Navigating Ohio’s Roundabouts

Once found nearly exclusively in Europe, today there are more than 5,000 roundabouts on our nation’s roadways. The first roundabouts were built in the United States over a century ago. Once scarce, their numbers have doubled in the last decade, with hundreds more in the planning stages.

What is a roundabout?

A modern roundabout is a circular intersection where drivers travel counterclockwise around a center island. It replaces traffic lights or stop signs at the intersection. Unlike old-fashioned traffic circles, where incoming traffic had the right of way, in a modern roundabout, drivers must yield to traffic already in the roundabout, then proceed into the intersection and exit at their desired street. Roundabouts are designed to improve traffic flow, reduce accidents, and save energy.

How to drive in a roundabout

Roundabouts are designed to make intersections safer and more efficient for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists. There are two types of roundabouts: Single-lane roundabouts and multi-lane roundabouts.

Driving roundabouts safely
Driving through a single-lane roundabout. Click to enlarge.
(Photo courtesy of Ohio Department of Transportation.)

Important tips for driving roundabouts:

  • Yield to drivers in the roundabout
  • Stay in your lane; do not change lanes
  • Do not stop in the roundabout
    (If you’re in a roundabout when an emergency vehicle also enters, exit the roundabout first, and then pull over.)
  • Avoid driving next to oversized vehicles

Driving in single-lane roundabouts

Roundabouts are marked with a yellow “roundabout ahead” sign with an advisory speed limit for the roundabout. Slow down as you approach the roundabout, and watch for pedestrians in the crosswalk.

Continue toward the roundabout and look to your left as you near the yield sign and dashed yield line on the road at the entrance to the roundabout. Yield to traffic already in the roundabout. Once you see a gap in traffic, enter the circle and proceed to your exit. If there is no traffic in the roundabout, you may enter without yielding. Look for pedestrians and use your turn signal before you exit.

Driving multi-lane roundabouts

In a multi-lane roundabout, you will see two signs as you approach the intersection: The yellow “roundabout ahead” sign and a black-and-white “lane choice” sign. You will need to choose a lane prior to entering the roundabout.

You choose your lane in a multi-lane roundabout the same way you would in a traditional multi-lane intersection. To go straight or right, get in the right lane. To go straight or left, get in the left lane. Drivers can also make U-turns from the left lane.

Driving through multi-lane roundabouts
Driving through a multi-lane roundabout. 
(Photos courtesy of Washington State Department of Transportation.)

 


Sources

What is a Roundabout?” Pages – Roundabouts in District 3. Ohio Department of Transportation. Web. Accessed 9 Sept. 2015.

WSDOT – How to Drive a Roundabout.” WSDOT – Safety. Washington State Department of Transportation. Web. Accessed 4 Sept. 2015.

How Long Will My Accident Case Take?

Ohio personal injury attorney Mindy Elk Fisher shares important information about filing a claim after a motor vehicle accident.

 

Dealing with the aftermath of an automobile accident can be frustrating and exhausting as you deal with the other driver, their insurance company and your own insurance company to clean up the mess.

Once it’s been decided that you need to file a lawsuit in order to be compensated for your injuries, you may be wondering how long the legal process will take.

Litigation timelines will vary from per person and per case. Your accident case may be similar to someone else’s, but the details are always different. An experienced accident lawyer will tailor your case with an understanding of your specific losses and damages that require compensation. This can include lost wages, medical bills, hospital stays, prescription drugs and any other costs incurred due to the negligence of the other driver.

Before you file a claim, it is important to make sure you wait until you receive a long-term prognosis and to finish the treatment plan your doctor lays out for you. Your injuries may be much more severe than you think and, unfortunately, you may continue to suffer for a long time—perhaps even for the rest of your life.

Typically, an auto accident case can take anywhere from one to two years to complete within the state of Ohio. Again, this is a typical amount of time and it can vary due to many factors. Your case may go into the settlement phase very quickly which shortens the time greatly. However, you need to be aware that a settlement may not be your best option. Insurance companies are quick to offer early cash settlements that are small in comparison to what you will actually need to recover from a significant and/or permanent injury. An experienced attorney can help you navigate this very complicated and stressful time. At Elk & Elk, we take on the stress of litigation and proving your case as you focus on getting healthier and recovering as much as possible.

To learn more about personal injury law, I encourage you to watch the video above and to explore our educational website at www.elkandelk.com. If you have legal questions, please call us at 1-800-ELK-OHIO. I welcome your call.

Mindy Elk

Texas Family Awarded $3M in Fracking Lawsuit

feb_article3In a landmark fracking case, a Texas family has won $2.95 million from an oil company for years of sickness caused by polluted air from nearby drilling.

According to court documents, Robert and Lisa Parr filed a lawsuit against Aruba Petroleum Inc. in 2011. They claimed fracking operations near their property had released toxins into the air that harmed their health, killed livestock and forced them to leave their home.

CNN reports, “As a result of poor management and lack of emission controls, Aruba Petroleum created a ‘private nuisance’ to the Parr family by producing harmful air pollution and exposing them to harmful emissions of volatile organic compounds, toxic air pollutants and diesel exhaust, the lawsuit said.”

Members of the Parr family suffered from a host of symptoms, including migraine headaches, dizziness, nausea, nosebleeds, skin rashes and open sores. Blood tests revealed more than 20 toxic chemicals in Lisa’s bloodstream.

What is fracking?

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is the process of drilling through dense layers of shale and then injecting a slurry of water, sand and chemicals to release natural gas. Fracking is big business in the United States. According to fractracker.org, there are more than 1.1 million active oil and gas wells nationwide. Here in Ohio, there are upwards of 39,000 active wells, primarily in the eastern part of the state.

More than 15 million Americans live within one mile of a fracked well

In a 2013 article, The Wall Street Journal revealed that at least 15.3 million Americans have a natural gas well within one mile of their home—that’s more than the population of New York.

While some laud the fracking industry as a boon for the economy, others are far more skeptical. Numerous concerns abound, ranging from environmental issues, such as water and air pollution, to cancer and other serious health problems.

The WSJ reports, “The federal government is weighing steps to make drilling less intrusive and safer. There is a rule set to go into effect in 2015 to require capturing emissions from fracking sites. The EPA is also studying the potential effect of fracking on drinking water and will release findings and recommendations in 2014.”

Sadly, these provisions will be enacted too late for some Americans, and safety advocacy groups point out that EPA fines are merely a “slap on the wrist” for multi-billion-dollar oil companies. When people are hurt by the negligent acts of large corporations, it takes an experienced civil litigator to navigate the maze of governmental regulations, deal with insurance companies, and obtain just compensation for the victims.

 

Sources:

Texas family plagued with ailments gets $3M in 1st-of-its-kind fracking judgment” by Jason Morris, CNN, April 26, 2014.

“Energy Boom Puts Wells in America’s Backyards” by Russell Gold and Tom McGinty, The Wall Street Journal, October 25, 2013.

Common Causes of Plane Crashes

by Arthur M. Elk

When people think of plane crashes, it usually involves big accidents on commercial airliners. These accidents, such as the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, are front page news that hit on many individuals’ underlying fear of flying. However, many accidents also occur on small private or charter airplanes. Regardless of the type of plane on which one sustains an injury or fatality, it is key to have an accident lawyer who can professionally and knowledgeably address the specific needs of your case.

Compared to other methods of transportation, air travel is quite safe and well regulated to protect its passengers. Nonetheless, crashes continue to occur resulting in incredible tragedy, like that experienced at the Dayton Air Show in 2013. In Ohio alone, the National Transportation Safety Board has recorded over 300 plane crashes since 2005, with 50 of them resulting in fatalities.

There are two primary reasons for aviation accidents: human error and structural failure. Bad weather, errors by Air Traffic Control, negligent maintenance work, and birds can also cause aviation accidents. According to Boeing, crashes occur most often during the landing. When building a case in the aftermath of an crash, a qualified accident lawyer will investigate the cause of the accident and tailor their arguments accordingly.

Aviation law poses a unique set of challenges and complexities and requires extensive investigation that can only be properly handled by an accident lawyer experienced in this field. A skilled lawyer can construct the best case to help you and your family receive the highest compensation possible.

Helping Your Personal Injury Case

Ohio attorney Ryan Harrell explains ways you can help your personal injury case after you’ve hired an attorney.

You’ve hired a personal injury attorney, who is handling your car accident case. They have begun the process of seeking recovery for your injuries. What do you do now?

With an attorney, paralegals, and other legal staff members handing the details of your case, you may feel that you are unable to help your case along in any way. That is simply untrue. You have the power to do quite a few things that help keep your case on track.

One of the most important (and probably hardest) things to do is to refrain from talking about your accident case. Human beings are social by nature and as such, we enjoy chatting about our lives. However, discussing the details of your case with friends, and especially posting information about your case on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, would be a detriment to your case.

This is also a good rule when you’re sent correspondence regarding your case. Any type of documents concerning your case you should be kept private — between you and your legal team. Immediately forward all written communication to your attorney for review. It is also import not to answer any questions about your case.

Another great way to improve your accident case is keeping your attorney completely involved with how you’re doing. This includes changes in your insurance, your employment status and any financial issues, such as bankruptcy. Small changes in your status may lead to developments with your personal injury case. It may open your case up to new claims and the potential to more recovery for your injuries.

If you are unsure how to handle any situation that may affect your case, seek the advice of your attorney. An experienced personal injury lawyer will have the knowledge and understanding required to help your case be as successful as possible.

To learn more about personal injury law, I encourage you to watch the video above and to explore our educational website at www.elkandelk.com. If you have legal questions, please call us at 1-800-ELK-OHIO. I welcome your call.

Ryan M. Harrell

Fire Safety on Campus

september_article1-2013According to the U.S. Fire Administration there are over 3,800 university housing fires each year. While dormitories are usually furnished with smoke alarms, sprinkler systems, and other safety measures, off-campus housing is not always as well-equipped. Campus Firewatch states that four out of five campus-related fire deaths occur in off-campus housing, where approximately two-thirds of our students live.

Cooking is the leading cause of campus fires (88 percent), followed by arson; careless smoking; unattended candles; and overloaded extension cords, power strips and outlets. If your child is going away to college, please share this important fire safety tips.

Frequently prohibited items may cause a fire

  • Cooking Appliances – this includes electric skillets, hot plates, coffee makers/hot pots and toaster ovens
  • Open flames and other burning items – despite being banned by most campuses, candles and incense account for 20 percent of dorm room fires
  • Extension cords and “octopus” plugs – be sure not to overload electrical outlets and only use approved surge protectors
  • Electric blankets or sheets
  • Space heaters

Permissible items may still pose a risk

  • Unplug hairdryers, curling irons, flat irons when not in use
  • Smoking – Students should only smoke in designated areas and make sure to completely extinguish all smoking materials
  • Only iron clothes on flame-resistant surfaces and unplug the iron when not in use
  • Make certain all appliances are UL approved

Reduce “fuel” that may feed a fire

  • Keep your room neat – clothes and papers strewn about can cause a small fire to spread quickly
  • Empty the garbage frequently
  • Keep posters and other flammable wall decorations to a minimum
  • Do not cover lights with fabric such as curtains, scarves or tapestries

Use common sense:

  • Don’t tamper with or try to cover up smoke detectors
  • Never hang anything on the sprinkler heads
  • Do not activate fire alarms or call 9-1-1 unless there is an actual emergency

For more information, visit the U.S. Fire Administration website: www.usfa.fema.gov/citizens/college

How Social Media Can Affect Your Personal Injury Case

 

With sites like Facebook and Twitter, social media has changed how we document our lives and share them with the world.

But you should also be aware that while you’re sharing your adventures and experiences with others, it can also show the truth.

Such is the case for one client we had who was injured by a drunk driver. We brought her case to the other party’s insurance company and they denied our claim. Why? Because the other passenger swore she was not drunk. So they stalled on us until the criminal court could make a decision regarding the incident. But that’s not enough for us. Our client was suffering because the other party lied and we can’t just wait on a case with people hurting.

During investigation of the accident and into the other party, it was found that she had placed multiple messages on Facebook referring to the accident. Her first message was the night before in which she stated she was going for “beer and brats” with her friends. And the very next day (after the accident) she went onto Facebook asking all friends and family to pray her because she did something terrible to someone else.

We presented this evidence to her insurance company which obviously understood she was lying and paid out our claim. Our client was actually awarded the full amount of compensation. This is what we mean when we say we’ll fight for you. We don’t let other parties stall with tactics and excuses. We look for other ways to prove our case and get the job handled.

To learn more about personal injury law, I encourage you to watch the video above and to explore our educational website at http://www.elkandelk.com. If you have legal questions, please call us at 1-800-ELK-OHIO. I welcome your call.

– David Elk