Personal Injury

Personal Injury

Support Groups Are a Useful Tool for Brain Injury Survivors

Sustaining a brain injury in a car wreck or other incident can have a lasting impact on the quality of life of the victim, his or her friends, and family members. The difficulties that accompany life after a traumatic brain injury (TBI) are numerous, yet this is not necessarily a topic that receives a great deal of attention in the media.

In 2009, Congress declared March to be Brain Injury Awareness Month in an effort to bring increased exposure to the injury. A problem with brain injuries is that people often do not understand all the implications of a TBI, so people who have survived brain injuries often feel alone and isolated in their struggles. People can get discouraged when they find they can no longer keep up with the pace of their workplace or simple life activities that were previously a breeze. Since TBIs can be “invisible injuries,” oftentimes well-meaning people are not equipped to understand the sometimes devastating impacts of a TBI.

Brain Injury Awareness Month may have highlighted the plight of someone you know who is suffering a brain injury caused at a result of the negligence of another. If they have not explored the possibility of compensation, we urge you to help them to do so.

Finding a Place of Support

TBI support groups have begun around the country to help facilitate connections between people with TBIs and to provide advice, resources, and solidarity.

Oregon is a great state to live in if you or a loved one has sustained a brain injury – “Oregon has more TBI support groups per capita than any other state,” according to Sherry Stock, the executive director of the Brain Injury Alliance of Oregon. The mission of this group is “to create a better future through brain injury prevention, advocacy, education, research, and support.”

Support groups allow people to share their struggles and their victories with a community which understands what they are going through. Sometimes simply being understood and feeling like you belong is the best medicine for healing. People are able to discuss how their TBI has affected their work, lifestyle, confidence, relationships, and more.

Finding Justice for Your TBI

A serious brain injury resulting from the negligence of another can cause serious and permanent life difficulties. In addition to seeking help from a support group, seeking justice from an experienced team of attorneys can be a helpful step in the healing process.

Our team of committed, compassionate, and knowledgeable attorneys at Dwyer Williams Dretke Attorneys, PC has over 100 years of collective experience in personal injury litigation. We are dedicated to ensuring that justice is served on behalf of victims injured due to another person’s negligence.

We offer a free initial consultation and can speak with you about your case today at (541) 617-0555.

World War II Drug Shows Promise for Spinal Injuries

Spinal cord injuries from vehicle collisions or other accidents can cause serious and lasting pain and nerve damage. Scientists are always on the hunt for new treatment options to ease the suffering for people who are victims of these life-altering incidents.

Antidote Found in an Unexpected Place

According to findings published in March in the Journal of Neurochemistry, a drug has been found to be promising as a way to suppress a neurotoxin causing pain in spinal cord injuries. Acrolein is the neurotoxin in question, a substance that the body produces when nerve cells are damaged. When acrolein is produced in the body, the pain and severity of the injury are increased.

“Previous studies have shown that acrolein levels increase significantly after spinal cord injury. It may be a key factor of secondary injury, which can expand the damage to adjacent tissue,” says Riyi Shi, one of the authors of the study and a professor of neuroscience and biomedical engineering in Purdue’s Department of Basic Medical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, and Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering.

In an unexpected twist, the researchers found that a drug called dimercaprol helps suppress acrolein the body. Oddly enough, this drug was developed during World War II and used as an antidote to chemical warfare weapons.

The researchers at Purdue University discovered that dimercaprol attacks some of the chemical features of the acrolein neurotoxin, which in turn allows the body to safely remove the toxin and its accompanying painful effects.

A Promising Option with Fewer Side Effects

Before this study, the other treatment options to get rid of the acrolein neurotoxin had inherent serious negative side effects when used in high concentrations. In contrast, dimercaprol causes fewer side effects, partly because it can be easily excreted in the urine and does not remain in the body.

This exciting research is still at its beginning phases, but is poised for continued progress since the Food and Drug Administration has already approved dimercaprol. Next steps would be to continue testing the drug with laboratory animals and to move on to clinical human studies.

Have You, or Someone You Love, Suffered a Spinal Injury?

Spinal injuries can be serious events that take severe financial tolls on an injured person and their families. If you have suffered a spinal injury as a result of negligence of another party, a skilled personal injury attorney can help you evaluate whether you are entitled to legal compensation.

At Dwyer Williams Dretke Attorneys, PC we know first-hand how these types of cases can be medically complicated, and that they require the most savvy and experienced injury lawyers to fight for you. We offer a free initial consultation to assess your spinal injury case, and encourage you to call us today at (541) 617-0555.

Child Awarded $53 Million for Brain Injury

Your brain needs enough oxygen and blood for it to function regularly. During childbirth, an inadequate supply of oxygen to the infant’s brain can lead to moderate to severe brain injury. Prompt hospital intervention is necessary for the infant to avoid severe or worse, fatal brain injury.

Effects of Brain Injury in Infants

Babies who survive fetal distress during childbirth or immediately after can suffer brain injury which symptoms include:

  • Delays in development of motor skills
  • Neurodevelopmental delays
  • Cognitive problems
  • Epilepsy

In many situations, the extent of a brain injury can only be determined within a few years of the situation that caused the brain injury. Consequently, an infant with brain injury may manifest symptoms when as a child, he or she experiences difficulty with fine motor skills and gross motor skills, has a learning disability, and has poor or limited social skills.

If your child has sustained a brain injury during child birth, your main goal is to seek the best treatment and care for your child, pay all your medical bills and care expenses, and secure your child’s future expenses. Speak to an experienced brain injury attorney as well about your child’s brain injury to understand what your legal options are.

Brain injury arising from fetal distress can be prevented with early detection of fetal distress. Signs of fetal distress include low heart rate, weak or no breathing, poor muscle tone, and excessive acid in the blood. At the hospital, doctors and nurses can perform specific tests and use appropriate equipment to measure fetal heart rate, blood acidity, and meconium staining, allowing for prompt treatment or intervention measures. Without early detection and prompt intervention, the infant is at an increased risk of brain injury.

Damages for Brain Injury

A child who suffered severe brain injury recently won a lawsuit in which a Chicago jury awarded damages amounting to $53 million. More than half of the award covers the child’s future caretaking expenses and future medical expenses. The brain injury case arose from an incident that happened 12 years ago when the child’s mother went to the defendant hospital complaining of her unborn baby’s lack of movement.

The lawsuit alleged that doctors and nurses at the hospital failed to:

  • Detect abnormal fetal heart rate patterns which would show that the fetus was already in distress; or severely deprived of oxygen
  • Carefully monitor the mother and baby
  • Obtain accurate cord blood gases
  • Perform timely cesarean section

Due to hospital personnel negligence, the child sustained severe brain injury and now has severe cerebral palsy. Further, the child is confined to a wheelchair and requires his mother’s assistance to eat, bathe, and get dressed.

Call a Portland Brain Injury Attorney

At the law firm of Dwyer Williams Dretke Attorneys P.C., our attorneys have the depth and experience to handle complex brain injury cases. We will examine medical records, identify the negligent party, and assess the extent of your damages.

We invite you to call us today at (541) 617-0555 to arrange for your free initial consultation. We handle injury and wrongful death lawsuits on contingency fee basis.

“Inattentive Blindness” Causing More Pedestrian Accidents

Oregon’s Department of Transportation said that around 64 pedestrian accidents statewide in the past 5 years were caused by distracted drivers and pedestrians. Although concerns and laws surrounding distracted drivers have increased, very little is said when it comes to distracted pedestrians. People of all ages and walks of life on the streets, on public transit, and riding escalators and elevators, are engaged in the same distractions that lead to fatal car accidents.

Pedestrian Fatalities Rising

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), pedestrian fatalities are on the rise. Almost 5,000 pedestrian deaths and 76,000 injuries with pedestrian/traffic collisions occurred in the United States in 2012. Although no direct ties have been made to distracted walking, it is hard to ignore the rising numbers.

“Inattentive Blindness”

According to research performed by New York’s Stony Brook University, those involved in distractions such as texting were 60 per cent more likely to walk off course than those who were not walking and texting. This occurrence is referred to as “inattentive blindness”. This phenomenon is believed to be part of the evolved human brain being unable to focus on more than one thing at a time, thus making it almost impossible to walk and text.

Multitasking

Common multi-tasking acts in which pedestrians engage include listening to music with sound blocking headphones, reading, texting, and using hand held devices for phone calls. All of these distractions can cause a pedestrian to step out into traffic, collide with other pedestrians or even cause bicycle accidents.

Kuzel et al. (2008b) reviewed collisions involving pedestrians who were distracted by headphones. They found that pedestrians were involved with collisions with all types of vehicles when they were distracted by “auditory activities” at common crossroads and while walking or crossing the street.

Growing Precautions

Many different and often surprising precautions have been taken to help prevent pedestrian accidents, including a jay walking and texting fine of $85 in Fort Lee, New Jersey, and lamp posts in London, England being padded to reduce injuries to distracted walkers.

Avoiding Accidents

To avoid a pedestrian accident the following rules should be followed:

  • Do not wear headphones or at least keep the volume low
  • Do not talk on a cell phone while crossing a street
  • Always remain aware of traffic
  • Stop walking when texting

In Portland, Oregon, Dwyer Williams Dretke Attorneys, PC is familiar with the injuries and dangers associated with pedestrian accidents. Our attorneys have extensive experience in personal injury lawsuits and handle a wide range of cases. If you or someone you know has been injured in a pedestrian accident, we invite you to call our offices today at (541) 617-0555.

Oregon Jury Awards $1 Million in Punitive Damages for Slip and Fall

An 84-year old man was awarded approximately $1.6 million in a slip and fall lawsuit against a supermarket, $1 million of which was for punitive damages. The case stemmed from an incident in December 2014 when the plaintiff slipped on spilt liquid laundry detergent while walking along one of the aisles of the supermarket.

Cause of Plaintiff’s Slip and Fall

On the day of the incident, a bakery worker at the supermarket informed a defendant’s store employee about a spill in the premises. The store employee looked at the spill and then walked back to the back area of the store. Shortly after, the plaintiff walked across the area and fell on the floor. The defendant supermarket maintained that the spilt liquid came from a container of laundry detergent that was leaking from one of its customers’ carts. Video footage of the incident showed the employee returning to the area after learning of the spill, with a bucket of water and a mop, though quite some time after being advised of it.  In the interim, no warnings of the spill were ever given to the customers of the store.

Plaintiff’s Injuries Due to Slip-and-Fall Accident

Due to the accidental slip, the plaintiff said that he broke one of his femurs which required extensive surgery to attach a metal rod into his broken leg. His injuries further required long and painful rehabilitation and physical therapy in order to recover use of his leg.

More than a year after his fall, the plaintiff still experiences pain and discomfort on his injured leg. He said that his affected leg is too unstable that he is no longer able to perform ordinary activities such as pulling weeds in his garden, holding his great-grandchildren, and taking plane rides to see his extended family. He may also have to sell his home as his unstable leg makes it difficult to navigate the stairs.

After 5 days of deliberations, the jury awarded the plaintiff compensation for his past and future medical and therapy expenses, his pain and suffering, and punitive damages.

If you suffered serious injuries in a slip and fall accident on another person’s property, you will need all the help you can get to completely recover from your fall. Talk to an experienced slip and fall attorney who can determine whether another party caused your injuries and the next steps to recover compensation, if appropriate.

In Portland, Oregon, the personal injury attorneys at Dwyer Williams Dretke, P.C. has been helping injured clients recover from their injuries by obtaining financial settlements and awards that they legally deserve. We invite you to contact us online or call us today at (541) 617-0555 to arrange for your free case evaluation.