Individuals working aboard seafaring vessels are at greater risk for workplace injury and less likely to receive immediate emergency care after an incident. The Jones Act of 1920 was put in place to legally oblige employers to provide a safe workplace for seafaring workers. The Act also holds employers liable for workplace injuries caused by the employer’s negligence or recklessness. For example, under the Jones Act, an employer is accountable for an accident caused by improper maintenance of a vessel or failure to properly train a worker. An injured worker eligible under the Jones Act is entitled to compensation for their injuries from the employer or owner of the vessel.
Determining one’s eligibility to file a Jones Act claim requires evaluating the circumstances under which the injury occurred. The victim must meet the legal definition of a “seaman” to be protected under the Jones Act. According to Jones Act lawyers at Williams Kherkher, a seaman is someone who 1) spends at least 30% of his or her time at work on a vessel or specific fleet and 2) works to achieve the mission of the vessel. Further, in order to file a claim, the vessel must be “in navigation” and not docked at the time of the injury.
Even if the injury was not caused by negligence or recklessness, the employer is still responsible for the immediate “maintenance and cure” of their employee. The employer must pay the injured worker the wages he or she would have earned if not injured, and cover the cost of room and board that the employer would otherwise provide if the employee were still working.
The statute of limitations can affect Jones Act claims. An injured worker has three years to file a claim, though injuries or illnesses can manifest themselves after this period has passed. For this reason, it is important to file a claim as soon as possible after the date of the injury or incident.
Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity has been occurring in workplaces for years. Federal and state laws prohibit such discrimination, but individuals who are homosexual, bisexual, asexual, pansexual, or transgender still report encountering discriminatory barriers in the workplace on account of their sexual orientation.
Sexual orientation discrimination occurs when an individual is treated differently from other employees due to their actual or perceived orientation. Between 15 and 43 percent of gay individuals have experienced harassment or discrimination in the workplace. For transgender individuals, that number is 90 percent. Examples of sexual orientation discrimination can include not being hired, promoted, or fired specifically due to one’s sexual orientation. Further, harassment such as sexual jokes, inappropriate gestures or touching, and verbal or physical assaults can also be considered sexual orientation discrimination. Twelve to 30 percent of straight employees witnessed discrimination against their gay or transgender coworkers. Being subjected to this type of discrimination can significantly limit an individual’s ability to make a living and negatively impact one’s working environment.
Discrimination also affects company productivity, workplace satisfaction, and employee health and wellbeing.
According to New York sexual orientation discrimination attorneys of Cary Kane LLP, discrimination against an employee on the basis of sexual orientation is prohibited by Title VII when it constitutes discrimination on the basis of sexual stereotypes. This was confirmed by a recent decision on the part of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia expressly prohibit sexual orientation discrimination, and 20 states prohibit both sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination. Beyond federal and state legislation, a number of businesses and local entities have enacted laws protecting individuals from this type of discrimination. Public support for nondiscrimination and tolerance policies in the workplace is also increasing.
High-quality drinking water is an essential part of a family’s health. Municipalities are required to provide water that complies with federal standards, but this does not mean the water is always free of problems. An old distribution system, the plumbing in buildings, contamination, or other unknown issues can impact the quality of faucet water. Below are some common water quality problems that can be diagnosed through testing. Though these problems aren’t necessarily harmful to human health, they can be disruptive or damaging to property or homes.
Hard Water— Hard water contains high levels of dissolved calcium, magnesium, or iron. Around 85 percent of the United States’ water supply is “hard.” Hard water can dry out a person’s skin and hair or cause expensive household problems to kitchenware, clothes, or appliances. Water softener systems remove the dissolved minerals in hard water.
Chlorine—Municipalities use chlorine to kill bacteria present in drinking water, which is important to prevent public health issues. Though it is not dangerous to drink, it can damage rubber seals included with appliances and causes dry skin and hair.
Cloudy Water—According to an Austin water filters company, murky water is probably turbid and contains high levels of dissolved particles. Though turbidity can occur naturally, it can also be caused by construction or urban runoff.
Metallic taste—Metal particles such as copper and zinc can be found in tap water from corroding water distribution systems. Replacing the corroding parts can help this problem.
Earthy taste and smell— Decaying vegetation and algae can cause tap water to have a musty, earthy smell.
Rotten egg smell—Hydrogen sulfide produces this rotten egg smell. It is a corrosive gas, and can shorten the lifespan of metal appliances.
Staining—Orange or black stains in bathtubs, sinks, or toilets are caused by dissolving iron and manganese in the tap water.
The state of Texas has laws in place to prevent discrimination in the workplace. There are many ways that workplace discrimination can be exhibited, and if you believe that you are a victim of workplace discrimination, then according to Texas employment law, you can file a discrimination complaint to the Civil Rights Division of TWC. Being denied equal pay is just one of the many forms of workplace discrimination that the Melton Law Firm has helped workers deal with in the office.
Very worker has the right to appropriate pay equal to their skills and abilities. Equal pay laws ensure that workers will be paid equally regardless of their age, gender, race, nationality, disability. Equal pay claims are put in place to ensure that every worker’s pay is equal to their counterparts and that this pay is a suitable compensation for their work. According to the Texas Government Code Section 659.001, the Texas Equal Pay Act ensures that women who are employed in the state of Texas should receive the same salaries as men do when both are doing the same quality, grade, type, kind of service. For a long time, women have been victims of pay discriminations in the state of Texas. The Equal Pay Act hopes to prevent such discriminations from happening in the workplace and ensures that both genders receive equal pay that amounts to their work.
There may still be companies that will not provide equal pay. When this happens, the employee can file a claim against the company through the Equal Pay Act. However, with so many laws in order that protects every worker in the state of Texas, employees can now rest easy that they will have the salary that they deserve, along with the peace of mind that they can provide and take care of their families properly through their living.
Hit-and-run incidents can be some of the most challenging and complicated types of car accidents to deal with. A hit-and-run occurs when a driver is involved in a traffic accident and does not stop and offer assistance or identify themselves. The traffic accident can include a collision with another car, a pedestrian, an object, or, in some states, an animal. Hit-and-run crimes put the victim in a difficult situation. According to Pohl & Berk, LLP, victims of hit-and-run accidents not only suffer property damage and physical harm as a result, but also experience financial damages and emotional stress.
Penalties for fleeing the scene of a car accident vary from state to state and vary depending on the circumstances. The circumstances determine whether a specific incident is considered a misdemeanor or a felony. No matter the circumstances, however, the legal consequences are severe. Consequences for the driver at fault can include the suspension or loss of the individual’s driver’s license, fines of between $5,000 and $20,000, and imprisonment. In some cases, the fines imposed for a car accident are tripled if the accident is also a hit-and-run. A resulting lawsuit may also require that the driver at fault compensate the victim for medical costs and property damage. Most insurance companies will also cancel the perpetrator’s insurance policy.
According to an Oklahoma car accident lawyer, if you are involved in a car accident due to another driver’s reckless or negligent behavior, that driver may be liable for your losses. Such losses can include property damages, medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and, in some cases, wrongful death. In order to ensure the perpetrator is held accountable for their actions, lawyers at the Sampson Law Firm recommend reporting the incident to the police, identifying witnesses, taking photographs of the scene, giving a detailed description to police, and reporting the incident to your insurance company.
The Texas Prompt Payment Act of 2003 ensures that insurance providers compensate medical professionals for their work in a timely and fair manner. Under the Prompt Pay Act, insurers must pay electronically submitted claims within 30 days and non-electronically submitted claims within 45 days. Steep penalties accrue when companies do not provide payment appropriately, and the impacted medical care provider is entitled to compensation. Penalties exist for both late payments and for underpayment. This prevents providers from simply paying a small part of the claim before a deadline and the remainder after the deadline.
The Prompt Pay Act only applies to health maintenance organizations (HMOs) and preferred provider organizations (PPOs). Entities such as Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, and federal employee plans are exempt.
Several conditions must be met for an individual to be eligible for a Prompt pay claim.
1) The patient must be insured by an entity covered by the Prompt Pay Act
2) The medical provider must have a contract with the insurance provider and have performed the services in an emergency or at the request of the insurance provider
3) The initially submitted claim must be “clean”: “complete, legible, and accurate”
4) The claim must have been submitted with 95 days of the provided services
A Prompt Pay case can be a lengthy battle requiring resources upfront. However, the responsible insurance provider must ultimately pay the attorney fees and costs associated with the case. Medical care providers should be equipped with these resources and the willingness to follow through with the claim. According to lawyers at Williams Kherkher, filing a claim against an HMO or PPO holds more weight when there is a high volume of unmet claims. Further, the more significant the difference between the contracted and billed rates, the more successful a Prompt Pay claim will likely be.
Most trucking accidents are caused by driver errors. A study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) found that drivers are ten times more likely to cause truck accidents than weather, road conditions, or vehicle problems. According to a Dallas personal injury lawyer, the driver of a large truck can get into an accident even if they think they are driving carefully. The trucking company may also be responsible for the accident if they allowed an incompetent or improperly trained driver on the roads. Impairment by alcohol or drugs, speeding, fatigue, distractions, or unfamiliarity with the road can all cause the driver to make an error and cause an accident.
Rollover accidents often cause injuries and deaths. Driver errors implicated in rollover accidents include taking a curb too fast, speeding, failure to distribute the load properly, driving during unsafe conditions, and fatigue. These errors and resulting accidents can also be a result of inexperience. The FMCSA study found that 23 percent of trucking accidents involved a driver moving at unsafe speeds. Lawyers at NCR Legal write that if a truck accident victim can show the accident could have been prevented if the driver had not made an error, the victim is entitled to compensation.
Eighteen percent of truck accidents are caused by driver fatigue. Federal regulations known as “Hours of Service rules” limit the number of hours a truck driver can be on the road to prevent fatigue. A driver can only drive for 11 hours a day and must be off-duty for 10 hours before starting a shift. They are further limited to 60 hours in seven consecutive days or 70 hours in eight consecutive days. If a driver and/or trucking company violate these Hours of Service rules and cause a fatigue-related accident, they can face severe legal consequences.
The legal consequences for driving under the influence (DUI) can be severe, but if someone sustains a serious bodily injury (SBI) as a result of a DUI, the penalties will likely be drastically intensified. The following conditions define serious bodily injury: unconsciousness, extreme physical pain, serious disfigurement, protracted or permanent impairment of an organ or member, loss of mental abilities, or injuries that put the victim at substantial risk of death. Medical experts determine whether the level of injury is slight, moderate, or severe. Proof of severe bodily injury in a DUI with SBI case is provided through expert documentation or testimony in court.
According to Flaherty Defense Firm, a DUI involving serious bodily injury will result in the DUI being charged as a felony with more severe penalties. If the defendant is charged, a prison sentence is mandatory. Individuals who injure another person while driving under the influence may serve longer prison sentences or completely lose their driving privileges. Further, charges may mandate that the individual attend alcohol rehabilitation or counseling.
Even if you have been charged with a DUI involving serious bodily injury, there are defenses that can result in reduced penalties. Possible defenses for DUIs include improper field sobriety testing, an illegal traffic stop, an illegal arrest, or failure to follow procedures. A criminal defense lawyer may attempt to suppress evidence such as drawn blood or a field sobriety test if the evidence was obtained under improper procedures. A lawyer may also attempt to prove police did not have probable cause for arrest or failed to connect the car accident with a criminal investigation.
If driving under the influence results in another person’s death—or the death of an unborn child— the case will likely be approached differently. The defendant will likely be prosecuted under vehicular homicide laws.