Personal Injury: Cruise Ship Accidents

Posted by on Jan 10, 2015 in Personal Injury | 0 comments

Accidents can occur anywhere, even within the house or during a relaxing time, such as a vacation. Government authorities as well as legal professionals, who are very often tasked to defend the rights of victims of accidents, believe that more than a third of the millions of accidents that either injure or kill victims every year are simply due to somebody’s acts of recklessness or negligence. And, being a result of a reckless or negligent behavior, the injuries sustained are categorized as personal injuries, which merit compensation from the liable party, while the accident itself, a totally preventable tragic event.

Some of the major sources of accident-causing injuries or untimely death include vehicular accidents (cars, trucks, motorcycles), pedestrian accidents, medical malpractice, defective products, animal attacks, workplace accidents, slip and fall, which also happens to be one of the common causes of injuries in cruise ship accidents.

A holiday vacation onboard a cruise liner is definitely supposed to be a perfect getaway from the stress and the monotony in everyday life. A vacation boat itself, today’s cruise ship is designed like a mini city due to its complete and modern facilities. Quite better than a city, actually, because besides providing quality entertainment and luxurious comfort at very affordable costs, all possible source of fun and excitement have been built in and on it. But while total fun is never an issue while onboard a cruise ship, authorities’ concern is centered on the safety of the passengers, especially when accident at sea strikes.

Floors becoming slippery due to sea breeze, ship fire, the ship running aground or colliding with another vessel, rogue waves or a storm, etc., can often turn a great adventure into a nightmare. Another worse scenario is that when something wrong occurs, passengers have very limited places to run to for safety.

Due to reports of different sea tragedies (and the harm these have caused passengers) during the past years the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) saw the need to enforce on all its members strict compliance with all international flag and port standards, requirements and guidelines to ensure the safety and security of each passenger. Plus, the Safe Return to Port requirement, which all cruise ships built starting 2010 should meet, has also been mandated. This requirement specifically states that the ship, despite an accident, ought to be able to carry all passengers safely back to port, and that all crew members, especially the medical personnel, should be able to skillfully handle all emergency situations.

On its website, law firm the Vucci Law Group, P.A., emphasizes the duty and responsibility of the cruise ship staff in making sure that passengers are safe from any risk of injury; this includes the presence of well-trained medical personnel to provide the medical assistance needed by any of the passengers.

The said law firm is sad to say, however, that accidents still occur and injuries are still often sustained due to the negligence of many crew members. While no crew member would definitely want a passenger to sustain an injury, being neglectful in his/her administrative duties cannot just go unpunished and without having any legal obligation to the injured. Thus, in the event of an injury, consulting with a personal injury lawyer will likely be beneficial to the injured victim.

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Divorce: Child Support

Posted by on Jan 9, 2015 in Family Law & Divorce | 0 comments

Child support is one difficult issue that so many spouses need to settle during the process of divorce. It refers to the financial assistance that the obligor, or non-custodial parent, ought to pay to the obligee for the support of the child. An obligee can be the custodial parent, a court-appointed caregiver, guardian or, in the absence of all these, the state.

In the US, support for a biological child is declared a legal obligation of parents by the Child Support Enforcement Act of 1984. This Act also enumerates the factors that family courts and judges need to consider when resolving child support issues.

This financial support is intended to cover the child’s basic necessities, like food, clothing, shelter, education and health care. Financial support is usually made only until the 18th year of the child; the court, however, may extend it or add to it, based on the obligor’s capability, payment for the child’s further education, summer camps, dental needs and vacations. (There is no definite federal rule regarding the need to support the child for his/her higher education, though, or the need to continue payment of support once the obligor or non-custodial parent dies.

In determining the obligor’s capability, as well as the amount of the regular financial support, the court considers the following factors: age and needs of the child, cost of the child’s needs, parent’s living expenses and the family’s living standard prior to the divorce, and parents’ capacity to pay child support. This last factor is usually based on parents’ income, which includes salary, commissions, workers’ compensation benefits, dividends, unemployment benefits, bank account, and so forth.

The rules and the different factors considered by the court in reaching a decision regarding child support vary from one state to another. The complexity of the divorce law and the sensitivity of the issue often make it very hard for spouses to establish an objective position, sometimes compromising the child’s best interest in the process. Thus seeking the help of a skilled and experienced divorce lawyer, especially an Ocean County divorce lawyer, would be in the best interest of divorcing spouses.

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Prompt Pay Act: Upholding the Rights and Interests of Doctors

Posted by on Jan 6, 2015 in Insurance | 0 comments

The significant decline in the purchase of private health insurance in the US can be attributed to two factors: high unemployment over the past years and the high cost of health insurance premiums. For wage earners, especially those in the middle income bracket, losing a job did not only mean lost wages, but of health care benefits too, which were actually employer-sponsored.

The cost of health insurance, on the other hand, which many health care and business experts believe to be insanely expensive, has driven many to shelve it instead. The effect is reliance on public health programs, such as Medicare, Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. Public health programs, which were introduced by the Affordable Care Act of 2010 and which cover the health care needs of those who can no longer afford health coverage, now address the health concerns of more than 30% of the American population.

Whether having private coverage or availing of public health care benefits, there is one common negative effect, though; not to patients’ disadvantage, of course, but to doctors. For while many experts describe the American health-care system as a “fee-for-service” kind of thing, wherein health-care providers are believed to be very high earners, well, think again, because several of them end up as victims of many health-care insurance firms, experiencing low, delayed or denied compensation despite valuable service already rendered to the public.

To protect the interests and rights of medical care experts the Prompt Pay Act was enacted. As explained on the website of the Williams Kherkher law firm, this 2003 mandate is aimed at making sure that doctors who do not receive full compensation from insurance firms (within specific timeframes) for the medical treatment that they have provided “may be able to recover compensation through a legal claim.”

The law firm explains, however, that the mandate neither covers all insurance programs nor does it render all health-care providers entitled to compensation through the Prompt Pay Act. It will definitely be in the best interest of the physician, therefore, to seek sound and wise legal advice from highly knowledgeable and experienced prompt pay lawyers for a clear understanding of their legal rights and legal options.

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PAULA, A Violation of the 1984 National Minimum Drinking Age Act

Posted by on Jan 4, 2015 in Criminal Defense | 0 comments

Serious crimes, such as those involving drugs and traffic violations, like DUIs or those resulting to injury or death of an innocent victim, require a tough defense from a knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense lawyer. The fact, actually, is that any type of criminal charge, even a simple case of misdemeanor, warrants the assistance of a good defense lawyer, due to the many negative severe repercussions of a criminal conviction.

A criminal charge can smudge an individual’s reputation for the rest of his/her life. This is because the ill effects of a criminal charge, more so a conviction, will continue to hound a person long after the courtroom hearing and even long after he/she has already paid for the crime he/she has been convicted of. Besides losing his/her job or getting denied employment (despite anti-discrimination laws that prohibit employers from using past criminal offenses to deny a person a job, except in certain types of work, like law enforcement, etc.), a person may also be denied by a landlord from renting an apartment, by the government from being issued a professional license and from traveling abroad, or by the court from winning a child custody case.

One type of crime that can heavily affect a young person’s life is Possession of Alcohol under the Legal Age (PAULA), or Minor in Possession (MIP). According to the website of Brent Horst, Attorney at Law, an MIP is considered only a misdemeanor, but even this can stick on one’s records.

PAULA or MIP is a violation of the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984. This law strictly prohibits the purchase and/or possession of alcoholic beverages in public (except under certain circumstances) by those below 21 years old.

Punishment for violators of the National Minimum Drinking Age Act differs among states; however, the usual penalty for first time offenders is a fine ranging from $100 to $200, but so long as the offense is not a DUI/DWI or public intoxication. A higher fine is imposed on repeat offenders plus possible community service or mandatory participation in an alcohol education program. Some states also suspend the offender’s driving privileges.

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Sources of Compensation in the Event of Workplace Injuries

Posted by on Jan 3, 2015 in Workers' Compensation | 0 comments

The initial count for fatal work injuries for 2013, based on records from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) of the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, is 4,405; 25% lower than in 2012, which totaled to 4,628. The total numbers of non-fatal work-related illnesses and injuries, though, as recorded by the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII), were close to 3 million each.

The numbers above point only to private-sector industries, majority of which occurring in construction and industrial working environments. The rest of the count happened in offices, which are thought to be safe and accident-free settings.

The U.S. Department of Labor says that the following are the top causes of injuries in the workplace:

  • Overexertion – caused by carrying, lifting, pushing or pulling heavy objects.
  • Slipping/Tripping – due to wet floors or tripping hazards: this is the second major cause of workplace injuries.
  • Falling from heights – falling from ladders, stairs, roofs, or from any higher area.
  • Bodily reaction during slips or trips but without falling.
  • Getting hit by falling objects.
  • Being struck by an object
  • Bumping against or running into a glass window, a glass door, a wall, cabinet or a chair.
  • Road accident – for those whose work requires driving or traveling.
  • Machine entanglement – an accident that usually happens in industrial sites.
  • Repetitive motion – includes back pain and carpal tunnel syndrome, especially those who use a computer or a typewriter regularly.
  • Violent acts – due to arguments or office politics.

The law firm Robert Wilson & Associates says on its website that a workplace injury can cause a significant financial burden to the victim and his/her family. This is why the financial benefits provided by the Workers’ Compensation Insurance program, which was required of certain employers since the early 20th century, is essential due to the major financial assistance that it can provide injured worker. This insurance benefit is intended to cover costly medical treatment, lost wages due to inability to work (especially if the injury leads to disability), rehabilitation and death.

The complexity of the procedures relating to workers’ compensation causes many claims to be denied due to reasons that leave applicants confused. With the help of a highly-skilled workers’ compensation lawyer, however, the injured worker can be spared from the complexities of the law as well as from the denial of his/her claims application.

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