Offshore Accident Law

Under the Jones Act (or Merchant Marine Act) of 1920, injured seamen have “the right to a reasonably safe work environment, the right to file a legal claim in the event of an injury caused by negligence, the right to additional compensation, and the right to ‘maintenance and cure’ compensation for injuries or illness.” Though the Jones Act doesn’t explicitly define who qualifies as a seaman, those typically covered include inland waterway workers and offshore workers who work on jack-up rigs, barges, tugboats, cargo ships, construction barges, cruise ships, diving vessels, recreational boats, etc. In other words, if someone was injured while working on the water, they may qualify for compensation under the Jones Act.

Accidents in the gulf

As the Houston Offshore Accident Lawyers at Williams Kherkher explain, a combination of “unpredictable conditions, long hours, and dangerously heavy equipment are major causes of serious injuries to offshore workers.” Common causes of offshore accidents include:

  • Explosions
  • Diving accidents
  • Helicopter crashes
  • Equipment failure
  • Distracted crew members
  • Boat accidents
  • Safety regulation failure

Why hire a maritime lawyer

The specifics of Jones Act protections are different from personal injury cases on the land, so it’s extremely important for injured offshore workers to hire an experienced maritime lawyer who can properly handle the claim. Oftentimes, employers and insurance companies will be more interested in protecting themselves than fairly settling, so it’s essential for injured workers to have someone fighting on their side. Though heavy machinery, long shifts, and inclement weather naturally make maritime work a little dangerous, employers are responsible for taking appropriate measures to actively defend their employees from such dangers.

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You Owe it to Yourself to be Healthy and to Stay Healthy

You Owe it to Yourself to be Healthy and to Stay Healthy

Pharmaceutical companies have a moral and legal obligation to make sure that all the medicinal products and medical devices that they produce are safe and effective, especially in treating serious health conditions. Thus, it is very necessary that, before being approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for patient use, these products have been proven safe and effective through clinical tests – this is to see their actual effects on patients.

A perfectly safe and effective medicine of medical device can work wonders; however, actual situations have shown that safe and effective sometimes never go together. For what may be safe for one, may serve as poison (or a cause of another type of illness) to another and what may just be the right dosage for one may not be enough for someone else.

Before being introduced into the market, a pharmaceutical product needs to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration first. And, before approval by the FDA, a pharmaceutical firm first needs to show proofs that its products have been tested and proven safe and effective for patient use.

Despite the extensive research and tests conducted by pharmaceutical experts, however, many drugs and medical devices still get reported to the FDA as increasing the risk of the development of more serious illnesses or causing death in some of those who use them. Today, it is already open knowledge that many prescription drugs (as well as over-the-counter drugs, due to overdose) are indeed the cause of either of the two. This may be due to any of the following two reasons: first, since the drug companies are the ones sponsoring the tests conducted on their medical products, they have the capability to keep the negative results detected from the medicine and submit only the positive outcome of the tests to the FDA. Second, despite the real effectiveness and safeness of the medicine, the patient’s immune system may not be strong enough to fight possible drug side-effects, or the patient may have a medical health condition or is taking another medication, causing the drug from working safely and effectively in him/her. This is why it is essentially important that doctors explain to their patients everything concerning the drug or medical device that they will prescribe; about the drug’s or device’s possible effects and what health condition and which medication will not work well with any of these.

The firm Spiros Law, P.C. strongly state, “You and your loved ones place your trust in the medical industry to provide you with safe and beneficiary drugs and devices. When the industry betrays that trust, you are eligible for just compensation. Drugs included in our mass tort lawsuits include:

  • Onglyza
  • Xarelto
  • Pradaxa
  • Eliquis
  • Invokana
  • Risperdal
  • Lipitor
  • Fosamax
  • Benicar
  • Accutane
  • Actos
  • Victoza
  • Zofran
  • Vioxx
  • Yaz
  • Talc
  • Januvia
  • Ambilify
  • Taxotere

In addition to representing victims of defective drugs, we fight corporations on behalf of victims of faulty medical devices. Oftentimes these devices are sold to consumers in dire pain. Again, you deserve fair compensation if you have been the victim of a flawed device. Devices included in our mass tort lawsuits are:

  • Hernia Mesh
  • IVC Filters
  • DePuy Hip
  • Stryker Hip
  • Biomet Hip
  • Merena IUD
  • Medtronic Infuse Bone Graft
  • Morcellator
  • Smith and Nephew Hip Liner
  • Stryker Knee Implant
  • Syngenta

If you have taken any of the drugs listed above or if any of the above medical devices has been used in treating you, then you maybe owe it to yourself to undergo medical check-up immediately and, if something not right is seen, to consult with a personal injury or a defective drugs & devices attorney immediately.

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Immunity of Government Agencies from Lawsuits is not Absolute

Though the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has never failed in reminding drivers to always observe traffic rules and drive safely, more than 90% of the five million vehicular accidents occurring every year can still be blamed on drivers.

Driver errors, however, are not the only causes of accidents. Though making up only a small percentage, it still is true that there are instances when the cause of an accident is beyond the control of the driver. Blame can sometimes be directed to cars and car parts manufacturers who produce defective cars of manufacture vehicle parts using low-quality materials,but promise great performance just to ensure saleability. At other times, they fail industry and government standards, rendering them susceptible to product liability charges, especially if the parts they produce become the cause of an accident. If a car crash, however, occurs due to a highway defect or a road hazard, like roadway debris, pothole, uneven pavement, poorly lighted street, traffic sign blocked by trees or other fixtures, wrong or missing road sign, lack of railroad crossing lights, water pooling on road, or damaged or missing guardrail, can the government be blamed and made to face liability for whatever damages an accident results to?

Manufacturers of defective car or car parts affect only those who buy their products and put to risk only these certain few and those with whom they share the road. Road hazards or highway defects, however, put not just a few, but all lives in danger. While drivers and manufacturers can easily be held accountable for accidents resulting from their mistakes or negligence, holding a government agency liable, due to road defects, poorly constructed roads or poorly maintained roads, can be very challenging due to the so-called “government immunity” or “sovereign immunity,” which renders states, cities and municipalities immune from any form of liability, despite injuries during an accident.

Immunity of government agencies from lawsuits, however, is not absolute. If it can be proven that there is gross negligence in maintaining a roadway then holding a government agency liable and claiming compensation from it are not impossible, especially if an accident victim is represented by a determined and experienced personal injury lawyer.

The law firm Mazin & Associates says that when a car accident occurs, the result could be grave injury, permanent disability or death for drivers and their passengers, bystanders, motorcyclists, and cyclists. Whatever the cause of an accident is, it is always possible for victims to recover compensation for their sufferings – with the help of a seasoned and determined car accident of personal injury lawyer.

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Who Is Exempt and Non-Exempt From Receiving Overtime Pay?

There is an old adage which goes, “There is always an exception to the rule.” When it comes to overtime wage, not all employees are entitled to receive pay for exceeding the normal 40 hours’ workweek. The rule on exemption from overtime pay is governed by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). While most American workers are covered by the FLSA, they are classified as either exempt or nonexempt.

Non-Exempt Employees

Under the FLSA, non-exempt employees are paid the minimum wage and overtime pay for exceeding 40 hours in a given week. The law requires employees who work overtime to be paid 1.5 times their regular rate for every hour of overtime. According to the website of Williams Kherkher, employers mistakenly classify non-exempt employees as exempt to avoid paying overtime wage. If this happens, such employee can file a complaint with the US Department of Labor.

Exempt Employees

Exempt employees are not covered by the FLSA and hence are not granted overtime pay. Jobs such as outside sales and airline employees are exempt from overtime pay as defined by the law. An exempt employee is one who performs a high-level of duty with respect to the overall operations of the company. These jobs fall into three categories namely executive, professional, and administrative.

In addition, jobs that are governed by other laws such as the Railway Labor Act and Motor Carriers Act are not applicable to FLSA. In general, an exempt employee should satisfy the following conditions:

  • Has a salary of at least $23,600 a year or $445 a week
  • Is paid on a salary basis
  • Performs exempt job duties

These conditions are not applicable to professions that pay on the hour such as physicians and schoolteachers.

President Barack Obama has recently made an amendment on the overtime regulation last May 2016. The new ruling extends overtime pay protections to more than 4 million workers within the first year of its implementation.

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Insurance for Alternative Vehicles

With the increasing risks of road accidents, many people are looking for alternatives to travel. Mopeds and scooters offer a convenient alternative for travel, and it makes traveling faster and easier. However, many people may be confused as to whether these vehicles need motorcycle insurance or they do not qualify. Before using your moped or scooter on the road, it may be important to know the laws in your state and avoid being in a troublesome situation with law enforcement.

Many states regard two-wheeled vehicles that carry engines smaller than 50 cubic centimeters (or a top speed not exceeding 30 mph, or 35 mph in some states) to be mopeds. Motorcycles are defined by states as two-wheeled vehicles with engines larger than those used in mopeds and thus can shave faster speeds. The motorcycle accident lawyers of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ® state that motorcycles are required by law to carry insurance coverages. Mopeds, on the other hand, require liability insurance in only 24 states and at DC. The state of Illinois is one of the states that require moped riders to carry liability insurance before being on the road.

Those that are often exempted from having liability insurance are those who are using bicycles and Razr-like scooters that have small motors. These, however, are often not allowed on major roads and highways for safety reasons. It may seem like a small matter, but because of the limited protection that mopeds and scoters offer, the injuries that riders acquire after being involved in an accident can be severe and even life-threatening. The insurance that law enforcement impose to all riders and motorists are not only to protect their vehicles from damages, but also to cover for the injuries that can happen following an accident. Often, it is the person who caused the accident who will have to pay for the damages, but having your own insurance can greatly assist in the financial department, especially if the at-fault driver does not have insurance or does not have enough to cover for all the damages.

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Should I Get an Automobile Accident Lawyer?

Have you gotten into an automobile accident recently? Were you almost in an automobile accident and, perhaps, you wanted to prepare for the worst just in case the worst comes to show? Do you know someone who had recently suffered from an automobile accident and either want to help them or avoid their fate?

There are many scenarios to which a person might fall victim to an automobile accident. There might be a various ways that you might fall victim to an automobile accident. Maybe there was a person directly involved – a drunk driver, a driver on the influence of recreational drugs, or maybe a reckless driver – or, perhaps, the accident was due to technical failures with defects that can be traced back to the manufacturing stage of the vehicle. It is due to these varying factors as to why seeking the help of an experience professional might be of some use to you.

It is possible, however, that some insurance companies can tempt you into accepting a certain amount that will take care of things quickly. The easy way that they promise can, unfortunately, be difficult to live with in the long run. The amount that you are offered is not always enough to compensate for all the consequences that an automobile accident can cause. The offer may take care of the initial medical expenses as well as the cost of repairing the vehicle, if one is involved as you can still suffer from an automobile accident even if you’re just a walking pedestrian.

However, without the guidance of someone in the know, such as a South Carolina automobile accident lawyer, there is the possibility that you may be unjustly withheld expenses necessary to cover the loss of wages as well as the recompense needed for therapy, as some survivors of automobile accidents do require some method of medication or therapy for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), clinical depression, or anxiety. These might not be things that you had initially considered when settling with an amount that seemingly took care for everything and you never know if you are owed better in these cases unless you have someone on your team who knows their way around the field.

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Are you an invitee, a licensee, or a trespasser?

Almost any Tennessee personal injury attorney would tell you that being seriously harmed in someone else’s property in Tennessee may also require you to deal with long recovery periods, huge hospital bills, lost time at work, and debilitating injuries that might compromise your quality of life. Unfortunately, each year, many injurious, sometimes even fatal incidents happen inside establishments where owners fail to ensure that occupants and visitors are safe.

Premise owners have a duty to keep their premises free from any hazard that may cause injurious accidents. However, if you have been injured in someone else’s property, the degree to which an owner owes duty to you depends largely on your status. Here are the three different classifications of occupiers, and how they are different from each other.

  1. Invitee – An invitee is a person who is allowed to enter the property. In most cases, invitees are people who come to the property to provide the owner with some benefits. For instance, you are probably an invitee if your neighbor asks you to enter her house to teach her a new recipe. You are also an invitee if you enter a store as a shopper, or a restaurant as a diner.
  2. Licensee – A licensee is a person allowed to enter a property, usually for their own purpose. Typically, property owner owes a licensee lesser duty of care than an invitee. Some examples of licensees include salesmen, social guests, or those who have an open invitation to enter the property.
  3. Trespasser – A trespasser is anyone who doesn’t meet any of the criteria above. Usually, an owner doesn’t owe duty of reasonable care to trespassers. However, in cases wherein a trespasser is a child who have been attracted to an accessible condition of danger, such as swimming pools, the property owner could be held liable in failing to secure his/her property.
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Divorce and Domestic Violence: Temporary Restraining Orders

Going through a divorce can be extremely difficult, especially if the reason behind such a decision involves emotional and physical abuse. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, an average number of about 20 people are physically abused by an intimate partner every minute in the United States. Even if a person manages to escape from a harmful situation, the legal process involved in severing ties with an abusive spouse can be arduous and lengthy. A solution to such a threatening scenario is obtaining a temporary restraining order while waiting for the divorce and all related legal issues to be settled in court.

A temporary restraining order or TRO is an order issued by a court preventing a person from being contacted, harassed, or stalked by their abuser. This order can be easily obtained by any individual facing some sort of threat or violence caused by another. While it is mostly applicable in domestic violence cases, a TRO can be granted even without a case pending in court. In some states, a TRO may also be called a temporary protective order or order of protection.

TROs become effective as soon as a judge signs it. The abuser is notified of the existence of the order and will then be restrained and prevented from attempting any sort of contact with the petitioner, as well as any of their children or family members. A TRO also extends to places that the petitioner frequents. Aside from their home, the abusive spouse will not be allowed to come near the petitioner’s workplace and their children’s educational facilities. Violations of these clauses could lead to imprisonment, as well as tighter regulations and requirements against the abuser.

Domestic violence victims going through a difficult divorce can turn to the law and seek out protection through a temporary restraining order. Because dealing with this additional legal conundrum can complicate the divorce process even more, it would be better to consult with a qualified family law attorney for more information. As it says on the website of Arenson Law Group, PC, divorce and domestic violence involve many complexities that are best resolved with appropriate legal counsel. Without a highly skilled lawyer, this cases can take longer and go into further complications.

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Important Facts about Medical Malpractice

Doctors and other medical professionals hold a large degree of trust in their hands. They are responsible for the lives of patients seeking their service, and are expected to provide the best possible care they can offer. As such, they have very little room to commit errors. Even the slightest mistake could prove to be harmful and lead to devastating results.

Unfortunately, there are instances when people in medical profession fail to meet the high standards imposed on them. According to data compiled by the Civil Justice Resource Group, an estimated number of 25,000 to 120,000 medical malpractice cases lead to a patient’s death every year. What happens when this trust and responsibility is carelessly handled by some medical professionals? What options do patients have when their errors lead to harmful and sometimes even fatal outcomes?

Medical malpractice constitutes any error committed by doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals due to negligence. Among such crucial mistakes include surgical errors, misdiagnosis, delayed or improper treatment, birth injuries, and wrongful death. Despite its prevalence, medical malpractice is easy to avoid. A San Antonio personal injury lawyer may tell you that all these devastating consequences could be prevented if medical personnel were more careful and diligent in dealing with patients through every step of the way.

It’s important to note that medical malpractice hardly stems from any malicious intent. Most of the time, medical malpractice cases happen due to mistakes that might seem small or irrelevant in retrospect. For example, a physician rushing to meet different patients might miss a step during examination and give a wrong diagnosis. An overworked nurse, meanwhile, could accidentally switch medication for two different patients just because there aren’t enough people on staff. Hospitals should also be held accountable in making sure they have appropriate regulations to keep their personnel from making crucial mistakes.

Every individual has the right to access quality health care. It’s heartbreaking to know that there some patients who are denied such right because of mistakes and accidents that are easy to avoid. If you or anyone you love have suffered tremendous harm due to medical malpractice, it’s important to seek out legal counsel right away. Your legal options and avenues might vary state to state, so make sure you contact an experienced attorney from your area.

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Cigarette Maker is Finally Found Liable

The winning streak that Philip Morris USA, Inc. has been enjoying for years has finally broken, and with a bang. Florida resident Richard Boatright was awarded $35 million in compensatory and punitive damages (Philip Morris was found 85% liable, but also penalized for fraud and conspiracy) for his personal injury claim against the tobacco company. He had to undergo two lung transplants for medical conditions caused by cigarette smoking. And he is likely to be just the first of thousands to make a successful bid for compensation for health problems caused by cigarette smoking.

It is common knowledge now that cigarette smoking is extremely hazardous to the health, but back in the 1960s, it was an uphill battle for plaintiffs to prove that tobacco companies had a measure of liability for their failure to warn and misleading and unconscionable (they targeted children) marketing tactics. It took years, and many appeals before the Supreme Court finally ruled that the defenses used by tobacco companies to avoid the consequences of their liabilities, including that of preemption, did not apply to the personal injury cases brought before them.

Even 46 states have made a claim against the tobacco companies in 1998 where it became apparent that:

  • Nicotine, a component of tobacco, is addictive
  • There was a causal link between cigarette smoking and certain diseases
  • Tobacco companies knew but concealed evidence about these facts since the 1960s

The states sued tobacco companies for the medical costs of tobacco-related illnesses, which eventually resulted in the Master Settlement Agreement for $206 billion.

However, it may be too early to celebrate. Tobacco companies are notorious for dodging the liability bullet; a 2000 class action (Engle v. Liggett Group, Inc.) $145 billion verdict representing about 8,000 plaintiff was vacated in 2006 because the cases were not appropriate for a class action lawsuit, and was decertified. Each plaintiff was allowed to re-file their cases as individuals, but it was only in 2014 when the first of the so-called “Engle Progeny” finally saw justice. Only time will reveal if tobacco companies will finally pay the piper.

According to the website of Pohl & Berk, LLP, if you have just recently discovered that you have a medical condition caused by cigarette smoking, you could still make a claim. Contact a personal injury lawyer in your area to gain a better understanding of your legal options.

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