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Advocates Circle Firms

Barkan Meizlish, LLP

 

Brian G. Miller Co., LPA

 

Bordas & Bordas, PLLC

 

Christian R. Patno

 

Crandall & Pera Law

 

Eadie Hill Trial Lawyers

 

Elk & Elk

 

Garson Johnson, LLC

 

Geiser, Bowman & McLafferty, LLC

 

The Gervelis Law Firm

 

Grieco Law

 

Kisling Nestico & Redick

 

Kitrick, Lewis & Harris Co.,. LPA

 

Leeseberg & Valentine

 

Leizerman & Associates, LLC

 

Lamkin, Van Eman, Trimble & Dougherty, LLC

 

Meyer Wilson Co., LPA

 

Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy Co., LPA

 

O'Connor Acciani & Levy, LPA

 

Rittgers & Rittgers

 

Robert J. Wagoner, Co., LLC

 

Rourke & Blumenthal

 

Spangenberg, Shibley & Liber, LLP

 

Slater & Zurz, LLP

 

Tittle & Perlmuter

 

Tzangas Plakas Mannos Ltd.

 

Young and McCarthy LLP

 


 

                       

 

 

OAJ BLOG CENTRAL

Ohio Nursing Home Neglect Can Be as Dangerous as Abuse

Shared by Plevin & Gallucci

www.plevinandgallucci.com/legal-news-blog


Horrifying stories of vulnerable elderly and disabled people being hit, unreasonably restrained, and even sexually assaulted catch the media’s attention and put families on guard. But the risks to nursing home residents go far beyond intentional violence. For those who are wholly or partly dependent on others for their food, hygiene, and medical care, neglect can be fatal. 

One of these risks was briefly in the spotlight earlier this year, when six employees and a contractor at Whetstone Gardens and Care Center in Columbus were charged with involuntary manslaughter and a mix of other crimes. One of the two patients at the center of the investigation and resulting charges died of septic shock as a result of untreated bedsores. 

Bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers, are common in nursing homes and other residential care facilities because many residents have limited mobility or are bedridden. However, the level and quality of care provided plays a significant role in determining both the rate at which residents suffer from bedsores and the likelihood of serious complications. For example, a facility providing high-quality care will ensure that residents move around to the degree they are able. Maintaining mobility has many possible health benefits, including reducing the risk of pressure sores. 

Even if a resident’s mobility is seriously limited, measures such as ensuring that a wheelchair is properly fitted and shifting the resident’s weight at regular intervals when bedridden can significantly reduce the likelihood of bedsores. When a resident does have bedsores, immediate and appropriate care can make all the difference. Neglected bedsores may have a wide range of serious consequences, including gangrene and other infections that can lead to the loss of a limb or death.

Bedsores are both serious enough and indicative enough of negligent care that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Standards (CMS) regulations include specific provisions relating to identification, avoidance, and treatment of pressure ulcers. But there are many other serious risks associated with nursing home negligence.

What is Nursing Home Neglect?

Nursing home neglect has been described as “the failure of the facility, its employees, or service providers to provide goods or services to a resident that are necessary to avoid physical harm, pain, mental anguish, or emotional distress.” Neglect is not willful–withholding of the same types of goods and services intentionally or as punishment would be classified as abuse, though the impact might be identical.

Some of the most common types of nursing home neglect include: 

Falls: Falls are common among the elderly, whether in residential care facilities or living independently. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about three million older Americans are treated for fall-related injuries each year. More than 280,000 older adults are hospitalized for hip fractures sustained in falls each year, and about 30,000 die. But many falls are avoidable. Nursing homes are required to conduct fall assessments on residents, and to adapt the resident’s care plan based on that risk. 

Choking: While a person of any age can choke, the elderly and people with certain diseases and disorders are at higher risk. More than half of choking fatalities occur among those aged 75 and older. The risk can be minimized in a nursing home setting by properly assessing the patient and providing an appropriate diet, including a soft or pureed diet if necessary. Staff training is also critical, since the ability to recognize signs of choking and respond swiftly and appropriately can mean the difference between life and death.

Dehydration and Malnutrition: A wide variety of factors can impact nutrition and hydration in the elderly, from loss of appetite to problems absorbing nutrients. In some cases, the cause may be as simple as an elderly person forgetting to drink throughout the day, or not having easy access to water in a facility. Nursing home staff must monitor what residents eat and drink and take note of inadequate consumption and/or any changes in body weight, skin texture, or other health issues that may indicate the resident is not getting enough nutrients or hydration.

Medication Errors: Nursing home residents in the United States suffer more than one million avoidable adverse drug reactions each year. Tens of thousands of these reactions are fatal or life-threatening. Some common causes include administering the wrong medication, administering the wrong dosage, neglecting to administer medication, or giving medication to the wrong resident.

Infections: The elderly and disabled may be particularly susceptible to infections that impact people of all ages. For example, those who are incontinent, are dehydrated, and/or are catheterized are at greater risk for urinary tract infections. And elderly people who may be experiencing cognitive deterioration may not recognize or report symptoms. But urinary tract infections, pneumonia, and other common infections can be fatal if left untreated.

Be Alert for Signs of Nursing Home Neglect

It’s important to be on the lookout for signs of neglect, both when choosing a nursing home for a loved one and during residency. Educating yourself in advance can help you recognize signs and assess risk factors. For instance, one recent study showed that neglect was more common in for-profit residential care facilities than in nonprofit nursing homes. 

Some signals to watch for include: 

  • Poor personal hygiene among residents generally and your loved one in particular;
  • Unsanitary conditions in common areas, resident rooms, bathrooms, and other areas;
  • Loss of mobility after entering the facility;
  • Decline in general health, such as signs of malnutrition;
  • Cognitive decline;
  • Unexplained injuries.

Can I Sue Uber or Lyft if a Rideshare Driver Caused the Car Crash That Left Me Injured?

Shared by Barkan Meizlish LLP

barkanmeizlish.com/blogs-news


Yes, you can generally file a personal injury claim if a rideshare driver causes a traffic accident that injures you.

Despite a series of class action lawsuits, Lyft and Uber drivers remain classified as independent contractors rather than employees of the rideshare companies for which they work. As a result, rideshare drivers are generally required to carry at least two separate forms of car insurance that cover accidents involving injuries to passengers, pedestrians, bike riders, and people in other vehicles.

Typically, the at-fault Uber or Lyft driver will be the liable party, with the rideshare company being secondary/additional. However, certain factors, like if the negligent or reckless driver was acting as an employee of a rideshare company at the time of the accident, can alter who the liable party actually is. How your case will go largely depends on which of the following scenarios describes what happened.

Were You Injured While Riding as an Uber or Lyft Passenger?

Rideshare companies require their contract drivers to carry personal car insurance coverage. Additionally, rideshare companies commonly provide, and in most states are required to provide, approximately $1-million in insurance coverage. The additional $1 million policy can apply when passengers suffer injuries in crashes a rideshare driver caused.

How much an injured passenger can claim will depend on a number of factors, including the severity of the injuries, the amount of the medical bills, and the number of injured people who have valid insurance claims. The final factor comes into play because the $1 million limit covers all crash victims.

Was the Uber or Lyft Driver En Route With a Passenger When They Hit You?

Under the laws of Ohio, pedestrian, motorcycle riders, and individuals in other vehicles may not have access to the full $1 million of injury liability coverage carried by Uber and Lyft drivers. Consulting with a knowledgeable and experienced rideshare accident attorney will clarify how to maximize insurance settlements, and ensure all potential avenues of recovery have been investigated. 

Did the Uber or Lyft Driver Have the App Open but No Passenger in Their Vehicle?

Rideshare drivers who are “available” and logged into the rideshare company’s app, but have not yet picked up a passenger, are generally covered by their Uber or Lyft policy for up to $100,000 in liability. The driver’s own personal insurance may provide coverage, as may underinsured motorist provisions of the injured person’s insurance.

Did the Uber or Lyft Driver Have the App Closed and No Passenger in Their Vehicle?

Yes, you can generally file a personal injury claim if a rideshare driver causes a traffic accident that injures you.

Despite a series of class action lawsuits, Lyft and Uber drivers remain classified as independent contractors rather than employees of the rideshare companies for which they work. As a result, rideshare drivers are generally required to carry at least two separate forms of car insurance that cover accidents involving injuries to passengers, pedestrians, bike riders, and people in other vehicles.

Typically, the at-fault Uber or Lyft driver will be the liable party, with the rideshare company being secondary/additional. However, certain factors, like if the negligent or reckless driver was acting as an employee of a rideshare company at the time of the accident, can alter who the liable party actually is. How your case will go largely depends on which of the following scenarios describes what happened.

Were You Injured While Riding as an Uber or Lyft Passenger?

Rideshare companies require their contract drivers to carry personal car insurance coverage. Additionally, rideshare companies commonly provide, and in most states are required to provide, approximately $1-million in insurance coverage. The additional $1 million policy can apply when passengers suffer injuries in crashes a rideshare driver caused.

How much an injured passenger can claim will depend on a number of factors, including the severity of the injuries, the amount of the medical bills, and the number of injured people who have valid insurance claims. The final factor comes into play because the $1 million limit covers all crash victims.

Was the Uber or Lyft Driver En Route With a Passenger When They Hit You?

Under the laws of Ohio, pedestrian, motorcycle riders, and individuals in other vehicles may not have access to the full $1 million of injury liability coverage carried by Uber and Lyft drivers. Consulting with a knowledgeable and experienced rideshare accident attorney will clarify how to maximize insurance settlements, and ensure all potential avenues of recovery have been investigated. 

Did the Uber or Lyft Driver Have the App Open but No Passenger in Their Vehicle?

Rideshare drivers who are “available” and logged into the rideshare company’s app, but have not yet picked up a passenger, are generally covered by their Uber or Lyft policy for up to $100,000 in liability. The driver’s own personal insurance may provide coverage, as may underinsured motorist provisions of the injured person’s insurance. 

Did the Uber or Lyft Driver Have the App Closed and No Passenger in Their Vehicle?

When a rideshare driver is neither available to take passengers nor actually working for Uber or Lyft, their own car insurance policy generally applies to any crash they cause.

So, when can Uber or Lyft be sued if the driver was not actually working for the rideshare company at the time of the accident/injury? A few of the situations in which a rideshare company could be named as a defendant in a civil lawsuit are when:

  • The company allowed a driver to operate without carrying the required coverages.
  • The company contracted with a driver who has a criminal history of driving under the influence and the wreck involved drunk or drugged driving—a situation described as “negligent employment.”
  • The company contracted with a driver who had a criminal history of sexual or physical assault and the driver assaulted you while you were a passenger.

Driver Negligence Plus Collision May Equal Neck or Spine Injuries
Shared by Leeseberg & Valentine

www.leesebergvalentine.com/blog


While it wouldn't be technically correct to say other drivers are responsible for your safety when you travel Ohio roadways, it's a fact that every licensed driver is legally obligated to adhere to traffic laws and safety regulations. Therefore, if a nearby driver is negligent, it places you and all others in the vicinity at risk for serious injury.

Many Ohio motor vehicle accidents result in neck or spinal injuries. Traumatic cervical syndrome (TCS) is a neck injury-induced biological and neurological problem. It doesn't necessarily require severe neck trauma to occur, and also doesn't mean that the sudden impact of a particular collision had to cause a whipping motion of the neck. If you're involved in a collision, it's critical that you know where to seek support, especially if you're experiencing TCS symptoms.

What are those symptoms?

Classification of TCS includes various stages of severity. Certain symptoms, such as dizziness, headache, ringing in the ear, trouble swallowing or jaw pain can occur at any stage. You might even experience memory loss after a collision that can be suggestive of traumatic cervical syndrome.

Chances of this type of injury occurring

When two vehicles collide, there is definite sudden impact, and you are at risk for any and all blunt force trauma injuries. TCS can occur regardless of what type of collision it was, meaning a t-bone crash, head-on or other. However, it's well known that this specific type of injury often occurs in rear-end collisions. Again, that doesn't mean it's not possible to suffer TCS in other types of collisions, only that it's common for rear-end collisions to result in TCS.

How soon do symptoms show?

No two patients experience TCS in exactly the same way. If a motor vehicle collision caused your injury, one of the highest priorities in the aftermath is seeking medical examination, no matter how you happen to feel. Symptoms of TCS aren't always immediately apparent. You might initially feel only minor discomfort after a crash, then realize you're not feeling as well as you thought after six or so hours pass.

In fact, many accident victims don't develop TCS symptoms for 24 hours or longer. Most people will feel some sort of discomfort or notice symptoms within 72 hours, however.

Short-term and long-term consequences

No one likes pain. The most immediate repercussion of suffering a TCS injury in a collision is physical pain. A doctor might prescribe strong pain medications to help alleviate your discomfort. If your injury is severe, it could change the rest of your life. Perhaps you would no longer be able to work. You might also need daily living assistance.

Aftermath support

Whether TCS presents in a lesser degree or worst-case scenario, you shouldn't have to be fully responsible for the financial expenses associated with your injuries if another person's negligence was the causal factor. Many Ohio accident victims seek financial recovery for their losses, then use court-awarded compensation to offset medical expenses and other costs related to their injuries.


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With Less Truckers on the Road, Will More Accidents Happen?

Shared by Bey & Associates, LLC

www.beyandassociates.com/blog


We’ve all driven past truckers on the highway or local roads. Though you might not have realized, there has been a decline in the trucking industry this year. Over 3,000 truck drivers have lost their jobs in 2019, especially truck drivers for small businesses, as reported by Business Insider.

A whopping 640 commercial trucking companies went bankrupt in just the first half of this year, which is over triple the number from the same time last year. This fall in business was caused by many factors, as told by Business Insider, including a drop in consumer spending, cost of insurance, decline in goods shipped, and the amount of drivers being over capacity.

Cincinnati Trucking Facility Closed

Bankruptcy in the trucking industry might seem like a problem that won’t hit close to home, but it already has. A facility in our own Cincinnati has gone under just like many others across the nation.

New England Motor Freight Inc. (NEMF) filed for bankruptcy earlier this year. NEMF was a privately owned trucking company based in New Jersey with many facilities across the Northeast. Its facility in Cincinnati closed, causing 43 workers to lose their jobs in our city alone, according to the Cincinnati Business Courier. Across the state, a total of 269 employees are now out of work after the shutdown starting in February.

So will this decrease in truckers cause an increase in truck accidents?

Effect on Truck Accidents

You might be thinking, “Less trucks means less accidents because there are fewer on the road to cause them.” While that is a logical thought, there’s more that goes into trucking that could affect traffic when there are less of them on the road. In 2017, large truck crashes increased by 9%, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). That was two years ago, and with less trucks on the road this year, that could continue to rise.

Here are some of the reasons that truck accidents might increase due to less trucks on the road:

  • Overweight trucks. When there are fewer large trucks on the road, companies are forced to pack more shipments into a single unit. This makes the truck heavier because it is hauling more goods. This might seem harmless, but it actually makes the trucks harder to control, and especially harder to slow down. Not only will heavier trucks make accidents harder for truck drivers to avoid, they will also make the force of impact in collisions higher.
  • Driver fatigue. Drivers also feel more pressure to meet tighter deadlines when there are less trucks on the road. Even though truck drivers have regulations on how many hours they can drive before they have to rest for so many hours, if their deadlines are shorter than usual, they might push that envelope and drive while exhausted. This fatigue could easily lead to a commercial truck accident.
  • Speeding. When drivers are rushing to beat the clock, they might also speed to make their deadline. Speeding in a regular sized car gets dangerous very quickly, and that’s just the weight of the car. In a semi-truck, speeding is even more dangerous because you are not only hauling the weight of the truck, but also the goods in the trailer. On average, a loaded tractor trailer weighs 40 tons and needs caution while operating, so a fully loaded truck could weigh even more and require even more attention. 

Cameras in The Cab Could Cut Truck Drivers’ Distracted-Driving Crashes

Shared by Smith Law Office

www.sestriallaw.com/blog


Cameras and other technology placed in a truck cabin can detect problems and notify the driver in order to reduce distracted-driving crashes, according to a technology company.

The Nauto Prevent system is aimed at preventing truck accidents caused by distraction by informing drivers when they’ve had their eyes off the road for too long or if they’re tailgating or facing other potential risks.

“We want to help human drivers, not just rat them out to their boss,” said Nauto CEO Stefan Heck posted on techcrunch.com last year.

Nauto was founded in 2015 and is based in Palo Alto, California. The company makes “autonomous vehicle technology systems”  with an artificial intelligence-powered connected camera network and “continuous learning cloud” designed to increase driving safety and efficiency, according to Emerj Artificial Intelligence Research.

Consequences of distraction behind the wheel

FreightWaves posted a story that said a Nauto study has shown that National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics underestimate distracted-driving crashes on United States roads. FreightWaves is a “data and content forum” on the freight industry based in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

According to Nauto, NHTSA reports that an average of nine distracted driving crashes occur daily on U.S. roads. Most U.S. traffic information is based on police-reportable crashes, however, and not all crashes are serious enough to be reported to police. Also, drivers involved in crashes, even if distraction was a factor, often fail to tell that to police.

Many people understand distracted driving can be dangerous. Concerns about truck accidents caused by distraction have led companies to establish training for drivers that emphasizes the need to stay focused on the road.

Jennifer Haroon, Nauto chief operating officer, said that a study the company did last year, with an insurance company of commercial fleet drivers that use Nauto systems, found over 70 percent of crashes involved distracted driving.

Truck drivers using mobile phones while driving was a big factor in crashes. Other distractions that were determined to be factors in the study were people doing paperwork in the cab, or eating, drinking and talking with others in the truck.

Installing technology like Nauto’s can give managers video evidence and insights into driver behavior, which can be leveraged to help train drivers, Haroon said.

Notifying distracted drivers in real-time

The technology can identify problems that other evaluations might fail to isolate. For example, a truck driver’s hard-braking event could be because the driver was cut off by a bicycle and had to brake hard because that was the safest thing to do.

Or, perhaps the truck driver hard-braked because he or she was distracted and happened to look up just in time to see traffic in front of the truck and slammed on the brakes. 

Nauto Prevent includes algorithms that monitor a driver’s head, eyes and torso to determine if eyes are on the road, according to CCJ, a freight transport website.

Drivers get alerts if they are distracted while a vehicle is moving. A driver is not alerted for looking at a phone at a stoplight, for example. The severity of risk is based on the length of time a driver is not looking at the road and the speed of the vehicle.

Drivers hear a beep at the first sign of distraction. If they continue the behavior, the device will say “distracted.” After 4 seconds the tone becomes more severe to command their attention.


Merit Decision: Giant Eagle Gets Green Light for Motorized Carts. Barbara Rieger v. Giant Eagle, Inc.

Shared by Marianna Brown Bettman

www.legallyspeakingohio.com


“Upon review, we hold that there is insufficient evidence of causation as a matter of law to support the claims of negligence and negligent entrustment against Giant Eagle.”

Justice Stewart, opinion of the court

On September 19, 2019, the Supreme Court of Ohio handed down a merit decision in   Rieger v. Giant Eagle, Inc. Slip Opinion No. 2019-Ohio-3745. In a unanimous opinion written by Justice Stewart, the court held that Giant Eagle should have been granted a directed verdict in this personal injury case involving an accident where a customer drove one of its motorized carts into another customer.  The case was argued April 24, 2019.

Case Background

In December of 2012, Barbara Rieger (who died August 26, 2019) was standing at the bakery counter of a Giant Eagle Store in Brook Park when her shopping cart was hit by one of Giant Eagle’s motorized carts, driven by Ruth Kurka. Rieger was knocked to the ground, injured, and taken to the hospital where she incurred $11,511 in medical expenses. Rieger sued Kurka and Giant Eagle for negligence and negligent entrustment. Ruth Kurka died before the trial, but her estate settled with Rieger for $8500.

Rieger’s suit against Giant Eagle proceeded to trial.  Pertinent to this appeal was deposition testimony from George Kurka, Ruth’s husband.  He testified that Ruth had been diagnosed with dementia before this accident, and that Ruth had never been trained on how to operate the motorized cart.  There was also evidence that Ruth had driven these carts regularly for more than a year without incident. A corporate representative from Giant Eagle testified that there are no operational instructions on the carts, Giant Eagle assumes those who use the carts know how to do so, and that warnings posted for the carts are for the cart operators. Rieger also presented the jury with evidence of 117 incidents at various Giant Eagle Stores involving motorized cars from 2004-2012.

Giant Eagle moved for a directed verdict on the negligence and negligent entrustment claims, which the trial court denied. The jury found Giant Eagle liable and awarded Rieger compensatory damages of $121,000 (which was reduced by the $8500 settlement with the Kurka Estate) and punitive damages of $1,198,000. Rieger filed a motion arguing that R.C. 2315.21, the Ohio statute capping punitive damages at twice the compensatory damages, was unconstitutional. The trial court agreed, and entered judgment for Rieger in the amount of $112,500 in compensatory and $1,198,000 in punitive damages. Giant Eagle appealed.

The Appeal

In a unanimous decision, the Eighth District Court of Appeals affirmed the compensatory damage award, but reversed the trial judge’s finding that R.C. 2315.21  was unconstitutional, and reduced the punitive damages award to $242,000. Giant Eagle appealed.

Read the oral argument preview of the case here, and an analysis of the argument here.

Key Precedent

R.C. 2315.21(C) (plaintiff cannot recover punitive damages unless there has been a verdict in favor of the plaintiff for compensatory damages.)

Gulla v. Straus, 154 Ohio St. 193 (1950) (Negligent entrustment involving the operation of a motorized vehicle requires the owner’s knowledge of the driver’s incompetence.)

Renfroe v. Ashley, 167 Ohio St. 472 (1958) (Plaintiffs must present evidence of causation before the question of causation can go to a jury.)

Strother v. Hutchinson, 67 Ohio St.2d 282 (1981) (In an action for negligence, plaintiffs must show the existence of a duty, the breach of a duty, and an injury because of the breach of duty.)

Anderson v. St.Francis-St.George Hosp.Inc. 77 Ohio St.3d 82  (1996) (Causation is established using the “but-for” test. A defendant’s conduct is a cause of the harm if the harm would not have occurred but for that conduct, citing Prosser & Keeton, Law of Torts (5 Ed.1984) 266.)

White v. Leimbach, 2011-Ohio-6238 (A motion for a directed verdict is properly granted to the moving party when “reasonable minds could come to but one conclusion upon the evidence submitted.”)

Johnson v. Wal-Mart Stores E., L.P., 2014-Ohio-2998 (2nd Dist (In case involving motorized carts at Wal-Mart, appeals court held that lack of customer training on use of carts insufficient to establish lack of training caused plaintiff’s injury.)

Giant Eagle’s Propositions of Law Accepted for Review

Proposition One

For stores that provide motorized carts to disabled shoppers, the Eighth District created entirely new tort duties owed by them—a duty to warn the user about the obvious danger of a pedestrian-cart collision, a duty to train disabled customers how to operate a simple motorized car, and a duty to interrogate customers to determine whether their disability disqualifies them from operating a cart.

Proposition Two

The Eighth District has created a new standard for malice that makes the mere possibility of harm from the underlying tortious conduct—no matter how improbable—sufficient for an award of punitive damages.

Proposition Three

For accidents involving motorized shopping carts, the Eighth District created a new strict liability standard for stores by (a) eliminating the need to prove that the store’s negligence caused the accident and (b) basing that liability solely on dissimilar motorized shopping cart accidents thereby rendering the store an insurer for such accidents.

Are The Propositions of Law Adopted?

The court found that it only needed to address the third one to resolve the case and found that there was insufficient evidence as a matter of law to establish causation for either negligence or negligent entrustment.

Click here to continue reading.


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Protecting Yourself From Distracted Drivers on Ohio Roads

Shared by Jeffries, Kube, Forrest & Monteleone Co. L.P.A.

www.jkfmlaw.com/blog


Distraction while driving is a major source of risk. Since driving is usually part of daily life for most American adults, they tend to take for granted the fact that they will arrive safely at their intended destination. Unfortunately, that is simply not always the case.

Failing to pay adequate attention to the task of maneuvering the vehicle and monitoring traffic can drastically increase the risk to everyone on the road. Many people struggle with addictions to their mobile devices and can have a hard time ignoring the sounds of their phone even while driving a car.

It is also important to realize that phones are only one of many potential sources of distraction. The more you understand distracted driving, the better you will be able to protect yourself from dangerous drivers not paying attention to the road.

Drivers holding their phones are a red flag

Obviously, people staring at their phones or driving with a phone in their hand are probably not fully engaged with the task of driving. If you see someone's phone in their face, that is a good reason to give their vehicle a wide berth in traffic.

You should also look for the telltale lack of hands on the wheel or the blue light of the phone from their lap, which is particularly visible once it gets dark outside. Despite laws against texting while driving, people still do it all the time.

Socialization is another source of distraction

Even before people began calling and texting each other on mobile phones while driving, distraction-related collisions were still relatively common. That's because distraction doesn't just come from a screen. It can come from the people in the car with you as well.

Conversations with passengers can help you pass the time during your commute or a road trip. However, they can also result in your focusing on the other people in the car instead of driving. Turning to look at other people, taking your hands off the wheel to gesticulate or even getting emotional about the conversation can all impair your ability to manage the vehicle safely.

If you see people obviously talking or even worse, arguing while in a car, give them plenty of space and try to adjust your route accordingly.

Many people multitask during their commute

Many people will do anything to minimize the amount of time it takes to get ready for work. They may choose to finish dressing while driving. Some will brush their hair, brush their teeth or apply makeup in their visor mirror.

All of these tasks take your hands off of the wheel. They take your eyes off the road and your mind off of safety. Avoid anyone who appears to be grooming or dressing themselves, as well as people eating and drinking while driving.


Errors in Imaging Reports Can Lead to Serious Patient Harm

Shared by McKeen & Associates

www.mckeenassociates.com/blog


Mistakes can sometimes be addressed and then never thought of again. These are usually the minor ones like not putting the milk back in the refrigerator or forgetting to stop by a store on the way home. Unfortunately, not all errors are small mistakes. When it comes to someone's health care, errors, even when they are referred to as mistakes, can be fatal.

Doctors count on imaging studies to reveal details about a patient's condition. While they can review the diagnostic images themselves, they count on the radiologist's report. Any misstatements can cause the doctor to make incorrect treatment plans for a patient.

Diagnostic problems

When a doctor orders an imaging scan, they have probably already done some other diagnostic work. This may include speaking to the patient and doing an exam. It might also involve having blood testing done. All of this information is put together to diagnose the problem and to determine a treatment program. If any one of these components is off, the entire diagnosis and treatment plan can be incorrect.

Diagnostic problems can lead to a patient's condition being left to worsen since it isn't being treated appropriately. This is especially problematic if the issue is something like cancer, a stroke or a heart attack. All of these have the possibility of turning fatal without proper care.

Impact on the patient

The patient may have to deal with more pain and invasive procedures that wouldn't have been necessary if the diagnosis was correct. An error could also prove fatal. They might have to miss work, stay in the hospital, suffer through negative life impacts and deal with financial difficulties. Their family members and friends will have to watch them go through it all and try to help out as best as they can.

While it is possible that the errors will be deemed mistakes by medical staff members, there is no excuse for them. Radiologists shouldn't rush through reading images, which could mean that there needs to be more staff to handle the numbers coming through. A system of checks and balances should also be in place to prevent erroneous information from reaching the doctor caring for the patient.


Bike Safety 101

Shared by Casper & Casper

casperlaw.com/blog


There are so many benefits to bike riding: it’s fun, it’s healthy, and it’s an eco-friendly way to get from A to B.

That said, there is one downside to biking: an increased risk of harm on the road. 

If you or your family members bike on the road at all (and not just on bike trails), there is the risk that you will be involved in an accident with a motor vehicle. The sad fact is that drivers of cars, trucks, SUVs, and semis just aren’t always looking out for bicyclists (or motorcyclists) on the road. Motor vehicle drivers aren’t used to seeing or interacting with cycles: they may fail to give the right of way, cut you off, or swerve into you when changing lanes.

If an accident happens, the bicyclist is more likely to be seriously injured or even killed. (Bikes don’t offer much in the way of protection.) In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 783 cyclists were killed in 2017 (the latest data).

This is why it’s so important to be safety-conscious and especially vigilant for bad drivers.

At Casper & Casper, our personal injury lawyers have seen the devastating impact of a bicycle-car accident on the cyclist and want to prevent you from experiencing this same tragedy. Here are some tips for keeping yourself safe on the road this summer.

#1 MAKE SURE YOUR BIKE IS ROAD-SAFE.

Before you climb onto your bike, make sure that it’s safe to ride. Check the front wheel, handlebars, brakes, pedals, saddle, and rear wheel. 

  • All parts – firmly attached, with nothing broken or missing tension
  • Tires – should be properly inflated with no worn patches
  • Brakes – should not allow the bike to move forward or backward without the rear or front tire lifting off the ground
  • Handlebars – should not move independently of the front wheel
  • Pedals – should not be loose
  • Chain – should move smoothly and maintain tension with no catching
  • Saddle – should be at the right height

In addition, make sure that you’re riding a bike that fits you. 

#2 AVOID DANGER ZONES AND TIMES.

There are certain areas and specific times of day that are more dangerous for cyclists. Most bike deaths (75%) occur in urban areas. Deaths also most often occur from 6pm to 9pm.

When you can, avoid biking late in the evening or in dense urban areas. If you must ride your bike then and there, make sure to be particularly careful.

We also recommend planning your route so you can take roads with less traffic, slower speed limits, and bike lanes (if they’re available).

#3 WEAR PROTECTIVE GEAR.

Wearing a properly fitted helmet won’t prevent an accident, but it will make it more likely that you’ll emerge unscathed. 

To find a well-fitting helmet, try on several sizes. The helmet should sit level on your head and low on your forehead. It should have a chin strap that fits snugly underneath your chin.

In addition to your helmet, make sure to wear clothing that won’t get caught in the chain or spokes or the wheel.

For kids, also consider having them wear elbow and knee pads.

#4 DRIVE DEFENSIVELY.

Driving defensively means staying focused and aware of what the motorists around you are doing. You can’t always count on other drivers obeying the rules of the road. 

Here is what you can do to drive defensively:

  • Drive in the same direction as traffic.
  • Obey all street signs, traffic lights, and road markings (just as you would in a motor vehicle).
  • Look around you for potential hazards, including potholes and parked car doors opening.
  • Don’t text or talk on your phone while biking.

#5 BE PREDICTABLE.

Unfortunately, some bicyclists give the rest a bad name. They might weave in between sidewalks and the road, ride in the crosswalk, fail to signal a turn, and exhibit other poor cycling behavior.

Unpredictable cycling behavior makes a motor vehicle-bike crash more likely. Drivers aren’t on the lookout for traffic on sidewalks or bikes moving from the crosswalk onto the road. (In fact, bicyclists over age 16 are not allowed to ride on sidewalks in Ohio.)

Instead, make sure to be predictable so that drivers around you know what to expect, and follow all bike laws.


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Your Legal Rights After Injuries at a Hospitality Venue

Shared by The Stuckey Firm, LLC

www.thestuckeyfirm.com/blog


Were you or a loved one injured while attending a trade show, wedding, conference, or another occasion at a venue such as a club, resort or hotel in Springfield? If you can prove that the venue owner was negligent and failed to prevent the incident that caused the injury, you might have grounds to file a civil lawsuit. The owners of such facilities have to take reasonable care to protect guests from harm.

Taking reasonable care involves regular inspections to assess the safety of the facility, equipment and furniture. The venue owner must also see that service and preparation areas for food and beverages are clean. Also, employees should undergo background checks and receive adequate training and supervision, and the facility managers must ensure that necessary measures for building security are in place. The failure to meet any of these standards could indicate negligence.

Security

Guest safety is the responsibility of the owner of the hospitality venue, and neglect in the following security matters could risk your safety:

  • No security guards or insufficient presence of security guards
  • Staff without identification
  • Uncontrolled access of unauthorized people to the venue
  • Broken or absent locks
  • Insufficient lighting in hallways, stairwells and parking lots

Surveillance cameras and the presence of professional security personnel might limit your chances of being attacked or molested while attending the function.

Slip-and-fall accidents

If any of the following slip-and-fall hazards caused your injuries, you might have grounds to sue:

  • Wet spots on the floors from leaks in ceilings or pipes
  • Janitorial work without posted warnings
  • Random objects or debris on walkways or stairs
  • Broken or insecure hand railings
  • Electrical extension cords snaking across the floor

If you attend a trade show or any occasion where presenters use speakers or other electronic equipment, the venue owner must ensure that the equipment installation poses no dangers and that electrical cords are safely laid and taped down.

Food and beverage safety

The venue owner must meet the food preparation, hygiene, and cleanliness standards of the hospitality industry, regardless of whether food is prepared on-site or brought in by caterers. Unhygienic food handling can cause food-borne illnesses. The service of alcohol also needs strict control. Venue owners must ensure that alcohol is not served to minors or guests who are obviously intoxicated already.


What Does an Unpaid Overtime Settlement Consist of in Ohio?

Shared by The Friedmann Firm

www.thefriedmannfirm.com/blog


Under a federal law called the Fair Labor Standards Act and a similar state statute, employers in Ohio must pay most hourly workers time-and-one-half their hourly rate of pay for each hour worked over 40 hours in a workweek. Even employees who take tips like waitstaff and bartenders must receive overtime pay.

But what happens when a business violates the overtime rules and denies workers the money they are rightfully owed? You can hire a Columbus unpaid overtime lawyer to determine whether you may have the right to file suit against your employer to recoup those wages.

THE SCOPE OF THE UNPAID OVERTIME PROBLEM

As unpaid overtime attorneys based in Columbus, we see too many instances of workers putting in overtime hours for no additional pay. Occasionally, the problem boils down to poor record keeping or honest mistakes regarding who is eligible to earn overtime pay or exactly how much overtime was worked. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse, nor does it absolve an employer of liability for failing to pay overtime to those individuals who are eligible for it and work over 40 hours in a workweek.

Too many times, however, managers and business owners intentionally break the law by classifying employees as independent contractors, classifying hourly workers as salaried professionals, and improperly collecting and redistributing tips. Some employers require employees to work without pay before and after clocking in and out.

COMPONENTS OF AN UNPAID OVERTIME SETTLEMENT

Regardless of why it happens, employees who are cheated out of overtime pay have the right to file complaints with the U.S. Department of Labor and the Ohio Department of Commerce, not to mention filing a lawsuit to recoup unpaid overtime wages. Employees can team up with unpaid overtime lawyers to sue their employer for monetary damages.

Under federal and state law, employees can pursue the following three types of damages for unpaid overtime:

  • Unpaid Wages, which is the actual amount of money earned by the employee but not paid by the employer. If the employer did pay some overtime while withholding the full amount, the employee can claim the difference between what was paid and earned.
  • Liquidated Damages, which is another term for “double damages.” The FLSA provides that if an employer is found to have violated the law with regard to overtime pay, the employee can recover double what is actually owed.  Example: If an employee is owed $500.00 in unpaid overtime, he or she can pursue the employer for a total of $1,000.00.  The statute of limitations for all FLSA unpaid overtime claims is two years and three years if the employee can prove the violation is “willful.”
  • Attorney Fees and Costs, which will be paid in an amount determined by the court. The employee’s legal team submits a full accounting of its work on its client’s behalf, and the judge approves or disallows some or all of it. Typically, winning an award of attorney costs and fees means an employee keeps the full amount of unpaid wages and liquidated damages without having to reimburse their lawyers for time and services. This will depend on the exact Fee Agreement entered into between the client and attorneys, however. 

Employers who violate overtime laws may also be ordered to change their policies and practices to avoid similar issues happening in the future. While this not a direct damage award, it does make things better for all workers.


Trip And Fall Verdict

Shared by Matt Nakajima of Rittgers & Rittgers, Attorneys at Law

www.rittgers.com/blog


A sixty-nine-year-old woman, Lynda Sadowski, suffered a broken knee cap resulting in surgery after falling on a knocked down wet floor sign laying flat on a multi-colored floor inside of a Casino buffet. Surveillance video confirmed that, during the 90 seconds before Lynda fell, multiple other customers had run into the sign as they were distracted by a brightly lit dessert display while also trying to avoid walking into other patrons. The video also captured a casino employee walking by the sign, without picking it up, eleven seconds before Lynda fell. It was the Casino's position that the fall was solely Lynda's fault as the sign was an open and obvious danger.

The following is a step-by-step analysis showing how we helped a courageous woman after she suffered a life altering injury. 

Hurdles to overcome

I. "The sign was open and obvious"

The law in Ohio is that a Casino or other commercial business does not owe is paying customers a duty to pick up or warn against dangerous trip hazards if those conditions are open and obvious to a reasonable person under the circumstances. The Casino and its insurance company used this to deny all liability.

II. Blame on Lynda

The Casino claimed that even if the sign was not open and obvious under the circumstances and that it owed Lynda a duty to keep its property in reasonably safe condition, Lynda's fall was 100% her own fault.

III. Even if the Casino was at fault, Lynda's suffering and pain was not worth anything

At the time of trial, Lynda was almost 72 years old. Medicare paid her medical expenses and she had no lost wages as she was retired. The defense calculated that she had approximately 15 more years to live. The defense presumed that a jury would not value an old woman with no outstanding medical bills or lost wages.

What we used to obtain a $3 million verdict

I. The law on open and obvious conditions

A Casino owes a duty to its customers to use ordinary care for its customer's safety and to keep the premises in a reasonably safe condition so that customers are not unnecessarily and unreasonably exposed to danger. But, if the trip hazard is open and obvious under the circumstances, a Casino owes no duty to its customers. Under Ohio law, a business customer is not required to constantly look downward while walking. In fact, if there are any distractions that would capture the attention of a reasonable person under the same circumstances then a condition may not be open and obvious.

In this case, we spent a great deal of time educating jurors on the law. We showed through video evidence that reasonable people (other customers) consistently missed seeing the knocked down sign as they were distracted by the brightly lit dessert displays while also trying to avoid running into other customers. Like the other customers who ran into the floor sign before her, Lynda's attention was captured by the desserts under the bright lights of the casino display, which is what the casino wants, and it was reasonable for her not to see a knocked down sign, which was not at eye level, laying flat on a multi-colored floor.

II. The Casino's conduct

We focused on the fact that the Casino admittedly had up to 50,000 customers a week inside of its property and did not have a single rule in place for floor safety. The Casino had no floor inspection policy requiring employees to check floors and walkways throughout the casino at hourly intervals. In fact, the Casino had no policies in place requiring its employees to pick up trip and fall hazards when they see them. Finally, we went over the Casino's internal incident report, which stated a casino employee failed to pick up a trip and fall hazard 11 seconds before Mrs. Sadowski's fall. The corporate representative, speaking as the voice of the Casino, said that the Casino disagreed with its own incident report and that the employee did nothing wrong.

III. Focus group

We conducted a videotaped focus group with two separate groups of participants who reviewed the videotape of the incident and facts surrounding it. 10 out of the 12 mock jurors found the casino 100% at fault and the other two found the casino at least 80% at fault. The focus group participants also assessed damage in the millions.

IV. Valuing Lynda's Human Losses

In the fall, Lynda suffered a completely displaced knee cap fracture. As a result, she could not straighten or bend her leg, was in severe pain and could not walk. To fix her knee cap, Lynda had to undergo major surgery under general anesthesia and have metal hardware permanently inserted into her knee. She was bed ridden and wheelchair bound for a month and had to undergo a year of formal and in-home physical therapy. Even after a year of physical therapy, she still had persistent knee pain, swelling and mobility issues - especially up and down stairs and on uneven surfaces. She is now a fall risk and lives with trepidation about falling. As a result, she restricts her activities and doesn't live the active, carefree lifestyle she did before her fall. Her mobility is only getting worse and she is facing the possibility of another surgery and may need a total knee replacement due to accelerated arthritis at the knee joint from this trauma.

Trying the Case

Even after the lawsuit was filed, the Casino and its insurance company denied all liability and never offered more than the cost of the defense, $25,000.00, to settle Lynda's case. The Casino forced Lynda to go to trial. After a three-day trial, a Hamilton County Jury unanimously found that the sign was not open and obvious under the circumstances, that the casino was 100% negligent and the sole cause of Lynda's injuries. Finally, six out of 8 jurors returned a verdict for the full $3,000,000.00 we asked for.


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Dash Cams- What Are They and Do You Need One?

Shared by Rinehardt Law Firm

www.rinehardtlawfirm.com/blog


Often times, the term “dash cam” is used when discussing incidents involving police—the majority of police vehicles are equipped with these devices to protect both the officer and citizens. However, an increasing number of civilians are investing in dash cams for their own protection in the event of an auto accident, theft, or vandalism.

A “dash cam” is a dashboard camera, typically mounted on the front windshield of a vehicle. Dash cams, depending on the make and model, can record both when the vehicle is driving and when it is parked, as well as recording audio and connecting to a smartphone in order for the user to watch recorded video; much like a home security system. All dash cams turn on automatically and begin recording when the vehicle is in use. For dash cams with parking mode, the dash cam will also record when the vehicle is off and parked. Dash cams can serve as a virtual witness to incidents and can be more reliable than simply recalling from memory. Some insurance companies offer discounts if your car has a dash cam installed, and dash cam footage can help attorneys if there is a dispute about who is at fault for an auto accident.

The most common known use for a dash cam is for reliable evidence in the event of an accident. This footage creates a clear picture of what happened in cases of automobile accidents—insurance companies, police departments, and personal injury attorneys can use dash cam footage. Sometimes the footage will show important information like that the person who caused the accident was driving distracted or was driving erratically.

Dash cams also protect against vandalism and theft. While the dash cam itself can also be stolen, many dash cams are so discreet they are usually unnoticeable. A dash cam can capture footage of accidental dings, vandalism, or interior theft. Dash cams can capture hit-and-runs, showing who is responsible for the damage, as well as preventing insurance spikes for the owner of the damaged vehicle.

While a car may have a backup camera, these cameras are not equipped for recording and cannot replace a 2-channel dash cam. There are three kinds of dash cams, which vary in cost by model and features:

  • 1-channel dash cams record from the front windshield to the front of the car (these are the most common)
  • 2-channel dash cams give front and rear protection. There are also 2-channel IR dash cams, which give front and interior protection (mostly for rideshare drivers)
  • 3-channel dash cams provide front, rear, and interior protection.

Dashboard cameras can cost anywhere from $30 to upwards of $300 depending on the make and model of the camera, with the highest ranked cameras averaging $100, and the best-selling dash cams averaging under $50. Higher-end dash cam have touchscreens and smartphone compatibility, higher resolution cameras providing clarity to read license plates, a wider field of view, and higher storage capacity.

There are many types of dashboard cameras, but they all have one common thread—they can greatly benefit the driver in cases of accidents, vandalism, and theft. The bottom line is a dash cam can help save thousands when dealing with unexpected insurance claims and can help hold responsible parties accountable for bodily injuries due to automobile accidents.


Wrongful Death Claims and the "Discovery Rule"

Shared by Philip J. Fulton Law Office

www.ohiocompensationlawyer.com/blog


According to Ohio laws, the time limit for filing a wrongful death claim, other than those claims that arise out of a faulty or dangerous product, is two years from the date of the victim's death. However, for cases in which those two years have passed, there remains a possibility to file a wrongful death claim by invoking what is known as the "discovery rule." Under this rule, a wrongful death claim can be filed within two years of the date on which the "discovery" is made that the victim's death was wrongful.

To understand this, let's consider a lawsuit related to a fatal workplace accident that occurred at an aluminum extrusion plant about three hours northeast of Columbus. In 2012, a 21-year-old worker at that plant was killed after he was pinned to a rack that was holding two tons of hot aluminum. The accident also injured a 19-year-old co-worker. An OSHA investigation held two managers accountable for the accident; a general manager of the plant and a human resource manager who was also the safety coordinator. Both were indicted and it is now expected that they will plead guilty in an upcoming hearing.

According to news reports, a few months before the fatal accident, an employee at the plant had sent emails to the managers and other employees, expressing concerns about the racks and rollers at the aluminum plant. However, OSHA investigators found that the two managers ignored the concerns and instead they persuaded employees to draft emails that nullify the complaints against the racks and rollers, by suggesting that their jobs might be in jeopardy if they did not comply. In addition, the two managers provided false statements to OSHA regarding the safety issues with the racks and rollers system.

While it is still unknown what the outcome of this particular hearing might be, this case is an example of a situation in which a wrongful death claim could be filed based on the discovery rule. In this case, the discovery of the manager's negligence and offenses would potentially allow the victim's surviving family members to file a wrongful death claim within two years of the discovery of the cause of action, provided the managers plead guilty in court or if they are convicted of the various charges filed against them during the course of the hearing.


Off-Label Products Result In Medical Malpractice

Shared by Williams DeClark Tuschman Co., L.P.A.

www.wdtlaw.org/personal-injury-blog


Off-label epidural steroid injections, or ESI, are used by millions of medical professionals to treat neck and back pain. However, patients often don’t realize “off-label” medical devices or medication are classified as such to highlight a crucial fact about their lack of FDA-approval. Though it does not require all products to obtain their approval, the FDA distinguishes off-label products as unregulated by the agency. ESI are quickly rising to the forefront as some of the most dangerous uses of off-label drugs, as the FDA does not approve corticosteroids for injection into the epidural spine.

In 2013, a 60-year-old woman underwent ESI with Kenalog, a drug which the FDA cautioned against its use of for epidural injection. After receiving 4 injections, she suffered a spinal cord infarction and lost complete sensation and motor function from the waist down. The patient pursued damages from the surgical center and was awarded $14.9 million. She will spend the rest of her life as a paraplegic as a result of this incident.

Informed Consent & Patient Safety

Ultimately, patient safety is of the utmost priority. As long as off-label medical products and drugs continue to raise questions about their risk-level, physicians and providers must ensure they uphold impeccable safety standards and employ effective patient communication before performing any procedures. If and only if patients are properly informed of any benefits, risks, or alternatives to their proposed procedure can they give or withhold consent.

Who is At Fault?

Physicians are not solely responsible for these errors. 2 years prior, the FDA had the opportunity to modify Kenalog’s warning label to read, “Not for Epidural Use.” This means whoever orders the medication should exercise a duty of care to alert the physician of any risks associated with the drug. The patient’s nurse is also responsible to a degree. He or she is accountable for ensuring the patient understands what is about to happen as well as ensuring the proper medication is administrated correctly. However, a medical professional’s liability doesn’t end there. If the nursing team is unfamiliar with Kenalog and it’s potential aftereffects, it is up to them to educate themselves on the matter.


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About the Blog
OAJ Blog Central showcases informative blog posts from law firms and trial attorneys throughout Ohio. 

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Recent Posts:
Ohio Nursing Home Neglect Can Be as Dangerous as Abuse
• Can I Sue Uber or Lyft if a Rideshare Driver Caused the Car Crash That Left Me Injured?
• Driver Negligence Plus Collision May Equal Neck or Spine Injuries
• With Less Truckers on the Road, Will More Accidents
Happen?

• Cameras in The Cab Could Cut Truck Drivers’ Distracted-Driving Crashes

Keywords: Nursing Home NeglectUber, LyftDriver Negligence, Neck InjuriesTruck AccidentsCab Cameras, Truck DriversBarbara Rieger v. Giant
Eagle,
 Distracted
Drivers
Imaging Reports, Patient HarmBike SafetyHospitality InjuriesUnpaid Overtime Settlement, Trip And Fall, Dash Cams, Wrongful Death Claims, Discovery RuleOff-Label Products, Personal Injury

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