May 22, 2017

Legal Drug Use Can Lead to a DUI

Filed under: General — Casper & Casper @ 4:50 pm

When most people imagine a DUI, they think of someone abusing alcohol or taking illegal drugs, then getting behind the wheel and causing an accident. However, that’s not always the case.

Did you know that even legal drug use (like taking necessary prescription or over-the-counter drugs) can result in a DUI (called an OVI in Ohio) charge?

In Ohio and many other states across the U.S., impaired driving laws are written in such a way that they include legal drug use. As a result, normal, otherwise law-abiding citizens find themselves in trouble for impaired driving—even though it was done unintentionally.

Over the counter medication can result in a dui

How does this happen?

Ohio OVI law considers whether a person was operating a vehicle and whether he or she was unable to drive safely because of the influence of an alcoholic beverage, drug, or combination of both. Under this law, it’s possible to be arrested for OVI for making an unsafe driving maneuver while taking a prescription drug—even if the two are unrelated.

Let’s consider a hypothetical scenario: it’s spring, and your allergies are acting up. You take the recommended dosage of Benadryl because it best eliminates your allergy symptoms. Also during the day, you take your prescribed high blood pressure medication. Each of these medications makes you a little sleepy, but combined, they interact to make you feel rather tired. On your way home from work, you accidentally rear-end someone at a stop sign. When the police arrive, you apologize profusely and say that you are always a good driver, but the medications you’re on make you drowsy. The police then arrest you for driving while under the influence of drugs.

In this scenario, the arresting officer would say that you admitted to impaired driving. It wouldn’t matter to him or her that many people, including those who take medication and those who don’t, can feel tired while driving. It also wouldn’t matter that your tiredness might not have even been the cause of the accident: your foot might have slipped off the brake, for example. You would face the many severe penalties of an OVI conviction, including a suspended license, heavy fines, and even jail time.

Although the above scenario might seem far-fetched, it actually happens more often than you think. Many medications—including ones for pain management, insomnia, depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, and even allergies—can cause drowsiness. In fact, drowsiness is one of the most common side effects listed on warning labels. In many cases, people aren’t aware of the effects of taking more than one prescription medication. In other cases, people are pulled over for a different traffic offense, like swerving, and charged with an OVI when admitting that they take prescription drugs.

Unlike driving under the influence of alcohol, which has more clear-cut signs (decreased coordination, slurred speech, the smell of alcohol, and a high blood alcohol content), drugged driving is more difficult to define and prosecute. There are few officers in the U.S. who have received proper training on recognizing impaired driving caused by drug use, according to The New York Times. In addition, the complex chemistry of drugs makes it unreasonable to set legal limits on the level of prescription drugs in the blood: medications effect many people differently, and they can also linger in the blood for weeks after taking them. People who are simply taking their necessary medications as directed could be unfairly punished under such a law.

Many individuals are fighting back against baseless, prescription drug-related DUI charges. In Georgia, DUI charges against a women taking her prescribed medication were recently dismissed after the charges were found to have no merit.

If you take prescription medication, you are, unfortunately, at a higher risk of an OVI. You can reduce your chances of an OVI arrest by doing the following:

  • Always take your medication as directed.
  • Read the warning label on your medication fully, and talk to your doctor about any activities that you should avoid while taking your prescription.
  • Avoid mixing medications unless approved by your doctor.
  • Don’t drink alcohol while on your prescription medication.
  • If your medication makes you drowsy while driving, try changing the time of day that you take it (unless you are required to take it at a certain time).

If you are facing OVI charges in Ohio, you can fight them. A skilled attorney will work to have the charges dismissed or to effectively represent you during the administrative and criminal proceedings.

The experienced OVI lawyers at Casper & Casper will advocate fiercely for you, in and out of the courtroom. We will fight to help you keep your license and minimize or avoid the penalties of an unjust OVI conviction.

Contact us for a free consultation today.

Sources:
- NOLO
- The New York Times

May 9, 2017

What Does Workers’ Compensation Cover, Exactly?

Filed under: General — Casper & Casper @ 12:30 am

You’ve been injured at work, and you’ve heard that workers’ compensation will cover your bills. But what does workers’ compensation cover, exactly?

Let’s have a look at what workers’ compensation covers. You might be surprised by the types of compensation offered by the program.

Medical Care

Workers compensation covers more than just medical care

This is one of the most well-known and important benefits of workers’ compensation. Health care is extremely expensive, and most people who have been injured at work need help paying for their medical bills.

Workers’ compensation covers hospital and medical expenses necessary to diagnose and treat your injury or illness. This includes the following:

  • Hospital stays
  • Doctor visits
  • Diagnostic exams
  • Medications
  • Surgeries
  • Medical equipment (such as a wheelchair)
  • Counseling
  • Pain management

In Ohio, you are allowed to choose your own health care provider, as long as he or she is certified by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.

It’s important to point out that workers’ compensation generally does not cover experimental treatments. If you or your doctor believe that an experimental treatment would help in your case, it’s best to talk to a lawyer to see if you can get the treatment covered.

Rehabilitation and Re-Education

Some workplace illnesses or injuries prevent a person from immediately returning to work. If this is your case, workers’ compensation can pay for your rehabilitation. Rehabilitation includes medical and therapeutic care (like physical therapy) needed for you to regain your ability to do your job.

If your injury or illness permanently prevents you from returning to your former job (but you are still able to work), rehabilitation includes training, tuition, and other expenses necessary to allow you to find a different job.

Disability

If your injury or illness has resulted in a disability, workers’ compensation covers this. There are four main types of disability benefits, depending on the type and duration of your disability:

Temporary partial disability: Your injury or illness prevents you from doing some parts of your job; however, you will be able to fully perform all parts of your job in the future.

Temporary total disability: Your illness or injury prevents you from doing any part of your job right now, but you will be able to return to your job in the future.

Permanent partial disability: Your illness or injury causes permanent damage that will forever prevent you from doing some parts of your job.

Permanent total disability: Your illness or injury causes permanent damage that prevents you from ever returning to your job. Note that you don’t have to be helpless to be classified as having a permanent total disability. You just have to have an injury or illness that doesn’t allow you to work at your former job or a similar job.

If an injury or illness has left you with a disability, you should know that you may have several types of compensation available to you. In addition to workers’ compensation, you may be able to collect benefits from Social Security Disability. This is because workers’ compensation is a state program, while Social Security Disability is a federal program. You may have earned compensation through both programs through your employment and Social Security taxes.

Death

If your loved one has passed away due to a workplace injury or illness, you may be able to apply for workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation covers burial expenses, allowing you to give your loved one a proper funeral. In addition to funeral costs, this program is designed to compensate for the financial support lost to the deceased’s family.

People who may collect benefits through workers’ compensation include any dependent of the deceased person, including the following:

  • Spouse
  • Dependent children under the age of 18
  • Dependent children between the ages of 18 and 25 who are attending an educational institution full-time
  • Dependent children 18 years of age or older who have a physical or mental disability

In Ohio, this benefit is ongoing. Family members receive this benefit until they are no longer eligible.

If your loved one had already settled a workers’ compensation claim for his or her injuries, that does not mean that you can’t file a workers’ compensation claim for his or her death. You may file at any time within two years of the death.

In addition to the benefits above, there are a number of other benefits available for special circumstances. For example, firefighters, police officers, miners, and others who are exposed to hazardous materials and develop an illness as a result may be able to collect benefits to allow them to change jobs, if they have been advised by their doctor to do so.

Workers’ compensation offers a wide range of benefits to help the injured worker. If you have been injured, you should know that you do not automatically receive these benefits. Applying for and receiving workers’ compensation benefits can be a long and difficult process. After a work-related injury, it’s a good idea to talk to a workers’ compensation attorney to learn whether you qualify and the types of benefits you might earn under this program.

Contact the workers’ compensation attorneys at Casper & Casper for a free consultation. We are located in Cincinnati, Dayton, Hamilton, and Middletown for your convenience. We’ll answer all your questions, and, if you choose our firm, we will handle your case for you—so you can focus on getting well.

Sources:
- NOLO
- Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation

May 1, 2017

Nationwide Driving Deaths on the Rise after Years of Decline

Filed under: General — Casper & Casper @ 6:00 pm

In 1972, driving deaths in the U.S. reached an all-time high of 54,589. Recognizing this as a public health crisis, the U.S. government—along with newly created non-profit organizations—worked to reduce the death toll. Campaigns advocated for the installation and use of seat belts and air bags, warned drivers of the dangers of drinking and driving, and pushed states to improve their road infrastructure. As a result, traffic deaths fell around 40 percent by 2010, to 32,999.

The number of driving-related deaths and injuries has been trending downward for more than 30 years… until now.

nationwide, driving relating deaths are on the rise... contact Casper & Casper for legal help

The National Safety Council (a non-profit that works with federal auto safety regulators) reported recently that, in 2016, the U.S. saw the largest year-to-year increase in traffic deaths in more than 50 years. From 2015 to 2016, traffic deaths rose 8 percent. In a two-year span (from 2014 to 2016), deaths rose 14 percent.

Why the sudden, sharp increase after so many years of decline? Experts can point to a few things: the economy, lax enforcement, and cell phones.

The U.S. economy has been improving and the unemployment rate has dropped. When people are employed, they drive more—to go to work and to do fun activities they can now afford. It makes sense that the more a person drives, the greater the risk that he or she is involved in an accident. Still, this doesn’t fully explain the increase; the number of driving deaths taking into account the number of miles driven has also increased.

Under-funded police departments across the country have been forced to reduce the number of troopers on patrol. With fewer police cars on the road, many drivers are emboldened to speed and drive recklessly, knowing that the likelihood of getting caught is low.

Perhaps most troublingly of all, American drivers have become complacent about their safety on the road. Today’s cars are much safer than earlier models: they have seat belts, of course, as well as air bags throughout the car, rearview cameras, antilock brakes, assisted driving, and more. Americans now feel comfortable taking their eyes off the road to answer a text message, read an email, or even scroll through Facebook. According to a survey done by the AAA Foundation for Road Safety, 40 percent of drivers admitted to reading a text message while on the road, and 31 percent admitted to typing one. Despite these findings, the vast majority—70 percent—disapproved of hand-held cell phone use.

It’s pretty clear that, for some drivers (nearly a third), using a cell phone while driving is not that big a deal. Sadly, they couldn’t be more wrong.

Any activity that takes a person’s attention away from the road has the potential to cause an accident. While many people think that reading or typing a message takes no time at all, the reality is very different: the average text message typically takes a person about five seconds to read. At 55 miles per hour (not even the speed limit on many major highways), a person could travel the length of a football field in five seconds—all without a glance at the road in front of them. This kind of inattention can be deadly on the highway, when traffic can suddenly slow to a crawl, as well as on rural roads, when a deer could suddenly jump in front of a car.

In 2015, distracted driving (talking, texting, or surfing the web) was found to be the direct cause of 3,477 deaths and 391,000 injuries. That’s nearly a third of all injuries on the road.

Unfortunately, it’s not enough to simply tell drivers about the danger of distracted driving. As the AAA Foundation for Road Safety shows, many drivers who know the risks continue to use their electronic devices.

Smartphones can be rewarding in an addictive way: who hasn’t felt a jolt of excitement or an urgency to respond after hearing the ping of a new text or email? In our society, a person is expected to be reachable at all times. For drivers who have trouble disconnecting while on the road, other solutions are being explored. Some apps, for example, use GPS and movement to determine when a person is driving and prevent him or her from using a phone (except to call 911).

At Casper & Casper, we’ve seen many times over the devastation that distracted driving can cause. Our personal injury lawyers have worked with clients who were injured or whose family members were killed by a distracted driver.

We urge everyone to put down their phones while behind the wheel. If you still feel tempted to check your phone, we recommend putting the phone in your bag (or glove compartment) and turning the phone on silent or using an app that locks your phone while driving. Over time, you can kick this very dangerous habit.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident with a distracted driver, contact the personal injury lawyers at Casper & Casper in Cincinnati, OH. We’ll let you know your options during a free, no-obligation consultation.

Sources:
- USA Today
- The New York Times
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
- Newsweek