And another thing about that Instagram…

The Facebook world was aghast this week when Instagram changed its Terms and Conditions so it could claim ownership of photos posted there.  What was also changed, but not as well known, was the requirement for mandatory arbitration of any disputes with Instagram.  Thanks to the Pop Tort for pointing out this equally clandestine yet more nefarious change!

shrug

What does this mean to you:

Always read the fine print.  Forced arbitration means you cannot file a lawsuit if they treat you unfairly.  You cannot have a jury of your peers hear your case and decide what is right.  You “agree” to have any disputes decided by an arbitrator, who sees the company in arbitration all the time.  There is usually no appeal from an arbitration decision – you must live with whatever the arbitrator decides.

 

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It’s the most dangerous time of the year – sing it with me!

The opportunity for household fires seems to increase around the holidays, whether it be candles, electric lights in the tree, or even the yule log.  The Consumer Product Safety Commission has posted a handy 12 point safety checklist to address some of these risks.

broken ornament

What does this mean to you:

The frivolity (read: alcohol) of the holidays can easily lead us to lower our guard.  Take two seconds and look at the above list so you are at least aware of the potential issues.  And as always, be safe, use common sense, and have a great holiday.

Tis the season

I saw this list recently – the top 10 most dangerous toys of all time.  Some of the toys on the list are downright jaw-droppingly dangerous and would make Irving Mainway proud.  Take, for example, the CSI fingerprint kit made with asbestos dust, made as recently as 2007(!)  Others, like the Hannah Montana card game laced with lead, are not as obvious.

child gun

What does this mean to you:

Always fill out and return the warranty cards that come with children’s products so you know when a recall happens and you can be up to date with the most current information.

 

Injured workers in Ohio dealt a legal blow

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled today that if an employer removes a safety device, like guard on a press, and someone is injured while working there, like losing losing their fingers or hand, they cannot hold their boss responsible for their injuries unless they PROVE that their boss meant to hurt them.

Yellow hardhat

The idea in someone’s head and what they were intending to do is an extremely difficult, if not impossible, thing to prove.  Today’s ruling is an unfortunate extension of an earlier decision from the Court.

What does this mean to you:

Someone injured or killed on the job is not always left out in the cold. If a person or company other than your employer was at fault – such as a sub-contractor doing work at an industrial job site or construction site, the manufacturer of a defective product, or any other third party – they may be entitled to make a claim, even though the injury happened while on the job.  A major part of any case brought by a lawyer or law firm is investigating all potentially-liable parties.  Workers comp may also be available, but by no means makes the person whole.

 

I thought there were supposed to be drugs in my glass

Image

Be advised the Ranbaxy and the FDA have recalled the generic form of the cholesterol drug Lipitor, called atorvastatin, because they found glass particles in the drug.

What does this mean to you:

Obviously, people should stop taking this drug and call their doctor.

 

Focus on the family

I spent the afternoon today at the Ohio General Assembly listening to testimony on some good legislation working its way through the legislature.

Don’t worry – I am covering you. With my arms.

As it stands, most Ohioans are not covered by their car insurance if a family member is driving.  Let me say that again to emphasize the absurdity – you are probably not covered by your own car insurance if you are riding in a car driving by your own family member.  This little known policy provision, called the “intrafamily exclusion,” can have draconian consequences in peoples’ lives.  The reason given for such a harsh legal rule, believe it or not, is that insurance companies are afraid families will collude with each other to injure themselves just to make an insurance claim.  One incredulous Justice has termed this absurd assumption “Munchausen’s Syndrome by Auto.”

Currently, Senate Bill 293 seeks to end this practice as it relates to wrongful death claims only, but not injuries, such as amputations or quadriplegia.  Certainly a step in the right direction.  A baby step, but a step nonetheless.

What does this mean to you:

Ask your insurance agent or your attorney whether your auto policy covers your family members when you are driving, or if it contains an intrafamily exclusion.  You need to know that your own family is protected in case of an accident, not just other people in the wreck.