Douglas V. Stoehr, Attorney at Law
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PA Ranks Among Top States For Dog Bite Attacks

A 2011 press release by State Farm Insurance ranks Pennsylvania number 6 in the country for the number of dog attack claims in 2010, with 155 claims. The press released also stated that roughly 60% of the claims were against children under the age of 12; children also accounted for 20 of 33 total fatalities handled by State Farm. In 2009, it was estimated that insurers paid $412 million as a result of dog bite claims, according to the Insurance Journal online.


This law office has handled several dog bite claims in the Altoona area, mostly for child victims. Unfortunately, children are more susceptible to dog attacks because they are more likely to approach a dog that adults may deem unsafe. They are also smaller, so the same size dog does significantly more damage on a child that cannot protect him or herself than they might do to an average adult. In addition to significant physical damage, dog attacks can lead to lasting and pervasive psychological stress, especially in very young children. Children may become scared by other animals in the future, including their previously loved household pets. They may also have difficulty sleeping, working in school, interacting with friends and family, and may become withdrawn and anxious.


Some cities and housing developments have banned certain breeds of dogs from residing on their premises, including pit bulls and rottweilers, or make the owners of the pets put up higher fences, purchase additional liability insurance, or muzzle the dog in public. Currently, the city of Altoona has no law against having certain dog breeds as pets.


If you feel that you or a family member have been wrongly hurt as a result of a dog attack, please contact our office for a consultation at no cost to you. We will be happy to review your claim.

Dog Bites Could Mean Big Trouble

In recent years, the media coverage of dog attacks, especially against small children, has increased.  A recent news article out of the Chesapeake area in nearby Virginia highlighted a dog bite that cost its pet owners over $150,000.  According to the news report at HamptonRoads.com, a veterinary worker was mauled while performing a routine medical exam on a family's Rottweiler. The news report states that the worker felt like the dog owners did not adequately step in to stop the attack, which resulted in over $25,000 in medical bills and multiple surgeries. The dog in question had also attacked another person both before and after this lawsuit, and was eventually put down in early 2012.  

Dog bites can be frightening, costly, and result in long-term physical and psychological damage.  If you or a loved one have suffered from a dog attack due to the negligence of another, please contact our central Pennsylvania area law firm.  Attorney Doug Stoehr will handle your dog bite claim with professionalism and competency.  Please contact his Blair County area firm by calling 814-946-4100.

Forbes Tackles Elder Abuse

How much do you know about recognizing and preventing elder abuse? Forbes.com just addressed this issue, which can be found by clicking this link.  According to their article, there are 5 main ideas to focus on when combating elder abuse--awareness, brain health, caregiving, economics, and resources.  To learn more, please visit their news article!

Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer serving western and central Pennsylvania.  He takes cases for older Pennsylvanians who have been abused or neglected.  For more information on his Altoona, PA area practice, please call his office at 814-946-4100 or visit his website at http://www.stoehrlaw.com.  Attorney Stoehr takes cases in Blair and the seven surrounding counties.

 Pennsylvania also has an Elder Abuse Task Force, which holds the mission to examine allegations of individuals who cheat, deceive, and/or abuse older Pennsylvanians.  To report a potential case of elder abuse, please call their reporting hotline at (866) 623-2137.

The High Price of Dog Attacks

An article by Forbes magazine recently broke down the average costs of dog attacks for dog owners. According to the Insurance Information Institute, the average dog bite claim was a little over $26,000, with payouts rising and increasing over 35% since 2003. The magazine attributes this rise in payout amounts to the increase in medical costs and larger jury and judge verdicts. If your dog bites another person, you could be tried under both negligence and dog-bite statutes, depending on where you live. If you dog is a previous offender, you may also have trouble getting home insurance. If you rent your house or apartment, also look into renter's insurance, since you will be responsible for the dog attack claim, even if you do not own the property.

To avoid dog bite claims, it is best to choose a breed of dog that is not traditionally aggressive. Active socialization to people and other animals, obedience training, and keeping dogs restrained, whether in a fenced-in yard or by using a leash, are all effective ways of avoiding a potentially expensive dog bite claim. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a dog bite and would like to consult with Attorney Stoehr at the Law Offices of Attorney Doug Stoehr, please contact our law office.

Social Media Changing The Way Lawyers Prosecute

According to an article by the Rockland County Times, Facebook and other social media sites are changing the ways that laws are interpreted and executed in terms of evidence and discovery. The article cited a particular example that outlined the following:

 

"In another local case, a Westchester County jury dismissed a man's personal injury case when it was discovered that he lied during his testimony regarding his injuries. During examination, the man testified that a slip and fall from a loading dock caused extensive back injuries that prevented him from engaging in many physical activities. However, when defense lawyers introduced the man's Facebook page, a different story emerged.

The man had posted pictures of himself playing basketball, water skiing on vacation and even hauling heavy lumber used to rebuild the deck on his house, all while he claimed to be injured (and he didn't have a permit to build the deck). It took the jury only 30 minutes to reach its verdict, denying the man's claim in its entirety."

 

 In the wake of social media being used as evidence in court cases, some experts anticipate a few issues will start to creep up in national news.  One of the most pressing is publicity rights as they relate to social media.  When a person posts information and pictures, it may or may not be considered allowable for companies to use the information commercially without written consent.  This issue has not formally been decided, but will play a huge role in how internet advertisers create ads in the future.  Additionally, the concept of who actually owns a Twitter account is another hot-button issue. If a company uses a Twitter account for marketing and branding, does the employer or the employee own the account?  This becomes an issue if the employee chooses to leave the company and may request to take his/her account and followers somewhere else. 

 

Interestingly, the Rockland County Times article also mentioned that National Labor Relations Board is currently trying to enact guidelines on to protect employee activities on social media sites. Last year alone, the NLRB was involved in many court cases based on employer-employee conflict regarding social media posts.

 

Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury attorney serving western and central Pennsylvania. Please visit his website at http://www.stoehrlaw.com

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