America’s increasing truck threat

This is perhaps the scariest thing you’ll hear about driving this month: the trucks on the road are causing more accidents, and more drivers are falling asleep at the wheel.

According to the Huffington Post, the number of truck-related deaths has been on the rise for years after hitting an all-time low in 2009 due to the poor economy.

Thanks in part to Congress easing of regulations on the industry, truck drivers are getting pushed harder and harder, with steeper demands for the distances they have to drive and the amount of time they spend driving it.

Now, drivers are driving longer hauls, and they’re carrying more weight, which means if the driver falls asleep at the wheel, the truck is that much heavier and that much deadlier to the rest of us.

Another issue, amazing as it may sound, is sleep apnea. That’s where a person has interrupted breathing when asleep. Such issues can be slight and may just result in a little snoring, but it can also mean people aren’t getting a good night’s sleep, and that can mean those people are more tired the next day, and the next, onward forever. For the average person, this isn’t that big of a deal. It’s a health risk and needs to get checked out, but it isn’t putting anyone in danger. If someone with sleep apnea falls asleep at his or her desk, only his or her boss is particularly annoyed about it. Perhaps a deadline gets missed or a meeting. It is not the end of the world.

When truck drivers or others in the transportation industry fall asleep at the job, however, the results can be the end of the world, at least for somebody.

The combination of sleep issues and more hours for truck drivers means more and more drivers are getting sloppier in their driving. They are being rushed, and they are exhausted. If you have ever tried to drive a long shift of more than a few hours after a rough night of sleep, you know how unsteady you can feel at the wheel. Most of us simply pull over for a little and catch up on some rest. But what if pulling over and resting meant you’d lose your job?

It’s no wonder, with these issues playing out on America’s streets, that there are so many lawsuits against truck drivers for accidents they are responsible for. In some ways, this is upsetting on the driver’s behalf. While everyone is responsible for their actions, employers are pushing drivers so hard put them in very difficult positions, in which, as stated above, a driver may have to choose between driving unsafely and losing his or her job.

Our best hope now is for Congress to reverse its recent policies and make stricter restrictions on how much drivers can drive. There have also been proposals made for drivers to be required to be tested for sleep apnea, and then to receive treatment if they are discovered to suffer from it.

At the moment, though, there’s little else that can be done but to hope for such future changes.

Eligibility for Long-term Disability Benefits

You can get a long-term disability package using two methods. First, you can get it as part of a benefit plan from your employer. Second, you can get it on your own through a disability insurer. But enjoying the benefits of long-term disability insurance has a lot of hurdles, including legal matters that may be extremely hard for normal individuals to navigate, and that is why there are legal professionals who focus on this kind of stuff, such as those from Fields Disability.
But what exactly are these legal matters? They may include the processes of making claims, eligibility issues that may influence claims, and appeals regarding denied claims.
Eligibility is one of the most common factors that may influence the approval or denial of a claim, and below are just some of the concepts it may include.

Disability

It is called long-term disability insurance, so you should actually be disabled to even qualify for it. The best way to prove your disability is to get a medical opinion from a medical professional.
But you should also look into the terms of the agreement with your employer or insurer, to know whether your condition truly qualifies as a disability. Most of the time, they may require objective evidence, such as X-rays and other medical reports that may substantiate your claim.

Longevity

Again, it is called long-term disability insurance, so the disability should be long-term. It may be a full disability, preventing you from working, or a partial disability, preventing you from fully functioning at work. But it should be long-term, which usually means that you have already exceeded the short-term disability policy. Usually, this happens about 10 to 53 weeks after the disabling event.

Employee Status

If the package comes from a benefit plan from an employer, you usually have to pass certain factors first before you become eligible. Typically, these factors include your status as an employee, like you should have worked for the company for a certain period or you should be a full-time employee before being eligible.

Elevator and Escalator Accidents

Elevators and escalators can be found in many places, such as in offices, malls, and other buildings with multiple floors. These places are often accessible to the public, in the form of employees, businessmen, customers, and bystanders. Since they are accessed by a lot of people, property owners and equipment manufacturers should ensure that their elevators and escalators are in top condition to prevent accidents.

Still, elevator and escalator accidents happen. According to the website of Zavodnick, Zavodnick & Lasky, LLC, elevator and escalator injuries may be subject to premises liability cases. The issue is serious enough that there are lawyers who specialize on them.

Elevator Accidents
Those who use elevators often do not have an idea how complex elevators are. These machines require incredible engineering disciplines, adequate materials, and proper maintenance to ensure that they are in their most optimal condition. The most common elevator accidents occur because of the following:

  • Abrupt opening and closing
  • Defective controllers
  • Failure to detect passengers in the doorway
  • Failure to stop adjacent to the floor of the building
  • Stopping in between floors
  • Sudden decrease in speed
  • Sudden increase in speed
  • Sudden stopping
  • Other defects due to maintenance issues

Escalator Accidents
Like elevators, escalators should be regularly maintained and inspected to prevent defects, malfunctions, and accidents. The most common causes of escalator accidents include:

  • Clothing and other materials getting caught in recess areas
  • Debris and trash that may cause slip and fall accidents
  • Getting trapped in escalator end-plates
  • Slippery substances
  • Sudden stopping
  • Shoe laces and other materials getting caught in escalator teeth

Possible Damages
Injury: The most common damage that can be sustained in these kinds of accidents is injury, particularly in small parts of the body that can be trapped between elevators and escalators, such as fingers, toes, and hair. But other more devastating injuries can also occur, such as traumatic head injuries, spinal cord injuries, fractures in the arm, leg, and hip area, and even death.

Medical Costs: Most injuries sustained from these accidents require serious medical attention. Of course, medical professionals and hospitals are not without fees. A typical employee or family may not be able to afford the proper medical needs.

Loss of Earning Capacity: If you are injured, you will most likely lose your ability to earn money, temporarily or permanently. This can result into financial problems and lifestyle changes. This is particularly damaging if the victim is the primary earner in the family.

Medical Malpractice in the U.S.: A Sad and Scary Reality

Believe it or not, but many worst and life-threatening mistakes are committed by some of the most trusted, well-trained and licensed individuals in world; sadly, many of these mistakes are also committed in places where safety and quality care are supposed to be prime priorities, especially for those who are suffering from serious illnesses. Many of these people guilty of committing life-threatening mistakes are doctors and nurses (some of whom have been practicing for decades) and the places where these mistakes are committed are in hospitals, specially surgery rooms.

It may be absurd to hear or read about three different doctors injuring their respective patients because they committed the grave mistake of operating on their patients’ wrong side of the brain; however this medical error did happen. While accidentally leaving a medical instrument inside a patient’s body (and finding out about it days after the operation has been concluded when the patient begins to experience unexplainable pains) may already be a common, but how about a case wherein a patient, while being operated on, was accidentally set on fire? Or a patient whose healthy kidney, instead of the damaged one, was removed, the wrong testicle getting removed, or a wrong leg getting amputated.

At least 200,000 thousand cases of errors, resulting to serious injuries or patient death, are registered in the list of medical malpractices every year, according to an article posted in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The real number can be much greater, though, as many other cases are said to be kept hidden by hospital administrators themselves.

Likewise, thousands of doctors have been reported to have committed, and still continue to commit, medical errors, as investigations that will prove them either innocent or guilty, are still pending. Meanwhile, patients could only pray that they do not end up under the care of negligent or careless doctors.

“Personal injury law,” as explained by the Ali Mokaram law firm, “is a wide branch of tort law that encompasses civil cases brought against other citizens. These cases typically arise when the negligence of one person causes injury to innocent party. This negligence can be created through action or inaction either directly or indirectly. Frequently these cases result in compensatory damages to assist with the injuries incurred. Compensatory damages are designed to help the plaintiff to pay for the costs of recovering after the injury. These damages often include things such as lost wages, property damages, and lawyer fees.”

Information on Pursuing Wrongful Death Claims in Illinois

Very few moments can leave a person scarred than the wrongful death of a loved one. Knowing that this incident could have easily been preventable undoubtedly makes the grieving process especially harder for the families that find themselves in this dizzying situation. Thankfully, the law provides these families the chance for some respite. By pursuing a wrongful death claim in court, Illinois families are given the opportunity to seek some form of closure that can help them move on from their devastation.

The Wrongful Death Act of Illinois defines wrongful death as the death of a person that was caused by another party’s neglect. This includes accidents such as car crashes or workplace injuries that lead to fatalities. In Illinois, family members of the victim are given the option to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of their loved one. By going through the process of pursuing a wrongful death claim, they will be seeking out appropriate compensation meant to cover the damages they incurred. The Chicago personal injury lawyers of Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC points out that the pursuit of a wrongful death claim could help families recover the full-range of damages families experience due to the death of their loved one, which could include compensation for income, benefits, goods, and service.

Illinois state laws require that wrongful death claims should be filed by the victim’s personal representative. In most cases, this refers to the victim’s spouse, adult child, or parent, if he or she were still a minor. The personal representative can also be the individual that was named by the victim as the one responsible for handling their estate. Should the victim fail to name a personal representative at the time of death, the court will usually appoint one for them. Take note that a victim’s personal representative will only be given the opportunity to file for damages within the statute of limitations. Wrongful death claims must be filed after at least one year following the death of the victim and within two years of the death of the fatal accident.

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