Workers’ Compensation – Benefits Injured Workers are Legally Entitled to Receive

All types of working environments present risks of accident-causing injuries to employees; however, risks of accidents, which can cause severe injuries or even death, is always so much higher in construction sites than in any other workplace in the US.

Hazardous substances, sharp and metallic heavy tools, heavy duty vehicles and machineries, great heights, hazards from ladders and scaffolds, electrical wirings and excavations and trenches – these are just some of the causes of dangers construction workers are exposed to everyday. Due to all these, plus the carelessness of some workers or employers and their failure to strictly comply with job safety laws, accidents, which could otherwise have been prevented, often occur. Examples of these “preventable” accidents include:

  • Workers falling from roofs, ladders or scaffolds (this is actually the most common form of accident in construction sites)
  • A worker getting electrocuted due to power lines, construction equipment and construction vehicles that are not insulated
  • Collapsing trenches burying or caving-in on workers
  • A worker getting caught and crushed in-between objects, getting hit by a construction vehicle that is changing directions or backing up, or getting hit by falling tools or cement-filled buckets.

In 1971, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA was founded as an offshoot of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (also called OSH Act) of 1970. OSHA’s major task, since its foundation, has been to strictly implement OSH Act’s directives, which is for employers to provide all their workers or employees a safe and healthy working environment.

According to the US Department of Labor, for the past 40 years, OSHA, state authorities, safety and health professionals and advocates, and employers, have caused an impact where workplace safety is the issue. Since 1970, from 38 fatal accidents a day, deaths are down to 12 per day (based on 2013 records), while injuries and illnesses have been reduced from 10 per 100 workers to only 3.

For all the good results brought about by the strict implementation of workplace safety laws there are people whose efforts should be appreciated; however, it should escape the attention of authorities and employers that accidents still take place and a number of workers still get injured or die as a result.

According to the website of Wilson & McQueen, PLLC, workplace injuries make victims unable to work, resulting in lost income and costly medical treatment that can very well put workers and their families in precarious financial situations.

Injured workers, the firm continues, can apply for the benefits (that they are legally entitled to receive) from their own state’s Workers’ Compensation department. While these will cover cost of medical treatment and a part of their monthly income, among others, (a very important financial assistance to injured workers, indeed), it cannot be denied that getting one’s application approved can be very challenging. Many insurers and employers unfortunately seek to prevent injured workers from receiving the benefits they are legally entitled to. One major reason, of course, is because insurers intend to rake in profits, not make huge payments.

Ask Lexington workers’ comp attorneys and they’ll likely tell you that the financial benefits offered by Workers’ Comp is one assistance injured workers should never be denied.

When is there a Need for Will Construction, Interpretation, and Reformation?

Divorce and legal separation do not take away the obligation of spouses to continue providing for the financial needs of their children, as well as for the spouse in need of support or alimony, that is, if the court sees the need for it. This, obligation requires the non-custodial parent, especially, to make timely child support payments to make sure that his or her children’s financial needs are always provided.

According to the website of Marshall & Taylor, PLLC, state laws usually require child support until the child turns 18; however, if there are special or extra needs that the child requires, like if the child were sick of wants to pursue a college education, then the court may order the continued payment of child support.

Parent’s obligation to their children, though, still goes beyond child support payments, so that even if they will have a new family (for divorced couples only since those who simply choose to continue living separately, without divorcing their spouse, cannot remarry and have a new family), they may still include their children, from a former marriage, in their will if they have assets and properties to leave behind (this is what, at least, a just and prudent parent would do). As a general rule, though, children do not have absolute right to claim inheritance if the deceased parent made a valid will. If there was no will made, then children, whether minor or adult, legitimate or illegitimate, or from former or present living spouse, may be entitled to claim a share on the property of the deceased parent (on what is left from the assets and properties after the deceased parent’s debts have all been paid and the surviving spouse has received his or her share).

One legal issue concerning wills or trust is will construction or trust reformation. A will construction is a formal process wherein the real intent of a testator (the person who made the will) is ascertained or determined, while a trust reformation is the process or rewriting a trust document. Both, however, may only happen if they appear vague, that is if their meaning remain genuinely unclear even after the general rules of interpretation have been applied.

Some examples of vagueness in the real intent of a testator in a will or trust include:

  • A testator intends to leave behind for his or her sibling a particular property but fails to specify who exactly among his or her siblings will receive it
  • All the beneficiaries mentioned in the will or trust have died ahead of the testator
  • The trustee or executor chosen by the testator has died and no successor was named
  • No trustee was named by the testator

Wills and trusts are important due to the legal safeguards that these provide in case the testator becomes incapacitated or dies. Besides naming heirs and the properties and assets that will be left behind, a testator can also make instructions on his or her preferred medical care, as well as on how he or she wishes to have his or her property holdings and other belongings distributed. According to the website of Peck Ritchey, wills and trusts need to make use of exact, unambiguous language in order to avoid disputes among beneficiaries.

The High Risk of Sudden, Fatal Heart Attacks in GranuFlo Patients

Two very important functions of our kidneys are balance water, salt and electrolytes in our blood and eliminate waste products from our body by converting these to urine. Thus, when our kidneys fail to function, a medical procedure called kidney dialysis or hemodialysis should be performed in order to maintain the balance of fluids in our body, as well as to help our body continue excreting wastes (such as creatinine and urea) to keep our blood clean.

One very necessary component in dialysis is dialysate, the fluid that is placed in the dialysis machine and which helps in the removal of waste products from the blood and in correcting any imbalances that result from kidney failure.

In 2003, Fresenius Medical Care (FMC), which controls the dialysis market in the US, introduced GranuFlo, a powder acid (dialysate) concentrate which FMC advertised as the safest dialysate ever due to its unique formula of uniformly distributed minerals that would help ensure balance in a patient’s blood.

GranuFlo, it should be understood, contains acetate and bicarbonate, two ingredients that work together in neutralizing extra acids that gather in the blood which the failed kidneys’ could no longer filter out. When these ingredients go into the body during dialysis, the acetate is converted by the liver into bicarbonate, doubling the amount of bicarbonate in the process.

When these two ingredients enter the body during dialysis, the liver converts the acetate into bicarbonate. Now, a surplus of bicarbonate inside the body can cause complications, like myocardial infarction, stroke, cardiopulmonary arrest, low blood pressure, metabolic alkalosis, and, the most serious of which, heart attack.

GranuFlo had been used in thousands of dialysis treatments since it was released by FMC, and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, in 2003. In 2010, a study was conducted by Fresenius in its own clinics (in Fresenius dialysis clinics where doctors used GranuFlo and NaturaLyte, FMC’s liquid counterpart of Granuflo, in patients that underwent dialysis) and had as many as 941 patients suffering from cardiac arrest as a result. This result, however, was only communicated by Fresenius through a memo a year later (in 2011) and only to doctors in its own dialysis centers, leaving out the FDA and all other doctors outside its centers in the communication loop. The memo specifically informed doctors in Fresenius dialysis clinics that GranuFlo increased in patients the risk of sudden death from heart attack, stroke and other complications.

The memo, however, according to the website of the GranuFlo lawsuit attorneys at Williams Kherkher, found its way into FDA hands. After conducting its own investigation, the FDA issued a Class I recall (the most serious FDA recall) for both GranuFlo and NaturaLyte in May of 2012. Barely two months after this FDA recall, lawsuits begun to be filed either by injured patients or by the families of those who have already died due to the drug.

Obvioulsy, as early as 2010 (or maybe even earlier), FMC had already known about the possible fatal risks that the drugs can cause in patients, however, it chose to continue to market and sell them without issuing proper warnings to consumers and doctors.

FMC faces legal and moral responsibilities towards patients (and the families of patients), who have been harmed by its drugs.

Drive Sober or Risk Arrest

Driving under the influence (DUI), driving while intoxicated (DWI) and operating under the influence (OUI) – all refer to drunken driving charges (the difference in terminology depends only on the state where one is arrested and charged).

Drunken driving is the cause of more than a third of all traffic fatalities, which number to about 35,000 every year, the very reason why it is considered as a major driving offense. In 2010, the US Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics registered 13,365 fatal car accidents, while the number of those arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs or both, was 1.4 million.

In all states, driving with a 0.08% (or higher) blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level is a crime, and though the severity of punishment imposed on offenders vary from one state to another, there is one certain uniformity in all jurisdictions – the punishments are severe.

A first offense DUI is usually treated as a misdemeanor; it could be raised to a felony charge, however, if the alcohol-impaired driver injures or kills someone, of if his or her BAC level is higher than the 0.08% limit (in some states, a third or fourth DUI offense can automatically lead to a felony charge).

Federal and state authorities are hell-bent on catching violators of the anti-drunk driving law, thus, they are sharp and focused on observing any signs of drunken driving, like swerving, braking erratically, driving too slowly, stopping for no apparent reason and zig-zagging across the road. For this same end, they set up sobriety checkpoints to measure drivers’ level of alcohol impairment.

According to the website of the Law Offices of Kyle Sampson, a DUI felony entails costly fines and at least one year jail time (maximum of one year imprisonment is allowed in a misdemeanor charge). In some states, a felony leads to other heavy sentences, such as:

  • Mandatory installation of an Ignition Interlock – a device that prevents a vehicle from starting if it detects in the driver a BAC level that is higher than what is considered a safe level (about 0.02%)
  • Administrative License Suspension (ALS) – a law that authorizes law enforcers to confiscate a driver’s license if the driver fails a chemical test. This can last for 90 days – 180 days, during which driving privileges may be limited to/from work
  • Open Container Law – this law, which is administered by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the he National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), requires states to prohibit the possession of open alcohol beverage containers, as well as the consumption of an alcoholic beverage, in the passenger area of a motor vehicle on all public roads.

If there is one very important thing that a person charged with a DUI felony should do, it’s get legal help. Felonies are serious charges, thus, no one should take them lightly or be led to the thought the he or she can easily defend him/herself and get an acquittal – this move can be suicidal.

Clicking on, may help you understand how serious a DUI or DWI charge is, based on the sentences imposed on offenders. Knowing and understanding DUI or DWI more may just make a person think twice before sitting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol.

A Perfect Time Out on the Water onboard Your Own Luxury Yacht

Fishing is one of America’s best pastimes which have brought fathers and sons closer to each other. It’s a father’s way of opening up to his son, of teaching him about manly concerns and, probably just showing him how to fish correctly – from rigging a line to making his son’s first catch – a skill his boy would be able to share with his own son.

A lot of these special moments took place on an old, wooden boat; but far greater than the boat and your first catch, what really mattered were the smiles, the laughter, the pat on your back and the fact that your dad had time for you.

Ever thought about yourself the one giving your dad a fishing experience this time? Not just in any ordinary way, though, but in a way that he probably truly deserves – on board a luxury sport fishing boat, which will allow you and your dad (and probably with your own son, family or friends) to spend worthwhile fun and relaxation out on the water.

Fishing boat designs have gone a long way – from looking like working boats in the past to ones that would cater to specific needs, each with a design that would ensure quality time and the fun of great fishing activity whether in open water, near the coast of at a local lake or river.

Just a few notes on how some luxury sport fishing boats have been designed:

  • All-purpose fishing boat: besides allowing you to pursue various types of fish, this sport fishing vessel is also great for watersports and spending time with family and friends.
  • Cuddy cabin: it has a small cuddy or cabin space which may serve as a sleeping berth.
  • Deck boat: its large deck feature makes this boat great for entertaining large groups of people too.
  • Fish and ski boat: fishing and, especially, wakeboarding are both fun. But why choose only one when this type of boat makes both activities possible?
  • Inboard cruiser: this is one fishing boat that features large cabin areas, making longer time out at sea possible. It also allows for offshore boating for a chance of making bigger catches.
  • Multi-hull cruiser: Also known as catamarans, these two-hulled vessels are also great for offshore boating. They feature large cabins, better stability, enough room for both fishing and sunning, and are fuel-efficient.
  • Walkaround: besides its small cabins, this boat also has a bow area where you can actually go or walk around.

Luxury sport fishing boats can cost a fortune, though, so that the truly sleek design of today’s vessels just leave many water sport and activity lovers watching in appreciation. However, according to Mikelson Yachts, aside from keeping their fishing yachts affordable without compromising craftsmanship and quality, some boat manufacturers provide yacht brokerage services, to help you own the boat that you’ve always wanted.

Owning a car is great; owning a sport fishing boat, however, can be overwhelmingly exciting. If not to give your dad an extraordinary fishing experience, then give the treat to your family, yourself, and close friends. This is one investment you will surely never regret.

Job Injuries, Job-Related Injuries and the Threat of Silicosis

On the afternoon of March 15, 2008, a tower crane being used in the construction of a 43-story concrete- framed building in New York, New York, collapsed, resulting to the death of six workers and one civilian. When the accident occurred, the workers were said to be setting lateral tie beams which were supposed to provide lateral support to the crane from the 18th floor.

Despite the damage wrought by this tower crane accident, it may still be considered minimal compared to the many other construction and industrial accidents in the past which claimed many lives, injured so many others and destroyed properties worth millions of dollars. The continuous occurrence of workplace accidents, despite their being preventable, only show that occupational dangers are still faced by all kinds of employees, regardless of the type of work they were hired to do and the workplace where they perform their job; it is also undeniable that some occupational dangers are much less serious than others, causing nothing more than minor injuries, while others are severe, able to cause major changes in the lives of those who get injured and their families.

Data from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) show that, in 2007, worker death tolls were 5,488 for job injuries, which are injuries occurring in relation to one’s job, or injuries that arise due to, and during, employment, and 49,000 for job-related injuries, or injuries which may be sustained even outside of the company’s premises (in connection to this, the US Department of Labor considers as work-related any injury sustained by those working at home or working in a home office, so long as such injury or illness is directly related to the work they are being paid for); about 4 million workers were also reported to have suffered non-fatal work-related injuries. Most of these injuries involved workers in construction sites, where millions of workers are employed and regularly exposed to heavy equipment, sharp tools, toxic substances, and many other possible causes of bodily harm.

According to the website of the Woodson Law Firm, employers have the primary duty to see to it that their employees are protected from possible workplace mishaps, which can cause job injuries which, in turn, can result to loss of income, huge medical bills, reduced earning potential, and so forth. Due to these financially burdensome repercussions, the said firm informs those who may get injured of their right to pursue compensation for any injury they have unfortunately sustained.

Injuries are not the only concern of the government and employers, though, for hundreds of thousands of workers, many of whom are already retired and sick, also get diagnosed with illnesses that have developed due to prolonged and regular exposure to poisonous substances at work. One kind of substance that has caused serious lung disease in workers is silica (or crystalline silica), one of earth’s most common minerals and a basic component of granite and sand.

Foundry workers, miners and sandblasters are among those who are regularly exposed to silica and, therefore, the ones most in danger of developing silicosis, a serious lung disease, pulmonary tuberculosis or lung cancer, which can be caused by inhalation of silica particles.

According to the website of Williams Kherkher, there are three types of silicosis, namely:

  • Simple chronic silicosis – develops at least 20 years after having been exposed to low amounts of silica particles or dust
  • Accelerated silicosis – takes about 5 to 15 years to develop due to exposure to larger amounts of silica particles
  • Acute silicosis – the result of exposure to huge amounts of silica. This usually develops after weeks or months of exposure to silica’s toxic dust.

Silicosis, has no cure or particular treatment, other than bronchodilators, cough suppressants, and, if needed, oxygen. A person who is suffering from this type of lung disease can fall into deep financial problems fast due to the high cost of medical treatment alone. It is, therefore, important that he or she find a seasoned personal injury lawyer immediately for the possible compensation that he or she may be allowed by the law to receive.