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Proof of Pain & Suffering in PI Cases

October 4, 2021

The assessment of pain and suffering damages is different for each claim because the circumstances of each injury victim from before the accident will vary, and injuries impact everyone differently. 

Physical Injuries

Physical injuries often take away from a person’s ability to do or enjoy what they did before the accident. People may not be able to continue to work in their career or they may have trouble engaging in activities with their children or have difficulty participating in hobbies and doing things they are passionate about, etc. Some injury victims lose their abilities completely, but most people end up pushing through pain to do the things they need to do and used to love to do, usually with much less frequency than before. These impacts fall under the umbrella of “pain and suffering.”

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Covid-19 and the Law

July 21, 2021

There are four areas where Covid-19 cases are appearing in the courts:

  • Nursing Home related infections

One out of four coronavirus deaths in the United States are nursing home residents, according to a new analysis of federal data conducted by the Associated Press. Close to 1 in 10 of all COVID-19 cases are contracted by nursing home residents, as well.

Administrators at nursing homes and assisted living facilities owe a duty of care to their residents. This duty of care includes acting quickly and taking reasonable steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as:

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Distracted Driving

January 29, 2021

Every day about 8 people in the United States are killed in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver.1

What Is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention away from the primary task of driving safely.

Highway Fatalities:

  • 37,461 lives were lost on U.S. roads in 2016, an increase of 5.6% from 2015 NHTSA

Distracted Driving:

  • 10% of fatal crashes and 15% of injury crashes in 2015 were distraction-affected. NHTSA.
  • Distracted driving crashes are under-reported and the NSC estimates that cell phone use alone accounted for 27% of 2015 car crashes. NSC
  • In 2015, there were 3,477 people killed and an estimated additional 391,000 injured in crashes involving distracted drivers. NHTSA
  • The fatal crash rate for teens is 3 times greater than for drivers age 20 and over (IIHS)
  • Driver distraction is responsible for more than 58% of teen crashes.  AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety

The growing frequency of distracted driving is alarming:

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To Knock or Not to Knock

November 9, 2020

 

Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old woman from Louisville, Kentucky, was shot to death by police shortly after midnight on March 13, 2020, in the apartment she shared with her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker. The police had a no-knock warrant and entered with a battering ram to search for evidence of drug dealing; none was found.  A Kentucky grand jury indicted former detective of the Louisville Police Department, Brett Hankison, on charges of reckless endangerment for his role in the raid. No charges were filed against Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove, the two officers who fired shots inside the apartment. This has spurred a nationwide discussion of the use of no-knock warrants—and reforms that might prevent unnecessary death and injury in the future. (more…)

 

Accuracy of Drug Recognition Evaluations

October 5, 2020

Carol Stream police Sgt. Brian Cluever pulls over a motorist in
Carol Stream on Dec. 7, 2017. (Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune)

With the legalization of medicinal marijuana in 33 states (plus D.C.) and 11 states (plus D.C.) where recreational marijuana is legal, it has become necessary for police to be able to evaluate individuals based on suspicion of impaired driving due to drug use. A Drug recognition expert or drug recognition evaluator (DRE) is a police officer trained to recognize impairment in drivers under the influence of drugs other than, or in addition to, alcohol.

The Los Angeles Police Department originated the program in the early 1970s, when LAPD officers noticed that many of the individuals arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) had very low or zero alcohol concentrations. The officers reasonably suspected that the arrestees were under the influence of drugs but lacked the knowledge and skills to support their suspicions. In response, two LAPD sergeants collaborated with various medical doctors, research psychologists, and other medical professionals to develop a simple, standardized procedure for recognizing drug influence and impairment. Their efforts culminated in the development of a multi-step protocol and the first DRE program. The LAPD formally recognized the program in 1979.

The LAPD DRE program attracted NHTSA’s attention in the early 1980s. The two agencies collaborated to develop a standardized DRE protocol, which led to the development of the DEC Program. During the ensuing years, NHTSA and various other agencies and research groups examined the DEC Program. Their studies demonstrated that a properly trained DRE can successfully identify drug impairment and accurately determine the category of drugs causing such impairment.

How Do Police Determine Whether a Driver Is Under the Influence?

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The Pitfalls of the Expert Search

August 3, 2020

Yes, knowing that you need an appropriately qualified expert is the first step in properly investigating the merits of your case, and connecting with the right expert is an investment that pays off starting with record review, all the way through to trial. Let Saponaro, Inc. assist you from the beginning, so you avoid these common mistakes.

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To Serve and Protect

July 6, 2020

Law enforcement is an integral part of our communities.  They ensure justice for over 8 million crimes a year and are responsible for 10 million arrests per year. Respect for police has been waning in recent years as methods of enforcement are increasingly called into question.  The perception of police as overzealous and abusive has eroded public trust and confidence.

In the last decade, 85,000 police officers have been investigated.  Reporters from USA TODAY and the nonprofit invisible Institute spent more than a year compiling records of police misconduct throughout the United States.

The records obtained include more than 110,000 internal affairs investigations by hundreds of individual departments and more than 30,000 officers who were decertified by 44 state oversight agencies. (more…)

 

Work Life during a Pandemic

April 20, 2020

Changing times mean new opportunities. Not only are attorneys being asked to work in new ways, but clients are going to ask new questions that you should be prepared to answer. The following is a guide to finding your way during the pandemic.

What clients need:

Estate planning

The search term “getting a will” has risen sharply since March 8th according to Google Trends. Many people in uncertain times look to put a plan in place in case of illness or death. This trending search indicates many Americans are getting their proverbial houses in order. It is also a good time to discuss with clients the need for power of attorney should they become incapacitated.

Interpretation of changing federal and state benefit laws (more…)

 

The Danger in Urgent Care Centers

January 23, 2020

Urgent care centers first opened in the 1970s. Now, more than 10,000 urgent care centers provide a variety of medical services to consumers in every part of the United States.

As the number of urgent care centers has increased in the U.S., so has the number of medical malpractice lawsuits brought against these facilities. A majority of these claims allege an urgent care center made an incorrect diagnosis or failed to diagnose a serious medical condition.

Unfortunately, errors made in outpatient settings are considered to be as common, if not more prevalent, than errors made in hospital settings. Yet it’s hard to find data on the numbers of these errors.

As a point of reference, it’s important to note that in 2016, medical errors in hospital settings were the 3rd leading cause of death in the US.

The typical long wait and high costs associated with visiting a hospital emergency room have enticed many people to visit urgent care centers for emergency treatment. Unfortunately, urgent care centers do not have access to the same diagnostic or critical care equipment found in hospital emergency rooms, which can lead to serious consequences for the patient. (more…)

 

How to Ensure an Expert is not a “Hired Gun”

October 14, 2019

Credibility is critical to the success of an expert witness. You should be able to rely on your expert for honesty, and a case that is articulately and assertively presented.  There are many factors to consider when engaging an expert and to make sure that the opinion you receive is objective and will stand up to cross-examination.

Juries are required to sift through vast amounts of information.  The reliance on an expert witness to assist in understanding the facts is crucial and appearance of bias can negate an expert’s testimony with the jury.   Saponaro, Inc., employs several safeguards against unreliable and unethical expert witness testimony with the following guidelines:

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