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Russo, Rosalina & Co., LPA. is a family owned and managed general practice law firm
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Cleveland Law Blog

What to know about creating an estate plan

Most Ohio residents can benefit from creating an estate plan -- even those who don't have a lot of wealth or valuable property. While many believe that estate planning only relates to how assets are distributed after a person passes, it could actually accomplish a wide range of goals. For instance, an estate plan may appoint guardians for minor children or dictate how a body is handled after passing.

The first step in creating an estate plan is to create an inventory of assets. This may include bank accounts, retirement savings and any other financial vehicles that have cash value. Adding beneficiary designations to such accounts makes it possible to pass on assets to heirs while bypassing probate. However, even if an individual takes steps to avoid probate, it still is wise to also create a will.

Reasons to review an estate plan in 2018

Ohio residents who have an estate plan need to review it in the near future. This is true regardless when it was created, as a result of changes to federal estate tax laws. In 2018, the exemption has roughly doubled from what it was in the prior year. Very few meet that threshold. As a result, some estate plan tools that were created to minimize the impact of this tax may no longer be necessary.

Of course, this doesn't mean that there is no reason to regularly review an estate plan. For instance, some people may prefer to give money to their grandchildren or want to make sure that only certain children get specific assets. The use of a trust can customize an estate in a manner that meets these wishes. Parents may also be able to create trusts to account for any special needs that their children may have.

Fewer workplace safety inspectors could be problematic for OSHA

Ohio employees may be interested to learn that the number of federal safety inspectors has fallen under the Trump Administration. Since Trump took office, 40 inspectors with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration have been lost through attrition. As of Oct. 2, 2017, no hires were made to replace the lost inspectors. By early October 2017, the lost inspectors made up 4 percent of the total inspection workforce.

Inspectors who are hired by OSHA are responsible for enforcing safety and health requirements workplaces across the nation. When inspectors go to the different workplaces, they flag hazards, document workplace violations and investigate certain complaints made by employees. In general, OSHA prioritizes workplaces that are high-risk, including manufacturing plants and construction sites.

Rise in coal mining deaths in 2017

Ohio has a strong coal mining industry. Workers in that field might not know that in 2017, coal mining deaths nearly doubled around the country compared to the previous year. In 2016, there were eight deaths. That went up to 15 last year.West Virginia had the highest number of deaths with eight. There were two in Kentucky, and the states of Alabama, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and Pennsylvania had one each. Hauling vehicles were most frequently involved in these deaths followed by machinery. At a West Virginia mine in 2010, 29 workers died after an explosion, but none of the 2017 deaths were attributable to such an accident.

In 2011, 2012 and 2013, there were 20 deaths each year in coal mining accidents, and there were fewer than 20 deaths in the years that followed. There were more than 200 deaths in 1966. The drop in fatalities is attributed to both better enforcing of safety regulations and fewer jobs in mining.

When you might want to file a personal injury lawsuit in Ohio

Filing a personal injury lawsuit is a complicated matter, and not everyone decides immediately to file a suit. There are many factors that come into play that can affect your decision to move forward with litigation after you suffer an injury as a result of someone else's negligence.

If you live in Ohio and are considering filing a personal injury lawsuit, there is a statute of limitations that you need to be aware of. Here is some important information for you to consider as you explore your options.

Safety tips for snow removal

Ohio workers who have to routinely work outside may find it necessary to remove snow during the winter months. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has provided helpful advice regarding how to avoid hazards that may arise during snow removal.

Individuals who have to remove snow from elevated surfaces, like rooftops, often face especially dangerous scenarios. Over the past 10 years, OSHA has investigated 16 preventable cases of severe injuries or fatalities that resulted from such situations.

Lack of OSHA oversight could make work dangerous

Ohio workers may be disheartened to read the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Census of 2016 Fatal Occupational Injuries report. The report states that workers aged 55 or older died at a rate that was 9.9 percent higher in 2016 compared to 2015. Higher death rates were also reported for African-American and Asian workers. Overall, the workplace fatality rate increased 7 percent in 2016 compared to 2015.

Among the most common causes of death in the workplace were acts of workplace violence as well as overdoses of drugs or alcohol. There was a 23 percent increase in the number of injuries caused by such acts. There were 217 deaths related to overdoses in 2016, which was a 32 percent increase from 2015. Deaths resulting from transportation incidents caused 2,083 deaths in 2016. One of the reasons why workers may be vulnerable is a lack of oversight from OSHA.

GAO report may help improve safety for meat and poultry workers

Whether in Ohio or other parts of America, the meat and poultry industry is known for having some of the highest injury rates among employees. From increasing line speeds to hazardous chemicals to employees being denied the proper number of bathroom breaks, there are several safety concerns that have yet to be adequately addressed.

OSHA is largely responsible for tracking safety violations and injuries by interviewing employees with claims and conducting safety inspections. It has recently increased the number of annual inspections, with 244 of them conducted in 2016 compared to 177 in 2005. However, the agency faces a major challenge in that many employees do not report injuries and violations for fear that their employers will retaliate. This is according to a report from the Government Accountability Office.

December 2017 is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month

Ohio residents should be aware of the effect that impaired driving has on car accident rates across the nation. Now, people have a month that's dedicated to raising awareness about the danger of impaired driving; on Nov. 30, the White House declared that December 2017 is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month.

The statistics mentioned in the press release can be startling. Alcohol contributed to two-thirds of traffic fatalities 40 years ago, and while that percentage has gone down over the decades, there has been an increase in fatalities in recent years. On average, one person in the U.S. is killed every 50 minutes due to a car crash involving alcohol. In 2016, over 10,000 people were killed in such crashes; they made up 28 percent of traffic fatalities.

Recognizing and responding to road rage

Road rage has become a part of our busy and stressed out culture. It seems as if every other week in the news, you see a new story about someone being injured or killed in an accident caused by a driver who lost control in anger. Fortunately, there are things that you and other Ohio residents can do that may cut your chances of becoming another road rage statistic.

You will first need to understand that road rage and aggressive driving are two different things. Aggressive driving can cause accidents, but law enforcement considers it a traffic offense. Road rage is a criminal offense that results when a driver is deliberately trying to cause harm. The following facts, provided by the American Safety Council, illustrate several disturbing elements of road rage:

  • Over a period of seven years, road rage reportedly resulted in 218 murders and 12,610 injuries.
  • 37 percent of incidents involving aggressive driving involved a gun.
  • Aggressive driving is responsible for 66 percent of fatal traffic accidents.
  • 2 percent of drivers admitted they actually tried to run someone else off the road.

Russo, Rosalina & Co., LPA
691 Richmond Road
Richmond Town Square
Richmond Heights, OH 44143

Toll Free: 866-930-3961
Phone: 440-461-8500
Fax: 440-461-0861
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Russo, Rosalina & Co., LPA
6656 Ridge Road
Parmatown
Parma, OH 44129

Toll Free: 866-623-0845
Phone: 440-843-8400
Fax: 440-886-6004
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Russo, Rosalina & Co., LPA. is a family owned and managed general practice law firm