Open Adoption: What Does It Mean?

Adding a child to the family through the adoption process can be a thrilling, fulfilling, and happy experience. However, the adoption process is not as simple as some people think. In fact, there are many different types of adoption, and the rules that are involved with each type may vary. These are things that should be considered before choosing to adopt because adoptions are such significant, life-changing moments for the adopting parent(s) and the child. I am very interested in adoption, so I decided to do a little research on one specific type of adoption, open adoption. Here’s what I found.

I first stumbled across an excellent article by BB Law Group PLLC. The article explains that open adoption is a type of adoption where the adoptive parents and birth parents arrange an agreement that specifies that the child is permitted to keep contact with the birth parent after adoption. Under other forms of adoption, this type of conduct is not allowed.

The historical background of open adoption is very interesting. In the United States before the 1900s, most adoptions were open adoptions. Thus, open adoption is not really a new thing, at least in the United States. However, the main rationales for adoption have changed significantly since the 1900s. During that time, children were adopted out of a family to reduce the number of children their birth parents had to support, and they were adopted into a family to serve as an apprentice to the adopting families. Adoption was a mutually beneficial process for different reasons, and contact with the birth parents was the norm.

Open adoption became less frequent in the 1930s, but it again gained popularity as a type of adoption in the 1970s. During the 70s, several studies purported that open adoption was better for the child. The popularity of open adoption continued to grow. In the 90s, open adoption was offered by a majority of adoption agencies in the United States. The Washington Times found in a 2012 study that 95 percent of United States adoptions have some level of openness between the adoptive parents and the birth parents.

Open adoption gives the birth parents the ability to meet adoptive parents. It allows birth parents to maintain a relationship with the child as he or she gets older. Basically, open adoption is a good way to give birth parents the peace of mind that their child will be properly cared for and loved.

Likewise, adoptive parents get the benefit of meeting the birth parents in an open adoption. To be selected and chosen by the birth parents is a rewarding and validating experience for adopting parents. Open adoption seems to have many positive effects on the birth parents, the adopting parents, and the adopted children. Though, as the previously-mentioned article states, open adoption is only permitted under certain circumstances.

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A Case for Becoming an Attorney

When it comes time for high school graduation, a lot of students wonder what career they ought to work towards. With either college or a jump into full-time employment on the horizon for all of them, there’s a real need for a little guidance. With that in mind, here’s a suggestion: become a lawyer.

That isn’t advice for everyone. Not everyone is cut out to be a lawyer. It’s hard work, and it’s expensive upfront. It also takes a certain kind of mind. For those who have the right skills, though, there are few better careers.

It is important to point all this out now for the simple reason that a career in law has lost some of its prestige of late. The cost of attending college even for just four years can make many potentially successful future lawyers turn away into careers that are easier and cheaper to get. Of course, there are also many different negative stereotypes about lawyers to discourage even those who might otherwise be willing to pay for the schooling and take the time and effort to get the degrees and pass the bar.

This second point is somewhat odd. Other careers that require so much work are usually viewed as prestigious and end up highly lauded. Doctors on television are heroes (as they should be), and scientists or professors are seen as great learned individuals. Lawyers, on the other hand, are ambulance chasers. They are unscrupulous and avaricious. Often, they are fools, and not just fools, but cocky fools.

This, assuredly, is not the case in real life. Many lawyers dedicate themselves to helping others just as doctors do. Simply consider the needs of those who find themselves being taken advantage of after a motor vehicle accident. If a lawyer weren’t available for such people, the consequences could be dire. Such people might miss out on needed treatment or go needlessly into debts they should not have. A lawyer, in that case, is a sort of hero.

Lawyers are also often quite learned, as learned as professors or scientists in their way, and in their sphere, wise and deserving of similar appreciation.

Beyond these positive social and personal qualities, it is worth pointing out that, yes, lawyers still do on average make a very good income. Enough income, in fact, that the costs of those college degrees are more than paid for in the medium term.

With all these points in mind, those high school graduates mulling over a entering the job market, entering college, or looking for something more, ought to consider the law as a very worthy option for their time and money.

It’s an ancient, honorable, and useful profession, one that can help others and bring in a lot of money. It is important not to be swayed by the impression given off by television shows or general societal disapprobation. Law is as fine a career as there is out there, and if a student has the skills and the willingness, there is no finer career to have.

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What is Dram Shop Liability?

Alcohol can have negative effects on the body. Firstly, those who are under the influence may have compromised physical and mental abilities, and this may put them at risk of traffic accidents. Secondly, they also have the tendency to be violent.

Due to these effects, alcohol intake should be moderated. This is especially true for bars, restaurants, taverns, and other social hosts who serve alcohol to customers and guests.

According to the website of Clawson & Staubes, LLC: Injury Group, alcohol-related accidents involving the service of alcohol to intoxicated persons or minors may be taken to court. This is called dram shop liability, wherein a social host can be held accountable for serving or over-serving alcohol to a customer that has caused injury inside or outside the social host’s premises.

Drunk Driving

Drunk driving and violent tendencies come to mind once again. If a person has been served with excessive alcohol, has driven a car home, has triggered an accident, and has injured himself or another person, the social host may be held accountable because of its failure to monitor the intoxication level of the person it is serving.

Violent Tendency

It is a common stereotype that intoxicated people are often involved in bar fights, and there is a reason why such a stereotype exists. This is because those who are under the influence of alcohol really have the tendency to be violent, either inside or outside the social host’s premises.

The social host can be held liable in these cases as well, especially if they have overserved a person who already has a reputation of violence.

Proof

Many states don’t even recognize dram shop liability, because of the simple fact that it is hard to prove that the social host has been negligent in serving alcoholic products and that this negligence is the direct cause of an accident and injury. Also, there are many instances wherein the intoxicated person is really the one at fault, like how he or she is deciding to drive even when under the influence of alcohol.

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Workers’ Compensation: Intended to Benefit Workers Who have Suffered Injuries and Illnesses on the Job

Each type of working environment has its own kind or risk of accident-causing injuries to employees. Risk of accident, however, which can cause severe injuries or even death, is always higher in construction sites than in any other workplace.

Some of the causes of dangers construction workers are exposed to every day include hazardous substances, sharp and heavy tools, heavy duty vehicles and machineries, great heights, hazards from ladders and scaffolds, electrical wirings, excavations and trenches. All these, plus the carelessness of some workers and employers’ failure to strictly comply with job safety laws, can result to accidents which, in truth, are actually preventable.

Though an injury can cause a worker to stop earning wages, it is a relief to know that he/she can avail of the financial benefits by Workers’ Compensation program. Workers’ Compensation is an insurance-like program that is mandated and administered by the state. It is designed to provide immediate financial benefits to workers who sustain job-related injuries or who develop an occupational illness. The cash benefits paid by Workers’ Comp cover cost of medical treatment and hospitalization, wage replacement, rehabilitation, retraining, disability, and death (which includes payment of benefits to survivors of the worker killed on the job). The usual wage replacement is two/thirds of the injured worker’s average wage; however, there is a fixed maximum amount set by states so that the benefits will not go over it.

Workers’ Comp pays benefits regardless of who was at fault for the injury or illness. However, this employment benefit that is financed by employers serves as a sort of an exchange wherein injured employees, by choosing to receive the benefits, automatically waive their right to sue their employer for additional compensation.

There are limits, by the way, to the types of injuries paid under the Workers’ Comp program. As a rule, benefits will never be paid to workers whose injury was self-inflicted, who were intoxicated at the time of the injury, or whose injury was a result of actions in violation of the law or company policy on safety measures.

There are “legal guidelines for payment of workers’ compensation benefits. State law governs WC coverage, though some employees may be covered by other federal compensation laws. All companies must have workers’ compensation insurance. Unfortunately, some employers do not have workers’ compensation insurance despite what the law says. In Pennsylvania, for example, an employee injured at work while working for an uninsured employer may pursue benefits from the Pennsylvania Uninsured Employer’s Guaranty Fund. However, there are several deadlines applicable under the law creating the Uninsured Fund, so it is important that you contact an attorney immediately if you have been injured at work.”

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Tips for Safe Motorcycle Riding

Motorcycle riders are up there in the list of most vulnerable people on the road, together with bicycle riders and pedestrians. Like bicyclists and pedestrians, motorcyclists are not enclosed in vessels, so they have the tendency to absorb a significant amount of the collision force, unlike car and truck drivers who have their bumpers and doors to somehow protect them.

Motorcyclists can be more vulnerable to bicyclists and pedestrians because of their speed and how they interact with the other vehicles on the road. Here are some tips for them to ensure that they are away from traffic accidents.

Always wear protective gear
Motorcycle accidents can happen because of many reasons, like rider error, recklessness on the part of the other motorists around the rider, or negligence on the part of the manufacturer of the motorcycle and its parts. But once an accident already occurs, your first line of defense is your protective gear, such as your helmet, goggles, gloves, and boots.

Avoid reckless driving behaviors
Reckless driving includes distracted driving, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, speeding, dangerous maneuvering, tailgating, and weaving. These behaviors put you at greater risk of crashing your motorcycle or colliding with another vehicle or obstruction.

Be mindful of road hazards
Riders should also be in consistent lookout for potential hazardous elements on the road, such as leaves, rocks and sands. Motorcycles have less connection with the pavement compared to other motor vehicles such as cars and trucks, so they are more likely to lose control over trivial things such as these.

Maintain your motorcycle
Sometimes, a safe motorcycle ride is not just about what you do on the road, but also what you do before and after you hit the road. If your motorcycle is always on its top condition, you are limiting the possibility of mechanical defects and malfunctions. The most commonly affected areas are the brakes, cooling systems, engines, hydraulic lines, steering systems, and tires.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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