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What are the Top 5 Causes of Car Accidents?

11-28-21    

rear-end-car-wreck

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)’s estimates, around 36,680 people died in 2020 due to motor vehicle traffic crashes—the largest number of deaths since 2007. This rise is despite the smaller number of cars on the road last year, while we socially-distanced, stayed and worked from home, and generally got out less during the pandemic.

What’s caused this spike in fatal car accidents in the last year? And why is 2021 projected to be even worse? There are five main reasons that people get into car crashes. If you can, avoid the following so you don’t become a statistic!

1. Distracted Drivingwoman-driving-while-texting

Research from the American Automobile Association’s Traffic Safety Division has found that between a quarter and a half of all motor vehicle accidents are caused by distracted driving. But what is distracted driving?

Distracted driving is any activity that moves your attention from traffic on the road ahead to something else. These activities include the following:

  • Talking—and especially texting—on cell phones
  • Rubbernecking
  • Driver fatigue
  • Looking at scenery on the side of the road
  • Engaging with passengers or children
  • Adjusting the radio, CD player, or other aspect of the car’s infotainment system
  • Reading books, maps newspapers or other documents
  • Eating
  • Self-grooming

2. Drunk Driving

The NHTSA reports that about 32% of all traffic fatalities in America are caused by drunk drivers. Remember—though the legal limit for blood-alcohol level in Ohio is 0.08, it’s safer to establish a sober, designated driver for the night. The only way to prevent being at-fault for a drunk driver accident is to not drink and drive.

3. Speeding

Speed is one of the deadliest factors in any car accident: as you increase your speed, you decrease the time you have to react and avoid a crash, you increase your risk of crashing, and you increase the severity of any crash you’re in. In fact, drivers’ increased speed due to emptier roads was the main driver of the jump in fatal crashes in 2020. Common scenarios that can lead to a speeding accident include:

  • Sharp turns on curves
  • Ignoring speed limit signs
  • Drivers losing control of their vehicle based on the speed at which they were driving, which can result in collision with another vehicle
  • Speeding on major roadways and rear-ending another vehicle as a result

When driving, make sure to follow the posted speed limits and observe common sense regarding your speed. Never drive faster than is safe for current weather conditions—slow down for rain, snow, and fog. Reducing your speed is the easiest, and one of the most effective, things you can do to make the road safer for everyone.

4. Aggressive Driving

Aggressive driving is defined as “driving in a manner that presents a threat to other drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and/or bicyclists.” Aggressive driving includes a number of behaviors that you’ve likely seen while driving, and possibly have done yourself:

  • Aggressive tailgating
  • Driving without a seatbelt, or improperly securing a child
  • Failure to follow traffic signals
  • Failure to yield
  • Following at an unsafe distance
  • Inattentive driving
  • Texting while driving
  • Unlawful or unsafe speeds
  • Unsafe or illegal lane changes (weaving in and out of traffic)

If you’re in traffic with an aggressive driver, your best course of action is to keep your distance. Don’t attempt to pass or interact with them—this can escalate the situation and possibly lead to a car wreck. If you are concerned for the safety of yourself and others (including the aggressive driver), call 911 and report the aggressive driver as soon as it’s safe to do so.

5. Inclement Weather

car-accident-rain-ambulance

Fog, snow, ice, hail, heavy rain, and even high winds can make driving much more difficult. Poor visibility, poor tire tread or brakes, or a poorly functioning engine and exhaust are just a few things that can become extremely unsafe due to inclement weather, increasing the likelihood of an accident. However, there are some actions you can take to decrease the likelihood of a car wreck in bad weather.

Make sure to adhere to the speed limit at all times, and lower your speed if conditions worsen. By slowing down, you provide yourself more time to react to conditions, which is needed in heavy weather. There’s also no shame in pulling over or stopping at a rest stop if conditions get extremely bad. It’s better to be late to your destination than to be in a deadly accident.

What to Do After a Car Accident in Ohio

Though some accidents aren’t completely avoidable, by following the 5 above tips you can make them more rare. If you are involved in an Ohio car accident, however, you’ll need one of our reliable and experienced Columbus car accident lawyers to argue your case in court. The attorneys at Rinehardt Injury Attorneys have years of experience litigating complex injury cases in our state, and are here to help.

If you’re the victim of a car crash, don’t hesitate to contact our car accident attorneys. Call the law offices of Rinehardt Injury Attorneys today.


Drunk Driving Accidents on Thanksgiving & How to Avoid Them

10-12-21    

drunk driving on thanksgiving

 

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and that means weekend road trips to visit family or friends, cooking and eating lots of tasty food, and for those of us who are of age, indulging in a tipple or two. However, with the promise of merriment comes a darker threat: the day before Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the Holiday DUI Season, as well.

In fact, over the past five years, more than 800 people have died during drunk driving accidents over the Thanksgiving weekend alone. This disturbing trend is due to a number of factors.

The Dangers of Holiday Travel

Since millions of Americans return to their hometowns for Thanksgiving, the day before – Thanksgiving Eve – is better known to law enforcement and first responders as “Blackout Wednesday,” because it’s one of the biggest drinking nights of the year. People meet up with friends and family, and since they’re home for the weekend, tend to let loose. Many areas experience a significant uptick in drunk driving cases the night before Thanksgiving.

The sheer number of people on the road is a huge factor in the weekend’s driving dangers: the American Automobile Association estimates that more than 45 million Americans will drive a long distance for Thanksgiving. More cars on the road means more traffic, more congestion, and more opportunities for wrecks, even without factoring in the increase in DUIs.

Compounding both of these factors is the poor weather of the holiday season. For much of America, Ohio included, the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is dark, wet, cold, and icy – all hard driving conditions. And if a driver is buzzed or intoxicated, navigating increased congestion, or both, it’s obvious that their chance for a collision goes way up.

Staying Safe While Visiting Loved Ones

There are a number of ways you can stay safe this holiday season. For starters, practice safe and defensive driving by buckling your seatbelt, driving defensively, and obeying all the rules of the road. If you plan to drink at a party or other get-together, be sure to decide on a designated driver before you go, and hand your keys to your host before you have your first drink.

In addition, you can learn the basics of recognizing a drunk driver, to more easily avoid them. Drunk and impaired drivers tend to do one or more of the following:

  • Make very wide, abrupt, or illegal turns
  • Fail to stay within their lane, either by weaving, swerving, drifting, or straddling
  • Nearly running into the side of the highway or other obstacles
  • Driving on the wrong side of the road
  • Responding slowly to signals or other changes in traffic flow
  • Braking erratically, or for no reason
  • Driving without headlights in the dark

If you see a driver exhibiting one of these behaviors, stay away from them as well as you can. If you or a passenger can safely and legally call the police, report the drunk or impaired driver so they will stop endangering themselves and others.

What to Do if You’re in a Drunk Driving Accident This Thanksgiving

If the worst does happen, and you find yourself in an accident with a drunk driver this holiday season, you’ll need a personal injury attorney who can represent your interests against the other person’s insurance. Especially if you or a loved one were injured in the crash, you deserve compensation for your injuries, pain, and suffering. After dealing with a car accident case, you shouldn’t have to worry about your family or medical bills, and we know that here at Rinehardt.

Consult with an Expert Drunk Driving Attorney in Ohio

The team of expert car accident lawyers at the law offices of Rinehardt Injury Attorneys has years of experience litigating accidents involving drunk and impaired drivers, and we’re dedicated to fighting for you in court! Give us a call today for a free consultation with one of our experienced car accident attorneys to see what our individual attention can do for you. As the premier personal injury lawyers of Ohio, we can promise that our Columbus car accident attorneys will fight for you! It doesn’t matter if you’ve been in a motorcycle accident, truck accident, or a car crash, the Columbus car accident lawyers here at our law firm will get you the compensation you deserve! You can contact us online for a free legal consultation or you can swing by our Mansfield or Columbus office. Either way, we will help all injury victims get what they deserve to recover from their motor vehicle accident. And remember, don’t drink and drive!


Common Medical Malpractice Myths & Misinformation

09-10-21    

misconceptions about medical malpractice

Recent studies of the medical industry estimate that medical errors may account for as many as 251,000 deaths annually in the U.S., which makes them the third leading cause of death here. Experts also think that less than 10% of medical errors are reported each year, meaning that even fewer people get the help they need after they become victims of malpractice.

We at Rinehardt Injury Attorneys, located in central Ohio, have a theory that so many instances of malpractice go unreported because victims believe some common myths about malpractice claims, or misunderstand their rights in those situations. This is understandable because there are probably more myths and misunderstandings about medical malpractice than about any other area of personal injury law.

To help you educate yourself about malpractice law, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most common malpractice myths and misunderstandings. If you’ve been injured due to a doctor’s mistake or medical error in the Mansfield or Columbus areas, give us a call today to speak with one of our expert Medical Malpractice Attorneys.

I can’t afford to bring a medical malpractice suit

It’s a myth that clients have to pay out-of-pocket up front for medical malpractice claims. You don’t have to worry about coming up with large sums of money before filing a malpractice suit through Rinehardt. Our firm offers free consultations and a guarantee that we won’t ask for fees until we win or settle your case.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a malpractice incident, mistreated by a medical professional, suffered from surgical errors, or had a birth injury, you can’t afford not to bring a case. Not only do injury victims deserve financial restitution for lost wages, further hospital and medical bills, and emotional distress, but those at fault need to be held accountable.

I can file a malpractice claim on my own

While it might seem simple enough to file a medical malpractice claim — the doctor made a mistake or was neglectful in their duties, so you’re entitled to compensation — in reality, a number of complexities exist. These range from gathering substantial evidence to understanding the necessary paperwork and motions to file with court. In particular, you must prove these five elements of the case:

  • A doctor-patient relationship existed
  • A duty of care existed
  • The doctor breached their duty of care
  • The breach caused injuries
  • The patient suffered damages as a result

Drawing the line through all five of these elements can be complicated, and hospitals and their insurances have good reason to keep the truth concealed. You need a personal injury attorney to advocate on your behalf against these businesses.

Medical malpractice lawsuits are frivolous

Somehow, the popular mythology has begun including the spurious claim that medical malpractice suits are frivolous and drive up the price of health care. In reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Around 80% of medical malpractice cases are filed for severe injuries to the patient, including disability to death. 97% of those cases — almost all of them — bring strong evidence that those injuries were caused by medical errors or negligence, or in other words, malpractice. An experienced medical malpractice attorney like those at Rinehardt can assess your case and let you know if you have a valid claim. It doesn’t hurt to call.

Medical errors are not preventable

We like to believe that doctors always know what they’re doing and that medical mistakes only happen when they’re unavoidable. The truth is much more messy. Doctors are often overworked and exhausted, hospitals often cut corners on their care, and communication can be as hard in a doctors’ office as in any other workplace. As a result, over 70% of medical errors are preventable. Common preventable errors include the following:

  • Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose
  • Improper medical treatments
  • Drug and medication errors

If you’ve experienced one of these, or another kind of injury in the Columbus or Mansfield areas, you need an expert medical malpractice lawyer to represent your interest. Give us a call or stop by our office for your free consultation with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers here at the law offices of the Rinehardt Injury Attorneys. We’re here to fight any and every insurance company to help you get the compensation you deserve. Our successful case results speak for themselves; reach out to an expert Columbus personal injury attorney today!


The Impact of a Car Accident vs Truck Accident

09-02-21    

No one wants to be in an automobile accident, whether it be with another passenger car or with a large truck. Both accidents can involve working with law enforcement, dealing with insurance companies, and potential injuries; however, car accidents and large truck accidents are not the same. There are additional factors when there is a collision between a passenger car and a large truck. That’s why it’s important to have an experienced truck accident attorney to help you navigate the difficulties an accident can bring.

flipped red car crash

Severity of the Accident

Truck accidents tend to be more severe than accidents involving multiple passenger cars. Accidents can involve all types of motorists, but when a motorcycle or car is involved in a large truck accident, the results are often catastrophic. Trucks, 18-wheelers, big rigs, tractor-trailers, and semi-trucks are tall, bulky, and significantly heavier than cars. The impact from these types of vehicles is often brutal, resulting in significant damage to the vehicles involved and major, sometimes life-altering, injuries. These injuries often result in high medical bills and ongoing therapy. It is important to have a truck accident attorney represent you to ensure that any offer you receive is the correct amount for the damages and injuries you’ve experienced. 

Understanding the Cause

Car accidents are usually a result of human error; the driver could be speeding or distracted. Truck accidents tend to be caused by other factors, including: 

Driver Fatigue

While there are federal regulations that mandate driver rest breaks and limit driving time, many drivers violate these regulations to meet strict delivery deadlines. This results in driver fatigue, which can cause a truck driver to fall asleep at the wheel, or have slow reaction times causing an accident.

Improper Maintenance

Equipment failure is another common factor in truck accidents. Truck companies and drivers are responsible for maintaining the trucks on the road. Tire blowouts, faulty brakes, and other mechanical failures could mean that the truck company is responsible for the accident. 

Unbalanced Loads

Considering large trucks by definition carry significant loads, the cargo in these trucks must be properly balanced. If a dock worker or logistics company does not load the truck correctly, it can result in an accident. Trucking companies and drivers have a responsibility to inspect their vehicles to ensure appropriate balance at the beginning of a route.

Navigating the Aftermath of a Wreck

car accident doctor

When you get into an accident with a passenger car, you generally only have to deal with the owner of the car and their insurance company. When you are involved in a large truck accident, the truck company gets involved. You won’t just have to navigate the insurance company, you will also be dealing with their lawyers. That’s why it’s important to have a truck accident attorney representing you. We can help by leveling the playing field, so you don’t have to worry about being taken advantage of by an insurance company or any other party.

Available When You Need Us

rinehardt car accident attorneys

Rinehardt Injury Attorneys is the answer to your truck accident. Our team of attorneys and case managers represents clients in Columbus and throughout central and north Ohio. You can contact us online 24/7 or call our office anytime. We offer free initial consultations, and our personal injury clients owe no attorney fees until we secure compensation for their losses. If you have been in a truck accident and need a truck accident attorney, reach out to Rinehardt Injury Attorneys, and let us help you.


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.

Ready to get Started?

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.