Coping with Bus Accident Injuries

Recently, a multiple-vehicle accident involving two buses, an 18-wheeler, and a car resulted in a massive traffic jam on Connecticut’s I-95 and injuries to at least 10 people. There were no fatalities, but the bus accident injuries could have been avoided if the driver of one bus was able to brake in time. The bus driver and the motorist were both cited for not maintaining safe following distances.

Bus accident injuries happen far less frequently than car accident injuries. However, bus accident injuries can all too easily turn serious if not deadly, especially on the highway because of its sheer size, the presence of passengers and high speeds. Most buses which travel on US highways travel long-distances, which is why the drivers are held to higher standards than normal motorists.

Bus drivers need a commercial driver’s license (CDL) in their employment, and these have stringent requirements because these drivers literally hold the lives of others in the palm of their hands. When a bus driver violates regulations and is over-fatigued, driving under the influence, or simply incompetent, it renders the driver as well as the operator liable for bus accident injuries that may occur. In most cases, bus drivers receive safety training and know to follow the rules of the road to keep their passengers safe.

But there are always exceptions.

Some drivers follow other large vehicles too closely, as what recently occurred on I-95. In that instance, the 18-wheeler had been cut by another vehicle, forcing the big rig to suddenly brake. The bus behind the truck also braked on time. Unfortunately, the bus behind the first bus was following too closely and rammed the first bus, sending it forward to ram the truck. The car, which was following the second bus, was also unable to stop on time.

Both the second bus and the motorist may be considered liable for bus accident injuries that occurred in this instance, but that is something to be determined after investigation. If you are involved in a similar situation and been injured in a bus, truck, or any general car accident, consult with an Atlanta accident attorney to help you understand your options and to determine the steps you need to take to make a claim. A lawyer will be able to guide you through your case, letting you handle the emotional and physical pains appropriately.

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Steps for Requesting Visitation Modification in California

The court’s decision regarding custodial arrangements is not set in stone. As a child gets older, or the situation changes for one or both parents, it may be necessary or desirable to make a request for visitation modification. In fact, parents in California may find that they will need to make changes to the custodial agreement every 3 years or so. According to the website of the Law Office of Daniel Jensen, P.C., in San Jose, this is easy enough to do if the child’s parents are in accord, but it there is a problem reaching an agreement, it may be necessary to get legal assistance in filing for a visitation modification in a court in California.

When requesting for a formal visitation modification, the first thing the requesting parent has to do is to provide documentation showing why the changes are necessary to serve the best interest of the child. If the change in circumstances only affect the parent and not the child, it is harder to get the court’s approval for visitation modification as it is the priority of California courts to encourage a consistent and stable parenting arrangement.

To go ahead with requesting for visitation modification in a California court, the requesting parent needs to:

  1. Fill out Form FL-300 (Request for Order) and optionally Form FL-341 (Child Custody and Visitation Application Attachment). These will detail the proposed new arrangement
  2. Have the form/s checked out by a qualified lawyer experienced in visitation modification requests to ensure everything is correctly filled out
  3. Make copies of the forms for keeping, sending to the other parent and submission to the court
  4. Submit the form/s to the court clerk and pay the filing fee
  5. Receive two copies stamped “Filed” and a court date, or a mediator date if required
  6. Have someone else serve the other parent in person or by mail with the filed application and Form FL-320 (Responsive Declaration to Request for Order) at least 16 days prior to the assigned court date, depending on if Item 4 and “Court Order” boxes of your Form FL-300 are checked. If they are, the papers must be served in person
  7. Have the server file a properly filled out Form FL-330 (Proof of Service) or Form FL-335 (Proof of Service by Mail)
  8. Determine if attendance to mediation orientation or child custody recommending counseling is necessary
  9. Attend court hearing or mediation, whichever is applicable

Forms that may be useful

  • Form FL-341(A)- Supervised Visitation Order
  • Form FL-341(B) – Child Abduction Prevention Order Attachment
  • FormFL-341(C) – Children’s Holiday Schedule Attachment
  • Form FL-341(D) – Physical Custody Attachment Form
  • FL-341(E) – Joint Legal Custody Attachment

There is a lot of work that goes into getting a visitation schedule modified. Being aware of the legal process involved can help you improve your chances of getting the desired outcome.

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The Blame Game in Railroad Crossing Accidents

Railroad tracks and trains are privately owned and operated, so railroad companies are wholly responsible for the safety and maintenance of both tracks and their trains. According to the website of Detroit law firm Ravid and Associates, P.C., trains continue to provide reliable and safe transportation for many Michigan residents, and railroad crossing accidents are comparatively rare. However, when they do occur, the results can be devastating. A motorist is 20 times more likely to die in a train collision than in one with another car, even when the train is moving at 30 mph.

Railroad companies still tend to blame victims of railroad crossing accidents, but the fact is most of these incidents occur due to the lack of or defects in safety systems such as flashing lights, gates, and warning signals. The predictions are the precursors for pinpointing which intersections need improvement, including studying sight lines, vegetation growth and better signs.

In most cases, people respect and obey railroad crossing signs and victims could have avoided being involved in accidents if they had enough warning or if the safety systems worked properly. It is not unheard of for railroad companies to cover up their own negligence when railroad crossing accidents occur. A 2004 report from the New York Times reveals how some companies lose or mishandle evidence that is crucial to an accident investigation to avoid liability. Many of these victims live within 25 miles of the scene of the accident, and in the last 20 years in excess of 6,500 people have died as a result of railroad crossing accidents.

If you suffered an injury or someone close to you died as a result of the negligence or carelessness of others, you need to bring your case to a personal injury lawyer in your area. If possible, take your own steps to preserve evidence in railroad crossing accidents that may help you and your lawyer in proving your personal injury claim.

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Social Security Benefits for Those Living with a Disability

Living with a disability can be financially challenging, as it may be difficult to receive the treatment you need while continuing to support yourself and your family.  Often, individuals with disabilities are unable to work at all, in which case, maintaining financial stability may seem all but impossible.
Fortunately, the Social Security Administration has several programs in place to support those who are in need of financial assistance after a disability has made it difficult or impossible for them to work.  By applying for Social Security disability benefits, many people may be able to secure the assistance they need to make ends meet despite their inability to continue working.

How Social Security Disability Benefits Work

If a person is unable to continue working because of an injury or illness, they may qualify for Social Security benefits.  The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a list of disabilities that commonly qualify for financial support, which includes:

  • Herniated discs
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Schizophrenia
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Arthritis
  • Epilepsy
  • Blindness
  • Respiratory diseases
  • Musculoskeletal conditions
  • Cardiovascular conditions
  • Immune system deficiencies

These are by no means the only issues that may qualify a person for Social Security disability benefits, but if you are unable to work because of any of the conditions listed above, it may be worthwhile for you to look into filing for Social Security disability benefits.

Once a person has applied for benefits, they can expect to hear back within a short amount of time.  Frustratingly, in many cases, applicants will receive an initial rejection letter, however there are multiple levels of appeals available to those in need.  If your application is rejected, do not give up and do not reapply. Instead, you should appeal the initial rejection. Social Security applications are complicated and often require several appeals before they are approved.

Improving Your Odds

If you are interested in applying for Social Security disability benefits and want to simplify the application process as much as possible, the following tips may be helpful:

  • Keep your medical records handy—The more information you can provide the SSA, the easier it will be to prove your disability and get things filed completely on your first submission.
  • Stay persistent—The process can take months to complete, but by following up with your application and appealing any rejections, you may be able to secure the assistance you need.
  • Consider working with a professional—A Social Security Disability lawyer can help you and your loved ones deal with this challenging process and keep you up to date with any issues as they arise.

A successful Social Security disability claim can make it much easier for you to make ends meet despite being unable to work, so it is worth it to stay persistent even if you aren’t approved right away.

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Aggressive Behavior in Dogs

Although dogs are the most popular pet in the United States, they can act aggressively in certain situations. Recognizing aggressive behavior in dogs can help to keep yourself and your loved ones safe around a potentially dangerous dog. Some people believe that certain breeds are the only dogs that will act aggressively, but in reality, any dog can react in an aggressive manner to something it views as threatening.

Recognizing Dangerous Dog Behavior

It is important for everyone to recognize possible signs of aggression. If a dog is displaying signs of aggression, a person should move away from the dog and avoid confronting it. Some of the most common signs of aggression include:

  • Repeatedly showing teeth to an owner, visitors, or other animals
  • Showing signs of protectiveness over food or toys
  • Growling or whining when stranger or strange dogs approach
  • Snapping or biting

These do not necessarily mean that a dog is going to harm you, but they are behaviors that should be taken seriously.

Types of Aggression

Dogs can act aggressively for many reasons. The following are some different types of aggressions:

  • Territorial Aggression—Dogs are instinctively protective of their home, yard, and anything they consider a “safe space.” When others get too near to their territory, they may act aggressively towards the intruder.
  • Possession Aggression—Protecting items that the dog views as theirs can lead to aggressive behavior. Often, dogs are overprotective of treats and food, but the behavior can be triggered by anything.
  • Dominant Aggression—When feeling threatened by another dog or person, some dogs will attempt to prove dominance in the pack.
  • Fear Aggression—When dogs are afraid, their instincts may tell them to fight the thing that is frightening them.
  • Punishment Aggression—Dogs that are being punished may be afraid for their well-being or unhappy that their toy was taken away. This can sometimes trigger aggressive actions.
  • Predatory Aggression—When a dog’s instincts to hunt are triggered, their aggression levels may increase. They can be triggered by joggers, squirrels, or anything else that is running away from them.
  • Maternal Aggression—Mother dogs may react aggressively towards people or animals that approach their litter. This behavior is instinctual and intended to protect their babies.

Whether you are visiting friends, hanging out at the park, or observing your own pup, understanding the possible causes of aggressive behavior may help you to avoid an unnecessary injury. Teaching your children and loved ones the importance of recognizing this type of behavior can also help them to stay safe around dogs they are unfamiliar with.

Victims of dog bites may have the right to file claims against the owner of the dog for failing to control their pet. Often, these cases are intended to provide the victim with financial compensation for the costs of their medical treatment and other expenses. By working with a dog bite lawyer, victims may be able to take the legal action needed to protect their rights.

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Living with a Visitation or Custody Schedule

Raising children after a divorce can be overwhelming and fraught with a mixture of excitement and frustration for anyone; however, there are a number of unique matters which must be considered and dealt with that can make various times of the year particularly difficult.

For parents sharing custody or with visitation schedules, one of the most important issues to be considered is how these schedules and time with the children will be affected over the various holidays that crop up through the year, including summer vacation. While this can cause a great deal of anxiety, it can be made easier by employing the following tips:

  • Have a detailed, pre-planned parenting plan to work from – whether this is a plan that was developed during divorce proceedings (and every divorced parent should have one of these) or a modified plan that better fits you and your ex-spouse’s current lifestyles, any divorce lawyer will advise you to make sure you always have a parenting plan in place prior to starting the holidays. This way, you, your spouse, and your children can easily know where the kids will be and what to expect. This often cuts down on tension and arguments, and makes everything much easier on the children.
  • Make plans as far in advance as possible – if you plan on going on vacation or visiting other family members, whether you have the children or not, make sure these plans are made ahead of time as much as possible. That way everyone else can know where you will be and plan accordingly. This also gives children more structure, which is important.
  • Make sure to keep all involved parties informed of changes/needs – should issues arise or plans change, make sure everyone who is involved is told of these problems and changes, from your ex-spouse and the kids to a required third party (if you have supervised visitation). Even if these changes don’t directly affect your visitation or parenting time, the other parties should be aware of things that could potentially cause changes.
  • Start new traditions – holidays are full of family traditions, whether it’s taking a road trip in the summer, going caroling on the first week of December, or any other traditions your family may have. However, there may be many of these traditions that cannot happen at all or have to be modified because the whole family can’t be together or you do not have your children on certain dates. This can be very upsetting for children, particularly if the parents make a big deal about it. As such, being positive and starting new traditions that better suit you and your children’s new lifestyle can immensely help with the transition and ease tensions.
  • Focus on the holidays themselves, not the dates – children get excited about the holidays, rather than the actual dates. So if you can’t see your children exactly on the 25th of December for Christmas, but have to wait until the 27th, make sure to focus on celebrating the holiday and being together. That way the children won’t feel upset or pressured because they weren’t able to see you and those they love on certain days.

Whether you utilize these or other tips to help you after a divorce, it’s always important to remember to do what you can to make the holidays a happy and enjoyable time for yourself and your family.

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Avoiding Railway Accidents

Trains are one of the most powerful vehicles on land, especially when they are in motion. According to the website of Chris Mayo, they weigh more than a couple of tons, transporting anything from food, equipment, to people. Because of their size and speed they may take a long time to stop, therefore, when road intersections occur, most of the time other vehicles such as cars are the ones that stop to make way for the train to cross. This is the reason why safety gates are vital in these crossroads.

The risk of not having safety gates come in multitudes. They signal the arrival of the train, informing other drivers to stop and allow the train to pass. If the safety gates or signal lights are not functioning properly, they can cause confusion in the drivers, which could lead to fatal accidents. More often, drivers still try to outrun trains, adding to the statistics of 2,746 railroad collisions in 2007 alone. This stark reality, where thousands of people die each year in train accidents, could be changed if all railway intersections were properly maintained.

Not all signals and safety gates are electronically powered, therefore paying close attention when coming across can railroad intersection, and these simple pointers can literally save your life:

  • Always approach the railroad crossing with caution – don’t believe that it is always clear.Never try to beat the train across the tracks.
  • Make sure to always look both ways before crossing the intersection – a train can come in any direction.
  • Before crossing the tracks, make sure there is enough space for your vehicle to cross completely before having to stop again.
  • Always expect a train to come crossing in a railroad intersection.
  • Don’t get trapped in the train tracks – if you do get stuck, move away from the vehicle to a safe location then call for help.
  • Never underestimate the speed and distance of a train – they can act like an optical illusion and fool you.
  • Trains are not always audible, especially if you windows are up. If you can’t see any train coming, roll down your window and try to listen carefully.
  • Always follow warning signs, lights, and safety gates. Avoid playing, trespassing, or walking along or near train tracks.

Even at a slow speed, a train can still inflict serious damage to vehicles, property and people. To make sure you are safe when crossing a railroad intersection, follow the simple tips listed above, and also follow your common sense. Defensive driving is always the best option for protecting yourself from any accidents. However, if you are hurt as a result of malfunctions or defects on a railroad, a personal injury lawyer may be able to help you secure compensation for your injuries.

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Everything You Need to Know about Wrongful Termination

The last thing that anyone wants is to be laid off, especially when you believe that you didn’t deserve to be fired. One common question people have for employment lawyers is whether they were wrongfully terminated and have a legitimate case against their employers. Employment laws vary from state to state; however, a number of states, including Louisiana and Texas, follow an at-will employment policy. In general, this means that an employer can let certain employees go for a lawful reason at any time without notice. It also means an employee can quit his or her job at any time. It is important to note, though, that there are a number of exceptions and limitations to these laws. If an employer does not respect these limitations when letting an employee go, it could constitute wrongful termination.

What Counts as Wrongful Termination?

Despite at-will employment laws, an employer is not allowed to terminate an employee based on discriminatory or retaliatory reasons. For instance, an employee cannot be fired for acting as a whistleblower. These actions can count as wrongful termination.

If an employee has been wrongfully terminated, he or she may be able to seek justice by taking legal action and filing a wrongful termination suit against his or her employer. Wrongful termination cases have significantly increased in frequency over the last two decades. In fact, statistics report that wrongful termination lawsuits have risen 260% in the last 20 years.

What are the Different Forms of Wrongful Termination?

Wrongful termination can cover a number of actions. It is a common misconception that wrongful termination can only occur if the victim’s employer fired him or her. However, wrongful termination can also include cases where the employer simply bullies or forces an employee to quit by making his or her work environment intolerable. Two common ways an employer can commit wrongful termination are:

Constructive Discharge – An employer doesn’t necessarily fire an employee outright to commit wrongful termination. If an employer creates a dangerous, harmful, or intolerant work environment that forces an employee to quit due to discrimination or sexual harassment, the employee could hold the employer responsible for wrongful termination. However, constructive discharge does not cover every situation and cannot be used simply because there are things at the office that bother an individual.

Retaliatory Termination – It is illegal for an employer to terminate an employee because the employee filed a claim against the employer claiming he or she was the victims of discrimination or harassment in the workplace. Also known as being a “whistleblower,” you cannot be fired for reporting an illegal act or for being unwilling to commit an illegal act. If you choose to pursue a wrongful termination suit for retaliatory termination, you must establish that the filing of your complaint was directly linked to your firing.

What is Illegal Discrimination?

As an employee, it is important to know that you cannot lose your job due to certain traits that are protected under federal law. Any employer who hires or fires an employee based on origin, age, race, gender, religion, disability, or pregnancy is violating the law. If you believe you have lost your job for any of these reasons, you may be able to take action against your employer through a wrongful termination case with the help of employment attorneys. An attorney will be able to help you through your case, making sure that you don’t get taken advantage of by your employer.

An employee who has been wrongfully terminated based on discriminatory reasons has the legal right to sue his or her employer for loss of wages, “fringe” benefits, and in some cases, even punitive damages.

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