New Study Shows How the Brain Reacts to a Concussion – St. Louis Car Accident Attorney

Around 1.4 million people become a victim of traumatic brain injury (TBI) every year in the U.S.

concussion car accident attorneyMany of these brain injuries are minor, but they still affect the injured person’s health. Considering the high prevalence of minor TBI, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced the disease as a silent epidemic and a leading public health concern. Concussion is one of the most common types of minor traumatic brain injuries, but there is little awareness about how this type of injury affects the brain.

Concussions are Common in Car Accidents

Concussion is usually caused by a sudden, heavy blow to the head, which is common in car accidents. Symptoms of concussion include loss of consciousness, disturbed vision, and loss of equilibrium. In some cases, the injured person does not experience any major symptoms and the brain may seemingly remain intact, but there could be damages to the protective layers of the brain, according to the findings of a recent study conducted by the researchers at the National Institute of Health published in the magazine Nature.

How the Brain Protects Itself

The researchers created a mouse trauma model to monitor the brain’s responses to minor injuries and noticed that the brain has a system in place to prevent an injury from causing any widespread damage. This system works by forming an immune response to the injured brain cells. The study found that one of the molecules, if applied to the brain, can actually reduce the extent of the damages caused by a brain injury.

MRI scans of around 142 recently injured persons were analyzed as part of the study. Interestingly, signs of physical damage were not evident in many of the brain scans. However, damages to some projective layers of the brain were noticed. Likewise, signs of blood leaking into the protective layers of the brain directly from vessels were evident in the mouse model study. It was also found that an antioxidant called glutathione, which is released soon after one suffers a brain injury, helps reduce the amount of brain cell deaths by around 67 percent.

Preventing Brain Damage

The researchers took pictures of the underlying layers of the skull with the use of a microscope and learned how the brain cells develop an immune response to prevent any further damage. It was evident from the images that some brain cells collapsed in the meninges and the glial limitans of the brain. Some brain cells work as “first responders” to prevent any harmful material from reaching the surface of the brain, thus helping prevent any further damage. In fact, the usual inflammatory response of the brain to any minor brain injury helps protect the brain against any further damage, according to the findings of the study. The findings of this study will help doctors diagnose and treat traumatic brain injury cases.

If you have suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car accident, contact a St. Louis car accident lawyer to claim compensation for damages from the at-fault person. Call The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. at (314) 361-4242 for a free consultation.

St. Louis Car Accidents Caused by Elderly Drivers – Auto Accident Attorney

As of 2012, the number of licensed U.S. drivers in the age group of 65 years or older was nearly 36 million.

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Statistics also reveal that on average, around 586 people suffers an injury from road accidents every day in the United States. The good news is that elderly drivers can reduce the risk of getting involved in a road accident by taking some simple steps.

Senior Citizen Driving Statistics

In 2012, around 214,000 elderly people suffered injuries and over 5,560 elderly adults lost their life as a result of car accidents. This translates to around 586 injuries and 15 deaths per day. It is also interesting to note that the number of licensed elderly drivers increased by around 34 percent between 1999 and 2012.

Was Age the Cause of the Accident?

Just because you suffered an injury from an accident involving an elderly driver does not mean that the elderly driver was at fault. The age of a driver does not automatically make him or her accountable for an accident. Fault is determined after a thorough investigation, including:

•Whether the elderly driver is suffering from any illness or medical condition that could be relevant to the accident.
•Whether the driver has any problem with vision or eyesight.
•Whether the driver was advised against driving by a physician.
•Whether the driver had difficulty recognizing signals due to any cognitive problems.

Claiming Compensation After a Car Accident

If you get injured from a car crash caused by an elderly driver, you could be eligible for claiming compensation. You are entitled to receive compensation for your medical bills, lost earnings, out-of-pocket expenses, and pain and suffering. Consult a St. Louis car crash attorney to make sure you get maximum compensation from your losses. Call The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. at (314) 361-4242.

How Wearing Your Seatbelt Properly Can Save Your Life

You have likely heard a lot over the years about how important it is to wear a seatbelt while driving a car. In fact, it is the first thing that we should do the moment we enter an automobile. Seatbelts are a vital safety feature of a car. According to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, auto accidents are the leading cause of death of people in the age group of 5-34 years. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics show that someone is injured in an auto accident every 15 seconds and someone dies in an auto crash every 13 minutes. It is heartening to know that seatbelts save around 11,000 lives each year and they help the driver maintain control of the vehicle in event of a crash.

Having said that it is also important to understand how seatbelts work and what is the appropriate way to wear a seatbelt. Seatbelts prevent internal injuries by distributing the force of collision across the strongest body areas: upper chest and the pelvis. Here are some tips on the correct way to wear a seatbelt.

Wearing Your Seatbelt Properly

Make sure you position the diagonal belt across the chest and the lap belt across the upper thighs. The driver should not put the diagonal belt behind the body, because the lap belt alone may not be able prevent the motorist from getting thrown forward or even out of the car. It is also extremely important to wear the lap belt at all times because the body may get thrown under the shoulder belt and onto the steering wheel or dashboard.

Seatbelt Wearing Tips for Pregnant Women

Everyone must wear a seatbelt while driving even pregnant women. In fact, it becomes even more important to use the proper technique as the seatbelt can save not only one but two lives. Each year there are nearly 170,000 car crashes involving pregnant women.

Pregnant women should wear a shoulder seatbelt and the combination lap. Women should place the lap belt below the stomach, low and tight on the hip bones and it should touch the thighs. The seatbelt should not be worn across the belly. The shoulder belt is equally important when it comes to preventing crash related injuries. Make sure that the shoulder belt fits snugly across the chest and the center of the shoulder. Do not put the shoulder belt behind you.

Unfortunately seatbelts cannot prevent all injuries. In severe crashes, the drivers and passengers can still suffer injuries even if they were wearing seatbelts properly. In some cases, the seatbelt can malfunction and fail to save you from the impact of the crash. If you or someone close to you has been injured in a car accident, get in touch with an experienced car wreck attorney at The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. We can evaluate your claim for free and you never pay attorney fees unless we recover compensation for you.

Call (314) 361-4242 to speak with an attorney!

5 Ways to Avoid Causing a St. Louis Motorcycle Wreck

When you are driving a car, it is your responsibility to ensure the safety of other drivers, motorcyclists, and pedestrians you are sharing the road with.

motorcycle wreck attorney St. Louis

Pedestrians and motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable, because they have no protection against any impact and even a small collision can cause serious car accident injuries. For this reason, it is extremely important to be extra watchful of motorcyclists on the roadway.

Motorcycle Accidents Caused by Negligence

It is important to note that the largest number of motorcycle accidents is caused by the drivers of larger vehicles they are sharing the road with. Truckers and car drivers should be extra careful to make sure that they do not cause a motorcycle crash. Many motorcycle accidents are caused by the negligence of the car driver. Listed below are five reminders that can help you remain extra cautious and prevent causing a crash.

Acknowledge the Rights of Motorcyclists

Even though motorcycles are much smaller vehicles, motorcyclists enjoy the same privileges as other drivers. For example, a motorcyclist has the right to use a full lane.

Carefully Spot Motorcycles on the Road

Motorcycles are less visible compared to larger vehicles; make an extra effort to watch out for motorcycles.

Use Turn Signal When Changing Lanes or Merging

When a driver neglects the use of signals, it leaves less room for a motorcyclist to anticipate and respond to the flow of traffic and make any necessary adjustments.

Allow a Safe Distance

As you would do with any other vehicle, maintain a distance of at least 3-4 seconds between your car and the bike. This will give a motorcycle rider enough time to respond.

Be Aware of Blind Spots

A large number of motorcycle accidents is caused because they get caught in the vehicle’s blind spot due to their small size. Before entering or leaving an intersection, check your blind spot carefully for the presence of any motorcycles.

Motorcycle accidents can result in serious injuries and expensive medical bills. If you have been injured because of another driver’s negligence, contact a St. Louis motorcycle accident attorney from The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. We have over 15 years experience successfully handling motorcycle accident cases. Call us at (314) 361-4242 for a free consultation.

Why Teen Drivers Are Often More Susceptible to Risk-Taking

Is all risky behavior by teen drivers caused because they simply do not care?

reckless driving accident attorney St. Louis

Fatal road accidents account for a large percentage of deaths among teenagers and young people ages 15 to 29, with newly licensed teenagers more susceptible to road accidents.

Why Are Teenagers at Risk for Auto Accidents?

A recent study found that teenagers with lower response to stress are more likely than those with higher response to stress to be involved in a road accident. The 18-month long study by scientists at the University of Sherbrooke in Quebec was conducted among more than 40 newly licensed teenage drivers. The study found that teenagers with a higher response to the stress hormone cortisol are less susceptible to road accidents.

The Role of Cortisol

“This study found that cortisol, a neurobiological marker, was associated with teenaged driving risk [and that] teenagers with lower response to stress were at higher risk for [crashes and reckless driving charges],” says investigator Marie Claude Ouimet in a written statement. “As in other problem-behavior fields, identification of an objective marker of a specific pathway to teenaged driving risk promises the development of more personalized intervention approaches.”

Scientists at the University of Sherbrooke measured the respondents’ cortisol response while they were given to perform a stress-inducing task. Meanwhile, they also gathered data on the respondents’ reckless driving charges. Finally, the researchers compared the two data to come to a conclusion. In order to measure the respondents’ response to cortisol, the researchers took saliva samples from the respondents after every few days. The researchers installed cameras and sensors in each participant’s car. As expected, the results show that teenagers with a higher response to cortisol or those who can handle stress better had been involved in fewer crashes or faced fewer penalties for reckless driving.

How Stress Affects Teen Driving Behavior

“The most immediate implication of the findings of the Ouimet et al study is for continued research to better characterize the relationship between cortisol reactivity in response to stressors and crash risk in the general population of healthy teens and among those teens who might be at higher crash risk owing to preexisting conditions or history of risky behaviors,” said Dennis R. Durbin, a doctor at the Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia and the co-researcher of the study, in a written statement.

Durbin stressed the importance of conducting more studies to find out how stress affects teenage driving behaviors. Meanwhile, newly licensed teenagers need to be educated about avoiding risky behavior while driving. Parents have a major role to play in helping their children be aware of the risks associated with reckless driving.

If you have been injured by a reckless teen driver, contact a St. Louis car accident attorney from The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. to understand your legal rights.

Serious Injuries: Head Hitting the Dashboard in a Car Accident

Head injuries resulting from automobile accidents are often serious and even fatal.

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Imagine you are driving through your everyday route, following traffic rules and safe driving guidelines. Suddenly, as you are about to cross an intersection, a large SUV comes around a turn and blocks the road, leaving you with no other option but to apply a sudden brake, and as a result your head hits the dashboard. The first thought that comes to your mind after you survive such a car accident is often whether you and your fellow passengers are okay. You are more likely to check for evident injuries, such as, excessive bleeding, broken bones, and unconsciousness. Unfortunately, however, most internal injuries caused by an accident often go unnoticed in the beginning.

Car Accidents Often Cause Traumatic Head Injuries

Car accidents are one of the most common causes of head injuries. The driver may suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI), if his head strikes on the steering wheel. On the other hand, passengers often suffer serious head injuries when their heads hit the dashboard or the windshield.

Every year, round 500,000 people suffer head injuries in the United States, and road accidents account for one out of every two of those head injuries. Even more alarming, around 34 percent of all injury-related deaths in the United States are caused by TBIs.

Around 1.7 million people suffer TBI every year, and 52,000 of these injuries result in death, estimates a 2010 report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The report also reveals that nearly 32 percent of all TBI-related deaths are caused by the vehicle accidents. Also, motor vehicle accidents are the second most common cause of
TBIs, says the CDC report.

Symptoms of a Head Injury may not Appear Immediately

Unfortunately, symptoms of internal head injuries are more difficult to detect. The symptoms may occur right away or may take days or weeks to develop. Some common symptoms of a minor head injury include confusion, temporary loss of memory, temporary loss of coordination, nausea, confusion, and headache.

More serious head injuries may, however, trigger more serious symptoms, including vomiting, loss of consciousness, seizures, loss of muscle control, bleeding from the scalp, and complete loss of coordination.

Minor Head Injuries Often Heal with Time

Fortunately, not all head injuries are serious, and in most cases, minor injuries require no or very little treatment. It is still important, however, to seek medical treatment after experiencing any head injury in a car accident.

Not all TBI victims Experience a Loss of Consciousness

As already mentioned, symptoms of a traumatic brain injury are not always immediately apparent. Even when the victim does not lose consciousness, he or she may still suffer a TBI.

Types of Head Injuries

The four major types of serious head injuries include open injury, closed injury, scalp wounds, and concussion. The first type of injury occurs when an object penetrates the skull. For instance, if the victim’s head hits the dashboard hard, the collision may cause fractures in the head. Heavy bleeding is a common symptom of an open injury. On the other hand, a closed head injury occurs when the skull gets a strong blow but does not break apart. Common symptoms include swelling of the head and pain. If the head is shaken due to an accident, it may cause a concussion, with symptoms like headache and loss of consciousness.

If you hit your head with the dashboard in a car accident caused by another person’s negligence, speak with an experienced St. Louis auto accident claim lawyer.

Rear End Bike Accidents in St. Louis, Missouri

Rear end bicycle accidents account for almost 40 percent of all bike accidents.

Many of these accidents occur because the drivers fail to share the road responsibly with the bike riders. In this post, we will discuss some rear end bike accident scenarios and how you can protect yourself as a St. Louis bicyclist.

Whether you commute on your bike daily, or just take it for an occasional ride, you must keep one thing in mind: Even though you have every right to use the roadway just like the other vehicles do, it is possible that the other drivers may not see you or fail to share the roadway responsibly. So, you must always ride with extreme caution and assume that the drivers cannot see you. Take it upon yourself to ensure your safety. Here are some common scenarios involving a rear end bike accident:

Swerving: Even though bikers are required to ride to the right as much as possible, certain hurdles such as a potholes, debris or some other hazards can cause them to switch lanes abruptly, and the vehicle coming from behind can collide with it. So, it is important for the riders to stay alert and check the rear before switching lanes.

Distracted riding: Bicycle riders have absolutely no protection against the mighty vehicles they share the roadway with. So, to prevent any accidents, it is important for bicyclists to be 100% alert at all times. Even a slight distraction can cost the biker his life or limb.

Bike Lane Intrusions: Drivers of motor vehicles often flout traffic rules. It is not uncommon for the drivers to intrude into bicycle lanes to make a right turn or for parking. So, you must stay alert even in the bike lane.

Intersection accidents: A large number of bike collisions occur on intersections. So, it is important to make frequent checks as you approach the intersection. Even if you remain to the right, watch out for the cars trying to make sudden right turns.

Poor visibility: A large percentage of rear end bike accidents occur in the night because of low visibility. Make sure there are reflectors on the bike as well as on your clothes so that you are easily visible to the drivers even at night.

Depending on the speed at which the rear end bike collisions occur, they can cause severe injuries and even death of the biker. In most cases, the driver of the vehicle that hit from behind would be held liable for the accident. However, in case the biker failed to observe the traffic laws, or was riding negligently or aggressively and got hit from behind, then he may not be able to recover any damages from the driver.

If you have been involved in a rear end bike collision, then you must get in touch with an experienced St Louis injury attorney to understand your legal rights and options.