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Understanding Personal Injury Terms

When another person’s negligent activities have caused an injury, you could suffer injuries and serious effects which could require extensive medical care as well as for you to miss function. Luckily, you may well be able to recoup financial compensation to cover these damages by submitting a personal injury situation against the responsible party. A personal injury lawyer will probably point out that commoners involved with personal injury lawsuits normally doesn’t have any legal background or teaching; so, they may not understand some basic conditions that are necessary to the situation.

Fortunately, by understanding a number of easy conditions and expressions, it is possible to sort out the basics of your case as well as discuss with judges, attorneys, and other authorized experts without a lot of confusion or frustration.

Understanding Personal Injuries Jargon

As a plaintiff, there certainly are several legal conditions you might come across when researching or working during your situation. By developing a base and knowing a couple of these phrases, you can work through your case with much less opposition. Some important legal terms you should understand are the following:

  • Statute of limitations – A judicial doctrine that restricts the quantity of time you have to file your personal injury situation. You cannot take action at law or pursue fiscal damages once the time limit ends.
  • Compensatory damages – Monetary damages meant to compensate you for any expense you’ve had due to the injury. Contains lost wages, medical bills, and other damages.
  • Punitive damages – Added damages awarded to litigants that are supposed to further punish the defendant for grossly negligent conduct
  • Res judicata – Legal principle that prevents a plaintiff from filing another lawsuit against the exact same defendant for the exact same injuries
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Asbestos Is Not Completely Banned in the US

No one can ever deny the fiber strength of asbestos, a mineral that is also resistant to heat, electricity, fire and most chemicals. This extremely useful, abundant, and cheap substance earned for itself the title “miracle mineral” and became a perfect fire retardant component in the production of hundreds of different things, like boilers, furnace ducts, steam pipes, soundproofing or decorative materials, heat-resistant coatings and fabrics, building materials, like paper products, ceiling and floor tiles, roofing shingles, asbestos cement products, stove-top pads, fireproof gloves, ironing board covers, some hairdryers, brake pads, clutches, gaskets, and transmission parts for motor vehicles. The largest amount of asbestos may have probably been used during World War II, when more than four million US Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard personnel, and shipyard workers were exposed to thousands of tons of asbestos as they built battleships.

Asbestos contains sharp, tiny fibers which, when inhaled or ingested, can be embedded in the lungs. These fibers damage the lungs through scarring, resulting to severe effects, which include:

  • Asbestosis – though non-cancerous, this lungs illness, which causes the lungs to deteriorate and make breathing difficult, can lead to fatal results
  • Mesothelioma – a rare type of cancer that affects the mesothelium cells (the protective linings that cover many of the body’s internal organs). The pleura, or the outer lining of the internal chest wall and the lungs, is the most common site damaged by asbestos; other specific areas asbestos can damage are the pericardium (or the sac surrounding the heart), the peritoneum (which lines the abdominal cavity), and the tunica vaginalis (the sac around the testis).

The threat presented by mesothelioma is not only in the fact that it is an irreversible, deadly type of cancer, but also its very long latency period (usually 20 – 40 years), thus majority of those diagnosed with it are already in their senior years, while the illness would be at an advanced stage wherein cure is no longer possible.

To make matters worse, not only workers, who get exposed to asbestos due to their job, are in danger of developing mesothelioma; their family members, who come in contact with the mineral that gets attached to their clothes, hair and hands, can develop the deadly cancer too.

Many lives have been lost due to mesothelioma and many more are expected to develop it because, despite its cause, asbestos, already having been banned in many countries, this mineral continues to be used in the US. According to the website of Williams Kherkher Law, if an employer knowingly exposes you to asbestos, you may be able to hold the company accountable for the danger to your health.

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The Times Beach Incident

Times Beach no longer exists as a town. Until the 1980s, it was a small beach town in Missouri that had a rough history. In 1972, the town hired Russell Bliss to oil their roads before paving them since most of the town was still using dirt roads. The new technique for this included spraying waste oil on the roads. The oil was a combination of Agent Orange, waste clay, and water that was removed from a chemical company in another part of Missouri. Over several years, dioxin was continuously sprayed throughout the city, seeping into the land and water supply of the area.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency became aware of the situation soon after and began taking samples of the area to measure levels of dioxin. The levels were 100 times higher than previously considered safe. In December 1982, a flood hit the town and spread the dioxin to previously unaffected parts of the town. The EPA ordered the evacuation of the all residents immediately, removing families from their homes without their belongings.

Over the course of the following decades, over 265,000 pounds of contaminated soil was removed from the area and incinerated. Dioxin is known to cause cancer, skin diseases, birth defects, and immune system disorders. The long-term effects of the residents is still unknown.

Times Beach is now known as Route 66 State Park after decades of cleaning the Dioxin from the land and water. While this may seem like a small success story of how the Superfund Act helps restore the environment, other cities in the U.S. are not so lucky. Due to toxic Monsanto PCBs, the residents of Anniston, Alabama are still struggling with dilapidating diseases such as diabetes and cancer. The manufacturers of chemicals like dioxins and PCBs should be held accountable for the long term effects of illegally dumping dangerous chemicals.

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Pancreatitis with Atypical Antipsychotic Drug Risperdal

A 2002 study found that atypical antipsychotics appear to be associated more with pancreatitis than conventional antipsychotics. Many of the patients on atypical antipsychotics developed the symptoms of pancreatitis within 6 months of taking the medication. This conforms to the findings of a larger 2003 study where more than half (54%) of patients taking Risperdal (risperidone) developed pancreatitis.

The pancreas is a large gland that produces digestive enzymes and releases insulin and glucagon. When the pancreas becomes inflamed, this is pancreatitis. The symptoms include sudden and intense pain in the upper abdomen that may resolve within a few days, or it may become worse. Chronic pancreatitis, on the other hand, is milder but if left untreated can cause irreversible damage to the pancreas.

Other symptoms include vomiting, fever, nausea, and increased heart rate. With severe pancreatitis, the patient may suffer from low blood pressure and dehydration. Eventually, the kidneys, lungs, or heart may fail. Risperdal side effects attorneys state that when the pancreas starts bleeding, the patient may go into shock and die.

There are many reasons why the pancreas becomes inflamed. High alcohol consumption and gallstones are the usual culprits. In antipsychotic drug-induced pancreatitis, it is suggested that Risperdal may disrupt the production of digestive enzymes, causing some of them to remain in the pancreas. This can lead to the enzymes acting on the pancreas itself, leading to some damage and inflammation. It is also suggested that high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia) associated with Risperdal intake may contribute in causing pancreatitis. In either case, many patients taking Risperdal report that they have had episodes of acute pancreatitis.

If you sustained serious injury from acute pancreatitis while taking Risperdal, it is not something that you can just shrug off. The drug company should have warned you about the risks of pancreatitis. Consult with experienced Risperdal side effects attorneys in your area for more information about your legal options.

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A Handy Resource for Mineral Rights Sales

The internet is a wonderful thing, isn’t it? Almost everything you need to know is probably accessible within a few minutes of making a search. However, you should know by now that not everything you find on the Internet is going to be accurate or reliable, or even legitimate.

The internet is a great way for people to connect, and it is an awesome way to market your products and services. Anyone can put up a website and look very professional, and that is what a lot of legitimate companies do. But then again, scammers can do the same thing.

Some sites on the web will give misleading information about mineral rights sales because they want to get something out of it. It could be an offer to buy your mineral rights at low prices, to convince you to hire them to oversee your sale, or simply to get your personal information for illegal purposes. They could also be the front for a developer who wants to get cheap mineral rights in prime areas.

It is important when looking for a handy resource for mineral rights sales that you go to authority sites. These are usually government websites or legal websites that will tell give you objective information on what’s what with mineral rights. They will give you everything you need to know before committing to anything. In that way, when you do sell your mineral rights, you know what you are getting into.

It is also important that when selling your mineral rights that you get the best deal you can get. In most instances, an auction site would be your best bet. Legitimate auction websites are where buyers congregate, so you get exposure for your property to direct buyers and not speculators. You do not have to accept the bids if you don’t want to, so you still retain control of the sale. Make sure that you do your research on the mineral rights auction sites you are considering, though. You can check on reviews and ratings easily using the Internet.

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While Justice Favors the Unfortunate: Disfigurement and Workers Compensation

Fortune favors the beautiful – or so the line goes. But you know the fairytales as there have been so many where there are people who are made to suffer due to a disfigurement that they never asked for. There’s Quasimodo, the Beast, or even Anakin Skywalker – these tales as old as time tell the story of fictional people whose lives are altered and dictated due to a disfigurement. These instances, however, are not exclusive with bedtime stories – sometimes even the nightmares come true.

There are some jobs that could, unfortunately, render you disfigured. Most of the time, these circumstances are due to the fact that someone messed up – someone was negligent or careless, and it cost you (an innocent, by all intents and purposes) so dearly. If such a thing were to happen to you, however, you are entitled to claim a legal brand of justice.

Disfigurement is a very specific subset of workers compensation which falls under personal injury claims, according to the website of Hankey Law Office P.C. For you to be eligible for disfigurement, the scar or mutilation must be wholly evident and made unable to be concealed by clothes. As an example, a cut on your abdomen that can easily be concealed by wearing a shirt is not considered as disfigurement. Receiving burns on your face or an injury that creates a limp with your gait, however, can mean that you are eligible to receive disfigurement benefits from your employer.

Deformities that are a result of workplace accidents can be a traumatic experience to live with as it can be the origin of mental and emotional instability. After all, people are naturally attuned to judge from a visual perspective for a first impression therefore concluding that an extreme physical alteration that disfigures you can limit your social interactions and even markedly hurt your self-esteem.

It can be a lot to take in and deal with, which is why it is highly recommended for anyone who finds him or herself in a situation like this to seek the help of a workers compensation lawyer immediately. It is also important to seek help from a personal lawyer in your specific state.

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Question of Jurisdiction during a Shore Excursion Accident

The recent decade is witness to the great boom in the growth and development of the cruising industry, specifically in facilities improvement, ship designs that would accommodate larger number of passengers, and increase in the number of local ports, new exciting destinations and on-board and/or on-shore activities that cater to passenger demands. Since 2011 more than 10 million cruise bookings have been recorded every year in the US alone, while worldwide, the number goes beyond 20 million.

Most bookings are made by passengers six to eight months before the scheduled sail, to avail of the many perks and discounts offered by cruise lines. And, just as cruise lines advertise, there really is no other week-long vacation that is cheaper, more relaxing or more fun and exciting than one that is spent on a cruise ship.

Today’s cruise ships can be considered as floating cities, with modern liners able to house up to 3,000 passengers and the newer, bigger ones having a passenger capacity of up to 6,000. And, even on board, one cannot be denied the fun and excitement of playing basketball, golf, ping pong, pool or billiard, watching a movie, spending time in a bar or night club, spending money in tax and duty free shops, having his/her done in a hair and beauty salon, accessing online sites, having a great time in a gym, or in an indoor and/or outdoor swimming pool (that comes designed with water slides), and enjoying excursions and shore activities, like jet skiing, parasailing, scuba diving, visits to islands, shopping and dining on land, and archaeological explorations.

Shore excursions and other land activities have actually been very good sources of additional income for cruise ship owners, so that more and more of these get to be introduced (at least one) in each port of call. But as owners’ income increases, so too do the number of accidents involving passengers.

One vital question (in the event of a shore excursion accident) is with regard to jurisdiction. If an injury were sustained on board the ship, no matter in which territory the ship may be, a lawsuit will always have to be filed in court stated in the ticket-contract’s forum selection clause (many cruise ships name the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida). This whole process may be different if the accident was during a shore excursion, though.

Due to the complexity or the maritime law being represented by highly competent lawyers would be an absolute necessity. According to the website of The Vucci Law Group, P.A., the extensive knowledge and experiences of lawyers are factors that will be vital in a lawsuit wherein a cruise line is involved; but injured passengers need to understand that they do not the luxury of time due to the statutory limit (or the allotted time within which the lawsuit may be filed). Thus it is important that they contact the legal professionals of the Vucci Law Group immediately.

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A Look at 15-Passenger Vans and Rollover Accidents

The high risk of rollovers for 15-passenger vans is not new; the first studies to confirm that they are indeed more likely to rollover in single-vehicle accidents was published more than a decade ago. However, it has not gotten as much attention as SUVs and light pickups because they are less likely to be owned privately. These types of vehicles are more likely to be owned by schools to transport sports teams to and from games because of their higher passenger capacity.

The tragedy is that the studies show that while lower vehicles become more stable when there is a full load complement, the opposite is true for higher-slung vehicles. The heavier they are, the more likely they are to rollover. This includes, of course, SUVs and 15-passenger vans. And because they carry a full load, such accidents tend to have numerous casualties and fatalities.

While such accidents will not always be due to a design defect, many rollover accidents involving 15 passenger vans can occur because of tire blowouts, sharp turns, and uneven pavements. While driver error, poor maintenance, or dangerous road conditions may have contributed to the accident, if the vehicle was designed to address these problems as identified years before, it is likely the accident would not have occurred.

However, if you’ve ever experienced an accident and therefore have information on car insurance, you’re well aware that determining fault in such situations is seldom a simple matter. Liability may shift on a case-to-case basis even when at first glance two accidents appear identical. It is up to police investigators and an experienced rollover accident lawyer such as Habush Habush & Rottier S.C.® to sift through the evidence and reconstruct the accident to determine what may have been the proximate cause. From that point on, it would be possible to pinpoint and prove negligence of one or more parties, making it an actionable case.

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Keeping it in the Family: Bankruptcy and Personal Injury Settlement

Few people have the luck of the Irish when it comes to the sweepstakes that is life. In many cases, an individual may be faced with financial difficulties as a matter of course, and that is just the way the ball bounces. But when the money problems are in conjunction with, or worse caused by, suffering injury because of the negligent actions of others, then it may seem that it could not get any worse. It can, however.

When the victim of a negligent act succeeds in getting compensation through personal injury litigation, whether in a settlement or court award, it is entirely possible that the money may be taken by creditors when filing for bankruptcy. If the bankruptcy filing is due to the costs associated with injuries sustained in an actionable incident on top of pre-existing debts, it is a bitter irony if the settlement or award simply disappears into the pocket of creditors not associated with the personal injury expenses.

This is why it is recommended that if the possibility of bankruptcy looms with or as a consequence of a personal injury claim that the claimant engages the services of both a personal injury and bankruptcy attorney. This will ensure that assets such as a personal injury settlement are protected from liquidation or garnishment in bankruptcy. Tort and bankruptcy laws are equally complex, and trying to figure them out without the benefit of a qualified legal representative would not only be an exercise in futility but a potentially disastrous undertaking. It could mean tremendous financial losses on top of everything else.

Personal injury and bankruptcy are both stressful scenarios, and doubly so when they are concurrent. An individual faced with these problems will benefit from the legal advice and strategies from experienced lawyers on how to achieve the best possible outcome given a specific set of circumstances. It is therefore important to select lawyers in the area who have proven competencies in their respective specialties.

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Definition of an Indictment

In many legal drama series on television, there are instances when the prosecutor “convenes a grand jury” to secure an indictment, while in some episodes the case goes straight to the reading of the charges or the arraignment. What is an indictment and when does one need it?

An indictment is the formal allegation of a criminal act by the defendant before the accused person can actually be charged. In the US, an indictment is required for federal capital crimes or infamous crimes but optional for state capital crimes. A grand jury is similar to a trial jury except that it is comprised of 16 to 23 persons instead of 12. The grand jury will hear the what, when, where, how, and who of the case and decide if there is enough evidence for a charge.

A grand jury may sit for as long as 18 months, much longer than for a regular jury. To secure an indictment, at least 12 members should vote that the evidence supports one, and return a “true bill.” If not enough members vote for an indictment, they return a “no bill” on the indictment. In the latter case, the criminal case cannot proceed to trial. However, the prosecutor can choose to re-submit the case for consideration of the same grand jury or a different one, so a “no bill” does not mean the criminal charges are dropped.

When evidence is presented to a grand jury, the purpose is not to try the case, so the criminal defense lawyer is not allowed to participate. In most cases, the person or persons being accused of a crime or crimes do not testify before a grand jury, but they have the right to request to do so. Whether the request is granted or not will be the choice of the prosecutor.

It is in the interest of the accused to avoid an indictment because even if it is not a conviction, it is often enough to ruin a person’s reputation, especially for white collar crimes. The best way to do this is to say nothing when being investigated and to leave it to the criminal defense lawyer to work it out.

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