Drunk-Driving, an Upsetting and Infuriating Preventable Cause of Accidents, Injuries and Deaths

It is surprising to know that between the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the issue on the prohibition of alcoholic beverages was one issue hotly debated by two groups of people in America: the “dries” and the “wets.” The “dries,” who pushed for the banning of alcohol, citing public morals and health as the bases of their argument, claimed victory over the “wets” (the anti-prohibitionists), a victory that was translated into law known as the “Prohibition in the United States,” which remained in place from 1920 to 1933. The Prohibition actually forbade anyone from selling, producing, transporting or importing alcoholic beverages all across the nation; this was intended to put an end to many Americans’ excessive alcohol consumption, especially during the colonial era. While this constitutional ban did not totally eliminate the presence of alcohol in the land, it, nonetheless, succeeded in keeping overall alcohol consumption low.

But that was history. Today, Americans, 21 years old and above, can drink freely anytime, anywhere, except in the more than 200 counties, specifically those in the Bible Belt (a number of communities in the Southern US), which chose to keep the Prohibition in effect. Well, there probably is nothing wrong with drinking, so long as it is not excessive and, most of all, if one does not drive afterwards. (According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, and Mothers Against Drunk Driving®, MADD, it will take an average person about an hour to metabolize a standard drink, which can be a 12 ounce bottle of beer, 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits or 5 ounces of wine – all have the same amount of alcohol).

It is both upsetting and infuriating, though, for despite the anti-drunk driving law and the harsh penalties that await offenders, plus all the continuous ads and campaigns about the dangers of drunk driving, people still choose to get behind the wheel unmindful of the risk of accident they can cause due to impairment (by alcohol).

Impairment is the primary reason why drunk driving is prohibited. Being less sober, a person’s reflexes become slower. Besides this, impairment also affects a person’s general ability to focus on the road, judgment, perception, coordination and reaction time. Though the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is set at 0.08%, which 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.

“There is simply no reason to drive drunk,” as it says on the website of law firm Spiros Law, P.C. This firm goes on to say that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and CDC never fall short in reminding and advising people to take a cab, use public transportation or ask a friend to drive them home (leaving their vehicle securely locked instead) if they had drinks.

Because of the obstinacy of some people, however, drunk driving remains to be a major problem. In 2008, there were 13,838 alcohol-related fatal crashes; since then, the number of deaths due to this irresponsible road behavior has never gone down to 10,000+.

A victim of drunk driving suffers not only physical injuries and trauma resulting from the life-threatening experience. It is very likely that his or her family would also suffer financial hardship due to absence from work, thus, lost wages and the need to pay costly medical treatment. Situations become worse if the injury leads to disability as this will mean more wages lost and higher cost of medical care.

Victims of drunken driving accidents, as explained in the website of the Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC, are entitled to seek compensation from the liable negligent, careless or irresponsible party. While there is no stopping victims from agreeing to a settlement with the liable party or from filing a lawsuit and facing the legal battle alone, these strategies can prove critical in their attempt to seeking compensation or receiving the maximum amount of compensation they are allowed (to seek and receive) under the law.

Eligibility Requirements for SSDI Benefits

The Federal government has two special programs designed to provide cash to persons with disabilities or who have been disabled due to accidents: the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI or SSD) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Though both are from the Social Security Administration (SSA), each program has different requirements for eligibility.

SSDI, specifically, is mainly designed to provide cash benefits to its members – employees – who sustain disabling injuries that are not work-related (an employee who sustains a work-related injury, whether disabling or not, or develops an illness due to work, or whose existing illness worsens due to poor working conditions, can apply for compensation with his or her state’s Workers’ Comp Insurance program and, if such injury leads to permanent disability, can also apply for SSDI benefits).

As per SSA rule, SSDI is granted only to qualified member employees who are totally disabled or whose medical condition will very like last for at least a year or result to death. The term disability, based on SSA definition, is a condition that will render a member unable to perform the work which he or she did before becoming disabled or any other work due to his or her disability. Besides being permanently disabled, a member, to be considered qualified, should:

  • have acquired the necessary amount of credits. Credits are earned through the monthly payment of Social Security taxes (identified as FICA, or Federal Insurance Contributions Act). These taxes are automatically deducted from an employee’s monthly take home pay. A maximum of 4 credits are earned within a year; and,
  • be 65 years old or below, otherwise, he or she will be receiving the SS Retirement benefit instead. Employee members whose disability is found in the SSA list of severe medical conditions may automatically be considered eligible to receive SSDI.

There are members who, while qualifying for SSDI, are also found eligible to receive SSI benefits. This is called “concurrent benefits.” In many instances receiving both cash benefits is quite necessary since SSDI alone is often small or not enough to support a member’s (and his/her family’s) needs.

Sadly, however, despite being eligible, the long and complicated process of applying for benefits plus the stringent ways by which SS evaluators assess applications, have resulted to many applications getting disapproved due to various reasons, including simple mistakes, like missing a signature, lacking a document, and so forth.

Receiving SSDI benefits is a right of permanently disabled members who have diligently paid their SS taxes. Often, to be assured of receiving this benefit without delay, seeking the services of a highly-skilled SS disability insurance lawyer is necessary.

Legal Concerns that Victims of Injuries during Cruise Ship Excursions may need to Entrust to a Highly-competent and Experienced Cruise Ship Injury Lawyer

Relaxing fun and excitement, especially on a city in the sea, is one experience that millions of Americans would never say no to. This clearly explains why at least 11 million (and still increasing number of) Americans go on a cruise holiday every year.

While the real purpose of travelling on board a cruise liner is to visit exciting and exotic places around the globe at very affordable prices, being on one is already more than an adventure in itself. Owners, obviously, have given cruise liners a new face so that some travellers make boarding one their primary purpose while visiting another place, a secondary one. Besides having space more than big enough for at least than 4,000 passengers (per travel), many cruise ships now feature world class facilities, like indoor and outdoor swimming pools with water slides, an aqua health spa fitness center, hair and beauty salon, buffet restaurants, bars, pubs and nightclubs, casino, cinemas, a duty free shop, pool tables, ping pong tables, basketball courts, a gym, a mini golf course, wall climbing and zip line facilities, a library, and many others – practically anything you would want to enjoy on land you can now enjoy on a cruise liner, and without having to travel far.

It seems that there is no end to the fun and excitement in a cruise ship holiday for the shipping industry has come up with yet another itinerary that will make every cruise ship experience one that will always light up one’s face with a smile and a hearty laughter – a shore excursion.

Though time-constrained, shore excursions allow passengers, who avail of the excursion package, to get the most out of the activities, which may include snorkeling through coral reefs, parasailing, jet skiing, horseback riding, hiking, rock-climbing, zip-lining, dining, shopping at local outdoor markets, and tropical island tours. To a certain few, however, a shore excursion is one activity not worth remembering at all for, instead of being a source of additional fun, it has become for them a source of injury or unpleasant experience.

There have been numerous cases wherein a passenger:

  • Sustained a cut, or suffered a back injury or bone fracture either while getting on board or off a tender boat (a ships’ boat service)
  • Became a target of sexual harassment, assault or theft while waiting for their tour bus at the port. This is primarily due to lack and poor security from the excursion provider; or
  • Got injured in one of the activities/adventures

On website of the Vucci Law Group, P.A. is a list of the possible causes of cruise ship excursion injuries which include dock accidents, tender accidents, inadequate security, defective / malfunctioning equipment, and motor vehicle accidents. “Cruise ship excursion injuries are a serious issue,” as further stressed by said law firm; thus, due to the physical, emotional and financial sufferings that these injuries cause, victims are given the legal right to “seek compensation to help them cope with the effects of their injury.”

Filing a lawsuit due to injuries sustained during a cruise ship holiday, however, is much more complicated than filing a lawsuit against a vehicle owner if an injury were sustained in a vehicular accident. More than the statute of limitation (the time limit for filing a civil lawsuit, which is also observed in car motor vehicle accidents) there is also the issue of jurisdiction. Lawsuits involving cruise ships are usually heard only at the US District Court (in the Southern District of Florida); this is the forum selection clause which is indicated in cruise ships’ ticket contracts. Jurisdiction can altogether change, though, if the accident occurred on land, during a shore excursion.

The complexity of the maritime law, which governs cruise travels and cruise-related activities, however, does not take away injury victims’ right to seek compensation, but victims may find it necessary to seek the help of a highly-competent and experienced cruise ship injury lawyer for better chances of receiving the compensation that they legally deserve.

Assured Cash Payments from Freight Factoring Companies Allow Truckers to Improve and Concentrate more on Their Business’ Operation

Since the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) ordered the implementation of the new Hours-of-Service (HOS) rules on July 1, 2013, the trucking industry has suffered major losses which included a shortfall in productivity of about 80%, the dropping out of business of smaller operators, and a shortage of about 30,000 licensed truck drivers which, according to the American Trucking Associations (ATA), will continue to increase until 2022.

The new rule’s specific effect on truck drivers is further reduction in their already small pay, while on the side of motor carriers it only made cost of operations and maintenance of their trucks much higher. On top of the problems experienced by motor carriers, there is also the frustrating situation of having to wait from 30 to 60 days before some shippers and brokers could send them the payment for jobs long done. For bigger and more stable trucking firms this waiting period might have little effect on their succeeding operations; however, for starting and rookies in the business, delayed payment can have significant effects on their next job.

Maintenance cost, delayed payment, lack of licensed drivers to make all the necessary deliveries, plus all the legal concerns that need to be accomplished – these things result to many trucking firms hiring unskilled drivers, requiring their drivers to be on the road longer than what is mandated by the FMCSA and then asking them to falsify their logs so as not to get caught, and failing to make sure that newly hired drivers are given the required training. While some truckers decide to drop out of business rather than be burdened by so many worries and get entangled in bureaucratic concerns, others try hard to find the solution that will address their financial concerns which, actually, is the root of all these and other issues.

Many saw the answer in freight factoring services, a type of business wherein a factoring firm pays truckers/trucking companies immediately for work done, saving them from waiting for delayed payments from shippers and brokers. In freight factoring, also called invoice funding, a factoring firm buys a trucking company’s/trucker’s invoices at a reduced rate. Once the purchase is made, the risk of delayed payment or of not being paid at all by brokers and shippers is already the concern of the factoring firm. The trucking company, on the other hand, can focus on its next load, using its liquidated invoices to pay for driver salary and further training, fuel, purchase of truck parts that need replacement, and other needs.

Providing drivers with their needed cash fast and straight is just one of the very beneficial services offered by some factoring firms. There are also those that offer:

  • Bookkeeping services, which take care of all the complicated and time-consuming paperwork required by various (state and federal) regulating agencies;
  • Insurance program that is customized to the specific needs of each firm;
  • Advance program, wherein truckers are given an advance payment (up to 50%) for deliveries still to be made; and,
  • Fuel card, which allows truckers to manage, control and even save money on fuel

In its FAQ website, TBS Factoring Service says that there are factoring firms that take only 24 hours (or even less if a trucking company so requests) to close an agreement with, and send payment to, a trucking company on the very day that they receive the completed application. These factoring firms also allow truckers to choose which brokers or shippers they wish to factor. While these are signs of flexibility, these also speak of a factoring firm’s stability and dependability.

There is a risk of accidents and injuries that lighter vehicles are exposed to whenever they share the road with trucks. Though the yearly number of truck accidents is definitely much lower compared to car accidents, their results are, however, much more serious – fatal, most often, actually.

But then, again, with the assured cash payment guaranteed by factoring firms, there is no way that trucking companies would look for excuses for not being able to hire more and only skilled and licensed truck drivers, make sure they are trained well, increase their take home pay, and see to it that their trucks are in good operating condition, with all essential parts (tires, brakes, etc.) perfect for a safe drive.

Know When It’s Time to Save Yourself and Your Loved Ones: The Dangers of Xarelto

It is the function of the blood to flow smoothly and continuously throughout your body for an entire lifetime, but when you suffer a cut or sustain an injury it tends to clot over the injury in order to stop your blood from gushing. This means that blood clots can be healthy and lifesaving; however, there are times when these form unnecessarily, lodge themselves in arteries and obstruct the flow of blood to the brain, lungs and other vital organs. This situation can most likely result in serious and life-threatening medical problems, the likes of stroke and heart attack.

When blood clots needlessly form, a doctor’s primary prescription would be an anticoagulant or blood-thinning drug which will make your blood flow smoothly again. According to the US Food and Drug Administration, more than 4 million individuals in the US are prescribed with this type of drug every year.

Xarelto, also known as Rivaroxaban (Rivaroxaban is a popular blood-thinning medicine and is the main ingredient of Xarelto), is one anticoagulant drug most commonly prescribed by doctors. It is manufactured by Bayer Health Care and marketed in the US by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, and was approved by the FDA in July of 2011 to prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT is the formation of blood clots in deep veins, usually in the legs), from occurring or recurring in patients who have just had a hip replacement surgery.

The claim that Xarelto is safe plus the effectivity it displayed in treating the condition it was approved for, especially a few months after its DFA approval, led to the drug being approved as treatment for a number of other health problems, which included:

  • Atrial fibrillation, which is an irregularity in heart beat;
  • Pulmonary embolism, or blood clotting in the lungs; and,
  • Prevention of stroke in patients suffering from atrial fibrillation

In 2012, as Xarelto was on its way to becoming America’s number one anti-coagulant drug, 2081 cases of serious adverse events, 151 of which were fatal, were reported to the FDA. Based on records from one nonprofit (consumer watchdog) organization, the Institution for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP), the adverse effects linked to Xarelto included:

  • Brain hemorrhaging;
  • Epidural or spinal hematoma, which can lead to permanent paralysis due to the collection of blood outside the blood vessels in the spinal cord area;
  • Blood in the urine or stool;
  • Coughing up and vomiting of blood; and,
  • Severe gastrointestinal bleeding in the abdomen, intestines and rectum

In April of 2014, a lawsuit, the first of the nearly 2,000 now pending in various courts, was filed by the family of a patient who died due to severe internal bleeding after using Xarelto. While internal bleeding has been identified as a common adverse effect among modern blood thinning drugs, the issue with Xarelto is that, unlike other anticoagulant drugs, there is no agent or medication capable of reversing or preventing the bleeding that it causes, thus, leaving patients who take it to bleed to death.

As of November 2015, Xarelto lawsuits have already reached about 1,900; however, despite these lawsuits, the warning from the FDA, and all the online and printed news on the possible fatal consequences of using the drug, its sale continues to climb, giving its manufacturer more than enough financial resources to pay settlement claims and damages – at the expense of victims and users (who may eventually become victims too).

The adverse effects and deaths linked to Xarelto are real. With millions already prescribed with the drug and with its sales still rising, how many more will be affected by the drug and how many more will die?

Do not be affected by Xarelto! Never let its harmful effects make you or anyone among your loved ones suffer. The website of the lawyers at Williams Kherkher offers clear and detailed information about Xarelto; this page will make you know so much more about this harmful drug, the purpose for which it was approved by the FDA, its dangers and potential side effects, and the legal options of those who now suffer due to it. Be informed!

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