What Are Spinal Cord Injuries?

As of 2016, the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center estimates that there are about 282,000 persons living with spinal cord injuries in America. This averages to approximately 17,000 new cases every year.

A spinal cord injury, also called an SCI, leads to consequences that can greatly impact a person’s way of life. Spinal cord injuries are among some of the most serious medical conditions, affecting the body’s central nervous system and possibly interrupting some bodily functions that work below the injury site. People living with an SCI have to deal with issues involving their motor, sensory, and automatic abilities, limiting them to a lifestyle that is drastically different from the one they’ve gotten used to before the accident that caused their condition.

According to the Mayo Clinic, spinal cord injuries typically result from accidents that cause damage to the vertebrae, ligaments or disks of the spinal column, or even the spinal column itself. This damage is commonly due to a sudden and forceful blow to the back that dislocates fractures, or compresses on or more of the spinal column’s vertebrae. It could also be due to a penetrative wound that cuts through the spinal cord. Specific situations that could lead to such scenarios include car crashes, physical assault, slip and fall accidents, as well as accidents that occur during contact sports.

The most notable complication caused by spinal cord injuries is paralysis. A person paralyzed due to an SCI could fall into one of the two categories—either they are considered quadriplegic or paraplegic. Quadriplegia refers to paralysis that affects a patient’s hands, arms, trunk and pelvic organs, as well as their legs. Meanwhile, paraplegia refers to paralysis to a part or all of the trunk, pelvic organs, and legs.

Whatever the complication SCIs may cause a particular patient, it’s clear that having such an injury leads to life-altering consequences. The Tuscon personal injury attorneys of Russo, Russo & Slania, P.C. note that any serious injury can have devastating effects on the lives of victims and their loved ones, but perhaps spinal cord injuries are particularly devastating due to the fact that it can cause severe impairment. As such, people with SCIs should remember that they have legal recourse to pursue action against those responsible for the accident that caused their long-term trauma.

read more

Defense For Reckless Driving

Reckless driving is considered a misdemeanor offense in some states while in others it can become a felony charge. As a misdemeanor, the person charged with reckless driving can serve jail term of up to a year. If a felony, the jail term could exceed one year. According to the website of Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC, reckless drivers can be held financially liable for the pain and suffering they can cause.

In order to prevent serving jail time, you need to have a solid defense. Your attorney can cite several reasons for you not to be charged and here are some of them:

1. You Were Not The One Driving

While the prosecution will prove that you were driving the vehicle, your lawyer will prove otherwise. Unless the plaintiff is able to show evidence that you were the driver, chances are you will be acquitted and will not get to jail.

2. Matter of Necessity

In a necessity defense, the lawyer will prove that the reckless driving was due to an emergency that existed; that the emergency presented a threat to the driver or a third party; and that the driver did not create the emergency.

3. Argue for Negligence

Negligence on its own is insufficient to prove reckless driving. Such was the case of People v Allison, when a pedestrian crossed a highway waving a fishing pole at the driver to get their attention. The driver made a U-turn towards the pedestrian forcing him to jump out of the way for fear of getting hit. As a result, the driver left 10 feet of skid marks before turning his car around and driving off. The court ruled that the driver only showed negligence and not a wanton disregard for the rules of the road.

4. Disprove Your Alleged Speed

Reckless driving involves speeding at a rate considered as wanton disregard for safety of others. The prosecution must prove that the equipment used for measuring your speed was recently calibrated and was used correctly. In addition, they should also prove that your speed was being displayed in your car.

5. Proper Signage

The prosecution panel must prove in court that there were sufficient and proper signs and that you were driving in excess of the speed limit.

read more

Stop Paying High Insurance Premiums and Find the Lowest Rates Available for You

Weeks after having retired from a 20-year teaching job, Tom, who was from Arizona received a mail from a car insurance firm which offered to cut in half the policy premium his actual car insurance provider gave him for his two cars. Though Tom didn’t take the offer, he immediately called his insurance provider, told them of the offer he just received and inquired about any possible reduction in his premiums.

What he heard was unbelievable. He was told by the person at the other end of the phone that the firm made revisions in its underwriting standards, so he was now qualified for a premium reduction – from $2,537, the amount he has been paying for years, to $1,207 a year – half the amount and even $60 cheaper than what the other firm offered him. Though the reduction was great reason to be glad about, Tom got mad instead after learning from the insurance firm’s branch manager himself that he would not have been told of the premium reduction had he not asked for it.

Well, the reality is, millions of drivers are paying premiums that are actually twice as much as they need to pay. Will your insurance provider’s branch manager tell you this on his own initiative? Highly doubtful, because higher premiums would mean clear profit for the firm. Will your insurance agent inform you of it? Well, his work is commission-based; thus, the higher premium you pay the higher earning he gets.

Another silly thing is, though Tom now has his premiums reduced to 50%, others like him will continue paying the highly-priced premium that they have always paid even though they are eligible for a lower rate – simply because they never ask about possible reductions. Their insurance providers, on their part, will absolutely have no problem with them paying a higher amount than what they are supposed to pay. Are these providers obliged to tell them about possible reductions? Yes, but only if they ask.

Helping drivers find the cheapest car insurance policy, which is based on their needs and situation, is the job of independent car insurance companies, according to the website of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C.®. These companies readily provide drivers with free insurance quotes from different firms to enable them to see differences in cost of policies and the types of coverage each policy offers.

read more

Negligent Dog Owners

Dog owners have an inherent responsibility to keep others safe from their pet if it exhibits dangerous actions. Unfortunately, when owners do not properly maintain their property or warn passer byers of their dog, attacks and injuries such as bites can occur. According to the personal injury lawyers of shw-law.com, property owners are required to warn individuals of anything on their property that may cause harm, including a dog. When a dog owner exhibit negligent behavior, they may be responsible for the injuries that a victim suffers.

There are a number of ways an individual can be found to not have responsibly maintained their dog. One of the most obvious examples is failure to put up a warning sign such as “beware of dog” in order to inform individuals to be cautious around your property. Another instance of negligent handling of a dog by an owner would be letting a dog that has exhibited dangerous behavior in the past loose in the yard. The dog may attack passer byers walking by, leading to injuries which would subsequently be the responsibility of the owner. An owner would also be held liable if they left the gate to their backyard open, allowing their dog to run free. In many states, owners who violate local leash laws and walk their dogs without a leash may be held liable if the dog attacked an individual while off their leash. Although these are some examples of when a dog owner can be held liable for injuries their dog caused, there are many other instances that can qualify as well. Additionally, there are certain situations in which a dog owner may not be held responsible.

When situations such as these occur, injuries such as severe lacerations or even head injuries can occur and potentially cause life-long problems for a victim. Often, these tragic accidents involving a dog may have been preventable if the owner had taken the proper precautions.

read more

Whiplash: Information about a Typical Car Accident Injury

Whiplash is an injury that is commonly suffered by car accident victims. According to the Mayo Clinic, the injury is caused by a forceful and rapid back and forth movement of the neck that often occurs due to rear-end collisions. It is characterized by severe pain and stiffness in the neck, as well as constant headaches. It is also sometimes referred to as neck sprain or neck strain.

The first symptoms whiplash will usually develop within 24 hours following the accident. More symptoms are then felt in the following days. Left untreated, these symptoms also gradually increase in their severity.

The most common symptom is neck pain and stiffness. Usually, the pain worsens anytime the neck is moved. Headaches are also a common characteristic of whiplash, especially if the pain radiates from the base of the skull. Car accident victims suffering from whiplash can also suffer from fatigue, dizziness, as well as tenderness or pain in the shoulders, upper back, and arms. Sometimes, victims can also experience blurred vision, ringing in the ears, and a numbness or tingling feeling in their arms.

Sometimes, whiplash can also lead to symptoms that affect a person’s cognitive and psychological health. In particular, it can also cause issues with concentration, difficulty sleeping, irritability, memory lapses, and depression.

According to the website of the Chris Mayo Law Firm, whiplash is one of the most common injuries caused by reckless driving. While it may not be particularly life-threatening, it can keep a person in severe and debilitating pain for a long time. Anyone who have been involved in rear-end collisions experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms should seek medical treatment right away. Victims suffering from whiplash may require simple over-the-counter drugs or several months of physical therapy. The website of the Milwaukee car accident lawyers at Habush Habush & Rottier says that victims have the legal option to pursue compensation, especially if they need assistance with medical costs.

read more

Writing Your Will

A majority of Americans believes that estate planning is a necessity reserved only for the wealthy. After all, only people with significant assets and properties, such as successful attorney Ali Mokaram from the Mokaram Law Firm, will have enough to properly distribute what they own to beneficiaries. This, however, can’t be farther from the truth. In fact, it’s a common misconception that can leave plenty of individuals in dire situations. Estate planning helps individuals have control on how their properties and finances will handled after death, ensuring their families and loved ones are well taken care of.

The first step to estate planning is the writing of a Will. This official legal document will hold declarations regarding how specific assets and properties should be divided and distributed, along with other related concerns. Important decisions that are typically included in a Will include plans for dividing and distributing estate, the name of chosen beneficiaries, and personal choices regarding end-of-life care. Individuals with children can also add the name of legal guardians who will take over childcare.

Aside from the details above, the Will also needs to bear the name of the executor. This person will be responsible for making sure all arrangements and decisions written in the Will are properly accomplished. As such, the executor needs to be someone known to be trustworthy and responsible. In the eyes of the law, anyone who is 18 or older and hasn’t been charged with a crime can be named an executor. Anyone who declines the responsibility will have to file a declination and will be replaced as decided by the court.

It’s also important to note that writing a Will is a long and constant process. A proper Will needs to be constantly updated, especially for the following scenarios:

  • Change in value of estate
  • Change in marital status
  • Change in address
  • Death or incapacitation of executor
  • Death of beneficiary
  • Becomes a parent

A Will is automatically considered an official legal document as long as it was written by an individual 18 years of age and older with sound judgment and full mental capacity. It’s also important that the document explicitly states its purpose and the name of the executor. While it is official declared valid when signed in the presence of two witnesses, USA.gov also advises that the Will be notarized to avoid any conflict and invalid claim. Most Wills contests stem from the use of ambiguous words or contain false information. A Will made under duress can also cause a lot of problems for the executor and beneficiaries. This scenario could also fall under the categories of undue influence or nursing home abuse.

read more

Texas Prompt Pay Act: Important Information for Physicians

The cost of health care in America has become notoriously expensive in the recent years. According to a news report by The Washington Post, a survey conducted by the think tank The Commonwealth Fund found that the U.S. provides the most expensive but least effective health care services compared to 10 other industrialized nations in the west. The United Kingdom, which ranks first in cost, quality and efficiency, is estimated to have spent around $3,405 per person in 2011. In comparison, the United States spent $8,508—more than double in amount.

Because of such expenses, many Americans rely on health insurance programs to mitigate the cost of medical care. Employees, for example, look to health care benefits provided by their employers. Public health programs such as Medicare and Medicaid also provide assistance for individuals that might not be able to afford health care services.

Of course, this particular system isn’t always bullet proof. While patients typically benefit from insurance programs, physicians usually get the shorted end of the stick. According to a report by the American Medical Association, plenty of doctors fail to receive prompt payment from insurance companies that are supposed to cover the cost of services they’ve rendered for patients. In fact, the report points out that these payments can take up to 6 months. A solution the Texas government has devised is the Prompt Pay Act.

The Texas Prompt Pay Act of 2003 gives physicians an avenue to make legal claims for compensation owed to them by health insurance companies. According to the statute, insurance companies who fail to make necessary payments within a specific time period will be subject to penalties. These penalties will differ depending on the amount of time it takes before full compensation is made.

According to the website of the prompt pay lawyers at Williams Kherkher, the Texas Prompt Pay Act ensures that physicians are properly compensated for the important services they provide for millions of patients. Similar policies are also available in different states.

read more

Outsourcing 101: Tips for Small Businesses

Running a small business can be a real challenge. Due to limitations in workforce, owners and managers will often have to stretch their resources to ensure that important tasks are accomplished throughout the day. This can cause stress for a lot of employees who are constantly expected to juggle several tasks at a time. It can also lead to a decline in the quality of performance, since most are just keen on making sure that everything on their list is taken care of by the end of the day.

The best solution for such scenarios is outsourcing. By delegating tangential business tasks to external specialists, employees can return to focusing on activities that are more in line with the organization’s core competencies. As long as business owners find the best outsourcing solution for their situation, they can be sure that all their business processes will be handled efficiently and without any hitch.

Research is the first crucial step to outsourcing. Before making any commitments, it’s important to learn of the many options available. Is hiring a freelancer better than working with an external organization? Review all the tasks that need to be streamlined and make a decision accordingly. According an article by Entrepreneur, the tasks best accomplished with outsourcing involve highly repetitive tasks such as data entry and specialized knowledge like IT support. Small businesses can also enlist the help of highly skilled experts for analysis and consultation. This, however, will often come with a steeper prize.

According to the website of Pinoy Partners Outsourcing Center Inc., offshore outsourcing is another viable option, particularly for small businesses working with a tighter budget. While most think that offshoring is only suitable for larger companies, there are actually plenty of options available for small-scale organizations. Several business process outsourcing (BPO) companies abroad provide quality work for smaller organizations. In doing so, small and large companies can stand to save a substantial amount of money.

read more

How are Properties and Assets Divided during a Divorce?

Divorce can be a very difficult process. First, couples will have to deal with the emotional devastation that typically characterizes the end of a marriage. The whole process can also be complicated by several legal issues. One such issue complicating the process involves the couple’s shared properties and assets.

It is preferable that the division of a couple’s properties and assets are decided on and settled amicably between the involved parties. However, these decisions aren’t always settled outside court. In fact, financial concerns are one of the most highly contested issues during a divorce. Couples typically have a hard time agreeing how their finances and properties should be fairly divided. This is particularly true for situations where one spouse is financially dependent on the other. As such, property and asset division is often settled by the court of law.

In family court, the judge will act as the executor of a couple’s shared estate. He or she will be responsible for the final decision on how properties and assets should be divided in the event of a divorce. This decision will come after considering several factors. In the majority of America, courts usually decide on equal division of assets and properties. However, several states aim for a decision that will prioritize reasonable fairness. In these states, the court will often look at the income and earning opportunities of both spouses, as well as their age, health, and the length of their marriage. If there are children involved, the court will also make considerations for the spouse who has physical custody.

The court will also need to determine which properties and assets were amassed before the marriage. Properties and assets owned by each spouse before they were married will be exempted from the division. However, any financial gains that bore fruit from these separate estates made during the period of the marriage will be included in the division.

These aren’t the only factors that go into the division of properties and assets during a divorce. Each situation will present individual concerns that the court will need to study carefully. Oftentimes, this process can increasingly become difficult. According to the website of Arenson Law Group, PC, the assistance of a qualified family lawyer can ease the process and allow a couple to amicably resolve such a complicated legal issue without causing unnecessary headaches.

read more

3 Transportation Tips for Weddings

A wedding is a significant occasion. Couples deserve the most memorable experience as they tie the knot surrounded by their family and friends. Such a big occasion often requires months of planning. There will be dozens of concerns to be addressed and the process can be stressful at certain moments.

One of the most important details that needs to be accomplished is the transportation arrangement. Most weddings require venue changes, with the couples and guests shuttling from the ceremony to the reception. Here, we list a couple of tips to help you properly plan and decide for transportation details on your big day.

Book a private car service at least six months before the ceremony

Couples often think that there’s plenty of time between the space of their engagement and their wedding day. While there are some details that can be taken care of a few months before the ceremony, booking a private car service needs to be accomplished as soon as you’ve decided on the date, venues, and wedding party size.

Reserve the vehicle in person

While you can research car services and make inquiries online, it’s important that your car reservation deal is finalized in person. Taking the time to make your reservation in person has plenty of advantages. The most obvious one is that you get to see your chosen vehicle in person. It will also give you a chance to better dialogue with the company to avoid complications that might arise on the day of the wedding.

Arrange transportation for entourage

Couples who can afford to stretch out their budget should also consider arranging transportation details for their bridal party. The entourage plays a crucial role in your wedding ceremony. They’ve also helped a lot in planning the big occasion. It would be great to ensure that they’re comfortable for the rest of the day. Several private car services also offer SUVs and other larger vehicles for rent. Capital City Limousine in Austin, for example, has a luxury van that could seat up to 12 passengers in their fleet.

read more