Friday, June 29, 2012

19-Vehicle Pileup Closes Southbound Freeway in LA Mountains

On Tuesday, a big rig truck and nineteen vehicles collided on a freeway in the mountains of Los Angeles. The accident left at least fifteen people with minor injuries and two in critical condition.

Television news video footages taken on the incident showed more than one and a half dozen cars, SUVs, pick-up trucks, and a big-rig truck piled up on top of each other in a bunch of wreckage.

According to reports, the said multiple-vehicle accident occurred at around 9:45 in the morning at the southbound side of California Route 14 in Agua Dulce. Said route is commonly known as the Antelope Valley Freeway where cars bound for Los Angeles basin from the high desert bedroom communities often speed up.

The California Highway Patrol said that all southbound lanes and two northbound lanes were closed and re-opened at around 2:08 in the afternoon the same day.

The Los Angeles County Fire Department Captain, Mark Savage, said that fortunately for the people involved in the vehicle pile-up, there was neither fire nor hazardous material spill at the accident scene.

At least one person was trapped in the wreckage; firefighters were able to free that person immediately using Jaws of Life. A group of ambulance also responded to the scene and transported the injured victims to hospitals. Savage further said that most of the injuries sustained by the victims were minor expect for the two who were listed in critical condition.

At present, the major cause of the accident was not yet determined, but the investigation is still under way.

Such vehicle pileup accidents are common in mountain areas, which are both elevated and densely-populated with a lot of vehicles passing by. In California where vehicle pileups frequently occur, many victims suffer from different injuries ranging from minor to severe, and in worst cases, death.

This type of car accident encourages personal injury lawyers to extend their legal assistance to the victims who are in need of help. According to a Los Angeles motorcycle lawyer, in most lawyers’ countless experiences in defending victims of vehicle accidents and their families, they were able to gain a good reputation in providing clients the best legal assistance they deserve.

Friday, June 22, 2012

EEOC’s Appellate Summaries Now Available Online

On Wednesday, the EEOC announced that it has put its appellate and amicable summaries since 2000 on its official website.

Said summaries from the EEOC’s Appellate Service Division represent lawsuits in the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals in which the agency was a party. The summaries filed act as a “friend of the court” or the so-called amicus curiae in those courts, particularly in the U.S. District Courts and other tribunals.

The agency’s new database allows full text search queries for any keywords or phrases, like
“racial discrimination” or “wrongful termination lawsuit,” as well as searches by case name, court, statutes involved, basis of the lawsuit, and type of summary. Meanwhile, new summaries will be added several weeks upon the actual date of filing in court. 

However, the database does not include summaries filed before the Supreme Court, whether as party or amicable. Such summaries are exclusively available from the Office of the Solicitor General at the Department of Justice, while summaries filed before 2000 are only available from the offices of the clerks of court where they were filed.

EEOC claims that the new database is consistent with the goal of the Open Government Initiative, which aims to make such government documents more accessible to the people. In fact, the EEOC recently put state-specific data on its official website to complete the national data already present.

Furthermore, the EEOC has created a new particular page on its website explaining the extent of its “friend of the court” program. The page features a new e-mail box where a counsel may suggest cases that come within the agency’s “friend of the court” guidelines.

A Los Angeles discrimination attorney is quite impressed with the agency’s remarkable step in supporting the federal government’s initiative in providing ease to public it terms of securing public documents. Such program will not only benefit the public, but also the other employment lawyers in reviewing cases.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Most U.S. Wage Earners Lack Long-Term Disability Insurance

In a recent study conducted by the U.S. Business Group of Sun Life Financial Inc., many of the nation’s full time wage earners were found out to have inadequately planned for the risk of long-term disability. This is despite the fact that medical problems are already contributing to approximately half of all personal bankruptcies and home foreclosures in the country. 

The said study arises from a survey of more than 2,000 workers all over the United States. The survey findings suggest that a great number of American wage earners remain unprepared for the present shift in employment benefits, as more employers provide the workers an option to purchase group benefits like disability, life, vision, and dental insurance.

According to the Voluntary Benefits’ vice president, Robert E. Klein, Jr., Americans should understand the financial risks of long-term disability and learn more to mitigate said risks. Klein explained that among ten couples, three of them are more likely to have partners who will experience a long-term disability lasting a year or even longer during their career lifetime.

In a news resource, the study revealed its major findings which are quoted below:

•    Approximately one third of surveyed American wage earners lack long-term disability insurance.

•    Over a third of workers whose employers give them an option to purchase group long-term disability insurance refused to avail it, making them uninsured.

•    Workers who do not avail group voluntary long-term disability coverage fall into three classifications: the one that doesn’t think the risk justifies the amount paid for insurance, the one that hasn’t considered the matter and still remains blind to solutions, and the one that finds the thought of disability not too good to accept.

•    Workers under golden age, minorities, men, and tech workers are more possibly to have availed long-term disability insurance than other respondents of the said study.

•    Most workers don’t understand major features of long-term disability insurance and fail to realize how monthly disability benefits may raise living expenses.

Michael E. Shunney, the senior vice president and general manager for Sun Life Financial’s U.S. Employee Benefits Group Division, is quite bothered since most employers are shouldering less and less of the overall group long-term disability insurance. Therefore, workers within the country must take preventive measures in mitigating the financial risk of long-term disability. Shunney said that as the study revealed, wage earner don’t always think logically when they consider their risks.

A Los Angeles long term disability lawyer, as he had previously observed, agrees with the said study that more and more American wage earners nowadays disregard the benefits of long-term disability insurance. Definitely, wage earners have to be aware on how to protect themselves as well as their families against income deficit brought by a long-term disability.

Meanwhile, authors of the said study anticipate that the said survey will be noted by American wage earners to encourage them to plan for their financial security.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Sleepy Drivers and Drunk Drivers Have High Risks for Vehicle Accidents

In a study conducted by several safety advocates from France, it was revealed that being sleepy while driving is as risky as drunk driving. The study suggests that both sleepy drivers and drunk drivers are at least twice as possible to cause a vehicle accident.

The said study that was authored by Nicholas Moore at the Center of Hospitalo-Universitaire de Bordeaux analyzed data gathered from 679 drivers who were admitted to a hospital in southwestern France for more than a day because of a severe accident between 2007 and 2009.

Moore and his other co-author noted in a letter to the Archives of Internal Medicine that sleepiness poses almost as much risk as alcohol intake.

The researchers used information gathered from driver questionnaires and police reports to determine what factors may have contributed to the vehicle accidents. Under the questionnaires, drivers specified what medications they were going through, their alcohol intake and how sleepy they were before the accident, while hospital files gave information on patients’ blood alcohol levels.

Most of the injured drivers were at their golden age and majority of them were males. More than half of the injured was on a motorcycle while about a third was in a car and 10 percent was on a bicycle during the time of the accident.

Meanwhile, based on police reports, 355 of the drivers were found responsible for the accidents. The researchers concluded from the said reports that being baby boomers driving a car, drinking alcohol and being sleepy are all linked to an increased risk of causing a vehicle accident.

Furthermore, an associate scientist at the Henry Ford Hospital Sleep Disorders and Research Center in Detroit, Christopher Drake, also attested that a few hours of sleep loss will produce as much impairment as six bottles of beer. Therefore, Drake explained that if a person had a whole night of sleep loss, it equates to having a 0.19 blood alcohol content level. In US, the lawful blood alcohol level is 0.08 percent, and anything that goes beyond that limit is considered illegally impaired.

At present, there is no law that prohibits sleepy drivers from driving, or legislation to pull sleepy drivers on roadways. Nevertheless, several personal injury lawyers believe that in the long run, provisions covering sleepy drivers will be implemented due to the growing number of vehicle accidents involving sleepy drivers.