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Bensalem Legal Blog

Dog owners are responsible for medical costs resulting from a bite

The majority of dogs you encounter are probably friendly, well-trained and safe. However, it only takes one poorly trained or inadequately restrained animal to put you and your family at risk for serious injury. Dogs of all sizes, ages and breeds can attack and bite humans with little provocation, leaving behind both physical and emotional injuries that require treatment and care.

If you or someone you love has suffered a dog bite injury, you're probably already wondering about your legal rights. Every case is different, but understanding Pennsylvania laws about dog ownership and liability can help you determine your best options. You do not have to quietly accept the costs associated with a dog bite. In many situations, the dog's owner is responsible for at least the associated medical costs.

Things you need to know about a living will

Have you created a will or trust? Are you under the impression that this is all you need in order to have a comprehensive estate plan?

While there is no legal requirement to create a living will, it's something to consider nonetheless. Once you learn more about this document, you may come to find that it's exactly what you need to give yourself, as well as your family, peace of mind.

How human influence might make self-driving cars less safe

Some Pennsylvania motorists may have heard about the death of a pedestrian in March 2018 after being hit by a self-driving Uber car. In Tempe, Arizona, where the accident occurred, the police chief said that the car was likely not at fault in the accident, but a professor at Arizona State University says there is a flaw in how autonomous vehicles are being taught to drive. According to him, teaching them to drive like humans means they will make the same errors that human drivers make.

In this case, according to video footage of the accident, a pedestrian stepped directly into the path of the vehicle in an area where there was not a pedestrian crosswalk or lights. The professor says that the problem is that the car was behaving the way a human driver would in assuming that because there were no obstacles in its visual range, none existed. He says that autonomous vehicles should only proceed at a speed that allows them to stop if something appears within the area that they are able to detect.

5 signs of abuse or neglect in nursing homes

When you choose a nursing home for your loved one, you want to make sure it's as good as it can be. You go there several times in advance to take tours and to check on the condition of the building.

You make sure the staff seems visible throughout your visits and feel like everything looks good. What can you look out for, though, that will help you determine if this is a safe facility? What kinds of actions are red flags showing abuse or neglect?

Many common injuries are initially undetected

Being in a car accident is a stressful and frustrating experience under the best of circumstances. Anyone involved in a crash could understandably be in a rush to put the experience in the mirror as quickly as possible. Pennsylvania residents should exercise patience before signing any settlement documents related to potential injury claims even if they feel fine right after the incident. Some potentially serious injuries do not make themselves obvious in the immediate aftermath of a wreck and can take weeks to properly diagnose.

Just as it is common to feel pain the day after working in the yard or garden, the morning after a car wreck can be the first indicator of injury. Often people delay getting treatment for their injuries and assume they will get better with time and rest. Some injuries go undetected because of other distractions until days or even weeks after a wreck. For example, a painful bruise can draw attention from a muscle tear that is not recognized until the bruise fades while pain persists. A whiplash injury usually requires conservative treatment for at least six weeks. If symptoms continue past that point, it can be an indicator of a more serious injury requiring more aggressive treatment protocols.

Is it time to update your will and estate plan?

Creating a will and an estate plan is an excellent way to protect your property and make your wishes regarding your estate known. Unlike a nice crockpot dinner, however, an estate plan is not is not something one can simply set and forget.

In fact, many aspects of a will and its associated estate plan require regular review and maintenance to provide the most accurate direction to a trustee or executor and protections for the estate and beneficiaries. A will that includes provisions that do not align with changes in the will creator's life circumstances or applicable laws may result in complications when it comes time to disperse the estate. This could lead to legal challenges that can drain its resources and turn an already difficult experience into a protracted legal dispute between beneficiaries and other parties.

How car collisions can damage soft tissue

Drivers in Pennsylvania should be aware that car accidents sometimes lead to injuries that may not be immediately noticeable. Soft tissue injuries are a major example of this. These injuries occur when a collision shocks the body and causes the soft tissue (muscles, ligaments, and tendons) to stretch considerably. An injury can consist of strain, sprains, or tears.

The most common symptoms are chronic pain and swelling. To this might be added bleeding and loss of function in the neck. Regardless of their severity, symptoms have a way of appearing at different times; some experience them hours after an accident, others only days after it. Soft tissue damage cannot be perceived by X-ray, leading some victims to delay medical treatment and, thus, inhibit the healing process.

5 steps to take after a slip-and-fall accident

A slip-and-fall accident can have extreme consequences, with injuries ranging from a concussion to broken bones (among many others).

While you do your best to avoid these types of accident, you can't always predict these type of disasters. For example, many slip-and-falls occur in retail stores or parking lots when Pennsylvania residents are going about their daily tasks.

Trucking industry group seeks revised hours of service rules

The current hours of service regulations for truckers should be changed to allow drivers in Pennsylvania and around the country to split up their shifts with breaks lasting up to three hours. At least that's what the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association claims. The industry group has filed a petition requesting the change with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. In addition, OOIDA is asking the federal agency to eliminate a 30-minute break that tractor-trailer drivers must currently take during their first eight hours on duty.

The FMCSA's most recent hours of service rules were put into place in 2013 to help prevent truck driver fatigue and accidents. However, groups like OOIDA claim that they are actually making the nation's highways more dangerous. The current rules state that truck drivers must rest after being on duty for 14 hours, but these 14-hour clocks continue to run even when truckers pull over to rest. According to OOIDA, this encourages exactly the kind of behavior that the regulations are designed to prevent.

Pennsylvania hospital cited 5 times in 2017

Located approximately 90 miles west of Bensalem in the Pennsylvania heartland is Lebanon, home to Penn State Health's Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. As reported in the Lebanon Daily News, last year the medical facility received five citations from state health officials related to the medical treatment (or lack thereof) that three separate patients received at the medical center. Two of those patients died as a result.

Last summer, during the three-week period from July 3-21, the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) conducted a surprise monitoring survey of the facility. The five citations and the ensuing corrective actions arose from this survey.

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