Monday, December 30, 2013


            The possibility that a resident of a nursing home may fall is a very serious danger.  Every year approximately 1,800 senior citizens living in nursing homes die from fall-related injuries.  To illustrate this point a little further the CDC has compiled numbers that are shocking to say the least.  A typical nursing home with 100 beds routinely reports between 100 and 200 falls.  Only 5% of adults 65 or older live in a nursing home, but nursing home residents account for about 20% of deaths from falls in this age group.  A resident in a nursing home typically falls more than once, with the average resident having about 2.6 falls per year. 

            A fall in a nursing home can be caused by any number of reasons, but the most common include:

1)    muscle weakness and walking problems account for approximately 24% of falls;

2)    environmental hazards like wet floors and incorrect bed height cause 16% to 27% of falls; and

3)    poorly fitting shoes and improperly used walking aids round out the list. 

Falls can be prevented with a combination of treatment, rehabilitation and environmental changes.  Nursing homes are required by law to supervise their residents and provide assistive devices to prevent falls from occurring.  However, as the statistics make clear, falls continue to be a constant threat to nursing home residents, and sometimes those falls can be attributed to the nursing home’s negligence.   

If you believe that you or a loved one is the victim of nursing home neglect contact us.  These claims are complicated and challenging, and you need a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer to evaluate your claim.  We have seen the pain caused by this form of nursing home neglect and are prepared to answer your questions.  So if you or a family member is suffering from a recent fall contact Attorney Douglas V. Stoehr  at (814) 946-4100, or go to our website at

Monday, December 23, 2013

Decubitus ulcers are also known as pressure ulcers or bedsores, and occur far too frequently.   A decubitus ulcer is defined as a localized injury to the skin and underlying tissue that usually occurs on bony parts of the body where pressure has been applied for a period of time.  The most common areas where decubitus ulcers occur are the tail bone, buttocks, back of heels, elbows and shoulder blades.  Depending on how the patient is positioned they may also occur on the ear, pelvis, hip, knee and ankles. 

The CDC released an article which found that 159,000 nursing home residents, or approximately 11%, were suffering from decubitus ulcers.  Decubitus ulcers are defined by stages, and the CDC found that the most common stage suffered by the residents were Stage II.  In this stage the ulcer may expand into deeper layers of the skin, and may appear as a shallow crater.  The skin may begin to die or become damaged beyond repair in this stage.  (For a more in depth look at the four stages of decubitus ulcers, please see the Nursing Home page on our website.)  

Decubitus ulcers may not only be painful, but they could be fatal.  Because the wound is open, the risk of infection is high.   If bacteria spread throughout the body via the bloodstream, which is known as sepsis, this could pave the way for potentially fatal complications. 

These claims are complicated and challenging, and you need a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer to evaluate your claim.  We have seen the pain caused by this form of nursing home neglect and are prepared to answer your questions.  So if you or a family member is suffering pain from decubitus ulcers or has died from infection related to decubitus ulcers contact either Attorney Douglas V. Stoehr or Attorney Aaron Ling.  Please contact us at (814) 946-4100, or see us on our website at  

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The population of Pennsylvania is aging, we are currently ranked 4th in the U.S. by percentage of population of residents age 65 and older.  This translates into almost 2,000,000 Pennsylvania residents that are 65 and older.  Pennsylvania has approximately 710 nursing homes which houses, on average, 81,000 Pennsylvania residents.  This number is only going to rise, and by 2020, Pennsylvania’s 60 and older population is expected to balloon to more than 3,000,000 people, or 25% of the total population.

With the demand for nursing home care so high and only rising, these facilities are currently understaffed, and the employees are poorly trained.  These two factors are a perfect recipe for disaster because the residents depend on the staff for the most basic requirements of life like food, water, medicine, and personal hygiene.  If a nursing home fails to provide appropriate treatment to maintain the resident’s health to the best of its ability, the facility may be negligent.  Nursing home negligence may take many forms, but the most common include: (1) failure to prevent malnutrition or dehydration; (2) failure to assist with personal hygiene, including providing adequate services for incontinent residents; and (3) failure to prevent and/or treat bedsores.

In fact, two of our most recent nursing home cases have involved bedsores, otherwise known as pressure sores, or decubitus ulcers.  In both cases the nursing home failed to properly prevent and treat the bedsores and they became infected.

Because nursing home litigation can be quite complicated you need to have an attorney with the experience and knowledge to handle these claims.  If you or someone you know has been the victim of nursing home negligence please allow Attorney Douglas V. Stoehr and Attorney Aaron Ling to evaluate your claim today to determine if you have a case against a nursing home.  Please give us a call at (814) 946-4100.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


FICTION:  Medical malpractice litigation is forcing doctors out of practice. 

FACT:  There are currently 307 physicians per 100,000 people in the United States.  Since 1990, the number of physicians has increased 40 percent while the U.S. populations seen an increase of 18 percent.  The number of doctors licensed in the United States grows each year, and is far outpacing population growth. 

FICTION: Medical malpractice is driving physicians out of states without damage caps.

FACT:  The number of physicians in every state has increased, and there are actually more doctors in states without damage caps.  In the vast majority of states, the increase in physicians has either matched or outpaced population growth.  No data has been provided to support the theory that capping non-economic damages helps states attract or retain physicians. 

FICTION:  Damage caps lower doctors’ medical malpractice insurance rates. 

FACT:  If damages are capped, insurance companies pay out less money for awards, but they will no pass those savings to doctors in the form of lower premiums.  As pointed out on the strongest example of this is in Texas.  Texas passed a restrictive damages cap in 2003.  Despite the enactment of the damages cap GE Medical Protective told the Texas Insurance Commissioner that caps had a negligible impact on rates while announcing a 19 percent increase in doctors’ premiums. 

GE Medical Protective acknowledged that “non-economic damages are a small percentage of losses paid.  Capping non-economic damages will show loss savings of 1.0 percent.”  The president of the American Insurance Association has said that “we have not promised price reductions with tort reform.” 

If you are injured, don’t allow anyone to convince you that you shouldn’t file a lawsuit.  Allow Attorney Douglas V. Stoehr or Attorney Aaron Ling to evaluate the facts and circumstances surrounding your case to determine if a valid claim exists.  We will provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your claim.  Call us at (814) 946-4100.

FICTION:  Lawyers attempt to get ridiculous verdicts that drastically outweigh actual damages.

FACT:  Corporations and insurance companies have been conducting a crusade for the past 50 years to depict injured victims as greedy liars with dollar signs in their eyes.  The Bureau of Justice Statistics found that the 2005 median award for plaintiffs who won monetary damages in civil trials was $28,000.00; only 4 percent of all plaintiffs’ awards were more than one million dollars or more. 

Tort reform advocates also argue against punitive damages.  Punitive damages serve as a sanction for behavior that is judged to be particularly reckless.  Big business has spread the myth that juries are handing out multimillion-dollar awards left and right.  Punitive damages are not awarded as frequently as the tort reform advocates claim.  The Bureau of Justice found punitive damages were awarded to only 5 percent of all plaintiffs in civil trials.  The Supreme Court also found that:

1.       Punitive damages have not increased in the past several decades with the exception of adjustments for inflation.
2.      The amounts of punitive damages rendered by juries and judges are similar. 

Most punitive damages are awarded in lawsuits that involve businesses suing other businesses.  This fact makes it seem as if businesses are fine with punitive damages as long as they are the plaintiffs

FICTION:  Greedy plaintiffs and their attorneys abuse our judicial system by taking cases to courts that are likely to give them the verdict they want even if their case has nothing to do with that jurisdiction. 

FACT:  The goal of venue reform is to bog down cases in local courts.  The insurance companies are betting that injury plaintiffs don’t have the time or resources to wage a lengthy legal fight.  They rightly assume that victims are more likely to settle for less than they deserve to avoid years of potential litigation.  Small settlements translate to less justice for victims and more profits for corporate interests. 

Smaller court systems have faced budget cuts and a backlog of cases.  Some plaintiffs have sought relief in larger court systems.  Larger court systems have several advantages over smaller, local ones including:  1) expertise to hear these complex cases; and 2) they have the resources to handle litigation in a timely and efficient manner. 

If you are injured, don’t allow anyone to convince you that you are just being greedy.  Allow Attorney Douglas V. Stoehr or Attorney Aaron Ling to evaluate the facts and circumstances surrounding your case to determine if a valid claim exists.  We will provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your claim.  Call us at (814) 946-4100.

Friday, December 6, 2013


Every year nearly 5 million people are bitten by dogs, and close to half of those victims are children.  1 in 5 people that are victims of dog bites require medical attention, which equates to about 900,000 Americans that received medical attention for dog bites in the past year. 

In 2012, dog bites accounted for approximately one third of settlements of all homeowner’s insurance liability claims.  Pennsylvania ranked fifth in states with the most dog bite insurance claims. 

Pennsylvania law does not impose absolute liability on an owner for dog attacks, not even in respect to a dog having vicious tendencies of which the owner is aware.  The plaintiff will need to prove negligence in order for the defendant to be found accountable for any injuries sustained because of a dog bite.  In order to prove a dog bite case, historically the claimant had to prove that the dog had bitten at least once in the past.  However, the law in Pennsylvania now is the following:  If a dog has any vicious propensities, regardless of whether it has bitten in the past, the dog’s actual bite upon you can serve as the standard for determining whether the owner was negligent.

Liability for a dog attack may even fall to a landlord.  A landlord may be held liable for injuries by animals owned and maintained by a tenant when the landlord has knowledge of the presence of the dangerous animal and where he or she has the right to control or remove the animal by retaking possession of the premises. 

            Your claim for damages based on your injuries or disfigurement will be based on a theory of negligence, and will be very complex.  You need an attorney that has experience in handling the difficulties of these types of claims.   We will review the facts and analyze the law to provide you with a thorough evaluation of your claims. 

If you or a loved one suffered an injury or disfigurement from a dog bite, please do not hesitate to contact the law office of Attorney Douglas V. Stoehr.  Attorney Doug Stoehr and Attorney Aaron Ling have experience in handling dog bite cases, and will thoroughly evaluate your claim.   Call us today at (814) 946-4100 for a free initial consultation.  

Thursday, December 5, 2013


Fiction:  People are filing frivolous lawsuits that clog our justice system and take advantage of the courts.   

Fact:      The Rand Institute for Civil Justice has found that only 10 percent of injured people seek compensation and only 2 percent of them file lawsuits.  Also, since 1991, tort cases reflected only six percent of all cases filed.   Big business, corporations and insurance companies have framed several legitimate lawsuits as frivolous by selectively discussing facts or falsely reporting them entirely. (Please see our blog concerning the McDonald’s Hot Coffee Case).  Additional interesting facts are:
                1.  Personal injury lawsuits have decreased by 21 percent. 
                2.  There has been a 52 percent decrease in personal injury jury trials from 1992 to 2005.  

Fiction:  Our tort system threatens business owners and job creators with frivolous lawsuits that will drive them out of our state. 

Fact:      Corporations and small business have repeatedly admitted that fear of litigation is not a high motivator for them.  The Economic Policy Institute has found that “there is no historical correlation between the inflated estimates of the costs of the tort system and corporate profits, product quality, productivity, or research and development spending.”  In 2008, a small business lobbying group, surveyed its members asking them to rate their problems and priorities.   Out of 75 issues surveyed, “Cost and Frequency of Lawsuits/Threatened Lawsuits ranked 65th.  To give this some perspective, the 64th issue that concerned businesses and corporations was solid and hazardous waste disposal. 

Fiction:  Medical malpractice lawsuits are driving up healthcare costs for everyone.
Fact:      Medical negligence compensation accounts for only 0.3 percent of national healthcare costs.  According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the total amount spent defending medical malpractice claims and compensating victims is $7.1 billion annually – just 0.3 percent of America’s $2.2 trillion in overall healthcare spending. 
Please stay tuned for part 2. 

If you are injured, don’t be bullied into thinking that you shouldn’t file a lawsuit.  Allow Attorney Douglas V. Stoehr or Attorney Aaron Ling to evaluate the facts and circumstances surrounding your case to determine if a valid claim exists.  Call us at (814) 946-4100.