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Your PA Driver's License Carries Weight In Other States, Too

Did you commit a driving/traffic violation in another state? If so, don't think you are safe because you carry a Pennsylvania license and don't reside in that state. In case you were unaware, Pennsylvania participates in something known as the Driver License Compact (DLC).  The DLC is an organization made up of 46 out of our 50 states who work together to create a single system for driving records, driver license (so you can only hold a license in one state), and report all traffic convictions/license suspensions/license revocations so other states are aware of a driver's license status.    

For example, if you commit a charge such as manslaughter or a DUI in another state, you could have your driving privileges suspended in Pennsylvania and in the state where the offense was committed. Part of the DLC's goal is to make sure of the "uniform and predictable treatment of drivers by treating offenses committed in other states as though the have been committed in the home state".   This is an effort to keep our roads safe from negligent, unlawful drivers who cross states in an effort to evade police action. 
We cannot stress to you enough how important it is to remain safe and alert while driving during periods of increased motor activity, especially holiday periods like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Motor vehicle accidents, bicycle accidents, and pedestrian accidents can be easily prevented with a few simple, common-sense tips, such as not driving while fatigued or distracted, along with wearing your seatbelt. Attorney Douglas V. Stoehr works with clients who have been injured in motor vehicle, pedestrian, and bicycle accidents. If you feel that you have been wrongly hurt in an accident, please contact our office for a free consultation. Safe driving!

ANOTHER Nursing Home Investigation Opens in PA

In keeping with this week's earlier blog post, the Pennsylvania State Attorney General's office has certainly been busy recently!  They just investigated an Erie area nursing home last week, using agents to look into the facility via a search warrant.  Although the specifics of the investigation are still unknown to the public, agents were seen leaving the facility with boxes of files and computer hard drives.  The facility in question, Saint Mary's Home East, is a combination of a residential home, nursing home, and adult care services.   In an article published by ErieTVNews.com, area residents were interviewed and expressed concern, since many of their loved ones currently reside in the facility.  The Attorney General's office did say that this current investigation of Saint Mary's is not connected to the 25 open cases they are investigating against Golden Living  we wrote about earlier this week. 
Many allegations against nursing homes and assisted living facilities stem from reports of elder abuse and neglect. Elder abuse can come in many forms, not just physical abuse.  Many common instances of elder abuse include emotional, financial, psychological, and neglect.  If you feel that a loved one has been a victim of elder abuse, please contact Attorney Doug Stoehr to set up a free consultation.  Attorney Stoehr has experience and knowledge pertaining to elder abuse legal claims, and will work hard to fight for the rights of your family or friend. Call his office at 814-946-4100 to set up your consultation.  
Douglas V. Stoehr practices personal injury law in Duncansville and Altoona, Pennsylvania. He serves clients throughout western and central Pennsylvania, including Duncansville, Hollidaysburg, Altoona, Huntingdon, State College, Johnstown, Clearfield, Tyrone, Ebensburg, Northern Cambria, Portage, Windber, Carrolltown, Gallitzin, Saxton, Bellefonte, Centre Hall, Pine Grove Mills, Warriors Mark, Spruce Creek, Roaring Spring, Bellwood, Claysburg, Blue Knob, Lewistown, Mount Union, Belleville, McConnellsburg, Breezewood, Williamsburg, Windber, Punxsutawney Martinsburg, Somerset, Philipsburg, Everett, Williamsport, Cumberland, Oakland, Indiana, St. Mary's, Blair County, Cambria County, Huntingdon County, Clearfield County, Mifflin County, Jefferson County, Huntington County, Centre County, Bedford County, Somerset County and Fulton County.

Many PA Nursing Homes Being Investigated by State Attorney General

What kind of nursing home care are your parents and grandparents receiving?  Hopefully, their care is the result of an attentive, educated staff that cares about their mental and physical health.  Unfortunately, that is not always the case.  Prominently in the news recently, one national nursing home operator is in hot water for some allegations of substandard care in their homes.  Golden Living, a nursing facility provider group, has about 300 homes in over 20 states.  Those facilities total over 30,000 beds!  They are also currently under fire here in Pennsylvania and are being investigated by the Pennsylvania Attorney General's office.  25 facilities in Pennsylvania (out of 36 total Golden Living properties in PA) are currently being examined by the AG's office because they "failed to provide basic services to residents, falsified care records, deceived state Department of Health inspectors and left facilities understaffed".  Since July, when the original lawsuit was filed, there have been over 350 complaints file in Pennsylvania alone. 
Elder abuse can come in many forms, not just physical abuse.  Other, equally as damaging forms, of elder abuse can occur in settings such as nursing homes or hospitals.  Mental and psychological abuse, as well as financial and sexual abuse occur all too often to the elderly population.  If you feel that a loved one has been a victim of elder abuse, please contact Attorney Doug Stoehr to set up a free consultation.  Attorney Stoehr has experience and knowledge pertaining to elder abuse legal claims, and will work hard to fight for the rights of your family or friend. Call his office at 814-946-4100 to set up your consultation.  Douglas V. Stoehr practices personal injury law in Duncansville and Altoona, Pennsylvania. He serves clients throughout western and central Pennsylvania, including Duncansville, Hollidaysburg, Altoona, Huntingdon, State College, Johnstown, Clearfield, Tyrone, Ebensburg, Northern Cambria, Portage, Windber, Carrolltown, Gallitzin, Saxton, Bellefonte, Centre Hall, Pine Grove Mills, Warriors Mark, Spruce Creek, Roaring Spring, Bellwood, Claysburg, Blue Knob, Lewistown, Mount Union, Belleville, McConnellsburg, Breezewood, Williamsburg, Windber, Punxsutawney Martinsburg, Somerset, Philipsburg, Everett, Williamsport, Cumberland, Oakland, Indiana, St. Mary's, Blair County, Cambria County, Huntingdon County, Clearfield County, Mifflin County, Jefferson County, Huntington County, Centre County, Bedford County, Somerset County and Fulton County.

Throwback Thursday: How Does Chronic Pain Work In The Office?

In our latest edition of Throwback Thursday here at our blog, we'll be taking a look at how chronic pain can affect your work life.  What do you think? Can you compartmentalize pain while you're at work?

Do you suffer from chronic pain, such as from a car accident or a lingering injury?  It might be hard to get your job done during the day, especially if you are sitting for a large amount of time.  Millions of Americans suffer from this problem, and a Seattle-area news website offered up some tips to help sufferers of chronic pain more effectively function during the work day.  Some things recommended in the article include trying to regularly stretch tense muscles during the day, especially those in your back and neck. Also, try to take walks during the work day.  Even a brief stroll around the office can relieve pressure on your spine and increase blood flow.  Your chair may also be harming you more than it's helping! Pick a chair that will support your body in an appropriate and comfortable way.
The majority of chronic pain begins in the joints and muscles, but then can move into the central nervous system. There is also research that has shown that persistent pain can re-map brain pathways, making pain worsen over time.  To manage this, it is best to consult with your physician as soon as you begin to feel chronic pain symptoms.  Catching the problem early may make treatment easier, less time consuming, and more effective.

Attorney Doug Stoehr takes cases for clients who are experiencing chronic pain due to an accident or injury due to the fault of another.  For more information on his Altoona, PA area practice, please visit his website at  http://www.stoehrlaw.com or call his office at 814-946-4100.

To read more of the original article, and for more of their tips on dealing with chronic pain at the office, please click here

Distracted WALKING? What you need to know!

So, we know about car safety, bike safety, ATV safety, and motorcycle safety, but what about WALKING safety?  Many of us take walking for granted as a safe, healthy, and cost-effective way to get from place to place.  Unfortunately, many of us also practice some very unsafe habits that could lead us to getting seriously injured.  The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) has taken pedestrian safety under their wing, since distracted drivers AND distracted pedestrians account for many person/vehicle collision, which no one wants to happen! 

According to GHSA, over 20% of pedestrians killed last year were the result of hit-and-run accidents.  Pedestrian accidents are on the rise, and 70% of the victims are male.  A great deal of pedestrian fatalities occur when law enforcement officers are hit outside of their vehicles.  These statistics are unacceptable! Both pedestrians and drivers need to do their part to make sure that they are safe, aware, and focused when traveling from place to place.
So, what can you do to remain safe while sharing the road with pedestrians, drivers, and bicyclists?
  • Be aware of your surroundings! Walkers, choose routes that have sidewalks.  Stay out of bike lanes and try to avoid roads without a designated pedestrian walkway.  Drivers, be extra cautious when driving on roads that have winding curves, no sidewalk, or low visibility.  Walkers may be forced to use these roads, leaving them with reduced protection and an increased accident risk.
  • Don't be a distracted traveler!  Don't use your phone or other devices while you drive or walk.  Walkers, avoid using headphones when traveling.  You may not be able to hear an approaching car if your music is blasting too loud!
  • When a car is pulled over on the side of the road, move into the opposite lane!  Give anyone who may need to exit the car enough space to do so safely.  On the opposite side, if you are exiting a car on the highway, try to use the doors the furthest away from the road.  Also make sure to turn on your four-way lights, especially at night and in severe weather. 
  • Drivers, remember that, even if the pedestrian is the one who is distracted/at fault in an accident, you may face a potential lawsuit.  Be extra vigilant and don't expect pedestrians to move out of the way or see that you are approaching. 
Additionally, did you know this fact? If you are involved in a car accident, Pennsylvania has at least one section on the incident report to address to distracted driving violations. Fines and charges may increase if you are cited with one of these violations. In addition to fines and charges for distracted driving, you also are putting yourself and others in serious danger.  Attorney Stoehr represents those injured through no fault of their own, including automobile and pedestrian accidents. Call today for your free case evaluation 814-946-4100.
Learn more about the GHSA's pedestrian safety study by clicking this link

Strange, But True! Surgical Instruments Often Found Where?

Scary, but true! Did you know that, once in a while, surgical tools can get left inside of people?  A few years ago, Attorney Stoehr settled a case where a surgical sponge was left inside a woman's body. After a long period of unexplained pain, the woman discovered that a sponge was left inside her head and had become infected! Another doctor found it during an exploratory surgery, hoping to find a way to relieve her pain, and immediately removed it.  She missed a great deal of work and was very sick. 

The same topic was posted on a legal website that deals with cases within the personal injury world.  According to the article, sponges, forceps, scissors, and other surgical instruments are among the things that have been found left inside patients' bodies post-surgery.  The post even included an alarming x-ray of a surgical instrument near a patient's hip.  For more information and to see the article and video in its entirety, please click here.
Surgery can be anxiety-provoking, even when it is a seemingly minor procedure.  When surgery is serious, the risks increase as well.  You do not want to have to worry on top of that about the possibility of sponges, instruments, and other surgical materials staying in your body when they should not be left behind.  If this has happened to you or a loved one, and you have since become infected or have had other serious side effects, it may be time to consult with an attorney.  Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer who takes cases for clients in the central and western Pennsylvania area.  For more information on his firm or to schedule a consultation, please call his office at 814-946-4100.

Hunting Season=Increased Accident Risk!

Hunting season is almost upon us! Unfortunately for Pennsylvanians, that also means that deer-related car crashes will most likely increase.  According to data generated by State Farm Insurance Agency, about 1 in 70 Pennsylvania drivers will hit a deer in the next 12 months.  This is the second highest deer-vehicle collision rate in the entire country, second only to West Virginia.    
How many people do you think hit deer with their cars last year in PA? Well, if you guessed over 100,000 people, you'd be in the ballpark!  The worst time of the year for these crashes is from October to December, when it is whitetail mating season and the hunters scatter the deer around.  Unfortunately, hitting a deer also comes with a hefty fee!  The average cost to your car after hitting a deer hovers around $4,000.  Ouch!
Although Attorney Stoehr does not take cases related to insurance claims for deer-related collisions, he does urge you to drive safely and with heightened awareness during the incoming "danger zone" time of the year for deer crashes.  He does take cases for victims of car, semi-truck, and motorcycle crashes who have been injured or killed due to the fault of another.   Some of his most common cases include accidents caused by distracted driving and fatigue.  If you or someone you know has been injured in a car crash and is dealing with significant injuries, it is time to take legal action.  Call Attorney Stoehr's firm to handle your case in the central and western Pennsylvania area at 814-946-4100.  
Background data may be found here

The Most Dangerous Time Of Year To Drive May Surprise You!

If you had to guess, when do you think is the most dangerous time of the year to drive? Most people would probably guess the winter season in general or the Thanksgiving weekend. However, the statistically most dangerous time of the year to drive is the month of August, especially on Saturdays.  We are not that far out of August, which means that we are still potentially in peak time to be vulnerable to a serious accident!  Tuesdays and Wednesdays are statistically the safest times to drive, especially during the day.   Does that make sense with your own experiences? 
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, time of day is also a critical factor for accidents.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, about half of fatal accidents occur at night, and have a 2-3 times higher fatality rate per mile traveled than during the daytime. There is also a much higher rate of both alcohol-related crashes and people not wearing their seatbelts at night.  Interestingly enough, surveys show that 75% of drivers think that they are safer than other drivers on the road.  That is obviously not the case!
Have you or someone you know recently been involved in a car accident?  Did they feel that it wasn't their fault, but are still battling some significant pain or injury? For those who have recently been in a car crash, it is important to closely monitor the body's response to injury.  This is especially true if you suspect that you have sustained a significant head injury.  If your car accident was not your fault, it may also be time to seek legal action.   If you or a loved one has recently been in a car accident due to the fault of another, please contact Altoona, PA area personal injury attorney Doug Stoehr to set up an initial, free consultation.  His law office can be reached by calling his firm at 814-946-4100.
Background information taken from Forbes.com

One Father's Journey With Spinal Stenosis

If you've been following our blog for the past few weeks, you may have noticed that we're taking a closer look at spinal stenosis.  Spinal stenosis is a serious and painful medical condition that causes significant back pain.  Not only does it make it hard to do everyday tasks like lift groceries, drive a car, and sit or stand for prolonged periods of time, it may also make your work and recreational activities difficult, if not impossible, to enjoy.  We don't think anyone should have to suffer from this type of injury, especially when it was caused due to the fault of another person, such as being involved in a car accident.  

EverydayHealth.com recently ran a human interest story on a young father and patient educator who developed spinal stenosis.  Although his condition did not result from trauma after an accident, like a car crash or slip-and-fall, his story is a real-life example of the debilitating effect that spinal stenosis can have on every day life.  For him, his pain was so severe that he couldn't even turn a key or hold a pen! Read his story here to learn more about his journey and how he overcame his condition. 

If you think you're developing spinal stenosis and were recently injured, such as through a car, motorcycle, or bike accident or through a slip-and-fall, you should consider consulting with an attorney.  Not only may your injury worsen over time, you may also be facing situations like time off of work, limited mobility, and potentially permanent pain.  If you don't consult with an attorney and see what your options are, you may be missing out on some choices that may considerably help you and your family in the future.  If you're located in the central PA area, such as Altoona, Tyrone, Martinsburg, Bedford, and other surrounding areas, Attorney Stoehr is an expert attorney who is skilled in handling these types of cases.  Give him a call at 814-946-4100 to schedule a meeting and discuss your potential legal claim!

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