Jul 13 2010

Truck Accident Statistics in the U.S.

Auto accidents are the leading cause of disability assistance in the U.S. While truck accidents make up only a portion of that, nevertheless it is important for you to be aware of some vital statistics regarding truck accidents if you want to be prepared and make the most of whatever comes your way.

  • There are over 400,000 commercial truck accidents in the U.S. every year.
  • Over 130,000 people are injured every year in big rig accidents.
  • Over 600 commercial truck drivers are killed each year in accidents.

These statistics are alarming, but they can be prevented if you know what you’re doing. Certain statistics shed light on a number of trends and facts that you need to keep in mind:

  • It takes a tractor trailer truck moving over 60 m/h the length of a football field to come to a stop.
  • Driver fatigue is the primary cause of truck accidents every year.
  • Large trucks weigh up to 30 times more than the average car.
  • Trucking companies regularly violate Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, meaning that if you get into an accident you could be liable for a lot of money.

Your health is of the utmost importance. Getting into a collision with a large truck can result in a number of debilitating health conditions, including:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Temporary or permanent paralysis
  • Death

Many of these conditions don’t make themselves manifest until up to a year after the accident. If you are a victim of such an accident, you could end up paying bills for decades to come. People have won up to $2 million in damages from particularly bad truck accidents, and even minor ones have netted tens of thousands of dollars. Trucks are huge, and even minor accidents can have major repercussions.

The good news is that with a seasoned lawyer, you can definitely get ahead in the legal battles. Trucking companies are notorious for being lax about safety regulations; however, this means that they are quite used to legal challenges. They have a staff of lawyers on call 24/7 to try and keep victims of accidents from getting compensation. If you don’t have legal representation, there is a good chance that you will be fleeced out of your money and stuck footing the medical bills without assistance for a long time. Protect yourself today by finding a Georgia truck accident attorney!

Jun 25 2010

Charitable Trusts

Anyone interested in assisting a favorite organization by making a significant financial donation, while potentially reducing their personal tax liabilities may wish to consider establishing a charitable trust. Simply stated, a charitable trust is an irrevocable legal construct in which property is managed by one person or entity for the benefit of a charitable organization or purpose. This type of trust can be created during a person’s lifetime, or they can be testamentary in nature, meaning that they commence existence upon the donor’s death. Two main types of charitable trusts worth considering are the charitable lead trust and the charitable remainder trust.

A charitable lead trust is a legal structure through which payments or donations of either a fixed dollar amount or of a portion of the trust’s principal amount are made to the selected charity. Once the trust’s term is completed, the funds remaining in the trust can revert to the donor or to any heirs or beneficiaries chosen by the donor. It is sometimes possible for the donor of a charitable lead trust to realize a current income tax deduction or a gift tax deduction for establishing this type of gift, but that will be determined by the type of structure ultimately selected. While a non-grantor trust will not result in a present income tax deduction, it will remove the asset or a portion of its value from the donor’s taxable estate.

Charitable remainder trusts are, in essence, a charitable lead trust in reverse. Remainder trusts provide a stream of trust income to designated beneficiaries of the donor, and a public charity or private foundation receives the remainder amount at the termination of the trust term. The trust term may be defined by lives in being or a term of years. This type of trust is typically tax-exempt. In most cases, donors can claim an income tax deduction and can possible avoid immediate capital gains tax liability at the time the trust disposes any appreciated trust asset.

Please note that the above material is for informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute legal advice.

Before making donations or charitable trusts, contact the Florida Probate Lawyer to set up a legal consultation.

Jun 25 2010

Difficulties That Extend the Probate Process

The probate process occurs when property is to be passed, due to a death, to the legal heirs. This can be an emotional time for all involved, and sometimes things are overlooked that lengthen the process and make more difficulties than necessary for the survivors. There are things you can do to prevent this situation, whether you are making a will or are one of the beneficiaries of a will.

First, if you are making your will, you should seek the advice of a competent attorney to help you decide the best way to dispose of your assets and avoid unnecessary taxes or problems with division of property. “Do-it-yoursef” will kits rarely give you the flexibility to plan your estate effectively, even if you do not own much property. Further, as they are constructed for mass marketing, they do not take into account various state laws regarding inheritance. Many difficulties have arisen from probate judges refusing to probate “homemade” wills or being unable to interpret them.

Another thing that can delay the process is multiple wills. If you do decide to change your will, make sure that an attorney handles the change for you. Wills can be added to by something called a codicil; they are also nullified by marriage or birth. If you experience a life-changing event, you must consult with your attorney as to how to handle your will changes. A new will should always be drawn up by a lawyer and properly witnessed so there is no doubt of its precedence; further, all copies of old wills should be destroyed.

Finally, if you are a beneficiary of a will, you should submit in a timely manner to any and all requests of the probate court. Most wills name one or two beneficiaries as executors. If you are an executor, meet with the attorney who drew up the will and comply with all requests immediately, in order to ensure that there are no unnecessary delays.

This article is not intended as legal advice.

Legal Reference: The Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin, P.C. in Long Island, New York

May 31 2010

Right of Way and Truck Accidents

A vehicle will sometimes come into conflict with a pedestrian or another vehicle because their intended courses of travel will be in conflict with each other. This is where the rules of “right of way” come into play. The general principle of right of way is defined as the one who has the legal right to proceed first or who should be given priority. This will establish who may use the conflicting part of the road and who has to wait until the other one has done so.

Devices for determining who has the right of way will include signals, signs, markings and various other features or devices designed to illustrate explicit priority. A good example of this is the nearly universal use of stop signs. If there are no signs or indications present that will determine the right of way, there are default traffic rules that must be observed. These rules will vary from location to location. There are efforts geared towards uniformity at an international level, which can be seen in the Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals. This convention prescribes standardization in traffic devices (signals, signs and markings) that are used to establish the right of way.

Pedestrian crosswalks are found in all populated areas and these are used to indicate that a pedestrian has the right of way over passing vehicular traffic. Traffic signals are found in most developed areas in order to designate right of way on the more congested roadways. The purpose of these is to expedite the flow of traffic in a safe and orderly manner by allotting timed intervals for vehicles to proceed from each direction. The intervals are programmed with certain factors in mind such as traffic volume, the location of other traffic signals and pedestrian crossings. Vehicles that are emerging from a private access must yield to motorists travelling on a public road with the exception of drawbridges, rail crossings and emergency vehicles.

Intersections that have no signals and particular roads at busy intersections may have temporary dominance whereby a break in traffic must be achieved which, in turn, gives temporary dominance to the other road.

Please note that this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice.

You can find further detailed information regarding truck accidents in Boca Raton by visiting the Weinstein Law Offices.

May 31 2010

Proving Medical Malpractice

Any form of professional negligence that is carried out by a medical practitioner is regarded as medical malpractice. It involves the deviation from accepted medical standards in any given situation that results in the injury of a patient or even death. These standards vary but there is a general code of conduct that medical professionals are expected to adhere to in all their endeavors. They are responsible for the patient’s welfare and are liable for any damages or medical malpractice lawsuits that may be filed against them.

Knowing Doctor’s Responsibility

The responsibilities of doctors range from diagnoses and prescribing medication to performing surgical procedures. It is important for victims of medical negligence to locate lawyers who can help them build a case based on the circumstances surrounding the situation. A lawyer can make a successful claim on behalf of his or her patient by proving beyond reasonable doubt that negligence took place on the part of the defendant or medical practitioner.

The broad scope of medical malpractice is that it constitutes the disregard for an individual’s wellbeing. A medical malpractice lawyer guides the victim of negligence in terms of what legal options are available and how the individual can go about gaining compensation for any losses incurred. While in some situations a lawsuit cannot do much to restore much of what someone has lost, it serves as a pertinent reminder of how important it is for doctors to exercise caution in their care for patients.

Seeking Help for Medical Negligence

The best way to tackle the situation is by hiring a competent lawyer who will commit himself to making the doctor literally pay for whatever physical damage he has caused. In extreme cases where the death of a patient has been caused, the case can still be pursued by members of the deceased’s family. It may seem like a long and winding process for them but the reality is that seeking justice can be very fulfilling and it also goes a long way in helping people overcome the suffering that they have been subjected to through the medical negligence.

This article is for information purposes only and not a legal advice. Please inquire from the Tallahassee medical malpractice Attorneys Searcy, Denney, Scarola, Barnhart, & Shipley to understand more.

May 31 2010

Boating Accident Statistics

Boating accidents are caused for several reasons. Those reasons may consist of operator negligence, speeding, inexperience or no lookout. Some boating accidents are a result of a defect in the boat. If this occurs, the operator may have a lawsuit against the boating manufacturer.

In 2008, there were nearly 3700 boating related casualties. These fatalities occurred in five different types of boats. The boats consist of open motorboat, personal watercraft, cabin motorboat, canoe/kayak, and rowboat. While the number of boating accidents rose from 4,967 in 2006 to 5,191 in 2007. That number appeared to decline in 2008. In 2008, over 510 deaths were related to drowning and all but 49 were not wearing a life jacket.

Most of the boating fatalities in 2008, were related to operator negligence or recklessness. However, there were other causes of boating fatalities. The top ten reasons for boating fatalities are listed below:

  1. Alcohol Use
  2. Passenger or Skier Behavior
  3. Weather
  4. Operator Inexperience
  5. Careless or Reckless Operation
  6. Excessive Speed
  7. Operator Inattention
  8. Machinery Failure
  9. Force of Wave or Wake

As it is important not to drink and drive a motor vehicle, it is also important not to drive a boat while under the influence of alcohol. It impairs the operator’s judgment and may result in fatalities. There were 124 boating deaths related to alcohol use. Almost half of the 276 boating accidents related to alcohol resulted in death.

The single most cause of injuries or boating accidents were a result of reckless operation of the boat. Of the 492 accidents associated with careless or reckless operation, 392 resulted in injuries. Open motor boats, by far, accounted for the majority of casualties related to boating. Over 700 individuals lost their lives in an open motor boat in 2008. Canoers and kayakers also suffered a large number of fatalities totaling nearly 230.

Exercising safety precautions while on a boat is of utmost importance. Some fatalities occur due to weather, malfunction, and waves. These types of accidents may be unavoidable in some instances. However, the leading cause of death was due to falling overboard, and the second cause of death was collisions. Each of these types of deaths are avoidable with the proper operation and safety jackets.

For more information on boating accident, visit Fort Lauderdale lawyer Kelley Uustal.

May 31 2010

Choosing the Right Bankruptcy Attorney

Bankruptcy is a crisis that many Americans are facing. People who work hard and pay their bills may find themselves buried under medical expenses, experience financial loss and unexpectedly suffer other financial crises that force them into bankruptcy court proceedings.

People who are faced with bankruptcy obviously need the services of a good bankruptcy attorney. The problem most people have is in determining how to choose the right attorney for their situation.
Here are factors that should affect your choice of an attorney:

The attorney’s professional experience is very important. There is no substitution for experience in bankruptcy negotiations with creditors, preparing courtroom arguments and presenting cases before a judge and jury.

Specialization is another important consideration for your choice of an attorney. Pick an attorney who specializes in bankruptcy. It’s impossible for a general practice attorney to be competent in all aspects of bankruptcy law. An attorney who specializes in bankruptcy is informed, trained and capable of representing you well.

Client service is what connects you to your attorney. When he or she is willing to explain the process, investigate your options and keep you thoroughly informed every step of the way you are able to make the best possible decisions.

You should consider hiring an attorney who has a good reputation in the community, the court system and among his or her peers. Not all bankruptcy attorneys are created equal. Choose an attorney who is widely respected in the practice of bankruptcy law.

Innovation is an important factor in your decision. An innovative attorney is on the cutting edge of the law and is often the one winning cases by using the most current case law and legal theories.
Success is the final determination of who you should hire. Look for an attorney that successfully represents clients, establishes the greatest legal protection in bankruptcy proceedings and brings about the best possible resolution of bankruptcy cases.

Your financial stability and future depend on choosing the right bankruptcy attorney. Take all of these factors into consideration as you make the right and informed choice of a bankruptcy attorney. Clients needing assistance in the Sarasota area should contact Jodat Law Group.

May 29 2010

Getting a Representative on a Social Security Disability Claim Application

Individuals applying for social security disability or SSI are usually warned against getting representation. In most cases, they are recommended to only get a representative upon denial of the claim and not before or during application.

Importance of Having a Representative

While claimants are often discouraged against representation, to some extent this representation might be considered a necessity. This need can be attributed to the haphazard manner in which these claims are often settled. It is common to find that a case has been decided without referencing important records, whereas missed deadlines for appeal filing, medical exam or hearing are also regular. Such cases can only be avoided if the claimant is assisted by someone conversant with social security law and disability law. Therefore, most people find it necessary to get a representative right from the start.

On the same note, individuals are advised to avoid attending a hearing without a representative who is knowledgeable about social security law and disability law. This mostly applies for individuals who have waited for a long time for scheduling of the hearing.

The Tasks of a Representative

A representative who is on the ball with social security law and disability law in this case is important because, he/she will assist the claimant to prepare appropriately for the hearing. The representative will ensure that medical records have been collected and that the physician’s statements are at hand so that they can be presented before the administrative law judge.

Apart from that, the representative will ensure that he gets a copy of the claimant’s exhibit file which is the social security file in this case. This will enable him/her to scrutinize decisions that were made previously when the initial claim was being processed into a case as well as during the reconsideration levels.

This step is important because it will enable the representative to determine the mistakes and errors that may have arisen in the evaluation stage of the claim. The representative can then bring forth such mistakes and errors during the hearing in a bid to reinforce his/her argument. In most cases, this might prompt the administrative law judge to give benefits.

This article is for information purposes only and not intended for legal advice.

Talk to Tampa attorney Mike Murburg for information about getting a representative on a Social Security Disability claim application. Serving the St. Petersburg and Clearwater, Florida areas.

May 29 2010

About Common Laws

Laws are formulated by various bodies to suit various situations. There are laws that are formulated by legislative statutes, executive branch or simply the judge himself/herself. Laws formulated by a judge in a court of law or through a tribunal are referred to as common law. This system attaches great importance to how a fact that has occurred now is judged in comparison to a past similar fact. Future decisions are bound by past judgments of similar cases in relevant courts. Stare decisis refers to the basing of a decision or judgment to past similar decisions. In cases that prove to be unique in their own right, the decision of the judge as pertains to the case at hand will form a precedent which will bind similar future cases.

This precedential common law system is more complex than it looks. This is because what applies in one state may not apply in others. Furthermore, in each and every state, there are courts which are higher ranking than others. Nowhere is this more apparent than when you consider an appellate court and a lower court. The appellate court decisions are binding to the lower court in the same jurisdiction but the opposite is not true. Statutory law, regulatory law, constitutional law and common law give rise to an intricate web as they interact.

Regulatory and Statutory Laws

Laws formulated by the executive under the legislature’s authority form regulatory laws. Laws formulated by the legislature are known as statutory laws. Common or case laws are as a result of court decisions over time. Common law systems interpret the law based on age old decisions of past courts e.g. law of tort and contract law. These systems also use court decisions to interpret laws from other bodies

Civil Laws

Civil laws act together with common laws. Non Islamic and European countries come across as non common law countries. In common law systems, statutes and court decisions are comparably equal. The civil law legal system does not accord judicial precedent as much weight as is the case with common law systems. Scholarly literature influences decisions in this system.

This article is not intended as legal advice

Additional Website: Bloom Legal, LLC, serving clients in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Apr 25 2010

Growing Risks for Offshore Oil Rigs

With the recent Transocean rig explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon that occurred on April 20th, there has been an awakening regarding the growing risks for oil companies that are drilling deeper into the crust of the earth. More and more companies are digging deeper in order to satisfy the fuel demands for international and domestic usage. In the U.S., there is said to be more deep water areas being opened up for oil exploration. Companies are even beginning preparations for reserves located off the coasts of Angola and Brazil. Furthermore, the U.S. economy is in need of jobs. Recently, President Obama answered the “drill baby drill” chant when he presented his National Energy Plan. In doing so, he opened up from Delaware to Florida for potential deep water drilling, additional leases in the Gulf of Mexico and other reserves in the Alaska Regions. The Transocean rig explosion, and the safety concerns it has brought to the forefront, will require this new exploration and production to be done at a safety standard that will negate the potential of another Deepwater Horizon explosion.

Transocean is a company based in Houston, Texas. The Deepwater Horizon was being rented by British Petroleum [ BP ] at the time it exploded. BP was paying around $500,000.00, a half of a million dollars a day, to utilize this semi-submersible drill ship! This incident is a grave reminder to the world about the risks involved with drilling for more oil during this era of dwindling reserves. It is becoming more and more dangerous even with the advancements in technology.

As Robert Bryce, an energy expert, stated, drilling for oil in deep water is “similar to high-stakes casino”. It has market risks, capital risks and engineering risks. When all put together, the risks are extremely hard to quantify.

Before the explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon, it was known for recently breaking a world record for drill depth. It was able to operate in waters as deep at 8,000 feet and had the ability to punch 32,000 feet into the crust of the earth. It was equipped with a movie theater and a bowling alley as well. It was known to be one of the biggest and most advanced engineering projects in the world. It was a fifth generation exploration rig. Most recently, it was working in BP’s crude oil region, called Tiber, which is located in the Gulf of Mexico.

What went wrong aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig is still unknown, but an investigation will be constructed with a main focus on mechanical malfunction and human error. Oil rigs are known for battling hurricanes and fires, but  explosions like the one that occurred on April 20th should not occur without the presence of gross negligence.

All of the injured persons are covered by the Jones Act which is a highly specialized area of the law. It would be foolish to hire a lawyer that does not an experienced maritime lawyer or maritime law firm.

We are honored to say, that because of our prior experience successfully suing Transocean in wrongful death matters, our firm was hired before all other maritime law firms to prosecute a lawsuit against Transocean, British Petroleum and others.

If you would like to get in touch with a Transocean rig explosion lawyer, you can give Gordon, Elias & Seely f/k/a/ Gordon & Elias a call today at 1-800-773-6770.