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Slipping On The Winter Ice?

Slip and fall injuries tend to increase during the winter months, due to an increase in bad weather, such as sleet, ice, and snow.  These falls may lead to long-lasting and/or painful injuries, such as broken bones, concussions, and loss of consciousness.  Extended damage from such an injury may include chronic pain and nerve damage.


Slip and fall injuries may result from improper care or maintenance of outdoor facilities, like sidewalks, driveways, or steps.  Owners may not promptly shovel their sidewalks, pour rock salt on their steps, or fail to perform other types of common and expected winter maintenance measures.  If an injury occurs due to the improper maintenance of such areas, the owners of the property may be liable for the injury.


If you or a loved one has sustained an injury from a slip and fall accident, it might be time to consult with an attorney.  Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer located in Altoona, PA who serves the western and central Pennsylvania area.  For more information on his legal practice, please visit his website at http://www.stoehrlaw.com or call his office at 814-946-4100.

Tort Reform Hurts Doctors and Patients

How much do you know about the current state of medical malpractice insurance and insurance reform?  Well, recent reports show that medical malpractice premiums and claims per doctor are at their lowest rates in 40 years.  However, many patients still  feel that they have not received proper compensation for medical errors made during their care. This is related in large part to tort reform. 

Many researchers feel that the potential repeal of Affordable Care Act, which has resulted in many possible replacement bills, also includes corresponding tort reform proposals that may hurt injured patients.  Many of these reform proposals reduce the authority of local juries and could be construed as stripping injured patients of legal rights.  Even though claims and premiums are the lowest in four decades, the insurance industry continues to hurt both doctors and patients.  Tort reform proposals include such measures as putting caps on monetary compensation for injured patients, which hurt the victim.  Additionally, these same reform proposals don't lower malpractice premiums for doctors.  So, both parties are hurt and neither receive any kind of benefit to make the reform beneficial for them. Furthermore, these same injured patients will be forced to rely on government disability and public health programs for help, which should have been  addressed through insurance claims to begin with.  

Some parties argue for tort reform, which, as stated above, would put a cap on awards for injury or negligence.  They argue that, if there was a cap on awards, there would be fewer legal claims, and felt that arbitration decreases the projected expense and awards of cases. These facts are not completely accurate.  Arbitration does NOT decrease the expense and value of claims in all cases; in fact, they may increase the awards from claims in some cases.  Additionally, medical malpractice cases are not as "easy to prove" as these proponents of tort reform would make you believe.  These cases can be difficult to prove, as well as time-consuming. Therefore, the implications that most medical negligence cases are easy to prove and will most likely result in large awards are inaccurate.

Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer practicing in the western and central Pennsylvania region.  For more information on his firm or to discuss your potential claim, please call his Altoona, PA office at 814-946-4100.

Car Accidents And Your Kids

Are you safe when you are traveling with your kids in the car? Recent data suggests that hundreds of children die in car accidents every year, and hundreds of thousands more are injured.  With these statistics, it's no wonder that parents are asking how to keep their children safe as they travel.  The good news is there are several things you can do to keep your littlest passengers safe on our state's roads.  


First of all, it's really important that all babies and toddlers are riding in appropriate and properly installed car seats.  Older children should also use a booster seat.  Obviously, make sure that all children (and all passengers in general) are wearing their seat belts. It's also important to keep younger children away from airbags, which could do more harm than good in a crash.  You as a driver also need to do your part to drive safely and defensively.  Children should know that when you're driving, you will not be able to turn around to help them, check on them, give them food, etc.  Your focus needs to beon the road to keep your car, and other vehicles, on the road safe! 

However, despite our best efforts, sometimes an accident is unavoidable.  If an accident does occur, it's important to know that Pennsylvania is a comparative negligence state.  Comparative negligence simply means that if your negligence contributed to the accident, your damages will then be reduced by the amount of your negligence.  So please take every precaution to decrease the chances of contributing to an accident, and properly prepare your vehicle, your family, and yourself for the conditions ahead. If you are injured in a vehicle accident, please allow Attorney Douglas V. Stoehr to review your claim by calling our Altoona, PA law firm at 814-946-4100.

"Daniel's Law" Passes in PA

As a heads up, you should know that on November 4th, Governor Wolf signed a bill known as "Daniel's Law" into effect.  This bill enforces harsher penalties on those who engage in distracted driving.  Within this bill, people who receive a distracted driving ticket will be punished similarly to those who engage in drunk driving.  This law was proposed after a Pennsylvanian named Daniel Gallatin was killed when a distracted driver crashed into the back of his motorcycle and killed him.  According to Governor Wolf, "This behavior, which has been allowed to go under-punished for far too long, has been demonstrated to be just as dangerous as drunk driving. Distracted driving has fatal, irreversible, and grave consequences and by signing this Bill I hope to make our roads and highways safer for our citizens, and everyone using them." (as quoted on PersonalInjury.com). 


We cannot stress to you enough how important it is to remain safe and alert while driving, especially during periods of increased motor activity 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!

Biking, Motorcycle, Pedestrian Deaths in PA Are Preventable

It's not so safe to be a pedestrian or bicyclist in our state sometimes.  A review of recent PennDOT statistics shed light into just how many accidents occur on our state's roads and byways per year.  Using statistics from 2014 accidents, our law office found the following information:

  • There were 166 pedestrian deaths and almost 4,000 pedestrian injuries
  • While out biking on our state's roads, almost 20 bicyclists were killed and about another 1,300 were injured
  • Motorcyclists suffered their share of injuries (3,207) and deaths (187), too 

The saddest part is that these statistics are completely preventable if we all take some care on our roads.  When you're out at night, whether walking or biking, always remember to wear bright and reflective clothing! Carry a flashlight or wear a headlamp to further increase your visibility.  Signal where you're going so nearby drivers have an idea of where you're headed.  

If you're driving, make sure to give these people their space! Don't follow them or drive near them at a high rate of speed, and share the road.  Obviously, don't do any of these activities drunk or under the influence of any type of drug.  

Attorney Douglas V. Stoehr works with clients who have been injured in pedestrian, motorcycle, and bicycle accidents. If you would like a consultation regarding your potential personal injury claim, please contact our law office at 814-946-4100.

Facebook May Impact Your Legal Claim

In recent years, Facebook and other social media sites are changing the ways that laws are interpreted and executed in terms of evidence and discovery.  Information from Facebook and other social media sites is becoming increasingly popular to use in the "discovery" aspect of personal injury litigation.  In recent years, several cases involving personal injury claims and social media have set the precedent for the admittance of social media into the courtroom for years to come.  


One of these cases involved an employee of Weis Supermarkets suing the company because he claimed to have suffered an injury to his knee while working.  Although he did require surgery to correct his knee, he claimed that he could not participate in physical activity and never wore shorts because he was embarrassed by his surgical scar.  Discovery material provided from Facebook resulted in pictures of the employee engaging in intense physical activity, as well as wearing shorts that plainly showed his surgical scar.  Because the bulk of his case rested upon his inability to take part in the physical activities he had previously enjoyed, his case did not have much merit once the Facebook pictures were admitted as evidence.

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.  


If you are pursuing a personal injury claim, you should be careful about what you choose to post on social media sites.  Even if you are significantly injured, defense attorneys might try to twist what you write or update to compile a case against you. One picture, taken out of context, may cost you a significant amount of money in a personal injury case.  Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury attorney serving western and central Pennsylvania. Please call his office for your free initial consultation at 814-946-4100.

Throwback Post: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Addresses Scams Aimed At Elderly

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran an article on July 1st, 2013 that took an in-depth look at some recent, prominent scams that are being aimed at the area's elderly population.  For each common scam, the article described the offense, how to handle it after it's happened, and how to prevent other possible occurrences from happening.  Some of the scams the newspaper article covered included:


-The friendly handyman
-The bank examiner
-The relative in distress
-the pricey funeral
-the 'free' hearing exam
-bargain vacations/free prizes
-fake charity solicitations
-the estate plan scare


To read more about each of these scams in-depth and how the article suggests that you protect yourself, please click here to read the original 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, including Huntingdon, Fulton, and Bedford counties.

Watch Your Step! Avoiding Slip & Fall Accidents

What do you know about slip and fall accidents? They are a relatively common personal injury claim, but most people don't realize that these common myths about slip and fall accidents may not be true.  According to EHSToday.com, here are a few common slip and fall accident myths.  Read up and protect yourself from potential injury!


  • Myth #1: Shiny floors are less slip resistant than duller floors.  In reality, a floor's shine often has little to do with how safe/unsafe it is. 
  • Myth #2:  In the same vein as above, buffing a floor increases likelihood of slipping.  In fact, the opposite is often true! A buffed floor is often less slippery than one that has properly buffed. 
  • Myth #3:  Higher slip resistance=safer.  In fact, if the slip resistance is TOO high or the floor is tacky, it will collect dirt and debris and lead to more accidents.
  • Myth #4:  Newly applied floors are less safe than ones that are older and aged.  Actually, the opposite is true--newer, properly applied floor finishes are generally much safer.

 
So what does this mean for the average person walking on floors, especially industrial ones?  Be safe and take your time. For employers who are responsible for keeping others safe, make sure you properly maintain your floors to avoid a potential premises liability 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.


Thank you to the background information, found here:
http://ehstoday.com/safety/five-common-slip-and-fall-myths

All About Whiplash

You've probably heard about whiplash before, especially as it relates to car accidents.  However, do you really know what the medical condition is and what the treatments are?Whiplash is a painful and common cause of complaint after an injury such as an automobile accident.  Also known as Whiplash Associated Disorder (WAD), this disorder is characterized by soft tissue damage to the neck and upper spinal area, and in some cases the face and back as well.  Due to the sudden flexion and extension of the neck following an accident such as an automobile collision, the body does not have enough time to compensate for the sudden change in motion and reacts by snapping the head front and back.  Unfortunately, this puts too much strain on the neck muscles and can lead to lasting pain, chronic headaches, restricted range of motion, and dizziness for months following an injury.  In some cases, the pain associated with whiplash is so severe that it interferes with work and sleep, thus leading to both fatigue and irritability.  In even more severe cases, these problems can develop into depression and lowered cognitive abilities, such as problems with memory and concentration.  Disc herniation may also have occurred during the accident and will need to be addressed by a physician.  


It is important to realize that the symptoms of whiplash may not manifest themselves until a few days after an accident, so if you or a loved one are in an automobile accident and have unexplained neck and back pain a few days later, whiplash may be the cause of your discomfort. The most common way to experience whiplash from an automobile accident is from a rear-end collision.


Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer located in Altoona, PA and serves the central and western Pennsylvania area.  He takes cases for victims who have been injured as the result of an automobile accident.  For more information on him and his firm, please call his office for a free initial consultation at 814-946-4100.

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