Auto Accident: Hit & Run Accidents

For the past 10 years, continued increases in the yearly number of hit-and-run cases have been a major concern, especially for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Based on NHTSA records, reports of hit-and-run cases from 2009 to 2011 have risen from 1,274 to 1,449, respectively.

Hit-and-run, also called skipping and fleeing an accident scene, leaving the scene or hit and skip, is a guilty driver’s act of speeding away from the scene of an accident without leaving any clues regarding his or her identification, so as to avoid responsibility over anyone he/she has injured or any property he/she has damaged.

Certain studies show that pedestrian accidents are usually the fault of the pedestrian and not the driver; however, leaving the scene without rendering aid to the injured and not accepting responsibility for the accident will render the fleeing driver guilty of crime, which can be as serious as felony hit-and-run.

In accidents where properties get damaged or individuals are injured or killed, state traffic laws require that the involved drivers stop and exchange identification and contact details (in the event that the accident is fatal then the other driver involved will need to contact authorities and wait for them to arrive at the scene).

Driving away from an accident scene can result in the following legal consequences:

  • Suspension or cancellation of driver’s license (the permanent cancellation of license is imposed in some states)
  • Imprisonment and costly fines
  • Voiding of the offender’s insurance policy (by his or her insurance provider)

Filing a tort lawsuit against the guilty driver (for the purpose of pursuing justice and, possibly, compensation), will definitely be hard due to the lack of identification of the guilty party. Besides, statute of limitation imposed by states in the filing of cases is usually two years (there have been cases, however, wherein the 2-year statute of limitation was overlooked due to the act of the guilty driver in hiding or disposing of any sign of evidence that will trace the accident to him/her).

Seeking the help of highly-skilled hit-and-run accident lawyers will definitely help the victim and his/her family in pursuing the case and fighting for the victim’s rights. Legal assistance can also help the victim seek the compensation needed from his/her insurance provider.

Auto Accident Due to Driving Errors

Two basic, yet very important, requirements when driving an automobile are complete focus on the road and observance of traffic rules. Though the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) identifies drunk-driving, overspeeding, reckless driving and cell phone use, while behind the wheel, as the top four causes of auto accidents, there is another continuously puts other drivers’ and pedestrians’ lives in danger: driver error.

A few kinds of errors that drivers usually commit include:

  • Failure to observe traffic signals
  • Failure to keep their vehicle in good driving condition
  • Failure to adjust their driving to inclement weather
  • Making turns at fast speeds.

There are also many other errors that drivers are guilty of committing, like taking sudden lane changes without first checking for incoming vehicles, failure to yield, right-of-way violations, improper overtaking, allowing themselves to be distracted, tailgating or driving too closely behind another vehicle (the effect of this can be worse if the vehicle a person would tailgate is an 18-wheeler truck), and so forth.

The consequences of a driving accident are damage to property and (sometimes) physical injuries, the severity of which depends on the sizes of the vehicles involved and their respective speeds prior to collision. A collision usually occurs at intersections and its causes are very often due to one driver trying to beat the red light or failing to use traffic signals, thus, misleading other motorists regarding the direction he/she intends to drive his/her vehicle to.

For driver error to be a cause of road accidents is quite surprising due to the fact that, prior to earning a driver’s license, applicant drivers are required to attend a driving school, given a driving manual and asked to know its contents and required to pass written tests and an actual driving test. Having gone through all these, a driver does not any excuse, therefore, in failing to observe road traffic safety. And, since errors usually happen due to negligence, the law requires liable parties to compensate innocent victims for the present and future damages these will suffer from

Racial Discrimination in the Workplace: How to File a Charge

Any form of discrimination in all aspects of employment, which include hiring and firing, promotion, transfer, recall back to work, wages, fringe benefits, job training, apprenticeship programs, etc., whether such is based on race, color, sex, religion, or national origin, is prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Discrimination in the workplace continues to be a major concern for both the federal and local governments, with non-whites being the major victims. This was made a fact after two different studies (on the chances of individuals with black-sounding names on finding employment) ended with the same results – that job applicants with white-sounding names (American names, specifically) had higher chances of getting employed compared to those with African-American-sounding names, often despite the obvious advantages of the latter in areas relating to educational qualification, job specification expertise and experience). The first study was conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts, while the other, which was made a few years later, was made by Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT’s) Sendhil Mullainathan and Economics Professor Marianne Bertrand from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.

The studies further revealed that, if ever African-Americans get invited for a job interview, diction, vocabulary and accent, especially, become major barriers to job entry. Obviously, accent creates bias among many employers or managers who suppose that pronunciation is enough to accurately determine an applicant’s educational qualification, level of intelligence, character, social status, etc. An English accent, however, is deemed as exuding intelligence, regardless of the content of what is said, thus, many try to adopt it.

Being a non-white may just be at the periphery of racial discrimination, though, for if the applicant or the employee happens to be such, as well as 40 or above years old, has a disability, a lesbian, homosexual, bisexual or transgender or, in the case of females, pregnant (or expecting to be pregnant soon), despite being definitely qualified for the job, then the chances of ever finding employment or of being treated fairly can be nil. This is why amendments to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act were made and additional laws were passed to recognize the competitive service non-whites are capable of providing. These amendments and laws include the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) of 1967, Title I and Title V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and the broadening of the scope of anti-sex discrimination, extending its protection to lesbians, gays and bisexuals (on July 1, 2011) and then to the transgender (on April 20, 2012). These amendments and laws also resulted to strict prohibition of job advertisements, use of company facilities, testing, disability leave and retirement plans which would imply discrimination.

Despite national and state laws, many companies remain guilty of discriminatory practices, probably either due to the subtle means through which they do it or because victims rather choose to remain silent for fear of getting into further trouble. Those who are determined to fight for their rights (or fight for another victim’s rights), though, are highly encouraged by the law; they can file their discrimination charge, personally or by mail, at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) office nearest them (complainants are required by the law to file their charges with the EEOC first before filing a private lawsuit in court).

When filing a complaint, it is necessary to mention the specific discriminatory acts, the dates these have been committed, the complaining party’s and the respondent employer’s names, addresses, and contact numbers, and the identities of co-employees who have knowledge of the violations. Complainants are given up to 180 days, from the date of the alleged violation/s, to file their charges. If the violation committed is also covered by a local or state anti-discrimination law, then the statute of limitation (or filing period) is extended up to 300 days.

Filing a discrimination charge can be stressful to the victim, but so is remaining silent while being the target of unjust acts which others may also be suffering from or may also suffer from in the future. Finding the right legal advice and knowing what legal options victims have would be crucial during the period when they will need to evaluate what move to take.

Some information for this article was found on www.carykanelegal.com.

Cocaine: A Schedule II Drug

Being convicted of a drug-related offense can affect a person’s professional goals and future as the damaging effects of a crime goes well beyond any courtroom and much longer than any jail term. A drug crime includes manufacture, sale, distribution, possession and use of banned drugs and drug paraphernalia, such as heroin, marijuana (cannabis), 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy), lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), methamphetamine, and cocaine. Cocaine, specifically, is the second most widely used illegal drug in the US (marijuana is the first). It has been classified by the US Controlled Substances Act (CSA) as a Schedule II drug, a drug that has a high potential for abuse, though doctors may administer it for certain medical reasons. (The CSA, which is Title II of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act, was signed by the US Congress into law in 1970; this federal drug policy aims to regulate the importation, manufacture, possession, distribution and use of different substances.) The widespread use of cocaine in the US happened during the latter part of the 1800s, becoming a common use among factory, rail road and textile mill workers for continuous or increased productivity, especially despite extended hours of work. This highly addictive and powerful stimulant is still used by many high-earning employees today, earning for itself the name, “rich man’s drug.” However, even college students and young adults use it as a “party drug” to help them stay awake throughout any cheerful social gathering. Cocaine’s addictive effects only make users take it more frequently, the amount increasing on each use. Individuals charged with possession of this illegal drug are bound to suffer the heavy punishments stipulated in the United States Code (USC) of Controlled Substances Act, such as:

  • Maximum of 12 months imprisonment plus up to a $1,000 fine (for first time offenders);
  • Maximum of 24 months imprisonment plus up to a $2,500 fine (for second time offenders); or,
  • Maximum of 36 months imprisonment plus up to a $5,000 fine of, at least, $5,000 (for third time offenders).

Sellers and/or distributors of cocaine are made to pay higher fines and given longer jail terms, especially if the activity involving this drug is linked to an injury or death. Whether a person calls it coke, dust, toot, white dragon, uptown, or charlie, a cocaine-related crime remains a very serious offense that requires a really strong defense from an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer.

Being Hurt due to Poor Road Conditions

For the unwary driver, it may be complicated to determine who they can sue when poor road conditions causes their car accident. There are several factors that come into play when a car accident occurred because of poor road conditions. First, a plaintiff should be able to prove that the road condition was what caused the accident, and that the entity that is responsible for ensuring the safety of the road was negligent in their duty. Lastly, there are agencies that are immune from lawsuits, therefore the plaintiff must check whether the agency whose duty is to maintain the road conditions can be sued.

First, the plaintiff has to determine who is responsible for taking care of the roads, and if they can be sued in court. Roads are maintained by the county, state, and cities. If you have determined who was negligent in their duty to ensure road safety, consulting with a personal injury or car accident lawyer can help determine whether the liable party can be sued. Most government agencies have immunity when it comes to lawsuits, but they do make exemptions and permit themselves to be sued for specific conditions.

If the plaintiff is able to prove that the government agency responsible for the maintenance of the road has been “grossly negligent” in their duty, or if the municipality has an insurance coverage for that particular lawsuit, then the plaintiff can sue the government agency. It is important, however, to ensure that the lawsuit is field in accordance to the statute of limitations of the state, and these can vary from 6 months to 2 years, depending on the type of accident and the state where the accident occurred.

Another important factor to look into is the proof of negligence of the government agency involved. It is the plaintiff’s responsibility to prove in court that the government agency could have and should have maintained the safety of the roads but have chosen not to, which eventually leads to the plaintiff’s car accident and injuries.

Lastly, the plaintiff should provide substantial evidence to prove that the poor road conditions were what really caused the accident and the injuries. Plaintiff testimonials may not be enough to prove the gross negligence of the government agency involved. Police reports, witness testimonies, and other evidence that would prove how the damage and injuries occurred would help in ensuring that the car accident lawsuit will have a positive result.

Pain and Suffering Damages for Nursing Home Abuse

Pain and suffering is something that a resident who is a victim of nursing home abuse will certainly be entitled to. Nursing home residents are among the most vulnerable segments of society, and it isn’t right that they should be exposed to the cruelty or negligence of people who owe them a high duty of care. But damages for pain and suffering are not easily quantifiable, and can be difficult to prove.

As many personal injury lawyers would agree, proving negligence in court requires hard evidence that the plaintiff suffered significant harm because of the actions, or failure to act, of a third party. In nursing home abuse, the easiest cases would be that which leave a paper trail, such as medical records of injuries.

However, abuse it is not always physically manifested because the abuse may not be physical. As mentioned on the website of the law firm Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC, the harm that a resident suffers from verbal or psychological abuse can be as much or even more damaging to someone who may already be mentally fragile, and certainly warrants consideration for pain and suffering.

It is estimated that as many as one in three nursing homes have incidents of abuse or neglect. Some facilities cited for this negligence claim that staff shortages may have contributed to incidents of neglect where residents suffered injuries such as bed sores or falls. Texas, which was named as the worst state for nursing homes according to the 2013 report of the Families for Better Care, failed in 6 of 8 categories under federal quality statistical measures for nursing homes. A Wisconsin nursing home abuse lawyer would most likely cite one or more of these measures in a nursing home abuse case. Tennessee didn’t fare much better, ranking 13th as the worst nursing home state.

Unfortunately, many cases of nursing home abuse go unreported. If you suspect an elderly loved one to be suffering from nursing home abuse, take the necessary steps to secure their future well-being and compensation for past and ongoing abuse. Consult with a nursing home abuse lawyer to find out your legal options.

Pain and Suffering in Car Accidents

There are many phrases that make their way to common lexicon without most people understanding what they actually mean. One of these phrases is “pain and suffering” in reference to tort law, and most people consider it the gravy in a personal injury case. However, pain and suffering which is part and parcel of “non-economic” damages, are not always applicable, especially when there was no actual physical injury involved. A good example would be a lawsuit alleging emotional damages i.e. invasion of privacy, where an award for pain and suffering would not likely to be awarded unless the actor’s conduct was outrageously excessive.

A Dallas personal injury lawyer can certainly demand compensation for a client’s pain and suffering, and depending on the circumstances of the case, this can be quite considerable. However, when it comes to medical malpractice suits, there is a cap ranging from $250,000 to $500,000. Where a case falls will depend on several factors, which may have different weights for different states, but which generally include:

  • Degree of severity, resulting in permanent or long-term disability and/or pain
  • Plaintiff’s age, where younger victims tend to get larger awards for having to endure longer periods of debilitation than older subjects
  • Intensity of suffering at the time of the accident and subsequent recovery

Because non-economic damages cannot be quantified in a standard manner, a jury is typically tasked to come up with a reasonable award given the circumstances of the case. Most people involved in something like car accidents are more likely to sustain severe injuries that would warrant compensation for pain and suffering. A South Carolina car accident lawyer can seek the maximum $750,000 allowed under state law, or even $1M if the injury resulted in the amputation of a limb, traumatic head or spine injury, or severe burns. Unlike Texas, though, the cap on non-economic damages applies to most personal injury cases in Tennessee, not just medical malpractice cases.

Drunk Driving Charges in Dallas

From football players to police officers, Dallas certainly gets its fair share of suspected driving while intoxicated (DWI) incidents, often resulting in severe consequences to the accused. In fact, Dallas is considered among the worse of the top 25 major cities for drunk driving. In many instances a conviction means jail time, loss of career, and a criminal record. And yet things are not always what they appear to be.

Police officers can arrest a person for DWI if they have probable cause for stopping a vehicle and asking the driver to submit to a field sobriety test. In case of an accident, it is automatic to test all drivers for alcohol or drug intoxication. However, even when a field sobriety test comes out negative, the police can still put a person under arrest until such time as the defendant challenges the arrest. This is what happened to a man in Austin who spent a night in jail and a year under a cloud for a completely unwarranted DWI charge.

The unfortunate man had plans to file a grievance against the arresting officer with the help of his outraged lawyer according to the latest updates, and rightly so. Even being merely arrested on a suspicion of DWI can have significant repercussions for the life and career of the average person; more so when there was no basis for it. A Dallas DWI lawyer would have no hesitation to advise a client unfairly arrested for drunk driving to do the same thing.

If you have been arrested for DWI charge, you should not give up without a fight, especially if it was unwarranted. Take your Miranda warning to heart and say nothing before you have had to consult with a DWI lawyer in your area to advise you about your rights and your options.

Divorce Law News in North Carolina

Divorce is typically a legally complex and emotionally difficult process for any couple, and the decision to get one is not one that is usually made lightly. Some legislators in North Carolina think the laws are still too lax, though, making divorce the “easy” solution to marital problems.

A bill was submitted to the North Carolina senate in April 2013 which proposed that easy access to divorce was to blame for the high divorce rate in the country. While the divorce rate in North Carolina (3.8 per 1000 in 2009) is actually below the national average, it recognizes no-fault divorces with a current stipulation of a one-year waiting period in which time the couple must have lived apart. The new bill, dubbed the “Healthy Marriage Act,” would extend the waiting period to two years during which time the troubled couple must live together.

The bill further requires that the couple attend marriage counseling that aim to improve methods of communication and conflict resolution. Those with issue will be required additional four-hour training on the effects of divorce on children. The bill was proposed by state Senator Austin Allran with the collaboration of Warren Daniel and Norman Sanderson. The bill is currently pending in the 2013-2014 Session of the North Carolina General Assembly.

Proponents of the bill believe that the extended waiting period will give spouses a chance to deal with their issues and to judiciously weigh the impact on offspring (if any) before taking that final step. Critics, on the other hand, contend that it is gross interference in the personal life of state residents, something that would not stand up on appeal. Any Raleigh divorce lawyer would be interestedly watching for developments as this would have a considerable impact on future mediation and divorce proceedings.

All in all, the object behind the bill is laudable, but its stipulations may not be acceptable to many North Carolinians, or most Americans for that matter. Only time will reveal which will prevail: the preservation of marriage, or the exercise of freedom of choice.

The State of Outsourcing in the Philippines

It is no secret that developed countries are farming out certain business processes to Asian countries like India and the Philippines because it is cheaper than to do them in-house. What is quite amazing is that the Philippines is even considered in the running against a country like India.

The Philippines is a small country with a total population of 96.71 million (2012) compared to the much larger India with a population of 1.237 Billion.  Even if one only considers the number of the typical employee population (between age 25 and 54), India still outclasses the Philippines 12 to 1. The Philippines should be at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to business process outsourcing (BPO) simply due to sheer numbers. And yet the Philippines has taken over 10% of India’s share of the BPO market in the last half decade.

BPO watchdog the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) states part of the reason for this competitiveness is the Data Privacy Act of 2012 passed under Benigno Aquino Jr., current president of the Philippines. BPO service providers such as Pinoy Partners Outsourcing Center Inc. benefit from this law because it ensures the protection of the sensitive data that is often handled by BPOs for their principals such as credit card information. The Act also provides international privacy standards to these BPO clients. This is an example of legislation that helps everyone involve with it.

However, BPO experts in India aver that it is the English language capabilities of the average Filipino that gives the Philippines its greatest advantage. It may very well be true. A report by GlobalEnglish Corporation – Pearson English Business Solutions in 2013 found that the Business English Index (BEI) of the Philippines was the best among the 30 countries surveyed (7.95 out of 10) for the second year in a row, beating out the US, UK, and Australia. The average global BEI score was 4.75 out of 10.

The IBPAP projects that the 21% growth in BPO jobs registered in 2012 will continue, and that by 2016 there will be 1.3 million Filipinos employed in the BPO industry. As more and more companies realize the usefulness of outsourcing, the numbers will only continue to rise.