Posts by Karen

I heard an interesting idea the other day, and I had to write about it. There are so many thoughts racing through my mind; writing seems to be the only thing that helps. Anyways, I was trimming the oak tree on my front lawn when a guy rides by on his bicycle. I live in a bike-friendly area, so I didn’t think anything of it. Then he stops and turns to me. I noticed him out of the corner of my eye, but I didn’t acknowledge him right away. I just kept on trimming the tree.

He shouts over to me from the road, “You better be careful! That limb you’re cutting could fall on your head. I hope you have coverage for workers’ compensation.” And he proceeded to ride away down the street. I stopped what I was doing and took a step back. Sure enough, he was right. At the angle I was cutting into the limb, it could have quickly started to fall before I was done cutting it and dropped right onto my ladder, or worse, my head.

I wasn’t too far up; maybe ten feet or so. But who knows where my saw would have landed. If the branch had knocked me off of the ladder, I could have dropped the saw and cut myself pretty severely.

He didn’t stick around long enough for me to talk to him, so I shouted a quick, “Good call. Thanks.” It was crazy to me that a stranger’s random suggestion might have saved me a trip to the hospital with a nasty cut or a broken leg. That guy on the bike wasn’t around for very long, but his words have stuck with me. What if I needed help? If I had fallen and hurt myself, how long would it take for anyone to notice? This is the stuff that haunts me in my sleep now.

He mentioned workers’ compensation, and it got me thinking about the subject. I’ve never been injured at work or even considered the need for income if I was hurt to the point that I couldn’t clock-in. I started digging a little and found this interesting site. I had no idea that companies with a certain amount of employees are supposed to carry workers’ compensation coverage through an insurance company. That explains a lot. The other surprising thing I discovered is that companies have an incentive to avoid paying their injured workers through their insurance policy because their premiums will go up. I couldn’t believe it. Apparently, some companies try to save money by denying their employees coverage when it is needed most.

It may sound like a scary bedtime story, but it happens. Law firms are out there fighting the good fight and protecting their clients from unreasonable business practices. I’m glad that I avoided dropping a limb on myself, and I hope you’re safe out there too. You never know when an accident might happen, or the uphill battle you could be forced to overcome to recover.

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The Life of a Landscaper

Posted By on Oct 31, 2017

There are so many advantages, and only a few disadvantages, to being a landscaper.  To begin, let’s start with the advantages.  I am one of the healthiest people that I, or anyone else that I am acquainted with, know, living and/or dead.  I attribute my uber healthy mind and athlete’s body to always being outside, all day and every day.  The fresh air is good for plants, animals, even humans.  We were not meant to live indoors, but to be outside and one with nature as the Almighty intended for us to be.  

Working outside builds character, just like my father always taught.  My dad is the smartest man I know, or probably will ever know.  As kids, we were always outside, even when it was hot enough to grill a steak on the driveway or cold enough to reenact the ice licking scene from A Christmas Story.  This helped mold me into the perfect image of physical health that I am today. Unfortunately, as I become older, I’ve started to be a source of recommendations rather than the person for the job.

If you’re in Chicago, there is one team I cannot recommend more, and that is the Chicago Landscapers of Ware Landscaping

Working outside builds both physical strength and a sense of mental endurance.  It pains me that I cannot come to my friends and neighbor’s aid when they need the help of a passionate landscaper.  Physical strength comes from knowing that I can still lift anything that I need to, and mental endurance comes from knowing that I can survive in any situation that life should throw my general direction. Unfortunately, landscaping is just such a time and effort consuming job that I cannot do it day in and day out anymore.   

So I can keep maintenance up in my own yard, and I offer advice and support as I can for my neighbors, but I always turn to someone else now for the heavy lifting and long-term projects. I keep active with my dogs and my friends, but I can’t do any more than that and I’m happy to have retired. I’ve taken up planting as many non-invasive tropical plants as I can possibly fit in my garden, and watching them grow is like having children again. I love the nurturing role that those plants give me and I’m excited to show them off to my friends who come and visit me. I’m finding old age to be a quite pleasant experience, and I attribute it to my time spent as a landscaper and my current attempts to stay in shape.

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Unemployment Rate in Austin Increasing

Posted By on Sep 20, 2017

Austin is one of the fastest growing cities in the nation due to its burgeoning tech scene, rich local history, relatively low cost of living compared to other major cities, an abundance of music festivals, a unique food scene, and so much more. With hundreds of new Austinites flooding the city every day, it makes sense to worry about whether local businesses will be able to keep up with all of the new demand for jobs. The unemployment rate in Texas is at an all-time low, but in the last few months Austin’s growth has been slowing down.

According to a recent article on the on the Austin American Statesman website, the unemployment rate in the Austin metro area has gone up for the first time since 2008. Interestingly, the article states the local unemployment rate has risen from 3.2% to 3.4% between August and September on account of people losing their jobs as opposed to new arrivals to the workforce according to data collected by the Texas Workforce Commission. In fact, they found that the labor force contracted by about .5% because companies are cutting back the number of jobs available. This is also the first time since 2000 that companies have cut back jobs to this degree. The two industries most responsible for this decline are the public sector, which cut back 2,100 jobs, and the tech industry, which cut 1,700. However, these were offset by an increase in education sector jobs and restaurant industry jobs. When looking at the entire year there is still overall growth, but it looks like it may be the slowest growth that Austin has experienced since the Great Recession.

Any time there is an article that claims the unemployment rate is increasing, it tends to cause people to panic. However, the numbers for Austin actually look excellent. An unemployment rate of 4% is typically considered to be full employment, and when unemployment dips below that companies will find it difficult to keep expanding and find workers to fill all of their positions. Some local employment agencies like WorkSTEPS in Austin can help companies find competent workers they know will be reliable, but when unemployment is this low, it will still be difficult to push for ever-increasing growth.

Because the city of Austin is still expected to experience overall job growth for the year, and because the unemployment rate is still incredibly low, there is little cause to worry that there will not be enough jobs to go around. Continuously expanding growth is never sustainable, so it is only natural that as Austin gets more popular and the cost of living rises that the rush of people into the area will slow down. A local Austinite will still try to convince you to move elsewhere, but this is definitely a city that will still continue to accommodate more residents as far as employment is concerned, even if the infrastructure cannot keep up.

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Pennsylvania Dog Bite Accident

Posted By on Aug 5, 2017

Dogs are typically seen as man’s best friend. They are exceedingly loyal and loving creatures, and they make a great addition to any home. However, all owners are responsible for knowing their dog’s personality and training appropriate behaviors in any situation. Despite years of domestication, dog’s are still animals, with their own ability to make decisions and react rashly to any situation. It is essential that owners take the time necessary to fully understand their dog’s needs and to ensure that they protect their pet and nearby people from stressful situations that may lead to a serious dog bite. When owners neglect these duties, serious accidents can occur that can change a person’s life permanently. Just ask the parents of Kaydence Jakubowski, a 4-year old girl who was mauled by a large dog.

In July of 2017, Kaydence and her family were enjoying themselves at a party with good friends, when a large Akita got loose from its kennel and attacked the young girl. Both the family and the owners believe this to be an entirely unprovoked attack, but the dog is facing euthanasia as a result. Kaydence’s parents rushed her to a nearby hospital in Plains Township, Pennsylvania with significant facial and neck wounds. Although she was released that night with a few stitches and antibiotics, the injuries were far worse than the doctor’s originally realized. The next day Kaydence was unable to walk as a result of her injuries, and she was rushed to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia after suffering a stroke. Kaydence is still at CHOP in critical condition fighting a blood clot near her brain stem and a carotid artery aneurysm. As a result of this accident, the right side of her body is paralyzed, and there is a puncture in her vocal chords which may affect her ability to speak. The owner of the dog who attacked is immensely apologetic about the incident. Rather than undergo an investigation under Pennsylvania’s dangerous dog laws, he has decided to euthanize the animal and put the issue to rest.

No one should have to face the terrifying results of a serious dog bite, especially not the parents of a young child. In cases such as this, it is easy to label the dog the creature at fault and even possible to extend this label to a dog breed as a whole. However, we must remember that it is the owner who has the true responsibility for their dog’s actions. Whether it was an inadequate kennel or a lack of supervision that allowed this incident to happen, all of this could have been prevented if the owner took appropriate precautions with their dog.

Although nothing will fully heal a family after a tragedy such as this, at the very least, they can receive some financial assistance to manage the cost of medical bills and other long-term expenses.

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Drowning Accidents

Posted By on Jun 11, 2017

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), from 2005-2014, the annual average of non-boating related fatal unintentional drownings in the U.S. was 3,536 (the yearly average of drowning in boating-related incidents for the same years was 332). Drowning, rather than traffic accidents, is the leading cause of accidental death among children below five years old. Swimming pools are the most common places of fatal unintentional drowning for children under five, while the most common places of drowning for adults older than 85 and children under age 1 are bath tubs and, for older children and younger adults, common places of drowning are rivers, lakes, oceans and other types of natural bodies of water.

There are many different factors that can cause drowning accidents (children and adults), but the ones most commonly cited are lack of pool barriers that would prevent children from gaining access to the pool area, failure to closely supervise children, lack of basic swimming skills, failure to wear a life jacket while boating, intoxication due to alcohol use, and seizure disorders.

Drowning, in the worst of circumstances, can result in the wrongful death of a loved one, leaving a family mourning. Even in situations where it does not result in fatality, a person who nearly drowns can suffer permanent disabilities due to the repercussions of drowning. This is because non-fatal drownings can cause injuries which are serious enough to alter a person’s life. One example of a non-fatal drowning injury is severe brain damage which can lead to long-term disabilities, like permanent loss of basic functioning (wherein a person ends up in a vegetative state), memory problems, or learning disabilities.

In public pools or resorts many fatal drowning accidents occur due to the fault of the person who owns or manages the resort. An owner’s or manager’s lack of initiative to have lifeguards, allow pool drains to remain uncovered, and allow the installation of  poorly designed pool safety features are just a few of the factors that increase the risk of drowning accidents. A person whose action or lack of action leads to a drowning accident makes that person accountable for the harm suffered by a victim; he or she may also be held legally accountable and be required to compensate the victim (and his or her family) for whatever damages such victim has been made to suffer.

As explained by a Boston personal injury lawyer, due to their lack of experience and inherent physical vulnerabilities, children are much more prone than others to suffer serious injuries in the case of an accident. Whether in a car accident, on an unsafe premise, or from negligent supervision, the irresponsible actions of other people have the potential to cause great harm to children in particular.

Your child should not suffer from someone else’s negligent actions. Regardless of the injury, your family is entitled to legal action to help your child recover. Thus, if your child has sustained an injury through the fault of someone else, know that there will always be a legal team that can help you hold negligent supervisors, irresponsible drivers, or anyone else responsible for your child’s injury, financially accountable.


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