Speeding: Almost as Bad as DUI

Posted by on Apr 12, 2013 in Car Accidents, DUI, Speeding | 1 comment

The excitement of the high-speed car chase has been fueling the success of movies like Fast and the Furious, and the Italian Job, and countless other action movies. It calls to the daredevil in a person which craves that adrenaline rush. But in reality, speeding even a bit over the limit can bring about serious injury, even death.

There are about 6 million auto accidents a year in the US alone, and 40% of those are caused by driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). That’s not surprising. What is shocking is that not far behind is speeding, which accounts for 30% of these accidents. When caught DUI, a driver can face jail time and hefty fines, while those caught speeding get a ticket and just pay a fine. If there are no injuries or deaths resulting from speeding, the penalties for speeding are often incredibly light. A ticket can even be forgiven if you take a course in defensive driving in most states.

Fatalities due to speeding and DUI combined in 2011 was in excess of 3,000 in the state of Texas alone. For speeding alone, the death toll was 278, and 6 of them were pedestrians!

There is a reason why speed limits are posted. Speeding above the posted limit is, according to Part 545 of the Texas Transportation Code, “an offense if the person drives a vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.” The key words here are “willful” and “wanton” which suggests negligence. In Texas, traffic accidents have declined somewhat but it is still higher than the national average mostly due to reckless or negligent conduct of the driver.

If you or someone close to you has been harmed by the reckless speeding of a driver, you can consult with a car accident attorney about filing a personal injury claim for damages. This would be on top of the felony charges that would be levied against the driver.

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Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Posted by on Apr 11, 2013 in Bankruptcy | 1 comment

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

click hereChapter 13 bankruptcy is also known reorganization and involves a repayment plan mandated by the bankruptcy court. Creditors are provided with a way to be paid back some or the whole of what a debtor owes over a period of years, usually from 3 to 5 years, based on the debtor’s current and future income. Chapter 13 bankruptcy provides debtor protection from foreclosure, wage garnishment, and debt collection activities. The court determines the amount a creditor will be paid based on several factors, but will be at least as much as what the creditor would have received under a Chapter 7 filing.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is indicated when a debtor has a regular source of income with enough disposable income to make a repayment scheme feasible. It is ideal for those who want to avoid losing non-exempt property, catch up on missed mortgage payments, and pay back taxes without incurring more debts in the form of interest charges and penalties.

A debtor who manages to complete the payments mandated by the repayment plan will be discharged of all the remaining amounts due prior to the bankruptcy filing. This can result in significant savings as the court determines what needs to be absolutely paid, which usually means waived or reduced interest and penalty payments at least.

While Chapter 13 does not discharge all debts, including credit card debts for luxury items, taxes, and child support back payments, the repayment plan can make it substantially easier to pay back these debts. Repeated filings for Chapter 13 are allowed at anytime.

When filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, however, it must be remembered that income is tied up throughout the repayment period, typically 3 to 5 years, and that total debts should not exceed $1 million. Unsecured debt should not be more than $250,000. Stock and commodity brokers are not eligible for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy makes a lot of sense if you have debt you cannot manage on your own, so don’t wait until it’s too late.

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Texas Law Firm Facing Gender Discrimination Lawsuit

Posted by on Apr 10, 2013 in Discrimination, Lawsuits | 1 comment

A female partner at a Dallas-based law firm has filed a gender discrimination suit against the firm.

She alleges that the firm has upheld a policy that prohibited employee pairs of opposite genders from working together or fraternizing outside of the office. Because of the fact that the people in power at the firm are all men, she is making a case that the policy, which has since been repealed, hindered the growth of her career. The woman says the firm has been aware of her issues with these policies for as long as half a year, but claims her protests were met with resentment.

The firm believes that it decisions and actions will all hold up in a court of law and that the plaintiff of the suit has no evidence to back up her claims.

The firm probably put the offending rule in effect to prevent sexual harassment, but has instead created a discrimination problem. If it had treated its employees as responsible adults who are capable of behaving professionally, chances are it would not have to deal with an internal lawsuit.

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Overview of Iowa Workers’ Compensation

Posted by on Apr 8, 2013 in Workers' Compensation | 0 comments

All workers in Iowa are covered by workers’ compensation insurance because the state requires it by law. This includes agricultural and domestic employees under certain conditions. Coverage is provided on a no-fault basis provided that the injury is work-related or occurred in the work place during regular work hours. Workers’ compensation may be provided through private insurance or employer self-insurance.

In case of injury, the worker is provided with full medical benefits attended by a physician chosen by the employer. There are no limitations placed over the money or time of the required medical treatment.

When disability occurs, workers’ comp may cover total temporary disability (TTD) and permanent total disability (PTD) as well as permanent partial disability (PPD). The payout is based on the predetermined percentage of the worker’s weekly wage up to the maximum payment amount as described in the policy. For PTD, the payments are made for as long as the disability is present. Under PPD, benefits will be paid for up to 500 weeks. Workers’ comp can also provide for physical and vocational rehabilitation as well as payouts for permanent head or face disfigurement. In some cases, hearing loss may also be compensated.

When death ensues as a result of a work-related incident, the insurer may pay out a certain percentage of the employee’s wages to the surviving family as a death benefit. A separate burial allowance may also be provided.

It should be noted that the statements above are a general description workers’ compensation insurance coverage. There may be significant differences from carrier to carrier depending on the fine print of the policies themselves, as well as from state to state. When in doubt, it would be better to consult a workers’ compensation lawyer before making a claim to reduce the chances of having your claim disapproved. Most workers’ comp policies provide for reimbursement for a certain portion of attorney’s fees related to a claim.

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Pitbulls Bite Just Like Any Other Dog

Posted by on Apr 3, 2013 in Dog Bites | 0 comments

Pitbulls Bite Just Like Any Other Dog

Most people associate the word “pit bull” with “dangerous dog” because there have been quite a few well-publicized incidents when people have been seriously injured by a pit bull. Advocates deny that pit bulls are more dangerous to humans than other types of dogs, and were in fact known as nanny dogs early on because of their gentle and protective nature.

Pit bulls are actually a group of dog breeds that more or less share similar traits. Among the better known breeds included in the group are American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, and Staffordshire Bull Terriers. The stigma attached to pit bulls may be because they were bred for dog-fights, and their natural aggression against other dogs were heightened. It should be noted, however, that dog aggression is different from human aggression.

Pit bulls that have attacked humans are said to be disproportionately represented in the news when compared to other dog breeds that may also have shown aggression. Any dog that is teased, baited, tortured or abused will attack. Oftentimes, it is the fault of humans who have little control, understanding or discipline of dogs in general that starts the trouble. Moreover, despite the heroic image of certain dog breeds, dogs are still animals that may act in unpredictable ways. Young children, the most vulnerable victim of dog bites, should never be left unsupervised with any dog, regardless of breed. Children often don’t understand when they are behaving in ways that bother or annoy animals. This causes them to do something that could set off even the most loyal of dogs, and become injured.

However, according to the website of the Jeff Sampson law firm, this fact does not lessen the seriousness of a dog bite or the liability of a pet owner, no matter what kind of dog it is. Unfortunately for pit bull owners, its classification as a dangerous dog makes liability insurance more expensive. Fortunately, many states do not allow an insurer to deny liability coverage for dog bites. If you or someone you know is bitten or attacked by a dog, whether a pit bull or another breed, the owner will almost certainly be required to cover the costs of any financial losses resulting from the injury, but unfortunately, many dog bite victims have to enlist the services of a personal injury lawyer to secure the compensation they need.

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Pharmaceutical Sales Reps Don’t Sell but are Still Overtime Exempt

Posted by on Mar 28, 2013 in Overtime | 0 comments

Pharmaceutical Sales Reps Don’t Sell but are Still Overtime Exempt

A 2011 decision by the Ninth Circuit established that pharmaceutical sales representatives (PSRs) are considered “outside sales“ employees and therefore exempt from overtime pay although they don’t actually sell products but only promote their prescription or product to doctors. The decision affirmed the long-standing opinion of the Department of Labor that considers the peculiar nature of the work of PSRs, who are not allowed to sell prescription drugs directly to consumers. For all intents and purposes, the promotion of prescription drugs to doctors constitutes a sale.

Outside sales personnel are defined specifically and extensively under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) as exempt from overtime pay under federal law. A person may qualify as outside sales personnel if:

  • The primary duties are to get new order or contracts – making sales – for goods, services or use of facilities
  • Business is “customarily and regularly” conducted outside the employer’s office/s or business premises (excludes telesales, online sales, mail-order sales and home-based sales)

Aside from being exempt from overtime pay, outside sales personnel are also not covered by the minimum wage law, which in many states is the same as the current FLSA minimum wage. Instead, outside sales personnel may be paid by salary, commission, fee, bonus, piece or a combination of two or more types of compensation. There are no federal or state laws requiring minimum compensation for this type of employee.

However, if you or someone you know do not fit the criteria for outside sales personnel i.e. you sell products, services or use of facilities but do so within the business premises of the employer, and yet are denied overtime pay, it’s possible that you are not being compensated as required by law. Consult with an overtime attorney if your case has merit and if you should pursue a complaint against your employer.

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Lawsuit Accuses Anheuser-Busch InBev of Watering Down Beers

Posted by on Mar 5, 2013 in Lawsuits | 0 comments

Lawsuit Accuses Anheuser-Busch InBev of Watering Down Beers

While it may not come as a surprise to beer enthusiasts, a class action lawsuit filed against the world’s largest and most profitable alcoholic beverage company, Anheuser-Busch InBev, is accusing the brewer of adding water to its beer before sealing cans and bottles.

The accusation is being made against 10 of the company’s products, including Budweiser, Bud Ice, Michelob Ultra, and Bud Light Lime. The class action suit has been filed in seven states and alleges that the company is cheating consumers by not including the advertised alcohol by volume in their products. The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau regulates claims made on alcohol labeling.

The lawyer representing the class claims that several higher-ups from the company’s 13 U.S. breweries supplied him with the information that is the basis for the suit. According to the lawsuit, the watered down beer loses between three and eight percent of its alcohol content. Anheuser-Busch InBev denies the allegations against it, claiming it sells the highest quality beer it can. Nonetheless, the attorney is confident that the evidence he has will prove his claims. The lawsuits each seek damages $5 million.

In 2011, the company produced more than three billion gallons of malt beverages worldwide and made $22 billion in profits.

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