Kelvin G. Toncu

As Cool As It Gets

Threats to Pedestrian Safety

Posted By on Mar 20, 2017

There are about 190 pedestrians hit by cars in the U.S., every day; from these, at least 12 are fatal or end in death some days following the accident. The National Safety Council says that majority of non-fatal accidents involving pedestrians take place in urban areas where there is always a high volume of cars and pedestrians. With concern to fatal accidents, however, the council states that these are more frequent in rural areas, where vehicles run at greater speed due to much lighter traffic. NSC further explains that the absence of shoulders (as pedestrian facilities), sidewalks, paths and street lights (for better visibility at nighttime) are major factors that increase the risk of pedestrian accidents.

Pedestrian safety ought to be everyone’s concern because being a pedestrian is one thing all people in the U.S. have in common. Other than walking, the meaning of pedestrian also applies to joggers or to anyone who is on foot and on the street, sidewalk, or walk path, and so forth.

The concerted efforts of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and car manufacturers have led to the research, design, manufacture and installation of the latest devices that will make the streets safer for all pedestrians. These devices, aptly called accident avoidance technologies, are designed to keep drivers from crashing into anything or anyone, especially pedestrians.

The Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection with Full Auto Brake and the Forward Collision Warning System are just two of the latest accident avoidance devices that certain car manufacturers will start installing in their cars, making these regular features of their cars that go out into the market. While these devices may enable the full activation of a car’s brakes even without driver input, there are other devices that are designed to simply slow down the vehicle to reduce the force of impact, thus leaving still to the driver the need to bring the vehicle to a full stop.

A car accident is, more often than not, due to the negligent or reckless behavior of an individual, making it a totally preventable incident. If one occurs, though, then the victim should think about seeking help from a highly qualified personal injury lawyer, who can help him/her understand his/her legal options and the chance of seeking compensation which the law allows him/her to receive.

During the recent years, however, motor vehicles are no longer the only threats to pedestrian safety; motorcycles and bicycles are now threats too. This is partly due to the dramatic increase in the number of bicyclists in many U.S. states and cities. Worse, however, is the behavior of some bicyclists who, like many drivers, ignore traffic laws, signs, crosswalks and signals.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), there is not much data on bicyclist/pedestrian accidents except was gathered in one study (which used hospital coding data) which says that, every year, there are about 1,000 pedestrians who are hit by a cyclist and necessitate medical treatment in a hospital.

Despite the much higher number of fatalities and injuries resulting from pedestrian and motor vehicle accidents, guarding against reckless and careless bicyclists, especially in parks and jogging/cycling lanes, where most of these types of accidents occur, is important. And though younger individuals usually do not suffer major harm when struck by a bicycle, it may be necessary to report or file a legal action against reckless bikers if only to make them realize that they are not the only ones using the pedestrian lanes who need to be safe.

The Chris Mayo Law Firm strongly emphasizes, “Pedestrians have the right to a safe commute, regardless of where they are walking. Thus, when the dangerous or reckless behaviors of drivers compromise this safety, it is possible to hold that driver responsible for their actions and the repercussions.”

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Causes of Wrongful Death

Posted By on Jan 26, 2017

Catastrophes have left many individuals dead and a lot more severely injured, forever changing the lives of the members of the family of the deceased. Catastrophes can happen anytime and anywhere, wreaking huge amounts in property damages and claiming many lives.

Most often than not, catastrophes are results of human error or man’s negligent and careless behavior. The sinking of the Titanic, which took the lives of more than 1,500 passengers; the Exxon Valdez accident in 1989, which resulted to 10.8 million gallons of oil being spilled into the waters of Prince William Sound; the Piper Alpha Oil Rig fire in 1988 that claimed the lives of 167 workers and caused damages amounting to $3.4 billion – these and many more (such as fires, methane hydrate eruptions, and scaffoldings, tower cranes, roofs, stadiums or houses suddenly collapsing) are some of the most common catastrophic events that have marred the flow of time. More than damage to property, though, which can be replaced with proper funding, the most painful effect of catastrophes is wrongful death.

Wrongful death is a legal claim made by the beneficiaries or survivors of a person who has died, against the liable party. This is claim for damages that includes loss of earnings that the deceased could have still been able to earn, medical expenses prior to death, and loss of consortium (removal of the benefits of a relationship, including sexual, because of the injuries or death caused by a negligent party).

Wrongful death, however, occurs not only due to catastrophic events. In many occasions, these occur due to mistakes made by professionals, such as doctors, surgeons, dentists, and other health-care providers.

Take, for instance, the case of a young girl, who was diagnosed as simply suffering from a bellyache; a few minutes later, her appendix ruptured, causing her extreme pain. Worse, though, was the case of a teenager who complained of fever and chills. He was given Tylenol and was sent home to rest, only to die a few hours later due to sepsis, an infection in the blood.

Medical errors, which are preventable, claim as many as 98,000 lives in the US every year, as shown in the records of the Institute of Medicine, an American non-profit, non-governmental research organization. Medical errors are consequences of the negligence or carelessness of nurses, doctors and many other health-care professionals; these can occur through many different types, the most common of which, include wrong or delayed diagnosis, surgical mistakes and emergency room negligence.

A study made by the Journal of the American Medical Association confirms the reality of errors in emergency rooms and that these cause almost half of all deaths due to medical malpractice. Some of the health problems most frequently misdiagnosed in ERs are aneurysm, pulmonary embolism, stroke and heart attack.

A number of the reported reasons for ER errors that can lead to severe complications or death include poor communication between nurses and doctors, shortage of doctors, failure to communicate vital information regarding patient’s condition, lack of timely access to lab report, overworked and stressed nurses and staff, over-crowding and prolonged waiting time.

According to the Bruner Law Firm, accidents or errors resulting to the death of someone can devastate the family of the victim. It will be more painful if the wrongful death of an innocent victim was due to a careless mistake made by another. The consequences to the loved ones or dependents of the victim are often both emotional and financial. It may be wise to contact a wrongful death lawyer if you lost someone in an accident or after hospitalization just to know if there is a legal action worth pursuing, to bring the liable party to justice.

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As industries continue to embrace developments in technology, the risk of accidents continues to rise. With this in mind, it is important for management to put in place safety standards that will protect their workers from any accidents or injuries. According to the website of Cazayoux Ewing Law Firm, employers should ensure the protection of their workers through the responsible action of others. The negligent act of the employer and other employees may contribute to industrial accidents.

Industrial accidents come in different types depending on the severity, durability, and degree of injury. If the accident resulted to the death or prolonged disability of an employee, it is called a major accident. On the other hand, if a cut or injury does not result to disability to an employee, it is called a minor accident. In addition, if the accident caused the employee to be disabled for a short period of time, it is called temporary accident. An accident that caused long term disability to an employee is called permanent accident.

There are several factors that can contribute to industrial accidents. It is worth noting that accidents may not have a single cause but a multiplicity of causes, which are often related to each other. Industrial safety experts have classified the causes of accidents into three broad categories:

Unsafe Conditions

Unsafe conditions are the biggest cause of workplace accidents. They are the result of defective equipment, faulty layout and location of plant, inadequate lighting arrangement and ventilation, unsafe storage, and others.
In addition, there are also psychological factors that contribute to unsafe working conditions such as working overtime, monotony, fatigue, tiredness, frustration, and anxiety.

Unsafe Acts

Sometimes, it is the unsafe act of the employee that brings about industrial accidents. Their lack of knowledge and skills, bodily defects and wrong attitude that cause them to be involved in an accident or get injured.

Other Causes

These causes are due to unsafe situational and climatic conditions and variations. It may include excessive noise, very high temperature, humid conditions, bad working conditions, unhealthy environment, slippery floor, and others.

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Getting your car fixed and being back on the road again may be one of your main concerns following a car accident. The main issue is how and who would be paying for the repair (or replacement) of the damaged vehicle, and for this you are given a number of options, all depending on several factors such as how caused the accident, the type of car insurance that you have, and if the other party (who caused the accident) is insured. Knowing your rights regarding such matters will bring you great relief after suffering from a car accident.

The first thing to establish following a car accident is who is at fault, since this will settle the case on who will e held liable for the needed repairs on the vehicle, regardless of whether it is only minor scratches or in need of major work. If the damage is too much for repairs, then the at-fault driver would be made to cover for the market value or the actual cash equivalent of the vehicle even when the state follows a “no-fault” insurance rule, since property damage is not considered part of the no-fault rule.

The confusion can come from who is to be held liable for the repairs and who should be paying for it. The Hankey Law Office all drivers are required to buy a liability insurance for all registered vehicles, which would then be used to cover for property damage in an event of a car collision. The coverage would be automatic following the accident, especially if the other driver is the one who caused the accident. You will have the right to make a claim to the at-fault driver’s insurer to cover for the car’s repairs or provide the market value of the damaged vehicle.

If by chance the other driver does not have insurance, you have the option of using your own insurance coverage to pay for the damages provided that car collision is part of your coverage. It is similar to that of a “no-fault” insurance wherein the damages will be covered regardless of who caused the accident. Nevertheless, this will require you to be responsible for the deductible, which can be reimbursed from the at-fault driver’s insurance provider through your insurance carrier.

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It is probably going to be hard for a lot of people to grasp that a consumer product that has been considered so safe that is used on babies can actually cause serious health problems. But that is exactly what has been recently established in the annals of science and law.

In fairness, the health effects of talcum powder have been suspected for more than forty years, and the first study suggesting a link between its genital use and ovarian cancer was published as far back as 1971. Talcum powder manufacturers–primarily Johnson & Johnson (J&J) which came out with its iconic Johnson’s baby powder in 1893–stated that there was insufficient evidence to establish a link between the product and the disease. Other studies followed, some investigating the relationship between talcum powder use and lung cancer and various pulmonary disorders, others looking at genital use the same way as the 1971 study. It soon became evident that talc was in a fair way of going the way of asbestos as an insidious purveyor of death.

Talcum powder is produced from drying and milling hydrous magnesium silicate, the softest known mineral on the planet. It is often found in or around asbestos ore deposits and prior to 1970 when it became a big no-no in the consumer market because it caused health problems, talcum powder may have contained asbestos. Today, asbestos is meticulously removed from commercial-grade talc. However, the problem is not with asbestos but with the talc itself, which when reduced to the fine powder we associate with baby powder is persistent in tissue. Talc particles that make its way to the lungs through inhalation takes up to 8 years to dissolve.

The health effects of talcum powder as indicated in numerous studies have also been established in law. In 2013, a South Dakota jury found for the plaintiff ovarian cancer victim Deane Berg in a talcum powder lawsuit against J&J, confirming the claim that J&J was negligent for not including the potential risk of ovarian cancer with genital use of talcum powder in its labels. If you believe that you are in the same boat as Berg, you need to take control of the situation. Consult with a proactive talcum powder lawyer as soon as possible to file your case.

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When road accidents involving big rigs or 18-wheelers happen, two possible consequences can be serious injuries to, or death of, the victim. This is due to the huge size and great weight of trucks, making their mere presence on the road a potential threat to smaller motor vehicles.

An 11-hour cross-county drive is a very common chore to many truck drivers, so that despite a couple of hours sleep at their truck’s sleeper berth, fatigue can easily set in, worsened sometimes by stress caused by the need to deliver an important cargo on time. While there are laws in place to prevent truckers from driving while fatigued, the sad truth of the matter is they are not always followed.

But fatigue and stress (plus driver error) are not the only causes of truck accidents that have been identified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an arm of the US Department of Transportation. According to the NHTSA, the unrestrained use of cell phone, while driving, has also contributed greatly in increasing in the number of injuries and fatalities due to truck accidents.

After the prohibition of the use of cell phones or hand-held phones while driving, the DOT issued another mandate, particularly on the use of a bluetooth headset by commercial drivers (which includes bus, corporate fleet and truck drivers). This federal law took effect on January 1, 2013 and those who are caught violating this law can suffer a fine amounting to $2,750; repeated violation will mean payment of the same amount (for each repeat act) plus banning from operating any type of commercial vehicle.

A trucker Bluetooth headset is a device that enables a two-way connection via a wireless technology called Bluetooth. Besides the headset design, some Bluetooth products can be fitted to an ear or may be placed inside specially-designed caps. Although designed for truckers, police and regular drivers have also found the device as a perfect item that will make driving much safer.

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In many countries, the alarming increase of health conditions involving a deadly type of cancer, called mesothelioma, has become noticeable, making any attempt to simply dismiss it as an unwise move. Mesothelioma is a chronic, lethal cancer; it can take decades before it becomes manifest, showing its symptoms only at a time when it can no longer be treated.

This deadly cancer is caused by exposure to asbestos, a miracle substance, as has been considered by many, due to its high elasticity and resistance to chemicals, electricity, heat and fire; it was also easy to use, much cheaper and definitely abundant. Its highly remarkable usefulness made asbestos a substance used in many parts of the world, especially during the mid of the 20th century. It was used or mixed to make hot water piping, gaskets, insulators, brakes and clutches, steam pipes, boilers, turbines, generators, cement and so many other things.

While anyone today, even those in offices or in the comforts of their homes, may be exposed to asbestos (due to construction materials, furniture or appliances to which asbestos was partly used), there were certain types of workers who, many years ago, were exposed to asbestos on a daily basis and who are now suffering from the consequences of such exposure. Many of these workers were construction workers, processing plant workers, miners, electricians, plumbers, shipyard workers, firefighters, auto workers and machinists.

Despite the fact that the dangers of asbestos, as causing lung damage and disease, were already known as early as 1964 or that the ruling in the first asbestos lawsuit that was filed in 1969 became a landmark decision in asbestos-related litigations in the US, as well as earned for the plaintiff Clarence Borel $1 million in damages, the harmful substance continued to be produced, used and even exported to many other countries.

Taking after the success of Clarence Borel (who died before the case was decided in 1973 on his behalf), workers suffering from mesothelioma, due to exposure to asbestos, have resorted to tort litigation in order to obtain the compensation (for their injuries) that they are legally allowed to receive. In 2002, asbestos claimants numbered to 730,000 and the companies sued to 8,400. In 2013, the number of companies defending against claimants grew beyond 10,000.

Many companies where today’s mesothelioma victims worked for decades ago have already closed down or gone bankrupt. Going after them can be a tremendous task without the help of highly experienced asbestos and mesothelioma lawyers; thus, victims and their families should seek their help for a better chance of getting the compensation allowed by the law.

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Like all other legal professionals, a Dallas criminal defense lawyer knows full well what sorts of troubles, inconveniences and limitations a criminal charge or, worse, a conviction, will have on a person’s life. The many negative effects of a criminal record extends beyond the courtroom; and while total honesty and the determination to assert that a wrong committed in the past was, indeed, a big, first and last mistake, many others are not fortunate enough, that even a simple case of misdemeanor would suffice to debunk any effort to attaining a good life.

While a criminal charge does not yet pronounce a person as guilty (or not guilty) of the crime he/she is being accused of, such person may still be held in custody while awaiting the final outcome of his/her case. If employed, this will have a major effect on his/her employment; thus the first thing he/she ought to think of, after an arrest and charge, is immediate release through:

  • Promise to Appear – a document signed by a person after his/her arrest, wherein he/she promises to appear on a specific date in court for his/her arraignment, trial or judgment.
  • Release on your own Recognizance (ROR) – also known as personal recognizance (PR) or own recognizance (OR), is a written promise signed by a defendant, who is pending trial, promising to appear in future court hearings and not take part in any illegal activity
  • Posting bail if the request for a release on your own recognizance (ROR) has been denied.

For those involved in medical healthcare, such as nurses and doctors, being charged with an act that is held as a violation of any of a State Medical Board’s stipulations is a cause of real worry, as such charge can mean suspension of the license they worked so very hard for to attain. The most disturbing thing for medical healthcare professionals is that, if proven guilty of an offense, they will suffer damage in their reputation and, probably, the end of their means of livelihood.

A Texas medical license lawyer knows how stressful it is for a medical expert to be subjected under a state inquiry for investigation and defense of his/her license; thus, this is one time when such lawyer’s expertise is an absolute necessity for the accused.

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