Did you know that Louisiana is one of the few states (and the first) to have a direct action statute for car accidents and other tort actions? Direct action means that an injured party can directly name the insurance company of the tortfeasor (wrongdoer) as the defendant in a personal injury lawsuit.
This is an important factor. The main advantage of being in a direct action state is that the plaintiff no longer has to sue the insured (who was the actual wrongdoer) first and then going through the process of claiming from the insurance company if the lawsuit is successful. In effect, the plaintiff can eliminate that extra step.
Another advantage is that if the plaintiff can prove that the tortfeasor has the right liability insurance coverage, the judge or the jury is more likely to award larger damages. They are typically more likely to do this if they know that an insurance company rather than the insured will be paying it. If the defendant is an individual with no insurance, juries are more likely to be sympathetic and reluctant to pass down a large award.
Louisiana is the first state to have a direct action statute. It has been in place since 1918, and it is based on the rationale that insurance coverage for car accidents is for the protection of the public, and not for the insured. It is therefore logical for an injured party to make a claim directly to the insured’s carrier. However, the plaintiff still has to prove that the insured acted negligently and that it is the proximate cause of serious injury or death.
As pointed out on the website of Lake Charles car accident attorney N. Craig Richardson, proving negligence in a car accident is not going to be easy. With a one-year statute of limitations, and the added complication of the time restrictions that may exist in the insurance policy, it is crucial that the plaintiff files a lawsuit as soon as possible after an accident.
If you sustained serious injuries in a negligent car accident in Lake Charles or any other part of Louisiana, you need to act quickly. Consult with a car accident lawyer in your area as soon as possible.
Posted by Rhett on Feb 25, 2015 in Product Liability | 0 comments
We have all seen the warning on the plastic or box of toy products with small parts: choking hazard. We are usually careful to purchase age-appropriate toys to avoid these issues but sometimes these precautions are not enough. Even if there is a warning and age restrictions, some toys are just too dangerous to be sold for use.
This was the case of a toy dart set imported from China by an American company that resulted in the death of an 8-year-old boy from Texas. It is usually the size of the toy part that constitutes a danger to very small children because they will often push these parts into their ears or nose or even swallow them. However, when the toy poses a danger to a child within the appropriate age range, then it can be considered “unreasonably dangerous.”
Above case, the Consumer Product Safety Commission launched an investigation that resulted in the issuance of a recall order of the product. But this is not the only toy that needs to be taken off the shelves.
According to this article, the following may also pose a threat to children:
- Bead sets with easily detachable heart pendant small enough to choke on
- Animal toys with parts that detach and represent a choking hazard (no small parts warning)
- Toys that look like food
- Lead-containing inflatable toys
- Antimony, cadmium and phthalates in toys
- Too-loud toys
Just because a product is found in the toy department in a major retail store does not mean that it is safe for a child’s use. If your child has acquired or been given any of the toys in this list, you should remove it at once. You may not have been aware of the dangers they pose, especially the toxic elements that may be present in the toy’s materials.
According to the website of Ritter & Associates, if your child has been seriously harmed because of a toy, you may be able to bring the manufacturer or importer to account for their negligence. Contact a personal injury lawyer in your area to find out more about product liability.
Posted by Rhett on Jan 10, 2015 in Divorce | 0 comments
Misunderstanding, lack of communication and not having enough time for one another can make marriages turn sour and the husband’s and wife’s union, filled with frustration, pain and stress. While some couples are able to remedy this marital problem that is slowly gnawing away everything that is good in a marital union, other couples become hopeless and consider ending the marriage as the only way to see the beauty of life again.
Ending a marital union through divorce, though, is not a painless process. Experts and legal professionals openly say that the divorce process is a very sensitive and emotional procedure; it also entails many other significant issues that need to be settled, if possible, through less painful and faster means.
These divorce-related issues include child custody, visitation rights, child support, spousal support, paternity actions, and division of properties, assets and debts. Besides being complicated, these issues also involve laws that are hard to understand, especially for those involved in it. Very often too, spouses find it very hard to give in to the demands of each other regarding these issues. A Raleigh divorce lawyer can tell you that failure to reach agreeable terms, however, may result to the divorce and its other issues landing on a family court judge’s desk. And, once these become the judge’s concern, then all decisions will be made by the judge, whether the spouses find the terms acceptable or not. These decisions are legal, thus, these require the spouses’ strict compliance or suffer contempt of court.
While some couples still choose to settle divorce and all divorce-related issues in court, many others have sought another path – one that is faster, cheaper and much friendlier. This process also promotes respect and allows the couple, rather than a judge, to decide on all matters. This process is called mediation.
Mediated divorce has become the more preferable way of settling divorce due to the many benefits it provides divorcing partners. It is done through the help of an objective third-party individual, called the mediator, who is usually chosen by the spouses themselves. Though the mediator can share his/her opinion to give light to the issue at hand, he/she can never impose anything on the couple.
The process of mediation offers couples the following benefits:
- Arriving at the most agreeable and workable solutions
- The spouses have total control of the procedure and its outcome
- Openness between the spouses
- Cheaper compared to a court hearing and requires lesser time
- Ensures privacy as the procedure involves only the spouses (with their respective lawyers, if they have one)
According to this website, a mediated divorce can potentially preserve the spouses’ respect for each other – an important element which will definitely affect children’s ways of relating to both of their parents. Thus, rather than a painful court experience, which any one can witness, a peaceful and friendly settlement will definitely be more preferable.
Posted by Rhett on Sep 3, 2014 in Health | 1 comment
On April 17, 2014, the US Food and Drug Administration released a safety alert that warned of the further use of power morcellators in laparoscopic(minimally invasive) surgeries, such as myomectomy, or the removal of uterine fibroids (also called myoma), and hysterectomy, which is removal of the womb or uterus. This alert is based on reports that power morcellators can cause the spread of minced or divided (morcellated) tissue on the abdominal structures and organs, which can result to: fibroids, adenomyosis and endometriosis (adenomyosis is a condition wherein the inner linings of the uterus or womb would protrude through the muscle wall of the uterus, while endometriosis is the growth of the inner lining of the uterus in the abdomen, which can cause bleeding and intense pain). Though these conditions are bad enough, as these can require further surgery, the real worst result of the use of the identified device is the risk of the development of a rare, yet deadly, cancer, like leiomyosarcoma, due to the spread of a tissue, called uterine sarcoma.
A power morcellator is a medical device that is able to cut large pieces of tissues into small sizes to allow these to pass through the tiny incisions on the abdomen. Since the introduction of these devices in the early 1990s, many doctors have preferred laparoscopic hysterectomies and myomectomies (which make use of morcellators) over the traditional abdominal (an open surgery that requires a 5–7-inch incision on the abdomen) and vaginal hysterectomies. This preference is due to the many advantages of laparoscopic surgery (over traditional surgeries), which include tiny (four 0.5-1cm)incisions that heal much faster, shorter hospital confinement, lesser risk of complications and infection, less pain and less blood loss.
Due to the FDA’s safety alert, Ethicon, the power morcellator manufacturing division of Johnson & Johnson, stopped all sales and promotion of their devices (beginning April 30, 2014), which included the Morcellex Sigma, the Gynecare X-Tract and the Gynecare Morcellex.
Johnson & Johnson’s Gynecare Morcellex (mechanical ) Tissue Morcellator, specifically, was engineered to provide optimum performance and reliability. It enables surgeon to morcellate tissues smoothly and efficiently, and it eliminates many of the difficulties often associated with surgical procedures, including laparoscopic urologic procedures, laparoscopic general surgical procedures and laparoscopic gynecologic procedures.
Due to its design to perform four times faster than previously manufactured power morcellators, the Gynecare Morcellex is able to significantly reduce the length of the surgical procedures; it is also enabled to ensure ultimate safety and precision in tissue cutting and removal, and minimize any risk of hernia development.
Despite its unquestionable performance and great sales, however, Ethicon found it wiser to stop its sale, withdraw it from the market, and ask hospitals to return it, along with its other power morcellators, in compliance with the FDA alert.
With more than 50,000 laparoscopic hysterectomies and myomectomies performed every year, the chances of further increase in the number of lawsuits against manufacturers of power morcellators is definitely possible. And it is best that women, who have been harmed by the device (regardless of who manufactured it) contact the morcellator lawsuit lawyers at the National Injury Law Center immediately, for fast legal decision and action (if necessary) to enable them to seek the full amount of compensation that they legally deserve.
Posted by Rhett on Jul 16, 2014 in Health | 2 comments
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires boxed warning, or black box warnings, for prescription medications and products that carry a significant or life-threatening risk to the consumer’s health. Unfortunately, most black box warnings aren’t administered until numerous cases of adverse incidents prove it necessary. Boxed warnings are used to protect consumers through the provision of vital information. One of the most common black box warnings accompanies all antidepressants.
After the inception of their widespread popularity, antidepressants, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), were given a boxed warning due to the reported increased risk of suicide and violent behavior. The market release of Prozac, the first well-known name brand SSRI, brought in numerous reports of some patients feeling suicidal and angry. Eli Lilly and Company, the manufacturer of Prozac, has paid out over $50 million in settlements to families that have been affected by the adverse effects of Prozac.
Though black box warnings are meant to protect patients, prescribers, and manufacturers, alike, some researchers question if the warnings will discourage people who need treatment from seeking the necessary help. Though SSRIs have been linked to suicidality in patients, it doesn’t affect a healthy majority of consumers. So, if a patient is too afraid to seek help, and a physician is too afraid to prescribe the medication because of potential risks, the outcome could be just as dangerous. For some patients, finding the most effective SSRI, can be a process. Waiting for the drug to take effect can take as long as six to eight weeks. Additionally, patients should pay attention to their mood especially if it worsens. If one SSRI causes a patient to feel suicidal, another medication usually works much better in alleviating feelings of depression.
Posted by Rhett on Jun 2, 2014 in Health | 0 comments
The health benefits of drinking tea have long been established. Research has determined the positive effects of tea are due to polyphenols (a type of antioxidant) and the phytochemicals present in the plant Camellia sinensis. The antioxidants in tea can prevent certain cancers, reduce chances of heart attack, help fight free radicals in the body, enhance the body’s endurance, supplement diet and exercise, and even protect against ultraviolet rays.
Tea only has four variations: the oolong, black, white, and green. Anything that is an infusion of a different plant in not considered, in technical terms, tea. Being the world’s most consumed beverage, it helps to fully understand how each type of tea can affect your health and help you choose which one would best give you the benefits you are looking for.
Green tea is full of catechins. Catechins are known to be a powerhouse for fighting certain types of cancers, and are believed to be the reason for the reduced risks of diseases. It can also limit the effects of smoking and unhealthy diets. Drinking green tea can help in destroying the bad bacteria inside the body, preventing tooth decay and cause healthier skin, nails and hair.
Black tea is the most common type of tea in the market, has a slightly bitter flavor and has the most caffeine among the four types of tea. Black tea can help prevent blood clotting, and has more heart-related benefits. It is the most adaptable and can be mixed or spiced with cinnamon, milk, or others. Comparable to coffee, it is better than coffee because the caffeine in black tea takes longer to be absorbed in the bloodstream, providing longer, yet gentler awakening effects.
Oolong tea is similar to black tea; the difference is that the fermentation time is shorter. Oolong helps dissolve a form of dietary fat in the body (triglycerides) that is stored in fat cells. It is highly beneficial in weight loss, as well as in fighting aging skin. It appears and tastes similar to green tea, but has about the same caffeine content as black tea. Oolong tea is often considered an acquired taste, because its distinct mellow taste is hard to complement with sweeteners.
White tea is considered the health multitasker, offering several health benefits such as cardiovascular wellness and cancer-fighting advantages. White tea leaves are the least processed, and therefore, the rarest of four teas, containing the least amount of caffeine and have the mildest flavor among the four teas.
Road safety has always been one of the top priorities not only for the government, but also for the manufacturers and eventually the drivers of these vehicles. There are many ways that a car accident can occur on the road: distractions, defective auto parts, negligence, drunk driving, and many others. In order to combat the rising number of car accidents in the United States, the government is now trying to urge motorist to have “talking” technology in their vehicles in an attempt to prevent road accidents.
In the past, the most important safety feature that most cars have has been seat belts and air bags. Although it does help in securing the safety of the driver and passengers, it is not enough to prevent serious injury once a car accident does occur. Because of this, technological advances have looked into further enhancing the safety feature of cars in order to lower the risks of injury or death when car collisions occur. According to various companies, this technology will feature vehicle-to-vehicle communications systems that would automatically let cars provide and exchange safety data and would signal drivers of imminent collisions once the car senses that another vehicle in too close or is speeding.
Although the safety feature is still in its initial stage, one implemented, the government suggests it could prevent at least 80 percent of road accidents. The US Department of Transportation hopes that once the vehicle-to-vehicle communication system is complete, every vehicle will be required to install the safety system. It has already been hailed as the next generation of improvements for vehicle safety, a great shift from the passive safety technology that seatbelts and airbags provide to a much more active safety technology.
According to the website of Williams Kherkher, preventing a car accident is always a better option than having to pay for medical bills due to a serious injury or fatality. This is why aside from the vehicle-to-vehicle communication system, back-up cameras and crash avoidance systems are already being used by many motorists. Installed cameras around the vehicle can help provide the driver proper view of those around him or her, and crash avoidance systems help alert motorists of other vehicles around them. These car safety technological advances could effectively lower or prevent car accidents in the near future.
Driver distraction is one of the top reasons for road accidents. According to the Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (both divisions of the Department of Transportation), “driver distraction” actually has different divisions (visual, manual, auditory, and cognitive) that can be voluntary or involuntary. The diversion can be a person, even, or object that can attract the attention of the driver, shifting his or her focus from the primary focus which is driving. The use of cell phones or mobile phones has qualified for all four divisions of distraction, therefore severely compromising the safety of the truck driver and other motorists and pedestrians.
Because of the danger of cell phone use, many trucking companies have already started using a Bluetooth headset for communication. Furthermore, a federal ban on using hand-held cell phones was already implemented last January, 2012. The law has ruled out the use of hand-held cell phones while to vehicle is moving or while they are stopped for a light or on a stop sign. Emergency calls are allowed.
There are, however, people who argue about the safety of using a Bluetooth headset. Being hands-free can really be a great improvement since it keeps the truck driver’s hands on the wheel, but many disagree. According to earlier studies, driving requires a lot of concentration, and even a small distraction can greatly increase the chances of an 18-wheeler accident to occur. According to www.jeffsampsonlaw.com, a mere three seconds of driver distraction can already prove fatal and lead to serious road accidents. At 60mph, you’re traveling 88 feet every second. At high speeds, it’s plain to see that a lot can change in three seconds.
The federal law of prohibiting the use of hand-held cell phones definitely has its advantages, and could certainly prevent driver distraction and potential 18-wheeler accidents. It is, nevertheless, important to understand that cell phone use is not the only distraction that a truck driver can have; there are other gadgets that they are using, such as radio units and GPS consoles. Technologies such as these can already be a distraction to many truck drivers, therefore regulations alone may not be enough to prevent 18-wheeler accidents from happening. We just have to trust truckers to behave responsibly, at least while they’re on assignment.
Posted by Rhett on Apr 16, 2014 in Business Concepts | 2 comments
Due diligence can cover a number of things, but in legal terms it is considered as “the measure of prudence, activity, or assiduity, as is properly expected from, and ordinarily exercised by, a reasonable and prudent person under the particular circumstance; not measured by any absolute standard but depends on the relative facts of the special case..” which, to be put in another way, due diligence would mean ensuring that you are getting what you think you are paying for. This is especially important for potential acquirers of a business. In a possible merger or acquisition of a corporation, due negligence is a necessary first step, since an intensive investigation can provide vital information and facts relevant to an acquirer to make an informed decision.
Providing the potential buyer every bit of information you have about your company or corporation can save you from a number of lawsuits that he or she can bring once the deal has been made. Hiding problems that is present in the business could put you in danger of facing a lawsuit for fraud, and could potentially kill the deal before it is made. Generally, the potential acquirer would provide a number of questions and possible requests for certain copies of documents that should be answered and given on a given date. Additionally, as a seller, you should also disclose information regarding any issues with tax and audits, insurance claims, filed lawsuits, and other possible liabilities that could affect the acquisition or merger.
Being a seller also makes you responsible for your own due diligence; you have to make sure that the potential acquirer or merger has enough funds for payment, and guarantee that employees are taken care of. There are also many possibilities that could happen after the acquisition or merger – you could become a consultant or possible employee for the new company. Moreover, you should make sure the new business owners have assumed (as part of the deal) the debts that your business has acquired, otherwise you might still be the one who will be legally liable for these debts.
Posted by Rhett on Apr 11, 2014 in Asbestos | 5 comments
Exposure to asbestos has been linked to certain types of cancer and other health complications, and recently the danger of asbestos to tenants and homeowners has also been recognized. It is the property owner’s responsibility to ensure that his or her tenant is safe during the duration of their stay; however, there are also instances where the tenant or occupier of the property is liable for anything that occurs in the property. Because of this, it would be better to fully understand how tenant and property owner responsibility work in chances of premises liability and possible personal injury claims go.
According to a 200-page regulation issued by the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) which establishes the precise standards for workplace testing, maintenance, and eventual disclosure of asbestos, property owners who are in the general industry, shipyards, and construction works are required to set up warning labels and train their staff, as well as inform those who work is jobs that might have exposure to asbestos. Because rental properties are considered as “general industry” by OSHA, they are required to follow the given regulations for necessary property maintenance, whether they are large-scale property rentals or small scale landowners.
Discovery of asbestos in the property does not necessarily mean that it is already an unsafe property. The danger of asbestos and asbestos-related diseases is due to it being airborne (through deterioration). If it is not disturbed, the law may not require to property owner to remove it. It is required by law, however, to have the tenant informed of the presence of asbestos and the types of things that could disturbed it, thus rendering the area an unsafe property.
When the presence and danger of exposure to asbestos has deemed the rented property an unsafe property and the owner did not inform the tenant, then the owner can be held liable for the damages that the tenant incurred. It is also the property owner’s responsibility to do the repairs in the rented property via a suitable and non-negligent manner to ensure that the “reasonable standard of protection” is provided.