Elk & Elk Attorneys to Present at NBI Seminar

Elk & Elk Attorneys to Present at NBI Seminar

In the field of personal injury law, it is essential for attorneys and other legal professionals to possess a basic understanding of the human anatomy, types of injuries and common treatment options. An upcoming National Business Institute live seminar featuring presentations from three Elk & Elk attorneys will cover these topics.

Elk & Elk at NBI Seminar

NBI’s “Anatomy and Physiology 101 for Attorneys” will take place on Thursday, June 25, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Hilton Garden Inn Cleveland Downtown. The seminar has been approved by the Ohio Supreme Court Commission on Continuing Legal Education for 6.0 CLE credit hours, and registration is $349 (includes book).

Click here to register.

The course is designed for legal professionals who handle cases related to personal injuries, insurance, workers’ compensation and/or disability, and will offer helpful insight into the medical aspects of common cases.

Attorneys Matthew J. Carty, Michael L. Eisner and R. Craig McLaughlin of Elk & Elk will present the following topics:

Matthew J. Carty

   Head Injuries: 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Michael L. Eisner (presenting with Mary Hahn)

   Shoulder Injuries: 11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

R. Craig McLaughlin (presenting with Lisamarie Pietragallo)

   Hand and Wrist Injuries: 1:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.

Amtrak Crash Victims Deserve Compensation

On May 12, 2015, Amtrak Regional Rail Train 188 completely derailed, causing the tragic death of eight and wounding more than 200 passengers.

News of the horrific crash travelled quickly, with multiple news agencies reporting that the locomotive had been speeding at 106 mph when it entered a curve —almost twice the posted speed limit. Although it appears the engineer attempted to apply the emergency brake, it was too little, too late. All seven passenger cars careened off the track with several ending up on their sides and one turned completely upside down.


“In that split-second, I realized we could die”

In a guest column for Politico, one passenger of train 188 shared this vivid account:

The train, straining to follow a left curve at breakneck speed, rolled off the rails to the right and turned over. In that split-second, I realized we could die. We slammed into the dirt with the car on its side. The force of the crash tore seats from their moorings and took out the windows. The air was a cloud of black dust. Almost 250 of us were in the dark, in shock and disoriented.

What caused the Amtrak crash?

In the days that followed, some were quick to offer their theories of the cause of the derailment of train 188, with Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter telling reporters, “Clearly it was reckless in terms of the driving by the engineer.”

National Transportation Safety Board member Robert Sumwalt wasted no time issuing a stern reprimand. “You’re not going to hear the NTSB making comments like that,” he said. “We want to get the facts before we start making judgments.”

Unfortunately, some experts estimate the investigation will take more than a year to complete. Meanwhile, crash victims and their families are left to struggle with mounting medical bills, psychological scars, and, in some cases, funeral costs.

Railroad damage caps hurt victims and their families

In the United States, when someone suffers harm due to the negligence of others, our justice system allows injured victims to sue for damages. However, in 1997, Congress passed the Amtrak Reform and Accountability Act, which placed a limit of $200 million on claims arising from rail passenger transportation.

The aggregate allowable awards to all rail passengers, against all defendants, for all claims, including claims for punitive damages, arising from a single accident or incident, shall not exceed $200,000,000.

What’s more, the cap has never been adjusted for inflation. ($200 million 18 years ago is worth about $300 million today.) Although $200 million may still sound like a lot of money, many experts predict aggregate damages caused by the Philadelphia Amtrak derailment will total more than double the current liability cap. With more than 200 passengers seeking compensation for medical bills, lost future earnings, damages to property, psychological harm, wrongful deaths, pain and suffering, and other losses, allocating funds will be a difficult task.


How Amtrak Failed the Victims of Train 188: A Survivor’s Tale” by Josh Gotbaum, Politico, May 19, 2015.

Amtrak faces a $200 million limit on what it can pay out to crash victims” by Colby Itkowitz, Washington Post, May 14, 2015.

Top 10 driving mistakes that can hurt your personal injury case

may_article1Most people think of themselves as good drivers; however, seemingly small errors can cause serious accidents. Even if an accident appears to be the fault of another driver, your mistakes could end up costing you—due to a legal theory known as comparative negligence[1].

Comparative negligence provides for you and the other driver to share the cost of damages from an accident in proportion to your share of negligence. You can recover your damages, minus the percent caused by your own negligence. However, in Ohio, if you are more than 50 percent at fault, you may not recover any losses from the other driver. Defendants and insurance companies will try to prove that you contributed to your injury by engaging in careless behaviors such as these.

Top 10 Driving Mistakes

10. Not using headlights

In Ohio, you must turn on your headlights between sunset and sunrise; during rain, snow, fog or other unfavorable weather conditions (regardless of time of day); if you cannot see objects 1,000 feet ahead; and whenever windshield wipers are used. Keep in mind, if your car has automatic daytime running lights, you may need to turn on your headlights manually during the day to make sure your taillights are on as well.

9. Ignoring weather conditions

The chance being in a car accident increases dramatically during inclement weather. Rain, fog, snow and other weather conditions can have an impact on road conditions, cause diminished visibility, increase stopping distances and affect the conduct of other drivers.

8. Accelerating through yellow lights

Traffic lights should be simple. Green means go. Red means stop. However, contrary to the actions of many drivers, yellow does NOT mean to floor it. If you do not have time to cross through the intersection before the light turns red, you should stop on a yellow light. Additionally, if you’re waiting to make a left turn, you must yield to an oncoming driver who is within the intersection or so close to the intersection as to create an immediate hazard.

7. Rolling stops

Rolling through a stop sign is illegal, so make sure you come to a complete stop. That means no forward momentum and your speedometer reads zero. If you have a crosswalk or white stop bar, you are required to stop before it. If you cannot see, you must pull up and stop again at your point of vision.

6. Not merging properly

Merging safely into traffic is the responsibility of the person doing the merging. Ohio law states that merging motorists must yield the right-of-way to existing traffic and adjust their speed accordingly. However, there is no law prohibiting those in the main flow of traffic from being polite. If you can do so safely, consider pulling over into the next lane or adjust your speed to accommodate merging vehicles.

5. Tailgating

Aside from being annoying to the driver in front of you, tailgating is illegal and dangerous. Allow no less than 2 seconds between vehicles during the daytime, 3 seconds at night, and 4 seconds during inclement weather such as during rain, snow, or icy conditions. Remember, if someone is tailgating you, don’t slam on the brakes. If you brake-check and it causes an accident, you could be charged with assault.

4. Speeding

The logic is simple: the faster you drive, the less time you have to avoid a crash. When an accident occurs, excessive speed also increases the severity of injuries and property damage. Keep in mind there are times when it is not safe to drive at the speed limit, including rain, fog, an accident or traffic congestion.

3. Failure to signal

When operating a vehicle, you have a duty to signal your intentions in a manner that is visible to other drivers, so they have enough time to react. In Ohio, a motorist must give a turn signal or intention to turn left or right continuously during at least the last one hundred feet traveled before turning.

2. Drunk driving

Thanks to dedicated efforts, rates of drunk driving and alcohol-involved fatal crashes have gone down in recent years. However, about one in three traffic deaths in the United States involve a drunk driver. Remember, even one drink can impair driving ability and increase the risk of a crash.

1. Distracted driving

As the fatality rate from impaired driving continues to decline, the danger of distracted driving is worsening. Among driving distractions, texting is extremely dangerous because it requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver.

Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55mph, that’s like driving the length of a football field blindfolded.

If you’ve been injured in an accident, don’t try to go up against the insurance company alone. Contact an Ohio personal injury attorney who has experience with comparative negligence claims. A personal injury lawyer in Ohio can assess your case, provide you with guidance on how to proceed with your claim and help you to receive the compensation to which you are entitled.



[1] Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2315.33 – The contributory fault of a person does not bar the person as plaintiff from recovering damages that have directly and proximately resulted from the tortious conduct of one or more other persons, if the contributory fault of the plaintiff was not greater than the combined tortious conduct of all other persons from whom the plaintiff seeks recovery in this action and of all other persons from whom the plaintiff does not seek recovery in this action. The court shall diminish any compensatory damages recoverable by the plaintiff by an amount that is proportionately equal to the percentage of tortious conduct of the plaintiff as determined pursuant to section 2315.34 of the Revised Code.


May is National Bike Month

Whether you’re riding to work or the grocery store, National Bike Month is a reminder to celebrate the unique power of the bicycle. From 2000 to 2013, there was a 62 percent growth in the number of Americans commuting by bike.

Benefits of Cycling

  • Bicycle commuting burns an average of 540 calories per hour.
  • The average person loses 13 pounds in the first year of commuting by bike.
  • A daily 4-mile bike commute will save about 66 gallons of fuel per year.
  • If the average person biked to work or shopping once every two weeks instead of driving, we could prevent the pollution of close to one billion gallons of gasoline from entering the atmosphere every year.

Cleveland Bike Awareness Ride

Bike Cleveland builds livable communities by promoting all forms of cycling and advocating for the rights and equality of the cycling community.Are you itching to get out and enjoy the spring weather? Dust the cobwebs off your bicycle and join Bike Cleveland on Sunday May 3, 2015 for their second annual Bike Awareness Ride.

This ride reminds bicyclists and motor vehicles that they need to co-exist safely on our busy streets! Don’t miss this chance to stretch your legs during a 4-mile or 10-mile ride on the open roads of Cleveland.

Registration begins at 9 a.m. at Nano Brew Cleveland (where there will be $5 breakfast sandwiches). The ride will begin at 10 a.m. behind Nano Brew at 1939 W. 25th Street, Cleveland, OH (near Bridge Street).

Both the 4-mile and 10-mile routes will pass through five Cleveland council wards, ending at Market Garden Brewery—where participants will receive a complimentary beverage. Minor bike repairs will be available onsite.

Cleveland’s Bike Awareness Ride is a collaborative effort between many stakeholders, including Council Wards 3, 12, 13, 14 and 15; the Second District Cleveland Police; Bike Cleveland; Nano Brew and Lutheran Hospital Community Outreach.

Don’t forget to bring your helmet and a bike lock!

Visit bikecleveland.org for route maps and more information.