Accident Avoidance for Drivers Over the Age of 65

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Americans over the age of 65 are a group that is among the fastest growing driving demographic. Approximately 40% of seniors were still driving over the age of 65 a half of a century ago. Today over 80% of seniors are still driving. We want to keep our seniors driving on the road as long as it is safely possible. Aging affects many facets of one’s life, including the ability to drive.

Seniors can discuss health concerns with their primary care physician to ascertain what health issues might be of concern as they relate to driving. The most obvious is to be aware of any medication that may interfere with the ability to drive safely. Health issues such as arthritis, diabetes, seizure disorders, and heart conditions may have an adverse effect on the ability to operate a motor vehicle. Seniors should also regularly schedule vision and hearing tests, be sure their prescription glasses are up to date, and along with hearing aids, worn while driving.

It is also important for seniors to recognize their limitations in order to stay safe on the road. Practice defensive driving, avoid busy areas or streets where the speed limit is too fast for your comfort zone. It is always better to try to anticipate your next move, rather than reacting to another driver’s move. During poor weather condition, at night and during rush hour Americans over the age of 65 are more likely to be involved in a motor vehicle accident.

It is also worth noting that many communities offer refresher courses specifically geared toward teaching senior citizens skills to stay safe on the road.

If you or a loved one was injured or killed in an automobile accident due to another driver’s negligence, contact my office immediately. As your Ohio car accident attorney, I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®

Author: Tim Misny | For over four decades, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in in birth injurymedical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving ClevelandAkron/CantonColumbusDayton and neighboring communities. You can reach Tim by email at misnylaw.com/ask-tim-a-question/ or call at 877.944.4373.

Scary Drowsy Driving Accident Statistics

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Drowsy Driving is a serious danger to motorists on the road. It is estimated that approximately 75,000 crashes, 45,000 injuries and 1,000 deaths occur each year because of drowsy driving. However, the most upsetting fact about these numbers is that they are probably vastly underestimated. Simply put, evidence of drowsy driving is often sparse and circumstantial. Unlike distracted driving or drunk driving, drowsy driving can sneak up on motorists, because it is unpredictable to determine when fatigue will take over. Therefore, drowsy driving is often referred to as the Silent Killer. Taken into account the enormous under-reporting of drowsy driving, some experts claim that falling asleep at the wheel may account for over 5,000 American deaths a year, rather than just approximately 1,000.

There is evidence that drowsy driving is just as, or even some cases more dangerous that drunk driving. It is even possible to be cited for reckless driving or driving under impairment for driving while drowsy. A good safe motorist should have a clear head and be able to have adequate reaction time. Drowsiness and fatigue can hinder a motorist’s ability to drive safely. We can all agree that if you are impaired by alcohol or drugs, you should not get behind the wheel. It is just as important to have the mindset that if you are impaired due to a lack of sleep or excessive fatigue, you should also not get behind the wheel.

There are people more at risk of driving drowsy. It is unpredictable when exactly fatigue can take over our bodies.

  • The obvious risk factor is not getting enough sleep in the first place. It is estimated that adults need at least 7 hours and teenagers need at least 8 hours of sleep per night. Experts agree, there is no substitute for sleep.
  • People who work second or third shift, or who routinely work double shifts are also at risk for drowsy driving.
  • Commercial truck drivers are at high risk.
  • Medical issues may play a factor. Some driver may take medications that make them sleepy. It is also common for sleep disorders to go undiagnosed or untreated, which can lead to falling asleep at the wheel.

It is estimated that between 5 and 10% of American adults have admitted to falling or starting to fall asleep behind the wheel in the past 6 months. It is important to remember, that there are subtle signals that happens to our bodies when falling asleep. Knowing these warning signs can be a lifesaving signal to you that you should not be driving.

  • Having trouble keeping eyes opened and focused
  • Head nodding
  • Frequent blinking or yawning
  • Drifting in lane or hitting a rumble strip
  • Missing a turn or exit

The most important takeaway is that awareness of the problem of Drowsy Driving can save lives. The number one prevention is making sure to get an adequate amount of sleep. Not only is it good for your health, it will make you a safer driver.

If you or a loved one was injured or killed in an automobile accident due to another driver’s negligence, contact my office immediately. As your Ohio car accident attorney, I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®

Author: Tim Misny | For over four decades, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in in birth injurymedical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving ClevelandAkron/CantonColumbusDayton and neighboring communities. You can reach Tim by email at misnylaw.com/ask-tim-a-question/ or call at 877.944.4373

Death Before Disability Benefits

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Social Security Disability Backlog

The cold, hard truth for over 7,000 people on the social security disability benefits wait list is that it is just too late. With the backlog of benefit appeals and applications topping out at over 1 million, and taking up to 2 years to process, it is estimated that over 7,400 individuals on the wait list never got their day in court – Many suffering deaths related to their illness. While friends and family of some applicants continue to take the court date just for vindication, the harsh reality for their loved one is that the system has failed them.

Social security disability benefits and supplemental security income programs are in place to help individuals that are no longer able to work, or no longer able to continue to work in the same position following an accident or illness.  For many individuals, this is a direct result of a work related injury or illness.

The Social Security Application Process

Social security is no picnic.  I have seen countless clients suffer through the arduous process, whereby many initial claims are denied in the first round.  The following months and even years are filled with overwhelming appeals and heartbreaking delays. For an individual or family, this could most certainly make a large impact on their lives.

It is estimated that about 10.5 million individuals receive benefits from social security, and another 8 million individuals receive benefits from Supplement Security Income – Which is an income based supplement for those that do not qualify for social security.  In order for an individual to qualify for benefits, a physician must specify that he or she is unable to work as a result of a long term disability or terminal illness.

The System is Broken

Just five years ago, the average wait time for a benefits claim was under a year. Today, applicants and appeals are facing almost a two year wait. With benefits averaging only about $1,000 a month, it shines light on a very important topic – The necessity of filing a claim for an accident or injury that caused the disability in the first place.

The average honest, hardworking individual may feel a sense of guilt following an injury on the job or a work related accident.  Many of my clients believe that if they do the right thing, and follow the workers’ compensation claims process – They will have compensation and social security disability benefits to fall back on.  The unfortunate truth is that it simply is not adequate.

Pursuing a workers’ compensation claim for a work related injury, or holding a guilty party accountable following an accident, may be the only true way to adjust to your new ‘normal’ and carry on in life, as much as possible.

If you or someone you love was injured at work or in an accident, or is waiting for their social security disability claims process, you must contact my offices immediately.

I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®

Author: Tim Misny | For over four decades, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in in birth injurymedical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving ClevelandAkron/CantonColumbusDayton and neighboring communities. You can reach Tim by email at misnylaw.com/ask-tim-a-question/ or call at 877.944.4373.

Child Pedestrian Deaths at All Time High

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The Perils of Walking to and from School

Imagine kissing your angel baby good bye in the morning, for their walk to school – Only to get the nightmare call that your child has been hit by a vehicle. More than 1,800 injuries and 45 deaths in Ohio over the last 5 years alone have called serious concern to our children’s safety on their way to and from school each day. With accidents at an all time high since 2012 – we certainly have cause for concern. The numbers are staggering, and the cause may not be what you think!

ODOT reports 102 accidents and 1 fatality in the last year involving kids under the age of 18.

The accidents coincide with the common times that children are on their way to and from school, with over 33% of accidents inexplicably occurring on Mondays.

  • Right or left hand turns involved in 25% of accidents
  • Another 25% of accidents are due to kids being distracted

Just last year in Kirtland, Ohio a young male was struck while crossing route 306 on his way to school.  Since the incident, the city has been aggressively pursuing solutions, but unfortunately this is all to common across Northeast Ohio. The designated cross walk is located past the school lot, and many children just do not want to make the extra trip – Dangerously running across the road in traffic.

Increased risk factors are undoubtedly contributing to the issue;

  • Lack of cross walks / crossing guards
  • Increase in distracted driving
  • Distracted kids – Head phones, smart phones, etc.
  • Decrease in budgets for busing

Children commonly feel they are invincible, and simply cannot comprehend the repercussions or dangers that they are facing. Darting into traffic, even in a 20 mile per hour school zone can have grave consequences.

This is a Two Way Street – Drive Safely, and Talk to your Child

The reported leading cause of accidents involving young children traveling to or from school is distracted walking.  We are all aware of the dangers of distracted driving, but unfortunately many children are putting themselves in harms way by simply not paying attention.

Talk to your child about walking to and from school safely

  • Always cross in a cross walk
  • Make sure drivers can see you! Use a flashlight or reflective clothing in early morning and evening hours
  • Always pay attention – Avoid phone use or headphones
  • Walk on sidewalks, or against traffic on the shoulder
  • Do not assume a driver of a vehicle sees you

If your child was involved in an accident coming to or from school, contact my offices today.

I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®

Author: Tim Misny | For over four decades, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in in birth injurymedical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving ClevelandAkron/CantonColumbusDayton and neighboring communities. You can reach Tim by email at misnylaw.com/ask-tim-a-question/ or call at 877.944.4373.

Deadly Debris on Ohio Roadways

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I was driving down the freeway at at the posted speed limit when a truck in front of me lost an unsecured broom and it went smack into my windshield. After the initial shock, “duck” and recovery – I began thinking about just how dangerous this scenario is. More than a nuisance, debris on the road way poses a serious risk across Ohio. While it may not be the most glamorous topic for the news headlines, recent ODOT reports highlight the serious nature of accidents resulting from discarded items on our highways.

We have all seen them, a small broom or even an entire sofa on the roadside – These preventable issues can save hundreds of lives! Just a broom to the windshield was enough to raise my heart rate, and likely continue to do so for many others traveling behind me on the same stretch of highway. Could you imagine your reaction if a ladder, sofa, or any other item came toward you as you are going 60 miles per hour!?

Debris Causes Thousands of Accidents Each Year

The scary reality is that roadway debris contributes to over 3,700 accidents each year in Ohio. Individuals are injured and killed every day, either by avoiding the debris or coming into direct contact. Even a small item can poise a very large risk at any high rate of speed.

Swerving to avoid an item in the road is incredibly dangerous for you, your passengers and for other drivers around you. The average number of deaths resulting from the 3,700 accidents reaches at least 20 per year – a sad reality for a completely preventable situation. For a 4 year period from 2012-2016 ODOT reports that over 19,000 accidents occurred, causing over 100 deaths – In addition to 570 serious injuries.

The Solution to Debris

Ohio’s tarp law is in place to limit the number of unsecured loads, but it simply just isn’t enough. Individual responsibility and proper tools and education are essential to traveling safely with items loaded in a truck.

Using the proper restraints, like rope or ratchet straps, is recommended for any size load in the back of a pick up truck. Responsible travel and packing is also essential, and common sense truly goes a long way! Saving a small amount of time or travel costs is simply not worth the risk of another individuals’ life.

If you witness a vehicle with an unsecured load, or see an item fall out or already in the road way, contact local authorities immediately. If you are traveling and have lost an item – It is important to stop and call for emergency help.

If you or someone you love has been involved in a serious accident, you must contact my offices immediately.

I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®

Author: Tim Misny | For over four decades, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in in birth injurymedical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving ClevelandAkron/CantonColumbusDayton and neighboring communities. You can reach Tim by email at misnylaw.com/ask-tim-a-question/ or call at 877.944.4373.

 

Safe Driving Practices In Rain and Flash Floods

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As the seasons change, it is important to remember and recognize that with different weather patterns, adjustments need to be made for safe driving. Driving in the rain can be a dangerous endeavor, especially during a risk of flash floods.

Light Rain and Wind:

  • Slow down.
  • Extra caution should be taken even with moderate precipitation.
  • If you have your windshield wipers on, your headlights should be on. This is the law in the State of Ohio.

Heavy Rain and Wind:

  • Excess precipitation can hinder vision and decrease reaction time.
  • Strong gusts of wind can cause a driver to lose steering control.
  • If you must slow down to excess, put you hazards on to alert other drivers of your slow speed.

Flash Floods:

  • Flooding can happen suddenly, quickly, and with no warning.
  • Driving in as little as 6 inches of water can severely damage a vehicle.
  • Driving in 12 inches of water can be dangerous or even fatal for the driver and passengers.
  • It is advisable to re-route and avoid driving through a flooded road.

Moderate adjustments to driving can save one’s vehicle and well-being. If you or a loved one was injured or killed in an automobile accident due to another driver’s negligence, contact my office immediately. As your Ohio car accident attorney, I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®

Author: Tim Misny | For over four decades, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in in birth injurymedical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving ClevelandAkron/CantonColumbusDayton and neighboring communities. You can reach Tim by email at misnylaw.com/ask-tim-a-question/ or call at 877.944.4373.

Teens, Texting and Tragedy

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The new school year is fully underway, which means there are more teen drivers on the road during peak driving hours. A lot of teens prefer to drive to school instead of taking the bus. Teenaged drivers age 15 to 20 make up 6.4 % of total drivers, but are more likely to cause a motor vehicle accident than any other driver. Reasons for this include inexperience, taking risks, and perhaps the most common, distracted driving.

The most well-known form of distracted driving is texting while driving; 42% of teens admit to texting while behind the wheel. Teens also are risky drivers; they are less likely to wear a seat belt, maintain a safe distance and follow traffic laws such as turn signal use and coming to a full stop. Inexperience is inherent. As little as 2 to 3 years of driving experience can dramatically decrease the chance of a teenage driver causing an accident, making 16-17 year old most likely to be involved.

As parents and as fellow drivers, there are some things to keep in mind regarding keeping teen drivers safe.

  • Encourage teens to put their phones in the glove box while driving.
  • Practice driving with your teenaged kids.
  • Teach teens the importance of maintaining their vehicle so it is safe to drive. Examples are: regular tune-ups, tire rotations, new windshield wipers, etc. The safer the car, the safer the driver.
  • Show teens how to be a cautious driver by being one and setting the bar for what safe driving looks like.
  • If anything else, be a defensive driver. Be alert on the road and drive as if you were surrounded by inexperienced drivers.

We can’t control everything teenager’s do behind the wheel, but we can try to encourage safe driving habits.

If you or a loved one was injured or killed in an automobile accident due to another driver’s negligence, contact my office immediately. As your Ohio car accident attorney, I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®

Author: Tim Misny | For over four decades, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in in birth injury, medical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving Cleveland, Akron/Canton, Columbus, Dayton and neighboring communities. You can reach Tim by email at misnylaw.com/ask-tim-a-question/ or call at 877.944.4373.

Distracted Drivers Leading Cause of Teen Death

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Distracted Driving is now the Leading Cause of Death in Teens

A new national program is aiming to make an impact on teen distracted driving.  The lack of real world experience combined with an increased likelihood to be distracted is proving to be a recipe for disaster.

Unfortunately, our teens have more distractions than ever before. The younger generation as a whole tend to lack a true understanding of how dangerous their behavior is, and the potential finality a serious accident may cause. We must do more to protect our teens and to protect other drivers on the road! So many young lives are ending before they have truly ever had a chance to begin.

Tragically, in Northeast Ohio over the last 4 years 5,866 deaths and injuries to teenagers aged 15-19 years occurred.  These accidents were all attributed to distracted driving!  The Ohio Highway Patrol reports Cuyahoga County had the highest number of accidents with over 400,  followed by 100 in Lake County, 65 in Geauga County and 140 in Lorain County.

The Harsh Reality

Studies conducted by The Impact Program report that teen drivers are 4 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than adults. Typical harmless behavior is the culprit, and teens are still failing to realize the severity of the problem. When asked at the Impact Program, teens didn’t even consider accidents on the list of fatal/lethal considerations – Despite it being the top cause of death for their age group.

We all have harrowing stories of things we did, got away with and survived.  That feeling of invincibility is undeniable at that age, but it simply isn’t reality. Today, the everyday simple behaviors that are leading to such an increase in accidents are the reason this problem has become so prevalent. An Evel Knievel stunt 20 years ago may have been dangerous, but in reality, these kids are playing the proverbial Russian Roulette with their lies on a daily basis.

Talk About The Everyday Behaviors

Talk to your teen! The seemingly mundane behaviors that are dangerous are easy to overlook. Over 75% of teen accidents can be attributed to the following;

  • Passenger Distractions
  • Social Media
  • Smart Phone Use
  • Music / Playlists
  • Food and Drinks
  • Make up

It is reported that 4,000 teens are killed in car accidents annually across the US with another 400,000 injured.  Of these scary statistics, 50% of those are passengers.  It is just as important to talk to your teen driver as it is to restrict your teen from being a passenger!

Impact for Change Now and for the Future

The Impact Program originated in California and is now used nationwide, including right here in Northeast Ohio! The program resulted as a joint effort after the increase in teen related accidents, and the profound impact it had on the officers, families and communities as a whole.  We have experienced such tragedies right here in Northeast Ohio and families have suffered this unthinkable and preventable tragedies.

The Impact Program is aiming to teach teen drivers now, but also have a great impact on all future drivers.  This could greatly impact the accidents rates, as well as future issues with road rage, distracted driving and more. National insurance brands, health care companies and other major players are also stepping up to the plate, offering safe driving scholarships and additional resources.

Keep your kids safe on the roads, educate your teen drivers and keep your teens out of the passenger seat. If you or someone you love is involved in an accident, contact my offices.

I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®

Author: Tim Misny | For over four decades, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in in birth injurymedical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving ClevelandAkron/CantonColumbusDayton and neighboring communities. You can reach Tim by email at misnylaw.com/ask-tim-a-question/ or call at 877.944.4373.

Sharing the Streets – Averting Roadkill

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Driving is no easy task. Whenever you get behind the wheel, it feels like there are countless things to keep track of. Switching lanes, checking your mirrors, avoiding negligent drivers, the list goes on and on. However, often lost in the chaos of driving are its non-human aspects. Gravel on the streets, potholes and other uncontrollable complications make driving even more stressful than it already is. However, the most important uncontrollable hazard on the road deserves a section of its own.

Unfortunately, no matter how hard we try to push the problem aside, humans aren’t the only living creatures that need to use their physical surroundings to survive. When we build infrastructure, we are encroaching on millions of acres of land that animals live on as well. In fact, roads inadvertently divide previously unified habitats, sometimes making it difficult for animals to access resources without crossing the road. Unfortunately, this occasionally puts humans and animals in direct conflict with one another, leading to roadkill.

Being on the Lookout

In the United States, an estimated one million animals fall victim to car accidents every day. These include deer, raccoons, possums, squirrels, birds, bunnies and various other types of animals. However, before trying to successfully avert roadkill catastrophes on the road, it is vital to understand the problems at it root.

While drivers are usually well prepared for defensive driving techniques involving other drivers, they are often caught unprepared for less common interactions, like the ones resulting in roadkill. There’s no foolproof way to predict when an animal is going to come rushing out of the trees, running directly in front of your car. The unpredictability of these scenarios make roadkill hard to avoid and sometimes even inevitable. Fortunately, there are ways in which you can minimize the likelihood of hitting an animal.

Proceed with Caution

Here are a few tips you can follow to try and avoid roadkill:

  1. Keep an eye out. The best way to check whether or not animals are present is by being aware of your surroundings. If you see any rustling in the bushes or trees nearby then it would be a good idea to slow down and proceed carefully.
  2. Follow the signs. If there’s a sign posted that warns drivers about the presence of deer, or other animals, then slow down and be conscious. Remember that hitting an animal can cause heavy damage to your car as well – it’s in your best interest to play it careful.
  3. Anticipate and react. Large animals will often cross the road in groups. This means that if you see one animal come into your path, then it’s likely that more will follow.

Remember that Mother Nature is responsible for more than just us – try your best to avoid roadkill and safe driving!

If you or a loved one was injured or killed in an automobile accident due to another driver’s negligence, contact my office immediately. As your Ohio car accident attorney, I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®

Author: Tim Misny | For over four decades, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in in birth injurymedical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving ClevelandAkron/CantonColumbusDayton and neighboring communities. You can reach Tim by email at misnylaw.com/ask-tim-a-question/ or call at 877.944.4373.

Click It or Ticket: The Truth Behind Seat Belt Safety

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As a result of a million-dollar ad campaign and heightened awareness from citizens in general, the seat belt dilemma of past years has died down considerably. However, it’s far from gone. Each year, too many drivers are killed in accidents that could very easily been non-fatal. Specifically, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that of total drivers killed in accidents in 2016, over half were unrestrained at the time of the collision.

Compare that to data from the Naval Safety Center: 1% of people who were wearing a seat belt were ejected from the car during a crash. Clearly, seat belts make a huge difference when it comes to in car safety – so why don’t more people wear them?

Identifying the Problem

While it seems like second nature to me to buckle up before I drive, there are fair deals of people who don’t share the same opinion. The state of Ohio requires by law that all drivers and front seat passengers must wear their seat belts in a moving vehicle. However, not everyone abides by this law and it can be a significant error resulting in the loss of life.

Here are a few of the primary reasons why people refuse to fasten their seat belts:

  1. “I’m a good driver, I won’t crash.”
  2. “It’s a short ride. I don’t need it.”
  3. “I don’t want to wear one, its uncomfortable!”

Undoing these perceptions is the first step to ensuring that our best safety precaution in crashes serves its role effectively. As much as everyone would like to believe so, no one is invincible. In the event of a crash, it is vital for all of the car’s safety mechanisms to be in full effect. Buckling your seat belt is the first, and most significant, step.

The importance of your seat belt cannot be overstated. Even if its uncomfortable or you’re just going for a shirt drive, don’t compromise your own safety.

Searching for a Solution

Here are a few reasons to keep you seat belts strapped:

  1. What’s to lose? It takes, at worst, a few seconds and very little energy to buckle your seat belt. There is no logical reason to not just go ahead and do it – there’s absolutely no trade off.
  2. Why would you risk everything? Seat belts save lives. In the event of a crash, why would you not want to minimize the likelihood of serious injury or death? The benefits of seat belts clearly outweigh their trivial ‘harms.’
  3. What if the police catch you? If you’re not wearing a seat belt and get pulled over for offense, then expect a ticket. While not wearing a seatbelt isn’t a primary offense, it is a secondary offense for everyone sitting in the front section of the car. Even if you don’t get into a collision, don’t try and push the law.

There is simply no reason to not wear a seat belt. Buckle up and enjoy the ride! If you or a loved one was injured or killed in an automobile accident due to another driver’s negligence, contact my office immediately.

As your Ohio car accident attorney, I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®

Author: Tim Misny | For over four decades, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in in birth injurymedical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving ClevelandAkron/CantonColumbusDayton and neighboring communities. You can reach Tim by email at misnylaw.com/ask-tim-a-question/ or call at 877.944.4373.