Simple Mistakes to Avoid in Estate Planning

Posted by on Jul 2, 2017 in Estate Planning | 0 comments

Estate planning is the development of a plan on what will happen to your assets in the event of your incapacitation, or worse, death. This may involve a variety of things, like stating the rightful heirs to specific assets and the handling of estate taxes.

According to the website of the Arenson Law Group, making an estate plan can be frustrating and difficult because of complex tax and state laws. Before you dive into the complicated world of estate planning, here are some simple things you should avoid.

Not having an estate plan at all

Before anything else, it is important to point out that not having an estate plan at all is the biggest estate plan mistake you can commit. Without even an estate plan, you are not properly securing your properties and their heirs, not to mention that you are giving the possibility of disputes between family members and other parties.

Not getting the help of professionals

You can see a lot of estate planning help online. You are reading one right now. But this doesn’t mean that you can create a plan by yourself. Hiring a professional to do it for you is important, because online, you will never have the advantage of having a plan specifically arranged for your situation, as what you will mostly see on the internet are general guidelines.

Not acting immediately

You will never know when a bad thing will go your way. You may be involved in an accident that may seriously incapacitate or even kill you. If you don’t act now to at least meet a professional to help you get started with your estate plan, you might lose out.

Even if you already have an estate plan, this advice still stands. Always update your plan whenever necessary, like during births and deaths of family members and divorces from spouses.

In summary, the thing you should avoid in estate planning is procrastination. Don’t be too confident living without an estate plan. Don’t make one on your own. Be assertive enough to act on time. If you do these things, you are already halfway from a good estate plan, even though you technically haven’t started.

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How Drivers Can Avoid Pedestrian Collisions

Posted by on Mar 16, 2017 in Pedestrian Accidents | 0 comments

Drivers and pedestrians both have rights to be on the road. Drivers don’t necessarily have more rights because they are on vehicles, and pedestrians don’t necessarily have less because they are on foot. For this reason, both parties should make the effort of avoiding road accidents.

It is fair to say that drivers have bigger responsibilities, because they are the ones using vehicles that could potentially harm someone around them. In fact, according to the website of the Benton Law Firm, those who have been hurt in pedestrian accidents may be entitled to compensation for their injuries.

Follow traffic rules

To avoid courts and pedestrian accident claims, it is best to just follow the traffic rules. The rules of the road are there not to suppress you of your freedom. They are there to control and limit your movement to prevent accidents such as pedestrian collisions.

Be mindful of your speed

Speed limits road visibility, your control of the vehicle, and your reaction time when something unexpected occurs. Speeding is almost literally like asking for an accident. Take note that speeding is not just about driving fast. It is also about driving slow because of the environment conditions, such as school zones, wet pavements due to rain, and limited visibilities due to fog blankets.

Always yield to pedestrians

Whether you have the right of way or not, always be mindful of crosswalks, because you will never know when will a reckless or inattentive pedestrian will cross. You should also be attentive of pedestrians in general, because some may even cross on spots without crosswalks. To prevent accidents, it is better to just let them through.

Make it a habit to use your signals

Signaling exists because it is an efficient way to let the other people around you know your present and future position. This can be beneficial to other drivers and pedestrians. In the case of pedestrians, they may stop and wait for you to pass if you signal before a turn, preventing potential pedestrian accidents in intersections.

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Surgical Errors: A Product of Negligence

Posted by on Jan 5, 2017 in Negligence | 0 comments

Failure to provide the quality of care a patient rightly deserves is the major contributing in of the many types of malpractice cases in the field of medicine. This failure, which is too common in so many hospitals and clinics in the U.S., is often the cause of prolonged or new illness, permanent disability, other life-threatening conditions, or death. Medical errors, however, can be prevented since these are merely due to negligence or carelessness committed by no other than medical professionals. According to the Office of Inspector General for Health and Human Services, about 180,000 Medicare patients died in 2010 due to negligent or careless medical acts (an article printed in the Journal of Patient Safety, however, says that the number of deaths during the same year was between 210,000 and 440,000).

Surgical error is one example of medical mistake that can cause serious harm. Surgery, being a risky procedure, is resorted to by doctors only as a last resort – after all other attempts in treating an illness fail. A patient, who has been advised (by his/her doctor) to undergo surgery, puts a great deal of trust in his/her doctor’s ability, trusting that he/she has correctly diagnosed his/her illness and that surgery is a necessary part of treatment. In many occasions, however, instead of improving patients’ conditions, surgical procedures have only become harmful. An alarming thing, though, is the fact that a number of these surgical errors were committed by either by highly-respected medical professionals or doctors in some of the best hospitals in the country.

A few types of surgical errors listed with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality include: wrong dosage of anesthesia; accidental puncture or laceration; wrong-person surgery; wrong-site surgery; incorrect surgical procedure; removal of wrong organ; a foreign body or surgical instrument left inside the body of a patient; improper suturing; hematoma or post-operative hemorrhage; respiratory failure, or pulmonary embolism; wound dehiscence (the rupturing of a wound along a surgical suture, which is a surgical complication that may be due to age, diabetes, obesity, poor knotting, or post-surgery trauma due to the wound); and, wrongful death resulting from complications from negligent surgery.

Medical malpractice cases can be brought against:

  • Surgeons, who make mistakes in operating rooms;
  • Emergency room doctors and nurses, who commit errors in diagnosis or treatment;
  • Obstetricians and OB nurses, whose negligence results in avoidable birth injury;
  • Generalists, who fail to notice symptoms of serious illness;
  • Specialists, whose negligence results in failure to diagnose cancer, delay the appropriate diagnosis or other serious medical conditions; and,
  • Nurses, who make medication mistakes or other errors during in-patient care.

These accidents can be devastating and cause long-term injuries with debilitating side effects.”

It may be best for people who feel that their health only worsened after undergoing surgery to have their condition checked and, if something not right is made obvious, to seek legal assistance from an experienced personal injury lawyer for whatever legal action they may have a right to pursue.

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The Possible Lifetime Effects of a Spinal Cord Injury

Posted by on Dec 13, 2016 in Personal Injury | 0 comments

The spinal cord is a tube-like structure which goes from the brain stem to the bottom of the spine (spinal column). This very delicate and sensitive bundle of nerve tissues and support cells forms the central nervous system with the brain and 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 protected by layers of coverings which cushion it from the impact of a forceful blow. These layers of protection include the bones, muscles, ligaments and discs. There are instances, however, when the impact to the spinal cord is just too strong for the protective coverings to withstand; at other times, a foreign object may just be sharp enough so that it is able to penetrate though the protective coverings, damaging the spinal cord as a result.

In 2005, new cases of spinal cord injuries (SCI) in the U.S. was at 11,000. In 2014 the number shot up to 12,500 new cases and, since then, around this same number keeps on getting added every year to the 276,000 spinal cord injured children and adult. About 82% of the total number of SCI patients are male and 56% of those injured are aged between 16 and 30.

MedlinePlus, a website owned and operated by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, states that risk of injury to the spinal cord are due to: the 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. These causes of spinal cord injuries, in turn, can be due to 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.

Quadriplegia or tetraplegia, which means paralysis of four limbs, results from a serious injury to the cervical (neck) spinal nerves. 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.

As explained in the website of The Benton Law Firm, the majority of injuries to the spinal column are due to motor vehicle accidents especially trucking accidents, which are all too common in many cities in the U.D., most especially in Dallas, Texas, a major thoroughfare for large trucks.

The average annual cost to treat an injured spine runs between $15,000 to $30,000 per year, with estimated lifetime costs totaling over $3 million. This is a tough sum for anyone to handle, and insurance will only cover up to a certain amount of this expense. Insurance claims will not cover lifetime earnings that you would have amassed had you not sustained an injury to your spinal cord. However, if a person was responsible for your injury, you may be able to bring a claim against them for your injuries with the help of an experienced spinal cord injury lawyer. This liable person will be required to pay for your medical expenses, loss of income, future earnings, and pain and suffering.

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Some Types of Truck Defects and Their Effects

Posted by on Nov 3, 2016 in Automobile Accidents | 0 comments

There are different factors that contribute to large commercial trucks: negligent hiring, driver error and improper cargo loading are just a fews of these – all, by the way, are examples of acts of negligence that can result in serious accidents and injuries to the truck driver himself/herself and other motorists. There is another major cause of truck accidents that is rarely noticed, though: a defective or malfunctioning truck part.

Tires, axles, steering column, brakes, coupling and trailer doors are parts of a truck that have the potential to malfunction or be defective. These parts, of course, should be able to withstand the rigorous demands of this type of vehicle; however, without regular inspection and proper maintenance, any of these parts can break down and fail. Sometimes, though, it is the truck part that is actually manufactured defectively – a mistake that often happens in the manufacture of tires, and though there are regulations or standards established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and equipment tests, there are manufacturing firms that overlook these the regulations and fail to conduct the tests, leading to devastating accidents.

  • These defects and their effects include the following:
    Failed Tires. Some of the very dangerous involving truck tires are tire blowout and tread separation. Using retreaded tires or failure to inspect tires can render a trucking company liable for whatever damages may result due to equipment failure.
  • Failed Brakes. If the brakes of a truck fail to work, the truck can rear-end and plow through many vehicles in front of it. This can easily result to crashed and exploding vehicles, which can cause deaths and/or very serious injuries.
  • Missing Mirrors. It is bad enough that trucks have blind spots or areas where smaller vehicles are hardly noticed by truck drivers. Not having side mirrors, which will still make it possible for truck drivers to hopefully notice cars and other smaller vehicles, would be like luring other drivers to suicidal acts.
  • Missing Lights. For very large vehicles, such as semi-trailers, also called big rigs or 18-wheelers, warning lights and flares are very essential for safe driving. Missing lights will render even trucks invisible at night, making devastating accidents very likely events.

As explained by Ritter & Associates, driving an 18-wheeler can be a very treacherous task, but it can be even more dangerous if the vehicle or any of its parts are marred by a defect or suffer a malfunction and, even though truck drivers go through extensive training to prepare themselves to drive these vehicles safely, there is little that can be done to anticipate a defect or malfunction. Filing a civil lawsuit against the negligent manufacturer (of the defective truck part) may be appropriate to seek financial compensation in the event of a truck accident.

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Many Trucking Companies are Guilty of Violating Federal Rules Governing Trucks

Posted by on Aug 11, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

There are about two million registered semi-trailers operating on and sharing roads and highways with smaller vehicles. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, close to half a million of these trucks get involved accidents every year, accidents that result to about 130,000 injuries and 5,000 deaths.

Despite these huge numbers in accidents, injuries and deaths, semi-trailers, also called big rigs or 18-wheelers, cannot be taken off the road due to their major contribution in the nation’s economy. This does not stop the federal government, though, from passing and strictly implementing laws that are hoped to make roads safer and minimize the number of truck accidents. The federal government agencies which make and enforce laws include the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA).

Two of the very important laws passed by these agencies are the rule on the Hours of Service and the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986.

The Hours of Service (HOS) mandate, which was issued by the FMCSA, governs the working hours of those operating a commercial motor vehicle. HOS sets the maximum number of daily and weekly hours that a truck driver can spend driving; it also determines how long a driver should rest between driving shifts. This mandates aims to make sure that no driver of semi-trailer is feeling fatigued or sleepy whenever they hit the road. To track the number of hours a driver spends on the road, he or she could use either an ordinary log book or an electronic on-board recorder (EOBR).

The Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986, which establishes uniform testing and licensing standards for operators of commercial motor vehicles. Due to the enormous size and weight of semi- trailers, the government strictly requires that drivers possess the necessary knowledge and skills in the safe operation of these vehicles. Thus, before being issued a commercial driver’s license, a person will first need to undergo special training and pass a series of tests.

As explained in the website of Crowe & Mulvey, LLP, some trucking companies make oversights regarding safety through violation of the hours of service rule, negligent hiring, failure to Employer Negligence train drivers, and failure to inspect vehicles. These oversights can constitute negligence which is the major basis, for whoever may be injured in an accident involving trucks, for filing a civil lawsuit.

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Driving Distracted – A Threat to the Safety of Everyone on the Road

Posted by on Apr 15, 2016 in Automobile Accidents | 0 comments

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s 2014 report on car crashes showed 30,057 fatalities, the least number of deaths in car accidents probably since the 1970s. While there have been accidents which were due to factors that are beyond the control of drivers, such as defective car or car parts or defective or poorly maintained roads, highways and bridges, both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) of the NHTSA hold that 90% of all road crashes can be blamed on drivers.

These  road crashes are consequences of bad road behavior, a number of which are driving recklessly, driving above the set speed limit or driving too fast for road conditions, driving while impaired (by alcohol, illegal drug or prescription/over-the-counter drugs), making improper lane changes, tailgating, ignoring traffic signs and signals, not focusing on the road, and allowing oneself to be distracted while behind the wheel.

Since 2012, distracted driving, particularly involving cell phone use, has remained to be the worst form of driving distraction in the US. Distractions while behind the wheel take many forms, so many of which have even become unnoticed or have become too common that drivers no longer consider them as distractions. A short list of driving distractions includes: eating and/or drinking while driving; looking at a map; talking with other car occupants (studies have shown that the more people there are in a car, the greater distraction there will be to the driver); adjusting electronic devices, like a GPS; adjusting a car stereo and/or setting it to full volume; grooming; adjusting a tie; lighting a cigarette; playing with child occupants; reaching for something, especially, at the back seat; and, arguing with someone while driving.

Due to driving  distractions, 421,000 individuals were injured and 3,328 lost their lives in 2012 (number of injuries was 9% higher than in 2011 which was only at 387,000). Unlike drunk-driving, driving recklessly and speeding which a greater majority of drivers will never risk committing, distracted driving can happen to anyone – even to drivers who are always concerned about road safety.

Regardless of the severity of injury that distracted driving may cause, this type of driving error is a threat to the safety of the drivers themselves, to other motorists, pedestrians and all others on the road. In its website, the law firm Williams Kherkher talks about the damages and losses that victims of car accidents may suffer.

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What causes lung cancer?

Posted by on Nov 7, 2015 in Health | 0 comments

The American Cancer Society stated that approximately 221,000 new cases of lung cancer will be recorded before the end of 2015. The agency further stated that this year, fatalities associated with lung cancer are estimated to be around 158,040. The staggering number of new lung cancer diagnosis and lung cancer deaths in the country is a result of a variety of different factors, which we will discuss below:

Tobacco use

A majority of lung cancer cases in the U.S. have been associated with cigarette and tobacco use. In fact, WebMD stated that approximately 90% of lung cancers have been a result of smoking. Second hand smoke is also considered a primary factor. Research stated that people who live with a smoker have a 24% chance of developing lung cancer, even if they do not smoke.

Air pollution

A majority of lung cancer diagnosis and deaths have been associated with poor air quality. Car fumes, for instance, contain dangerous oxide that may increase your risk of the disease. Unfortunately, some car companies care less about the environment and people’s health in exchange of bigger profits. The website of The Driscoll Law Firm P.C., for instance, says that Volkswagen sold diesel cars equipped with a sophisticated device designed to defeat standard emissions tests.

Radon exposure

Radon is an odorless, colorless gas produced by the decay of highly-active radium gas. It comes from the bedrocks and seeps its way into your basement’s cracks and fissures. WebMD says radon exposure accounts for approximately 12% of lung cancer fatalities. A majority of homes in the U.S. may have some levels of radon in it, so it is important to have your home checked to know if your house has dangerous levels of radon gas.

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Possible Causes of Aviation Accidents

Posted by on Jul 7, 2015 in Automobile Accidents | 0 comments

Millions of people fly every day around the world, and many have fears of flying. With images emblazoned in the news of horrific plane crashes like the recent Germanwings crash and the TransAsia crash, which produced a terrifying image of the plane hovering sideways above a highway in Taiwan, it is understandable why many have fears of flying.

Although pilots must complete years of extensive training and practice before ever taking flight, mistakes do happen, nonetheless. Some of these errors may even lead to death or injury of passengers. One of the top causes of plane crashes, unfortunately, is pilot error. According to a 2015 study by Statistic Brain Research Institute, pilot error accounts for as much as 53% of all fatal plane crashes.

Pilots are responsible for so many different aspects of the flight, it is not uncommon that mistakes are made and things overlooked. Pilots must observe weather conditions, radar, and readouts from plane mechanics, all while performing safe takeoffs, cruising, and landings.

Pilots can often be overworked and forget to take into account different physiological factors, such as sickness, alcohol, medication, stress, or fatigue that affect their ability to operate an aircraft, and ultimately affect the safety of the whole flight, passengers and crew included.

Stress can serve as a distraction in the cockpit, and make the pilot’s mind wander from the task at hand: keeping the flight safe. Poor communication can also threaten the safety of the flight. Whether between co-pilots or with the crew on the ground, a lack of communication can result in serious consequences for all aboard the flight.

Click here to learn more about pilot error and liability.

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The Perils of Distracted Driving

Posted by on Apr 4, 2015 in Automobile Accidents | 0 comments

No matter how unsettling, it’s a fact that car accidents are a common occurrence all over America. As the U.S. Census Bureau reports, an average of 10.6 million motor vehicle accidents have been officially reported in the span of 6 years, starting from 2004 until 2009. A huge portion of these reported incidents resulted in serious injuries and fatalities.

Among the most common suspects to devastating car accidents is distracted driving. According to Distraction.org, a website set up by the U.S. Department of Transportation and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving has led to 3,154 fatal crashes in the year 2013 alone. The top reason that these accidents happened is because drivers were texting or talking on their mobile phones.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines distracted driving as driving while doing another activity that causes you to split your attention. As posted on their information page, there are 3 types of distraction that happens behind the wheel. Visual distraction is when drivers take their eyes off the road to do something else. Manual distraction happens when drivers take their hands off the wheel. Finally, cognitive distraction applies for situations when a driver starts to absent mindedly operate their vehicles. The use of phones while driving is particularly alarming because it involves a combination of all three of these scenarios.

The U.S. Department of Transportation is currently heading efforts to curb instances of distracted driving. However, their campaigns will fail to bear fruit as long as the public aren’t made aware of the perils of driving while distracted. Victims can end up suffering long-term consequences caused by injuries like whiplash and traumatic brain damage. Not only does this issue lead to serious risk of injury, there are too many reported cases of distracted driving leading to fatalities. Every driver should contribute in making sure that all roadways in the U.S. are kept safe for the whole community.

If you were involved in accident caused by a distracted driver, know that there are legal avenues that allow you to seek just compensation. Don’t hesitate to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney working in your area. For example, victims living in Florida can visit the website of West Palm Beach car accident lawyers for more information.

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