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.

Read More

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 according to the website of the AmLaw Group, he 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.

Read More

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. As the lawyers from Williams Kherkher have pointed out on their website, 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.

Read More

The Startling Connection between Medical Malpractice and Cerebral Palsy

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) names cerebral palsy is one of the most common motor disabilities diagnosed in American children. This serious medical condition happens due to abnormalities in brain development that have been caused by some type of damage or injury. Their data shows that about 1 in 323 children have been diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

Children living with cerebral palsy—also called ‘CP’ in the medical community—deal with symptoms that have profound effects on their balance and movement. Depending on the type a child is diagnosed with, cerebral palsy is often characterized by muscle stiffness, uncontrollable movements in the legs and arms, or difficulty controlling facial muscles. Cerebral palsy can also cause a patient to have problems with their posture and coordination.

The abnormal brain development that leads to cerebral palsy is typically caused by some factor that prevented the patient from receiving sufficient oxygen supply to their brain. In some cases, this incident happens while in utero due to complications during the mother’s pregnancy. Other times, the lack of oxygen occurs when the patient was an infant. According to the website of The Driscoll Firm, cerebral palsy can also be caused by medical malpractice—particularly due to some form of negligence or error during birth and pregnancy.

A New York City cerebral palsy lawyer may tell you that the following scenarios are typical medical errors that can cause cerebral palsy:

  • Failure to diagnose and treat infections during a mother’s pregnancy
  • Errors with surgical procedures and anesthesia administration in a pregnant patient
  • Failure to monitor fetal stats during mother’s labor and delivery
  • Failure to perform a Caesarean section procedure when the circumstances necessitates it
  • Failure to properly address complications during childbirth

For expectant parents, there might not be another moment as profound as the birth of their child. Unfortunately, such a momentous occasion can be overshadowed by medical errors that can cause a lifetime of medical treatments and special care. If your child’s condition was caused by any such errors, do not hesitate to seek out legal counsel in your area.

Read More

Important Information about Escalator Accidents

A study by doctors from the Department of Emergency Medicine from the University of Bern notes that there are about 10,000 escalator-related injuries that happen in the United States every year. These injuries are often serious, require immediate medical attention, and are most common among children. Considering these facts, it’s important to ensure that such accidents are prevented and the number of injuries it has caused is lessened.

According to the website of the Goings Law Firm, LLC, property owners hold part of the responsibility for ensuring that escalator accidents are prevented from happening. It is up to these owners to make sure that all the escalators in their premises are properly maintained and regulated, meeting prescribed safety standards. Most accidents occur because some piece of clothing gets caught while a passenger is riding on the escalator. Deflector brushes installed along the side of escalators can help keep passengers riding too close to edges where pieces of clothing can get trapped. Another important safety measure is an accessible emergency stop button that can easily be activated in case an accident does occur. Without these precautions, elevator accidents can easily turn disastrous and those involved can experience severe injuries. Minor accidents that are properly stopped and addressed on time can lead to some bruising and broken bones. However, certain emergency situations can cause injuries that result in amputation and paralysis.

In the same vein, the website of Riverside personal injury lawyers at The Seegmiller Law Firm notes that incidents like escalator accidents can lead to a wide range of unfortunate consequences. Aside from the physical pain caused by escalator injuries, victims and their families will also have to wrestle with emotional and financial burdens. The gravity of these consequences becomes even more bothersome considering that most victims involved in such accidents are children. As such, it’s important that the public is properly informed of the potential risks involved in these accidents and other cases of premises liability.

Read More

The Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents

According to data gathered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a total of 4,743 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents across America in 2012. During the same year, about 76,000 more pedestrians have been injured in traffic crashes. These numbers suggest that at least one pedestrian will be killed in an accident every 2 hours, and another one is injured every 7 minutes. These trends only prove that pedestrian accidents are a serious issue that needs to be prioritized and prevented.

The CDC also point out that pedestrians typically occur in urban areas and non-intersection locations. They are also most likely to occur at night. According to their data, the most susceptible individuals in these situations are pedestrians aged 65 and older. Based on the reported accidents in 2012, about 20% of the victims were elderly individuals. Children are also at high risk for pedestrian accidents. The CDC estimates that about 1 in every 5 kids between the ages 5 and 15 die in pedestrian accidents.

On its website, the law firm Crowe & Mulvey, LLP says that most pedestrian accidents are the result of some form of driver error or negligence. Sometimes, the slightest mistake behind the wheel can lead to catastrophic circumstances. These mistakes can be as simple as drivers failing to yield at stop signs and crosswalks, or speeding through school zones, residential areas, and parking lots.

Accidents can also come from a driver’s failure to properly check blind spots before making turns or changing lanes. In more tragic scenarios, pedestrian accidents can also be caused by drivers impaired by alcohol and other narcotic substances. According to the website of the Law Offices of Vic Feazell, P.C., plenty of pedestrian accidents have been caused by an individual who is driving while under the influence or intoxicated (DUI or DWI). Based on the numbers from the CDC, alcohol impairment accounts for 48 percent of all fatal pedestrian accidents in 2012.

Read More

How Criminal Charges Can Affect Child Custody Arrangements

Divorcing couples have to make plenty of difficult decisions. Among these decisions revolve around child custody. For parents who can’t come to an amicable agreement, the court can mediate and decide on an arrangement that will suit the best interest of the child or children involved. Such a decision will entail a variety of different factors and considerations to take into account.

In recent years, U.S. family courts have been keen on ensuring that children maintain the stability they have been used to and are able to spend time with both parents as much as possible. If the circumstances allow it, most judges award divorcing couples joint custody to keep the child’s relationship with both parents as close to what he or she have been used to. However, this decision will drastically change if one of the parents involved is deemed unfit.

The court has the legal power to restrict custody and visitation rights of a parent who is found to be unfit and incapable to properly care for their child. A parent will be considered so after an investigation that brings to light some factors that could be considered dangerous or risky to the child’s wellbeing. Someone with a history of domestic abuse, substance abuse, and other criminal offenses will be barred by the court from exercising their rights as a parent.

According to the website of the BB Law Group PLLC, a parent is usually declared unfit based on the following scenarios:

  • If a child or the other parent has been subjected to abuse, whether physical or emotional
  • If the parent in question is dependent on narcotic substances
  • If a parent’s new partner endangers the child’s well being

A parent with criminal charges can also face severe consequences when it comes to child custody or visitation rights. As pointed out by the website of the Flaherty Defense Firm, even minor criminal charges can have the potential to affect a person’s life. For example, a parent dealing with a misdemeanor charge of marijuana possession could risk their ability to retain their rights as a parent after the divorce.

Read More

How to Fix a Leaking Roof

It’s normal for roofs to develop leaks due to wear or tear over time. Luckily, most of these leaks are minor and can be easily fixed without the help of a professional. The key is to simply identify the cause of the leak and repair the parts that are causing the issue. Most of the time, leaks are caused by damage in the shingles, shakes, or areas where the roof connects with another surface such as a chimney or a vent pipe.

Damaged shingles can be fixed pretty easily. Simply look for any damaged, curled or missing pieces near the area where the leak is coming in from. If you are having a hard time locating the leak, run a hose over the surrounding area and have a person inside notify you when the water enters through the roof. With the leak located, survey the affected shingles for damage. A shingle that has curled due to cold weather can be straightened out using roof asphalt cement. However, a shingle that’s broken or easily crumbles at touch needs to be replaced. Remove the old shingle by prying it out with a hammer and nail a new one into place.

Shakes can be repaired in almost the same way, but with a little bit more effort due to the material you’ll be working with. First, you will need to split the damaged shake using a hammer and a sharp chisel. Work the chisel so it follows the angle of the roof, piece off the shake slowly, and use a hacksaw to cut off the nail heads left behind. Cut a new shake slightly smaller than the older one, slide it into place, and nail carefully to the roof.

According to the website of Black Slate Roofing, LLC, the roof connects with surfaces like vent pipes and chimneys with metal flashing to ensure that the structure remains weatherproof. Sometimes, leaks in these areas can be easily fixed by sealing gaps with caulking or sealants. More often than not, professional help is necessary for repairs involving damage to flashing around the base of chimney or vent pipe. Most of the time, severe damage compromising these areas require that flashing be replaced.

Read More