That fracking hurts!

Ohio has become the new Texas with the oil and gas drilling boom consuming much of eastern Ohio.  Most of the media attention around fracking has focused on the environmental impacts – flammable tap water, earthquakes in Ohio, or toxic drinking water, to name a few.  Nasty stuff, to be sure.

fracking

But the physical dangers to people in the area of the wells, workers and others, is also a big fracking problem.  I saw this article today about a worker at a well in Noble County, Ohio who died after an explosion.  I suspect we will start to see more and more unfortunate, but preventable, injuries in the fracking industry in the coming months and years.

What does this mean to you:

Though the energy companies promise jobs and increased economic opportunities to the communities they invade, the costs – in terms of both environmental and human loss – continue to mount.

Shhh! We’d like to keep our fraud secret!

So, Über and Lyft want to keep their insurance policies secret, which raises a lot of questions in my mind.  Like, what are they hiding?  And specifically, what is covered by the policy?  Is it only the driver, or are the passengers covered too?  Seems like we should be allowed to know the answers.

secret

 

Interestingly, the companies are required to carry uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage – insurance that protects you when you are not at fault.  But, there is no requirement that the rest of us buy uninsured motorists coverage, and there is no requirement that your agent offer or even explain it to you.   Its important enough to require it for those services, but not for everyone else.  Hmmm.

What does this mean to you:

Go now and find out how much uninsured motorists coverage you carry on your insurance policy.  We will wait for you here.  Yes, its that important.  Go on.

Do you have uninsured motorists coverage in your auto policy?  Do you also have it in your umbrella policy?  What are the limits?  Considering that almost 15% of drivers carry no insurance and many more do not carry enough insurance, do you have high enough limits?

 

Everybody gets an award these days!

Most of us have seen the email floating around for the “Stella Awards,” named for Stella Leibeck, the 79 year old woman who had third degree skin burns and skin grafts in her crotch who had the gall to ask McDonalds to help her with her medical bills.  Though these awards are meant to highlight “frivolous” cases, many are actually fictitious or trumped up.

You really are a winner.

Now come the Hazelwood Awards, so named for Capt.. Hazelwood of Exxon Valdez fame.  These awards highlight corporate greed and malfeasance.  This year’s winner is the hospital in Florida that performed unnecessary surgeries in order to bill for them.

What does this mean to you:

Corporations and insurance companies often put profits before people, notwithstanding what their slick commercials and handsome spokesmen would have us believe.

They did what to who?

Unfortunately, car insurance companies rarely live up to their commercials, as we’ve discussed before.  Otherwise, that perky Flo from Progressive would be giddily settling claims to and fro and whatnot.

Go ahead. Make a claim. I dare you.

I saw this tragic story making the rounds online.  At the trial for the wrongful death of a motorist, the lawyer for the insurance company for the motorist (Progressive) worked in conjunction with the lawyer for the at-fault driver.  That is, the dead woman’s own insurance company called witnesses to try and blame her for the crash, just like the lawyer for the person who caused the wreck did.  Talk about adding insult to injury.

This is common litigation strategy and how most insurance companies behave, whether they are yours or someone else’s, because money is on the line.  Their goal in any case like this is to pay the least amount of money possible.

What does this mean to you:

In Ohio, your car insurance has a legal obligation to treat you in “good faith.”  If they don’t, they can be help responsible for additional damages beyond what they owe for your personal injury case itself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can we at least send them to their room with no dessert?

Every parent knows that, from time to time, a little punishment can be warranted.  We generally punish for the really bad stuff, and even then, the punishment has to “fit the crime.”  In really bad cases, juries can punish bad behavior too by awarding punitive damages. Punitive damages are hard to actually prove, and as a result, are rarely awarded.

The type of behavior punitive damages discourage is the worst of the worst – intentional, dangerous behavior.  The classic example is the infamous Ford Pinto, often recognized as one of the worst cars of all time.  Ford engineers knew its gas tank design was likely catch fire in a crash and knew how to fix it for only $11 per car, but decided it would be cheaper to let people burn and pay the lawsuits.

Why, then, did the Ohio Supreme Court recently make it even harder to punish wrongdoers when they deserve it?  And why are lawmakers in Arizona seeking to exempt manufacturers of dangerous products from being punished when their conduct warrants it?  How will this create jobs or make products safer?  Hint: It’s not a trick question.

What does this mean to you?

Know your legislators and judges.  Let them know that everyone, including corporations, should be accountable for their actions.