wrongful death

On behalf of Weisman, Kennedy & Berris Co., L.P.A. posted in motor vehicle accident on Thursday, June 21, 2012.

Drivers in Ohio may be interested in a new report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The study, which measured motor vehicle accident data from 2002 to 2010, found that efforts to reduce the number of deaths in crashes between cars and pickups have been unsuccessful. Fatalities in cars hit by pickups actually increased by 5% in that time period.

The fatalities may be caused by the height mismatch between cars and trucks. NHTSA has new technology that measures whether the forces from trucks strike higher than prescribed in routine crash tests.

Although many automakers have voluntarily agreed to address the height mismatch, none is required to prove compliance. Previous efforts by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers to lobby for a federal rule adopting the car-truck crash standard were also unsuccessful. The chairman of that committee believes a uniform test would ensure automakers are all complying in the same way.

No matter how serious your injury or property damage, and regardless of fault in your case, your claim for recovery may be met with resistance, or you may be offered an unreasonably low settlement amount. Therefore, if you have sustained serious injuries in a motor vehicle accident, don’t delay in consulting with an attorney that can review your case and advise you of the evidence you will need to prove your claim.

An attorney can work with accident reconstruction specialists, independent investigators, medical experts and economic experts to establish the true value of your case and determine which parties may have been at fault in the crash. An attorney can also help you determine whether a motor vehicle design flaw may have contributed to your injuries. In such event, the manufacturer, wholesaler, distributor or retailer of a defective product may also be liable for damages.

Source: USA Today, “Cars and SUVs less mismatched in crashes; pickups lag,” Jayne O’Donnell, June 21, 2012

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

On behalf of Weisman, Kennedy & Berris Co., L.P.A. posted in wrongful death on Monday, August 6, 2012.

Motor vehicle accidents involving pedestrians are particularly dangerous and are much more likely to result in serious injuries or death than collisions between vehicles. When a driver has been drinking or using drugs, victims of a car crash may be entitled to compensation to help with the recovery process. In cases in which a drunk driver causes the death of another person, that person’s family can sometimes recover compensation for damages through a wrongful death claim.

On July 31, a 35-year-old man was arraigned on a charge of operating a vehicle while impaired, which is also called an OVI. This charge stemmed from a July 29 crash at Cleveland’s “Dancing in the Street Festival” on 117th Street and Clifton Boulevard. The bail was set at $150,000, and the driver’s attorney (not affiliated with this firm) did not contest that amount.

Three pedestrians were injured, and one was killed in the accident. While the three injured pedestrians, aged 25, 37 and 44, may file lawsuits related to their injuries, the family of the deceased pedestrian, who was 27, may legally claim that their loved one suffered a wrongful death.

One of the injured pedestrians remains in critical condition and may have a greater claim to funds than the other two. Hospital stays are extremely expensive, and anyone who has been injured because of another driver’s negligence may find it beneficial to pursue a personal injury claim to help alleviate some of the medical costs.

In cases in which criminal charges are filed, it can be easier to pursue civil claims against a drunk or distracted driver. In this case, the driver has three prior drunk driving convictions on his record. The outcome of the most recent charge will be the most relevant criminal charge in any civil suits related to the street fair incident.

Source: News Channel 5, “Bond set at $150K for driver accused of killing 1, injuring 3 others at Cleveland street fair,” Paul Brest, July 31, 2012

On behalf of Weisman, Kennedy & Berris Co., L.P.A. posted in wrongful death on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.

When a car accident results in a fatality, the family of the deceased may be entitled to compensation for wrongful death. This compensation, which can come from insurers or the estate of the party determined to be responsible for the accident, is typically awarded for funeral expenses, medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. Occasionally, an insurance company will attempt to settle with the victim’s family directly after the accident. In that case, the family needs to seek legal advice to decide if the settlement offer is reasonable.

A fatal crash in Ohio last month has resulted in felony charges against a teen driver. The 17-year-old boy was driving his Camaro when he apparently crossed the center line of the road into the oncoming lane. The Camaro collided with a man on a Suzuki motorcycle. The rider of the motorcycle, a 66-year-old, died at the scene.

It usually falls to investigators to determine who was at fault after an accident. This determination is based on many factors, including the position of the vehicles after the crash, the pattern of debris at the scene and sometimes toxicology tests.

Going over the center line into the opposing lane is usually an indicator of fault, but this is not always the case. If the driver could not avoid crossing the line because of a hazard in the road, a medical emergency or another credible reason, it is possible that neither party will be found at fault. However, if authorities determine that one party is to blame for the accident, this can strengthen any civil claim filed by victims or their families. There may also be a need for investigation beyond the initial police report.

It is unclear why prosecutors waited until just recently to file third-degree felony charges against the driver, who was transported to a local hospital after the accident and released the following day. However, if the driver is convicted, the family’s wrongful death claim, should they choose to file one, will likely be bolstered by the conviction.

Source: Coshocton Tribune, “Teen charged in fatal July crash,” Kathie Dickerson, Aug. 21, 2012

On behalf of Weisman, Kennedy & Berris Co., L.P.A. posted in wrongful death on Saturday, September 29, 2012.

As many of us in Ohio know, drunk driving can result in injuries or death. Law enforcement officials are charged with removing drunk drivers from the road if an officer determines that a driver is impaired. If an officer fails to do his duty and a fatal accident results, it may be possible for the family of the deceased to seek compensation for wrongful death from the relevant authorities.

Recently, two Delaware County deputies and a state trooper were charged with misdemeanors under the Ohio Revised Code for failing to prevent or halt an offense when it was in the officers’ power to do so. The basis for this charge is a drunk driving incident that occurred on July 28.

The two county deputies found a 22-year-old male intoxicated behind the wheel of his truck, which was parked on an I-71 median in Delaware County. The vehicle’s engine was running.

Video of the incident revealed that one of the deputies thought that the man behind the wheel of the truck was intoxicated, but neither deputy thought they could arrest the man because he wasn’t actually driving the vehicle when they found him. While investigating the situation, the deputies were joined by a state trooper.

Instead of arresting the intoxicated man, who is a native of Mexico, the three officers decided to drive him to a nearby Taco Bell. The deputies reasoned that the Taco Bell would have someone who could interpret for the man. The intoxicated man did not have a driver’s license, so the officers believed that the best way to handle the situation was to leave him at the restaurant and have someone pick him up.

Soon after the man was dropped off at the Taco Bell by the officers, the store manager called 911 to complain the intoxicated man. Shortly after this, the man was hit by a car as he walked along Rt. 36/37. He was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.

The negligent parties in fatal car accidents are not always obvious. Occasionally, a third party will bear some culpability. The families of wrongful death victims often have to wait until a full investigation is completed before determining who may be a responsible party. In the meantime, speaking to an experienced wrongful death attorney may be helpful.

Source: The Columbus Dispatch, “Deputies, trooper charged with failure to arrest drunk they left at Taco Bell,” Ally Marotti, Sept. 15, 2012

On behalf of Weisman, Kennedy & Berris Co., L.P.A. posted in wrongful death on Friday, November 2, 2012.

Law enforcement officials are trained to handle chaotic situations professionally, but some cases may still result in tragic consequences. And sometimes, police fail to follow protocol

The family of a 26-year-old woman has filed a wrongful death suit in federal court after she was shot and killed by a member of the Cincinnati Police Department on Oct. 13, according to the family’s attorney. The suit claims that the 43-year-old police officer involved used excessive force and deprived the woman of her right to due process.

The shooting occurred after the officer arrived at the woman’s apartment in response to a call she made at 1:15 p.m. According to police officials, the woman was standing on her balcony, and her sister was loading items into a car when the police officer arrived.

The woman then exited the apartment while holding a butcher’s knife and ran to the driver’s side of her sister’s car. The police report states that the officer at the scene ordered her to drop the knife several times. The woman reportedly raised the knife and approached the officer, who shot twice and killed her.

A wrongful death suit typically demands compensation for the loss of companionship and recompense for legal fees and other expenses. The family members of the victim in this case will need to explore all of their legal options when they consider the terms of any settlement offer.

Source: Cincinnati.com, “Family of woman shot, killed by police files wrongful death suit,” Jennifer Edwards Baker, Oct. 19, 2012

On behalf of Weisman, Kennedy & Berris Co., L.P.A. posted in wrongful death on Friday, November 30, 2012.

Losing a loved one is never easy. It can be especially painful if the person dies because of the negligent actions of another party. Unfortunately, sometimes fatal accidents are not the fault of one person in particular, but rather the fault of a business and its practices. Ohio businesses have a duty to make sure their products or services are safe for public consumption. Failure to do so can result in a fatal accident and having a wrongful death suit levied against them.

Jury screening has begun in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of an out-of-state woman who died after a 7,200-volt power line fell on her. On June 2, 2009, the 39-year-old mother of two was trapped under the power line and incurred burns over 85 percent of her body. She died three days later at a hospital. The accident happened outside of her home in the presence of her two daughters and their grandmother.

The family of the victim contends that the power company, West Penn Power Company at the time, failed to remove rust from the line splices. The rust could have caused the wire to lose tension due to increased temperature and fall. The suit maintains that the utility company should have been aware of that.

FirstEnergy Corp., who is based in Akron and now owns West Penn Power Company, denies the allegations. After jury selection, the trial is expected to last two weeks. If the family’s suit is successful, they will likely collect compensation for the loss of a loved one including funeral expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages.

Source: TribLive.com, “Jurors being screened in suit over North Huntingdon woman’s electrocution death,” Paul Peirce, Nov. 15, 2012

On behalf of Weisman, Kennedy & Berris Co., L.P.A. posted in wrongful death on Wednesday, December 26, 2012.

A death is hard on anyone’s family, so it’s important to know how to react to deaths that could have been prevented. A wrongful death can be instant and unexpected, so knowing the legal options for gaining compensation for pain and suffering, funeral costs and medical care is important.

The FBI reported that 72 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty in 2011. This is the highest number of deaths since 1995. Four of the officers killed were from Ohio, including one from Clark County, age 40, and one from Warren County, age 36. The Warren County Sheriff noted his concern over these rising numbers, stating that he believes it is due to an increasing disrespect for laws and authority.

The deaths are primarily attributed to death by firearms, with 63 deaths attributed to shootings. Deaths from handguns have risen from 25 in 2008 to 50 in 2011. From 2002 to 2011, the FBI states that 543 law enforcement officers were killed on the job, with 500 of those deaths being caused by firearms and, of those, 366 from handguns. Of those killed in 2011, 51 were wearing body armor, and 46 of those officers were still killed by firearms.

A wrongful death is difficult for everyone involved, so it’s important to look into the legal options available. There may be options that will help pay for debt accrued from medical care and funeral costs, and families may be able to obtain pain and suffering awards from the courts. Certain aspects of personal injury law can be different when a situation involves a law enforcement officer, so speaking to an experienced attorney may be helpful.

Source: Dayton Daily News, “Cop deaths up for third straight year,” Mark Gokavi, Dec. 25, 2012

On behalf of Weisman, Kennedy & Berris Co., L.P.A. posted in Car Accidents on Wednesday, January 2, 2013.

Time cannot heal the painful fracture that results when family members are killed in a fatal car accident. A serious car accident can completely transform the lives of all involved and leave a gaping hole in the ones of those left behind. While tragic at any time, accidents that cause serious injuries or death are even more heartbreaking when they happen during the holidays, whether it’s in Cleveland or elsewhere in Ohio.

Such was the case on Dec. 23 when two minivans carrying two families were involved in a head-on collision. The fatal wreck, which occurred on Interstate 75, left three adults and one child dead. Two other children were left in critical condition, according to the Ohio State Patrol.

One minivan, carrying a family leaving a Christmas party, went the wrong way on I-75 near Franklin, colliding at 2:30 a.m. with another minivan carrying a family on its way to visit grandparents for the holiday. Police suspect that alcohol was a factor in the crash, and investigators reported smelling liquor in the wrong-way minivan.

When families lose a loved one due to the negligence of a drunk driver or distracted driver, they may be entitled to compensation for the loss of companionship and loss of future income. Although no amount of money can heal the wound that is left when a fatal car accident occurs, it can relieve some of the financial burden that the family must also endure.

Source: USA Today, “4 holiday travelers die in Ohio car crash,” Amanda Lee Myers, Dec. 23, 2012.

On behalf of Weisman, Kennedy & Berris Co., L.P.A. posted in wrongful death on Tuesday, January 8, 2013.

While bicycling is a healthy and environmentally friendly alternative to driving, bicyclists are left vulnerable to injuries when vehicles are unable to share the road. A recent accident in Obetz between the driver of a pickup truck and a bicyclist demonstrates how such collisions can be fatal. While police hope that more details will come from the incident, it is possible that the bicyclist has been the victim of wrongful death.

A 42-year-old man used his bike as his only means of transportation and was heading south on Obetz-Reese Road around 2:40 a.m. on Dec. 30. The pickup truck was traveling in the same southbound direction when a collision occurred. While the driver of the truck did not sustain any injuries, the bicyclist died at a local hospital.

According to law enforcement, alcohol may have contributed to the crash. An investigation is pending to disclose further details. Friends honored the bicyclist after his death, and they said he was vigilant about having the proper clothing and equipment when riding his bike on roads.

While the man’s family will be consumed dealing with his death, they should be cognizant of the legal rights associated with wrongful death incidents. Although no lawsuit can bring someone back to life, the court of law may be able to afford appropriate compensation for those affected by a tragic fatal accident.

Source: nbc4i.com, “Bicyclist Dies After Crash With Pick-Up Truck,” L.P. Evans, Dec. 30, 2012