Why you shouldn’t make Halloween candy buckets out of laundry pod tubs

laundry pod
Source: Pinterest

If you’re a Pinterest addict or frequently browse DIY sites, you’ve probably come across instructions for creating Halloween candy buckets out of laundry pod containers. Fluorescent orange Tide PODS® tubs can easily be transformed into pumpkins, and others can be used to construct a child’s favorite movie character or unique costume accessory.

While the appeal of a convenient and cost-effective alternative to purchasing a candy bucket is understandable, teaching young children to associate laundry pod containers with candy or toys could have very dangerous consequences.

Laundry detergent pods have made headlines in recent years following reports of accidental poisonings involving young children. Despite various PSAs and safety notices warning parents of the dangers, nearly 12,600 incidents of laundry pod exposure involving young children were reported to poison centers across the country in 2015.

Ingestion of laundry pods can result in excessive vomiting, difficulty breathing, severe respiratory distress, coma or even death. A child could also suffer burns and other injuries to their skin or eyes if a pod breaks open or leaks.

The concentrated detergent used in laundry pods poses much greater risks than regular detergents, and to children the pods themselves can resemble candy or toys. Many manufacturers have switched to brightly colored, opaque packaging to help conceal the contents of the tubs, and some have taken additional preventative measures by adding child-resistant latches.

Even if you take precaution and store laundry pods correctly in your home, you cannot guarantee that relatives, caretakers or parents of your child’s friends will do the same. To avoid reinforcing the dangerous association between the containers and candy or toys, laundry pod tubs should not be repurposed to hold those items at any point during the year. In general, it’s not a good idea to store food of any kind in a detergent container (even if it has been washed) due to contamination risks.

If you believe your child may have ingested or been exposed to a laundry pod, contact your local poison center at 1-800-222-1222 immediately.

How much car insurance should you really have?

Teen Driver

Advice from an experienced Ohio personal injury lawyer

By R. Craig McLaughlin

I experienced several different feelings when my 16-year-old daughter earned her driver’s license. The first feeling I had was pride. She studied, practiced, and worked hard to get her license and achieved an important milestone on her path to adulthood. The second feeling I experienced was terror!

Representing people who are seriously injured in Ohio car crashes, I am very aware of the negative statistics associated with teenage drivers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, teen drivers are nearly three times more likely than drivers who are age 20 and older to be involved in a fatal crash. The last feeling I experienced was shock when I learned how much my insurance premiums were going up because I now have a teenage driver on my insurance policy!

No one likes making premium payments to an auto insurance company, especially if you never end up needing to use your policy. However, the Ohio Department of Public Safety reported there were 302,307 car crashes on Ohio’s roadways in 2015 – so chances are you’re going to need your auto insurance in some form or fashion during your driving career.

How much car insurance coverage do you really need?

Section 4509.101 of the Ohio Revised Code prohibits an individual from driving a car or truck unless he or she has proof of financial responsibility in the minimum amounts of:

• $25,000 for bodily injury to or death of one individual in any one accident

• $50,000 for bodily injury to or death of two or more individuals in any one accident

• $25,000 for injury to the property of others in any one accident

Most people comply with this law by purchasing an insurance policy.

Liability coverage is the only type of coverage in a car insurance policy that is required by Ohio law. There are two types of liability coverage in a typical car insurance policy. Bodily injury liability coverage pays for injury or death to others when the driver of your car is at fault in a collision. Property damage liability coverage pays for damage you or the driver of your car caused to another person’s property. Liability coverage will also pay for your legal defense if you’re sued.

Sometimes the policy will be what is called a “split limit” policy, which means the insurance company is only obligated to pay a maximum amount to any one person and a maximum amount total for a single collision, regardless of how many people were injured. For example, if you cause a crash and injure three people, but only have bodily injury liability coverage that provides $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident, then the most any single injured person can recover from your insurance company is $25,000 and the most the insurance company will have to pay out total for bodily injury will be $50,000. In addition, the insurance company may be obligated to pay up to $25,000 in property damage that you caused.

What happens if there is no liability auto insurance coverage?

A car crash resulting in serious injuries is bad enough, but things only get worse for everyone involved if the responsible person does not have liability auto insurance coverage. The person who caused the crash could face the following consequences:

• A ticket for the traffic violation that will likely result in a monetary fine, points on his or her driver’s license, and court costs

• Penalties imposed by the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) for failing to have insurance that include loss of driving privileges, a suspension of license plates and vehicle registrations, fees, and other penalties

• A monetary judgment against him or her for the injuries and damages that were caused that may result in wage garnishment or force the responsible person into filing for bankruptcy

A crash caused by a person who does not have liability auto insurance coverage is often even more devastating for the injured person. Unfortunately, I have had to deliver bad news to my seriously injured clients that the other driver did not have liability insurance coverage. Sometimes I was still able to help them by finding insurance coverage elsewhere (e.g., uninsured motorist coverage), but other times there is nothing I or anyone else can do. The victim does not get fairly compensated for his or her injuries and is often stuck with thousands of dollars in medical bills, unreimbursed lost wages, and may even be forced into bankruptcy just like the responsible driver.

What can you do to protect yourself?

Check the declarations page of your auto insurance policy to see how much liability coverage you have, or call your insurance agent or company to make sure you’re not only complying with Ohio’s minimum requirements of coverage, but are far exceeding them. I have seen my clients’ medical bills soar into the tens of thousands of dollars with just a short hospital stay, a few diagnostic tests, or a single surgery. Getting a state minimum liability insurance policy (e.g., $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident) from one of the budget/discount insurance companies is not adequate in this day and age to protect you in the event you cause a car crash.

I encourage you to purchase at least $250,000 or more in liability auto insurance coverage and also suggest you ask about and consider purchasing an umbrella or excess insurance policy to protect yourself. An umbrella insurance policy that provides $1 million in excess liability coverage is relatively inexpensive and will provide you with extra peace of mind which is nice to have, especially if you have a brand new driver in your household like I do!

Craig McLaughlin represents people who have been seriously injured or killed as a result of motor vehicle crashes, defective products, nursing home neglect, and other medical negligence. He has been recognized by Super Lawyers, Martindale-Hubbell, and AVVO and is a life member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Million Dollar Advocates Forum.

Upcoming Ohio Events: 2016 Fall Festivals, Events & Attractions

The fall months are a favorite time of year for many Ohioans. The changing colors of the fall festivals and eventsleaves, pleasant weather and a variety of seasonal events offer opportunities to enjoy the outdoors before winter arrives. Whether you’re looking to view the beautiful scenery, or attend a family-friendly festival, one of these upcoming attractions around the state could be for you.

2016 Ohio Fall Festivals, Events & Attractions

Bob Evans Farm Festival | Oct. 14 – 16

The 46th Annual Bob Evans Farm Festival offers unique arts and crafts, demonstrations, live entertainment and children’s activities. Guests are invited to sit down at the original Bob Evans Restaurant and enjoy popular fall foods and desserts. Country singer Craig Morgan takes the stage at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 15, followed by a fireworks display at 9:30. Tickets for the concert can be purchased online for $15.

Cleveland Metroparks Fall Hayrides | Oct. 15 & 22

Tractor-drawn hayrides through Mill Stream Run Reservation are filled on a first-come, first-served basis, and leave every half hour between 6 and 10 p.m. No reservation is required for public hayrides, and group hayrides may be reserved for $175 per wagon. Cost is $9 for adults and $7 for children ages 3 to 11. Children under 2 are free, and must sit on an adult’s lap on the wagon. Admission includes line and square dancing, face painting, balloon twisting, a scavenger hunt, crafts, games, prizes and more.

Circleville Pumpkin Show | Oct. 19 – 22

This pumpkin-themed agricultural exhibit and street fair has attracted crowds each fall for more than a century. From parades and live music, to unique pumpkin-flavored foods and massive pumpkins weighing more than 1,600 pounds, Circleville Pumpkin Show offers something for everyone. More than 20,000 pumpkin pies and 100,000 pumpkin donuts are sold during the four-day festival, and one local bakery displays a 400-pound pumpkin pie in honor of the event. View the full festival schedule.

Tom’s Corn Maze | Select dates through Oct. 30

Guests are challenged to find 12 puzzle pieces while exploring this 8-acre maze. It is open to the public from noon to 6 p.m. on Thursdays and Sundays, and noon to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Admission is just $8, and children under 5 are free. Cost includes access to the maze, Punkin’ Chunkin’ Cannon Demonstrations, farm animal displays and much more. Bring these coupons to receive $1 off admission and $2 off a pumpkin purchase.

Boo at the Zoo & HallZooween | Select dates through Oct. 30

During the month of October, many zoos host Halloween-themed events for children and families. Learn more about the upcoming attractions at your local zoo:

• Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

• Columbus Zoo & Aquarium

• Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

• Akron Zoo

Which festivals and events are you looking forward to attending this fall? Tell us in the comments! 

Why is the insurance company delaying the repairs on my car?

By William J. Price

Your car is sitting in the tow yard. You’ve left over six messages with the property damage adjuster to find out why your car has not been moved or even examined to be repaired. At the end of each message, you ask as nicely as you can to have them return your car. You call your insurance company, and the same occurs – no answer. You feel like you are getting “jerked around.”

Your suspicions may be correct. You, the victim, have no legitimate power to force the insurance carrier to come to the table and fix your car in a timely manner.

General Recommendations for Settlement of Claims

Under the Ohio Administrative Code, an insurance carrier is given 21 days to decide whether they will accept or deny a claim after a ‘proof of loss’ is received.  A proof of loss is a document sent by you (the claimant) to the insurance carrier outlining sufficient information for them  to determine the existence and amount of the claim.  Over the next three weeks, the insurance carrier investigates the claim to determine who is at fault.  All of these activities must be completed before your body shop even begins to repair your vehicle.

Additionally, the insurance carrier is not always limited to 21 days to complete their investigation. If the insurance carrier decides they need more time to investigate, they only need to contact the victim within the initial three weeks and provide an explanation for their need for more time. Routinely, insurance carriers will send victims a letter stating “we have not completed our investigation and we will contact you when it is complete.” The insurance carrier does not have to speak with the victim or obtain consent to prolong this process. Furthermore, victims have no recourse to force the insurance carrier to come to a decision.

No Deadlines for Decisions

As if all of this is not concerning enough, the State of Ohio does not set a deadline for which the insurance carrier has to come to a decision. If the investigation of a simple rear-end collision becomes overtly complicated for an insurance carrier, they are only required to send a letter every 45 days stating the status of their investigation. If your vehicle is destroyed in a crash caused by another party, leaving you without transportation to get to work or medical appointments, the insurance carrier can hypothetically delay the repairs of your car indefinitely.

No repair facility or body shop will begin to work on a vehicle damaged in an auto accident until they receive notification they will be paid for their services. A victim is at the mercy of the insurance carrier, who can legitimately delay the repairs as they “investigate” a simple fender bender. This is truly unfair.

About William Price

William J. Price focuses his practice on personal injury litigation for people who have been seriously injured or killed as a result of medical malpractice, nursing home neglect, defective products, negligence in construction sites and trucking and auto accidents. He has been recognized by Super Lawyers, Martindale-Hubbell, AVVO and is a member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Million Dollar Advocates Forum.


5 Things You Need to Know About Hernia Mesh

hernia meshPhysiomesh®, a surgical mesh commonly used in laparoscopic procedures to repair hernias, was recently withdrawn from the market. The products may be off the market, but anyone who underwent surgery prior to the withdrawal could still be at risk of suffering serious complications and injuries.

Here are five things you need to know about the hernia mesh withdrawal:

  1. Physiomesh was granted market entrance without clinic trials. The FDA prematurely approved the product based on its similarity to other mesh products already on the market.
  2. Ethicon, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, voluntarily withdrew its Physiomesh products from the market in May following reports of severe complications and risks.
  3. Side effects and complications linked to the recalled hernia mesh products include organ damage, infection, chronic pain, migration or shrinkage of the mesh or a need for corrective surgery.
  4. Multiple types of flexible hernia mesh are putting patients at risk. Ten variations of the product in different shapes and sizes were used in procedures to prevent the reemergence of hernias.
    View the full list of affected Physiomesh products.
  5. If you suffered complications after a laparoscopic hernia surgery, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Elk & Elk is currently investigating hernia mesh claims related to surgeries that took place after March 2010.

If you know hernia mesh was used in your laparoscopic hernia procedure, but do not know the product code or type, we can help you find the answers to your questions.

Call 1-800-ELK-OHIO or fill out an online contact form for a free case evaluation.

Protect your children on the road: 3 car seat safety tips

Do you know which type of car seat would keep your child safest in a crash?

When used properly, car seats greatly reduce a child’s risk of being killed in a motor vehicle accident. However, nearly half of car and booster seats are not used or installed correctly. Keep your little ones safe on the road by following these car seat safety tips.

3 Car Seat Safety Tips

1. Choose the right car seat.

No child should ride in a forward-facing seat before they turn two. Ideally, children should remain in a rear-facing seat until they outgrow the height and weight limit designated by the seat’s manufacturer. Convertible and all-in-one seats typically offer higher weight and height limits, which can help delay the transition.

car seat safety

Graphic courtesy of safecar.gov.

Not sure which option is safest for your child? Use this tool to find the right fit. Follow this checklist if you’re purchasing a used car seat or accepting a hand-me-down from a friend or relative.

2. Be sure the seat is correctly installed.

Aside from choosing the wrong type of seat or switching a child to a front-facing model too soon, one of the most common mistakes parents make is failing to use the seat belt or LATCH system properly when securing the car seat. SafeCar.gov, powered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, offers comprehensive video instructions on the proper way to install each type of car seat.

3. Register your child’s car seat.

Even if you’ve purchased the safest model and installed it correctly, a defective car seat could still put your child in serious danger. Opt to receive recall notifications for the models of car seats used by your family to minimize the chances of a defect going unnoticed.

Consider having your car seat inspected by a professional to ensure your child is as safe as possible when you hit the road. Contact your local hospital or fire department, find a trained technician in your area or attend an upcoming car seat checkup event.