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Cleveland Personal Injury Defense Law Blog

Are government accident reports admissible in product liability cases? P.2

In recent posts, we’ve been discussing the potential usefulness and admissibility of government accident reports in product liability litigation. As we’ve mentioned, the factuality of reported findings is a critical issue, since lack of factuality can prevent reported findings from being admitted at trial. Findings which lack finality, are largely based on third-party materials or investigations, or which are closer to legal conclusions are not likely to be admissible.

Another important issue is the trustworthiness of reported findings. Even if findings are determined to be factual, there are certain factors which can suggest lack of credibility. One such issue is the timeliness with which the government agency conducted the investigation. If the investigation was conducted while the evidence was still fresh, with minimal potential for alteration or changes, this is not as likely to be an issue. 

Are government accident reports admissible in product liability cases?

Last time, we began looking at the issue of government accident reports and their potential value in the courtroom. This is a potentially important issue not only in personal injury litigation, but also in product liability litigation, since government accident reports can contain valuable information about the underlying causes of an accident.

For manufacturers, engineers and distributors of motor vehicles, it can be valuable in some cases to make use of a government accident report in building a strong defense against charges of product liability. In other cases, a government accident report may not be helpful. Whatever the case may be, it is important for motor vehicle manufacturers to work with an experienced attorney who can deal skillfully with evidence found in government reports. 

Government report provides no definitive conclusion about cause of Tesla accident

Readers are aware that automatic driving technology is becoming an increasingly prevalent reality in newer vehicle models, and that there is a great deal of hope that more vehicle automation will translate into a reduction in motor vehicle accidents. 

That may be true, but there are still plenty of questions that need to be answered regarding liability. Foremost among them is determining who is liable for an accident involving a vehicle that was being driven by automation. 

Federal bill would cap noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases

In our last post, we mentioned caps on awards of noneconomic damages as one avenue medical providers and hospitals can look to in limiting their liability in medical and hospital malpractice cases. Limiting noneconomic damages in tort cases is a common step states have taken in an effort to reform the tort system.

Up until fairly recently, the tort reform battle has been largely fought at the state level. At present, roughly 22 states have caps on noneconomic damages. Now, however, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill that would cap noneconomic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits. The bill, the Protecting Access to Primary Care Act, would cap noneconomic damages at $250,000.

Two ways to avoid or limit medical, hospital malpractice liability, P.2

In our previous post, we began looking at a couple ways to limit liability in medical and hospital malpractice cases, beginning with the determination of the statute of limitations. As we noted, damages are another important area to consider, particularly noneconomic damages.

Noneconomic damages include things like; pain and suffering; loss of society, companionship, and consortium; disfigurement; mental anguish; and other types of intangible losses. Under Ohio law, noneconomic damages are supposed to be capped at the greater of either (a) $250,000 or (b) three times the amount of the plaintiff’s economic losses, up to a maximum of $350,000 per plaintiff or $500,000 for each occurrence of malpractice. 

Two ways to avoid or limit medical, hospital malpractice liability

For both physicians and hospitals sued by patients, minimizing liability in medical malpractice and hospital malpractice claims is an important task, and one which requires knowledge of the law, keen negotiation skills, and the ability to effectively use the legal process.

Each malpractice case is different, so the strategy for minimizing the effects of a lawsuit is different in each case, but there are two particular areas physicians and hospitals should pay attention to when seeking to limit liability. One of these is the statute of limitations, which is the deadline by which a malpractice suit must be filed. 

Work with experienced legal counsel to fight workers’ compensation fraud

In our last post, we looked briefly at some of the ways employees, and insurers as well, can reduce their workers’ compensation costs. As we noted, improving workplace safety and training, early reporting of accidents, implementing return to work and vocational rehabilitation services, and subrogation are all ways workers’ compensation costs can be reduced.

Another possible way to reduce workers’ compensation costs is to implement robust fraud prevention policies and procedures. Fraud is a major drain on resources, and negatively impacts not only employers and insurers, but also employees and the public. Fraud occurs whenever an individual intentionally seeks to receive payments or benefits which he or she is not entitled to receive.

Looking at some ways to reduce workers’ compensation costs

For injured employees, workers compensation benefits are an important source of support after a serious workplace accident. This is particularly true of cases where an employee suffers permanent injuries that will impact his or her ability to return to the same work. As important as these benefits are for employees, though, employers also have an interest in managing workers’ compensation costs.

There are a variety of ways to manage the costs of workers’ compensation. One way is to improve workplace safety and hygiene, which can be done by adding safety features, improving training, and better managing personnel. Reduction in accidents will translate into reduced workers’ compensation costs.

Defending against product liability claims: a look at some legal basics in Ohio, P.4

This is the fourth in a series of posts looking at some of the basic features of Ohio law concerning liability for product defects. So far, we’ve looked at several types of product defects, including manufacturing and design defects, as well as failure to provide adequate warnings and instructions. As we’ve noted, each of these categories of product defects involves specific rules governing when, and to what extent, manufacturers and designers are liable for defects.

In addition to the these types of product defects, products may also be found defective if they fail to conform to representations made by the manufacturer at the time they leave the manufacturer’s control. Liability for failure to conform to representations is strict, meaning the manufacturer doesn’t need to have been negligent in making false representations to be determined at fault. 

Ease of 3-D printing presents liability questions for hospitals

There's no question, 3-D printing is an amazing technology. If you can imagine it, you can program these devices to create it. Just a few years ago, few people had even heard of the process. Today, in Ohio, there are a number of companies that offer printers or printing services. Using them is so easy that even grade-schoolers are creating prototype artificial limbs.

It should be no surprise, then, that doctors and hospitals are taking an interest in the technology to print customized prosthetics for patients or create specialized tools for medical procedures. The possibilities are endless, but as attorneys experienced in product liability defense know, the opportunities also present risks for product liability claims if patients suffer injury.