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Road Behavior, A Major Determinant of Car Accidents

To earn a driver’s license in the US, one has to take a driver’s education course, pass a written exam, take a driving lesson which would familiarize him/her with US roads and, finally, go through a road test, which would somehow show how he/she will behave when behind the wheel.

Despite some differences in requirements (among states) for one to earn a driver’s license, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in each state, which grants the license, will make sure that the applicant knows and will observe all traffic rules to help ensure road safety.

Based on statistical records, however, it is obvious that some drivers, after having earned their license or as they become more familiar with the road, start to set aside road courtesy and place their driving style and preference above the safety of people who share the road with them. This is one reason why there are still millions of cases of car wrecks due to drunk-driving, driver error, over and under-speeding and reckless driving.

Though identified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) only as the third major cause of road accidents, speeding presents a much greater danger than any of the other causes, because while speed will mean lesser time of travel, it can also mean greater damage and more severe injuries in the event of an accident (according to the NHTSA, the top cause of car accidents is drunk-driving, while not wearing a seatbelt is second).

Another equally dangerous road behavior that has resulted to a high rate of car wrecks is reckless driving, which is committed through many different ways, such as weaving from one lane to another, making abrupt lane changes, not slowing down at intersections, not stopping on red lights and stop signs and tail-gaiting, among others.

It is good to know how many drivers hate and fear sharing the road with speedsters and reckless drivers, as shown in one study; surprisingly though, when asked if they have driven recklessly and/or have violated speed limits before, these same people have confessed guilt, but reasoned out that they needed to keep an appointment or that they did not intend to harm anyone.

Accidents, obviously, are never intended or these wouldn’t be accidents at all. All it takes is for one driver to set aside road rules to put all others’ safety, including his own, at risk. If anyone can not give his/her undivided attention on the road while driving, then maybe it is time for him/her to ask someone who will, to drive for him/her instead.

Professional Nursing License Defense

In 1903 the Nursing Practice Act, which was the first nursing law in the US, was approved and enforced by the federal government through the regulatory agency or the Nursing Board of each state. In the US, there are as many as 61 Nursing Boards which are tasked to:

  • To protect and promote the safety of the people
  • Recognize schools of nursing
  • Set up the standards of the nursing profession
  • Examine and license qualified applicants
  • Control the practice of professional and vocational nursing
  • Interpret the Nursing Practice Act (NPA), as well as rules relating to education and licensure of nurses
  • Take complaints and conduct investigations on the probable violations of the Nursing Practice Act
  • Exact disciplinary actions on violators through proper legal action

After years of rigorous and patient study in order to complete an accredited nursing program, a nursing graduate will then have to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) before obtaining his/her license. Though quite demanding, those can be nothing compared to what is expected of a licensee (or nurse) during the practice of his/her profession.

For a meaningful profession and to make sure that one’s license is always in good standing, a licensee will need to: be English proficient; conform with specific requirements of the nursing laws of the state where he/she is practicing his/her profession; undergo continuous education to maintain clinical competence; and, possess good moral character, which implies not committing any criminal act.

Being ethical is required as much as being competent and qualified due to the vulnerability of the patients entrusted under nurses’ care. The only sad thing about this is that, due to the ethical perspective, complaints against nurses, as being unprofessional or unethical, can become (and many indeed have been) too personal an issue. Complaints have also come from different sources – patient, co-worker, employer, the hospital itself, and even from the nurse’s irritated partner or spouse.

Nurses have be criticized about so many issues, legal and even personal matters (which have no connection, whatsoever, to their clinical practice). Complaints against nurses are forwarded to the state’s nursing board which, then, informs the concerned nurse about such complaint. To be able to defend and redeem oneself from the negative effects of complaints/accusations, especially those without basis, hiring a good licensure defense lawyer will be a very commendable act.

Defending a nursing license is a very complex task for someone who is not an expert in the license defense law. And since, for nurses, being a licensee is the core of their life and activities, losing their license due either to a fraudulent accusation or a short span of weakness that led to a wrong act, can be too much of a penalty.

Insurance Bad Faith and the Strategies Employed by Insurance Providers...

A house, which may be nothing more than just a profitable commodity to real estate firms or the basis of business for property insurance providers, assumes a totally different value in the eyes of the family that owns it. For a family, the house that it was able to purchase through hard work is a treasured property Thus, a family would embrace every means to improve it as well as protect it from threats of destructive calamities by putting it under insurance coverage.

There is no telling, however, what extent of damage a disaster may cause. It will all depend on what type of disaster happens and how hard it will hit a particular property. It could be a storm, a tornado, a hurricane or fire – the effects of these can be a destroyed house part, which will only require simple replacements and repairs, or total destruction, which will require the building of a totally new structure.

A day or two after a calamity, such as a hurricane, independent adjusters are usually seen, eagerly assessing the extent of damages to properties. These adjusters are usually new to job, untrained and content in evaluating the damages from where they stand on the ground. Thus, it is not surprising that the estimations they come up with are more often incorrect than correct, resulting to a very low amount of financial benefit from the affected family’s property insurance provider.

The adjusters and the small amount of benefit (others even consider it good luck if claims for insurance has been approved, despite the small amount of cash) are actually strategies employed by many insurance firms to keep them from releasing big cash. Other insurance providers would even deny claims outrightly, using technical error as the reason of denial of the claims. The fact is, this so-called technical error is nothing more than a skipped box or a missed signature.

To policy holders, whose claims have been denied or whose benefits are either delayed or way below the amount stipulated in their policies, any of these situations can be both infuriating and very irritating. To insurance claims attorneys and other financial experts, however, this is one classic case of insurance bad faith, a situation wherein an insurance provider violates the very contract it has made and signed with the policy holder – to enable it to keep as much profit as it can.

Having a highly-knowledgeable and experienced insurance claims lawyer to help you from the very start of your application will be an intelligent decision. Well-versed in the laws governing insurance providers and policies, this lawyer can help you keep your claims application from being rejected plus enable you to receive the amount closest to that specified in your policy.

Causes of Truck Accidents in Texas

Collisions involving semi-trucks or 18-wheelers are always dangerous due to the capability of these huge vehicles to cause major damages, severe injuries or death. Especially in the state of Texas, where the number of trucks on roads and highways has greatly increased, the safety of more motorists has also been put at a greater risk.

In its serious attempt to significantly reduce the number of semi truck accidents, which number to more than 250 annually, Texas has been strict in the implementation of state and federal laws affecting truckers and drivers. Besides the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, which are directives addressed to truck operators all across the US, Texas has also imposed its more rigorous laws which require strict care in the maintenance and operation of trucks and in the hiring of qualified drivers. Some of these rules include:

  • A drug test on all drivers before employment, but most especially at the most practicable time following an accident. Operators must also regularly conduct a drug test on all drivers
  • Demonstration of the proper and safe handling of a truck by the driver
  • Drivers should be able to speak and understand the English language, has no record of serious violations of road safety laws and must be of proper age (at least 21 years old)
  • Drivers must observe traffic rules all the time, safely load all cargo, inspect the truck regularly, never drive when sick or fatigued, and so forth
  • Drivers must also keep a log which will indicate information, such as the start and end of their duty, total number of miles driven for the day, the name of their co-driver, etc.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the arm of the US Department of Transportation that is charged to implement all the safety rules and standards in the trucking industry, the most common causes of truck accidents in Texas are speeding, drunk-driving, reckless driving, aggressiveness on the road, running off the road, poor driving conditions, brake defect/failure, overloaded truck, inexperience or lack of training of the driver, etc.

Besides the possible severe physical injury a victim in a truck accident may sustain, the trauma the experience can cause may be enough to alter the lives of some people. Accidents are usually results of the negligent or irresponsible acts of some people. And since these acts can lead to another’s harm, the law holds the negligent person with the duty of compensating the victim for all the damages the injury will cause.

Common Causes of Wills and Estate Planning Disputes

There are instances when it is necessary that a doctor or a psychology expert should evaluate the mental capacity of a testator (a person making a will or a trust) before he/she begins to write down who the beneficiaries of his/her assets will be. A doctor’s or a psychologist’s expert diagnosis regarding a testator’s mental condition could be enough to rebut any claim that a person was mentally unable to fully   know and understand the importance of his/her decisions as he/she wrote his/her will.

The testator’s mental capacity is the most common ground in will, trust and estate litigations. These litigations usually arise when a child or a spouse feels that he/she has not been fairly treated by the testator. Though fair treatment is a very subjective issue, it is enough for anyone to challenge the validity or contents of a will (through a Will contest) and estate planning documents. It is not necessary that a family member should have been disinherited for him/her to challenge a Will; the mere fact that he/she feels that what was left for him/her was not  the amount of wealth or size of property that he/she actually deserved, then a Will contest may be filed.

Estate and trust disputes are always sensitive matters as these involve family members battling one another after divorce or the death of one spouse. Not being able to settle things amicably may be the result of the more complex types of relationships among family members, so that divorce or a parent’s death can even cast the surviving parent against his/her child (and vice versa) or cause sibling rivalries, when it comes to financial matters; a clear proof that family and money do not always spell happiness and love.

As disputes, regarding a Will’s authenticity, can become really complicated, especially if several dissatisfied heirs become involved, it will be necessary to be represented by a knowledgeable and competent lawyer who is very familiar with Wills and estate planning laws, as well as the laws of the state under which these issues are to be disputed.

Causes of Cruise Ship Accidents

From 1979 to January 2014, a total of 55 cruise ships have been reported to have sunk while en route to their destination or port of call. Despite this, the cruise industry continues to grow, with more cruise liners being built and debuting every year and the annual number of travelers, from 2010 to 2013, always going above 15 million, 60% of them coming from the US.

Many travelers book their cruise holidays at least six to eight months ahead of schedule. This is primarily to avail of the great discounts and the many perks offered by cruise ships, besides the opportunity of getting to choose their preferred cabin.

Besides the great places travelers intend to visit, the mere experience of being aboard a cruise liner is an experience to long for already, granted that no untoward accident happens which can turn a blissful experience to a nightmarish one. And the problem with cruise ships is that, if something goes wrong, like being caught in a hurricane or sea storm, the passengers usually have nowhere else to go except to the confines of their cabin.

There are different types of disasters that cruise ships may be involved in, but those included in the top four, which have been identified by the Cruise Lines International Association are rouge waves, unfavorable weather conditions, cruise ship fires and collisions. Cruise ships colliding or crashing against icebergs, other vessels, piers, reefs and rocks has often resulted to wide gashes on the side or underside of liners, causing these to capsize and sink. Besides causing severe injuries to passengers, these type of sea tragedy, which has sank many ships for the last 20 years, has also been the cause of many passenger deaths.

Cruise companies are responsible for ensuring the safety of their liners. Thus, it is highly important that these companies make sure that every part of the ship is in good condition, besides being equipped with all the necessary facilities and equipment needed during emergencies plus having onboard a crew that is highly trained in handling emergency situations. Considering the possibility that cruise ship companies and operators have complied with the safety standards mandated by the maritime or admiralty law, there should be no more issues of mechanical failures that could lead to fire or sanitation problems that can cause infections to passengers; it is a sad fact, however, that both continue to be realities that negatively affect the credibility of the cruise industry, in general, and compliant companies, in particular.

Due to the conditions allowed by the maritime law in case of injury to passengers in the event of a cruise ship accident, having a knowledgeable and experienced maritime or admiralty lawyer to defend you would rather be necessary. This is because claims for damages by injured passengers will need to be filed only in states (and identified courts within such states) indicated at the back of the cruise ship passenger ticket. The time limit for filing a claim also needs to be observed by claimants, otherwise they may lose the chance of getting the compensation that they rightly deserve.

Cerebral Palsy: A Possible Result of Doctor’s Negligence

Caring for an unborn child can be a very challenging task for an Obstetrician, also called an OB/Gyn, especially if the mother has vices, like drinking and/or smoking, or taking special medication for a serious illness. Women, of course, know that whatever enters their bodily system, whether it be food or medication, may serve as either nutrient or poison to the baby inside their womb. This is why doctors would require all the necessary information they can get from pregnant and expecting women, so that they would be able to provide correct and timely treatment, as well as the right medication, which will keep both mother and child healthy and safe until the baby’s birth.

Medical malpractice is one dreaded factor that can ultimately alter the life of the unborn and the family to whom he/she belongs. Negligence through erroneous and improper treatment by an OB/Gyn during the mother’s pregnancy period or carelessness by all those involved during the baby’s delivery, such as giving the mother a wrong dosage of anesthesia or applying too much pressure to the child’s head (when forceps are used), can lead to serious harm, like cerebral palsy.

Cerebral palsy is one kind of birth defect that affects thousands of newly born babies in the US every year. This illness is a form of brain injury or an abnormality in a baby’s brain development that will affect his/her motor function or impair his/her muscle coordination which, in turn, will make walking, playing, running, eating and even talking difficult for him/her.

Before the 80s, doctors believed that CP was due to brain damage caused by the possible deprivation of oxygen to the baby’s brain during labor or birth. This mistake was corrected after studies showed that the possibility of damage to an unborn’s brain was higher during the first six months of pregnancy than during labor or delivery. The possible factors that could damage or affect the brain development, which the study showed, were: an abnormality in the brain’s development process; bleeding inside the brain, which is a condition called Intracranial hemorrhage; or Periventricular Leukomalacia (PVL), a lack of oxygen to the brain that causes severe damage to the brain cells. PVL usually occurs when the mother gives premature birth, use of illegal drugs or suffers from infection and very low blood pressure.

Every mother will definitely want to give birth to a healthy baby. But besides knowing how to take proper care of herself and her unborn child, having a really good doctor who will have genuine care for her and her child is equally important. No mother, for example, would want to have the same experience of one 46-year old woman whose periods had stopped. She was diagnosed as simply going through menopause, a possibility for a woman her age; though, it could also have been something else, like pregnancy, for instance. Had she not insisted on a pregnancy test, nobody, not even her doctor, would have found out that she was already five months on the way. She decided to change doctors –saving her child from possible harmful treatment that she did not actually need.

It is a sad fact, but medical malpractice is real. And mothers, whose child may be suffering from cerebral palsy, may think it better to consult legal opinion regarding the condition of their child. If proofs show that their child’s CP is due to their doctor’s negligent acts, then the law encourages them to pursue justice and allows them to file a claims lawsuit for the damages their child and family have been, and will be, subjected to.