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Posted by on Oct 8, 2017 in Employment | 0 comments

The nursing crisis

The country is heading towards a health care crisis. No, this is not an article about Obamacare or recent changes the GOP has made (or failed to make) to the overall system. Insurance and coverage remain major problems for the US going forward, but this article is about a different issue: nurses.

You may not think much about nurses unless you’re sick, but nurses play a pretty major role in providing health care. For some, nurses are almost the only medically trained professional they encounter for most of their lives. With the nurse stations at CVS and Walgreens, it’s now possible to get most small medical complaints seen by a nurse instead of heading to a doctor’s office.

The problem is this: we don’t have enough nurses, and it looks like we’re going to have a very serious decline in the future.

At the moment, the average age of a registered nurse is in the late-40s. Think of another profession where that’s the case—there aren’t many. That number suggests that America’s nurses are aging and their numbers aren’t being replenished by younger applicants and novices.

Why is this happening?

It’s hard to be sure just how serious the problem is right now and also why it’s happening in the first place. One primary point to both questions is that our health care system is just pretty screwed up. It’s complicated, much more so than systems that are nationalized in other countries. We have dozens of major insurance companies, private and public hospitals, charity clinics, and plenty of other forms of medical service. Much of the health care system, such as Medicaid, is overseen not by the federal government but by each state. That means there are fifty different systems in use for Medicaid alone.

What all of this means, in aggregate, is that it is hard to know exactly what the nursing situation looks like with all those different factors to consider. It is clear we are suffering from a shortage, but it is hard to say beyond that.

This complex system (and one that is always in threat of changing drastically at any moment) is one reason many are not choosing nursing as a career. While being a doctor is sure to bring in a good income and some stability no matter what happens to the laws of the land, that isn’t necessarily the case with nurses.

Another issue is how often nurses are expected to work beyond their set hours in order to keep hospital budgets in line. Nurses can end up working before and after shifts with no compensation just to avoid the hospital paying overtime.

Again, this is complicated by the public and private nature of hospitals with many expected to earn profits for investors while others have different budgetary concerns.

Regardless of the cause and immediate nature of the issue, we are heading towards a crisis in nursing in the future. That’s just one more reason to develop a more cohesive and permanent solution to America’s health care problems.

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Posted by on Aug 17, 2017 in Car Accidents | 0 comments

Distracted driving: a deadly killer

According to statistics released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), 3,477 people were killed in accidents caused by distracted driving in 2015 alone. The numbers are significant and tragic, indicating a larger social issue that is often treated lightly by many people. At this point, it is almost unheard of for an individual of legal driving age to not have a mobile phone on them at all times, and the modern conveniences of dashboard consoles and navigation devices inside the vehicle also can create serious distractions for drivers of all ages.

In addition to devices in the vehicle, drivers are often consumed with other activities that can impair their ability to see dangers, take evasive action, or simply follow the posted rules of the road. These activities include eating, drinking beverages, putting on makeup, chatting with passengers, and a whole host of other actions that may prevent them from focusing on operating the vehicle in a safe and responsible manner.

According to the NHTSA, the definition of distracted driving is: “any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system—anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving.” Of all distractions, it is easy to believe that texting while driving is the most dangerous of all because the driver’s attention is typically completely diverted to the task of reading and responding to text messages. It takes five full seconds (on average) to send or read a text, which, at a speed of 55 miles per hour, will allow the vehicle to travel the length of a professional football field without having your eyes on the road.

While the tragic number of deaths is a sobering enough statistic, that number does not even take into account the number of injuries that occur due to distracted drivers. According to the NHTSA study, another 391,000 people suffered serious injuries in 2015, all directly related to distracted driving. These figures are far too high (even one death caused by distracted driving is one death too many), and action must be taken to stop this devastating loss of life and serious injury.

Recently, states have started focusing on the dangers of distracted drivers and have focused public safety initiatives aimed at educating the public and putting punishment in place for drivers who are spotted driving while focusing on other activities in the vehicle. Sometimes, these punishments aren’t enough, and if an individual is seriously hurt in an accident caused by a distracted driver, they may be able to take legal action against the responsible party. I found this personal injury firm in Houston that has a track record of representing injured individuals. Law firms like this and others across the nation will often help people who have been hurt in an accident hold the responsible party accountable through civil actions called torts.

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Posted by on Jun 28, 2017 in Product Defects | 0 comments

Product liability

It is frustrating to know that, despite the responsibility of all those connected in the chain of product distribution (such as manufacturers, suppliers and retailers) to provide customers only with safe and functional products plus the existence of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, which is tasked to ensure product safety, defective products still find their way in stores and get sold to unsuspecting consumers, many of whom suffer injuries through such products’ use.

Due to the harm suffered by consumers thousands of lawsuits against manufacturers and/or distributors get filed in courts all across the US every year. According to attorney Ali Mokaram from The Lopez Law Group, these lawsuits may be based on any of the following issues:

  • Manufacturing error: manufacturing plants have quality assurance personnel whose job is to make sure that every product comply with company and industry standards. However, there are instances when manufacturing accidents occur, so that the outcome either deviates from the actual design intended by the manufacturer or some properties of the good produced end up different compared to others in the same line. While the defect may, indeed, harm the user, during a tort or personal injury lawsuit, proving that the defect actually caused the injury is still required of the victim.
  • Flawed design: instead of just a certain part being defective, an error in design will include the whole line of products which are actually made correctly but with harmful flaws (a classic example of this is the US Transport authorities’ very recent recall of 2.12 million vehicles from some of the world’s biggest car makers due to faulty airbags that can accidentally deploy even while the car is running.)
  • Inadequate warning or misleading product label: manufacturers are required (by law) to make sure that their product’s label clearly spells out: any danger associated with product’s use; product use instructions; and, the correct ingredients of the product. The product, through its label, should neither make any claim that has not been proven scientifically nor should it inaccurately identify the product’s real contents (like stating evaporated cane juice instead of refined white sugar in order to entice millions of consumers suffering from type II diabetes, coronary artery disease, hypertension, or obesity).

While it is true that some accidents are unavoidable, many more are due to acts of negligence and, therefore, totally preventable. After having established negligence as the cause of personal injury, the liable party, under the law, is obliged to compensate the victim for all present and future damages resulting from the injury.

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Posted by on Mar 21, 2017 in Bankruptcy | 0 comments

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Provides an Amazing Opportunity

Though Chapter 7 or liquidation bankruptcy is the bankruptcy chapter most commonly applied for by individuals to save themselves from overwhelming debts, this would not be the right chapter for those who fail the means test (this test determines if an applicant’s salary is within the limit set under this specific chapter). Another chapter, however, may be right for them: Bankruptcy Chapter 13.

Chapter 13 of the U.S. Bankruptcy code, otherwise known as Wage-earner’s Plan, Repayment Plan, or Debt Adjustment, is a reorganization or restructuring type of bankruptcy that allows debtors to propose a three-year payment plan through which they may settle all their debts (with the permission of the court, this plan can be extended up to five years).

The restructured payment scheme is intended to make debt payments more affordable for debtors; this method also no longer requires the debtor to surrender any of his/her assets and properties for selling. For those who run a business, specifically sole proprietors, they can continue operations and earn profits, which they can use to pay off their debts.

Debtors, who voluntarily file Chapter 13 bankruptcy, are protected by the “automatic stay,” a court order that stops creditors and collectors from making any attempt to ask debtors for payment. This means cessation of all phone calls, emails, text messages, letters, lawsuits, attempts to foreclose or repossess any of the debtor’s assets and properties, as well as prohibition from petitioning the court to levy a debtor’s bank account or have a part or all of his/her wages garnished.

Besides the automatic stay, chapter 13 bankruptcy has other benefits, including the possible reduction of the loan amount itself (from the value of the principal loan down to the market value of the loan collateral) and the discharge of some debts, which would be retained had the debtor applied for chapter 7 instead. Among those considered as dischargeable debts are penalties and fines payable to the government (except criminal fines), retirement account loans, debts that were denied discharge during a prior filing of bankruptcy, debts resulting from divorce or separation proceedings, debts incurred due to payment of non-dischargeable tax obligations (such as the debts acquired from the use of credit card in paying taxes), debts resulting from the willful and malicious damaging of someone else’s property (this does not include personal injury cases), and condominium or homeowners association (HOA) dues (these dues, however, have a lien on a debtor’s property. This means that, despite the discharge, the debtor can still lose his/her property; thus, it is imperative that these dues be paid continuously).

Filing chapter 13 bankruptcy and understanding fully well its advantages and possible consequences can definitely be better with the help of an exceptional bankruptcy lawyer. Chapter 13 also allows you to:

  • Propose a repayment plan that works for you:
  • Save your home from foreclosure;
  • Reschedule your secured debts;
  • Make a single payment; and
  • Stop harassment from creditors.
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Posted by on Oct 18, 2016 in Expunction | 0 comments

Expunction: Criminal Record Clearing in Texas

Expunction refers to a legal process where individuals can have their criminal records cleared in. In a perfect world, those with criminal records that have properly served their mandated penalties and obligations should be able to go back living their old lives. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Many individuals continue to find it difficult to rebuild their reputations after receiving a criminal charge or conviction due to extreme prejudice.

Fortunately, the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure provides leeway for these individuals, giving them several options so they may be able to be free of any stigma about having criminal records. The first option is called expunction, and it’s available for individuals that were found not guilty or were acquitted of a criminal offense. Particular circumstances that may allow you to qualify for expunction include the following:

  • Getting charged of a criminal offense that was eventually dismissed;
  • Getting convicted for a criminal offense but was eventually pardoned;
  • Getting convicted for a criminal offense but was later found to be innocent.

The court may also have to look into the specific circumstances of your case in order to qualify for criminal record clearing in Dallas and other places in Texas. For example, individuals that were convicted of Class A, B, or C misdemeanors might still be able to file for expunction as long as they wait out a specified time period before pursuing their petition. Those found ineligible to file for expunction could instead try petitioning to have their criminal records sealed from the public through an order of non-disclosure.

Starting over after receiving a criminal offense can prove to be an uphill battle. Having the tiniest blip on your record could prove to be an impediment from pursuing new employment, education, and financial opportunities. Fortunately, the law provides recourse for these situations. If you think that expunction may help in your rehabilitation, contact an experienced lawyer to learn more about your available options.

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