The Harper Law Blog

The Harper Law Blog offers news, announcements, thoughts and articles on life, law and our practice areas of emphasis.

Brain Injuries

Posted Wednesday, March 14, 2007 by Ed Harper

Brain injuries are on the rise. Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) or Brain Injuries are increasing due to the more resilient vehicles (cars are not incurring as much property damage) on the road today.

“More than 40 percent of TBIs are the result of traffic accidents” the most common cause of this type of injury.

Ironically, advances in protective equipment – seatbelts, airbags, helmets – may have led to increases in TBIs over the past decade or so, Dr. Lifshitz says. That’s because people who once would have died from injuries in an accident now live, but with badly wounded brains. – Recent MSNBC article.

People are injured as a result of the sheering forces on the brain when sudden acceleration and deceleration incidents occur. Incidents such as car collisions and falls can cause permanent injuries. The brain, soft and jelly-like, is slammed into the hard and bony skull. Permanent damage often results as nerve fibers are torn apart and the brain cells often do not recover.

According to the National Institute of Health, “Symptoms of a TBI can be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the extent of the damage to the brain. A person with a mild TBI may remain conscious or may experience a loss of consciousness for a few seconds or minutes. Other symptoms of mild TBI include headache, confusion, lightheadedness, dizziness, blurred vision or tired eyes, ringing in the ears, bad taste in the mouth, fatigue or lethargy, a change in sleep patterns, behavioral or mood changes, and trouble with memory, concentration, attention, or thinking. A person with a moderate or severe TBI may show these same symptoms, but may also have a headache that gets worse or does not go away, repeated vomiting or nausea, convulsions or seizures, an inability to awaken from sleep, dilation of one or both pupils of the eyes, slurred speech, weakness or numbness in the extremities, loss of coordination, and increased confusion, restlessness, or agitation.”

Brain injured victims must rely on family and friends for assistance. The injured person often cannot hold a job as they lack the ability to remember, cannot concentrate, and employers lose their patience. Society must learn to assist the ever-increasing number of brain injured people.

If you or a loved one has been injured through someone else’s negligence, call Harper Law, PLLC.

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Construction site safety will likely improve with new bill

Posted Monday, March 12, 2007 by Ed Harper

Washington State legislators agree on a construction crane safety bill. In a rare move labor and management officials in the construction industry provided support for this new bill. Initially, the bill would have applied to both manufacturing cranes as well as construction cranes. However, after Boeing and Weyerhaueser both petitioned the legislature.

The legislation will cost the state an estimated $5.0 million from 2007 to 2013 and require L&I to open a crane safety division. Part of L&I’s new mandate requires the State of Washington to certify crane operators, something which is long over-due.

Washington now has upgraded safety for its citizens in regards to crane operations.

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Steroid users should be banned from sports

Posted Wednesday, March 07, 2007 by Ed Harper

As you all know steroids continue to rear their ugly head in the news. These substances are illegal, and their usage continues in almost all sports. Athletes continue to think they are above the law, or that the ends justify the means. Look at Barry Bonds, soon (I hope not) to be the home run champion of all time in Major League Baseball. He will pass Henry "Hank" Aaron when he hits home run #756 sometime this summer.

Unless Bonds’ is indicted first.

If Bonds does break the record, there should be an asterisk by his name to indicate his scandalous behavior. Or, just as Pete Rose is rightfully kept out of the Hall of Fame until he comes clean, Bonds should not be allowed to be inducted in the Hall of Fame without the truth being made known.I often hear comments such as well if he has not tested positive, then what is the problem. The problem is that Bonds and others have seen fit to take advantage of lax testing policies in order to acquire an advantage in their respective sport. He has damaged America’s pastime and for that he should be punished.

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State Farm Insurance Company posts amazing profit numbers

Posted Saturday, March 03, 2007 by Ed Harper

According to a leading Insurance company source “State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. announced today it will pay $1.25 billion in dividends to its mutual auto insurance policyholders in 46 states, the District of Columbia and the Canadian province of New Brunswick.

The dividends approved by the State Farm Mutual board of directors, eclipses the previous high of just over $1 billion in June, 2000.”

The company has made a substantial amount of profit the last three years even in 2005 the year of Katrina disaster. “The company is reporting an after-tax net income from all sources of $5.32 billion, compared with $5.31 billion in net income reported in 2004 (two years ago). State Farm’s net income in the hurricane – laden year of 2005 was $3.24 billion.”

So, do not feel sorry for the insurance industry. State Farm is going to be sending out dividend checks to policy holders. The average amount to be received will be $35 per policyholder. In my mind, they should lower the rates of their insurance policies across the board, rather than continue to line their pockets with so much money.

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Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage: Is it necessary?

Posted Wednesday, February 28, 2007 by Ed Harper

Uninsured/Underinsured Coverage: Coverage that is a necessity

When one is injured in a collision caused by a person who does not have insurance, or is underinsured, Uninsured (UM) and Underinsured (UIM) Motorist Coverage may be the only avenue to recoup your losses.

In 2002 in the State of Washington, according to a leading insurance company in Washington, 18.2% of all motor vehicle collisions were the fault of uninsured drivers. Thus, there is almost a 20% chance the collision you or your loved one will be or may have been in will be caused by an uninsured driver. This percentage has risen through the years in Washington even though the State Legislature in 1963 made it mandatory for one to have automobile insurance.

UM or UIM coverage is important and our state legislature has written the law in a manner which supports the courts to find coverage. Any question of coverage goes with the insured person. Then, when the claim is made to the insurance carrier, the UIM carrier steps into the shoes of the at-fault driver and takes on the responsibility for compensating the injured person as if the at-fault driver was settling the claim. (The insurance carrier will have claims against the at-fault driver if they desire to re-coup the money they have to pay out.)

Further, with insurance limits of $25,000/$50,000 in Washington, the Underinsured Motorist benefits will often be necessary to provide full compensation. The UIM coverage stacks on top of the at-fault insurance policy in order to obtain complete relief for the injuries. Making these claims is often necessary as the cost of health care and costs related to personal injury claims continue to rise for the injured person.

When making a UM/UIM claim, one can recover for these medical expenses, wage loss and other expenses and the UIM coverage protects you financially for these unforeseen circumstances.

This coverage is not mandatory but highly encouraged. The amount varies depending on the coverage you would like to purchase. However, typically one has the same amount of UIM coverage as the amount of liability coverage one has on their policy.

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