The Dangers of Distracted Driving

Posted by on Oct 14, 2016 in Distracted Driving | 0 comments

Car accidents happen with alarming frequency all over the United States. According to 2015 data released by the National Safety Council, the last year saw the highest percentage increase in fatal traffic accidents. The numbers show that over 38,000 people were killed in car accidents and about 4.4 million people sustained injuries that needed medical attention.

Plenty of factors contribute to making American roads more and more dangerous. Among these factors are distracted driving, which is considered as one of the most common causes for fatal crashes in recent years. As noted by both the U.S. Department of Transportation and National Highway Safety Administration, distracted driving caused more that 3,000 deaths in 2013. Most of these accidents were caused by drivers that were texting or otherwise using their smartphones.

The use of mobile phones can result in particularly devastating accidents because it typically takes up so much of a driver’s attention. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention points out that there are three different components to distracted driving: visual distraction, manual distraction, and cognitive distraction. The first refers to moments when a driver takes their eyes off the road, while the second refers to when a driver takes their hands off the wheel. The last type of distraction refers to when a driver becomes focuses their attention on something else other than the vehicle they’re operating. The use of smartphones while driving can lead to serious injuries because it encompasses all three components of distracted driving.

As with any car crashes, distracted driving accidents can to long-term consequences and serious injuries. In these situations, the car accident attorneys at Zavodnick, Zavodnick & Lasky, LLC emphasize the importance of seeking effective legal counsel. If you or someone you know have been hurt in a distracted driving incident, you should know that you have every right to seek just compensation for the trauma and suffering you’ve endured.

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How To File A Workplace Injury Claim

Posted by on Jun 24, 2016 in Workplace Injuries | 0 comments

Employees assume that the workplace is a safe environment. It is the responsibility of the employer to provide their workers with a safe and conducive working environment. When an employee gets injured at work, they have grounds for filing a workplace injury claim. The law provides employees with the right to file a claim for any injuries they will incur. Both employer and employee have the responsibility to ensure that the filing is facilitated smoothly. In this article, we shall take a look at the workplace injury claim process.

Employer

In the first place, it is the job of the employer to ensure the safety of employees by providing them with a safe place to work. In case of workplace injury, the employer must ensure that they complete a First Report of Injury and submit it to their workers’ compensation provider. In addition, they must ensure that they do not violate any laws or rights of the injured employee. They should let them get medical attention for serious injuries or leave work to consult their personal doctor.

The employer also has the responsibility to cooperate with their carrier during the investigation of the accident. This includes providing them with a copy of the employee’s personnel file, letting them talk to the supervisor or some co-workers to confirm the accident. Whatever the employer can do to facilitate the process, they should do so.

Employee

On the other hand, it is the job of the employee to ensure that they act responsibly while in the workplace. Reporting for work while intoxicated, committing a crime, or willingly violating a policy or code may disqualify the employee from whatever compensation they can claim.

A workplace injury should be reported right away or at the soonest time possible to your employer or immediate supervisor. Make sure that your employer files a report for your injury. Ensure the accuracy of such report and provide yourself with a copy for your own records. Not reporting right away may result to difficulty in getting benefits.

Cooperate with any requests that your insurance company will require from you. If they ask that you consult a physician for examination, go and have yourself checked. This will erase any doubts for your refusal not to be examined by a doctor.

Lastly, the employee should act responsibly after an injury. According to the website of the Law Offices of Yvonne M. Fraser, insurance companies will be keeping their eyes on you if you have sustained an injury already. They will know if you have faked an injury or exaggerated it.

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How Can a Place Be Dangerous?

Posted by on Feb 4, 2016 in Premises Liability | 0 comments

There is an adage old saying that people hurt people. This doesn’t necessarily have to be literally taken as there are indirect ways as to how people can actually cause harm to other people without really meaning to do so. Take, for example, the premise of premises liability.

Premises liability, according to the website of the lawyers with Pohl & Berk, LLP, is a subset of personal injury that deals with injury that has been caused to a person due to improper care or negligent foundation of premises. Say that the premises in question willfully used asbestos during its construction and thereby exposed everyone within the vicinity to asbestos, causing multiple asbestos-related illnesses. It could even be as simple as the neglect to put a sign to say that the floor is wet and caused a slip and fall accident—it may not seem like much, textually, but if a fall is hard enough to have caused sustainable, debilitating injury such as epidural hematoma or paralysis due to a spinal cord injury, then it warrants legal action.

Personal injury is the legal terminology used in order to classify situations wherein one party was injured due to the negligent actions of another party. The injury itself doesn’t need to be physical in nature as emotional and mental injury such as clinical depression or Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that were caused by an accident that was due to negligent actions can also warrant legal action that constitutes as personal injury.

It can be complicated grounds to file for personal injury, however, as since it is quite a broad legal field. With the right kind of experienced professional help, however, the stress can be alleviated just as quick and you could have someone on your team who can get you the right amount of what you’re rightfully owed.

People can sometimes hurt people without them meaning to—that doesn’t mean they should get away with it.

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Outsourcing in the Philippines

Posted by on Sep 21, 2015 in Business Tactics | 0 comments

In 2013, the Philippines edged New Delhi at number three spot in the top 100 global outsourcing destinations in the world; and while the Information Technology-Business Process Outsourcing (IT-BPO) industry believes that the Philippines is a very strong contender in the top five most cost-competitive termini for IT-BPO services, one US-based company boldly predicts that by 2030 IT-BPO will be a trillion-dollar economy in the nation.

The ushering in of the practice of outsourcing or offshoring in the Philippines during the last decade of the 20th century has only led to the unprecedented growth of this business strategy in the country, which also continuous to benefit developing foreign companies and third party organizations.

Began by only a substantial number of Fortune 500 companies, top companies in Australia have also started to outsource in the country services that include call centers, customer relationship management, back office/chat support, creative processes, HR solutions, application maintenance, healthcare information management, medical transcription, software development, legal services, research, content writing and blogging.

Outsourcing, is a business strategy wherein a host firm contracts out a business process to another organization, called a third party. This third party organization may be located within the host firm’s own country or outside it, internationally, thus, the term offshoring.

Host firms usually resort to outsourcing or offshoring movement of certain company projects or services due to the lack of the necessary expert or skilled individuals needed for the job or because outsourcing just proves to be much more economically favorable – both for the host firm, which is able to save much from company expenditures, and the third party organization, which is able to create jobs while earning profits at the same time.

But what makes the Philippines a destination that deserves primary consideration? Top American and Australian companies that are already settled in the country agree on these same points: the employees’ high literacy and expertise in various areas, strong skills in the English language, a firmly established telecommunications infrastructure, competitive labor rates, and many others.

According to the website of Pinoy Partners Outsourcing Center Inc., some examples of outsourcing services available in the Philippines include chat support services, medical billing, SEO work, outbound calls, airline and hotel reservations, blogging, content writing, smartphone application building, and computer programming.

The path of online technology is continuous improvement, making people even in the most remote places on Earth fast and easy to reach. Outsourcing or offshoring has been proven totally beneficial and advantageous, without doubt. The only question is, who else is eager to get onboard and take advantage of the boundless opportunity outsourcing can provide?

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Personal Injury Protection: Its Benefits made Hard to be Earned

Posted by on Sep 19, 2015 in PIP, Vehicle Accidents | 0 comments

Where driving is the issue, then all US states require drivers to have the financial capability, whether through auto liability insurance, a bond, or any other state-approved means, to pay for any damages they may cause to another individual and/or his/her property in the event of an automobile accident.

Auto liability insurance, which is mandated in 48 states have different types. Two of these are the full tort car insurance and the no-fault or personal injury protection (PIP). In full tort car liability insurance package, the drivers involved in an accident can sue each other, first, for the purpose of determining whose fault the accident was and, second, to seek compensation from the liable party for all (physical and/or property) damages the innocent driver was made to, and will still, suffer. Full tort coverage also allows for compensation for pain and suffering.

No-fault insurance or PIP is a type of insurance coverage wherein the policy holder is paid by his/her own insurance provider in the event of an accident regardless of whose fault the accident was. PIP, however, limits the right of the victim to sue the person at fault – a condition that many consider advantageous to both victim and driver at fault for such reasons as: both will be paid by their insurance providers; there is no more need to file a lawsuit for the victim to prove the fault of the other driver (the basis of tort coverage) and, upon determining fault, for the victim to claim damages; and, the cost of the premiums, compared to tort coverage, is lower since filing a lawsuit is no longer necessary.

Besides covering medical cost for bodily injuries, PIP may also cover other losses or damages (legally called economic damages) like lost wages due to inability to report to work (this is not an automatic guarantee, however, since some states have not approved coverage of lost wages).

The no-fault car insurance coverage is mandated in these nine states: Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Dakota, and Utah. Three other states: Kentucky, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, allow drivers to choose which insurance coverage they will want to carry either the full tort or the no-fault coverage.

According to the website of Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller & Overbeck, P.A., it is quite common for many insurance providers to deny claims, delay payments on claims, or underpay them. As a result, injured victims are further made to suffer by these insurance firms which put them in financial difficulties.

Injured victims, though, are not the only ones affected by the disloyalty of insurance firms. Even health care providers (who have provided the needed medical attention) end up not getting compensated for the services that they have already rendered.

Insurance providers, a lot of these, have been known to employ tactics which will keep them from making payouts in order to keep their profits. As a result, the ones in the losing end are the injured victims, their families, and all those who have rendered them services, especially health care providers. Auto insurance liability coverage policies are legal documents; there are times when it would take legal counsels to fight for the right of policy holders and to remind insurance firms of their obligations in compensating their clients who are eligible to make claims.

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Failure to Observe “No Zone” Areas: One of the Major Causes of Truck Accidents

Posted by on Sep 17, 2015 in Vehicle Accidents | 0 comments

In 1986, the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act was passed into law, requiring truck drivers to undergo training which will enable them to possess the skills necessary in operating a truck, and to pass a test prepared by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), before obtaining a commercial vehicle license. This is partly to make sure that truck drivers will always be up to whatever challenging tasks their driving duties will require of them, such as driving for 11 hours with very short rest periods.

There are many other laws which have been passed, of course, all aimed at ensuring that only trained and qualified drivers are allowed to operate trucks and, once behind the wheel, will be kept kept from feeling drowsy and fatigued. And then there are also laws that strictly require trucking firms to conduct regular maintenance checks on their vehicles to make sure that these are always in good operating condition and free from defective parts or manufacturing defects. Thus, besides the licensing requirements enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are also laws that specify the allowed maximum number of hours of service (HOS) or driving hours, federal standards on truck tires and brakes, prohibition on the use of a cell phone while driving, and on the use of a bluetooth headset, among others.

Truck accidents and the threats presented by trucks on the road are common knowledge to hundreds of lawyers and law firms all across the United States. According to the website of Williams Kherkher one major reason trucks are so dangerous is the presence of multiple blind spots (around the truck) known as “no-zones”.

“No zones” are areas or spots around trucks (and buses) where crashes are most likely to occur; some are actually blind spots because smaller vehicles, especially cars, disappear from the view of the truck driver. There are four blind spots identified around trucks: the (left and right) side no-zone; the rear no-zone; and, the front no-zone.

  • Front no-zone: cutting in front of a truck immediately after passing it and, likewise, immediately slowing down can result to being rear-ended which, in turn, can lead to an accident and severe injuries.
  • Rear no-zone: due to the length and width of a truck, as well as the fact that this does not have rear view mirrors, smaller vehicles that tailgate it are usually never noticed by the driver; the driver of the smaller vehicle will likewise be deprived of a view of the road ahead. Thus, in the event that the truck suddenly stops, the smaller vehicle can very likely run into it.
  • Side no-zone: if there is one thing that drivers of smaller vehicles should totally avoid doing, this is driving along either side of trucks or buses as these are their big no-zone areas. A driver obviously does not see you if you, in turn, does not see his/her face in the side-view mirror; likewise, if the truck driver suddenly needs to change lanes or swerve, that can only mean very big trouble . . . for you.

Smaller vehicles that squeeze between (the right side of) trucks and curbs are also inviting disaster. Many smaller vehicles have been crushed beyond recognition due to this fatal mistake either by drivers of smaller vehicles or by truck drivers who fail to first make safety checks before making a right turn.

Iowa car accident attorneys would probably tell you that even cars have blind spots, though these are much smaller compared to trucks and buses. To make all motorists aware of this blind spot or no-zone issue, the concept was introduced in the early 1990s, for the dual aim of teaching drivers to stay out of no-zone areas and calling on truck drivers to pay extra attention to smaller vehicles that may happen to end up in these areas.

Some studies show that majority of road accidents that involve cars and trucks are actually faults of drivers of smaller vehicles – due to their failure to observe the no-zone areas. If this is totally true, then it would not matter whether the truck driver was actually extra careful or not with his/her driving.

Well, there definitely is more that needs to be proven; but while some accidents clearly show who is at fault, there are many more that will require the analysis and probing of a truly skilled lawyer in order to determine who or how much negligent each driver has been.

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Court Reporters: Keeping the Integrity of the Court

Posted by on Sep 15, 2015 in Court | 0 comments

Court reporters are known under a few other names: court stenographer; law reporter; shorthand reporter; and, stenotype operator. One of their very important tasks is to produce an official written record or transcript of everything that is said in court trials, depositions and all other legal proceedings. Besides this is a long list of court reporters’ other duties, which include:

  • Attending all legal procedures where the production of written transcripts is required
  • Capturing all spoken dialogue accurately whether through the use of a stenotype machine, an audio recording device, or a video recorder
  • Providing copies of transcripts and recordings to courts, legal counsels, and the parties involved
  • Reading or playing back the whole or a segment of the proceedings, when requested by the judge
  • Asking speakers to clarify statements or testimonies that were unclear or inaudible
  • Preparing transcripts
  • Editing transcripts for typographical errors

According to the website of Stratos Legal, a (court) transcript contains all decisions made by a judge (his/her exact words and gestures), all arguments by litigants’ lawyers and testimonies made by witnesses. It is also supposed to be an unedited, word-for word record of all things spoken and who said what.

During the recent years many state courts and a number of Superior courts, such as the ones in Los Angeles and San Diego, had to let go of their court reporters due to budget cuts. Thus, some courtroom teams, which always included a silent, though very essential member in the person of a court reporter, now go on with their job without one. This means that litigants who want and need a verbatim transcript of the trial, in case they would be indicted and decide to make an appeal (Appellate Courts review cases that come from trials using transcripts generated by court reporters) will have to hire their own (freelance) court reporter or entrust such to their legal counsel who, of course, knows what court reporters do and just how good ones do their job.

Lawyers and law firms earn client respect if they are able to prove reliability. To be consistently reliable, however, legal representatives should fully understand their client’s case and not be unaware of anything that has been said and done in the courtroom, a field where court reporters also play a very vital role.

Thousands of trials have been won (regardless of which side) not only because of lawyers’ great arguments, but also because of a great team up between lawyers and court reporters – such that lawyers know what part of the transcript to ask for (and when to ask for these) and the court reporter always ready with the needed record that can help them win the case.

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Crimes that Render Foreign Nationals Ineligible for a US Visa or Green Card

Posted by on Sep 14, 2015 in Immigration | 0 comments

To the so many foreign nationals aspiring to acquire a U.S. visa to be able to work and live in the United States, one major obstacle that can keep their dream from becoming a reality is an arrest record. Government officials review visa and citizenship applications meticulously to make sure that no “inadmissible” applicants will set foot on US soil as they may be threats to others or to the nation’s peace and order.

Section 212(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (I.N.A.), which enumerates various kinds of crimes, past immigration violations, and communicable diseases, provides the grounds for inadmissibility. In reference to crimes, the following will render an applicant inadmissible, much more from acquiring a green card, despite the absence of an actual court conviction:

  • Crimes involving controlled substance violations (which includes possession of cocaine, marijuana or heroine) and moral turpitude. The meaning given to “crimes involving moral turpitude” (CIMT) is entrusted to courts, thus, the reason for the inconsistencies in interpretation. One sure common factor, though, is evil intent, which will surely put theft, fraud, murder and serious crimes of violence, in the list.
  • Human trafficking, drug trafficking, prostitution, kidnapping, money laundering, profiting financially from human trafficking activities (does not include children of traffickers), and multiple criminal convictions that is given a collective sentence of five years or more
  • Crimes indicated in Section 101(a)(15)(B) of the US Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) but wherein the offender has declared immunity from prosecution, left the US, and refused to surrender to to the authority of a U.S. court
  • Aggravated felony, such as sexual abuse of a minor, rape, serious theft and money laundering offenses and murder.

US immigration laws, however, have made some exceptions concerning CIMT and violations of laws on controlled substances, based on the following considerations:

  • The criminal was still a minor (under 18) when he/she committed the crime
  • Five years has passed since the crime was committed
  • The person is no longer in jail.

or

  • The penalty for the crime committed does not exceed a year and that the actual length of imprisonment does not go beyond six months (an exception called “petty offense”).

Foreign nationals, who have been convicted of a crime in the past but meet these conditions, may still be granted a green card.

Besides the complexities of the US Immigration laws, the website of the Law Office of William Jang, PLLC, says that immigrating and establishing citizenship in the US can be a long and difficult process; and it can still become more challenging if the applicant has a criminal record.

While a seasoned immigration attorney may be able to render valuable assistance with regard to immigration concerns, a highly-skilled criminal defense lawyer may be able to provide the necessary help where applying for a “waiver” or legal forgiveness for the crime committed is the issue, especially if the crime was the applicant’s first offense.

Though it is true that a criminal conviction can forever change the life of person, the website of the Flaherty Defense Firm states that it does not have to be so, saying that one’s life should never be determined by the criminal charges that he/she is facing.

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Mesothelioma Patients’ Eligibility to State and Federal Financial Benefits Programs

Posted by on Sep 11, 2015 in Cancer | 0 comments

Mesothelioma is a rare form of malignant cancer that develops in the mesothelium, a lining that protects the body’s internal organs, such as the lungs, the abdomen and the heart. Every year about 2,000 – 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed in the US, involving workers who got exposed to the mineral asbestos – workers like asbestos miners and workers in manufacturing plants, power plants, construction sites, chemical plants, mills, railroads and shipyards, which include thousands of enlisted personnel, especially in the US Navy.

Asbestos’ heat resistance and elasticity have made it a perfect fire retardant component in the manufacture of thousands of different commercial and household products. Though extremely useful, this mineral is known to release sharp fiber dusts which can enter the body by mixing with the air we breathe or by contaminating our water and food. Once inside the body, dusts that never get expelled accumulate in the lungs, scarring and damaging these in the process.

Asbestos-related diseases take a long time to develop (the most common diseases caused by asbestos are lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma). Lung cancer and asbestosis take about 15 years to develop (from initial exposure to asbestos); mesothelioma, on the other hand, takes about 20 to 40 years (or more).

Besides being a rare form of cancer, mesothelioma has no known cure and is characterized by extreme pain, destroying the quality of life that still remains in the patient.

Mesothelioma totally alters the life of the victims and their families. Despite the latest treatments available, it remains painful and heat-breaking to know these, if successful, can only extend (for a little more time) patients’ lives since the illness is irreversible.

Many firms, which knowingly exposed thousands of their workers to the deadly effects of asbestos, have already ceased operations (some due to bankruptcy), but not before being mandated by law to set up a Mesothelioma Compensation Trust Funds for the purpose of compensating asbestos victims, who will never be able to enjoy again the kind of lives they used to live.

Besides eligibility to receive financial assistance from the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Program (if mesothelioma can be proven to have developed due to exposure to asbestos during work), anyone diagnosed with this deadly cancer may also qualify for the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Mesothelioma so happens to be included in the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Blue Book, which is a list of severe illnesses that serve as criteria for Social Security Disability benefits eligibility. The website of the Hankey Law Office happens to provide valuable and helpful information on how mesothelioma patients may be able to avail of Social Security.

The mentioned financial benefits, however, can never be enough due to the severity and eventual fatal consequence of mesothelioma. This is why lawsuits continue to be filed by victims and/or their families for the purpose of seeking justice, usually through financial compensation, for all the damages, pain and suffering that they were made to unjustly suffer. Clearly, employers chose to expose their workers to the toxic effects of asbestos for the profit they believed they can rake in.

There are many things that need to be understood about asbestos and mesothelioma, including who actually are at risk of developing the deadly cancer, its kinds, available treatments, symptoms, and stages. More information on this topic may be found at www.williamskherkher.com/practice-areas/mesothelioma-lawyer/.

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Hurdling through the Complexities of High Net Worth Divorce

Posted by on Sep 9, 2015 in Family Trouble | 0 comments

Marital conflicts that lead to the dissolution of marriage can be faced with disputes that can become very stressful, emotional and destructive, as spouses try to discredit each other in court in order to win the favor of the family judge hearing their case. This is often the scenario in a contested divorce case, wherein sensitive divorce-related issues, which include child custody and visitation rights, child support, alimony or spousal support, and division of properties, assets and debts, need to be settled.

Though divorce is already a strenuously difficult process, it can still become much more difficult if the spouses involved have considerable assets and income. This added layer of difficulty is due to the more complicated financial situation of the spouses which, as the website of BB Attorney describes can involve:

  • Assets held in investment portfolios, stock options, retirement plans, trust interests
  • 401(k) plans, IRAs, and other types of profit-sharing plans
  • A closely held family business
  • Family investments
  • Inheritances
  • Separation of individually owned property (or property acquired by each spouse prior to marriage) from community property (which are resources and holdings commonly owned by the spouses)
  • The possibility of a spouse hiding some of his/her assets

A high net worth divorce specifically makes challenging the issue of division of properties and assets. It will take a highly-skilled divorce attorney to be able to navigate through this case’s level of complexity, which entails review of the prenuptial and/or postnuptial agreement and all other financial endeavors by the spouses during the marriage.

Review of all financial activities entered into by the spouses, whether before or during marriage, is a primary requirement in high net worth divorce cases as this will help establish which properties are (or are not) subject for division, determine the total value of the properties, and allow for the drawing up of the best agreement on how to execute the division.

Since the final agreement in asset and property distribution will have a major impact on the life of each spouse, it is very essential that all relevant things are considered; these include: taxes and expenses incurred in the divorce case (like court and all other legal fees); the creation of a trust that will address alimony issues; the possibility of bankruptcy (of the payor spouse); and, assets that might not be liquid, are not income-producing, and debt-encumbered.

It is for these reasons why only a divorce attorney who really knows his trade should be sought. Besides providing the assistance that a spouse may just need, he/she will also know the best property valuator, accountant and other experts that should be hired.

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