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Have a Safe and Happy Thanksgiving

Malek & Malek Thanksgiving

Hello, Thanksgiving is coming up in two days. The extended Malek & Malek family will be convening at Doug’s house this year. I have seven brothers and sisters. I work with two of them, Jim and Doug. Sometimes our family gatherings can resemble the Griswolds from National Lampoon Family Vacation. You get an explosive mix of personalities and it can get interesting.

One of my favorite and more humorous memories is not from Thanksgiving, but rather I think we were celebrating my grandmother’s birthday. Anyways my mom, in her infinite wisdom, choose to celebrate this birthday at Buca De Beppo’s. If anyone has been to this restaurant its famous for “family style” meals, aka chaos. Basically instead of say 10-20 people ordering 10-20 individual meals, you order a few big entrees. The idea is everyone shares.

So we order chicken parmigiana, stuffed mushrooms, italian sausage, and spaghetti and meatballs. At this dinner are my two sisters and their kids who at the time were toddlers. So the food eventually gets to the table, everybody is clamoring to get their share of the food. It was getting testy, and my sister worried that her son would go hungry, yells “pass the f#&@()&# meatballs!” So we did, and he got his f*(^&^^&#) meatballs.

Drunksgiving Eve

Irregardless Thanksgiving at our house can be fun, and chaotic. But the reason I’m posting this is apparently the Thanksgiving Eve is so well known for drinking that it has earned the sobriquet Drunksgiving or Blackout Wednesday. I had never heard this before. But apparently people in returning back to their hometowns for Thanksgiving meet friends, and family the night before. They go out drinking. People are “saving” space in their tummies for turkey and mash potatoes, so they don’t eat that much. Sales of alcohol have been shown to increase by 23 percent.

With increased drinking comes increased drunk driving. More accidents, more hospital visits, etc. So  I guess maybe avoid driving on Drunksgiving? If you do and you get hit by a drunk driver on Thanksgiving or Thanksgiving Eve and the accident involves more than a fender bender, please give us a call.  Malek & Malek will compassionately, and aggressively strive to get your medical bills paid, and the compensation you deserve for your car accident. Please have a safe and happy Thanksgiving, and don’t forget to “pass the f*(*&#@&) turkey!”

Workers Comp: Seasonal Work

Work Injuries and Seasonal Jobs

I posted about seasonal jobs last year, but it bears repeating. This is the time of year that stores and various types of warehouse jobs hire temporary workers. People work overtime, six-seven days a week to make some extra holiday money, or just supplement their yearly income. Inevitably some temp workers get hurt.

When I was in at Purdue University I got a temp job at Cheryl’s Cookies in Westerville, Ohio during our Christmas break. I would pack various gift boxes with cookies. It wasn’t a particularly hard job. We got free cookies. A funny thing happened working there. We had to sign a little card indicating who had made the gift box.

Some temp worker had signed the card as “this package was made by Inmate #45921.” I didn’t do it, but come on its kinda funny. Anyways I recall whomever did it got fired; I do not condone things that will get you fired.

Temp Employee, Injured, You May Have a Claim

The likelihood of me being injured at Cheryl’s Cookies was very low. But had I gotten injured I would have a worker’s comp claim. Even though I was only a temp worker and the job would have ended in less than a month.

So please, let no one get injured at their temp job, but if you do, remember you can file a claim. It doesn’t matter if you worked only one hour or three weeks.

Doug, Ben, and I have taken many hearings involving injured temp workers. If you’re injured come to Malek & Malek for compassionate, aggressive legal representation for your work injury. We’ve been in business since 1972 protecting the injured and their families in Ohio.

Dog Bite: Who Pays

Malek & Malek aggressively represents people who have been bitten by a dog. Anecdotally a great deal of the most seriously injured happen to be children. These dog bites can leave not only physical scars but mental scars that last long after the injury has healed.

A common refrain we will hear from dog owners is that a child antagonized the dog causing the dog bite. Under Ohio law children are essentially not responsible for their negligent acts. So bottomline is that if you have a dog, and this dog is around children a dog bite can occur.

Who pays? The home owner will pay. If you rent an apartment, the landlord will pay. What will happen to the dog? It can be put down.

Are some dogs more prone to bite than others? There are certainly some dog breeds that have a greater reputation for violence. However even “friendly” dog breeds are capable of committing a dog bite. As a kid growing up our family had three golden retrievers: Major, Raider and our last golden, Bailey. Bailey was super friendly, you could take his food bowl and he would not growl. However if he smelled a bone in someone’s garbage he would become a demon dog. Could he have bit me at these times, absolutely.

With 4.7 million dog bites occurring each year. If you have a dog, please take care around children. You might also look into supplemental dog insurance.

Ohio BWC: I’ve got injured, quit my job, and move to another state do I still get compensation?

Klein v. Precision Excavating:

The short answer is no. In Klein the injured worker was certified temporarily and totally disabled by his doctor. Prior to his work injury he was thinking about quitting and moving to Florida. Unfortunately life likes to throw curve balls. And he got injured at work. A couple of weeks after his work injury, he in fact moved to Florida. The injured worker requested temporary total compensation. The Industrial Commission award temporary total only up the date right before he left to Florida.

Injured worker appealled to the 10th District Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals said “hey if you had a work injury and were unable to work at the time you moved, then you get money.” Employer appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court. Ohio Supreme Court said, “nah, even though case law says that you should get money, we’re saying you shouldn’t so you don’t get money. Hey man, even though you were unable to work at the time you moved, and maybe you are still injured has no bearing to why you are no longer worker at Precision Excavating. You VOLUNTARILY ABANDONED the workforce. Your leaving the job had no connection to the work injury”

Here’s the thing, it is true. The injured worker was planning on leaving prior to his work injury. But he got injured. Case law that was previously followed basically said that if you were unable to do the essential functions of your job at the time of the event that separated you from your job then you cannot be found to have VOLUNTARILY ABDANDONED your job because you had already INVOLUNTARILY ABANDONED your job.

Anyways. Not the case now. So if  you quit or resign after a work injury, even though you are certified temporarily and totally disabled, you may be found to have voluntarily abandoned your job and not be entitled to compensation.

Happy Halloween!!

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. Its fun to decorate the pumpkins and the yard. There are visits to pumpkin patches, Halloween costume pop-up stores, and haunted houses. I remember when I was living in the Bay Area there was a small town called Half-Moon Bay. Half-Moon Bay was a small fishing town south of San Francisco. There was also a lot of little farms in that area as well. Each October there would be the Half-Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival. It was fun to take my son at the time when he was a toddler.

Unlike California, Halloween in Ohio tends to mark the transition from mild Fall into colder weather(granted in the Bay Area it gets cooler, but 50-60 in December and January doesn’t compare to Ohio in December and January). Sometimes Halloween can be warm, sometimes it can be unpleasant and chilly. Irregardless the kids still have to get out there to get that candy!!! I believe this will be the last Halloween my son trick-or-treats. Its weird how fast times goes. I remember his first couple of Halloweens when he was a baby and had no concept of what trick-or-treating was.

Then when he became a toddler, at first he would be suspicious of these strangers handing out candy. Later he would enthusiastically run up driveways and ring the doorbell. Now he’s trick or treating with his friends. Leaving me at home to cry in my soup (or work on hearings). The great thing about Halloween, no matter how young or old, its still fun, and there are still things you can do to participate and enjoy Halloween.

Landlord Duty Of Care

Anyways, this is a lawfirm’s website so each post has to veer back around to some legal concept. So what legal issue or concept is implicated by Halloween? Well, here goes, if you rent your apartment or home, then you landlord owes you a duty of care to maintain the property so as to avoid injuries to both yourself and your guests, including little kids who are trick-or-treating.

Therefore if there is something that needs repaired at your home or apartment, like a loose handrail, or a rotting front porch, let your landlord know so he can fix it. If he does not and you or your guests sustain an injury, you may be entitled to compensation and/or payment of your medical bills.

As always if you or your family have suffered a serious injury, please call an attorney at Malek & Malek. We have been protecting families since 1972.

Serious Injury Due To Inadequate Security

Chicago: Two Homicides This Past Weekend

This weekend I drove up to Chicago, Illinois, and more specifically Evanston in order to attend an academic award ceremony for my son. If you are familiar with Evanston, Illinois at all its at the northern tip of Chicago. To get there you can drive up Lake Shore Drive onto Sheridan, pass Rogers Park, and then you hit Evanston.

I had lived in Rogers Park while I had been working at game company in downtown Chicago. So I decided to take a walk around my old neighborhood while I was in town. My old apartment was on this beach called Loyola Beach. I walked around the beach and around my old apartment on Friday and Saturday.

Lo and behold I get a message from my friend (who happens to now live in Rogers Park) that there were two murders in Rogers Park this past weekend. Yikes, one of the murders took place in front of my old apartment, in the same place I had walked on Friday and Saturday. Kinda eerie. Appears that the murders were completely random. Very unsettling.

https://chicago.suntimes.com/news/rogers-park-murders-police-video-shows-masked-suspect-killed-eliyahu-moscowitz-douglass-watts/

my Chicago apartment:

Serious Injury Due To Inadequate Security

Why do I bring this up beyond the fact that it was a crazy event that happened this weekend? Because if you or your family is involved in a serious injury at an apartment complex, grocery store, department store, and/or parking lots of those businesses, then you may have a cause of action against the apartment complex and or businesses. These places have a duty to protect their residents and/or visitors from serious bodily harm by providing adequate security. Adequate security can come in the form of proper lighting, security cameras, and onsite security personnel among other things.

In the occurrence you are attacked or your family member attacked or god forbid murdered at an apartment complex or business, then you would be entitled to sue those entities. In addition you would have a Victims of Crime Claim. Victims of Crime will pay for medical bills and lost wages.

Hopefully you never do experience serious bodily injury due to an attack or assault at an apartment complex, grocery store, department store, and/or parking lots of those businesses. If you do please contact Jim or Hillary at Malek & Malek to help you and your family get all the compensation you and your family are entitled to.

Chicago from Loyola Beach at Rogers Park (way off in the distance)

 

Doug Malek: Top 40 Under 40

The National Trial Lawyers

Doug Malek has been selected by the National Trial Lawyers to be a member of the Top 40 Trial Attorneys Under 40.

Doug specializes in the area of Ohio Workers Compensation law. A significant portion of his time is spent arguing on behalf of injured workers in administrative hearings before the Ohio Industrial Commission. Not everything always goes how it is supposed to during the hearing. When this happens the next step is to file a complaint on behalf of an injured worker before the Court Of Common Pleas.

What does that mean for the Injured Worker? Witness depositions, doctor depositions, drafting motions, and ultimately a jury trial. Doug’s focus, intensity, intelligence, and ability to connect with the jury has lead him to many successful results before the bench.

Doug is humble, so I will say it, he does a great job as an attorney and he has earned this recognition from the National Trial Lawyers.

Thank you for allowing Doug and the rest of attorneys at Malek and Malek to represent you for your work injury and other serious injuries – Kip

Ohio BWC: I just got injured what do I do now?

Essentially in the most simplest form the process is as follows:

You Get Injured at Work

Let your supervisor or manager know you’ve got injured

You seek medical treatment, either ER, urgent care, or primary care physician. Hopefully you have sought treatment right away. Sooner you seek treatment and document the injury, the better.

That provider has you fill out a First Report of Injury Form, FROI-1, they fill out their section.

The FROI-I is submitted to the BWC, this starts the claim

The BWC does an initial investigation, gathers medical, either allows or denies the claim

BWC issues an order allowing or denying the claim, if allowed, employer appeals, if denied, you appeal

You must appeal the order within 14 days

Issue of the claim allowance is scheduled for a district level hearing before the Ohio Industrial Commission

You receive a hearing notice indicating date, time, address of the hearing

You and your attorney argue for the allowance of the claim, and request compensation if substantiated

Hearing Officer issues a DHO Order. If it goes your way, employer appeals, and vice versa.

DHO Order must be appealed within 14 days.

Then get second level hearing before a different hearing officer, called a Staff Hearing Officer, issues an SHO Order

That’s the basics of the beginning of the claim process. Once the claim is allowed, opens the door for treatment for the ALLOWED conditions only, and compensation substantiated by the ALLOWED conditions only.

As always I recommend you seek out an attorney. The Ohio BWC Process can be cumbersome and confusing, and it is far too easy to make a mistake if you have never dealt with the system before.

I’ve made a youtube video explaining the process in significantly more detail:

 

Ohio BWC: Work Injury: Dog Attack

When most folks think of dog bites, dog attacks they tend to focus on one legal cause of action, suing the owner or harborer of the dog for the physical injury that dog has caused. But what if you get attack or bit by a dog while working, how many causes of action would you have?

The answer may be two. The traditional lawsuit you would file against the owner, harborer of the dog; and a worker’s compensation claim against your employer.

Problem of Collectibility

I do not wish that anyone is hurt, either on the job or otherwise, but you may have a better legal result or claim if you are bit or attacked during the course of employment. Why? Collectibility. A problem that folks sometimes encounter with dog bite cases is that the person who owns the dog or is legally responsible for the dog has absolutely no assets. So you might legally have won the case, and the court may have entered a six-figure judgment against the dog owner, but if the dog owner has no money, then he/she has no money to collect. Why is that person allowed to own a dangerous animal when he cannot financially pay for the harm the dangerous animal causes? Good question, unfortunately its an all too common problem in Ohio.

Dog Attack During Course of Employment

Suppose you deliver packages for UPS or are a pizza delivery driver. You pull up to a house/apartment, walk up to the door, ring the doorbell, owner opens the door, dog jumps out bites you on the leg. In this case you would fall into the duel category situation, two legal causes of action: dog bite claim, and worker’s comp claim.

Under worker’s comp, as long as your claim was allowed, you may be entitled to have your medical bills paid for, and compensation paid for during the time you are physically unable to work. This claim would be assessed against your employer’s worker’s comp coverage.

Now if the dog bite owner was collectible, and you either prevailed at trial or settled the case, you would probably have to subrogate the BWC in terms of the medical bills that had already been paid out.

Goes Without Saying . . .

Because we are talking about dog bites, I present you with pug in a drawer. So cute, Cheers, Kip

 

Ohio BWC: Work Injury: Slip and Falls At Work

When I lived around San Francisco I’d take my son to this place in Half Moon Bay called the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve. It was my favorite place to visit because at low tide you could explore tide pools. I’d walk out there with my toddler son at the time and marvel at all the crazy creatures we could find: star fish, sea anemones, octupus, shore crab, chitons, nudibranch (basically weird colorful sea slugs), etc. One big hazard that existed was that is was slippery as all get out; fortunately neither my son or I slipped and fell.

Now I live in Ohio; what does it do in the winter in Ohio? It gets cold, it snows, ice forms, roads and side walks get slippery. Inevitably slips and falls happen. So the question you may have is: “if I slip at work is this a workers comp injury?”

DO I HAVE A WORKERS COMP INJURY

First did it happen at work or an area under the control of your employer. If you slipped on ice in your employer’s parking lot, probably a work injury. More difficult scenario, employer doesn’t own the parking lot. Again how much control does your employer have over the lot. This scenario is ripe for arguments pro/con at an Industrial Commission hearing. Probably comes down to which hearing officer you get whether the parking lot is construed as under the control of your employer. If its found that the parking lot was not under the control of your employer, then it would not be a work injury. In which case, you might be able to file a personal injury complaint against the owners of the parking lot.

Second, did you slip and fall on ice, or did you just fall apropos of nothing. If you just fall without any exterior influence, this would be an idiopathic injury, and as such would unfortunately not be a work injury.

The next question that people have about slips and falls at work are, “my employer is negligent, he should have shoveled or salted the parking lot/side walk.” Might be negligence, but in the worker’s comp world basic run of the mill negligence is not considered. This works both ways, I’ll got to hearings and the employer will say something like, “Joe Blow was doing such and such wrong and that’s why he got hurt.” Fortunately Joe Blow will still have a work injury claim even if he was doing such and such task wrong/incorrectly/negligently.

DOES KIP HAVE A WORKERS COMP INJURY

Anyways, back to me and why I wrote this article. I like to cut across the grass in front of our office to go to and from the building. As I was leaving to go home I cut across the grass, slipped and landed on my side. So would I have a work injury:

1.) Was the injury site owned or under control of my employer? Yeah, the little evil grass hill is owned by Malek and Malek

2.) Was it an idiopathic fall or fall due to external means? Now my brother would say I had an idiot pathetic injury, but I fell due to slipping on the grass. So the fall was due to external means.

3.) Did I suffer an injury? No, I killed my shirt and pants, but thankfully I did not suffer an injury.

BE SAFE FOLKS

Please be safe these snowy and icey days. Watch where step. We get clients who have sustained serious head injuries from bonk their head on the ground. Its no joke when you slip and fall. If you have a question, concern, or comment please call or email the Work Injury Attorneys at Malek & Malek. We’ll try to help you and set you on the right path. Cheers, Kip Malek

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