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Keeping Owners and Dogs Safe During the Holidays

With Halloween almost here and Thanksgiving and Christmas right around the corner, the holidays can be a stressful time for both dogs and their owners.  Incidents of dog bites appear to increase this time of year, and is often due to dogs being surrounded by an increase of movement, unfamiliar environments, and people who may scare or anger them!  In order to keep both pets and owners safe this holiday season, our law firm has a few tips to offer:


  • Consider separating the dog in a quiet, familiar area when people are over.  Give them food, water, and some treats to occupy them and make them feel comfortable.
  • Put one family member in charge of checking in on the dog, making sure they are safe, and being aware of any signs of stress.
  • Don't allow your children to pet or hug unfamiliar dogs without the owner's permission.
  • Assign one adult to watch one child, not multiple children, for the duration of their visit.  

If you or a loved one suffered an injury or disfigurement from a dog bite, please do not hesitate to contact the law office of Attorney Douglas V. Stoehr.  Attorney Doug Stoehr has experience in handling dog bite cases, and will thoroughly evaluate your claim.   Call us today at (814) 946-4100 for a free initial consultation.  

Beware! Social Media Can Come Out To Haunt You

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 call his law firm about your potential legal claim at 814-946-4100.

Ride Safely, PA!

As many area residents probably know, Pennsylvania has a large amount of all-terrain vehicle (ATV) users.  Exploring the natural beauty of central Pennsylvania by ATV, motorbike, or snowmobile is a common activity among our area's families.  However, the converse side to this activity is the potential for serious injury or death.  According to a recent report, Pennsylvania ranks among the top five states for the highest numbers of ATV-related deaths.


Want to know how to be safe in Pennsylvania?  Take a look at these few websites:

The ATV Safety Institute:
http://www.atvsafety.org/
The ATV Safety Institute provides resources and training to become a safe and responsible ATV rider.  The site also discusses proper riding gear and how to respect the outdoors when you are out riding.  


PA Places To Ride:
http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/forestry/recreation/atv/atvplacestoride/
This site is a state-run website that tells Pennsylvania riders where and when it is safe to ride your all-terrain vehicle outdoors.  It also includes a map of the state's trail systems!

 

As noted above, ATVs, dirt bikes, and other off-road vehicles (such as snowmobiles) are a leading cause of serious injury among Pennsylvanians, especially among our state's youth.   Attorney Doug Stoehr of Altoona, PA handles cases involving injury as a result of accidents involving off-road vehicles.  For more information about Attorney Doug Stoehr and his Blair county area practice, please call his law firm at 814-946-4100.

Throwback Thursday: What Are Standards Of Care?

What exactly ARE nursing home standards of care? How do they affect your loved ones in nursing homes? What legal rights do you have in this regard? Read more through this week's Throwback Thursday blog post!

Standards of care in nursing homes is an area that many do not fully understand.  Most people unfamiliar with nursing home practices or the health profession assume that the care they hear about is common, standard practice.  Unfortunately, some of the cases people hear about is actually below the official standards of care.  

 

Standards of care established by nursing homes is the minimum level of care a patient should expect to receive in that institution.  Fortunately, some nursing homes treat patients at a level above their mandated standards of care.  On the other side of that statement, many patients also regularly receive care that is below the minimums set by the applicable federal and state regulations.  Furthermore, because so many nursing homes deliver substandard care, they tend to rationalize their choices by comparing themselves to other nursing homes in the area (who are also tending to deliver substandard care). Obviously this is negligence and will lead to injuries.  

 


In addition to not meeting standards of care as a whole throughout the facility, other factors need to also be considered.  For example, the minimum standard of care from one patient to the next may be very different on a day-to-day basis.  A wheelchair-bound resident may need more care daily than a fully mobile resident might need; however, they are both held to the same, general standards of care.  All nursing homes must have individual care plans for every resident to meet these varying needs, but they should also be aware that these care plans need to meet minimum standards of care for the overall facility.  With this in mind, it is important to research the many options available to your family if you are deciding to put a loved one into a nursing home. By gaining the most information possible, you can make the best decision to avoid elder abuse and substandard care.

 

Substandard care in a nursing home often leads to neglect and injuries.  Nursing home litigation is a relatively new field of negligence law.  We suggest you consult with an attorney who understands the complex federal and state regulations that apply to care plans in nursing homes.    For more information on Attorney Doug Stoehr and his central Pennsylvania law firm, please visit our website  or call us at (814) 946-4100.

PA Hunters Are Safe!

A beloved Pennsylvania pastime, hunting game is one of our region's most enjoyed fall and winter activities.  Our state is also very proud to report that our last two hunting seasons have been the safest on record!  In fact, for only the second time since state shooting records starting being kept at the turn of the 1900s, there were fewer than 30 shooting accidents last year (2014)!  The only other time this occurred was in the year directly before (2013).  There was one fatal shooting in 2014.  This is a humungous improvement, considering that in the 1950s, there were over 500 shooting accidents in a single year with fewer registered hunters.
The shift in this trend is most likely due, in large part, to mandatory hunter education courses and the use of bright orange throughout many hunting seasons.  Last year, over 40,000 new hunters received their hunter safety education certificate and over 900,000 hunting licenses were sold.  According to one article, "approximately 3 hunters per 100,000 had a shooting accident in 2014. In 1960, the incident rate was 53.56. It was 10.78 per 100,000 in 1986 and 8.76 in 1992".  Great job in improving those safety statistics, Pennsylvania hunters! 
Attorney Doug Stoehr encourages all hunters to be safe, alert, and cautious while hunting in our state's woods.  Always wear the proper orange gear, use common sense gun safety, and do not operate firearms while drinking.  Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer serving Blair and the seven surrounding counties in central Pennsylvania.  He takes cases for personal injury, premises liability, elder abuse and neglect, and car, motorcycle, bus, ATV, snowmobile, bicycle, and truck accidents.  For more information on his Altoona, PA area firm, please call his office at 814-946-4100.

Can Elder Abuse Claims Be Made After Death?

Sometimes, after a loved one passses away, family members realize that they were a victim of elder abuse or neglect.  Other times, the elder abuse is the direct or indirect cause of death.  As such, families feel that they have a legal right to pursue a legal claim against the abusers and their organizations, if applicable.
However, In some states, elder abuse claims cannot be pursued after the victim has passed away.  In one recent case, a Minnesota nursing home was under attack after there were 15 alleged physical and/or sexual assaults of residents.  Many of the victims and their family members pursued lawsuits, but three years later, all of the lawsuits had been dismissed because the victims had died. This law known as Survival Law, mandates that a personal injury lawsuit can be dismissed if the victim dies of unrelated cases.  There are only three other states with this law.
Although this may appear unusual, the backers of this law claim that the law was created to compensate the victims for their suffering, not their family members.  Fortunately, Pennsylvania does not have any such law.  Personal injury lawyer Douglas Stoehr understands that family members suffer along with the victims when such incidents occur.
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 in nursing homes or hospitals.  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.

Throwback Thursday: Editorial on Enforcing PA's Distracted Driving Laws

Once in a while, we like to post a good editorial piece to show what Pennsylvanians are thinking about certain laws, procedures, and protocols set forth from the state and national government.  In this particular Throwback Thursday post, we'll be taking a look at an editorial addressing distracted driving laws in PA and if they are actually enforceable offenses as they stand currently.  Our original blog post, originally written in May of 2014, can be found below!
Pennsylvania has had a driving and texting ban that has been in effect since 2011.  However, many drivers continue to text on the road, as well as engage in other forms of distracted driving.  What have Pennsylvania and other states done to address this issue?  Some of the things that police have done include sitting in unmarked SUVs and riding city buses to be able to look down on drivers.  You might want to read this editorial, written in Lancaster Online, to find out more.  
 Distracted driving is a major cause of motor vehicle accidents on the highway.  If you have been injured as the result of a distracted driver, it might be time to consult an attorney.  Tractor-trailer drivers are also cited with distracted driving, and can leave devastation in their wake after a highway accident.  Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer serving western and central Pennsylvania.  Please visit his website at http://www.stoehrlaw.com for more information.

Nursing Home Investigation Continues in PA

Do you remember our earlier blog posts about the Pennsylvania Attorney General's office suing many PA nursing homes that are owned by Golden Living Centers?  Well, the numbers of the nursing homes being investigated are continuing to grow.  Check out the latest reports of horrendous elder abuse and neglect coming from this state-wide investigation. 
According to a news report by ABC27.com, the Golden Living chain is under accusations of leaving their residents without adequate food and water, and residing in filthy living conditions.  Some of the Golden Living centers that have recently come under investigation were not part of the original lawsuit, but were added to the list after people called in and complained about the conditions in the other facilities.  One person within the news article mentioned that she didn't feel safe with the standard of care that her father, a Golden Living resident, was receiving.  She noted that staff members did not always respond to patient alarms, and the facility in which he resided generally appeared run down.  Another report stated that a woman who was visiting her mother found maggots infesting one of her wounds. There are 36 Golden Living centers in Pennsylvania, and as of this blog post, it appears that 25 of them are currently undergoing investigation by the state. 
Some of the information released by the PA Attorney General's office include reports of residents left to sit in their own feces, staff members who are falsifying medical records, and a lack of response to emergency calls.  In response, Golden Living released this statement to abc27: "Golden Living remains confident that the claims made by the Attorney General are baseless and wholly without merit. All of our living centers are in compliance with legal requirements as determined by the two agencies that have oversight of our industry."
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.

Texting Accident Kills Mother of Three Near Pittsburgh

Think that the consequences of texting and driving are not as bad as people say?  Well, just ask the children who lost their mother during a recent distracted driving incident near Pittsburgh.  According to a local news article, a teenager was texting and driving when he hit a pedestrian along the road and killed her.  The woman, who was a mother of three, died after spending two days in the hospital.  The driver, who stated that he thought he had hit a deer, continued driving and did not stop to help the victim.  He then stated that he had repaired the damage to the truck a few days later when he said that the truck caught fire, according to reports. According to the news article, "Investigators said they are still awaiting test results to rule out arson as the cause of the fire in order to cover up evidence in the hit and run.".  
Our condolences go out to the victim of this accident and her family as they grieve their loss.  We also remind everyone of the important of not texting and driving, as it can have serious, fatal, and life altering consequences.  
So you are aware, if you are involved in a car accident, Pennsylvania has a designated section on car incident reports to address to distracted driving violations. Fines and charges will most likely 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. Don't be irresponsible! Think twice before texting, chatting, and eating while you drive! 
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.

Throwback Thursday: How To Prevent Your Child From Getting Struck By A Car This Halloween!

On the blog today is another holiday-themed Throwback Thursday! Learn some important information about safely trick-or-treating below.
Safety experts have long warned that Halloween is the most dangerous night of the year for child pedestrians.  Excited trick or treaters can easily be struck by a vehicle.  At the law office of Attorney Douglas V. Stoehr, we have experience handling cases in which pedestrians are struck by vehicles.  
Attorney Douglas V. Stoehr, would recommend that parents talk to their children about safety no matter how old they are before going out on Halloween night.  Some safety tips to help prevent injuries include:
  • Always cross at crosswalks
  • Carry flashlights
  • Wear reflective clothing
  • Avoid masks that limit vision
  • Always keep your children in your line of vision  
You may also wish to pin emergency contact information to your child's costume in case an emergency occurs and you are not readily available to help. So be safe out there, and have a good time, but if the unfortunate does happen, Attorney Douglas Stoehr is here to discuss your potential claim. 
For those trick or treaters taking to the streets in Altoona, remember that "Trick or Treat Night," is scheduled for Thursday, October 29th 2015, from 6 to 8 p.m.  However, dates and times may be different for outlying communities.  For dates and times in Hollidaysburg, Bellwood, Tyrone, and Roaring Spring check with your local municipality.  Again, please be safe and have fun. 

Strange But True: Bus Driver Causes Accident By Eating Burrito While Driving!

The term "distracted driving" normally makes you think of texting or talking on your phone while driving.  Maybe you also think about talking to others in your car, or maybe tending to children in the backseat. However, would you ever think about a driver eating a burrito as a cause for distracted driving?  
This was the case for one bus driver in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Last summer, the driver was in charge of a bus and was driving it down a major road while eating a burrito with two hands.  He lost control of the vehicle and hit a line of stopped cars. Several drivers in other cars were injured as a result, and have filed personal injury lawsuits against the negligent driver. The driver's reckless behavior was also seen on camera footage shot from the camera located inside the city bus he was driving. It seems that a wide variety of activities can be construed as "distracted driving", and for very good reason!
For your information, 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. Think twice before texting, chatting, and eating while you drive! 
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.

Throwback Thursday: Halloween Home Safety 101

Finally! After a hot summer, the weather is cooling down and the leaves are beginning to turn to the gorgeous hues of fall.  Along with our beautiful fall weather comes the celebrations of Thanksgiving and Halloween.  On this week's Throwback Thursday blog post, we're going to take a second look at how to keep your home and property safe from a lawsuit during the Halloween festivities.   
If you are expecting to welcome trick or treaters onto your property this Halloween, there are a couple things that you should be aware of.   First, if you are a homeowner, you have a responsibility to keep your property safe for anyone entering your property.  These people are owed a duty to be protected from certain dangerous conditions that you either caused or created, know about, or should have known about.  These types of cases are known as premises liability cases, or more commonly, "slip and fall" cases.  Second, you could be responsible for injuries if they occur on your property, and you breached the duty owed to the people entering your property. 
At the law firm of Douglas V. Stoehr, we have experience in handling premises liability or "slip and fall" cases, but we would prefer that no one gets injured this Halloween.  We can provide a few tips for you to keep in mind while decorating and getting ready to hand out candy:  
  • Make sure that your walkway, sidewalk and/or steps are well-lit and visible from the street to your front door.
  • Make sure that any dangerous conditions on walkways, sidewalks and steps are repaired or marked clearly to let people know of the dangerous conditions
  • Remove anything that may cause an individual to trip or fall while on your property, i.e., decorations and extension cords. 
If you or a family member is a victim of a premises liability case, please call Attorney Doug Stoehr to discuss your potential claim.  If you have slipped and fell on the property of another, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills and potential pain and suffering.  This may include cases where sidewalks were improperly maintained due to the winter weather, such as failure to remove snow and ice.   Attorney Doug Stoehr takes cases for clients who have sustained slip-and-fall injuries due to the fault or negligence of another.  For more information on his Altoona, PA area practice, please call his firm at 814-946-4100.  As always, remember to have fun and be safe out there this Halloween.  
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