Deadly Car Crash in New York: When to determine fault

Just this week, on Monday, August 15, there were seven casualties in a two-vehicle accident, as reported by NBC New York. In the first vehicle, two 20-somethings were thrown from the vehicle and killed at the scene, while an elderly woman from the second vehicle was pronounced dead at the hospital. The rest of the occupants of the second car, a young family of four, were treated for minor injuries. The scene is set up like this: a Honda Civic, carrying the younger couple, appears to have lost control and crossed the center line, hitting a Nissan Pathfinder in the late afternoon.

While this seems like a pretty cut-and-dry accident scene—the driver of the Honda is clearly in the wrong—there is more than meets the eye. You may be wondering why the police handling the investigation brought in both vehicles for their safety inspection. Well, as any New York car accident attorney would tell you, there are many factors in play when someone gets into a car accident. For one, was it driver error that caused the accident or was the car manufactured/designed with a defect? Two, if either car (yes, including the car not at fault) didn’t have the safety measures up to code, would that have made the difference in the number of lives lost or the amount of injuries? In this case, while it’s entirely possible that the driver of the Honda was at fault—were they eating, texting, drifting off to sleep, or distracted by the passenger of the car—it’s also possible that the car itself may have contributed to the accident or even completely been at fault. If the brakes suddenly stopped working or the gas pedal got stuck, and the driver lost control, then the fault of the accident ends up lying on the company that manufactured the car. If either vehicle had malfunctioning airbags, could that have contributed to the deaths of any of the three killed? There are so many questions surrounding this accident alone.

When it comes to seeking compensation, the family that was injured and the family of the passengers that were killed may seek money from the driver at fault, as would be their right. If the car was at fault, everyone involved (or their family) may actually seek compensation from the manufacturer than any other person involved. Now we can see why those cars were brought in for safety inspections. Before fault can be applied, there has to be a thorough investigation of why the driver of the Honda lost control.

So, when you look at a car accident from now on, try not to immediately place the blame. In the event that you’re in an accident yourself, you may be experiencing a whole range of emotions: panic, anger, frustration, pain. Anyone in your situation would be going through the same thing. But imagine the fear if your brakes went out and, without control, you slammed into a wall or another car. The possibilities are endless when it comes to the fickle nature of our vehicles.

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Slip and Fall Accidents at Work

When you think about workplace accidents, you imagine electrocution in construction sites, crashing rocks in mines, and explosions in gas fields. It is understandable that those are the first things that come into your mind, because those accidents can truly be devastating and even life-threatening.

However, it should be said that workplace accidents can happen on any kind of workplace, ranging from construction sites up to office buildings. One of the most overlooked yet dangerous accidents is called the slip and fall.

What is Slip and Fall?

A slip and fall accident occurs when a person slips because of a third-party object and falls into the ground. This kind of accident is violent enough to injure someone, and yes, it can happen in the workplace.

According to the website of Brunkenhoefer P.C., those who have been injured on the job because of slip and fall accidents may have legal options. That is good to know, because employers may make more effort in making the workplace safer if they know that they can be held liable.

How Does It Happen?

You will have a strong case if it has been proven that your employer’s action or inaction has resulted into the dangerous condition that has ultimately led to the slip and fall accident and injury. This can still be true even if it is another employee’s fault, because employees are still under the employers’ responsibility, unless this employee has malicious intentions.

A considerable amount of time should have also elapsed for the employer to see and fix the dangerous condition. This will amplify the employer’s negligence.

What are the Risk Factors?

The risk factors vary greatly depending on where you work. On the more dangerous workplaces, the risk factors are usually unattended materials on the floor, slippery substances such as chemicals and oils, uncleaned debris, and cylindrical objects like pipes.

On the less dangerous workplaces, like office buildings, the risk factors may include leaks from air conditioners and pipes, worn carpets and rugs, overly slippery floor waxes, defective escalators and elevators, and spilled drinks.

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Choosing How to End Your Marital Union is an Important Decision that You have to Make

Choosing How to End Your Marital Union is an Important Decision that You have to Make

As explained by the law firm Higdon, Hardy & Zuflacht, “In the midst of any divorce, it is overwhelming to think about all of the legal aspects that you must account for when setting up your new life. Not only are you undergoing a formidable change within your relationship, but also you have to make arrangements to accommodate your new family dynamic. You will have to make decisions regarding your finances, estates, assets, and relationship with your children.”

While some divorce cases may be settled peacefully and at a much shorter time, those that end up in court usually take a long time due to the number of issues that need to be settled which, unfortunately, many divorcing spouses never get to reach an agreement immediately. Divorce involves making very important decisions concerning financial, parental and personal matters. Deciding on these different concerns, however, which are included in issues, such as custody of child/children, payment (and amount) of child support and/or spousal support, and division of properties, assets and debts, are what makes divorce complex, emotional, demoralizing and extremely frustrating, especially if everything is settled the traditional way – through a court. This is why choosing how to end a marital union is very important as it could mean not wasting time, effort and, especially, money, which you could instead live on after the divorce or use for your kids. In the past, the court was the only place where a divorce case could be settled. Today, however, there is a variety of alternative dispute resolutions, allowing divorcing couples to end their union in a way that will best suit their situation. Below are the various procedures through which divorcing couples may terminate their union and settle all divorce-related issues:

  • Contested Divorce or Litigated Divorce. This is traditional way of ending a marital union. It is settled in a family court, open to the public and can drag on for months or years depending on the number of divorce-related issues that need to be settled and how fast or slow spouses will choose to argue with each other. Because of its adversarial approach, people who sit in court witness how divorcing spouses, through their lawyers, discredit one another in their attempt to win the favor of the judge who, in turn, will decide on all divorce issues, whether his/her decisions are acceptable to either or both spouses. Aside from a judge-settled divorce process, other results of contested divorce include spouses turning bitter towards each other and making each other feel devastated and destitute.
  • Uncontested Divorce. Besides arriving at a settlement without having to go to trial, this divorce procedure is quicker and cheaper compared to contested divorce. Uncontested divorce is a private process. Though it does not mean agreeing outrightly about the issues related to divorce, spouses are given the chance to negotiate in order to iron out any disagreements regarding certain issues. The main issue about this type of divorce procedure is, despite the disagreements and the need to negotiate, the spouses remain to be in control and are sure to get through everything.
  • Mediated Divorce or Divorce Mediation. This private, out-of-court legal procedure allows spouses to settle all divorce-related issues by themselves. A neutral third party, called a mediator, who may be chosen by the spouses themselves, sits with them to help them reach an agreement. This mediator does not make any decisions regarding any issues – these are made by the spouses themselves. What he/she does is make sure that the spouses are able to talk and argue openly, but in a way which will not destroy the amicable process which they chose in settling the issues at hand. Though each spouse may or may not be represented by an attorney, who can help them understand the legal matters related to divorce and know if the agreement arrived at is reasonable and worth signing, compared to contested divorce, this process is still much cheaper.
  • Collaborative Divorce. In this type of divorce process, both spouses have their respective lawyers who, with the spouses, work cooperatively in settling the divorce case. For fair negotiations, each spouse is required to disclose all important information that will affect the divorce and all related issues. In the event that this process does not settle the divorce case, each spouse will have to hire new attorneys who will take the case to trial.

Your future should not be left to chance. Protecting yourself and your family during this time of change is top priority; thus, it may be wise to seek the help of a knowledgeable and dedicated attorney to whom you will be confident entrusting your case and future.

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Understanding The Elements of Insurance Claims Fraud

Having insurance can help individuals cope up with emergency expenses. Natural calamities such as hurricanes or tornadoes can leave so much damage on the affected area. While disasters can bring out the best in people, it can also bring out the worse in them. It is during these situations that criminals emerge and take advantage of the situation. The National Center for Disaster Fraud reveals that insurance fraud can become prevalent during catastrophes.

Texas insurance claim attorneys of Williams Kherkher will tell you that it is during disasters that unscrupulous insurance companies will deny individuals of their legitimate claims. In the face of disaster, there are different types of fraud that will arise. Disaster fraud is a deliberate act of deceiving individuals or the government after a catastrophe. Here are some examples of fraudulent schemes after natural calamities:

Charitable solicitation fraud

This type of fraud refers to the solicitation of funds by posing as a legitimate charitable organization. It may involve people or websites that claim to raise funds for disaster victims. These fake websites collect credit card numbers and other personal information of the donors.

Price Gouging

This is an act of businesses or individuals that involves increasing of the price of goods that are in demand or in limited supply in the disaster-stricken area.

Contractor And Vendor Fraud

This fraudulent act happens when individuals pose as contractors or repairmen but do not really intend to repair damage or complete the job.

Disaster-related Property Insurance Fraud

This is a type of fraud committed against insurance companies by inflating losses, faking repairs, claiming lost services, or intentionally causing property damage in order to collect insurance premiums. It can either be hard or soft. The former occurs when there is a deliberate fabrication of a claim. The latter, on the other hand, takes place when a normally hones person pads a legitimate claim.

Forgery

Forgery includes various practices such as reimbursing stolen checks from mailboxes, submitting false building permits and receipts for claims, and forging insurance and Federal emergency assistance claims.

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Employer Negligence as Contributing Factor to Truck Accidents

Despite the threats posed by 18-wheelers or big rigs on roads and highways, truck operation will never cease because of the major contribution these huge vehicles make in the U.S. economy. All the government can do is create and strictly enforce laws that will ensure the safe operation of trucks, like: qualification of drivers; use of truck parts, like brakes and tires that comply with DOT standards; maximum hours of service (HOS) that a driver can operate a truck; and, maintenance of a record of regular truck inspection and maintenance.

Obviously, however, the laws and their strict implementation are not enough as evidenced by the half a million truck accidents that cause 3,964 deaths and 95,000 injuries in 2013 alone.

Currently, there are about 2 million 18-wheelers operating in the U.S. Not all of these are operated, however, due to the lack of qualified drivers which, according to the American Trucking Associations, is at 48,000. With thousands of deliveries to complete every day, many operators require drivers to put in extra hours; drivers, on their part, push themselves to the limit, driving cross counties despite feeling fatigued and lacking sleep just so they can cover more road miles for a higher pay.

Besides allowing drivers and, sometimes, even forcing them to violate the HOS mandated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), some operators (especially operators of small trucking firms) resort to illegal means, specifically, by hiring very young and unskilled drivers, failing to train those hired, requiring their drivers to drive longer than the allowed number of service and then asking them to alter the number of hours they have rendered in log book; and, failing to properly screen applicants for past records or driving violations – all these just to get as many job orders as they can and have these orders finished on time.

According to Tucson personal injury attorneys, trucking companies have the legal responsibility of ensuring that safety standards in regards to employees and vehicles are strictly upheld, as this will greatly affect the safety of other motorists and everyone else on the road. If and when trucking companies fail to uphold these standards, then they can be held financially responsible for their gross negligence.

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When Your Car Accident Claim Goes To Trial

The majority of car accident claims end in settlement and rarely end in lawsuits. However, going to court can still be possible when both parties have failed to come into an agreement or the negotiations have been unsuccessful. Going to trial may be the only option of addressing the conflict, and when this happens it is important that you have an injury attorney by your side to help guide and effectively represent you during the whole process.

Trails are the conclusion or final step in court-based proceedings regarding a personal injury claim. The trail would open the opportunity for both parties to dispute against the presented evidence to the court who has the authority to hear and made final decisions regarding the case. Law firms such as the Hankey Law Office state that most car accident claims may be passed on to a judge (also called a bench trial) or a jury (jury trial). A number of states require jury trials to be requested as included in the original paper work that started the lawsuit.

During the trial, the plaintiff will be the one who have to carry the burden of proof and should present strong evidence against the defendant(s), and the defendant(s) will have to prove that the plaintiff was also negligent in their action and is solely or partly to blame for the accident and their injuries. Evidence are presented through testimonies (from the plaintiff, witnesses, doctors, etc.) and this will be cross-examined by the defendant.

After both parties have presented their evidence and given their last arguments, the judge or jury will then deliberate on the case and will have the final verdict. Once the judge or jury have made their final decision, an appeal may be filed should one party feel unhappy with the verdict. This motion can be filed in the court of appeals within a specific time period, otherwise the decision is final and both parties are not allowed to have the case tried again.

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Personal Injury Lawsuits with Big Companies

Huge corporations, notably insurance providers, medicine and medical device producers, and the oil and petroleum sectors, perpetuate the concept that personal injury lawsuits are merely ploys by unethical people to get cash from “deep pockets.” Based on the Hankey Law website, these corporations have expended lots of work to undermine the legal system ordering tort cases because they don’t wish to be kept liable for their carelessness.

It’s true that a lot of these companies are hit hard by the financial consequences of numerous personal injury claims, but it is also a fact that these types of claims deserved the verdicts they obtained, because the defendants were found negligent and that they paid.

However, it is false that individual injuries lawsuits are causing small enterprises to fail or insurance prices to rise. Insurance charges increase not because of claims but the insurance companies need to and do make more cash, as evidenced by their annual reviews. Surveys further show that small businesses are rarely influenced by suit.

It is also true that progress comes at a price. Many injury litigations take at least a couple of years to either get to trial or get resolved; a percentage of the ruling of circumstances that proceed to trial is for the complainant. Maybe on a sluggish downward tendency on equally express and federal levels, the number of lawsuits being filed is generally due to that, along with lessons learned from previous blunders by plaintiffs.

While some people have filed deceitful, even hassle, personal injury lawsuits, with the purpose to generate income from the complainant, these are circumstances that seldom see the light of day. The plaintiff has the burden of proof, plus a situation that does not have any legal foundation to proceed but may discount it out of hand will not be allowed by a judge.

You’ve got the privilege to get compensation in case you have suffered significant harm because of the neglect of a third party. Talk to a personal injury attorney in your town to evaluate your case.

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Whiplash: What You Need to Know about a Common Car Accident Injury

It’s an unfortunate fact that a significant number of car accidents take place in the United States every single year. Majority of these accidents leave plenty of people dealing with injuries and other long-term consequences. One of the most common consequences of minor car crashes is a medical condition called whiplash. This condition is caused by a forceful back-and-forth movement of the neck that typically results from rear-end collisions.

Whiplash can greatly affect a person’s ability to move their head and back. It is also a condition that gradually worsens over time. Initially, a person with whiplash might not even notice the symptoms of their condition. Otherwise, they might simply experience a slight tingling sensation or numbed feeling that can be easily written off. However, when whiplash is left untreated, the symptoms can escalate and turn into a sharp pain accompanied with dizziness, fatigue blurred vision, and ringing in the ears. In some cases, an aggravated case of whiplash can also cause depression, memory lapses, cognitive issues, insomnia, and irritability.

Unfortunately, treating whiplash can involve a long process of physical therapy and rehabilitation. This process of recovery often involves medical expenses and other financial obligations that might cause a lot of burden for the injured individual and his or her family. As such, most car accident victims that suffer whiplash have a pressing need to seek out financial assistance and compensation from those responsible for their current condition. The personal injury attorneys at Simpson Law Firm say on their website that cases of whiplash can be pursued in court to enable victims to receive the restitution they deserve. If you are currently suffering from such a condition due to a car accident, don’t hesitate to click here for more information about your legal options.

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The Jones Act: Options for Injured Maritime Workers

Maritime workers are often on the cusp of dangerous situations. Boats, ships, and vessels can be risky venues where plenty of accidents and injuries could occur. When these incidents occur, maritime workers often have limited options. Unlike land-based employees, they aren’t entitled to workers’ compensation and other related benefits. Their only options are delineated in what is called the Jones Act.

A person injured while performing work duties in a sea vessel for a particular amount of time is entitled to sue their employer for just compensation under the Jones Act. In particular, the Jones Act aims to hold employers accountable for cases of injuries caused by negligence. If an employer fails to provide the personnel with safe working conditions, maritime law mandates that they provide compensation to help the injured worker sufficient assistance as they recover from the accident.

Employers will be considered negligent as long as they fail to make sure that the vessel remains safe for all the workers onboard. For example, if an employer does not meet industry regulations in the maintenance of the ship, a maritime lawyer could prove that they have been reckless in creating a productive working environment for their employees. Another example is the employer’s inability to provide proper training for their personnel, leaving them ill-equipped to handle emergency scenarios.

According to the website of the Mokaram Law Firm’s personal injury lawyers, injured maritime workers can make a Jones Act claim to help cover a variety of damages caused by the accident. In particular, they can seek financial compensation for the cost of treatment and rehabilitation, loss of income due, as well as any psychological or emotional effects left by the tragedy. If you work in the maritime industry and believe you are entitled to the benefits of the Jones Act, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced lawyer to learn of all your legal options.

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Alzheimer’s Disease Planning

Many Americans are diagnosed with an unsuspected serious illness that catches them worried and in deep thoughts about their future and the future of their family. Alzheimer’s disease, a complicated and chronic illness which is suffered by about five million Americans, is one of these serious illnesses.

Alzheimer’s disease, the most common root of dementia in older people, is an irremediable, progressive brain disease which gradually destroys an individual’s memory, thinking capabilities, as well as the ability to perform the simplest daily activities. Once this disease leads to the most severe stage of dementia, it will render a person totally dependent on others even on the most basic tasks.

Because Alzheimer’s disease causes a person to lose his or her ability to think clearly medical and legal experts, therefore, advise those recently diagnosed with it to study and update their financial and health care plans while they still have the ability to make clear and meaningful decisions. These plans usually include the drafting of a living trust, a will and advance instructions that will ensure the carrying out of their health care and financial wishes during the later stages of the disease and, eventually, death.

The legality of documents to be prepared naturally calls for the assistance of a knowledgeable lawyer who is familiar with the laws of the state where the patient resides. Besides making sure that all plans are made in compliance with the state’s laws, your lawyer, as pointed out on the website of Peck Ritchey, LLC, should also help the patient: identify and complete all necessary legal documents in the drafting or updating of the will, trust or deed; make plans for medical and treatment choices; specify how he/she wishes his/her plans for finances and property carried out; preserve his/her assets while caring for a loved one; be eligible for government aid; and, assign the right person who will make decisions on his/her behalf when he/she no longer can.

Being diagnosed with an Alzheimer’s disease is emotionally wrenching, but so will leaving your loved ones with a bleak future. This is why a patient diagnosed with Alzheimer’s will need all the medical and legal assistance that he/she needs to make sure that everything will be in place when the disease casts its full effects or takes his/her life eventually. Though the days ahead may be filled with worry and/or fear, knowing that the financial future of your loved ones will be taken care of, especially when you can no longer be with them, would, (hopefully) somehow, lessen any worry in your and their lives.

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