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What should you do if a dog attacks you?

Even though most dogs are "man's best friend," some of these animals are more dangerous than they appear. Depending on the circumstances, a dog attack can result in serious injury or even death.

If you find yourself the victim of a dog attack, there are four key steps you should attempt to take:

  • Obtain medical care: Once the dog is removed from the area, turn your attention to your medical care. In addition to first-aid, call 911 to request an ambulance. The responding paramedics can treat you at the scene, while also transporting you to a local hospital.
  • Exchange information: This may not be possible in the event of a serious injury, but if you're able to exchange information with the dog owner you should do so.
  • Talk to witnesses: If anyone witnessed the accident, such as a neighbor of passerby, exchange information with them as well. Their account of the incident can go a long way in helping you obtain compensation in the future.
  • Contact animal control: Once you file a report with animal control, the incident is in their hands. They'll launch an investigation with the goal of determining what went wrong and how to best take action.

Wills and trusts both common in estate planning

It is common practice in Pennsylvania for an estate plan to have a will along with one or more trusts. In most cases, one or the other of the instruments will be more important to the plan, and most of the person's assets will pass through it on his or her death. One of the major distinctions is that assets that are owned in the person's name typically pass via the will; in order to pass via a trust, the asset must first be put in the name of the trust.

Another important distinction between wills and trusts is that property held in a trust is typically not subject to the probate process while assets that transfer via a will must go through probate. The disadvantages of probate are that it can be costly in terms of time and money, and it is not a private process. It is not always expensive or costly, but it does allow for public scrutiny.

Reasons for Pennsylvania residents to redo their estate plans

Estate planning is a process that many people find uncomfortable, which explains why so many people wait as long as possible before trying to create a last will. It also explains why most people prefer not to think about their legacy once they have created a plan or will.

Unfortunately, pretending that your estate plan is infallible after a single planning session with an attorney is a very common mistake people make. As circumstances in your life and family change, you will likely need to revisit your estate plan and change or expand it. There are three common reasons that people have to make changes to their estate plan.

The dangers of fall driving in Pennsylvania

As a Pennsylvania resident, you're aware of the beauty of the fall season. From the cool, crisp weather to the changing leaves, it's truly one of the best times of the year.

While you're soaking up the season, don't lose sight of the many dangers associated with fall driving. Here are five things you should be aware of:

  • Back to school traffic: With students back in the swing of things, you can expect more vehicles on the roadway. This includes school buses, as well as parents dropping off and picking up their children. Also, keep a close eye on children walking to and from the bus stop.
  • Wet leaves: As leaves make their way to the ground, they can quickly become matted down on the driving surface. If you hit wet leaves at a high rate of speed, you're more likely to lose control of your vehicle.
  • Rain: The fall season in Pennsylvania is likely to bring plenty of rain. In many cases, it's accompanied by strong winds, dense fog and even ice. Adjust your driving style to suit the weather conditions.
  • Deer: The fall months are when deer migrate and mate, making them more likely to spend time in close proximity to local roadways. While deer activity picks up during the evening and nighttime hours, you must always beware of these animals.
  • Sun glare: The temperature outside may be dropping, but that doesn't mean the sun is hiding until next spring. Sun glare is a serious threat to your safety during the fall months, as it decreases your visibility. Protect against this by using your sun visor and wearing high quality, polarized sunglasses.

Common types of medical errors

Pennsylvania residents depend on medical professionals to correctly diagnose and treat any medical problems they may have. However, doctors, nurses and pharmacists sometimes make mistakes. In fact, the problem is so pervasive that medical errors are the No. 3 most common cause of death in the U.S.

According to experts, many medical errors involve medication. These errors are most likely to occur before, during or after surgery, and they can cause serious injuries or even death. Some of the most common medication mistakes include wrong drug dosage, wrong medication labeling, administering drugs at the wrong time interval, administering the incorrect drug, failure to administer a drug, misreading medication names and failure to monitor a patient for side effects. Meanwhile, many medical errors also occur during childbirth, which can place both mother and child at risk for injuries. Some of the most common birth injuries include brachial palsy disabilities, facial paralysis, fractures and brain injuries from oxygen deprivation.

Recognizing distracted driving in all its forms

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 3,166 fatalities due to distracted driving in 2017. More and more drivers in Pennsylvania and across the U.S. are using smartphones and in-vehicle technology while on the road. While these are distracting activities, they are not the only examples. It's important to recognize distraction in some of its seemingly innocuous forms.

Eating, drinking and even conversing with passengers are all distracting. That's why drivers should consider setting up a no-eating policy that extends to friends and family. After all, everybody knows that eating in a car can be unsatisfactory and lead to complaints or spills, all of which may sidetrack drivers.

Legislation could prevent some commercial vehicle accidents

The Safe Roads Act of 2019 was presented for consideration by three members of the House of Representatives on July 16. If passed, it may prevent commercial truck accidents on highways throughout Pennsylvania and the rest of the nation. It would require that new commercial trucks come equipped with an automatic emergency braking system. That system would need to be activated whenever the vehicle was being operated. According to one of the legislation's sponsors, this type of system could be installed for as little as $500 per vehicle.

Two of the three members of the House who introduced the bill also sponsor the INSURANCE Act. It would require commercial carriers to maintain minimum levels of insurance that would be adjusted based on the inflation rate of medical costs as determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The Truck Safety Coalition lobbied for both bills to be introduced.

Trump administration set to ease trucker hour limits

Truckers in Pennsylvania and elsewhere could soon be able to drive more hours each day, according to media reports. Apparently, the White House is considering a proposal to ease hours-of-service rules that are meant to prevent truck driver fatigue.

According to the Associated Press, trucking industry lobbyists have been pressuring the Trump administration to ease trucker hours-of-service regulations. These rules mandate that truck drivers can drive a maximum of 11 hours in a 14-hour shift. They also require drivers to take a 30-minute rest break before the eight-hour mark of their shift and get at least 10 straight hours of rest before starting their next shift. Drivers who violate these rules can be taken out of service for 24 hours or longer. Since most truck drivers are paid by the mile, the punishment can cause them to lose income.

The most common causes of distracted driving

Even with strict laws in place, distracted driving remains a problem throughout the entire country. There will always be people who fall prey to distractions when driving, which increases the likelihood of causing an accident.

Understanding the top causes of distracted driving will help you avoid trouble while behind the wheel. Here are five causes to protect against:

  • General distraction: This may be nothing more than daydreaming, but it's extremely dangerous when operating a motor vehicle. Your focus must be on the road, not what you're having for dinner, your big meeting at work or your plans for the weekend.
  • Cellphone: It doesn't matter if you're talking, texting or browsing the internet, using your cellphone while driving is a big mistake. Not only does it take your attention away from the road, but you'll also find yourself driving with one (or no) hand.
  • Passengers: When driving with others, it's easy to get caught up in conversation. It's just as easy to horse around. Let your passengers know that you must focus on the road to maintain a high level of safety.
  • Drinking or eating: This is a mistake that many people make, as they enjoy drinking or eating in the car to save time or to simply put a smile on their face. Just the same as using a cellphone, drinking or eating calls for you to take your eyes off the road and at least one hand off the wheel.
  • Adjusting vehicle controls: Your vehicle has many controls, ranging from the radio to the sunroof to your power seat. Adjusting any of these things while your vehicle is in motion is a mistake, as it takes your attention away from the task at hand. It's recommended to pull over safely to execute even these seemingly simple tasks (that most of us tend to do while driving).
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