Minneapolis Personal Injury Lawyer Douglas Schmidt believes that, “Chiropractors have a big advantage over other healthcare providers when it comes to functional capacity assessments. They typically have hands-on experience with the patient many more times than the medical doctors. They have the opportunity to observe the patient’s response to treatment. They have the opportunity to observe the patient’s condition both at the beginning of the workday and at the end of the workday, thus allowing them to make a comparative assessment of how the physical activities of the workday have affected the patient’s condition.”

Schmidt notes that chiropractors offering use the various assessment tools such as the Oswestry Neck and Back Protocol, the Henry Ford Headache Disability Assessment protocol, and the Rand SF36 Assessment protocol.

Schmidt is currently working on the development of a comprehensive Functional Capacities Assessment protocol that can be used by Chiropractors.

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Schmidt notes that, “Chiropractors have a big advantage over other healthcare providers when it comes to functional capacity assessments. They typically have hands-on experience with the patient many more times than the medical doctors. They have the opportunity to observe the patient’s response to treatment. They have the opportunity to observe the patient’s condition both at the beginning of the workday and at the end of the workday, thus allowing them to make a comparative assessment of how the physical activities of the workday have affected the patient’s condition.”

Schmidt notes that chiropractors offering use the various assessment tools such as the Oswestry Neck and Back Protocol, the Henry Ford Headache Disability Assessment protocol, and the Rand SF36 Assessment protocol.

Schmidt is currently working on the development of a comprehensive Functional Capacities Assessment protocol that can be used by Chiropractors.

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Thoracic Outlet Syndrome is a manifestation of whiplash trauma that often occurs as the result of a car accident or other traumatic event. This condition is often overlooked/ignored by medical doctors, but detected and diagnosed by Doctors of Chiropractic.
Your attention is called to the description of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome by Dr. Rene Cailliet in his famous textbook entitled Shoulder Pain, Edition 3. Dr. Cailliet describes TOS as follows:
Another form of neurologically referred shoulder-arm pain can be from en¬croachment of neurologic tissues in the region of the shoulder girdle complex. The neurovascular elements responsible for symptoms in the upper extremity exit at the root of the neck in their progression to the upper extremity through a limited space termed the thoracic outlet. Any constriction of this outlet may lead to painful disabling symptoms.

Within this outlet are found the brachial plexus, the subclavian artery, and the subclavian vein. Compression of any of these structures can produce symp¬toms of pain, paresthesias, swelling, temperature changes, and motor weakness, which affect the shoulder, arm, forearm, and hand.

Dr. Cailliet describes the anatomical mechanism of TOS in this way:

The neurovascular bundle, which is the collective term for all the exiting nerves and vessels through this outlet (Fig. 8-13), passes through a series of nar¬row rigid spaces wherein the slightest anatomic or physiologic deviation can re¬sult in compression with resultant symptoms. Some of the tissues that may en¬croach on the neurovascular bundle have been designated as cervical rib, fascias remnants, abnormality of the first thoracic rib, interscalene muscle spasm or fi¬brous contraction, thickening of the normal fascia from persistent mechanical irritation, and prolonged abnormalities of posture. Mechanical compression of the neurovascular bundle between the bony components of the outlet is also considered a predominant cause.
The resultant symptoms from encroachment on the bundle nay be neuro¬logic or vascular, dependent on which component of the bundle is under compression or traction.

The term thoracic outlet (also termed cervical dorsal outlet) syndrome was used synonymously %OW scalene anticus syndrome w1Tn neurovascular compression was attributed to spasm and shortening of the anterior scalene muscle (Naffziger and Grant). The thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) was thought to be caused by tightening, sustained contraction, fibrosis, or hypertrophy of the anterior scalene muscle.

Inasmuch as the fascia has been incriminated as a factor in symptomatic TOS, it merits description. The prevertebral fascia is a firm membrane lying anteriorly to the prevertebral muscle (longus cervicis; longus capitis; anterior, mid¬dle, and posterior scalenes; amid the rectos capitis muscles) (Fig. 8-14). The fascia is attached to the base of the skull just anterior to the capitis muscles and travels downward and laterally ultimately to blend with the fascia of the trapezius muscle. In its course it envelops the scalene muscles and also binds down the subclavian artery and the three trunks of the brachial plexus.

The prevertebral fascia is firmly adherent to the anterior aspect of the cervical Vertebrae and clavicle. It proceeds medially to attach to the transverse processes (Fig. 8-15) of cervical vertebrae and in its course covers all the cervical nerve roots. The fascia does not ensheathe the sublcavian or axillary veins and therefore cannot cause venous congestion, but with all the other nerves and vessels so ensheathed, it is apparent that constriction of these vital structures is possible.

Because the nerves of the sympathetic outflow from the setllate gangilia penetrate this fascia, it stands to reason that fibrous constriction can entrap or at least irritate the sympathetic nerves and cause symptoms attributable to sympathetic nerve stimulation

Dr. Caillet describes the classic symptoms of TOS as follows:

Numbness, tingling, pain, and paresthesias are the most common com¬plaints. The characteristics of this complaint are variable, and often the patient cannot specifically locate the complaints.
The symptoms are often generalized and may include all of the upper ex tremity as xvell as the shoulder and scapular area. From a careful detailed his¬tory the symptoms are usually related to a particular position or movement. A pattern of severe pain upon arising in the morning may incriminate ‘the sleeping position wherein the person sleeps with the arms overhead or folded beneath the head and thus serving as a pillow. Occurrence during the day may also be related to the arm positions assumed during the daily occupation. Reproduction of the symptoms is a major part of the examination, indicating the position as¬certained as the causative factor in activities of daily living.
The medial cord, the most inferior portion of the brachial plexus, is most vulnerable to compression or angulation. Symptoms, therefore, are distributed mostly from C8 to Tt. These nerves subserve the medial brachial and medial an¬tebrachial cutaneous nerves and the ulnar nerve. They implicate C8 dermatomal sensation of the medial aspect of the arm and forearm and the fifth and ring fingers as well as the hypothenar eminence.

Compromise of the arterial (subclavian) aspect of the bundle produces symptoms of coldness, weakness, cyanosis, and pallor. Rarely, gangrene-like symptoms and ultimately an objective finding may be produced, but usually the subjective findings are complained of by the patient and reproduced by the examiner.

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Dr. Caillet recormmends the following physical examination:
Objective documentation of the specific dermatome(s) involved can be documented by light touch, pinprick, or scratch. Wasting and atrophy of the hy¬pothenar and ulnar intrinsic musculature can be noted in long-lasting cases. Fasciculation can be noted with nerve compression.

Dr. Caillet states thlat the diagnosis of TOS is usually made by reproducing the symptoms clinically. The following syndromes are diagnosed and confirmed by reproducing the symptoms using the tests or maneuvers described below.
Scalene Anticus Syndrome and the Adson Maneuver. The patient ful¬ly extends (posteriorly flexes) the head and neck, turns the chin toward the side of the symptoms, and holds the breath after a deep inspiration. If the pulse be¬comes obliterated when it is simultaneously palpated, it is a positive test result. Because the pulse can be obliterated in many normal asymptomatic persons, it is the reproduction of the symptoms that determines the diagnosis.

The mechanism that explains the Adson test is that the extension and turn¬ing of the head causes elongation of the scalenes and their prevertebral fascia and thus compresses the neurovascular bundle. The inspiration invokes the res¬piratory effect of the scalenes on the rib cage inasmuch as they are accessory respiratory muscles (Fig. 8-16).

It must be remembered that cervical radiculopathy, compression of nerve roots as they emerge from their foramina, can also be reproduced by extending and rotating the neck to the ipsilateral side (Cailliet), causing dermatomal sub¬jective and objective encroachment. The Adson maneuver must be evaluated critically before implicating dermatomal and myotomal from encroachment on the thoracic outlet and not on the cervical foramenal sites.
Claviculocostal Syndrome. Presence of the claviculocostal syndrome is ascertained by performing the costoclavicular maneuver (Fig. 8-17). This re¬quires placing the patient in an exaggerated military position with the shoulder posteriorly braced and depressed. This exaggerated position depresses the clav¬icle on the first rib and compresses the neurovascular bundle. The pulse(s) are obliterated, and the symptoms of paresthesia are reproduced.
Pectoralis Minor Syndrome and Test. The test for pectoralis minor syndrome (B in Fig. 8-17), a maneuver that can reproduce TOS, is merely an abduction of the arms and a retracting of them posteriorly downward. This ma¬neuver is essentially a modification of the hyperabduction test.
Dr. Caillet recommends conservative treatment that can and should be provided by the Chiropractic doctor:
Conservative nonsurgical treatment must be thoroughly pursued before any surgical intervention is contemplated, unless there are significant progressive objective neurologic or vascular signs.
Educating the patient on the mechanical basis of the symptoms in a man¬ner the patient can understand will ensure greater acceptance of and adherence to a program. This is better than merely giving the patient a list of exercises that may or may not be performed effectively.
Correcting posture, as has been stated in Chapter 5, is the major compo¬nent of therapy. This indicates proper posture in sitting, standing, walking, and in every daily activity. It implies that the patient must fully understand that good posture is constant, not something assumed merely during the concentrated ex¬ercise; it must become a matter of daily unconscious habit.

When symptoms can be reproduced, the offending position and/or posture can be brought immediately to the patient’s attention to educate him or her on the rationale of corrective therapy.
Flexibility exercises are valuable, but which tissue(s) must be made flexible demands careful evaluation and precise physical therapy of stretch with or with¬out spray (Travel] and Simons). A daily home exercise program enhances the as¬surance of increased flexibility. Strengthening and improving endurance of the scapular elevators are considered valuable in correcting posture and relieving symptoms of TOS (Fig. 8-18).

Mechanical or manual traction has limited value, as does the use of a collar, for ensuring correct posture. A cervical pillow may afford relief of the patient who awakens with TOS symptoms.

Emotional correction must be entertained when tension, anxiety, depression, and/or anger is considered a major or contributing factor. Stress management has become a valuable adjunct to persistent postural tension TOS.

Operative intervention is indicated when there is confirmed evidence of objective TOS that is failing to respond to appropriate conservative management for a significant period of time or when there may be objective neurological and/or vascular findings. Objective evidence or neuralgic impairment can be documented by EMG studies (Urschel and associates) and conduction velocity and cortically evoked potential studies, which enhance the advisability of surgical intervention over clinical diagnosis with the attendant possible surgical failure (Derkash and colleagues).

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Mild traumatic brain injuries suffered in car accidents often go unnoticed by medical professionals. Preventative measures you should take to insure you get the right diagnosis.

Undiagnosed and untreated mild traumatic brain injuries continue to represent one of the major failings of the American medical community.

All too often, the ambulance report and the emergency room record will list “no LOC” when that statement is false.

The failure of the medical community to detect closed head injuries following car accidents results from the total and complete lack of knowledge as to how to take a proper history from the patient who has been involved in trauma that could potentially have resulted in a concussion.

Most medical doctors simply ask the patient “were you unconscious?”. The stupidity of that approach is blatant. By definition, someone who was unconscious is not conscious of the fact that they were unconscious!

Simply put, how can you logically expect someone who was unconscious to know that they were unconscious? Consider this: would you expect a person who was unconscious to know how long they were unconscious? Of course not. They told you they were unconscious for 3 minutes, or 5 minutes, or any other precise period of time, that statement would be considered to be completely incredible! Likewise, if the patient says that he or she was or was not unconscious, that statement should be considered completely incredible as well .

Accordingly, the only credible way to listen to history from trauma victim which would rule in or rule out a period of loss of consciousness is to ask the following questions: “what is the last thing you remember before the collision?” And “what is the next thing you remember after the collision?” When the answer to the first question is that the patient’s last recollection before the collision is seen the car approaching, with no recollection of the actual collision, there is credible evidence of a loss of consciousness. Further, when answer to the second question is that the patient’s next recollection is that the car was stopped in somebody was knocking on the driver’s window, there is clear and credible evidence of a loss of consciousness.

Further, the history taking should include questions about the classic symptoms of a concussion which include the following:


Remember that Justin Morneau suffered a closed head injury of such magnitude that he was on the disabled list for 8 months with no loss of consciousness. He got up immediately and walked off the field!

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The Schmidt Law Firm’s Special Experience and Expertise with Brain Injuries

The Schmidt Law Firm, Minneapolis Injury Lawyers, has over 40 years experience in bringing justice to the victims of personal injury and wrongful death, with special expertise in handling cases of brain injury resulting from car accidents, workplace accidents, construction site accidents, industrial accidents, farm accidents and sports injuries.

Douglas E. Schmidt, the senior attorney at the Schmidt Law Firm, has special experience in handling cases involving both mild and moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries. Schmidt has lectured to health care providers and lawyers on the subject of head injuries, traumatic brain injuries and post-concussion syndrome.

Mild Brain Injuries Are Not a “Mild” Problem!

Doug Schmidt says this-

“There is no such thing as a mild traumatic brain injury. The medical literature says that mild traumatic brain injuries are a significant problem and one that is often overlooked.”

It is important that the lawyer who represents the victim of a traumatic brain injury understand the long-term consequences of even a mild traumatic brain injury.

Traumatic Brain Injuries from Sports Activities.

Minnesota people have recently become acutely aware of the serious and long-term consequences of a closed-head injury, ie. Mild traumatic brain injury. Minnesota Twins baseball player Justin Morneau recently was out of commission for nearly 8 months due to a minor impact sliding into second base due to post concussion syndrome.. Another Minnesota Twins player Denard Span has been out of commission for a closed head injury. Several Minnesota Gophers football players will be required to sit out an entire year of elgibility due to a closed head injury with post-concussion syndrome.
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Recently, the problems associated with closed head injuries to youth hockey players has been the subject of much attention, with Dr. Mark Stuart of the Mayo Clinic bringing the subject to public attention.

Douglas Schmidt has been actively involved in youth hockey and certainly understands the problems of concussion injuries resulting from the trauma of youth sports.

Traumatic Brain Injuries Are Often Overlooked by Medical Providers.

Douglas Schmidt says this:

I have been handling car accident cases for 40 years. I have personally witnessed the fact that many people, perhaps close to half of the victims of car accidents, have a closed head injury, a concussion, that has been completely overlooked by the medical community. I consider it an important part of my job as a personal injury lawyer to watch for closed head injuries that have been overlooked by the doctors and get my clients to doctors that know and understand the serious consequences of mild traumatic brain injuries.

Good Information is Available About Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries.

Schmidt recommends that anyone who is seeking information regarding mild traumatic brain injuries start by going online to “Heads Up-Facts for Physicians About Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI)”, published by US Dept of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Evaluation.
Click for a summary of that article:

1. The term “mild traumatic brain injury” (mTBI) is used interchangeably with the term concussion.

2. A concussion (mTBI) is defined as a complex pathalogical – physiologic process affecting the brain, induced by traumatic biomechanical forces secondary to direct or indirect forces to the head.

3. an mTBI results in the constellation of physical, cognitive, emotional and/or sleep-related symptoms, and may or may not involve a loss of consciousness (LOC).

4. Individuals with a history of concussion are at increased risk of sustaining a subsequent concussion.

5. Symptoms of deficits that continue beyond three months may be assigned a post- concussion syndrome. Clinical signs and symptoms of mTBI include

-poor memory,
-reduced speed of mental processing,

6. The onset and/or recognition of symptoms may occur days or weeks after the initial injury.

7. ACE (acute concussion evaluation) should be considered by physicians for possible concussion among patients with various types of injuries, including motor vehicle crashes.

8. Research indicates that up to 90% of concussions do not involve loss of consciousness. (LOC).

9. Significant symptoms associated with relatively light force might indicate an increased vulnerability to mTBI, especially among patients with history of multiple mTBI’s or pre-existing history of migraine headaches.

Important Facts to Know About Traumatic Brain Injuires.

The Schmidt Law Firm calls the following interesting facts to your attention about traumatic brain injuries:

1. The terms “Concussion” and Mild Traumatic Brain Injury” are synonymous and used interchangeably in the medical literature.

The joint report of the Veterans Administration and Us Department of Defense in its Clinical Practice Guideline, Management of Concussion/Mild Traumatic Brain Injury, April 2009, p.17 states:

The terms concussion and mTBI can be used interchangeably. The use of the term concussion. Her history of mild TBI may be preferred when communicating with the patient, indicating a transient condition, avoiding the use of the terms “brain damage. Close quote or “brain injury”…

2. Total loss of consciousness is not required for there to be a TBI. Partial loss of consciousness is sufficient, i.e. mental confusion or disorientation.

-Mayo Clinic’s website states that mental confusion/disorientation is a sufficient indicator of a concussion, even in the absence of total loss on consciousness:

If a blow to your head has knocked you out or left you dazed, you’ve had a concussion.

-McCrea, J.Athl.Train 2001, Jul-Sept 36(30: 274-279:

…more than 90% of sport-related head injuries result in no observable loss of consciousness (LOC) or amnesia and only slight disorientation.

-Practice Parameter: the management of concussion in sports-Report of the Quality Standards Committee. Neurology. 1997;48:581-585 defines concussion as:

“trauma-induced alteration in mental status with or without LOC.”

-VA-DoD Clinical Practice Guideline, Management of Concussion/Muld Traumatic Brain Injury, April 2009, p. 16 states:

Definition of Traumatic Brain Injury:

A traumatically induced structural injury and/or physiological disruption of brain function as a result of an external force that is indicated by new onset or worsening of at least one of the following clinical signs, immediately following the event:

-Any period of loss of or decreased level of consciousness (LOC).

-Any loss of memory for events immediately before or after the injury (post traumatic amnesia – PTA).

-Any alteration of mental state at the time of the injury (confusion, disorientation, slowed thinking, etc.) (alteration of consciousness/mental state – AOC).

-Neurological deficits (weakness, loss of balance, change in vision, fractious, paresis/plegia, sensory loss, aphasia, etc.)that may or may not be transient.

-Intracranial lesion.

The VA-DoD Guidelines also state, a p. 18:

A diagnosis of M TBI should be made when there is an injury to the head. As a result of blunt trauma, acceleration or deceleration forces or exposure to blast that results in one or more of the following conditions: a. Any period of observed or self-reported: transient confusion, disorientation, or impaired consciousness…

The Kay Report, p.2, states:

It is also possible that significant, long-term deficits can occur in the absence of any documentable loss of consciousness.

3. A forceful blow to the head is not necessary for there to be a Traumatic Brain Injury.

The U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Evaluation publication entitled “Heads Up-Facts for Physicians About Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI)” states that “research indicates that up to 90% of concussions do not involve LOC.”

The VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guideline clearly states that a blow to the head, or the head striking an object is not necessary, that an acceleration/deceleration (whiplash) trauma is sufficient:

“External forces may include any of the following events: that had been struck by an object, they had striking an object, the brain undergoing an acceleration/deceleration movement without direct external trauma to the head, a foreign body penetrating the brain, forces generated from event such as a blast or an explosion, or other forces yet to be defined.

Kay, Minor Head Injury: An Introduction for Professionals, National Head Injury Foundation, Dec. 1986 (study funded by the US Department of Education, National Institute of Disability and Rehabiliation Research Grant) states:

Minor head injury can also occur after a severe whiplash injury, even if the head is not struck.

4. The presence or absence of a recording of LOC (loss of consciousness) by EMT or Emergency Department personnel is totally irrelevant.

The presence or absence of recording by the EMT personnel or the Emeergency Department personnel is totally irrelevant for at least three different reasons:

A. Simply asking the patient if they were unconscious is the worst possible way to determine whether someone has been “knocked out”. How can a person know that he or she has been unconscious when they were unconscious? By definition, a person that has been unconscious cannot be conscious of the fact that they were unconscious!

B. Further, most lay people do not understand the concept of “partial loss of consciousness” which involves “confusion, disorientation or slowed thinking”. Accordingly, asking someone if they have been unconscious cannot be expected to produce adequate data.

C. The determination of whether a person has suffered dramatic brain injury requires a careful clinical examination of the type that is rarely done in Emergency Departments.

D. Because delayed onset of symptoms of a traumatic brain injury occurs frequently, reliance on the initial assessment is grossly misplaced. (See point 4 below.)

Studies show that less than half (45%) of the Level I Trauma Centers evaluate every patient for mild TBI and 32% of accident victims report symptoms of post-concussion syndrome one month after the injury.

McCrea, id. states:

The effects of concussion on mental status are often difficult to assess on routine clinical examination. * * * …the effects of concussion on mental status are usually more subtle than obvious, often making them difficult to identify and fully characterize on routine clinical examination.

5. The symptoms of TBI frequently has a delayed onset (delayed progressive onset). As a result, many TBIs are simply missed in the initial diagnosis.

The U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Evaluation publication entitled “Heads Up-Facts for Physicians About Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI)” states :

Significant symptoms associated with relatively light force might indicate an increased vulnerability to M TBI especially among patients with history of multiple M TBI’s or pre-existing history of migraine.

The onset and/or recognition of symptoms may occur days or weeks after the initial injury.

The VA/DoD Clinical Guidelines recognized the following category of mTBI:

1.5 Post Deployment Delayed Awareness and Delayed Reporting of Symptoms.

1.5.2 Delayed Initial Presentation of Symptoms.

The report recognizes a category of “patients with symptoms a develop more than 30 days after a concussion (who and print should have a focus diagnostic workup specific to those symptoms only.”

6. Special attention is required for the medical doctor to take a proper history to determine the existence of a traumatic brain injury.

Simply asking the injury victim if he or she has experienced LOC is totally ineffective in diagnosing the existence of a head injury. (The proper method requires specific questioning regarding the last recollection before the injury and the first recollection after the injury AND specific questioning as to whether the victim has experienced the symptoms of a head injury, i.e. mental confusion, disorientation, headache, blurred/double vision, dizziness, nausea, etc.)

7. The long-term consequences of a traumatic brain injury was significant.

The medical literature confirms the the following long-term consequences of traumatic brain injury;

-Brain injuries in children increase the incidence of ADHD.

-Brain injuries increase the incidence of dementia and Alzheimers.

-The incidence of major depression following traumatic brain injury has been determined to be as high as 25%.

8. The incidence of traumatic brain injury in patients with pre-existing depression is higher and the recovery more difficult.

The U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Evaluation publication entitled “Heads Up-Facts for Physicians About Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI)” states :

Significant symptoms associated with relatively light force might indicate an increased vulnerability to mTBI especially among patients with history of multiple mTBI’s or pre-existing history of migraine.

9. The onset and/or recognition of symptoms may occur days or weeks after the initial injury.

10. The incidence and severity of successive TBI after one or more prior TBIs is significantly greater.

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Parents expect safety seats to protect a child from injury or death, and safety seats are required in all 50 states, but do they protect children well enough? A well designed seat will prevent injuries and death, but when they barely comply with federal standards the seats can cause death and life altering injuries. Manufacturers of safety seats have used  power and financial resources to limit the governments ability to improve “minimum standards” and have “delayed any revisions” that would protect our children.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposed new regulation to minimize the injuries and death cause by the poorly designed safety seat in side impacts. The “industry” went out and hired former NHTSA chief counsel to convince the NHTSA to retract any proposed rule regarding side-impact testing. Because of this the “industry” has avoided any cost of “producing a better product” and has held fast to this “greed-driven philosophy”.

If the “industry” just complied with federal standard, consumers will believe that the safety seats are safe. However, the philosophy of the industry has threatened our children. In side-impact crashes alone, children have suffered 3,630 non fatal injuries per year from 1993 to 2000 and a total of 91 fatalities in 1999.

The Schmidt Law Firm has 30 years experience, in over 6,000 successful cases, of bring justice to the victims of personal injury and wrongful death.  This includes successful experience in cases involving injuries to children caused by car seats, cribs, play pens, playground equipment, and household chemicals.

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The Schmidt Law Firm, BLOOMINGTON, MINNESOTA INJURY ATTORNEYS, is a law firm with experience in personal injury and wrongful death claims resulting from auto, car, truck, motorcycle accidents and collisions.

The Schmidt Law Firm has over 30 years experience in over 6,000 successful cases.

The Schmidt Law Firm is ranked 5 stars by happy clients. Go to the homepage and click on “Happy Clients-5 Star Ranked”.

The Schmidt Law Firm has produced million dollar jury verdicts, but works just as hard on the small cases as well.

Schmidt Law Firm has top attorneys and an experienced staff serving the greater Twin City’s area, including  Scott, Carver, and Dakota Counties, Bloomington, Savage, Prior Lake, Jordan, Chaska, Eagan, Burnsville, Rosemount, Lakeville, Mendota Heights, Farmington, South St. Paul, and Apple Valley.

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Personal water crafts (PWC) are the only recreational watercraft associated as a leading cause of death in boating accidents other than drowning. In 2004 25% of PWC fatalities were due to drowning; all other deaths were caused by other injuries mainly the off-throttle steering (OTS). PWC users die because of blunt force trauma, involving a collision with another craft, floating objects or a swimmer.

One of the most serious dangers of the PWC is the lost of steering. This happens when the throttle is released or the craft is in the off power position. When facing a collision the operator’s natural instinct is to release the throttle to reduce speed and alter course. What the operator should do is engage the throttle and turn. PWC have no rudders to control steering and no brakes. PWC do not respond to the way an operator would expect them to respond, once the operator releases the throttle, the ability to control the craft is gone.

At the end of 2004 National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) estimated the 1.5 million PWCs were being used. PWC distributers use experienced riders to market the PWC, the driver is shown jumping waves, turning sharply and operating close to other PWCs, while these drivers are experts, the inexperienced drivers can injury themselves.

The government’s response; was to enact a study by the National Transportation Safety board (NTSB) The NTSB found the PWCs constituted only 7.4 % of recreational crafts in 1998, but 51% of reported “boating accidents” and 41% of “boating injuries” The study found at high risk “ PWC  accidents that involve operator error and inexperience “.

One – third of users involved in a collision used the PWC less than 10 times before the accident. One-fourth of PWCs accidents are linked to steering, in off-throttle and off power situation’s

The NTSB issued a recommendation to improve operation knowledge to PWC manufacturers, the US Coast Guard and states. Most states have mandated personal flotation device use, boater education and safety instruction at PWC operations. However, the PWC industry and Coast Guard have been less than responsive to the issues

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The Schmidt Law Firm, Minnesota Wrongful Death Lawyer, is currently representing the family of a 58-year-old Buffalo Center I will man who was killed on August 29, 2010 in a head-on collision near New Richland, Minnesota.

The victim, Ronald Berschman, of Buffalo Center I would either St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester shortly following the collision. He had been riding a Harley Davidson that was traveling westbound on US Highway 30 when it was struck by a Nissan Ultima driven by a 21-year-old woman from Fairbault, Minnesota.


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The Minnesota Injury Lawyers at the Schmidt Law Firm call your attention to the fact that a New Richland, Minnesota woman has been charged with criminal vehicular homicide resulting from an August accident in Waseca County, Minnesota.

Police and prosecutors claim that the woman was speeding, going 73 miles an hour in a 55 mile an hour zone while at the same time she was using her cell phone to text while driving.

Exceeding the speed limit is a violation of Minnesota traffic law.

“Texting while driving” is also a violation of Minnesota traffic law.

The combination of the two violations it is a “deadly and toxic mix”.

Studies show that people who drive and text the same time are more than 20 times more likely to be involved in a traffic collision.

Studies show that texting while driving is more dangerous than drunk driving.

The national Highway traffic safety administration estimates that nearly 6000 people have died and over 500,000 have been injured in various car crashes where people were texting while driving.

The Minnesota injury lawyers at the Schmidt law firm have handled a number of cases in which the at fault driver was texting at the time of the collision. They have previously represented the family of another person killed when the at fault driver was “texting while driving”.

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