NEWS & RESOURCES

Month: March 2015

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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Auto Accident Patients at OhioHealth, Read This Article

An article in the Columbus Dispatch illuminates instances where OhioHealth has been pursuing payment of medical bills under the injured’s auto-insurance rather than hishealth insurance. Essentially, OhioHealth is skirting the discounted fees they negotiate with health companies, and instead charging the full or near full-rate to the injured individual.

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The take-away I get from this article is that if you go to an OhioHealth Hospital for auto-accident injury, insist that OhioHealth submit your bill to your health insurance company rather than under your auto-insurance.

The full article is available here: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2015/03/11/aggressive-billing-called-into-question.html

Workers’ Compensation Hearings At The Industrial Commission

This might seem obvious, but its incredibly important to show up at Industrial Commission hearings. If you have a hearing before the Industrial Commission you’ll receive a notice in the mail. I’ve attached an example of a notice with our client’s information redacted. If you notice the highlighted section says, “You Are Urged To Be Present.”

You might take this to mean, “we’ll I’m urged, but not ordered to be present, so my presence is optional.” It might says this but you should always show up. for your own sake and the success of whatever you are trying to achieve at the hearing, your presence is absolutely mandatory.

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Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Special Investigations Department

The purpose of Workers’ Compensation is to compensate an injured worker for workplace injuries. A number of types of compensation including temporary total disability compensation are predicated on the injured worker being unable to return to the type of work they performed at their job as a result of their workplace injury. Sometimes so-called injured workers are not in fact injured, yet continue to collect compensation.

In this case that would be fraud. It is not fair to legitimately injured workers to do so. To combat fraud, the BWC has a Special Investigations Department. They will surveil workers quite doggedly. There have been instances where the SID has surveiled our own clients. The bottomline is, they are pretty thorough, they will discover fraud.

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Disparity in Workers Comp Benefits From State To State

Article discusses the bizarre reality where two individuals lose the same limb, one lives in Alabama the other 75 miles away in Georgia. Its truly strange, and rather frightening. One would think every state in the United States treats their workers similarly, but clearly this is not the case. One state is like the first world, the other state treats their workers as if they were working in a third world country. Truly strange.

Wrongful Death Lawyers Columbus
Fantastic art by Justin Volz for ProPublica

http://www.propublica.org/article/how-much-is-your-arm-worth-depends-where-you-work

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