Employers Need to Stand Up for Employees

Let me tell you a story about a friend of mine. I’ll call him Daryl, which is not his name, but just so he has a name.

Daryl works in construction, which he loves. He’s a good employee because he loves the work, it’s all he ever wanted to do from the time he was five. I know because I’ve known Daryl since he was five, and he’s been zany about power tools, bulldozers, and hammers since then.

Six months ago, Daryl fell while building a house. He’s okay, or he will be, but he ended up dislocating his knee and needing time off.

Thankfully, Daryl’s employer has the required workers’ compensation insurance, so Daryl thought he’d be set. He filled out the paperwork and expected to get the benefits that are supposed to come with it.

But Daryl was denied.

Why? The reason was that he apparently didn’t follow the procedure just right and didn’t quite fill out the paperwork to their liking.

Imagine my poor friend, who has been a loyal employee in a time when few people are (he’s only ever worked for one construction company). He’s injured, he needs time to get well, he needs the money from his wages to pay for his rent, and he needs assistance with medical bills and physical therapy. I can tell you, in 30 years of friendship, I’ve never seen Daryl cry, and Daryl was crying when he told me this.

I’m glad to say Daryl’s story has a happy ending. He appealed the decision, and the appeal went his way, but this all got me thinking: employers need to do more to stand up for employees in this situation.

Daryl’s construction company didn’t help him hardly at all with the paperwork for this injury. His boss was if anything slightly annoyed by it and seemed to imply it was Daryl’s fault. Of course, this isn’t true, Daryl was being as cautious as he could but doing manual labor all day lends itself to wear and tear on the body.

As it turns out, lots of people don’t get help from their employers. Some people actually have to get short-term disability lawyers to help them.

I think that’s shameful. If employees show loyalty and work hard for a company, the company should stand by them, it’s only natural. Even if it raises some insurance rates, the company ought to help any way they can.

Needless to say, Daryl will probably be looking for a different company to work for after this is all done. If they weren’t there for him, why should he continue to be there for them? It’s a tough decision for him, and I think it says a lot that because of how the employer acted, America is losing one of the last truly loyal employees out there.

Read More

Fighting Truck Related Accidents

An overloaded truck can cause harm to not only the driver of the truck, but also to bystanders minding their own business on the road. A driver with an overloaded truck also needs to be aware of the height their load adds to the vehicle. When the load of the truck raises the overall height, the driver must be made aware of the new height in order to avoid certain overpasses, bridges, and road obstacles that might inhibit their truck from passing through with ease. On May 5, 2017, a truck traveling in Houston, Texas demonstrates the perils of driving with a raised load.

The northbound Interstate 69 at the Loop 610 experiences an entire weekend closure due to this truck accident on May 5, 2017. The driver of the truck attempted to pass under the overpass of Loop 610, while the bed of his truck was raised, reaching a height of 16 feet, 5 inches. According to the Houston Chronicle, the truck was “nowhere close to being able to travel under the bridge with the load raised.” Due to the raised load, the truck crashed into the guardrail, and pieces of not only the truck, but also of the overpass were broken off and sent in the air.

A piece of metal, measured at approximately 6 feet long and 12 inches wide, struck the windshield of a passing car. Fortunately, the piece of metal entered the windshield on the passenger side of the car, and there was no fatality or injury. The citations for this incident can be anything from improperly securing the load to failure to properly operate the trailer itself.

While this specific outcome ended without serious injury, more often than not, an incident with 18-wheeler truck can result in a much more serious and possibly fatal outcome. If you or someone you know has been in a truck-related accident, the next step to be taken is the act of a lawsuit. The daunting aftermath of this type of accident can seem overwhelming, especially as Williams Kherkher mentions, you are not just fighting the truck driver, but also the company that hired the truck driver.

Hiring an experienced lawyer with a history of fighting truck-related injuries is very beneficial to your case. Being able to use their own experience and precedents can help your lawsuit get its bearings and help you get the compensation you deserve. It is common to see insurance companies offering you very little when it comes to life-altering injuries, so getting a lawyer who is ready and willing to fight for you is extremely important.

The truck-related accident on May 5, 2017 in Houston, Texas was a very fortunate event because no one was seriously injured or killed. However, even the damage of property can give you the opportunity for a lawsuit. Don’t be deterred by the complex, lengthy lawsuit process, and get yourself the compensation you deserve.

Read More

Wrongful DUI arrests in the U.S.

If you are arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you may be forced to face fines, loss of driving privileges, alcohol classes, and other punishments. The United States has strict penalties for DUI’s, and individuals who are charged with DUI may face aggressive prosecutors who may look to make an example of them, even if it is their first offense. While some people may argue that this is fair, especially due to strong public awareness efforts from organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), and the International Drunk Driving Prevention Association (IDDPA), it is important to remember that everyone has the right to defend themselves in a court of law, and they are not necessarily guilty if they are accused of a crime.

The social stigma of a DUI charge can sometimes cost an innocent individual the chance for certain employment and may have other consequences. That’s why it is important for law enforcement officials to get it right when it comes to DUI arrests and to make sure that they do not arbitrarily assume that someone is guilty without affording them due process. While this may sound strange, it is not uncommon for individuals to be arrested and charged with DUI, even if they are not legally intoxicated. According to a story on the Florida Times-Union’s online site Jacksonville.com, a man settled a lawsuit in 2015 for 20,000 with the Atlanta Beach police department for a wrongful arrest in 2010. He was arrested on suspicion of DWI, even though he blew a 0.00 on the breathalyzer and his urine showed no traces of alcohol when tested back at the jail. Although the city paid him the $20,000, it did not admit fault.

Fortunately for people who are wrongly accused, an experienced DUI lawyer can help investigate the facts of the case and may be able to help convince the prosecutor assigned to the case to reduce the charges or have them dropped completely. This is obviously the best outcome for any individual who has been apprehended for suspected DWI.

While not every person who is arrested on suspicion of DWI is completely guilt-free, it is essential that the police do not wrongly arrest innocent individuals. By paying closer attention to the details and following correct protocols, police officers may be able to avoid false arrests that disrupt the lives of the people they are sworn to protect and serve.

Cases like the one in Jacksonville serve as a stark reminder that law enforcement does not always get it right, and fortunately, that case was resolved in favor of the innocent person. Hopefully, the department learned a valuable lesson from the case, but the attorney representing the wrongfully accused man believes that there were other cases of unjust arrests in that county that did not turn out in favor of the accused.

Read More

What To Do If You Are Denied Overtime Wage By Your Employer?

When an employee is required to work overtime, they expect their employer to pay them for the hours they rendered in excess of their regular working hours. The Fair Labor Standards Act stipulates that employers are required to pay overtime wage to employees who work in excess of 40 hours per week. The general rule is that employees should be paid 1.5 times their regular rate of pay. However, this varies from one state to another.

The bad news is that many companies are not paying overtime wage to their employees. Overtime pay lawyers of Williams Kherkher will tell you that most businesses will even devise some scheme so that they will not pay overtime wage. If you have been denied overtime pay, there are several steps you can take to recover your overtime pay:

1. Jot it down

Make sure to have all your overtime hours written in black and white. Take note of all the times and dates and not just the hours you rendered. Avoid keeping it in your computer or work drawer because someone can easily discard it and you have no evidence against your employer.

2. File A Report With The Department of Labor

Fill up the IRS Form SS-8 for any complaints against your employer regarding overtime pay. If the IRS deems that you have been misclassified or your employer violated the law on overtime pay. You can then lodge your complaint to the Department of Labor.

3. Get an attorney

With the help of an attorney, you may be able to recover the overtime pay that your employer denied to you. Not only that, you may also be able to help out your co-workers who were likewise denied of their overtime pay.

The Fair Labor Standards Act protects employees from being denied their overtime pay for the excess hours they rendered. Know your right as an employee and get paid for what you truly deserve.

Read More

What are the different types of holdings divided in a large marital estate?

Divorce is difficult enough without the legal issues and ramifications presented by the division of assets. But add in the desire of both parties to come out of the marriage with as much as possible, and the stress of the process increases tenfold. The website of law firm Holmes, Diggs & Sadler stresses that, in the breakup of a large marital estate, both sides actively pursue the equitable division of capital holdings that can often go unnoticed and create problems further down the road.

Large marital estates are characterized by various sources of income, wealth, and capital. The status of many of these holdings, in terms of which spouse is the primary owner, is unclear. On top of that, the valuation of many of these assets is difficult to determine, as well, and can make equitable division a source of contention.

  • Real estate
    • Relatively speaking, this one is the easiest to value and divide. Depending on when specific real estate purchases were made–whether they were owned by one spouse before the marriage or if they were purchased jointly after the fact–a spouse can make a case for singular ownership. However, in the case of real estate purchased during the union, the court will attempt to equitably split property between the two parties. Therefore, if one person acquires a house, the other can claim property (or multiple pieces of property) up to the value of the house or can take a check for half the value of the house.
  • Businesses
    • The division of business assets is especially complicated due to stipulations concerning interest, investment, and growth. The valuation of a business is also very difficult due to constant fluctuations of the market.
  • Stocks
    • Before being divided, attorneys must determine whether stocks owned by either or both parties are separate or marital. Depending on whether or not the stocks were granted for services rendered during the marriage, the stock value may be subject to distribution among both parties. However, even this can be difficult to determine.
  • Retirement accounts
    • A qualified domestic relations order, which splits a retirement or pension plan, recognizes the protection of dependents in an individual’s plan. Retirement accounts are often times the most valuable single asset owned by an individual. The division of such an important asset requires a great deal of care, knowledge, and review.
Read More

Who are eligible for filing a wrongful death claim?

Nolo defines wrongful death claim as when an individual is killed because of someone else’s fault—may it be unintentional or of mere negligence and recklessness. A wrongful death claim may allege a person or an entity (like an institution or a product manufacturer) and seek compensation for the loss of family members or loved ones of the deceased. According to Nolo, the compensation tackled in a lawsuit is usually a replacement for the lost wages of the deceased and expenses in the funeral service. Basically, the compensation discussed in the lawsuit will be any form of compensation sufficing the family that will have been provided by the victim, had he/she not died.

According to the personal injury legal team at Crowe & Mulvey, LLP, the most common causes of wrongful death are vehicular accidents, construction site accidents, unsafe premises, unsafe products, and medical malpractice. All these sources of accidents have birthed thousands of lawsuits before, although there are many other causes of wrongful death.

Aside from immediate family members (spouses, children, adopted children), there are other people who may file a wrongful death claim. A domestic or life partner may file the lawsuit, as well as financial dependents and putative spouses (an individual who believes that he/she was married to the deceased). Distant family members such as siblings, aunts, and grandparents also have a right of recovery and compensation. Other people who are eligible to file a wrongful death claim are people who suffer financially after the victim was killed even when they are not related, although it is only allowed in some states. Some states also allow the parents of a dead fetus to file a lawsuit, but in some others, a financial and emotional recovery is not possible.

The laws covered by wrongful death claims differ in each state, so if you find yourself in a similar situation, it may be best to keep in touch with a personal injury lawyer to advance your knowledge of the case.

Read More

The Consequences of a Driving While Intoxicated or DWI Charge

Car accidents happen at an alarming frequency in America. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA, one of the leading causes for these accidents is alcohol-impaired driving. This offense is typically called driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence. In the State of New York, alcohol-impaired driving is charged as driving while intoxicated or DWI. It is considered a serious violation that could lead to grave consequences. All over the country, the blood alcohol concentration or BAC limit is at 0.08 percent for private vehicles. For drivers operating commercial vehicles, the BAC limit is at 0.04 percent. For drivers under the legal drinking age of 21, a zero tolerance policy is observed in most states across the United States. Anyone caught out on the road exceeding these limits can face steep penalties. Consequences for a DWI charge in the State of New York will depend on previous records and the specific circumstances of one’s arrests.

Regardless of the facts, one can expect to face costly fines, some jail time, and a suspension or revocation of one’s driving privileges.

At first offense, a DWI charge can lead to a fine of $500 to $1,000, up to 1 year in jail, and a 6-month minimum license suspension. At second offense, a DWI can lead to $1,000 to $5,000 in fines, up to 4 years of jail time, and a 1-year minimum license suspension. The court could also require an Ignition Interlock Device be installed in one’s vehicle. Penalties become steeper at third and subsequent offenses. If convicted, an individual with a DWI charge can face an overwhelming $2,000 to $10,000 in fines, up to 7 years in jail, at least a year-long license suspension, and the installation of an Ignition Interlock Device in one’s vehicle.

Read More

Car Accidents: Common Causes for Wrecks and Collisions in the U.S.

As data from the United States Census Bureau suggest, car accidents are occurring in an alarming frequency all over America. Based on the bureau’s reports, an average of 10.6 million accidents were reported annually during 2004 up until 2009. For every year in this 6-year period, an overwhelming number of accidents happen in roads and highways all over the nation. While a good number of these reported incidents only led to minor collisions, some also resulted in total wreckages that caused serious injuries and deaths.

These devastating car accidents are caused by a variety of factors. According to the website of the Sheboygan personal injury attorneys of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ® car accidents are commonly caused by driver error, speeding, reckless driving, mechanical defects, road hazards, and drunk driving. Many of these incidents significantly affect those that are largely out-powered by the vehicles on the road, such as pedestrians and cyclists.

A rollover accident is a particularly dangerous scenario. Typical to SUV and 4-wheel drives, vehicles that flip over or fall to the side due to imbalance can cause very serious injuries such as brain trauma and spinal cord damage. It is important to learn more about such incidents, and be mindful of the fact that certain factors can further aggravate the conditions which lead to such accidents. The website of the Mokaram Law Firm states that road defects and blockages can cause SUV drivers to swerve or make abrupt turns, disrupting the balance of the vehicle.

Car accidents are easily among the most traumatic events that an individual can face. The fact that it can happen at any moment while doing an activity that is so ingrained in most people’s routine makes the occurrence of such accidents even more alarming.

Read More

Age Discrimination in the Workplace

The law ensures that every person in the United States is welcome to equal employment opportunities. This is true regardless of one’s background or identity. Factors such as age, gender, sexual identity, race, ethnicity, country of origin, and religion should not matter in one’s pursuit of a career. Unfortunately, there are a number of employers who disregard such policies and continue to discriminate against employees based solely on these arbitrary factors. One pressing issue of discrimination in the workplace centers on age.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act or ADEA took effect back in 1967. This particular law prohibited employers from discriminating against anyone aged 40 years or older, and is applicable to applicants and those already in their employ. It also prohibits employers from mentioning any age preference or limitations in certain job posting. Most importantly, it ensures that older employees are able to receive the same amount of benefits that younger employees enjoy.

Unfortunately, this law isn’t being properly observed in some workplaces across the country. As noted by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or EEOC, many employers see hiring older employees as a liability. Many find older individuals as more difficult to train, over-qualified for a given position, or incapable of keeping pace with younger employees. According to data available in their website, the EEOC received 20,588 complaints of age discrimination in the workplace during the year 2014. Majority of these cases have been resolved through administrative closures and merit resolutions.

According to the website of Cary Kane, instances of age discrimination include refusal to hire or employ, wrongful termination of an employee, and failure to grant deserved merits and benefits. An employee facing these scenarios or any situation resulting in hostile working environment can pursue a civil case against their employee to ensure that their basic right to equal opportunity is protected.

Read More

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: Wage Earner’s Plan

It’s impossible to know what the future hold. While a cliché, this sentiment is far from untrue. Life can be very unpredictable. Majority of the U.S. population that suffered financial woes during the economic downturn could not have predicted that they will be facing such challenges. And yet this has been the reality for the last couple of years. Many people across America are struggling with financial concerns caused by unemployment, crippling debt, and other unforeseen scenarios. Fortunately, those in similar situations can find some kind of recourse by filing for bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy is a legal option provided to individuals that find themselves in difficult situations that prevent them from paying off their debts and other financial obligations. By the end of the bankruptcy process, a U.S. federal court can grant an individual’s debt to be discarded. Otherwise, the court can call for a debt repayment plan to be imposed. All in all, bankruptcy is an option meant to help individuals to regain some control and stability with their finances.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is a specific option available for financially burdened individuals. As defined in the U.S. Bankruptcy code, this type of bankruptcy allows the court to decide on a structure of a payment plan accommodating the petitioner’s current income. This gives the petitioner the ability to pay off their debt through regular installments over the period of three or five years. This structure has plenty of advantages. The benefits of Chapter 13 bankruptcy include protection from creditors, being able to retain properties (including real estate), and having less impact on credit score as compared to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Not all petitioners will be found by the court to be eligible for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. For that, it’s important that individuals looking for financial relief keep close communication with an experienced legal professional.

Read More