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Most Common Construction Injuries

06-15-21    

Construction accidents in Columbus

Safety in construction is important to the team here at Rinehardt Injury Attorneys. Below are the top 5 causes of construction injuries in OSHA Construction Reporting and the most important measures for injury prevention:

Cause #1: Falling from Heights

Safety in construction solution: Of course, the most effective way to protect workers from the risk of injury from falls is to work from the ground wherever possible. Complete activities at ground level wherever possible. For example, use prefabrication methods and tools with extendable handles.

When working from steep heights is a necessity, four basic components of fall protection include:

  1. Proper worker training.
  2. Appropriate selection of equipment for the specific work environment.
  3. Ensuring that all equipment is properly fitted.
  4. Having frequent equipment inspections.

Cause #2: Trench Collapse

Safety in construction solution: Plan to place equipment a safe distance away from the trench opening and locate all utilities. Water and soil make mud, so always be extra cautious during and after rainstorms. Beware of low oxygen and toxic fumes. Never assume you have time to move out of the way if a collapse starts.

  1. Move extra excavation materials at least 2 feet away from the trench.
  2. Remove personnel from the edge of the trench who are not working on it.
  3. Keep all equipment away from the site to prevent cave-ins and blunt force trauma.
  4. Do not enter trenches that have not been reinforced or inspected at the start of the day or after a rainstorm.
  5. Do not work under suspended loads.
  6. Never start digging till all underground utilities in the area have been accounted for.
  7. Keep materials and soil piles at least 2 feet away from the edges.
  8. Make sure air tests are carried out if the trench is more than 4 feet deep. Oxygen deprivation is the second leading cause of fatalities in unregulated trenches.
  9. Evacuate the trench immediately if you smell a strange odor or see rainwater accumulating at the bottom.

Cause #3: Collapsed Scaffolding

Safety in construction solution: To prevent scaffolding from falling provide an access ladder. Only use scaffold-grade lumber. Install guardrails and toe boards on all scaffolding 10 or more feet above the ground. Make sure the scaffold can support four times the maximum intended load (including the weight of the scaffold).

  1. Inspect Scaffolding Before Use.
  2. Adhere to Guidelines.
  3. Train Workers Properly.
  4. Ensure Scaffold Stability.
  5. Use the Proper Safety Equipment.
  6. Know the Load Capacity.
  7. Beware of Power Lines.
  8. Stay Organized.

Cause #4: Electric Shock

Safety in construction solution: Use lock-out/tag-out practices to ensure that circuits are de-energized before servicing equipment. Ensure all electrical equipment is properly grounded or double insulated. Inspect tools prior to use and check extension and power cords for wear and tear. If damaged, remove the equipment from service.

The more aware you are, the lesser the risk of danger. Follow these preventative measures to protect yourself from electrocution:

  1. Be aware of overhead power lines and keep a safe distance.
  2. Use ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCI).
  3. Check tools and extension cords for cuts, abrasions, and damaged insulation.
  4. Do not use power tools and equipment in a way it was not designed for.
  5. Follow procedures for lockout/tagout.
  6. Receive proper training.

Cause #5: Failure to Use Appropriate Protective Gear

Safety in construction solution: Involve employees in discussions concerning what specific protective gear brands, colors, and models to purchase since they will be the ones using it during the workday. Ask employees how their protective gear is working for them and what recommendations they have for the next time you are purchasing more. Address complaints promptly and keep open communication with employees to provide the most comfortable and appealing equipment possible.

  1. Create a Company Culture of Safety. Creating a company culture in which the health and safety of all employees are a priority will instill an internal motivation in workers to wear protective gear.
  2. Conduct a Hazard Analysis.
  3. Carry out regular protective gear training.
  4. Choose the right protective gear.
  5. Enforce Your Policy.

4 Common Types of Wrongful Death with Famous Examples

05-04-21    

While any death in the family is extremely hard for families and friends involved, they can be even more complicated when caused by someone else’s ineptitude or carelessness. Wrongful death is a term defined as when an individual’s death is directly caused by the wrongful actions or negligence of a person or business entity.

Wrongful deaths can be determined through numerous factors and situations. The following outlined are the most often committed wrongful death scenarios. Plus, a sneak peek into famous cases where a wrongful death attorney was needed. Wrongful death settlements, are normally in the millions of dollars, regardless of who you are, so, any celebrity wrongful death cases don’t receive special treatment. But we will highlight some cases surrounding them that went down in the history books.

Medical Malpractice

The overwhelming majority of doctors and nurses are highly skilled, however, they’re still human and mistakes do happen. These mistakes can occur when a medical personnel cuts corners, neglects to follow correct procedures, or simply overlooks something completely.

In medical malpractice, the most common wrongful death causes are either a misdiagnosis of a condition or a failure to diagnose a particular condition. Surgical errors or mishaps when treating conditions are also common causes of wrongful death in medicine.

Famous Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death Cases:

  • Hulk Hogan: Sued for malpractice involving unnecessary spine surgery
  • John Ritter: Family sued the hospital for wrongful death
  • Andy Warhol: Doctors overloaded him with fluids
  • Michael Jackson: The doctor helped him overdose on a cocktail of drugs including propofol

Car Accidents

Car accidents are actually the most common cause of wrongful death because of the sheer number of drivers, how often people drive, and the risks involved. 

The grand majority of car accident fatalities are the result of driver’s negligence, whether it be speeding, reckless driving, driving under the influence, or not paying attention to the road. If any of these negligent conditions apply, the driver can be liable for the deaths of anyone else involved in the accident.

If the accident occurred due to issues with the road, then the city or county could be liable. There are even such situations in which an accident occurred and neither driver was negligent, although these are rare wrongful death cases.

Famous Wrongful Death lawsuits from Car Accidents

  • Venus Williams – In 2018, Venus Williams was in a car crash at a Palm Beach Gardens intersection where the passenger in the car that hit her passed away. His wife had been driving the car that hit Williams. Jerome Barson died two weeks later. Barson’s family filed a wrongful death suit against Williams. However, the surveillance footage of the intersection was reviewed, and Williams wasn’t in violation of any laws. The case was dismissed.

  • Actor Paul Walker’s Daughter Settles With Porsche – In October 2017, the daughter of late Fast and Furious actor Paul Walker settled her wrongful death lawsuit against Porsche. Walker was driving a Porsche Carrera GT when he collided with a tree in Santa Clarita on the night of November 30, 2013. The car caught fire and both Walker and Roger Rodas, the car’s driver, died at the scene.

Meadow Walker’s wrongful death lawsuit against Porsche alleged that the car’s engine and lack of safety features prevented her father from getting out of the crash alive. The lawsuit said the actor was trapped because of the vehicle’s seat belt design and was alive for a minute and 20 seconds after the collision before the car caught fire. Meadow Walker and Porsche decided to keep the terms of the settlement confidential.

Defective Products aka Product Liability Cases

If a person dies because of using a defective product, the manufacturer of the product is then held liable. Product liability is one of the reasons why manufacturers spend so much time testing products to make sure they’re safe. Some common examples of this type of wrongful death include defective pharmaceutical products, toxic food products, unsafe children’s products, and defective automobiles.

Some of the Biggest Recent Product Liability Cases

Since 2018, there have been product liability cases that have paid out billions of dollars to claimants. These include cases against:

  • Bayer and Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer, which contains cancer-causing glyphosate
  • Johnson & Johnson’s talc products, which contain traces of toxic asbestos
  • Hoffmann-LaRoche’s acne drug Accutane, which failed to warn of possible gastrointestinal side-effects
  • Pacific Gas & Electric’s utility equipment, which caused fires that killed dozens of people.

Accidents at Work

Higher-risk occupations such as dangerous manual labor and construction jobs have higher instances of workplace fatalities, but a wrongful death can occur at the office or outside work if the employer has put an employee in a dangerous situation. One example of an accident happening outside of work is a nurse who was forced to work multiple 12-hour shifts and then ended up in a fatal car accident on the way home due to exhaustion.

5 of the worst workplace disasters in History
  • The Halifax Explosion – 2,000 dead, 9,000 injured

On the morning of the 6th December 1917, in Halifax, Canada, the world bore witness to the largest man-made pre-atomic explosion in history.

  • The Bhopal Gas Leak – Up to 16,000 dead

The Bhopal disaster took place on the night of the 2nd of December 1984 at Union Carbide India Limited. Union Carbide India was a pesticide plant located in Bhopal and this disaster is considered to be the world’s worst industrial disaster.

  • The Sinking of the Titanic – 1,503 dead

On the night of the 14th of April, 1912 the RMS Titanic, otherwise known as the unsinkable ship, hit an iceberg and sunk on its maiden voyage in the North Atlantic ocean. In total 1,503 people died in the incident out of the 2,208 passengers and crew.

  • Honkeiko Colliery Mining Disaster – 1,549 dead

This disaster took place on April 26, 1942, during the height of WW2, in the Japanese captured Honkeiko Colliery Coal Mine in the eastern Liaoning province in China. On that day there was a gas explosion in one of the shafts beginning what would be known as the worst mining disaster of all time.

 


What to do After You’ve Been in a Truck Accident

04-26-21    

Every year, the number of truck accidents and fatal truck accidents increases, and Ohio is no exception to this. Last year alone there were a reported 13,971 commercial-related crashes in Ohio, with 1,372 occurring in Hamilton County. In 2019, there were 153 Commercial Motor Vehicle involved fatalities. Being involved in a semi or 18 wheeler accident can be a scary, unfortunate incident, and it’s important to know the steps to take if you find yourself in such an uncertain situation. Our lawyers here at Rinehardt Injury Attorneys have come up with a list of our top 5 things to do after you’ve been in a truck accident.

Truck Accident

1. Call the Police.

When you’ve been in an accident, you need to call law enforcement. Filing a report with the police is important, even if it may not seem like a big deal at the moment or there is little to no property damage. You or a loved one could have sustained injuries and damages that may not be immediately noticeable. If you do end up having to seek medical treatment, you’ll be glad you have the police report to support you!

2.  Seek Medical Attention

After being involved in a truck wreck, you need to be checked out by a doctor. From serious to minor injuries, it’s important to take your health and safety seriously and make sure that you are physically okay. Additionally, having an official medical report can help to uncover any late-onset injuries associated with the accident. If you take too long to seek medical attention or are hoping to receive a settlement before going in, the insurance company could dispute your claim. When this happens, the insurance company can simply say that since you did not get checked out by a physician immediately after the crash, you were not hurt as a result of the semi-truck accident. 

3. Gather and Document Evidence

We understand that during the aftermath of a wreck, everyone is experiencing a whirlwind of emotions and it can be easy to forget what you need to do. One thing you must remember to do, however, is to gather evidence and document everything. Take pictures of the collision, any vehicle damaged in the accident, and any visible bodily injuries. Just as important is the need to write down and document what happened. Record any details you have about those involved in the truck accident, including the responding police officer. Collect insurance information, and if there are witnesses, get their account of the incident and contact information as well. Things tend to get hazy over time, and after a traumatic incident such as this, it’s easy to forget important details.

4. Protect Yourself

For our fourth suggestion, this is more of a “what not to do” when involved in an 18 wheeler accident. All of these tips are centered around taking care and protecting yourself, and it is paramount that you protect yourself by saying nothing and signing nothing. You may have to speak to the truck driver’s insurance company, witnesses, and even your own insurance company. State the facts, but don’t go into details. Oftentimes, the truck company will try and get involved and offer you a settlement to avoid going to court. Speaking with the truck company’s insurance may be tempting to take the offer, but we recommend holding back on signing anything until you’ve spoken with your lawyer.

5. Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer

Finally, be smart, call Rinehardt! When up against a major truck company after being involved in a truck accident, you deserve to have someone on your side who has the tools and the knowledge to help you understand your rights and will fight for them for you. With Rinehardt Injury Attorneys, you can have peace of mind knowing you have someone in your corner who specializes in truck accident cases and who will stand up to the insurance company. Rinehardt Injury Attorneys have your best interest at heart and will make sure you get what you’re owed. Our team is experienced, committed, and has been successful in handling truck accident cases. Contact us today for a free consultation.


Common Causes of Car Crashes in Ohio

12-29-20    

According to the Ohio Department of Public Safety, there have been, year to date, 218,981 crashes in the state of Ohio. Of those accidents, 35,885, unfortunately, resulted in injuries or death. When compared to 2019, it appears there has been a significant drop in crashes and injuries this year, but do not be fooled, this decrease is largely due to stay-at-home orders and businesses working from home, not because people have become safer drivers. 

During the height of nationwide lockdowns, March-May on average saw two-hundred fewer accidents a month. Having said that, two-hundred thousand accidents to date is still substantial. Additionally, even with the lockdown orders, there have been 1,161 who have died in a car accident this year, or 67 more than 2019, with the majority taking place in Franklin and Cuyahoga county, the two most populous counties in the state.

Unsurprisingly, alcohol was the single largest contributing factor to fatal accidents year over year. 28% of all fatalities and 4.2% of all crashes involved alcohol-impaired drivers. While alcohol was one of the largest contributors to fatalities, speeding was one of the largest contributors to wrecks across the state, with 26,300 incidents related. Below are the next top four causes of car crashes in Ohio:

Failure to Yield – The failure to yield is defined as a driver not yielding or stopping for a vehicle or pedestrian that has the right of way. These accidents can often be deadly and are normally the reason for a car being “t-boned”. 28,800 accidents have been caused by people failing to give the right of way.

Commercial Related – A commercial related accident describes an accident that involves someone carrying goods or a fare-paying persons. These accidents commonly involve 18 wheelers and can often be deadly. Over 12,500 accidents this year can be categorized as commercially related. 

Operating a Vehicle while Impaired (OVI) – When people think of impaired driving they may immediately think of drunk drivers. Few people remember that driving on certain over-the-counter medications, such as Benadryl, can actually cause you to become impaired, in addition to other drugs like marijuana. With around 11,500 accidents attributed to impairment, as the legalization of mentally impairing drugs continue, we can expect to see this number rise.

Deer-Related – 15,375 accidents this year are directly related to deer. Did you know that annually deer cause over one billion dollars in vehicle damage? While not all accidents with deer can be avoided, drowsiness, or distracted driving sometimes leads to slow response time and contribute to these accidents.

Contact the Experienced Car Wreck Lawyers at Rinehardt Injury Attorneys 

One person is injured every six minutes in Ohio due to a car accident. If you or a loved one were involved in an accident and are unsure what to do next, we recently wrote a blog answering questions related to what you should do after being involved in an accident. While our offices are located in Mansfield and Columbus, we proudly represent all of Ohio, so if you’re in need of representation or have any questions please contact us today.


I Just Got Hit by a Car—What Should I Do?

11-23-20    

Unfortunately, car accidents are common occurrences in Ohio. The most recent car accident statistics for Ohio provide that in just one year there were over 290,000 accidents and 72,000 of which resulted in injury. It is important to know the steps you should take if you are involved in an accident. Our team has gathered information and provided what you should do if you’re placed in this situation.

Safety First

Don’t panic. Try to stay calm and evaluate your surroundings. If your airbags have deployed, the air inside your car will be cloudy with powder from the airbags. Many people think the airbag powder is smoke and then rush to get out of the car fearing their car is on fire. You should only get out of your car when it is safe to do so. As soon as you can, put on your four-way flashers to warn other drivers.

If your car has come to rest in a high traffic area and you are physically able, consider getting out of your car and getting safely to the berm or median while you wait for the police to get there.

Call the Police

Call 911 to alert the police. You should call even if you think someone else may have already called. Stay on the phone with the 911 operator until the police are sure they know your location. You should call even if the other driver suggests just exchanging insurance information instead of calling the police. Sometimes it takes the police a long time to get there and you might be tempted to leave—don’t, because having a police report is going to be important to prove what happened and make sure that you are treated fairly when you submit an insurance claim for your car and your injuries.

Tell the Other Driver not to Leave

assessing damaage after car accidentEven though you may not think you are hurt, you should tell the other driver that you have called the police and that they should stay until the police arrive. If the other driver starts to take off, try to take a quick photo on your phone of the license plate. Ohio law requires the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident to stop and remain at the scene to provide his or her information to the police and the other driver. See Ohio Revised Code Section 4549.02.

When the police get there, make sure the officer takes down your account of what happened and give the officer the names of any witnesses who you have talked to.

Ask anyone who stops to check on you to give you their names and phone numbers so that you can contact them if the other driver makes up a story about what happened. Many times, the driver at fault will apologize at the scene only to later tell his or her insurance company and the police a made-up version of what happened. Use your phone to take a bunch of pictures—of your car, the other driver’s car, and the scene of the crash. Your pictures may end up being important evidence. Remember no one at the scene is looking out for your interests except for you.

Get Medical Help

Even if you only feel shook up, you should get medical treatment at the emergency room or urgent care as soon as possible. After an accident, you are going to have a lot of adrenaline-pumping, which may mask injuries. Lots of times you think you are okay, only to have serious pain later. You may have broken bones, an injury to a disc in your back or neck, a torn rotator cuff, or a tear of the labrum of the hip. Many of these serious injuries start off with relatively little pain. People with serious injuries often start out thinking it’s just a bruise or a minor strain.

After the emergency room or urgent care, if your pain gets worse, you must see your family doctor or go back to the emergency room because a more serious injury may have been missed at your first visit.

Contact the Other Driver’s Insurance Company

You can get the other driver’s insurance information from that police officer at the scene or from the accident report once it is completed. You should then call the other driver’s insurance company to set up your claim. When setting up the claim, only give basic information—your name, where it happened, where your car is now located—so that their adjuster can evaluate the damage.

The insurance company may try to record you while they ask you questions about what happened or what your injuries are. Do not give a recorded statement to the insurance company. The insurance company is going to try to get you to say something so it can put all or part of the blame for the accident on you. You shouldn’t let the insurance company record anything until you have spoken to a lawyer. The insurance company will pester you with calls and emails and even threaten not to pay your claim. Don’t cave into these hardball tactics. The insurance company is just trying to increase its profits by trying to invent a reason not to pay your claim.

Get Legal Advice

The insurance company has lots of money and resources. When it is you against the insurance company it is not a fair fight. Contact a lawyer even if you are not sure it is necessary. An attorney specializing in accident cases will be able to stand up to the insurance company and look out for your best interests. A lawyer can make sure that you get paid for everything you are entitled to—things the insurance company won’t tell you about. At Rinehardt Injury Attorneys our team is experienced and has been successful in handling car accident cases. Contact us today 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.