Friday, June 27, 2008

Negligence – Personal Injury

Personal Injury occurs when a person suffers injury because of the negligence of another. Personal injury incidents are rising annually. It is alarming that it is considered as one of the leading cause of death worldwide. What makes it more disturbing is the fact that we can prevent such circumstances if only we will be a little careful with our actions.

However, not all causes of personal injury results from others negligent act. Others happen because of our own negligence.

In the news posted on June 2, 2008, entitled “Man Shoots Self while showing How to handle a Gun” relates an incident where a man accidentally shoots himself while trying to show to his girlfriend how to handle a pistol.

The investigators relate that the man told them that he forgot that he just reloaded the gun and squeeze the trigger while putting the gun into the driver’s door panel. The bullet went through his inner left thigh.

According to the investigators, the man was so embarrassed for what happened because he was an ex-military and has knowledge in handling a gun.

Isn’t that alarming, because of our own negligence we cause an injury to others and to ourselves?

I think it is the time to accept the truth and do something about it. With the increasing number of personal injury cases, we blame it to others. Sometimes we put our blame on the government such as defective roads and we include even weather condition for such incidents.

I think it is the time to accept that we are the cause of it. Because of our own reckless and unreasonable act, we cause an injury to others and to ourselves.

I think for every action we make, we shall consider how it will affect others. We have rights granted to us by the law. However, such rights end when we violate other people’s right.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Increasing Funds to Deter Automobile Accidents

Limiting the incidents of tragic automobile accidents greatly depends on how safe our highways and thoroughfares are for our motorists. Fatal accidents will definitely decrease, somehow, if we strictly abide by the traffic rules and regulations and follow all the necessary safety measures.

As for the government and its various agencies, proper implementation of the laws and providing all the support to our traffic enforcers can minimize the accounts of automobile accidents that cause substantial ill effects to the victims. Aside from moral encouragement, our police authorities must have enough budgets to execute their programs and exercise their duty to castigate traffic law violators.

To make this vision a reality, the California state government just recently announced sizeable grants for 153 police departments and municipalities in state. According to a press release, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has made his pledge to help save lives across the state by awarding $66 million for these agencies’ traffic safety efforts.

Said by the governor, “These grants provide essential resources and re-enforce our commitment to saving lives and preventing injuries on California’s roadways.”

This is indeed a good step for our state government. We all know that any program may not be implemented properly and effectively without sufficient funds. With these financial reinforcements, set to be given to our local agencies, our traffic enforcers will have all the means to combat DUI, rage driving and other types of traffic violations that are considered as the major causes of automobile accidents.

At the end, we, as law-abiding motorists, we may take the advantage of driving safely without the fear of encountering those imprudent and careless drivers. More so, we may not have to go through the intricate process of filing appropriate legal actions to recover suitable damages from the liable party.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Lawyers can help you understand your Medical Insurance

Having a Medical Insurance proves to be very beneficial to anyone. And why not? Medical Insurance can help alleviate your medical costs and billings. It is safe to say that having a medical insurance is better than not having any at all.

This is how insurance works: A person, the insured, in order not to be burdened by his future medical billings, contracts another person, the insurer, to cover such costs for him. Accordingly, the insurer, for an added price, periodically requires the insured to pay a certain amount for the premium to cover the said expenses.

By availing a health insurance, a person with a medical condition or someone suffering from a disability would not have to worry about anything anymore except for his recovery.

Is this really true? Many people are recently beginning to complain about why there are some medical procedures not covered by their insurance. Also, some insured say that medical costs keep going up while their insurance cap, the highest amount the insurer is willing to pay, is still the same as it was in the 1970s.

As a result, instead of just relaxing in their hospital beds, patients would still worry about whether they would have to shoulder additional medical costs. And medical billings are no joke. They can range from just a couple of bucks to millions of dollars.

Can we do anything about it? Yes we can. In choosing the appropriate medical insurance company for you, it is deemed beneficial to first review each of their insurance policy in the presence of a lawyer.

In this way, you can be sure of the advantages as well as the disadvantages in choosing that medical insurance. Also, a lawyer can help you spot if there are loopholes or ambiguity in the agreement.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Crashing Through Barriers of Rollover Accidents

Almost all of us spend some time, if not most of the time, on the road.

I, for example, drive to and fro the office five days a week and few travels on weekends. Therefore, I have a higher chance of getting into an accident, a vehicle rollover crash perhaps.

Thank God I have managed to escape a few crashes without a scratch. Unfortunately for a 38-year-old Imperial Beach man, this was not the case. He was thrown from his vehicle in a rollover crash on Highway 54 in Spring Valley and died.

According to the reports, the driver apparently let his 1992 Lexus to drift into the median, where it struck a sign post and rolled several times.

Rollover accident happens due to several factors. It may be caused by negligence, malfunction and weather or road condition.

More often than not, roll over accidents are caused by vehicle malfunction or manufacture defects.

It is high time for this huge car manufacturer’s to carefully plan and design their car models. Just recently Ford Company has recalled its Ford Explorer for some defects.

I suggest that the government should look into this matter immediately and seriously. Strict standards must be adhered to by these giant car manufacturers.

The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, for instance, must see to it that they comply with such standards. Otherwise, severe consequences should await the violators.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Auto Accident Collision, neither new nor alarming

In a news reported by NBC1, posted on June 10, 2008 entitled “Multi-Vehicle Crash Blocks Part Of Hwy 101 On Peninsula”, relates the story behind multi-auto accident collision that happened just north of Marsh road. As relayed by California Highway Patrol (CHP) Robert Haven, the collision involved a jackknifed big-rig and up to eight other vehicles. Haven said that at least 20 gallons of diesel fuel have spilled with some leaking into the southbound lanes.
The collision results in the blocking of the three northbound and two southbound lanes on United States Highway 101 at the north edge of Menlo Park.

Is this something new or does it post an alarm? I guess not.

How many cases of this nature have happened in our respective locations that we have heard or witnessed? I can surely say, many.

With the considerable number of auto accident and collisions cases, we are somewhat used to it, in the sense that we are not troubled by it anymore, or shall we say, disturbed. It becomes part of our lives, an inseparable one, in that we all can be potentially involved.

Given the situation and our potential state, we should be concerned in knowing our legal rights in claiming compensation against the erring individual causing the tragic event. This means, that we should be proactive in dealing with our claim for compensation, whether we coursed it through the medium of a claim pursuit, lawsuit or settlement.

For legal help in these respects, you can confer your predicaments with an Auto Accident Lawyer in your area.

Venting Post on SSI Overpayment Claims

How many covered workers who received SSI overpayment that is without their fault have suffered after the Social Security Administration issued a demand letter for restitution where the error emanates from the latter. To these I say, many.

These are something not novel, in fact, it is continually occurring and experienced by benefit claimants of Social Security Benefits.

I can understand minor errors of the SSA in giving out the benefits, such as typographical, but only occasions. However, when errors become customary, or shall we say happen on regular basis, in that I am hostile.

The way the rules are set regarding overpayment, even if the claimant is not at fault, they are still required to pay the money back. In fact, they are made responsible to pay back the overpaid money despite their no fault status. They can be held accountable to the Social Security Administration if they failed to return the excess.

Why such rules? Is this a good rule that is fair and proper?

As a note, I am not saying that individuals who knowingly or unknowingly take or receive money in excess of their benefit line should not have to pay it back to the SSA. That would be unfair. What I am trying to mean was that, why blame those innocent for the failure of the rules and its implementation.

Overpayment must be returned, in that I agree. But enforcing a burden against those innocent person, which is a very pressing one, is one thing I cannot fairly agree.

Under the guidelines, the person-recipient is burdened to establish that the overpayment was not his or her fault. He or she will be burdened to contest the overpayment giving him or her only 60 days to do that.

To my mind, I would recommend that the SSA rules regarding over payments in Social Security Disability and SSI payments must be change to make it more equitable and even.

Considering then, with the present condition of things, we can do nothing except to follow what the law or rules command.

To the claimants who are currently facing this kind of predicament, you can have no other choice but to obey. You can employ the services of SSI Overpayment Claims Attorney, as protector of your interest.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Women Need More Protection from Work Discrimination

Women are naturally reserved and are not comfortable discussing their salaries with other people. Asking a person how much he/she makes is even considered as bad work ethics.

Also, it takes a while before an employee gets comfortable with his new work, his new boss and his new colleagues. It is a gradual process.

Hence, it would probably take more than 180 days before an employee, more particularly a female one, to actually discover if she is being discriminated on account of her gender. As a result, by the time the employee finds out about the discrimination, the 180-day period within which to file a case had already lapsed, leaving her no choice but to either resign or to accept this practice.

Women need more protection from work discrimination. And the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act could have provided it.

The problem is, the Republicans have already blocked the said act. They have failed to see the need for an adjustment of the 180-day filing period.

According to the Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, their so-called ground for the preclusion was to avoid the massive rush of new litigation.

Senator McConnell, together with his fellow Republicans went blind and failed to see the underlying reason for the period adjustment.

The spirit of the Ledbetter Act is not to clog the court with superfluous litigation, but to give employees more time and chance to voice out their grievances. The government should listen, rather than covering their ears to the oppressed.

The government should encourage, and not prevent, the filing of suits, be it a discrimination one or not. They should promote public interest rather than quashing it.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

LA Legal communicator’s view on Trip and Falls Accident

Trip and fall accidents are one of the most common types of accidents people can be involved. In Los Angeles alone, there are large numbers of cases that have been ventilated in courts dealing with this concern. In a much broader scope, in United States, falls are consistently the leading cause of injury-producing accidents that accounted more than 1 million injuries each year.

This injury appears to be simple yet it is not. It can cause very serious injuries such as back injuries, paralysis, broken bones and head injuries.
This type of personal injury can happen anywhere like while walking on uneven roads and pavements, in shops or malls, sports centers, public and private places that includes homes and workplaces. However, most of trips and falls happened in workplaces due to mainly for poor safety regulations.

After years of practice as an Attorney, I have handled several cases dealing with trip and fall involvement. Immensely, despite the intricacies of this particular area of law, I have given my clients full satisfaction in their compensation pursuit against the erring property owner.

With this achievement, I began to realize that the paramount consideration for having a successful compensation claim for deserving client is the proper communication of their claims to the courts who will hear the matter.

As I observed, many deserving trip and fall victims (that has valid cause of action) have not received proper compensation for their injury or have receive less. As I saw their situation, there was wanting of proper communication of their causes of action.

What really made up proper communication of causes of action?

As an experienced Attorney, I opine that proper communication of causes of action is a combination of many factors like conscious deliberation, dedication, focus and skills. There can be no fast and hard rule on this. It cannot be learned overnight but It is learned from experience.

It is quite hard to divulge a good technique on this. The most that I could share is this: communication as a key to a successful compensation claim (especially in trip and fall accidents) needs good substantiation, complete details of facts, consistent arguments, truthful assertions, direct and clear statements, reasonable prayer, and of course have legal merit.

As an endnote, anyone who happens to be a victim of trip and fall should settle with an experienced legal communicator in their compensation claims. To be exact, an experience Trip and Fall Attorney shall be wage in order to approximate success in your injury-compensation pursuit.

Liability Issues in Construction Accidents

Several liability issues are involved in a construction accident. If you happen to be a worker injured at work, you can recover from your injuries through worker’s compensation benefits. However, the property owner and the company owner may also be held liable for damages under premise liability.

The article “Man Killed in Deadly Banning Accident”, posted on March 27, 2008, gives an account of a worker’s tragic death in a construction site. The worker died while working on a power line after the trench collapsed. Reports said the man was trapped inside the trench and died from suffocation.

According to the article, the industrial accident is still being investigated by the California Department of Occupational Safety and Health (CAL-OSHA), the local police department and the worker’s employer.

Trench cave-ins are common construction and industrial accidents that cause dearth and injury in California. According to statistics, over the period of 2001 to 2005, nearly 26 deaths and 207 injuries have been accounted from trench accidents alone.

The state safety and health agency pointed out that the cause of the accident was the company’s failure to shore up the trench properly. Other preventive measures could have been taken to avoid the accident by checking on the stability of the soil and carrying out inspections of the trench.

Because of the incident, the company may be held liable for the death of the worker, as a regulation from the Department of Occupational Safety and Health requires that “the employer must competently conduct daily inspections of the trench and implement safety measures”. In addition, a worker who enters an excavation 5 feet or deeper has to obtain a permit from the agency before proceeding to work.

Further, in California, every employer has a legal obligation to provide and maintain and safe and healthy workplace for employees, as required by California Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1973. The employer in this case will probably be fined by CAL-OSHA for neglecting or failing to shore up the trench properly. Not only does the family have rights to workers’ compensation benefits, but they may have a third party lawsuit as well.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Legal Protections from Whistle blowing Violations

Employees who expose workplace violations or illegal employment practices are often subjected to retaliation, harassment, discrimination acts and even termination by their employers or co-workers. While some of these people may not know it, these acts violate both federal and state laws on whistle blowing.

The article, "Whistleblower Receives Large Settlement and New Job; How Employment Attorneys Can Help You", posted on April 29, 2008, gives an account of how an employee went through the ordeal after reporting on his superior’s illegal activities and emerged successful from it.

According to the article, a woman employee of Kentucky governor Ernie Fletcher blew the whistle on the administration’s illegal hiring practices. As a result, she was fired and dismissed from her job.

The woman employee filed a complaint of retaliation and wrongful termination case against the administration. With the help of her employment attorneys, she received $ 500,000 as compensation for her claims and got a new job.

Under federal and state laws, whistleblowers are protected against acts or violations arising from their accusations against their employers. Violations of the whistle blowing laws such as retaliation, harassment, discrimination and wrongful termination are addressed by some statutes and laws.

While they do not afford any specific whistleblower protections, these other statutes may assist in the prosecution of those who retaliate against whistleblowers:

  • 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1031- Major Fraud Acts of 1989
  • 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1505 - Penalties for obstruction of government investigations
  • 45 U.S.C. Sec. 60 - Penalties for obstruction of government agency proceedings

Monday, June 2, 2008

State Benefits, MediCal, about to Reduce

In California, the government is providing various types of state benefits in order to help eligible individuals or families who are in need of assistance for their daily necessities such as food, shelter, clothing and/or health services. These include helpful programs such as:

  • CalWork
  • Food Stamp Program
  • Head Start
  • Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program
  • MediCal
  • Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children
  • Unemployment Insurance
These benefits have been the primary source of living for many California’s since its implementation. However, due to the significant structural budget deficit in California, the state government has announced some pending reductions in several programs under MediCal.

As mentioned in the notice released by the Department of Health Care Services last May 20, 2008, payment for Medi-Cal fee-for-service benefits and non Medi-Cal programs whose rates are identical to Medi-Cal rates is about to suffer a 10% decrease. This will be implemented on or before July 1, this year. Nonetheless, many other programs covered by MediCal will be left unadjusted.

In my opinion, this pending cut on MediCal payments must not cause worry to the public. I think that this is only one of the strategies being executed by the government to alleviate the effects of the deflation that California and even the country is experiencing.

We should all consider the economic turbulence that is happening, and we should do our own sacrifice. Who knows, the state government may reinstate the amount of benefits if its budget becomes more stable.

For more details, you should contact DHCS or just consult your Social Security lawyer, especially if you have any plans of filing an application for such state benefits.

ERISA: Employees’ Nightmare or Employers’ Heaven?

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) is federal statute that establishes minimum standards for pension plans and employee benefits, including health coverage, offered by private-sector employers.

The Congress has included in the said law a "preemption clause." This clause essentially provides that state law yields to federal law when it comes to regulating employee benefit.

However, attempts to increase health coverage by including employers as a source of financing remained futile because of said preemption clause.

This comes now to the question of whether the ERISA law prevents states from implementing health care reforms.

Some court rulings prohibited states from requiring employers to cover workers' health benefits. In fact, rulings have led people to believe that ERISA considerably limits California's ability to apply health care reform, particularly any kind of reform that places requirements on employers, like a "pay or play" requirement.

In one case, the U.S. Supreme Court held that California's notice-prejudice rule regulates insurance and is, therefore, not preempted by ERISA.

As I have observed, another manifest loophole of ERISA is this, under the laws of most states, a wrongful denial of benefits can lead to a jury verdict awarding the employee the denied benefits, damages for emotional distress and punitive damages. On the other hand, under ERISA, there is no right to a jury trial, and the most that an employee who has wrongly denied benefits can receive is the denied benefits.

Because of this, insurance companies can just deny benefits as they want it. The most that they can lose, if sued, is the value of the benefits they denied in the first place.

My stand is this, the Supreme Court or Congress should once and for all settle this controversy. Until such time, it is not possible to predict with certainty whether ERISA preempts a specific state law.