How can I keep my pool safe in summer?

Drownings and other pool-related accidents take many lives each year. As the owner, it is up to you to institute rules about the use of your pool to help prevent such accidents. 

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission suggests that if you have children who will swim in the pool that you make sure they know how to swim. You can ensure your own children take lessons and suggest to other parents to teach their children to swim as well. Having these skills makes a child more at ease in the water and more aware of risky behaviors. 

Put barriers in place 

You should make sure nobody can get into your pool without your knowledge. To do this, install a fence around the pool area with a locking gate. Also, use pool alarms so that you know the minute someone breaks the water’s surface. 

Always have an adult supervising 

Make a strict rule that children are to never be in the pool without an adult outside. Set severe consequences for those who break the rule. It is much better for a child to suffer a punishment than an injury because he or she did not follow the rules. 

Check your drain covers 

Drains can suck in hair, clothing and even limbs, holding a person under the water and making it impossible to escape. Make sure that your drain covers are in good condition and work properly. Also, warn swimmers about where the drains are and to stay away from them. You can also install safety covers that help keep swimmers from getting too close. 

What are the types of product defects?

If you purchase a product, use it according to the instructions and suffer an injury, then you may have a product liability case. According to Cornell Law School, damages caused by a faulty product leave the manufacturer, assembler and seller liable. 

You may suffer an injury due to different types of product defects, which include manufacturing, design and marketing. 

Manufacturing defects 

Manufacturing defects are those that involve a mistake during the construction of the product. It could be an error, such as forgetting to install a screw in a mechanical product. Any defect that is due to the production of a product may occur in all units the company creates or only in random products. 

Design defects 

This type of defect originates with the person who creates the initial blueprint for the product. If you have this type of defect, it means that regardless of manufacturing or other details, the product would always be faulty because the overall idea did not work. With a design default, every product is faulty because the problem started with the initial creation and not during other parts of the process. 

Marketing defects 

Marketing defects include issues with instructions and warnings. For example, if the instruction on how to use a product fails to include a crucial step, then this is a marketing defect. The products must also include warnings about how not to use it or that refer to inherent risks of using the product, and if a company fails to issue these warnings, it opens the door for potential injuries. It is up to the company to know what warnings to include. 

The Importance Of Wearing A Seat Belt

In Ohio, when a driver is deemed to be responsible for a car accident, he or she will be liable to pay any damage that was caused to persons and property that arose from the incident. The person responsible for the accident is labeled the “at-fault driver.” Assuming the at-fault driver has insurance, the injured person would make a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. But at-fault drivers and their insurance companies typically assert defenses in court that could potentially limit the injured person’s recovery if the injured person is found to be somewhat responsible for the accident. Depending on state law, at-fault drivers in a typical case will raise several defense, including that the injured person contributed to causing the auto accident. This is known as contributory negligence. Alongside contributory negligence, at-fault drivers may also assert what is called the “seat belt defense.”

The Seat Belt Defense

Many states, including Ohio, allow for defendants to assert the seat belt defense. The basic principle of this defense is that since the plaintiff failed to follow the law by wearing a seat belt while driving, recovery should be limited because he or she contributed to the injuries sustained in the accident.  Under Ohio Revised Code 2315.33, a court can reduce a plaintiff’s damages by the amount that is equal to the percentage he or she is found to contribute to an accident. But it doesn’t bar a plaintiff from recovering damages that were a direct and proximate cause of an accident.

The seat belt defense is put on as evidence so a jury can determine the allocation or percentage of fault that the plaintiff and defendant are responsible for in the accident. In states like Ohio, the rationale for this defense is that plaintiffs should not fully recover when the injury arising from the accident was aggravated due to the plaintiff’s failure to wear a seat belt.

Law and Data

Under Ohio Revised Code 4523.263, every driver and front seat passenger is required to wear a seat belt. And Ohio law requires every child under eight years old to ride in a booster seat or other appropriate child safety seat unless certain height requirements are met. Although a violation of this code results in a minimal fine, the law is really put into place to protect Ohioans from serious and fatal injuries.

According to the Ohio Highway Safety Office, 1,326 people were fatally injured between 2016 to 2018 because they were not wearing an available seat belt during a car crash. And 6,021 occupants suffered serious injuries while unbelted. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) estimated that in 2017 alone, 456 occupants of a motor vehicle at the age of five or older were saved by using a seat belt in Ohio.

The consequences of not wearing a seat belt can be life changing. Reports show that 138 people who were involved in a fatal car accident in Ohio could have been saved if they were wearing a seat belt during the accident. NHTSA also reported that, in 2017, seat belts saved the lives of around 14,955 people who were involved in a motor vehicle accident. With that, it is safe to say that Ohio pushes for the use of a seat belt because of the preventive measures it provides.

The Round Up

The importance of wearing your seat belt really goes without question. Ohio law requires drivers and front seat passengers to wear a seat belt for their safety and benefit. And many people are unaware that the failure to wear one can also limit your recovery in a claim against an at-fault driver. This could potentially lead to out of pocket payments for medical bills and property damage that occur from an auto accident.

If you have been involved in an auto accident, you may have a claim to recover damages against an at-fault driver. Many times, insurance companies will attempt to limit your recovery from an insurance policy based on the percentage of fault it assigns to you. When you disagree with that percentage, it may be necessary to obtain an attorney to make a legal claim so you can be compensated fairly. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer, please call our office at 330-722-8989.

Acknowledgments

Despite the danger, many drivers keep taking risks on the road

Recent findings by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety have found that, despite knowing the risks, an alarming number of U.S. drivers continue to engage in behaviors that may endanger themselves and others on the road. 

Even though most motorists agree that activities like texting or talking on the phone while driving are dangerous, many admit to doing so on a regular basis. Worse, the research shows that drivers who have been in a recent collision are more likely to engage in risky behavior. 

A disconnect between driver attitudes and behaviors 

A recent Traffic Safety Culture Index by the AAA underscores the discord between American attitudes about risky behaviors and their actual choices. Most motorists consider typing (96.7%) or reading (95.9%) on a hand-held device while driving extremely dangerous. 

Despite this, 41.3% of drivers admitted to reading a text or email behind the wheel within the past 30 days, and 32.1% reported typing a message while driving within the past month. 

A correlation between collisions and risk-taking behaviors 

AAA’s recent study found that motorists who have been in at least one collision within the past two years are much more likely to take risks behind the wheel. That is especially true for drivers who admitted to engaging in distracted driving behaviors. 

The research showed that among drivers involved in a recent crash: 

  • 43% reported texting while driving within the past month, vs. 27% not involved in a collision 
  • 50% reported using a hand-held device to talk while driving within the past month, vs. 30% not involved in a collision 
  • 39% reported running a red light within the past month, vs. 30% not involved in a collision 

Unfortunately, for too many drivers, even experiencing an accident is not enough to influence reckless habits. 

Advice for avoiding an accident 

In the digital era, reaching for a mobile device has become second nature for many Americans. The AAA recommends turning on airplane mode or using other blocking features to minimize distractions while on the road. Additionally, all drivers should make sure to stay alert for other motorists who may not be paying attention. 

What are the most common office injuries?

When most people envision the phrase “hazardous work environment,” it is unlikely they think of an office building. However, it is important to realize that injuries can happen anywhere, and with the prevalence of office workers in the United States, injuries happen quite often in offices.

In fact, some of the statistics surrounding office injuries may surprise you. According to the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, people who work in offices are over two times more likely to suffer a disabling injury from a fall as compared to people who do not work in offices.

Why are falls so common?

There are many hidden hazards in an office environment. Many people trip over open file drawers, wires and electrical cords, loose carpeting and other objects left carelessly around the office.

Another common source of falls is using a chair to reach high up objects as compared to using a step ladder. Particularly if the chair has wheels rather than a solid base. Wet floors may also be a huge hazard, particularly if they are not marked appropriately with yellow warning signs.

What can I do to prevent injury?

The most important thing is to be aware. Make sure that you are paying attention to your surroundings and not just your coworker if you are walking down an office hallway. You can also prevent injury by ensuring that you keep all file drawers closed when you are not using them. Finally, taking the time to go get a proper step ladder rather than trying to stand on a chair to reach higher objects will prevent you from falling off a chair.

What should you know about inattentional blindness?

Ohio drivers know that distraction on the road can take lives. Some forms of distraction receive more attention than others. For example, campaigns against texting while driving took the state by storm. But all types of distracted driving behavior have the potential to be this deadly. 

Today, we will look at a psychological phenomenon that may cause you distraction. Recognizing inattentional blindness as a potential risk can help you to avoid it. 

The use of inattentional blindness 

The American Psychological Association examines inattentional blindness as a psychological phenomenon. Outside of driving, this phenomenon is helpful. It allows us to focus on important details. We can do this without getting overwhelmed by everything else. You are “blinded” to extraneous information as you focus on one sole thing. 

But in driving, you need to multitask. You must focus on your speed. You must pay attention to oncoming traffic. You must scan your rear view mirror for other cars. You must watch the road for potential obstacles. And you have to do this at the same time. Inattentional blindness forces you to focus on only one thing. This means other dangers can take you by surprise. 

Inattentional blindness in new and old drivers 

New drivers face stronger instances of inattentional blindness. They are not used to multitasking while driving. But inattentional blindness is a psychological mechanism that every human has. This means it can affect every driver, no matter how long you have driven. 

If you notice that you are hyper-focusing, it is likely inattentional blindness. This can lead to running red lights or traffic signs because you do not see them. In turn, that leads to crashes. It is important to recognize your distraction before things get to that point. 

Making Matters Worse: The Impact of Hospital Acquired Conditions

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, hospitals around the nation are furloughing staff of elective procedures in an effort to remain financially stable. The focus of hospital resources has shifted from these ordinary procedures to address Covid-related issues. However, everyday patients and their underlining medical conditions do not just go away over-night. This situation puts non-Covid related patients at a potential risk today due to the lack of staff, resources, and attention they receive.

Patients in hospitals already suffer physical, emotional, and financial anguish when dealing with a serious medical condition. Unfortunately, and, sometimes unknown to some, many patients endure hospital-acquired conditions (HACs) that leave them in a worse condition compared to when they entered a healthcare facility. Thus, it is important to know the facts and circumstances that surround these preventable injuries, especially when dealing with the circumstances of today and the foreseeable future.

What are HACs?

Hospital acquired conditions are defined by the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) as avoidable complications of care that could reasonably have been prevented through the application of evidence-based guidelines. Basically, HACS are preventable injuries that occur at the hands of a doctor, nurse, or other hospital employee that were not present at the time of admission into a hospital.  HACs are identified by 14 distinct conditions.

Identifiable HACs

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid legally recognize specific hospital acquired conditions. The criteria for identification include: (1) high cost and/or high volume; (2) higher payment when present as a secondary diagnosis; and (3) reasonably preventable through applicable guidelines. The 14 current recognized categories are:

  • Foreign Object Retained After Surgery
  • Air Embolism
  • Blood Incompatibility
  • Stage III and IV Pressure Ulcers
  • Falls and Trauma
  • Manifestations of Poor Glycemic Control
  • Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
  • Vascular Catheter-Associated Infection
  • Surgical Site Infection, Mediastinitis, Following Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG)
  • Surgical Site Infection Following Bariatric Surgery for Obesity
  • Surgical Site Infection Following Certain Orthopedic Procedures
  • Surgical Site Infection Following Cardiac Implantable Electronic Device (CIED)
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis/ Pulmonary Embolism
  • Iatrogenic Pneumothorax with Venous Catheterization

Physical and Financial Hardship

On top of a patient’s serious medical condition, HACs cause additional physical and financial hardships that negatively impact everyday life. Patients who develop hospital acquired conditions are more likely required to stay in a hospital for a longer duration of time. Longer hospital stays put patients at risk for aggravating existing conditions and developing new complications.

Additionally, these longer stays require more treatment, increasing the cost of medical bills and expenses. Moreover, HACs require longer recovery times that prevent a patient from returning to work resulting in lost wages. Some cases of hospital acquired conditions can also lead to death. According to IBM Watson Health, in 2016, an estimated 3,200 deaths were attributable to HACs.

Finding a Solution

Hospital acquired conditions have severe consequences to a person’s physical and financial life. It is important to note that these consequences are completely preventable and should be avoided by hospitals.

If you believe to be suffering from any of the 14 known hospital acquired conditions as stated above, you may have a claim to recover legal damages against your healthcare provider. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer, please call our office at 330-722-8989.

Acknowledgements

Can I appeal my workers’ compensation denial?

Workers’ compensation is a no-fault situation. You do not have to prove that your employer was at fault. However, this does not mean that every claim is valid. The insurer will still investigate to ensure that you were not to blame for the accident. In addition, the insurer requires specific adherence to deadlines and documents that you must provide.

If you fail to properly file your case or the insurer finds you to be fully at fault for your accident, then the insurer could deny your claim. In most cases, a denial is something you can negotiate. According to the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, if you get a workers’ compensation claim denial, then you do have the right to appeal.

How to appeal

To appeal, you will file a written notice with the BWC. Your document must include an explanation of why you want to appeal, your claim number, your name, your employer’s name and the date of the original claim. You must sign and date the form before submitting it. You can bring it to the BWC local office, fax it to the office or mail it.

Things to keep in mind

Your appeal will go to the Industrial Commission of Ohio. The IC works with the BWC to review your claim, the denial and appeal. There is a hearing that you will attend where the IC conducts its investigation. You can present evidence at the hearing to back up your claim. The IC issues a written decision.

You can appeal within 14 days after you get the denial notice. You have the right to appeal any part of a claim denial with which you do not agree.

Could a drowsy driver put you at risk?

Ohio residents face many dangers any time they hit the road. Drowsy drivers are only one of these dangers. But drowsy driving is an act that may cause more damage than you think. 

We will look at the true impact drowsy driving has on road safety today. Not only will we see how it affects other drivers. We will also see why it is still an ongoing and even growing issue. 

How many people drive tired? 

The National Sleep Foundation ran a poll once. In this poll, a shocking 60 percent of all Americans polled admitted to driving while tired. 37 percent even admitted to falling asleep at the wheel. Why is this such a widespread problem? For many, this is because they think drowsy driving is an acceptable behavior. At the very least, they do not think it is too risky. Many drivers claim they have driven drowsy with no repercussions or know someone who has. This creates a false sense of safety. 

How does exhaustion affect the body? 

In reality, many drowsy drivers end up in crashes. This is because drowsiness affects drivers like alcohol does. Their responses slow. They cannot react to danger fast enough. They are unable to keep a good eye on their surroundings. This is why so many crashes with drowsy drivers are rear-end collisions. A car stops, and the drowsy driver behind them does not notice in time. 

The biggest risk is a drowsy driver falling asleep at the wheel. In these accidents, a driver may drift across a barrier into oncoming traffic. These crashes often come with severe injury or fatality. This is even more true if it takes place on a highway where speeds are high. 

Understanding the risk of drowsy driving will encourage drivers to avoid it. In avoiding it, less drowsy drivers are on the road. This can create a safer environment for everyone. 

Annie’s Law and drunk driving deaths in Ohio

Drunk drivers have long plagued Ohio’s roads and highways, putting innocent people in harm’s way for no good reason. Over the years, the state has enacted different laws in an attempt to crack down on these negligent drivers to increase safety for everyone. Residents may find it interesting to track the effectiveness of these laws by reviewing important statistics. 

Alcohol-related vehicular deaths in Ohio 

Records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that in the five years spanning from 2014 to 2018, there were only minor changes in the number of people killed by drunk drivers. In 2014, 302 lives were lost in crashes in which alcohol was a contributing factor. Those deaths accounted for 30% of the state’s total vehicular fatalities that year. For the next two years, the number of drunk driving deaths increased first to 309 and then to 331 before dropping slightly to 329 in 2017. In both 2015 and 2017, alcohol was involved in 28% of the state’s auto deaths and in 2016 it was a factor in 29% of deaths. 

The impact of Annie’s Law  

In the spring of 2017, Annie’s Law went into effect across Ohio. It introduced the use of ignition interlock devices by even first-time offenders and increased the length of time for which a driver’s license would be suspended after a first or subsequent impaired driving offense. Annie’s Law also allowed courts to consider any arrest within 10 years of a prior drunk driving offense to be a second or greater versus after only six years. 

In 2018, there were fewer drunk driving deaths with 294 people killed in these crashes. However, overall traffic deaths also dropped resulting in a stagnation of the 28% of all deaths.