DUI and the Severity of this Crime if You have a Child Passenger

Posted by on Mar 30, 2017 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Statistical records on road tragedies in the US show that more than 5 million car accidents occur every year. More than half this number is accounted to permanent injuries either to the person who actually caused the accident or to an innocent victim. There are various reasons why auto accidents occur and though some lie beyond the direct control of a driver, such as road defect or car part defect, the main reason is still driver’s fault or error.

Drunk driving tops the list of driver fault as cause of an accident; speeding is the second reason, while the third is reckless driving. This is despite all the warnings, the educational programs and public awareness, the visibility of traffic enforcers and the penalties which have been made stiffer over the years.

People who choose to drive after drinking simply put innocents’ lives on the line, and the more a person drinks the likelihood of getting into an accident, more so, a fatal one, also increases. This is because any amount of alcohol will definitely affect or impair a person’s motor and mental skills. Impairment due to alcohol, by the way, is never based on the type of alcoholic beverage drank, but on the amount of alcohol consumed over a particular time period.

Based on the usual way of measuring blood alcohol content (BAC) or blood ethanol concentration (the basis for measurement is a 160 lb. male whose liver is functioning normally) in a normal person, two to three bottles of beer consumed within an hour would register about 0.04% alcohol content in the blood. This means that after consuming four to five bottles of beer within an hour, a person would register a BAC reading of about 0.08%, the limit in all jurisdictions in the U.S. Anyone caught driving with a 0.08% or higher BAC reading can be charged with drinking under the influence (DUI), drinking while intoxicated (DWI), operating while impaired (OWI), or operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI) – in some states, DUI, DWI, OWI and OVI are used interchangeably, while in other states, DWI refers to intoxication due to alcohol, while DUI refers to being under the influence either of alcohol or prohibited drugs.

Though people may have different levels of tolerance to alcohol, so that habitual drinkers may remain more sober than social drinkers after ingesting the same amount of alcohol, those who will be caught ought to bear in mind that BAC is based on the amount of alcohol in the blood; it does not measure sobriety and physical alertness. This means that even if a person is quite okay physically and mentally even after consuming a six-pack, the fact that he or she has more than 0.08% BAC, he will still be charged with DUI, DWI, OWI, OVI, since his being intoxicated is a potential reason for a serious car accident that will compromise the safety and lives of unsuspecting road users.

Springdale DUI lawyers explain that, “A DWI/DUI can be deemed a felony-level crime for many reasons, especially, in South Carolina. If anyone is seriously injured due to the accident, it is almost automatically considered a felony. Any child passenger involved in a drunk driving accident also greatly increases the likelihood of being charged with a felony DUI. Furthermore, a third DUI offense is automatically deemed a felony-level crime. A felony elevates the range of punishments for a crime, so establishing a strong defense to preserve your freedom becomes all the more important.”

The courts already do not take DUI cases lightly. Drunk driving cases, especially those involving children are subject to additional fines and jail time, and these additional penalties are mandatory if convicted for the original offense. Even if you are not convicted of the DUI, a mandatory 60-day license suspension might be imposed. In some states, a child is said to be anyone who is under the age of 16. An experienced DUI defense attorney may be able to help you reduce or completely avoid additional DUI penalties.

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Cellular Phone Use and Texting While Driving Laws in the U.S.

Posted by on Jan 5, 2017 in Motor Vehicle Accidents | 0 comments

The National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) and the National Safety Council (NSC) say that 2015 is most likely 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).

The dramatic increase in the number of cars on the road, one of the effects of gas prices going down, is one of the key factors for the rise in road fatalities, according to the NSC. And, with more cars on the road, were also more incidences of alcohol-impaired driving, speeding, people failing to buckle up, and many more instances of distracted driving.

Distracted driving, specifically, refers to any form of activity that takes a driver’s attention away from the primary task of driving. This bad road behavior takes many forms, including, but definitely not limited to, eating and/or drinking, cell phone use and texting while driving, smoking, and adjusting the radio. Since the introduction of cell phones, however, and now, the expansion of smartphone functions and wider use of social media platforms, driving distractions have donned a new front and it makes threats to road safety appear fun and exciting. Many drivers today, especially teens and young adult drivers, not only read, send and/or reply to texts while driving, but 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.

Despite differences of states laws on cell phone use, one thing is the same anywhere: there are no current laws, in any state, that ban all cell phone use for all drivers. 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. The state of New Jersey, in particular, where distracted driving has been the top cause of fatal crashes for five straight years (2010 – 2014), saw the need to raise fines for talking or texting on hand-held wireless communication devices to discourage and stop anyone from further violating the ban on cell phone use.

Well, let’s face it. Many driver may see the figures above as nothing more than just statistical data. However, for those who have actually been hurt in a car accident and know fully well how their injuries have altered the way they live, making a statistical impression would be a thing they would rather have erased if only time could be turned back. The Todd J. Leonard Law Firm recommends if you are driving, just drive, therefore, before you get involved in something you’ll be sorry for, for a very long time.

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Avoiding Bicycle Accidents on the Road

Posted by on Mar 23, 2016 in Bicycle Accidents | 0 comments

The rise in the use of bicycles as alternative modes of transportation has lead to many people learning more and more about safe bicycle practices, and rings true in the state of Indiana which has seen a sharp increase of cyclers in all state around the US. Unfortunately, this has also lead to an increase in bicycle accidents, and the fatality rate has also increased in an alarming rate as well. The increase in accidents involves both motor vehicles and pedestrians/fellow cyclists, so the major concern here is how cyclists stay safe while on the road and lower the chances of be a bicycle accident.

In the state of Indiana, there are regulations that help keep motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians safe. For cyclists, using helmets while on the bike is a requirement, and the cyclist is instructed to wear their helmet at all times. The use of headlights and backs lights is highly recommended, especially when riding at night. Riders are advised to ride with the traffic, and are allowed to use the middle lane of the street whenever they feel unsafe riding on the bicycle lane (although you have the right to be on the bicycle lane). It is also important to stay alert and keep your eyes on the road for other cyclists and motorists to avoid any accident and be aware of what is happening around them.

Personal injury firms such as the Hankey Law Office point out that many accidents and injuries are due to motorists or cyclists not following road rules. Traffic rules and regulation for motorized vehicles are also applicable to cyclists, so they should be careful in adhering stop signs, traffic lights, and many other traffic regulations. Cyclists are also advised not to ride against traffic despite their small size, are should use the bike lane whenever possible; they should not be on the sidewalk to avoid any collision with pedestrians. Furthermore, headphones or earphones should not be used when cycling in order to keep your full attention on the road and while you are cycling.

Motorists should also do their share in ensuring they are not a threat to cyclists when they are behind the wheel. State laws declare that motorists should leave at least 3 feet when they are to pass a cyclist to avoid collisions or have enough space. Responsible driving not only saves your life, but also those who you share the road with.

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Cerebral Palsy Claims

Posted by on Oct 31, 2015 in Hospital Risks | 0 comments

Cerebral palsy is a disorder which affects movement and muscle coordination. It’s neurological in nature instead of muscle or neural, and outcomes from an abnormality or a brain damage. Determined by the rigor of the neurological damage, cerebral palsy may vary from severe to moderate, but it will have a long-lasting influence on the youngster and long-term effects for his / her family.

In some cases, cerebral palsy is due to a birth injury that could be on account of neglect on the part of the medical personnel. So that you can plan a potential injury claim, you must follow along with specific measures.

First, confirm that cerebral palsy is is present. Bring the health records of the child to a specialist who is able to assess if it is truly a different type of developmental illness or cerebral palsy. Get copies of all evaluations and get the physician to give you a written diagnosis in addition to the recommended treatments and apparatus to manage the illness. When presenting your case in front of a jury these records will undoubtedly be invaluable.

Secondly, request for the medical records obtained for the pregnancy and delivery. This is often quite a great deal, as pre-natal records have a tendency to be substantial, but it’ll demonstrate that due care was taken throughout the pregnancy, and there aren’t any leading factors evident in physical condition, the anamnesis or lifestyle of the mother just before birth. The records will even show vital signs reports and who was present through the delivery.

A birth injury lawyer will probably tell you that you will need assemble documentary proof in order to have a case. A few of the records just take some time to get, nevertheless, you must not wait for the original consultation to complete each of the records. Make certain the attorney you retain has the necessary qualifications for a medical negligence suit in the state and ask about the results and success rate in related circumstances. A superb lawyer will be able to prepare the mother for cross-examination, which can be somewhat upsetting as the protection will almost certainly make an effort to pin the blame to the mom.

It is essential to consider that obtaining all the info that is required may decide success or failure in a cerebral palsy claim. In case you are convinced that the birth injury is the cause of the child’s cerebral palsy, making an effective claim will mean that the expenses of handling the illness won’t put an impossible burden on the family.

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Cleft Palate

Posted by on Jun 29, 2015 in Medicine | 0 comments

Cleft palate is a birth defect that occurs when the roof of the mouth does not join completely during pregnancy. It is estimated that about 2,650 children are born with cleft palate each year. Though cleft palates are generally caused by genetics, certain controllable factors such as smoking and diabetes can increase the risk of a child developing the defect.

Another known controllable cause is Zofran (Ondansetron), a drug originally approved for cancer and post-surgery patients to treat nausea and vomiting. Unfortunately, because more than 80 percent of women suffer from similar symptoms, many pregnant women are often given Zofran as an “off-label” prescription.

A recent study published in 2013 found that, in cases where pregnant women were given Ondansetron during their first trimester, the odds that their children would develop a cleft palate doubled. Though the sample was small, of the other drugs given to women to treat similar symptoms, those tested had no statistically significant causal relationship with cleft palates. This is because, unlike other drugs, Ondansetron has been shown to be able to cross the placental barrier, leading to an array of birth defects. More information about these Zofran birth defects can be found at this website.

Though treatment for cleft palates is available, it is often costly due to the need of surgery. In addition, children with cleft palate often have trouble with ear infections, feeding, and speaking clearly. Aside from surgery, children may require special dental care and speech therapy. Regardless of how well surgery may go, some children may also develop low self-esteem due to visible differences between themselves and others.

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Deadly Tractor-Trailer Accidents in Atlanta

Posted by on Mar 11, 2015 in Motor Vehicle Accidents | 0 comments

A recent accident involving a Ford Mustang and a tractor-trailer yielded the expected results: the driver of the Mustang died instantly while the truck driver did not even sustain minor injuries. However, in this instance the Mustang driver was entirely to blame. The driver, identified as 39-year-old Kevin Miller of Snellville, ploughed into the back of the tractor-trailer which was at full stop at a traffic light.

It is undeniable, though, that tractor-trailers pose a significant danger to other motorists because of their size, weight, and numerous no-zones. A careful truck driver will consider all this when plying the highways of Georgia, but not all truck drivers are so conscientious. A collision between a big rig and a smaller vehicle will usually lead to serious injury or death to the driver and passengers of the smaller vehicle.

Many truck drivers are expected to travel for long periods of time and, despite regulations forbidding it, often go beyond the prescribed hours-of-service. As a result, they are over-fatigued or distracted, and much more likely to make a mistake or fall asleep at the wheel. Truck companies may also have been negligent about the maintenance of the vehicles, which could result in a tire blowout or mechanical failure. Another act of negligence is putting inexperienced or unqualified drivers behind the wheel. All these can spell disaster for any motorist sharing the road with truck-trailers.

Any Atlanta truck accident attorney would know that many truck accident victims face considerable medical expenses and long-term health problems. However, they may be eligible for some compensation if the truck driver is partially or wholly responsible for the accident because of some negligent act or failure to act. Unfortunately, Kevin Miller is the rare exception, as he was entirely at fault.

If you have been seriously hurt because of the negligence of a truck driver and/or truck company, at least you do not have to face the financial consequences alone. You can consult with an experienced truck accident lawyer in Atlanta and get some relief from your financial troubles.

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Estate Planning

Posted by on Feb 16, 2015 in Estates | 0 comments

According to the website of Peck Ritchey, two erroneous beliefs about estate planning are it is only for older (and, probably, sick) adults and the rich. Estate planning is a plan that is made before death; its purpose is to name those to whom the testator, or the person writing a will, would want to leave behind his/her assets and/or properties, which include anything of value, such as a house, car, savings account, life insurance, jewelry, furniture plus all other forms of investment. Failure to draft an estate plan will result to the application of the Law of Intestacy, the law that grants authority to the court to decide who gets what.

The drafting of a will is basically the first step in estate planning. Through this will, the testator identifies everything that he/she wants to pass on to his/her spouse, children and other dependents, as well as what or how much cash, specifically, each will have. The testator may also choose to draft a more elaborate will wherein he/she can elect his/her preferred guardian for his/her minor children, name a health-care proxy who will make medical decisions for him/her if ever he/she gets incapacitated and, elect an executor, or the person who will manage the estate left for distribution. This executor is also tasked to see to it that the testator’s last wishes are fulfilled, that all unpaid debts are settled and, after payment of all debts, whatever remains will be distributed to all heirs.

While the mental capacity of the testator is very essential in the drafting of a will (to make sure that he/she was never influenced by anyone and that he/she was perfectly aware of his/her decisions), being counseled by a knowledgeable and experienced legal professional is equally important to ensure that the will’s contents comply with the laws of the state (where the testator resides or where the estate owned is located) and that the rights of every legal heir are observed.

An experienced and skillful lawyer’s assistance can also help effectively address any litigation due to a will contest that an heir may file. Contesting or challenging the validity of a will can be filed by any heir who feels that he/she deserves more than what was left for him/her. An heir can also question the testator’s mental state when the will was drafted, citing any possibility of influence or manipulation by someone with interest in the assets and properties.

As estate and trust disputes involve family members all issues, therefore, are considered sensitive, besides being complex. Failure to address disputes effectively can only result to rivalries between family members which can only create rifts in their relationship.

Family members should understand that an estate plan is meant to put order in their properties and assets, as well as to make sure that they will be able to enjoy the maximum value of everything through reduction of tax and other expenses. Thus, in the event of disagreement, which can lead to litigation, if the family members themselves fail to allay anyone’s doubts, then only a knowledgeable, experienced and skillful lawyer probably can.

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Expert Witnesses in DUIs

Posted by on Jan 18, 2015 in Crime | 0 comments

If you watch any of the television shows that center around law and justice, chances are you have come across cases where the trial became a battleground for “expert witnesses.” Often one side would claim one thing and provide supporting evidence while the other side would claim the exact opposite and provide equally valid supporting evidence.

The reality is there are instances when the facts of a case are open to interpretation, even when it gets down to numbers and figures. Expert witnesses are qualified to give opinions that may be considered facts because they have the training and knowledge to deliver such opinions from a professional perspective. And yet, there may be more than one conclusion to be arrived at given a set of circumstances.

In a DUI (driving under the influence) case, for example, the prosecutor will routinely send test results to a Forensic Toxicologist employed by the Department of Justice to interpret as evidence for trial that is also prepared to get on the stand and explain what the results mean to the jury in terms they can understand as laypeople. However, the expert witness may not know all the facts that may impact on the test results, such as the machine used was defective, the samples had been tainted, or the defendant has a medical condition that resulted in a false positive.

The defendant in such cases has the right to challenge the prosecutor’s expert witness but it has to be substantiated by an expert witness as well to objectively provide an alternative explanation for the results that may exonerate the defendant or at least ameliorate the offense. An experienced criminal defense lawyer would know if an expert witness is appropriate under the circumstances (they can be expensive) and if so, what kind of expert witness may be needed to rebut the claims of the prosecution. Furthermore, defense lawyers often have expert witnesses for all types of cases in their roster that they know are qualified, credible, and reliable for the best possible shot of helping a defendant beat the charges.

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The Texas Prompt Pay Act and Pharmacies

Posted by on Dec 23, 2014 in Insurance Laws | 0 comments

The Texas Prompt Pay Act (TPPA) took effect in 2003, but it wasn’t until eight years later in 2011 that the issue of delayed payments to contracted pharmacies was addressed.

The TPPA is a piece of legislation that was four years in the making, beginning in 1999 when the first bill was passed to the state’s House of Representatives. Several revisions later, it was finally signed by Texas Governor Rick Perry which effectively made it a law on September 3, 2003. It addressed the issue of timely payments made to health service providers by Health Management and Preferred Provider Organizations (HMOs and PPOs), or rather the lack thereof.

HMOs and PPOs are health insurance companies that typically contract with third-party providers to do the actual service and in exchange the companies would pay the service providers. Unfortunately, as stated on the website of law firm Williams Kherkher, it became common practice for these carriers to delay payments for claims, and the service providers lobbied for legal leverage to use against these carriers to discourage them from stretching the gap between the service rendered and actual payment.

But the TPPA did not specifically include pharmacies in the list of covered service providers. It wasn’t until House Bills 528 and 2292 were passed in 2011 that it was finally clarified that not only pharmacies but Pharmacy Benefits Managers contracted with HMOs were eligible for protection under the TPPA. Under the clarified TPPA, insurers had 18 days after a clean claim was electronically filed by the pharmacy to pay or explain why a claim is denied. The sanctions for late payments are similar to those for doctors and hospitals except that the late periods are 19-63 days, 64-108, and 109- up.

If you believe that you are eligible for TPPA protection, you need to determine if you are correct in your belief. Consult with an experienced prompt pay lawyer in your area before filing a complaint.

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Domestic Violence Laws in Texas

Posted by on Nov 6, 2014 in Crime | 0 comments

Domestic violence is considered a crime in the state of Texas and it is applicable to any acts of violence committed against any member of a family, a household, or someone who the offender is dating or have dated in the past. These include:

  • Current or past spouse
  • A person with whom the offender lives with
  • A member of the family, whether by blood, adoption, or marriage
  • A child of a past or current partner
  • Someone whom the offender has a child (or children)
  • The offender’s foster parent or foster child
  • Anyone with whom the offender has a present romantic relationship or is currently dating

The state of Texas recognizes three types of domestic violence: domestic assault, aggravated domestic assault, and continuous violence against the family. According to the Texas Penal Code § 22.01., anyone can be guilty of domestic assault when they (1) threatening another person with impending physical harm intentionally or knowingly, (2) knowingly or intentionally committing physical contact a person with whom the offender reasonably is aware that the victim would find offensive or provocative, and (3) causing physical injury to a person intentionally, knowingly or recklessly.

Mark Lassiter, Attorney at Law explains on its website that a person can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor for domestic assault if he or she does not have any prior domestic assault convictions, and they can be charged with a third degree felony when they have been convicted of domestic assault in the past.

Reckless acts account for accounts for anything that is not intended to cause harm but was done without regard of the other person’s safety. Likewise, a provocative or offensive physical contact constitute to an act that does not necessarily cause physical pain or injury to the victim but has upset or left caused a feeling of being violated.

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