Personal Injury Updates

Information about Personal Injury in Washington State

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Best Used Cars for New Teenage Drivers

Categories: Practical Tips You Can Use

By PI-Advisor. Posted on .

Teenage DriversConsumer Reports recently published a list of vehicle recommendations for new drivers.  Budget are safety concerns are usually the first things parents consider when purchasing a vehicle for their teenage drivers.  To handle the budget issue, a pre-owned car is a great way to go. On the safety side Consumer Reports looked into the key factors on safety for used vehicle.  First safety feature is electronic stability control (ESC) technology to maintain control of the vehicle, antilock brakes, and air bags.  The size of the vehicle is also important.  Many parents think a large SUV or pickup (“tanks”) are safe; however, these vehicles are more prone to roll over in collisions.  Furthermore, more seating capacity in the car increases the chances that the teenager will drive their friends, meaning more distractions and a higher likelihood of crashing.   Vehicles with high variant speed capability, such as sports cars, also increases collision and insurance rates.

These are the top five recommended used vehicles for teens (in no particular order):

  1. Ford Focus (2009-2011)
  2. Hyundai Elantra (2008 or later)
  3. Mazda3 (2011 or later)
  4. Mazda6 (4 cyl., 2009-2013)
  5. Subaru Impreza (non-turbo, 2009 or later)

The Zackery Lystedt Law Now Law in All 50 States

Categories: Brain Injury

By PI-Advisor. Posted on .

On May 14, 2009, then Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire signed into law the “Zackery Lystedt Law.”  This first-in-the-nation law, prohibits youth athletes suspected of sustaining a concussion from returning to play or practice without a licensed health-care provider’s approval. The new law is the most comprehensive return-to-play law in the United States for athletes under 18.

In less than 5 years, all 50 states and the District of Columbia have passed a similar law.  This is the fastest growing public safety initiative to go into law in all states, ever.  Many states still don’t have seatbelt or helmet laws –  public safety initiatives that have been pushed for decades. 

Zackery Lystedt and his parents, Victor and Mercedes Lystedt, made it their mission to ensure no family has to go through what they went through.   On October 12, 2006, Zackery suffered a life-threatening brain injury during a middle school football game.  School coaches returned him to play football after he sustained a concussion, without first obtaining a complete evaluation by a licensed health care professional trained in the evaluation and management of concussions.  The young football star underwent emergency life-saving brain surgery at Harborview Medical Center after he collapsed on the field.   Zackery, now 21 years old, spends 40 hours per week working on his rehabilitation and taking college courses.

What’s next?  The Lystedts are pushing to bring the law to the US Congress and make it a federal law.  With the support of key national organizations including the NFL, CDC, USA Football, the United States Brain Injury Alliance just to name a few, the Lystedts believe it will happen.  The law is also catching on internationally with Canada and Australia calling for interviews with the Lystedts, Richard H. Adler, and Dr. Stanley Herring. 

Here are some recent reports on Zackery Lystedt.


Long Road Trips for the Holidays

Categories: Auto Accidents, Practical Tips You Can Use

By PI-Advisor. Posted on .

The winter road trip: long, family-packed car rides for holiday gatherings or ski-trips into the mountains.  It is a time for scenic beauty, family memory making, but also a potentially dangerous time with snow, ice and slick road conditions.  Here are a few pre-cautions to take before you hit the road to ensure you and your loved ones are prepared for the long trip this season:Winter Driving

  1. Before taking off always check road and weather reports, especially if driving over mountain passes and isolated areas.  If you must travel through bad weather, be prepared for longer travel times and road closures.   The Washington State Department of Transportation has a mobile app for iPhones and Android for statewide access to traffic alerts, cameras, ferry schedule and more.
  2. Check traction on tires and pressure levels.  Good tires are important to winter driving.  Always have chains in your vehicle, especially if the vehicle is not all wheel/four wheel drive.  In Washington State, the penalty for not using chains when advised is a $500.00 fine.  Lastly, know how to install chains before leaving on your trip.
  3. Visibility is also key to winter driving.  Check headlights, blinkers and brake lights before trips.  Wash your car before any trip to ensure windows are clear and headlights are bright.  Ensure windshield wipers are working proper and windshield wiper fluids are topped off.
  4. Have an emergency kit in your car including flashlights, extra batteries, flares, jumper cables, first aid kit, water, and non-perishable food.  Many local auto supplies store have preassembled emergency kits.
  5. Before long road trips, have your vehicle checked by an automobile mechanic, including fluid levels and brakes.  Breaking down on the side of the road in bad weather means increased risks and increased wait time for help.
  6. Pack extra blankets, clothes, gloves, food and water.

For more tips on winter driving, visit for their complete list.

Most drivers will make it to their driving designation without any issues.  However, it’s always best to prepare for the worst to stay safe this winter season.  And while this last tip may not be on AAA’s list of winter road trip tips, we recommend bringing a good soundtrack.

2013 Walk Like MADD/MADD Dash Washington a Huge Success

Categories: Events

By PI-Advisor. Posted on .

The third annual Walk Like MADD/MADD Dash on Sunday, September 15th was a huge success.  This year registered participants nearly double to 480.  Total funds raised for the event went above and beyond MADD’s $50,000 goal to $56,800!  The walk took place at Magnuson Park, its first year after moving from the Seattle Center.

Team Adler Giersch, PS led by attorney Arthur D. Leritz had a total of 21 registered walkers (including children and dogs) and raised $2,360.00 to benefit Mothers Against Drunk Driving.  Mr. Leritz is also on the Advisory Board for MADD and participated in its pre-walk reception with MADD National President, Jan Withers, on Friday, September 15th.

By walking we hope to raise awareness of not only drunk driving, but underage drunk driving and those adults who allow kids to drink.   Adler Giersch encourages others to walk, run, speak out, write editorials, and talk to neighbors and to continue to be heard in all ways possible to stop drunk driving and underage drinking!

MADD was founded in 1980 to “To aid the victims of crimes performed by individuals driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, to aid the families of such victims and to increase public awareness of the problem of drinking and drugged driving.”  Since its beginning MADD has save 300,000 (and counting) lives to date and have broadened their mission “to stop drunk driving, support the victims of this violent crime and prevent underage drinking.”



Sports Safety Clinic for Presents, Athletes, Coaches & Community Parented by SafeKids Eastside

Categories: Brain Injury

By PI-Advisor. Posted on .

Richard H. Adler is an invited speakers at the Safe Kids Eastside Sports Safety Clinic for Parents, Athletes, Coaches & Community for Parents & Athletes on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at Woodniville High School.  The clinic is sponsored by Evergreen Health and the Brain Injury Association of Washington and presented by Safe Kids Eastside.  Safe Kids is a worldwide non-profit dedicated to preventing injuries in children from motor vehicle collision, falls, sports, burns, drownings and more.  Safe Kids Sports Safety Clinic for ParentsAmall

Mr. Adler will present on the Zackery Lystedt Law, the nation’s first return-to-play law, which requires medical clearance of youth athletes suspected of sustaining a concussion before sending them back in the game, practice or training (2009).  Additional presenters include, The Lystedt Family (Brain Injury Awareness, Prevention & Safety Advocates; Zack is the inspiration and namesake for the ground-breaking health and safety legislation known as the “Lystedt Law,” that was signed by Governor Gregoire in May 2009); Stanley A. Herring, MD (Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation specialist; Co-Medical Director of the Seattle Sports Concussion Program; Clinical Professor University of Washington and a team physician for the Seattle Seahawks and Seattle Mariners; Member of the NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee; “Lystedt Law” contributor and advocate); Darin Harris (Former UW Husky Football player who suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury his senior Current Board Member – Brain Injury Association of Washington); and Anthony Green (Director, Public Policy for Safe Kids Worldwide; worked in senior roles in the Congress, at the U.S. Embassy in Rome, as a “founding father” of the National Constitution Center and an award-winning reporter for Philadelphia magazine).

This event is open to the public but space is limited.  Pre-registration is not required but is appreciated.  To registration send an email to

Washington Attempts to Battle Prescription Drug Abuse: New Rules May Have Unintended Effects

Categories: Other Physical Injuries

By PI-Advisor. Posted on .

On January 2, 2012, doctors in Washington became subject to new rules regarding prescription of widely-used pain medication. These rules affect treatment of patients with chronic pain not associated with cancer or end-of-life pain control.

Citing a 395% increase in unintentional poisoning from prescription pain medication between 1995 and 2009, the Washington state legislature passed a law in 2010 (ESHB 2876) requiring five different medical boards to create new rules for prescription of opioid medication. The rules are intended to improve patient safety and provide doctors with guidelines for prescription of these powerful drugs.

The regulatory boards for seven types of practitioners developed rules for prescription of pain medication. The practitioners covered by the new rules include physicians and physician assistants, osteopaths and osteopathic physician assistants, advanced registered nurse practitioners, dentists, and podiatrists.

The new rules apply to drugs known as opioid analgesics. Opioids are a class of drugs that affect specific pain receptors in the brain. Natural opioids are derived from a specific alkaloid in the opium poppy. There are now many synthetic opioids as well. Common drugs within this class, and covered by the new rules, include methadone, morphine, codeine, hydrocodone (e.g., Vicodin), oxycodone (e.g., OxyContin, Percocet), fentanyl and many others.

The new rules do not apply to prescriptions for acute pain, such as a new injury, or for post-surgical pain. They are intended to provide guidelines for treating patients who have chronic pain, defined as pain lasting over three months and not related to treatment for cancer or hospice care.

Physicians will be required to keep thorough records of a patient’s history, potential for drug abuse, and the need for opioid medication. In certain circumstances, such as dosage over a set limit, doctors are required to consult a pain management specialist in one of several ways. Criteria for exemption from the consultation rule and for qualification as a pain management specialist are also set out.

While the new rules are intended to reduce the incidence of prescription drug abuse and death associated with these drugs, the real effects of the regulations will only be known with time. Treatment of pain is an important part of the practice of medicine. However, the potential for abuse of prescription medication makes some doctors are wary of prescribing these drugs. Some doctors are relieved to have guidelines to follow. Some doctors find the requirements daunting and intend to simply refuse to treat chronic pain patients and require them to obtain prescriptions from a pain management specialist. There is concern that this will result in some patients being unable to obtain necessary prescriptions either as a result of the availability of specialists in their area or lack of insurance coverage for such specialists.

For some, the inability to access necessary medication may result in reduced functionality, poor quality of life and unnecessary suffering. For others, the new rules may provide enough of a barrier to avoid dependence and addiction. As with any new law, time will tell.

Fuel Economy No Longer Means Safety Compromise

Categories: Uncategorized

By PI-Advisor. Posted on .

For decades, automakers improved vehicle fuel economy by reducing vehicle weight.   Since smaller generally meant reduced crash worthiness, one of the drawbacks of choosing fuel economy was increased risk of injury in a crash.  With the recent rise of hybrids, however, this is no longer an automatic tradeoff.

The Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), an affiliate of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, has found that passengers in hybrids actually fare better than passengers in the same gas-only models.[1]  In fact, 27 percent fewer injuries were reported in hybrids than the same nonhybrid vehicle.  This held true for fatalities as well, with 25 percent fewer fatalities in hybrids.

The difference in injury odds is attributed in large part to the greater weight of hybrid models.  Hybrids are, on average, 10 percent heavier than their standard counterparts due to the weight of battery and other equipment required in the hybrid.  Weight and mass have long been known to be major factors in injury risk and this seems to hold true where all other factors are the same.

The HLDI compared the number of medical claims filed in collisions in 25 different cars where both standard and hybrid models were available.  For example, injury claim statistics for the Honda Civic standard were compared to injury claims filed for occupants of Honda Civic Hybrids.  (Toyota Prius and Honda Insight were not tested since neither has a conventional counterpart.)  All hybrids performed better than their standard counterparts regardless of model.

“Going green” on the road may no longer mean trading economy for safety.  While smaller cars, even hybrids, will never survive crashes as well as large cars, hybrid consumers can consider safety issues with new positive data.

[1]Status Report, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Vol. 46., No. 10, Nov. 17, 2011

Omega-3s: Potential Benefits for Treatment of Pain

Categories: Practical Tips You Can Use

By PI-Advisor. Posted on .

The benefits of omega-3s seem to be in the news everyday.  This fatty acid, often referred to as fish oil, has been widely studied in recent years and results suggest that it effective for the prevention and treatment of a wide variety of health conditions, including:

•    Better brain function
•    Reduced depression
•    Improvement of ADD/ADHD symptoms in children
•    Improved cardiovascular health and protection from heart disease

Many of these benefits have been widely publicized.  But there are also numerous studies which suggest omega-3s are effective for the treatment of pain.

Patients with chronic pain that is not resolved by treatment of the underlying cause are often faced with the prospect of long-term use of prescription medication as the only option for reducing pain and increasing daily function.  Prescription medication, such as narcotic pain killers, often have unpleasant side effects and are potentially addictive.  The choice to live with pain or bear the risks associated with the use of prescription pain killers often feels like a no-win situation for people with chronic pain.

Omega-3s have been shown to be a potentially effective third option.  Several studies have found patients reporting reduced pain after taking omega-3 supplements for several weeks.  These studies have focused on several different types of pain. One study, for example, found that patients with “neuropathic” pain, responded well.  Neuropathic pain is pain that is caused by damage to the nervous system, including nerve endings.  It is commonly experienced as electrical sensation, burning or “pins and needles” sensation.

Though there were only five patients studied, all had long-term neuropathic pain which interfered with each patient’s ability to perform activities.  After several months of taking 2400 to 7200 mg of omega-3, all 5 patients reported a significant decrease in pain and improved ability to function on a daily basis.  These result show promise for chronic pain patients faced with the unenviable choice between living with pain or relying on prescription medication.

No adverse effects were noted by any of the patients studied.  However, before taking high doses of any supplement, patients should consult their medical providers. Some supplements may interact negatively with other medications or supplements.  Omega-3s, for example, tend to thin the blood and can affect blood coagulation and may increase caloric intake, important for patients with conditions such as diabetes.

Change of Job, Change of Coverage: What About Pre-existing Conditions?

Categories: Practical Tips You Can Use

By PI-Advisor. Posted on .

When it comes to health insurance, pre-existing conditions are a big issue for people facing loss or change of coverage.  Federal and state laws make the issue murky since different rules apply to different types of group plans.

First, what is a pre-existing condition?  Basically, it is any physical condition that existed prior to a certain point in time.  For our purposes, that point in time is the start date of a new health insurance policy or the start date of your waiting period.  For insurance purposes in Washington, a pre-existing condition is a physical condition for which a person received medical care or was advised to receive care within 6 months of the coverage start date.

Second, different plans are dictated by different rules.  Some plans are created and regulated under a federal law known as the Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).  Other health plans are governed by state law.  You may need to ask your employer to find out which kind of plan you are on.

Here are the basic pre-existing condition exclusion rules for group coverage in Washington currently:

  1. Self-funded employers (ERISA) can exclude pre-existing conditions for 12 months.
  2. State regulated plans with 50 or more eligible employees can exclude pre-existing conditions for 3 months.
  3. State regulated plans for small groups (2 to 50 employees) may require a 9-month exclusion period.

If you have coverage at one job then change to the new insurer at a new job, the new insurance company must give you credit for the coverage you had with Employer 1 as long as you have not had a significant lapse in coverage (defined as 63 or 90 days, depending on the plan).  If, for example, you had continuous coverage for 2 years and the new carrier would impose a 9-month pre-existing exclusion, the new carrier has to give you credit for the prior 2 years of coverage.  In effect, they will not exclude pre-existing conditions as long as you have not had a break in coverage between the policy periods.  If you had coverage for 2 years on one plan then had 4 months with no coverage (lapse in coverage), the new carrier would not have to give you any credit for your prior coverage and could impose the maximum exclusion period.

Talk to your employer or insurer about what type on plan you have and what you can expect regarding pre-existing conditions if you are faced with a change of coverage.

Getting the Most Out of Your Doctor’s Visit

Categories: Practical Tips You Can Use

By PI-Advisor. Posted on .

Doctors are busy.  It is a simple fact of life.  This can sometimes mean that patients may feel railroaded and not have questions answered.  The doctor may want to spend a leisurely half hour chatting, but there is likely a line a patients waiting for his or her time.  You can respect the situation that the doctor is in, but still get your needs met.  Here are some guidelines to consider to make the most of your time, money and health.

1. Schedule appropriately. If you have more than one issue to discuss, make that clear at the time the appointment is set.  The time scheduled for an exam is often dictated by the complexity of the problem(s) presented.  Make sure to tell the scheduler everything you want to talk about at the appointment.

2. Be prepared. Know what your questions and concerns are before you walk in.  Write them down.  Spending time trying to remember that one more question you knew was important is time you will not have to get the answer.

3. Know thyself. History and other medical issues are important for doctors to know in order to properly advise a patient regarding an acute issue.  Being vague about your own history or current medications leaves the doctor with unanswered questions that could affect treatment decisions.  Be prepared to give a thorough yet concise summary of your medical history, family history and details of any medications you are taking.  Again, it doesn’t hurt to write it out.

4. Be honest. Don’t try to hide embarrassing facts from your doctor.  They have heard it all.  You will not shock them.  It is important to be honest and thorough so that the doctor can make the right recommendations for you.  If you conceal important facts, the treatment recommendation may not be appropriate and you will have wasted your time and the doctors.

5. Be assertive. But not aggressive.  You are the CEO of your health care.  You have the right to competent medical care.  If you feel a doctor has not answered your questions or is not listening, you have the right to tell them. However, as in any relationship, being rude or making personal attacks never gets you far.

6. Set the tone. Let your doctor know how involved you want to be in treatment decisions and if you have particular opinions or beliefs that would affect decision-making.  Some patients just want to be told what to do with absolute faith in the doctor’s recommendation.  Other patients need a lot of information to feel part of the decision-making process and control of health care.  Doctors don’t know which you are unless you tell them.

7. Take the reins. If you feel you are consistently not getting what you need from a doctor, change doctors!  Even if your health insurer has constraints on who you can see, there are usually several doctors within a single clinic to whom you can transfer care.

    Preparation and self-advocacy are the keys to getting the most out of your time with your doctor.  Trust that confidentiality laws protect your privacy and are taken seriously.  Respect the doctor’s time and expect the same in return.  Making the most of this time will help you make the most of your health.