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When it Comes to Buying Car Insurance How Much Liability Coverage is Enough?

11-09-16    

Car Accident

To understand how much insurance you should have, it is important to know the types of coverage available in a typical Ohio automobile insurance policy. Here is a quick summary:

  • Liability Bodily Injury (covers you for an accident where you are at fault and someone else is hurt)
  • Liability Property Damage (covers you for an accident where you are at fault and there is damage to someone else’s car or property)
  • Medical Payments (covers medical bills incurred by you or a passenger in your car. Medical payments coverage will pay regardless of who is at fault)
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists (often called UIM-this covers you and passengers in your car in cases where the at-fault driver has no insurance or the at-fault driver has a policy that is too small to make up for all the harms and losses caused)

In Ohio, the state minimum insurance limit for liability coverage that an insurance company can sell on a policy is $25,000.00 per person, $50,000.00 per accident. This means that the minimum amount of coverage that you are required by law to have is $25,000.00 to cover damages in an accident that is your fault. If you cause an accident, the liability coverage of $25,000.00 will pay any damages that are suffered by the other drivers or passengers involved. With the high cost of medical treatment and the potential of other significant harms and losses, like time off work, $25,000.00 in coverage provides very little protection to you.

The insurance company will never pay more than the limits of liability coverage that you purchase. If you cause an accident, and your insurance is not enough to cover the other party’s damages, the other party has the right to sue you to collect from your personal assets. This means that the person damaged may sue you and obtain a judgment and then seek to garnish your wages or place liens against your real estate and other personal property Because of this, it is important that you have enough insurance coverage to protect yourself in case you cause an accident.

How much you pay for a liability policy obviously increases as the limits of liability increase. However, it may not cost as much as you think. You may be able to increase liability coverage from $25,000.00 to $100,000.00 for as little as a 5% increase because the additional coverage is not nearly as expensive as getting the policy in the first place. Shop around to get the best price. Having the right insurance and the right insurance coverage is often compared to having an umbrella. It is like Murphys’ law. When you have an umbrella it never rains. The minute you leave your umbrella back at home, you find yourself in the middle of a rainstorm. Having enough liability insurance coverage means protecting all the things that you’ve worked so hard to acquire.

But what happens when an accident is not your fault, and you are the victim? Read our next blog about how to protect yourself from the uninsured and underinsured drivers on our roadways.


Giving Feels Good and is Good For You Too

10-28-16    

Happy Girl

Studies have confirmed that volunteering not only has mental health benefits, but physical benefits as well-including lower blood pressure, reduced stress, lower levels of depression and a longer lifespan.

Attorneys John and Hillary Rinehardt spent last weekend volunteering at Flying Horse Farms in Mt. Gilead Ohio. Flying Horse Farms is a camp for kids with serious illnesses. For a week at a time, being sick takes a backseat to being a kid. Flying Horse Farms provides magical, transformative camp experiences for hundreds of happy campers and their families every year-completely free of charge.

Yale researchers have proven that campers leave Flying Horse Farms with more independence, higher self-esteem, increased confidence, and greater maturity. You don’t have to be there long to bear witness Rangers-teen campers who participate in a weeklong servant-leadership program-transform. Camper families-who participate in family camps-transform. We can attest that the camp experience is transformative for staff and volunteers too.

At last weekend’s fall family, John used his angling skills to help kids fish in the lake where they “kiss and release” the fish. Hillary worked in the kitchen preparing food from scratch that is mostly donated. If you are interested helping too, check out the ways to get involved on the Flying Horse Farms website.

With our busy lives, it can be hard to find time to volunteer. However, carving out the time to volunteer can have enormous benefits to you, your family, and your community. Learn more about the many benefits of helping others at Harvard Health Publications and find volunteer opportunities in your area at Volunteer Match.


Does My Childcare Provider Carry Liability Insurance?

10-24-16    


Insurance coverage is a major point to discuss with any childcare provider, whether licensed or not.

Licensed child care centers are required by Ohio law to carry liability insurance.

Licensed type A and Type B homes (see prior post for definitions) must carry liability insurance for incidents that occur in connection with operation of the facility. The minimum insurance must provide coverage in the amount of $100,000 per occurrence and $300,000 in aggregate. This means the facility can have three $100,000 settlements paid on its behalf before the maximum (aggregate) is reached. Once the aggregate is reached, the policy is said to be exhausted, meaning there is no insurance coverage left.

Ohio law provides that in the alternative to maintaining liability insurance, the facility may obtain a sworn statement from the parent(s) to verify understanding that the provider does not carry insurance. If you have not signed a sworn statement such as this, the facility is required to maintain insurance.

However, just because insurance is required does not mean the provider is complying with the requirement.

What if my childcare provider is not licensed?

Unlicensed childcare providers are not required by law to carry insurance.

An unlicensed provider providing care in their home might tell you he or she has homeowner’s insurance. But unless there is a specific rider that is attached to the policy specifically providing coverage, homeowner’s insurance will not apply.

The Bottom Line

Even if you are told that a childcare provider carries insurance, you need to proactive. Ask your childcare provider to provide you with proof of insurance!

Don’t accept an oral representation. Demand to see the insurance documentation that shows that the child care services are covered by the policy.

Proof of insurance is something that the provider can easily obtain from their insurance company if they have the coverage.

Contact Rinehardt Law Firm

If you believe your child has been neglected or abused by a childcare provider, or if your child was injured due to inadequate supervision or because of poorly maintained facilities, call us for a free consultation.


What If My Child Is Injured At Daycare?

10-17-16    

kid injured

It is mid-morning at work, and your cellphone rings. You see it is the daycare center calling. Every parent knows that dreaded feeling. What’s wrong? What happened? Is my baby okay?

If your child is injured while at a licensed daycare, Ohio law provides for who has to be notified and when depending on the type of injury that occurred.

When is an Incident Report Required?

According to Ohio law, an incident/injury report must be completed by the child care staff member in charge of the child when the following occur:

  • An illness, accident, or injury which requires first aid treatment;
  • A bump or blow to the head;
  • Emergency transporting; or
  • An unusual or unexpected event which jeopardizes the safety of children or staff, such as, a child leaving the center unattended.

Who Must Be Notified and When?

The center must document the incident/injury using the Job and Family services form JFS 01299 “Incident/Injury Report”. The completed report must be given on the day of the incident/injury to the parent, guardian, or person picking up the child from the center. In situations requiring emergency transportation, the incident/injury report must be available at the center for the parent or guardian within at least twenty-four hours following the incident/injury. Copies of incident/injury report forms must be kept on file at the center for at least one year, and must be available for review by the director’s representative.

The center administrator must speak with a representative from the appropriate licensing office within twenty-four hours during the week (or within forty-eight hours if the incident occurs on a weekend or holiday) if any of the following occur:

  • Death of a child at the center.
  • Any situation occurring while a child is in care of the center, that requires emergency medical treatment or professional consultation or transportation for emergency treatment
  • An unusual or unexpected event which jeopardizes the safety of children or staff, such as a child leaving the center unattended.

Written notification to the licensing agency must follow the twenty-four-hour verbal notification. This incident report must be faxed, mailed, or scanned and emailed or submitted online to the licensing office within three business days from the occurrence. Submission of the incident report alone does not fulfill the verbal notification requirements.

If there are concerns of child abuse or neglect, there must also be notification and reporting to the public children services agency in addition to the incident report requirements.

Contact Rinehardt Law Firm

If you believe your child has been neglected or abused by a childcare provider, or if your child was injured due to inadequate supervision or because of poorly maintained facilities, call us for a free consultation.


Choosing the Right Childcare: Safety Rules that Apply to Daycare Providers

10-10-16    

Kids at childcare

Because there’s nothing more precious than the safety of our children, it is important to know what regulations apply to daycare providers, and to make sure those safety rules are followed.

Some types of child care must be regulated, while other types of child care may operate without a license.

Types of Providers

In Ohio, only child care centers and larger in-home providers (with seven to twelve children) must be licensed. A center is a provider that cares for seven or more children of any age. Child Care Staff Members must be at least 18 years old and have a high school education or must have completed a training program approved by the Department of Human Services

Type A Homes must also be licensed. A Type A Home is care in the provider’s personal residence for seven to twelve children (or four to twelve children if four children are under two years of age). The provider’s own children under six years of age must be included in the total count.

Type B Homes may be operated without a license. A Type B Homes is care in the provider’s personal residence for no more than six children. No more than three children may be under two years of age. The provider’s own children under six years of age must be included in the total count. Type B homes must be certified by the county department of Job and Family Services if the child care is paid for with public funds.

Other types of care that do not require a license include care provided in a child’s own home; programs which operate two weeks or less a year; programs where parents remain on the premises (unless at the parent’s employment site); specialized training in specific subjects, such as art, drama, dance, and swimming; and programs which operate one day a week for no more than six hours.

Staff to Child Ratios

Ohio law provides for staff to child ratios. Keep in mind, these are minimum requirements. The best care is often provided at a lower staff to child ratio. For example, staff-to-child ratio is especially important for infants. The Academy of Pediatrics recommends that a single provider care for no more than three children younger than age of 2 at once. However, state licensing laws allow for five infants per adult. You want to make sure the staff has plenty of time to change diapers properly, provide feedings, and still have time left for play time. The staff to child ratios are:

  • Infants (birth and under 12 months) — 1 to 5 (or 2 to 12 in the same room)
  • Infants (12-18 months) — 1 to 6
  • Toddlers (18 months-2 1/2 years) — 1 to 7
  • Toddlers (2 1/2 years to 3 years) — 1 to 8
  • Pre-School (three years) — 1 to 12
  • Pre-School (four to five years) — 1 to 14
  • School Age (kindergarten to 11 years) — 1 to 18

Using the Rules to Help Choose the Right Childcare

The purpose of Ohio’s child care licensing regulations is to reduce the risk of harm to children while they are participating in out of home care. The serious risk rule violations of the Ohio Administrative Code fall into three distinct categories: Lack of Supervision, Administrative Negligence, and Environmental Hazards. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services has developed a guide for providers to use as a tool to help focus on those areas of rules which present the greatest risk of harm to children. These rules, if violated, could immediately endanger the health and safety of children in care. As a parent, when choosing childcare, you can also be aware of these rules while visiting the center or in-home care. You can ask questions and observe whether the child care provider has devised and implemented systems to assure your children are in the safest and healthiest environments possible. Even if the childcare you choose in not a licensed facility, you can still use the guide to make sure that the provider is adequately supervising your child, has qualified personnel, and the facility is properly maintained.

Just because a home is licensed, does not mean the child care provider is following the rules. Ohio’s child care centers are inspected prior to receiving a license, and after license issuance one to two times per year. Centers will also be investigated in response to complaints. Ohio’s child care centers must post their license in a conspicuous place where parents can see it. They must also post copies of inspection reports for parent’s review. Ask prospective childcare providers where these things are posted.

You can also ask whether the child care provider has been accredited by a national organization. Providers that are accredited have met voluntary standards for child care that are higher than most state licensing requirements. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC) are the two largest organizations that accredit child care programs.

Contact Rinehardt Law Firm

If you believe your child has been neglected or abused by a childcare provider, or if your child was injured due to inadequate supervision or because of poorly maintained facilities, call us for a free consultation.

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We’re here to help you and your family get back on track after an accident. Reach out to us today for a free case evaluation.