Need to Know: What is Joint Employment?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law that outlines various rules and regulations relevant to employment in America; one of the employment classifications covered by the FLSA is joint employment.

What is Joint Employment?

An individual is considered to work under a joint employment scheme when they are hired into an organization and work for more than one company or agency. Often a joint employment scheme occurs when an employee was brought on to a company in a specific capacity and then through their original employer are led to work for another company. Subcontracting is another common term used to denote this type of employment situation. Other examples of joint employers include companies that are closely related and share common policies or owners of companies that make decisions as to policies and implementation for a company.

How does Joint Employment Affect Employees?

At the beginning of 2020, the Department of Labor issued new rules on joint employment. These rulings are important as they provide insight on how and when employees can pursue action against employers who are abusing these guidelines. Employers with joint-employer status maintain the ability to fire and hire employees, make employee schedules, set employee pay rates, and keep records. If both employers are considered joint employers, both employers must have the ability to make these decisions. If only one employer fits these standards, but the secondary employer takes advantage of an employee’s time and does not properly compensate the employee, there may be a violation. These complex standards get increasingly more difficult to parse through when an employee requests leave under the FMLA.

FMLA Rights

When considering how employers must comply with the FMLA, figuring out which employer is the primary and secondary is crucial. Specific responsibilities are designated to each employer in a joint employment situation, and employees should be protected by these guidelines.

Primary employers in a joint employment arrangement must:

  • Approve an employee’s request for FMLA
  • Continue providing insurance benefits to the employee on FMLA
  • Upon an employee’s return, continue to employ them in the same capacity or a similar capacity with penalization
  • Maintain proper documentation

Secondary employers in a joint employment arrangement must:

  • Permit FMLA benefits to qualifying employees
  • Maintain proper records during an employee’s FMLA, including payroll and other identifying data
  • Upon an employee’s return, give the employee their job back or a similar position without penalization

Most importantly, an employee should remember that an employer cannot retaliate against individuals who request or take FMLA.

How Might This Affect Employment during COVID-19?

Like with many areas of employment law, the laws surrounding joint employment may become difficult to interpret during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some employees may find their workplaces shifting to this model to avoid reopening. Know your rights and stay vigilant during these trying times. Contact an FMLA attorney if you believe your employers are abusing this model.

 

Jessica Doogan

Summertime Revamp of FLSA is Underway

New FLSA Rules Rolling Out This Summer

Recently, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released two new rules relating to overtime calculations and employee compensation under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Change to the Calculation of Overtime for Salaried Workers

Under the FLSA, there are two ways to determine overtime calculations, the “time and a half” method and the “fluctuating workweek” (FWW) method. The latter method is used when an employee receives a fixed salary for working fluctuating hours rather working on an hourly basis. FWW calculates a salaried employee’s overtime by computing the employee’s regular rate of pay each week based on the employee’s hours worked for that week. The new DOL regulations regarding DWW determine that all bonuses, premium payments, and other pay (such as commissions, hazard pay, or nighttime differentials) are included in the calculation of the FWW employee’s regular rate of pay for the purpose of calculating overtime.

This change may mean that salaried employees will see an increase in their overtime pay. However, it may also potentially hurt salaried employees because employers may choose to reduce an employee’s fixed weekly salary and shift considerable portions of an employee’s to bonuses and other forms of payment, all while the employees are averaging the same number of hours throughout the year.

Change to the Compensation of Commissioned Retail and Service Employees

Under the FLSA, commissioned employees working in a retail or service establishment may be exempt from receiving overtime pay. An employee falls within this exemption if they work for a “retail or service establishment,” if their regular rate of pay is in excess of one and one-half times the minimum wage, and if more than half of their compensation was derived from commissions earned from the sale of goods or services.

The most difficult part in determining if an employee fell within this exemption was determining if an employee was a ‘retail’ employee as the FLSA does not define what qualifies as a “retail or service establishment.”  In an attempt clarify if an individual worked in a retail establishment, the Wage & Hour Division of the DOL issued non-exhaustive lists of establishments that did and did not qualify as ‘retail’ under the FLSA.  However, because these lists were often vague, confusing and contradictory they were removed by the DOL. This update to regulation is effective on May 19th and will call for businesses to reevaluate whether they are considered ‘retail’ without the lists for guidance. This may lead to many businesses that formerly viewed themselves as ineligible for the exemption to begin implementing it on their commissioned employees.

Again, this change has the potential to both help and hurt employees depending on how their employers choose to implement the updates. In the worst cases, employees that long considered themselves to be safely outside of the “retail or service” work designation may begin to be considered within it according to their employer and lose the overtime pay they relied upon.

Overall, these updates could be simplifying and beneficial to employees in their shift to a more flexible, COVID-attuned work schedule. If you still have questions about how you may be impacted by these rules, a Wage & Hour attorney can help.

 

– Audrey Bidwell

COVID-19 FAQ

LAYOFFS AND FURLOUGHS DUE TO COVID-19 IN OHIO: WHAT ALL EMPLOYEES NEED TO KNOW.

Employers across Ohio are closing their operations due to Gov. DeWine’s declaration of a state of emergency and the “Shelter in Place” Order.  While the emergency declaration and the “Shelter in Place” Order are necessary to #flattenthecurve, many Ohio businesses are reducing their workforce due to the coronavirus pandemic through layoffs, furloughs, reductions in hours, and pay cuts. The business decisions an employer makes have different impacts on its employees.

If you have been laid off, furloughed or had a reduction in hours, you have important rights.

OHIO UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS

The emergency declaration expands unemployment coverage in Ohio until the emergency declaration is lifted.

  • If you are quarantined due to COVID-19 you are eligible for unemployment benefits.
  • The one week waiting period to file for unemployment benefits has been waived so an unemployed worker can file for benefits immediately upon being separated.

The online form to apply is found at: http://www.odjfs.state.oh.us/forms/num/JFS00671/pdf/. Applying online will help expedite your application.

If you are working, but have a reduction in hours, you may still be eligible to apply; however, your earnings will be deducted from your maximum benefit amount. This means if what you earn in a week with reduced hours is more than your state maximum benefit, you will not receive unemployment. Maximum Weekly Benefits are:

Number of Dependents If your Average Weekly Wage was: Maximum Weekly Benefit
0 $960 or higher $480
1 or 2 $1,164 or higher $582
3 or more $1,294 or higher $647

 

  • The emergency declaration has waived the requirement that a person receiving unemployment benefits is “actively seeking work.”

THE CORONAVIRUS AID, RELIEF, AND EMERGENCY SECURITY ACT

The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Emergency Security Act or the “CARES Act” that passed on March 27, 2020 impacts your unemployment benefit entitlement and Maximum Weekly Benefits. Under this federal stimulus law, if you have an unemployment claim in Ohio, you are entitled to an additional weekly $600 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation payment on top of existing state unemployment benefits for a maximum of thirty-nine weeks, subject to further extension rules. Further, sick employees who have the coronavirus can also collect unemployment if they are not receiving paid leave benefits.

The CARES Act mandates extension of unemployment coverage to an individual who is otherwise able to work and:

  1. who is not eligible for regular compensation or extended benefits under State or Federal law or pandemic emergency unemployment compensation;
  2. who has exhausted all rights to regular unemployment or extended benefits under State or Federal law or pandemic emergency unemployment compensation;
  3. who is unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable or unavailable to work because the individual has been diagnosed with COVID–19 or is experiencing symptoms of COVID–19 and seeking a medical diagnosis;
  4. who is caring for a household family member who has been diagnosed with COVID–19;
  5. who is primary caregiver for a child or other person in the household who is unable to attend school or another facility that is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency and this prevents work;
  6. who is an employee or new hire that is unable to reach the place of employment because of a COVID-19 quarantine or health provider self-quarantine;
  7. who has become the breadwinner or source of major support for a household because the head of the household has died from COVID–19;
  8. who has to quit his or her job as a direct result of COVID–19 due to closure of the place of employment; or
  9. who is self-employed, is seeking part-time employment, does not have sufficient work history, or otherwise would not qualify for regular unemployment or extended benefits under State or Federal law or pandemic emergency unemployment compensation.

WAGE AND HOUR CONSIDERATIONS

No pay means no work.

If you have had your normal work hours reduced, your employer cannot require you to do any work outside of those reduced hours without you getting paid for it.  In other words, if an employer asks an employee to do any work during the reduced hours, then the employee must be compensated for that time.   Things like answering emails, taking phone calls, picking up mail, etc. are all work activities for which employees must be compensated.

Wages

An employer cannot reduce an hourly employee’s pay below the Ohio minimum wage which is currently $8.70 per hour.  Employers cannot reduce a salaried employee’s weekly wage below $684 per week.  Both of these are still violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Ohio Wage Act.

Payment

The Ohio Prompt Pay Act remains in effect.  Employers must still pay employees at least on a bi-weekly basis and cannot make an employee wait more than 30-days for their paycheck.

NEW FAMILY MEDICAL LEAVE RIGHTS AND PAID SICK TIME

On March 18, 2020, the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFRCA) became law.  The law includes two new important provisions for Ohio workers: 1) an emergency expansion to the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and 2) a new Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act that requires paid leave for employees forced to miss work because of the COVID-19 outbreak in certain circumstances:

EMERGENCY FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE EXPANSION ACT

  • Applies to private employers with fewer than 500 employees and to all public employers that are covered by the FMLA regardless of size.
  • An employee is eligible after he or she has been employed for at least 30 calendar days before the first day of the leave.
  • Employees are entitled to 12 weeks of protected leave if the employee is unable to work (or telework) due to a need for leave to care for the son or daughter under 18 years of age of such employee if the school or place of care has been closed, or the child care provider of such son or daughter is unavailable, due to a public health emergency. A public health emergency means an emergency with respect to COVID-19 declared by a federal, state, or local authority.
  • The first 2 weeks of leave are unpaid, but an employee may elect to substitute any accrued vacation leave, personal leave, or medical or sick leave for unpaid leave.
  • After the first 2 weeks, leave is paid at two-thirds of the employee’s usual pay, with a cap of $200 per day. For employees with schedules that vary from week to week, a six-month average is to be used to calculate the number of hours to be paid. Employees who have worked for less than six months prior to leave are entitled to the employee’s reasonable expectation at hiring of the average number of hours the employee would normally be scheduled to work.
  • The Secretary of Labor is empowered to issue regulations to exclude healthcare providers and emergency responders from the definition of employees who are allowed to take such leave, and to exempt small businesses with fewer than 50 employees if the required leave would jeopardize the viability of their business.

EMERGENCY PAID SICK LEAVE ACT

Requires private employers with fewer than 500 employees and public employers regardless of size to provide up to 80 hours of paid sick leave to employees on top of what the employer now provides (if any). This new paid sick time applies to employees who are unable to work, or telework, because the employee:

  1. Is subject to a federal, state or local quarantine or isolation order.
  2. Has been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.
  3. Is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.
  4. Is caring for an individual who is subject to a quarantine or isolation order or has been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine as described above.
  5. Is caring for his or her child whose school or place of care has been closed or whose childcare provider is unavailable due to COVID-19 precautions.
  6. Is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health & Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor.

What is the Onset Date for Social Security Disability Insurance?

The Onset Date is the Date You Became Disabled.

Each SSDI case is different, and so are the onset dates. Firstly, some onset dates are associated with a traumatic event or accident. For example, the date of an accident which led to your inability to work might determine this date. In other scenarios, like chronic illness cases, onset date may be unclear. There is often an unclear timeline for chronic illnesses and disabilities. This may make it more difficult to establish a clear date.

Determining the onset date for a disability, involves consideration of your allegations, work history, if any, and the medical and other evidence concerning the severity of your medical condition. After collecting this information, each aspect of this criteria is weighted by relevancy. Additionally, the available evidence will  depend on your individual case. The day your illness caused you to stop working  is  a key factor in determining this date. Choosing the correct date is very important. It will have an impact on what kind of benefit you could receive. Additional information can be found on the Social Security Administration website.

If you have any question about your disability onset, our Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security attorneys may be able to help. Give Barkan Meizlish, LLP a call today.

 

Originally published on May 13th, 2015.

How Doxing and Revenge Porn Laws are Evolving in Ohio

The World and Your Private Images are at Your Fingertips…and Everyone Else’s

In today’s technology focused society, almost everyone carries a weapon in their pocket —their smart phones. The exchange of a phone number, formally the key to communication, is virtually and literally no longer necessary. Social media apps like Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook, connect individuals across the globe without any formal information exchange. This makes sharing, posting, and interacting as simple as one touch on a screen. While there are certainly many ways that social media benefits people globally- bringing them together, making activism easier, and bridging oceans and languages- comes an equal number of potential harmful behaviors.

What is Doxing?

With the simple tap of a screen, a smartphone can go from a communication device into a weapon. The dissemination of personal information- social security numbers, addresses, phone numbers, passwords, employer, work location- without an individual’s consent is called ‘doxing‘.

Doxing has become an increasingly common online victimization tactic. Doxing is commonly used against individuals with online presences, such as influencers or politicians, but is not limited to public figures. It has become increasingly commonplace to meet people who have been the victims of doxing either by vindictive exes or simply a person with an intent to harm or complicate someone’s life. Victims of doxing are, unfortunately, often the targets of an additionally hateful crime that ruins lives: revenge porn.

What is Revenge Porn?

While pornography itself is not a new concept, the mass distribution of pornography via digital platforms is constantly evolving. Camera phones have made taking sexually explicit images increasingly easy and common among all ages, genders, and backgrounds. Sending and receiving these images is as normalized for many young people who have grown up with access to this technology, much like the prior generations’ ability to pass a note in the hallway. Many of these exchanges are consensual when they begin. There is an often unspoken agreement that these images are only meant for the original recipient. Once the relationship sours, the potential for revenge porn increases.

Revenge Porn or Non-consensual Pornography is a broad categorization of criminal and non-consensual distribution of sexually explicit content. The term was popularized in the early part of the last decade, when activists such as activist Charlotte Laws and attorney Carrie Goldberg  began using their public platforms to educate the public on these types of crime.

As of today, 45 states, D.C., and one U.S. territory have revenge porn laws. The passing of such laws has been a concerted effort among activists. This an amazing first step for victims of revenge porn. However, it is only the start. Many of these statutes are intentionally vague due to fear of conflict with the First Amendment. Cases are often not actively pursued by law enforcement without direct advocacy. The fight to protect victims of revenge and non-consensual pornography is ongoing. It will continue to be fought until the proper protections are put in place for victims.

What Can I Do if I Am the Victim of Revenge Porn? Are There Protections for Me?

In Ohio, R.C. § 2917.211, Non-consensual dissemination of private images, makes it illegal for someone to distribute images of another person when:

  1. The person in the image is 18 or older;
  2. The person in the image can be identified, either from the image itself or the context in which the image was disseminated;
  3. The person is nude or engaged in a sexual act;
  4. The image is disseminated without the person’s consent;
  5. and with intent to harm.

Thus, R.C. § 2917.211 makes sending illicit, sexual imagery of a person over the age of 18 with harmful intent a misdemeanor, with varying penalties depending on whether the violator is a repeat offender.

Also, in Ohio R.C. § 2307.66 gives victims of  non-consensual dissemination of private images a civil cause of action, meaning the right to sue the individual for damages. The damages include any of the following:

  • An injunction or temporary restraining order prohibiting further dissemination of the image;
  • Compensatory and punitive damages;
  • That the offender pays the victim’s reasonable attorneys’ fees; and/or
  • That the offender covers the court costs incurred by the victim in bringing the civil action.

An important inclusion in this statute is  “the victim shall be presumed to have suffered harm as a result of the non-consensual dissemination.” This means the damage caused by any violation of R.C. § 2917.211 is automatically assumed if it is upheld as a violation in court. This allows victims the opportunity to seek damages without “proof” of the harm caused by the dissemination of the illicit images.

Who Can I Ask for Help?

Speaking with an attorney can help you determine what your rights are. It can also help you understand any exceptions that may disqualify you from pursuing any potential damages claim. Laws such as these help victims of doxing and revenge porn fight for justice. These types of crimes have become a worldwide phenomenon and creating protections to fight for victims is crucial.  To speak with an attorney about your situation, call Barkan Meizlish, LLP at (800)-274-5297 or send us an email at info@barkanmeizlish.com.

What Types of Damages Can I Claim in an Ohio Personal Injury Lawsuit?

The laws of Ohio allow a personal injury victim to seek multiple forms of compensation from the person or organization that injured them. The rules for seeking monetary damages apply to all types of personal injury cases, such as

  • Car and truck accidents
  • Motorcycle and scooter accidents
  • Pedestrian and bike crashes
  • Bus and train wrecks
  • Slips and falls
  • Medical malpractice
  • Dog bites and animal attacks
  • Electric shocks
  • Drownings
  • Dangerous and defective products
  • Assaults, which are also called intentional torts

People who have grounds for filing personal injury lawsuits can seek compensatory damages for economic losses and noneconomic damages. Depending on the circumstances, a victim may also be able to seek punitive damages.

Usually, a person hurt on the job can only recover for their injuries through the Ohio workers’ compensation system. However, if the injuries were caused by a third-party, the injured party may also have a negligence claim against that third-party. Consulting with an attorney who has experience handling workers’ comp claims and personal injury lawsuit will clarify whether pursing both legal options makes sense.

Explaining Compensatory Damages

Economic damages, which are also called compensatory damages, reflect the direct cost of recovering from an injury inflicted by another party’s negligence or recklessness. Items that Ohio law treats as economic damages include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Past and future medical bills for emergency care, surgeries, prescription medications, and therapy;
  • Loss of wages and future earning from time missed at work and a persistent disability;
  • Out-of-pocket expenses for goods and services related to recovering from the injury; and
  • Travel and relocation expenses related to seeking health care or making changes to where and how one lives.

Ohio does not impose a cap on economic damage settlements or jury awards.

Noneconomic damages, which are also called general damages for a personal injury, reflect the toll that an injury takes in terms of:

  • Physical pain and suffering,
  • Mental anguish and emotional distress, and
  • Loss of companionship

Except in cases involving catastrophic injuries, Ohio law imposes a cap on noneconomic damages to an individual that is the greater of $250,000 or three times the total of the economic damages. By statute—section 2315.18 of the Ohio Revised Code, specifically—a catastrophic injury is one that leaves the victim suffering a “permanent and substantial physical deformity, loss of use of a limb, or loss of a bodily organ system” or which “permanently prevents the injured person from being able to independently care for self and perform life-sustaining activities.”

Explaining Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are noncriminal monetary penalties assessed against the person or organization that inflicted an injury. They are also called exemplary damages because they are meant to serve as an example of the price to be paid for acting without regard to others’ health, safety, and well-being.

Although punitive damages are not awarded in every case, when they are they are subject to caps as well. In Ohio, punitive damages are capped at twice the value of compensatory damages. If the defendant is an individual or a small employer, however, that cap is limited to 10% of their net worth, up to a maximum of $350,000.

What About Attorneys’ Fees?

Generally, a personal injury lawyer will take a percentage of the final settlement or court award as payment for services. If no recovery is made, there is no attorney fee. Attorneys with Barkan Meizlish, LLP, advise and represent plaintiffs in all types of personal injury cases throughout Ohio. We offer free consultations to potential clients, and we work hard to maximize recoveries of specific and general damages for personal injury victims. Call us at (614) 221-4221 or schedule an appointment online to learn what we can do for you.

Can I Sue Uber or Lyft if a Rideshare Driver Caused the Car Crash That Left Me Injured?

Yes, you can generally file a personal injury claim if a rideshare driver causes a traffic accident that injures you.

Despite a series of class action lawsuits, Lyft and Uber drivers remain classified as independent contractors rather than employees of the rideshare companies for which they work. As a result, rideshare drivers are generally required to carry at least two separate forms of car insurance that cover accidents involving injuries to passengers, pedestrians, bike riders, and people in other vehicles.

Typically, the at-fault Uber or Lyft driver will be the liable party, with the rideshare company being secondary/additional. However, certain factors, like if the negligent or reckless driver was acting as an employee of a rideshare company at the time of the accident, can alter who the liable party actually is. How your case will go largely depends on which of the following scenarios describes what happened.

Were You Injured While Riding as an Uber or Lyft Passenger?

Rideshare companies require their contract drivers to carry personal car insurance coverage. Additionally, rideshare companies commonly provide, and in most states are required to provide, approximately $1-million in insurance coverage. The additional $1 million policy can apply when passengers suffer injuries in crashes a rideshare driver caused.

How much an injured passenger can claim will depend on a number of factors, including the severity of the injuries, the amount of the medical bills, and the number of injured people who have valid insurance claims. The final factor comes into play because the $1 million limit covers all crash victims.

Was the Uber or Lyft Driver En Route With a Passenger When They Hit You?

Under the laws of Ohio, pedestrian, motorcycle riders, and individuals in other vehicles may not have access to the full $1 million of injury liability coverage carried by Uber and Lyft drivers. Consulting with a knowledgeable and experienced rideshare accident attorney will clarify how to maximize insurance settlements, and ensure all potential avenues of recovery have been investigated. Please contact Barkan Meizlish, LLP to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer.

Did the Uber or Lyft Driver Have the App Open but No Passenger in Their Vehicle?

Rideshare drivers who are “available” and logged into the rideshare company’s app, but have not yet picked up a passenger, are generally covered by their Uber or Lyft policy for up to $100,000 in liability. The driver’s own personal insurance may provide coverage, as may underinsured motorist provisions of the injured person’s insurance. If you have been injured because of a negligent rideshare driver, you should contact the attorneys at Barkan Meizlish, LLP.

Did the Uber or Lyft Driver Have the App Closed and No Passenger in Their Vehicle?

Yes, you can generally file a personal injury claim if a rideshare driver causes a traffic accident that injures you.

Despite a series of class action lawsuits, Lyft and Uber drivers remain classified as independent contractors rather than employees of the rideshare companies for which they work. As a result, rideshare drivers are generally required to carry at least two separate forms of car insurance that cover accidents involving injuries to passengers, pedestrians, bike riders, and people in other vehicles.

Typically, the at-fault Uber or Lyft driver will be the liable party, with the rideshare company being secondary/additional. However, certain factors, like if the negligent or reckless driver was acting as an employee of a rideshare company at the time of the accident, can alter who the liable party actually is. How your case will go largely depends on which of the following scenarios describes what happened.

Were You Injured While Riding as an Uber or Lyft Passenger?

Rideshare companies require their contract drivers to carry personal car insurance coverage. Additionally, rideshare companies commonly provide, and in most states are required to provide, approximately $1-million in insurance coverage. The additional $1 million policy can apply when passengers suffer injuries in crashes a rideshare driver caused.

How much an injured passenger can claim will depend on a number of factors, including the severity of the injuries, the amount of the medical bills, and the number of injured people who have valid insurance claims. The final factor comes into play because the $1 million limit covers all crash victims.

Was the Uber or Lyft Driver En Route With a Passenger When They Hit You?

Under the laws of Ohio, pedestrian, motorcycle riders, and individuals in other vehicles may not have access to the full $1 million of injury liability coverage carried by Uber and Lyft drivers. Consulting with a knowledgeable and experienced rideshare accident attorney will clarify how to maximize insurance settlements, and ensure all potential avenues of recovery have been investigated. Please contact Barkan Meizlish, LLP to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer.

Did the Uber or Lyft Driver Have the App Open but No Passenger in Their Vehicle?

Rideshare drivers who are “available” and logged into the rideshare company’s app, but have not yet picked up a passenger, are generally covered by their Uber or Lyft policy for up to $100,000 in liability. The driver’s own personal insurance may provide coverage, as may underinsured motorist provisions of the injured person’s insurance. If you have been injured because of a negligent rideshare driver, you should contact the attorneys at Barkan Meizlish, LLP.

Did the Uber or Lyft Driver Have the App Closed and No Passenger in Their Vehicle?

When a rideshare driver is neither available to take passengers nor actually working for Uber or Lyft, their own car insurance policy generally applies to any crash they cause.

So, when can Uber or Lyft be sued if the driver was not actually working for the rideshare company at the time of the accident/injury? A few of the situations in which a rideshare company could be named as a defendant in a civil lawsuit are when:

  • The company allowed a driver to operate without carrying the required coverages.
  • The company contracted with a driver who has a criminal history of driving under the influence and the wreck involved drunk or drugged driving—a situation described as “negligent employment.”
  • The company contracted with a driver who had a criminal history of sexual or physical assault and the driver assaulted you while you were a passenger.

Before you file an Uber or Lyft driver lawsuit in Ohio, consider speaking with a personal injury attorney at Barkan Meizlish, LLP. Personal injury claims involving rideshare companies and drivers are complex and can be difficult. We are committed to straightening out the complexities of rideshare accidents, and we offer free consultations to potential clients. You can speak with a lawyer by calling (614) 221-4221 or schedule an appointment online.

What Evidence Is Needed for a Traumatic Brain Injury Lawsuit in Ohio?

Succeeding with a traumatic brain injury lawsuit (TBI) in Ohio requires presenting two types of evidence. The first type establishes the direct link between someone else’s negligence or recklessness and the traumatic brain injury. The second establishes the extent and compensability of the Ohio traumatic brain injury.

“Compensability” is lawyer-speak for “deserving compensation.” Compensation for a TBI can include past and future medical care costs, disability, lost income, pain and suffering, and non economic losses like being unable to care for children and fulfill the duties of a spouse.

Examples of Negligence in Traumatic Brain Injury

Each case requires its own specific evidence, but providing general examples is possible. For instance, a driver who causes a car crash that leaves a person in another vehicle suffering from a TBI would be negligent or reckless. Similarly, a patient who suffers a loss of oxygen during a surgery could possible be due to an anesthesiologist’s negligence.

Importantly, Ohio courts recognize the legal principle of comparative negligence. This means that, in order to succeed with an insurance claim or civil lawsuit, a TBI victim only needs to prove that the defendant bears 51 percent or more of the responsibility for inflicting the brain injury. Compensation may be reduced to reflect the amount of responsibility shared by the victim.

Showing That a Negligent or Reckless Act Inflicted a Traumatic Brain Injury

The evidence that a person suffered a TBI can be very clear-cut. For instance, almost no one will doubt that a fall or a crash caused by a truck driver that results in a fractured skull could seriously injure a person’s brain. Likewise, a person who becomes paralyzed or requires assistance with activities of daily living—getting in and out of bed, brushing one’s teeth, dressing—should encounter minimal push back when claiming to suffer from a traumatic brain injury.

However, closed head injuries can draw questions from insurance company representatives and jurors. In a case where legitimate doubts about the existence of a traumatic brain injury can be raised, the person who files an insurance claim or traumatic brain injury lawsuit can rely on:

  • Diagnoses from doctors and medical specialists like neurologists;
  • Assessments by occupational therapists and vocational experts;
  • Examinations by psychologists and psychiatrists; and
  • Testimony from friends, family members, and co-workers.

Statements made by the people who know the traumatic brain injury victim best will carry a lot of weight. The changes a person undergoes following a traumatic brain injury can be profound even if they are not immediately apparent.

Traumatic brain injury symptoms can include, but are not limited to:

  • Headaches;
  • Tingling and numbness in different parts of the body;
  • Mood swings that run the gamut from deep depressions to uncontrollable rages;
  • Difficulties forming and retaining new memories;
  • Problems understanding and communicating ideas; and
  • Trouble remembering to take care of oneself by, for instance, eating and bathing.

Loved ones and close companions can speak powerfully about these often hidden TBI symptoms that also take a toll on them.

Assistance From an Ohio Traumatic Brain Injury Attorney

Our experience in advising and representing traumatic brain injury victims in Columbus and across the state of Ohio is that insurance companies will try to minimize or deny settlements for even the most obvious brain injuries. This unfortunate reality makes gathering, organizing, and presenting clear, convincing evidence from experts and the individuals who live and work with the brain injury victim doubly important.

If you or your family needs help with a traumatic brain injury lawsuit case, let our Columbus traumatic brain injury lawyers know how we can be of service. We offer free consultations on all types of personal injury claims, and we take appointments online. You can also speak with an attorney at Barkan Meizlish, LLP, by calling (614) 221-4221.

What Compensation Can I Receive for My Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) are some of the most catastrophic injuries that a person can suffer. This fact is only compounded if a TBI occurred as a result of another’s negligent or reckless behavior. Do not let your TBI go without receiving compensation from the responsible party. Contact the legal professionals at Barkan Meizlish, LLP to help protect your interests and obtain the compensation you deserve. Our experienced legal team has the knowledge and expertise to achieve justice for your injury.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that more than 5.3 million people in the U.S. are suffering from lifelong disabilities caused by traumatic brain injury. In each of these cases, the person who is suffering from the injury will have a drastically altered life that is filled with frequent medical appointments, possible reduced mobility and quality of life. If you have been involved in an accident or medical incident that has led to a TBI, there are actions you can take to ensure that you are compensated for your injury.

Here are some common incidents in which TBIs typically occur:

  • Car Accidents — A large percentage of traumatic brain injuries come as a result of car crashes. High-impact accidents can often result in internal collisions of the brain and the skull, which can cause traumatic brain injuries. If you were injured in car accident that was the fault of a negligent or reckless person, contact the traumatic brain injury attorneys at Barkan Meizlish, LLP.
  • Falls — An alarmingly large number of TBI cases are a direct result of falls. These incidents, too, can be caused by someone else’s negligent or reckless behavior. Businesses could not properly warn you of a wet floor or properly clear their walkways of snow and ice leading to a fall. If this applies to you, contact the traumatic brain injury attorneys at Barkan Meizlish, LLP.
  • Assaults — Personal violent attacks also account for a number of traumatic brain injuries. If you have been assaulted, you can hold your attacker liable for the injury you have suffered. Contact the traumatic brain injury attorneys at Barkan Meizlish, LLP.

If you have suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of another’s behavior, we can pursue litigation so that you can received compensation for the following:

  • Medical Bills — The medical procedures that follow a severe injury are expensive. If you were injured as a result of another party’s negligence, you can receive compensation for your medical bills.
  • Future Medical Care — With a substantial, severe injury like a TBI, your expenses likely will not end with initial treatment. You will often need further rehabilitation and medical care. You can receive compensation for the future expenses.
  • Lost Wages and Earning Ability — After such a dramatic injury, your life likely will no longer be the same. This includes your ability to earn a living. We will seek compensation for current lost wages as well as your diminished ability to earn a living following the injury.

Contact Us

If you are injured as a result of another’s negligence, then you should understand your options for pursuing compensation. Our dedicated, professional legal staff can help answer any questions about TBIs or other personal injuries. The Columbus traumatic brain injury attorneys with Barkan Meizlish, LLP are skilled and experienced in helping clients.

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