You’ve Just Hit a Pothole

You’re driving along, enjoying the autumn weather when out of nowhere there’s a massive pothole in the road and no way to avoid it. You hit it, destroy your suspension, ruin your tire, pull over to the side of the road. What do you do next?

You probably hit the steering wheel in frustration, call your car insurance, and then do a little math to see just how much you can afford to put into fixing a car you weren’t expecting to have to fix.

After all, you have to have your car, but there’s a feeling of injustice that you should have to fix it when it’s someone else’s fault it’s broken. Just like in hit and run accidents that damage your car, it doesn’t feel right that a pothole the local government hasn’t gotten around to fixing is the cause but you’re on the hook to pay.

Or are you?

In theory, at least, you can file a claim with the local city council and ask to be repaid for the damages incurred. This is theory not because filing a claim is difficult but because getting repaid is. According to Time magazine, local governments rarely pay up, and when they do, it is only a small portion of the total expense. Chicago, as referenced in the article, often only pays a portion because it feels that hitting a pothole is at least partly the fault of the driver. That may or may not be true in every instance, but that is the perspective of city councils around the country: it’s your fault, good luck getting us to help you out.

Many places are even harder on drivers. Colorado Springs rejects 98% of the claims it receives because of its strict standards. Those standards include requiring someone notifying the city of the pothole and then two weeks passing to give the city time to repair it. Since the likelihood of both standards being met is slim, there’s almost no point in submitting a claim there.

Even for those who do get reimbursed, it can take a long time to get the money. Chicago Magazine claims it takes that city about 18 months from the time of the accident to get a check in the mail.

Of course, there are more aggressive tactics that can be explored. Hiring a lawyer who works with road defects, like the lawyers of Crowe & Mulvey, LLP, may force the hand of a town or city, but how often do potholes do enough damage to be worth the time and money of a lawyer? Again, quite rarely.

So, it seems, no matter where your car ran into that pothole, north, south, east or west in this country, the best thing is probably just to bang on the steering wheel and fix what you can when you can. Though you might think the government has more responsibility to help you out in such situations, this is not the case.

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A Cautionary Story About Trees

I’m a do it yourself sort of person. I like to get my hands dirty, and I’ve always prided myself on how well I can keep things running without calling in the experts.

A few examples, just to prove the above claim: I do most of the mechanical work on my car. I have no training, just a couple decades of experience messing around and reading a guide or two. But it means I can save a lot of money. I only go to the mechanic for the serious, labor-intensive stuff. The rest, I handle on my own.

I also installed my own patio in my house. I do most of the repairs in the house. I built the cribs for my children, and nothing has ever come crashing down on my head. Or nothing had, until The Tree.

I capitalize The Tree because I think it’s important to show respect to your enemies. The Tree is—or was, finally, was—located in our backyard. For years, it was a beautiful, faithful tree, sprouting nice green leaves in the spring and turning a lovely shade of red in the autumn. Then, it got infected with something, and it died on us.

I left it alone for a couple years, but one day, I decided I just wasn’t positive how sturdy it was. I worried that a storm would come along one day and uproot the whole thing, turning it into a massive missile aimed at our house. So, in my typical fashion, I decided I would tackle The Tree and take care of it myself.

I read up a little bit on the subject, about how to take down a tree safely. I bought all the equipment necessary. I knew, of course, that most people go to professionals for these things. I have even heard of some professional tree care specialists that are supposed to be quite good in the area. But, it has always been my opinion that people call in professionals not from need but from a sort of lazy refusal to do things themselves.

I would handle The Tree. I was very confident I could.

I would say I remained confident at least up until the moment The Tree tumbled through my roof and into my living room. So, that would be up until five minutes into my tree removal project.

Apparently, the limbs were less sturdy than I had thought. One strong pull to test whether it could handle my full weight, and down half of The Tree came.

Thankfully, no one was in the living room. Also, I suppose I should be grateful that I don’t need to call anyone to remove The Tree. I did, technically, achieve my goal.

I am, however, probably going to call in a professional for the roof. I think I’ve done enough hands-on work for one lifetime.

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Taking Legal Action for Explosion Accidents

Plants, coal mines, refineries, and other industrial lines of work create extra danger for their workers. These dangerous conditions can lead to injury, and even fatality as the force of an explosion is extremely intense. If you have been injured in an explosion, it is important to remember that this is not the end of your financial road, there are still legal actions you can take. All over the world people are employed in these dangerous industries, and all over the world people are injured on the job, and all over the world, there are people that can help get you the compensation you deserve.

For instance, an explosion in Tampa, Florida left two dead, and for severely injured in June of 2017. The explosion took place in the Big Bend Plant and resulted in four “severe: injuries, and two deaths declared on the scene. The New York Times said that the explosion occurred during a “routine cleaning” of a slag tank. Located at the bottom of a boiler in Unit 2, the tank collects coal slag, which the New York Times describes as, “glass-like waste product formed after the remains of burned coal are mixed with cold water.” While this slag is an important resource that is sold to other companies, it was the cause of death for the plant workers. The slag can reach temperatures upward of 1,000 degrees. This added danger to the already dangerous situation did not end well. The Big Bend plant in Florida is capable of a lot of damage, being that is one of the largest plants in the state, able to produce over 1,700 megawatts of electricity.

In this case, and in most cases involving work-related explosions, there is legal action that can and should be taken. Just because your line of work is more dangerous, than say an office job, doesn’t mean you just have to accept your injuries and move on. Experienced lawyers are there to help you get the compensation you deserve. Recovery is the most important thing in your life right now, and the financial burden that weighs you down should be the least of your worries. Even if an explosion took your loved one from you too soon, there is still a lawyer out there that can help handle all the monetary decisions so you can grieve, and honor your loved one.

Williams Kherkher states that “Catastrophic injuries ranging from paralysis to amputations to severe burns are all common among workers who have been hurt in an explosion.” Regardless of the type injury you possess, you are not in this alone. There are expert teams of lawyers who have trained specifically to help you in your explosion accidents. Recovery or grievance are number one priorities, so let the lawyers take care of getting you compensation for your medical bills, inability to work, and pain and suffering.

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Fatal Construction Accident in Minnesota

For people in many professions, the workplace can be very dangerous. Nearly any job that requires physical labor entails a multitude of different risks. Even jobs that are not inherently dangerous can result in injuries and accidents under unsafe circumstances. Although all workplaces are supposed to follow guidelines to keep their employees safe, some companies fail to take the appropriate precautions to prevent accidents. This is particularly dangerous on construction site where heavy materials and machinery are frequently in use. Failure to properly train employees, post adequate safety signage, and properly maintain the work site can lead to serious and even deadly accident. The Twin Cities Pioneer Press recently reported on one such construction accident that led to the death of a worker.

Construction worker Enrique Rosas Murga was killed on the job in August of 2017. He was working on a project in Farmington for Valmont Industries when the accident occurred. Rosas Murga and another employee were operating a machine that turns metal pipes into flag poles and light poles, at the time of the accident. The pole came loose of the machine and hit Rosas Murga on the head. Although he was wearing a hard hat, he sustained several serious blunt force injuries to the head. The medical examiner stated that these injuries could be from the impact of the pipe itself, or the pipe could have caused Rosas Murga to hit his head on another object. Valmont Industries is working with OSHA and manufacturing experts to understand what caused this accident and how to prevent accidents of this kind in the future. However, a retired employee of Valmont Industries commented that this death was likely caused by one of three problems: operator error, machine malfunction, or Rosas Murga’s assistant was not pay close enough attention.

Rosas Murga’s fellow workers are devastated by this loss to their team, and undoubtedly Rosas Murga’s family and loved ones are feeling a similar sense of grief. This accident shows just how dangerous a construction work site can be when even small errors are made. It seems likely that Rosas Murga’s death could have been prevented has the company taken steps to ensure that their machinery and their employees were prepared for the job. Unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done retrospectively to help Rosas Murga, but hopefully, the company will change their actions moving forward.

For Rosas Murga’s family, not only does this loss come with significant grief and sorrow, but they must also manage the financial loss that this accident has caused. They must now take on the financial burden of a lost income and any additional expenses that this accident has created. However, they may be entitled to worker’s compensation, which can help cover these costs. Although this money will not help end the pain they must be experiencing, it will ensure that they can remain financially stable during this difficult time.

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Spinal Cord Injury Levels

Spinal Cord Injury Levels

Spinal cord injuries are some of the worst injuries you can sustain. It can result into sensory and motor problems that can significantly change your life. These injuries are sustained from traumatic events, such as traffic collisions, sports and recreation, and falls from elevated places.

The spinal cord is a complicated body part, so damaging different parts of it may result into different complications. Generally, the higher the injury in the spinal cord, the more severe it is. Using this reasoning, it can be argued that the worst spinal cord injuries are those from the top of the spinal cord.

Cervical

The spinal cord can be divided into segments, and the top most segment is the cervical segment. Damaging this segment can have devastating consequences, such as quadriplegia. Quadriplegia is a kind of paralysis where the patient partially or totally loses sensory and motor functions of all four limbs. Patients who have sustained cervical injuries need assistance in their day to day activities.

Thoracic

This is the middle segment of the spinal cord. If this segment has sustained an injury, the patient may acquire paraplegia, or the partial or total loss of sensory and motor functions of the lower limbs. The upper limbs can be unaffected, but the lower limbs may require assistance so they can properly function. Getting braces for walking support is a good idea.

Lumbar

The lower segment of the spinal cord is called the lumbar. Sustaining damage in this section can result into lower torso problems, such as issues on bladder and bowel movement. The lower limbs can also be compromised, but they can remain functional by using braces and other walking supports.

Sacral

This is the most bottom section of the spinal cord, and injuring it may have almost the same symptoms from the lumbar section. Bladder and bowel movement problems may arise, and the lower limbs may be compromised. The difference is that those who have suffered injuries in this section have higher chances of being able to walk.

Aside from the pain and suffering from spinal cord injuries, you can also lose significant time at work or school. Worse, you can lose your ability to work. This just proves that spinal cord injuries are seriously damaging.

According to the website of the Benton Law Firm, those who have sustained spinal cord injuries because of somebody else may get compensation from that guilty party. It is good to know that the law is on the side of the victims, but at the end of the day, money is not enough to offset the damages of spinal cord injuries.

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Temporary and Permanent Disability in Worker Compensation

Getting injured on the job is one of the worst things that could happen to a worker, especially if he or she is the primary earner in the family. There will be financial burdens such as medical costs, and the victim will also lose his or her earning capacity for a temporary or permanent time, depending on the injury sustained.

Because of all the damages that can be sustained, it is normal to expect the victim’s employer to at least help their employee. According to the website of the worker’s compensation attorneys at Evans Moore, LLC, there are legal options that can be pursued, such as compensation for temporary or permanent disability and workplace injury.

Temporary Disability
Temporary disability can be classified as partial and total. Temporary partial disability refers to the employee’s limited capability to fulfil his or her duties on a specific time frame, while temporary total disability refers to the employee’s total incapacity to perform his or her duties also on a specific time frame.

Permanent Disability
Permanent disability claims are for those who have sustained lifelong injuries, forever affecting their physical capability. An example of permanent disability is amputation. Like temporary disability, permanent disability can also be classified into partial and total.

Permanent partial disability occurs when the employee has sustained a lifelong injury and has limited his or her capability to fully fulfil the duties of the job, while permanent total disability occurs when the employee has been totally unable to fulfill his job on a lifelong basis as well.

Getting Compensation
There are instances where companies will do whatever they can to limit or totally deny their employees of worker’s compensation to save money. The financial burdens of temporary and permanent disabilities may be too great for the victim and his or her family, affecting the quality of their lives. For this reason, getting the help of legal professionals is not such a bad idea.

Since disabilities can be classified into four aspects, such as temporary partial, temporary total, permanent partial, and permanent total, the damages they pose also defer in severity. For this reason, the compensation for these classifications also vary.

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The Two Largest Federal Programs that are Designed to Provide Cash Benefits to Certain Disabled Citizens in the U.S.

The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are two large programs introduced by the Social Security Administration (SSA) in 1956 and 1974, respectively. These programs are designed to provide cash benefits to people with disabilities.

Despite both programs falling under the management of the SSA, each address different disability needs and have different requirements for qualification. SSDI, for instance, pays benefits to qualified SS insured members who may be 65 years old or below and who are also totally disabled. To qualify for payment, a member must meet the following requirements:

  • Had worked long enough (or recently enough) and have paid Social Security taxes while employed (these taxes are automatically deducted from workers’ monthly pay and are reflected in employees’ payslip under the heading FICA,which stands for Federal Insurance Contributions Act ;
  • Has earned the number of credits required by the SSA (workers earn four credits annually); and,
  • Is suffering from total disability which renders him/her (i) unable to perform his/her previous work, as well as any other work, due to the medical condition. This disability can also be expected to last for a year or more, or it can result in death.

A list medical conditions or an impairment listing manual or blue book, has been drawn up by the SSA; finding one’s disability in this list will automatically include him/her in the roster of disabled insured SS members. Not finding one’s health condition in the list, however, will require an evaluation by Social Security to determine if health condition is serious enough to be considered a form of total disability.

The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Program is designed to provide non-taxable cash benefits to citizens who are, at least, 65 years old, blind or disabled (the meaning assigned to “disability” is the same with SSDI), and whose income or resources do not exceed the amount set under the federal benefit rate (FBR) which is determined by the federal government.

SSI provides non-taxable financial assistance to Americans, who are, at least, 65 years old, blind, or disabled (the meaning assigned to “disability” is the same with SSDI), and whose income or resources fall within the federal benefit rate (FBR) determined by the government. Earning of credits and employment in an SS covered job are not qualifying requirement under the SSI program (due to this, even children may be qualified to receive SSI cash benefits).

The primary intent of SSI benefits is to help provide for the basic needs of its beneficiaries. These basic needs include food, shelter and clothing. In some states, SSI benefits application is also considered as application for food stamps, while other states allow the benefits to be supplemented by Medicaid to cover prescriptions, doctor’s fee and other medical care costs.

As explained by the firm Hankey Law Office,though disability benefits vary by amount and duration, these remain to be a sure and reliable source of income that can make a world of difference in the lives of disabled individuals and their families. Thus, it may be best that applicants for this benefit be assisted by skilled SS benefit attorneys to make sure that all records pertinent to the application are prepared and submitted on time.

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An Easy, Simple and Fast Way to Getting All Your Auto Insurance Needs

In any part of the globe, the surest way for a driver not to fail in compensating anyone he or she may injure in an accident or whose property he or she may damage is by carrying auto insurance. This is the reason why in all U.S. states, whenever drivers renew their license, register their car, are stopped by a police officer or get involved in an accident, they are required to show proof that they carry auto liability insurance or any state-approved alternative to auto insurance coverage.

Auto liability insurance coverage was first made compulsory in 1925. This law, now known as Financial Responsibility law, was aimed at making sure that drivers at fault in accidents have the financial capability to compensate their victims for the damages and losses they are made to suffer.

Carrying auto liability insurance is just one of the ways through which drivers comply with the Financial Responsibility law and, in 48 states, this is just the way drivers show their compliance. New Hampshire is the only state where drivers are not mandated to carry auto insurance coverage, unless they have been cited for a DUI or reckless driving, or has injured or killed someone in an accident where they are at fault. Without any traffic rule violation, drivers can, instead, file an SR-22 or deposit securities or money with the state treasurer as an alternative to having an auto insurance policy. In another state, in Virginia, specifically, drivers may also just pay the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) the required uninsured motor vehicle fee in lieu of purchasing an automobile liability insurance policy.

In states where auto liability insurance is mandated, 38 of these, which are known as “tort” or “fault” states, require drivers to carry tort insurance coverage; the remaining 12 states, known as “no-fault” states, require the “no-fault” auto insurance coverage on their drivers (although drivers in New Hampshire are not required to have auto insurance and drivers in Virginia have the option not to insure their vehicle, these two states require the tort insurance coverage for drivers who rather choose to carry auto insurance liability coverage).

Despite the mandate, more than 29 million drivers, according to Insurance Research Council (IRC), remain to be without car insurance due to the high cost of car insurance policies. Choosing an insurance policy that carries the type of coverage that drivers need and one that does not go beyond their budget in no longer much of a problem though with the help of car accident law firms like Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ® for instance. Independent car insurance firms actually exist for this very purpose. Besides providing drivers with insurance quotes (as well quotes for their other needs, like SR-22), some of these firms also do the transaction with a driver’s chosen insurance provider. Not only do the quotes help drivers find the cheapest and best policies, the whole transaction itself is also easy, simple and fast.

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How to Spot an Abusive Nursing Home

Nursing homes are meant to be the reprieve of our elderly loved ones. After all, this is time and age where the children of many of the elderly generation are busy professionals and elderly folk need constant care and companionship in their old age.

It can be a difficult decision to decide that it might be the best option to admit an elderly loved one into a nursing home but sometimes, it is ultimately the most recommendable action to make. If your elderly relative, for example, is one who needs to be constantly monitored due to dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, it is necessary for them to be in a place that is safe, secure, and equipped with the necessary staff and medications in order to ensure their comfort and safety. However, there are instances wherein a nursing home doesn’t abide by the required standard of care.

This is not only potentially dangerous but also abusive as negligence of this caliber is simply unacceptable.

According to the website of the lawyers with the Chris Mayo Law Firm, some abuse victims are psychologically traumatized to the point where they believe their experience of abuse is something that they deserve. There are certain cases where abuse survivors fear retribution too much to speak out against their abusers. This is where noticing the signs of abuse can come in and you can help people who are not capable of helping themselves.

If your elderly relative used to be outgoing and sociable but then turned recluse and exceedingly anxious after their stay at a nursing home, there could be abuse present. If there is insufficient trained staff on hand to give individual care to each and every patient, that can constitute as nursing home abuse. If there is a room within the premises that is inaccessible to the public without due reason, there might be cause for suspicion. Every elderly patient in a nursing home is entitled to individual care that is attuned to their daily needs and if this standard of care is not met, it can warrant legal action under the grounds of nursing home abuse, which is a subset of personal injury.

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When is a Functional Capacity Evaluation Discriminatory?

Functional capacity evaluation, or FCE, is an assessment performed by qualified personnel to test if a returning worker is fit to work after an injury. Many employers choose to implement FCEs to ensure that the injured worker can perform their job without compromising their own safety and the safety of their colleagues. Furthermore, FCEs can be an effective tool in guarding against those who might be feigning their sickness to acquire leave benefits or workers’ compensation.

FCEs are designed to scientifically and objectively measure a worker’s abilities and limitations when it comes to performing specific tasks. When performed in an unscientific and subjective manner, however, these tests could be discriminatory, and thus unlawful.

According to the website of Cary Kane, LLP, anyone who feels that they have been discriminated at work with these tests might be eligible to file a complaint at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). But how can you know if an FCE is discriminatory? According to the EEOC, an FCE might be in violation of the law if:

  • The test elicits information about a disability, for instance, by asking disability-related inquiries, which could be in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. These may include questions about an employee’s disability and how they become disabled, and requests to provide medical documentation relating to their disability.
  • The test is “medical” in nature, which means it was done to reveal a worker’s mental and/or physical impairments. The EEOC weighs the validity of an FCE based on a variety of factors, including how invasive the test was (i.e., if it involves inserting catheters), whether it was administered and interpreted by a medical professional, and whether it was conducted in a medical setting and with medical equipment.

Furthermore, according to the EEOC, employers are only entitled to ask disability-related question or conduct medical examination to workers if they have a reasonable belief that it is “job-related and consistent with business necessity.” For instance, an employee working as a crane operator might be asked with disability-related inquiries if the medication he is taking for his hypertension makes him feel lethargic and unable to concentrate.

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