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 Truslow & Truslow, Attorneys at Law, 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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