The National Trial Lawyers is pleased to announce that Attorney Robert West of Distasio, Kowalski & Yelen LLC in Wilkes-Barre has been selected as an NTL – Civil Plaintiff – Top 40 under 40 Trial Lawyer in the state of Pennsylvania.

This honor is given to only the top 40 under 40 attorneys for their superior qualifications, trial results, and leadership as young criminal defense and civil plaintiff lawyers. Membership into The National Trial Lawyers 40 Under 40 provides recognition to these distinguished attorneys, and provides essential legal news, information, and continuing education to trial lawyers across the United States.

The National Trial Lawyers congratulates Robert West for continuously striving to encompass knowledge, skill, experience, and success. By combining resources, power, and influence, The National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40 is dedicated to preserving and defending justice for all.

To learn more about The National Trial Lawyers, please visit:

Attorney Jeffrey A. Yelen and Attorney Robert K. West Jr. join the Firm

WILKES-BARRE, PA – MAY 9, 2023 – Attorneys Daniel J. Distasio and Michael J. Kowalski are pleased to announce that Attorney Jeffrey A. Yelen has joined the firm as a Partner. With the addition of Attorney Yelen, the firm has been renamed Distasio, Kowalski & Yelen, LLC.

Attorney Yelen maintains expertise across a range of sectors, including personal injury, workers’ compensation, social security disability, estates, wills and trusts, real estate, business law and litigation, family law, and criminal law.

“We are delighted to welcome someone with Jeff’s unique skill set and his commitment to the local community as a partner in the firm,” said Attorney Kowalski.

“Jeff’s expertise enhances the firm’s capabilities, enabling us to better serve our clients with expanded legal services to meet all of their needs,” added Attorney Distasio.

Prior to joining Distasio, Kowalski & Yelen, LLC, Attorney Yelen served the legal needs of the community for more than 25 years at the Yelen Law Offices, the firm founded by his father, Sandor Yelen, in 1956. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from The University of Pennsylvania and his Juris Doctor from Penn State Dickinson School of Law. Attorney Yelen is past president of Temple Israel in Wilkes-Barre. He has served on the Penn State Alumni Council Board and Penn State Wilkes-Barre Advisory Board. He resides in Kingston with his wife, Julie, and his two sons, Charlie, and Jack.

Attorney Robert K. West Jr. has been named an Associate at Distasio, Kowalski & Yelen, LLC. Prior to joining the firm, Attorney West was a sole practitioner focusing on a variety of criminal, civil, family law, and estate planning matters. In addition to being licensed in Pennsylvania, he is also licensed in Florida and can assist clients with legal needs in both communities. Attorney West is an Arbitrator with the Luzerne County Arbitration Panel. The Mountain Top native earned his Bachelor of Arts from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and his Juris Doctor from Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School.

“Both Jeff and Rob are sure to be pivotal in the growth and success of our firm, and the superior level of service provided to our clients” said Attorney Kowalski.

Distasio, Kowalski & Yelen LLC is located at 15 Public Square in Wilkes-Barre. The law firm specializes in auto & truck accidents, medical malpractice/medical misdiagnosis, birth injury, personal injury, wrongful death, wills, estates & trusts, workers’ compensation/SSD and general practice areas.

To contact the attorneys or for more information on Distasio, Kowalski & Yelen LLC, please visit or call 570-970-5400.

WILKES-BARRE, PA – JUNE 15, 2022 – Distasio & Kowalski LLC is pleased to announce that attorneys Daniel J. Distasio and Michael J. Kowalski, partners in the personal injury firm, have been named Pennsylvania Super Lawyers for the 14th consecutive year. Both have been top-rated in the categories of Personal Injury Attorney, General: Plaintiff, as well as Medical Malpractice: Plaintiff.

The partners from Distasio & Kowalski have handled hundreds of complex cases, including birth injury, medical negligence, wrongful death, medical malpractice, as well as auto and tractor-trailer crash cases.

Super Lawyers rates lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high level of peer recognition and professional achievement. The objective is to create a comprehensive and diverse listing of outstanding attorneys. Candidates are first nominated by their peers and then subjected to a multi-phase comprehensive state-by-state selection process. Each year, no more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state receive this honor bestowed by Super Lawyers magazine. The annual selections are made using a multiphase process that includes nominations, independent research, peer reviews, and evaluation by practice area. Attorneys are evaluated based on peer recognition and achievements including verdicts/settlements, representative clients, experience, honors/awards, pro bono and community service, and other outstanding achievements among other criteria.

Distasio & Kowalski LLC is located in Wilkes-Barre. The personal injury firm specializes in Auto & Truck Accidents, Medical Malpractice, Birth Injury, and Wrongful Death.

For more information on Distasio & Kowalski LLC, please visit or call 570-970-5400.







Daniel J. Distasio, of Distasio & Kowalski L.L.C., has been selected to the 2022 list as a member of

the Nation’s Top One Percent by the National Association of Distinguished Counsel. NADC is an

organization dedicated to promoting the highest standards of legal excellence. Its mission is to

objectively recognize the attorneys who elevate the standards of the Bar and provide a benchmark for

other lawyers to emulate.


Members are thoroughly vetted by a research team, selected by a blue-ribbon panel of attorneys with

podium status from independently neutral organizations, and approved by a judicial review board as

exhibiting virtue in the practice of law. Due to the incredible selectivity of the appointment process,

only the top one percent of attorneys in the United States are awarded membership in NADC. This

elite class of advocates consists of the finest leaders of the legal profession from across the nation.


Located in Wilkes-Barre, PA, Distasio & Kowalski LLC, specializes in Medical Malpractice, Auto & Truck Accidents,

Birth Injuries, Personal Injuries, and Wrongful Death. For more information on Distasio & Kowalski LLC, please

visit or call 570-970-5400.  

Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability in the United States and stroke misdiagnosis is a major healthcare problem. Learning the risk factors and warning signs of a stroke can help you to better advocate for yourself and those you love. If you believe you or someone you’re with may be having a stroke, pay close attention to the time symptoms began. Certain treatment options may depend on the time that has passed.

Symptoms & Signs of a Stroke

  • Trouble speaking or understanding what others are saying. This might include slurring words or having difficulty understanding speech.
  • Sudden onset of a severe headache. This may be accompanied by dizziness and vomiting.
  • Paralysis, weakness, or numbness of the face, arm, or leg. This may develop suddenly and often affects just one side of the body
  • Problems seeing in one or both eyes. This might include blurred, dimmed, or double vision in one or both eyes.
  • Trouble walking. This may include dizziness, loss of coordination, or difficulty walking.
  • Fainting and confusion.

    Stroke Warning Signs

Seek immediate medical attention if you notice any of the above signs of a stroke. A good test if you notice these signs in someone you’re with is remembering to act “FAST”.  FACE – Ask the person to smile. Does one side of their face droop? ARMS – Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one drift downward or is unable to rise? SPEECH – Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange? TIME – If you observe any of these signs, it’s time to call 911 or seek immediate emergency medical help.

Understand the risk factors of a stroke 

There are many risk factors for a stroke. Some are lifestyle choices that you can control, others are medical in nature. Reduce your stroke risk by working to reduce your risk factors wherever possible. Risk factors of stroke include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity/poor diet
  • High cholesterol
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Family history of stroke
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Physical inactivity
  • Heavy or binge drinking
  • Illegal drugs
  • Previous stroke or transient ischemic attack
  • Birth control pills 

As we mentioned and you can see with the risk factors, some are controllable. Working with your family doctor to keep your blood pressure and cholesterol in the normal range, as well as quitting smoking and cutting down on drinking can help. Getting active, eating healthy, staying at a healthy weight, and lowering your stress levels are all controllable and can help you reduce the risk of stroke as well.

Type of strokes

2 Main types of strokes

Ischemic Stroke

An ischemic stroke happens when a blood vessel supplying blood to your brain gets blocked by a blood clot. The majority of strokes are ischemic. Symptoms of an ischemic stroke can include many of those we mentioned above. You are more likely to have an ischemic stroke if you are over age 60, smoke, and have high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol, or diabetes.

Hemorrhagic Stroke

A hemorrhagic stroke happens when bleeding in the brain damages nearby cells. The most common causes of this type of stroke are high blood pressure, injury, bleeding disorders, cocaine use, and an aneurysm. Symptoms can include intense headache, confusion, nausea or vomiting, sensitivity to light, problems with vision, and fainting.

Transient Ischemic Attack or Mini Stroke

A TMI or mini-stroke is a temporary blockage of the blood flow to your brain. The symptoms might last for just a few minutes or may last longer. The symptoms of TIA are similar to those we mentioned above under the symptoms & signs of a stroke. Risk factors can include age, obesity, smoking, family history, atrial fibrillation, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and heart disease.

Stroke Misdiagnosis 

Being better prepared and knowing the warning signs of a stroke can help you seek treatment faster. Teach your children and others in your family about FAST. Precious moments count when it comes to a stroke. When a stroke victim’s signs and symptoms have been misdiagnosed, it can lead to a tragic delay in treatment. If you believe you or a family member are the victims of stroke misdiagnosis or a delay in diagnosis and treatment on the part of a medical professional, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. A misdiagnosed stroke can have long-lasting consequences. Contact Distasio & Kowalski stroke misdiagnosis lawyers to see if you have a medical malpractice case.

Tap to learn more about Stroke Misdiagnosis.

Read a blog about the Failure to Diagnose a Stroke.