Elder Abuse

Posted by on Feb 22, 2015 in Elder Abuse | 0 comments

Elder abuse can take on many forms, with physical abuse being the most common and often noticeable form. Because of their fragile physical and mental state, many elders that are either in nursing homes or are living on their own, become victims of abuse. One of the most common yet not well-known forms of elderly abuse is financial exploitation. The website of the Ausband Law Firm says that although it is rampant, this type of abuse has not been well documented. There is reportedly an estimated 5 million cases of elderly financial abuse in the United States every year, but the sad news is that cases such as these are only reported 1 in every 25.

What makes these elderly people vulnerable to financial fraud can be attributed to a number of factors, all of which are taken advantage of by scam artists or people of ill nature. People who take advantage of the financial state of the elderly are often looking for those who are generally isolated, those who have recently become a widow or lost their partner, the elderly suffering from a physical or mental illness, and those who are not familiar with handling their own finances. Although most of the scam artists are strangers to the victims, even those who are close to the victim can commit the financial abuse. These people include family members and friends, lawyers, accountants, real estate agents, bank representatives, and even nursing home workers. It is difficult to catch these people because they often make the transactions appear legal, and often result to manipulating the elderly to give them the money.

Despite being a new and still evolving law, elder law is made to protect the elderly from any type of abuse. Furthermore, many states have their own laws regarding the protection of the elder’s money and property, and anyone who is proven to have illegally or falsely used an elderly’s finances or property will be charged since this is considered a crime.

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Earthquake Strikes Wine Makers Hard

Posted by on Sep 19, 2014 in Wine | 0 comments

A recent earthquake in California left vineyard owners crying over spilt wine. The seismic shrug, the hardest that has occurred in the area in the last quarter of a century, struck wine-center Napa Valley the worst. To add insult to injury, the area was just on the brink of bringing in an early harvest to stave off damage done by the worst drought to strike in decades.

Aside from direct property damage, the 6.1-magnitude earthquake resulted in the injury of more than 170 people and started several fires. It is estimated that the quake would eventually total up a bill of more than a $1 billion once the dust settles.

California is prone to earthquakes because there are more than 100 active faults running through the state; it lies squarely in the path of the Mendocino Triple Junction, San Jacinto and San Andreas fault line, the last of which is where the Pacific and North American Plate rub shoulders in a horizontal motion (also known as a right-lateral strike-slip in geological terms). These faults have been there longer than Californians have been around, so earthquake damage is an eminently foreseeable, even inevitable event. And yet according to the California Earthquake Authority, only an average of 1 in 10 residents in the state has coverage for earthquake-related property damage. In the Napa Valley area, where the most recent earthquake struck hardest, only 6% of residents had earthquake insurance coverage.

This could partly be due to the fact that earthquake insurance coverage is not required of property owners, and it can be an expensive rider to the typical homeowners’ insurance, averaging out to about $860 a year. It may also be because the infrequency of major event lulls residents with a false sense of security; thousands occur every year, but most are so small that they are hardly felt. The most expensive earthquake in US history occurred twenty years ago in Northridge (6.7-magnitude), a community in Los Angeles, California. Between the Northridge and Napa Valley events, 28 notable earthquakes occurred, ranging in magnitude between 4.4 and 7.2, many of which occurred in remote or unpopulated areas, minimizing the damage.

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The Forum Selection Clause in case of Cruise Ship Accidents

Posted by on Sep 12, 2014 in Vacations | 0 comments

It is an incontestable fact that spending a holiday vacation in an exotic destination is a perfect treat for any individual, much more if the travel is made on board a cruise liner. Sea travel has never been truly more fun and exciting since after 1980, when the cruising industry undertook improvements, which included construction of bigger cruise ships and the addition of more features and facilities that will make even the stay on the ship itself an experience worth repeating over and over.

While many cruise liners now can accommodate up to 3,000 passengers on a single travel, some have been designed big enough to house between 4,000 and 6,000 guests. And the facilities, well, depending on how big the ship is, some or all of the following may be enjoyed by the passengers:

  • Tax and duty free shops
  • Bars, pubs and nightclubs
  • Hair and beauty salon
  • Aqua healthspa fitness
  • Gym, basketball courts, pool tables, ping pong tables, and other sports facilities
  • Casino
  • Cinema
  • Indoor and/or outdoor swimming pool with water slides
  • Buffet restaurant
  • Library
  • Boot camp
  • Internet and email access
  • Medical centers staffed by registered nurses and doctors

But, while each passenger is guaranteed to have his or her share of fun and excitement, the question regarding safety while on board and during cruise ship excursions, continues to be a major issue. This safety issue can very well be considered as the major reason for the passing of the Cruise Vessel Safety and Security Act of 2010, also known as the Cruise Passenger Protection Act – to protect the millions of passengers (annually) who spend time out in the high seas on board cruise liners.

Cruise ship accidents can be due to natural or human reasons and these may happen on board or off it, specifically during shore excursions and related activities (outside of the ship’s premises), such as zip line, scuba diving, parasailing, jet skiing, shopping and dining on land, tours and visits to islands, archaeological explorations and others. When a passenger gets injured off board, however, he/she can be faced with a lot of complicated issues, such as where to file a complaint and the allotted time (statutory period) for filing the complaint – this is besides the complex issue of who should be the recipient of the lawsuit, the owner of the cruise liner or the owner of the company (if separate) that provided the tour.

Since majority of cruise lines state in their cruise-ticket contract a forum selection clause, which is a stipulation of where maritime lawsuits ought to be filed in the event of an injury (which is the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida), this means any lawsuit should be filed only in this court, regardless of the territory where the accident took place, the port where the passenger boarded the ship, or where the injured victim resides.

The Vucci Law Group, P.A., which is composed of experienced legal professionals with extensive experiences in handling cruise ship injury cases, would able to help victims address all legal concerns as well as provide a good argument that will uphold victims’ rights and interests.

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Types of Easement in Texas

Posted by on Jul 4, 2014 in Finances | 0 comments

An easement is defined as the legal right of an individual to use a certain portion of another individual’s property for a particular purpose. Easement laws differ from state to state, but in general there are four major types of easement: utility, private, prescriptive, and easements of necessity. As explained on the website of Gagnon, Peacock & Vereeke, P.C., determining the nature of the easement is often the subject of dispute because easement law is poorly-understood by most people.

Utility easements are usually built into a title to provide access to utility companies and the government as needed. Private easements are when the property owner sells a part of the property to another person for a particular purpose, such as a private sewer easement. Prescriptive easements, on the other hand, are the open, persistent and continuous use of the property for a particular purpose for a prescribed period of time. Easements of necessity, as the term implies, are when an individual has no choice but to go on another person’s property, such as to gain access to their own property. This is sometimes called right of access.

Another type of easement which can be quite devastating to a property owner is adverse possession. It is possible for a trespasser to acquire a legal right of ownership over a property if the occupancy is without permission, exclusive, and continuous over a prescribed period of time, usually the same as for prescriptive easement. However, acquiring a prescriptive easement does not confer legal ownership to the user, nor does it require the user to pay property taxes.

In many cases, the property owner has no choice or has given permission for a particular use of the land, but retains control and ownership of the property when it is not being used for the prescribed purpose. Disputes arise when property owners feel that the trespass or easement is illegal, and the situation is frequently complex enough to require the knowledge of a real estate lawyer to sort it out during mediation or in court.

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The Young and Car Accidents

Posted by on Jun 29, 2014 in Car Accidents | 0 comments

News flashes about car accidents are everywhere, and some are pretty horrific. In Texas, an 8-month-old in a stroller was killed when a car crashed into a pickup truck while making a left turn at a little after 9 in the morning.  In California, an impaired driver killed two adults and two children while in Iowa, a collision between a car and a motorcycle resulted in the death of the motorcycle operator and serious injuries to the passenger.

It is no wonder, really, as vehicular accidents account for 22% of deaths in the US, and is the leading cause of death for Americans between the ages of 5 and 34. In Houston, another child died in a hit-and-run, this time while a passenger in a car, when a driver lost control of his vehicle and hit the car and a pickup truck. The hit-and-run driver when found will not only face Houston car accident lawyers for civil litigation but also the state prosecutor for serious criminal charges.

Despite the serious consequences of car accidents, it seems that people continue to underestimate the potential dangers of being on the road as a driver or as a pedestrian. As pointed out on the website of The Seegmiller Law Firm in Irvine, the costs of car accidents extend further than medical expenses, loss of income, and physical disability; there are often deep and long-term emotional and psychological issues that radiate beyond the victims. In Irvine, 4 high school students died when the vehicle they were in hit a tree and caught fire on Memorial Day, and the event had a deep impact on all their families and friends.

Two more teenagers were involved in a single vehicle crash in Cedar Rapids, this time with a telephone pole, resulting in serious injuries. Depending on the results of the investigation and severity of the injury, the 19-year-old passenger hurt in the crash may have to consult with a Cedar Rapids personal injury lawyer to recover damages from the driver’s insurance company.

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Other Construction Site Accidents

Posted by on Jun 27, 2014 in Car Accidents, Construction | 0 comments

It is common knowledge that construction sites are dangerous places for workers because of the nature of the work. It is one of the most prevalent causes of debilitating injuries, on par with car accidents. According to the website of Morris James, there are times, though, when these two factors combine and result in a whole new set of dangers for construction workers and motorists alike.

Road construction work zones spring up whenever maintenance or repair work is needed, and this usually entails elaborate precautions such as warning signs and hazard lights. This is because unlike other types of construction work, roads cannot be closed off while the work is ongoing, so vehicles continue to pass. Unfortunately, construction crews sometimes fail to provide adequate warning signs, drivers fail to observe these warning signs, or drivers choose to ignore them, leading to one work zone accident every 14 minutes in the US. A majority of the total work zone accidents occur during the day. Lots of roadway repair projects are done over the summer months, so it is important that people observe extra caution during those months to reduce the risks of harming a road worker.

While a majority of these construction site accidents involve property damage only (69%), a significant number entail injuries (30%), and some fatalities (546 in 2010).  Most of those injured were construction workers. For 2010, for instance, 20,000 out of the 37,476 injured were members of the road crew.

The number of work zone accidents is directly proportional to the number of work zones in an area. A state like Massachusetts, for example, whose road conditions are not top of the trees, road work crews are quite frequent in the major roads of the state. This may mean more work for Massachusetts car accident lawyers, but hopefully just for property damage.

However, for those who are seriously injured or killed in a road construction site accident, it would be a complex issue to prove causation in order to get compensation. It is recommended that in such situations, competent legal representation experienced in personal injury or wrongful death cases is retained to handle it.

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Filing for Disability Benefits

Posted by on Jun 25, 2014 in Disability | 0 comments

According to the website of the Hankey Law Office, the typical American who files for disability benefit has about a 30% chance of succeeding on the first try. This is true for Indiana and for Illinois, although because of the differences in how individual states process these types of claims, the chances vary slightly from state to state. Because of this rather daunting statistic, claimants may need to do a little more to increase their chances of success. It’s tough to successfully apply for benefits, but they are worth all the effort.

The low rate of success is mostly due to the difficulty of determining legitimate from fraudulent claims. Disability encompasses a wide range of conditions, and some of these can be convincingly faked. It is sad but true that there are many who put in a disability benefits claim not because they are unable to work but want to exploit the system. This puts more hindrances in the way for those with genuine disabilities.

The actual success rate for initial claims in Indiana and Illinois is the same: 29%. For those who file an appeal for reconsideration, the success rate falls even lower. In Chicago, the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities was established to improve these numbers and provide greater access to residents to disability benefits; nevertheless, a Social Security lawyer can help to even the odds a bit more.

The same could be said with an Indiana disability lawyer, who would know the system and precisely how the process works to avoid the usual pitfalls that afflict inexperienced applicants. As the Social Security Administration closely monitors the work of accredited lawyers, applicants can be assured that they will be genuinely assisted in getting what is due to them in a timely manner and at reasonable costs.

It is a sad fact that those who are most in need of these benefits are often the ones who get denied. With competent legal representation, they have a better chance of succeeding in a claim, and in all probability get other benefits they had no idea they were entitled to.

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Unwitting Participation in a Ponzi Scheme

Posted by on Jun 22, 2014 in Finances | 0 comments

Scams are all over the place, but even before online scams became the richest prize for con artists, there were schemes that were so successful that they became a global phenomena without benefit of the Internet. One of the most famous of these was the Ponzi scheme, named after businessman Charles Ponzi who in 1920 conceived of the brilliant notion of using sleight of hand to make a bundle by juggling other people’s money.

Considering that it is nearly a century old, one would suppose that people would know better than to participate in a Ponzi scheme, but in fact because it is such a simple concept that can take many forms perpetuated by what appears to be legitimate businesses, it is still a matter of concern in securities regulation. The most recent case was filed by the US Securities and Exchange Commission in May 2014 against a fund manager based in Chicago, who had allegedly used the money from new investors to pay redemptions by existing client and using the excess for personal expenses.

The problem is that mere participation in a Ponzi scheme can land an investor in hot water. Financial institutions that have likewise been duped by a clever operator are especially at risk of criminal litigation as well as claims of breach of fiduciary duty and the like from investors. In the case of the fund manager, any financial institution that invested may also be named in any claim by plaintiffs as a participant in the scheme. It will require an experienced Chicago securities lawyer to handle the case for these unwitting participants.

While Ponzi schemes are considered white collar or non-violent crimes, they nevertheless have long-term consequences for those charged with participation. It would infinitely be preferable to get out of it with nothing more than money lost.

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Warnings of Medical Dangers Come Too Late for Some

Posted by on Jun 21, 2014 in Medical Dangers | 0 comments

Hospitals in Boston have been cautioned against the use of robotic surgical systems by physicians who have not been adequately trained or for procedures that the system is not approved for. Aggressive marketing of expensive robotic surgical systems have fueled a competition among many hospitals in Massachusetts to include them in their offerings to patients.

The rising number of patients complaining of injuries post-operation prompted the state’s warnings to the medical community. However, for some patients such as the case of a woman whose bowels were damaged during a hysterectomy, the warning has come too late, and their only recourse was to get compensation with the help of a Massachusetts robotic surgery error lawyer.

Recalls of medical products or devices are seldom voluntary; it is mostly when the damage has been done that the pharmaceutical or medical device company is forced to make a recall, and even then there is no clear-cut admission of fault. Even when settlements are being made or a court awards damages to a plaintiff, the concerned company does not admit to any wrongdoing.

This is the case with the Stryker hip implant defects that affected thousands of patients who were implanted with the device before findings that it failed prematurely, requiring a replacement, and caused serious injury to boot because of its defective design. Stryker Corporation had reportedly agreed to settle cases for an undisclosed amount, although it estimates that it may cost the company as much as $1.3 Billion.

The main function of recalls is to spread the word among those who may not be aware of the medical dangers of these products. If you have already suffered serious injury but was not aware that a medical product or device had caused it, this may be the time to check for recalls or warnings from regulatory bodies such as the Food and Drug Administration or the state equivalent. If you believe you may be owed compensation, consult with a personal injury lawyer in your area before the applicable statute of limitations runs out.

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