provider may send you.  It is important to be as knowledgeable as possible about what you are entitled to from your insurance company and your healthcare provider, especially when major changes are occurring within those systems.

 Attorney Stoehr is a lawyer specializing in personal injury and services the western and central Pennsylvania area.  If you would like to consult with him about a possible personal injury claim, please contact our law office.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Minor Head Injury Can Lead to Prolonged Sleep Problems

In a recent study performed in an international sleep laboratory, reseachers discovered that concussions in adolescents, which were classified as minor head injuries, still resulted in sleep disturbances three years after their initial injury.  These disturbances could be confirmed by multiple specialized sleep study instruments.  Patients suffered from both lower sleep efficiency and more awake time. 

When a person suffers from a concussion-like head injury, whether it it's from a car crash, slip and fall, or another situation, they may write off their injury as minor or not significant.  Although this is sometimes the case, sometimes these injuries can develop into serious and major problems. If you have been injured and now suffer from a head injury that has resulted in lasting problems, please contact our law office for a consultation at no cost to you at the Law Offices of Attorney Doug Stoehr.