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Pittsburgh Injury Law Blog

Home Safety Tips For The Holidays

The holidays can invite a lot of potential hazards for your family and home. If you expect guests during this time, it is your responsibility to make sure your home is safe for them.

To keep your home and loved ones safe this holiday season, try following some of these holiday home safety tips.

· Decorating- Carefully inspect holiday lights and discard any that seem frayed, cracked or that have a loose connection. Always turn off your holiday lights when either leaving the house or going to bed. If you are buying a real tree, try to purchase a freshly cut tree as they are more resistant to catching on fire. Make sure to keep your tree watered and away from open candles or flames.

· Safety-Be extra cautious about locking doors and windows when leaving the house. If you plan on leaving your home for a long period of time, ask a neighbor or friend to watch your house and pick up your mail. Try leaving a television or radio on so the house looks occupied and never have large displays of presents visible through the windows or doors. Also be aware that criminals sometimes can pose as couriers delivering gifts, so be cautious of strangers who come to your door.

· Children-Kids are always at a high risk for injuries. Keep an eye on children when they are eating and playing. Keep potentially dangerous toys, food, drinks, household items, choking hazards and other objects out of their reach.

No Cost Of Living Adjustment For 2016

In 2016, Social Security Disability (SSD), Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Retirement recipients will not see an increase in their monthly payments.

Since there was no increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI-W) from the third quarter of 2014 to the third quarter of 2015, Social Security payments will not be increased. This is also known as a Cost of Living Adjustment or a COLA.

The reason for a COLA, is to make sure the recipients of these benefits are not affected by inflation. The Social Security Administration determines the COLA by using the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). If there is no increase there will not be a COLA that year.

For individuals who are applying for SSD or SSI, there is one number that has changed in your favor. If you plan to work while applying for these benefits you may come across the word Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA). This is when someone is working, while applying for these benefits, Social Security sets a limit on not how much you can work, but on how much you can earn. In 2015, the monthly gross amount an individual could make was $1,090.00. In 2016, the amount will go up to $1,130.00 gross per month.

Five Apps To Help Avoid Distracted Driving

One of the leading causes of an accident is distracted driving. Talking on your cell phone, texting or surfing the internet are all examples of distracted driving. Fortunately, something is being done to help avoid these accidents from happening. Applications (Apps) for smartphones have been created to prevent texts, calls, emails and more from distracting the driver. Below are just five of the leading apps to help avoid distracted driving.

Cellcontrol- Restricts most features of the cell phone. This includes text, email, calls and web browsing. This app only blocks these features while driving in a selected vehicle. app plays your texts and emails out loud to you. It plays them through either your Bluetooth or radio. You also have the option to send a message back to the sender that lets them know you are driving.

iZup- Detects when your car is in motion and sends your calls directly to voicemail and holds text messages until your car has come to a stop.

Sprint's Drive First Application- When the app detects that your car is in motion, it will lock your screen along with text messages. However, this app does allow you to use other components on the phone such as GPS and music.

Attorney Mark F. Bennett Named To Million Dollar Advocates Forum

The Million Dollar Advocates Forum has certified Berger and Green Attorney Mark F. Bennett as one of its newest members.

The Million Dollar Advocates Forum is recognized as one of the most prestigious groups of trial lawyers in the United States. Less than 1% of U.S. lawyers are members.

Membership is limited to attorneys who have won million and multi-million dollar verdicts, awards and settlements.

Forum membership acknowledges excellence in advocacy, and provides members with a national network of experienced colleagues for professional referral and information exchange in major cases. Members must have acted as principal counsel in at least one case in which their client has received a verdict, award or settlement in the amount of one million dollars or more. Please see the forum's website, for further details concerning membership qualifications.

Staying Safe on the Road this Thanksgiving

In Pennsylvania, there will be a rise in car accidents over the next three days. The days surrounding Thanksgiving are known as some of the most dangerous and deadly. In 2014, Pre-Thanksgiving (the day before), Thanksgiving and Black Friday (the day after) had a total of 4,628 crashes with 37 deaths. An increase in alcohol consumption and the number of vehicles on the road, may be to blame for the increase in crashes.

In 2014, alcohol was a factor in 480 accidents and 12 deaths during the pre to post Thanksgiving stretch. Thanksgiving is considered to be the deadliest holiday in recent years. Drinking violations increase an average of 54% on Thanksgiving Day alone.

Bar owners, Uber trying to reduce DUI crashes in 1 state

It is sad but true that some people see virtually every holiday in the U.S. as an excuse to drink and drive. Thanksgiving is no exception. Readers travelling within Pennsylvania or out of state for the holidays will have to keep an eye out for vehicles weaving out of their lanes, speeding and otherwise showing signs of an inebriated driver.

Over in New Jersey, bar owners have teamed up with rideshare company Uber and the John R. Elliott HERO Campaign to give bar patrons an alternative to drunk driving this season. Bars participating in the program will offer free sodas and “other benefits” for designated drivers who bring in membership cards from the HERO Campaign, which can be obtained online, according to KYW-TV.

Black Friday Safety

Falling on the day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday is easily the biggest annual shopping event in the nation. Thousands of stores will open in the early hours of Friday morning, while others have begun offering deals on Thanksgiving night itself. Hundreds of thousands of shoppers will wait all night long in winding lines for the chance to score a deal on everything from electronics to clothing to office supplies.

What to do after you're hurt in a dog bite attack

Humans have been domesticating and breeding dogs for thousands of years, whether as worker animals or as companions. Most dogs are friendly most of the time, but once in a while their wolf ancestors come out and they attack someone.

Some breeds seem to be especially prone to biting humans. But virtually every dog might potentially attack a visitor or stranger some day. Many dog bite victims are left with serious injuries, disfiguring scars or both.

$200 Million Dollar Civil Penalty Against Takata

The United States Department of Transportation has issued two orders against Takata. This order is the largest civil penalty the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has ever imposed.

The Transportation Secretary said that Takata has built and sold defective products, failed to acknowledge the defect and to provide full information to the NHTSA. He said this has been going on for years and has harmed many consumers.

NHTSA groups Takata airbag recall repairs by priority

Back in July, we discussed the massive recall of several different motor vehicle makes and models due to defective airbags. Since then, several auto companies, including Honda and Toyota, have announced they will no longer use airbag parts made by Takata, at least until it find a way to prevent its airbags from inflating with too much force.

The recall now involves 19.2 million vehicles in the U.S. alone, making it the largest recall of its kind in the country’s history. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is now in charge of the recall effort, and wants to speed up repairs.

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