Key Information on Hit and Run Accidents

It remains an unfortunate reality that vehicular accidents remain a prevalent problem across the United States. Among the most alarming of such issues is the continued occurrence of hit and run accidents or car crashes where the party at fault slips away from the site without offering help or information. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, this type of accidents has led to a disturbing amount of fatalities in recent years. For 2011, hit and run accidents were recorded to have caused 1,449 deaths. The administration’s data only goes to show the necessity by which this issue needs to be resolved.

Hit and run accidents are particularly devastating because it leaves victims vulnerable to a host of different factors. A serious crash can lead to severe injuries that will require immediate medical attention. With no witnesses and the at-fault driver gone, hit and run victims might not be able to receive prompt medical treatment. This could lead to the victims suffering from lifelong medical conditions or even lead to their deaths. Those that do survive devastating crashes are still left to deal with the psychological and emotional trauma that typically accompanies such trying incidents. There is also a lengthy period of recovery to face, which often proves to be financially draining.

As noted at, it is unfair to flee the scene of a car accident and leave those affected by crash to deal with injuries, property damage, medical expenses, and insurance claims on their own. Fortunately, both victims and eye witnesses can take some precautions to ensure the swift response of justice. Among these precautions is requesting medical assistance for injured victims, providing police officers with detailed descriptions of the accident, and taking photographs of the crash.

Seniors Share Residences to Stay Out of Nursing Homes

Home-sharing is a great option for seniors to still live independently while availing the necessary services that they can’t perform on their own. It offers great benefits for both parties – the senior and the participant – as long as the agreement is clear regarding the services that need to be provided and the restrictions are understood. Senior home-sharing may be a good option, but it is not for everyone. Those who have been unfortunately mis-matched have reported elder abuse.

In order to be a part of the senior home-sharing program, both parties should first apply. There are a number of home-sharing programs available in the United States, but not every state offers the program. It is important to know whether you are signing in for a match-up or a group residence. Resources such as the National Shared Housing Resource Center can be accessed online and shares a listing of homeshare programs that in available in your state. Regional housing agencies, local office on aging, and non-profit organizations can also offer services as well as information on homeshare programs, and many even administer these programs to help with senior home-sharing.

After applying for senior home-sharing programs, both participants will be interviewed in person in order to get to know them and for the program staff to provide good matches. A home visit will be conducted, as well as a reference check (either by the program staff or the home-provide themselves) to ensure safety. If there is a potential match-up, both parties will be informed and they will meet at the home-provider’s home to determine whether they will be a good match. If they have agreed to the match-up, both parties will be drawing an agreement that would compromise and detail their different needs.

Many home-sharing programs can offer different services, such as independent background checks. Some programs offer to be mediators or negotiators during the drawing of the agreement or when disputes arise, but there are programs that do not offer such services. It is important to therefore conduct research and gather information on which senior home-sharing program would best work for you.

Payment of Child Support: A Must for the Non-custodial Parent

Couples with child/children, but who decide to end their union or relationship through divorce still face the legal obligation of providing for all the needs of their child/children, particularly those below 18 years old. This provision is financial. It is called child support or child maintenance and is paid on a regular basis (usually monthly) to the custodial parent or (if any of the parents cannot perform the duty due to medical or other conditions or is not deemed fit by the court) to the guardian, caregiver or the government, for the child’s care and support.

Child support is one of the major concerns which spouses, or people who enter into a relationship and have a child, will need to settle due to divorce, separation, annulment/dissolution of a marital/civil union, or determination of parentage. Being a court order, payment of child support is, therefore, a legal obligation (which cannot be dismissed even upon declaration of bankruptcy). Non-payment of this court-ordered support is illegal under Federal law and those convicted can face fines and time in jail.

While the passing of the Child Support Recovery Act (CSRA) in 1992 made child support a major concern of the Federal government, the state and local authorities are the ones usually charged with the enforcement of the law. The joint effort, however, plus the CSRA and the method employed by the state in enforcing the law have proven totally effective and efficient, especially in determining the whereabouts of those who try to flee to other states to escape payment of child support (it is important to know that those who owe at least $2,500 in child support are not entitled to receive a U.S. passport. This mandate is from the U.S. Passports & International Travel of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs. Upon settlement of owed amount it may still take the Passport Services 2-3 weeks before it gets approval to process passport application).

Cedar Rapids divorce lawyers can tell you that custodial parents have the right to ask government and law enforcement officials for help in seeking payment (from the obligor, who is the non-custodial parent required to pay the support) for child support or child support arrears. To better provide this help, “Title IV-D” agencies have been created in each state, with the maintenance of a State PLS (parent locator service) as one of its tasks.

Upon discovery of the obligor’s whereabouts, he/she can face federal prosecution if it can be proven that he/she willfully failed to pay child support for his/her child who resides in another state, or if he/she has skipped payment for more than 1 year or the amount owed is more than $5,000. The charge to this crime, though, was only a criminal misdemeanor until the Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act (DPPA) of 1998 made changes to make the charge more serious and the punishments, harsher.

Many lawyers emphasize the legality both of a child support agreement and the amount of support as determined by the court. This is why it is very important that the non-custodial parent adheres to the agreement or court order as payment of support is essential for the welfare of the child. Seeking the help of a qualified divorce lawyer during the divorce process is equally important as this will ensure the representation needed in fighting for the child’s best interests.

Facts about Fall Hazards

The leading cause of construction site fatalities are falls from height, while slip-and-falls (falls on one level) are a leading cause of injuries. It is therefore a major concern for those involved in the construction industry as well as the occupational safety and regulation body.

Fall hazards are identified as a part of the so-called “Fatal Four” in construction in company with electrocution, struck-by, and caught-in accidents. These are the main causes of fatalities (59% in 2009) and injuries in construction. The Bureau of Labor Statistics identified the incidence of different types of fall hazards over a 13-year period (1992-2005) and determined that nearly one out of three was from the roof, 1 out of 5 was from a stage, scaffold or ladder, and 1 out of 10 from girders. From the total of fall hazard fatalities, one-fourth was from falls from lifts, stationary vehicles, and existing openings i.e. sky roof.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) addresses the issue of fall hazards by requiring the provision and use of fall protection gear for workers working more than 4 feet from the ground or when using or around dangerous machinery and equipment. As pointed out in the website of law firm Hach & Rose, the construction company is responsible for providing the proper safety equipment and tools which are in good condition and regularly maintained, and for the training of workers in their use. In New York, construction companies and contractors are absolutely liable for worksite injuries or fatalities, so it is in their best interest to see to it that their workers strictly follow safety regulations for fall prevention.

Some examples of how fall hazard injuries can happen:

  • Use of a makeshift scaffold or used beyond its load capacity i.e. 4 people for a scaffold designed for two
  • Failure to wear safety harness or fall protection gear
  • Lack of warning signs on open holes or hazardous areas
  • Faulty harness or climbing equipment i.e. ladders

If you have been seriously injured in a fall hazard situation in a construction site, you may need to seek compensation for your medical and other expenses. Find out how by asking a construction accident lawyer.

The Cybersquatting Law and Domain Name Disputes

The Internet has certainly spawned a wide array of colorful, sometimes tongue-in-cheek, terms that has become part of formal lexicon. One of these is cybersquatting, sometimes known as domain squatting, where an individual registers a domain name that is identical or sufficiently similar to a trademark to be confusing in order to benefit from this confusion. As pointed out on the website of Gagnon, Peacock & Vereeke, P.C., a trademark associates a product, service, or in this case a website, to a an established company. When it is used without authorization in domain name registration, the trademark owner may suffer losses in terms of reduced traffic, loss of reputation, or misinformation.

The intent of cybersquatters are typically to force the trademark owner to purchase the domain name or to lead consumers to presume an affiliation or connection between the trademark owner and the site which does not exist. Famous cases include Madonna v. Parisi and Julia Fiona Roberts v. Russell Boyd.

There are two ways that a trademark owner can address a case of cybersquatting. A complaint can be filed with the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) for arbitration under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDNDRP), which will decide if there was bad faith involved on the part of the defendant. However, no monetary award is possible with the UDNDRP. A plaintiff may also file a civil case in federal court under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) where monetary awards may be requested for any damages the trademark owner sustained from the act of bad faith if the case is proven.

Not all domain name disputes are necessarily based on an intentional act of bad faith; the site owner may have a legitimate reason for registering a particular domain name. In such cases, this is not cybersquatting and the trademark owner may therefore not be able to keep the site owner from retaining or using the domain name. It is important to retain the services of an intellectual property lawyer in domain name disputes to ensure that all legal aspects of a case is carefully and thoroughly considered.

Transforming and Redefining the Physical Workplace Environment

Newer technologies are replacing even very recently released or introduced trends and capabilities faster than ever. This means that a car, for instance, which you just bought last year, may have multiple add-ons this year, making it simply more remarkable than the one you bought – kind of making you feel sorry for deciding to buy too fast, isn’t it?

For businesses, some sort of a quantum leap is also on the horizon – Workplace Mobility – a move that is seen to greatly improve knowledge workers’ performance and increase company profit through a change in the “how” and the “where” these employees work.

This workplace mobility, which banks in North America have started to implement, has as its most basic infrastructure, borderless networks. Thus, with the latest tablet technologies, next-generation smart phones, virtualization, cloud computing and other advancing wireless capabilities, knowledge workers in the areas of technology, media, finance, telecommunications and others, are becoming less dependent with regard to their work’s location.

More and more companies are expected to make big investments on technology next year to enable them to start practicing workplace mobility. They don’t mind spending more since this move will prove to be more profitable in the long run. How? Besides serving as an invitation to younger knowledge workers, who would only be eager to work hard as part of a global team, collaborating with their counterparts regardless of global positioning and time zone, workplace mobility also means significant reduction in company costs. These simply mean retention of skillful and talented workers and bigger company savings due to lesser company travels, fewer printers and computer units, lesser need to purchase office supplies, reduced consumption of energy, and lesser need to rent a big, costly office space.

The Importance of Court Reporting Services

Litigation is not really about the trial, whether criminal or civil. The court trial itself is a culmination of weeks and maybe months of preparation that will provide the support for the claims of the plaintiff or allegations of prosecutor and the defendant/s. This is where the importance of court reporting services comes in.

Part and parcel of the investigatory aspect of any litigation is that of case law and witness accounts. Case law or precedent is the rule or principle established by the courts in past trials in common law legal systems that has not been successfully challenged or debunked. Such rulings are documented by court reporters as transcripts of court room proceedings and made available to lawyers to use as the basis for their arguments or motions.

Depositions, on the other hand, are verbatim transcripts of statements, interviews, and declarations by relevant persons pertaining to a particular case taken outside of the courtroom and presented during the discovery phase of a trial. These depositions are officially recorded by a court reporter without the supervision of the judge and used as evidence in the trial itself.

Because of the importance of their functions, court reporters have to be extensively trained to do their job properly and maintain certain skills, such as a typing speed of 225 words per minute. They also have to be licensed by the state, and in some states also have to be notaries public to be certified by the courts.

The transcripts provided by court reporting services are important documents that are used in any kind of legal proceeding, ranging from issues of crimes to personal injury to child support. It does not matter if the purpose of the trial is to determine guilt or to decide on what is in the best interest of a child of divorce. Court reporting provides the bricks and mortar with which a competent lawyer can build a case that will stand up in court.

Personal Injury Defined

Personal injury is any harm to an individual caused by the negligent actions or inactions of another person, an entity, or an organization which has a duty of care towards that individual. The key to this definition is the duty of care.

A person, entity, or organization cannot be said to be negligent when such person, entity, or organization has no relationship with the injured or harmed individual. For example, if a child accidentally swallows mommy’s medication for epilepsy and has seizures that eventually results in irreversible brain damage, the drug company is not liable for the injury to the child because it has no relationship with that child, and therefore has no duty of care. However, the mother may be found to be criminally negligent as well as civilly liable for the child’s condition.

Given this qualification of duty of care, personal injury nevertheless encompasses a wide range of circumstances. There are lots of ways that someone can suffer an injury, from a wet patch in a grocery, to a defective drug, to being involved in an accident caused by an intoxicated boat operator, and be eligible for compensation from the at-fault party. However, it is far from a simple matter.

Case law concerning personal injury is still evolving. It was only since the 1970s that personal injury litigation became popular in the U.S., and since then tort law has become increasingly complex. In personal injury litigation, it is the plaintiff who has the burden to prove negligence as well as to provide evidence of serious injury within the statute of limitations, all prerequisites for a viable claim. The tort law varies from state to state, so the personal injury lawyer hired to pursue the claim must have the knowledge and experience to execute the task of protecting the rights of the plaintiff as well as sue for the maximum compensation possible in an effective manner.

Proving Negligent Security

Premises liability is generally difficult to prove, and in most cases the plaintiff is found to have been at least partially to blame for the incident that caused injury. As a result, many premises liability lawsuits end in a largely defense verdict. An exception would be claims of negligent security, which is usually easy to prove based on the presence or absence of security measures.

Particular types of property owners or lessors which license or invite people to be on the premises as a matter of course take on the responsibility of taking steps to prevent reasonably foreseeable harm from coming to their licensees or invitees. These include commercial establishments, apartment buildings, schools, and banks. Typically, this duty is discharged with hiring security personnel or outsourcing the job to a security company, installing closed-circuit cameras, and implementing security checks and policies.

Most cases of negligent security claims purport that if the security measures had been adequate to cope with the risks of harm or injury as indicated by the circumstances surrounding the establishment, the injury or harm would not have occurred. For example, the owner of a bar where patrons frequently engage in physical altercations after a certain level of intoxication should have a policy to cut off obviously inebriated patrons and to have a sufficient number of bouncers to head off any acts of violence. Barroom fights can lead to severe brain injuries.

Liability is dependent on the degree in which harm can be foreseen based on past incidents and the characteristics of the surrounding area and the premises itself. While a fight could erupt without warning in the above example, the bar owner knows or should have known that sudden eruptions of physical violence are a distinct possibility, or foreseeable.

When a licensee or invitee suffers injury or even death because the property owner or lessor was negligent in addressing the risk of harm despite its foreseeability, premises liability may apply. Consult with a negligent security lawyer with a thorough knowledge of the relevant state’s laws on premises liability and have the case assessed.

Insurance Bad Faith

Insurance companies are all the same when it comes to claims. They would rather not pay anything. This holds true whether filing a claim for property damage after a hurricane in Oklahoma or for medical expenses after a car accident in Louisville. Insurance companies are eager to take money from policyholders in the form of premiums, but not so eager to pay it back out when the time comes.

Of course, it is good business practice to do the proper investigations to ensure that a claim in legitimate and the coverage in order. The process can take time, especially with claims that are complicated, or when claims come in at the same time, such as when a large number of people are affected by a natural calamity or fire. The insurer may also send in an insurance adjuster to determine the extent of the damage and determine the appropriate payment. This is all perfectly legal and within the insurers’ rights.

However, when the delay is unreasonably extended, when the payment is much less than expected, or if the claim is denied for not satisfactory reason, these are indications of insurance bad faith. Insurance companies function as a fiduciary of the policyholders’ premiums, which imply the trust that when the time comes, the policyholders can expect financial relief.

Insurers are required to act in good faith, and that includes processing legitimate claims in a timely and fair manner. When an insurance company fails to live up to their end of the contract, they are considered in breach of their duty as well as the insurance contract. As such, they are civilly and possibly criminally liable. Policyholders have the right under civil law to sue the insurer for insurance bad faith, but it is not at all easy. They will need the expertise of a lawyer with a thorough knowledge of the way insurance works and the language of insurance policies to bring it off successfully.

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