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Appleton Personal Injury Law Blog

Understanding traumatic brain injuries

Brain injuries can be particularly devastating for families. If brain function is limited due to damage, then quality of life can fall drastically. There are two basic types of traumatic brain injury: closed and penetrating.

With penetrating injuries, a foreign object enters the brain. One example would be a bullet going through the skull and brain. Surgeons can examine the patient and conduct tests to determine which area suffered damage, and symptoms will vary based on the area that was damaged. With closed-head injuries, the brain is damaged as the result of a hard blow to the head. Examples include falling, hitting the head on a car dashboard or being struck with an object.

Facts on traumatic brain injuries in Wisconsin

A traumatic brain injury may result from a variety of causes. The aftermath of brain trauma may include permanent disability or a prolonged coma. The medical expenses, therapy, rehabilitation and long-term care needed to care for a person with brain damage can be considerable. These traumas are a major cause of death and disability in Wisconsin and across the U.S., contributing to nearly 30 percent of deaths caused by injuries.

Brain trauma may result from a bump, jolt or blow to the head or the penetration of a foreign object into the head. A brain injury may be classified as mild to severe. Mild brain injuries are the most common and include concussions. In 2010, the nation experienced 2.5 million hospitalizations and emergency room visits due to brain injuries.

How many injuries occur from drunk driving accidents?

Alcohol-related crash injuries in Wisconsin have steadily declined since 1979, but deaths due to drunk-driving accidents have remained relatively stable since 1982, according to statistics. The state saw an all-time high in drunk driving fatalities and injuries in 1979. As laws became stricter and enforcement increased, the overall numbers dropped, but they are still problematic as alcohol is still the largest cause of fatal motor vehicle accidents in the state.

In 2012, more than 5,000 alcohol-related crashes occurred, representing a rate of one person killed or injured in a drunk-driving accident every 2.8 hours. While significantly better than in 1990, 2012's rate still meant that 37 percent of all accident fatalities in the state for the year were due to drunk driving.

Surgical sponges harm patients when surgeons leave them inside

Though surgical tools like sponges are useful and help the surgeon perform operations, they are not supposed to be left in the patient’s body. When surgeons sew up patients with a sponge still inside, the patient can sustain internal injuries. They will likely need more surgery to remove the sponge, and they might die from this form of medical malpractice.

Surgical sponges are not like kitchen sponges. They are squares of gauze that absorb blood. Medical professionals have struggled for years to find a reliable way to keep track of all the sponges used during an operation, so that the surgeon removes them all before finishing up. But techniques like having a nurse keep count, X-raying the patient or using bar codes have not eliminated the problem.

Distracted drivers often harm children in school zones

Distracted driving has become an epidemic in the United States. Unable or unwilling to focus their attention on the road, too many people choose to use their cellphone or other electronic devices while driving. Others believe, despite all evidence to the contrary, that eating or putting on makeup behind the wheel are safe and won’t cause a car accident.

Even the areas where children get on and off the school bus are not safe from distracted drivers. American Traffic Solutions, a company that provides traffic-light cameras, says that more than 100 children are killed each year in car crashes in school zones, and more than 25,000 injured.

Are Wisconsin drivers required to have insurance in case of crash?

Drivers in many states are legally required to have car insurance. Wisconsin is among those states. The law says that motorists must carry auto insurance, except in limited cases where another form of security like a surety bond or personal funds can be substituted.

According to the state Commissioner of Insurance, for policies issued or renewed as of Nov. 1, 2011, motorists must have at least $25,000 for injury or death of one person in a car accident. The policy must have a minimum of $50,000 coverage for injury or death of two or more people, and $10,000 for property damage.

Mayfly swarm causes 3-car accident in Wisconsin

Wisconsin motorists know to be ready for anything on the road. In wintertime, this means snow, ice and sleet, which can make streets and highways slippery. Drivers who do not adjust by slowing down and allowing for more following distance risk getting into a car accident.

Late in July, a different sort of natural phenomenon may have caused a three-car crash in western Wisconsin. At least two people were injured, though one of them was not seriously hurt. The condition of the second victim was not known.

5 steps for patients to avoid medical malpractice

It is the duty of the doctor and the rest of the medical team to provide a reasonable standard of care to the patient. If you go to the hospital for an operation and the surgeon seems like he or she is not meeting that standard, it may be necessary to act on your own behalf to reduce your chances of becoming the victim of a surgical error.

After all, most people would rather not be harmed by medical malpractice than be forced to assert their rights in court later. Here are five tips for how to protect yourself the next time you are about to have surgery:

Officials: fewest fatalities in Wisconsin car wrecks since WWII

The last time there were so few deadly car accidents in Wisconsin, World War II had just ended. In fact, if trends from this year hold, the rate could be even better, at least for four-wheeled motorists.

The state Department of Transportation recently reported that the number of fatal car accidents in Wisconsin over the first six months of the year were down 5 percent from the same period in 2013. Last year, there were 527 deaths on the roads, the fewest since 1944, but the numbers are on pace to be significantly lower this year.

Man says medical malpractice by CVS Pharmacy blinded him

Those of us who take prescription drugs to treat a medical condition rely on the pharmacist to provide us with the proper medicine at the correct dosage. A negligent pharmacist who provides the wrong drug, or makes another medication error, puts his or her customers at serious risk of harm.

Besides the fact that the unfortunate patient is not getting the medicine he or she needs, he or she could actually suffer from unwanted side effects from the incorrect drug. Such is the case with a man who was blinded in one eye by drops that were meant for ear problems, according to a medical malpractice lawsuit he has filed against drug store chain CVS Pharmacy.