Aviation Accidents

The Aviation Safety Network and other transportation authorities agree that air travel is fastest and safest way of long-distance travel today. Thousands of planes take off from, and land in, US airports every day, despite this huge number the number of accidents do not even equal half the number of fingers in one hand.

Even if the number of fatalities is to be considered, air travel registers only about 138 fatalities every year compared to the more than 35,000 and more than 3,100 fatal car and motorcycle accidents, respectively, that are recorded by the National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NCSA), a branch of the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The high safety rate in the air travel industry can only be the result of the lessons learned from past tragic accidents, the catalyst that spurred aviation authorities to continue in the improvement of airplane parts and devices that will keep passengers much safer from the moment they board until the time they get off the plane.

Some of the major improvements in the aviation industry include: upgrade in the air traffic control(ATC) system; strengthening of teamwork among the flight personnel and eradication of the concept that the “captain is god”; installation of downdraft detection and lavatory smoke sensors; use of transponders; installation of TCAS II collision-avoidance system; upgrading of the rudder Rx; installation of smoke detectors and automatic fire extinguishers in the cargo hold of all commercial airline; setting up or equipment and devices that will help eliminate the likelihood of electrical spark; and, the replacement of the Mylar insulation with fire-resistant materials.

Any improvement or upgrade, however, will prove useless unless flight procedures are strictly observed, maintenance of aircraft is regularly done, fuel is replenished, and the pilot is always in perfect health, is mindful of his responsibilities and is never under the influence of alcohol or drug.

Whenever an accident occurs courts always recognize the suffering and injuries suffered by victims and so grant them the legal right to receive compensation from the liable party. Many civil cases, however, get settled even before these are filed in court as liable parties consider out-of-court settlements much less expensive that if the judge were to rule against them. And, often, in these settlements, victims are seen accepting (sometimes) financial offers from liable parties, some even thinking that the amount is quite big enough. An aviation accident lawyer, however, who knows how much compensation victims are really allowed to receive, also knows that settlement payments are usually far lower than what victims can legally claim from the liable party. Thus, being represented by a highly-qualified lawyer will always be in the best interest of the victim.

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One of the more complicated elements in a divorce is child custody. As pointed out on the website of the Marshall Taylor Law Firm, both parents would generally want to sustain a meaningful relationship with their children, an endeavor to be given custody of them after a divorce. Obviously, it would not be physically possible to have two parents have their children all the time so a compromise is often reached where one parent has physical custody (to whom depends on the circumstances) and the other parent has prescribed visitation rights.

The judge is the final authority on who gets what in child custody cases, and in general this is decided on what the statutes say and past experience has determined to be most beneficial for the children. In North Carolina, for instance, the statute (N.C.G.S.A. § 50-13.2(a)) emphasizes the “will best promote the interest and welfare of the child.” The statute does not specify all the factors that may impugn on the ruling, but it does provide some guidance when it comes to issues involving domestic violence, the ability of the parent to provide a child with a stable home environment, and the child’s extant living arrangements. The law does not favor one gender over another for child custody.

Because of the way the statute is worded, it provides a lot of leeway for the judge to decide just what that would entail. This can both be a good thing and a bad thing when one considers that judges are humans and apt to be influenced by their own personal life experiences and preferences. For example, there is an interesting Harvard University study that suggests judges who have daughters are more likely to award physical custody of children to the female parent.

When considering divorce, you need to make sure that your child’s best interests are safeguarded despite any biases that the judge may entertain. An experienced and persuasive divorce lawyer would be an invaluable ally in this endeavor.

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The case of Ralph P. North v. National Grid Generation LLC., et al. brought before the New York State Supreme Court is a good example of when a contractor may claim against a client for personal injuries. North worked as a contractor on the construction site of the Long Island Lighting Company (LILCO) power station in Long island between 1966 and 1972. North found out about his mesothelioma from asbestos exposure while working on the LILCO site many years after, and sued its successor National Grid Generation LLC (National Grid) for past and future pain and suffering.

North claimed that asbestos was routinely used in the cement mix, boilers and pipes, and that his exposure was primarily from the asbestos dust resulting from preparing and using the toxic mineral on the site. He further claimed that at the time, he was not aware of the dangers of asbestos exposure. National Grid contended that because North was a contactor and not an employee, they had no control over how the contractor performed their work. The attorney for the plaintiff argued that since the defendant provided precise instructions over the use of asbestos in the construction, the defendant exercised significant control over the contractor’s work.

The lawsuit proceeded to trial, and on September 29, 2014, the jury agreed with the plaintiff that he should be compensation, and proceeded to award him $7 million for past and future pain and suffering, considered the largest given in New York state for a personal injury case. National Grid is expected to appeal the verdict.

This is illustrative of the fact that if the lawyer knew the relevant federal and specific state laws pertaining to a case concerning asbestos exposure, and how the rights of the plaintiff can be protected. If you have suffered serious harm because of exposure to asbestos or other harmful substances, consult with a toxic tort lawyer if you have a viable case.

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Child custody is always a sensitive issue in a divorce. Often, the judge will award physical custody to one parent and visitation rights to the other based on circumstances that will serve the best interest of the child. In general, however, divorce law provides ample opportunity for the child to have significant contact with both parents as much as possible to foster a healthier parent-child relationship.

However, California courts typically allow the parent who has sole custody of child to relocate outside the state unless the non-custodial parent can show that the move will cause considerable harm to the child. Exactly what constitutes harm to a child will depend on the circumstances, but the non-custodial parent has the burden of proof.

But if the parents have joint custody of the child, the burden of proof shifts to the parent who plans to move away if the staying parent objects to the move. The parent who is relocating must show that it is in the best interests of the child to do so.

The judge will determine the wisdom of allowing the custodial arrangement to be modified to accommodate relocation based on the actual time spent by the child with the staying parent rather than the parenting plan made at the time of the divorce. Each case is unique and requires careful study and consideration before the judge can make ruling.

Each state has its own take on how to handle move-away issues. A Manhattan Beach divorce lawyer can prepare and present a case for or against relocation in California that can significantly influence the final decision of the judge. It is essential that the lawyer who handles such a case is experienced in dealing with move-away custody issues in California to obtain the desired results, always in the best interests of the child.

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The human body is a delicate balance of systems, and this includes hormones. Under ideal circumstances, the naturally-occurring hormones are in perfect sync, and everything is just dandy. However, many factors can upset the hormonal balance including stress, poor diet, a sedentary lifestyle, and age. When the effects of this hormone imbalance significantly impacts on the quality of life, it is desirable to restore the balance.

In some instances, it can be easily done by removing or minimizing the cause of stress, having regular exercise, eating a balanced diet, or any combination of these. There is little that can be done with aging, but with a healthy lifestyle the hormone effects of aging is usually manageable without therapy. However, there are conditions such as low testosterone (Low-T) in men which results in low sexual drive, diminished sexual interest, and erectile dysfunction that is much more than a result of aging.  One method for restoring hormonal balance in men suffering from Low-T is through hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

While HRT can do the job, there are side effects. These are especially enhanced when conditions such as Low-T is misdiagnosed; some men naturally produce testosterone in lower levels as they age, but this does not necessarily the medical condition known as Low-T. Low-T topical medication manufacturers, however, aggressively market their products, implying that the normal slow down of testosterone production is a medical problem and that it can be easily and safely fixed. They neglect to warn about the medical dangers of the misuse of the product with patients that don’t actually have Low-T, such as increasing the risk of stroke and heart disease. Low-T lawyers will properly investigate drug makers that propagate this misrepresentation and failure to warn for product liability.

Physicians may also face medical malpractice lawsuits for failing to properly diagnose Low-T. There are practices that encourage the use of Low-T preparations even when it is unwarranted because it is profitable to do so. This is a breach of a health professional’s duty of care to a patient. As pointed out on the website of medical malpractice law firm Crowe & Mulvey, LLP, this negligence can have disastrous consequences for the patient.

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Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a federal program aimed at providing financial assistance to qualified adults who are unable to work because of long-term (more than 12 months) disability. To be eligible for these benefits and apply online, the applicant:

  • Is 18 years old up
  • Has not been receiving SSDI benefits
  • Has not been denied SSDI in the previous two months

The Social Security Administration (SSA) recommends that the applicant have the following information on hand to complete the online application:

  • Personal Information i.e. marriage/divorce details
  • Medical records and contact information of hospitals, doctors and other treatment facilities
  • Employment history and information, including a Social Security Statement and information on filed or received workers’ compensation or similar benefits, if any

There is also an online application for qualified children, but it requires a completed application for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) as well, which cannot be done online.

Online applications are undoubtedly much more convenient than filling up a physical form to the nearest state or field office of the SSA. However, there is no guarantee that an online application will be approved any more than an onsite one. Illinois has an approval rate of 30% for initial applications, and filing an appeal for denied claims is a long, complicated, and tedious process.

Applicants should make every effort to make a successful application on the first try, and this can be accomplished with the help of a Social Security disability lawyer. They know how the system works and what documentation is crucial to get approval. This will save a lot of time and effort in the long run which makes it worth the additional expense. In addition, Social Security disability lawyers can advise an applicant on how to maximize their benefits under the law, so the applicant may be better off overall. In the event that the application is denied, the lawyer will be able to guide you through the appeals process as well.

Some information for this post was researched on hankeylawoffice.com.

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Families of deceased cruise ship passengers of a downed ship may find that they are on shaky legal ground due to jurisdictional issues and a boilerplate waiver.

The sinking of the Costa Concordia cruise ship in 2012 resulted in 32 deaths and numerous injuries, and the Italian owners agreed to pay a hefty fine to square with the Italian government and avoid criminal charges. This does not mean that they are immune to private lawsuits that may be brought by individuals. However, because the ship is not registered in the US, its crew and owners may not be subject to the same laws that govern US-registered vessels.

There are US and international laws that cover all cruise ships such as the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act and the International Safety Management Code, but there are significant holes that foreign-registered ships can wiggle through to avoid criminal and civil charges. In this case, though, the captain who abandoned ship before anyone else and whose negligence caused the disaster is not so lucky. He is currently facing charges in Italian court. Five other ship employees had already pled guilty to manslaughter and negligence for less than 3 years in prison.

With regards to the ship owners’ liability to their passengers and crew, Costa Crociere SpA offered settlements that some had accepted. Those that were dissatisfied by the terms of the settlement got together to file class action suits against the company in Florida, but the defendants are maintaining that any civil action must be filed in Italy, as stipulated in the contracts signed by the passengers. As of the latest updates, the cases are still pending.

In the wake of this disaster, there have been initiatives to improve the legal remedies open to passengers in foreign-registered cruise ships but it is slow going. In the meantime, passengers who sustain serious injuries while on a cruise will have to rely of the expertise and knowledge of cruise ship injury lawyers that specialize in navigating this slippery slope.

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