Impairment is the primary reason why drunk-driving is considered a major traffic offense. It makes a person less sober, resulting to slower reflexes. Besides this, impairment also affects a person’s judgment, perception, coordination, reaction time and general ability to focus on the road.
In 2013, as many as 1,171,935 individuals were arrested and charged with DUI in the U.S. In 2010, the number of arrests went as high as 1.4 million, based on records from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). With these huge figures it may be considered a relief that only a little above 10,000 die in car accidents due to alcohol impairment. Authorities attribute the reduction of alcohol-impaired drivers to stricter laws, the zeal of traffic enforcers in implementing these laws, and the efforts of private groups, such as the Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) which, since 1980, has helped in the passing of new DUI laws, like the Zero Tolerance law that prohibits those below 21 from having in their blood system any measurable amount of alcohol while driving, and the Administrative License Revocation (ALR) law, which authorizes an arresting officer to confiscate the license of drivers who refuse to take or fail a breath test.
In some states, the charge imputed on impaired or drunk drivers can be driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI). However, in states where these acronyms are used separately, DWI refers to intoxication due to alcohol, while DUI refers to being under the influence either of alcohol or prohibited drugs.
In all US states, driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.08% or higher is a crime (the BAC limit for commercial drivers is 0.04%, while for those below the age of 21, it is zero tolerance, meaning they can be charged with DUI or DWI no matter how low the level of BAC in their blood is). First offenders are usually charged with a misdemeanor, granted that no one was injured or killed while driving under the influence. In such case killing or injuring someone, or if the BAC level was higher than 0.08% or if the offense were already the third or fourth violation, then the charge would be raised to something more serious: DWI felony or DUI felony.
In alcohol-impaired driving cases, drivers who are suspected of driving while intoxicated can be pulled over by police officers and asked to take a breath-screening test, also known as the Alco-Sensor test – the purpose of which is to determine the possible presence of alcohol in a driver’s breath. A positive result can lead to an arrest and once a driver has been taken to a precinct, he/she will be required to undergo a second test, which is a chemical test of his/her saliva, urine, blood and/or breath (using an instrument like the AlcoTest, Intoxilyzer, DataMaster or Breathalyzer) to determine his/her BAC level. Refusal or failure to submit to this second test can result to revocation or suspension of his/her license – this is based on administrative license suspension laws from his/her state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). (Submitting oneself to a chemical test, if suspected of driving while intoxicated, is one of the conditions of licensure as stipulated by the DMV. Thus, a license implies that a driver has implicitly consented to the chemical test that is required by DMV). Administrative license suspension laws are observed in the District of Columbia and in 41 other US states.
If convicted of DWI or DUI, a driver may also be required to have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed in his/her vehicle. The IID device is wired to a vehicle’s ignition; it will require the driver’s breath sample and will only enable the engine to start if no alcohol is detected in the driver’s breath. The device also requires periodic breath tests (while the vehicle is being driven) to make sure that the driver is continuously free from the influence of alcohol.
Furthermore, the court may require DUI or DWI offenders to fill out an SR-22 or Certificate of Financial Responsibility (CFR) form (also known as FR-44 in some states) to enable them to enjoy their driving privileges again (this is if their license has been suspended). This requirement usually lasts for three years and one effect of this is higher vehicle liability insurance premiums.
Camden DUI attorneys explain that “Many people, who are arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), often claim that they have only had a few drinks or that they are not intoxicated, despite what a breathalyzer may say. Unfortunately, these common excuses do not often hold up in a court of law.
Alcohol-related charges have serious consequences, and a conviction for such a crime can dramatically affect you for the rest of your life. Thus, if you have been charged with a DUI, it may be best to call a DUI defense attorney as soon as possible to start preparing a valid legal defense that will save you from further legal problems.”
Property owners are legally obligated to make their premises safe. If another person has been injured or killed because of their failure to make their properties safe, they may be taken to court. This is called premises liability.
Slip and fall accidents are some of the most common forms of premises liability issues. In fact, the issue is taken so seriously that there are law firms in America that focuses on such accidents, like the Bruner Law Firm.
Below is a list of the most common injuries you can get from slip and fall accidents, so you can know how serious these accidents can be.
If you slip or fall, there is a big possibility that your head will contact another surface. The most severe cases of head injuries involve traumatic brain injuries, which are commonly sustained on slips and falls from high places. Head injuries have the capability to limit your cognitive and sensory functions.
Spinal cord injuries
Spinal cord injuries that result from slip and fall accidents often occur after tremendous force in the back. The closer to the brain the spinal cord injury is, the more serious the consequences. These kinds of injuries may cause total or partial loss of motor and sensory functions.
The impact of a slip or fall can have enough force to break bones, particularly in the arms, legs, hips, hands, and feet. The elderly population is more vulnerable to fractures because their bones are generally weaker because of age.
Sprain is an injury that refers to the twisting of the ligaments, particularly in the joints. The body parts most vulnerable to sprains are the ankles, knees, and wrists. This is often caused by trauma, which can be sustained on the impact of slips and falls.
As you can see above, injuries from slip and fall accidents can vary widely. They can be life-changing injuries such as paralysis caused by spinal cord problems or relatively minor inconveniences such as twisting and stretching of ligaments. It is almost devastating to think that you can be harmed because of the negligence of property owners.
Burns are among the most painful types of injuries a person can experience. Depending on how severe a burn injury is, the usual results range from blisters to disfigured skin or even death.
Most burn-causing accidents happen in the home rather than in the workplace or anywhere else. Records from the National Burn Repository (NBR) of the American Burn Association (ABA), show that 73% of all burn accidents in the U.S. are household-related and the most common victims are children and senior citizens
There are different kinds of burn injuries, each kind being based on what caused the burn injury. Based on this, there is:
- Thermal or heat burn injury, which is caused by heat from the steam from boiling water, hot tap water, hot food or drink, hot grease/oil, curling iron, flat iron, fire, firework, and flammable liquids. When caused by boiling water or very hot liquid, the resulting injury is scald, which is most commonly suffered by children and senior citizens;
- Chemical burn injury is caused by strong acids and bases. Chemicals used in pools, ammonia, car battery acid, cleaning products, drain cleaners, and teeth whitening products and are a few of the common products that cause chemical burns.
- Electrical burn injury may be due to electrocution, getting struck by lightning, contact with power lines, or short-circuiting devices. An electrical burn can cause a life-threatening internal injury.
- Radiation burn injury causes damage to the skin or tissues. This happens after being exposed to radiation. The different types of radiation burn include sunburn, ionizing radiation, thermal radiation, radio frequency energy, and nuclear radiation.
According to The Benton Law Firm, burn injuries leave long-lasting scars and injuries that can often be fatal if serious enough. Bringing a claim against the negligent person who caused the burn injury, may help the victim recover damages for medical expenses and any related expenses such as lost wages or future earnings.
In the US, there are about four instances when a driver needs to show proof of financial responsibility: when they get pulled over by a traffic enforcer, if they get involved in an accident, when they renew their car registration, and when they renew their driver’s license.
Financial responsibility is the law that requires individuals (in all 50 states) to prove that they are capable of paying for damages in case of an accident that is due to their fault. Proving financial responsibility may be done by carrying auto liability insurance, posting a bond or depositing cash with the state, or by paying the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) the required uninsured motor vehicle fee, in lieu of insurance.
Carrying auto liability insurance is the most common way of demonstrating proof of financial responsibility. In fact, it is mandated on all drivers in 48 US states. In 38 of these states, the type of insurance coverage recognized is the tort system, wherein victims of accidents have the option to file a civil lawsuit against the at-fault driver and wherein compensation is paid to the victim by the insurance provider of this at-fault driver.
Nine states, on the other hand, require drivers to purchase the “no-fault” insurance coverage. This insurance coverage no longer requires the filing of any lawsuit since payment for losses (cost of medical treatment, lost wages, etc.) is made by each driver’s insurance provider. In the remaining three “choice states,” Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Kentucky, the ‘no-fault” system is, likewise, recognized; however, drivers are also free to rather purchase the tort insurance coverage. The 12 states where the “no-fault” auto insurance coverage is required are Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Dakota, and Utah.
(The state of New Hampshire does not mandate the carrying of auto liability insurance, while the state of Virginia allows drivers to register their cars as uninsured if they pay the uninsured motor vehicle fee to their state’s Department of Motor Vehicle. If drivers, in both states, rather choose to purchase auto insurance, however, then the policy they will need to have is the tort coverage).
More than 29 million drivers, according to the Insurance Research Council (IRC), continue to drive on US roads and highways without insurance, though, because so many drivers find car insurance policies an added burden to their budget. According to the website of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C.®, not carrying auto liability insurance can be more costly for driver as they can face suspension of their driving privileges and much more expensive financial obligations in case they get involved in an accident. To find the best insurance deal that will fall within their respective budget, drivers can ask for free auto insurance quotes from an independent car insurance company.
Fiscal crises are considered the precursor of great economic changes. The Great Depression in the 1920s, for instance, paved the way on our higher understanding of macroeconomics. Just like almost all economic innovations, mergers and acquisitions are also products of financial hardships. Mergers are business transactions when two companies (typically of same size) decide to create a new entity which will be managed by both. Acquisitions, on the other hand, are buyouts where one company takes over another. Although different in forms, they have the same business objectives: to win over market challenges and establish stronger market foothold.
According to the website of the AmLaw Group Law Firm, apart from filing for bankruptcy, struggling businesses owners may consider mergers and acquisitions as their primary options in saving their enterprises. On the other hand, some choose to have their business re-financed by foreign investors. In the U.S., for instance, there are some investors who are ready to immigrate in the country to invest in troubled businesses.
To let you see how mergers and acquisitions can powerfully change today’s business landscape, here are some of the most influential M&A deal ever conceived in 2015:
P&G-Coty Inc. mega-merger
In July, reports emerged about P&G planning to sell many of its hair care, cosmetic brands, and fragrance to Coty Inc. The move was strategic because P&G was able to focus more on their advantage (consumer products) while letting an industry leader take care of its beauty business.
CVS-Target pharmacy acquisition
Also in July, America’s largest dispenser of prescription drugs, CVS, agreed to buy Target’s pharmacy business for about $1.9 billion. If approved, the deal will be mutually beneficial for both parties: CVS will be able to expand its pharmaceutical portfolio while Target will be able to channel its efforts on areas they know best.
Holcim and Lafarge power-merger
On April last year, two of the biggest cement, aggregates and concrete manufacturers in the world decided to enter a power-merger. In July this year, the merger was approved, forming a single business entity called LafargeHolcim, which claims to be the biggest in the world.
More than 30,000 arrests are made by the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) every year, all these on drug-related crimes alone. Despite such, as well as the continuous surveillance and operations of law enforcement agencies to bust criminals and free the streets of drugs, trafficking, distribution, possession and use of illegal narcotics (like cocaine, heroin, marijuana and 3, 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) otherwise known as Ecstasy) are still significant problems in the country.
Many non-violent individuals suffer years of jail term due to the very wrong thought that smuggling drugs into the US is too easy money to pass up. Obviously, they willingly take the risk of being caught and being made to face heavy penalties in exchange for the big amount of cash they will get in return.
A drug-related activity, most especially drug trafficking, is a serious federal crime with harsh mandatory sentences. For possession of drugs, for instance, most states carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 to 40 months imprisonment plus steep fines (other states also include many hours of community service, which will serve as additional penance for the crime).
For drug selling, offenders will face much harsher penalties, including three to nine years imprisonment (even longer for those found guilty of selling drugs to minors). The law firm Kohler Hart Powell, SC, explains on its website the gravity of drug-related offenses and the penalties these carry, especially the penalties for drug trafficking, which include: years of jail sentence; fine amounting to thousands of dollars; loss of right to vote until the completion of the entire felony sentence; loss of the right to carry a gun; and, loss of certain academic and professional opportunities.
Use of illegal drugs is linked to some of the leading causes of death, like homicide, sexual crimes, violence, suicide, HIV infection, hepatitis, pneumonia, mental illness and motor-vehicle injuries. It is because of these other consequences, which put the lives of so many others in danger, why law enforcement officers and the DEA fight the crime with much more intensity. Thus, rather than just charging an individual with possession, law enforcers also look for signs, such as small plastic bags, scales and large amounts of cash, which are all possible signs of intent to sell.
The penalties awaiting a person convicted of a drug crime should never be taken lightly; more so, however, are the effects of a conviction which, according to the website of the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter, can definitely ruin a person’s future even years after his/her conviction and despite having completed the terms of his/her sentence. Because whether he/she likes it or not, his/her crime and conviction will be on record accessible, especially, to potential employers.
Everyone is innocent until proven guilty. Thus, though a person may, indeed, be caught with illegal drugs in his/her possession, he/she is very much entitled to the most competent legal defense available which can help prove that he/she may not really be guilty of a crime after all.
In the spring of 2012, a 16 weeks pregnant woman was rushed to a hospital somewhere in Manhattan. It was discovered by the attending physician at that time that the woman was employed as a cashier in one of the city’s large stores. Despite her doctor’s orders that she drink water frequently due to her condition, her boss did not allow her to do so while she worked at the cash register. Unable to take adequate amounts of fluids, plus the requirement of having to stand for hours at the register, eventually resulted to her fainting, collapsing and suffering from severe dehydration.
Despite Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964’s prohibition of workplace discrimination based on one’s sex or gender and the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act‘s (PDA) outlawing of pregnancy discrimination, many women continue to suffer unfair treatment due to their pregnancy.
The story above is, in fact, just one of the thousands of cases which show discrimination based on pregnancy. While managers would usually consider the plight of disabled employees as an act of compliance with the stipulations of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, giving employees with disabilities lighter or less strenuous jobs, women, who become pregnant and request for temporary reasonable adjustments in their work, are, instead, either sent on a forced leave or are fired immediately.
In the hope of effectively addressing the plight of pregnant employees, the 113th US Congress (2013-2014) proposed the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which declares it unlawful for employers, labor organizations, employment agencies, and other identified entities to:
- Fail to create reasonably acceptable accommodations for women job applicants and employees in view of the limitations temporarily brought about by their pregnancy, childbirth and other related medical conditions unless such accommodation would cause undue hardship in the business operations of that entity
- Deny opportunities in employment based on the firm’s need to make such reasonable adjustments or accommodations
- Require pregnant employees or job applicants to consent to a job accommodation which they would not want to accept
- Require pregnant employees to go on leave when a reasonable accommodation can be provided so as not to compromise their condition
The proposed Pregnant Workers Fairness Act also directs the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to make regulations to carry out this Act, as well as identify specific reasonable accommodations that will address the limitations of women (due to their pregnancy, childbirth, or other related medical conditions).
As of April 2015, a total of 14 states and five cities have already passed laws that will require certain employers to provide reasonable accommodations to all their pregnant workers. These states and cities include: Alaska; California; Central Falls, Rhode Island; Connecticut; Delaware; District of Columbia; Hawaii; Illinois; Louisiana; Maryland; Minnesota; Nebraska; New Jersey; New York City, New York; North Dakota; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Providence, Rhode Island; Texas; and, West Virginia.
According to the website of law firm Cary Kane LLP, employers should comply with all federal and state employment laws and make sure that their businesses are free from any form of discriminatory acts. Thus, it is important that those who strongly feel that they are being discriminated upon, most especially pregnant women, should contact a seasoned lawyer immediately for proper investigation of their case and the legal options they are entitled to pursue.
Work-related injuries, illnesses and fatal accidents continue to be a major concern of federal, state and local governments due to their high count despite the laws which mandate that all working environments should be kept healthy and safe for all employees.
Records from the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reveal a little more than three million non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses, and 4,405 deaths in 2013. Despite the substantial difference in the number of deaths compared to the latter part of the 20th century (about 14,000 job-related deaths every year), authorities from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) knows that there is still so much to be done, considering the fact that accidents are almost always results of acts of negligence.
Every time a worker is harmed different issues are brought into the open, including the concerned employer’s compliance with workplace safety laws, and the severity of the injury and the effect it will have on the victim’s personal, professional and financial future.
Some accidents cause no more than minor scratches, while others may be a little more serious and, thus, require days or weeks of bed rest. Some injuries are definitely severe, however, causing long term disabilities (LTD) that render a worker unable to work for months or even years, taking away his or her capability to earn wages.
Good thing, however, some employers provide their employees with a long term disability (LTD) insurance policy as part of their comprehensive employee benefits package; this is to protect their employees from losing any form of earnings during the long period when their injury or illness will keep them out of work.
The effectivity of a long term disability policy is usually up to 10 years or until the employee reaches the age of 65. An employee can start enjoying the benefits of his/her LTD policy after his/her short term disability insurance benefits, if he/she has one, have ended (the short term disability insurance benefits typically last between three to six months).
Most LTD insurance policies are designed to pay disabled employees about 50 – 70 percent of their salary. The benefits in employer-provide LTD policies, however, are subject to taxes, reducing further what the injured employee would receive. Due to this, there are employees who decide to purchase a personal supplemental long term disability insurance; besides the higher pay, this is also tax exempt.
Despite employees’ eligibility to receive LTD benefits, many applications get denied or are awarded benefits that are below what the policy stipulates. Many insurance providers, obviously, are guilty of avoiding making payments, thus, they do all things possible to deny claims, delay assessment of applications or payment of claims, or pay much lower benefits.
While the website of the Hankey Law Office, P.C., says that applying for benefits can be a long and difficult process, so would making an appeal to have an application reconsidered. Since an insurance policy is a legal contract, the firm wisely advises the injured employee and his/her family to transact any business with the insurance provider through the help of a legal expert who is adept in the LTD insurance benefits law.