Personal Injury Updates

Information about Personal Injury in Washington State

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Your Right to Know: Access to Governmental Information

Categories: Practical Tips You Can Use

By PI-Advisor. Posted on .

There is a lot of talk about government “transparency” and the rights of the people to know what their government is doing.  But what does this mean beyond what you see on the news or flipping the remote to the government channels?

In Washington, there is a powerful but often ignored law known as the Public Records Act (PRA).   It is similar to the Freedom of Information Act which applies to federal agencies. The PRA applies to all governmental agencies within the state and requires that every agency (state, county or city), follow specific rules when a person requests information about government actions.  Every agency must designate a Public Records Officer who is the point of contact for requests and oversees agency compliance with the law.

A public record is any paper or electronic item of any kind that the agency might have.  The agency must disclose the information requested, except for certain very specific exceptions.  These exceptions include information that would invade an individual’s privacy, some law enforcement investigative information and research data, among others.  Other laws restrict access to certain other information such as a person’s medical records.

To request public records, a member of the public need only make a request to the agency for the information.  Instructions for making a request are usually on the agency’s Web site. No explanation for the need of the information is required.  The agency has five business days to produce the record, provide an internet link to the information, deny the request (with an explanation of which exemption applies), or provide a reasonable estimate of the additional time it will need to respond.  The agency may provide copies, for which they can charge, or make the information available for copying.

You can find additional information about the Public Records Act by checking out RCW 42.56 on the Washington state Web site: www.access.wa.gov.

Defining Thoracic Outlet Syndrome and Treatment

Categories: Other Physical Injuries

By PI-Advisor. Posted on .

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS) is a condition in which the neurovascular bundle passing through the anterior and middle scalenes is compressed. This can lead to pain in the neck/shoulder and upper extremity, tingling or numbness and, occasionally, coldness or decoloration of the hand. Compression can affect the nerves only (neurogenic TOS), the subclavian vein (venous TOS) or the subclavian artery (arterial TOS).  Neurogenic TOS is, by far, the most common form.

When thoracic outlet syndrome is diagnosed, there is a continuum of options regarding appropriate treatment. Conservative care, in the form of chiropractic, massage and physical therapy, is well accepted as the appropriate course of care in the majority of cases. However, when symptoms persist despite these efforts, surgery is looked upon as an option of last resort.

After surgery, a patient outcomes following are problematic, particularly with neurogenic TOS (NTOS).   Diagnosis is one of exclusion made primarily through patient reports of symptoms, history, and, more recently, response to scalene muscle blocks. With neurogenic TOS, negative EMG or nerve conduction studies do not rule out NTOS as a diagnosis. In vascular TOS, diagnosis can be confirmed through objective findings of blood flow compromise. Patient selection and operative techniques have been cited as explanations for the differences in patient outcomes. Some studies suggest that a highly selective process for screening surgical candidates is required and improves the rate of successful outcomes.1

Anesthetic block of the anterior scalene muscles has become a dual-purpose procedure, providing diagnostic confirmation of TOS and as a reliable indicator of which patients may respond favorably to surgery. An anterior scalene muscle (ASM) block is an injection of anesthetic, such as lidocaine, directly into the scalene muscles. Relaxation of the anterior scalene muscles via blocks may partially simulate the results of surgical decompression. Additionally, an effective block, where surgery is not an option, can give an indication of the potential use of Botox injections for temporary (3 to 4 months) relief.

 

1. Scali S, Stone D, Bjerke A, Chang C, Rzucidio E, Gooney P, Walsh D.  Long-Term functional results for the surgical management of neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome. Vasc Endovascular Surg. 2010 44:550.

Annual Seminar for Healthcare Providers

Categories: Events

By PI-Advisor. Posted on .

The 2011 Whiplash, Spinal Trauma and the Personal Injury Case Seminar was held at the Bellevue Club Hotel on March 26. This seminar marks the 21st year and continues to transform and keep up with the time.  In addition, the attorneys at Adler Giersch PS presented a pre-seminar workshop, Effectively Managing Your Personal Injury Cases, on March 24. Over 130 healthcare providers attended from around Washington and a few travelers from Montana, Oregon, and Nevada. A wide range of providers attended including chiropractors, massage therapists, medical doctors, and staff members.

The seminar and workshop provided cutting edge information and materials to assist healthcare providers effectively and efficiently manage the medical/legal/insurance issues of personal injury cases. Many of the attendees gave rave reviews: “These are the best education hours in auto traumatology available anywhere.”

One aspects of the Adler Giersch ps mission is to provide the highest quality legal representation to victims of traumatic injuries.  As a result, we are committed to providing education to healthcare providers to assist them in treating of their injured patients.

Safety means more than a good bicycle helmet

Categories: Bicycle Injury

By PI-Advisor. Posted on .

So you have your bicycle helmet, a good bike and you are good to go, right? Well, not quite.  Just like with your car, there are often over looked critical components for your safety; making sure your bike is in good working order is one.  When was the last time you took your bike to a good mechanic?  Are you properly trained to do routine maintenance on your bicycle?  One important task for good maintenance is checking your tire pressure often.  Bicycle tires lose a little air every day.  Keep a tire gauge near your bicycle at all times and check pressure before riding.    Underinflated tires are unsafe as they can wobble or even come off the rim when taking a tight corner. Before riding, take a few moments to turn each wheel and look for bulges, debris, bubbles, and spots they inner casing may show through.  Bicycle tires are more prone to certain types of flats, and make your bike less efficient.  An overinflated tire is going to give you a harder road feel, can cause a loss of traction in the corners and is more likely to be damaged by road hazards.

January 25, 2011 Presentation on Concussion

Categories: Brain Injury, Events

By PI-Advisor. Posted on .

On January 25, 2011 Attorney, Richard H. Adler, and Dr. Stanley Herring, MD (Harborview Medical Center, Seattle Sports Concussion Clinic) presented “Management of Sports Concussion Injuries with Special Reference to the Zackery Lystedt Law.” The two part presentation began with Dr. Herring outlining the signs and symptoms of concussions, how to properly diagnose and treat a concussion for healthcare providers, and return to play standards and medical clearance for youth athletes. In part two, Mr. Adler discussed the core principals of the Zackery Lystedt Law and how it impacts students, parents, coaches, and healthcare providers by requiring the new ‘Concussion Information Sheet’ to be signed by parents and students and requiring coaches to be trained on concussions and the need to remove students from practice or competition immediately after a concussion. The event was hosted by Seattle Spine & Sports Medicine and attendance was to capacity with an integrated audience including medical doctors, chiropractors, therapists, case managers, and attorneys.

 

The Zackery Lystedt Law was signed into law in the state of Washington on May 14, 2009. This law was the first in the nation aimed at preventing preventable brain injuries for youth athletes by standardizing the return to play procedures in school districts across Washington State. Several other states have passed similar Lystedt-type laws including Oregon, Oklahoma, Virginia, New Mexico, Connecticut, Idaho, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Texas and Rhode Island. Additional States in progress for passing this law include Florida, Nebraska, Kansas, Indiana, California, Wyoming, Utah, and New York. Mr. Adler drafted the legislation and organized a broad range of community and corporate partners in support of the law in Washington State. And now that the law is passed and getting implemented, Mr. Adler and Dr. Herring continue their work as key individuals in educating and obtaining the support of national sports medicine groups and key organizations across the United States to join their work in having the Lystedt Law adopted in all 50 states in the USA.

Trauma and your psychological well being

Categories: Psychological Injury

By PI-Advisor. Posted on .

The first thing we look for after being caught up in a traumatic event is to our physical well being.  The pain, the bruising, the inability to move and think – those physiological injuries jump out and demand our attention right away.  What is not so easy to recognize for you or your doctors is the psychological damage done by that trauma.  Things start to happen that you don’t understand or try to just ignore – you cannot sleep, you have nightmares, you feel helpless or depressed, you cannot get yourself to drive in the area of the collision or walk where you  fell or were hit, you react violently to the slightest surprising sound or close call… These are some of the signs of a hidden psychological injury – post traumatic stress disorder- an injury in need of care and treatment just as are your physical injuries.  To get started learning more about what it is and how to get help see  the National Center for PTSD at http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/pages/what-is-ptsd.asp.

Common Legal Terms in a Personal Injury Case

Categories: Personal Injury Resources

By PI-Advisor. Posted on .

Personal Injury Terms – Unless you are an attorney, or work for an attorney, many terms such as affidavit and tortfeasor may seem foreign.  After one has been involved in an auto accident, these legal terms will become everyday vocabulary.  It’s important to understand key terms.  Here is a helpful link to common personal injury terms used in personal injury cases.  http://www.adlergiersch.com/order-brochures

What to do after an auto collision?

Categories: Auto Accidents, Practical Tips You Can Use

By PI-Advisor. Posted on .

The moments after a collision can be terrifying.  Often times those involved in the collision do not know what to do, who to call, want information to exchange.  It’s a key for all parties of the collision to record accurate information about the accident, injuries, witness, damage, etc.  This information is needed to file a claim with insurance companies and move forward to financial, physical and emotional recovery.  Here are some helpful tips on what do to after a collision.

Stop Immediately

  • Stop as close as safely possible to the collision site

Take Care of the injuries

  • Check drivers and passengers for injuries.
  • Call 911. Report the collision, location, and any injuries.
  • Do not move injured persons; wait until medical personnel arrive.

Cooperate with Police

  • Remain at the collision scene until an officer arrives.
  • Tell the officer how the collision occurred.

Take Notes for your File

  • Record the names, addresses, and phone numbers of all drivers, passengers, and witnesses.
  • Make notes about all significant circumstances.
  • Take photos of your car, your injuries, and the other vehicles.

When to Leave the Scene

  • Do not leave the collision scene until you have completed the above steps and the officer gives you permission to go.
  • If you are transported from the site by ambulance, ask a witness, passenger, or friend to complete the above steps for you.

To obtain the “For Your Glove Compartment” Brochure that has step by step instructions on what do you after a collision, visit http://www.adlergiersch.com/order-brochures.

What Comes Next after your Spinal Injury?

Categories: Spine Injury

By PI-Advisor. Posted on .

Rehabilitation  is done and you have largely recovered from your spinal trauma. What next?   It is especially important to get moving again but in a smart, and measured way. Low impact activities such as swimming, stationary bike riding and walking are great places to start. Here are a few more tips to help you keep  your residual pain at bay:

  • Always stretch before exercise or other strenuous physical activity.
  • Don’t slouch when standing or sitting. When standing, keep your weight balanced on your feet. Your back supports weight most easily when curvature is reduced.
  • At home or work, make sure your work surface is at a comfortable height for you.
  • Sit in a chair with good lumbar support and proper position and height for the task. Keep your shoulders back. Switch sitting positions often and periodically walk around the office or gently stretch muscles to relieve tension. A pillow or rolled-up towel placed behind the small of your back can provide some lumbar support. If you must sit for a long period of time, rest your feet on a low stool or a stack of books.
  • Wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes.
  • Sleep on your side to reduce any curve in your spine. Always sleep on a firm surface.
  • Don’t try to lift objects too heavy for you. Lift with your knees, pull in your stomach muscles, and keep your head down and in line with your straight back. Keep the object close to your body. Do not twist when lifting.
  • Maintain proper nutrition and diet to reduce and prevent excessive weight, especially weight around the waistline that taxes lower back muscles. A diet with sufficient daily intake of calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D helps to promote new bone growth.
  • If you smoke, quit. Smoking reduces blood flow to the lower spine and causes the spinal discs to degenerate.

To read the full article see http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/backpain/detail_backpain.htm

Who is Responsible for Paying my Medical Bills After a Collision?

Categories: Auto Accidents, Practical Tips You Can Use

By PI-Advisor. Posted on .

If there was personal injury protection (PIP) or Med-Pay coverage on the car you were in at the time of the accident, your bills should be paid under that policy. These policies also cover a limited amount of wage loss and payment for “household services”, those tasks of daily living you cannot perform due to your injuries. Coverage amounts vary depending on your policy. You should check your policy or discuss with us how much coverage you have available.

If you did not have PIP or Med-Pay coverage at the time of the accident, or if this coverage has been exhausted, you may be able to submit your accident-related bills to your health insurance carrier. Most health insurance carriers will cover your accident-related treatment subject to the referral, deductible, and co-payment requirements of your policy if PIP benefits are not available or have been discontinued.

For more information and answers to your questions about getting bills paid after a collision see http://www.adlergiersch.com/.