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Plan your estate now to protect your loved ones and last wishes

Thinking about what happens after you die isn't exactly a pleasant pastime. It isn't surprising that so many people put off planning their estate. While delaying this crucial planning can help you procrastinate in terms of considering your own mortality, it can also leave you and your loved ones at risk.

If you die without a last will, you will not have any control over how the state handles your assets. Instead, the law will dictate which family members receive assets from your estate. More importantly, your wishes and medical preferences won't be available to inform anyone else's decisions. Taking the time now to plan your estate, even if you're relatively young, is a great idea.

All forms of distracted driving are not created equal

Even with distracted driving laws in place, there are millions of people who assume it's okay to take their attention away from the road.

Just because a person engages in distracted driving, it doesn't necessarily mean they'll be part of an accident. However, this behavior absolutely increases your risk.

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

The steps you take immediately following a slip-and-fall accident will have an impact on what happens in the future. While your health and well-being is more important than anything else, there are other things you need to keep in mind during this challenging time.

Here are some of the basic steps to take:

  • Call for help: You should never assume you can get up, walk it off and receive treatment later on if your injuries don't heal. It's better to be safe than sorry, so call 911 or ask someone to do so for you. The sooner you treat your injuries, the better chance you have of making a full recovery.
  • Notify the store or property owner: This isn't easy to do if you have a serious injury, but it's important to keep in mind. You want to make it clear to the store owner or property owner that you were part of a slip-and-fall accident and may have injuries. This can help protect against a situation in which you are accused of suffering the injury somewhere else.
  • Document everything: The information you collect will come in handy down the road, so make sure you go overboard with respect to the details. Focus on things such as: the circumstances causing the fall, any dangerous conditions and signs warning you of trouble.
  • Follow the advice of your medical team: Again, you don't want to assume that you can let your injuries heal without medical assistance. This is particularly true of serious injuries, such as those to your head, back and/or neck.

Doctor burnout could lead to problems for patients

Research has found a link between doctor burnout and significant medical errors. These errors could put patients in Pennsylvania and throughout the country in significant danger. Burnout occurs when a person faces extreme emotional fatigue after spending too much time on the job. As many as half of all Americans may be burned out at any given time, and it is more common in jobs that cause a lot of stress.

If a doctor is experiencing burnout, he or she may be prone to ordering too many tests or improperly prescribing medication. Individuals who are burned out may also make errors in diagnosing patients. To preserve the mental health of medical professionals, employers should limit the number of hours they work. There should also be an upper limit as to how much paperwork they are required to do in a given time period.

Are you under the threat of deportation from the United States?

The deportation process rips apart families and even separates children from their parents. If you're under the threat of being deported in the United States, however, it's important to remember that this is a legal process and you have legal rights and options. You may even have the right to challenge your removal on constitutional and procedural grounds.

Those who are in the midst of the deportation process may want to familiarize themselves with the grounds for legal deportation from the United States.

Driverless cars and their potential impact on insurance

New research has led to certain predictions about the fate of auto insurance companies in an age of driverless cars. Pennsylvania residents may be interested to hear some of these because such an age seems to be coming. A report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance states that the insurance industry will likely experience a gradual shift in the type of products it offers.

Driverless cars may make coverage for drivers unnecessary, but the companies that manufacture the autonomous technology will want coverage. Even minor fender benders will raise the average cost of accidents since the high-tech cameras, sensors and other parts involved are so costly.

Brake safety week aims to prevent dangerous crashes

For drivers in Pennsylvania, truckers with poorly maintained brakes present a real hazard on the road. The size, mass and weight of commercial trucks mean that when these vehicles crash, the effects can be particularly devastating. Of course, brakes that are negligently maintained present a serious threat because these trucks may be unable to stop properly, especially in slippery or rainy conditions or in an emergency situation. An out-of-control truck with nonfunctioning brakes can easily be the cause of a serious tragedy on the road.

This is why the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance conducts an annual Brake Safety Week, scheduled for September 16-22, 2018. During the week, inspections of trucks are ramped up with a particular eye out for violations of braking safety standards in an attempt to prevent dangerous 18-wheeler crashes and semi truck accidents. In 2017, the annual brake event was reduced to one day of escalated inspections. However, during that one day, 14 percent of all inspected trucks were removed from service on the road due to poor maintenance of their brakes and violations of safety regulations.

Serious brain injuries from car crashes require immediate care

When two or more motor vehicles collide, the end result is often messy, horrifying injuries. People could lose limbs or experience traumatic crushing injuries that leave them unable to exit the vehicle. Those who appear to not have any dramatic, visible injuries could feel grateful just to walk away from the crash. However, they could be overlooking one of the most common and often overlooked injuries related to crashes.

In the immediate wake of a collision, adrenaline can keep you from noticing pain and other symptoms of injury. Combine that with the fact that traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) often worsen over time, and you could easily ignore a life-altering injury for several days or even longer. That's why you need to know what signs and symptoms to watch for when it comes to TBIs.

Chemo combo offers hope to early-stage pancreatic cancer patients

A new study may offer hope for early-stage pancreatic cancer patients in Pennsylvania. The study found that a potent four-drug chemotherapy cocktail could help certain patients live significantly longer than the current standard chemo drug. The study was conducted by the Cancer Institute of Lorraine in France.

Researchers in France and Canada recruited nearly 500 patients with early tumors on their pancreatic duct. Following surgery, they were either given a four-drug combo known as folfirinox or a single drug called Gemzar, which is the current standard treatment. Approximately three years later, nearly two-thirds of those given folfirinox were still living and almost 40 percent were cancer-free. In comparison, almost 50 percent of those given Gemzar were still living and around 20 percent were cancer-free. Cancer experts say the results represent the biggest advance in pancreatic cancer care in decades. Folfirinox is now expected to become the standard drug treatment for early-stage patients. The combo is already the standard for patients whose cancer has spread.

Don't make any of these 7 estate planning mistakes

Do you cringe at the thought of creating an estate plan? Do you worry that your current estate plan is missing something important?

It's never easy to contemplate your own mortality and complete your estate planning, but if you do, you can feel peace of mind about your decisions.

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