Kelvin G. Toncu

As Cool As It Gets


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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One of the latest trends concerning employment is the policy that many firms have adopted, which states that a job applicant is being employed “at will.” Many employment contracts, job application forms and employee handbooks in the US now contain this short phrase that actually empowers employers to fire anyone even without reasonable cause. The worst thing is, this practice is permitted in almost all states – a legal way of limiting one’s legal rights in filing a termination lawsuit. Presently, Montana is the only state that provides employees, who have completed their probationary period, protection from being terminated without cause.

Despite adhering to this “at will” statute, states do not ignore claims of termination that are based on discrimination. While companies may be allowed to fire anyone to enable it to cut costs, or for whatever reason (or absence of good reason), the contrary holds when the cause of termination is due to a person’s religion, sex, race, color, age, and so forth – this is because this latter act is a violation of federal and state laws, such as the Civil Rights act of 1964, which strictly illegalizes employment discrimination of those presently employed or seeking work.

For individuals employed “at will,” proving termination as unlawful will be a harder thing to prove compared to a regularized employee being fired illegally. One example involves an “at will” employee who claimed that he was chosen to as among those who have been terminated simply because of his religion. This is one case that may be worth looking into, for the claimant may indeed have a cause to fight for.

Employers should realize too that there are laws that protect the rights and interests of employees and job applicants. Besides those that are enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which prohibit any form of workplace harassment, discrimination and abuse, there are also laws that: protect employees from being retaliated upon, say, for whistleblowing or for taking part in a discrimination case lawsuit; and, require employers to always provide a healthy and safe working environment for all their employees.

In the event of wrongful termination, a highly-competent New York employment lawyer is one professional, whose expertise and dedication in fighting for clients’ rights and interests would be vital in earning for victims the justice that employment laws intend to uphold.

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Aviation Accidents


Posted By on Jul 20, 2014

The recorded aviation accidents over the last 10 years only show why air travel is acknowledged as modern day’s safest, fastest and (probably) most convenient means of long-distance travel. The sole fatal plane crash for the past half decade, despite the thousands of planes taking off every day in the US, is clear proof of this. And where fatality rates are the issue, data from the US Department of Transportation shows that deaths resulting from aviation accidents total only to 138 per year (there have been years when no accidents involving planes occurred), while those resulting from motor vehicles are 36,600+ and  motorcycles has 3100+.

Such high safety rate was never the case in the past; however, it cannot be denied that the advancement and majority of the improvements in the aviation industry are factors learned from past minor and major accidents. Some of these improvements include: upgrade of the air traffic control (ATC) system; eradicating the concept of the “captain is god,” and ensuring cockpit teamwork; installation of lavatory smoke sensors and downdraft detection; use of transponders or electronic devices and the installation of TCAS II collision-avoidance systems for collision avoidance; improvement of the rudder Rx; equipping the cargo holds (all commercial airliners) with smoke detectors and automatic fire extinguishers; upgrades that would eliminate any possibility of electrical spark; and, replacement of the Mylar insulation with fire-resistant materials. Many other safety equipment have been made standard parts, especially in heavy commercial aircrafts, to ensure safety of all passengers and crew, from the moment everyone boards the plane until everyone has gotten off it.

All improvements and upgrades, however, can easily prove useless if flight procedures are violated, regular aircraft maintenance is not regularly done, fuel supply is not replenished, a pilot is not in perfect health or performs his task while under the influence of alcohol, or a needed manufacturing phase was missed, and so forth.

Often, the only reason why aviation accidents happen is grave negligence on the part of a pilot, a plane, ground or maintenance crew, an air traffic controller, or even people from an airline’s top management. And when an accident occurs, there need not necessarily be injuries for those liable to be required to answer for the consequences of their errors. A mental or emotional trauma is enough, but an injury, more so, death, will definitely make matters very serious.

According to www.habush.com, while some airlines would be happy to offer victims compensation, the amount they would award on their own volition may not be enough. Thus, it is important that victims seek the help of competent lawyers, whose dedication in fighting for victims’ rights have been proven many times.

There are the Appleton personal injury lawyers and Green Bay personal injury lawyers, who are all highly capable of effectively fighting for the rights and interests of those affected, traumatized, injured or killed in a plane accident.

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Without a doubt, the trucking industry plays a very important role in the US economy, keeping businesses alive through delivery of tons of essential goods required by clients and demanded by consumers. Despite this major role, however, federal agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), know that big rigs or 18-wheelers are constant threats on the road for drivers of smaller vehicles, motorcyclists, and pedestrians. Being a road threat is not only due to the vehicle’s huge size and super-heavy weight, which can cause it to smash anything, or severely injure (or kill) anyone in its path, but primarily because of the negligence of many individuals in the trucking business (including truck and truck parts manufacturers, owners, dispatchers, drivers and mechanics) in ensuring that their vehicle will never cause any road tragedy. Some of the most common causes of road accidents involving trucks are improper loading of cargo, defective truck parts (especially parts of the braking system), worn out wheels, improperly maintained equipment, driving under the influence (DUI), hiring of drivers who lack the required skills, and driver fatigue, which is accountable for majority of all truck accidents in the US. The FMCSA, which is responsible in ensuring the compliance of truckers with federal rules, has these two standards, among others, to enforce:

  • Licensing Requirements – Drivers must possess the minimum skills necessary to operate a big rig. This is derived from a mandate from the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986, which also requires drivers to pass a test arranged by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and to have unsafe and unqualified drivers removed from the highway.
  • Hours of service (HOS) – the most recent rule on this (which took effect on February 27, 2012) states that truck drivers can drive for 11 hours maximum (within a day); this shall be part of drivers’ 14-hour work day limit.
  • Maximum average work week – this mandate took effect on July 1, 2013
    • It limits truck drivers’ work week to 70 hours (instead of the previous 82 hours)
    • Requires that drivers take a 30-minute break within the first eight hours of their shift
    • After rendering the maximum 70 hours or work within the week, drivers should be allowed to rest for 34 hours straight. This rest period should include two nights.

Failure to comply with the above federal mandates can easily lead to tragic accidents that can inflict severe personal injuries (injuries resulting from people’s negligence) to victims. Victims, on their part, ought to realize that seeking help from highly competent lawyers, such as an Oklahoma personal injury lawyer, can be an absolute necessity to enable them to receive the full amount of compensation (from the liable party) that the law permits.

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