Reporting a Dog Bite in Ohio

Ohio, like many states, requires anyone with knowledge of a person being bitten by an animal, specifically a “non-human mammal,” to file a bite incident report. The report can be made by a person bitten, their health care provider, or by a veterinarian who has knowledge of the bite.

The specific code requiring bite reporting is Ohio Administrative Code 3701-3-28. Reports should be made within 24 hours of a bite occurring to the local health district where the bite occurred. Local health districts can be located on the Ohio Department of Health website. Reports of dog bites in Columbus should be made to Franklin County Public Health.

What To Do If You Are Bitten By a Dog in Ohio

Getting medical attention as soon as possible is critical following a dog bite. This is important for your physical well-being and preventing infection, as well as documenting your injuries should you decide to pursue a claim. In Ohio, the owner of a dog is strictly liable for injuries caused by their dog.

Unless the person harmed was provoking or teasing a dog, or was trespassing on the owner’s property, the owner of the dog will be liable. Typically, a dog owner’s homeowner’s or renter’s insurance will pay for damages caused by a dog bite.

Compensation Available for Dog Bite Injuries in Ohio

In an Ohio dog bite personal injury claim, victims may be able to recover damages for medical expenses (including plastic surgery for scarring or disfigurement), lost earnings, and pain and suffering. Many people who are bitten by a dog accept a settlement without fully understanding the full impact of their injuries. This can be an unfortunate mistake, as dog bite injury victims may be able to recover far more compensation if they have an experienced attorney representing them.

Consult with an Ohio Dog Bite Lawyer About Your Potential Case

At GBM Law, our Columbus dog bite attorneys understand how far-reaching the effects of a dog bite incident can be, even beyond broken bones, disfigurement, and scarring. Before you accept an insurance company’s offer for a dog bite injury, call us at 614-222-4444 to discuss your legal rights. We offer a free consultation to evaluate your potential claim and answer your questions. If we represent you, under our contingency fee agreement, there are no legal fees unless we recover money for you.

How Whiplash From A Car Accident Can Impact You Later

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the term “whiplash” was first used in 1928 to describe a neck injury resulting from a traffic accident. Almost 100 years later, whiplash is still the most common injury resulting from a car accident, and Ohio car accidents are no exception.

While many people report improvement as their injuries heal in the days and weeks following a car accident, whiplash is one injury that can get worse in the aftermath of an accident. In fact, symptoms may not show up for days, and in rare cases, even weeks following an accident. Whiplash may be difficult to see on an X-ray, CT scan, or MRI.

Whiplash Injuries Can Affect You For Months

car crash

Neck pain, shoulder pain, back pain, reduced range of motion, and headaches are some of the most common short-term symptoms of whiplash. The long-term effects of whiplash injuries that may develop in the following days and weeks include:

  • Chronic pain and stiffness in the neck and shoulders
  • Blurry vision
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Jaw pain
  • Memory problems
  • Numbness, weakness, or sensory symptoms in the hands, arms, or legs
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty concentrating; permanent personality changes
  • Ringing in the ears (constant or intermittent)
  • Severe, chronic headaches
  • Upper or lower back pain.

After an accident, you should always seek medical attention as soon as possible. Even though a whiplash injury may not cause immediate symptoms, both legal and medical experts recommend seeking medical attention immediately. Stiffness, loss of motion, and other serious side effects occur most often when untreated. Your record of getting medical care is also an important part of your personal injury claim.

Don’t Accept Less Compensation Than You Deserve

If you report a rear-end accident and whiplash injury to an at-fault driver’s insurance company, they may be quick to tell you that they accept liability and assure you that they will take care of you. Accepting a check for a few thousand dollars may resolve some immediate financial burdens and seem to be a straightforward resolution to a problem. However, an immediate solution can be a problem later. If you accept a quick settlement, you will not be able to request more compensation later for your additional medical expenses, time away from work, and pain and suffering.

Insurance companies want to pay you quickly for one reason: as part of the terms of accepting your payment, you will waive all rights to ask for more money later. Paying you quickly makes sense to them because it will save them a lot of money in the long run. You should never accept a personal injury settlement if you do not know how your injuries will heal and affect you months and years down the line. In the first few days and weeks following an accident, it is impossible to predict that your neck pain could be causing painful spasms and severe headaches a year later.

Get the Compensation You Deserve

Don’t take on the insurance company alone. At GBM Law, our Ohio car accident attorneys offer a free consultation to answer your questions and discuss your legal rights. Call us today at 614-222-4444. If we represent you, we will not charge any fees unless we recover money for you.

12 Most Common Car Accident Injuries in Ohio

At GBM Law, we have seen firsthand how car accidents are life-changing events for so many people. If you’ve been injured in a car crash, you are not alone. Below are the top 12 injuries we see arising from Ohio car accidents:

1. Neck and Back Injuries

The neck and back are complex structures composed of bones, nerves, ligaments, tendons, and cartilage. Neck and back injuries, including spinal fractures, herniated discs, compressed nerves, spondylolisthesis, and other injuries to muscles or tendons, can leave people with long-lasting pain and suffering. Injuries from trauma can range from mild to serious, and the full severity of an injury may not reveal itself until months after an accident.

2. Spinal Cord Injuries

A spinal cord injury resulting in complete bodily paralysis is the worst possible type of back injury. Loss of sensation or function can be temporary or permanent. A quadriplegic injury involves all four limbs and paraplegic injury involves the legs and lower body. Spinal cord injuries make it difficult to perform the activities of daily life including walking, dressing, bathing, driving a car, and going to work or school. The long-term outcome can vary widely depending on the severity of the injury.

3. Brain and Head Injuries

A blow to the head due to a motor vehicle collision can cause a devastating traumatic brain injury. Brain injuries, like concussions, often cause debilitating symptoms for many months after the initial trauma. However, a traumatic brain injury may result in permanent deficits in memory, organization abilities, multitasking skills and word selection. Traumatic brain injuries may also cause increase emotional difficulties for patients who experienced anxiety, stress, and sadness before the motor vehicle collision. A focal injury caused by a direct blow to one area of the skull will result in varying symptoms depending on which part of the head is struck.

4. Broken Bones or Fractures

Broken bones or fractures are extremely painful injuries because the trauma also involves the bone, nerves, and surrounding muscles. The fracture may also result in tearing of ligaments and tendons in the area of the fracture. Patients typically experience immediate pain at the time the fracture occurs. The pain may become chronic pain especially if the fracture is located within a joint such as an ankle or wrist. Chronic pain associated with a fracture is usually caused by arthritis in the joint that occurs secondary to the healing process. The collarbone, also known as the clavicle, is the most commonly broken bone in the body. Broken limbs and broken ribs are also common bone fracture injuries in Ohio car accidents.

5. Facial Injuries

Trauma to the face is a very common injury due to a motor vehicle collision. These injuries may be caused by an exploding airbag, shattered windows and contact with the interior of the passenger compartment. Injuries to the face and head often result in permanent facial disfigurement. The most common facial injuries resulting from a car accident include lacerations and broken bones in the nose, jaw, or cheekbones. The human face includes 14 bones, including the mandible, the largest bone in the human skull, which holds the lower teeth in place.

6. Foot and Ankle Injuries

During a motor vehicle collision, the feet, toes, heels, and ankles may absorb the impact, causing injury to any of the 26 bones in your feet, along with numerous muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints. Injury to any part of the foot can cause long term disability or limited mobility during recovery. It is important to see a healthcare provider who specializes in treating patients with foot injuries as soon as possible following an accident for the best chance of full recovery, and to prevent secondary complications. Foot injury treatment may require surgery, physical therapy, and prolonged rest.

7. Internal Bleeding

Internal bleeding, or hemorrhage, can result from blunt trauma or penetrating trauma, and almost any organ or blood vessel can be damaged. Blood loss inside of the body, for example, bleeding into the spleen, liver and kidneys may not have any visible bleeding outside the body. Injuries are often diagnosed when tests reveal blood in the urine or the injury is confirmed by diagnostic tests like an ultrasound. Even though bleeding is not visible, it is a medical emergency, and may require immediate surgery.

8. Knee Injuries

“Dashboard knee” occurs when a seat-belted driver or passenger’s bent knee is suddenly pushed against the dashboard, often causing the postural cruciate ligament to tear or the patella (kneecap) to fracture or shatter. Dashboard knee injuries will be diagnosed with an X-ray or MRI. Depending on the nature of the injury, surgical or non-surgical treatment options may be available.

Injuries may also result when a person applies the brakes, causing a twisting to the knee which can damage the medial or lateral meniscus or any of the ligaments supporting the structure of the knee. It is always important to notify your medical provider of any symptoms in and around your knee like pain, numbness or weakness.

9. Lacerations and Cuts

hand cast

Lacerations happen when skin, tissue, or muscle is torn, often in high speed motor vehicle collisions. The driver or passenger may become separated from their seatbelt during violent rollover accidents, or head on collisions and occupants of a vehicle may be ejected from the vehicle. Lacerations can range from minor to major and can be fatal. Permanent scarring is a concern, especially when lacerations occur in the face. Some lacerations are more prone to infection, depending on their location on the body.

10. Burn Injuries

Burn injuries can happen in seconds and can last a lifetime. A car crash can expose you to hot metal, steam, toxic chemicals, and electricity. Burn injuries are painful, and in some cases, cause permanent scarring and disfigurement. Healthcare providers categorize burns based on which lawyers of the skin they affect (first-degree, second-degree, and third-degree).

11. Torn Ligaments

A stretched or torn ligament is commonly referred to as a sprain. Examples of torn ligaments are knee sprains, wrist sprains, elbow sprains, and ankle sprains. It is also possible to sprain the neck or back. Sprains are categorized by medical professionals as mild, moderate, or severe, depending if the ligament is stretched, partially torn, or completely torn.

12. Whiplash Injuries

Rear end collisions are the most common motor vehicle accidents which typically cause strain and sprain type injurie to the muscles and soft tissues supporting the spine. Strain and sprain type injuries are the most injuries resulting from a motor vehicle collision. Side impact and head on collisions also frequently result in whiplash type injuries, where the neck is thrown back and forth or from side to side rapidly, like the cracking of a whip, stretching and tearing muscles and ligaments. Although not life-threatening, a whiplash injury can lead to chronic pain and partial disability. Untreated whiplash can contribute to degenerative disc disease, where vertebrae of the spinal cord deteriorate.

Contact Us for a Free Case Evaluation

If you were injured in an accident in Ohio, you may be entitled to financial compensation for medical expenses, lost earnings, and pain and suffering. Contact us today by calling 614-222-4444 to speak with an attorney about your potential case. If we represent you, you will not pay any attorney fees unless we recover compensation for you.

Using a Legal Directory to Find an Ohio Personal Injury Lawyer

The internet is full of rankings, listings, databases, and directories for attorneys. After a serious accident in Ohio, people searching for a top-rated Ohio personal injury attorney can find lawyers on business directories like Google, Yelp, Business Finder, and the Better Business Bureau, and on lawyer-specific websites and referral services. If you’re looking for a lawyer, using a legal directory can provide lawyer ratings, disciplinary actions, and peer endorsements.

There are many directories on the internet because legal marketing is a big business. Directories compete for search engine placement by offering the most information to visitors. Below are nine directories you may use to find an Ohio personal injury lawyer:

  • SuperLawyers.com: A peer-reviewed rating of services of outstanding lawyers selected by independent research, peer nominations, and peer evaluations.
  • Avvo.com: An “online marketplace” of legal services where lawyers can share client reviews, legal guides, and peer endorsements.
  • Lawyers.com: Lawyers.com is a free service from Martindale-Hubbell, publishers of lawyer and law firm directories since 1868. The site offers legal articles, blogs by attorneys, and an “Ask A Lawyer” forum.
  • Findlaw.com: An online legal directory managed by Canadian media conglomerate Thomson Reuters.
  • Nolo.com: A DIY legal site that also offers a consumer-oriented legal directory connecting consumers with attorneys based on the needed practice area.
  • BestLawyers.com: One of the oldest peer-reviewed attorney rating publications, founded by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith, two Harvard Law graduates and authors.
  • Justia.com: Justia is a legal information retrieval service offering free case law, codes, opinion summaries, and other basic legal texts, with paid services for its attorney directory. Justia was founded by Tim Stanley in 2003, who first founded FindLaw in 1995.
  • HG.org: A listing service for lawyers and law firms worldwide.
  • Ohio Bar Association: The Ohio State Bar Association offers an Ohio attorney directory and links to various lawyer referral services registered with the Supreme Court of Ohio.

Researching Attorneys: Review Case Results and Client Testimonials

You should not select a lawyer based solely on a ranking in a directory. Do your homework and see how the attorney has handled prior cases. Case results are a reflection of knowledge, skills, and experience, although it is important to distinguish that no two cases are alike. A settlement or verdict in one type of accident case does not mean that another case will have the same value.

However, a lawyer who has many years of experience and a long track record of recovering full and fair compensation in personal injury cases will be well-qualified to prepare a case for trial and negotiate a fair settlement.

At GBM Law, we also publish client testimonials and Google Reviews on our website to give potential clients a perspective on how well we have served prior clients.

Affordable Legal Services for Personal Injury Clients

justice, legal servies

The contingency fee arrangement is one of the advantages of personal injury law over other types of situations that may require an attorney. Because a fee is contingent on a monetary recovery, your attorney is only paid if and when a settlement or verdict is reached. This allows you to choose the very best, most experienced lawyer to represent you. There are no upfront retainers or out-of-pocket fees. The lawyer assumes all risk. In the unlikely event they accept your case and do not recover money for you, you owe nothing.

To schedule a free consultation for your personal injury case, feel free to call us at 614-222-4444 or fill out a case evaluation form.

What to Do After a Motor Vehicle Collision During the Pandemic

 Motor Vehicle Collision

If you are involved in a motor vehicle collision during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever that you take actions at the scene of the accident that will help you prove your case later. It has always been important to call the 911 from the scene of the accident to request assistance from the police and medics if anyone is injured. However, due to the pandemic, the police may not go to the scene of your accident if there are no reported injuries.

Ohio law only requires police to respond to a collision when:

  • The accident causes an injury that requires medical care
  • A fatality occurs
  • Property damage totals more than $1,000

When calling 911:

Notify the 911 operator or police dispatcher if your accident involves injury or significant property damage, especially if your car is not drivable. Even if you just feel shaken up, it’s probably wise to err on the side of caution and ask for the police and emergency services to respond to the scene. If you don’t believe you’re injured or if the police don’t respond for any other reason, it’s important to safely and accurately exchange information before leaving the scene. Consider taking a photo of the other motorist’s driver’s license. It is also very important that you record the name, address, and phone number of every person who witnessed the accident.

Take as many photos as you can at the accident scene

It is important to take photos with your cell phone that shows the damage to each car. Taking photos of the accident scene may help you prove your case, especially if the police department refuses to send a police officer to the scene of your accident. But be careful not to place yourself in a dangerous situation while taking photos at the scene. It may also be helpful to your case if you take one or two photos of the other driver, their license plate, their driver’s license, and auto insurance card showing proof of insurance. This evidence may be very important to proving who was driving the car, especially in cases where the police do not show up to the scene of the accident.

The attorneys at GBM Law have had cases where the at fault party denied that they were driving the car that struck our client, and photographs taken by our client at the scene have been the rock-solid proof of who was driving the at fault party’s vehicle. Our phones provide a safe means to collect information without direct contact with another party. Whether or not an officer reports to the scene, it’s wise to take several photographs.

Call an attorney

It is always important to talk to a lawyer as soon as you can. The attorneys at GBM Law provide free legal consultations to keep your case on the right track. Insurance adjusters don’t get paid to explain all of your rights, but we are here to help. If you were injured due to a car accident, contact one of our attorneys immediately by calling 614-222-4444 and let us take the burden off of your shoulders so that you can focus on getting the medical treatment that you need.

Understanding Ohio Trucking Rules and Regulations: The Federal Bridge Formula

The Ohio truck accident lawyers at GBM Law have been protecting Ohioans for more than 30 years and understand the very unique aspects of trucking industry regulations. When a truck accident occurs, it is important to look closely at records and determine if the truck was within weight limits, or had the necessary permits to be overweight. While our attorneys are very familiar with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) and standard practices, we also work closely with trucking industry experts who have in-depth understanding of the  training, recommendations, and knowledge level that are required of trucking companies and their drivers.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates the trucking industry, and state laws set forth limits on height, width and length of commercial trucks. The Ohio Revised Code and the Ohio Administrative Code are the authorities on the maximum allowable weights on roadway and bridges within Ohio. These regulations and restrictions are enforced by the Ohio State Highway Patrol. Maximum weight limits for trucks in Ohio are as follows: 

  • Single Axle: 29,000 pounds.
  • Short Tandem: 36,000 pounds.
  • Long Tandem: 50,000 pounds. 
  • Short Tri Axle:  47,000 pounds.
  • Short Quad Axle or Long Tri Axle: 60,000 pounds.
  • Long Quad Axle: 80,000 lbs.    

A specific formula exists for tire loads. For each axle, the maximum weight allowed is the number of tires, multiplied by the tread width of the tire in inches times 800. 

The Federal Bridge Gross Weight Formula 

Ohio has adopted the Federal Bridge Formula for roads in Ohio, which establishes the maximum weight any set of axles on a motor vehicle may carry on the Interstate highway system. The bridge formula was enacted by Congress in 1975 to limit the weight-to-length ratio of a vehicle crossing a bridge. It has three primary components: 

  1. The maximum weight allowed on a single axle is 20,000 lbs.
  2. The maximum allowed Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW), or the maximum allowed total weight on any group of consecutive axles on a vehicle, is determined by the Federal Bridge Formula (FBF).
  3. The maximum Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) on Interstate highways is 80,000 lbs, even when the result of the formula is greater.

One exception to the formula exists: The maximum total weight allowed on any two consecutive axles spaced eight or fewer feet apart (like tandem axles) is 34,000 lbs. 

Why Overloaded / Overweight Trucks are Dangerous 

The Federal Bridge Formula is designed to protect bridges and reduce damage to roads. But overweight and overloaded trucks can also put motorists at risk.  Overloading a truck affects its maneuverability and makes its various components more prone to failure, and the vehicle is more prone to rollover or jackknife (where the trailer swings from behind the truck and moves forward to create a jackknife position). Overloading on a truck can cause: 

  • A decrease in stopping distance. 
  • A Increase in speed going downhill. 
  • Tire blowouts. 
  • Decreased steering control. 
  • Less control in inclement weather. 

If you have been involved in a truck accident in Ohio, do not delay in contacting our knowledgeable truck accident attorneys immediately. Evidence and records vital to your legal case can be lost in the days and weeks following an accident.  Our legal team can help you understand your rights and options to recover compensation for your injuries in a free consultation. If we represent you, we will take immediate steps to ensure that everything is done to preserve your case. As part of our contingency fee arrangement, there are never any fees unless and until we recover money for you.

For more information, call GBM Law at 614-222-4444.

The Problem of Uninsured Motorists in Ohio and What You Can Do About It

The Dayton Daily News recently ran an article about House Bill 62, a 2019 budget bill that eliminated random insurance checks for drivers in Ohio. Prior to the passing of the bill, the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) would send out random selection letters to vehicle owners (5,400 per week), requiring them to show that they have at least state minimum liability coverage. The drivers would need to show the coverage on the date the vehicle was selected (going out and buying coverage on receipt of the letter was not sufficient). Failing to show insurance could result in a suspension of a license.

That all changed on July 3, 2019, when House Bill 62 removed the requirement to prove evidence of financial responsibility (insurance). However, the bill did not change or remove the requirement to keep insurance in Ohio, per Section 4509 of the Ohio Revised Code. The article in the Dayton Daily News revealed that the Ohio Department of Public Safety does not track the number of people driving uninsured. However, we do know that 1.3 million Ohioans were given non-compliance suspensions in 2018 for failing to provide proof of insurance at a traffic stop or crash.

The National Insurance Institute estimates that about 13% of motorists in the U.S. and 12.4% of motorists in Ohio, (which equates to 995,000 drivers in Ohio), drive without insurance. With that many people driving without insurance in the state of Ohio, the only way you can be certain that you are protected is to carry uninsured motorist insurance. If you do not have uninsured motorist insurance and are struck by a driver with no insurance, you will have to pay for all of your medical bills out of your pocket and will receive NOTHING for lost wages and/or pain and suffering. Therefore, it is vital that you have uninsured motorist coverage to protect you and your family.

Personal injury attorneys deal with insurance companies everyday resolving claims and lawsuits for car accident injuries and deaths. And while insurance companies can be challenging to deal with, a far greater tragedy than dealing with a challenging insurance claims adjuster is not having an insurance company to deal with. Remember, your car insurance is a type of financial security for you and your family. It is always devastating to hear about someone being seriously injured in an accident caused by an uninsured motorist. It’s even more devastating when an accident victim didn’t have their own insurance as an added protection for themselves and their families. Protect yourself with as much insurance as you can afford and with a good attorney.

Call GBM Law today at 614-222-4444.

Will My Personal Injury Case Go To Trial?

If you are injured in an accident caused by the negligence of another person, corporation or government agency, you may be entitled to recover compensation in a personal injury claim to cover your medical care expenses, lost wages from being unable to work, and pain and suffering.  This money may be offered as part of a settlement, or awarded by a judge or jury in a civil lawsuit. A common question we are often asked in new client consultations is “Will my personal injury case go to trial?”

The answer to that question in most cases is “probably not.” Most, but not all, personal injury cases settle outside of court, avoiding the time and expense associated with at trial. Sometimes cases are settled without filing a lawsuit, sometimes they are settled after a lawsuit is filed, and sometimes they are settled on the eve of trial. Avoiding a trial is ideal for plaintiffs because trials are expensive and there is always a chance that the plaintiff could lose and be awarded nothing. Defendants like to avoid trials to keep their name (and negative publicity) out of the press, and settlements can include a confidentiality clause. Although settlements are generally considered a “win-win” for both the defendant and the plaintiff, sometimes cases don’t settle and a trial is necessary. Some of the common reasons a case won’t settle are:

  • The defendant refuses to offer a settlement.

  • The defendant offers an unreasonably low amount.

  • The plaintiff insists on putting the defendant on trial.

Whether or not to take a case to trial is something a plaintiff should decide with their personal injury lawyer.  An attorney with experience handling similar cases and understanding of the unique aspects of the case can advise whether a settlement offer is fair.  Sometimes it may make sense to accept a settlement offer that is for insurance policy limits, than to take a case to trial and possibly be awarded more but be unable to collect from the defendant. Insurance companies are only willing to pay what they are obligated to pay per their policy terms.

Scott Bowman Receives National Board Certification

GBM Law attorney J. Scott BowmanScott Bowman has been recertified by the prestigious National Board of Trial Advocacy (NBTA). This is his third recertification.  He has been board certified now for a total of ten years. According to the NBTA, Board Certification is the highest, most stringent, and most reliable honor an attorney can achieve. Less than 3% of American lawyers are Board Certified.

The candidates for Board Certification must submit to a rigorous screening of their legal credentials. To obtain NBTA Board Certification attorneys must successfully complete the following:

  • Demonstration of substantial trial experience
  • Submission of judicial and peer references to attest to their competency
  • Attendance of continuing legal education courses
  • Proof of good standing

Scott is a Partner at Geiser, Bowman & McLafferty LLC (AKA GBM Law) and has practiced civil law for 20 years where he has successfully represented the rights of Ohioans.

Click here to learn more about Scott Bowman

7 Signs of Opioid Abuse and Addiction You Need to Know

Heroin and other opioids are responsible for over 23 Ohioans deaths every week. Nationally, overdoses from prescription opiates have quadrupled since 1999, with an estimated 165,000 dying. Not surprising, sales of these drugs have quadrupled, setting record profits for drug manufacturers. Over 1000 people are treated in emergency rooms per day.

Unfortunately, injury victims are often prescribed opioids to manage their pain. Complicating matters is the fact that injury victims can be more susceptible to encountering depression and anxiety following an accident. It is important to stay vigilant. There are several telltale signs of opioid addiction. The seven most prevalent are:

1. Sudden and dramatic weight loss
2. Change in expected emotional response
3. Rapid mood swings
4. Constipation without reasonable explanation
5. Small or pinpoint pupils
6. Unexplained missing personal items and money

If you or someone you know shows these symptoms please seek help by calling toll free 877-275-6364 or visit recoveryisbeautiful.com .