Swimming Safety: New Report Reveals Children’s Swimsuit Color Can Greatly Improve Visibility

For many families, swimming in pools and lakes is a great way for children to beat the heat and cool off on hot summer days. If you have a young child who will be hopping in a pool or lake this summer, you may not give much thought to the color of their swimsuit. However, a study released this year revealed some swimsuit colors were much more visible than others in pools and lakes. The most difficult colors to see were white and light blue. Most visible choices were neon yellow, neon green, and neon orange.

Increasing your child’s swimsuit visibility can be compared to donning reflective gear which increases visibility on the road as a jogger or cyclist. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that more than 350 children are tragically killed in backyard swimming pool accidents each year, with the majority of deaths occurring in June, July, and August. The lawyers at GBM Law have had the privilege of representing drowning victims’ families and have seen first-hand that while these tragedies are heartbreaking, they are often preventable. Swimsuit visibility is one consideration to make a child easier to see for the visual observer supervising the child.

swimsuit color test results
Source: Aquatic Safety Connection
swimsuit color test results in lake
Source: Aquatic Safety Connection

Of course, the color of a swimsuit alone will not keep your child safe in the water. Your child should always be supervised by an adult. According to Aquatic Safety Connection, participation in formal swim lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by up to 88%. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that most children ages 4 and older are able to learn to swim and many children ages 1 to 4 are able to learn to swim. Swimming lessons, while highly recommended, are still not a substitute for undistracted adult supervision.

If you are a parent, you should know that drowning is quick, silent, and it can happen to anyone. For more resources, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics Drowning Prevention toolkit.

If you or someone you know has questions about swimming pool safety or drowning incidents, call GBM Law for more information.

Be Careful When You Wave: Understanding the Possible Legal Implications of Waving Other Drivers to Turn in Front of You

The issue of crashes happening when one motorist waves to another to make a turn has come up in lawsuits and court cases in recent years, raising questions about liability.

Here is how the scenario frequently comes up:

You’re driving down the road and stop for traffic. A car traveling in the opposite direction stops in front of you waiting for an opportunity to make a left turn. You check your rearview mirror to see if anyone is coming up next to you in the curb lane. You don’t see anyone so you motion to the driver to proceed with the left turn by waving your hand. Unfortunately, there was a vehicle in the curb lane approaching that you didn’t see. The other driver proceeds with the left turn and collides with the car in the curb lane.

All of us at one time or another have waved a fellow driver to turn. In some areas of the country, like Hawaii, it is common practice for drivers in the opposite direction of traffic to stop in the road and let another driver turn left in front of them. This may seem like a polite gesture in stopped traffic, but there can be consequences to seemingly polite acts that deviate from normal and predictable driving and basic right-of-way laws.

If you’re in a rural area and the “go ahead” waving interaction is solely between you and the other driver, there is no issue.

But the problem occurs when other drivers are sharing the road, and they can’t predict your unpredictable behavior, which allows another motorist to violate your right of way.

Waving and liability

What most of us don’t know and don’t even consider when we wave another driver “to go ahead” is whether you can be found responsible (or “liable”) if an accident happens. Your vehicle may not even be involved in the direct collision, but the motorist that turned into the path of another vehicle may tell law enforcement that you assured him it was safe to turn. Unfortunately, that question of whether you may be liable isn’t easy to answer and may just depend on where in the state you are, as well as the specific chain of events.

Who is considered liable in Ohio?

Appellate Courts in Ohio have addressed the issue, and unfortunately, are not in agreement. One school of thought is that the driver who motions the other driver to proceed is not liable. This view rests on the premise that a signal to cross can be interpreted as no more than a yielding of the right of way. Thus, the person signaling the other motorist is not responsible for any accidents that might occur when the crossing motorist enters into a different lane.

The other view is that under some circumstances, a signaling driver may act negligently when signaling another driver to cross his path. Liability rests on the view that sometimes a signal may be interpreted as an indication that the way is clear and it is safe to proceed. Therefore, if the signal is reasonably viewed as an “all clear” indication to the turning driver, the person signaling can be found liable.

Be careful about waving someone to proceed

So next time you find yourself about to wave someone to proceed, be careful. It’s not your duty to assure other drivers that their path is clear and doing so could cause you to assume that duty. If you’re not 100% sure there is no traffic coming, don’t put yourself at risk by signaling to the other driver that it’s all clear. Put your safety first, above your good intentions.

For more information, contact GBM Law by calling us at 614-222-4444.

The Importance of Keeping a Physical Emergency Contact List

A GBM Law client recently shared a frightening experience that happened while traveling out of state. After his cell phone was destroyed in a serious crash, he arrived at the hospital, injured and alone. He was in shock and unable to think clearly. Despite his best efforts, he simply could not remember the phone numbers of even his closest family members. In this day and age, we store everything in our phone. Although Americans collectively check their smartphones upwards of 8 billion times per day, many people do not even know the phone numbers of their spouses or their close relatives. This can be a problem if your phone is lost or destroyed. Even if you have information memorized, if you are incapacitated, or you find yourself unable to remember your phone’s password, others need a way to locate emergency contact information to help you. In an emergency situation, an Emergency Contact Card can be an important resource or reference, either for yourself or others caring for you. Everyone should carry something in their wallet with loved ones to contact in an emergency.

By their very nature, emergencies are unpredictable events , but with a few simple steps, you can help yourself in advance. The American Red Cross offers a free Emergency Contact Card that you can print out, fill out, and carry with you. You can also purchase a customizable emergency card on Amazon with similar information that is waterproof and laminated. This information should be easily accessible in your wallet, clearly identifying people to call or text in an emergency. You can also note things like “I have pets at home alone” that need care, to notify any caregivers that someone should be sent to your address.

If you are involved in a car accident and find yourself facing an uncertain future, you are not alone. In the past three decades, the Ohio personal injury lawyers at GBM Law have represented thousands of our neighbors and friends in Ohio and have recovered over $200 million for our clients. Our focus is to advocate for and compassionately serve the people and families we represent and the communities in which we live.

Call us for a free consultation at 614-222-4444.

Ohio Motorcycle Laws: Know Before You Ride

Driving a motorcycle on the open road can be both relaxing and exciting.  But you should become very familiar with the rules of the road in your state before you take that first ride. Complying with state motorcycle laws can keep you safe and may help you avoid getting a citation or being involved in an accident. Ohio has a number of laws that pertain to getting a motorcycle license, operating/riding a motorcycle, and having insurance. 

Getting a Motorcycle License in Ohio 

To operate a motorcycle legally in Ohio, you must have a motorcycle license, or a motorcycle endorsement on your driver’s license. The requirements for getting a license or endorsement are different for those under age 18 and those over the age of 18. 

People 18 years or older can obtain the license or endorsement by passing a multiple-choice knowledge test and a motorcycle skills test. The knowledge test is based on information from the Ohio Motorcycle Operator Manual and asks questions pertaining to equipment, safety and handling emergencies. The motorcycle skills test assesses your ability to operate a bike and covers things like accelerating, braking, adjusting to changing traffic, and communicating with others on the road. 

The process of getting a license or endorsement if you’re under 18 starts with a visit to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles and taking a written test, and then getting a Temporary Instruction Permit Identification Card (TIPIC). Then the permit holder must complete a Motorcycle Ohio Course (16 hours and includes classroom and on-cycle instruction and testing), a driver education course (24 hours of classroom instruction and eight hours of driving) and complete 50 hours of driving. The TIPIC allows operation of a motorcycle only in daylight, prohibits passengers or operations on interstate highways, and requires operators to wear a helmet and eye protection. After passing the Motorcycle Ohio Course, the operator then has 60 days to visit the BMV and purchase their license or endorsement. 

Ohio Motorcycle Insurance Laws 

If you are operating a motorcycle in Ohio, you are required to have insurance.  Minimum insurance requirements for motorcycles are the same as for other passenger vehicles:   

  • $25,000 for bodily injury or death of another person in an accident;
  • $50,000 for bodily injury or death of two or more individuals in one accident; and 
  • $25,000 for property damage suffered by someone else in an accident. 

Both insurance companies and personal injury attorneys agree that it is always advisable to carry more insurance than the bare minimum. If you cause an accident, it is unlikely the minimum insurance coverage required by law will cover an accident. Higher insurance coverage could protect you from having your wages garnished or liens placed against assets. Make sure you also understand how your insurance covers your medical expenses should you be injured while you are riding your bike, because it is likely if you are involved in an accident, you will be injured. 

There is also a chance that you and your bike might be hit by an uninsured motorist. Injuries resulting from motorcycle accidents are often very serious resulting in high medical treatment and lost wages. Motorcycle repairs can also be expensive. You and your agent should make sure that you have enough Uninsured and Underinsured motorist coverage to protect you and your bike. You may want to ask your agent whether your insurance policy has medical payments coverage, which is often used to pay medical bills not fully paid by your health insurance company.     

Ohio Motorcycle Operating Laws 

Ohio law governs operating a motorcycle on Ohio roads, including equipment required and allowable maneuvers. 

Helmets: Ohio’s motorcycle law  does not require everyone on a bike to wear a helmet. Motorcycles are grouped in with bicycles and snowmobiles and the helmet law is under Ohio Revised code § 4511.53 “Operation of bicycles, motorcycles and snowmobiles,” which states: 

“No person who is under the age of eighteen years, or who holds a motorcycle operator’s endorsement or license bearing a “novice” designation that is currently in effect…, shall operate a motorcycle on a highway, or be a passenger on a motorcycle, unless wearing a protective helmet on the person’s head, and no other person shall be a passenger on a motorcycle operated by such a person unless similarly wearing a protective helmet.”

The “novice” designation is effective for one year after the date of issuance of the motorcycle operator’s endorsement or license. Ohio’s helmet law does have one important part that makes it different from other states. The last sentence states, “The provisions of this paragraph or a violation thereof shall not be used in the trial of any civil action.” This means that if you are involved in a motorcycle accident and not wearing a helmet, you can still pursue a personal injury claim against the person or people who caused the crash. Similarly, if a loved one dies in a crash while not wearing a helmet, their family members may still  pursue a wrongful death claim against the at-fault party. In other words, whether or not you were wearing a helmet at the time of an accident does not have an effect on filing a personal injury claim. Note: At GBM Law, we recommend all motorcycle operators and passengers wear helmets. 

Seating / Handlebars: If you are riding a motorcycle on the road, it must have a permanent / regular seat attached to the bike. Any passengers must also be seated in a regular seat. Also, if you’re riding on the highway, the handlebars must not “rise higher than the shoulders of the operator when the operator is seated in the operator’s seat or saddle.” 

Lane Splitting: Ohio is one of many states where “lane splitting” (riding a motorcycle between lanes or rows of slow moving or stopped traffic moving in the same direction) is a legal gray area. It’s not specifically legal, but it is not specifically illegal. It’s possible that motorcycle operators could be cited for failing to operate a bike in a marked lane or failing to exercise care when passing.  This would be up to a law enforcement officer’s discretion. 

Riding Two to a Lane: Because motorcycles take up less space than a car, it’s possible for two of them to ride side-by-side in a single lane. It is not legal to ride more than two motorcycles side by side in a single lane. 

Don’t Delay: Contact an Ohio Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today

Ohio motorcycle accident attorneys at GBM LAW have witnessed the life-changing consequences of motorcycle accidents. Collisions involving motorcycles are far more devastating than those involving just passenger vehicles. Without the protection of a vehicle, motorcycle operators are extremely vulnerable to serious injury or death. 

Many accidents are 100% preventable and can be attributed to driver negligence. It’s up to everyone on the road to drive safely and carefully, looking out for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcycles and traveling at a safe speed. 

If you or someone close to you has been involved in an Ohio motorcycle accident, we offer a free consultation with one of our lawyers. Call us at 614-222-4444. We will listen to your story, review your case, explain your options, and answer your questions. We will evaluate whether you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost earnings, pain and suffering and other damages, due to your injuries. 

As part of our contingency fee arrangement on personal injury cases, there is no fee unless we recover money for you. 

GBM Law Supported Berkshire Triathlon Event at Mallway Park

The Columbus personal injury attorneys at GBM Law recently donated $2,500 to the Berkshire Triathlon, an entry-level triathlon and kids fun run to raise money for charity. Proceeds from the event each year go directly to help children living with serious illnesses and their families. The event was held Sunday June 9, at Mallway Park in Upper Arlington, and included a Kids Fun Run, Duathlon and Triathlon.

The two beneficiaries of the Berkshire Triathlon are Flying Horse Farms and The Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio. Flying Horse Farms is a medical specialty camp in Mt. Gilead, Ohio, where children who have serious illnesses can enjoy being kids and participate in healing and transformative activities such as swimming, boating, fishing, high ropes, archery, and arts and crafts. GBM Law has proudly supported Flying Horse Farms with various donations and sponsorships since 2012.

The second beneficiary of the triathlon was Columbus Ronald McDonald House.  The RMH houses over 4,500 families each year, giving them a safe, clean and comfortable home away from home, and keeping them close to their children being treated across the street at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
To learn more about the Berkshire Triathlon event and its beneficiaries, visit https://www.berkshiretri.org/.

Verdict Forces Insurance Company to Take Responsibility and Pay $100,000

An active, avid amateur hockey player’s life was turned upside when she was struck by a motorist who ran a stop sign while on her lunch break. With the insurance company disputing even the most basic medical care necessary to repair her injured neck, attorneys Mike Geiser and J. Scott Bowman were willing to force the insurance company to take responsibility and took the case to trial. After five days of teamwork between client and the attorneys at GBM Law, a verdict of $100,000 was rendered and justice finally obtained for the client.

Relentless investigation locates key witness in disputed liability crash.

A driver who refused to accept responsibility for causing a crash at a major intersection in the Polaris area of Columbus, Ohio was forced to settle with the Plaintiff, represented by GBM Law, after her attorneys located a witness to the collision months afterwards.

Relying on their decades of experience handling auto accident cases, GBM Law attorneys Michael Geiser and Sydney McLafferty were able to locate a witness to a crash many months after it occurred. This witness, now living out of state, agreed to testify about what she saw. As a result, this disputed liability case resolved at mediation with a $225,000 settlement for GBM Law’s client who had sustained a severe fracture to her ankle in the collision.

$1 Million Dollar Settlement for Motorcycle Accident Victim

After a long battle with a large local corporation, GBM Law secured a $900,000 settlement with the employer of the negligent driver who pulled out in front of a motorcyclist. This money, combined with the driver’s $100,000 insurance policy limit, finalized the $1 million dollar resolution for our client.

Attorney Michael Geiser successfully litigated a complicated case in Delaware County, Ohio against the employer of the negligent driver arguing that the employer was liable for the acts of their employee under agency principles of law. The $1 million dollar settlement provided substantial compensation for the injured victim who sustained spinal cord injuries in the motorcycle crash.