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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Texas’s Concealed Carry Law

Texas is one of the most carefree states when it comes to gun possession. Anyone who is of legal age can buy and carry a concealed weapon, provided they apply for the necessary papers. The Texas state constitution Article 1 Section 23 protects its citizens’ right to bear arms, although the website of Mark Lassiter, Attorney at Law says this has its limitations. According to Texas Stat. & Code Ann. § 46.02., if you are planning to carry a concealed weapon (or have it near your body or vehicle), you need to have a concealed carry permit.

Certain individuals are prohibited to carry weapons in Texas, whether open or concealed. Among them are those not of legal age (anyone younger than 21 years old), those who have been convicted of a felony offense of have been charged within that past 5 years with anything that is included in the listed misdemeanors, any fugitives from justice or chemically-dependent people, those who are late in paying their state tax payments, and many others. For a full list, it is better to refer to the Texas Pen. Code § 411.172.

Despite the lenient gun laws in Texas, you may still need the help of a Dallas criminal defense lawyer once you have been caught by the police for openly carrying a firearm, as stated in the Texas Pen. Code § 46.035. Furthermore, Texas Pen. Code § 46.03. states that you are not allowed to carry a concealed firearm unless you are within your own premises, you vehicle, or watercraft. These rules, however, may not apply to those who are in active military duty, prison guards, or officers of the court who are on official duties.

Penalties regarding gun carrying violations can differ; they can include fines reaching to $2,500 and imprisonment of up to a year for some misdemeanor violations. Penalties for felonies can include fines of up to $10,000 with between 2 and 10 years of prison time. Because of such harsh penalties, Mark Lassiter Law encourages those who have been charged to consult a Dallas criminal defense lawyer, whether you simply have questions regarding the charges or if you need legal representation in court.

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Personal Injury: Whiplash

There are different kinds of injuries that individuals, who get involved in car accidents, may sustain. These can range from the least minor bruises to the more serious bone fracture, neck and spinal cord injury, traumatic head injury, injury to the face, internal injuries, paralysis, and whiplash, which the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) believes may be the most common car crash injury sustained by victims.

Whiplash is characterized by an abrupt, violent blow to one’s head, causing it to jolt back and forth. It can damage muscles, ligaments, tendons and other soft tissues in the neck area. Though a car accident may be its usual cause, a whiplash can also result from a fall, an injury sustained in sports, or an assault. When sustained through a motor vehicle accident, it would be due to the car being hit hard from behind or at the side, causing the neck to jerk with force to one side and then back.

One major drawback concerning whiplash injuries is that these are often neither easily nor immediately noticeable until some (or many) hours after the accident. X-rays can prove useless too as the injury does not necessarily show fractured bones on the neck. There are symptoms, though, that may hint its existence, like a sense of needles and pins in the arms, dizziness, lack of energy, nausea, neck swelling, back pain, pain on the shoulder and arms, headaches blurred vision, difficulty swallowing, and muscle spasms.

Though being rear-ended by an speeding vehicle can definitely result to a serious whiplash injury, it can be a surprise for many to know that most whiplash injuries are caused by vehicles running only between five and ten miles per hour. The best advice given to all drivers to avoid this type of injury despite an accident is by making sure that one is properly restrained, which means making sure that one is wearing or is secured by a seatbelt.

Rear-ending another vehicle can be due either to tailgating or inattentive/distracted driving. The driver at fault will surely need to comply with the stipulations of the law and compensate his/her victim for the damages the victim will suffer from (due to the injury).

On the part of the victim, it will be very wise to seek the services of a highly-competent personal injury lawyer, who will explain to him/her the best legal options that may enable him/her to receive compensation from the liable party – a right of the victim that the law upholds.

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Medical Devices – Morcellators

The National Institutes of Health says one in every three American women will undergo a hysterectomy.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, after Caesarian section, which is the number one surgical procedure that doctors perform on women in the US, hysterectomy comes next. Doctors consider hysterectomy, a surgical procedure aimed at removing a woman’s uterus, safe and very effective in eliminating or reducing uncontrollable vaginal bleeding and chronic pelvic pain, and in treating certain types of infections and cancer (such as cancer of the uterus, ovarian cancer or cervical cancer). Furthermore, hysterectomy is performed due to various needs and reasons, including

  • Removal of (uterine) fibroids, which are benign tumors that develop in the uterus
  • Treatment of:
    • Pelvic inflammatory disease (an infection of the female reproductive organs)
    • adenomyosis (a condition wherein the uterus’ inner linings protrudes through the muscle wall of the uterus)
    • uterine prolapse (a condition in which the uterus, or womb, slips out of the cervix, dropping halfway into the vagina (or birth canal)
    • endometriosis (a source of pain and bleeding due to the growth of the inner lining of the uterus in the abdomen)

There are different ways of removing or treating the uterus, through: Abdominal Hysterectomy (where a vertical or horizontal cut is made in the abdomen); Laparoscopic Hysterectomy (multiple minimal incisions are made, one for the laparoscope, or small camera, to see inside the body as the uterus is cut and removed in small pieces); Vaginal Hysterectomy (wherein a cut is made inside the vagina instead of in the abdomen); and, Laparoscopically Assisted Vaginal Hysterectomy or LAVH (a procedure that uses a laparoscope to guide the removal of the uterus, ovaries and/or fallopian tubes through the birth canal.

In laparoscopic surgeries an instrument, called a morcellator, is used to mince large masses of tissues (can be the uterus or uterine fibroids) for easy extraction. A morcellator is usually used in supracervical hysterectomy, which leaves the cervix untouched. When used in hysterectomy or myomectomy (removal of uterine fibroid), however, a morcellator can cause the spreading of uterine sarcoma, a cancerous tissue that is very hard to detect. Due to this risk, the US Food and Drug Administration issued a safety alert that discourages the use of morcellators in the said surgical procedures.

Despite the fact that hysterectomy and myomectomy, wherein morcellators are used, are much faster and safer to perform, require shorter recovery time and greatly reduce any possibility of infection compared to vaginal or abdominal hysterectomy and myomectomy, these do not outweigh the harm (cancer) that patients can be made to suffer from.

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Adolescence and Depression

Researchers and physicians recommend that children and adolescents stay under close watch when they are taking prescription medication. Since the developing brain makes neural connections at an accelerated rate, compared to the adult brain, the effects of medication can be extremely defining to continued brain development. Though a healthy majority of young people do not experience overwhelming symptoms of depression, some young people find prescription antidepressants extremely helpful in allowing them to be productive, focused, and regain their vitality.

Adolescents are particularly vulnerable to situational depression, like the after effects of divorcing parents, a sudden death, or complications from moving away from their original home. In addition to being vulnerable to situational changes, adolescents also deal with extreme pressures within competitive academic avenues, competitive friend groups, and shifting hormone levels. Many adolescents that are in need of therapeutic assistance for depression or anxiety are extremely hesitant to be vulnerable in asking for help.

Many young people affected by depression or anxiety might not even be aware that their condition is abnormal, accepting sadness as a normal state of being. Prescription antidepressants, like Lexapro, Zoloft, and Prozac, coupled with psychiatric therapy, have proven to be a very effective form of treatment for depression and anxiety. Urges to self-harm and thoughts of suicide are hosted most commonly in the thoughts of younger people, so doctors are warned to pay extra attention to their younger patients on antidepressants. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) administered black box warnings for all antidepressants. Black box warnings are the strongest possible issuing that the FDA can administer. Boxed warnings indicate that the prescription may carry a significant level of risk to patients. Specifically, warnings for antidepressants emphasize the possible risks for birth defects to developing fetuses as well as increased thoughts of suicide.

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Professional License Defense: Public Accountants

One of the most crucial concerns or responsibilities that can influence a business firm which can dictate its continuous growth or sudden failure rests on the shoulders of a professional accountant, whose job is to safeguard the integrity, as well as ensure the quality and accuracy, of financial reporting.

Any form of business, in fact, has a need for a professional accountant, who will have the duty of preparing the employees’ taxes, and audit, provide consultation, and prepare taxes of governments and corporations. Thus, there are management accountants, government accountants, and internal accountants, each tasked with a specific responsibility. And, due to the sensitivity and crucial nature of their job, as well as the trust placed upon them, accountants are, thus, trained to be detail-oriented, organized and to be persons with a high degree of integrity.

Earning the title of Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is a very rigorous process that is determined by each of the 50 states in the US. The requirements fall under 6 levels:

  • Education Requirements: rather than implementing the usual 120-credit academic requirement for a bachelor’s degree in accountancy, most states now require the 150-credit college degree program, the same number of credits required to be able to earn a seat for the CPA exam
  • Passing the CPA Exam: is considered the most difficult part in becoming a CPA; in fact, it has always had a low passing rate
  • Ethics Exam: even if a person has already passed the CPA exam, he/she will still need to complete a course in Ethics and/or take an Ethics exam before he/she could be awarded a CPA license
  • Experience Requirements
  • CPA License Requirements
  • Membership in recognized CPA Organizations

All the painstaking requirements that a CPA aspirer has to comply with will definitely make his/her accounting license a very precious possession. This license, just as in other professions, will serve as a person’s pass to a good, high-paying job that will help him improve or maintain his quality of life and that of his/her family’s.

Thus, if something goes amiss, so that threats of possibly losing his/her professional accounting license surfaces, maybe due to accusations of fraud, gross negligence in the performance of duty, dishonesty, violation of the rules of professional conduct, or a conviction of felony because of fraud or dishonesty, the need to find someone who can help in proving his/her innocence, clean his/her name, as well as protect his/her license from being suspended or revoked, becomes absolutely necessary. A Texas license defense lawyer, among a few others, is one legal professional who can be fully trusted in a professional license defense due to his/her knowledge of the law and high level of competence in the defense process.

Entrusting your fate and the fate of your accounting license to someone who lacks enough experience in the defense room can mean the end of everything you have worked so hard for.

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There Should be no Room for Cruelty, Especially in the Home

Violence in the home is one of the most common causes of injuries to a spouse and the cause of psychological trauma and guilt feeling in many children, who are witnesses to this form of harmful, unlawful behavior.

Every year, close to 10 million incidences of domestic abuse and violence are committed in the US. Victims include both male and female, majority of whom, though are female aged between 16 and 34. This type of violence can be in the form of emotional abuse, psychological abuse, physical abuse, verbal abuse, financial abuse and/or sexual abuse. The perpetrator is, of course, one’s intimate partner and the purpose – to have complete dominance over the other.

An abused partner can suffer many different forms of repeated injurious attacks from his/her partner. He/she may by slapped, punched, kicked, forced to use drugs or alcohol, grabbed painfully on different parts of the body, refused medical care or treatment, criticized, treated indifferently, forced to perform sexual acts, injured on his/her private parts, and so many others.

Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence, regardless of his/her age, religion, nationality, professional standing, educational attainment, financial status, etc.; and anyone can also be a perpetrator, so long as he/she has the capability and the thoughtlessness to humiliate, threaten, terrorize, intimidate and greatly frighten his/her partner until that partner loses his/her feelings of self-confidence and self-worth, becoming fully submissive to all the domineering partner’s wishes and commands.

Victims of domestic violence often tend to becoming problematic, embarrassed and always hesitant to act, and withdrawn. But while the victim suffers greatly, so do the children who become witnesses of the acts of cruelty.

Studies have shown and proven that children themselves, who are raised in families wherein domestic violence is a common occurrence tend to harbor so much guilt within themselves for failing to defend their parent from the abusive other parent. Sadly, instead of seeking outside help, due to the guilt and, probably, fear, children suffer the same results of withdrawal and incisiveness as their abused parent.

Domestic violence was codified as a crime only in the 1970s. Because of the nature of laws, it is possible for an individual to appear to be a perpetrator of domestic violence without actually being in any violation. A Columbia criminal defense lawyer can help those who are incorrectly accused of these actions defend his or her name in the eyes of the law.

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Estate Planning

So many Americans conceive estate planning or drafting a will as a concern only of the tremendously wealthy and of those with huge properties and big businesses. The truth is, estate planning can be done by anyone who has any type of precious belongings and assets, such as jewelry, furniture, a car, a house, investments, a pension plan, a life insurance or retirement savings. An asset does not have to be worth a huge sum of money for even a piece of jewelry, such as a ring or an old watch that has been passed on from many generations, can be an item incorporated in a will.

Basically, estate planning begins with writing a will. The testator (the person making the will) puts in the will everything that he/she would want to pass on to his/her spouse and child/children and which asset or thing of value goes to whom (sometimes a testator can also indicate a condition that an heir first needs to comply with to enable him/her to earn whatever is intended for him/her). The testator can also include in the will, his/her: chosen guardian for his/her minor child; health-care proxy (the person responsible in making medical decisions on his/her behalf in case he/she gets incapacitated); and, executor, that is, the person who will be in charge of the administration of his/her estate. This executor will also have to perform all of the testator’s wishes that are contained in the will, as well as settle all of the testator’s unpaid debts; only after all debts have been paid can the (remaining) assets be distributed to the inheritors.

Through estate planning, individuals are able to arrange the disposal of their assets and properties in ways that will greatly benefit their loved ones, maximize the value of their assets by having taxes and other expenses reduced, and eliminate doubts over the administration of a probate.

To keep finding excuses to be able to postpone the drafting of an estate plan, such as still being in the prime of health or age, so that no plan is actually drafted until the person’s death, will result to the state having control over the distribution of the assets and/or properties left behind – a state authority called the Law of Intestacy.

It is easy to have doubts on the necessity of drafting an estate plan and even if an individual may be willing to draft one, he/she may have questions regarding its legality and what should be its actual content. Legal professionals, such as Chicago estate planning lawyers, would be some of the best persons whose counsel and help will be of real value to anyone who has clarifications about estate planning before finally drafting one.

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Construction Site Injuries and the Injured Worker’s Right to Workers’ Comp

Among the many different types of working environments, a construction site is among the most dangerous due to the tools, equipment and hazardous substances which are sources of great dangers, and which can very well cause a severe injury (or even a fatal accident), especially when mishandled or not used correctly. In 1971, as an offshoot of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (also called OSH Act) of 1970, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA was formed. OSHA’s major task was to strictly implement OSH Act’s mandate in assuring a safe and healthy environment for all workers, regardless of the type of working environment.

In connection to OSHA’s task, the following safety standards have been enforced, specifically, in construction sites: safe stairways and ladders, protections against falls, wearing of proper protective gear, appropriate lighting in working area and passage ways, ground fault-circuit interrupters (GFCIs), areas for eye wash body-flushing that are within 25 feet from battery-changing places, clearly readable and visible accident-prevention signs and tags (and the removal of these signs and tags when danger is no longer present), and fire extinguishers with, at least, a 2A-rating every 3000 square feet. Many times, however, despite compliance with safety standards and the education and training of workers on safety, one or two workers become neglectful of his/her/their duties, causing an accident that results to someone else’s injury. Workers should know that if their injury is work-related, that is, that it was acquired during the performance of their work (regardless of whose fault the accident was), or if they develop a health condition, especially lung disorder, due to exposure to hazardous substances at work, then they are entitled to receive a financial benefits from the Workers’ Compensation.

Workers’ Comp is supposed to cover cost of medical treatment, wages lost, disability, rehabilitation and death. Injured workers do not have to file a claims lawsuit to be able to avail of this benefit; however, the corrects forms will need to be filled out correctly and all proofs of the injury, which is verified by an accredited doctor, will need to be submitted (with the correct forms) within the statute of limitation or specified time, which may be six months to two years, depending on the rules imposed by the state where the accident occurred. Many injured workers, with the help of their family, opt to handle the whole process of applying for the benefits by themselves, resulting often to a denial of their application. However, so many denials are often due to technical issues, such as a missing signature or an empty box which needs to be filled out, or submission of the application beyond the specified time.

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Auto Accidents: Who are the Real Liable Parties?

The National Safety Council (NSC), which is a 501 public service organization that is both -profit, non-governmental, is an ally of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the task of saving lives by preventing injuries and deaths (in homes, at work, in communities and) on the road through leadership, advocacy, education and research. But rather than just counting fatal public road accidents, which is the practice of the NHTSA, the NSC includes those that occur in private premises, and for the year 2013, the NSC was able to record 35,200 fatal traffic accidents plus 3.8 million crashes more resulting to injuries that require medical attention. The council also states that the most common causes of the accidents are human errors, such as drunk-driving, reckless road behavior, overspeeding, texting while driving, running a red light, tailgating, and an endless list of other mistakes.

Motor vehicle accidents are due to factors that are either within or beyond the driver’s control. Manufacturing defects and sub-standard car parts, to which vehicle and vehicle-parts manufacturers are answerable for, and road defects, to which the government may be held responsible, are factors beyond the driver’s control.

In May 2014, the NHTSA posted (in its website) a list of vehicles that were being recalled by their manufacturers. Obviously, the vehicles had defective parts that were serious enough to put lives at risk. Some of these defects are a steering wheel that could malfunction, engine parts that can cause gas to leak, child locks that could possibly disengage, wipers that may not function, brake pads that may disengage from the caliper, and so forth.

In the case of roads, potholes, ruts, cracked asphalt and ice patches were discovered too and unless repairs are made and maintenance ensured, the American motorists will continue to carry the burden which translates to costly vehicle maintenance and repair, more fuel consumption and greater risks to accidents.

Whatever the causes of car accidents are, all these usually boil down to only one fault: negligence. Now, any harm that befalls an innocent victim, who may be a motorist, a pedestrian, a bicyclist or a motorcyclist, whether the harm is a personal injury or wrongful death, the liable party will be legally responsible in compensating the injured victim or the victim’s bereaved family. This compensation ought to cover the victim’s lost wages, cost of medical treatment and all other damages (present and future) that result due to the injury.

The litigation process, which will allow the victim or his/her family to receive compensation, is not an easy process, though. Evidences will have to be shown that the victim is, indeed, a real victim, which means that he/she is totally without fault in the accident. Proving who the real liable party in the accident is, is not easy too as the real cause of the accident may have been a defective car part or a defective road, and not necessarily driver error.

It is a sad fact that many victims have lost civil lawsuits in the past or were awarded just a small amount of compensation simply because they lacked proper legal representation. Victims should understand that legal professionals are their strongest allies in legal battles where their rights and financial situation are at stake.

There are a number of highly-qualified legal professionals to whom victims can turn to for strong representation, such as Massachusetts car accident lawyers, a Milwaukee car accident lawyer or an Oklahoma personal injury lawyer. These people are just a phone away and, surely, their actions in helping and representing victims can make a lot of difference in the court.

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