Electric Cars – The Silent Ride can be Dangerous for Pedestrian and Others

Electric Car

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After typewriter, phone and jukebox, another machine joining the list for being upgraded to its electric counterpart is the car.

Electric cars, propelled by an electric motor that is soundless, can successfully convert 60 percent of the domestic electrical energy. In comparison, conventional gasoline vehicles can convert only 20 percent of that energy. Better yet, the tailpipes of electric cars do not emit air pollutants like conventional vehicles do.

Although these cars come with environmental and financial benefits, they have a slow adoption rate. Many believe that this is because electric cars are too expensive and the battery takes a longer time to charge, others opine the reason is something else – that these cars are ’silent.’ In fact, they are so quiet that others on the road, especially pedestrians and cyclists cannot hear them coming.

Statistics show that bicyclists and pedestrians, especially those who are visually impaired, are often caught off guard by electric cars even when they are driven at a sluggish speed of 18 mph or less, thanks to its soundless engine. According to a study published by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA back in 2011, electric cars “are twice as likely to cause accidents” when slowing or stopping, backing up, entering or leaving a driveway or a parking space, and/or starting in traffic.

Electric Cars Pose Serious Threat to Pedestrians

As a result of the NHTSA and other reports, regulatory bodies felt the need to add noisemakers to electric cars in order to alert pedestrians and bicyclists of its presence on the road. In fact, the NHTSA made quiet-car noise requirement proposals in 2013 requiring car manufacturing companies to add in-built noisemakers to their electric vehicles so that they make a noise when moving at slow speeds, especially below 18 mph.

The reason for such a request was the age old belief that hearing and seeing provides the best defense to us against being hit and run over by a motor vehicle. The sound here acts as a safety measure to alert people about the approaching vehicle. According to the NHTSA, electric vehicles with in-built noise-emitting devices will help avoid almost 3000 accidents every year. The NHTSA has, however, allowed the car manufacturer to pick their own sound as long as it meets the audibility parameters of the organization.

However, many believe that the statistics mentioned in the 2011 study, based on which the proposals were made, are outdated as there were limited number of electric cars on roads back then. Some also argue that most recently designed diesel and gas-powered cars also produce significantly low decibel noise levels and, therefore, are of the opinion that electric vehicles are being unnecessarily targeted by the regulatory bodies.

Although retrofitting older electric cars and redesigning new ones is a relatively inexpensive solution, many consumers are against such a rule (should this become a law) as they think the government should not be in control of matters related to automobile design and functionality.

Despite such criticism and a slow adoption rate, the number of electric cars on the roads have increased over the past few years. This indicates that a large number of people are unaware that electric cars are largely responsible for road accidents due to lack of conclusive evidence. Besides, you cannot overrule the fact that many of these accidents are caused by noisier vehicles as well.

Principles to Be Used for Creating Noise-Emitting Electric Cars

Sound designers are working with automobile companies to find ways to avoid issues like electric car accidents arising due to the lack of ‘sound’ in these vehicles. While it will take considerable time to implement the safety standards, the principles regarding the sounds made by electric vehicles are as follows:

  • It must indicate the presence of the vehicle to the pedestrians and cyclists on the road.
  • The sound of the car must help others determine the location of the car along with its orientation i.e. whether it is moving away or toward the listener, how fast it is moving, etc.
  • These sounds must not be annoying like those of horns, backup signals, sirens, or other aggressive warnings, which are relatively short, infrequent and deliberately unpleasant. The sounds of electric cars are bound to be heard more frequently in both light and heavy traffic and hence, the sounds must alert and orient, and not annoy the listeners.

It is essential to standardize the sounds of all electric vehicles so that pedestrians and cyclists can interpret them easily. Sounds that vary too much are more likely to confuse the listener. Despite that, many car manufacturers prefer individualization of the sound emitted from their electric car. This is basically done to meet two purposes – marketing and safety.

In terms of safety, individualization of electric cars will help you track them if there are several other vehicles on the road, especially at crowded intersections. Individualization of sound also has a significant impact on marketing. It helps different brands establish their unique characteristics that are in keeping with the particular brand’s image.

Delays in Verdict

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of Global Automakers insisted that the NHTSA defer full compliance of the law until September 2018, referring to their concerns regarding the clause of the rule. The delay in verdict has, however, disappointed many organizations and pedestrians, especially the visually impaired. The National Federation of the Blind has openly expressed its disappointment. They too have cited concerns over the increasing number of silent electric cars on the road and its impact on pedestrians. In addition to this, they suspect that addressing the issue related to the vehicles already on the road will not be a priority for car manufacturers, further increasing the chances of electric car accidents.

That being said, we don’t mean that car-makers are doing nothing. For example, Lexus hybrid and Toyota have launched a Vehicle Proximity Notification System, whereas Nissan Leaf now comes with an alert sound known as the Vehicle Sound for Pedestrians. Additionally, Chevrolet Volt, a plug-in hybrid also has an alert sound for the same purpose.

Conclusion – Precaution Is Better Than Cure

Although a cliché, the above phrase perfectly wraps up everything you need to do when driving electric vehicles. Drive carefully in your electric car especially around cyclists and pedestrians. Also, focus more on the parking lots, driveways, cars pulling out of alleys, and school zones.

Author Bio:

Jenniffer Pickard is a freelance content writer specialized in producing high-quality and original content. She is passionate about researching and writing for diverse industries. In her spare time, she hangs out with her friends and whips up delectable desserts.

How Law Firms Can Improve Client Service

Client Service

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“The goal as a company is to have customer service that is not just the best but legendary.”
Sam Walton

Increasing revenue, building loyal client relationships, and having a competitive edge over rivals – these are just a few of the many goals of a law firm.

Do you know there’s a magical success formula that can help your law firm achieve these goals? Enter outstanding client service.

There is a sea of law firms in the U.S. What can help differentiate your law firm from the others is not just the legal expertise you offer, but also the client service that you provide. In the current marketplace, exceptional customer service can promote client loyalty and prevent client base attrition.

Here are five tips that can help you strengthen your relationship with your current clients and acquire new ones.

  1. Providing Personalized Service

Imagine your client’s delight when he/she is welcomed by your receptionist with a warm smile, offered a beverage of his/her choice, and informed about the details of his/her scheduled meetings well in time!

Providing such personalized client service can help make your firm come across as professional, competent and a company that genuinely cares about its clients.

Here’s what you should follow:

  • Greet the client by his/her name.
  • Make sure to be on time. In cases where the wait is unavoidable, make the experience for the client a pleasant one by offering a beverage, a comfortable waiting area, access to the phone or the Internet, entertainment options such as television or print materials.
  • Refrain from discussing the client’s case in public places such as a hallway, an elevator or the cafeteria.
  • Give your client your undivided attention.
  • Make sure to introduce a visiting client to other attorneys and staff, especially those on his/her team.
  1. Anticipating Needs and Preparing in Advance

Understanding your client’s needs is extremely essential. Only then will you able to develop a plan to achieve the desired goals. Keep the following in mind:

  • Prepare an agenda for each meeting with specific objectives and be prepared for the meeting well in time.
  • Ask clients how often and through which mode they would prefer to receive communications on their legal case.
  • Establish scope of work, provide an estimate of time, and prepare a budget at the outset of any project.
  • When it comes to the expenses, ensure to bill with clarity, accuracy and on the basis of the value provided to the client.
  1. Being Easily Accessible and Responsive

Accessibility and responsiveness play a crucial role in building strong relationships with clients. Here’s what you should bear in mind:

  • Provide your client with your office and cell phone numbers, email address and an extranet site where he/she can access the information from about his/her legal case 24/7.
  • Make sure to clear the doubts and concerns of the client right away.
  • Respond to the client’s complaints and fix them immediately.
  • It is important to always have a backup plan for times when the concerned attorney is absent or for unscheduled meetings.
  • Ensure that the entire staff is well-trained and adept at communicating with the clients in a professional manner.
  1. Creating a Culture of Excellent Client Service

Client service should be an integral part of the firm as a whole, and not just the customer service department. It is, therefore, essential to create a culture of continuous service improvement with an unwavering focus on customer experience. More importantly, an uplifting client service culture requires every employee to take responsibility, understand and play their roles with clarity and vigor. Here’s how you can go about creating one:

  • Articulate your law firm’s central philosophy in a few yet meaningful words.
  • Make sure to elaborate on the core values of your firm.
  • Hire the right candidates, train them, and use discipline to enforce what matters to you.
  • Ensure that every employee is contributing for continuous service improvement.
  • Encourage customer feedback as that will help you identify potential problems.
  • Celebrate client service improvements by rewarding your staff and appreciating them for their hard work.
  • Continuously strive to innovate and improve your services in order to create more value for clients, employees, and partners.
  1. Following the Other Essentials
  • Remember, you get only one chance to build your firm’s first impression. Make sure you build a great one.
  • Leveraging existing technology and incorporating new ones can help improve business operations and provide cost effective services. CRM systems can help develop client relationships to a great extent.
  • It is essential to manage your time effectively to meet deadlines.
  • Provide regular updates to the client and keep him/her informed about the progress of the case.
  • Most importantly, take responsibility and apologize when something goes wrong.

Conclusion

It is important to remember that simply excelling in the practice of law is no longer enough to differentiate your firm from the competition. Client service excellence is a crucial competitive advantage for a law firm or any business for that matter. Right from catering to your client’s preferences and acquiring a thorough understanding of his/her legal matter to being easily accessible and responsive, you should take care of the important aspects in order to provide exceptional client service. Follow the above-mentioned tips and you will be able to build long-lasting and profitable relationships with your clients.

About the Author

Jeff Tomczak is an experienced personal injury attorney in Joliet, IL. at The Tomczak Law Group. As the founder of the firm and a lawyer by profession, he has years of experience in handling the most serious and high-profile personal injury, accident and criminal cases since the last 25 years. He is dedicated in his work of representing victims and strives for availing significant compensation for his clients.

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I know from personal experience that cats can be jerks!

Six Of The Most Embarrassing Crimes You Don’t Want To Be Accused Of

Criminal Defense Understanding What to do After Being Charged with a Crime

In today’s world, there are several seemingly innocent acts, such as relieving yourself in public, that are criminalized and can cause an individual significant social embarrassment. Listed below are six crimes you certainly do not want to get charged with.

Urinating in Public

This offense is illegal in all 50 states under a law that criminalized the act specifically. It is very socially embarrassing to be arrested for something that could have been avoided easily, and this small act could potentially land you on the registered sex offender list. The disorderly act is punished as a misdemeanor that could include a variety of punishments including community service, fines or even jail time.

Road Rage

While aggressive driving is simply a traffic violation, road rage is a criminal offense equal to assault with a dangerous weapon. Additionally, if you take your frustrated shouting and gesturing too far, then the law officials can consider this harassment.

Prostitution & Solicitation

Law officials have been finding new ways to stop prostitution and even going so far as to use fake online profiles to arrest suspects. The law takes this crime very seriously, and the punishments are quite heavy for offenders. If you are convicted, then you will have to suffer some embarrassing social consequences. Consequences range from the loss of your professional license to a public record of the sex crime. You will likely also face fines, jail time or community service. It’s important to talk to a solicitation lawyer as soon as possible in this situation.

Child Pornography

Social media and widespread use of cell phones has attracted a lot of attention lately. A new teenage fad where teens take sexual photos and distribute the images has spread across the nation. Anyone who receives a teen’s naked ‘selfie’ can find themselves in danger of being prosecuted for possession of child pornography, even if they never requested the picture. You could face serious jail time, fines and even be listed as a sex offender for life.

Flashing During Mardi-Gras

You can be arrested for indecent exposure and wind up on the sex offender registry for flashing your breasts in several states. Despite the custom in New Orleans, it is wise to avoid this tradition during Mardi-Gras season.

Infringing on Copyright Laws

If you watch unauthorized YouTube videos, share DVDs or even share music, then you are likely in violation of copyright laws. It would be both unfortunate and embarrassing to face criminal charges on your record for an offense like pirating.

No one wants to be convicted of a crime, especially one that carries embarrassing social stigmas. You’ll certainly want to avoid these six acts to ensure you don’t get caught up in a legal battle. It’s always wise to consult with a lawyer if you are being charged of any crime.

This article is courtesy of Anita Ginsburg, a freelance writer from Denver who often writes about home, family, law and business. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family when she isn’t writing.

How a Personal Injury Lawsuit can Affect Your Financial Health and the Future of Your Family

How a Personal Injury Lawsuit can Affect your Financial Health and the Future of your Family

It’s hard to imagine that the loss of a loved one can result in insurmountable bills, but it often does. There are several instances people can find themselves in where a personal injury claim becomes necessary. In some ways, a personal injury claim can right some wrongs. It cannot bring back a deceased love one, but it can collect for damages incurred as a result of losing a loved one, and it can take care of the financial aspects of the loss to allow for healing. People are impacted financially in several ways. A personal injury claim can help.

Loss of Companionship

Relationships mean something. A price cannot be placed on how much a relationship is worth; however, insurance companies have to determine an amount based on this aspect. This is the starting point for determining how much a claim is worth. Money can’t bring back a loved one, but it can help with bills that would otherwise be difficult to pay for. For starters, it’ll help to cover the funeral bills. In cases of wrongful death, deaths are often sudden as they are unexpected. Several families may not be prepared to pay for funeral costs.

Loss of Compensation

If a family is dependent upon a loved one for financial support, losing them means they lose financial support as well. Families and others may be able to recover money for this type of damage.

Additional Costs

At times, there are future costs to contend with. For example, there may be additional hospital visits that need to occur. Some injuries require numerous surgeries, such as reconstructive surgeries. It may become necessary for a defendant to pay future medical bills. Other damages may include ongoing monetary support, loss of enjoyment of life and on-going care needs. A good lawyer can help recover these damages that can set a family’s finances back permanently (Source: http://thepearcelawfirm.com)

Injuries and death can happen at any time. However, they are enough to place people into financial disparity for their lifetime. This creates a domino effect and can devastate a family for generations. Personal injury claims exist to right some wrongs. It sends a message to the defendant and to others that negligence and abuse will not be tolerated. It helps to pay for bills that would otherwise not get paid. It helps take the financial burden off of those who are suffering so that they can heal in a proper way. A claim cannot reverse what was wrong, but it is a step to healing the hurt.

This article is from Lizzie Weakley, a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. She enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her three-year-old husky Snowball.

Four Easy Ways Small Law Firms Can Cut Costs

CutCosts

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The ultimate goal of running a business is to make profit. When running a business in a challenging economy, when customers and profits are hard to come by, several entrepreneurs take the road often taken to maintain their bottom line – cutting costs.

Law firms are no different. As the volatility of the current economy takes a toll on them, it shouldn’t be surprising if law firms, particularly the small and solo ones, look for ways to increase their revenue by spending less.

Mentioned ahead are a few ways in which law firms can cut costs.

  1. Economize the Office

If you’re a small or a solo firm, think about this – do you really need that huge, decorated office in that highly prominent location? After all, they will come at an exorbitant cost. It would make better sense to have a simple, yet professional-looking office in an affordable location.

Alternatively, why have a fixed office at all? You can consider renting space in an externally managed space where you pay only for the services you ause. This could mean anything from leasing a full-time room and setting up an office, to accessing a conference room when meeting clients. This setup could be particularly beneficial for firm operating virtually.

  1. Outsource Staff and Skills

When you’re running a small law firm and aren’t making much money, you will do well to outsource certain staff and skills. Do you really need that full-time accountant, legal assistants and other support staff? Chances are the answer is in the negative. Consider every aspect of this and then make a call.

The payroll function, for instance, is one of the biggest expense in any firm. Consider if you really require all the people you employ. Layoffs and reduced work hours can help, particularly when you have other more economically-viable alternatives available. Outsourcing functions like payroll and IT can go a long way in bringing your costs down.

  1. Think Paperless

Buying paper costs money, and storing it requires space. Also, when you buy paper, you will invariably need to spend on folders, files, clips, cabinets, photocopiers, printers, printing supplies, and so on.

The simple solution for this is to go paperless. Using CDs, pen drives and external hard drives is much more convenient and can save you a lot of money. Apart from that, cloud storage platforms come as a blessing and can help cut costs, thereby sparing you the stress related to storage.

  1. Curb Your IT Expenses

Just like any progressive firm, you’re surely going to want to buy the most updated technology for your firm. But hold that thought and think rationally about this one too. Evaluate your IT needs before buying new technology or even upgrading the current one.

Technology takes little time to become outdated. Your current technological aid and systems may be all that you need for the time being. If you still think your computers need to be replaced, consider whether or not second-hand or refurbished units will suffice.

Further, you can consider free/economic alternatives to essential office programs such as the Microsoft Office Suite. OpenOffice and Google Apps can be of great assistance here.

Similarly, reevaluate your need for having multiple pieces of office equipment like fax machines, scanners and printers when a single, but optimally configured, copier can perform all these tasks. If your office equipment is proving to be costly, you can either sell or donate it.

Be mindful, however, that if your photocopiers, fax machines and printers do not have the automatic encryption feature, take them to a trustworthy dealer to have the hard drives wiped clean. Being a law firm, the last thing that you’d want would be to pass on your clients’ confidential information into the hands of complete strangers.

Conclusion

There’s no doubt that waste and unnecessary costs can eat into your profits. It is best to minimize and/or control expenses in order to maximize revenues. The above tips should help you identify the areas where skimping may actually work and turn out to be beneficial. Do keep in them in mind when planning for cost cutting at your law firm.

About the Author:

Robert J. Kerr is a top Chicago-based criminal defense attorney at Law Office of Robert Kerr, LLC. He concentrates not only in criminal defense but also in DUI defense, drug crimes, sex crimes and civil rights. His aggressive approach helps his clients protect their rights and he is always ready to provide timely information and accurate advice to them.

4 Crucial Questions if Your Loved One is Injured at a Senior Care Facility

4 Crucial Questions if Your Loved One is Injured at a Senior Care Facility

If a member of your family is in a nursing home, they have certain rights that the federal government has specified. Of those rights, two of the most important might be those of being treated with dignity and respect and having a trusted person manage the senior’s affairs. If your senior is injured or otherwise suffers damages in a residential care facility, you should ask yourself these very serious questions.

Was There a Breach of a Duty?

The duty of a residential care facility is to provide quality care to its residents 24 hours a day. When adequately staffed, there shouldn’t be any gaps or want of care. Lack of adequate staff or improperly trained staff interfere with the patient’s dignity and respect. The family member is there for a reason. They need quality and timely assistance.

Was My Loved One Injured or Damaged?

You might not be 100 percent satisfied with the care that your senior is getting, but it’s also impossible to please everybody. If their physical and mental conditions along with their finances are where they’re expected to be at, there probably isn’t any neglect. Should you see a rapid physical and/or mental deterioration or significant reduction of their assets, they might have a case for legal repercussions. That’s when you want the intervention of an experienced nursing home attorney.

Was Neglect or Exploitation the Cause of Their Damages?

As people get older, they get increasingly more frail. A residential care facility can’t have somebody with your senior every minute of every day. We all hurt ourselves at times. But if your senior sustained a fall and a fracture, they could have tripped over something in an unlit area, slipped on a wet floor or fallen out of bed when rails were necessary. If personal items are missing or bank accounts are depleted, are they victims of exploitation? You probably want to discuss this with a nursing home attorney.

Should I Call the Police?

Milwaukee injury lawyer Jonathan P. Groth advises getting law enforcement involved right away if you believe a crime has been committed. There are criminal statutes against physical abuse and financial exploitation of seniors. The Milwaukee County District Attorney takes senior exploitation very seriously.

Give your senior’s complaints or condition careful but reasonable evaluation. It’s particularly difficult if they don’t want to speak or can’t speak. Law enforcement and a nursing home attorney might provide you with insight the insight you need to make a decision.

Author info: Anica Oaks is a professional content and copywriter who graduated from the University of San Francisco. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.

Friday Fun

There’s nothing “funny” about this post. It really just displays my own ignorance. I never thought much about it, but if asked I would have said that non-Christian religions were fairly evenly spread across the country, with perhaps the Jewish religion having a larger minority in New York and Florida. I would have been very wrong.

Look at this map that shows the largest non-Christian group in each state, based on the 2010 U.S. Religion Census.

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Settlement Reached in Morcellator Lawsuit

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According to a plaintiff’s attorney involved in the trial, reported the Wall Street Journal, there has been a settlement in a federal lawsuit against Lina Medical ApS, the manufacturer of an allegedly-defective laparoscopic power morcellator. The case had been expected to be the first of its kind to go to trial, ahead of at least 21 similar lawsuits involving the use of morcellators. The Journal went on to says that negative publicity over their risks and FDA intervention have significantly curbed the use of morcellators; in 2014, the Journal noted, Johnson & Johnson voluntarily stopped selling the devices.

From the news release of the American Association for Justice.

Taking Caution: Six Dangers of Underage Drinking Teens Should Know About

Conflict between mum and daughter at home. Search many conflicting people in my portfolio

Underage use and abuse of alcohol is a major public health concern. Although illegal, 12-20 year olds consume 11% of all alcohol sold in the United States, and 90% of this is consumed in binge drinking. Alcohol consumption by youth under the age of 21 years old accounts for over 4,300 deaths every year as well as many more injuries, illnesses, and many other negative consequences. There are several dangers of underage drinking that every teen should know about.

School and Work Problems
Alcohol consumption in underage youth can interfere with brain development and affect your memory. It can also cause increased absence from school and failing grades. This can lead to high school drop out or loss of your job.

Increased Chance of Risky Sexual Activity
Drinking alcohol significantly impedes judgment and can lead to risky sexual behavior. For teens, this may lead to unwanted and unprotected sex, in turn increasing the likelihood of sexually transmitted diseases, unplanned pregnancies, and sexual assaults. The Kaiser Family Foundation conducted a random survey of 1,200 adolescents (aged 13-24 years old) and found that 81% reported having sex, with over 50& admitting that teens mix alcohol and intercourse “a lot.”

Legal Problems
Underage drinking is illegal and can lead to prosecution for teens and responsible parties that enable drinking to occur. Not only are there court costs, fines, and lawyer costs, but you could also end up spending time in jail. If you ever have an adolescent charged with underage drinking, seek an attorney, like Georgia criminal lawyer Lee Webb, who is skilled and experienced with alcohol consumption laws.

Increased Risk of Alcohol and Illicit Drug Abuse as an Adult
Underage drinking significantly increases the risk of developing alcohol abuse or dependency issues as an adult. In 2012, a study found that those who reported drinking alcohol before the age of 15 years old were more than 7 times more likely to develop a dependency later in life. Drinking alcohol also acts as gateway behavior to other illegal and dangerous drugs.

Social Problems
Drinking alcohol can lead to poor judgment, lack of interest in other activities, more outbursts and fighting, and increased risk of homicide and suicide. Increased risky behavior can greatly affect your social life in a very negative way.

Injury and Death to Yourself or Others
In addition to accounting for over 4,000 deaths every year, more than 190,000 alcohol related injuries occur annually, including alcohol poisoning, traffic accidents, and other serious injuries.

Underage drinking is attractive to many teens, but it is imperative that you understand the negative and potentially deadly consequences that could arise. It is not fun, glamorous, or exciting.

This article is from Rachelle Wilber, a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. Rachelle graduated from San Diego State‘s School of Journalism and Media Studies with her Bachelor’s degree. She loves writing and can find an interest in almost all things. She believes in a healthy lifestyle which has become a key to happiness for her. You can find her shopping or on the beach.

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Six Reasons Why Legal Knowledge Can Quickly Get You A Promotion

6 Reasons Why Legal Knowledge Can Quickly Get You A Promotion

One of the fastest ways to quickly gain a promotion at work is to develop a skill set that separates you from the competition. In most any company, having knowledge of business, tax or employment law provides you with a tremendously unique and marketable skill that could put you on the fast track to get the promotion you have always wanted.

Ability to Offer Advice

Obtaining a degree with a legal background could make you absolutely indispensable to your employer. You could quickly become the go-to person to review proposals, tax strategies and business structure concepts to help find legal deficiencies or possible problems.

Prevention of Lawsuits

With the appropriate legal knowledge, you could be able to identify weak areas in your business structure which could make your company vulnerable to lawsuits from employees and vendors. Making sure that adequate training and monitoring opportunities are being utilized could save your company thousands in potential lawsuits.

Creating Training and Education Programs

Having legal knowledge with regard to business allows you the opportunity to create training and education programs that are specifically tailored to the needs of your company. Your employer would no longer have to rely on cookie-cutter programs that do not cover important legal aspects in relation to their specific business.

Evaluating Finances

If your company is not managing finances according to their business tax structure, they could pay thousands in penalties and interest if they were ever audited. Having the legal tax knowledge to correct any possible financial mistakes could result in a great savings to your company.

Estate and Financial Planning

In business, it is necessary to have contingency plans in place to protect the business should the unthinkable happen. Employers depend on those with legal knowledge to help them develop such plans and to offer continued solutions as the company grows and changes.

Conflict Resolution

If there is ever a conflict with a business associate or vendor, it is imperative to have someone with legal negotiating skills to help resolve any dispute in a quick and cost-effective manner. A great legal negotiator could help in reaching an amicable agreement without having to go through a costly court trial. Legal knowledge could also be helpful should your employer decide to try mediation to solve a problem.

Master’s in law programs offer an opportunity to move up in your career. From having knowledge of international business law to understanding legal tax deductions related to a business, legal knowledge can be a genuine asset to most any employer. In addition, your legal knowledge could be a benefit to you even if you decided to change careers.

This article is courtesy of Anita Ginsburg, a freelance writer from Denver who often writes about home, family, law and business. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family when she isn’t writing.

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The Best Vehicles for Surviving Natural Disasters

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For most people, a car is nothing more than a means to get from point A to point B. Although some people buy cars for practicality or for flair, few buy cars with life-saving functions in mind.

The news is filled with stories about natural disasters. For example, the Polar Vortex of 2014 left millions in the North Central and Eastern U.S. stranded in freakishly cold weather and without power. California faces the worst water shortage in the state’s history and major earthquakes are always looming. Furthermore, areas of Texas and Oklahoma just experienced flash floods that claimed lives and ruined homes. Although you hope that your car will never be needed for anything more than driving around town, here are some of the best vehicles to have in your garage in case disaster strikes:

All-Around Honorable Mention: Jeep Wrangler

The Jeep Wrangler is one of the toughest and most versatile American SUVs on the market. Chrysler has been producing them for decades, so the design is down to a science. It doesn’t matter if your Jeep was built in 1995 or 2015, it’s one of the very best to tackle rain, rock, snow or mud.

Bonus: Used models are affordable, and there is a huge market for Jeep accessories that make it even more capable of navigating the harshest terrain.

Gasoline Crisis: Chevrolet Volt

Even though gas prices are at a record low since they peaked in 2008, our constant involvement in the Middle East leaves the future of fossil fuels in question. It’s not likely that gas will run out soon, but many consumers are losing confidence in affordable prices at the pump. Once gas prices jump back up, hybrid and electric cars will soar in price.

The most famous electric car right now is the Tesla Motors Model S, but it starts at more than $70,000 for a base model. Instead, the hybrid electric Chevy Volt retails for less than $27,000 and has come a long way since its first model a few years ago. The Volt has a total range of 380 miles and is a great vehicle to combat dependency on gas once and for all.

Monsoon Season: Toyota FJ

You don’t normally associate the Southwest with rain and flooding, but the summer monsoons of Arizona can produce deadly flash floods and difficult driving if you don’t live in metro areas like Phoenix or Tucson. The Toyota FJ has a high clearance to tackle shallow flooding and shares many of its best qualities with the Jeep Wrangler.

Note: Toyota discontinued the FJ last year, so the price of replacement parts could rise over the years. However, the silver lining is that the price of used models have dropped slightly, so many used car retailers in the Southwest will carry them for years to come.

Eastern Snow Storms: Subaru Outback

It’s a common myth that SUVs are the best vehicles to tackle the snow. In fact, their high-profile builds can make them awkward on the road. Instead, the Subaru Outback is a low-profile sport wagon with all-wheel drive and tires that grip the snow like it were asphalt. And because the Outback is a wagon and not an SUV, it has much better gas mileage for city driving if you have to navigate through snow in urban settings.

Author info: Jim Burch: Born and raised near St. Louis, I developed an obsession for baseball and the Cardinals. College days brought me south to Kentucky where I studied creative writing and journalism while working as an editor for the Murray State News. These days, I write diverse and sexy copy and hone my physical prowess at my CrossFit gym in Chandler, AZ. My specialties range from movies and television to consumer technology to health and fitness.

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This Copenhagen Wheel could get me riding a bike again.

Social Security Turns 80

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Tomorrow, August 14, 2015, is the 80th anniversary of Social Security. Few Americans working today can remember a time when Social Security wasn’t part of the social fabric of America.

Since the Social Security retirement program was enacted under Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1935, it has expanded in important ways. In 1939, benefits for dependent survivors of wage earners were added. And in 1956, disability insurance benefits were added. Today, as in the past, millions of Americans rely on these Social Security programs for income in the event of their own retirement, disability or death of a family wage-earner.

While Social Security is a part of our social fabric, that doesn’t mean that we can take its future for granted. As we celebrate the 80th anniversary of Social Security on August 14, this is the time to ensure that the Social Security programs remain strong for the next generation. Now more than ever, as an increasing number of workers approach retirement, we cannot afford to jeopardize the stability it provides millions of families.

Social Security offers vital protection to nearly all American workers and their families, so that if they face serious disability, illness, or injury before reaching retirement age, they will receive a monthly benefit. And, in the event of death, it provides some financial protection to the surviving family members. It is funded by your payroll taxes – as you work, you buy premiums for this important insurance.

After advocating for workers with disabilities for 44 years, I have seen first-hand the vital role Social Security plays in people’s lives when they need it most.

In addition to providing a foundation of economic security to millions of Americans, Social Security also boosts the economy, because when people receive this compensation, they spend it in their communities. In 2012, Social Security supported more than $1 trillion in economic output.

It is important to keep in mind that many of the people who rely on this program – seniors and people with disabilities – are barely scraping by. Social Security benefits make up at least 90 percent of income for half of all disabled beneficiaries, and it averages just around $1,130 per month ($35 per day). This doesn’t leave any room for cuts. And, the disability standard is extremely strict – requiring extensive medical documentation for serious impairments and conditions. In fact, more than 6 in 10 applicants are denied, even after all stages of appeal.

As part of the Social Security system, Disability Insurance is an important public structure, like our highways or water system that needs to be maintained. There are a few easy ways that Congress can make the program more efficient – including fully funding the Social Security Administration so they can hire more staff to process claims, and rebalancing the trust funds again to ensure there is adequate funding for years to come. In the lead up to the 2016 election, we should all ask candidates where they stand on this critical program.

Social Security belongs to the American workers who paid into it. Any of us could find ourselves disabled. That’s why it is so critical that our politicians work together to keep Social Security strong for generations to come.

Reasons Why A Good Lawyer Is A Good Investment In Your Future

Reasons Why A Good Lawyer Is A Good Investment In Your Future

A good lawyer is worth his or her weight in gold, metaphorically speaking. Although, when it comes time to put cash down for legal services, it can seem like this metaphor is taken literally by law firms. You may think that a lawyer is too expensive and that it would behoove you, the claimant or defendant to go it alone. However, it’s important that you don’t do this. There are many good reasons why having a lawyer will actually save you money.

Increase your chance of coming to an agreement with the opposing party

Whether you are litigating a civil suit or are a defendant in a criminal suit, the legal system is complicated and varies from state to state. Having a lawyer who actually understands the inner workings of the legal system increases your odds of winning, especially, when you find a lawyer who frequently practices in the court your case is to be litigated in. Intimate knowledge of how judges and juries rule is worth the legal fees alone.

Save you money in court costs

Going to court is not free. Each party is expected to pay his or her own legal fees, unless otherwise mandated by statute or contract. A lawyer may be able to reach a settlement agreement outside of court, saving on attorney’s fees and avoiding court costs altogether.

Save you from missing important deadlines

Deadlines abound in the American legal system, some with dire consequences. If you file a civil suit outside of the statute of limitations for a particular claim, your suit will be dismissed. If you miss a deadline to respond to a complaint, then, by default, you have admitted that the other party’s assertions are true.

Help you get a better verdict

An experienced trial attorney knows how to cater to both judges and juries. This may result in a more favorable monetary verdict as the plaintiff, or reduce your monetary liability if you are the defendant.

Help you keep a clean record

If you are charged criminally, a lawyer will better be able to negotiate with the prosecutor to keep the charge off your record. This will help you in future job searches. Avoiding having a charge for Drunk in Public or Theft conviction on your record is a plus for future job seekers.

Losing a civil or criminal case can impact your life negatively for years to come. If you have a claim to litigate or are the subject of litigation, think of a lawyer as an investment in your future and find a good one. A Keyser Minnesota Defense Attorney can help you understand the legal process. This can save you money in the long run.

This article is courtesy of Anita Ginsburg, a freelance writer from Denver who often writes about home, family, law and business. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family when she isn’t writing.

Thinking About Law? Best Four Degrees to Consider

Thinking About Law, Best 4 Degrees to Consider

According to the American Bar Association (ABA), about 120,000 law students enroll in school every year. The legal field is challenging, but provides plenty of opportunities for career advancement. In fact, there are a variety of different educational opportunities for law students. Below introduces four degrees that every law student should consider.

Political Science

Students who wish to enter academia or government should consider a degree in political science. This is because political science itself focuses on legal contexts, public policies and state and national governments. In addition to this, a political science major will hone the student’s analytical and critical thinking skills that are necessary for success in the legal field. A political science major that has completed a Juris Doctor (J.D.) program may move on to teaching law or working in the government.

Business Administration

Any student who wishes to enter the field of corporate or employment law should pursue a business-related degree. A degree in Business Administration is a general degree that will provide the student with the necessary background for focusing on corporate or employment law. Corporate lawyers work in a variety of industries, such as banking, insurance, healthcare and manufacturing. Corporate lawyers protect the company’s interests while providing critical business advice. On the other hand, employment lawyers specialize in labor and employment laws and work closely with Human Resources.

Master of Laws (LL.M.)

The LL.M. is an internationally acknowledged postgraduate degree in a unique law field. LL.M programs generally take one year to complete. An LL.M. degree gives any job applicant an edge over the competition. This is because the LL.M. proves that the job applicant has additional training and is qualified to work in a multinational business environment. The USC LL.M. online degree is the only program in the U.S. to offer an online Master of Laws (LL.M.).

Juris Doctor (JD) Degree

This three-year program is the degree you typically think about in relation to law school, and it prepares law students to practice law in the U.S. Juris Doctor degree programs provide different specializations, such as patent, constitutional and environmental law. Students with a bachelor’s degree must successfully pass the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) in order to be accepted into an ABA-approved law school. Juris Doctor degree programs generally last three years.

In conclusion, potential law students have many different educational opportunities and career directions. Learn more law student statistics from the American Bar Association (ABA).

Anica is a professional content and copywriter who graduated from the University of San Francisco. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.

Five Ways to Make Sure You Get Fair Compensation in Your Personal Injury Lawsuit

5 Ways to Making Sure you get Fair Compensation in your Personal Injury Lawsuit

Americans who are the victims of the negligent or unreasonable actions of others are entitled to seek financial damages for the harm they have suffered. However, such personal injury lawsuits can be complicated, and the mere filing of a claim does not guarantee that the plaintiff will receive adequate compensation. These are five rules to follow that can help you the victim receive the justice you deserve.

Watch What You Say
Even though you may be at least partly responsible for an accident, you would be wise to make no such admissions to anyone at the scene. Such information can be used against you in court, perhaps even reducing your compensation to little or nothing.

Document the Facts
Certain accidents, especially traffic crashes, can be complicated events, often making it difficult to determine culpability. You or someone working on your behalf should document the facts, preferably by photography, as soon as possible. The elements of an accident need to be recorded for use in the investigation or in subsequent litigation.

Notify the Proper Authorities
In cases of significant accidents, local police or fire officials will often conduct their own investigations. The information they obtain may be useful in any subsequent legal action. In the event of a traffic accident, you also need to notify your insurance company to determine damages and help guarantee that the compensation is sufficient to cover the amount required.

Seek Medical Attention
Injuries suffered in many accidents often seem manifestly minor, but they may be long-term in nature. This is why it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Even though symptoms that appear weeks or months later may be directly linked to an injury, proving the connection in court may be a difficult task. In the event of certain types of injuries, the advice of medical specialists should be sought to assure a proper diagnosis of the condition.

Consider Legal Assistance
An attorney can be the best advocate for the victim of any type of accident. A lawyer can advise a client on whether to accept a settlement out of court or whether to proceed to trial, doing either for the purpose of reaching the fairest possible outcome in a case.

Firms like Pritzker Law extends itself into many areas of personal injury law, from medical malpractice to traffic accidents. In the event of a personal injury, its lawyers can help you obtain the compensation to which you may be entitled.

This article is from Lizzie Weakley, a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. She enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her three-year-old husky Snowball.

Friday Fun

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There was an interesting article recently at Vox.com about traffic lights. Really fascinating stuff that I never knew until now. Check it out. Here are the opening paragraphs:

It’s the 101st anniversary of the first electric traffic signal system. On August 5, 1914, in Cleveland, Ohio, engineers installed a pair of green and red lights facing each side of a four-way intersection — a simple experiment that has since shaped roads around the world.

In a technical sense, Cleveland’s device might not seem all that impressive. It was actually preceded by similar temporary systems in London and Utah, and like the others, it was manually operated. Its chief benefit was allowing a policeman to sit in a booth next to the intersection instead of standing dangerously within it.

But this simple invention marks a key moment in the largely forgotten transformation of roads during the 20th century. For most of history, roads have been chaotic, shared public spaces, packed with horses, handcarts, merchants, pedestrians, and children. As much as any other invention, the traffic signal gave rise to the carefully controlled, highly automated thoroughfares we think of as roads today.

Texas A&M Study Shows Reflective Signs on Rural Highways May Pose Safety Hazard

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The Roads & Bridges reports a recent Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) research project has revealed that “signs along rural highways” can cause disabling glare due to their brightness which may limit a driver from detecting distances of potential roadside hazards, a major safety concern. Roads & Bridges says the project, co-sponsored by FHWA and the Texas DOT, sheds light on a new aspect to retroreflective signs.

From the news release of the American Association for Justice.

Understanding Personal Injury Law and Social Security Disability

Understanding Personal Injury Law and Social Security Disability

Personal injury law and social security disability law are two separate areas of practice that both involve a person’s medical condition. Many attorneys who take cases in one area also take cases in the other. This article will discuss some of the basics in these two areas of practice.

Understanding Personal Injury Law

Personal injury law focuses on how another person’s negligence caused injury to a client. A common example of a personal injury case would be a rear-end car accident where the person who was hit from behind is suing the person who hit them for damages. The person who was not at fault (or plaintiff) can file a claim asking for payment of medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses that can be easily calculated. These are known as special damages. The plaintiff can also ask for what are called general damages, or compensation for damages that are harder to calculate, such as for pain and suffering and for diminished future quality of life. In some cases, a plaintiff’s spouse may also be entitled to damages. Law firms like The Lucky Law Firm assist clients in both personal injury and social security disability cases, as well as other matters.

Understanding Social Security Disability

Social security disability is a form of payment by the government for those who are unable to work due to disability and have paid into the social security system via taxes for a required number of years prior to the onset of the disability. In a social security case, the person assigned to the claim will review the claimant’s medical records to determine if that person is truly unable to work, either temporarily or permanently, due to their disability. Both physical and mental disabilities may qualify a person to receive social security disability payments, if it is determined that the person will most likely be unable to work for at least the next twelve months. After a social security disability claim is approved, then the claimant will receive back pay from the Social Security Administration back to the time they became disabled. Many claims are denied after the first application and approved after an appeal hearing.

These two areas of the law differ in some ways, but for attorneys, both require careful reading of a client’s medical records. Medical records are one of the main types of evidence that can be presented in these types of cases. It is important for anyone who is considering filing a claim for disability or personal injury to seek medical care, because medical records may be used at a hearing or trial to prove the claim.

This article is from Lizzie Weakley, a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. She enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her three-year-old husky Snowball.