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May Is Motorcycle Safety Month

The month of May is designated as Motorcycle Safety Month, which means that it's the time of year when motorcycles tend to increase on our state's roads.  It is important for both motorcycle and car drivers to be aware of each other and follow a few basic safety tips to keep everyone alert and safe on the road! Wear your helmet, give other cars and riders plenty of room, and share the road.  Motorcycle riders can also take free refresher classes through the PA Motorcycle Safety Program.


Unfortunately, not only do cars frequently hit motorcycles, but tour bus and commercial truck drivers are a significant cause of accidents as well, especially on our state's highways. Often, these commercial drivers are fatigued and are driving above the mandated allotment of hours. Additionally, many of them are driving large vehicles that are not up to federal and state safety standards. As a result, other vehicles and motorcycle riders often bear the brunt of their illegal activity and are often seriously injured or die from a collision with the tour bus or commercial truck. 


In addition, wearing a helmet is a common safety procedure that this law office feels should be followed at all times to protect yourself, whether you are on a bicycle or a motorcycle. However, we recognize that, at this time, mandatory helmet laws for those over 21 are not yet in effect in all areas of the country. We also strongly feel that motorcyclists, cars, and bicyclists should share the road in a responsible and respectful manner. If you are a motorcyclist who has been wrongfully injured in a motor vehicle accident and may suffer from a spinal cord, brain, or other serious injury, please contact our law office at 814-946-4100 for a consultation at no cost to you.

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.

Tractor-Trailers Can Cause Big Problems on Highways

Recently, a terrible accident occurred on I-81 in Pennsylvania that involved a motorcycle driver and a tractor-trailer.  The motorcycle driver crashed when a blanket got stuck into his back wheel, then was hit when multiple tractor-trailers consequently ran over him. The driver was thrown from his cycle, where he was hit by the large oncoming trucks.  According to reports, none of the tractor-trailers drivers stopped to help or investigate the accident. State police are still looking for the drivers. 


Tour bus and commercial truck drivers are a significant cause of motor vehicle accidents onAmerica's roads and highways. Often, these commercial drivers are fatigued and are driving above the mandated allotment of hours. Additionally, many of them are driving large vehicles that are not up to federal and state safety standards. As a result, other vehicles and motorcycle riders often bear the brunt of their illegal activity and are often seriously injured or die from a collision with the tour bus or commercial truck. If you have been injured or a loved one has died as a result of a commercial vehicle accident, please contact our law office for a consultation at no cost to you at the Law Offices of Attorney Doug Stoehr at 814-946-4100.


Original article can be found here:
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/blanket-causes-deadly-motorcycle-accident-in-pennsylvania-police-say/

Being Aware Of Motorcycle "Trauma Season"

Recently, an article from Vanderbilt University highlighted the heightened dangers that motorcyclists face during the spring months.  According to the article, surgeons at Vanderbilt's medical center have noticed that there is a large increase in motorcycle accidents when the weather gets better.  Experts have coined the term "trauma season" from April through September and, at Vanderbilt, they typically see a 50% increase in patients injured by major trauma during this time period.  This year, the increase in trauma came early in proportion to the early onset of warmer weather.  

In an effort to avoid serious injuries, motorcyclists need to their part, too.  Motorcyclists and ATV riders should be especially careful to wear proper protective gear to avoid head injuries as a result of a traumatic brain injury.  According to the article's statistics, "motorcycle helmets reduce the risk of death by 37 percent, reduce the risk of traumatic brain injury by 65 percent, and save the U.S. approximately $3 billion each year in health care and societal costs." Vehicle drivers also need to be aware of motorcyclists on the road and be kind, careful, and alert drivers. 

Wearing a helmet is a common safety procedure that this law office feels should be followed at all times to protect yourself, whether you are on a bicycle or a motorcycle. However, we recognize that, at this time, mandatory helmet laws for those over 21 are not yet in effect. We also strongly feel that motorcyclists, cars, and bicyclists should share the road in a responsible and respectful manner. If you are a motorcyclist who has been wrongfully injured in a motor vehicle accident and may suffer from a spinal cord, brain, or other serious injury, please contact our law office at 814-946-4100 for a consultation at no cost to you.

To read the original article, please follow this link: 
http://news.vanderbilt.edu/2015/03/vanderbilt-trauma-surgeons-see-increase-in-motorcycle-crashes-with-springtime-weather-urge-proper-helmet-use/

Stop, Slow Down, and Winterize! Tips and Tricks For Safe Winter Driving

Unfortunately, it's that time of year again when we should start thinking about winterizing our vehicles.  Attorney Douglas V. Stoehr would like to offer a few tips that will help with this process.   
  • Check your TIRES - You should always check to make sure your tires are fully inflated to manufacturer's specifications.  Usually this information is on the inside the driver's side door. 
  • Check your BRAKES - A mechanic should be able to do an evaluation of the brake pads and braking system to ensure that they are working properly.
  • Check your FLUID LEVELS - You should always check your oil, windshield washer fluid, and transmission fluid.  However, you should also be aware of your coolant levels.
  • Check your BATTERY - A battery that is not working properly may result in you being stranded this winter.
  • Check your WINDSHIELD WIPERS - If your windshield wipers are not properly clearing the windshield you may have an obstructed view of what's ahead.
  • Put together an EMERGENCY KIT containing a cell phone, a heavy blanket, gloves, salt/sand, a flashlight, water and non-perishable food.
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 and yourself for the conditions ahead. 
Some preventative maintenance and exercising a little caution can go a long way in preventing an accident from occurring in the first place, and protecting you from liability.  However, if you are injured in a vehicle accident this winter please allow Attorney Douglas V. Stoehr to review your claim at our Altoona, PA law firm. 

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!

New App Can Monitor Gait of Spinal Stenosis Patients

We here at Stoehr Law take spinal stenosis pain very seriously.  As such, we try our best to keep our knowledge of spinal stenosis research and treatment as current as possible.  Recently, we discovered that there is a new medical app available for smart phones that can track the gait of spinal stenosis sufferers.  Gait, the way in which an individual walks, can sometimes be a sign of a serious medical condition.  In spinal stenosis patients, your gait can change due to pain in your legs and back and weakness in certain muscle groups. Most often, this compensatory walk is due to pain in the back due to arthritis or injury from something such as a car or motorcycle accident.  This gait is often maladaptive and can cause additional medical problems down the road.  
To read more about the new app and its corresponding scientific study, you are welcome to view an article from a Biotech website in Asia, where the research originated.  Overall, the study determined that this new app is a "more convenient and affordable method for long-term monitoring in an outpatient setting", meaning fewer medical visits and (hopefully) lower bills for many chronic patients.  
If you suspect that you have spinal stenosis and were recently injured, like in a car accident or something like 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!

Motorcycle Accident In Pittsburgh Sends Two To Hospital

Recently, two people were transported to a Pittsburgh-area hospital as a result of a motorcycle/car collision.  The impact was so significant that the motorcycle was found 30 feet from the original site of the accident.  Both the motorcycle driver and the motorcycle passenger were taken to a UMPC hospital to treat their leg injuries.  We wish them a safe and speedy recovery!
Unfortunately, not only do cars frequently hit motorcycles, but tour bus and commercial truck drivers are a significant cause of accidents as well, especially on our state's highways. Often, these commercial drivers are fatigued and are driving above the mandated allotment of hours. Additionally, many of them are driving large vehicles that are not up to federal and state safety standards. As a result, other vehicles and motorcycle riders often bear the brunt of their illegal activity and are often seriously injured or die from a collision with the tour bus or commercial truck. 
In addition, wearing a helmet is a common safety procedure that this law office feels should be followed at all times to protect yourself, whether you are on a bicycle or a motorcycle. However, we recognize that, at this time, mandatory helmet laws for those over 21 are not yet in effect in all areas of the country. We also strongly feel that motorcyclists, cars, and bicyclists should share the road in a responsible and respectful manner. If you are a motorcyclist who has been wrongfully injured in a motor vehicle accident and may suffer from a spinal cord, brain, or other serious injury, please contact our law office at 814-946-4100 for a consultation at no cost to you.

Chronic Pain and Substance Abuse

Sufferers of chronic pain often find relief through an individualized regimen of prescription medication and physical therapy/regular exercise.  Unfortunately, many of these same patients also often develop drug addictions to their painkillers, since many of these medications include a form of methadone or other narcotics.  In an effort to understand more about developing drug addictions in chronic pain patients and to reduce the occurrence of this phenomenon, a recent study took a closer look.
The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota took a look at chronic pain patients who were also addicted or at-risk for addiction for prescription drugs.  The Mayo Clinic instituted a substance abuse education portion to the chronic pain section of their clinic and recorded the results.  According to the press release, "The study addressed substance use in chronic pain patients, and the researchers aimed to determine the efficacy of a 3-week interdisciplinary pain rehabilitation treatment for patients with chronic pain who have an increased risk of substance abuse. With 50 percent of their patients clearly candidates for an addiction treatment program, the Center began to incorporate substance use education into their interdisciplinary pain rehabilitation program. Not only could patients improve their functioning and mood as it related to their pain, but they could also begin to explore and increase their awareness of their substance abuse risk.".  Hopefully, other chronic pain clinics and pain specialists will follow suit and continue to incorporate substance abuse education into their treatment procedures.
Chronic pain is a serious and life-altering diagnosis.  If you have been having trouble sleeping and have also had consistent pain lasting over six months, it might be time to consult with a doctor.  If this pain was caused by an accident due to the fault of another, it may also be time to consult with an attorney.   If you would like more information about this page or central Pennsylvania attorney Doug Stoehr's areas of practice, contact our Altoona, Pennsylvania, law firm by calling 814-946-4100. 

Motorcyclists and Drivers: Share The Road This Spring!

Drivers and motorcyclists, share the road when you are out driving! An article by Lancaster Online made a few very good points about the increasing number of motorcyclists on the road as the spring weather emerges.  The author of the article stated that there are many potential road hazards that increase as the streets expose their winter wear and tear, which can affect both motorcycle and car drivers.  Drivers should be aware of the following concerns while out on Pennsylvania's roads and highways this spring:
  • Look out for potholes, loose gravel, and leftover salt and black ice as we transition into spring! If the weather is hovering around freezing, the roads may be especially dangerous.
  • When driving a car, be extra vigilant and look twice to avoid hitting motorcyclists who are out sharing the road.  Remember, most motorcyclists have not ridden all winter and may still be acclimating to riding their bikes again. 
  • Be especially careful when switching lanes around a motorcyclist, as it can be easy to misjudge speed and distance. 
  • Motorcyclists: wear helmets, even if it is not required by Pennsylvania state law!
  • Motorcycle riders should also stagger bikes instead of riding side-by-side to avoid accidents and/or injury. 
Motor vehicle accidents, such as car, truck, or motorcycle accidents, increase during the warmer months as more people begin to travel to spend time with family and friends. For motorcyclists, wearing a helmet is a common safety procedure that this law office feels should be followed at all times to protect yourself. However, we recognize that, at this time, mandatory helmet laws for those over 21 are not yet in effect. We also strongly feel that motorcyclists, cars, and bicyclists should share the road in a responsible and respectful manner. If you are a motorcyclist who has been wrongfully injured in a motor vehicle accident and may suffer from a spinal cord, brain, or other serious injury, please contact our law office, located in Altoona, PA, for a consultation at no cost to you.
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