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News And Reflections On Legal Issues In Western Pennsylvania And West Virginia

What are fuel loads and what can I do about them?

Whether you are the owner of a public building in Pennsylvania or just your own home, you should be aware the dangers that fuel loads can pose. A fuel load is anything that can catch fire and fuel an existing inferno. If fuel loads are allowed to exist, they can help a fire spread, cut off existing lines of escape and produce dangerous fumes that may cause a person to succumb and die.

The University of Iowa website identifies one troublesome location for fuel loads, namely stairwells. Whenever a building catches fire, anyone in the building at the time should not use the elevator and must take the stairs. This means that stairwells should be kept as free of risk of fires as possible to allow people to use them and escape the building safely.

New 2019 laws Pennsylvania drivers should know

It’s a brand-new year for the Keystone State, and with a new year comes new regulations. The state continually tries to make the streets safer for all drivers and pedestrians as the statistics for motor vehicle accidents remains grim. Whether it is from negligent motorists or the state’s unpredictable weather patterns, Pennsylvanians must continue to warrant caution on the roads.

The newer laws passed for the year cover multiple areas instead of just covering one major recurring problem, so drivers should remember what the state’s new policies are on all of these issues in case they ever find themselves in these difficult situations.

What are the best home renovations?

If you want to sell your home in Pennsylvania, you may want to take time beforehand preparing it so you can get the best price possible. While there are many renovations and additions you can do, some pay off more than others. The last thing you want to do is put a lot of money in your home without getting a nice return on your investment when you sell. Luckily, Bankrate explains there are proven renovations that do pay off.

One of the first things you may want to do is a complete renovation of your kitchen or a bathroom. These may seem like a huge payoff. However, leave the bathroom alone. Instead opt for a minor renovation in the kitchen. Repaint cabinets, put in new countertops, buy new appliances and repaint the walls. Do not do a complete overhaul as it will not pay off.

Are older drivers more likely to have accidents?

People often comment about people being too old to drive. While it is true that as we age, we lose some physical abilities that may make driving more difficult, it does not mean that people should not drive in Pennsylvania as they get older. According to AAA, the reality is that older drivers are actually very safe drivers when compared to other age groups of drivers.

Senior drivers use more care when driving. They are less likely to be in a hurry. They obey traffic laws more often and they avoid risky behaviors, such as drinking and driving. Despite this, there is something to the idea of being too old to drive.

What are common issues in renovating an older home?

Buying an older home and renovating it in Pennsylvania can be a great way to build equity in your home while also being able to ensure the home you buy has everything you want. However, older homes may come with many hidden issues. As you work with your contractor on renovations, some problems may occur. It can help if you prepare ahead of time by becoming familiar with the common issues in older homes.

Money Crashers explains this state has a large number of older homes compared to the rest of the country. So, the chances are good that you will buy one. If you jump into renovating be aware that a common issue is problems with outdated electricity. Your contract has to bring that up to code, so while it may not be an improvement you see, it is one that you have to do.

Starting the new year safely

With the end of the year quickly approaching, many Pennsylvanians are beginning to reflect on what happened in the past 12 months and how they can improve themselves once the clock strikes midnight on December 31. However, all of that reflection as well as any resolutions to improve yourself next year you make in the process will be for naught if you do not make it to next year.

New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are some of the most dangerous holidays for the road during the year. While it doesn’t have the highest fatality count since law enforcement is aware of the holiday’s reputation for irresponsible drinking habits, there are still hundreds of people that suffer from negligent party-goers during these two days. According to the Pennsylvania DUI Association, there were nearly 200 crashes and 8 fatalities on the road during 2017’s New Year celebration. No matter how you plan to celebrate the arrival of the new year, you should be aware of the various hazards you could potentially face during these 48 hours.

Pennsylvania woman sues manufacturer of faulty implant

A 60-year-old woman in Pennsylvania claims that both she and her husband sustained injuries due to a faulty vaginal mesh implant she received in 2007. The product's manufacturer reportedly ignored warnings that it could cause pain and injury and put the product on the market in 2005 without approval from the Food and Drug Administration. The woman is now suing the pharmaceutical company for knowingly releasing a faulty product. 

The device in question is a vaginal mesh used to treat a condition called pelvic floor prolapse, which occurs when the muscles of the pelvic floor weaken, allowing the pelvic organs to drop into the vagina. The purpose of the mesh implant is to hold the organs in place. The manufacturer claimed that it did not think it needed FDA approval to produce and sell the product because of its similarity to other vaginal mesh devices already on the market. It was only three years later, after the FDA received alerts that the product was on the market, that it gained approval. In 2012, after the device had been on the market for seven years and implanted in untold numbers of patients, the FDA ordered further testing, prompting the manufacturer to take it off the market. 

Using home equity to one's advantage

When people are looking to buy or sell a property, using the equity they have built in their current residence can be a valuable way to gain advantages that otherwise would be difficult to have. When people in Pennsylvania work hard to manage their debt appropriately and use their money strategically, they can put themselves in an advantageous position for future real estate transactions.

The way a home equity loan works is it allows people to take a fixed amount of money, not exceeding 80 percent of their equity, to borrow at a fixed interest rate. Some of the benefits of having a home equity loan or second mortgage is that people may be able to acquire a better interest rate, as well as claim their interest as tax-deductible. Additionally, the amount of money they are allowed to borrow may be more than if they had a traditional loan. 

Should you rent or buy a home?

At some point, you may ponder whether you should continue renting or if you should buy a home in Pennsylvania. This is a serious decision that requires a lot of consideration. Jumping into buying a house if you are really ready can bring about many financial problems. It may help to look at your needs and wants to determine if renting or buying is best for you.

Bankrate advises to first take a look at your financial situation. To buy a home, you need quite a bit of money upfront. You have to have the down payment and money to cover other associated costs of the home buying process. Beyond that, you need to have money for maintenance and other expenses that come up when you own a home. You should also look at long-term stability. Make sure your financial situation is stable and will be. Buying a home is a commitment that requires decades to pay off, so you need to be able to do it.

Can you plan ahead to prevent costly construction disputes?

When you are preparing to begin construction on a new project in Pennsylvania, you will undoubtedly run into challenges and obstacles along the way. Having a predetermined method for mitigating these setbacks and finding amicable solutions is critical in reducing the chance that a costly dispute will end up destroying the outcome and success of your project. 

Beginning a successful project is started when you first sign a contract. Before either party signs anything, you should make sure that you fully understand the terms and conditions of the contract and that any other party is also familiar with their responsibilities and commitments. According to Civil + Structural Engineering Magazine, any risks that you recognize before you begin your project should be addressed ahead of time. You may even consider identifying solutions to potential problems before they occur so you can save time and resources in the future.