Mar 10, 2016

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What should you do strengthen your car accident claim?

According to the legal team at Pohl & Berk, LLP, a car accident is one of the leading causes of injuries and deaths in the country. The Association for Safe International Road Travel, at least 37,000 people are killed in motor vehicle accidents every year, and over 2.35 million people sustain injuries or become disabled. Given this information, it is highly likely that a car accident is also one of the most common reasons for filing personal injury lawsuits. The personal injury lawyers at Pohl & Berk, LLP also said that the victims of these car accidents suffer from physical and psychological consequences, which are surely traumatic, but getting monetary compensation and justice for the crash may somehow alleviate the repercussions of the crash.

So, if you want to help in substantiating your personal injury claim, what should you do after being involved in a car accident? First off, follow the common procedures like turning your car’s hazard light for safety, calling the authorities even when the accident is minor, and notifying your insurer.

Some important tips, as provided by State Farm, include not signing any document, unless it is for the safekeeping of the police or the insurance company. It will also be helpful, if you are able, to take notes on your own regarding all the information from the accident. This way, you will be able to present your case clearly. Another key to strengthening your case is to never admit that you are at fault, even when you think you are, so that it will not be held against you in court. You may also talk to all those involved, but be polite in doing so. Lastly, disclose only the facts, and nothing else, to the authorities, and never leave the scene until the others have.

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Oct 16, 2015

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Causes and Effects of Spinal Cord Injury

The spinal cord is a tube-like structure that extends from the brain stem to the bottom of the spine (spinal column). It is a very delicate and sensitive bundle of nerve tissues. It support cells and forms the central nervous system with the brain. With regard to function, the spinal cord serves as the pathway where messages from the brain (which acts as the body’s control or command center) get transmitted to the different parts of the body and back.

As fragile as it is, the spinal cord is surrounded by layers of protective coverings which are supposed to cushion it from the impact of a forceful blow. These layers of protection include bones, muscles, ligaments and discs. There are instances, however, when the impact to the spinal cord is just too strong or when a foreign object is able to penetrate though the protective coverings, damaging it in the process.

As stated in MedlinePlus, a website owned and operated by the US National Institutes of Health, the more detailed ways through which the spinal cord may be injured, include: weakening of the spine due to rheumatoid arthritis or osteoporosis; bruising of the spinal cord after the disks or bones have been weakened by fragments of metal or fragments of bones; the back, neck or head being twisted abnormally, resulting to the spinal cord getting compressed, pulled or pressed sideways; and, swelling, fluid buildup, or bleeding, either inside or outside the spinal cord, which can press or damage it. These causes of injuries, in turn, can be due assault, gunshot wound, industrial accident, motor vehicle accident, sports injury or falls (from 2000 – 2013, the identified major cause of spinal cord injuries was vehicular accidents; it was replaced by falls in 2014 (this is based on a study conducted by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine’s Center for Surgical Trials and Outcomes Research).

Injuries to the spinal cord usually lead to partial or total paralysis; the actual result depending on the area injured and how severe the injury is. Partial paralysis, also known as paraplegia, is impairment in motor or sensory functions of lower extremities (legs and trunk). The degree of paralysis varies; it may be impairment in leg movement or complete paralysis of the legs and abdomen. Paraplegia affects T1 – S5 levels of the spinal cord; the segments that may be affected are the thoracic, lumbar and sacral cord.

Quadriplegia or tetraplegia, which means paralysis of four limbs, results from a serious injury to the cervical (neck) spinal nerves, damaging particularly C1-C8 segments. If the injury occurs high enough in the area of the neck, then control of breathing may also be lost, necessitating the use of a ventilator for the rest of the patient’s life. Individuals suffering from quadriplegia usually need full-time care.

The website of law firm Cazayoux & Ewing acknowledges the fact that a spinal cord injury has a more comprehensive impact (than many other types of injuries) in the lives of those affected; the firm also believes that, due to the cost of long-term (or life-long, in some cases) medical treatment, the patient’s family may soon be caught in a financial burden that will prove too much for (his/her family) to bear.

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Jun 11, 2015

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History of the FDA and Power Morcellators

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is typically prominent when it comes to dangerous drugs, medical devices, and consumer products. It is, after all, the regulatory body that approves the introduction of these products to the general public. This includes medical devices such as power morcellators, that it cleared for medical use for the first time in 1991. In that particular instance, events unfolded that prompted the FDA to stand and take notice.

More than two decades after giving it the go-ahead, the FDA has issued a succession of safety communications to the public regarding the dangers of laparoscopic power morcellators for hysterectomies and myomectomies. By this time, the instrument had become commonly used, and thousands of women exposed.

The first warning came in April 2014, which discouraged doctors from recommending morcellation for these routine procedures, and manufacturers from marketing it. The data they analyzed indicated that one out of 350 women on which the morcellators are used develop uterine sarcoma. It is speculated that it resulted from cutting up unsuspected sarcomatous (cancerous) uterine fibroids. Immediately following this warning, Johnson & Johnson stopped sales of its laparoscopic power morcellators.

In July 2014, the FDA consulted with the Obstetrics and Gynecology Devices Panel to determine the at-risk populations with the use of morcellators. The discussion also revolved around how to mitigate these risks.

An Immediate in Effect second warning was released on November 24, 2014, and this time included recommended labeling guidelines for boxed warnings and safety statements on contraindications. The boxed warning specifically stated that unsuspected cancer cells may be lurking in uterine tissue, and that open morcellation can speed up its spread. Specifically, it should not be used for the removal of uterine fibroids in post- or peri-menopausal patients, or any gynecological procedure where cancer is suspected.

According to a website about morcellator lawsuits, however, the manufacturers should have known about these dangers much earlier in the day. The FDA warnings came out much too late for thousands of women that have succumbed or currently suffering the consequences of this oversight. If they had known the risks they were taking, they would probably have elected for a different way of getting the surgery done.

If you acquired uterine sarcoma or other complication linked to power morcellators, you may be a candidate for a dangerous product lawsuit. Consult with a morcellator lawyer in your area and find out more.

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May 3, 2015

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Why PCBs are Dangerous to the Environment

In 1979, the United States federal government issued a ban for the use and manufacture of a group of chemical substances called polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs. This was due to reports indicating that PCBs have been polluting ecological life in areas within and around manufacturing and dumping sites. Among the areas severely affected by PCB pollution is Anniston, Alabama—a small, rural city where the main PCBs producer Monsanto had set up a manufacturing plant.

While Mosanto had stopped production of PCBs two years before the government-imposed ban, documents and reports that surfaced in the following years showed that the company had been well aware of the devastating environmental effects caused by their product. Internal memos pointed to independent studies that showed toxic Monsanto PCBs causing severe pollution in Anniston lakes and creeks. One study, conducted by scientists from Mississipi State University in 1966, noted how the marine life in Snow Creek has been devastated by PCB pollution: “All 25 fish lost equilibrium and turned on their sides in 10 seconds and all were dead in 3 1/2 minutes.”

These results—along with results from other scientific studies conducted in the years following the ban on PCBs—show just how dangerous the toxic chemical substances are to the environment. The danger of PCBs lie in the fact that these chemicals do not easily break down and can remain in the environment for extremely long periods of time. After contaminating air, water, and soil, PCB contamination can spread by affecting wildlife and moving up through the natural food chain. In particular, PCBs can be taken up by small fishes living in the water then spread to larger animals who consume these smaller organisms as food. When this happens, the level of PCB tends to accumulate and become higher and higher through the food chain. As such, predators can be exposed to PCB levels that are thousands of times higher than what’s present in the water.

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Apr 23, 2015

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The Right of Employees Who are Denied by Pension Providers

One common basis of many legal battles in federal courts is with regard to employment concern, particularly concerning ERISA, which stands for Employee Retirement Income Security Act. ERISA was passed into law by the 93rd United States Congress on September 2, 1974, for the purpose of making sure that the millions of Americans, upon their retirement, will be able to enjoy the deposited assets or funds in their retirement plan during the years when they were employed. This Act, however, is to benefit only those employees in companies where their employer has sponsored, on their behalf, a health insurance coverage or any other benefits, such as a pension plan.

The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), a branch of the US Department of Labor which has been charged with the administration of ERISA, does not require employers to sponsor plans for their employees. Its main task is to makes sure that the interests of ERISA-covered employees, along with their beneficiaries, are protected by the Act and informed, through the same, about all the vital information, relating to the plans sponsored on their behalf.

ERISA also sets the minimum standards on how employees would qualify for the availment of the benefits offered by the plans. These standards include: specification of the length of employment required for an employee to qualify as a participant in the plan; the number of years required before an employee can rightfully enjoy non-forfeitable interests in their pension plan; the length of time an employee is allowed to be away from his/her job without his/her benefits being affected; and the right of the employee’s spouse to the pension in the event of his/her death.

Often, however, despite an employee’s qualification into the program and eligibility in already claiming the benefits stipulated in the plan, his/her application ends up getting denied. According to the website of Cary Kane LLP, pension plan providers are afforded 90 days (by the law) for the processing of applications, though, they can request for an additional 90 days if more time is needed.

Denial of claim or getting approved for a benefit that is less than the amount stipulated in the plan policy entitles the employee to file a written appeal with the plan provider, usually within 60 days after the application has been denied.

An employee has the right to file a lawsuit against the pension provider in the event of a denied claim. But it is important that the employee is represented by a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer who will make sure that all pertinent documents are prepared and filed on time.

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Apr 21, 2015

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Teen Drivers Most Prone to Reckless Driving

One of the most basic things the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) makes sure before granting applicants a driver’s license is that they have learned and developed proper road behavior. Being a responsible driver never implies displaying superiority on the road, but treating all other motorists and pedestrians with respect. This respectful behavior entails a lot of things, including proper observance of traffic rules, not driving beyond the speed limit, never driving if intoxicated or under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, having undivided attention on the road, not using a cell phone while driving, avoiding any form of distraction while behind the wheel and never driving recklessly.

While drivers openly express that they never would want to be on the road at the same time with a careless and reckless motorist, so many, especially young and new drivers, fall prone to committing what they say they do not approve. This explains why as many as 2,650 teen drivers, aged between 16 and 19, die every year in car crashes and about 290,000 are treated in emergency departments due to injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the risk of figuring in a fatal car crash is three times higher in 16 to 19-year old drivers than those aged 20 and older.

Millions of Americans take to the road every day, as cars have now become the most basic means of transportation in the nation. The continuous increase in the number of cars on roads and highways, however, has not made roads safer for whether in cities, where traffic is always busy, or in urban areas, where traffic is almost always very light, accidents continue to happen – despite the proper road behavior that the DMV believes motorists have imbibed. According to the website of the Massachusetts personal injury lawyers at Crowe & Mulvey, LLP, one of the major reasons for these accidents is reckless driving.

The definition of reckless driving usually specified under state laws is that it is a willful and wanton disregard for the safety of persons and properties. Being convicted of reckless driving can result to: a misdemeanor crime; a substantial fine and imprisonment; automatic suspension or revocation of driver’s license; deportation; and, cancellation of parole.

Despite being a willful and wanton act, the website of Crowe Mulvey explains that innocent victims who are injured or killed by a reckless driver have the legal right to file a lawsuit against the irresponsible driver. It is important, though, that a victim is represented by a highly-qualified personal injury lawyer, who can strongly defend and uphold the victim’s rights and interests.

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Apr 16, 2015

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The Dangers Associated with the Use of Zofran

Before a drug gets approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for distribution, its manufacturer will first need to prove through tests that it is safe and effective and state the risks associated with its abuse or wrong use.

One particular drug that was approved by the FDA is Zofran, with generic name Ondansetron, for the prevention and treatment of nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery. Manufactured by London-based GlaxoSmithKline, this effective antiemetic agent belongs to a group of medicinal pills known as 5-HT3 receptor antagonists, which block serotonin, the body’s natural substance which can cause vomiting.

Zofran is included in the list of medicines that are necessary in the basic health system; this list was prepared by the World Health Organization. In 2006 it also became the 20th highest-selling drug in the United States.

Due to Zofran’s efficacy in treating the condition it was approved for, its manufacturer became confident enough to recommend the drug even for non-label use. Even doctors followed suit, prescribing the drug to pregnant women, especially those who are on their first trimester of pregnancy, to relieve them of the discomfort caused by severe morning sickness.

Besides not being meant to treat the vomiting experienced by pregnant women, a very natural occurrence during the first three months of pregnancy, Zofran has never been tested on pregnant women, thus, the absence of notes that would show whether the drug is safe or can cause risks to the mother and her unborn child.

The adverse effects of Zofran soon became evident, though, as different types of birth defects all began to be linked to the drug. According to the website of the Zofran lawsuit attorneys at Williams Kherkher, these include heart ailment, cleft lip, cleft palate, mouth deformities, musculoskeletal anomalies, and others.

Birth defects are not the only complaints about Zofran, however, for other patients also complain of irregular heartbeat, dizziness, swallowing difficulties, body swelling, shortness of breath, rashes, and so forth.

Prescribing Zofran for off-label use, despite the absence of proof regarding its total safety, can be seen as an example of medical malpractice, which claims about 225,000 lives in the US annually. According to the website of law firm Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ®, medical malpractice victims have a right to pursue justice and file a case against the liable doctor.

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Apr 13, 2015

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DUI: An Administrative and Criminal Offense

If there is one traffic violation that Americans are keeping away from, it would be driving under the influence (DUI), also identified as driving while intoxicated (DWI) in some states.

A number of states actually differ in their use of the two acronyms. There are states which consider DWI as a more serious offense than DUI; in some other states, DUI means being under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs or both, while DWI refers to intoxication due to alcohol only. However, people should be aware that impairment in one’s ability to operate a motor vehicle is not limited to the use of alcohol or illegal drugs in some states, such as in California, where driving impairment due to prescription drugs can also end up in a DUI charge.

According to the website of the Law Office of Daniel Jensen, P.C., law enforcers are focused more than ever in apprehending suspected drunk drivers, that is drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.08% or above. However, the overzealousness of some in enforcing anti –drunk driving laws has resulted, at times, to people being charged unjustly. Thus, while it is very important that a driver, who may be suspected of driving under the influence, pulls over when ordered to and performs or undergoes all the tests required by a traffic enforcer, it is also equally vital that he or she remains silent to avoid any possibility of him or her incriminating himself or herself.

Other than making sure that drivers are sober as they are get observed at sobriety checkpoints, law enforcers also keep an eye on possible drunken drivers. These are drivers who:

  • Make very wide or narrow turns
  • Use two lanes, straddling the road’s center line, or who drive on the center line
  • Drift from one side of the road to another
  • Almost hit something or someone
  • Drive too slowly and are overly cautious

A DUI charge always has two separate implications: an administrative offense and a criminal offense. The first falls under the domain of a state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and its immediate effect is suspension of one’s license, especially if the driver refuses to take a chemical test (consent to take a chemical test is a DMV condition in the issuance of a license). A DUI criminal offense involves a violation of a criminal law and is, therefore, subject to a legal proceeding, wherein a driver may be charged either with a misdemeanor DUI or felony DUI.

A misdemeanor DUI means that the drunk driver neither damaged any property nor injured anyone; however, the driver can still suffer up to 6 months imprisonment. A felony DUI is more serious due to injury of an innocent victim, prior misdemeanors or a prior felony DUI committed within the last 10 years.

Though a felony DUI conviction is definitely scarier than a misdemeanor DUI, being convicted of either offense can have a devastating effect in the personal and professional life of the convicted driver. But a charge does not have to end up in a conviction, granted that a charged driver gets represented by an experienced legal counsel. A criminal defense lawyer from the Law Office of Daniel Jensen, P.C., is one lawyer that a charged driver will definitely want to have on his or her side during this time.

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Apr 11, 2015

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Marriage Counseling and Couples Therapy for a Sweeter Union

Sometime in April of 2014 in, a 72-year old man passed away while in his daughter’s arms. The daughter said that her father died of a broken heart. He couldn’t live alone; not without his wife who had died the day before. The couple’s two children said that their parents had a great love for one another; yes, there were times when they argued, but their love was just much greater.

Many couples find the secret in loving each other or staying in love with each other until the end; sadly, this is not the case with many others who fail even in communicating well with their spouse, when they know too well that open communication is essential in any marriage.

Many books and, especially, films have provided a glimpse of marriage as a never ending source of romance, happiness and contentment. In reality, however, many, who enter into it, discover later on that, well, it may really be a bed of roses, but one that is not without sharp, prickly and annoying thorns.

Marriage basically results to what couples make out of it. If couples allow their honeymoon stage to be followed almost immediately by conflicts and be stubborn enough to hold on to the pride that will keep them from reconciling with each other, then one may just be led to suppose that entering into marriage with the person they have chosen to marry wasn’t just a good idea after all.

While marriage is a very important decision to make, more so is choosing the person whom one will marry. Austin marriage counselor Kathleen Snyder explains On her website that “relationship struggles and couples counseling can be difficult things for some couples to deal with” and, unless couples recognize that there is a problem in their marriage and have the desire and the willingness to do something about it, then this problem may just fuel the possibility of the marriage falling apart.

But for couples who want to save their marriage, there is a way and love, the second time around, can really be much sweeter and more fulfilling for both spouses. Marriage counseling and couples therapy can help couples find the way to end conflicts, and understand their spouse and situation more, for a marital life made better by knowledge and experience.

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Apr 10, 2015

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Construction Site Accidents

While job-related accidents resulting in injuries and illnesses are always possible in any type of working environment, construction sites always turn up as having the greatest number of victims, with thousands of injuries and more than 700 fatalities every year.

Federal and state laws mandating the assurance of a safe working environment for all workers are in effect all throughout the country. The US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) works closely with its state counterparts in strictly enforcing federal and state health and safety standards that will benefit 30 million workers in more than 8 million worksites all across the nation.

Since it came into existence in 1971 as an offshoot of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) of 1970, OSHA has made an impact in the industrial field, reducing the number of injuries by 67% and deaths by 65% in the workplace. Thus, while the 1970s registered as many as 38 worker deaths per day, the much stricter implementation of OSHA rules, especially during the last few years, has resulted to only 12 fatal accidents in construction sites in 2012. Still a loss of many lives, but definitely so much lower compared with the past decades.

The notoriety of construction sites with regard to occupational accidents is pointed out on the website of the Abel Law Firm. The firm also points out the life-changing effects of the injuries and deaths, results of these accidents, in the lives of the victims and their families. Besides the physical and emotional sufferings that victims are made to go through, there is also the effect of crippling financial burden due to the costly medical bills and loss of income, elements that give the victims, or their families, the right to pursue compensation.

The most common accidents in construction sites, according to OSHA, are falls, being by struck by an object, electrocution, and being caught-in/between. OSHA identifies these as the “Fatal Four,” the cause of 58.7% of all work-related injuries and deaths.

OSHA safety standards as well as the specific safety requirements implemented by each state direct employers to ensure not only a safe and healthy working environment for all workers, but also to make sure that all workers are trained about safety matters and that a record, showing regular check and maintenance of all equipment, is always available.

Though it is a sad fact that accidents still occur despite all the safety requirements, harmed workers should be made aware of their right to financial benefits through the Workers’ Compensation Insurance coverage (which their employer should provide).

Besides the Workers’ Comp, injured workers may also qualify for the disability benefits provided by the Social Security Administration and may have the right to pursue further damages from their employer, depending on certain circumstances.

The Benton Law Firm points out on its website that victims have the lawful right to seek compensation for present and future damages that may arise from the injury. But it also advises victims to make sure that they seek the help of a qualified person injury, workplace injury or construction site accident lawyer, who will be able to help them get the maximum amount of compensation that they need and deserve.

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