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Altoona Personal Injury Blog

PA's Distracted Driving Laws

Unfortunately, PA seems relative lenient on distracted driving use compared to other states.  This is a dangerous and significant problem when it comes to the safety of drivers on our state's roads.  Interestingly enough, PA does not currently have a law that prohibits drivers from using their cell phones while they're driving.  Instead, PA only has a texting law that prohibits sending and receiving text messages.  This means that drivers can still use social media, take pictures, or use other phone features while driving.  Additionally, the fines imposed if you are caught texting while driving are minimal compared to other states.  Across the state, over 18,000 citations have been issued over the past five years, and the total amount issued has increased by almost 120%.  Almost all people cited were males, and most were in their 20s.  

Car Accidents At A Low Speed

Ever wonder if the impacts of a car crash are less if you're moving at a lower speed?  Well, research shows that even a low speed collision can lead to large and significant medical issues down the road.  For example, you may think that it's safer to drive through neighborhoods and small towns where the speed limit is much lower than on the highways.  However, that's not necessarily true.  As stated in a Forbes article, "At low speeds, below about 15 miles per hour (m.p.h.), risks are low and increase relatively slowly with small increments in speed.  However, as speed increases above 15 m.p.h., small changes in speed yield relatively large increases in risk.  The death rate more than doubles for pedestrians when speed increases from 25 to 35 m.p.h."  Furthermore, many of these accidents are accounted for by people driving large vehicles (trucks, SUVs, and vans). One theory is that these big cars are harder to see over and, therefore, make the drivers more likely to hit people who are walking nearby.  

Regardless of the season, 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.


To read the Forbes article, please go here:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/tanyamohn/2011/09/30/low-driving-speed-can-cause-serious-pedestrian-injury-and-death-report-finds/#1565daa457ff

Dog Attack In The National News

A dog mauling recently made national news and was covered by CNN.  According to their report, three dogs attacked a young girl in Detroit and killed her.  The owner of the dogs was charged with second-degree murder, as well as involuntary manslaughter and dangerous animal causing death.  Neighbors of the dog owner reported that the owner knew the dogs were dangerous, but left them unsecured outside while he went to run errands.  The little girl rode by on her bike and was attacked and subsequently died as a result of her injuries.  

Although PA homeowners do not have to worry about breed-specific homeowners insurance policies, you are still liable as a pet owner for how your dog acts in the presence of others.  If your dog attacks another person, you can be held legally responsible.  On the opposite end, if you are attacked by another person's dog, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries.   At Attorney Doug Stoehr's practice, we are skilled in handling your dog bite claims. Please call our Altoona, PA area office for more information at 814-946-4100.

Original article may be found here:  https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/23/us/dogs-mauling-owner-charged/index.html

Coast Guard Releases Statistics Related To Boating Accidents

Are you practicing good boat safety when you're out on the water this summer? According to statistics compiled by the US Coast Guard, here are some things you may want to keep in mind the next time you're on our local rivers and lakes (most recent statistics available reflects data from the year 2017):


-Overall, there were about 4,300 boating accidents in 2017, which led to 650+ deaths and over 2,600 injuries
-Of all fatal accidents, 76% of victims drowned and, out of those victims, 84.5% were NOT wearing a lifejacket
-When boat length was known, 80% of drowning victims were in boats less than 21 feet long
-Alcohol was the primary known factor in many of the fatal boating accidents
-When instruction data was available, over 80% of the deaths involved boats where operators didn't have any known boating safety instruction
-About 170 accidents involved people being struck by a boat propeller
-The top five accident factors included operator lack of attention, operator inexperience, boat machinery failure, alcohol use, and improper availability/use of lookout


Boating accidents see an expected and marked increase in the summer, especially involving intoxication while driving a boat.  In this area, Glendale and Raystown lakes are arguably the most susceptible places in our local area for such occurrences.  Victims of boating accidents injured due to the fault of another may have lasting and extensive 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 personal injury. If you would like to consult with him about your case, please contact our law office.

Car Crash Ejects One From Vehicle

Unfortunately, a recent accident in Clearfield County is making the local news.  According to reports, a driver under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol did not stop at a stop sign, and consequently hit another car.  The other car had two people inside, and one of them was thrown through the side window and went to the hospital to receive care.   Police continue to investigate the incident.

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a significant cause of car crashes across the state.  If you are a victim of a car crash due to another's negligent driving practices, and have sustained injuries, it may be time to seek legal advice. Attorney Doug Stoehr is your experienced Altoona, PA area injury attorney who can review your claim.  Call his office at 814-946-4100 to learn more and discuss your potential case.

Original article may be found here:  https://www.wearecentralpa.com/news/local-news/car-accident-in-clearfield-sends-one-person-through-passenger-window/

Water Slide Causes Serious Injury

Water parks and slides can be a great way to spend the summer, but they can also be dangerous if not properly set up and/or supervised.  A Virginia woman was in the news recently after she pursued a lawsuit after a 2016 injury at a water park in Virginia Beach.  According to news reports, the woman was knocked unconscious in a water slide after her inner tube deflated and caused her head to hit the inner wall of the slide.  As a result of her accident, she suffered a concussion and seizures.  Unfortunately, her lawsuit is having difficulty moving forward because ownership of the water park remains unclear at this point.

Water-related accidents see an expected and marked increase in the spring and summer, including incidences involving driving a boat or attending water parks.  Victims of water accidents injured due to the fault of another may have lasting and extensive 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 personal injury. If you would like to consult with him about your case, please contact our law office.

Original article here:  https://www.dailypress.com/news/southside/dp-nws-ocean-breeze-lawsuit-0219-story.html

$3M Lawsuit Settled for Injured Boy

Although it's not currently ski season, this recent personal injury case is now making headlines.  A Massachusetts family was recently awarded over $3M after their twelve-year-old son was significantly injured after he fell off a ski lift several years ago.  The boy, who is now 17, was on board a high-speed lift when he slipped out of his seat and began to fall. The guard bar was not down and engaged as common safety protocols dictate that it should.  The other riders in the lift tried to help him up, but could not.  The ski lift did not stop running, despite passengers attempting to signal to staff to stop the lift.  The boy then hit a snow gun  that was left underneath the chair lift (which the lawsuits states should not have been left in that location) and fell. His descent was about 30 feet, and resulted in a significant concussion and broken vertebrae and pelvis.  Five years later, the boy continues to suffer from residual pain and discomfort, which is especially prominent when he's running and performing more physically strenuous activities.  

Your personal injury lawsuit will be based on the legal theory of negligence, and can be quite complex.  Furthermore, there is a Pennsylvania Statute that generally affords a defense to these types of claims.  Therefore, if you get hurt a ski resort, contact us.  We will investigate the facts and analyze the law, and will give you an opinion as to whether you have a claim.  Contact Attorney Stoehr at (814) 946-4100 for more information! 

Original article here:  https://www.boston.com/news/local-news/2019/07/23/jury-awards-damages-boy-injured-wachusett-mountain-ski-lift

Safe Boating Practices

Are you being safe this boating season? GoErie.com wrote an article highlighting Pennsylvania's history of boating accidents and how we can prevent them! In 2015, there were 52 total boating accidents, 4 of which were fatal.  Alcohol was a major factor in three of the accidents.   Most of the boating accidents from last year involved collisions with other boating vehicles and/or fixed objects, flooding/swamping and grounding.  Many of the accidents were the result of operator inattention, inexperience, improper lookout, failure of boating machinery, and excessive speed.

Defective Products Bought Online

In the age of online shopping, sometimes the legal implications are less clear when you have an issue with a product purchased via the internet.  Recently, a Pennsylvania woman who was injured by a product she bought online may be changing the way that courts view defective products that were purchased online.

Summer Pool Fun Is Sometimes Hazardous

Companies often create products, such as cooking tools, toys, and medical devices that are later recalled due to resulting safety hazards associated with using that product.  Unfortunately, before these products are recalled, serious injury or death of multiple consumers often occurs. We often hear about these recalls through the nightly news or via e-mail alerts, but sometimes it is too late. Often, we hear about these recalls more around the holidays, when many childrens' toys are recalled due to safety reasons. However, recalls on dangerous and defective products can involve summertime activities, too.  

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The claims process begins with a free initial office consultation. We will take as much time as needed to learn about your accident, injuries, and damages. If Attorney Stoehr feels that he can help you, he will represent you on a contingent fee basis. This simply means that Attorney Stoehr is not paid anything until he obtains a successful recovery for you. To discuss your rights and legal options with a highly experienced personal injury lawyer, email or call us at 814-946-4100.

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