Accidents happen, but they do not have to happen to you.

That is, of course, far too glib to hold true at all times. You cannot control the negligent or reckless actions of others. You can, however, lower your risk for becoming a victim by taking a few relatively simple steps.

While offering no guarantees that you will not ever get burned–sometimes literally by a defective coffeemaker– or hurt, the Columbus personal injury attorneys with Agee Clymer Mitchell and Portman share the following tips for avoiding injuries, wrongful deaths, and other losses.

Wear Seat Belts and Use Child Safety Seats

In its overnamed 2013 Countermeasures That Work: A Highway Safety Countermeasure Guide for Highway Safety Officers, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) cited studies of real-life traffic accidents when stating that “using an appropriate child restraint or seat belt is the single most effective way to save lives and reduce injuries in crashes.” The federal agency then noted that “Lap and shoulder combination seat belts, when used, reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passenger car occupants by 45 percent and the risk of moderate-to-critical injury by 50 percent.” Seat belts proved even more effective for protecting adults and older children in pickup trucks and minivans.

Ohio does not require seat belt use, but state law does mandate placing young children in car safety seats or booster seats until they turn 8 years old, grow taller than 4 foot 9, or become heavier than 40 pounds. The NHTSA report explains why: “Correctly used child restraints … reduce fatalities by 71 percent for infants younger than 1 year old and by 54 percent for children 1 to 4 years old in passenger cars.” Again, those survival rates increased for infants, toddlers, and grade-schoolers riding in safety seats inside light trucks.

Do Not Ride With Drunk or Stoned Drivers

Doing data analysis for NHTSA seems like the opposite of fun. Someone there calculated that passengers of drivers impaired by alcohol had a higher likelihood of dying or getting injured in a crash than any other group of people beside the DUI/OVI drivers themselves. Friends may not always be able to stop friends from driving drunk, but they can certainly decide not to climb into passenger seats.

Pay Attention to Product Recalls

News at 11 about dangers in your own home really can save your life. Sensationalism aside, everything from improperly designed baby cribs to poorly wired garage door openers and loose cords for window blinds and kids’ hooded sweatshirts have taken lives and left people permanently disabled. A great resource for staying on top of product recalls is the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website. Another is the online vehicle recall database maintained by NHTSA.

Keep Cars and Trucks in Good Repair

This falls more into the category of how to avoid causing personal injuries. Still, the Ohio plaintiffs’ lawyers with Agee Clymer Mitchell and Portman know that worn and malfunctioning brakes, engine breakdowns, and tire blowouts put everyone on the road in danger. Related to keeping vehicles fixed up and running well, anyone towing a trailer or transporting cargo must make sure to secure their loads. Items that become airborne in traffic or fall onto the pavement pose significant risks to other drivers.

Check Out Hospitals and Health Care Providers

Past performance does not perfectly predict future outcomes, but seeking care at hospitals and from doctors with sterling safety records is usually a safe bet. The federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service recently made it easier for patients to learn which health care providers in their area do the best job of avoiding medical mistakes. Visiting the searchable Hospital Compare site before undergoing surgery, committing to a course of chemotherapy, or choosing a primary physician can protect a family from dealing with medical malpractice.

Make Sure Health Care Providers Know Which Medications You Take

Related to avoiding personal injuries in the health care realm, create and regularly update records of the medications, vitamins, and dietary supplements everyone in your house takes. Include the name, purpose, dosage, and administration schedule for each pill and preparation. Share the relevant list with doctors and pharmacists at each visit for yourself, your spouse, parent, or child. Doing that ensures prescribers and dispensers know to avoid or adjust prescriptions that could be dangerous. dedicated birth injury lawyer in Columbus, Ohio

Many drugs cause life-threatening adverse reactions when taken in combination or consumed with certain foods and beverages. Grapefruit juice and alcohol are particularly problematic, as are over-the-counter remedies that contain acetaminophen. Risks like these are spelled out in package inserts and FDA-mandated Drug Fact labels. Read those and follow the instructions.

Other steps to take to avoid accidental overdoses and bad side effects include keeping unused medications in original packaging, organizing multiple prescriptions in a date-time pill case, and locking up powerful painkillers and mood-altering medications.

Above all, when starting a new drug regimen or seeing a health care provider for any reason, do not hesitate to ask questions. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has created several lists of conversation starters with doctors, nurses, dentists, and pharmacists.

Know Your Rights at Work

In Ohio, on-the-job injuries and illnesses almost always get handled as workers’ compensation or Social Security disability cases rather than personal injuries or wrongful death claims. Still, employees must insist on their rights to enjoy safe workplaces and to have access to adequate training, sufficient tools, and attentive supervisors. Organizations that fail to provide those essential safeguards for workers can be held accountable for risking employees’ health and lives.

Safety Is Never Assured

If you do get injured through no fault of your own or lose a loved one because someone else acted without regard to others’ safety and well-being, you may need assistance from a Columbus personal injury attorney to file and collect on insurance claims and receive payments for damages. The experienced and caring lawyers at Agee Clymer Mitchell and Portman can answer your initial questions regarding the necessity of legal representation for free online or over the phone at (800) 678-3318.