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Helping After a Georgia Car Accident: Without Smothering

How to Help a Loved One After a Georgia Accident—Without Smothering

If a close friend or family member recently suffered a severe car accident, you’re probably eager to do your part to erase any lingering physical or emotional pain. Your support can play a critical role in your loved one’s recovery, but there’s a limit to what you can accomplish. In fact, take the support too far and you might hamper recovery efforts. Read on to learn how you can best support an injured loved one without reducing his or her perception of autonomy:

Plan a Fun Night Out—Or In

Sometimes, distraction is the best and most reliable cure. If your loved one is still recovering from a severe injury, think of a favorite activity, and plan an outing to break up the boredom. This could be as simple as a day of shopping or a lunch date. Keep your loved one’s current physical capabilities in mind; if severe injuries make most activities difficult, plan for game night or a Netflix binge session.

Understand the Role of Autonomy

Depression often manifests in situations involving a complete lack of autonomy. No matter the circumstances, adults don’t like feeling beholden to others.

Ample research indicates that autonomy plays a critical role in patient recovery. When people feel autonomous, they’re more likely to behave in ways that actually foster independence.

Remember the importance of autonomy as you help your loved one, and resist the urge to smother with too-frequent check-ins or offers of assistance. Don’t be offended if your offers are rescinded; car accident victims sometimes need time for processing and discernment before they can truly accept help from others.

One of the easiest ways you can help a loved one after an accident? Send him or her to Smith, Wallis & Scott, LLP. Compassionate legal counsel always helps, so get in touch today at (770) 214-2500.

Eating Well After a Georgia Car Accident

Why Eating ‘Healthy Food’ After a Georgia Car Accident Is So Important

The stress of your recent car accident may leave you reaching for chips, candy and other favorite foods. Before you revert to unadvisable eating habits, think closely about the role healthy eating could play in your recovery. Read on to learn more about essential nutrition—and common barriers that get in the way.

Challenges to Healthy Eating

Cost is a frequently-cited barrier, especially when dealing with the financial implications of car accident. Healthy food is also difficult to prepare, particularly if you opt for cheaper choices such as dry beans (versus canned) or frozen chicken breasts. Furthermore, it may feel impossible to determine if a particular food item qualifies as healthy in the first place. Egg yolks, once deemed dangerous, are now considered healthy. Salt no longer seems as worthy of concern. Concepts such as gluten and GMOs add further confusion.

Food addictions are real, and even if you know exactly what you should eat, there’s no guarantee you’ll follow through with your diet plan. Sugar activates the same area of the brain as cocaine. Salty foods trigger dopamine release. Binging causes feelings of shame, leading to even more unhealthy eating.

Overcoming Healthy Eating Difficulties

The first step to adopting a healthy diet involves getting educated. The nonprofit Nutrition Coalition can help you make sense of the latest theories and research on healthy eating.

Budgeting can be tricky, but it’s possible to eat well on a limited income. Bananas, carrots, beans and celery can all be surprisingly affordable. Save even more by shopping at farmers markets, or better yet, starting your own garden. Food addiction can be trickier to conquer, but cutting processed items from your diet may help.

As you focus on improving your diet, look to Smith, Wallis & Scott, LLP for legal support. You can count on our talented team for exceptional representation every step of the way. Call (770) 214-2500.

Getting a Safer Car After a Georgia Car Crash

How to Shop For a Safer Car (After a Georgia Car Accident)

Your recent Georgia car accident destroyed your pride and joy—your vehicle. You, like many car accident victims, may be tempted to hunt for the exact same make and model. There’s no guarantee you’ll avoid future accidents, however, so it behooves you to find the safest vehicle possible. Keep these tips in mind as you start shopping:

Pay Attention to Safety Ratings

Don’t assume that a vehicle is safe due to strong ratings for past models. Rankings can change significantly, and a vehicle that proved reliable at one time may no longer be the best option. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regularly releases detailed safety information. Aim for vehicles with overall five-star NHTSA ratings. Top picks from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) are also worth considering.

Look For Active Safety Features

Today’s vehicles boast a variety of active safety features, which, in addition to providing additional protection in the event of a collision, prevent crashes from occurring in the first place. Examples include lane departure warning, blind spot detection and forward collision warning. Remember, while these features help, they will not always prevent accidents, especially if you use them as a crutch or demonstrate distracted driving behaviors.

Consider Vehicle Size

Small vehicles may boast the best fuel economy, but they also present significant safety concerns. Experts at IIHS claim that light vehicles experience higher crash force and provide lesser protection against injury. If safety is of utmost concern, a midsize or large vehicle may be the best option.

No matter the type of car you drive, you can count on Smith, Wallis & Scott, LLP to handle your legal concerns. Contact us today at (770) 214-2500 to let us know how we can help.

Parenting While on Social Security Disability

Living With a Disability or Illness When You Have Children Depending on You

Parenting is a struggle in the best of circumstances, but serious illness or disability can make even seemingly simple tasks a nightmare. Read on to learn more about parenting successfully as you deal with your disability:

Don’t Allow Kids to Shoulder Too Much of the Burden

Eager to help, your children may take on a greater extent of household chores, or your teen may contribute to your strained budget with a part-time job. Limit your kids’ desire to sacrifice on your behalf.

Ask Loved Ones For Help—Or Hire Assistance

Your kids shouldn’t shoulder the burden of running your household, but other adults can certainly help. Accept loved ones’ offers of assistance, or hire somebody to help with yard work and inside chores. Tutors can provide homework help, and babysitters can take over during medical appointments. If you can’t afford to hire help, you may qualify for government-funded personal assistance services (PAS).

Join Support Groups

Whether designed for disabled parents or parents in general, support groups allow you to release the emotional burden of parenting. Groups also arrange fun outings for children and their parents. Struggling to find the right group in your locale? Take your search online. Facebook’s Disabled Parenting Project is an excellent source of support and information.

Embrace Your Unique Gifts

Accept that you simply won’t be able to fulfill some of the tasks typically associated with parenthood. There’s nothing wrong with that—you bring plenty of gifts and abilities to the table. Capitalize on those in the interest of raising a well-rounded, compassionate child.

Let Smith, Wallis & Scott, LLP take care of the legal aspects of your case as you focus on parenting. Contact us today at (770) 214-2500 to learn more about our legal services.

Overwhelmed by Your Social Security Disability Case?

Don’t Keep Thoughts About Your Social Security Disability Case In Your Head

It’s easy to bottle up your frustrations about your Social Security Disability (SSD) issues and let the world assume you’re handling a difficult situation with ease. This approach could set you up for future aggravation; eventually all that stress may lead to severe anxiety or depression. Read on to learn how an understanding of “psychic RAM” and the role of writing could ease your SSD-based stress.

Psychic RAM

Acclaimed author David Allen uses the term psychic RAM to describe the brain’s inability to accept an obligation without considering it a binding contract. Thus, if not completed, tasks will eat away at you until finally finished. Psychic RAM has no sense of time, so unfilled obligations can continue to bother you for years, even decades. Despite being invariably overloaded, your psychic RAM insists that you work on finishing all tasks at all times. Clearly, this can quickly become overwhelming, especially if certain obligations (such as bringing a difficult SSD case to a close) are not fully under your control.

How Writing Helps

Our minds generate great ideas but are less capable of hanging on to them. Instead of letting thoughts linger and destroy your wellbeing, get them onto paper. Write down whatever crosses your mind, no matter how silly or embarrassing it may seem.

Upon externalizing all troublesome ideas, formulate plans to help you tackle concerns head-on. For example, if you fear late rent due to your current or future lack of SSD benefits, draft a plan for obtaining necessary funding or changing your living situation accordingly. Even if you fail to act on that plan, writing it all out will make you feel better.

The kindhearted team at Smith, Wallis & Scott, LLP is always happy to listen to your concerns. Reach out today at (770) 214-2500 to get experienced insight into your case.

Social Security Disability and Boredom: Solutions!

Security Disability (SSD) process: benefits rarely arrive exactly when you need them. If you’re like most prospective beneficiaries, you’re in for a long and frustrating wait. In the meantime, you may experience significant boredom, especially if your injury prevents you from leaving the house as often as you’d like. These solutions may help:

Replace Television with Books

TV in moderation is just fine, but far too many people with chronic pain spend entire days staring at screens. Books provide just as valuable of an escape, allowing you to better immerse yourself in a new and exciting world. If possible, join a local book club. Many meet just once a month. This is a great way to expand your social network and learn something new.

Take Online Classes

Nothing zaps boredom more quickly than learning. Choose a subject you find intriguing, and take a class. If you can’t make it to a community college or continuing education class, head online, where a variety of excellent classes are available for free.

Exercise

It’s tough to get off the couch, but moderate exercise could relieve some of your pain. Not only will you build muscle and range of motion, but you’ll also enjoy regular bursts of endorphins. Start small with yoga videos on YouTube or brief walks in the park.

Express Yourself

When the burden of your injury and your wait for benefits becomes too much to bear, turn to music or art. In addition to finding relief from the emotional pain that accompanies your physical suffering, you’ll create something truly beautiful to behold.

Don’t let passivity destroy your SSD case. Smith, Wallis, & Scott, LLP can help you take a more assertive stance. Contact us today at (770) 214-2500 to learn more about our proactive approach to SSD law.

Connective Tissue Injuries in the Back: Workers’ Comp Guide

Back Injuries on the Job 101: Connective Tissue

When picturing back injuries, people typically imagine fractures or other acute issues. In reality, some of the most common—and debilitating—conditions involve chronic connective tissue damage. Keep reading for a brief overview of need-to-know terms and other valuable information about connective tissue related back pain.

Tendons and Ligaments

Tendons and ligaments are fibrous bands of connective tissue that link two or more structures (typically bones or cartilage) together. These tissue bands are often to blame for work-related back pain; employees may twist or pull tendons or ligaments while completing everyday work functions. The result: strains and sprains, which involve muscle cramping and significantly decreased range of motion.

Fascia

Often compared to sweaters due to their densely woven structure, fascia cover bones, muscles, nerves and internal organs. They also protect the spinal cord.

An oft-forgotten element of spinal injuries, fascia remain poorly understood. Fascia injuries typically follow repeated strain, such as heavy lifting or frequent bending. Patients may experience either a dull pain or more intense sensations that worsen while completing essential workday tasks. Over time, fascia injuries may lead to trigger points (and further pain), or reduced strength and range of motion.

Synovial Membrane

A protective layer of connective tissue responsible for protecting tendons and joints, the synovial membrane (also known as the synovium) can become inflamed or damaged by traumatic joint injuries. This may lead to pain or swelling. Synovial cysts often result from spinal degeneration. Although uncommon, this condition can cause back pain, leg pain (known as sciatica) and sometimes, muscle weakness or cramping in the legs.

Whether you’ve suffered a workplace injury to your fascia, tendon or ligament, seek experienced counsel. Reach out to Smith, Wallis & Scott, LLP at (770) 214-2500 to learn about the next strategic steps in your workers’ compensation case.

Workers’ Compensation for Spinal Cord Injuries

Back Injuries on the Job 101: The Spinal Cord and Nerves

Back injuries involving severe trauma frequently lead to spinal cord damage. Ensuing problems could be life-changing, with victims suffering partial or complete paralysis. Immediate treatment is imperative, so it’s important to understand the condition and recognize symptoms.

What Is the Spinal Cord?

The spinal cord consists of a bundle of nerve fibers enclosed within the spine. This important group of fibers connects most parts of the body to the brain. Together, the brain and spinal cord form the central nervous system.

Spinal Nerves

Dozens of spinal nerves emerge from the spinal cord, appearing in short branches known as roots. Sensory roots carry information from all over the body to the brain. Motor roots deliver commands from the brain to various body parts, including skeletal muscles.

Common Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries are among the most permanently debilitating of all back problems. These injuries are defined based on where they occur and the severity of the damage. These factors also determine the extent to which the patient can control his or her limbs following injury. A complete injury occurs when the patient loses nearly all feeling and motor function below the site of damage. Those with incomplete injuries retain some motor or sensory function.

If the injury impacts the arms, legs, trunk and internal organs, it may be referred to as quadriplegia. Paraplegia occurs when the legs, trunk and internal organs are affected, but not the arms and hands.

Symptoms of Spinal Cord Injuries

Top spinal cord injury symptoms include loss of motor function and feeling in the affected areas. Additionally, spinal cord damage could lead to loss of bladder control, difficulty breathing, exaggerated spasms, lack of coordination or an intense stinging sensation.

In the aftermath of a spinal cord injury, it’s important to get in touch with a trusted workers’ compensation attorney. Contact Smith, Wallis & Scott, LLP at your earliest convenience at (770) 214-2500.

Getting Workers’ Compensation for Vertebral Injuries

Back Injuries on the Job 101: All About Vertebrae

The back is a surprisingly complicated structure, making it difficult to ascertain the specific cause of—and solution to—chronic pain. As a back pain sufferer, it behooves you to gain a thorough understanding of the damage you may have endured. Read on to learn about the vertebrae, which play a critical role in numerous injuries:

What Are Vertebrae?

Vertebrae consist of a series of nearly three dozen interlocking bones. Together, these make up the spinal column. Each vertebra features a load-bearing body, an arch that protects the spinal cord and attachment points that ensure flexible movement.

Classifying Vertebrae

Experts classify vertebrae based on their position. For example, the spinal column’s upper portion features cervical vertebrae, while thoracic vertebrae offer attachment points for the ribs. The sacral and caudal vertebrae are fused into the sacrum and tailbone.

Common Vertebral Injuries

A variety of injuries strike the vertebrae; most are serious enough to cause severe pain. Vertebral compression fractures may occur in response to osteoporosis, but can also result from excessive pressure or a hard fall. Especially serious compression fractures are known as burst fractures; these occur when the bone shatters, with bone fragments possibly piercing the spinal cord.

Although less severe than burst fractures, vertebral dislocation can prove quite painful. Dislocation occurs when one or more vertebrae are displaced, typically in response to a traumatic neck injury. Occasionally, dislocation and fractures occur at the same time, damaging both soft tissue and the spinal cord.

Symptoms of vertebral injuries vary somewhat based on the severity and whether a burst occurs, but sufferers can expect to experience intense pain, which worsens while standing or walking. Many also suffer reduced range of motion.

If you suspect you’ve suffered a vertebral injury on the job, contact Smith, Wallis & Scott, LLP at (770) 214-2500 to learn more about your options.

Scared of Driving After a Loved One’s Accident

Dealing With the Fear of Driving After a Loved One’s Car Crash

Your loved one recently suffered a horrific car accident, and now, the mere thought of driving fills you with fear. Unfortunately, avoiding the road may be out of the question, especially if the car crash victim in your life requires transportation for medical appointments and courtroom endeavors. These tips will help you get over your crippling fear and return to full confidence behind the wheel:

Start Slow

If you’re afraid to drive, the worst place to confront your fear is a busy freeway at rush hour. Instead, stick to back roads and lighter traffic until you feel comfortable.

Drive With a Friend

If driving alone makes you feel anxious, arrange carpools or ask a friend or family member to accompany you on errands.

Enroll in a Defensive Driving Course

Defensive driving classes equip participants with the knowledge and split-second instincts they need to ensure the best outcome in the event of a collision. Once you complete the course, you should feel more in control behind the wheel.

Attend Therapy

If driving-related anxiety refuses to go away or creeps into other elements of everyday life, visit a therapist or counselor. Cognitive behavioral therapy could prove particularly helpful as you deal with intrusive rumination; your therapist can teach you to reframe your thoughts and fix incorrect notions. You may also benefit from exposure and response prevention therapy, which involves a series of tasks closely related to the cause of your current anxiety. The goal is to make anxiety-inducing tasks feel routine.

The stress of driving is bad enough after a car crash—the last thing you need is legal anxiety as well. The team at Smith, Wallis and Scott can ease this burden and help your loved one obtain compensation; get in touch today at (770) 214-2500 to learn more.