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Wrongful Death due to a Truck Accident

On the morning of August 1, 2006, a minivan that had four occupants (a woman driver, her mother, and her two sons – one was 15 months old while the other was 3 years old) was caught in a traffic congestion on Interstate 80. It slowed down and stopped behind a flat-bed truck as a three-axle Intercontinental 9400 semi-trailer approached behind it at more than 50mph. Failing to slow down in time, the semi-trailer rear-ended the minivan crushed and slammed it into the flat-bed truck, causing it to be engulfed in a horrific fire. No one survived the accident: not the semi-trailer driver and, definitely, not the occupants of the minivan.

As explained by the law firm Zavodnick, Zavodnick & Lasky, LLC, just like everyone else on the road, the individuals who drive 18-wheelers and other large cargo trucks have an immense responsibility to drive carefully. However, truckers and their employers need to shoulder the responsibility of safety on a much higher scale because the vehicles they drive are so much more massive than the average person’s car. When they are involved in an accident, especially at highway speeds, trucks can create devastation on the streets and seriously injure anyone involved.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) says that fatal truck accidents happen almost 11 times a day, resulting to more than 4,000 deaths and more than 100,000 injuries each year. This number of fatalities caused by trucks is only a tenth of the number of deaths due to car accidents; however, truck accidents are always much more tragic- often the cause of disabling injuries or wrongful death.

Despite the threats presented by trucks, there is no way that these huge vehicles will be removed from U.S. roads and highways due to their major contribution to the country’s economy. Thus, dispel the fear of so many other motorists from sharing the road with these vehicles, the government makes sure that only qualified, licensed and well trained drivers would be allowed to operate them. Laws have also been passed to ensure the safe operation of trucks; laws like the allowed maximum number of driving hours and the required number of hours of rest, lower blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit, which is 0.04%, strict prohibition of the use of cell phone, use of standard tires and brakes, regular maintenance of the vehicle, and a mandate on employers to keep bad drivers off the road.

Upon digging deeper into the accident mentioned above, a private investigator hired by the lawyer of the victim’s family found out that driver of the semi-truck had 3 past cases of rear-end accidents, 7 warnings from his safety manager, and drove at an unsafe speed prior to the accident: the warnings and the past cases of rear-end accidents, according to traffic authorities, should have been seen by the driver’s employer as red flags for unsafe driving, more than enough reason to keep the driver off the road.

Losing a loved one in an accident caused by the poor judgment or negligence is unbearably tragic; you may not be thinking about legal action at first, and that is normal. However, as time goes on and the wound begins to heal, seeking justice against the party responsible for the loss of your loved one might become more important to you.

Truck accidents can have life-altering consequences. The injuries sustained in such accidents and their resulting medical bills can leave a person unfairly dealing with the mistakes made by a negligent truck driver, company, or manufacturer on a permanent basis. However, it is possible to hold the person or persons accountable for your injuries and receive damages for all your sufferings and losses.

 

Medical Malpractice: Lack of Informed Consent

Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional has become incompetent, negligent, or reckless, resulting into the harm of a patient. Typically, a medical malpractice incident happens this way: First, there is a legitimate relationship between the professional and the patient. Second, the professional then has the duty of care towards this patient. Third, this duty of care has been breached because of the professional’s action or inaction. Fourth, the breach has resulted into the patient getting harmed.
It is a good thing that, according to the website of Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC, those who have been hurt because of medical malpractice may have legal options, such as making the responsible party accountable for the damages.
One way medical malpractice can happen is through the lack of informed consent. Lack of informed consent occurs when a medical professional has failed to inform the patient of the possible risks of an upcoming operation, medication, or any kind of treatment process, and then the patient ends up getting hurt.
The medical professional should properly inform the patient of the following:

  • The treatment process’s description
  • Why the treatment process is necessary
  • The treatment process’s goal
  • The potential risks of undergoing the treatment process
  • The treatment process’s chance of being successful
  • Other treatment processes that may serve as alternatives

After being informed thoroughly, the patient will then need to sign papers of consent, to prove that he or she is willing to undergo the treatment process with full knowledge of what could happen, both positively and negatively.
“Full knowledge” is also an important part there. So, in essence, lack of informed consent is not just about consent itself, because the patient’s decision should be based on a thorough understanding of the procedure and its possible risks.
This is particularly important on treatment processes that may have details that can make the patient back out. Those cases may be a case of medical malpractice due to lack of informed consent because the patient has agreed even though he or she has not been fully informed of the risk of pursuing the treatment process.

Any Person Charged with Statutory Rape can still Defend Himself/Herself in Court

Rape or forcible rape is a major crime in many jurisdictions. It is totally non-consensual and is accomplished through the use of force and/or weapon. Though also considered a crime, statutory rape is non-violent and an act between consenting individuals. It is considered a crime ,however, because one of the participants in the act is a person below the legal age of consent (which may be 16, 17 or 18, depending on the state where it was committed). Since on of the participants is below the legal age of consent, statutory rape is, therefore, also called rape of a child, aggravated sexual battery, sexual exploitation of a minor or solicitation of minor. This sexual crime carries very harsh punishments, including large fines, years in jail and, in many states, a mandatory lifetime registration as a sex offender.

Statutory rape statutes are aimed at protect minors from sexual predators. Despite this noble intention, however, it cannot be denied that many of these statutes have unintended consequences due to many legal gray areas. One example is charging with statutory rape two teenagers who engage in consensual sex simply because both are just 15 years old. Though underage, they can both be convicted and possibly even be required to register as sex offenders for life.

Many states have passed the “close in age exemptions,” to save many teenagers from statutory rape prosecution and conviction. This law that will not criminalize: (i) two individuals under the age of consent if they have sexual relationship with one another; or, (ii) an older individual who has a sexual relationship with a person who is under the age of consent. There is a limit in this “close in age exemptions,” though.

  • In Delaware, for example, where the age of consent is 18, a person who is either 16 or 17 years old is still legally allowed to consent with an older partner, so long as this partner is under the age of 30. however, those under the age of 12 may not consent under any circumstances (ages of minors and older partner vary from state-to state, thus, it is very important that one knows the differences in allowed age).
  • Marriage exemption. This allows a young individual to consent, but only to his/her spouse.
  • Close in age exemption of four years. This means that a person under the age of consent may consent to an older partner who in no more than four years older than him/her.

On the other hand, older individuals (such as teachers, guardians, government workers, or others who have position or authority) who take advantage of minors, face more extreme punishment if proven guilty.

There are instances, however, when a person had reason to believe that the one who consents to him/her is over the age of consent when, in fact, he/she is not. This can be due to a fake I.D. or when a person lies about his/her age. Whatever the case, anyone charged with statutory rape should understand that this is one serious offense that can ruin many years of his/her future if he/she is convicted. A conviction will require that his/her name, current address, and picture be displayed in the Internet, that is, registered into the national sex offender registry, for all to see and judge.

The law firm Horst Law explains that, “As frightening as the immediate consequences of a conviction for any sexual offense are, another cause for serious concern is that a conviction will directly affect the way you are able to live the rest of your life. Since you will have to register as a sex offender if you are convicted, the outcome of this case is likely to affect your employment opportunities, living arrangements, and conceivably even your personal relationships.” Though all these can be overwhelming, a person charged with a sexual offense should remember that he/she has not been convicted of anything yet. More importantly, he/she will still be able to defend himself/herself and his/her reputation in court with the help of an experienced attorney.

What Role Does Negligence Play in Truck Accidents?

According the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or IIHS, about 1 in every 10 traffic fatality is caused by an accident involving a large truck. The frequency of truck accident fatalities is tragic, but not surprising considering the huge discrepancy between the sizes of vehicles like big rigs and 18-wheelers and regular passenger cars and SUVs. As the IIHS points out in their website, these trucks are usually weigh 20 to 30 times as cars. These vehicles are also much larger and can take up so much more space on the road.

An accident involving a large truck and any smaller vehicle is sure to result in tragic consequences. Still, the discrepancy between sizes isn’t the only reason that truck accidents occur with alarming frequency all over the United States. In some cases, truck accidents can also be caused by a reckless or inexperienced driver, as well as a negligent trucking company. Truck accidents that fall under the first scenario typically happen when drivers fail to watch the blind spots or no-zone areas of their vehicles. Meanwhile, trucking companies can also be responsible for trucking accidents due to their failure to make timely repairs. Pushing drivers to work for an unreasonable number of hours also falls under this scenario.

Zavodnick, Zavodnick & Lasky, LLC offer helpful advice to truck accident victims in their website. According to their short legal guide, personal injury cases against trucking companies can easily become a long and uphill battle. Because these companies are mostly engaged in commerce, they usually come into negotiations and court cases focusing only on what would be most financially advantageous for their organization. In these scenarios, victims and their families need a dedicated advocate willing to fight for their right to just compensation. If you or someone you love have been seriously injured in a truck accident, do not hesitate to seek out legal counsel to learn more about your options.

Alcohol Impairment Out at Sea

In the U.S. Coast Guard’s 2014 recreational boating statistics report, the five types of recreational vessels with the highest number of casualties are open motorboat, personal watercraft, cabin motorboat, canoe/kayak, and pontoon. The top contributing factors to fatal boating accidents, on the other hand, are failure to wear a life jacket (also known as personal flotation device or PDF) and consumption of any type of impairing substance, most commonly alcohol.

Besides failure to wear a life jacket and consumption of an impairing substance, the USCG has also identified the following to be contributing factors of accidents: operator inattention; improper lookout; operator inexperience; excessive speed; machinery failure; navigation rules violation; hazardous waters; weather and force of wave/wake.

Though boating seems to be the least risky type of recreational activity, the fact is, it is as much dangerous as driving a car or, worse, riding a motorcycle. From 2014 to 2015, the number of accidents have been 4,064 and 4,158 respectively. Rate of fatal accidents for the stated years is more than 600, while accidents that resulted to injuries exceeded 2,600 for both years.

According to the USCG, alcohol impairment out at sea is just as dangerous, if not more, as getting drunk on land and then driving a vehicle. Alcohol, when consumed while at sea, even has faster impairing effects than when it is consumed on land. This is due to the overall marine environment, which includes exposure to the sun’s heat, the wind, sea water mist or spray, engine noise, and the vessel’s vibration and motion. Boat operators who will be caught operating a boat while impaired will be charged with BUI. The federal BUI law enforced by the United States Coast Guard applies to all types of boats, including large ships, rowboats and canoes; it also includes foreign vessels sailing through US territories and US ships on the high seas.

As boating season begins in the U.S. it is important that boat owners and those who rent recreational vessels make sure that they are familiar with the “Rules of the Road” and many other things concerning boating activities. Also, to learn more about boating accidents, as well as about your legal rights and options in case of an accident, you can search through the net or visit websites owned by Boating and Watercraft accident lawyers, of Clawson Staubes, LLC: Injury Group, for instance.

Why Memory Care Can Become Necessary

Where do memories go when they’re forgotten?

While forgetting is simply human as, for most people, they can barely remember what they had for breakfast that morning, there are some conditions that make the retention of memory just that much more difficult. Some people, due to some accident or another, acquire amnesia and find themselves unable to recall months or years of their lives. This is instant and though sometimes irreversible, there are some times when patients can recover from the trauma.
Diseases that eat away at your mind, however, are different in more ways than one. For one thing, they are common in those who are somewhat older for their physical state is deteriorating. According to the website SeniorAdvice.com, some common diseases that involve memory loss are that of dementia or Alzheimer’s.

This is more than just losing stories of their past, this could involve forgetting necessary information like their name, where they are, or what’s happening.

People in this kind of situation then have a need for round the clock assistance or memory care. This is so that, in these trying last years of their life, they can be comforted and cared for by people who know how to deal with patients who are under the pressure of this condition. From forgetting to eat or shower, to developing clinical depression and anxiety due to the change in the mind’s chemistry and because of the social atmosphere of being one who is ill at such a difficult old age.

If you or someone you know has an elderly loved one who may need memory care, it is recommended to seek the advice of experienced professionals in order to know the options that one has at hand and what memory care can entail for this particular situation. Every person is unique and, thus, the individual care must be just as unique to fit the person who needs the assistance.

Personal Injury from Governmental Agency

Anyone who has been a victim of negligence or reckless action (or inaction) can file a lawsuit against a government agency. However, suing a local government agency for a personal injury often involves strict number of rules and could have limited time and amount that can be recovered. Following these rigid steps and meeting the deadline are vital in establishing s strong injury lawsuit and secure a fair compensation.

One of the things that should be considered when suing a government agency is the narrow time limits that it gives to bring forth an injury claim. Typical personal injury claims have a statute of limitations around one to six years after the accident to file for a personal injury claim, while the time frame for government agencies typically range between 30 to 120 days after the injury. States can have a government-specific time restrictions and awareness of the general statute of limitations on injury claims is what is really essential for the lawsuit.

Another thing to regard is the “Notice of Claim” that some states may require, otherwise the lawsuits may be rejected by the court. This Notice of Claim is typically addressed to every person or entity involved in the accident and caused the injuries. It is not filed in court but rather sent through certified mail to the government employee or agency as well as to the government agency receiving all forms of Notice of Claims. It should contain state-specific information such as name, address, date, location and insurance provider of the injured claimant. Furthermore, there is a grace period of 30 -120 days after sending the Notice of Claim before filing a lawsuits, otherwise filing before the expiration of this period will render the lawsuit dismissible.

There are certain injury claims that the government is immune form, and despite it being not as extensive as it was in the past it still can give immunity to some personal injury claims which change from state to state. Additionally, states do not compensate for punitive damages since the rationale states that the punitive damages do not provide any deterrent effect for the misconduct.

 

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How A Criminal Record Can Affect A Divorce Case

Every divorce case is complicated – though some are more so than others. Some arrive at the decision mutually and remain amicable with one another. Some, however, are highly more complex than that. There is something universal about a divorce case, though: the marriage just isn’t working for one reason or another and at least one person in that union wants their best chance in life with someone else or just by themselves.

There are many variables to consider regarding a divorce, especially if the couple in question own a significant estate or are in custody of a child or several children. According to the website of Holmes, Diggs, Eames & Sadler, family law prioritizes the needs of the child before anything else. However, a criminal record can significantly influence the case in favor of one person or another, despite it not contributing to the case at all.

For example, say the person in question is a loving father but has a criminal record of theft or maybe even substance abuse. Even if this hypothetical father were to do everything in his power in order to rehabilitate himself, there is a chance for the favor to go to the spouse in question. The criminal record will remain a stain on whoever it holds due to the negative connotation that it presents of the person’s character. A Collin County criminal defense lawyer will probably tell you that that will always be the case and when filing for a divorce, these variables need to be taken into consideration in order to be presented properly and within an appropriate context.

Your Reconstruction, Your Recovery, Your Right

You are not what happened to you; you are all the choices that you make regarding the things that happen to you. The path to your recovery after something terrible, for example, is one that is dictated by you. If you, then, have suffered a horrible accident that has left you disfigured or scarred, it can be quite the traumatizing experience to have for anyone. To bear such scars of an accident and to carry that burden can lead to depression, anxiety, and so many more problems as well as becoming socially ostracized due to the deformed physical appearance following an accident.

According to the website of the people with Bergman Folkers Plastic Surgery, the face is the most easily recognizable part of the body and so any changes on it are easily noticed. When scarring occurs or the face’s skin suffers large burns, a large part of it can never truly, naturally heal on its own. This can have devastating effects on one’s self esteem; not only that, but it can also damage the career of a person who needs to look a certain way in order to do their profession (e.g. models, hosts, flight attendants, et cetera).

This is why facial reconstruction surgery is such an important choice that is available for victims who have suffered horrendous accidents at the hands of someone else’s negligence. Some accidents that can cause disfiguration of this extent are animal attacks, explosion accidents, or fire accidents. Allowing yourself to look like your best self – like the you who you can and want to recognize in the mirror – is something that you have every right to pursue, if that is the path that you wish to take.

If you or someone you know has suffered a terrible disfiguring accident and is considering reconstructive surgery as a means to recovery, it is recommended to get the professional advice of a plastic surgeon first.

What Factors Are Considered for Social Security Disability Benefits?

Benefits are privileges that people are often quick to jump on at a moment’s notice. It’s practically nature – who wouldn’t want the benefits that they are entitled to? However, benefits aren’t always that easy to claim especially if there is a legal protocol to be followed before you may receive them. Sometimes, claims to benefits are denied – and this is especially true for social security disability benefits.

It has been speculated that at least 70% of social security disability benefit claims are disapproved at the first go. This is usually because the paperwork or the factors concerning the benefits were not properly filed or considered. It is unfortunate and can cause hassle when things like this happen but situations of this nature can be avoided altogether when the proper factors of social security disability benefits are properly thought through.

Some main factors concerning these benefits are the age and the capability to do work. For example, according to the website of the Chris Mayo Law Firm, people who are aged over 50 are more commonly not expected to retrain themselves with new work skills or are particularly qualified for reallocation in terms of employment, especially if their previous job involved specialization. In terms of a person’s capability, if they are unable to carry on with their work for at least a year due to the disability then they may possibly be qualified.

Though the system itself operates quite objectively, there are many factors to consider regarding social security disability benefits before they are granted. Security protocols are in place so that the system is not abused. However, the advice or help of a social security disability benefits attorney may not only allow for you to solidify your case but also smooth the process along so that you may claim your benefits as swiftly and as stress-free as possible.

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