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A Helmet? While Sledding? Docs Say ‘Use Your Head’

/ Personal Injury /

A Helmet? While Sledding?ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Now that you have fresh snow, you’ll want to take the kids out the hill for a fun day of sledding but doctors are urging both parents and children to do something relatively unheard of in the sledding community: Wear a helmet.

Doctors with St. Luke’s University Health Network in Pennsylvania say it’s common sense to wear a helmet while you’re on a bike or a motorcycle and the same practice should be applied to sledding.

The medical pros have the statistics to back-up their suggestion too: more than 229,000 sledding injuries sent children to the hospital over ten years. Additionally, a 2007 study found that children can reach an average speed of 19 miles per hour on a downhill sled – and many times, sleds can go much faster.

A Rochester personal injury attorney at Cellino & Barnes says a helmet could avoid a potentially deadly injury and children should always be supervised.

“Sledding is a fun outdoor activity for thousands of children but every year, there’s an accident,” Rochester personal injury lawyer Ross Cellino said. “It is our hope that these accidents can be minimized and families can help reduce the number of sledding injuries with adult supervision and safety equipment like helmets.”

According to doctors at St. Luke’s, 34 percent of all sledding accidents resulted in a head injury. Up to 10 percent of the children who suffered a head injury became permanently disabled.

Recently, a 15 year-old Michigan boy was killed after his sled, being pulled by an SUV, crashed into a tree. Prosecutors said those involved in the stunt could face charges.

“Some communities have banned sledding because, in the end, the cities, counties and towns can be held responsible,” Cellino said. “However, most accidents can be minimized or prevented with good property maintenance, signage and supervision.”

Doctors and attorneys recommend several tips parents can follow to reduce the number of sledding injuries:

  1. Use a safe sled. Tubes and toboggans can be very risky because they accelerate to high speed with going downhill.
  2. Sit Feet-Forward. Avoid going downhill head-first – it increases the chance of serious head injury.
  3. Clear a Path. Avoid hills with obstructions or obstacles such as trees, jumps or ramps. Also find a hill with soft snow and avoid ice at all costs – since it is harder, the risk of injury is greater.
  4. Supervise. Most importantly, pay attention and make sure your kids are sledding sensibly.

Doctors say helmets are also an important tool for children under 12.

Boredom May Be a Symptom of a Brain Injury

/ Personal Injury /

Symptom of a Brain InjuryNEW YORK – Boredom can be a lonely state of mind and when you’re bored, you may think of it as a solvable problem but some researchers believe it’s a symptom of something much more severe.

According to Nature, an international weekly science journal, a Canadian researcher discovered that young men who suffered a traumatic brain injury get bored easier than they did before their head trauma. The findings have launched new cognitive research and doctors are now looking deeper into the state of boredom.

A Long Island personal injury attorney at Cellino & Barnes says in any type of accident, traumatic brain injuries are extremely common and thousands of Americans may have suffered a head injury without ever noticing.

“Many times, a person walks away from a car accident and doesn’t notice anything wrong with their behaviors,” Long Island personal injury attorney Ross Cellino said. “But over the next year or two, their attitudes may change, their personality can change and it can be devastating to their family.”

Brain injuries do not heal like other injuries and symptoms could appear at any time after the injury occurs – even weeks later.

The changes are rarely sudden. Instead, they occur slowly over time and it can make diagnosing a brain injury difficult for doctors.

However, if research determines boredom is a consistent symptom of a brain injury, doctors may be able to diagnose the patient sooner.

“Although traumatic brain injuries are extremely complex and radically different than most other types of injuries, it’s important to get treated quickly,” Cellino said. “As with any injury, a complete recovery starts with seeing a doctor.”

Some physicians believe that boredom can lead to other serious and unhealthy complications.

Binge-eating, for example, is often triggered by boredom, according to a study of eating disorders.

Other studies took boredom to the road and found that bored drivers often drive at higher speeds and don’t react as quickly as other drivers – and they frequently drifted into oncoming lanes. And a survey found that teens were more likely to pick up smoking, drinking, or drugs if they said they were bored.

However, research is only beginning to understand the link between boredom and traumatic brain injuries, if there is a link.

Currently, research on boredom and traumatic brain injuries are sparse but many medical experts are fascinated by the discussion and are planning to investigate boredom on more than just college students – that suggests new studies on boredom in teens, the elderly, and people with various ethnic backgrounds.

The Lake Effect Accident

/ Car Accident /

The Lake Effect AccidentBUFFALO, N.Y. – If you’ve ever driven through a lake effect snow storm, you know it’s a challenge. In fact, forecasters and government officials urge drivers to get off the roads and as another lake effect storm pummels Western New York with 8 to 13 inches of snow, driving is nearly impossible.

A Buffalo car accident attorney at Cellino & Barnes says lake effect snow storms create some of the most difficult driving conditions and accidents spike when the snow is coming down.

“Not only is the snow dangerous for drivers, we also have whipping winds that can create near zero visibility conditions in Buffalo,” car accident lawyer Steve Barnes said. “When you’re driving in one of these storms, you’re putting yourself and others at risk.”

Western New York is considered a ‘high risk’ zone for snowy and icy roads. According to a compilation of media reports, icy roads are a factor in as many as 477 fatal accidents each year – and thousands of others are injured in icy or snowy crashes.

According to the Federal Highway Administration, 24 percent of all car crashes are weather related and some analysts estimate the economic toll of weather-related crashes at $42 billion.

Surprisingly, there are few studies on the correlation between snow storms and injury rates but researchers in Norway found ‘significant increases’ in both injuries and fatal crashes during the first snowfall of the season.

“For the majority of the year, drivers don’t have to contend with icy or slushy roads,” Barnes said. “When the snow does fall, especially in heavy amounts, it can be difficult to judge how your vehicle will react.”

Rear-end collisions are some of the most common types of accidents during snow storms. Researchers have found that drivers often have difficulty determining the stopping distance due to icy or slushy roads and the result can be a rear-end crash.

Yes, winter weather poses many problems for drivers but attorneys say the courts and insurance companies rarely allow drivers to use ‘weather’ as an excuse.

“When there’s inclement weather, you need to adjust your driving habits,” Barnes said. “Slowing down during a snow storm can make it easier to avoid an accident but the best thing to do is to stay off the roads altogether.”

Study: Most Americans Can’t Afford a Sudden Medical Bill

/ Car Accident /

Sudden Medical BillNEW YORK – If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you understand the pain and the frustration. An injury can be expensive and many times, unaffordable.

In a new survey conducted by Bankrate.com, more than 60 percent of people said they didn’t have the savings to cover an unexpected medical bill – even one as low as $500 or $1,000.

Although victims of car crashes may be entitled to an insurance claim, a Bronx car accident lawyer at Cellino & Barnes says most Americans who have been injured in a crash need an advocate to fight for their personal rights.

“Many people are left paying for an accident that wasn’t their fault in the Bronx,” car crash attorney Steve Barnes said. “That’s why calling one of our attorneys is so important – we make sure you’re needs are covered and that you’re getting the best results possible.”

Bankrate.com’s findings may be concerning to many Americans – it shows financial vulnerability. Although most people are regaining jobs lost during difficult financial times, only half of the population is saving regularly. The study found that 15 percent of people would rely on a loan or a credit card to pay for costly and unexpected injury expenses.

Researchers discovered that the people most likely to be able to afford a sudden accident have incomes over $75,000 – but even with that salary, nearly half said they wouldn’t be able to afford a $500 car repair, according to the survey.

That doesn’t include any medical costs which can average over $15,000, according to an analytics company.

“Car crash injuries are some of the most costly medical bills in America today,” Barnes said. “Unfortunately, some insurance companies may not be willing to pay fair compensation if you don’t have the right law firm in your corner.”

If you’ve been injured, Bronx car accident attorneys suggest a free legal consultation with Cellino & Barnes: call 800-888-8888 to get started.

New Laws Will Change How Truckers Log Time

/ Truck Accident /

New Laws Will Change How Truckers Log TimeBUFFALO, N.Y. – If you’ve ever been sleepy behind the wheel, you know how dangerous fatigued driving can be. For those who work on the highway, fatigue can be a common enemy but a new law is aimed at enforcing regulations that were created to prevent drivers from driving under the stress of sleep.

Unfortunately, thousands of Americans ignore common sense and keep driving despite their body telling them to turn-in for the night. The problem is particularly dangerous in the trucking industry – where drivers often log over 11 hours each day while at the helm of a truck weighing up to 40 tons.

Beginning this year, commercial truck drivers and bus drivers will be using electronic devices to log their hours behind the wheel.

Buffalo truck accident attorneys at Cellino & Barnes hope the new law will make the roads safer.

“Many big rig crashes occur because the driver was fatigued,” Buffalo truck accident lawyer Steve Barnes said. “Now that some commercial drivers will be required to log their hours electronically, it could the number of serious and deadly collisions.”

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) said the logs are more difficult to tamper with and the electronic devices could provide a net savings of $1 billion each year. The administration estimated that electronic logs could prevent hundreds of truck crashes, saving dozens of lives and prevent hundreds of injuries.

Many high-profile truck crashes have been linked back to a fatigued driver. In August, federal regulators said a truck driver had been driving for 28 hours straight before a crash that injured comedian Tracy Morgan and killed another passenger.

“Truck drivers have been using pen and paper to log their hours since the 1930’s,” Barnes said. “With electronic logging devices, drive time will automatically be logged by monitoring the number of miles driven and the amount of time the driver is behind the wheel – it’s just more accurate and it could save lives.”

Although the rules may seem new, the battle for electronic recording devices dates back to 1995 when Congress ordered the Department of Transportation to develop electronic logs. However, the FMCSA didn’t make changes until a lawsuit forced the administration to place heavy limits on trucker hours in 2004.

Many drivers have opposed efforts to require electronic logging devices. The Owner-Operator Independent Driver’s Association sued the FMCSA in an effort to block the new regulation citing on its website, “The need for truckers to spend money on an unproven technology that is no more effective than paper logs when it comes to safety and hours-of-service compliance.”

Companies will have two years to begin using electronic logs although many trucking organizations have already implemented the technology.

Your Car’s Best Friend in Winter: A Car Wash

/ Car Accident /

A Car WashROCHESTER, N.Y. – It’s been a mild winter so far… until this week. And although the forecast calls for a brief warm-up, you know the flakes will be falling again soon.

The appetizer of frigid temperatures, snow and slush reminded drivers of the hazards on the roads during winter. Most motorists take simple precautions – like packing an ice scraper and a blanket in their vehicles – but many ignore what is considered one of the safest winter precautions: a clean car.

A Rochester car accident attorney at Cellino & Barnes says a car wash can keep vehicles running at peak performance and it can even prevent a crash.

“Street crews use road salt to give cars better traction during winter weather in Rochester,” car accident attorney Ross Cellino said. “But road salts can eat away at your car – in some cases, salt has destroyed brake lines.”

Several vehicles are currently under a voluntary recall due to the risk of corroding brake lines, often caused by exposure to winter road treatments.

Experts suggest washing the underside of a car at least once a week during the winter.

According to a study published by the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering, road treatments are reasonably safe for vehicles as long as owners commit to a proper maintenance schedule, which includes frequent washes.

“Vehicle washing is the best defense to reduce and prevent corrosion, and the public should be educated on the need to wash vehicles, including the undercarriage,” researchers wrote.

The analysis was drafted in response to a 2014 law that sparked a study of the effects of statewide road treatments on cars, highways and the environment. Researchers determined that states should continue treatment of roadways because there is no safer or financially reasonable alternative.

Although salt can be corrosive to a vehicle, it is much more dangerous for road crews to skip street and highway treatments.

“Even treated roadways can be dangerous during winter weather but they are still much safer than roads left untreated,” Cellino said. “Vehicle crashes have decreased by more than 33-percent during the winter since most states began using a salt mixture.”

Salt can also minimize your risk of a slip and fall lawsuit. Most of the nation’s road salt supply is used by private contractors and business owners who treat parking lots, driveways and sidewalks with salt to prevent an accident on their properties.

Rochester car accident lawyers say salt can be considered a necessary evil – but with proper care and maintenance of your vehicle, road mixtures can minimize skidding and possibly avoid an accident.

When Injuries Were “All in Our Heads”

/ Personal Injury /

When Injuries Were “All in Our Heads”BUFFALO, N.Y. – A Former Chicago Bears quarterback and Super Bowl champion says he, and thousands of other players, were misled about the effects of injuries – specifically head injuries.

McMahon, 56, joined thousands of former football players in a class-action lawsuit against the NFL, which was settled for around $1 billion in April. However, the ‘concussion’ battle is not over yet – and many families opted out of the class-action lawsuit.

“There are still many unknowns when it comes to head injuries,” Buffalo personal injury attorney Ross Cellino said. “Doctors are just now beginning to understand how repeated blows to the head – even if they don’t cause a concussion – can be linked to long-term illnesses.”

Among those who opted out of the lawsuit were relatives of former linebacker Junior Seau, whose suicide in 2012 put a spotlight on head injuries.

Seau, who was 43, shot himself in the chest so that his brain could be analyzed by doctors.

Just one year prior to Seau’s death, former Bears, Giants and Cardinals safety Dave Duerson also died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest. A text message sent to his family indicated that he wanted his brain to be used for research at the Boston University School of Medicine, which conducts studies on chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a neurodegenative disease that can lead to the onset of Lou Gehrig’s Disease and dementia, among others.

Researchers determined both Seau and Duerson had developed the trauma-induced disease.

One recent study discovered evidence of CTE in 76 of the 79 former players tested for the disease.

In 1994, an NFL team doctor told Newsday:

“We think of the issue of knees, of drugs and steroids and drinking is a far greater problem (than concussions).”

In 1999, former Steelers Hall of Famer Mike Webster claimed football gave him dementia – and he was spending his final days broke, living in his truck until he died at the age of 50.

Since then, the NFL and other sports organizations have changed their tune.

“Concussions were considered part of the profession, a type of occupational risk – and according to some players, they were told that the pain was ‘all in their head’ so they were given massive doses of painkillers,” Cellino said. “But doctors have found that these injuries slowly destroy a person’s brain.”

Buffalo personal injury attorneys say several sports have made sweeping changes in order to protect students and professionals but many doctors, parents and safety advocates remain concerned.

The $1 billion settlement that was approved in April only covers the benefits for retired football players. And the league did not admit to any wrongdoing. The NFL continues to avoid any acknowledgement of a link between football and degenerative brain diseases.

Experts say the settlement may simply be a ‘starting point’ and as long as athletes suffer from concussions, the risk of long-term illnesses will remain high.

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