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PA Drivers Can "Ride On Red"!

Heads up, everyone! A new state law went into effect this past week. Called the "Ride on Red" law, it allows PA drivers to go through some red lights.  The law states that if a stop light isn't responsive and if no one else is coming around you, you can legally drive through the intersection on the red light.  It's consider a common sense law to alleviate some problems in vehicles that can't be detected by the existing red light system, such as motorcycles. Use common sense and caution when taking advantage of this law!

Although this new law is now in effect, it is your duty as a member of your community to drive your car safely, responsibly, and with regard for the well-being and safety of others.  This is especially true to remember in cases where you've been drinking! Call a designated driver and save the life of not only yourself, but other innocent bystanders.  Also play it safe and do not engage in distracted driving, such as talking on your cell phone or texting.

However, if you have been the victim of another's negligent driving, Attorney Doug Stoehr is a central PA area attorney who takes cases for automobile accident victims.  These cases may occur in situations where people have been injured or passed away due to the fault of another person, such as through car/pedestrian, bike, motorcycle, and truck accidents. For more information regarding his practice or to set up an initial consultation, please call his office at 814-946-4100. 

Truck Drivers Guilty of Distracted Driving

When you see tractor-trailers moving along our country's highways, you expect their drivers to be safe, alert, and vigilant. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.  A local New York City news source posted an article a few years ago about the increased occurrence of truck drivers who text and drive.  According to the news report, through local ABC news station 13WHAM,  "A hidden camera investigation has uncovered a dangerous trend on highways. WABC-TV in New York City set up camera on several of highly travel roadways, catching truckers texting and talking on their phones and one driver even talking on two cell phones at once. The New York State Department of Transportation said nearly 16,000 truckers were ticketed for distracted driving in 2013, but only four of them were suspended and taken out of service." 4 out of 16,000 drivers who were caught texting while driving seems like a tiny percentage!  

 
If you are involved in a car accident, most states, including Pennsylvania, have at least one section on the incident report dedicated to distracted driving violations.  Fines and charges may increase if you are cited with one of these violations.  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.  Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer serving western and central Pennsylvania.  Please call his firm at 814-946-4100 for more information. 

Ways to Lighten the Financial Load For Elderly Relatives

A recent article by Caring.com spoke about ways to keep loved ones out of nursing homes. Many families who would like to receive help for their relatives are financially strained and cannot afford a nursing home.  For these families, the care of a loved one can cause undue stress and tension.  Caring.com addressed this issue by offering many tips on creative financial ways to help take care of elderly relatives or friends. According to the article, some of the tips include:

  • Moving in with someone else who can take care of your relative
  • Split caregiving between family and a paid neighbor
  • Moving to an area with a cheaper cost-of-living to be able to hire a caregiver
  • Consider utilizing adult daycare or companion care
  • Use community resources that provide in-home care, such as responsible students or church groups
  • Look into potential programs that your relative might be eligible for, such as various Veteran's Affairs benefits
  • Research assisted living facilities as well
  • Look into Medicaid or PACE benefits


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.  Attorney Stoehr takes cases in Blair and the seven surrounding counties.

Taking Care On Winter Sidewalks

In preparation for the winter season and in an effort to keep homeowners and business owners safe, OSHA recently posted an article about how to reduce your risk for premises liability, both home and workplace, this winter season.  Here are some of their tips:

  • Check for water leaks inside and outside your home and/or office building (if you are a business owner).  Water leads to ice, which can lead to increased slip-and-fall accidents.  
  • Buy "caution" signs to remind others to be alert when traveling on walkways and entrances/exits to your buildings.  Rugs and carpets that can catch outside debris will also likely reduce your changes of someone falling on your floors.    
  • Clean up promptly when people bring in ice and snow into your home or building.  Ice and snow melt, which causes pools of water that may lead people to slip as well.  
  • Obviously, remember to clean up all snow and ice outside of your building and home promptly and thoroughly.  

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.

Thanks to OSHA for the original news bulletin! Their article can be found here:

https://ohsonline.com/Articles/2016/12/05/Tips-for-Winter-Safety-and-Reducing-Liability.aspx?Page=2&p=1

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

Bicyclist Safety Questionable in PA

Recently, PennLive.com posted a very relevant and interesting article about the state of bicycle safety in Pennsylvania. Recently, a man in Pittsburgh was killed while biking home from the South Side docks.  In the aftermath of his death, public commentary has begun about the state of bicyclist safety in our area and state.  Pennsylvania has seen some of the largest growth in bicycle traffic in the nation.  However, many of our bicycle rules and policies are arguably outdated and dangerous, according to some people.  


Many bicyclist advocates argue that Pennsylvania, especially in the cities, does not have enough bike lanes and/or doesn't provide enough room for biking traffic. This leads to dangers for bicyclists and everyone else who shares the road with them.   


According to the PennLive article, "the number of commuters using bicycles to get to work jumped by as much as 60 percent nationwide between 2004 and 2014. Pennsylvania's share of that increase was also among the highest of any state."   Additionally, a research study highlighted that "while 34 percent of Americans age three or older rode a bike at least once in 2014, 52 percent of U.S. adults worry about being hit by a car while riding." It should be noted that a  "safe passing" law was put into effect in 2012 that requires drivers to allow cyclists a four feet barrier while passing them. 


During the warmer months and into fall, many people gravitate outside to run, bike, walk, and spend time with their families. Although this can provide an excellent outlet for fun and recreation, it can also lead to potential bicycle and pedestrian accidents. When driving around, be alert for pedestrians and bicyclists on the road, especially small children that may not be easily seen. By being alert and considerate and sharing the road, you will avoid serious injuries and complications to those around you. If you plan to bike or run outside, wear bright colors and make sure that you give appropriate and clear turning signals with your arms so that drivers know when and where you intend to turn.


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


To read more from the original PennLive article, please click here:
http://www.pennlive.com/news/2016/09/pittsburgh_cyclists_death_high.html

Staying Safe This Labor Day Weekend

Are you prepared for the road this Labor Day weekend?  An article in a recent edition of USA Today may give you a lot to think about.  According to their reports, car crash deaths are on the rise, even though cars are considered safer.  This Labor Day weekend may end up being the deadliest one since 2008, according to the National Safety Council.  They predict that fatal accidents on the road may result in over 400 deaths this coming weekend.   Across the country, around 20,000 people have been killed in road accidents since 2016 began.  Millions more people were injured.  

However, some sources say that these increases may be due to the fact that people are driving more in general in the past years, which will lead to a proportional increase in accidents.  Distracted driving is also becoming more of an issue than in past years.  

Either way, how can you reduce your chances of being in an accident this coming weekend?

  • Don't drive impaired, and don't get into a car with an impaired driver.  
  • Always wear your seatbelt, even for short drives.  
  • Avoid driving late at night
  • Pay extra care to other drivers and any swerving, sudden stops, or unusual movements.

Car accidents are frightening, expensive, and time-consuming. Car accidents may also result in injuries that are extensive, painful, and long-lasting.  If you suffered an injury due to a car accident caused by another, it might be time to consult with an attorney.  Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer serving western and central Pennsylvania. For more information on his Altoona, PA law firm, please visit his website athttp://www.stoehrlaw.com or call his office at814-946-4100.

Thanks to USA Today for the background information. 

Medical Errors Lead Mortality Causes in U.S.

When you hear about leading causes of death in the United States, what do you think of? Maybe car accidents, cancer, or other related illnesses? Well, it may surprise you to know that medical errors in hospitals are responsible for between 200,000-400,000 deaths per year. Some of these errors include hospital-acquired infections, medication errors, wrong operations, and diagnostic errors. These numbers don't even include deaths from medical errors committed in a hospital, but occur after the patient has been discharged.

So, what does that mean for you and your loved ones? First of all, it is important to be very aware of what your loved one is being treated for, what medication and dosages they are on, and where/when they are scheduled for surgery. It is also important to be alert for signs of infection, such as unusual redness or swelling at wound sites. Your hospitalized loved one should be also be asked questions relating to how they're feeling, their pain levels, and when they last took their medications.

In some cases, a wrongful death lawsuit may be appropriate if your loved one died as a result of a medical error. If you have been the victim of a hospital error/unsafe situation (including infections, accidents, and additional injuries) and have suffered significantly as a result, it may be time to seek legal counsel. Attorney Doug Stoehr is skilled in taking these types of claims and is your local hometown lawyer who can get the job done! Contact his Altoona, PA area office at 814-946-4100 for your free initial consultation.

For more information on the medical error mortality study, please visit this link:

http://www.natlawreview.com/article/medical-errors-hospitals-are-third-leading-cause-death-us.

Amazing Snowmobile Rescue Story Makes National News

How amazing and resourceful kids can be!! Our firm just read the most exciting article about a son who rescued his father from a potentially deadly snowmobile accident.  While out riding in the Lake Tahoe backcountry, a father was in a serious snowmobile accident while out with his young son.  In an effort to save his father, the boy got on his snowmobile and navigated his way out of the park to find help.  To read more about this amazing true story from Reader's Digest, please click here.

Snowmobiling is a very common winter sport in the United States, especially in our part of rural Pennsylvania.    It is an enjoyable way to get outside in cold weather and can be a way for families to spend time together. As stated on SnowMobile.org, "Historically individuals who snowmobile at a young age continue to snowmobile with their parents throughout their lives, sharing great experiences as a family. In many winter regions, snowmobiling is simply the main form of winter outdoor recreation and in some cases the main method of transportation available."
However, off-road vehicles, such as snowmobiles, are also a significant cause of serious injury among Pennsylvanians.  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 visit his website at http://www.stoehrlaw.com or call his law firm at 814-946-4100.

Hospital Safety Improves, But There's Still Work To Do

A report written by The Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit organization dedicated to examining the U.S. healthcare system, wrote an article about hospital safety and hospitals that are improving their safety scores.  According to the article, which can be read in its entirety at http://www.hospitalsafetyscore.org, over 700 participating hospitals received a safety score of "A" this year.  Many hospitals made drastic improvements, but over 150 earned a "D" or "F" score.   Although many hospitals improved their ratings within many measured areas of patient safety and care, other areas declined.  How do Pennsylvania's hospitals rate? Find out here

If you have been the victim of a hospital error/unsafe situation (including infections, accidents, and additional injuries) and have suffered significantly as a result, it may be time to seek legal counsel.  Attorney Doug Stoehr is skilled in taking these types of claims and is your local hometown lawyer who can get the job done! Contact his Altoona, PA area office at 814-946-4100 for your free initial consultation. 

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