Birds of a Feather, I’ve Heard

My brother and I have a “healthy” competitive relationship. Growing up we always played basketball against one another, and the series would go back and forth. The last time we played, it was the first one to score 21 points, using ones and twos. We play that you have to win by at least three points, so the game doesn’t end right when it’s getting good. We ended up playing until almost 40 points, but in the end, I beat him. I posted up in the paint and walked him down like clockwork. Big brother for the win.

Recently, he just bought a Subaru BRZ. I don’t know if you are familiar with the Scion FR-S, but that’s what I drive. They look identical, and he thinks his car is faster when it really isn’t. We haven’t made it out to a legit track yet, but that’s definitely on the soon-to-do list.

We always try to show each other the next best thing. Lately, we’ve been exploring different beers, and it’s been really nice. We choose a style of beer, pick up a couple of different six packs, and sample a bunch. It’s been a great hobby for the weekend, and there’s enough beer that it doesn’t feel so competitive. If there’s a good beer, we always split it up three and three, and sometimes if I’m lucky, I’ll enjoy a beer that he doesn’t like and I get four of them. Sometimes we buy beers we like by the growler, and my brother showed me this awesome setup he has in his garage that serves beer out of a tap. I couldn’t let him be the only one to have this. Just like our cars, now we both have one!

The worst beer we’ve tried so far was this jalapeno IPA craft beer that tasted like trash. I don’t even remember what the brewery was called, but it has some sorta demon looking thing on the front of the can. If you see that, DON’T BUY IT. I’ve never had a beer that I couldn’t finish until I tried that one. Seriously, I don’t even think you could call it a beer. The drink was spicy, which I expected, but there was hardly any hoppy flavor and it was altogether a really bad blend of low-quality ingredients.

Craft beer isn’t cheap, and that six-pack cost me ten bucks. The worst part was that I picked it out and my brother just laughed at me. We each opened one can, didn’t finish it, and shook the rest up and shot ’em with a BB gun. Normally, I would have taken the bullet before I let a beer get wasted like that, but then again, I’m pretty sure this wasn’t even beer. I never imagined anything sold as a beer could ever be so awful, and it truly was a low point in my life and a loss of innocence.

Now that football season is in full swing, I’ve got my Sunday’s figured out. Wake up, get everything I need to get done for the day finished first, and then kick back and trash-talk my brother’s team. It’s actually a great way to pass the time, and we’ve been watching it at my house lately. He has a great sound system, but I’ve got the bigger television.

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Tanks or Trucks?

Tragedy continues to strike as our roads become increasingly more busy with growing urban populations throughout the country. The excess amount of vehicles occupying roadways in combination with a multitude of distractions creates an environment that by definition can not be safe. Every time a person gets behind the wheel they are unknowingly signing a contract that puts their life as well as their passenger’s lives at risk. Our roads can become safer through innovation in safety features and revision of outdated policy for trucks carrying heavy amounts of weight. The level of intimidation from larger vehicles on the road is extremely high and felt by most drivers in smaller vehicles. It is clear that revision is needed for the policies that govern these transportation sectors.

In a tragic event near Des Moines, Iowa, a large semi truck was unable to slow down when approaching a stand still blockage in traffic due to a previous unrelated accident. The truck rammed a smaller vehicle and in the process managed to severely injure the driver and tragically kill a two-year-old passenger in the rear of the car. It is blatantly obvious that the trucker was unable to slow down in time due to the massive force of the weighted down truck. Cases like this hold the possibility to be effective in the battle against trucking agencies that knowingly allow truck drivers to operate their vehicles while transporting materials that outweigh their limits. In the event of an auto accident is always advisable to contact police so that they may file a report of the incident that can be used as evidence in the event of a follow-up court case. This allows the victim to effectively pursue their cases in hopes of receiving adequate reparation from the driver that caused their damages. Trucks, in this instance, carrying heinous amounts of weight do not have space to safely decrease their speeds so to avoid an accident.

Accidents that experience great tragedy, such as the loss of an innocent young life, have no place in our supposed technologically advanced day and age. As much as the general population may not appreciate the coming innovations in self-driving long distance trucks, this may indeed be the best solution to these occurrences. Theoretically, sensors placed in large trucks would be able to more accurately calculate the time needed for stopping the vehicle. If mathematics and technology have provided a possible solution to ending these tragic events, perhaps we would benefit to utilize them.

In conclusion, the utilization of new technology in the form of automated driving systems could be a possible solution to the epidemic at hand. It is time for our world to acclimate to such inventions especially if they can begin making our roads safer for future generations. No longer do we have to accept the rate of vehicular murder against our species, but instead we can begin to collaborate for the betterment of society. As a national community, we can implement life-saving changes.

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What is Mediation?

Mediation is a divorce process wherein a court-appointed and neutral mediator is assigned to the spouses so they can properly make compromises on the legal aspects of the divorce, such as the amount of alimony and child support and division of assets and liabilities.

The website of the Raleigh divorce attorneys at Marshall & Taylor, P.C. mentions that attorneys don’t necessarily help in negotiating the terms of mediated divorces, but they can still be necessary so the spouses know the extent of their rights and legal options. In other words, you should still consider getting a family lawyer even though there is already a mediator for your divorce.

Advantages of Mediation

Many couples see mediated divorce as their legal process of choice, because it is not as formal as other divorce proceedings, such as contested and uncontested divorce. Choosing mediation over other legal options have several advantages, such as the following.

It is less argumentative

Other divorce processes, especially contested divorce, can be very argumentative, because the spouses cannot agree on the legal terms and nobody seems to want to compromise and get the shorter end of the stick. Mediated divorce, in nature, is not adversarial and rely on mature communication to come up with a fair compromise.

It is less prone to bias

A divorce process like an uncontested divorce can be the easy choice, because of how fast it can be due to the lack of arguments. But this may also mean that a spouse has given in to the biases of the other spouse just to get the divorce over with. This is simply not the case for mediated divorce, because the presence of a mediator can prevent biases.

It puts your children away from the divorce process

Divorce is a complicated legal process, as it may involve aspects such as child custody and support. This may mean that your children will be actively involved in the divorce process, in the form of interviews and presence in courts. This can have a negative effect on children, especially if they are still in their developmental years.

Since a mediated divorce is less formal and everything can be talked out casually, it will help avoid stress and prevent children from getting too involved in the legal process.

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Common Behaviors Associated with Sexual Harassment

Common Behaviors Associated with Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment can be experienced anywhere. It can be experienced at home, at the office, in public transportation, and even on the streets. Many victims just tolerate sexually harassing behaviors, but there are some victims who take it negatively, affecting their physical and mental health, and worse, their performance in school, work, and relationships.

When you look at it, these behaviors should not be tolerated, no matter how simple they may be. Everybody deserves to be at peace, whether they are on public or private properties. According to the website, those who have been victims of sexual harassment may even get compensation. It’s a win-win situation, because they punish their harasser and get money for the damages.

Asking personal questions relating to sex

If someone you know asks about your sexual activities, preferences, and histories, he is already harassing you sexually, especially if he isn’t in a relationship with you that is deep enough to warrant those questions and if you have made it clear that you find those questions inappropriate.

Attacking your sexual identity

Getting bullied because of your identity and preferences is enough grounds for a sexual harassment case. This is even worse if it happens in a place where you often see the harasser, like in the school or the office, as it creates a hostile environment.

Commenting sexually about your body or clothes

You are innocently walking in the sidewalk of your neighborhood or in the hallway of your work building when somebody suddenly makes sexual gestures, such as whistling, to entice or offend you. Worse, they may even directly communicate to you, like saying vulgar things about your body and clothes.

Communicating with sexual suggestions

Co-workers, employers, teachers, or anybody else who gives you sexual messages in oral or written format may be held liable for sexual harassment, especially if it is frequent and severe enough to negatively affect you in that specific environment.

Displaying sexual materials

Sometimes, you don’t have to be the direct recipient of the harassment. Merely displaying sexual materials such as pictures and videos can be grounds for sexual harassment, because it creates an unwanted sexual atmosphere in the area.

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Damages Needing Compensation Due to Wrongful Death

Wrongful death is a legal action pursued by the family or dependents of a person who dies due to wrongdoing or act of negligence of another person (the dependents of the deceased are legally addressed as “real parties in interest”). The main purpose of a wrongful death lawsuit is to seek compensation for all the present and future losses that the dependents of the deceased are and will be subjected to. Compensation should cover funeral expenses, lost companionship and lost wages, among others.

Losses or damages suffered by the dependents are generally classified under these categories: economic, non-economic and punitive. Though states may differ in some items contained in each category, their basic coverage include:

  • Economic damages. These relate to the financial contributions the deceased would still have been able to provide had he/she not died. These include goods and services the deceased would have earned; wages and other earnings; possible inheritance; financial benefits, such as pension plan; medical coverage for victim’s family members; and, cost of medical treatment and funeral service.
  • Non-economic damages. These refer to the non-material losses of the surviving family, such as: loss of love and companionship; loss of consortium with the deceased spouse; loss of the deceased victim’s care, guidance, nurturing and protection; and, the dependents’ suffering, pain and mental anguish.
  • Punitive damages. These usually include compensatory damages. In states where this is not made available in a wrongful death lawsuit, treble damages, or triple damages, is awarded instead. Treble damages or triple damages multiply the amount of actual damages to three. The court may award this type of damage based on legally acceptable reasons.
    • Punitive damages are basically served on the liable individual to make him/her realize his/her erroneous act and to prevent him/her from committing the same error in the future.

Legal professionals, like the Chicago personal injury attorneys of Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, understand that a “few events will have the same power to affect the circumstances of your life as the sudden and unexpected death of a loved one. Though the idea of filing a lawsuit may seem overwhelming right now, it will be in the best interests of your family to begin working through the legal process as soon after the accident as you are able.”

The lawsuit can be a painful process; however, dealing with it immediately to hold the responsible party accountable and so find closure will be more beneficial for everyone

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What Legal Options Do Victims of Drunk Driving Accidents Have?

Drunk driving or alcohol-impaired driving remains a serious issue all over the United States. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or IIHS, over 6,000 fatalities could have easily been prevented in 2014 had the driver involved not been under the influence of alcohol at the time that the accident occurred. It follows that thousands of people could have also been spared from serious injury in the same year.

It’s a tragic thing to consider that one person’s moment of reckless behavior can lead to long-term consequences for another. Those that have been seriously injured in drunk driving accidents know how torturous this situation can be. What legal recourse do you have now that your options have suddenly been limited by an injury that could have been easily prevented?

Victims injured in drunk driving accidents have every right to pursue legal action against those at fault for the crash. This gives victims the chance to recover punitive damages that will be awarded by a judge or jury, which could help cover their medical expenses, lost wages, as well as compensate for the trauma and pain associated with such accidents. In some cases, victims may also file a law suit against the bar or restaurant that had served the drunk driver responsible for the accident. For example, the state of Pennsylvania considers serving a visibly intoxicated individual alcohol a crime.

Of course, as with anything in legal procedure, filing civil lawsuits involving drunk driving accidents can be complicated. Victims will need to seek legal counsel from attorneys with experience working personal injury cases. If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in a car accident involving an alcohol-impaired driver, do not hesitate to contact a qualified lawyer for more information.

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Make Sure You can Trust Your Surgeon

Make Sure You can Trust Your Surgeon

Many hospitals and clinics show commitment in the provision of quality patient care through continuous modernization that will lead to service upgrade, a roster of the best doctors, specialists and highly-qualified nurses, and making sure that patients are diagnosed correctly and given timely treatment.

This is not the case in some medical facilities, however, resulting to their being tagged as bad hospitals or having bad doctors due to the frequency of medical mistakes and malpractice committed in them. As a result of the lack of authentic concern to patients and the errors made in patient care, many hospitals, doctors, and other medical professionals, have been named as defendants in many legal claims for damages.

Medical malpractice, which refers to professional negligence or provision of sub-standard care to patients, is a frightening reality in the United States. Its effects include life-threatening conditions, prolonged illness or even death. But equally frightening as the effects is the fact that these mistakes are results of negligence or carelessness by medical experts – some are even committed by famous and highly-respected doctors in the U.S. In 2010 alone, the Office of Inspector General for Health and Human Services reported about the death of 180,000 Medicare patients: a small figure compared to the 210,000 to 440,000 affected patients which was printed in the by members of the Journal of Patient Safety.

One example of medical malpractice that continues to greatly harm patients is surgical error. Errors committed in the surgical room vary; there is surgery performed on a wrong patient, incorrect surgical procedure, surgery on the wrong site of the body, incorrect dosage of anesthesia, improper suturing and so many others.

In its website, the Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller & Overbeck, P.A. law firm says that, though complications during surgery may be uncommon incidents, the consequences are significant when they do occur. Surgeons who commit surgical errors can easily alter the quality of life of patients, who also end up needing expensive corrective treatment.

Victims of surgical errors have the legal right to file a tort or civil lawsuit against negligent doctors and/or medical staff to hold them responsible for the injury they cause. The first logical step (for victims) in pursuing a civil suit is making sure that they have a determined and seasoned medical malpractice lawyer or personal injury lawyer who will be able to strongly defend their case

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When a Truck’s Brakes Fail to Function, Who Will be the Liable Party?

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a truck’s braking system must be able to “provide for safe and reliable stopping of the commercial motor vehicle.”

The FMCSA’s standards on trucks’ brakes and brake parts is one specific law that is geared towards helping ensure the safe operation of trucks. A truck’s braking system is one of the most important parts of a semi-trailer, also known as a big rig or an 18-wheeler. If a truck’s brake malfunctions, a major traffic accident is most likely to follow.

The most common reasons why brakes fail are thinning or wearing out of brake pads, brakes getting suffused with grease or oil, brakes overheating, and brakes and/or brake components failing to meet the required standard on construction, installation and maintenance – all of which help prevent excessive fading and grabbing.

If a truck’s braking system malfunctions, blame may fall on any of the following:

  • Manufacturer, who may have failed to meet the automatic brake adjustment system require under the law.
  • Driver, who either fail to perform a pre-trip inspection of his/her vehicle’s braking performance, or who may have deliberately unhooked or depowered his/her truck’s front brakes (and rely instead on the brakes of the trailer and downshifting to slow down and stop the truck) in order to minimize expenses due to worn out tires and brakes.
  • Company or people who loaded the truck. Improper loading or failure to evenly distribute a truck’s load can easily result to brakes overheating and malfunctioning.
  • People who fail to maintain the brakes or who may set brakes improperly. Trucking firms and, specifically, drivers, are required to make sure that brakes work properly. This is why, under federal regulations, a maintenance record, which will show the performance of scheduled/regular maintenance of trucks, should be kept and made readily available by trucking companies.

Besides those already mentioned above, other common truck brake problems, include poor air pressure, condensation, worn break components, brakes out of adjustment, use of substandard pars in the manufacture of brake parts, damaged, disconnected, or punctured hydraulic fluid lines, and worn tires.

In its website, the Abel Law Firm says that ensuring that brakes function well is crucial to a truck’s operation. Thus, trucking companies, parts manufacturers and drivers all have their own responsibility in strictly following the mandated safety regulations. Any failure on their part can result to a civil lawsuit filed by the victim and/or his/her family for the purpose of seeking justice and the compensation that is intended to cover all the damages (the victim) is made to suffer.

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Saving your business with Strategies, not with Tactics

An owner can choose to be tactical when dealing with a failing business. A tactical owner will immediately start looking for ways on how to save the business. He may choose to file for bankruptcy, or apply for business loans. In the U.S., where many businesses are funded and supported by immigrant investors they may even consider teaming up with an established regional center to get funds.

Or, he may choose to be strategic about it. A strategic owner chooses to step back and formulate a general plan of action. While part of his strategy could be any tactic mentioned above, he will not fail to identify first the problems and their underlying causes.

Unlike a business tactician, a business strategist has a richer, fuller view of what’s happening and what’s ahead. He can see his business in these levels: corporate, industry, market

Corporate-level strategies

Corporate-level strategies are designed to address your company’s issues at the business level. These strategies will deal with solutions on how to streamline operations, increase productivity, and improve employee engagement. Reorganization, retrenchment, and process-level reforms are products of corporate-level strategies.

Industry-level strategies

Industry-level strategies create impact on how your company is position with the rest of your opponents. With such strategies, your company can find ways on how to increase customer engagement while holding a stronger market foothold against your competitors. Online and in-store advertising can be a result of industry-level strategies.

Market-level strategies

Market-level strategies are strategies that address your company’s issues with the rest of the market, not just with your industry. Here, you get to learn what is needed to keep afloat, increase revenue and grow customer base. Is it high time to diversify your portfolio and offer new products? Are you ready to penetrate a related industry? Do you need to open market overseas? There are just some of the questions that market-level strategies can answer.

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Important Information about Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Claims

In 2010, an oil drilling rig operated by British Petroleum (BP) exploded on the Gulf of Mexico just off the coast of Louisiana. This terrible accident caused a giant oil spill that led to devastating effects that are still felt today. More than five years later, the area surrounding where the oil spill originally occurred continues to suffer from environmental and socioeconomic unrest. Aside from the impact left by the oil spill to nature and wildlife, the accident has also caused a significant number of businesses and non-profit organizations to suffer property damage and financial losses.

Through a settlement agreement, BP made a commitment to provide compensation for these damages and has paid up to $2.3 billion in settlements until they started issuing appeals for majority of claims made by those affected by the accidents, particularly by businesses and non-profit organizations. As such, plenty of these establishments have been forced to close their doors or file for bankruptcy. BP argues that much of the payments they’ve issued in the past were for non-legitimate claims, alleging that the payments have been carelessly awarded by court-appointed settlement fund administrator Patrick Juneau. The Big Oil giant also emphasize that their original settlement contract included a clause allowing them to appeal any claim that is more than $25,000.

These legal disputes have made it difficult for small-time owners and operators to keep their establishments running. Most legitimate claimants whose compensations have been appealed aren’t even aware of the process they need to undertake in order to receive the payment due to them. However, a December 2014 ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States can change the tides. The highest court of the country has made a unanimous decision to decline the appeal that BP made of their original settlement agreement. This development could signal that claimants can finally receive proper payment to cover damages they’ve incurred due to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

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