Driver Dangers: What Career Drivers Should Know to Stay Safe


Driver Dangers What Career Drivers Should Know to Stay Safe

When you’re driving as a career, you have to spend more time than regular commuters on the road, and with daily driving comes challenges and safety concerns you must stay aware of all the time.

To stay safe on the road and keep others safe from the load you may be carrying, it’s important to think about truck safety. These safety tips will help you stay alert and stay safe.

Motorist Safety
The number one concern drivers have to face is other drivers. You must always be alert to your fellow motorists because often they are not aware of how long it takes a truck to come to a stop. They also might not know that trucks have several blind spots.

You can’t regulate other drivers, but you can be alert and aware of the potential for problems. Keep a clear eye on the distance ahead. As one of the tallest vehicles on the road, you can spot trouble before others. Be prepared for stops before they become emergencies.

Before changing lanes, double and triple check blind spots and use a turn signal long before making a lane change or a turn. It’s best if you stay in one lane as long as possible to reduce the risk of an accident, but if you have to change lanes, use the turn signal promptly.

Vehicle Maintenance
It’s important to keep a truck maintained routinely before taking it out on the road. While repairs are being made, you could rent a truck, or find parts for trucks online. It can be tough to lose the revenue when your truck is in for repairs, but getting into an accident or equipment failure can be even more costly.

A full tank of fuel is imperative when traveling for long distances and over areas with inclement weather. Water condensation can cause trouble in the fuel lines, and brakes and wheels should be routinely checked for wear and repairs should be done immediately. Always have a good inspection done before long drives.

Staying Awake
Before you start your run, think about fatigue. Don’t wait until you’re five hours into the run to worry you’ve only had four hours of good sleep last night. A good, healthy meal filled with lean proteins and energy foods will give your body nutrients it needs and provide energy for hours after it is eaten.

Many truckers think caffeine-filled drinks like soda and coffee as well as high sugar foods like candy will keep you awake on the road. That sugar high will only last for a short amount of time, and the sugar crash can send you into a spiral of sleepiness. Don’t give in to the temptation of these quick treats.

Take a nap before heading out on the road too. A quick power nap can provide you with all the energy you need to make that long haul with ease. A nap while on the road can’t hurt either. If you need to pull over, don’t hesitate. You should nap instead of fighting fatigue. The monotonous drive over boring terrain can become mind-numbing. Keep your brain alert and entertained with activities. You can listen to music, bring along audio books, or listen to podcasts. If you’re still sleepy while driving, open the window and let the fresh cool air revive you. This is especially good if it’s cold outside. The shock will get your pulse up, and your heart pumping.

Safety on the road is extremely important to you as well as to other drivers on the road. These tips should help with staying alert and staying safe. It’s easy to become lax when a long haul becomes a routine. Be alert and present each and every time you get behind the wheel.

Information Credit: etrucking.com

his article is from Brooke Chaplan, a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.

Friday Fun


Puppies and kittens, vs. mirrors.

Texas Homeowners Insurance Rate Increases


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I’ve been complaining about the Texas homeowner rate change procedures for as long as I can remember — the system is rigged in favor of insurance companies.

An article in the Texas Tribune provides some insight into this seedy business, this time relate to candidate for governor Greg Abbott. Here are the opening paragraphs:

As Texas neared the end of a decade-long legal fight over homeowners’ insurance rates with Farmers Insurance Group in December, the company’s employees PAC gave $50,000 to the gubernatorial campaign of Attorney General Greg Abbott — the top lawyer in the state’s case against the company.

The contribution took Abbott’s receipts in his race to succeed Texas Gov. Rick Perry to more than $75,000 since 2013 from the PAC of his courtroom opponent — a company the state alleged in a 2002 lawsuit had deceived and discriminated against Texas homeowners.

Critics of Abbott and of a still-in-dispute settlement the AG’s office offered Farmers that year under Abbott’s predecessor, John Cornyn, say that Abbott, as he has renewed the suit, has not fairly represented homeowners in Texas. They say those homeowners were charged too much by the company whose employees’ political arm has given generously to Abbott’s campaign.

For Farmers, “it was a sweetheart deal when it was struck in 2002, and it’s only gotten sweeter since then,” said Alex Winslow, executive director of the consumer advocacy group Texas Watch.

What You Should Know About Assault & Battery Injuries


Lawsuits are often filed when someone has been injured. When that injury is not the result of an accident, but rather intentional, then it may fall under the label of an assault and battery. What these terms mean, and the difference between them, can be confusing. Specific laws may vary depending upon the state you live in, however, there are a few general principles that can clarify the issue.

An assault is a situation in which you are made to feel a real, immediate, and intentional threat, or even touched in a harmful way, from someone else. The biggest factor that tends to confuse people is the fact that actual physical contact does not need to be made. In fact, in many cases, all that’s necessary to establish assault is your belief in the imminent threat, as long as it’s reasonable under the circumstances. It’s the threat that actually matters.

Battery takes place when another person makes intentional, harmful, or offensive physical contact with you. Again, actual harm doesn’t need to have taken place. What’s important in this case is that a reasonable person under the same circumstances would have felt that the contact was offensive or inappropriate and that the person who made contact with you intended to do so.

Just as the severity of injury can vary greatly from case to case, so can the potential amount of any award or settlement.

Now that you know the basic definitions of assault and battery, if you feel that you may be the victim of this type of crime, your next step should be to consult a qualified attorney to determine if you do indeed have a case and to answer any questions you may have.

This article is contributed by Rommel who writes for R. David Ayers, Jr. – Personal Injury Attorney, a Winter Park,Florida based law firm that specializes in personal injury cases.

Watch the Road: Defining Reckless Driving


Watch the Road, Defining Reckless Driving

Legally speaking, reckless driving can take many forms, such as through distracted driving, drunk driving, and more. Read on to learn the legal definitions and consequences for reckless driving.

You’ve probably heard that reckless driving is one of the leading causes of automobile accidents in the United States. You’ve seen drivers with road rage, drivers who are speeding, and drivers who have gotten in nasty accidents due to fatigue or cell phone use. But what exactly constitutes “reckless driving?”

Definition

New York Ticket Help defines reckless driving as “driving…in a manner which unreasonably interferes with the free and proper use of the public highway, or unreasonably endangers users of the public highway.”

According to this definition, all of the most common causes of car accidents constitute as reckless driving, including:

  • Drunk driving
  • Speeding
  • Eating, putting on makeup, changing the radio station, talking on the phone, etc.
  • Texting
  • Driving fatigued
  • Tailgating or Crowding

Because this definition is so vague, the law remains subjective. A police officer can pull you over and accuse you of reckless driving for virtually any traffic violation. But although this can damage your driving record, having such a subjective law also makes it easy for lawyers to fight a reckless driving ticket in NY and get you acquitted.

It’s the difference between grading an essay and a math assignment. In math, the answers are black and white. With an essay, the grading is subjective and therefore easier to both condemn and defend. Lawyers will have an easier time getting you off a reckless driving charge than other more-objective traffic violations.

Consequences

If you have been charged with reckless driving, you face different charges depending on the state in which you are convicted. In New York, for example, you are subject to a misdemeanor conviction and five points on your driving record. That misdemeanor charge goes on your permanent criminal record, even if all you were doing was talking on your cell phone.

Is this really fair?

When you consider how many accidents are caused by reckless drivers annually, putting a misdemeanor on your record might not seem like an unfair exchange for the risk.

Accident Statistics for Reckless Driving

Here are some of the statistics for accidents caused by reckless driving in the United States.

All of these numbers could be significantly decreased if people would pay more attention to the road and be more willing to follow the rules of the road.

What Causes Reckless Driving?

So, what exactly causes people to drive recklessly? It’s certainly not a desire to get into an accident, and neither is it people deliberately trying to break the law.

The increasing number of cars on the road every year has resulted in an increased number of accidents. More cars on the road, particularly in congested areas, means higher likelihood of drivers getting frustrated or distracted, with more potential to get into an accident.

Three of the most common reasons to drive recklessly are:

  • Aggression. Driver frustration leads to excessive tailgating, unsafe lane changes, cutting off other vehicles, and even an epidemic of “road rage” as one reckless driver frustrates other drivers.
  • Distraction. Distracted driving such as using cell phones demands the driver’s attention, which can make it difficult to react to unexpected road conditions in time to prevent an accident.
  • Impairment. Driving impaired can mean anything from driving without glasses or proper medication (or just after taking medication) to drunk driving.

Driving only when you feel emotionally sound and mentally “with it” will significantly reduce your chances of driving recklessly (or falling victim to another reckless driver). Avoid the fines and marks on your driving record and do your part to make the road a little safer.

About the author: A recent college graduate from University of San Francisco, Anica Oaks 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.

Employment Law: Do You Have a Wrongful Dismissal Case?


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The anger and frustration that comes with losing a job may be motivation enough for anyone to turn around and sue their previous employer. However, there are very specific circumstances in which a former employee can successfully sue for being fired. Before you make that call to your lawyer, find out more about wrongful dismissal cases.

Two Types of Dismissal

There are two types of job termination that potentially lead to wrongful dismissal lawsuits. They include wrongful termination and constructive dismissal (source: Kitchen Simeson Belliveau LLP, lawyers in Oshawa).

Wrongful Termination

Wrongful termination refers to an employer firing an employee based on reasons that violate laws (like discrimination) or written/oral agreements. For example, if a boss fires his secretary because she is pregnant and he doesn’t want to give her maternity leave, that might be wrongful termination.

Constructive Dismissal

Constructive dismissal occurs when an employee quits their job against his or her own will because of their employer’s conduct. The employer does not actively terminate the employment, but creates a situation in which the employee has to quit. For example, if a boss reduces your pay, knowing that the lower wage will force you to quit and find a new job, it could be considered constructive dismissal.

If either of these situations match the circumstances surrounding your own dismissal, you may have a wrongful dismissal case.

Two Types of Employment

While there are several different categories of employment in each job industry (contractors, part- and full-time workers, salaried employees, temps, etc.), the two most important categories for wrongful dismissal cases are employees who signed an at-will agreement, and those who did not.

At-Will Agreements

An at-will agreement is a contract that allows an employer to fire his or her employee at any time for any reason (excluding illegal reasons like discrimination of course). If you signed an at-will agreement, the only way you will have a potential wrongful termination case is if you can prove you were fired for illegal reasons.

If you can prove that you and your employer had an oral agreement or an implied contract for permanent employment despite the at-will policy, then you may have a wrongful termination case.

Non At-Will Agreements

All states in the US excluding Montana are at-will states. That means that even if you didn’t sign an at-will agreement, the policy may still apply to you. The only way to be sure you are not an at-will employee is if you signed a contract that explicitly states your employer will only fire an employee if he has a valid cause.

If you signed a contract saying you would not be fired at all before a set period of time, any termination before that date would be considered an illegal breach of contract.

Wrongful Termination

If you were fired for any of the following reasons, your employer broke the law with your termination (source: Legal Match):

  • termination based on age, race, sex, nationality, etc.
  • termination that violates terms of a contract
  • termination resulting from you taking a valid leave of absence
  • termination based on the acts of others in the workplace
  • termination used to retaliate

If you suspect that any of these reasons apply to the circumstances under which you lost your job, talk to a lawyer about how to build your wrongful dismissal lawsuit.

The Next Steps

If you think your termination could warrant a wrongful dismissal case, complete the following tasks as soon as possible (source: Nolo):

  • Make a record of any work-related events or conversations you had with your bosses, supervisors, or coworkers that are relevant to the dismissal. Also collect things like performance reviews, changes in pay, and any praise/criticism you received.
  • Ask your employer for a written explanation of why you were fired. Document your request (send an email, for example) so even if the employer refuses to provide such an explanation, you have proof of that refusal.
  • Keep track of any unemployment compensation claims you file after being dismissed.
  • Meet with a lawyer who works in employment law to discuss the situation. Bring all the relevant documentation. If the lawyer is willing to take your case, he or she will tell you what the next move will be.

Losing your job can be a big blow to your finances and your dignity. If you feel that the conditions surrounding the termination were unfair, in breach of contract, or illegal, talk to an employment law lawyer as soon as possible.

This article is from Erika Remington. Originally from San Jose, California, Erika is a recent graduate of the University of California, Berkeley. She enjoys spending her time with her husband and 18 month old daughter. She also enjoys rock climbing and outdoor activities.

Social Security Disability — The Truth Behind Media and Political Mischaracterizations


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This is a response from Barbara Silverstone, the Executive Director of the National Organization of Social Security Disability Claimants Representatives to recent reports of  fraud or mismanagement in the Social Security disability system:

SSDI: The truth behind media and political mischaracterizations

The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program is an integral part of the Social Security system that provides vital economic security to workers and their families. SSDI provides modest but essential coverage that American workers earn, and protects against the economic devastation that often accompanies life-changing disability. Unfortunately, recent media coverage (including recent opinion pieces in The Hill) has painted a highly inaccurate picture of this program, in an effort to encourage damaging changes that would hurt people with disabilities.

Eligibility criteria for the SSDI program are extremely strict and only people with the most significant disabilities qualify for benefits. An applicant must prove with medical evidence the inability to engage in “substantial gainful activity” (defined as earning less than $1,070 monthly in 2014), due to a physical or mental impairment expected to result in death or last for at least one year. Most applicants are denied; only about 40% are approved, a fact which belies claims that there is a “systematic bias” toward approving applicants who are not actually disabled.

People with disabilities turn to the program as a last resort, often having attempted to continue working after it is no longer healthy to do so and having spent down their savings before applying. There is no evidence that people are leaving the labor force to receive SSDI. While it is true that SSDI applications increased during the recent economic downturn, approval rates also declined. In fact, the current approval rate is the lowest it has been in 40 years.

Growth in the SSDI program has long been predicted by the Social Security Chief Actuary and is due almost entirely to two demographic factors: the aging of the baby boomers and women entering the workforce. According to the SSA, program growth has peaked and is projected to level off.

The SSDI program is complex so it is not surprising that many applicants choose to retain a representative, given the importance of the outcome. Having an experienced professional provide assistance is valuable for people with disabilities. Representatives help ensure that applicants provide SSA with all relevant medical evidence and help the agency make the right decision as early in the process as possible. SSA’s policies and procedures to regulate representatives do a good job of dealing with the very small number of representatives who violate the rules.

Notably, Congress has not uncovered any evidence of fraud in the SSDI program beyond the cases SSA itself uncovered, after several years of investigation. Nor has Congress found any evidence that people who should not be eligible are wrongly approved. Senator Coburn has been quoted on the topic and appears to mischaracterize what his 2012 investigation actually found. That investigation reviewed only 300 appeals decisions from just 3 counties, and his staff questioned the quality of about 25% of the written decisions but did not claim the decisions were wrong. In fact, the investigation did not find that a single individual was approved who should have been denied.

The Social Security Administration does a good job of identifying potential fraud in the program, despite its woefully inadequate recent funding levels and resources. SSA’s administrative budget is only about 1.4 percent of benefits paid out each year. However, Congress has provided nearly $1 billion less than requested over the past three years. SSA’s program integrity work has suffered too, receiving $421 million less than authorized over the last two years. The result? SSA has lost more than 11,000 employees since 2011 – a heavy blow to the agency’s ability to serve the American people.

If Congress is serious about protecting the integrity of this program, it should start by providing SSA with adequate funding to do so. It should enact H.R. 4090, the Social Security Fraud and Prevention Act of 2013, introduced by Representative Xavier Becerra (D-CA) earlier this year. It would provide SSA with dedicated mandatory funding for program integrity activities, strengthen fraud detection activities, and increase penalties for people convicted of exploiting the program.

The SSDI program does not need significant changes. It has provided economic security to workers who become disabled, and their families, for more than 50 years. But Congress does need to enact legislative changes to secure the future of Social Security and prevent cuts for SSDI beneficiaries in 2016. A rebalancing of the Old Age Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance trust funds through reallocation of the payroll tax going into each of the funds, approved by Congress multiple times in the past, would account for demographic shifts and solve short-term funding gaps. This program is a key piece of our national social insurance infrastructure and it needs to be kept strong for current and future generations.

Silverstone is executive director of the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives. Previously she served as staff attorney for NOSSCR for more than 20 years.

Featured Link — College Resources for Disabled Students


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BestColleges.com has a page of college resources for disabled students. Lots of good information here. From the site:

Prospective college students with disabilities will find that many campuses are equipped with offices and services that address accessibility, accommodation, and assistive technology for a diverse range of needs. Student services offices and disability coordinators at many colleges work to make campuses inclusive environments through specialized advocacy, support, and academic services.

The increased visibility of these resources makes college a very compelling option for people with disabilities. In 2010, the National Center for Education Statistics reported that roughly 707,000 undergraduate students in the U.S. ― approximately 3.5% of all undergraduates enrolled ― had a disability in the 2008-2009 school year. In addition to campus-based resources, students with disabilities are also protected by state, federal, and local laws prohibiting discrimination and requiring equal levels of access to academic services, environments, and resources. This guide explains your legal rights as a student with disabilities ― both physical and learning disabilities ― and the campus resources that can provide you with assistive services and tools. Additionally, we list a number of sites, apps, and software resources designed to aid students with specific types of disabilities, be they physical impairments or learning disabilities.

Friday Fun


What a delightful little girl, dancing at a wedding.

Dallas County’s Uninsured Driver Rate Is Up


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The percentage of uninsured drivers across Texas, and especially in Dallas County, is rising. The Texas Legislature seems unwilling to pass strong enforcement laws, and that’s why we always recommend that car owners buy Uninsured Motorist coverage. This type of insurance is relatively inexpensive, and if you ever get hit by a driver who has no insurance you will be thankful you spent a few extra dollars for protection.

The increasing problem was detailed recently in the Dallas Morning News. Here are the opening paragraphs:

Glutted with uninsured drivers, Dallas County again has topped the state’s biggest urban counties as the riskiest place for motorists.

Rising auto insurance rates combined with the concentration of low-income Dallas residents who’ve skipped buying policies have hampered efforts to crack down on unsafe drivers.

New figures from the Texas Department of Insurance show that 1 in 6 Dallas County drivers — more than 16 percent — have no insurance despite requirements for minimum coverage.

Statewide, 14 percent have no insurance — more than 2.5 million drivers.

Hurt On The Job? Five Things You Should Do ASAP


Hurt On The Job 4 Things You Should Do ASAP

Getting hurt is inconvenient no matter where you are. But getting hurt at work is not the same as getting hurt at home—there are legal and insurance-related implications that need to be handled. In order to receive the benefits you deserve and to get back to work as soon as possible, here are the first five things you should do if you get injured on the job.

1. Get Medical Help

The first thing you should do when you are injured at work is get medical attention. Not only is it crucial for your health and safety, but immediate medical attention helps you document the injury. Also, if your injury happened bit by bit (like a back sprain), a doctor can help determine what conditions led to or contributed to the problem (source: OSHA).

Your medical records will be considered when processing any insurance claims or personal injury lawsuits, along with any doctor’s notes, prescriptions, and bills.

Immediate medical attention also helps you recover as quickly as possible, which means getting back to work faster.

2. Notify Your Manager or Employer

The very next step after seeking medical help is to notify your employer of the incident. Waiting to tell your employer about the injury could disqualify you from worker’s compensation benefits, depending on the regulations in your area.

3. Document Everything

Any injuries that you sustain in the workplace need to be thoroughly documented. This includes your medical records, but you should also collect or write down:

  • symptoms you experienced leading up to the injury (if it’s a gradual injury like carpal tunnel).
  • the events leading up to and surrounding the injury. Take pictures if possible.
  • correspondence you had with your boss regarding the symptoms and/or injury.
  • accident reports (if applicable).
  • what work days you missed as a result of your injury.
  • witness testimonies (if applicable).

4. Call your Lawyer

If you think your injury could lead to a personal injury lawsuit, or if the compensation you received wasn’t enough to cover all costs, schedule a meeting with your lawyer. Kenneth Cristall Law Corporation, a group of injury lawyers in Vancouver, recommends you prepare for the meeting with your lawyer in these ways:

  • Collect all the documentation of the accident and your injury.
  • Bring a list of questions you have for the lawyer.
  • Research the laws regarding personal injury in the workplace for your area.

A lawyer should be able to tell you if you have a good case and will tell you what steps you need to take to pursue legal action.

5. Discuss Insurance

If you are hurt at work, your employer may be required to provide workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits typically include medical care, temporary disability benefits, permanent disability benefits (if applicable), and vocational rehabilitation.

There are several different ways to file a workers’ comp claim, depending on where you live. You can either file an insurance claim through your doctor or your employer. Learn your company’s policy for workers’ compensation claims—even before an injury or accident occurs. That way you will know exactly how to proceed should something happen.

You may also qualify for benefits from your insurance policy if you have your own temporary or permanent disability policy. Talk to your insurance agent about filing a claim.

Accidents and injury can be scary and stressful, but try to keep your head and take care of the situation the right way. Doing these five things as soon as possible after an incident will ensure you get the compensation you need, and will get you healthy and back to work soon as possible.

This article was written by Kandace Heller, a freelance writer from Orlando, Florida.

Product Liability Cases: What to Expect in the Settlement Stages


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Health care giant Johnson & Johnson settled a class-action product liability lawsuit in November that will pay 7,500-plus complainants more than $4 billion. The lawsuit represented patients who were given defective metal hip replacements that caused pain, discomfort and metal debris to be released into their bloodstreams.

Carl Tobias, a product-liability professor at the University of Richmond, told Bloomberg that the amount of the settlement seems large, but is not near enough to compensate for the “grievous injuries” suffered by some of the patients. This highlights the give-and-take that comes along with product-liability cases.

Beginning Litigation

All litigation starts with filing a complaint and service of the summons to the defendant(s). The defendants will either file an answer or some type of demurrer to have the case dismissed entirely or get certain individual claims dismissed. If any claims remain unresolved, the judge will order the parties to commence the discovery phase.

At this point depositions are taken, expert witnesses are interviewed and documents are exchanged to determine the strengths and weaknesses of each claim. Defendants may ultimately concede the case against them is strong and want to end litigation before any more information is discovered that could damage them further.

Some companies have clauses with their insurance providers that gives them, as opposed to the insurer, the final say as to whether the case can settle before trial. These cases typically have a better chance of settling quickly, since the middle man is cut out of the equation.

Settlement Stages

Once it’s established that the defendant is responsible for your injuries, a settlement can be negotiated. Product liability claims are different in that they involve manufacturers, distributors and retailers, all who could be deemed individually liable in different capacities. Thus one defendant (the distributor) would settle, but the manufacturer may want to take the case to trial. There may also be statutes in certain jurisdictions governing the maximum amount of damages possible.

Subrogation claims can also factor in. For instance, your employer is entitled to recover lost wages it pays you via workers compensation, once a case involving a workplace injury due to defective equipment settles. An insurance company that pays your medical expenses in the meantime is also entitled to recover funds via subrogation.

Practical Matters

Once the court approves a proposed settlement, money can begin changing hands. Some attorneys work on a contingency basis (i.e. take a certain percentage of the settlement without any upfront fees to handle the case), while others draft more complex agreements. Make certain you understand the language of any agreement with your attorney before signing it.

The plaintiff’s cut can come in the form of a one-time payment or a structured settlement. The latter can potentially be liquidated later by selling the payments to a third party. More information about this option can be found at JGWentworthCashNow.com.

Plaintiffs should stay heavily involved in their case through every phase. Call and ask the attorney you hired any and all questions that come to mind. The more informed you are, the better prepared you’ll be when the case concludes.

This article is from Jacob Reeves: Law professor, blogger, and father.

The Role and Importance of Immigration Lawyers


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The role of immigration lawyer is somewhat distinctive when compared to other types of lawyers. Immigration lawyers help those persons who are facing difficulties with managing immigration needs. The immigration lawyer usually acts as an advisor or counselor or a consultant to foreign citizens and immigrants who should interact with US Immigration Authority. Immigration lawyers give recommendations and guidance for various matters like green cards, naturalization, citizenship, visa application, employment for non-citizens and deportation issues.

As compared to other types of lawyers, immigration lawyers spend less time in handling civil disputes in court. They sometimes act as mediators between immigration authorities (THE US CITIZENSHIP & IMMIGRATION SERVICES) and clients.

Moreover, immigration lawyers create appearances before immigration judges if a client is facing an immigration hearing in the court. Several immigration lawyers jointly handle matters that involve an interaction between immigration and criminal laws.

 

CIRCUMSTANCES OR SITUATIONS WHERE HIRING AN IMMIGRATION LAWYER IS IMPERATIVE

  1. If a person (Applicant) has been convicted of a crime: Almost all USCIS forms include whether or not the person has been convicted of a crime. The person should disclose their entire criminal records, even for the charges that were dropped or eliminated. It is not necessary to hire a criminal lawyer as immigration lawyers should always know how immigration and criminal law overlap.
  2. Previous immigration applications have been repudiated: An immigration lawyer will be able to determine the reason for the repudiation of application. They can tell if it is possible to request for the application or re-apply later in the future.
  3. If the person has antecedently deported or excluded from the entry into the United States: Sometimes the person is permanently barred from future applications (Deportation or Exclusion). An Immigration Lawyer a deportation lawyer can give advice on effects of exclusion and deportation.
  4. If a person incorporates some medical conditions: Not all, but some medical conditions may prevent a person from getting entry into the United States (such as communicable diseases).
  5. When a person is waiting for a long time during the application process without any reason: Immigration lawyers are aware of application processes, together with deadlines and waiting times. A lawyer generally facilitates the person in accelerating the process.
  6. If the applicant’s wedding to a US National was terminated: Visa applications based on marriages are generally filed together. In case marriage has been terminated due to death or divorce, it can be significantly troublesome to prove that the wedding was not fraudulent.
  7. If a person is immigrating to the United States with his or her family and their child would reach at the age of 21 before permanent resident status is granted: The eligibility criteria for permanent resident status is totally different for youngsters underneath the age of 21. An immigration lawyer will facilitate by determining the most effective method of filing for children above 21 years of age.
  8. If a person has started the application process but does not know the next step: Sometimes USCIS may request you do some extra work or documentation to support the claim for an applicant. Working with an immigration lawyer from the start of the process can help in preventing delays and make the process speedy.
  9. Conclusion: Immigration matters are often complex and difficult to understand and may take several months or years to complete. Working with an immigration lawyer can be helpful and save your time in sorting out the different immigration requirements.

This article is from Daniel Asara.

Happy Labor Day!


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Happy Labor Day to you.

Please remember the purpose of this day — to honor the American labor movement, and all the benefits that have been brought to working people across the country.

Friday Fun


In this video of Stuff Southern Women Say, I’ve heard every one of them except the two comments about Clemson University.

How to Appeal if Your Social Security Claim is Denied


How to Appeal if Your Social Security Claim is DeniedImage Source: 401kcalculator.org

If your Social Security claim has been denied, you have options. Deciding to appeal may get your claim approved or, if you’ve previously had Social Security benefits, have your benefits reinstated. Here’s what you need to know when pursuing an appeal.

Deciding to Appeal

The appeal process can be long and draining, both emotionally and physically. Before you appeal, ask yourself these questions:

Are you willing and able to commit to the time requirements of the appeal process? Unlike most kinds of court decisions, Social Security decisions may be appealed and litigated with no time limit for a final verdict. On average, reconsiderations take about four months. However, there are many examples of first reconsiderations taking longer than six months to complete.

Are you physically and mentally able to complete the process? Social Security appeals require accurate paperwork. If you are unable to complete the paperwork yourself, you are permitted to have an attorney, friend, or other person represent you.

But the appeal process will require more than just paperwork: it can be stressful and labor-intensive. If your condition will allow you to proceed, do so. Otherwise, you may need to hire a representative to handle your claim for you or give up the appeal.

Has your condition improved? If you are now able to work, an decision maker won’t overturn the denial. If, however, your condition has worsened, gather new evidence (such as medical records and witness statements) and get ready to appeal.

Was the reason for denial valid? Your denial letter will include the reason the decision maker gave for denying your claim. If the denial was for a valid reason, it is unlikely that the decision will be overturned on appeal.

Go over the denial paperwork in detail. Are there any incorrect statements you would like to challenge? If so, you may benefit from an appeal.

Guidelines for Appealing

Social Security appeals are subject to specific guidelines and rules. Knowing and following these guidelines is essential to successfully completing your appeal.

Once you decide to appeal, you have 60 days from the day you received your denial letter to submit a written appeal request. If you applied for Social Security benefits or Supplementary Security Income (SSI) and your claim was denied for medical reasons, you can request your appeal online.

Then get started on the required paperwork. Here are the most common appeal forms:

Form SSA-561-U2 (“Request for Reconsideration”): Fill out this form to appeal the denial of an initial claim.

Form SSA-3441-BK (“Disability Report—Appeal”): If you are appealing the denial of disability benefits, fill this form out in addition to the request for reconsideration.

Form SSA-789-U4 and Form SSA-3441-BK (“Request for Reconsideration—Disability Cessation” and “Disability Report—Appeal”): If you have received disability benefits before and want to appeal the decision to stop your benefits, you’ll need to fill out the appeal form as well as the disability cessation form.

You can get the needed forms online from the Social Security Agency’s website or at your local Social Security office.

Levels of Appeal

There are several levels of the appeal process. If your claim is denied in reconsideration, don’t give up! You have three higher levels you can appeal to that can reinstate your benefits.

Reconsideration: During reconsideration, your case and any new evidence is presented to an decision maker. The chosen decision maker will not be the same one who previously denied your claim. Reconsideration can take as little as four months, but may take as long as six.

Hearing before an Administrative Law Judge: If your appeal is denied, you have the option of having your claim presented before an administrative law judge. The judge will not have seen any part of your claim previously. Hearings are typically scheduled within 75 miles of the claimant’s home, within a year of the request.

Many people decide to represent themselves during reconsideration. However, 80% of claimants seek representation at this level. Talking to an attorney such as Iain T. Donnell , a lawyer in Markham, can ensure all your paperwork is filed correctly and no errors impede your appeal.

Appeal before the Social Security Appeals Council: If the administrative law judge does not rule in your favor, you may ask for a review by the Social Security Appeals Council. If the Council decides there is merit to reviewing your claim, they may review it themselves or give the claim back to the administrative law judge. This process may take more than a year to complete.

Lawsuit in Federal Court: If you disagree with the decision reached by the Council, or the Council decides not to review your claim, you may file a lawsuit in federal district court.

Appealing a denied claim gives you a second chance to secure needed disability benefits. Follow the guidelines above and consult with the appropriate legal counsel to give your appeal the best possible odds.

About the author: A recent college graduate from University of San Francisco, Anica Oaks 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.

All About Personal Injury Lawyers


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Personal injury lawyers specialize in fighting for compensation on behalf of people that have been injured due to someone else’s negligence or carelessness. Examples of culprits can include employers or government authorities. People may seek personal injury claims after being involved in a medical, road or workplace accident to give just a few examples. They turn to personal injury lawyers in order to get the justice that they deserve. The compensation arising from a personal injury claim can cover various things, including loss of earnings, money spent on rehabilitation and the pain and suffering that they endured because of the accident. Some people may take action after a loved one dies due to negligence or carelessness. Personal injury lawyers work with insurance companies and any responsible parties in order to seek justice on behalf of their clients.

Keeping You in the Loop

A great deal of lawyers work on a no-win no fee or contingency fee basis. This means that if the claim is not successful, the lawyer is not paid. The client still has to pay for things such as court fees. Some personal injury lawyers focus on very specific fields such as road accident claims for instance. Some fields can be incredibly complex, which explains why specialist lawyers are needed. Changes in legislation can occur all the time, so lawyers need to constantly be aware of any developments that may be relevant to their work.

Choosing a Lawyer

To find a personal injury lawyer, potential clients can take a series of steps. They may decide to look online for reviews or recommendations, and may even ask friends or family members to point them in the right direction. It can be wise to draw up a shortlist of potential lawyers before choosing one. This helps you to find someone that you can trust. You’ll be working closely alongside your lawyer for a great deal of time, so it’s important to find someone who understands you and your needs. It’s advisable to meet your potential lawyer at least twice before you decide to sign up with them. The best lawyers always keep you up-to-date with developments as they happen and won’t leave you in the dark. Most lawyers will have several cases to take care of at once, but this shouldn’t mean that the service you are offered should be compromised. Patience is important, but you should still expect a good standard of communication.

Some Facts and Figures

There have been some statistics released by the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics on personal injury law suits that make for some interesting reading.

Automotive and automobile accidents accounted for the majority of personal injury lawsuits with over 50 % and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ( NHTSA ) say there are 6 million car collisions annually resulting in 3 million injuries and 40,000 deaths.

Automobile accident Lawsuits also have the highest success rate with over 60 % of automotive accident accidents being successful with one of the lowest being clinical negligence and medical malpractice at just under 20%.

Although automotive accidents account for the majority of all lawsuits and have the highest success rate they also have the lowest average pay-out award with only $16,000 opposed to something like product liability which has an average pay-out award of $748,000

Look for Integrity

Whilst there are undoubtedly some unscrupulous types working the profession, it’s generally accepted that the vast majority of lawyers have real integrity. Legislation in many states and territories means that lawyers aren’t permitted to engage in dubious practices, and they may lose their reputation if they do employ underhanded tactics. Personal injury compensation may never truly offset the pain and hardship caused by negligence, but it can pay for the treatment needed to overcome an injury. If you’re looking Kent based solicitors then Thomson Snell and Passmore may be able to assist you with you claim. To find out more information on personal injury you can visit TSP or our own site to learn more about a possible personal injury claim

Does Boehner Have a Case? Six Key Points to the Obama-House of Representative Lawsuit


President Obama and Rep. John Boehner

Recently the U.S. House of Representatives voted 225 to 201 to sue President Obama over allegations that he overreached his Constitutional authority when he made changes to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) without congressional approval. Here are six key points to consider about this historic lawsuit:

Goes Further Than Previous Lawsuits

According to Polifact.com, individual members of congress have sued the executive branch at least 14 times in recent decades, such as in 2011 when Democrat Dennis Kucinich sued President Obama on war-powers grounds, claiming that his intervention in Libya was unconstitutional. However, the current lawsuit goes further than any previous congressional lawsuit in that it is the entire institution of the House that is suing.

Poor Success Record

Although lawsuits against the President by members of Congress are nothing new, the record of success of such suits is dismal. The court has repeatedly ruled that Congress has other tools at its disposal to handle a misbehaving president, including passing laws, cutting off funding or just straight out impeaching the president.

Some Conservatives are Critical

Although this latest effort is coming from the Republican controlled House, some conservative commentators are critical of the lawsuit. They say that going to court is an attempt by Congress to dodge the far more difficult task of impeaching the president for abusing his office. They believe that impeachment is the only constitutional remedy for a presidential misuse of power.

Most Democrats are Critical

Democrats claim that the lawsuit is just a weak substitute offered by Republicans to avoid doing what they really want to do, which is to remove President Obama from office. They claim that the lawsuit is just a political ploy, and that the Republicans are simply grandstanding to attract votes from the President’s critics.

May Backfire

Some claim that even if the lawsuit is successful, it’s likely to backfire on Republicans in the long run. They point out that sooner or later the Republicans are going to control the White House, and they will not want congressional Democrats suing them over policy disagreements.

White House Not Concerned

How has the President himself responded to the lawsuit? In a recent Rose Garden speech, President Obama declared, “So sue me.” The White House appears confident that the suit against them will fail, and that the whole exercise is merely election year political theater that will ultimately go nowhere.

So, is the lawsuit congressional oversight or political grandstanding? Only time will tell, but the lawsuit will definitely be a 2014 election year issue.

Information credited to Gregory Rod, defense lawyers in Edmonton.

This article is from Kara Masterson, a freelance writer from West Jordan, Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah and enjoys writing and spending time with her dog, Max.

Toyota in Talks With Justice Department Over Final Car Recall Settlements


The New York Times reports that Toyota “is moving to resolve the last major legal issues related to the unintended acceleration of its vehicles, which has already cost it billions of dollars and prompted the recall of millions of cars in 2009 and 2010.” Toyota “is nearing a deal with the Justice Department to settle a criminal investigation over the way the automaker disclosed complaints stemming from the sudden acceleration of its vehicles, according to two people with knowledge of the talks.” The Times notes that the discussions, “with the criminal division of the United States attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York, are the culmination of a roughly four-year investigation,” and that the Securities and Exchange Commission “is also involved, focusing on whether Toyota fully disclosed the potential financial impact of the vehicle problems.”

From the American Association for Justice news release.

Friday Fun


My wife and both our daughters have been teachers, so I can relate to this video of things teachers never say.