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Self-Driving Cars, the end of Auto Accidents ?

car accident lawyer Columbus

IMPLICATIONS

There has been a lot of news recently about automated cars. The wizards at Google have been testing driver less cars for years now. Many current cars on the road already incorporate safety systems which at least echo elements of autonomous cars. Some of the more notable systems are blind-spot detection, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control. Adaptive cruise control is interesting in that it will speed up and slow down based upon the surrounding traffic. I think the technology will be perfected to the point where driver less cars are pretty dependable and at least as safe as or safer than a “reasonable person.”

So what does this mean for Columbus car accident lawyers? Well a fully autonomous car will not get distracted by updating Facebook, tweeting, texting while driving. No drunk driving, drunk folks will get in their driver less cars and be driven home. There will not be elderly people jamming on the accelerator, where they meant to press the brakes. There won’t be truck drivers driving far beyond the hours they are meant to drive, falling asleep, and causing catastrophic truck accidents. So will you still need an experienced and competent Columbus personal injury attorney? Probably, but at that point instead of a negligence claim against the driver, the victim of an accident may be suing a manufacturer for a defective product.

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Workers’ Comp: Showdown at the Ohio Industrial Commission: Part Two

THE SETUP

In the last entry we were talking about treatment and diagnostics. So lets assume that your doctor has submitted a C9 requesting two different things. For the sake of this example, the C9 will be requesting an MRI of the lumbar spine and an epidural steroid injection. Let us also assume the only allowed condition in the claim is a lumbar sprain.

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So here’s the scenario, Joe the Warehouse Worker is packing inventory into cardboard boxes and carrying them over to a conveyor belt. Joe goes to pick up a box, as he is lifting the box he feels a pinch in his back. He continues working throughout the day and he continues to feel more pain and discomfort in his lower back. He tries going into work the next day, but he just cannot get up. Joe calls his boss and explains that he injured his back at the warehouse.

Joe goes to the emergency room. They prescribe some pain killers and muscle relaxers. Joe doesn’t really understand what to do next so he comes to us, the Columbus Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at Malek & Malek.

Continue reading Workers’ Comp: Showdown at the Ohio Industrial Commission: Part Two

Massive Fire on May 1st

There was a massive fire at an industrial business on the Southside of Columbus. The pictures are reminiscent of volcanoes erupting.Power was shut down for about 20k according to an article on  10 TV . Our office was one of the 20k customers whose power was affected.

The article mentions that sparks from a forklift caused some pallets to catch fire. Must have been pretty extreme sparks.

I actually drove past the particular business affected last Thursday as I had a matter I had to handle for a client. There are a bunch of different business and workshops in that area. I hope the employees still have a job to go to. Anyways be safe everyone.

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Showdown at the Ohio Industrial Commission: Part One

DIAGNOSTICS v. TREATMENT

The Ohio workers compensation attorneys at Malek & Malek often find ourselves down at the Ohio Industrial Commission in regard to treatment issues. At its most basic form, treatment is “something done”, like surgery/epidural steroid injections/physical therapy/etc , and diagnostics are “searching for something.” Diagnostics come in the form of x-rays/ct scans/mri’s/emg’s/discograms/etc.

The medical provider requests treatment and diagnostics through the C9 form. One is below for your reference:
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Continue reading Showdown at the Ohio Industrial Commission: Part One

Big Rig Tires Not Safe Over 75 MPH

Interesting article on CBS News about the fact that most big-rigs are equipped with tires that are meant to be driven at maximum constant speeds over 75 mph. There are no tires rated in excess of 81 mph. The article throws out a statistic that between 2009 and 2013 heavy trucks and buses were responsible for 14,000 fatal accidents. Of those 14,000 fatalities, 223 were linked to heavy truck tires.

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Apparently this tire blowout issue is not a problem for 70% of big rigs because their companies limit the trucks to a max speed of 65 mph. Its the remaining 305 which are not limited where the truck tire issue comes to the fore.

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ARAWC’S Race To The Bottom

Another day, another alarming article on the efforts of Big Business to dismantle State Workers’ Compensation Funds

This article in Mother Jones discusses large corporations financial backing of a lobbying group, the Association for Responsible Alternative to Workers” Compensation (ARAWC). ARAWC’s goal is to pass laws in all 50 states allowing private employers to opt out of traditional workers’ compensation plans. The laws would still require employers to purchase workers’ comp coverage, but the employer would define what is actually covered.

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I think this would be okay if employers actually had the best interests of their employees in mind. But lets be honest, employers are in the business of making profits. Thus employers will do anything to increase their profits and decrease costs. Makes sense. I suppose there’s is nothing wrong with this, but tell that to the 23 year old man in Tennessee who was paralyzed by his workplace injury. ARAWC is apparently lobbying A Tennessee senator to introduce a bill that would allow a company to stop paying lifetime benefits after three years or $300, 000, whichever comes first.

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Texting While Driving Causing Auto Accidents

 TEXTING AND DRIVING IN OHIO

In Ohio its actually illegal to write, send, or read a text while driving. This is true for both minors and adults. Minors are prohibited from talking on a cell phone while driving. More information is available on the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles here http://bmv.ohio.gov/texting_ban.stm.

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Despite this reality, people still continue to text and drive. We’ve all encountered these drivers. For all intents and purposes the driver appears drunk, he drifts into different lanes, he will drive slow then speed. Then you’ll drive past them (because who wants to be driving around a drunk driver ), and wait, what is the driver doing, looking down at his or her phone. The problem is people die and suffer grievous injures when another driver fails to follow safety rules, and drives distracted.

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Travolta Movie Filmed Across From Our Office

A bit of excitement in Columbus now that John Travolta is in town to film his new movie, “I Am Wrath.” Even more exciting is the fact that parts of the film are being film across the street from the office. Doug, Kip, and Ed Malek took a break today to watch a scene being filmed. We didn’t see Travolta, but we did see extras walk back and forth for a scene. Fun Stuff. I’ve included some pictures I took of the filming. If you’re interested you can read more about the movie here: http://www.thewrap.com/john-travolta-in-talks-to-star-in-vigilante-action-movie-i-am-wrath-exclusive/

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Show Proof of Car Insurance With Smartphones

In Ohio you need proof of insurance in order to drive. This is encapsulated in Ohio’s Financial Responsibility Law. As of March 23 drivers can now show their proof of car insurance with smartphones and tablets. I’m not sure how much of an advantage or benefit this is to the everyday driver. A car insurance policy in the form of a card or a printed piece of paper can simply be thrown into the glove compartment and forgotten. Having the information seems a bit redundant.

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On the other hand, I could see situations arise where a person has insurance but never opened the mail with the card. I could see a spouse calling his partner, “hey honey, I don’t have my insurance card, could you check if its at the house, and then email it to my phone.” <receives the email>. Here officer, here’s the proof of my insurance. <shows the officer proof of car insurance with his smartphone>.

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Tort Reform: Unintended Consequences

I’ve briefly defined Ohio Tort reform in this section of our site: http://www.maleklawfirm.com/resource/basic-personal-injury-terms-defined/

Essentially it caps the amount of non-economic damages, i.e. compensation for non-monetary harm. In Ohio, where a plaintiff does not suffer a major physical injury, then her non-economic damages cannot exceed the greater of $250k or three times the economic damages not to exceed  $350k.

So this NBC 4 article discusses a situation where the jury awarded a minor who was molested by a youth pastor, $3.6 million dollars. Unfortunately this award was essentially for non-economic damages, therefore her award was statutorily capped at $250k. The article points out the lopsided situation whereby the damage award of a 95 year old grandmother whose leg was scarred, would not be statutorily capped. That is since she suffered a major physical injury, i.e. scarring, she is not subject to the caps. The molested minor will have a lifetime of emotional suffering to overcome.

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