A Closer Look into the Top Two Causes of Aviation Accidents

Posted by on Oct 6, 2015 in Personal Injury | 0 comments

Every day, thousands of commercial planes take off from various airports in the US to transport hundreds of passengers per flight to local or international destinations. The aviation industry has gone a long way, boasting of over a hundred years of continuous improvement to make air travel safer and more comfortable than ever before.

Though aviation accidents do happen, these are always kept at a minimum, making transportation authorities, including those from the Aviation Safety Network, the US Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration, concur that air travel remains to be the safest and fastest means of transportation in the country.

There are different reasons why aviation accidents happen, but the two most recurring causes are pilot error and air traffic controller error. Pilot error, which tops the list, includes oversights and mistakes in operation, and lapses in judgment. These usually result in:

  • Navigational errors
  • A pilot causing a plane to head into a storm’s path
  • Failure to follow directions given by air traffic controllers, especially during takeoffs or landing
  • Failure to regularly check or correctly read cockpit instruments
  • Failure to extend flaps during takeoff
  • Disconnecting the autopilot intentionally or accidentally

Though most of the accidents are traceable to pilot error, the frequency of mistakes committed by air traffic controllers (ATCs) is much more overwhelming. In 2012, for instance, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) discovered 4,394 errors in the 132 million flights handled by ATCs; 41 of these errors were serious and could have had disastrous endings.

The primary duty of an air traffic controller is to ensure safety in commercial and private aircraft operations by: coordinating their movements to make sure that they are at safe distance from one another, directing them as they land or takeoff, and, guiding them around bad weather. These tasks are definitely not as easy as they sound, especially during peak air travel times when about 5,000 planes are in the sky every hour.

Other reasons that may explain ATC’s errors are their “rattlers” working schedule, which allows them very little sleep or no sleep at all before overnight shifts, resulting in some of them sleeping on the job. Another common issue is problems in communication due to the absence of standardized English phrases which will ensure that flight crews (especially non-Americans) and ATCs clearly understand each other.

Compared to road crashes, accidents involving aircrafts can be much more traumatic because passengers have nowhere to run or protect themselves from danger. Besides of this, the number of those who get injured, as well as of casualties, is always on a much larger scale.

Airline and Insurance companies take advantage of the so-called “45-day rule” to settle with victims (or families of victims) before any of the passengers would have time to file a civil lawsuit. This rule, which is enforced by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), prohibits law firms from contacting any of the passengers or their families within 45 days after the accident; it does not specifically forbid passengers, however, from making initial contact with law firms or lawyers.

A Tennessee personal injury attorney may probably be among those who would explain that the purpose for such rule is to allow family privacy during what could be a traumatic time and to wait for the outcome of the investigation about the accident, which is based primarily from whatever information may be acquired from the plane’s black box.

It is the basic right of aviation accident victims, or their families, to seek assistance in order to understand what  options they have, to know about the preset compensation value that is assigned by law for each passenger victim, the full amount of compensation they are legally allowed to seek, and what further action they can take to seek full justice for all the damages they have been made to suffer.

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Developments in the Texas Prompt Payment Act of 2003

Posted by on Jun 22, 2015 in Medical System | 0 comments

Doctors and other medical professional are historically slow-paid by health insurance companies that they service. There was a time when insurers paid slower than Medicare. As a result, these professionals refused to renew their contracts or limited their services, making it more difficult for people with health insurance to get the care they need.

This prompted the Texas state legislature to come up with the Texas Prompt Payment Act of 2003. This imposed strict timelines and penalties for insurers that failed to pay on time for legitimate invoices. Naturally enough, insurance companies brought their legal weight down to bear on the law, delaying implementation for nearly a decade. Medical service providers finally have the law on their side to ensure prompt payment of services.

However, according to the website of the Texas prompt pay lawyers at Williams Kherkher, there are fresh wrinkles in the legal landscape. One bill from the Texas House of Representatives (HB 1433) and another from the Senate (SB 1166) are proposing to amend the law in significant ways. HB 1433, for example, proposes a two-year statute of limitations and significantly lower caps for civil penalties. Currently, the lowest cap for payments delayed for at least 31 days is $100,000. The bill reduces it to $5,000.

On the other hand, SB 1166 proposes new exceptions for the penalty provisions that will make it harder for the burden of proof heavier for the plaintiff. It also proposes to that the 18% interest imposed on the insurer is only for the unpaid amount and limits the award of attorneys’ fees.

These are proposed changes to the law, and if they pass, they will have a significant impact on claims. However, it is not yet part of the law, so this is the time to make a claim. If you are currently suffering from the effects of long-delayed payments from an insurance company, you should not delay consulting with a competent prompt pay lawyer in Texas.

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Basic Grandparents’ Rights to Custody and Visitation

Posted by on Jun 19, 2015 in Family Law | 0 comments

Most issues in marriage and divorce when it comes to the children are concerned with the rights of the parents. This leaves the doting grandparents pretty much on the wayside. However, all states in the US have lately come around to the notion that while grandparents may not have a constitutional right to have custody and visit their grandchildren, they should at least have statutory rights.

Unfortunately, not all parents agree. They have successfully challenged state laws that dictate grandparents’ rights based on constitutionality, and so the success of any bid to acquire rights over their grandchildren will depend on a particular state’s laws on it.

In Texas, for example, grandparents have no right of visitation. If a parent objects, they have no legal recourse. However, it is possible for grandparents to petition the state court to grant them visitation rights under specific circumstances. They can also petition for custody if the grandchildren lived a minimum of six months with them and the petition is within 90 days after the children were removed from their care. They may also petition for custody if an emergency arises wherein the grandparents can prove the wellbeing and safety of the children are at risk. According to the website of Holmes, Diggs & Sadler, this can be a tricky proposition. It requires a skilled family law attorney to have an even chance of success in most cases.

The same situation exists in Iowa, more or less. The law states that visitation and custodial rights of grandparents can only be granted if it is in the best interests of the child. The only way grandparents can prevail over the objections of the parents regarding visitation and custody is to prove them unfit. As pointed out on the website of Cedar Rapids family law attorneys Arenson Law Group, PC, it is important to maintain stability for the children even amidst a legal battle over them, and that is not an easy task. The children after all are the most important factor in such cases.

If you want to petition the court to grant you grandparents’ rights, you need to go to the right people. Consult with a qualified family or divorce lawyer in your state to make sure that you get the best representation you can get.

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The Shape of things to Come with Dangerous Drugs and Medical Devices

Posted by on Jun 16, 2015 in Dangerous Products & Drugs | 0 comments

Pharmaceutical companies are not making it easy for plaintiffs to make a claim by dragging out the legal process as long as they can. For example, manufacturer of drospirenone-based combined oral contraceptives (COCs) Yaz and Yasmin Bayer Pharmaceuticals is now refusing to face some thousands of claims in a Lexicon waiver as it had previously offered, which would have allowed all plaintiffs to present their cases before U.S. District Judge David Herndon. According to the National Injury Law Center website, these COCs had dangerous side effects about which Bayer neglected to warn their users. Bayer is now maneuvering that plaintiffs bring their claims to their local district courts.

The first product liability lawsuit filed for hysterectomy power morcellation is also working its slow way up the legal ladder. The suit was filed in March 2014 by the widower of Donna Burkhardt, who died in February 2013 of metastatic leiomyosarcoma because of a hysterectomy using a device manufactured by LINA Medical. According to the website of the morcellator lawsuit attorneys at Williams Kherkher, morcellators significantly increase the risk of uterine and similar cancers when it cuts up fibroid tissues that may be cancerous. The discovery phase is set to complete by July 2015, and any pre-trial motions should be completed by October. Only then can the actual trial begin, scheduled for November 3, 2015 at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. However, further delays are extremely likely.

On the other hand, Stryker Orthopaedics has already begun to settle claims by patients or their families for the defective Stryker Hip Implant devices that failed catastrophically prior to November 3, 2014. According to the Williams Kherkher website, this is the reason that Stryker voluntarily recalled certain devices in 2012. However, patients whose implants failed after November 2014 will not be eligible for a claim. This does not mean that they cannot file a lawsuit against Stryker provided it is within the statute of limitations for their state. It is vital that they contact a dangerous drugs or medical device lawyer in their area immediately.

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Things You Should Know About SR-22

Posted by on Jun 14, 2015 in Insurance | 0 comments

Nobody seems to know what the S and R in SR-22 stand for (although you could make some educated guesses), but that is not really important as long as you know what it is. An SR-22 is a certificate of financial responsibility that an insurance company issues to the Secretary of State on behalf of a motorist who is considered a “high risk.” These types of drivers are required an SR-22 in order to get back a suspended license, or to renew it.

Of course, in order to get it, you first have to buy car insurance from the company. The SR-22 is not a replacement for the insurance; merely a statement that you do have the required insurance. The SR-22 form may differ slightly from state to state, but according to Madison car accident lawyers, as long you can get the liability coverage your state requires, you are good.

In most cases, you will be required an SR-22 if you demonstrate bad judgment on the road. It could be for a serious moving violation such as driving under the influence of an intoxicant, driving without the requisite insurance, three or more traffic tickets over a short period, or driving on a suspended or revoked license.

The SR-22 itself is not expensive, ranging from $15 to $25. However, your insurance premiums will skyrocket if you ask an insurance company for an SR-22. Insurance companies do not like to cover high-risk drivers because they do not like to pay out, which they are more likely to do with a driver that needs an SR-22! Some insurance companies do not even offer SR-22 coverage.

Your best bet is to go with a state-approved insurance company specializing in issuing SR-22 certificates. They are most likely to give you the best rates and provide you with reliable customer service and coverage. Most importantly, try to be a more responsible driver to avoid trouble in the future.

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Deferred Action out of Commission in Texas

Posted by on Jun 13, 2015 in Immigration Policies | 0 comments

There is a legal battle ongoing between the federal government and several states headed by Texas that are trying to bar the implementation of immigration policies that would prevent the deportation of eligible segments of illegal immigrants for a limited period. The lower courts have decided in favor of the plaintiff states, and the decision is now under appeal before the Fifth Circuit Court of New Orleans.

The policies in question are the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents (DAP), and the plaintiff states claim that the policies would place a financial burden on the states. They cited Social Security benefits and driver’s license costs, among other benefits currently barred to illegal immigrants. The federal government lawyers argue that providing these illegal immigrants legal working status will actually increase state incomes from income taxes. In the meantime, those who have applied for DACA and DAP, but have not yet been processed, are in legal limbo. Parents of US-born children in Texas that have not yet applied for DAP are in constant fear of deportation.

The DACA and DAP was pushed forward by the Obama Administration, and enacted into law in 2012. Two years later, the Immigration Services had conferred DACA status to 581,000 people, and denied 24,000. President Obama expanded the coverage of DACA and introduced DAP in November 2014. For the plaintiff states, this was going too far.

DACA and DAP would have been a great benefit for the millions of illegal immigrants currently living in the US, but many states are resisting their implementation. As pointed out on the website of the Law Office of William Jang, PLLC in Austin, immigrants are always facing serious challenges, even if they are eligible under the law. They often need competent legal representation specializing in immigration to maximize their chances of success.

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Pedestrians Should Always Look both Ways

Posted by on Jun 11, 2015 in Personal Injury | 0 comments

Pedestrians have been having a hard time surviving crossing the road in Killeen recently. The latest pedestrian accident involved a 65-year-old male and as-yet unidentified motorist driving a black 2011 Mazda 6. However, this is far from an isolated incident. In a bizarre twist of fate, a motorist hit another car on the right rear side, causing the other motorist to lose control of the vehicle, striking a pedestrian on the other side of the road. Police believed the pedestrian, who had his back to the cars, did not have time to react.

Pedestrians are especially vulnerable to vehicular accidents and other types of personal injury. It could be a slip and fall or a dog bite. At the very least, this can result in serious cuts, lacerations, and broken bones. At worst, it can lead to death, such as what happened to the two hapless victims recounted above.

Sometimes pedestrians share part of the blame. They could have been reckless when crossing the road, or heedless to obvious dangers such as potholes, slippery surfaces, or bad-tempered dogs. However, in some instances, they are innocent of any fault, and their families are left to bear the burden of the recklessness and negligence of other people. This can be slightly alleviated by suing the responsible party for financial compensation.

According to the website of the Law Offices of Williams Kherkher, the legal process for personal injury or wrongful death suits can be intimidating. In the hands of a competent personal injury lawyer, however, it can be a potent tool for balancing the scales. Parties that fail in their duty of care to others are a menace to the community, and should not be allowed to continue on their merry way without consequences.

If you or a close family member suffered serious harm and loss because of a negligent third party, you have the right to compensation.

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