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U.S. Laws on the use of Cellular Phone while Driving...

According to the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) and the National Safety Council (NSC), 2015 may has been the deadliest driving year for Americans since 2008 due to the rise in motor vehicle deaths. About 38,300 people were killed on U.S. roads, while 4.4 million were seriously injured (road fatality in 2014 was 32,675).

This dramatic increase in the number of cars on the road is attributed to gas prices going down. With more cars on the road, incidences of alcohol-impaired driving, speeding, people failing to buckle up, and instances of distracted driving also increased.

Distracted driving refers to any form of activity that takes a driver’s attention away from the primary task of driving. The introduction of cell phones and now, the expansion of smartphone functions and wider use of social media platforms, have further worsened distractions behind the wheel. Though these are clear threats to road safety, these, nonetheless make cell phone use appear more fun and exciting. Many drivers today, especially teens and young adult drivers, not only read, send and/or reply to texts while driving; they now also send emails, snap selfies, conduct video chats, shoot videos, and use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Snapchat; some even watch YouTube videos while driving, practically believing that they can drive and do anything else safely.

Below is the cellular phone use and texting while driving laws in the U.S. (from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) (http://www.ncsl.org/research/transportation/cellular-phone-use-and-texting-while-driving-laws.aspx):

Hand-held Cell Phone Use Ban: 14 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands prohibit all drivers from using hand-held cell phones while driving.

  • All Cell Phone ban: No state bans all cell phone use for all drivers, but 37 states and D.C. ban all cell phone use by novice or teen drivers, and 20 states and D.C. prohibit any cell phone use for school bus drivers.
  • Text Messaging ban: 46 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands ban text messaging for all drivers.

Despite the bans on texting and cellphone use while driving, so many drivers refuse to be dissuaded from texting and using their cell phone while behind the wheel. A distraction while driving at fast speed, even a momentary one, may cause a driver to:

  • Drift out of the proper lane and into the path of an oncoming car traveling in the opposite direction
  • Fail to signal lane changes or turns
  • Change lanes without checking blind spots
  • Turn the wrong way onto a one way street
  • Enter a highway ramp in the wrong direction
  • Disregard a traffic signal
  • Fail to notice a bicyclist or pedestrian on or near the road

Deaths and injuries caused by motor vehicle crashes are simply unacceptable. Most car accidents are preventable with responsible, diligent, and focused driving. By doing away with reckless, dangerous, and negligent driving behaviors, lives can be saved and injuries prevented. One way to accomplish this is by holding irresponsible drivers accountable for their actions and making them compensate those that they hurt in a car accident.

Traffic Violations and Ticket Penalties

Traffic Violations and Ticket Penalties

Traffic laws are not there to oppress you, but to control and limit your action to ensure that the roads are safe not just for you, but also for the others around you. Violations of traffic laws can lead to traffic accidents, property damages, injuries, and even death, that is why authorities make sure that these laws are strictly followed. Violating traffic laws can result into citations, but you can fight a traffic ticket if it seems unreasonable, maybe because of misunderstandings or exaggerations.

Violations may be classified into two – moving and non-moving.

Moving Violations

Moving violations are violations that involve vehicles in motion. The most common forms of moving violations include driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, driving without a seat belt, driving below the minimum speed, running through a red light or stop sign, reckless driving, and speeding.

Non-Moving Violations

Non-moving violations refer to violations that do not concern the movement of the vehicle. The most common forms of non-moving violations include driving with an invalid vehicle registration, having excessive muffler noise, having an expired or missing license plate, parking in front of a fire hydrant, in a no-park zone, and other illegal areas.

Ticket Penalties

Aside from the fines you need to pay and the educational courses you need to take, traffic tickets can have more devastating consequences, depending on the gravity of your violation.

License Suspension – The Department of Motor Vehicles, or more commonly known as DMV, can suspend your license, taking away your privilege to drive for a certain period of time. Once that time has been completed, you can apply for a license reinstatement by getting the necessary restoration requirements and taking written and driving tests.

License Revocation – DMV also has the ability to take away your driving license. Once this has happened, you need to fully apply for a license again, as if it is your first time applying to it.

Aside from suspension and revocation, your license can also be cancelled. According to the website of Ali Mokaram, license cancellations are more commonly issued on those who have eligibility issues instead of traffic violations.

Questioning violations and ticket penalties is a good thing, but it is always better to drive safely, follow traffic rules, park on designated parking areas, and make sure that you have the necessary documents and other legal forms that concern driving.

Burn Injuries: Classification and Degrees

According to the Hankey Law Office, approximately 2.4 million burn injuries are reported each year in the United States. Burns are one of the most painful and damaging injuries an individual can experience, as they not only cause intense physical pain for extended periods of time, but can also result in permanent disfigurement or disability.

Most burn injuries are due to accident occurring in the home more than anywhere else. Records from the National Burn Repository (NBR) of the American Burn Association (ABA) show that 73% of all burn accidents in the U.S. are actually household-related and that the most common victims are children and senior citizens.

Burns are classified according to their causes. Thus, based on cause, a burn can be a/an:

  • Thermal or heat burn injury. This is caused by coming in contact with heated objects, such as boiling water, hot tap water, hot grease/oil, steam, hot food, hot drink, fire, firework, curling irons and flammable liquids.
  • Chemical burn injury. Chemical burns occur when the skin or eyes come into contact with an irritant such as a strong acid, a base or other irritants. The most common products that cause chemical burns are pool chemicals, car battery acid, drain cleaners, ammonia, cleaning products, bleach and teeth whitening products. Chemical burns, which can cause a reaction on the skin or in your body, are also known as caustic burns.
  • Electrical burn injury. Electrical burn is the result of electricity passing through the body and causing rapid injury (or damage to tissues and organs). About 1,000 electrical injures resulting in death are reported in the U.S. every year. Electrical burns can be caused by power lines, short-circuiting devices, lightning and other kinds of electrical objects.
  • Radiation burn injury. This refers to damage to the skin or tissues due to radiation exposure. Sunburn, which is caused by UV radiation, is the common type of radiation burn; the dangerous types, however, are those caused by nuclear radiation, radio frequency energy, thermal radiation and ionizing radiation.

The degree of burn injury a person is suffering from is determined by severity of skin and tissue damage. If only the skin’s outer layer is affected, it is called first-degree or minor burn. A burn injury, wherein the layer beneath the skin is affected, is called second-degree burn. It causes the most unbearable pain (compared to other burn degrees) because it directly affects the nerves.

Some medical professionals say that third-degree burn is the worst type of burn injury because it damages the skin’s three layers: the epidermis, or the skin’s top layer; the dermis; and, the subcutaneous fat, which attaches the dermis to the muscles and bones and the area where blood vessels and nerve cells get bigger and go to the other parts of the body. Others, however, say that the worst type of burn injury is a fourth degree burn as this affects the muscles and bones.

There are occasions when a fire accident is a result of a property owner failing to adhere to fire safety regulations or a manufacturer producing a defective tanning bed. If a burn injury is a result of someone’s act of carelessness or negligence, then the victim can pursue a legal action to bring the liable party to justice and to seek compensation for the damages he/she has been made to suffer.

Available Damages In An Industrial Accident

If you are working in an industrial site, you are at a great risk of getting injured. And while it is the job of your employer to ensure the safety of working conditions, accidents and injuries can still find their way in the workplace. According to the website of Cazayoux Ewing Law Firm, it is the job of your employer to adhere to safety standards.

The good news is that you can seek compensation for the injuries you have incurred. Workplace accidents are associated with a lot of bills and lost time at work. Since you may spend a long time out of work, getting injured may become of a financial burden to you. Here is a list of the available damages that you can claim in an industrial accident:

Treatment Costs

If the injury resulted to medical treatment, you can seek to recover for the cost of hospital bills. Aside from the compensation you lost due to missed work, The amount of damages may also include the cost of future treatment.

Pain and Suffering

The court may also award compensation for pain and suffering for the injuries you incurred during the accident. While we cannot put a value on pain and suffering, the cost of damages will help alleviate the pain caused by getting injured.

Emotional Distress

Although it is designed to help alleviate discomfort after the accident, there is a difference between pain and suffering and emotional distress as damages. The former need not be proven in court while the latter still requires some proof. The injured has to prove that their injury has caused emotional stress to them. The plaintiff has to show psychiatric records as evidence.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are paid not to assist the injured but to punish the defendant. This is true especially when the defendant knew something would happen but continued despite their knowledge. However, not all states award punitive damages.

Pedestrian Accidents

The Royal Oak Police Department in Michigan has reported that a 26-year-old Florida resident has lost his life after an accident at around 12:50 a.m. on Saturday, February 27 when he was hit by a Canadian National Railway train near the intersection of S. Main Street and Sixth Street.

The victim was brought to William Beaumont Hospital – where he later succumbed to his mortal injuries – by the Royal Oak Fire Department.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, most pedestrian accidents occur between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. as there are more vehicles and people using the roads due to their performance of day-to-day activities such as going to place of work or school. These accidents mostly involve injuries, as there is more probabilities that the drivers who hit a passer-by is distracted, but more or less in control of his or her motor functions.

The transportation agency stated, on the other hand, that pedestrian fatalities usually occur at night, because such accidents are usually caused by factors such as drunken drivers, drunken pedestrians, or poor visibility, which could all lead to mortal injuries for the pedestrian involved.

According to the website of Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller, & Overbeck, P.A., the major contributing factor to the rise of pedestrian accidents in the United States is the tendency of pedestrians to jaywalk, a tendency which usually occurs in urban cities. This is because police officers tend to not be that stringent when it comes to enforcing policies regarding jaywalking. Aside from it being a low-priority concern for law enforcement, jaywalking is also considered low in the priority of lawmakers in each state – they tend not to enact more stringent rules to violators of said offense.

Pedestrians also do not see familiar routes as particularly a source of potential danger, so they let their guard down when crossing familiar streets, as compared with pedestrians who have been involved in or have witnessed car accidents, who are more likely to cross with more care in crosswalks.

The shadowy link between ovarian cancer and power morcellator...

In this day and age of innovation, something new is happening in the medical world almost every single day. Newer treatments and therapies are constantly being discovered. Fresher, cheaper synthetic drugs are taking over the organic, expensive ones. Invasive procedures are being replaced with laparoscopic, “keyhole” procedures. And these are happening really fast.

The use of power morcellator during a hysterectomy (surgery involving the uterus, the cervix, and other adjacent structures) is considered one of many innovations at the turn of the century. This medical device is used to remove benign (non-cancerous) uterine mass along the inside lining of the uterus, called uterine fibroids. It works by breaking the masses down to smaller pieces before vacuuming it out of the uterus.

Before power morcellators were used, doctors would have to perform an abdominal surgery to remove the fibroids. For certain cases, a patient might be required to take hormonal contraceptives, although this would not be a good choice for a woman who is trying to become pregnant.

But almost any innovation also has its own downside. According to website of Williams Kherkher (view website), power morcellators have been associated with cases of endometrial (or uterine) cancer. But how can this device actually cause cancer? In an announcement made by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2014, the agency said 1 in 350 women who underwent procedure to remove uterine fibroids have undetected uterine sarcoma, a disease involving malignant cancer cells in the muscles of the uterus.

The use of this device during a laparoscopic procedure may actually break down and spread these unsuspected cancer tissues in the uterus and in the surrounding structures within the pelvis and the abdomen. To date, more and more women have been filing legal action against the manufacturers of these devices for their failure to inform medical professionals and the public about the cancer risk associated with its use.

Zofran and Cleft Lips

Baby’s lips form during the fourth and seventh weeks of pregnancy. They begin growing from the sides, and connect in the middle. Those lines directly under your nose are evidence of your lips joining together to make a continuous lip. When they don’t join together, a cleft lip is the result. The hole in the lip can be on either side, but most commonly is near the center. Genetics can be a factor, but most often there are outside factors that contribute to the deformity occurring. Medications given during pregnancy can be one of those factors.

Zofran is a controversial drug that was created to help cancer patients manage their nausea during treatments. It works by suppressing the chemicals that are responsible for nausea and vomiting. However, it began being prescribed to expectant mothers for their morning sickness. There had not been research done about the use of this medication by pregnant women, and the FDA had not approved it for use by pregnant women for their morning illness.

The connections between Zofran and the development of cleft lips are still unclear, but Zofran lawyers are investigating the matter. Babies that suffer from cleft lips have a difficult time feeding properly and can suffer from poor nutrition and stunted growth. As they grow older, they can have difficulty speaking clearly. The only way to correct this deformity is through surgery early on in the child’s life. More than one surgery may be necessary, and this creates unnecessary pain and suffering for the child that could have been avoided.

Dangerous Pharmaceuticals are not all Bad

Modern medicine has extended the lifespan of people considerably, and that includes drugs that address pain, infections, neurological conditions, and so on and so forth. Without modern pharmaceuticals, it would be very easy to die from conditions that we don’t even take seriously today. However, it is also undeniable that some drugs, especially prescription drugs, have serious side effects that are sometimes worse than the original condition is it designed to treat.

Take Depakote (divalproex sodium), for example. It manages epileptic seizures as well as some symptoms of bipolar disorder. Some studies associate it with increased cognitive abilities. However, as discussed on the website of law firm Williams Kherkher, it also causes serious side effects. Most particularly, Depakote should not be prescribed for pregnant women to treat migraine headaches as it is linked to higher risk of birth defects that include spina bifida, malformation of the skull and face, and brain defects.

Another drug that is causing issues with some patients is Risperdal (risperidone) which is prescribed to treat the symptoms of autism, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. It has also been prescribed for unapproved uses such as to manage symptoms of dementia in older patients. The website of the Risperdal lawyers from Williams Kherkher says that there have been documented instances where patients have developed adverse side effects including gynecomastia (development of breasts in males) and pancreatitis, among many other conditions.

It is unfortunate that these side effects should occur, but if doctors and patients are fully informed about them, then they can make an informed decision when weighing the pros and cons of taking prescription drugs. The failure of drug makers to give adequate warning, or even suppressing information that involves the safety of patients, is a serious breach of their duty of care.

If you have been seriously injured from using dangerous drugs because you were not fully informed about the possible consequences, you may have a claim against the drug manufacturer. However, engaging a big drug company in a legal battle can be difficult. Find an experienced dangerous pharmaceuticals lawyer in your state to take up the cudgels for you.

Problems with Keeping Your Mineral Rights

If you own mineral rights, there are many possibilities open to you. You can keep it, lease it, or sell it. However, no one really knows if your mineral rights are worth anything until you start digging, so it is pretty much a gamble whatever you do. This is especially true if your mineral rights are in a location known for rich deposits of an industrially valuable commodity such as oil or natural gas.

If you keep it to yourself, there is a chance that you can make more money later on if it turns out you are sitting on a gold mine, sometimes literally! But, the converse is also true. If it turns out that you have nothing, then the value goes down to zero.

If you lease or sell the rights, you are taking a chance that you have agreed to terms that are not advantageous to you. For example, if you lease it for an X amount annually, and agree to so much in royalty fees, you are tied to that for the duration of the lease even as the developer mines millions. The same will apply when selling your mineral rights. The big difference between leasing and selling is that with selling, you can get a big amount of cash right then and there. You will also never have to worry about keeping track of rental fees and royalty checks.

Of course, you could be losing out on a fortune when you sell. On the other hand, you could be getting a lot of money for mineral rights that turn out to be a bust. The trick is to sell at the right amount to the right buyer so that the chances that you will lose out are smaller. Companies such as The Mineral Auction in Austin, Texas lets you put your mineral rights up for bids to legitimate buyers. The beauty of it is that you do not have to sell them to the highest bidder if you don’t feel like you’re getting what you want.

DWI Charges are not Convictions

Texas is death on drunk drivers, especially with emotions running high after a drunk driver recently killed a single mother and her two young sons. However, being arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI) and subsequently charged is not a conviction. This is an important distinction when considering its impact on the defendant’s life and career.

Texas has some of the most stringent DWI laws in the US, and according to the website of the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter, even first offenders can find themselves paying hefty fines and spending time in jail. The worst thing, however, is that those facing DWI charges for the first time may not realize that they are on the brink of getting a criminal record.

First-time DWI offenders are charged with a Class B misdemeanor. It is less serious than a felony but it is nonetheless a criminal offense. It is something that will follow them for the rest of their lives and close doors to many opportunities in education, careers, even public office. A DWI conviction can also make them a subject of discrimination when it comes to social encounters. No one wants to be associated with a convicted criminal.

It is important for people facing DWI charges to take the situation seriously, especially if they have previous DWI charges and convictions. An article on the website of Ian Inglis points out that a defendant failing to secure proper representation in DWI charges is likely to get more severe punishment. They should get the best DWI attorney they can find to defend them from DWI charges.

If you are facing DWI charges, the first thing you have to do is to get a criminal defense attorney in Texas with a good track record in defending their clients. It is the best way to avoid severe consequences.