On behalf of Weisman, Kennedy & Berris Co., L.P.A. posted in Medical Malpractice on Monday, July 30, 2012.

Our readers in Ohio should know that doctors are mandated to report child abuse when they suspect it, and sometimes medical professionals can be found guilty of malpractice when they fail to notify authorities of abuse. It is important that medical errors of this nature are fully investigated and that the responsible parties are held accountable.

A physician in Dayton was charged on July 25 with failing to report the abuse of a teen patient. Thus far, the doctor has not commented on the charges. She treated the 14-year-old girl for about one year prior to the child’s death in March 2011. The girl weighed only 28 pounds when she died, and she had been under treatment for cerebral palsy. Three nurses who treated the teenager have also been charged; they have pleaded not guilty.

In this case, the mother of the child has already been sentenced to nine years in prison after pleading guilty to endangering children and involuntary manslaughter. However, other family members may conceivably have grounds to file a civil claim against the medical professionals who failed to report the abuse.

Child endangerment cases and any accompanying allegations of neglect can lead to strong emotions, especially when cases are reported in the news media. If the child in question is a patient under a doctor’s care, investigators may question why the doctor did not report seemingly obvious symptoms of neglect.

Patients who are the victims of medical malpractice are entitled to fair compensation. Ohio residents who believe they have suffered because of a medical professional’s error should be aware of their rights under our state’s medical malpractice laws.

Source: WFMJ, “Doctor charged in Ohio teen’s malnutrition death,” July 25, 2012

09May 2014

Sunday: a tragic day on Ohio roadways and a reminder to drivers

On behalf of Weisman, Kennedy & Berris Co., L.P.A. posted in Car Accidents on Wednesday, January 22, 2014.

Although details are still emerging from two deadly motor vehicle crashes that occurred in Ohio Sunday, it can be confirmed that, as of the time media stories concluded initial reports, six people were reported as dead in the separate incidents.

The first fatal car accident occurred around 11 a.m. about 40 miles south of Youngstown in Columbiana County, when the driver of a Jeep Cherokee crossed a center line and hit a Chevy Equinox SUV in a head-on collision. Both the driver of the SUV and his wife, a front-seat passenger, died in the crash. Another passenger — an 11-year-old girl — also failed to survive the accident.

The SUV was reportedly carrying seven children. The six that survived the accident were all taken to local hospitals, with their conditions being unknown at the time of initial media reports or this post. It is known that none of those killed in the crash were wearing seat belts.

The driver of the Cherokee and her infant son (the only other occupant in the vehicle) were reportedly treated for non-life-threatening injuries. An Ohio Highway Patrol spokesperson stated following the crash that no charges had been filed in the matter, which would continue to be investigated.

The second crash occurred about 40 miles north of Columbus on Sunday evening. That accident involved a single vehicle, which left a road and hit a tree. Three occupants of the car — the driver and two back-seat passengers — reportedly died at the accident site. There was one survivor, who was listed in critical condition Sunday evening following her arrival at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus.

Such stories are indeed tragic and difficult to both report and read. They certainly serve as strong reminders for Ohio motorists to exercise constant vigilance while out on state roads and highways.

Source: The Washington Post, “6 killed in 2 separate Ohio car crashes,” Jan. 20, 2014

09May 2014

On behalf of Weisman, Kennedy & Berris Co., L.P.A. posted in Car Accidents on Wednesday, January 15, 2014.

When the president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Adrian Lund, says that there are “a fair number of vehicles to choose from,” he’s talking motor vehicle safety and impliedly telling consumers to be proactive and careful when they pick their next car.

Researchers at Lund’s organization, commonly known by the acronym IIHS, purposefully crash test vehicles, carefully track the results and report their conclusions publicly. Given that the agency is widely known and the results considered authoritative, motor vehicle manufacturers pay attention.

What they’re hearing generally these days is that, as a group, they’re not doing too well, at least not when evaluated by an IIHS measuring yardstick that is reportedly more stringent than in years past.

In other words, and as a gauge for measuring likely outcomes in a car accident, it is no longer good enough to have a handful-plus of air bags scattered around a vehicle, coupled with an adequate anti-lock braking system.

That’s nice, but the IIHS is now demanding more, acknowledging consumers “who want both crash prevention technology and the latest in occupant protection.”

In Ohio and elsewhere, that means a desire for both post-crash features that will maximally protect vehicle occupants and imbedded technology that will help drivers avoid crashes in the first place. That includes things like automatic braking when a driver isn’t reacting quickly enough to an impending crash with an oncoming vehicle, as well as notification systems that warn motorists that trouble is approaching quickly.

Detailed information concerning the top IIHS safety picks for 2014 vehicle models can be obtained on the agency’s website (www.iihs.org).

Source: Forbes, “New crash test ratings raise question: What really makes a car safe?” Joann Muller, Dec. 19, 2013

09May 2014

On behalf of Weisman, Kennedy & Berris Co., L.P.A. posted in Car Accidents on Wednesday, January 1, 2014.

Advocates of Ohio’s DUI-offender registry say that the tool provides a public service by alerting state residents to problematic drivers. Drunk drivers present a clear and heightened safety risk on state roads and highways, with car accidents involving inebriated motorists often resulting in fatalities and other serious injuries.

Not everyone is an ardent supporter, though. A recent article from the Columbus Dispatch states that the online database “might not be totally reliable,” and a probe conducted by reporters from that paper has in fact uncovered errors on the registry.

“It’s a PR stunt,” says one defense attorney who is an obvious critic of the tool, which was recently expanded. That attorney, who represents DUI clients, states that the registry is a waste of money and is predominantly used to publicly humiliate repeat offenders. He adds that the tool is “obviously incomplete,” pointing to persons he has represented who have been convicted of drunk driving more than 10 times and are nonetheless not on the list.

Their omission likely alarms a lot of Ohioans and figuratively drives home a sad fact: Ohio is home to a high number of drunk drivers who imperil other motorists and pedestrians.

The registry is certainly proof of that. In its expanded version, it now lists many hundreds of offenders who have been convicted on DUI charges more than five times.

Those motorists are a clear menace on the roads. Any person who has suffered personal injuries or other damages owing to the actions of a drunk driver has a right to a legal remedy that encompasses rehabilitation costs, lost income, disability expenses and pain and suffering.

An experienced Ohio car accident attorney can answer questions and provide rigorous representation on behalf of an injured victim.

Source: The Columbus Dispatch, “Listing of drunken drivers still has holes,” Randy Ludlow, Dec. 28, 2013

09May 2014

On behalf of Weisman, Kennedy & Berris Co., L.P.A. posted in Car Accidents on Friday, October 4, 2013.

Sometimes it’s a case of industries being affected by legislation strenuously resisting to new changes being foisted upon them by regulators.

At other times, and in a singular way, businesses grow impatient with the slow pace of reform measures that are aimed at their industry and simply take proactive steps to outpace its scheduled implementation.

Take the case of backup warning systems addressed by Congress several years ago, for instance. National lawmakers passed a law in 2007 requiring that such systems be standard equipment in every new passenger car and truck rolling off assembly lines by 2014.

Things have progressed far from smoothly since the legislation’s enactment, with many delays interrupting the contemplated scheduling. As of today, things are in flux, with no clear indication of when the legal mandate might finally come into play.

That hasn’t seemed to deter auto makers from moving ahead, anyway, with a number of vehicle manufacturers responding to consumer concerns over backup car accidents that take the lives of an estimated 200-plus people each year across the country. In Ohio and elsewhere, there is a special concern with the high rate of children being involved in such accidents.

That has prompted change. Recently noteworthy is the litigation just commenced by a number of individuals and groups against the Obama administration. The plaintiffs cite the incessant delays that have hindered pronouncement of a formal rule on backup systems by the United States Department of Transportation.

In the interim, vehicle makers have just gone ahead and installed such systems in many vehicles, without regard to ongoing legal developments. Honda, for example, has stated that all its passenger vehicles will have backup cameras installed on 2014 models. Other auto makers, too, have acted, with the result being that millions of passenger vehicles already on the nation’s roadways are equipped with backup warning systems.

Source: USA TODAY, “Administration sued over backup camera delay,” Fred Meier and Chris Woodyard, Sept. 26, 2013

09May 2014

On behalf of Weisman, Kennedy & Berris Co., L.P.A. posted in Car Accidents on Thursday, September 5, 2013.

“Our goal is not just to reduce the severity of accidents, but to avoid them altogether,” says an executive from American Honda Motor Co., Inc.

That is certainly an ambitious pronouncement, but nothing that is dissimilar from comments made by other auto manufacturers in recent years that are strongly focused upon using next-generation technologies to reduce car accidents and other motor vehicle crashes.

Federal regulators are openly encouraging such efforts. In fact, Honda’s participation in a recent initiative is pursuant to a program launched last year by the United States Department of Transportation.

The gist of the research and development now being carried out at Honda’s Ohio-based R&D center in Raymond: developing impact-avoidance technology that lets passenger vehicles, motorcycles and pedestrians’ cell phones communicate with each other to avert collisions.

Such research sounds decidedly less like science fiction than it did just a few short years ago. Embedding computer chips on vehicles and phones and letting them essentially speak to each other is now just another line of research inquiry, with developers noting that they are making great strides toward getting such technology refined to the point where it is marketable and commonplace.

Honda officials say that, rather than being some far-off realized goal, the technology that is now being tinkered with and fine tuned could be in mass production within a few short years.

The results could be impressive and perhaps even revolutionary. The interactive computer signals would alert car drivers of impending collisions, allowing them the time to slow down and avoid them. The on-board system would even brake hard to avoid impact in the event a driver was reacting too slowly.

The NHTSA is also involved with efforts to improve so-called “connected-vehicle technology.”

Source: Detroit Free Press, “Honda shows safety technology that links car, motorcycles, pedestrians,” Alisa, Priddle, Aug. 28, 2013

09May 2014

On behalf of Weisman, Kennedy & Berris Co., L.P.A. posted in Car Accidents on Friday, August 30, 2013.

The common denominator underscoring many public awareness campaigns — whether focused on health issues, education, traffic safety or some other matter — is simplicity of delivery. That is, messages intended for mass dissemination across Ohio or nationally tend to be both compact and direct.

Like this one: “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.”

There’s very little that is ambiguous about that directive, and repetition certainly reinforces its gist. The Drive Sober traffic initiative is national in scope and recurs yearly in states across the country, including Ohio.

Its stated goal: to prevent car accidents by identifying and getting drunk drivers off the roads.

The program is administered under the aegis of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and is implemented across the country through government grant money. The timing for the initiative purposefully targets a portion of the summer holidays during which there is especially heavy motorized traffic on streets and highways.

That means the Labor Day weekend and the weeks immediately preceding it, which are well associated with clogged roads and an increased number of motor vehicle crashes.

As is clear from its title, the Drive Sober campaign targets drunk motorists. The NHTSA states that, on average, nearly 170 people die in DUI-related accidents each year across the country during the Labor Day weekend.

Ohio is an obvious concern. Statistics from the Ohio State Highway Patrol indicate that well more than 14,000 drunk-driving arrests have been made in the state this year just through mid-August.

The enforcement campaign will centrally feature a heightened police presence on state roads. Federal regulators say that the additional patrols have a strong deterrent effect and can reduce DUI-related fatalities significantly.

Source: WCPO Cincinnati, “‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ program looks to cut down on drunk driving over Labor Day weekend,” Casey Weldon, Aug. 15, 2013