What is Estate Planning and What Does it Involve?

While it is in the nature of life to be unpredictable, it doesn’t necessarily follow that you’re completely powerless against the inevitability of things to come. In fact, there are ways in which you can plan for the future for our loved ones. The law allows you different avenues in which you can ensure their security and safety even long after you’ve passed on. This is basically what estate planning is for. It’s a process that includes making important decisions and arrangements regarding your properties and assets, ensuring that you have a reliable plan for your loved ones should anything ever go wrong in the future.

Estate Planning: The Basics

Estate planning refers to the entire process where you settle on and delineate specific instructions regarding how you want your properties and assets handled after death. This includes ironing out detains involving your investments, savings, property, debts, and life insurance. It also involves drafting out how you want your finances to be handled, how you want said finances to be distributed amongst your children and other beneficiaries, as well as specifying your healthcare directive in case you find yourself seriously ill or injured and unable to make your own medical decisions.

An important part of estate planning includes drafting your last will and testament. As you might already know, a ‘will’ is a legal document that declares your directives regarding the distribution and handling of your assets and properties, as well as any other related matters. This document will guide your loved ones and beneficiaries at the event of your death, providing them with specific instructions on their care and inheritance.

How To Get Started

The Tuscon business lawyers of Russo, Russo & Slania, P.C. note that taking on the process of estate planning isn’t an easy task to do on one’s own. If you would like to get started on crafting a comprehensive plan for your future and the future of your loved ones, it’s important to get help from a qualified legal professional. Finding a lawyer that will understand your situation and advocate for your needs is a crucial part of successful estate planning.

Naming a Government Agency a Defendant in a Civil Suit

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has never fallen short in the performance of its duties when it comes to enforcing road safety rules and reminding drivers about the importance of observing traffic laws and, no matter what type of vehicle one drives, the NHTSA has programs which are aimed at providing information about road safety.

It cannot be denied, though, that millions of vehicular accidents are faults of drivers. In relation to driver fault, one amusing story tells how, in 1896, when all the registered cars in the whole of the United States numbered to just four; two of these vehicles eventually collided with each other. Regardless of whether this story is true, what counts is the underlying message: that drivers commit mistakes and that these mistakes often result to accidents.

Records from the NHTSA show that the most common causes of road accidents, wherein drivers are at fault, are drunk-driving, driver error, speeding, driver distractions and reckless driving. However, there are also instances when the cause of an accident is outside of a driver’s control, such as a defective car or car parts, or poorly constructed or damaged road. In the case of defective vehicles, car manufacturers are the ones at fault, in the case of poorly constructed or defective roads, though, can a government agency be held accountable and sued?

Majority of states and the federal government agencies have immunity from lawsuits. This immunity, is called “sovereign immunity” if used to refer to federal and state governments; if applied to cities, counties and other smaller government agencies, however, it is called “governmental immunity.”

Under specific conditions, immunity will not protect a government agency, thus, a lawsuit may be filed against it. Gross negligence in maintaining a roadway, for instance, is one of the conditions that would allow a person to sue a government office.

The pain and suffering experienced by individuals who sustain severe injuries in car accidents are no small concerns as these can alter the life of the injured. If the cause of an accident is road defect, a victim should not hesitate pursuing legal action, however, proving government negligence can be a mountainous task. This makes retaining the services of a seasoned personal injury lawyer like, the Cazayoux Ewing Law Firm, a decision that can prove advantageous for the victim.

What are the services offered by assisted living?

Even until today, many people mistake assisted living facilities for nursing homes. While both are focused on the betterment of the patients, who are mostly elders, the two are widely different in terms of services offered and the kind of care required by the resident. According to SeniorAdvice.com, helping the elderly with daily tasks, such as bathing and dressing up, is mainly what is covered in assisted living homes. If your loved one is beginning to manifest signs that he/she may need help, it might be the perfect time to consider assisted living as an option for them. This article will feature the services offered by assisted living homes, so that you may be guided in understanding what this type of senior housing option entails.

According to the Assisted Living Federation of America, assisted living homes has both personal and community spaces. Personal spaces come in different kinds, depending on the size and design and whether it is open for private or companion occupancy. Residents are allowed to bring their own furniture and appliances, but these homes are typically furnished, with the plan carefully modeled to suit the needs of the elder. Community spaces (for dining, fitness, entertainment, and many more) are also provided within premises to cater on the socialization of the elders, which is a crucial part in making their life feel more normal and involved.

These senior residences are also equipped with 24-hour emergency systems, where residents may call for help in dire situations. Additional to the emergency systems are the provision of minimal medical needs like medicines for non-serious illnesses (as opposed to nursing homes that focus on the treatment of serious conditions).

Meal, laundry, and housekeeping services are also available in assisted living facilities, according to alfa.org. These services are in accordance with helping the elders in the fulfillment of daily tasks.

Lastly, the seniors living in these residences need to get to their medical appointments, and that is one reason why transportation is also provided in the assisted living program. The transportation service is not exclusive to health purposes, as it also caters to entertainment travels like going to shopping malls and getting to other community centers.

ADHD and Driving

A recent study by Swedish researchers found that men with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) that were not on medication were more probably (30%) to be involved in an automobile collision than these under ADHD medicine. It is speculated that this is because full-grown men with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are constantly distracted, and medication allows them to become more concentrated when they have been driving.

This can be a significant finding because ADHD is a standard mental condition, usually diagnosed in kids but which can last into adulthood. Several states have traffic laws that penalize distracted driving, but that pertains to motorists who voluntarily distract themselves by eating using their cellular phone or dressing. It is hardly rational to motorists with ADHD who cannot manage how their brain functions. In the event the study findings are correct, ADHD victims may manage to drive-in safety when they keep on their prescription.

Any Indianapolis personal injury attorney will be well aware that, sadly, there is no medicine to stop reckless or irresponsible driving behavior. Victims of vehicle accidents are often left with life-changing injuries and in financial straits because of medical bills that were tremendous. Why is it worse is when the accident had shed a drink or is caused because the driver was text messaging. It can be tough to understand that but for that instant of inattention, none of the resulting soreness and sufferings could have occurred.

Tort legislation will not require there is an intention to do injury; the failure to act responsibly is normally enough to justify at least civil sanctions. Should you’ve been injured in an automobile accident caused by a distracted motorist who doesn’t suffer from ADHD, you might be able to get reimbursement for the financial, emotional, and physical anxiety you suffered.

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.

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