Category Archives: Injury

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Personal Injury Law: Know Your Rights

Personal injury law, or tort law, deals with incidents where a person is injured due to the negligence of someone else. Personal injury is a broad field and includes physical accidents caused at work, car accidents, psychological illness, damage caused through defective products, etc. In this case, a third party is responsible for deliberately or unintentionally doing harm to others. So, what can you do if, unfortunately, you are faced with similar situations? It is really important to be aware of the laws in your state to take appropriate actions. First of all, you need to immediately find legal help before the statute of limitations ends, which tends to differ from state to state and case to case. A lawyer will evaluate your case and advise you on further proceedings. You must be ready with the following information prior to getting a lawyer:

  • The place where the incident occurred (this will help to decide the guilty party)
  • The date when the incident occurred (normally one can sue the guilty party within a year)
  • How it occurred? (to prove that it really was the mistake of the guilty party)
  • Were there any witnesses present at that time?
  • How much compensation are you ready to accept to settle the matter?

What to do when the settlement is unsuccessful?

Though most of the civil cases are resolved before moving to court, there are many instances when the defendant (accused party) is not ready to compensate the victim (plaintiff). When this happens, the next step is to move into court and challenge the defendant there. A judge will handle the case and give you a hearing date. If you win, the defendant could be liable for your legal fees during the trial and any lost wages. It must be noted that, in civil cases, the defendant will not be given any jail time. That only happens during a criminal case. In civil cases, the defendant will compensate through paying fees. The highest compensation is offered when serious injuries such as bone fracture or brain injuries are involved. It is imperative to consult with your lawyer about the fee they will charge. There is also an option of “no-win, no-fee.” So, it would be better to have a talk with the lawyer before proceeding with the case. Having enough evidence in the form of documents and witnesses is of immense importance to make a good case. If you don’t have any evidence, even if you are the victim, the court won’t be able to take any actions.

Court trial: what to expect and time taken

The compensation offered is directly proportional to the severity of the accident, provided you win. In any case, your lawyer will be there throughout the trial to help with all the proceedings. It is vital to note that the time taken till the verdict is reached depends on the strength of your claims and evidence. Normally, civil cases, contrary to criminal cases, takes less time to reach a verdict. However, it all depends on the evidence, your local jurisdiction and the defendant. Conclusively, you must be aware of the rights if you are involved in an accident.

Have you been involved in a civil case? What was the outcome? Leave your comments below:

 

4 Ways to Ensure Your Business is ADA Compliant

As of this July, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is twenty-five years old. In 1990, activists convinced lawmakers to make sweeping changes to the way society treated people with disabilities. Things the ADA made common include now-familiar things like curb cuts and wheelchair ramps, assets to Americans of all abilities. Let’s celebrate the achievements of the ADA by discussing ways you can ensure your business complies with the law. Remember, business who ignore the ADA may be at risk of many types of lawsuit. A person with a disability who gets injured on your land could sue your business.

Be Wheelchair Accessible

Under the ADA, buildings need to be accessible to people in wheelchairs. Wheelchair accessibility can take many forms.

 

  • Door width. According to Karmen Healthcare, doors must be 32 inches wide. This ensures that people in wheelchairs can get in and out of your establishment freely. People don’t want to get stuck in your doorway. And you don’t want your doorway to get plugged up.
  • Bathrooms should also be big enough to fit someone’s chair. You’ll need at least one stall per bathroom.

 

Have Accessible Parking

For someone with a disability, a long walk across a parking lot can be a trial, even a dangerous one. You don’t want someone getting hurt in your parking lot, do you? Parking lots are required to have at least one accessible spot for every twenty-five parking spots. Additionally, one out of every six spots needs to be van accessible.

Install Accessible Door Handles

Certain types of door handle are difficult, painful, or impossible to open for a person with a disability. Accessible handles are generally defined as handles which swing, not turn in a circle. The ADA has specific rules about how many accessible handles your establishment needs. At least sixty per cent of your entrances need accessible handles. Make sure your business is accessible to everyone. This will improve business, as well as ensure that nothing goes wrong on your property.

Don’t Forget Web Accessibility

Yes, your website should comply as well. Although a non-compliant website will not land you a personal injury lawsuit, it is still important that you keep aware of this requirement, since it will make sure everyone can access your content. To make your site accessible, your site will need to be able to be read by a screen reader. A screen reader is a piece of adaptive technology that allows a person who is blind to use the internet. The reader lists off every content item on a page and reads it to the user. To comply with the ADA, the most important thing is that your page’s images will need an html tag called <alt>, along with a description of the image. This tag allows the screen read to describe each image to the user. Speak with your webmaster to make sure your alt tags are accurate and up to date. As a bonus, search engines like google also use <alt> tags, so these tags will help make it easier for all people to find your website.

 

Preparing for a Party or Event? Make Your Home Safe and Secure

Do not take unnecessary risks if you are hosting a party or event. Keep your guests safe, and avoid a potential injury or a lawsuit due to hazardous conditions. In fact, spinal cord injuries have been known to happen from a walk down a flight of stairs gone bad. It’s easy to overlook safety issues with all the activity of setting up a party, but the extra precautions will be worth the effort.

Examine the inside and the perimeter of the event location. Are there cracks in the sidewalk or potholes in the driveway? These could cause a slip and fall, making you potentially liable for any injury. If you have a bouncy house for a child’s party, make sure it is properly anchored and have an adult supervise it. Walkways should be free of obstructions or debris; clear out any furniture that obstructs the passageways. You should consider putting away small objects that can easily break or be swallowed by toddlers. You may want to use plastic and paper products rather than serve food and drinks in glass containers that can break.

A primary cause of accidents is a pool that is ungated or unattended. If you have no gate around your pool, designate one or more persons to keep an eye on swimmers and small children around the pool area. A fenced pool is not a guarantee that children won’t find a way in, so all children must be supervised at all times if a pool is on the property. Be alert for toddlers falling in the pool or jumping in without a parent. Water makes the poolside slippery, so ask guests not to run. Walking with bare feet on cement or slippery tiles could result in a head injury or worse. If adults are drinking alcohol, this adds a risk factor as well.

Take Safety Precautions to Avoid an Accident

Some safety precautions to take are:

  • Place decorative markers on sliding glass doors so no one runs into them.
  • Put extension cord covers on electrical wires to prevent tripping.
  • Put safety runners on slippery surfaces such as high polished wood or tile.
  • Cordon off staircases if small children are present or if stairs are worn; make sure hand railings are secure.
  • Keep knives or sharp objects beyond the reach of children.
  • Monitor alcohol intake of your guests; make sure they do not drink and drive.

It is well worth your while to make a checklist ahead of time for party and event safety. Make especially sure that there are sufficient fire exits and bathroom facilities. If it is a pool party or barbeque, have supervisors at these locations. An event or party can be a fun and memorable experience for you and your guests. Keep everyone safe and secure and it will be a hit!

Take Care to Avoid Slip-and-Fall Accidents on Your Property

When it comes to slip-and-fall accidents, as a business owner, strong preventative measures are the key. You never want to see a customer have an accident due to carelessness and oversight on your part, so consider taking these steps beforehand to making your property the safest it can be for customers and employees alike.

Basically, your property needs to be safe for a “reasonable person,” that is, someone who is taking normal care to avoid danger, and is avoiding obvious obstacles. You as a business owner need to rid the property of any hidden or obvious dangers that could result in a slip and fall. The best thing you can do it to train all employees, especially managers, to be vigilant and to deal with these issues immediately. We’ll walk you through some tips address common causes of slip-and-fall injuries, and what you can do to prevent them.

Tips to Making Your Business Safer

  • First, consider seasonal hazards. One of the most common times for slip-and-fall injuries is, of course, the winter, when ice and snow make pathways hazardous. So, keep all sidewalks, driveways, ramps and staircases free of slippery ice and snow. In the fall, keep these areas free of fallen leaves, which can be surprisingly slippery as well. Remember that outside areas, if they are on your property, are just as much your responsibility to keep safe as the interior areas are.
  • Make sure there is no uneven flooring. A normal person isn’t looking down everywhere he or she walks, so if there is an uneven walking surface, broken tiles or other problems, he or she could easily trip and fall.
  • If anything gets spilled, put up a warning sign, and clean it up quickly. This is very common in restaurants, where even a flying toddler’s drink can create a slippery hazard. It may also come in car-repair businesses, where grease puddles can be especially treacherous. More generally, this can also be a seasonal issue, as wet boots and umbrellas can create hard-to-see puddles.
  • Keep your property free of clutter. Without realizing, it, employees can often place materials in passageways or, even worse, in stairwells—so train them to keep these areas clear. Not only will this make the property more appealing and easy to navigate, but it will also prevent visitors from bumping into stray boxes or other items and hurting themselves, or falling down stairs. Also make sure that nothing is obstructing an exit pathway.
  • Put up warning signs beside any elevated surfaces. It may be common sense to be careful on a platform or a ladder, but remember that, as the owner, you’re used to them, whereas new visitors are not; it’s better to be safe than sorry.
  • Invest in good lighting. It may sound silly, but a dark environment is much more prone to accidents, especially for older people. Besides, better lighting will improve visitors’ overall experience at your business, so it’s well worth your while. Once again, this includes exterior as well as interior lighting.

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I Got Injured at Work – What’s Next?

Thanks to the Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1970 (OSH Act), employers in the United States are legally required to provide their employees with a safe work environment free from known dangers. The OSH Act created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, commonly known as OSHA, to set and enforce health and safety standards, and secure workers’ rights in the workplace. Unfortunately, even after the passing of the OSH Act and the creation of OSHA, workplace injuries still occur at an alarming rate.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in excess of 3 million work-related injuries and illnesses were reported by the private industry business sector in 2013. More than half of the reported cases were serious enough to require time off from work, and for many people that means loss of income. If you were injured on the job, would you know your rights? Do you know what recourse you would have to protect your financial and physical health?

Injured Worker’s Rights

Each state has its own workers’ compensation laws, and the rights each state extends to injured employees differ as well. However, there are some commonalities among state laws, including the right to seek medical treatment for your injuries and the right to return to work once a doctor has released you. Some rights surrounding the issue of workers compensation are also somewhat universal. Those include the following:

  • The right to file an injury claim in workers compensation court without fear of reprisal (or the employer will face severe sanctions).
  • The right to seek disability compensation when injuries render the employee temporarily or permanently unable to work.
  • The right to appeal decisions rendered by the employer’s insurance company, the workers compensation court, or the employer himself.
  • The right to be represented by legal counsel.
  • The right to refuse certain requests, such as if an employer encourages the injured employee to utilize his personal health insurance to seek treatment.
  • The right to refuse certain offers, such as a monetary incentive not to file a claim. In fact, that is illegal.

Understanding your rights, and where to turn for help, are critical to getting the assistance you need when you need it. You are your own best advocate when it comes to retaining your rights and securing workers compensation benefits.

What You Should Do

The first step you should take when you’ve been hurt at work is to report the injury to your employer so it can be properly documented. Next, file a workers compensation claim with your state as soon as you are reasonably able to do so. If your employer attempts to dissuade you from filing a claim, your claim is denied, or you believe the result was otherwise unjust, contact a lawyer who specializes in employee’s rights issues because workers compensation is a critical lifeline for those who are injured and unable to work.

Workers Compensation Benefits

Filing a claim for workers compensation benefits allows the injured employee to receive more than just short term financial assistance while he recovers. The benefits also extend to medical care (including emergency care), death benefits (paid to the family), job displacement, or retraining benefits, and even permanent disability benefits if the injury is severe enough that the employee can no longer work.

Most work injuries do not leave the employee permanently disabled, but since more than half of all on-the-job injuries require time off from work, an injury can be financially debilitating nonetheless. If you’ve been injured at work, protect your rights by immediately reporting the injury to your employer, and then follow up by filing a workers compensation claim.