Cruise Ship Dangers: Inclement Weather Conditions

Life is always full of risks. In any activity, all individuals face some degree of potential danger should certain factors align and contribute to an accident. This is true even when one is on vacation. In a cruise, for example, passengers might be looking forward to a fun and relaxing time. However, it can’t be ignored that there are certain risks involved in this mode of travel that might compromise the passengers’ safety. While cruise lines do what they can to mitigate the dangers and set up appropriate safety protocols, there are still some factors that are out of their hands. The weather is the most obvious example of such dangers.

Sea storms, hurricanes, and rogue waves are among the many conditions that some cruise ships will have to navigate through without much warning. While these companies can do a lot to monitor weather patterns and travel according to advisories issued by government agencies, there is no guarantee that a cruise’s crew and staff can properly predict how the sea might treat their vessel once out in the open sea.

Fortunately, cruise ships in recent years have been built with high quality materials and are outfitted with state of the art equipment to prevent any catastrophic accident caused by inclement weather conditions. The sizes of today’s vessels are often large enough to withstand some time in difficult waters as they are often made with heavier steel. Technological advancements also allow vessels to navigate through inclement weather as quickly as possible, preventing any damage caused by the continuous beating of huge and powerful waves.

In most cases, the real dangers in cruise ships are caused by recklessness and negligence on the part of the cruise line operator. As noted on the Vucci Law Group cruise ship attorney website, accidents are more common in excursions taken by passengers off the ship. Accidents caused by improper docking and malfunctioning equipment are more concerning than those that could happen due to rough weather conditions.

Historic Nashville: Civil War Battlegrounds Within and Around the City

Nashville is famous for being a looming presence in the world of music. However, the city is equally rich in history. Visitors coming to Nashville, Tennessee for the first time can enjoy the different Civil War battlegrounds in and around to city to learn more about one of the most defining moments in American history.

Battle of Nashville

The area covering parts of south and west downtown Nashville had been the venue of the Battle of Nashville in 1864. While most of this venue is now used for residential and commercial purposes, visitors can still learn about the historical significance of this even through driving tours and maps offered by the Nashville tourism facilities. You can also view the artifacts from this battle at the Tennessee State Museum.

Battle of Franklin

The area for the Battle of Franklin is about 30 minutes away from Nashville. Visitors can see the Carter House, which served as a Union command post during the height of the Civil War. Today, the structure is riddled with bullet holes showing how close Carter House was to the fighting that took place in the area. You can take a tour inside the Carter House and the surrounding area. There’s also a museum where tourists can see a short video presentation and other exhibitions. Nearby is the Carnton Plantation, which also played a crucial role during the Battle of Franklin. The plantation served as a hospital where soldiers wounded from the battle were taken and treated.

Stones River

Just thirty miles south of Nashville is the Stones River Battlefield. This area was the venue for one of the deadliest conflicts during the Civil War, and visitors can learn more about this moment in history through guided tours and a trip to its museum to see important artifacts and memorabilia. The area is also a popular trail for hiking and jogging.

Battle of Hartsville

Visitors can come to Hartsville to see the venue of the Battle of Hartsville. The event was considered as one of the most significant cavalry raids during the entire Civil War. A driving tour can take you to all the important sites and monuments throughout the city.

Scope Implicated in Superbug Outbreak

Who knew that in these modern times you could get a deadly infection through medical devices meant to help you manage your disease?

The endoscope is a snake-like medical device used in endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). This procedure is for the diagnosis and treatment of liver, bile duct, and pancreatic diseases as well as some types of cancer. The device is inserted through the throat and anus. The problem is, it could also carry a deadly virus called carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) as well as other pathogens from patient to patient. CRE is resistant to antibiotics, so the prognosis for CRE patients is not good. Some have a 50% chance of recovery; others die.

This was the case for two patients in UCLA in February 2015 who died after acquiring the CRE bug through the duodenoscope manufactured by Olympus. Two hundred others may possibly be infected, and one patient who was infected is currently suing Olympus. An article on the Resmini Law website describes a product liability issue along these lines. UCLA routinely carries out half a million ERCPs every year.

Despite stringent sterilization protocols, the risk of infection with endoscopes is still high because of its many grooves, nooks, and crannies, which makes it difficult to clean. The outbreak became more controversial when it turned out that the device, which has been on the market since 2010, did not even have Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. The oversight has sparked outrage among the population as the implications become clear.

It has been revealed recently that more than 30 patients at the Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle may also have been infected with drug-resistant superbugs via an endoscope between 2012 and 2014. Florida, Pennsylvania, and Illinois have also made similar reports, but the patients were not informed at that time. In the Seattle outbreak, 11 have since died but it is unknown if it was due to the superbug. The medical devices involved had different manufacturers including Fujinon, Pentax Medical, and Olympus America.

Establishing Paternity in Phoenix

It is no longer scandalous for a woman to raise a child on her own out of wedlock; some even prefer to do so without interference from the biological father which is why some get pregnant via an anonymous sperm donor. However, there may come a time when the mother needs to establish the paternity of the child for whatever reason, and the alleged father may not want to cooperate. This may be because once paternity is established, the court may order the father to pay child support retroactive up to three years as well as expenses related to the pregnancy and birth.

On the other hand, a man who believes he is the biological father may desire to have a more active part in the child’s life including visitation and parenting rights. Divorce may also give rise to the question of paternity. In such instances, it would be necessary to bring a paternity action with the help of a lawyer specializing in family law in the state, as stated in the website of the Law Offices of Daniel Jensen. Paternity is essentially fatherhood and the desired result of a paternity action is for the court to rule on who the father of the child is.

There are several ways available to Phoenix residents to establish paternity. The father may simply sign a form called Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity and the mother will acknowledge it. With this form, it officially establishes the legal paternity of the child. But as mentioned earlier, if either parent contests the paternity of the child, an action may be filed by the child’s:

  • Mother
  • Putative (not established) father
  • Guardian or custodian
  • Source of government welfare or health insurance benefits

In the case of government intervention, it may be in order to get reimbursement for the benefits paid on the child’s behalf, and the paternity action may be done outside the court system. If the government agency makes a ruling on paternity, it carries the same validity as a court ruling. It is within the power of the court or the government agency to compel genetic testing of the alleged father and the results must have a minimum of 95% biological match.

In general, a paternity action can be filed by an eligible third party even before the child’s birth, but not later than its 18th birthday. However, once the child is past 18, only that adult child may file a paternity action. It may be to complete a medical history, inherit property, collect benefits, or simply to find out.

Successfully Deal With The Legal Aspects Of A Personal Injury

Have you filed or are you thinking about filing a personal injury case? What are some of the things that will likely come your way over the course of your case? Although you cannot see into the future, it will nonetheless benefit you to examine things that are typical in personal injury cases so you will know what to expect.

Make sure that you gather all of the information you can from anyone that was involved in your injury. This means that you should get the addresses, names and phone numbers of the party that injured you as well as any witnesses that were on the scene. You should also take note of anything that is said during the time of the accident.

Asking for a referral for a reputable attorney from a family member, friend, neighbor or colleague is a great way to find a personal injury lawyer. If you can find someone who has gone through a personal injury case, he will be able to help provide you with valuable information including how he found his attorney and how their court case went.

According to the website of Tennessee personal injury lawyers Pohl & Berk, LLP, it is a good idea to talk to your lawyer about the possibility of settling out of court. Not only can you be less stressed out when all is said and done, court fees will be lessened as well. Plus, you wouldn’t have to actually go to court, which is a huge time saver.

Although personal injury lawyers advertise in the yellow pages, the better way to find a good lawyer is through word of mouth. If you don’t know anyone who has used a personal injury lawyer, check with the local bar association, or perform an internet search. These methods may be able to point you in the right direction. Some sites also list a law firm’s track record so that you won’t be mislead by advertising.

One of the first things people often want to know when they approach a lawyer about a personal injury case is what exactly they can expect to happen over the course of their case. You have already been through enough with your injury! You owe it to yourself to take some of the guesswork and mystery out of this legal process.

“No Zone” Truck Areas – A Common Cause of Road Accidents

An 11-hour cross-country drive on an 18-wheeler truck, also called a big-rig, is a grueling task. It can make any driver feel fatigued and drowsy, making roads unsafe for other motorists in much smaller vehicles.

An article in the website of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C., mentions how the significant weight and size of these big trucks serve as threats to possible major road accidents, if their drivers do not observe extraordinary caution when handling them. Extending up to 70 feet in length and weighing up to 40 tons or 80,000 lbs., these enormous vehicles, oftentimes driven at fast speeds, can easily crush smaller vehicles (and their drivers) like tin cans. This is why, before being issued a commercial driver’s license or CDL, drivers are required to take additional instructions and training on the proper handling and operation of this type of vehicles.

One concern truck drivers ought to be constantly wary of is the blind spot area, more commonly known as the “no zone” area. This area, which includes the truck’s front, back and driver’s side, is that spot where truck drivers almost always fail to notice other vehicles. Thus, it has been a common cause of road accidents, causing severe or fatal injuries to the other vehicles’ drivers, besides major damage to properties.

Drowsiness and fatigue, and sometimes intoxication, add greatly to a truck driver’s lack of keen observation while on the road. These factors also greatly affect a driver’s presence of mind and alertness, causing him/her to fail to avoid possible accidents.

It is to solve the issue of sleepiness and fatigue why every truck is designed with a sleeper berth – to afford drivers a good rest between long drives. Besides allowing them to take rest, a law has also been passed which states the maximum number of hours allowed of drivers – 11 driving hours, which is part of a driver’s 14- hour duty. This law is mandated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) of all drivers and trucking companies (the FMCSA is a division of the US Department of Transportation that is in control of trucking and other transportation-related businesses. These laws are designed to increase the safety of truck drivers and reduce the amount of personal injury lawsuits that arise due to trucking accidents.

If you have been hurt in a truck accident because of someone else’s negligence, be sure to contact a personal injury lawyer today to discuss your situation. They’ll be able to guide you through the process and make sure you are justly compensated.

Finding Representation for a Disability Claim

Although it may seem unnecessary to have an injury and disability representation or lawyer when you are claiming benefits presented by the Social Security Administration (SSA), nevertheless it may be to your best interest. Even when the SSA does not require their claimants to have legal representation, the procedures and process can be long and confusing, causing denied or delayed benefits. Also, having legal representation could greatly increase the chances of not only having an approved claim, but most importantly the disability onset date, something that could significantly affect the amount of benefits you may be provided.

It may be beneficial to be represented during the filing process, but most legal representations are really required during the appeals process. After a denied benefits application, you have only 60 days to file for an appeal in the disability court, and notifying the SSA about hiring a representative is a must. You must also choose whether you need a legal representation, or you can hire a non-lawyer to represent you in court.

Regardless of who you hire (whether a disability lawyer or non-lawyer), they will only be paid once the claim has been approved: and they are paid through the SSA benefits, having the same rates. Upon deciding to have a representation, sending a letter to the SSA by filling up the Appointment of Representative form should be made. If you have hired a non-lawyer, he or she should sign their names on the forms. Subject to the SSA approval, a contingency agreement between you and your representative should be signed. This agreement would permit the representative to be paid not more than 25 percent of your benefit amount, but out-of-pocket expenses will be covered by the claimant.

One last advantage of having injury or disability representation is that they are more knowledgeable with the laws and procedures, and are   familiar with the judges who preside on these hearings. This could make them more flexible in their approach to zealously represent your claims in court.

Know Your Rights as an Employee or Applicant for a Job

Creating order and balance in the workplace and, more importantly, protecting employees against any form of employment abuses and discrimination, whether by employers or co-workers, ought to be easier and more guaranteed today with the so many laws intended to uphold and protect the rights of every employee.

These various employment laws are enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a self-regulating body that was approved on July 2, 1964, by the US Congress. The first and foremost duty of the EEOC was to see to the implementation of the Civil Rights Act that was enacted in the same year. The strict implementation of all other laws concerning employment, passed either before or after 1964, has been placed under the care of the EEOC. Some of these laws include:

  • The Equal Pay Act (EPA), which was enacted in 1963. EPA requires payment of equal wage to employees performing the same work in the same workplace. Same work points to the same skills, efforts and responsibilities required in the job.
  • The Civil Rights Act. This law, which was approved in 1964, strictly prohibits any form of workplace discrimination, regardless of basis (race, origin, gender, sexual orientation, genetic information, etc.). The Civil Rights Act also illegalizes any form of retaliatory act by the employer on employees who file employment discrimination complaints or who provide evidences on discriminatory practices during investigations and/or lawsuits.
  • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) of 1967 was passed into law to forbid discrimination against individuals aged 40 years or older. ADEA also prohibits any form of discrimination in hiring, layoff or termination of employment, wages and promotion due to the specified age, as well as statement of age limit and preference in job advertisement and notices.
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was approved in 1990. This law was intended to provide protection to people from being discriminated due to their disability, despite their capability to perform the required work as good as anyone else.
  • The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), which was approved on November 21, 2009. This law was intended to protect individuals from discrimination due to issues of genetic information. It also strictly prohibited spread of information about a person’s family’s genetic tests, medical condition or issues of medical disorder.
  • The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 was meant to protect women who were pregnant or likely to become pregnant soon. The law prohibited firing, not hiring, etc., of affected women.

Despite all these anti-discrimination laws in the workplace, Melton & Kumler, LLP, in its website, admits the fact that so many employers still continue to take advantage and mistreat employees in a great number of ways, such as refusal to give just wages or pay overtime work, creation of a hostile working environment to force an employee to resign and other various forms of discrimination.

Employees who feel that they are being discriminated by their employers and/or co-workers have the right to file a complaint against their perpetrators. Filing a complaint, though, is subjected to a statute of limitation. The case will also have to be forwarded to EEOC first. Thus, hiring a good lawyer who is determined to fight for your rights and who will assist you in filing the right complaint and within the specified time limit would be a really good decision.

Discrimination should not be tolerated. If you believe you’ve been discriminated against in the workplace, make sure to contact a sexual harassment lawyer today.

Types of Social Security Disability Benefits

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has two main programs that provide financial assistance to eligible workers and individuals who get disabled before their retirement age. These disability payments are the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI). An applicant, whose disability is found in the list of physical disabilities and ailments drawn up by the Social Security Administration, is eligible to receive SSDI or SSI benefits (even if claimant files only for SSDI, Social Security will still evaluate your case to see if you are qualified to receive benefits under SSI and/or SSDI. Thus, in the event that your SSDI claim is denied, you no longer need to re-apply for a possible SSI benefit.

Under SSA rules, to qualify for an SSDI benefit, a disabled claimant must be an “insured worker” below 65 years old. Being an “insured worker” means that claimant ought to have worked long and recently enough, and has earned a specific amount of work credits (within a specified time) through payment of Social Security taxes, which is taken from his/her monthly pay.

The (legal) least number of credits a worker must earn to be eligible for SSDI benefits is 20, which is earned after 10 years of work (a worker can earn four credits within a year of work as each credit is made after three months of SS tax payments). The amount of work credits required for disability benefits increases with your age, such that if you get disabled at the age of 44, you must have earned at least 22 credits. Under particular circumstances, however, SSA may still consider you eligible for SSDI benefits even if you have not paid SS taxes for some time due to loss of work of if you get disabled after working for earning only six credits. Certain members of your family (who meet SSA requirements) may also qualify for auxiliary benefits which is to be based on your credit record.

An SSI benefit is given to adults or children with disability and limited resources and income. Income limits cannot exceed the mandated federal benefit rate or FBR, the amount of which is affected by the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). In 2012, for instance, individual FBR was set at $698/ month and $1,048/month for couples, even if only one of the couples is eligible.

Limited resources, on the other hand, refer to cash or asset. A “resource” may be classified either as liquid (like cash, some types of life insurance, promissory notes, mutual funds, bonds, checking and savings accounts, stocks and any other type of asset that may be converted to cash in 20 working days’ time) or non-liquid assets, which include personal properties (such as cars) and real properties (like land).

The amount limit set by the government for resources (in 2012) was $2,000 for individuals and $3,000 for married couples (even if only one of the couples is eligible for SSI). Certain assets and properties, like a wedding and an engagement ring, and house, respectively, are exempt from those considered by the Social Security Administration.

One law firm, that of Chris Mayo, has an online article which speaks about the importance of Social Security disability benefits to a disabled worker and his/her family. Earning or being denied of this benefit will cause a major effect in the lives of those affected. Due to the complexity of the law and procedures for filing a claim, however, the disabled and his/her family can be overwhelmed by all the legalities involved just to be deemed qualified to receive the benefit applied for. Thus, deciding to hire the services of a legal professional, who knows the details of the law and can help you understand them, would be one wise decision.

Cool Lipo: One of the Best Laser Liposuction Procedures in the World

Ridding your body of unwanted fats through the use of laser technology has just gotten better, faster and safer with the introduction of the Cool Lipo laser system. The latest in cosmetic procedure, Cool Lipo melts body fats and removes liquefied fat without causing changes in skin pigmentation.

Its 1320 nanometer wavelength design, which ruptures fat cells, allows for the uniform absorption of collagen, water and fat with the least effect on melanin (the dark brown to black pigment in people and animals’ skin, hair and iris of the eye that is responsible for the tanning of sunlight-exposed skin) and hemoglobin.

This minimally invasive procedure can be performed on different areas of the body, such as the knees, lower stomach, waist, chin, neck, upper arms, jaw line, thighs, and all other body areas where fat pockets and loose skin remain despite diet and exercise. The procedure usually lasts an hour for each area to be treated, while healing normally takes a few days – this means that the person who has undergone the liposuction treatment can choose to work after a day or two of complete rest. And since the Cool Lipo’s wavelength, which enhances the formation of new collagen to replace the old, goes on for up to 10 months, improvement in the texture and tightness of the skin on areas treated is continuous. Furthermore, the removal of fat cells means that Cool Lipo’s results are permanent (since new fat cells are never created even in adults who observe good, healthy eating habits).

FDA-approved CoolLipo, which is designed by CoolTouch, is presently acknowledged as one of the world’s best laser liposuction techniques. It makes use of Duet Cannula, an exclusive technological apparatus, which disrupts and turns the fat into liquid so it can removed using a suction device.

Compared to other liposuction laser systems designed in the past, Cool Lipo is known to be more effective and safe; it also does not cause so much pain, bleeding and bruising, unlike conventional liposuction treatments.

Though the treatment may be quite costly, its effects are far better and more satisfying than other laser treatments. It may also cause side effects, like mild swelling around the treated area, but such is a normal result of the procedure that last only for a short time. To ensure safety, you should only go to highly qualified surgeons to avail of this minimally invasive procedure.