May 8, 2015

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Bankruptcy Exemptions

There are federal and state bankruptcy exemptions in order to protect debtors from losing integral assets that are essential to sustain their standard of living. In Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy, exemptions determine the property that a person can keep after declaring bankruptcy. The most common exemptions are houses and cars under a certain value. The exemptions may also include sentimentally valuable items such as wedding rings in order to not cause undue burden on the debtor.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy will most often liquidate non-exempt property in order to repay creditors. The bankruptcy trustee, or court-appointed representative responsible for repaying your debts, is not legally able to sell exempt property by federal or state government. For example, a state may require that vehicles worth less than $5,000 to be an exempt property.

Chapter 13 allows debtors to keep the majority of their property and reorganize their debt. This type of bankruptcy requires most if not all debt to be repaid. In contrast, Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharges some debt. However, the value of nonexempt property is the value that the courts will require the debtor to pay towards non-priority unsecured creditors. These could include credit card issuers and banks.

The federal and state bankruptcy exemptions often have different exempt property or requirements for bankruptcy. Some states require that the state system be implemented while other states let the individual claiming bankruptcy which system they prefer to use. Though, it is not legal to pick and choose which exemptions you would like to claim from both state and federal systems.

The website of lawyers with Gagnon, Peacock & Vereeke, P.C. explains many types of bankruptcies and the financial benefits to individuals and businesses it can provide. However, the process of filing for bankruptcy is complex and requires a thorough knowledge of financial planning. If you or someone you know is considering bankruptcy, speak with a bankruptcy attorney in your area to discuss your legal and financial situation to determine the most appropriate course or action.

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Mar 5, 2015

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Should You Call for a Personal Injury Attorney?

If you have been injured due to an accident that could have been prevented if it were not for the negligence of another party, you are liable to file for a personal injury lawsuit. Many people who have suffered injury are, of course, otherwise preoccupied. No one blames them as there is a lot of stress and work that immediately falls upon them, usually with burdens that they had never anticipated. Handling difficult paperwork and documents for lawsuits is the last thing on their minds. Little do they know that acquiring legal aid can solve all that heartache – and more.

Personal injury cases are often complicated and are hardly ever straightforward. Due to the broad nature of the umbrella term itself, there are several different subsets that fall under it such as premises liability, child injuries, medical malpractice, car accidents, et cetera. There are so many, in fact, that it can get difficult when it comes to the actual handling of the case due to how much more complex things can get, depending on the circumstance.

According to the website of Crowe & Mulvey LLP, lawyers who specialize in this branch of the law are then better equipped with resources in order to help the victims with their case, thereby allowing for them to be granted better compensation packages as well as on the best, expert help. Should there be medical procedures involved within the lawsuit itself, such is the case for medical malpractice or defective pharmaceuticals, the legal team must also be knowledgeable with the jargon used in this foreign industry in order to properly represent the case at hand. In a court of law, information is the only leverage that holds any weight at all. A team that knows what they’re doing is a team that can guarantee you due justice.

Allow yourself a break following a traumatizing accident that results in personal injury. If you or someone you know has been in an accident that has caused injury or even death, do not hesitate to contact a personal injury attorney.

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Sep 18, 2014

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Suspected Link between Talc and Cancer is not New

It is not commonly known that scientists have long since suspected that talc may be a contributing, if not causative, factor in some types of cancer, specifically lung, ovarian, and uterine. The first study to actually provide evidence that such a link may exist was published in 1971 (“Talc and carcinoma of the ovary and cervix” J Obstet Gynaecol Br Commonw. 1971; 78:266–272).

Before 1970, talcum powder did contain traces of asbestos because while it is now widely known how dangerous it is, back then it was just beginning to become public knowledge. After 1970, however, cosmetic grade talc had to be free of asbestos, so it was not the rotten apple in that particular bushel. Moreover, it was not asbestos fibers that were found in women who had ovarian cancer but talc particles.

Despite this finding, talcum powder manufacturers, particularly Johnson & Johnson (J&J), insisted that there was insufficient evidence linking talcum powder with ovarian cancer, and until last year this was the status quo. In the meantime, an estimated 40% of women continued to use talc as part of their regular regimen of personal feminine hygiene while more studies were conducted to gather more definitive evidence.

These studies indicate several risk factors for ovarian cancer. Aside from the more common ones such as family history, one in ten Caucasian women develop it, and women who have a gene called glutathione S-transferase M1 (GSTM1) but not glutathione S-transferase T1 (GSTT1) are thrice more likely to have ovarian cancer. One study way back in 1982 even suggests that 92% of women who use talc in that part of their bodies have an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer. The talcum powder lawsuit lawyers at Williams Kherkher cite estimates that as many as 10,000 women today may have the disease from just such a cause.

If you have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and regularly use talcum powder in your genital areas, you may have an actionable case. Consult with a talcum powder lawyer in your area for advice.

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Feb 26, 2014

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Dangerous Medications Just Keep on Giving

A recent study on the side effects of the Type 2 diabetes injectable medication Byetta manufactured by Amylin Pharmaceuticals, LLC now owned Bristol-Myers Squibb indicate that it may be more dangerous than previously believed. The study suggests that not only does it significantly increase the risk of patients of developing pancreatitis and pancreatic duct metaplasia leading to pancreatic cancer as well as kidney failure but also of thyroid cancer by as much as 400%. This represents the fourth warning issued by the Food and Drug Administration pertaining to Byetta, and more ammunition for those who have already suffered serious injury as a result of the twice-daily use of the drug.

Medicine

These successive warnings coming from the scientific community since the drug was approved for use in 2005 has resulted in numerous personal injury lawsuits being against Byetta’s manufacturer. The projection for future claims against Byetta and similar incretin-based dangerous medications  (such as Merck’s Januvia) is such they were consolidated into a special multi-district litigation (MDL) in California (MDL 2452) by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (In Re: Incretins Products Liability, Sales and Marketing Litigation). An MDL has its advantages for the plaintiffs because all the cases are heard by one judge making the process more efficient but all plaintiffs retain their own lawyers.

According to the website of Williams Kherkher, those who have been taking Byetta and have since developed any of the diseases mentioned are encouraged to retain a lawyer in their area with experience is handling cases against big pharmaceutical companies, preferably Byetta cases. Suing drug companies are usually difficult without the right legal representation as these companies often have whole law firms working to keep them out of trouble. If you are planning to make a claim against a drug company such as Merck or Amylin Pharmaceuticals, make sure that you get the right kind of lawyer or you will just be wasting your time and money.

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Dec 20, 2013

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The Earth is Sending Harsh Messages: It is Time to Stop Global Warming

There is something happening in and to our planet and this has become obvious not only in the U.S., but also around the world. Extreme weather changes, heat waves, wild fires, storm surges, drought, floods, more frequent and stronger earthquakes, and rain and snow in much greater volumes; all these happening for the last 30 years due to global warming. The cause of it all? Us.

Deforestation and our dependence on fossil fuels, burning it to give us oil, natural gas, and coal – so many warnings were made in the past, but personal gains and profits were more tempting; now, we are reaping the fruits of our greed and cruelty to our planet.

By overloading the Earth’s atmosphere with carbon dioxide, heat has been trapped resulting to the steady rise of global temperatures. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the year 2012 witnessed incomparable destructive natural calamities, breaking all destructive weather records for the past 35 years.

Is there anything that can still be done? Yes, there is. All we need is to listen to what many scientists and experts have long been telling us: stop carbon pollution; turn to using clean, renewable energy; and, prepare well for natural disasters, whichever part of the globe you are in.

Isn’t it time for all nations to work together to fight disasters instead of fighting and inciting each other to violence? Haiti, the Philippines and many other third world countries have been beneficiaries of genuine and unselfish global concern and assistance – why not start with that spark of goodness . . . why not start with that spark of goodness . . . which can only come from a good heart?

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Oct 4, 2013

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Vehicular Traffic 20 Feet above the Ground?

Martin Aircraft, a company based in New Zealand was authorized to conduct manned test flights for what is supposed to be first practical jetpacks in the world. The tests were conducted over unpopulated areas, where the pilots flew at least 20 feet above earth or 25 feet high over bodies of water.

Glenn Martin, who invented the aircraft, got the inspiration from television programs, such as “Thunderbirds,” as well as from sci-fi comics, where jetpacks have always been seen as advantageous and really cool equipment. He began working on his invention in his garage in Christchurch, New Zealand three decades ago. For the many years that followed, jetpacks have only continued to serve as sci-fi equipment that symbolized a seemingly unreachable reality – until now.

Working with Martin is a team composed of experts and engineers, while his jetpacks are manufactured using state-of-the-art materials; these jetpacks are also equipped with a very efficient propulsion system, to render personal flight safe and effective, plus various safety features, like a ballistic parachute.

Though the Martin jetpacks were originally conceived for leisure use, other markets, including firefighters, the police, the military, civil defense and government Search and Rescue personnel, have manifested strong demands for these.

From the prototype that was tested in 2011, which flew about 5,000ft above ground, there is now the new P12, a version that is sleeker and easier to maneuver. According to Martin Aircraft Chief Executive Peter Coker, the Martin jetpacks will be made available to first responders in 2014, and then in the leisure market, in 2015. Estimate cost for early models ranges between $100,000 and $150,000.

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Sep 20, 2013

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Overtime Pay

Overtime pay refers to the compensation given to an employee that has rendered more working hours than the regular 40-hour per week in a whole work week. This compensation is required by state laws, and those who are eligible for overtime pay are considered nonexempt workers and sometimes some salaried employees. Because of many loopholes on how to classify whether a job or position is an exempt or nonexempt, there is now a large place for interpretation on how an employer will determine an exempt or nonexempt employee, and state laws may vary (although they are generally more favorable for employees than federal laws).

In order to understand if you are eligible for overtime pay, there are three things that can come into consideration: how much you are paid, the way you are paid, and the kind of work that you do. Here are guidelines commonly used to determine the eligibility of nonexempt employees for overtime pay:

  • Employees that are in the non-management or “blue-collar” hourly salary that perform manual labor
  • “White-collar” employees who are earning less than $455/week; or less than $ 910/biweekly; or less than $1, 971.66/month.

Particular jobs may be entirely excluded from coverage under the Fair Labor Standards Act (the one governing overtime pay). Some jobs that can be excluded are those that are through the statute itself, or those that are governed by some other specific federal labor law such as Railway Labor Act. Those who are covered by the overtime pay should be paid at a rate of 1 and ½ times their regular salary rate for each hour they work in excess of the regular 40-hour per work week.

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Sep 17, 2013

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Short-Term Disability

Becoming injured or sick to the point that you are unable to work can take a toll on your finances. Lost wages and medical bills can add up and prove to be a considerable financial burden. Some may consider applying for disability benefits, but Social Security disability benefits do not cover conditions that last less than one year. Fortunately, many companies in Texas provide short-term disability insurance coverage for their employees.

Short-term disability is typically provided through a worker’s health care insurance, and some may find that they are covered through their private insurance. Temporary medical conditions and injuries are considered short-term disabilities and their duration is usually about six months. If short-term disability is not an option, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) grants a worker up to 12 weeks of unpaid medical leave, and will also secure a worker’s job until they return from leave. However, to qualify for FMLA, and employee must have worked at least 1,250 hours in the previous 12 months. A common use of FMLA involves women who choose to take maternity leave. Whether or not your insurance covers your pregnancy and child’s birth will depend on the employer, but the Pregnancy Disability Act ensures that a pregnancy can be recognized as a short-term disability.

Obtaining the financial coverage you need may not be easy in Texas, especially if the insurance provider does not pay what you are owed or fails to recognize your disabling condition. You also have to meet specific requirements in order to receive short term disability benefits. Contacting an experienced disability lawyer can be beneficial if you are having difficulty obtaining the coverage you need. A lawyer can help you to prove that your condition meets disability requirements, help you receive the full amount of benefits, and work to reduce payment waiting periods.

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Sep 16, 2013

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When to Make a Personal Injury Claim for Car/Truck Accidents

Not all car/truck accidents are due to negligence. In some cases, circumstances just come together in an unfortunate way and no one is to blame. This means that there is no basis for a personal injury claim because fault cannot be assigned, no matter how devastating the results. According to an article on the website of Abel Law Firm in Oklahoma, a car crash happens every 8 seconds somewhere in the US. In the first quarter of 2013 alone more than 7,000 died from road accidents, although this is actually an improvement from the same period in 2012. This does not include the number of people who were injured.

However, when car/truck accidents happen because the driver was reckless or behaving erratically, this would be the time to consider making a claim because it is possible that negligence can be proven. It could be due to speeding, weaving in and out of traffic, distracted driving, driving on the wrong side of the road, or simply tailgating. Any of these may be considered acts of negligence, and may render the driver liable for both actual and punitive damages. An article on the Pohl & Berk, LLP website stresses that when it comes to an encounter between a truck with a negligent driver and a smaller vehicle, it is a no contest. The driver and passengers of the smaller vehicle are likely to sustain serious injury or even death while the truck driver gets off without a scratch.

Even if an accident occurs with similar-sized vehicles, the at-fault driver should be held responsible for any costs pertaining to property damage and bodily injury of a third party. For personal injury, this typically includes all medical expenses, loss of income, and pain and suffering if applicable to a particular state. A car or truck accident lawyer in a specific state will know what type of compensation may be applicable to a particular case based on state laws.

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Sep 13, 2013

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The Devastation of the BP Oil Spill / Deepwater Horizon Explosion

The devastation of the BP oil spill caused both immediate and protracted injury to the people in and around the area. When the BP-licensed Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico exploded and sank on April 20, 2010, eleven people died on the spot. Massive efforts to control and contain the spilling oil involved hundreds of people who are only now feeling the health effects of prolonged contact with the oil and the dispersant Corexit. The chemical poison is expected to linger in the water for as many as 5 years. Many residents and workers in the area are now suffering from allergies, respiratory problems, seizures, nausea, liver and kidney damage, and a host of other illnesses. Some of the more heavily exposed population even reported birth defects and developmental problems.

Aside from the health consequences, the oil spill caused significant damage to the environment and the ecology of the Gulf of Mexico, which prior to the accident was the source of the shrimp, oysters and other seafood coveted all over the US. Because of the taint of the oil, those engaged in fishing, shrimping and oyster farming suddenly found themselves without livelihood. Tourism in the area also dried up, forcing many support business to close down or cut back on operations, affecting thousands of employees and suppliers.

However, despite the obvious devastation of the accident, BP has managed to circumvent their liability by denying many legitimate claims for compensation. This has made it necessary for many to make a BP oil spill claim appeal, and it is not an easy process. It requires the expertise and knowledge of a lawyer with extensive experience with these types of cases for a claimant to have any chance of success. For a population already suffering massive problems through no fault of their own, this is adding salt to injury.

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