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Halloween and Premises Liability

 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 it happens 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 or "slip and fall" case, please call Attorney Doug Stoehr's Altoona, PA area firm at 814-946-4100 to discuss your potential claim.   As always, remember to have fun and be safe out there this Halloween.  

Large Settlement for York, PA Man's Premises Liability Injury

Premises liability cases are more common than what many people may think. This one particular case, however, resulted in a very large claim for a York, PA man. According to news reports, an 80-year-old man was at a shopping center in York Township when he tripped over an unmarked step, and his head and face went into the edge of a chair of a neighboring tattoo parlor. The corresponding fall did extensive damage, including the loss of vision in one eye. This injury left him functionally blind. After the man took legal action, he was recently awarded four million dollars for injuries. For more on the news report, please click here.

Slip and fall injuries may result from improper care or maintenance of indoor and outdoor facilities, like floors, sidewalks, driveways, and/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 interior and exterior 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. Failure to identify potential hazards (such as steps) is also the responsibility of the building/land owner.

If you or a loved one has sustained an injury from a slip and fall or premises liability 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 call his office at 814-946-4100. 

Increased Accident Risk for Children During Summer Months

Accidents and injuries tend to increase during the summer, especially for children.  Do you know that many common injuries occur where you may least expect them?  According to one hospital's website, ER visits increase significantly during the summer.  Many of these injuries occur as a result of children getting into accidents, such as falling out of windows (whether they have screens or they don't).  Fire pits are also a common place for injuries, as are lawn mower accidents, swimming accidents, and pedestrian accidents.  The time around dusk can be particularly dangerous for children out playing, since it may be more difficult for others to see them walking, biking, and rollerskating on the streets.


As our families are outside more in the summer months, it is very important to pay attention to your surroundings while you are out driving, walking, and biking. If you hit another person or car, you could cause severe and lasting injury, as well as significant psychological and emotional distress to the victim and their families.  Victims of accidents injured due to the fault of another may injuries that result in compounded medical bills and significant changes in mobility and ability.  Attorney Doug Stoehr is an attorney serving western and central Pennsylvania that handles cases involving victims of personal injury. If you would like to consult with him about your case, please contact our law office.

PA Boy Injured on Exposed Metal in Obstacle Course

Injuries can happen at any time, even when you're out having a fun and family-friendly day with your family.  One such case recently happened in West Chester, PA.  A family was out enjoying family time at a mall, where their young child went through an obstacle course set up there.  The child was injured when an exposed piece of metal in the obstacle course hit his head, causing substantial injury to his scalp.  The family is suing based on claims that the defendants failed to properly supervise the installation of the course, as well as inspect the course and surrounding area, in addition to other charges.  To read more about the case, click here.


Attorney Doug Stoehr knows how difficult it can be when you or a family member has suffered a debilitating spinal cord or head injury.  His legal practice is focused solely on personal injury, including cases where severe spinal cord, brain, and other serious injuries have occurred.  He has successfully handled cases for clients involving motor vehicle accidents, premises liability, and falls; recently, one of his cases involving severe brain injury settled for over $1.2 million dollars. For more information, please contact our Altoona, PA area office to set up a free consultation at 814-946-4100. 

Electricity Linked To Many Pool Accidents

Many people know about the common pool dangers like drowning and slipping on wet surfaces, but what about electricity? People being harmed from electricity in pools is becoming a big concern.  Unprotected wires from pool lights, filtration systems, and similar set-ups can become extremely dangerous when they come in contact with your pool water.  Today.com highlighted this issue in one of their recent features.  According to their sources, there are many measures you can take to make your home pool a safer environment.  Some of their tips include:


  • Using a device called "Shock Alert", which you put in the water before you swim. The product senses stray voltage in the water and will alert you by flashing green if the water is safe, or red if there's electricity in the water. 
  • You can also get your pool inspected by an electrician before you open your pool up for the year. 
  • Make sure all of your pool lighting is low voltage
  • Use plastic pool ladders, not metal. 

As highlighted in earlier blog posts, it is critical to realize that a pool owner is responsible for whatever happens in and around their pool.  It is the owner's job to keep the environment safe and think ahead to prevent accidents.  A pool owner's homeowner's insurance policy should provide adequate coverage that will protect against pool-related liability lawsuits.

  
If you or a loved one are injured in another's pool due to unsafe conditions, you have a legal right to hold the pool owner liable.  If you or a loved one has been injured in a pool accident due to unsafe conditions and/or inadequate safety measures, it may be time to seek legal action.  Attorney Doug Stoehr is a central Pennsylvania area lawyer who is skilled in handling these claims. Please contact his Altoona, PA area firm for more information and to set up your free initial consultation 814-946-4100.

Thanks to Today.com for some of this valuable information:

http://www.today.com/health/rossen-reports-how-protect-your-family-stray-voltage-pool-t112919

Homeowners and Pool Safety

Summertime is here, and opening your pool can add to the excitement! However, it is important to understand your liability as a homeowner when you have others over to enjoy your pool. According to ConsumerAffairs.com, about 350 children under the age of five drown every year while in pools.  It falls behind car crashes as the second leading cause of death among young children.  Almost another 3,000 additional children are taken to hospital ERs as a result of pool accidents.  


Things to consider when using your pool and having others over include the following facts and tips:


  • Create barriers between the pool and surrounding area, including proper fences and gates, to make it more difficult for children to slip into the pool without adult knowledge
  • Consider using pool alarms and a power safety cover when the pool's not being used
  • If your pool leads straight from a door in the house, make sure the door has a secure lock
  • Make sure you have safety equipment nearby, including a phone to call 911 in case of emergency

 
Know that a pool owner IS responsible for what happens in their pool.  It is the owner's job to keep the environment safe and think ahead to prevent accidents.  A pool owner's homeowner's insurance policy should provide adequate coverage that will protect against pool-related liability lawsuits.   


On the flip side, if you are injured in another's pool due to unsafe conditions, you have a legal right to hold the pool owner liable.  If you or a loved one has been injured in a pool accident due to unsafe conditions and/or inadequate safety measures, it may be time to seek legal action.  Attorney Doug Stoehr is a central Pennsylvania area lawyer who is skilled in handling these claims. Please contact his Altoona, PA area firm for more information and to set up your free initial consultation 814-946-4100.


To read the original Consumer Affairs article, please click here:
https://www.consumeraffairs.com/homeowners/pool_safety.html

Be Careful Who You Serve: Premises Liability

When throwing a party or inviting friends over, most people are concerned with cleaning their homes, preparing the food, and making sure that there's enough to drink.  Although these things are important, it is also important to remember that, as hosts, you are responsible for what your guests ingest at your party.  Many hosts believe that, if their guests are 21 or older, they should be able to consume as much alcohol as they want without hosts having to monitor them.  This is a common misconception.  If a party attendee leaves the party drunk and causes injury or accident to themselves or another person, the hosts are partially responsible for the injuries.  This is true not only at a home-based party, but also at such public gatherings as graduation parties, wedding receptions, and other celebrations.


As a host, it is important to monitor your attendee's level of drinking and make sure that they are not over-imbibing.  If they do become intoxicated, it is your responsibility to find them a designated driver or call them a taxi. If you choose not to do this, you could face very serious legal ramifications later on if accident, injury, or police involvement occurs.  If an intoxicated person is seriously injured on your property while hosting a party, you may be held liable in a court of law. Be smart when both hosting and attending a party.


Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer serving western and central Pennsylvania.  For more information on his firm, please call his office at 814-946-4100.

Fall Accident At Macy's Settled Out Of Court

According to the website PennRecord.com, a site that highlights many PA lawsuits, a case was recently settled in the Philly area regarding a slip and fall incident in Macy's.  Within the article, it states that a woman was injured at a Macy's department store after tripping and falling on a rubber-edged floor mat near the entrance/exit area of the store.  As a result of her fall, she sustained serious facial, arm, back, and leg injuries. The long-term effects of her fall also included secondary issues including insomnia, depression, and anxiety.  The case was settled outside of court for an undisclosed amount.  

Slip and fall injuries may result from improper care or maintenance of indoor and outdoor facilities, like floors, sidewalks, driveways, and/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 interior and exterior 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 call his office at 814-946-4100.


To learn more, read the original article here:
http://pennrecord.com/stories/511098794-slip-and-fall-against-macy-s-settled

Holiday Home Safety

Are you keeping safe as your decorate your home this Christmas?  Follow a few of these simple tips, courtesy of Parents.com to keep your family and visitors safe during this holiday season!

  • Always remember to turn off your holiday lights when you're leaving your house or going to bed! You don't want to start a fire or an electrical shortage.  Outdoor timers work great for this! 
  • Make sure to buy a freshly cut tree, since they are less likely to catch fire.  Keep it well watered and away from candles.  
  • Don't connect multiple extension cords together, and make sure you're using plastic clips or tape when hanging exterior lights.  
  • Don't use your gas fireplace if the glass panel isn't complete and in place.  Otherwise, you could put yourself at serious risk for a gas leak. 

In talking about holidays and parties, it is also important to think about home safety in the context of premises liability.   It is important to remember that, as hosts, you are responsible for what your guests ingest at your party as well as the safety and security of your home.  If a guest injures his or herself at your home due to unsafe conditions, you could be held liable. This includes areas such as maintaining your sidewalks in good working order, keeping your home and exterior well lit so people can see where they're walking, and making sure your guests don't drink too much alcohol and drive home. You could face very serious legal ramifications later on if accident, injury, or police involvement occurs.  Be smart when both hosting and attending a party.

Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer serving western and central Pennsylvania.  For more information on his firm or to talk about your potential legal claim, please call his office at 814-946-4100.  

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

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