Plane Travel: Still the Safest Means of Transportation?

On March 24, 2015, all 150 people (six crew members and 144 passengers) on board the Germanwings Airbus A320-200, flight 4U9525, en route from Barcelona, Spain to Düsseldorf, Germany, were killed after the plane’s first officer purposely crashed the aircraft in the Alps in southern France.

On December 28, 2014, another Airbus, the AirAsia A320-216, flight QZ8501, which was headed to Singapore from Surabaya, Indonesia, crashed into the Java Sea, killing all seven crew members and 155 passengers.

While the aviation accident that is considered as the deadliest in the world was the 1977 collision of two Boeing 747 commuter planes on the airstrip of an airport in Tenerife (a Spanish island) that killed 583 of the 644 passengers, what is considered to be the most mysterious was the March 8, 2014, disappearance of Malaysia Airlines 777-200, flight MH370. Already more than a year after the tragedy, still no survivor, dead body or part of the plane has been found. The plane was carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew members during the time of the accident. Was it shot down by unidentified assailants, or did it crash anywhere? These are questions still without answers for no hostile attack has been claimed by any group, nor has there been any piece of wreckage found.

According to the International Air Transport Association, there had been 38 million flights in 2014 that transported more than 3.3 billion people to various worldwide destinations. In the US, 744 million passengers flew on commercial airlines in 2013, while there were 739 million and 734 million passengers in 2012 and 2011, respectively.

Despite the mentioned four aviation tragedies, passenger and aviation accident statistics still show that commuter planes are the safest, fastest and maybe even the most comfortable and convenient means of long-distance and overseas travel.

A website, called Journalist’s Resource, confirms the safety of air travel after comparing the average annual fatalities in the US due to the different modes to transportation:

  • Cars and light trucks – 30,000+;
  • Pedestrians and bicycles – 6,000+;
  • Motorcycles – 4,000+;
  • Maritime – 800+; and,
  • Aviation – 600+

Air travel owes its high safety rate to the many improvements and changes achieved overtime by the industry. Areas of improvement centered not only on plane design and safety features, but also included pilot and crew qualification and competence, and teamwork among the crew members.

Improvements and upgrades, though, will all prove useless if the aircraft maintenance ground crew fails to do a good job, if flight procedures are not followed, and if any crew member, especially the pilot, is not in perfect health.

The most common cause of aviation accidents is grave negligence – a person’s failure to perform the job expected of him/her. While most accidents are blamed on pilot error, there are others who may be guilty of a negligent act, such as an air traffic controller, a member of the ground or maintenance personnel, or even anyone from top management.

Aviation accidents involving international flights are overseen by the Montreal Convention, a 1999 international air carrier agreement adopted by the United Nations agency, the International Civil Aviation Organization. While there may be a preset compensation value per passenger (which changes regularly) that is assigned by the Convention, it does not mean that the passenger victim cannot sue if he/she chooses to do so.

While a lawsuit may be addressed against the specific airline company involved in the accident, there may be other parties, such as the aircraft manufacturer, who may be named in the lawsuit. It is most necessary that victims are represented by a highly knowledgeable and skillful personal injury lawyer or aviation accident lawyer to ensure that they are awarded the maximum amount of compensation allowed by the law. But while saw firms are prohibited by a U.S. federal law from contacting any victim within 45 days after an aircraft accident, there is no law, according to one aviation law expert, that prohibits victims from getting in touch with a lawyer immediately.

How to Deal with a Brain Injury

Your brain is, arguably, the most important organ in your entire body. After all, it is responsible for everything that your body does – both actions that are involuntary and voluntary. This is where all of your emotions are processed and where your memories, both short term and long term, are stored. And unfortunately, it is almost one of the most severely sensitive parts of your body – which means if your brain has been injured, there is every chance that there are permanent consequences that you must then live with.

Traumatic brain injury’s effects from range from rendering you paralyzed to mental handicaps such as amnesia (loss of memory) or aphasia (a kind of language disorder that severely affects a person’s ability to properly communicate with others). Click here to learn more about the other consequences that an injury like this can inflict upon the victim. Sometimes, these kinds of injuries are even fatal to suffer through – which is why the causes of these injuries need to be taken very seriously.

Say that a person has suffered a traumatic brain injury due to someone else’s negligence. It could mean lifelong suffering and trauma due to something that could have been and should have been avoidable. An injury that has caused physical, emotional, or mental harm to a person is warranted to fall under the category of personal injury. This is legal action that one may file for in order to gain monetary compensation for any and all medical expenses as well as loss of wages that have resulted due to the injury.

It can be difficult, to say the very least, to have to suffer through this kind of ordeal as it affects not only the victim but also the people closest to the victim, namely his or her dependents. That is why it is recommended to get experienced help in these matters in order to gain the competent legal representation in these cases so as to be gifted the best possible deal in order for you and your loved ones to be able to transition into recovery as smoothly and as stress-free as possible.

The Lingering Effects of PCBs: Contaminated School Closed for Clean Up

Before being banned in 1979, PCBs were solely manufactured by Monsanto and were widely used for an assortment of commercial and industrial purposes. PCBs acted as coolants and insulators for capacitors, transformers, and other electrical equipment. The chemical substances were also mixed in with other commercial ingredients to make anything from flameproof Christmas trees to adhesives and paint. PCBs were also important ingredients to a variety of construction materials like wood floor finishes and caulking. Despite its widespread use and application, it soon came to light that Monsanto PCBs were highly toxic and became the root cause of considerable environmental destruction. While it has been years since polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs have been banned in the United States, the lingering effects caused by decades of manufacture and use are still hard to shake off.

One example of the lingering effects of PCBs is in Hartford, Connecticut. According to a report by Hartford Courant dated February 2015, an elementary school in the heart of the city will remain closed for the rest of the year due to PCB contamination. Clark Elementary School will have to undergo remediation in order to rid the area of PCB traces found in several of the construction materials used in the building. As noted by the report, the school’s superintendent says that “[there are] a number of materials that were installed at the time of the construction of the building that contain PCBs… It’s very dynamic.” While PCB levels inside the school has been noted to be quite low, it seems that school officials are not willing to take risks with the safety of the children attending the school.

Clark Elementary School isn’t the only institution threatened by the risk of PCB exposure in the Hartford area. According to the same news report, records show that more than a dozen Harford schools were constructed within the time when PCBs were widely used for building materials. The State of Connecticut have addressed this problem by issuing rules for PCB testing in “state-funded capital improvement projects”.

Congenital and Acquired Cerebral Palsy

With more than 500,000 children (more than 760,000 including adults) already suffering from cerebral palsy, and with about 10,000 more new patients every year, cerebral palsy is considered the most common neurodevelopmental motor disability in children.

Cerebral palsy (CP) refers to a group of neurological or brain disorders. It is an incurable chronic condition which impairs the communication between the muscles and brain, resulting to a life-long state of uncoordinated movement and posturing. CP can be congenital of acquired. Congenital CP, which is present at birth, can be due to: improper care of, or lack of care for, the pregnant woman; severe cases of jaundice; lack of oxygen in the brain; infections during pregnancy; Rh incompatibility; infant stroke; head trauma during labor and delivery; very low birth weight; premature birth, or, use of illegal drugs during pregnancy. Acquired cerebral palsy, on the other hand, occurs during the child’s first years of life and its causes include: brain infection, like meningitis and viral encephalitis, and injury to the head which may be a result of a vehicular accident, fall, or child abuse.

Many cases of cerebral palsy have been traced to medical negligence, some of which were committed during pregnancy or during delivery. The following errors make up some of those in the list of medical malpractices: untreated or unrecognized fetal distress; excessive use of vacuum extraction; incorrect medications during delivery; and, failure to perform emergency C-section.

A Chicago cerebral palsy lawyer should know and understand how significant the impact of CP is in a child’s life. Besides limiting the child’s ability to participate and delight in meaningful and fun activities, he/she may also be denied the capability to perform even the simplest daily tasks (this depends on the severity of the disorder or type or cerebral palsy he/she is suffering from.

On top of the sufferings already suffered by the child, the expensive medical care required by the CP patient (throughout his/her life) is unwanted burden that will affect the whole family. Due to this, seeking compensation from the liable party (whose negligence or failure to exercise the required standard of care for both the mother and her unborn child has resulted to cerebral palsy) would be a legal right of the family. Being assisted by a highly qualified cerebral palsy lawyer in whatever legal action the family may decide to pursue will definitely be in the best interest of the family to make sure that the patient is awarded the maximum compensation allowed by law.

The Truth Behind Biker Gangs

A large group of people walk into a bar covered in tattoos, all of them wearing Ed Hardy t-shirts and leather jackets. They all order a beer, except for a few who get straight whiskey. You sulk in your chair, questioning your masculinity and contemplating if a motorcycle should be your midlife crisis toy. You are in the presence of a biker gang.

Despite most stereotypes, 99% of biker gangs are harmless. They are just a bunch of friends with a mutual interest in motorcycles, looking from an escape from the monotony that is their everyday life. However, the other 1% has enough of a presence to give bikers a bad name.

These type of biker gangs commit the crimes similar to those of a mafia. Common crimes include drug dealing and drug smuggling, murder, and illegal possession of weapons. It is not uncommon for one “elite” biker gang to get into fights with another. Sometimes they even result in death.

Of course, the “good” biker gangs do not just stop and being civilized human beings. Some also volunteer in the communities as a group. Many of them want to erase the stereotype brought about by the 1% of bikers, and do so through community outreach. A common cause many biker gangs help out with is child abuse. There is even an organization called Bikers Against Child Abuse International. A local BACA chapter receives requests and visits abused children, giving them a leather jacket, bumper stickers, and other various gifts typically donated by the public.

The website of Pohl & Berk, LLP says that the risk for motorcycle accidents is more apparent than other automobile accidents. If joining a motorcycle gang or just buying a motorcycle sounds appealing to you, stay safe if you decide to follow through with it.

Truck Accidents vs Car Accidents

Car accidents are bad enough as it is. Sometimes, they can even be fatal. These things are usually due to negligence, recklessness, or intentional disregard of the law – and the consequences can be quite difficult. However, take this picture into consideration. A regular vehicle will weigh around 4,000 pounds. An eighteen wheeler truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. Think of all the reasons as to why car accidents occur – and apply the same thing to truck accidents. Wouldn’t the consequences be far worse than you could ever image?

Truck accidents can be far, far more catastrophic in nature than car accidents, due to the sheer size and weight and risk that a vehicle that large can present. There are federal laws that even regulate vehicles more than just 10,000 pounds? A dent on a car door or a broken headlight can be easily fixed and these are some examples of damage from car accidents. They are not all fatal though they can be quite pricey in terms of the cost of damages and whatnot. If a truck of that size were to commit any sort of failure – hundreds of people could die within seconds, crushed within their smaller vehicles or their engines could ignite into a great and terrible explosion. That is why there is extra care that is expected from companies that make use of eighteen wheeler trucks, why drivers of these vehicles are closely monitored as a mandate of the law.

The website of law firm Williams Kherker says that there are at least 130,000 injuries that are a direct result from truck accidents in America every single year. That is a lot of damage – so many destroyed machines, a lot of medical expenses, and possibly even some wrongful death claims. That is why it is so important to be made aware of the laws that protect you from accidents like this.

If you have found a loved one or yourself a victim of a truck accident, do not hesitate to file legal charges against those who are liable for such a traumatic incident.

Blood Samples and DUI Checks

According to the website of Houston criminal defense firm Kyle Sampson Law, “implied consent” in Texas law means you have given your consent to take one or more chemical tests for blood or breath exams in order to determine your blood alcohol level (BAC) once you have been lawfully arrested by a police officer who have reason to believe you have been driving or boating while being intoxicated. The tests should be conducted immediately from where the arrest was made, with the officer having the right to decide which test you will have to take. However, you have the right to have another blood test taken by a medical professional of your choosing within two hours after the arrest.

Before being given the test, the police officer will have to inform you of your rights: if you refuse to take the test, you will be informed that your refusal will be used as evidence against you in a court of law and your license will be suspended for 180 days. He should also tell you that if you that if your BAC level is above the legal limit, your driver’s licenses would be suspended for more than 90 days. You will then be asked whether you give your permission to take the test after being informed of the consequences.

You have generally the right to refuse the test. However, there are exceptions: you are required to take the test if you were involved in an accident that resulted to serious injuries or death. Having two prior DWI convictions (or only 1 DWI conviction that involved a child in the vehicle, or resulted in serious injuries or death) would also require you to submit to a test. If the accident left you unconscious or death, then the officer naturally does not need your permission to have the test.

Studies Supporting a Talcum Powder Lawsuit

It seems that nothing is sacred. Research has finally pinned down the adverse effects of prolonged use of all things baby powder: ovarian cancer. Many people have used the product since their babyhood, and it is associated with “mother” and “caring” and “cleanliness” for decades. Now it seems that it may go down in history as synonymous to “ovarian cancer.”

Filing a talcum powder lawsuit could potentially involve millions because it is estimated that about 40% of women use talcum powder for feminine hygiene. Longitudinal studies have consistently indicated that women who use talcum powder in the genital area have an increased risk (some peg it at 24%) of developing ovarian cancer.

There have been numerous studies conducted investigating the health effects of prolonged and regular use of talc-based baby or adult powder since 1971. Chief areas of concern were for certain cancers (uterine, ovarian, lung) and pulmonary diseases. The first such study to publish a positive relation between genital use of talcum powder and ovarian cancer was contained in Issue 78 of The Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology of the British Commonwealth entitled “Talc and carcinoma of the ovary and cervix” where talc particles were found deeply embedded in tissue samples taken from patients with ovarian cancer.

The most recent paper on this subject was not an independent study but rather a meta-analysis of 8 previous studies with similar results, using comparative data from a total of 8,525 ovarian cancer patients and 9,859 controls (no ovarian cancer). The study, “Genital Powder Use and Risk of Ovarian Cancer: A Pooled Analysis of 8,525 Cases and 9,859 Controls,” came out in the online version of the journal Cancer Prevention Research in June 2013 and print version in August 2013.

If you have developed ovarian cancer from prolonged genital exposure to talcum powder, you may e eligible to sue the manufacturer. Provide the details to a reputable talcum powder lawyer in your area to find out more about likely scenarios for your case.

Causes of Truck Accidents

Trucks, especially interstate ones, are the lifeblood of the consumer market. Without these trucks bringing goods to supermarkets and retail establishments, commerce would grind to a halt. However, it cannot be denied that due to the sheer size and speed of these trucks, they pose a significant danger to smaller vehicles that share the road with them.

It is important that truck drivers are always alert for any untoward incidents such as a reckless or distracted driver going into the no-zone and running into trouble. Trucks have large no-zones which a responsible driver should take care to avoid. According to the website of Williams Kherkher, an encounter between a truck and a smaller vehicle can result in severe injuries to the driver of the smaller vehicle, no matter who is at fault.

This is why there are strict regulations for their hours-of-service. Unfortunately there are frequent violations of these regulations, as Nashville truck accident lawyers at Pohl & Berk, LLP are well aware. Fatigued and sleepy truck drivers are one of the major causes of truck accidents.

Truck drivers have a higher duty of care than regular drivers because of the vehicles they operate, but being frequently on the road for long stretches can be stressful. This can lead to accidents that appear to be due to drunk driving, but as Ian Inglis is aware, not everything is as they appear. Truck drivers charged with drunk driving can lose their license and their income if convicted, so it is crucial that they get the proper legal representation to beat the charges.

If you have been involved in a truck accident because of the negligence of the truck driver, you may be eligible for compensation for serious injuries. Contact a truck accident lawyer in your area for more information about negligence.

FLSA Provisions for Unpaid Overtime

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law that establishes among others the wages that non-exempted employees are entitled to. Most states follow the FLSA regulations although they may require a higher minimum wage than that mandated by the FLSA. New York, for example, requires non-exempt employers to pay a minimum of $8 an hour while the FLSA only requires $7.25.

Overtime rules may also vary from state to state as long as it is in compliance with the FLSA. The FLSA requires non-exempt employers to pay employees 1.5 times their hourly wage for each hour over 40 hours in one week, although live-in employees can only claim overtime pay in excess of 44 hours a week in New York.

Determining if an employee is entitled to unpaid overtime can be tricky because employment laws are not uniform across industries and there are quite a few exemptions. For example, the FLSA regulations only apply to companies that garner an annual business volume of $500,000 or more BUT there is no minimum business volume for hospitals, schools, and government agencies. Employees engaged in interstate commerce, the production of goods for interstate commerce, and domestic workers (with conditions) are also covered regardless of business volume. There are also specific exemptions for employees in a certain industry i.e. retail sales or occupying specific positions i.e. executive employees. As any New York unpaid overtime lawyer knows, New York overtime pay statutes closely follow FLSA exemptions.

There are narrow definitions within these exemptions that can spell the difference between compliance with and violation of FLSA regulations. It is not at all easy for a layperson to understand how the laws should be interpreted in each individual case, which is why employers should avoid trouble by consulting with a New York unpaid wages lawyer on wage matters. An employee who is unsure if he or she has a valid unpaid overtime claim should consult with a reputable unpaid overtime lawyer in the state before anything else.

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