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Rinehardt Law 3rd Annual ThanksGIVEaway

10-09-19    

For the third year, Rinehardt Law is putting turkeys on tables for those families in our community who are facing adversity or hardship and need a helping hand. Thanksgiving is a time to gather around the table, share a special meal, and give thanks. Rinehardt Law wants every family in our community to have the opportunity to enjoy the holiday without financial stress.
 This year, Rinehardt Law’s ThanksGIVEaway will be held Friday, November 21, 2017 from 3:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. at our Mansfield offices located at 2404 Park Ave. W.  We will be giving away 125 turkeys and all the fixings for a great Thanksgiving dinner.   
 “We are blessed to be in a position to help the community—for us it is the ‘thanks’ in Thanksgiving,” says Attorney John Rinehardt. “Giving is the other half of the word. Putting turkeys on tables is very meaningful to the entire team here at Rinehardt Law as our way to give back to the community at this family focused time of year.”
 If you would like more information about the event or would like to join us in our effort, please contact Hillary Rinehardt at hillary@lawfirm2020.com or 419-LAW-2020. You can also visit www.rinehardtlawfirm.com to sign up.

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Can a Car Crash Cause Tinnitus?

10-03-19    

male having ear pain touching his painful head isolated on gray backgroundTinnitus, originating from the Latin word ‘tinnire’ (‘to ring’), is a perception of sound in proximity to the head with the absence of an external source. It is usually described as buzzing, ringing, roaring, whistling or hissing. Tinnitus may be intermittent, pulsing or continuous, and is at best annoying, but more often is quite distressing. It is estimated that approximately 15–20% of the world population suffer from tinnitus. For about 25% of those affected, the condition interferes with daily activity, with 1–3% of cases severely affecting quality of life. Severe tinnitus is frequently associated with depression, anxiety and insomnia.

There are many causes of tinnitus, it commonly occurs as a result of head or neck trauma. In fact, 17% of all cases of tinnitus are associated with heal or neck injury.[1]

In a study at a tinnitus clinic, 297 out of 2400 patients reported that their tinnitus started within two weeks of a head or neck injury. The vast majority of these patients reported that tinnitus began immediately after or within 24 hours of their injury. 72% of the patients were male and 56% of the injuries occurred as a result of motor vehicle accidents.[2] The trauma patients also had significantly higher Tinnitus Severity Index scores.[3] Compared with other tinnitus patients at the clinic, trauma patients reported more problems sleeping, relaxing, concentrating, thinking clearly, and remembering things.[4]

In the study, almost all of the trauma patients experienced rapid, sometimes immediate, tinnitus onset by contrast with non-trauma patients.[5] The trauma patients in the study had experienced tinnitus, on average for 2.3 years before presenting to the clinic as opposed to non-trauma patients who, on average, experienced tinnitus for 6.9 years before presenting to the clinic.[6] The reason for this is that tinnitus of shorter duration (sudden onset) is often more severe than tinnitus that has been present for a longer time. Tinnitus in non-trauma patients is gradual onset allowing them to develop coping skills and strategies to improve sleep patterns and stress management.[7]

Tinnitus is associated with marked irritability, agitation, stress, depression, insomnia and interference with daily life.[8] There is no approved drug in the market that provides replicable, long term reduction of tinnitus impact in excess of placebo effects.[9] Current treatment strategy is aimed at controlling underlying disorders and suppressing the perception of tinnitus with the primary goal to improve quality of life rather than absolute cure. Unfortunately, there is no regimen that has shown complete efficacy.[10]

[1] Atik, Alp; Pathology and Treatment of Tinnitus: An Elsusive Disease; Indian J Otolayrngol Head Neck Surg (January 2014) 66(Supp 1): S1-S5; Attached hereto.
[2] Id.
[3] Id.
[4] Id,
[5] Id.
[6] Id.
[7] Id.
[8] Atik at S2.
[9] Id.
[10] Id.


Understaffing in Nursing Homes

09-24-19    

wheelchair in empty hallThe majority of nursing homes (both across Ohio and across the United States) have staffed fewer nurses and caretakers than what they have reported to the government, proving the long-held suspicions that nursing home staffing is incredibly inadequate across the nation.

According to recent federal data, there are frequent and significant fluctuations in day-to-day staffing at nursing homes. On the lowest staffed days at an average facility, each staff member had to care for twice as many patients as s/he would care for on a fully staffed day. However, there are facilities that fall much below this line, leaving staff members to care for many times the number of patients than they are equipped.

This data came from daily payroll records that Medicare recently began gathering and publishing from more than 14,000 nursing homes. Previously, Medicare simply rated each facility’s staffing levels based on each home’s own unverified reports, leading to many homes reporting staffing as being far more adequate than what was reality. These payroll records provide strong evidence that the previous system for rating nursing homes—the five-star rating system—more than often exaggerated staffing levels and rarely identified the daily periods in which inadequate staffing was common.

Nearly 1.4 million people across the United States are cared for in nursing facilities. When nursing homes are short of staff, the nurses and aides are often found scrambling to deliver meals, help residents carry out daily tasks, and answer calls for medication. Essential tasks in a nursing home can be overlooked when the staff is overburdened, which can lead to injuries and hospitalizations that could have been avoided with a proper staff.

In addition to this, in a desperate search for staff in order to meet standards for Medicare’s new reports, homes often find themselves hiring underqualified and undertrained staff. These staff members, untrained and unqualified as nurses and aides, can harm the nursing home patients more than help them. While Medicare does not set a minimum resident-to-staff ratio, it does require the presence of a registered nurse (RN) for eight hours per day, and a licensed nurse (LN) on the home’s property at all times. However, this could lead to one nurse (either RN or LN) becoming responsible for up to dozens of patients at a time.

However, The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said that it is “concerned and taking steps to address fluctuations in staffing levels” that have emerged in new data. Recently, it said that it would lower ratings for homes that have gone more than seven days without a registered nurse in the home and on-the-clock.

In April, the federal government started using these daily payroll reports to calculate average staffing ratings in an attempt to put a stop to nursing homes “gaming the system” and covering when they were understaffed. These new records show that at least one day during the last three months of 2017, a quarter of nursing homes reported no registered nurse at work. Furthermore, out of the 14,000 homes that submitted daily payroll reports, 70 percent had lower staffing than they had reported with the previous method of self-reporting.

With all good things comes a downfall, and this new Medicare system is no different. Medicare still assigns stars (on a five-star system) by comparing homes to each other, rather than to a set scale, which leads to a curved grading system. As a result, a vast number of homes have kept their star rating, despite acknowledging the decrease in staffing levels.

The staff members who work at nursing homes who are not trained nurses—namely, the nursing assistants—earn an average of $13.23 per hour. Nursing homes compete for these workers with each other, and with better paying employers such as hospitals and retailers. This leads to an incredibly high turnover rate for both nursing assistants as well as trained nurses. It seems to be a vicious cycle that never ends: understaffing leads to more responsibility for the remaining staff members, which leads to a high turnover rate, et cetera.

One resident at a nursing home claims that he would roam the halls in search for an aide who was not already bombarded with work, seeking assistance with putting on his shirt. He claims that it is “almost like a ghost town.” Obviously, this is unacceptable and if your loved one needs assistance, they should be able to get it. If you suspect that your loved one is not getting the care they need in a nursing home, the Columbus nursing home abuse attorneys of Rinehardt Law Firm are prepped to help you. Contact us at (419) 529-2020 for a free consultation.


Animal Injuries

08-22-19    

For many farmers, livestock and animals are the majority of their business. Farmers and employees take significant measures to care for these animals and ensure that they remain safe; unfortunately, this same level of care is not always extended to employees or other bystanders. When farm animals cause harm, the farm owners can be held liable for injuries sustained.

Farm workers are often in direct contact with livestock, whether it be feeding, grooming, or transporting the animals. Animal injuries can range in severity from minor cuts and bruises to severe, life-threatening injuries. This could be biting, trampling, kicking, or goring. These accidents can have catastrophic consequences, leaving the victim with brain injuries, amputations, paralysis, and other severe injuries. These incidents can be caused by inadequate containment of livestock or inadequate training for handing livestock, both of which are preventable and inexcusable.

The World Health Organization predicts that by the year 2020, injuries will be responsible for more death, morbidity, and disability than all communicable diseases combined. Right now, injuries account for one in seven potential life-years lost worldwide, and by 2020 they will account for one in five. During the last decade, workers in the United States agriculture industry received particular attention because of the increasingly high risk of fatal injuries and suspected risk for serious, nonfatal injuries. Studies have consistently reported that farm machinery, livestock, and falls are major contributors to agricultural injuries.

The weight of farm animals can vary from a few pounds in newborns to close to two tons (4,000 pounds) in adults. Horses and cattle, rather than any single type of agricultural machinery, are reported the leading cause of injuries on farms. Animals sense their surroundings differently—for example, cattle have close to 360-degree panoramic vision, which means that any quick movement behind cattle may spook them and cause injury to the person. Animals also have extremely sensitive hearing and are often frightened by loud noises, such as the heavy machinery or loud yelling near them. It is estimated that about 30 farmers are killed each year from contact with farm animals, primarily horses and cattle. A study conducted by Oklahoma State University found 150 cases of cattle handling-related injuries among 100 Oklahoma cow-calf operations, and more than half of the injury cases resulted from preventable human error.

In general, the risk factors among farmers have been categorized into physical characteristics of the farming environment and the personal characteristics of the farmers. Farm machinery, falls, and animal-related injuries are the three major external causes of injury, and young male workers are considered the most vulnerable to on-the-job injuries. Due to the increasing mechanization of farming over the past century, and the high fatality rate associated with injuries due to machinery, most studies of agricultural injuries have focused on injuries related to interactions with machinery or tractors, leaving a large gap in the study of animal based injuries, even though livestock-related injuries account for the highest rate of lost work days in the agriculture industry.

When farm animals cause injury, you deserve compensation from farm and livestock owners. With the professional help of the Columbus animal injury attorneys at Rinehardt Law Firm, you can feel confident that your case is being handled by skilled and experienced attorneys. With offices in Columbus and Mansfield, we assist injured parties across the state of Ohio. Contact us at (419) 529-2020 for a free consultation, or reach out to us online.


Dash Cams- What Are They and Do You Need One?

07-01-19    

Often times, the term “dash cam” is used when discussing incidents involving police—the majority of police vehicles are equipped with these devices to protect both the officer and citizens. However, an increasing number of civilians are investing in dash cams for their own protection in the event of an auto accident, theft, or vandalism.

A “dash cam” is a dashboard camera, typically mounted on the front windshield of a vehicle. Dash cams, depending on the make and model, can record both when the vehicle is driving and when it is parked, as well as recording audio and connecting to a smartphone in order for the user to watch recorded video; much like a home security system. All dash cams turn on automatically and begin recording when the vehicle is in use. For dash cams with parking mode, the dash cam will also record when the vehicle is off and parked. Dash cams can serve as a virtual witness to incidents and can be more reliable than simply recalling from memory. Some insurance companies offer discounts if your car has a dash cam installed, and dash cam footage can help attorneys if there is a dispute about who is at fault for an auto accident.

The most common known use for a dash cam is for reliable evidence in the event of an accident. This footage creates a clear picture of what happened in cases of automobile accidents—insurance companies, police departments, and personal injury attorneys can use dash cam footage. Sometimes the footage will show important information like that the person who caused the accident was driving distracted or was driving erratically.

Dash cams also protect against vandalism and theft. While the dash cam itself can also be stolen, many dash cams are so discreet they are usually unnoticeable. A dash cam can capture footage of accidental dings, vandalism, or interior theft. Dash cams can capture hit-and-runs, showing who is responsible for the damage, as well as preventing insurance spikes for the owner of the damaged vehicle.

While a car may have a backup camera, these cameras are not equipped for recording and cannot replace a 2-channel dash cam. There are three kinds of dash cams, which vary in cost by model and features:

  • 1-channel dash cams record from the front windshield to the front of the car (these are the most common)
  • 2-channel dash cams give front and rear protection. There are also 2-channel IR dash cams, which give front and interior protection (mostly for rideshare drivers)
  • 3-channel dash cams provide front, rear, and interior protection.

Dashboard cameras can cost anywhere from $30 to upwards of $300 depending on the make and model of the camera, with the highest ranked cameras averaging $100, and the best-selling dash cams averaging under $50. Higher-end dash cam have touchscreens and smartphone compatibility, higher resolution cameras providing clarity to read license plates, a wider field of view, and higher storage capacity.

There are many types of dashboard cameras, but they all have one common thread—they can greatly benefit the driver in cases of accidents, vandalism, and theft. The bottom line is a dash cam can help save thousands when dealing with unexpected insurance claims and can help hold responsible parties accountable for bodily injuries due to automobile accidents.

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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.