Manufacturers Will Add Protective Screens to Gas Fireplaces to Avoid Further Lawsuits, Regulation


The Kansas City (MO) Star reports, “To stave off regulation and lawsuits over severe burns to toddlers, manufacturers will provide protective screens as standard equipment with new gas fireplaces.” As the Star describes, “more than 2,000 children ages five and under were injured by contact with the unprotected glass in a recent 10-year period, according to a federal database, with many suffering second- and third-degree burns. That has triggered at least a dozen lawsuits and scrutiny by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which in June, 2011 sought public comments on the need for federal standards.”

From the American Association for Justice news release.

Survey Says Most People Know Texting While Driving Is Dangerous, Do It Anyway


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Let’s just admit that we all do it. Here are the opening paragraphs of an article at Consumerist.com:

Odds are, you’re not sending your friends and loved ones off to drive somewhere with a hearty, “Don’t forget to text while driving!” But even though mostly everyone knows that texting and driving a car is dangerous, a new survey shows that a whole heck of a lot of us still do it anyway.

In what I’ll call the “Yeah, But It’s Fine Just This Once” phenomenon, 98% of respondents to an AT&T survey who own cellphones and text on the regular said they were aware of the dangers — but about 75% of those admitted they’d texted while driving, even though it’s illegal to do so in some states.

The survey is part of an AT&T campaign against texting while driving, reports the Associated Press, and was designed with David Greenfield, founder of The Center for Internet and Technology Addiction and a professor at the University of Connecticut’s School of Medicine.

Ridesharing Programs Are Growing in Popularity: What Are the Pros and Cons?


Ridesharing Programs Are Growing in Popularity - What Are the Pros and Cons

Ridesharing used to mean carpooling or vanpooling, usually organized within a common workplace or destination. Today, however, formal ridesharing programs have revolutionized the transportation industry–and not without a little controversy. Here’s a look at this growing phenomenon in the United States and the potential pros and cons of the practice as it rapidly gains popularity.

What’s Not to Like About Ridesharing?

Ridesharing at its most basic really has no downsides. Participants save fuel, which preserves natural resources and air quality. Of course this saves money too, as drivers share the cost of gas, tolls, wear and tear on their vehicles and insurance (many plans cost less for fewer miles traveled per week). This can save the average participant thousands of dollars over the course of a year.

Sharing rides also reduces traffic and allows passengers to use the time spent not driving to read, sleep, send texts or emails–whatever they want. This has the added benefit of reducing the temptation some drivers might feel to utilize mobile devices while driving, which is both illegal in many cases and always dangerous.

What Are the New Ridesharing Programs About?

Today’s ridesharing programs have moved beyond traditional carpooling and offer something in between carpooling and taxi service. Officially called “transportation networks,” formal ridesharing businesses like Lyft, Sidecar and UberX use mobile phone apps to connect people with cars to people who need rides. The drivers are paid, while passengers ride for free or for a donation. Donation-based service is being phased out lately in lieu of venture capital-backed service.

Ridesharing programs allow drivers and passengers to rate each other, and these businesses tout the friendliness of their service. Some riders and passengers have even gone on to become friends. Drivers are screened for criminal backgrounds, and there is a zero tolerance policy in these programs for the use of drugs or alcohol. Vehicles are inspected for safety as well.

Why Are Ridesharing Programs Controversial?

The controversy with ridesharing programs is twofold. Taxi companies feel that ridesharing is in direct competition for the service they provide, while avoiding the stringent licensing and insurance requirements faced by taxi cabs. Some cities have attempted to cap the number of ridesharing cars on the streets at any one time, but this has proven largely unsuccessful.

Insurance is the second troublesome issue for ridesharing networks, and this has been the latest focus for government control. California, where transportation network companies first sprang up, was the first state to take legal action to legislate insurance coverage for ridesharing programs. Rideshare drivers in California now have three tiers of insurance they must carry, from the time they log in to a network, to getting a passenger request to actually transporting the passenger. Illinois has recently followed suit.

What other states or municipalities will do remains to be seen. Ridesharing is unforeseen new transportation territory, much like self-driving cars. While rules governing the operation of ridesharing programs may change, it certainly does not look like these transportation networks are going anywhere in the near future.

This article was written by Dixie Somers, a freelance writer who loves to write for business, finance, technology, and women’s interests. She lives in Arizona with her husband and three daughters. Dixie got her advice about controversial ride-sharing insurance issues from the Lindsay lawyers of Kitchen Simeson Belliveau LLP.

Photo credit: en.wikipedia.org via Google Commons.

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Texas Immigration Courts Order Deportations at Much Higher Rate than Nation


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“Immigrants in Texas immigration courts stand a 71 percent of being ordered deported, compared to about a 55 percent rate for the nation, according to a fresh report this Friday from a Syracuse University research center.”

That is from a recent article in the Dallas Morning News. Here are other excerpts:

Dallas immigration courts are particularly tough with 82 percent of those there getting removal or deportations orders, says the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, or TRAC. Houston is tougher at 92 percent and San Antonio much less so at 38 percent.

And that brings one to the report’s central point: There’s wide variation in deportation orders from court to court among the nation’s 225 or so judges. The federal immigration courts are also granting a greater proportion of the deportation orders that are requested by the government in the first two months of the 2015 fiscal year.

On average, deportation orders were granted about half the time in the last fiscal year, ended Sept. 30, and, in Texas, such removals were granted at a lower rate of 66 percent. Texas has been a tough-on-immigrants venue for years, TRAC data shows. New York state, by comparison, has been more lenient for the last decade.l Records Access Clearinghouse, or TRAC. Houston is tougher at 92 percent and San Antonio much less so at 38 percent.

And that brings one to the report’s central point: There’s wide variation in deportation orders from court to court among the nation’s 225 or so judges. The federal immigration courts are also granting a greater proportion of the deportation orders that are requested by the government in the first two months of the 2015 fiscal year.

On average, deportation orders were granted about half the time in the last fiscal year, ended Sept. 30, and, in Texas, such removals were granted at a lower rate of 66 percent. Texas has been a tough-on-immigrants venue for years, TRAC data shows. New York state, by comparison, has been more lenient for the last decade.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Friday Fun


Oh my, this collection of TV news bloopers from 2014 is definitely Not Safe For Work.

Austin and San Antonio Drivers Prepare for Cellphone Bans Starting in January


In-Car Wifi - Could Possible Dangers be Lurking in this Technology

If you live, work, or vacation in Austin or San Antonio you need to know about a change in driving laws beginning January 1, 2015. You will no longer be able to legally drive and talk on a handheld phone in January.

Police in both cities have said they won’t actually issue tickets until February, but that’s not really a legal commitment, so be aware now.

San Antonio has reported more than 250 crashes linked to cellphone use in each of the past three years, according to the San Antonio Express-News.

Be careful out there.

What You Must Know About Long-Term Disability Claims


What You Must Know About Long-term Disability Claims

A long-term disability is defined as one that limits your ability to undertake certain activities associated with daily living, according to the Survey on Disability by the Canadian Government. This may include activities associated with your employment. If you are considering pursuing long-term disability compensation, you need to understand some essential factors associated with this type of claim.

Time is of the Essence

One of the most significant elements associated with a long-term disability claim is time. Generally speaking, in Canada, if a period of disability is six months or less, long-term disability insurance coverage will not be available to you. This does not necessarily mean that you need to wait until the initial six months of disability runs before submitting and pursuing a claim.

You can seek medical support for the proposition that your period of disability will extend beyond the six month mark (or whatever specific period of time is established by a long-term disability insurance policy). Oftentimes, during the period of time prior to the date long-term disability insurance coverage kicks in or becomes available, a person may have access to a short-term disability insurance policy.

Who Provides Long-Term Insurance Coverage

In some instances, an employer makes available to employees bundled insurance protection that includes both short-term and long-term disability insurance coverage. In other cases, an employer may provide short-term disability insurance coverage only. In that event, you would need to obtain a private policy of long-term disability insurance if you desire this type of protection.

Legal Assistance and a Long-Term Disability Claim

An important strategy to consider when you face a long-term disability claim is engaging the services of a skilled, qualified and tenacious attorney from Cantini Law Group Accident and Disability Lawyers or similar firms. The reality is that obtaining all of the benefits and compensation to which you are qualified via a long-term disability claim can be challenging. In addition, insurance companies do everything in their power to delay compensation, limit the amount of compensation and even to deny compensation when a person has filed a valid claim for relief.

The first step in engaging the services of a qualified long-term disability attorney is scheduling an initial consultation. Through an initial consultation, a lawyer will evaluate your class and explain what strategies and options are available to you. Canadian attorneys typically do not charge a fee for an initial consultation in a long-term disability case. You can seek out this type of professional assistance directly after the perceived need for long-term insurance compensation arises.

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.

In-Car WiFi: Could Possible Dangers be Lurking in this Technology?


In-Car Wifi - Could Possible Dangers be Lurking in this TechnologyHigh-speed in-car connectivity has been around for years, but after AT&T teamed up with Good morning! in 2013 to outfit almost every one of their newest models with WiFi capability, nearly every other automaker has been clamoring to compete. We may soon see it in virtually every new model on the road, and that makes many experts very nervous. If you are still skeptical about the use of in-car WiFi, take a look at four of the biggest dangers that could be lurking in this technology. Here are four of the biggest dangers that may come with in-car WiFi.

Distraction

We’ve already been dealing with the problem of distracted driving for years, and many argue that in-car WiFi will only make the problem worse. According to Distraction.gov, 421,000 people were injured in accidents involving a distracted driver in 2012 – an increase from the 387,000 injured in 2011. Clearly, we’ve already seen the dangers that the connectivity of mobile phones can pose to the general public, and better connectivity will likely lead to more Internet-related activities while driving.

From cellphones and smartphones to tablets and laptops, in-car WiFi will undoubtedly delight passengers and make backseat rides even more entertaining for children. Unfortunately, the only way to ensure that it doesn’t endanger a driver’s attention is to disable the WiFi connection while the vehicle is in motion. That feature, though, is not typically included.

The Onboard Network

New cars are incredibly intricate and complex machines, and they’re run by a wide variety of computer systems that all need to connect and talk with one another to keep the car running safely and smoothly. That’s where something called the computer-area-network bus, or CAN bus, comes in.

A vulnerable communications port can give a hacker with malicious intent access to the CAN bus. Once they are on your in-car network, depending upon both its structure and the strength of its built-in security systems, they could potentially access your vehicle’s vital systems. These systems include the car’s steering, brakes, and throttle, and it’s already been proven that once accessed, these systems can be hacked and remotely controlled.

Anti-Theft Devices

There are less serious threats that could be posed by a potential WiFi hack as well. Not only are systems like door locks susceptible to a system intrusion, but other anti-theft systems are at risk as well. For example, a car’s telematics system – the system that’s responsible for remote shutdown or vehicle tracking in the event that it’s stolen – is another likely target in a vulnerable car.

These systems are much more likely to be located in more accessible locations within your car’s local network, putting them at greater risk than the vital systems described above. If a vulnerability in your make and model were to become widespread knowledge, your new car would be a known target until the manufacturer addresses the issue. To see how vulnerable your car may already be, take a look at this Wired article.

Identity Theft

This may not seem like a car-related issue, but with the addition of WiFi capability, it becomes one. In fact, it’s the most likely type of cyber-attack that your car will face. Some automakers already use in-car networks that all but isolate the vital systems described above, making it incredibly difficult for a potential attacker to gain control over them. That does not, however, make the WiFi itself more secure.

If a vulnerability is discovered in a specific car’s WiFi network, it’s far more likely that an attacker will be after the personal information that flows through the network than attempting to control your vehicle. At that point, you’re driving around in a WiFi network that a knowledgeable criminal could exploit for information. As you can see here, the potential for this type of threat is already in the media.

Ultimately, the likelihood of any one individual’s automobile becoming a target for malicious activity pales in comparison to the dangers of distracted driving. There’s simply no way around it – the risk that distracted driving poses to everyone increases with every new car that rolls out with onboard WiFi. In the end, please remember to keep your mind on the road – everything else can wait.

This article was written by Dixie Somers, a freelance writer who loves to write for business, finance, women’s interests, and technology. She lives in Arizona with her husband and three beautiful daughters. Dixie got advice for this article from the car accident lawyers in Ottawa at Howard Yegendorf and Associates.

Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons via Lord Jim.

Be Aware of These Common Safety Myths


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The National Safety Council promotes data-driven safety management systems backed by scientific research and statistics. The Council has published injury facts for more than 90 years based on data from various sources such as surveys and statistics, and also publishes The Journal of Safety Research. The Council works to raise awareness of safety issues and give consumers solid information to work and live more safely. Information like this helps counter unsafe practices and common safety myths.

Myths about Lightning Safety

The National Weather Service reports on common myths about lightning safety. An old saying, “Lightning never strikes twice” or “Lightning never strikes the same place twice” is a very common misperception. The NWS cites the fact that the Empire State Building is struck almost 100 times a year, and says lightning often strikes tall pointy objects repeatedly.

Other myths about lightning safety include:

  • If it’s not raining or there aren’t clouds, you’re not in danger from lightning. The NWS reports that lightning often strikes far outside the center of the storm.
  • If you’re inside a building, you’re safe from lighting. In fact, lightning during storms can conduct electricity into corded phones, appliances, plumbing, and metal doors.
  • A person struck by lightning is electrified and shouldn’t be touched. Once someone has been struck by lightning and the incident is over, it’s safe to help them because the human body doesn’t store electricity.

Myths about Food Safety

The National Sanitation Foundation works to safeguard the world’s food, water, consumer products and environment. The Foundation reports on several food myths that put people at risk in their own kitchens. People think food in the fridge can’t spoil or be cross-contaminated because of the cold temperatures, but the NSF reports that bacteria, including Listeria monocytogenes, grows in cold temperatures, and refrigerators often harbor Listeria and salmonella.

Myth about Steel-Toed Boots

Steel-toed safety boots are made with steel, aluminum or composite materials. Some people think that wearing steel-toed boots risks getting your toes amputated. The myth is that the steel in the toe of the boots can curl in during an impact and cut off toes. This myth was tested on the TV show Mythbusters in several different ways and was found to be unwarranted.

Myths about Sun Safety

People are more aware of the perils of sun exposure today, but an American Academy of Dermatology study that shows many people still take no precaution in the sun. The general perception that tanning is healthy is a dangerous myth, and tanning beds and outdoor exposure to ultraviolet radiation can lead to skin cancer, more wrinkles earlier in life, and other skin damage. People generally think they can only get a sunburn if it’s a sunny day, but you can get a sunburn on a cloudy day if exposed without sun protection for more than a few minutes.

Myths about Electricity and Safety

The National Safety Council reported 174 worker fatalities from electrical exposure in 2011, and reports myths about electricity and safety are common. People think that electrical tools will short-out in water and reach into the water to get them back, but water conducts electricity and will injure and even kill someone in this situation.

This article is from Lori Cline, an accomplished award-winning writer who specializes in tech and gadgets, as well as beauty and women’s wellness. She lives with her daughter in the western United States.

Friday Fun


For anyone who didn’t see it last year, here is the WestJet Christmas Miracle:

Have a Wonderful Christmas!


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From our family to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas!

Questions Raised About Doctors Owning Distributorships


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Southern California Public Radio, in a segment titled “Selling The Spine,” reports that over the last decade, California “and the rest of the U.S. have seen rapid growth in what are called Physician Owned Distributorships, or PODs, in the spinal device business.” A POD is a medical device business “in which a physician is an investor and a distributor – a salesman – of the parts.” These “physician investors can and do use the devices they sell in the surgeries they perform, and that creates a financial incentive to do more and at times unnecessary surgeries, critics argue.” The question is “whether physician investors in PODs are receiving payments in exchange for referring patients to hospitals that purchase devices those physicians distribute, which would be a criminal offense. ‘The fraud alert issued about PODs was very strongly worded, saying that they were very concerned with the use of PODs in the health care industry and the fact that it could ultimately drive up medical costs,’ said Troy Barksy, an attorney who spent 11 years at Health and Human Services’ Office of General Counsel.”

From the news release of the American Association for Justice.

Boxed Warnings on Antidepressants Tied to Increased Suicide Attempts in Young People


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Here’s a case of unintended consequences — warning people that antidepressants might lead to suicide apparently causes the users to actually go ahead and commit suicide.

USA Today reports that according to a study published online in the BMJ, boxed “warnings that antidepressant medications might prompt suicidal thinking in some young people may have backfired, resulting in more suicide attempts.” While the study is “not the first to show that antidepressant use by young people fell sharply after warnings from the Food and Drug Administration and subsequent media coverage in 2003-04,” it appears to be “the first to link the change to an increase in suicide attempts among teens and young adults, researchers say.”

The Washington Post reports that the present study’s “findings are in line with research published in 2007” in the American Journal of Psychiatry, a publication of the American Psychiatric Association, “that documented a precipitous drop in antidepressant prescriptions in the wake of warnings from federal regulators.” At that time, Thomas Insel, MD, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, told the Washington Post, “We may have inadvertently created a problem by putting a ‘black box’ warning on medications that were useful.”

Bloomberg News reports that the present study found that as the public began to heed the FDA’s 2004 warning, “adolescent attempted suicides increased 21.7 percent and a 31 percent decline in antidepressant use was seen two years later.” Investigators also found that “attempted suicides among those ages 18 to 29 increased 33.7 percent.”

The Boston Globe reports on its front page that in order to evaluate “the consequences of the black box warning, the researchers looked at the rate of nonfatal drug overdoses in the subsequent years.” That is because “overdoses represent only 40 percent of suicide attempts but are considered the most reliable measure of trends,” the National Institute of Mental Health-supported study revealed.

The NBC News website reports that “researchers analyzed data from 1.1 million adolescents, 1.4 million young adults and five million adults” in arriving at their conclusions. For their part, “FDA officials said the agency has consistently tried to balance the warning about suicide risk with the reminder that depression itself is a serious illness that raises the risk of suicidal thoughts and actions.” In an email sent to NBC News, FDA spokeswoman Sandy Walsh emphasized “there are no plans to remove the warning.”

The NPR “Shots” blog quotes an emailed statement from the FDA in which the agency “defended its warnings. ‘The FDA saw an important risk signal with antidepressants and we put that information in the drug labels,’” the FDA “said, noting that it never intended to discourage giving kids antidepressants and making it clear that depression is a serious illness that needs to be treated.”

From the news release of the American Association for Justice.

Motorcycle Accident Injury? Six Steps To Take Immediately


6 Steps To Take Immediately

Riding a motorcycle can be one of the most liberating experiences you can encounter, but being up on two wheels can also carry some extra risks since other motorists don’t always notice you or understand the safest practices when sharing the roadway with motorcyclists. Unfortunately this can sometimes lead to an accident. If this should occur to you, there are a few simple steps to remember in order to protect you and your rights. Naturally, what you can accomplish after the accident will depend on the severity of any injuries you may have suffered.

Seek Medical Assistance

This might initially seem like a no-brainer, but it is not unusual for individuals involved in accidents to go into shock and not even be aware of their injuries or their severity. If you are in a condition to take photos of your injuries, that may help your case later.

Report the Accident

Whether you report it yourself or have someone else do it, make sure it is reported to the proper local authorities and be sure they respond. This is also a good time to contact your insurance company to notify them of the accident.

Gather Information

If at all possible get as much information as you can from others involved in the accident including license information, insurance information and any other pertinent data. If you can find out their planned destination, and where they came from, that may come in handy as well.

Talk With Witnesses

At the very least try to get contact information from anyone who may have seen the accident. If an accident investigator is needed, this can be vital information.

Take Photos

If you can get photos of the accident scene before any of the vehicles are moved it can help recreate the accident later on. This will help for insurance purposes and can more easily determine who is at fault.

Contact an Attorney

This final item may be the most critical. Whether you have been injured or even if there is a possibility of an injury, you will need the assistance of a reliable personal injury attorney. Some of your injuries may not show up until hours or days after an accident, so protect yourself.

Other guidelines to follow if you have been involved in a motorcycle accident include never admitting any responsibility for the accident, regardless of the situation. Another good piece of advice is to refuse any offer from an insurance company until you have secured the services of an attorney.

Informational credit to motorcycleaccident.org.

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.

Staying Safe on the Road During the Holiday Season


Staying Safe on the Road During the Holiday Season

The holiday time brings with it traveling to see friends and relatives. It also brings inclement weather and hazardous road conditions. Any experienced Philadelphia personal injury lawyer will agree, it is better to avoid an accident than go through litigation after being injured. A few driving tips are included to help keep people safe during the holiday months.

Driving for Conditions

Most have learned the two second rule when it comes to driving. A driver should always keep a two second cushion between themselves and the vehicle in front of them. But it is important to remember, the two second rule applies to optimal driving conditions. When pavement is wet or snow packed, at least twice the distance should be kept.

For example, the average car traveling 50 mph in optimal driving conditions requires at least 198 feet to stop, after taking into account average reaction time and braking time. But when speed is reduced by only 10 mph, the stopping distance is lowered to approximately 139 feet. When roads are wet, the distance can be twice that length, and even longer in icy conditions. Slowing down in bad conditions is rule number one for safety.

Testing the road conditions as soon as leaving the house is a good idea, before getting on main roads. After exiting the driveway, and after making sure traffic is clear, move the vehicle a short distance and then apply the brakes firmly and feel for any skid or swerving. If so, adjust driving habits accordingly.

Though people often rush out of the house and are anxious to get to their destination, make sure all windows are properly defrosted. Visibility is bad enough in the winter months without aggravating the conditions by using “peek hole” vision.

In the event the vehicle does become stranded, the cell phone becomes the motorist’s best friend. During bad weather and traveling any distance, the phone should be fully charged and taken with the motorist.

There are a few items that should be kept in the vehicle in case of a mishap. These include:

• Blanket and old warm clothes;
• Bottled Water;
• First aid kit;
• Flashlight with new batteries;
• Jumper cables or a portable charging machine;
• A few screwdrivers and wrenches;
• A folding type camping shovel;
• Cat litter- it can be spread under wheels to create traction if the vehicle is stuck.

Almost all of these items can be stored in a corner of the trunk, without using a great amount of space. And a final reminder about driving under the influence, do not do so under any circumstances, regardless of weather conditions.

This article is from Karleia Steiner, who works as a freelance blogger and consultant. You can follow her on Google+.

Friday Fun


Our daughter and her family had to move from Texas to northern New Jersey this summer. She recently needed something and the closest store that carried it was across the border in New York, so she drove there and got it. In retrospect she said “Dad, can you even imagine driving to another state just to buy something?!” That is DEFINITELY not something we do in Texas. Here’s why:

Finally, a map to show why you don’t go to Corpus every weekend.

From klll.com:

Finally, you have something to show your out of state relatives, who ask why you don’t visit your distant cousin in Corpus Christi more often…”I mean, how far away is it really?” Well facts are facts, and that annoying aunt may actually be closer to your cousin than you are.

Texas is 790 miles long. The red on this map represents the area that is within 790 miles of Texas. That is to say, if you are within this red zone, you are closer to somewhere in Texas than other parts of Texas are…

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Looking for a few more,

Beaumont is closer to Tampa than El Paso.

Brownsville is closer to Mexico City than DFW.

Texarkana is closer to Atlanta than El Paso.

Corpus is closer to Cuba than Denver.

Austin is closer to New Orleans than El Paso

Downtown Fort Worth to downtown Dallas is longer than the Gaza Strip is long, longer than the English channel.

Dallas to Houston is nearly the same distance as Paris to London.

Thinking About Filing for Long-Term Disability? Consider This Beforehand…


DisabilityFiling for disability requires more than just a visit or two to the insurance claims office. In fact, many people do not realize that filing for long-term disability (LTD) is a legal claim that can go awry for those unfamiliar with the law’s many nuances. If this is the route that you would like to go then looking a little further into the situation might be just what you need.

Evidence: Investigations Aren’t Objective

Some say that the tactics used by large insurance companies are unfair. For example, many use covert surveillance in determining a claim’s legitimacy. A private investigator may secretly follow a claimant and take videos of normal activities, such as taking out the trash or driving a car to the grocery store. This evidence can be used to justify a denial on a claim, or worse, to argue that the claimant falsely misrepresented his/her injuries.

Video footage can be unfair because it typically lacks context, that is, the whole picture is rarely presented in full detail. While video footage can show an injured worker lifting a heavy bag of trash or opening a car door, the recording probably won’t show the claimant later resting and recuperating from such an activity.

Insurance Business

Insurance companies are in the business of making money, plain and simple. One of the first things they do when someone files a new claim is they collect all the information they can in order to use as evidence later down the road. They also ask claimants to sign releases for specific types of information — such as your credit report — that will later facilitate their investigation against you. Many applicants willingly comply with this because they think the company is working only in the interest of the claimant. Hiring an attorney at the outset can give you protection in the form of insight, experience, and recommendations on how to proceed.

Hire an Attorney

To level the playing field against a large insurer, it is best to hire an experienced attorney. Hiring an attorney, like those at Cantini Law Group Accident and Disability Lawyers, before the first hearing is particularly important because the insurance company can “close” your claim, which cuts you off from asking for additional evidence should it be needed. The company isn’t going to tell you this right off the bat, because if it did, you would more than likely put forth an informed effort to collect evidence, such as hospital records, depositions, and any information your doctors may have to support your claim.

Complicated indeed, filing LTD claims requires having more than a few conversations with the insurance company. It requires knowledge and tact, and that perhaps, is the most important reason why you should hire an experienced attorney.

The difficulty of filing and getting approved for disability shouldn’t deter the individual who is in need of these services. You pay your insurance for a reason and they should be there when you need them to be. Consider all of the steps involved and make sure you are patient when it comes to finalizing your claim.

This article is from Meghan Belnap, blogger, researcher, and freelance writer.

Understanding Healthcare Law and its Growing Role in Our Society


Understanding Healthcare Law and its Growing Role in Our Society

So many recent changes have occurred in the healthcare system that most consumers are at least somewhat confused about their options. The open enrollment period for the Affordable Healthcare Act has residents in every state scrambling for more information. Along with changes to the healthcare provisions and prices, there are also new requirements for small businesses, families, and individuals. In order to avoid penalties associated with not following the letter of the law, everyone must be aware of their rights and responsibilities under the new law.

Employer Responsibilities
One of the major impacts of the new healthcare law implementations is the mandate for small business owners. Because many new and existing business leaders are required to provide healthcare benefits to their employees, owners and partners must be educated in the various facets of employer benefits. As additional changes and healthcare reform efforts are made, penalties and sanctions against employers may increase. Employers have a responsibility to comply with all federal and local guidelines. The growing concern over new regulations has prompted several new resources to be used by corporations and small business.

Legal Support for Employers
One of the largest trends in preparatory law schools today is healthcare law. Employment compensation lawyers work for individuals and employers, and the next phase of those interactions is healthcare law. Businesses need professionals who can accurately assess their current situation and determine the most appropriate course of action. Motivated students are able to earn a master’s of science in law to leverage their knowledge and be in a better position to support their business or industry. Students can also get an online masters of science in law which would allow them to continue to work at least part-time and support a family if needed. The overall concept is a mutually beneficial reward for students and the businesses they support.

Although some of the cost of healthcare has to be passed on to employees based on the new legislation, the net effect of the new law has been a positive one for both employees and employers. When everyone has access to affordable quality healthcare, employees are able to proactively manage their health concerns and conditions. Employers also benefit from having healthy and satisfied employees on staff. There is still much to be accomplished with the new healthcare laws and requirements until every business and industry can claim full compliance. The growth process is sometimes slow, but the end result is worth the investment.

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.

Advanced Technology Wins Personal Injury Cases


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Technology has changed the law profession. If you watched any part of the O.J. Simpson trial back in the mid-nineties, you might remember hearing, “Put that up on the ELMO, please.” The ELMO was the type of projector used in the case as the main way of presenting evidence in the trial, reports Presentation Solutions. With the advent of new technology, attorneys for both sides are better able to prepare and present their cases for their clients—and win.

What types of advanced technology are attorneys using these days? Read on:

iPads

The iPad is possibly the most used wireless device in the court room. Attorneys use the mobile device for research, composing and managing depositions and organizing exhibits. Linking an iPad with courtroom presentation technology allows lawyers to show exhibits and illustrations in detail.

Keeping and maintaining records, which can end up being tens of thousands of documents, is made much simpler with a tablet device. The benefit of carrying a slim iPad case and having access to the fully organized case before and during a personal injury trial can’t be over emphasized. Being able to track and access all documents in one place with the touch of a finger is invaluable to an attorney.

Attorneys are beginning to let clients use iPads to help their cases. The Phoenix-based law firm Fennemore Craig keeps iPads for clients to use while their case is active. Clients are able to provide needed information, sign forms, or keep in touch with their lawyers 24/7 by using email, apps and Skype. They will have all information about the case instantaneously available to them via the iPad at any time.

Look for judges and jurors to use iPads in the not-so-distant future.

Google Glass

Google Glass can be of immense assistance to personal injury attorneys in a number of ways. For instance, attorneys want to use Glass to show the jurors how much their clients suffer in their everyday life to support a claim, but Google considers it a possible breach of privacy, reports a University of Richmond study. The courts will be examining the issue more closely in the future.

Google Glass has precise video and audio capabilities that work quicker than smart phones or cameras, which can be extraordinarily helpful to either side of a personal injury case. If a witness is on hand at an accident or a sexual assault, for example, he can begin recording the incident almost immediately; jurors will then be able to see the accident first-hand.

Attorneys are continuing to explore ingenious ways to use Glass; future full-time implementation is only a matter of time, depending on when the legal issues can be resolved, of course.

Other Law Tech

There are other ways to use technology for a personal injury claim. A defense attorney might hire an investigator to check out a plaintiff’s social media profiles; photos of a plaintiff doing the limbo posted on Facebook could severely damage a case if the person is suing for damages due to the back injury.

Black boxes for cars are now being used, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is currently pushing for mandatory installation. Black boxes can record data, such as how fast the driver was going, when or if she braked, or if she was wearing a seat belt.

The cloud is another area that is great for both lawyers and clients. All information regarding the case can be stored securely, and can be accessed at any time with the proper credentials, notes Slootsky Law.

Court rooms are just beginning to embrace advanced technology. When they begin to use it full-force, attorneys will rejoice. And win.

This article is from Lori Cline, an accomplished award-winning writer who specializes in tech and gadgets, as well as beauty and women’s wellness. She lives with her daughter in the western United States.

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