Exposure to Toxic Substances

By on 2-12-2016 in Toxic Substances

Washington, D.C.-based non-profit investigative journalism organization Center for Public Integrity recently released a series of reports titled Unequal Risk, which found out that 50,000 Americans are dying every year due to job-related exposure to harmful substances, which, the report states, are present in many types of occupations in the country – from medical work to automotive repair, a job in the retail industry to wood preservation.

The report says that the United States’ worker-protection laws regarding this violation have no teeth, and that companies who have been found in violation of such laws have only received a slap on the wrist. Because of this, some people who have been harmed due to exposure to toxic substances preferred to go to the courts over their plight. One of these people is 39-year-old Kris Penny, who lodged a legal complaint against Dallas, Texas-based multinational telecommunications corporation AT&T Inc. for having been exposed to asbestos while installing fibre-optic cable, resulting in him getting mesothelioma, a form of carcinoma of the mesothelium lining lungs, abdomen, or heart.

Attorneys at the Abel Law Firm say mesothelioma is not the only disease that a person can get from being exposed to a harmful substance, and it certainly isn’t the only one that can hurt one’s respiratory system. Other diseases that can affect the respiratory system include asbestosis, emphysema, decreased oxygen supply in blood, lung cancer, chronic bronchitis, and fibrosis. Possible contaminants include carbon monoxide (car exhaust, unvented or faulty furnaces), soot (furnaces, wood burning stoves), and radon (the ground), among others.

One’s renal system – the kidneys, urethra, bladder, and the ureter – also can be affected by harmful contaminants by inducing kidney tissue damage, kidney cancer, decreased formation of urine, decreased blood flow to the kidney, and decreased ability to filter water and waste from the blood. Possible contaminants include cadmium (old batteries, cigarette smoke), lead (oil paint, outdated plumbing), among others.

What To Do When Someone’s Choking

By on 9-30-2015 in Choking

Choking is the blockage of the airway caused by the lodging of a foreign object in the windpipe. Because choking prevents air from entering the lungs, it may cut off your body’s supply of oxygen and may then result in potentially fatal adverse effects.

A person is said to be choking if he clutches his throat with one or both of his hands. But apart from this signal, there are many other signs of choking, including inability to speak and cough, discolored fingernails and lips, and loss of consciousness. According to jeffsampsonlaw.com, choking can be a result of almost anything: a lodged piece of food, a small toy component that has been swallowed, or an ingested foreign object from a contaminated food product. Whatever the reason is, choking is considered a medical emergency that needs quick response.

When someone is choking it is important to identify first if the person is an adult, a child, or an infant below one year old. Depending on his/her age, you must do the following:

For adults and children over one year old

  1.  If the choking is mild and the person is able to cough, encourage him to clear the blockage by coughing
  2.  If you can see the blockage, remove it using both your index and middle finger
  3. If the choking becomes serious, call 911 or have someone call 911
  4. Give the person 5 quick blows between his shoulder blades using the heel of your hand (the portion between your wrist and your palm)
  5. If this doesn’t work out, perform Heimlich maneuver:
    •  Stand behind the person and wrap your hands around his waist
    • Make a fist on one hand, and grab the fist with the other
    • Position it into the abdomen just above the navel
    • Press hard against the abdomen up to 5 times
    • Alternate between the back blows and Heimlich maneuver until the blockage comes out or until knowledgeable responders are available

For children less than one year old

  1.  Hold the baby face down on your forearm, make sure his head is lower than his stomach
  2. Using the heel of your hand, give five firm but gentle blows between his shoulder blades
  3.  Check for the blockage. If you can’t see the blockage, do not insert your fingers as it might push the blockage further down
  4. If this doesn’t work, hold the baby face up and let him lie on your forearm
  5. Keep the baby’s head lower than the stomach, his head and neck supported
  6. Place your fingers between the baby’s breastbone and provide five firm blows
  7. Do this alternately until responders are available

How to Maximize Your Self Storage Unit

By on 7-26-2015 in Self Storage

For most people, keeping the home clear of clutter can be a real challenge. One of the best ways to ensure that your space doesn’t get too crowded with too much stuff is by renting a self storage unit. Having a space where you can keep prized possessions can be a great life saver, especially for people living in smaller spaces like apartment and condominium units.

Because renting your own self storage unit entails additional costs, it’s important to get the best deal and maximize the space that your budget can allow. For that, you will need to be careful about how you pack and arrange the items inside your unit. The following tips can help you organized your stuff inside your allocated space.

According to the website of Pond Springs Mini Storage, an easy way to save space inside your self storage unit is by making use of boxes to store smaller items inside. Since boxes can be stacked on top of each other, you can just keep certain items in one corner of your unit and leave space for bulkier stuff like furniture pieces. Make sure you use sturdy boxes to store your items. Instead of traditional cardboard boxes, it might be better to use plastic storage boxes. You should also keep in mind to keep heavier boxes at the bottom of your stack, and not to pile all these boxes up too high.

While it may be cumbersome, larger items like furniture should be disassembled before being placed inside your unit. This will drastically increase the space in the unit. The furniture that you can’t take apart—like couches, armchairs, and mattresses—should be kept at the very back of your unit to keep it out of the way when you’re coming back in to find something you need. You can also save space by using dressers and drawers as additional storage units for small items such as books, jewelry, and clothing.

Lifestyle magazines and similar publications are pushing for people to start decluttering their homes. If you want to take their advice and keep your home space clear of things you don’t necessarily need at the moment, renting your own self storage unit can be a quick solution. The first thing you’ll need to do is find a storage service that’s easily accessible from where you live. Those in and around the Austin area in Texas can opt for the first step is to look for an accessible storage service around your area.

No-Zone Truck Accidents: A Common Cause of Dangerous Traffic Outcomes

By on 7-25-2015 in Car / Truck Accidents

It comes as no surprise to know that a significant number of people become injured in a car accident every year in America. The number is even more significant for accidents involving large trucks. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, roughly 104,000 traffic injuries reported in 2012 are due to truck accidents. Considering these vehicles are about 20 to 30 times heavier than regular passenger cars, navigating through roads and controlling trucks require specialized skills. Drivers have a different set of considerations to take into account when operating 18-wheelers, tractor trailers, big rigs, and other trucks. One of these considerations includes their vehicle’s blind spots or no-zones.

As any driver would know, all types of vehicles will have their own no-zone areas. These refer to specific points of the road and surroundings that are difficult to spot from where the driver is sitting. Smaller vehicles make use of mirrors to minimize the effect of these blind spots. However, blind spots prove to be a lot more challenging for large trucks. Due to the vehicle’s size, a truck driver’s view is typically obstructed on different points in the road. According to the website of the Texas truck accident attorneys at Williams Kherkher, no-zone spots include the areas directly in front of the vehicle, directly on both sides of the vehicle, and behind the truck, depending on vehicle’s length.

A truck driver who is not well-equipped and trained to watch out for these no-zone areas can cause accidents that may lead to devastating injuries. While the severity of these injuries will largely depend on the specific details of the crash, it’s easy to assume that those involved in the collision face potentially dangerous outcomes. The possibility of facing critical medical conditions such as internal bleeding, brain trauma, and spinal cord injuries are extremely high.

Temporary Disability Benefits in Iowa

By on 7-24-2015 in Disability Benefits

An accident is sure to cause a number of consequences that will affect a person’s quality of life. This is particularly true for accidents that lead to serious injury. In cases when a victim comes out of an accident with debilitating injuries, full recovery can be expected to take a significant amount of time. In that period, these victims won’t be able to go through the motions of their routine as they did before. For most, that means having to take time off of their jobs.

As one can imagine, taking time off of work in order to focus on recovery following an accident can be very difficult on an individual and his or her family. This will surely see the victim experiencing some financial hardship because they no longer have access to their primary source of income. Mitigating the consequences that result from accidents is possible through workers’ compensation benefits. In particular, employees in Iowa can look into temporary disability benefits to seek out the financial assistance they need during recuperation.

Iowa’s employment laws categorize temporary disability into two groups. The amount of benefits received by an injured employee will depend on which category they fall. The first, called temporary partial disability, refers to applies to those who are unable to return to their jobs or any similar positions but are able to perform other tasks of a different nature suitable to the victim’s current condition. Meanwhile, temporary total disability is applicable to those who completely incapacitated by their injuries but are expected to make a full recovery and return to their normal work after some time.

For those suffering from partial disability, Des Moines disability benefits payments can begin on the fourth day they’ve missed work. Benefits will continue until either the victim is fit enough to return to their previous work or another position of a similar nature. On the other hand, temporary partial disability benefits are received to supplement the lesser paying position taken by the victim because of their injury. This amounts to 66 and 2/3 of the difference between their regular weekly earnings and the current weekly wage they receive in their temporary position.

Employment At Will and Wrongful Termination

By on 7-23-2015 in Employment Law

Finding employment opportunities has been difficult for a huge segment of the population, especially following the market instability caused by the recession several years back. This is why many applicants are eager to jump at the first opportunity they find, even if there are certain details in their job description or employment contract that seem confusing. One thing most of these applicants are wont to see is the term “employment at will.”

Generally, individuals that are employed “at will” are allowed to resign from their positions at any time they wish. In turn, employers also reserve the right to terminate an at-will employee in the same manner. If you have been fired from your position as an at-will employee, your employer might not even need to provide a legitimate reason for the termination. As The Melton Law Firm puts it on its website, being employed “at will” means that both you and your employer have the power to choose when to terminate your working relationship. Still, this doesn’t mean that employees are no longer protected by law from wrongful termination. The termination of an at-will employee for reasons protected by specific employment laws is definitely unacceptable.

According to the website of Cary Kane, LLP, wrongful terminations are usually a result of two general situations. The scenario most people are familiar with is termination as a discriminatory practice, done based on arbitrary factors such as age, gender, race, and sexual orientation. In other cases, termination is also done as an act of retaliation against an employee. A concrete example is when an employee is fired for having raised concerns regarding work-related issues such the employer’s failure to pay proper wages or continued encouragement of a discriminatory and hostile working environment.

Employment-at-will clauses give a lot of leeway for both employees and employers to terminate their working relationships at a moment’s decision. Despite this fact, these statutes shouldn’t be made reasons for why discriminatory practices proliferate in the workplace.

Mitigating Damages: The Importance of No-Fault Insurance or PIP Coverage

By on 7-22-2015 in Car Insurance

All over America, a significant number of the population find themselves involved and injured in car accidents. As data from the United States Census Bureau points out, a rough average of 10 million vehicular crashes were recorded annually over the years 2005 and 2009. Such a figure makes it clear that commuters face a certain amount of risk each time they’re out along roads and highways in the U.S.

Considering the plain fact that car accidents happen frequently, it make sense that people should be equipped with safety nets that can help them mitigate any dangers and damages. This becomes even more of a priority if you take into account the fact that accidents can go both ways. In some scenarios, another driver is responsible for the crash. In others, you might be the one found accountable. According to the website of Insure on the Spot, it is due to the latter scenario that no-fault insurance policies are important to all drivers.

As the liable driver, you will be responsible for making sure any damages or injuries caused by the accident are properly addressed. Even minor collisions can result in difficult outcomes and lead to long-term consequences. Those affected by the accident are likely to suffer some financial difficulties due to medical costs and other expenses that the situation might require. No-fault insurance plans like Personal Injury Protection or PIP can help liable drivers cover these costs and address the difficulties dealt to the victims.

Fortunately, drivers have plenty of options to choose from when deciding to take precautions. There are an abundance of insurance companies that offer coverage policies that can help drivers mitigate damages caused by an accident. These policies are covered through monthly payments called premiums. Avail of policies that are covered by premiums that suit your current financial capacity.

What Does Estate Planning Entail?

By on 7-21-2015 in Estate Litigation

Estate planning generally refers to the process of deciding and making essential arrangements involving how assets and properties should be handled after an individual’s death. It is particularly concerned with delineating specific instructions regarding how finances will be distributed among named heirs or beneficiaries. All in all, estate planning is basically about arranging details such as home savings, personal property, debts, investments, and life insurance. The main objective is to allow people to make appropriate preparations and provisions for their family members and loved ones that will be left behind in the wake of their passing.

The first active step to making plans and preparations for one’s estate involves drafting a last will and testament. This document, typically referred to simply as a ‘will’, holds an individual’s legal declaration of their instructions regarding the distribution of assets and properties, as well as other specifications surrounding similar financial concerns. For individuals with minor children, a will can also be a space to declare plans on guardianship and inheritance.

Note that estate planning should be an on-going and proactive process. It’s best to draft a will early and simply make adjustments through the years. In the United States, any individual over 18 years old and is of sound mental capacity and judgment can write a will. On top of all the specific instructions delineated in the document, it’s crucial to name an executor. This will be the person who will be responsible of handling the estate once the author of the will or the testator passes.

A will becomes valid once it is signed by the testator in the presence of at least two witnesses. Having the document notarized can also help add to its validity. This is an important step, as will disputes often happen. The Seegmiller Law Firm would probably be acutely aware of all the intricacies that are involved in lengthy litigation processes.

Repetitive Motion Injuries: A Common Health Issue in Workplaces

By on 7-20-2015 in Construction Accident

According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, repetitive motion injuries are becoming more and more common in workplaces all over the United States. The term itself is used to refer to a range of injuries caused by damages the muscles, tendons, and nerves in particular areas of the body that bear a significant amount of strain. As its name suggests, these injuries occur due to the prolonged repetition of movements that are forceful, awkward, and unnatural to how the human body is designed. At first, repetitive motion injuries cause numbness or weakness in the affected area. When it is left untreated, these sensations will turn into intense and debilitating pain.

An example of these types of injury is carpal tunnel syndrome, caused by a pinched nerve in one’s hand. According to the website of Hach Rose Law, it can cause numbness and tingling sensations in the fingers, pain in the wrists, and loss of grip strength. Another example is bursitis, characterized by inflammation of sacs protecting the knees, toes, elbows, wrists, shoulders, and other joints. Tendonitis is another example and causes the inflammation of tendons.

These conditions and other repetitive motion injuries are common in employees whose daily work tasks include carrying heavy loads, operating machinery, and spending long hours on a computer. Other factors also contribute to the risk of these workers developing a repetitive motion injury. Having poor posture while sitting on a desk is one of the most common risk factors to such injuries. Performing physically demanding jobs without observing proper form and technique is another.

While repetitive motion injuries may be a common issue affecting employees in a given workplace, it also doesn’t take much to prevent them from occurring. As mentioned, practicing proper posture can make a difference in the amount of strain caused by repetitive tasks. Doing some stretching exercises can also help rid of any strain felt by muscles and joints. This is particularly crucial for workers that need to carry heavy loads and objects. Stretching helps warm up their muscles for the physical stress demanded by their tasks. Workers whose tasks put them at risk to repetitive motion injuries should also be allowed to enjoy periodic breaks and have enough time to recuperate from strain.

It is in the nature of accidents to be unpredictable. Jobsite accidents can happen at any time, and when they do, they can cause significant consequences to anyone affected. Fortunately, as the website of McCutchen Buckley – The Law Firm emphasizes, workers are guaranteed protection by the law from any unexpected incident. Anyone hurt while on the job—whether it’s a repetitive motion injury or something else—may be eligible to receive compensation.