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January is the prime busy season for gyms, fitness centers and yoga studios across Northeast Ohio. The December holidays offer boundless opportunities for us all to rejoice—and often, rejoicing involves consumption of alcohol, sweets and assorted high-cholesterol, high-carbohydrate foods that add smiles to our faces, and pounds to our waistlines and hips.

And so we trek to the gym, or the Pilates class, or the yoga studio, our New Year’s resolutions still fresh in our minds. While the general idea is to get in shape, too often accidents occur that cause serious injuries and even lasting damage. Indeed, gyms and fitness centers in particular are stocked with dangerous equipment, and they are hotbeds of bacteria-laden mats and slippery surfaces. Amidst it all are people running, lifting weights, operating exercise machines, and moving about with sometimes reckless disregard for others around them.

In this type of environment, given these variables, accidents and injuries are bound to happen—and they do. Every day, thousands of people are treated in emergency rooms across the country for injuries stemming from sports, recreation, and exercise. In 2012 alone, it is estimated that 459,978 people were injured while exercising or using exercise equipment. And according to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (a database maintained by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission), injuries caused by exercise and exercise equipment increased nearly 45% between 2007 and 2010. Among types of exercise equipment, treadmills caused the most injuries, according to media reports based on the findings of the commission.

It’s not just treadmills that are causing injuries, though. Between 1990 and 2007, over 970,000 people were treated in emergency rooms for weight training-related injuries. During this time period, 114 people died from using free weights and weight machines.

Most tragically, exercise equipment is estimated to cause injuries to about 16,500 children between ages 5 and 14 each year.

Related Blog: Concussion Victims May Be Eligible for Compensation

While fitness centers owe their members and visitors a duty of care to not be negligent and keep them relatively safe from foreseeable injuries, requisite measures and precautions aren’t always taken to prevent fitness center accidents from occurring.

Many injuries result from poorly maintained equipment and common areas, and general negligence of management and ownership. While it seems reasonable to assume that members and guests of fitness facilities could file lawsuits and insurance claims to protect their rights and compensate for their losses, the reality is actually quite different.

Nearly all fitness centers require new members to sign contracts that contain waivers of liability, which essentially prohibit members and their guests from filing legal action against ownership or management of the fitness center. These contracts are drafted by attorneys for the express purpose of shielding the fitness facility from liability.

An experienced personal injury attorney can assist you in evaluating and analyzing the circumstances surrounding your injury and determining whether any exceptions to the waiver may exist that might work to your benefit. Finally, in cases where exceptions or other extenuating circumstances may exist, an experienced personal injury attorney can represent your best interests in holding those responsible for your injuries accountable, and obtaining just and fair compensation to help you rebuild your life.

If you’ve been injured in a gym, fitness facility, or Pilates or yoga studio, your first course of action is to seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Based on the circumstances of your injury, it may also be highly advisable to contact an experienced personal injury attorney.

No Cost Evaluation

If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of a gym, fitness center or Pilates/yoga studio accident, your rights are at stake—you need to seek immediate legal advice. At Nager, Romaine & Schneiberg Co., L.P.A., our personal injury attorneys may be able to help you pursue compensation for the pain and suffering that you have been forced to endure. The experienced personal injury lawyers at NRS are highly knowledgeable in personal injury litigation, including fitness center and exercise-related injuries. We fight side by side with injured victims to make sure they and their families receive compensation for negligence that caused them to be hurt. We will aggressively pursue your case and work to help you obtain the medical care and compensation you need to rebuild your life.

In the event you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a gym, fitness center or Pilates/yoga studio accident, contact the personal injury attorneys at NRS Injury Law by filling out our No-Risk Consultation form, or call (855) GOT-HURT and speak with one of our trained staff members.

Each year, about 2,000 new cases of mesothelioma, a rare type of cancer, are diagnosed in the U.S. In cases of Mesothelioma, cells of the mesothelium (a membrane that covers and protects a majority of the body’s internal organs) become abnormal and malignant.

​At Nager, Romaine & Schneiberg Co., L.P.A., we are often asked by victims who are diagnosed with or affected by this disease how they contracted it in the first place. In the majority of cases, the common cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos.

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is the term for six different, naturally occurring mineral fibers: Chrysotile, Anthophyllite, Grunerite (amosite), Riebeckite (crocidolite), Tremolite and Actinolite. These fibers, in turn, can separate quite easily into fibers that are literally hundreds of times thinner than a human hair. As a result, they can easily invade the lungs. Over time – usually decades – these fibers collect, leading to serious illness such as mesothelioma and lung cancer.

Asbestos was used extensively for applications such as building insulation and electrical insulation for hotplate wiring. In 1973, most spray-applied asbestos products were banned for fireproofing and insulating purposes under the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Clean Air Act. In 1989, the EPA issued the Asbestos Ban and Phase Out Rule, which hoped to impose a full ban on the manufacturing, importation, processing and sale of asbestos-containing products.

How does Asbestos Exposure Usually Occur?

Three occurrences primarily lead to asbestos exposure: (1) working with or in close proximity to asbestos-laden products; (2) working in an environment that has a high risk of asbestos exposure; or (3) living with a person who has carried asbestos fibers into the home on work clothes.

Can Mesothelioma Be Cured?

​Mesothelioma is an extremely aggressive form of cancer, and sadly, it is often diagnosed at an advanced stage of the disease. Generally speaking, the prognosis for a person diagnosed with mesothelioma is not good. As a result, many people diagnosed with Mesothelioma, along with their loved ones, focus on prolonging that person's lifespan and maintaining the best possible quality of life.

What Options are Available for Victims of Mesothelioma?

​Even though Mesothelioma is often diagnosed at advanced stages, options for treatment have advanced and expanded greatly in recent years. People who are diagnosed with Mesothelioma, or loved ones who are affected by the disease, should consult with their treating physician and examine all possible treatment options in order to develop the best treatment plan moving forward.

​Treatment options generally include radiation, chemotherapy, surgery, photodynamic therapy, and gene therapy. Oftentimes, more than one treatment is used. Additionally, clinical trials are available for eligible candidates.

Can Mesothelioma Victims Sue for Compensation?

​It is critical to act quickly if you believe you or a loved one was exposed to asbestos, leading to Mesothelioma or lung cancer. Time truly is of the essence, because the statute of limitations sets the clock in motion against you the moment you are diagnosed. Once the statute of limitations has expired, any claim is forfeited that you may have had against negligent parties.

Additionally, Mesothelioma is often caused as a result of work activity, so a Workers’ Compensation (WC) claim could be filed as well.

What Type or Types of Damages Can Be Included in a Mesothelioma Case?

Victims who have been diagnosed with Mesothelioma or lung cancer caused by asbestos can sue for damages. Such damages can include past, present and future medical bills; lost wages and loss of earning capacity; pain and suffering; and emotional distress.

Can a Wrongful Death Claim Be Filed Due to Mesothelioma?

If you have a lost a loved one due to Mesothelioma, you may still have a wrongful death claim. Damages in the case of wrongful death can include funeral expenses, medical bills, loss of consortium, as well as pain and suffering.

Every Mesothelioma case is unique, and each one requires the analysis and tactical execution that only a skilled attorney can provide. The right Mesothelioma attorney can help secure just and fair compensation for medical bills and other damages for you or your loved one.

No Cost Evaluation

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Mesothelioma, your rights are at stake—you need to seek immediate legal advice. At Nager, Romaine & Schneiberg Co., L.P.A., our personal injury and workers’ compensation attorneys may be able to help you pursue compensation for the pain and suffering that you have been forced to endure. The experienced personal injury and workers’ compensation lawyers at NRS are highly knowledgeable in Mesothelioma litigation. We fight side by side with victims to make sure they and their families receive compensation for negligence that caused them harm. We will aggressively pursue your case and work to help you obtain the medical care and compensation you need to rebuild your life.

In the event you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact the personal injury and workers’ compensation attorneys at NRS Injury Law by filling out our No-Risk Consultation form, or call (855) GOT-HURT and speak with one of our trained staff members.

New Ohio Law: Move Over 3 Feet for Bicyclists

As of March, 2017, Ohio drivers are now required to provide 3 feet of distance while passing a bicyclist on the roadways.  Bicycle accidents and pedestrian injuries are especially dangerous, and springtime leads to an influx of occurrences with increased outdoor activity.  Protecting yourself or your loved ones on the roadways is critical, and Ohio’s new law aims to provide ample passing space to achieve just that.

For many, bicycling is a recreational activity with a hefty cost associated with it.  Bicycle gear and proper safety equipment doesn’t come with a cheap price tag!  Although sometimes at fault, cyclists are typically vigilant about safety and proper operating procedure – their lives depend on it! Families and casual riders can also enjoy peace of mind with the new Ohio Move Over law. Drivers must provide 3 feet of passing distance and safely clear the bicyclist before returning to the regular driving lane.

Enforcing the Law and Protecting Your Rights

While some cities and municipalities enforce the 3 foot law locally, as a state wide initiative there are more resources to monitor and enforce the rule.  Drivers are legally permitted to safely cross a double yellow line to pass a bicyclist. The distance has been long supported by the League of American Bicyclists and the National Automobile Association.

The group Bike Cleveland has acquired and plans to share a C3FT device which monitors passing vehicles and the distance from the side of the road, or directly from a biker’s position.

If you or a loved one was injured while riding a bicycle on the roadways, call us immediately. Nager, Romaine & Schneiberg Co., L.P.A. experienced injury attorneys have won hundreds of millions of dollars for injured victims.

New Opioid Rules in Ohio Aim to Prevent Addiction

 

Recent news about the opioid crisis and its impact on work injury victims highlights the importance of proper medical treatment and ongoing monitoring of workers’ comp claimants.

For many, a workplace injury is a preventable, tragic occurrence that forever changes the course of one’s life, and the lives of family members.  Pursuing a workers’ compensation claim is often a matter of necessity, as injuries can lead to permanent debilitation and complications, preventing the injured from earning a fair wage while trying to manage a future riddled with pain and suffering.

How Our Nation Treats Workers’ Comp Injuries

A recent study by the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics cites over 350 MILLION individuals were injured in non-fatal workplace injuries in 2015 – with more than 50% of those sustaining injuries serious enough to require time off work. Workers’ compensation insurers spent over $1.5 BILLION on drugs for workers’ comp injuries, accounting for over 13% of the total opioid market. Arguably, instead of proper therapy, rehabilitation and care – many injured victims are simply prescribed pain pills without any regard of the long-term repercussions.

The result? Hard working individuals injured on the job, are now at risk or are actively addicted to opioids. The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation now proactively patrols prescribing physicians – the rules also provide a way for those who are currently addicted to opioids to receive proper treatment.

This process has resulted in a 44% decrease in the number of prescribed opioids over a 5-year period – Saving millions of dollars, but more importantly, properly treating victims of workplace injury.

Seeking Compensation After Your Workplace Injury

If you were injured at work, filing a workers’ compensation claim is essential to ensuring you receive proper care, long term benefits and compensation for your pain and suffering.

No Cost Evaluation

All Ohio residents have a constitutional right to workers’ compensation claims in the state of Ohio. Employers cannot walk away from their obligations under the law.

If you believe your Workers’ Compensation rights are being violated, contact Nager, Romaine & Schneiberg Co., L.P.A.  Our attorneys will aggressively pursue your case and work to help you or your loved one obtain the benefits to which you are entitled under the law.

Do I Have a Personal Injury Case?

When tragedy strikes, family members are overwhelmed with grief and understandably, cannot think beyond the present moment. Unfortunately for many, there is little to no foresight into what the future may hold.  In personal injury cases, actions taken during these initial stages can truly mean the difference in successfully pursuing a personal injury claim.  Determining whether a personal injury case has merit in the wake of an injury or tragedy is critical.

Personal Injury Case Types

“Personal Injury” cases can run the gamut. This is a broad, blanketed phrase that covers a multitude of injury/accident claims.  Common personal injury cases include:

Other injury claims include:

Filing a Personal Injury Claim

Having a trusted and highly experienced personal injury attorney in your corner is crucial for winning a personal injury case.  Large corporations, hospital systems, insurance companies and defense attorneys can be intimidating and build roadblocks against you at every turn. Nager, Romaine & Schneiberg Co., L.P.A. (NRS) attorneys fight aggressively on your behalf, regardless of circumstance, to deliver the justice and monetary compensation you deserve.  NRS will protect your interests and evaluate your claim to determine the damages you may be entitled to. Damages may include:

Beyond compensatory damages (such as those listed above), punitive damages may also be awarded and serve to effectively punish the guilty party while also compensating the injured victim.

If you or a loved one has been injured, contact Nager, Romaine & Schneiberg Co., L.P.A. immediately.  Our attorneys will aggressively pursue your case and work to help you or your loved one obtain fair compensation for your personal injury claim.

Trust your personal injury case to one of the best injury firms in Ohio.

Pool/Open Water Injuries and Fatalities Occur Frequently Across the US

Summer fun in the sun can turn to tragedy in the blink of an eye. Pools, lakes and other swimming attractions flourish with visitors during the summer months – but there are very serious dangers lurking beneath the surface.  Many people have a false sense of security, for themselves and their children.  Preventing pool/water injuries requires vigilance and perhaps, a bit of luck.

Drowning Dangers

Public pools vs. private pools vs. bodies of water all pose very different, but very real threats.  Would you know what to do in an emergency if you were relaxing by your pool, a neighbor’s pool or a water park attraction?  Many children can go under water without notice because more often than not, victims do not flail for help.

Scary Numbers

The Center for Disease Control estimates that from 2005-2014, over 3,500 deaths – or about 10 deaths per day, resulted from drowning in the US.

 

Injuries beyond Drowning

Many additional threats are prevalent in and around a pool or body of water. Depth related neck and/or back injuries can yield devastating results, slips and falls are common and general injury risk is heightened.

The American Red Cross recommends 9+ feet depth for diving, which is typically impossible in any above ground pool. It is best to restrict any entry horseplay, jumps, diving or tricks to prevent injuries.

Preventing Injury

Taking steps to prevent pool related injuries and drowning can have a profound impact.  Protecting your loved ones and others that may be present is imperative. Pools can be enjoyed responsibly, with a few simple best practices! 

If you or a loved one was injured in a pool related accident or tragic drowning, contact the personal injury attorneys at NRS Injury Law by filling out our No-Risk Consultation form, or call (855) GOT-HURT and speak with one of our trained staff members.

Lawmakers Attack Ohio’s Injured Workers

Substitute House Bill 27 (HB27) was signed into law and went into effect last month in Ohio.

House Bill 27 makes dozens of amendments to Ohio Law as it relates to workers’ compensation, and the claims process.  Arguably the most notable changes of HB 27 is the reduction in time that you have to file a workers’ compensation claim following an accident, injury or death.

ORC 4123.84 STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS CHANGES: Prior to HB27, the statute of limitations for filing a workers’ compensation claim after injury or death, was two years from the date the accident or injury occurred.  HB27 reduces the statute of limitations to one year.

This will have a profound impact on our workers’ compensation system and will highlight the importance of skilled legal representation, more than ever before. The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation claims process is an arduous journey, and cutting the time to file a claim in half is not going to remedy the situation in the least.

Additional notable changes in HB27 include;

C-92 Applications The Ohio BWC can dismiss C-92 applications for failure to attend medical exam, and 741.30 is an amendment to handle C-92 backlog claims.

Drug Testing Federal compliance in threshold limits and expansion to include all controlled substances.

Incarceration No individual may receive benefits during any sort of confinement or incarceration. 

The Clock is Ticking

House Bill 27 went into effect as of September 29, 2017.  This means if your injury occurred September 30th, your clock is ticking and you currently have less than 1 year to file your claim for compensation.  Coupled with other substantial changes, HB27 highlights the serious importance of gaining skilled, committed and proven legal counsel.

If you or a loved one was injured on the job or killed in a work related accident or injury, you must contact us today.  With over 150 years of combined experience, the passionate team here at Nager, Romaine and Schneiberg will fight to gain the compensation you deserve.  Allow us to help you navigate the new road brought forth by HB27, and the ever confusing Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.

Contact us today for a free case evaluation.

Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse

The holidays are usually a time for families to gather, relax and catch up with one another. Sadly, we also see a spike in the number of nursing home abuse and neglect reports since loved ones are traveling and cannot check on the welfare of their family members.

Nursing home abuse is undoubtedly one of the greatest societal failures for our aging population.  Abusers are able to operate with reckless abandon because of the isolated and sheltered nature of nursing home care. While it is critical to watch for warning signs throughout the year, the holiday season is a great time to talk to your loved one to ensure they are safe and secure.

Types of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

The definition of abuse and neglect may differ but regardless, some loved ones are intentionally being harmed while others are subjected to negligent care and inhumane treatment.  This is unconscionable and unacceptable.

Below is a summary of the most common types of nursing home abuse and neglect;

Inadequate Care

Lack of food, water, medication, physical therapy

Use of physical restraints

Fall risks and other health hazards

Poor hygiene and bed sores

Physical, sexual, verbal or mental abuse

Abuse by nursing or nursing home staff

Abuse by residents

Financial Abuse

Pressure or exploitation

Fraudulent activity and theft

Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Depending on the type of care facility or nursing home that your loved one is residing, there are a few basic expectations:

Knowing these basic principles makes it easier to ascertain what is going on behind the scenes. Your loved one may be ashamed, embarrassed and hesitant to report or talk about the abuse. Their dignity and safety are endangered and thus can be difficult to admit.

  1. Physical signs of injuries or malnutrition
  2. Physical mobility declines
  3. Sudden withdrawn or depressed behavior
  4. Poor and unsanitary living conditions
  5. Poor hygiene

Use the holiday season to check on your loved ones, and plan routine visits throughout the year. Abuse can start and stop at any time.

At no time should a nursing care facility restrict access, deny un-scheduled visits or refuse to discuss concerns.  If you suspect your loved one is a victim or nursing home abuse, or you are currently residing in a nursing home and are being abused or neglected – you must contact our offices immediately.  Nager, Romaine and Schneiberg injury attorneys will defend your basic human rights and fight to get the justice you deserve.

Medical Malpractice - Why You Should Call a Lawyer First

Medical malpractice is defined as an error, act or omission that occurs during treatment, that results in injury or death of the patient.  Unfortunately, while the definition is concise, real instances of medical malpractice are anything but clear cut.  If you or someone you love has been injured or has died as a result of a suspected medical error, your very first phone call should be to a trusted medical malpractice attorney.

In times of crisis, it is very difficult to think of anything aside from what is happening in the immediate situation.  Many victims are essentially and purposely bullied or taken advantage of during times of extreme stress and heartache.  Unfortunately, these are precise reasons negligence is as prevalent as it is in our healthcare systems.  Difficult decisions and actions that must be made are often against what is ingrained in our very human nature – big business healthcare and insurance companies count on the very fact victims and their families are not thinking clearly to act.

What to do if you suspect medical malpractice

The very first thing you should if you suspect a medical mistake, omission, negligence or error resulted in injury or death is to contact an attorney who specializes in medical malpractice. Speaking to hospital staff, administrators, attorneys and insurance representatives can be incredibly intimidating. In the instance of malpractice, these individuals’ sole purpose is to minimize the damage, and quickly bury the situation before it escalates.  Hasty offers, mixed messages, distorted facts and bully tactics are all used to intimidate patients and their families when they are already in a compromised mental and emotional state.

Why do you need a trusted, experienced malpractice attorney?

As complicated as medical malpractice is, there is a right way to collect case information, gain expert witness testimonies, document occurrences and begin to ascertain the truth behind the situation. Simply expecting the health care systems or insurance companies to be forthcoming is not an option.

An experienced malpractice attorney can handle even the most complex and devastating cases.

If you or someone you love suffered a tragic injury or died as a result of negligent medical care, contact Nager, Romaine and Schneiberg Injury Law today. Trust your case to our expert attorneys, and together we will fight for the absolute maximum compensation you deserve and hold the negligent parties accountable.

 

The holidays are here once again, and for many people that means significant travel. Spending the holidays with friends and family can mean lengthy drives. If you plan to drive this year, please take a few moments to consider the dangers of distracted driving.

What is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving is exactly what it sounds like: the practice of operating a motor vehicle while you are distracted. This distraction could take many forms: fiddling with the radio, talking to children, eating, trying to read a map, and so on. Of course, with the spread of smart phones and the widespread use of texting technology, a major contributor to distracted driving is texting while driving.

Why is Distracted Driving So Dangerous?

Think back to the first time you sat behind the steering wheel. You were probably a bit nervous, and you undoubtedly put 100% of your focus and attention on the road. However, as time passed, you became comfortable driving, and that is where the danger is.

Even though you may be comfortable driving your vehicle, remember that you are operating a heavy piece of machinery traveling at a very high rate of speed. When you are moving at 70 miles per hour, you will travel 105 feet in a second. This means it will take about 3 seconds to move the length of a football field. If you take your eyes off the road for even a moment, the results could be devastating.

Keep in mind that, even without distractions, your reaction time means you don’t respond immediately to dangers. If you add in the complications that come from distracted driving, any unexpected dangers could quickly ruin your holiday.

So please, if you are driving, keep your eyes on the road. Pull over if you must read or respond to text messages. Your friends and family will be glad that you did!

Now that a COVID-19 vaccine is here, more retail workers are able to return to their jobs. However, retail work is notorious for being physically demanding. Even if it doesn’t seem like working a cash register or stocking shelves should be taxing, retail employees are frequently injured on the job.

Here are some of the most common injuries to befall retail workers. If you’re injured while on the clock, call a workers’ compensation attorney right away.

Injuries from Falling Objects

Even lightweight items can hurt a person when they fall from tall shelves. Larger, heavier objects can be deadly. Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Alert your employer when you see potential safety hazards, including top-heavy shelves or unsafe worker practices.

Lifting or Overexertion-Related Injuries

Retail jobs often require employees are able to lift a certain amount of weight. Your job might ask you to stock shelves with heavy items, help customers out to their vehicles or receive deliveries. When employees aren’t trained properly or don’t have access to safety equipment, it’s easy to get injured. Strains, sprains and more severe injury like a disc herniation can all occur as a result of lifting-related job duties.

Similarly, overexertion-related injuries can cause lasting damage. Any job that requires excessive physical effort from their employees on a regular basis is likely to eventually cause injury.

Repetitive Stress Injuries

Repetitive stress injuries occur when a person performs work that requires constant repetition of the same motion or movement. For example, operating a cash register for hours on end can strain the muscles in your hands, wrists and forearms. Retail workers can develop carpal tunnel syndrome as a result of their employment.

Slip-and-Falls

Slipping, tripping and falling are all possible when you work a crowded retail floor. Products and displays are often arranged around endcaps, sometimes protruding into the aisles. This can cause injuries ranging from bruises and scrapes, to sprains and broken bones. Always be aware of the obstacles in front of you.

Machinery Injuries

Finally, retail employees are vulnerable to injuries caused by machinery. Not all retail workers have to use machinery, let alone heavy machinery—but the ones who do are susceptible to bruises, cuts, crush injuries, broken bones, and more. Avoid the temptation to “zone out” while working with machinery. Follow all the safety precautions and training provided. If you notice a gap in safety training or issues with the machinery, alert your superiors as soon as possible.

If you’ve been injured at your retail job, the experienced attorneys at Nager, Romaine, & Schneiberg Co. L.P.A. can help. Call us today for a consultation.

Everyone who shares America’s roads wants a safe experience while doing so. Unfortunately, the risk for accidents has increased as rural and urban roadways become more congested. Of particular concern, increasing numbers of commercial trucks on interstate and highway roads have led to more accidents, especially accidents caused by distracted driving.

Commercial Truck Driving Accident Statistics

Unfortunately, motor vehicle accidents involving commercial trucks continue to go up. According to the National Safety Council:[1]

Research experts have speculated that an increase in commercial trucking on America’s roadways is part of the reason for an increase in traffic accidents, injuries, and fatalities. But that’s only part of the story. If everyone who shared the road drove safely, an increase in trucks on the road would not lead to a spike in accidents, injuries, and deaths.

What, then, is causing the rise in commercial truck accidents?

Distracted Driving, Drowsy Driving, and Commercial Trucking

Distracted driving is becoming such a problem in commercial trucking that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has formally announced regulations prohibiting the use of hand-held mobile devices by commercial motor vehicle operators. This announcement was based on FMCSA information like the following:[2]

While distracted driving is becoming a serious problem for all motorists, truck drivers (individuals who operate huge vehicles that are more difficult to maneuver and take much longer to come to a complete stop), put themselves and others at especially high risk when driving distracted.

Liability and Fault in Commercial Truck Driving Accidents

Cautious driving, staying off of the phone, and focusing on the road at all times are the best defenses against car accidents. But when personal injuries, accidents, and large-truck collisions do occur, families need professional help. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury from a collision with a commercial truck, please call NRS Injury Law at 855.977.6670.

Sources:

[1] NSC. “Large Trucks.” National Safety Council, 2021. injuryfacts.nsc.org

[2] FMSCA. “Driver Distraction.” Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 2015. fmcsa.dot.gov

Motorcycles give riders endless hours of enjoyment on America's roads. But they are also dangerous. Motorcycle enthusiasts need to know the risks, understand safe and defensive motorcycle operations, and know how to respond when an accident occurs.

Motorcycle Accident Statistics

Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents and motorcycle-related injuries are at an all-time high. According to the National Safety Council:[1]

"Although motorcycles make up only 3% of all registered vehicles and 0.6% of all vehicle miles traveled in the United States, motorcyclists accounted for 14% of all traffic fatalities."

The NSC goes on to cite concerning statistics like the following:

That last statistic is especially important. Many people previously believed that motorcycle accidents occurred among people who rode on rural highways, in poor weather, and without wearing helmets. Actually, most crashes occur on urban roads, in good weather, in daylight, with riders who are not alcohol-impaired and who are wearing their helmets. That means there are other causes for the increase in motorcycle accidents, like distracted driving, other drivers texting while driving, and drivers not looking for motorcycles when turning, changing lanes, or moving through intersections.

Avoiding Motorcycle Accidents

The Ohio Traffic Safety Bulletin for 2021 reported that, in 2020, 3,982 motorcycle-related crashes occurred in Ohio, representing an 11% increase in crashes over 2019. 205 crashes resulted in 212 deaths among motorcyclists and their passengers.[2]

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has published guidelines on how people can enjoy motorcycles safely and avoid accidents. Quoting their briefing:[3]

"Experienced riders know local traffic laws – and they don't take risks. Obey traffic lights, signs, speed limits, and lane markings; ride with the flow of traffic and leave plenty of room between your bike and other vehicles; and always check behind you and signal before you change lanes."

What is a No Contact Motorcycle Accident?

A no-contact motorcycle accident involves an accident in which a motorcyclist must swerve to avoid contact with a car, and the motorcyclist crashes or lays the bike down as a result. In such cases, the driver that the motorcyclist had to avoid likely committed a negligent act. Such an act could be changing lanes, accelerating, turning, or braking without looking for and noticing the motorcycle. When a driver acts in this way, that causes the motorcyclist to swerve to avoid an accident. In this case, the car driver could be held liable. If such an accident happened to you or a loved one, please call NRS Injury Law today at 855.977.6670.

Sources:

[1] NSC. "Motorcycles." National Safety Council, 2022. injuryfacts.nsc.org

[1] State Patrol. "Traffic Safety Bulletin." Ohio State Police, 2022. statepatrol.ohio.gov

[3] NHTSA. "Motorcycle Safety." National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2021. nhtsa.gov

Given the extensive training that school bus drivers receive and the safety-minded rules and regulations surrounding school buses, these vehicles are thought to be some of the safest on America’s roads. Unfortunately, accidents still occur involving school buses. And particularly for other vehicles, drivers, passengers, and pedestrians involved in a collision with a school bus, these accidents can be devastating. People must know what to do when such an accident occurs.

School Bus Accident Statistics

School bus safety is on the top of everyone’s mind after a school bus carrying 32 students crashed into a house in College Corner, Ohio, on August 15th, 2022. While none of the students were injured, the school bus driver was rushed to the hospital, and the school bus and house sustained serious damage.[1]

According to Ohio’s Traffic Safety Bulletin, 5,859 traffic crashes involving school buses occurred between 2016 and 2020. During that period, eight individuals involved in the crashes died, and 1,923 individuals were injured.[2]

The Role of Sovereign Immunity in School or City Bus-Related Accidents

Sovereign immunity refers to a series of laws and ordinances that protect school bus drivers, maintenance workers, school bus manufacturers, school districts, and city governments from liability in the event of a school bus accident. Similar laws exist for city transit buses.

Sovereign immunity laws are complicated and extensive, and they often differ significantly from one city to the next or even from one township to the next. That’s why it takes the best personal injury law firms to navigate the confusing landscape of immunity laws involving school buses, school zones, and city buses.

The Claims Process

There is a claims process for those seeking damages after being involved in an accident with a school bus. With the help of a personal injury lawyer or wrongful death attorney, the victim of an accident or their next of kin can pursue the following:

Legal Representation for School or City Bus Accidents

Because such extensive immunity laws cover school and city buses (including comprehensive regulations and ordinances that protect the school district, city, bus manufacturer, driver, and maintenance crew), it’s critical to only approach a school bus accident claim with the help of an experienced injury law attorney.

Cautious driving and regular safety checks prevent car accidents, but when personal injuries do occur, families need professional help. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury from a collision with a school bus, please call NRS Injury Law at 855.977.6670.

Sources:

[1] KIRO. “School bus crashes into a house in Ohio; no students injured, driver taken to the hospital.” Cox Media Group, 2022. kiro7.com

[2] OSP. “Traffic Safety Bulletin.” Ohio State Patrol, 2021. statepatrol.ohio.gov

School is back in session, which means millions of Americans must pay particular attention to traffic laws, speed limits, road crossings, signage, and other rules that apply to school zones. These rules are in place to protect schoolchildren, yet the greatest risk to young people in school zones may not be speeding, failing to read a sign, or yielding to a crosswalk guard. 

Rather, the greatest risk almost certainly comes from drivers breaking any number of laws because they were distracted.

Defining Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of traffic accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines distracted driving as:[1]

“Distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment, or navigation system.” 

Distracted driving is particularly dangerous because it causes drivers to commit any number of traffic violations such as speeding, failing to observe posted signage, being unable to brake in time, rolling through stop signs, etc. According to the NHTSA, 3,142 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2020.

The Risk of Distracted Driving in School Zones

According to one study, the 500 feet radius around a school has the highest proportion of child-car collisions and fatalities compared to other urban areas.[2] In Ohio, distracted driving is of particular concern to law enforcement. According to one State Trooper Bulletin:[3]

“In 2017, 13,997 drivers in Ohio crashed while being distracted by something within their vehicles. Fifty-one (51) of these crashes were fatal and resulted in 55 deaths... The number of reported distracted driving fatal crashes nearly doubled from 2016 to 2017 (+96%).”

Ohio State law prohibits the use of “electronic wireless communication devices” by drivers under the age of 18. Texting while driving is illegal in Ohio.

These laws are in place because distracted driving prevents drivers from focusing on the road in front of them, something that creates enormous risk when driving through a school zone. The concentration of young children (who may not be as aware of traffic) coupled with drivers who are unaware of pedestrians (due to being distracted) create a recipe for disaster. 

Driving Safely in School Zones

Back to school safety is on the minds of millions of parents. And while people should follow all the traffic safety laws for school zones, perhaps the best advice for families is to ensure they do not drive distracted in school zones. The risks are too great.

Prevention is the best medicine, but when personal injuries do occur, families need professional help. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury while in a school zone, please call NRS Injury Law at 855.977.6670.

Sources:

[1] NHTSA. “Distracted Driving.” National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2022. nhtsa.gov

[2] Carmanah. "Distracted Driving in School Zones." Safe Kids USA, 2022. carmanah.com

[3] Trooper Shield. "Traffic Safety Bulletin." State Highway Patrol, 2018. publicsafety.ohio.gov

There are different terms for how one can become injured and seek compensation. How the injury takes place, where it occurs, the circumstances of it, what the individual was doing when they became injured, and what others were doing around them at the time are all factors that influence how the victim of the injury seeks compensation to assist them on their road to recovery.

What is Covered Under Personal Injury Claims

Personal injury claims can cover just about any injury, assuming the injured person can determine that someone else or another entity is at fault for the injury. If the individual can prove this, they may be eligible to recover all damages they suffered. Any injured person is eligible for a personal injury claim if they can prove fault, even if the fault is the negligence of another party. Remember, acts of omission on the part of other parties can be determined as fault just as acts of commission can.

What is Covered Under Workers’ Compensation Claims

Workers’ compensation claims generally have fewer barriers to entry than personal injury claims (no need to prove fault with workers' comp claims). However, such claims do not usually allow the individual to seek compensation for pain and suffering. Workers’ compensation is supposed to reimburse the individual for the wages they missed while recovering from a workplace injury and the medical bills accumulated to treat the injury.

When You Might Need Both

To summarize, the key difference between personal injury claims and workers’ compensation claims is that workers’ compensation protects individuals who become injured at work, no matter who's at fault for the injury. Why? Because even if the worker’s injury is their fault, it would not have occurred if the individual was not at their place of work. Conversely, personal injury claims require the person injured to be able to show that another entity is liable for the injury.

There can also be an overlap between workers’ compensation and personal injury. For example, if someone is injured at their main job and cannot work at their main job or their part-time job for weeks, they will likely be entitled to workers’ compensation for their missed time at their main job.

But what happens if the insurance company only pays for the missed wages from one’s main job but not their second, part-time job? In this case, the injured person may want to consider a personal injury claim. Doing so could help recover the lost income from the second, part-time job, ensuring that the individual has all their wages covered during their recovery period.

Legal Representation Ensures Your Best Interests are Attended To

When an injury occurs, recovery and healing are key, and the last thing anyone wants to worry about is filing claims and ensuring they have adequate income when they cannot work. If you or someone you care about has been injured, please get in touch with NRS Injury Law today at 855.977.6670. Let experienced personal injury attorneys and workers’ compensation lawyers handle your case while you focus on recovery.

Anyone who’s attempted to learn about insurance laws will notice something right off the bat. Such laws are far more confusing than they need to be. In this short article, we’ll answer three of the most frequently asked questions about Ohio’s insurance laws:

If after reading you still have questions about these laws and how they pertain to your claim, call the NRS Injury Law office today at 855.977.6670.

What is Minimum Coverage?

The ‘Minimum Coverage’ identification refers to motor vehicle insurance. It’s also sometimes referred to as ‘Mandatory Insurance.’ Quoting Ohio’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles:[1]

It is law in Ohio that you must have insurance to drive any motor vehicle. A vehicle owner may not allow anyone else to drive their motor vehicle without insurance. Minimum required for insurance coverage: $25,000 for injury/death of one person. $50,000 for injury/death of two or more people. $25,000 for property damage in an accident.”

Ohio residents can add coverage options to their policy and choose additional insurance options, but the Minimum Coverage regulations cited above are what all drivers must have.

How Does Fault Work in Insurance?

The concept of ‘fault’ merely establishes who is at fault in an auto accident and who is not. Ohio is a “fault” state, meaning the driver deemed liable for an accident uses their insurance coverage to pay for others’ damages. That is why all drivers in Ohio must be covered by a Minimum Coverage insurance policy. In the event of an accident, the driver who is determined at fault for that accident will use their insurance to pay for the damages that other parties suffered.

Fault is an important aspect of any car accident because determining who is at fault and the degree of fault involved makes a big difference in who’s insurance company will have to foot the bill and for how much one of the parties may be held liable. It’s also worth mentioning that a judge can determine several parties to share fault in a single car accident, adding a layer of complexity. That’s why it’s important to have professional legal representation when litigating the details of a car accident.

Why Does it Take 46 Days to Settle a Claim?

Ohio insurance companies have 46 days to settle a claim after it is filed, and it usually takes them the full 46 days to do this, especially for personal injury claims. Why? Mostly because multiple parties are involved, including the individual’s doctor, the health insurance company, the legal representatives, the car insurance company, settlement administration, etc.

Navigating the Complexities with the Help of Experienced Representation

Having the help of experienced and knowledgeable professionals makes all the difference in seeking justice for an automobile accident, negligence, medical malpractice, worker’s compensation, personal injury, or Social Security disability claims. To ensure you get the compensation you deserve, call NRS Injury Law today at 855.977.6670.

Sources:

[1] BMV. “Mandatory Insurance.” Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles, 2022. bmv.ohio.gov

In addition to operating the largest state-funded workers’ compensation system in the country, Ohio is also home to millions of workers in the private sector who are covered by workers’ comp. Whether you work in the private or public sector, this guide is for you.

What to Do When an Accident Occurs

Workers’ compensation is a crucial component of employment in the Buckeye State. But what is workers’ comp? Workers’ compensation is a program that provides coverage for work-related injuries and illnesses for public and private sector employees. Workers’ compensation ensures an employee’s medical bills are covered and that the employee continues to receive income while recovering from an injury.

Ohio has a robust workers’ compensation system, but there are still steps that injured workers should take to protect their legal rights to workers’ compensation benefits:

  1. Report injuries immediately. Employers are responsible for worker safety and for filing workers’ compensation claims with the employer’s insurance company. But an employer won’t know to do this unless the worker informs them they are injured. If the injury is not an emergency, the worker should inform their employer they are injured, then see a doctor. In the case of an emergency, the worker should go to the ER immediately.
  1. Consult a doctor as soon as possible. A worker should see a doctor following a workplace injury as soon as possible. They may have to see a doctor approved by their workplace, and that’s fine, but it’s also a good idea to get a second opinion and see a doctor of the worker’s choosing. Getting a second evaluation from an independent doctor could mean more workers’ comp benefits in the long run.
  1. Consult an Ohio workers’ compensation attorney. As soon as they can, an injured employee should seek the counsel of a workers’ compensation attorney. Attorneys have experience handling workers’ comp claims, and they can advise injured workers on how best to proceed to maximize workers’ comp benefits. Further, if an insurance company tries to avoid providing full compensation for a worker’s injury, an Ohio workers’ compensation lawyer can represent the worker and ensure they get the benefits they are due.
  1. File an accident report. Once a doctor has assessed the injury and the worker has sought legal advice, the worker should file an accident report. There are deadlines by which a worker must report a workplace accident, which is why an injured worker should report their accident immediately. Even if an injury isn’t noticeable right away, filing an accident report protects the worker in the long run, should symptoms or harmful after-effects of the accident crop up weeks or months later.
  1. Seek compensation. In Ohio, employees usually can’t sue their employers over workplace injuries. The flip side is that they don’t have to prove that the employer’s negligence caused an accident. Employees could be compensated for workplace injuries even if the employee’s own negligence caused the accident. That’s why it’s always best to seek compensation through the workers’ comp program.
  1. Follow workplace rules during the claim. Workers’ comp does not usually cover injuries connected to drugs, alcohol, horseplay, or physical altercations with other employees. An employer may ask an injured employee to submit to drug tests. Employees should follow workers’ comp rules when filing their claims.
Benefits of Hiring a Workers’ Compensation Attorney

Workers’ compensation attorneys in Ohio often provide free consultations, which can be immensely helpful in determining how an injured employee should proceed in filing their workers’ comp claim. If the injury was minor, if the employer admits the injury happened at work, if the worker missed little or no work time due to the injury, they might not need an attorney’s help, but it’s still a good idea to get a second opinion.

However, in the following scenarios, an injured worker absolutely should seek legal counsel:

An experienced workers' compensation lawyer in Ohio will know how and when to file claim forms and how to operate within workers’ comp deadlines. They will also know how to gather evidence, negotiate effectively, and write settlement agreements to avoid any attempts by other parties to prevent the injured worker from receiving their full benefits.

Ohio Workers’ Compensation Resources

In addition to legal representation, there are numerous online resources for workers. Employees can utilize these resources to educate themselves on how best to act in the event of a workplace injury:

When in Doubt, Seek Free Information from NRS Injury Law

NRS Injury Law offers free consultations. If an accident or workplace injury occurs, call 855.977.6670 or fill out an online appointment request form.

Sources:

[1] BWC. “Workers’ Compensation.” Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation, 2022. ohio.gov

[2] Ohio University. “Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.” Ohio University, 2022. ohio.edu

[3] AG. “History of Workers’ Compensation.” Ohio Attorney General, 2022. ohioattorneygeneral.gov

[4] BWC. “Injured Worker Glossary.” Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, 2022. bwc.ohio.gov

Workers’ compensation laws cover some 135 million employees. Such laws are responsible for a collective payout of more than $7 trillion each year, making workers' comp one of the largest government-mandated programs in the country. The following sections outline which industries generate the most workers’ compensation claims in Ohio.[1]
Healthcare
People think of healthcare workers as individuals who save lives, but such individuals also put their own lives on the line. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration reports that the private healthcare industry records more instances of work-related illness and injury than any other private sector in America. About 580,000 workers’ comp cases are filed annually in healthcare, 30% for musculoskeletal injuries or ailments.[2]

How might healthcare workers find themselves in a position where they need to file a workers’ comp claim? Here are some examples:

Slips, falls
Lab-related hazards
Manual lifting injuries
Exposure to radioactivity
Biological hazards and toxicity
Blood-borne pathogens and illnesses
Exposure to chemicals, waste, drugs, or toxic gas
Infectious diseases transmitted by patients or other workers

People who work in healthcare and become injured or sick because of work should file for workers' comp.
Transportation and Warehouse Employment
As one might imagine, jobs involving moving large objects around or operating heavy machinery and vehicles could put one at risk for injury. That’s why the transportation and warehouse sector is in second place after healthcare as the industry that produces the highest rate of workers’ comp claims each year.

Transportation and warehousing employ about 5.5 million workers, and these individuals are at risk for injury daily. Common causes of injury include:

Traffic accidents with other automobiles
Physical overexertion from lifting objects that are too heavy
Slips, falls, and other accidents caused by irregular work surfaces
Airborne objects that impact workers and cause serious injury or death
Heavy, moving equipment that causes musculoskeletal harm to workers
Toxic chemical exposure, corrosive spills or burns, noxious fumes, or poison

Today, at least 5.1 cases of injury and illness are reported each year for every 100 workers in this field.[3]
Forestry, Farming, Fishing, and Professional Hunting
Anyone who steps outdoors and engages with the natural world puts themselves at risk for injury, whether they do so for recreation, work, or both. Logging, farming, fishing, hunting, working in the forest, and performing conservation work are all industries that involve exposure to the environment and the risks that come with it.

Some examples of common injuries related to extensive work outdoors include:

Excessive cold
Excessive heat
Extreme noise exposure
Exposure to inclement weather
Respiratory hazards due to heavy machinery
Impact and pressure hazards due to heavy machinery
Exposure to chemical hazards and toxic or corrosive liquids
Unsanitary working conditions due to poorly regulated working environments
Extreme risk for bodily harm due to dangerous equipment, machines, silos, grain bins, etc.

The industries in this category report about 5.3 injuries or illnesses each year for every 100 workers, making it a leading sector for workers’ comp claims.[4]
Manufacturing Jobs
Manufacturing covers a wide range of jobs, and all such jobs carry a higher-than-average risk for workers. Throughout the manufacturing process, workers may have to handle dangerous chemicals, use high currents of electricity, work around large machines and assembly lines, and work in complex factories with lots of moving parts. Because of that, workers are at risk for slips and falls, and they might face exposure to dangerous chemicals, biological hazards, electrical currents, fire, or suffocation. Depending on the product being manufactured, the weight of objects handled can also be an issue, leading to back injuries and other musculoskeletal trauma from heavy lifting or accidental impacts and collisions.

From manufacturing clothing to making children’s toys, building tools, assembling cars, mixing solvents for industrial cleaning supplies, or doing something as seemingly harmless as assembling parts on an assembly line, manufacturing is complex and can sometimes be chaotic, hence the risk.

The data shows that there are 3.4 annual cases of work-related injury per 100 workers in the manufacturing field. Given the high risks of injury but the minimal ability to predict risk factors or instances of injury, people who work in this field should make sure their employer offers a robust workers' compensation package.[5]
Recreation, the Arts, and Entertainment
Recreation, arts, and entertainment might be the last field where anyone would expect serious injuries and illnesses to occur. But especially for those working behind the scenes to produce entertainment, this field can be quite dangerous to one's health and safety.

Workers who build sets for film or theatre, fitness trainers who work with heavy weights, amusement park attendants operating heavy machines, the list goes on. Workers in these sectors have very active jobs that have injury risks. That’s why this field reports 5.4-per-100 work-related injuries or illnesses each year.[6]
No Matter Your Industry, Make Sure You Seek Legal Representation When Injured on the Job
For every type of job performed in America, there are just as many, if not more, ways that one might become injured or ill as a result of working at that job. Different sectors may have different risk factors, but all workers injured on the job are entitled to benefits. Further, injured workers should seek free legal advice before filing a claim to get the best benefits package possible. Contact NRS Injury Law today at 855.977.6670 for a free consultation.

Sources Cited:

[1] SSA. “Workers’ Compensation Program Description and Legislative History.” Social Security Administration, 2017. ssa.gov

[2] OSHA. “Healthcare.” Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 2022. osha.gov

[3] BLS. “Warehousing and Storage.” Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 2022. bls.gov

[4] BLS. “Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting.” Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 2022. bls.gov

[5] BLS. “Manufacturing,” Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 2022. bls.gov

[6] BLS. “Performing Arts, Spectator Sports, and Related Industries.” Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 2022. bls.gov

Every job comes with some injury risk, but some industries see more workers’ comp claims than others. For example, the wood product manufacturing industry has one of the highest per-capita rates of workers who become injured on the job. Even though wood product manufacturing is a relatively small field, the risk for injury is high, and thousands of workers in this sector file for workers’ comp each year.
Efforts are Ongoing to Make the Workplace Safer
Thankfully, because people are becoming more aware of the need for safe workplaces, technological developments have made some high-risk workplaces safer. In the transportation sector, innovations like lane-change notifications, backup mirrors, HID headlights, night-view lights, and automatic high-beam assists make this industry safer for truck drivers. However, several industries are still dangerous, so workers must know how to maximize compensation claims.
In the Event of an Injury, Follow These Steps to Maximize Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
Not all injuries can be prevented, but how workers respond to an injury can influence their workers’ compensation claim. Workers should follow these steps to maximize their claim:

Seek immediate medical care. Don’t wait, as waiting for medical attention may jeopardize a workers’ comp claim.

Notify your employer immediately. Putting off formally notifying an employer is not helpful.

File a claim quickly. Delaying is not good, as that makes the insurance company wonder if the injury is work-related.

Get a doctor who represents you accurately. If you’re not satisfied with your doctor’s assessment of your injury, seek a second opinion.

Be consistent in your claims. Always stick with the truth and stay consistent when reporting how you were injured.

Seek legal representation as soon as possible. Ideally, you should seek legal representation before you file a workers’ comp claim. A legal professional can advise you on how to negotiate with employers and insurance companies, handle paperwork, present for an Independent Medical Examination, negotiate recorded statements, interact with insurance representatives, and effectively advocate for the full benefits package you deserve.
Understand the Terminology
Finally, and this deserves a section of its own, injured workers are much more likely to secure a full workers’ compensation benefits package when they understand the terminology of workers’ comp. Thankfully, the Ohio Bureau of Worker’s Compensation published a detailed glossary of workers’ compensation terms.[1]
Don’t Face a Workers’ Comp Case Alone
Workers who become injured or ill are almost certainly entitled to benefits. Those who say otherwise might be trying to save the insurance company money. That’s why injured workers should seek free legal advice before filing a claim. That way, they’ll ensure they continue to receive compensation while recovering from their injury. To get started, contact NRS Injury Law today at 855.977.6670.

Sources Cited:

[1] BWC. “Injured Worker Glossary.” Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, 2022. bwc.ohio.gov

Everyone wants to have a safe experience on America’s roads. But with vehicle accidents and traffic fatalities rising, a safe experience is never guaranteed. The number of vehicles on the roads will only increase in the coming years, exacerbating risk factors and potentially making travel by automobile even more dangerous.

Given the predicament, some experts indicate that self-driving cars could increase road safety.
A Need for Self-Driving Cars to Improve Road Safety
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 38,824 people lost their lives in motor vehicle crashes in 2020. Further, NHTSA’s preliminary data has 2021’s figures at 42,915 fatalities, a ten percent increase over 2020 and the highest death toll in 16 years. That means automobile accidents are again a leading cause of preventable and injury-related death in the United States.[1]

Information like this means self-driving automobile manufacturers must put safety at the forefront of all tech innovations and future developments.
How Might Self-Driving Cars Increase Road Safety?
Thankfully, plenty of evidence suggests self-driving cars will indeed increase road safety. Self-driving cars will have a 360-degree view at all times. The cars will be able to sense if other cars or obstacles are too near, will be able to spot when a vehicle ahead is braking and will follow speed limit laws. Self driving cars safety features will be compliant with other highway safety and respond to road hazards, poor weather, and congested traffic.

That’s just a start. Proponents of self-driving cars also say that automated systems will cut reaction time in accident scenarios. Given that a significant percentage of accidents are the result of slow reaction time and being distracted (on the part of the driver), self-driving cars may be able to save lives by responding faster and by never becoming distracted in the first place. Quoting the NHTSA, “In some circumstances, automated technologies may be able to detect the threat of a crash and act faster than drivers. These technologies could greatly support drivers and reduce human errors and the resulting crashes, injuries, and economic tolls.”[2]
Who is Liable When an Accident With a Self Driving Car Occurs?
Though such instances will hopefully be rare, self-driving vehicle systems will fail from time to time, and accidents will occur. When the NHTSA was asked to comment on who would be liable in an accident caused by a self-driving vehicle, they responded that questions about liability were still being discussed.

Even though the NHTSA wasn’t willing at the time to go on the record in saying that the companies that manufacture self-driving cars are potentially liable in the event of an accident, that is almost certainly the case. If you or someone you care about is involved in a car accident involving a self-driving or partially-automated vehicle, please call NRS Injury Law at 855.977.6670.

Sources Cited:

[1] NHTSA. “Newly Released Estimates Show Traffic Fatalities Reached a 16-Year High in 2021.” National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2022. nhtsa.gov

[2] NHTSA. “Automated Vehicles for Safety.” National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2022. nhtsa.gov

With school back in session and thousands of Ohio teens obtaining driver’s licenses’ and driving to school or work for the first time, parents should take extra steps to ensure their teens drive safely.
Ohio Teen Driving Statistics
To raise awareness of the unique risks that teens face on the road, the Ohio Department of Public Safety released information highlighting teen traffic accident statistics:[1]

From 2016 to 2018, 132,744 automobile accidents in Ohio involved at least one teen driver. Even though teens comprise a small percentage of drivers in Ohio (just 7%), they were involved in more than 15% of all accidents.

During that period, ODPS (Ohio Department of Public Safety) estimated that action on the part of the teen driver contributed to 71% of accidents (94,861 crashes).

In the last decade, at least 1,000 Ohio teen drivers have died in traffic accidents. Between 2016 and 2018, 251 teen drivers lost their lives in automobile accidents.

Though it earns significant media attention, drug and alcohol impairment is not as severe a problem among teen drivers as it used to be. Today, only 2% of all at-fault teen driver crashes are caused by drug or alcohol-impaired driving.

Unfortunately, the improvements have been made to reduce teens driving impaired has been outpaced by another severe crisis, distracted driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, distracted driving on the part of the driver is responsible for at least 9% of all teen driving fatalities.[2]

While teens face clear risk factors when they start driving, parents can take steps to make driving safer for them.
What are Critical Risk Factors for Teen Drivers?
Research suggests that the five main causes of crashes among teen drivers (and how parents might address them) are as follows:

Lack of experience. Lack of experience plays a role in teen car accidents. Even after a teen gets their license, their parents should still ride as passengers in the car to help provide advice, monitor their driving, and coach as needed.

Following too close. Following too close is a leading cause of rear-ending accidents. Parents should coach their teens on maintaining a minimum three-second following distance between their car and the car in front of them.

Failure to yield. Failing to yield leads to traffic accidents at intersections. Parents should coach their teens on always looking for road signage that indicates yielding.

Improper lane change. A major part of defensive driving involves performing head checks to look for other vehicles that may be obstructing a planned lane change. Teens might not have this habit yet, so parents should always remind their teens to do head checks and examine their blind spots before changing lanes.

Distracted driving. As referenced earlier, distracted driving is responsible for more than 4X the number of teen driving fatalities than alcohol or drug impairment. Parents must insist their teens remain focused on the road while driving, not talking on the phone, texting, or looking at their phone screens.
Professional Representation can Help Teens Affected by an Accident
A teen traffic accident is a parent’s worst nightmare. If you or someone you care about has a teen involved in a car accident, please call NRS Injury Law at 855.977.6670.

Sources Cited:

[1] ODPS. “Ohio Traffic Safety. Ohio Department of Public Safety, 2022. publicsafety.ohio.gov

[2] NHTSA. “Recent NCSA Publications.” National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2022. crashstats.nhtsa.gov

Autumn is just around the corner, which means the flannels are coming out of the closet, and family members and friends are coming over for a toasty warm fire in the backyard fire pit.

However, anywhere fire is involved, it’s important to:

A). Follow local laws and ordinances.

B). Observe safe fire pit practices.

Before building a fire, one should always check city and county regulations regarding backyard fire pits. If everything checks out legally, follow the safety tips in the next section.

Backyard Fire Pit Safety

Following are nine simple tips on how to enjoy a backyard fire pit safely:

  1. Pay attention to the weather. Don’t build fires on especially dry or windy days.
  1. Build a fire out in the open. Don’t set up the fire pit near buildings, fences, trees, or other flammable material.
  1. Don’t burn construction lumber! Construction lumber is treated with chemicals and glues, which create toxic fumes when burned.
  1. Be ready to extinguish the flames. Always have two methods of fire suppressant to hand, such as a fire extinguisher and a garden hose.
  1. Keep chairs away from the fire. Chairs are for sitting in, not for catching on fire!
  1. Never leave a fire unattended. Winds can pick up, sparks can fly, resulting in a horrendous blaze, serious injury, or even death if one isn't careful.
  1. Drink responsibly around a fire. Don’t let alcohol intoxication turn an enjoyable experience by the fire into a trip to the emergency room.
  1. Heed no-burn alerts. If the city you live in has a no-burn alert or Air Quality Alert, no fires are allowed on that day. Check local and state ordinances before building a fire.
  1. Store firewood safely. Don’t keep stored firewood too close to the fire pit.

Ohio Laws Regarding Backyard Fire Pits

Ohio has a statewide law that says fire pits must be maintained at least 10 feet away from houses and cannot be used on days when Air Quality Alerts have been issued.[1]

That’s the statewide rule, but individual cities in Ohio have their own rules. The following cities are each linked to their laws about backyard fire pits:

The Fall Season is Coming, Be Ready for Safe Backyard Fires!

The fall season is right around the corner, meaning thousands of Ohioans will enjoy fire pits, backyard fires, campfires, and open-fire grills. Fire safety is vital around backyard fire pits, and if you or a loved one become injured due to someone else’s negligence and a backyard fire, please contact NRS Injury Law today at 855.977.6670.

Sources:

[1] OEPA. “Requirements for Backyard Fires.” Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, 2006. ohioepa.custhelp.com

[2] TCC. “Open Burning Guidelines.” The City of Columbus, 2022. columbus.gov

[3] AL. “Fires and Fire Prevention.” American Legal, 2022. codelibrary.amlegal.com

[4] TCD. “Open Burning in the City of Dayton.” The City of Dayton, 2022. daytonohio.gov

[5] TFRD. “Open Burning/Illegal Burning.” Toledo Fire & Rescue Department, 2022. toledofirerescue.com

[6] HCES. “Open Burning.” Hamilton County Environmental Services, 2022. southwestohioair.org

Applying for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits is no walk in the park. Endless paperwork accompanied by deadlines, confusing legalese, and government representatives who are not always available to answer your questions complicate the process.

The following section identifies and answers the most frequently asked questions about SSD.

Frequently Asked Questions about Social Security Disability Benefits

Q. What are the eligibility requirements to receive Social Security Disability Benefits?

A. The Social Security Administration will pay monthly benefits to workers who cannot work for a year or more or who have a condition expected to end in death.

Q. What is the legal definition of disability?

A. The Social Security Administration defines disability as someone who meets the following quoted criteria: “You cannot do work and engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA) because of your medical condition. You cannot do work you did previously or adjust to other work because of your medical condition. Your condition has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.”

Q. Can a disabled worker return to work while receiving SSD benefits?

A. Yes. There are special rules governing how a disabled worker who recovers from their disability and who can return to work does so. There is often a trial period in which the worker can attempt to return to work without forgoing their disability benefits.

Q. What’s the difference between Social Security and Social Security Disability?

A. SSD benefits are a section of the greater Social Security network. Social Security retirement payments, for example, are to be funded out of employment taxes that the worker paid throughout their time in the workforce. Social Security Disability is a specific program intended to help those who become disabled, even if this occurs long before retirement age.

Q. For those already receiving SSD benefits, will they also get retirement benefits when they reach retirement age?

A. SSD benefits switch to retirement benefits when disability beneficiaries reach the full retirement age.

Q. How long does it take to get a decision on an SSD benefits application?

A. The duration of the application process depends on numerous factors, including the nature of the disability, how quickly one can get medical evidence of disability from their doctor, and whether or not the application has any mistakes or incomplete sections.

Q. What are Compassionate Allowances?

A. Such allowances allow the Social Security Administration to quickly send out disability benefits for people whose medical conditions are so severe that their conditions meet the disability definition precepts outlined above.

For more information about Social Security Disability Benefits, the Social Security Administration offers a full-length FAQ on its official website.[1]

NRS Injury Law, Ohio’s Best Social Security Disability Attorney

If you or a loved one feels rightful disability benefits are being withheld at any point along the application process, the correct action is to hire an Ohio Social Security Disability Lawyer. For further assistance and a free consultation, please call NRS Injury Law today at 855.977.6670.

Sources:

[1] SSA. “Disability (SDDI).” Social Security Administration, 2022. faq.ssa.gov

A catastrophic event hit close to home on the evening of September 20th and into the morning hours of September 21st. The event involved the BP-Husky Toledo Refinery in Oregon, Ohio, just across the river from Toledo, experiencing a major explosion and fire.

Two steelworkers, brothers Ben and Max Morrissey with United Steelworkers Local 1-346, were severely injured in the event. Sadly, both men died from their injuries. Quoting the press release put out by BP:[1]

Witnesses on the scene described clouds of black smoke, flames, and burn-off clouding the sky on Tuesday night, accompanied by at least one major explosion that witnesses could feel. Thankfully, first responders were able to extinguish the blaze by 10:15 p.m. that evening.

The BP-Husky refinery has been running in that location for over a century. It covers 585 acres of land in Oregon, Ohio, and can process up to 155,000 barrels of crude oil daily. The refinery produces gasoline, liquefied petroleum gas, diesel fuel, jet fuel, propane, propylene, flue gases, kerosene, sulfur, heating oil, pet coke, and asphalt.

A Help Fund Set Up in Honor of the Workers

WTOL 11, a local television station in Toledo, announced that Steelworkers Local 1-346 had set up a donation fund for the families of the two steelworkers killed, both of whom were fathers and husbands. The fund is called the “Ben and Max Morrissey Fund.” Donations are being accepted at:[2]

Creating a Safe Work Environment for All

A representative from OSHA arrived at the refinery on Wednesday. However, the cause of the explosion has not been released yet. However, the incident is a painful reminder of why worker safety is so important. For so many trades, workers perform their tasks in hazardous environments, places that can cause severe injury and death.

NRS Injury Law is dedicated to pursuing justice for victims of injury or wrongful death in the workplace. If workers are hurt, no matter the cause of their injury, they deserve compensation. And if their injuries result in death, their families need compensation to cope with losing a beloved family member and provider. If a workplace injury has severely harmed you or someone you know, contact NRS Injury Law today at 855.977.6670.

Sources Cited:

[1] BP. “BP America statement on the fire at bp-Husky Toledo Refinery.” British Petroleum, 2022. bp.com

[2] WTOL11. “Steelworkers killed in Tuesday fire and ‘explosion’ at BP refinery in Oregon identified as brothers.” WTOLL11, 2022. wtol.com

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