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Oregon Personal Injury Legal Blog

Breaking down the Glasgow Coma Scale

The greatest concern that you and others may have in the immediate aftermath of a loved one sustaining a traumatic brain injury in Salem may be the perceived uncertainty surrounding their future. Some TBI victims are able to completely recover from their injuries in just a few days; others, however, can be left with serious physical and mental impairments that can affect them for the rest of their lives. For many of those that we here at Swanson Lathen Prestwich PC have worked with in the wake of a TBI, knowing what one’s long-term prognosis may be can have a dramatic impact on any civil action taken against those responsible. 

Is there indeed a way for you to know how extensive your loved one’s TBI is in those first few days after their injury? While knowing for certain can be difficult, clinicians have developed a method through which an often-reliable estimation can be achieved. It is known as the Glasgow Coma Scale, and it is based on observations made of your loved one by the clinicians who treat them immediately after having sustained a TBI. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the GCS measures responses in the following areas: 

  • Verbal communication
  • Motor skills
  • Eye opening

Contributing factors in tire blow-outs

On the roads in Oregon, there are plenty of dangers that a driver can face. For example, a tire may blow out mid-drive. Though there are many things that can cause this to happen, how a driver should react in the aftermath remains the same.

I Drive Safely states that tires can blow out for numerous reasons. It’s the actions that a driver takes in the immediate aftermath that can allow them to cut down on the chances of crashing. For example, drivers should not stomp on the brakes or quickly swerve to the side of the road.

What are bedsores?

If caring for your infirm loved one becomes too difficult, you may feel confident entrusting their care to a nursing home or care center believing that its staff will be able to provide the attention and supervision your family member or friend needs. Sadly, that does not always happen. Nursing home staffs might overlook some of their residents' more subtle needs. While they may feel as though they can get away with omitting care practices that might be minor, when your loved one is in need of constant care, no aspect of their life should be overlooked

This is especially true if they are confined to a bed or to a wheelchair. While some might mistakenly believe that people in such a position require less care and supervision, the opposite is often true. If your friend or family member is unable to get up and ambulate frequently, they run the risk of developing bedsores. According to information shared by the Mayo Clinic, bedsores (or "pressure ulcers," as they are called by clinicians), occur when constant pressure is applied to a certain area of the body. Blood flow to that area eventually slows, causing the skin and surrounding tissue to slowly die. Bedsores typically start as discoloration to the affected area, followed by swelling and (if left untreated) the drainage of pus. Severe bedsores can lead to serious infections that can often lead to amputation or even death. 

What kind of car or booster seat does your child need?

Parents will go to great lengths to keep their children safe. This is particularly true when parents need to drive their children somewhere. Not many parents these days would dream of putting their child into a car without a proper car seat, booster seat or seat belt.

However, standards for child safety in vehicles are constantly changing. While that isn't a bad thing, when you consider that it's all about keeping kids protected, it can be difficult for parents to keep up. If you're unsure of what the updated car seat laws in Oregon entail, here's what you need to know.

Examining the different types of driving distractions

Most car accidents that occur on Salem's roads are just that: accidents. Very rarely will a person intentionally cause a collision. Yet even though intent is typically not present in a car crash, some degree of blame typically is. It is often carelessness or recklessness (even though it is unintended) on the part of at least one party involved that leads to accidents. Recent years have seen distracted driving being cited more and more as the cause of roadway damages, injuries and fatalities. Indeed, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,166 people were killed due to distracted driving in the U.S. in 2017 alone. 

When people think of distracted driving, they may immediately conjure up images of people talking or texting on their cell phones while behind the wheel. While there is good reason for this (as the proliferation of cell phones has led to more and more drivers using them while driving), cell phones are not the only types of driving distractions. A collaborative effort between the Auto Alliance and the American Academy of Orthopaedic surgeons identified the following three primary classifications for driving distractions: 

  • Manual distractions: Activities which force drivers to take one or both hands off the steering wheel
  • Visual distractions: Activities which force drivers to take their eyes off the road
  • Cognitive distractions: Activities which force drivers to their attention away from the road

Reduce the risk of TBI when behind the wheel

During the summer, Oregon roadways are busier than ever. Big trucks line the highways, delivering goods from around the world. Families take to the roads, heading to summer vacations on the shore or at the lake. Motorcycles come out of seasonal storage, and riders take advantage of the beautiful weather. At Swanson Lathen Prestwich, PC, we often assist clients injured in a crash by helping them file traumatic brain injury claims.

According to Shepherd Center, you can reduce the risk of TBI by taking the following precautions:

  • Do not drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. These substances, including prescription medications, can slow your response time, impairing your ability to make good decisions, and act quickly.
  • Wear your seatbelt. These safety devices help you and your passengers stay in the seats in the event of a crash. Buckle small children into safety seats or booster seats if they are too small or light for a standard seatbelt.
  • Invest in a protective helmet. Whether you ride a bicycle or motorcycle, a helmet can protect against severe brain and spinal cord injuries.
  • Stow the cell phone while driving. Driver distraction is a leading cause of roadway collisions. Individuals who talk or text while driving are four times more likely to become involved in a crash.

What should I wear when riding a motorcycle?

Riding a motorcycle is certainly fun, but it's not without its risks. Unfortunately, other motorists often overlook the presence of motorcyclists on the road, with sometimes devastating results. While you can't always prevent an accident from happening, you can take the proper steps to protect yourself. Accordingly, AARP recommends wearing the following items every time you ride. 

Regardless of the laws where you live, helmets are lifesavers when riding a motorcycle. Make sure the helmet you choose is Department of Transportation-approved and offers allover coverage. This is especially important when it comes to the eye area, which is why many helmets have face shields. If you opt for an open-faced helmet, pick up a pair of goggles with shatter resistant lenses. Make sure you also have a pair with UV protection for daytime riding. 

Exploring the silent epidemic of elder abuse

While many people in Oregon do acknowledge that elder abuse does happen, what most do not realize are just how extreme of a problem it is. Contrary to what some may think, elder abuse is not a problem exclusive to public care facilities. It can also happen at home by a person's own family member or trusted caretaker. Because the elderly are already vulnerable and often not able to effectively communicate their needs, elder abuse often goes unnoticed until it is too late. 

A study that was conducted on nearly 37,000 emergency room claims across the nation where 35,000 Medicare recipients had been treated for various reasons. A follow-up report showed that a shocking 31,000 Medicare claims had shown some type of abuse that was actively supported by medical records. This startling statistic demonstrates just how serious elder abuse is in both home and public health care settings in the United States. 

Understanding negligent entrustment

Every time you take to Salem's roads and highways in your personal vehicle, there is a chance that you could be involved in an accident. Knowing this, you may tend to be somewhat understanding towards those that cause an accident that you are involved in. Yet if and when it is discovered that the driver that hit you was in another's vehicle, the issue of who should be liable comes into play. When legal action is required, that scenario can become even murkier. Many have come to us here at Swanson Lathen Prestwich PC in this situation wondering what sort of legal recourse might be available to them. If you share the same concern, you will be happy to know that assigning vicarious liability for your accident is indeed possible. 

This is due to the legal principle of negligent entrustment. Simply put, if a vehicle owner loans their car to one who has proven themselves to be an unsafe or irresponsible driver, they can be held liable for whatever accidents the driver causes. Oregon state law does indeed recognize the validity of negligent entrustment, but only in certain situations. 

Safety is a top priority when going for a bike ride

Is riding a bicycle a passion of yours or have you recently gotten back into the activity as a form of exercise? Maybe you believe that cycling could help reduce the negative impacts your driving could have on the environment, even if just in a small way. Whatever the reason, you find yourself on your bicycle more now than ever.

Though cycling can certainly be a pleasant activity, it is one that presents dangers. You could easily suffer injuries in a bicycle accident, and if that accident involves a vehicle, the likelihood of you suffering serious injuries increases substantially. As a result, you want to do your part to stay as safe as possible while cycling.

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