Personal Injury

Personal Injury

Spine Injuries Can Cause Lifelong Health Complications

Accidents involving the sudden application of force to the body can result in severe injuries, many of which involve the spine. Unfortunately, the spine is especially vulnerable in an accident, and these injuries can lead to significant long-term health issues.

Leading Reasons Why Spine Injuries Occur

According to the Mayo Clinic, the five leading reasons why spinal cord injuries occur in our country are:

  • Motor vehicle crashes and collisions: Crashes and collisions involving vehicles (including motorcycles) account for over 35% of new spinal cord injuries every year
  • Falls: Falls are the most common cause of spinal cord injuries for those 65 years of age or older, and they account for over one-quarter of all spinal cord injuries
  • Violent acts: The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center states that violent acts account for approximately 15% of all spinal cord injuries. The most common violent acts resulting in spinal cord injuries are gunshots and knife wounds
  • Athletic activities: Contact sports like football and diving in shallow water account for approximately 9% of spinal cord injuries
  • Disease: Diseases, including occupational diseases, can lead to spinal cord injuries

The Mayo Clinic also notes that alcohol use is a factor in nearly one-quarter of all spinal cord injuries.

Why Spine Injuries Are Serious

Injuries to the spine can have serious long term consequences on an individual. Some of the most drastic include quadriplegia, tetraplegia, and paraplegia, but other health issues may also arise in individuals with spinal cord injuries, or otherwise make those folks more susceptible to serious spinal injury. Some of these conditions include:

  • Back pain (particularly in the lower back)
  • Bladder dysfunction (sometimes requiring the constant wearing of a catheter)
  • Bowel dysfunction
  • Osteoporosis
  • Spasticity (uncontrollable spasms)
  • Syringomyelia (numbness and weakness of the extremities)
  • Changes in sexual function, sensitivity and fertility
  • Chronic pain
  • Difficulty when breathing or coughing

Spinal cord injuries may be defined as being “complete” or “incomplete”. An “incomplete” injury is when there is some sensory (feeling) or motor function (control movement) below the affected area, while “complete” refers to having lost all sensory and motor function below the spinal cord injury.

Seek Help from an Accomplished Oregon Accident Injury Attorney

Dwyer Williams Cherkoss Attorneys, P.C. is known throughout the state of Oregon for protecting the health and legal rights of individuals who have been injured due to the negligence of another. We have resolved multiple multi-million dollar cases, many of which involved spinal cord injuries, including a $4.4 million semi truck collision verdict.

We invite you to call us today for a free consultation with a spine injury attorney at Dwyer Williams Cherkoss Attorneys, P.C. at (541) 617-0555.

Choosing an Oregon Care Facility for Your Loved One with Alzheimer’s

Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia can be extremely demanding on family members. When you’re no longer able to care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, it’s important to find a nursing home or other residential care facility that will provide the highest-possible caliber of care, catering to the particular needs of someone with this challenging disease. There’s more to choosing the right facility for your loved one than simply finding a licensed Memory Care Community. Learn more below about how to choose the right facility for someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s.

Ensure that the facility has been designed with the needs of Alzheimer’s patients in mind

The State of Oregon requires that facilities catering to persons with Alzheimer’s or other dementia diseases comply with rigorous licensing requirements to receive the designation of Memory Care Community. These facilities must meet basic requirements such as providing a secured, controlled-access environment for residents, staff members who are trained in working with patients with the symptoms of Alzheimer’s or other memory issues, and a minimum required amount of outdoor space for each resident. These facilities must also use lighting that conforms with certain intensity levels and reduces glare.

Beyond the minimum requirements, there are other features and qualities that a facility can employ to improve a resident’s quality of life. Since Alzheimer’s patients can easily become lost or confused, look for a facility that uses simple color-coding on doors and hallways to indicate where the resident can find the kitchen or bathrooms. Look for a facility that uses memory boxes outside of a resident’s room, which provides a space for residents to display mementos that can help them identify which room is theirs. Ask staff about what sorts of activities they organize for residents, such as ways for residents to celebrate their religious beliefs, musical activities, entertainment, or physical activities. Patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia often like to wander for prolonged periods. Look for a facility that provides sufficient space for your loved one to take walks.

Abuse of Alzheimer’s patients troublingly common

Unfortunately, even in facilities with good reputations, nursing home abuse still occurs regularly. Patients with Alzheimer’s are particularly vulnerable to abuse. These individuals may become confused about the identity of an abuser or whether the abuse is really happening, or, even more tragically, aren’t believed when reporting abuse. If you or a family member has been the victim of abuse in an Oregon nursing home, contact an attorney as soon as possible to learn about your legal options to get justice for your loved one.

For compassionate, caring, and dedicated legal help after an incident of nursing home abuse in Oregon, contact the knowledgeable and seasoned Bend elder abuse lawyers at Dwyer Williams Cherkoss Attorneys, PC for a free consultation at 541-617-0555, with additional offices in Eugene, Portland, Roseburg, Medford, and Grants Pass.

Family Sues Landlord for Wrongful Death

An Eastern Oregon family is suing their landlord after an electrical fire resulted in the death of their 8-year-old son.

In July 2016 the five-person family were asleep when the smoke alarm went off. The father got out of bed and saw a large fire in the living room. The parents managed to get their three children out of the home, but everyone suffered burns, smoke inhalation, or both. The family was transported to the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City.

Tragically, the eight-year-old boy succumbed to his injuries later that day.

Family Sues Landlord for Wrongful Death

Arson investigators of the Oregon State Police determined that the fire, which destroyed the home, was caused by electrical failure. The family is now accusing the property, and its owners, of having an unsafe or improperly maintained electrical system which resulted in the death of their child.

What Is Considered to Be a “Wrongful Death” in Oregon

A “wrongful death” in our state of Oregon is one that is the result of the omission or wrongful act of another. The death may be intentional or it may be unintentional, resulting from the negligence or recklessness of another party.  In Oregon, there are several protections in place for the tentants of a rental, including under the Oregon Residential Landlord Tenant Act, which requires that, among other things, the electrical systemt of the rental be in safe working condition.

What Damages Can Be Recovered

Damages recovered in wrongful death claims are intended to compensate surviving family members and the estate for any losses related to the death of the deceased individual. Some of the losses which may be recovered include:

  • Medical/hospital expenses related to the deceased individual’s illness or injury
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of wages and benefits (including reasonable future earnings)
  • Pain and suffering endured prior to death
  • Loss of companionship, care, guidance and comfort suffered by surviving family members

How Much Time Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim?

In Oregon, a wrongful death claim must be filed within three years of the deceased individual’s final injury. It is important to note that this date is different from the person’s date of death, and that this can have an impact on the amount of time you have to file a claim.  This timeline may be extended under certain circumstances, such as not reasonably identifying the wrong that led to the death, or when a child is killed.

Speak to an Experienced Wrongful Death Lawyer at Dwyer Williams Cherkoss Attorneys

Dwyer Williams Cherkoss Attorneys, PC is a personal injury law practice in Bend committed to representing victims who have suffered substantial personal injuries who has passed away due to the negligence or recklessness of another.

We invite you to call us today to discuss your claim for free at (541) 617-0555.

Motorcycle Accidents – What You Need to Know

Riding a motorcycle on the open road is an exhilarating experience. The feeling of wind rushing past your body and the purr of the motor as you open the throttle gives riders a real sense of freedom. This freedom is not without risk, however, with motorcycle accidents forming a major percentage of motor vehicle incidents.

A Guide on What to Do after Your Motorcycle Accident

Regardless of the cause of the accident, the following list is a guide on what steps you should take following a road traffic incident. Please note that before taking any of these steps that you assess the safety of the situation.

  • Check for injuries. A quick self-check will help to identify any major injuries, such as compound fractures, to assist paramedics when they attend the accident site. Some injuries are not immediately noticeable, however, such as concussions and internal bleeding, and are equally important to identify. Always seek medical attention after a motorcycle accident to determine any inconspicuous injuries
  • Move the bike off the road. If it is safe to do so, move the motorcycle out of traffic. Being small, lightweight vehicles, motorcycles lying flat on the road may not be visible to other traffic until it is too late, potentially causing another accident
  • Take photos. Only if it is safe, take photos which show not only the damage but also the potential cause of the accident. For example, if there was any damage to the road surface or poorly visible signage, this may be a factor
  • Gather information from other parties. Collect the details of all other parties involved including vehicle registrations, names, and telephone numbers. If there are witnesses to the incident, take note of their details as well
  • Prepare your legal case. Regardless of who was at fault, you will need a solid understanding of your legal rights which is best sought from an attorney

Additionally, due to the lack of metal surroundign the rider, as a passenger in a car woudl have, motorcycle riders are at a much higher risk of injury than those in passenger vehicles.  It goes without saying that those injuries are almost always much more severe than those involved in the same accident, but in a passenger car.  Sadly, motorcycle accidents often involved severe, permanetn injuries or death of the motorcycle operator.

If you or a loved one have been involved in a motorcycle accident and are in need of legal assistance, we invite you to call Dwyer Williams Cherkoss Attorneys, P.C. at (541) 617-0555.

Another Year of Rising Fatalities on American Roads

For decades, as safety technology in vehicles improved and public awareness of safe driving behavior increased, the total number of fatalities on American roads fell year after year. Beginning in 2014, however, a troubling trend took hold wherein more and more people are dying on US roads each year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has recently released the roadway fatality statistics for 2016, which show that the trend has continued for another year.

According to the NHTSA, 2016 saw the deaths of 37,461 while in or near a motor vehicle. In other words, an average of 100 people died every day in 2016 in a motor vehicle-related accident. This number is an increase of 5.6% over the total number of roadway fatalities recorded in 2015. This number also means that there has been an increase of 14.4% in the annual number of deaths on the road between 2014 and 2016.

One category of fatalities that has seen a particularly stark increase has been among pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists—so-called “non-vehicle occupants.” Non-vehicle occupants accounted for 33% of all roadway fatalities in 2016, but this share used to be much smaller. In fact, non-vehicle occupants made up only 25% of all roadway deaths as of ten years ago. Deaths among pedestrians has risen 22% since 2014, and the number of fatally-injured motorcyclists and bicyclists has risen 15% respectively in that time.

The reasons for the increase in roadway deaths has been subject to some disagreement among experts. According to the NHTSA, phone distractions accounted for a mere 448 deaths on the road in 2016, but other safety organizations estimate that this number is much higher. The private nonprofit safety group National Safety Council, for example, found in its own investigation that the NHTSA only considered about half of all accidents where distraction from a phone was involved as being caused by mobile phone distraction. Law enforcement often find it difficult to determine whether a phone was involved in causing a crash, since learning this fact relies on either the driver confessing to using their phone, or to an eyewitness happening to see the driver use their phone immediately before a crash. Victims of accidents caused by distracted drivers may have a right to money damages, and they can support their claims of negligence by including evidence that the at-fault driver used their phone near the time of a crash.

For assistance getting the damages you deserve after an Oregon motor vehicle accident, contact the seasoned, compassionate, and effective Bend personal injury lawyers at Dwyer Williams Cherkoss Attorneys, P.C. for a consultation, at 541-617-0555.