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Ohio Legal Issues Blog

One Million Dollar Settlement For Opiate Overdose Case Against Ohio Doctor

Rittgers & Rittgers, working with Craig Schlapprizzi who is an attorney in St. Louis, recently settled a case for the family of a man who died of an overdose from hydrocodone and Xanax. He was forty years old and survived by his wife and three children.

Our client was an alcoholic and an opioid addict. He was also a good husband and great father. We sued numerous parties including his physician who negligently prescribed him opioid analgesics for a period of over 14 years despite having many reasons to believe he was addicted to pain medication and abusing alcohol. We also sued the physician's employer for failing to have proper procedures in place to monitor its various doctors' prescriptions for pain pills. 

U.S. Supreme Court Declares Law Banning Sex Offenders From Using Social Media Sites Unconstitutional

On June 19, 2017, the United States Supreme Court held that a North Carolina law that made it a felony for a convicted sex offender to access social networking websites that could be used by children as unconstitutional. According to statistics cited to the Supreme Court, North Carolina has prosecuted over 1,2000 people for violating it. The Court held that the law, which banned offenders from accessing websites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, violated the First Amendment.

Lester Packingham, who was convicted in 2002 of a sexual offense and required to register as a sex offender, challenged the constitutionality of the law after charges were brought against him in 2010 for posting on Facebook a comment related to his excitement over the dismissal of a traffic ticket. Mr. Packingham was subsequently convicted for this post and appealed his conviction to the United States Supreme Court. 

Connected Car Technology: Advancing Awareness of Car Accident Hazards

We all hear plenty about the driving distractions posed by electronic devices that increase the likelihood of car crashes and truck accidents. However, there is also a major upside to wireless technologies, and automotive industry experts predict that all new motor vehicles will eventually be equipped with "connected car" systems that will allow cars and trucks to communicate with each other and inform drivers about imminent hazards.

Using wireless transmitters that broadcast a car's position multiple times per second, researchers at the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) have launched a study that will equip 3,000 cars and trucks with connected car technology. UMTRI officials point out two basic reasons why promoting enhanced motor vehicle safety is important: car and truck crashes are the number one cause of death for Americans between the ages of five and 34, and most accidents result from human error.

Miami University, Criminal Charges and Disciplinary Proceedings

When a Miami University student is charged with a crime, the consequences can be serious and are certainly burdensome. Why? When a student is charged with a crime, not only must the student answer to the charges in court, the student must also answer to the school for violating university policy. This is because when a crime is committed, the university will inevitably initiate disciplinary proceedings during which at least one hearing will occur. Even if the student is not charged with a crime, the university will initiate disciplinary proceedings against the student if there is reason to believe the student violated the university's code of conduct.

Of course, while permitted, it is never wise for a criminal defendant to represent him or herself on criminal charges. Similarly, it is never wise for students to represent themselves in a student disciplinary proceeding. Once an ethics violation is stamped on a student transcript, the stigma never goes away. Legal counsel is needed. The university even recognizes this, which is precisely why the university expressly permits an attorney to advise the student at a disciplinary hearing. 

Red Light Cameras: Ohio City Sees Reduction of Car Accidents

For injury victims and their families, car accidents are difficult to understand. It is especially difficult when the car accident is caused by a blatant violation of the law such as driving under the influence or speeding. Setting aside the common-sense driving standards that the law imposes due to recklessness or a personal lapse of judgment is simply unacceptable.

No traffic violation is more blatant than running a red light or stop sign, which can easily lead to an automotive collision or tragic accident with a bicyclist or pedestrian. For that reason, many communities across the country have implemented red-light enforcement technology to keep a constant eye out for violators and ticket those who think nobody is watching.

How Long Can You Wait to File a Car Accident Claim in Ohio?

After a car accident that causes injuries or property damage, people naturally have plenty of questions about settlement and car accident litigation. Some of the most important issues in most car accident claims involve insurance coverage, whether the at-fault driver was uninsured or the injury victim needs compensation for medical bills and other damages beyond auto liability policy limits.

A recent Ohio Court of Appeals case looked at a question frequently asked of personal injury attorneys: What is the statute of limitations for bringing a driver negligence claim in Ohio?

The case involved a truck accident claim against the driver of a freight truck who allegedly failed to yield the right of way to the injured motorist. The truck was entering a state highway from a private drive and the plaintiff claimed that the truck driver's failure to operate his truck in a reasonably prudent fashion resulted in severe bodily injury.

Highway Patrol Stats Provide Details on Ohio Highway Fatalities

The good news: motor vehicle accidents on Ohio streets and highways resulting in death have decreased in recent years. The bad news: more than 1,000 drivers, passengers and pedestrians lost their lives last year in Ohio. Truck accidents, motorcycle accidents and other tragedies that result in wrongful deaths cause tremendous heartache for an even larger number of family members and other loved ones.

Statistics from the Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP) show that Ohio traffic deaths fell from 1,321 to 1,081 between 2005 and 2010, a nearly 20 percent drop. However, the latest statistics on fatal highway wrecks do show a rise in some counties. In the greater Cincinnati area, Montgomery County, Butler County, Warren County and Hamilton County have so far recorded fewer traffic fatalities in 2011 than at the same time last year, but Clermont County and Greene County have seen increases.

One reason the OSHP credits for the overall decrease is its Metropolitan Traffic Safety Initiative, instituted in 2006. This program focused enforcement efforts on Ohio's major cities where crash frequency was highest, allowing troopers to collaborate with local law enforcement agencies to strategize traffic enforcement priorities. The OSHP now uses extensive data on crash times, traffic congestion, seasonal factors, commuting patterns and other variables to identify areas where increased trooper visibility and enforcement should make the most difference.

Pediatric Study Finds "Epidemic" of Child Brain Injuries in ATV Accidents

Research recently presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference and Exhibition took a close look at the steep rise in ATV accidents among riders 16 and younger. Child injury victims represent one of every three emergency room visits that resulted from the use of these increasingly popular recreational vehicles.

Lead author Dr. Charles Jennissen, Director of Pediatric Emergency Medicine at the University of Iowa, characterized the problem as a growing epidemic, noting that the number of ATVs has more than tripled in the past decade. Increased numbers are an important part of the problem, but heavier and faster machines - some that can travel faster than 80 miles per hour - must also be factored into this child safety threat.

Head injuries are the primary reason why ATV accidents are all too frequently fatal, and lack of helmet use is an important factor. But Jennissen identified several other common circumstances leading to injury:

  • Children are allowed to ride vehicles that are designed for adults only
  • Young passengers are frequently thrown from ATVs that are not designed to carry them (and they are also less likely to be provided with a helmet)
  • ATV rollovers are the most common cause of personal injury to riders

Common Dangers And Threats In Ohio Nursing Homes

Ohio is a place where family is of utmost importance, so the care of a disabled or elderly loved one is a great concern. That's why it may be surprising to learn that many southern Ohio nursing homes fall well below acceptable standards in areas such as health inspections, staffing and quality measures. Sadly, this problem involves more than just sanitary shortcomings and understaffing.

According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, 1 in 10 elders are abused in this country and only 1 in 24 instances are ever examined by the authorities. Elder mistreatment is a pervasive problem throughout the Midwest and nation.

When nursing homes fail to ensure that residents are provided with an acceptable standard of care, they become dangerous places where patients' health may quickly decline, rather than improve or remain stable. Poorly run facilities can become breeding grounds for life-threatening diseases and places where patient neglect goes unnoticed or ignored.

This article will explore common threats to nursing home residents and the warning signs that something is wrong. Lastly, it will discuss what legal rights families have when a loved one has been harmed by nursing home abuse or neglect

Researchers develop new treatment for spinal cord injuries

Spinal cord injuries are prevalent across the nation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC reports that most of them are caused by motor vehicle accidents. However, injuries sustained while playing sports, slip and falls and as a result of violence cause a significant number as well. Any time that there is any damage, it is serious, as the spinal cord provides the vital function of protecting the brain's connection with the respiratory, musculoskeletal, urinary and gastrointestinal systems.

According to the CDC, victims of spinal cord injury also suffer a significant financial setback. The average annual cost of treatment for a spinal cord injury can be as high as $30,000. If the injury is severe, it can cost up to $3 million in treatments over a lifetime. It is fortunate that researchers at Ohio State University have developed a new drug to treat such injuries.

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