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Modified Comparative Negligence at Work

They say that it takes two to tango. This is true when it comes to personal injury, because there needs to be at least two parties involved: the tortfeasor (the doer of a wrongful act) and the victim. Another crucial factor in a tort case is the element of fault. One party (presumably the tortfeasor) is the proximate cause of the adverse event that led to harm to the victim. However, assigning fault also takes into account if the victim took reasonable measures to ensure his or her own safety. One of the most common defenses by a tortfeasor in a personal injury claim is that the victim was partly or solely at fault for what happened.

For example, if a car traveling beyond the posted speed limit struck a jaywalking pedestrian, a jury may find the pedestrian partly at fault for the accident. This defense is a reasonable, and in some states that follow the pure contributory negligence doctrine, this can bar the pedestrian (victim) from getting compensation. In Atlanta, however, there is something called modified comparative negligence at work. Under the pure comparative negligence doctrine, the victim (plaintiff) can sue the defendant for compensation even if the victim was mostly (up to 99%) at fault, and the award is merely reduced by what the jury finds to be the percentage of fault of the plaintiff.

Modified comparative negligence in the whole of the state of Georgia means that if the plaintiff is equal or less than 50% (51% in other states) at fault, the plaintiff can still sue for damages, but the award is reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to the plaintiff. So, taking the above example, if the jury finds the pedestrian is 30% at fault, and awards damages of $100,000, the plaintiff gets $70,000.

Small Business Bankruptcy Filing

Filing for bankruptcy of a small business is similar to a personal filing in many ways. The advantages of choosing one type of bankruptcy over the others will depend on the structure of your business, your intentions during and after the filing, and the type of debts you have. You will be required to attend credit counseling as described in before making filing any type of bankruptcy, at which time you will have a clearer picture of what your options are.

For businesses, the available bankruptcy options are Chapter 7, 11 and 13. Typically, companies choose Chapter 11 or 13 because it can continue to operate even as it is paying off its obligations under a repayment plan. It is possible for a business to file for Chapter 7, especially if it is a sole proprietorship and has a lot of unsecured and secured debt tied to a personal guarantee.

However, debt discharge under Chapter 7 also means the business will have to be dissolved as assets will be liquidated (including stocks, office equipment, and accounts receivables) and continued operations will not be possible. If you are planning to close the business anyway and you have not personally guaranteed any of the loans i.e. corporation, you will not even have to file for bankruptcy. You can simply stop operations and walk away.

Debts are typically categorized into secured i.e. truck used for business or unsecured i.e. credit card debt. Under Chapter 7, you are likely to lose the collateral for secured loans unless it is an exempt asset i.e. primary home, while under Chapter 11 and 13, you will have a chance to pay your secured debt off under more favorable conditions to avoid repossession or foreclosure. With unsecured loans, it is the priority debts such as back taxes that you have to pay first, regardless of the type of bankruptcy you choose. Nonpriority unsecured debts such as credit card debt are typically paid last, if at all.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is one of society’s common social problems and it affects even families in the US, with more than 10 million incidences being reported every year. Its most common victims are women, children and the elderly – those who are less capable of physically defending themselves.

Perpetrators of domestic violence are always intimate partners (the person whom the victim is married to or living with) and it can happen during a relationship, while the partners are breaking up, or even after the couple has separated. Where women are the victims, those most affected are between 16 and 34 years old.

The abusers’ intent is nothing more than to gain power and dominance over their respective partners by humiliating, frightening, intimidating, threatening, terrorizing or injuring them until their feeling of self-confidence and self-worth are all gone, becoming totally submissive to abusers’ demands.

The victim of domestic violence can be anybody as the abuser does not give any regard to the victim’s religion, age, race, nationality, financial status, professional standing and educational attainment. The most common types of domestic abuses victims are made to suffer, include:

Physical abuse is a key element of domestic abuse. It refers to the use of physical force against one’s partner and it can be committed through a lot of different ways, like punching, kicking, slapping, choking, hair pulling, assaulting with a weapon, restraining, confinement, and even murder.

Emotional, mental or psychological abuse may be committed verbally or non-verbally. The wounds inflicted through emotional abuse are deeper compared to physical abuse; this type of abuse is committed through recurring criticisms, indifference towards the victim’s skills and abilities, name-calling, screaming or yelling at the victim, criticizing or belittling the victim’s accomplishments, and mocking or humiliating the victim, especially in front of friends.

Sexual abuse is usually carried out by forcing the victim to: participate in unwanted or demeaning sexual activities; look at pornographic materials or participate in a pornographic film; and so forth.

Domestic violence is always a traumatic experience that also causes physical injuries, fear and loss of self-confidence. Its victims almost always become problematic, withdrawn, and often unsure and embarrassed of his/her acts. Worse, its effects trickle down to the children, making them feel ashamed, afraid, confused, stressed and guilty for not having the strength to protect their abused parent.

The website of Flaherty Defense Firm, explains further what domestic violence is, its ill effects and the legal rights and options of victims. Being a crime, domestic violence should be reported immediately and victims should know and understand that they have the law to protect them against this social malady.

Personal Injury: Traumatic Brain Injury

Due to its task of controlling the whole body, the human brain is, thus, considered, as the human body’s most important organ. Any force or blow, therefore that will impact the brain and damage it can affect the way it functions which, in turn, will affect the way the whole body operates.

An explosion or a blast, a car accident, or a recreation-related or sport accident, that would cause a forceful blow or jolt to one’s head can make his/her brain bump against the skull’s internal wall. This can cause bruising of the brain, nerve fibers getting torn or bleeding which, in turn, can result to an intracranial injury or traumatic brain injury (TBI).

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a traumatic brain injury (TBI) may also be caused by: a shattered piece of skull penetrating the brain’s tissues; the head hitting a solid object (such as pavement) during a bicycle accident; a gunshot wound in the head; and, falls, which is very common in children and senior citizens.

A traumatic brain injury can be a serious type of injury, with the effects of which depending on the specific part or area of the brain that has been affected. While some injuries may be mild, resulting only to short term headaches or confused states, a severe head injury can lead to coma, disability, amnesia or, worse, death.

There are times when the symptoms and signs of TBI are not immediately evident after an accident. Slowly these symptoms will manifest themselves, however, through neck pains, persistent headaches, changes in sleep pattern, slowed thinking, speaking, reading or acting, dizziness and moodiness, and so forth. When symptoms, however, will include repeated vomiting, numbness or weakness of the limbs, convulsion and slurred speech, then it best that the individual be brought to the hospital for the necessary tests and treatment.

Whatever the cause of the TBI is, a motor vehicle accident, a fall, a gunshot wound or any other, it is highly advisable that the victim or his/her family consult a Champaign personal injury lawyer or a Houston personal injury lawyer to help him/her asses the injury and the possible legal options, to enable him/her to receive compensation from the person/party through whose fault the injury was sustained.

Dog Walking Services

There are certain types of jobs that require a license before it can be practiced. A license or a certification is a clear proof that a person meets the basic skills required of a certain job, having undergone proper training or education and tests. One new type of profession that requires not just a license and skills, but lots of stamina and, most of all, a deep love for dogs is dog walking. One can probably say that it is one of the latest professional interests in the market which, lately, has created movements in the business world as a number of accountants, writers, computer experts, painters, real estate agents, nurses, and other high-paying experts, have left their jobs to become professional dog walkers.

Dog walkers undergo special training. They need to learn a lot of different things, such as a dog’s behavior and body language, canine first aid, how to properly manage a pack of dogs, trail etiquette, and marketing strategies that will enable them to earn clients and win their trust. Often, they will also need to learn how to deal with people who hate canines, as they will surely get to meet some as they take their clients (dogs) in the park, in jogging trails, or in any other place where they need to go to or pass through.

One cannot, however, become a dog walker if one simply intends to earn. It will require a deep love for dogs to be able to enjoy a dog-walking job as well as perform all other tasks that may result from the dog-walking or running chore. Examples of extra chores that will require great patience is bathing and drying up a dog after ending up with a mud-soaked pet due to walking, running or playing under the rain. With bathing them already an added tiring job, wait until the drying up time comes when towels get filled with dog hair (and probably dirt).

You can be sure, however, that an Austin dog walker is prepared to do all these . . . and everything else that may be required. Being a certified professional, you can rest assured that an dog walking expert will be able to help you keep your dog healthy by giving it the exercise it needs and making it spend the energy it needs to spend.

Recovering from the BP Oil Spill

After spilling more than 200 million gallons of oil in the Gulf of Mexico in April of 2110, the worst oil spill in US history, British Petroleum (BP) opened a claims program in conformity with the established compensation rule of the 1990 Oil Pollution Act. This claims program was used by injured rig workers and owners of small businesses (as well as some casino companies which were affected by the spill) in seeking compensation for damages and losses. Before BP decided to shut down this internal oil spill claims program, it covered thousands of individuals and businesses that were considered ineligible from seeking shelter under the Deepwater Horizon Court Supervised Settlement Program, which is a court-supervised settlement. It also became an avenue for claimants who opted to not join the program as they believed it offered a settlement amount that was not enough to cover their losses. After having settled some of the claims, and with no knowledge (by the public) as to how many claimants still needed to be paid, BP made the shocking move of shutting down the internal claims program, claiming that it will affect a very small number of people anyway as 99 percent of claims have already been settled. BP’s claim, thus far, faces bold challenges and the accusation of being a big lie as about 10,000 claimants would be affected by the decision.

To some lawyers, BP’s intent of not really paying anymore claims or paying as little amount as possible, by using the courts to stall payments, is now apparent. Though BP clearly complied with the Oil Pollution Act’s stipulation on compensation rule by opening an internal claims program in 2010, one can now question the giant oil firm’s real intent in paying out the thousands of still unsettled claims along with those who suffered losses from fraudulent oil and gas investments. This is because the spill happened four years ago, but the Oil Pollution Act’s statute of limitations lasts only for three years. Even those who have filed claims with their private insurance providers have not received fair payment, as insurance firms thought, even in 2010, that those affected by the spill will have better chances of recovery by focusing their attention to the settlement to be offered by BP. There are those who have suffered foreclosure and/or continued losses because of the very small amount of settlement offered by BP or insurance firms. While business goes on as usual for BP and Insurance firms, it is not the case for many other individuals and small businesses affected by the oil tragedy. On issues of BP settlement or insurance benefits, those affected by the spill should think seriously about seeking the help of a Dallas insurance lawyer.

Hurricane Damage Claims

Hurricanes are among the most destructive natural calamities in the US and, depending on the category one specific hurricane falls into, effects can range from damages to frame homes, snapping tree branches and power outages to total collapse of frame homes, weeks of power blackout, and inhabitability of affected areas for months.

Hurricanes are specific types of tropical cyclones characterized by sustained winds with speeds of at least 74 miles per hour. Before getting identified as a hurricane, however, a tropical cyclone will first have to pass through three other stages: a tropical disturbance, a tropical depression and a tropical storm.

A hurricane has five different categories, depending on its wind speed, which wreaks more, and much severe, damages as its wind speed increases. And though no one would want to see the fruits of his/her hard labor damaged or destroyed by anything, when a hurricane strikes, there is no telling what may be affected and how much the damage can be.

In repairing or replacing property damages, people depend on their specific insurance companies as the source of adequate finances. Insurance firms, on their part, would send independent adjusters to claimants’ homes to assess property damages, sometimes a day or two after the disaster, when not even the property’s owner can correctly asses his/her own losses.

The result, of course, is undervalued assessment. In some cases, claims are denied for reasons claimants never understand or, if a claim is approved, release of payment is delayed. These are the same woes suffered by claimants that Williams Kherkher, through an article posted on the firm’s website, speaks about; he points out, however, that a hurricane claims lawyer would definitely be familiar with these tactics by insurance companies, which exist to earn big profits rather than dole out substantial amounts in benefits.

While insurance firms can easily dismiss a policy holder’s complaints, it would not be the same if such policy holder were represented by a knowledgeable and experienced hurricane claims lawyer. This is why it is almost always necessary to have a lawyer represent a claimant for, besides the complicated contents of an insurance policy, insurance providers also have lots of tactics hidden up their sleeves which will help them get away with awarding inadequate amounts. Thus, to merit the amount that claimants believe they ought to get, they should to make sure that they are well represented.

Car Accidents

Included in the tasks that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA needs to enforce are reducing road accidents involving motor vehicles, preventing injuries (and untimely deaths) and saving lives. The NHTSA, an arm of the US Department of Transportation, embarks on this task partly by ensuring the compliance of all vehicle manufacturers with product standards on safety and excellence.

Thus, it is the prime obligation of car manufacturers to see to it that each car that leaves the manufacturing plant will never put any lives at risk by increasing the possibility of an accident due either to defect in design or defective parts. A very ideal premise, indeed; sadly, however, it ends up just as that – an ideal premise.

NHTSA’s records show that, in 2013, 22 million vehicles were recalled by more than 10 car manufacturers for reasons that included: defective air bags (some could deploy despite the vehicle not crashing); possibility of fire in the event of a rear-impact crash; possibility of gas to leak which increases risk of fire; and, defective tires, steering wheel, child seats, brake pads, wipers, seat belt and others. In 2012, the recalls reached nearly 16.4 million, while 10 years earlier, in 2004, vehicle recalls hit a high 30.8 million.

Recalls happen through confirmation of consumers’ complaints via an investigation initiated by the NHTSA, a voluntary recall by manufacturers after they, themselves, discover the defects, or through reports submitted by insurance companies either to the NHTSA or to the manufacturers of the models of cars that most frequently figure in accidents (as evidenced by the frequency of claims by various owners who own the same car models). Many times, though, recalls occur too late as some would have already suffered injuries and property damage before the defects come to be known. And no matter how one justifies the presence of defects, everything boils down to only one fact – an act of negligence on the part of the manufacturer.

A Racine car accident lawyer would be the best person to contact in the event of a road mishap. An expert in the stipulations of the tort law, this legal counsel would be able to help the victim file the necessary lawsuit that may enable him/her to receive (from the liable party) the compensation he is legally allowed to receive as cover for whatever damages that has arisen (and will arise) due to the accident.

Construction Site Accidents: Federal Laws on Safety Standard and Workers’ Compensation

The US Department of Labor recognizes construction site accidents as among the leading causes of work-related injuries, illnesses and deaths in the US with falls, being struck by an object (such as a falling tool), getting caught between objects (like between two heavy equipment) and electrocution, as the top four causes.

Besides the top “Fatal Four,” as called by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of 1971, other causes of harm include: use of weak ladders and hoists, lack of railings to protect workers from edges of roof and building, and weakly assembled scaffoldings, among many others.

Records from the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the US Department of Labor show that, in 2008, construction site accidents reached a total of 1,016. There was a lower number of accidents in 2012, though, with 817, due mainly to the strict enforcement of the safety standard law by OSHA.

OSHA, which was created by the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) of 1970, bears the primary task of assuring the implementation and maintenance of a healthy and safe working environment. It should also lead in: the implementing OSH Act’s workplace safety standards; providing training programs directed at increasing the number, and improving the competency, of occupational safety and health workers; providing analysis, evaluation, development and approval of workplace safety and health programs; and, monitoring of work-related injuries and illnesses.

Before the turn, and during the early part, of the 20th century, construction workers, who figured in accidents or who developed a work-related illness, had no immediate financial recourse that will enable them to undergo the necessary medical treatment. An accident also affected the daily ration of food on the table as they were rendered incapable of performing their work due to the injury or illness. The worst scenario, however, was when the injury took them off from work for weeks or months, or if it caused a long-term disability, for with means of earning wages many were left to suffer the pains caused by untreated injuries plus the crippling financial situation.

The Workers’ Compensation Insurance benefit came as a generous solution to the sad financial plight of workers. Its implementation began in Maryland in 1902, with other states implementing it between 1911 and 1920. This Workers’ Compensation Law mandated certain employers in the US to make sure that workers were provided with this insurance benefit, which was intended to cover wage replacement, medical benefits, rehabilitation and death.

Though a clause in the Workers’ Comp law states that the benefit exempts employers from litigation and further financial obligation to the injured worker, a New York construction accident lawyer would be able to provide valuable assistance (to the harmed worker) in pursuing the employer for further damages, especially if the injury is severe or causes death, or if the employer does not provide the Workers’ Comp benefit.

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