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Never Get Hit By A Truck

You know what I didn’t realize? When an 18-wheeler runs you off the road, you aren’t just going to get paid out by the insurance and go about your life. No, it turns out, the part where you end in a ditch isn’t the worst part of the process when an accident involves a semi-truck. I should have just taken my time in that ditch and relaxed because somehow I’ve been more stressed since getting out than I was when I nearly died.

All that’s because it turns out semi-trucks aren’t just owned by the guy driving people off the road. They’re actually owned by massive corporations. And if massive corporations all have one thing going for them, it’s high-priced lawyers. I, stupidly, didn’t get a lawyer right away, and I was caught flatfooted. The first I heard of the situation was when a lawyer contacted me for a statement. They were sneaky about it and tried to trip me up, tried to get me to say something that would prove my guilt. Luckily, I was suspicious enough to be cagey.

I called my insurance company, and it turned out they’d been all over them as well. They’d investigated the car. It was a whole mess.

So, I had to get a lawyer at that point because I didn’t know what was going on. Apparently, there are truck lawyers who specialize in dealing with this stuff. Foolish little me, I expected everything to be resolved quickly and to get a check to fix my car. Instead, I had to take money out of savings because my lawyer said this could drag on for months.

And months have been dragging on. It’s taken nine months for the trucking company to finally give in and settle with my lawyer. And, guess what, the check finally arrived. After my lawyer took his fee, I now have just enough left over to pay myself back and to cover a few other bills that had come in over the whole thing (I’d foolishly let my health insurance lapse and so I had to pay for the emergency room visit).

Basically, I went through nine months of incredible stress that I didn’t need after an awful traumatic event, and all I got was what I should have had coming to me in the first place.

Isn’t the trucking business grand?

I’ll tell you one thing. I am not going anywhere near a semi- for a long time. I’m taking back roads and alternative routes. Anything to make sure I don’t have to go through this again. If I lived in an area where I could walk everywhere, I would, but since I don’t, I’ll have to settle for taking an extra twenty minutes to get everywhere, driving through neighborhoods and going slowly everywhere just so I never have to see a semi-truck again.

Is over-serving alcohol considered personal injury?

The short answer is ‘yes.’ Over-serving alcohol is serving alcohol to an individual who is clearly already intoxicated or who a person should reasonably believe is intoxicated. There are laws against this type of behavior intended to protect people who might not be in a good state of mind when they are out drinking. It creates a burden of responsibility on restaurant and bar owners to ensure that no one is drinking too much. In this article, I will explore a tragic instance of over-serving and why it is considered personal injury.

Very recently, three young men were involved in a car accident after drinking at a local restaurant. Unfortunately, they all perished and the restaurant owner who served them alcohol is being charged with over-serving. The problem with charges like these is that there is no clear bright line that indicates when someone is intoxicated. Some people have higher alcohol tolerances than others, regardless of their size, sex or age. Moreover, some people are better at hiding intoxication than others. My argument isn’t that you can’t know when someone has clearly had too much; with some people, you can tell. My argument is that you can’t always know when someone has had too much; with some people, you just cannot tell. Everyone has a personal responsibility to ensure that they are being healthy and making good choices. The restaurant owner did not ask the young men to enter his restaurant, nor did he force the men to drink, nor did he insist that they drive their own vehicle under the influence. Each of these things the men decided autonomously. Nevertheless, likely due to the tragic outcome of the night, the restaurant owner is liable to be charged with personal injury.

Why does over-serving qualify as a personal injury?

Over-serving alcohol usually isn’t considered personal injury in itself. The only time the charge is actually incited is when over-serving leads to some type of physical accident or injury. In this way, over-serving alcohol can arguably be considered as a partial or whole contributor to a personal injury and can demand legal ramifications. The laws that encompass these instances are referred to as “dram shop” or “liquor liability” laws. Under them, one can effectively sue for any damages incurred from an alcohol-related personal injury. Clawson and Staubes explain the requirements that must be met for a case to be made for personal injury. First, it must be proved that the establishment actually served the alcohol. Next, it must be proved that alcohol continued to be served to the patron even when they were visibly intoxicated or if the bartender had a reasonable belief to think that they were intoxicated based on the number and types of drinks they were serving. Alcohol establishments found guilty of charges of over-serving alcohol can be subject to fines and revocation of liquor licenses.

If you believe that you were over-served alcohol and that contributed to your personal injury, you should contact a lawyer.

Alcohol and Truck Driving: A Deadly Combination

Drivers of smaller vehicles sharing roads with 18-wheelers would never think that the driver of the truck beside or in front of them is sleepy or alcohol-impaired, unless there are obvious signs that would show these. Hundreds of data, however, show that many truck drivers were indeed either falling asleep, asleep, alcohol-impaired prior to an accident. As a matter of fact, with regard to use of alcohol and drugs by truck drivers, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) says that it actually is the second major reason behind truck accidents.

Drivers operating a commercial vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GWVR) exceeding 33000 lb, like 18-wheelers, also called big-rigs or semi-trailers, observe a higher standard where alcohol intoxication limit is the issue. Compared to the 0.08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit imposed on drivers of smaller vehicles, such as cars, SUVs, and pick-ups, the BAC limit for commercial drivers is 0.04%. This means that anyone who will be caught driving with this BAC level can be charged with driving under the influence (DUI).

Big-rig drivers, however, have more to worry about than just having a 0.04% BAC level because those who will be found with a 0.02% BAC level can also be suspended from driving for about 24 hours, while those who will register a 0.08%, even when off-duty, may still be charged with a DUI.

The need and desire to stay awake and alert in order to cover more road miles are what make drivers drink and continue to drive even while feeling the effects of alcohol. This is one of the saddest effects of getting paid by the mile (about .40 cents per mile). However, rather than making them awake and alert, alcohol will only make them sleepier and more impaired.

It is the duty and responsibility of drivers to always stay sober when operating their truck. Alcohol, though, will lessen their ability to safely operate the huge and dangerous vehicles they are driving, putting the lives of so many in danger because alcohol can result to:

  • Slowed and impaired motor control;
  • Inability to remain focused on the roadway;
  • Delayed reaction times;
  • Heightened risk of falling asleep; and,
  • Compromised judgment and decision making abilities

Any act in violation of the laws against drunk-driving can make truck drivers face serious criminal chargers, harsh penalties, and civil liabilities for whatever injuries and damages their drunkenness might cause.

According to the law firm Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC, despite everything they know about the inherent dangers of the vehicles they operate, the fact is that some truck drivers still choose to get behind the wheel while they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. As difficult as these decisions are to understand, the consequences of accidents caused by intoxicated truckers can leave victims and their families reeling. Victims, therefore, should be ready to take legal action against the trucker responsible for their accident.

Annulment of Marriage in Texas

Legally ending a marital union may be done either through petitioning for divorce or through annulment. Divorce refers to the dissolution or termination of a legally binding marriage, while annulment refers to the cancellation of a marriage.

A marriage entered into by two individuals and which is recognized by the state may be terminated or legally dissolved through divorce. In annulment, however, a marriage may only be annulled if the one entered into by two individuals is not legally binding since it was null and void from the very start. This means that though a marriage did take place, it was totally unacceptable and invalid, to begin with. Thus, unlike divorce, which may be filed with or without reasonable grounds, a marriage may only be annulled if any of the grounds listed below is met:

  • Incest. This would be the case if the two individuals who enter into marriage are blood related (most states outlaw marriages between relatives that are closer than second cousins);
  • Bigamy. This is the case when one of the spouses enters into (another) marriage while still in another marriage (that has not been terminated);
  • Underage. This means that either or both individuals, who entered into marriage, are under the age 16 (the age of consent).

There are also grounds that make a marriage voidable. This means that the marriage is legal, but should be voided or nullified/canceled due to any of the following reasons (states differ with regard to the grounds for annulling a marriage. The grounds listed below are the grounds recognized in the state of Texas):

  • One of the parties is 16 or older, but under the age of 18 and entered into the marriage without parental consent or a court order;
  • At the time of the marriage, the petitioner was under the influence of alcohol or narcotics and therefore, did not have the capacity to consent to marriage;
  • Either party, for physical or mental reasons, was permanently impotent at the time of the marriage and the petitioner did not know of the impotency;
  • The other party used fraud, duress or force to induce the petitioner to enter into the marriage;
  • The petitioner did not have the mental capacity to consent to marriage or to understand the nature of the marriage ceremony because of a mental disease or defect, at the time of marriage;
  • One party concealed a divorce, that occurred less than 30 days before the marriage, from the Petitioner, and the annulment suit is filed less than one year after the date of the marriage;
  • If the parties married less than 72 hours after the marriage license was granted and the annulment suit is filed less than 30 days after the date of the marriage.

For a court to grant an annulment, the petitioner ought to have refrained from voluntarily cohabiting with the other spouse after learning of the issue at hand or after the petitioner is no longer under the influence of the claimed grounds for the annulment.

Common Myths About Child Custody

Determining child custody is an emotionally exhausting process. In fact it is often the most highly contentious part of a divorce. Due to the controversial nature of child custody, there has been many misconceptions about it.

Myth: Mothers always get custody

It is a common misconception that mothers always get custody, because they are the “greater parent” for bearing the child. It may be true that mothers may get custody if the child is in his or her tender years, but generally, the courts have no biases against genders. The courts will grant custody to the parent who can put the child in a better condition, in terms of health, safety, and other aspects of life. It doesn’t matter whether that parent is the mother or the father.

Myth: A child can choose which side to follow upon reaching a certain age

Another common misconception is that the child has the right to choose a side when he or she reaches a certain age, which is usually twelve to fifteen. It is true that the child may choose which parent to be with, but the choice is not absolute. The best that could happen is that the judge may consider it as a factor in determining custody. Its weight as a factor depends on the child’s age, maturity level, and reason, but at the end of the day, the judge will give custody with the best interest of the child in mind.

Myth: Joint custody means that the child will get equal time with both parents

Parents can gain joint custody over a child, but it doesn’t mean that the child will have equal time with both. Joint custody may mean that both parents may share decisions regarding the child, such as in terms of residence, education, religion, and other important factors that affect the child’s wellbeing. But the child is more likely to spend more time with the parent who he or she is with on a day-to-day basis.

When is Retaliation Declared Illegal?

Oftentimes, employees who complain about unfair labor and/or discriminatory practices in the workplace, or assist in an unfair employment practice investigation, certain individuals try to find ways which will get such employees demoted or terminated. Worst scenario is if the employer will play an active or direct role in retaliating against these employees.

There are many existing federal and state laws that provide protection employees and job applicants from any form of unfair and discriminatory practices in the workplace. These laws also require employers to make sure that their companies are free from discriminatory practices and that whoever would be proven guilty of such acts should be given the necessary disciplinary actions.

Despite the existence of laws, including and especially, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 however, so many firms remain to be guilty of committing different forms of discriminatory practices. Title VII prohibits any form of workplace harassment, abuse and discrimination based on one’s sex or gender, race, color, national origin and religion. Though not clearly stipulated, Title VII , nevertheless, also strictly prohibits any form of retaliation against any employee who either makes, or helps make, evident prohibited acts, especially if the perpetrator is someone in authority.

Retaliation refers to any hostile act or behavior an employer, employment agency or labor organization may resort to, to show dissatisfaction against an employee who plays a part in legally protected activities. A hostile or adverse act can include denial of employment, unjustified negative evaluation, threats of criminal or civil charges, or unjust termination in order to hinder an employee either from taking part in an employment discrimination proceeding or from complaining about a discriminatory act. A legally protected activity, on the other hand, refers to any action that is aimed at exposing and proving harassment and/or discriminatory practices in the workplace, such as:

  • Refusal to perform discriminatory or illegal acts that are ordered by a superior;
  • Complaining about or protesting against workplace discrimination;
  • Deciding to file charges of employment discrimination or showing intent to file one; and,
  • Participating as a witness in a legal proceeding or EEO investigation.

A person complained about will certainly be displeased with the complainant who makes accusations against him/her. Thus, the latter will have to be certain that accused individual is, indeed, resorting to retaliatory acts or is simply displeased.

While some retaliatory acts may be obvious, like a demotion, salary reduction, being laid off or being denied a promotion or salary increase soon after a legally protected activity; there are also those
that are subtle and are, therefore, not evident, such as job relocation or sudden change in work schedule, which can be a major factor in limiting an employee’s flexibility.

Besides participating in a legally protected activity, it is also mentioned in the Leichter Law Firm that it is illegal for employers to retaliate against employees who file Workers’ Compensation claim or who report illegal activity as whistleblowers. Employers who unlawfully retaliate against an employee may be liable for lost wages, compensatory damages, punitive damages, and attorney’s fees.

Reach and be Reached by More Poeple Easy, Fast and Conveniently

Thousand of ads can be seen on billboards, TV, video walls, magazines, newspapers, leaflets and pamphlets. This present age, however, if you want to reach more people much faster, easily and without causing them or yourself any inconvenience, then there is only one way: online.

Seventy-five percent of the American population own a mobile phone. This makes this mobile device the best way to reach and be reached by anyone, anytime, anywhere. Other than fast food chains and pizza parlors which accept delivery orders, people, whose profession may once in a while be necessitated, will definitely find it beneficial if people can reach them fast.

Doctors and lawyers are professionals who would benefit greatly from mobile devices. If your are a lawyer, for instance, having your firm’s logo on phones, which, if pressed, will open to your firm’s website, will benefit both you and whoever will need a lawyer’s assistance fast.

Through mobile phones anything is almost possible, including prompt and timely provision of information and online services to clients when they need these the most. All that is required is a catchy mobile app and a type of mobile advertising messages tailored to mobile users’ expectations. By availing of legal apps for lawyers, you put your law firm’s name and contact details in the hands of your clients when they most need you. No other campaign gets you this close to your market.

A mobile app, carries a firm’s logo and will allow even potential clients to log on to your law firms’ website 24/7. It is non-stop advertising and accessible to anyone needing fast legal assistance. Furthermore, compared to the cost of TV, radio or newspaper ads, mobile advertising is far less cheaper, yet, more effectively when it comes to reaching more people in any part of the globe.

Bankruptcy: The Legal Way of Overcoming Debts

It is easy for one in a crushing debt crisis to have his or her self-esteem and enthusiasm in life be overcome by worry and uncertainty. This is one situation millions of honest and hard-working individuals in the U.S. who have problems paying their debts due to loss of employment, sickness, disability or death in the family, are experiencing. Worrying, however, will never any solve debt problems; however, a legal solution called Bankruptcy will.

Millions of individuals file personal bankruptcy every year. Filing personal bankruptcy is a right of every American, a right stipulated in the Bankruptcy Code, which the US Congress passed in 1978. This law is aimed at helping individuals, families running a business and business firms find ways to pay their debts and so regain control of their finances. There are different chapters in the Bankruptcy code, each designed to deal with the specific needs and financial situation of debtors.

Offering debtors an affordable solution to paying debts is not the only benefit a person going through bankruptcy is assured of; he or she will also avail of other benefits, like cessation of the harassing tactics employed by collection firms and freedom from dischargeable debts.

One chapter in the bankruptcy code, which is also the chapter most commonly applied for, is Chapter 7. Chapter 7 of the bankruptcy code, also called liquidation bankruptcy, requires debtors to surrender all their “non-exempt” properties for liquidation and cease operation of their business if they have one. Non-exempt properties usually include a vacation home, a second house, expensive musical instruments (but only if the debtor is not a musician by trade), cash, bonds, stocks and other forms of investment. Exempt properties, on the other hand, include items which are considered necessary for working and living.

A trustee appointed by the court will take charge in the liquidation of a debtor’s non-exempt properties and use the amount earned to pay all of the debtor’s non-dischargeable debts, which include child support, alimony, court fees, government-imposed penalties, debts resulting from wrongful death or personal injury, student loans (unless debtor would suffer “undue hardship” if he/she were to keep paying these), and taxes (federal, state, and local) that are no more than 3 years old since these first became due. If the amount of liquidated properties is more than enough to pay all non-dischargeable debts, the remaining amount will be returned to the debtor. Otherwise, creditors will have to accept the (legally determined) amount they are paid, even if this falls short of the actual amount owed to them. Besides this, they should also follow a decision made by the court which is to forgive any balance from the debt and to stop any further collection of payment, or suffer severe penalties under federal law.

Personal Injury: Defective Car Part

Saving lives by passing and enforcing laws which will reduce road accidents, and prevent injuries and/or untimely death is one of the very important tasks of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Some of these laws are directed to designers and makers, mandating them to comply with federal standards on vehicle safety and excellence.

The NHTSA legally obliges car manufacturers to make sure that all vehicles leaving their manufacturing plant will never put lives at risk and that no unit is defectively designed or is equipped with a defective part. However, the contrary is what usually happens. In 2013, records from the NHTSA show that 22 million vehicles were recalled by more than 10 car manufacturers due either to defective design or parts, which included tires, brake parts, steering wheel, child seats, seat belt, wipers, and air bags that just deploy despite the vehicle not crashing. There was also a case wherein gas leaked from the engine, increasing the risk of fire.

The biggest recall in the car industry so far, though, is the defective airbag from Takata which, in November of 2014, it was revealed that Takata had produced millions of dangerously defective airbags. These airbags had a tendency to explode, releasing shrapnels as these exploded. In December of 2015, the NHTSA further discovered more problematic airbags in four other vehicle models, raising the count of affected vehicles to more than 30,000,000.

Though strict regulations are imposed by the NHTSA regarding testing of vehicle safety, such as timeliness of airbag activation and the effectiveness of seatbelt restraints, many vehicles still operate with some kind of flaw that will either cause an accident or prevent safety systems from functioning properly in the event of a collision. And the worst danger of a defective car part is the car owner’s or driver’s absence of knowledge about such defect.

With regard to Takata’s exploding airbags, lawsuits and mass torts continue to be filed against Takata, which is already facing up to $200 million in fines.

Drunk Driving: Its Effect to Injured Victims and the Guilty Driver

Alcohol makes people less sober, rendering them less able to immediately react to dangerous road situations which could harm them or someone else. Federal and state authorities have always pointed out the clear dangers associated with driving while intoxicated, even substantiating their declaration with statistical data. in 2012 for example, 10,322 individuals were killed in alcohol-impaired driving accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) impaired driving claims at least 10,000 lives every year.

Impairment is the major reason why drunk driving is prohibited and considered a serious traffic violation. Being less sober, a person’s reflexes become slower. Besides this, impairment also affects a person’s judgment, perception, coordination, reaction time and general ability to focus on the road.

The blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is set at 0.08%. This means that anyone caught driving with this BAC level (or higher) can be charged with alcohol-impaired driving or DUI/DWI, driving under the influence/driving while intoxicated. Though set at 0.08%, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that even at 0.05%, a person’s coordination is already affected. Deciding to drive puts him or her at risk of accident.

People charged with drunk-driving suffer harsh punishments, which can include a large fine, imprisonment, mandatory attendance in a DUI school, suspension of driving privileges, and community service. Drunk-driving accidents that cause injury or death to someone else, or if a driver is found guilty of repeatedly violating the anti-drunk driving law, then he or she can face more severe punishments (in addition to the ones mentioned above), like having an ignition interlock device (IID) installed in his or her vehicle and be required to carry an SR-22 filing. An SR-22 is the only way for a driver to have his or her driving privileges reinstated immediately. By filing one, however, this means additional fees and a higher car insurance policy for the next three yeas. With regard to finding the lowest SR-22 rate and the fastest SR-22 filing, independent car insurance companies, like Insure on the Spot, will be of great assistance.

Injuries sustained in a car accident, as mentioned in the website of Crowe & Mulvey, LLP, can lead to troubling consequences for the victims and their families. Aside from the physical and emotional damages that accident victims may experience, the related financial impact is often significant, making it necessary for the victim to seek compensation for damages.

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Read that Charlie wants to thank the Charleston personal injury lawyers of the Clawson & Staubes, LLC: Injury Group.