If you have suffered a work-related injury, it is natural to consider filing for workers' compensation. However, if you are a seaman, you may be covered under the Jones Act. What is the Jones Act? The Jones Act is a federal statute that regulates U.S. maritime commerce and also protects the rights of maritime workers. Part of the law gives workers the right to file claims if they have been injured while serving a vessel in or near navigable waters. By definition, a vessel can be a ship, barge, boat, mobile offshore drilling unit, cruise ship, helicopter or tug boat. Who is Covered by the Jones Act? The Jones Act protects any worker who is connected in some way to the navigation of any maritime vessel, including offshore drilling rigs. It is not even necessary for you to be on the vessel at the time of your injury. You may be covered even if you were injured while the vessel was docked. How can Workers' Compensation Help You? Workers' compensation is designed to help people who are injured while they are at work. Although the exact benefits vary by location, workers' comp generally pays for your medical expenses and helps cover your lost wages. The benefits are paid by your employer's workers' compensation policy and may last until you have recovered and are able to return to your place of employment. In addition, workers' compensation benefits may also be paid to the family members of an employee who is fatally injured on the job or who dies as a result of injuries sustained while working. However, in exchange for receiving these benefits, you may not be able to file for any additional form of compensation from your employer. In other words, you may have to waive your right to sue for damages. What are the Differences between the Jones Act and Workers' Comp? The Jones Act only helps seamen who are injured while they are either on or near their vessels. Workers' comp, on the other hand, is available for nearly any type of worker and is not related to the type of work being performed. As a seaman, you can apply for workers' compensation if you are injured on the job. In addition, it does not matter how far away you are from the actual vessel when the injury occurs. However, the benefits you receive from workers' comp claims are usually significantly less than the compensation you may receive under the Jones Act. The Jones Act allows you to be compensated for lost income, medical expenses and any additional pain and suffering that you endure as a result of your injury. Depending on the extent of your injuries, you may also receive compensation for your inability to enjoy a normal life and any household services that you are no longer able to receive. In addition, you may not be able to receive an advance on your workers' comp benefits, but under the Jones Act, you are usually able to receive an advance. Consult an Offshore Injury Lawyer If you are a seaman who has suffered a work-related injury, you may be eligible to receive compensation by filing a claim under the Jones Act. However, you may not be able to receive benefits if you have already applied for workers' compensation. To fully understand your Jones Act legal rights, it is important to speak with an offshore injury lawyer as soon as possible. Jones Act attorneys will need to review your case and help you file a claim to get the benefits you deserve.
The Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) was created to protect workers who have been injured in a FELA railroad accident, but railroad employees that have been hurt on the job must act quickly so that they can take full advantage of this law. FELA is different from Workers' Compensation that is automatically awarded to injured workers without the employers ever needing to admit liability. To obtain compensation under FELA, an injured railroad worker will need to prove that the railroad was legally negligent to a certain extent in the accident that caused his or her injuries. If successful, the railroad worker will receive full compensation, and this will be a much greater amount than he or she would have received under Workers' Compensation. Make an Employer's Injury Report Immediately after the injury occurs, report it to your supervisor. Then, fill out an "injury report form." This form will ask you about the extent of your injuries and how they were caused, the factors that may have led to them and the conditions that were present at the time of the incident that may have played a role in causing the accident. You must be as thorough as possible when completing this document because it will be used to make decisions about your claim. See a Doctor and Obtain Treatment After reporting your injury to your supervisor, the next likely step would be for your supervisor to send you for immediate treatment. Even so, it will be important for you to see your own doctor after you have been treated in the emergency room. This will allow you to have an independent evaluation and further treatment if necessary. You must be as thorough in describing the pain you are experiencing to your own doctor as you were with the first medical professional in the emergency room. Ask for duplicates of your medical records or other documents and keep copies of your bills. Now, You are Ready to Pursue a FELA Claim. Make a Personal Injury Report You made an injury report for your employer, but you will need one for yourself as well because it will be an instrumental document needed by your railroad worker injury attorney. It will need to describe your injuries and the accident in which they occurred in great detail. It will need all of the information that you supplied in your employer's injury report as well as a description of the injuries, how severe they are and how they affect your ability to continue in your job and in pursuing personal activities. This report is also the place to write down the names of witnesses to the accident. Keep a Log of the Days that You Miss Work If you have to miss work because of your injuries, make sure to write this down. This includes the time you missed on the day the accident occurred, time missed because you were too injured to go to work and were recovering and time missed because you needed to attend follow-up doctor's appointments. Inform Your Union Representative of this Incident If you find it to be necessary, contact your union representative so that you can inform them that an accident occurred and that you were injured as a result. Contact Knowledgeable FELA Attorneys As soon as you can after you have been injured; make sure to contact experienced FELA attorneys who have expertise in handling these types of claims. Your lawyer will guide you throughout this entire process from beginning to end.Acting quickly is highly important because your employer may hold hearings that will be related to safety and liability concerning your accident. If this happens before you have an attorney, your case could be detrimentally affected. If you have been injured in a railroad accident, contact a railroad worker injury attorney today.
If you have been the victim of an accident with an 18-wheeler, you need an experienced truck accident attorney. Although choosing the best 18 wheeler accident lawyer might be a frustrating process, it is extremely important. Whenever there is an accident, the person who was negligent, or at-fault, is typically required to compensate the victim for the injuries. This includes not only medical expenses, property damage, and lost wages, but also compensation for your pain and suffering. The right tractor trailer accident attorney can make all the difference in the amount of compensation you will receive, which makes your choice even more important. If you need an attorney, there are many resources available to help you with this important choice, including your family and friends, the local bar association, and the internet. While the victim of any accident can experience serious injuries, if you have been in an accident involving an 18-wheeler, you are more likely to have suffered serious or potentially life-threatening injuries just because of the large size and weight of the vehicle. If the driver of the 18-wheeler was at fault, then you are entitled to receive compensation for your injuries. Although it is not required that you have an attorney to receive this compensation, in most cases, a good tractor trailer accident attorney will help you secure everything you are entitled to receive as compensation. Whether the driver is an independent driver or works for a trucking firm, they will have insurance and their own attorneys. This means the insurance company and the trucking company will be defending the driver, and their lawyers will likely offer you a settlement. This settlement may or may not be a fair offer, and an experienced attorney can help you determine whether you should accept the settlement or pursue further options. An excellent way to find a good accident lawyer is by asking your family, friends, and co-workers whether they have ever worked with one before. Getting a personal referral is a great method to find an attorney. Even if the referral you receive is for an attorney who does not specialize in these types of cases, that attorney can often refer you to an attorney who does. Another option in some areas is to check the state or local bar association for referrals. The bar association is a voluntary organization of attorneys, and it provides services to both attorneys and the general public. These bar associations often have a listing of attorneys who practice in the local area, as well as the types of cases they handle. The listings may also give you additional information, like years of experience or additional languages spoken. You can also use the internet as a tool to locate an experienced truck accident lawyer. Most attorneys will have a web site that provides at least basic information, such as types of cases, services offered, and years of experience. You can often learn a great deal about potential lawyers from their web sites, and it is a good starting point to at least make a list for further research. Once you have your initial list, whether from referrals, the bar association, or internet searches, your next step should be to contact the state's disciplinary board to determine whether any of these lawyers has ever been disciplined. After you have removed any questionable attorneys who might have been on your list, contact each remaining attorney's office to request a consultation appointment. Most 18-wheeler accident attorneys will offer a free consultation appointment. Have a list of questions to ask during this appointment, including the attorney's experience and background, fees, and their opinion about your case. After you have finished these meetings, your choice should be easy.
Everyone has heard the term "personal injury," but you may not know what the term means in a legal sense, and you may not be aware of how it applies to you. Personal injury is a legal term that refers to injury to a person's body, mind, or emotions, rather than injury to property. The phrase is used most commonly in injury lawsuits that allege the plaintiff (the person suing) has been injured through another person's negligence. Damages can include bodily injury, intentionally causing emotional distress, and negligently causing emotional distress. The most common personal injury claims relate to traffic accidents, work accidents, tripping, assault, home accidents, product defects and product liability accidents, and holiday accidents. Personal injury claims can also include medical or dental accidents or malpractice, as well as industrial diseases such as mesothelioma, asbestosis, pneumoconiosis, emphysema, asthma, chronic bronchitis, occupational deafness, and repetitive strain injuries. Depending on the negligence or the intent of the responsible party, you might be entitled to compensation through a judgment or settlement. A judgment is when the court grants you a payment amount; a settlement is when the responsible party or insurance company offers a payment to avoid trial. Cases are usually handled on a "contingent fee basis," by work injury lawyers meaning they will not charge you unless your case is successful, and then they collect a percentage of the judgment you receive. Damages can be categorized as either general or special. Special damages are the measurable costs that can be itemized, such as lost earnings, medical expenses, or property damages. General damages are less measurable, including pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of consortium (loss of the ability to enjoy family relationships due to injury). The amount you can receive in compensation for your injury depends primarily on how severe your injury is. Serious injuries such as brain damage, broken bones, or severed limbs cause more intense pain and suffering, and these receive higher injury settlements. If you have suffered a more permanent injury, you may receive additional compensation, especially if the injury prevents you from working. The compensation would be based on the length of the injury. For example, if you are unable to work for six months while completing physical therapy, you would be entitled to compensation of the lost wages for that period. If you are permanently unable to work, the judgment would consider the wages you would have potentially earned during your lifetime. This loss of wages is known as "loss of amenity," and it would be payable in addition to the pain and suffering settlement. If your injury was caused by an auto accident, your bodily injuries will typically be covered by the auto insurance policy. The insurance company will provide legal defense to the defendant, and they may offer you a settlement to avoid the cost of trial. These settlement offers are typically much less than you would receive in a trial judgment, and they may not be enough to cover your medical expenses and lost wages, let alone compensate you for the pain and suffering you experienced. A personal injury attorney can help you negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company, and they will fight for you in court if necessary. If you have been injured in an accident caused by someone else, you need a good personal injury attorney. A qualified law firm can help you whether you need a work injury lawyer, have a claim due to a traffic accident, or a wrongful death suit. Some of the cases personal injury law firms commonly handle include auto accidents, 18-wheeler accidents, and work and industrial accidents. They are experienced in all areas of personal injury cases, so contact an experienced lawyer in your area if you have any questions.
In 1969, offshore hydraulic fracturing wells located off of the Southern California coast suffered an accident. The result was that more than three million gallons of crude oil were released into the Pacific Ocean. The beaches were adversely affected, and many wildlife animals lost their lives. In reaction to this incident, the California Legislature refused to allow new oil leases to be distributed from that moment forward. The state's legislators are concerned about the practice of hydraulic fracturing again. It has come to the attention of the California Coastal Commission that hydraulic fracturing has been allowed to proceed in the Santa Barbara Channel at least 12 times since the late 1990s. Because of this, Charles Lester Executive Director of the California Coastal Commission has stressed his agency's need to safeguard the environment. The hydraulic fracturing procedure requires that oil companies pump a mixture underneath the seabed that contains chemicals, hundreds of thousands of gallons of salt water and sand. Whether or not this method increases the amount of oil that is produced is up for debate. The Associated Press discovered that the mixture used in hydraulic fracturing is not being regulated by the federal government because it is exempt from federal clean water laws. Because of this, companies that employ hydraulic fracturing allow the mixture to be released into the sea, and environmental reviews are not performed. Environmentalists' Concerns Various environmental and community groups are concerned about this practice, and they would like to see more involvement by the state's legislators. The fact is that the California Coastal Commission was completely unaware that any oil companies were using the hydraulic fracturing technique in California's waters. The wells are located in federal waters that are regulated by the Interior Department, but state officials believe that they are within their rights to address this issue if they think that the water's integrity is in question. The oil industry added its voice to the argument to state that hydraulic fracturing is a safe way to extract oil from land. Oil executives also reassured environmental groups, lawmakers and the public that fracking does not detrimentally affect the environment. At the moment, the oil industry does not have any regulations to follow that are specific to hydraulic fracturing, but state legislators sought to change that this past year by introducing three different bills. If they had passed, they would have required that the oil industry cease the practice of hydraulic fracturing, but two of these bills did not make it past the Assembly Committee, and the third did not survive an Assembly vote. State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson intends to continue in the direction of increased regulation of the hydraulic fracturing practice. To this end, she and some of her colleagues requested that the California Coastal Commission examine permits that have been issued in the past. She would also like a review of applications for those who wish to be granted permits in the future. The outcome that State Assemblyman Mark Stone is hoping for is an increase in regulation for hydraulic fracturing, and it does not matter to him whether it is the state or the federal government that takes charge. Jones Act Attorneys Until the California legislature can accomplish its above-stated goals, oil platform seamen must continue to work under the old rules and regulations. In the event that this leads to accidents, seamen who suffer an injury at sea have the right to sue their employers under the Jones Act. To effectively sue their employer, injured seamen are going to need to hire experienced Jones Act attorneys. An oil rig accident lawyer is familiar with laws specific to the sea, and they will provide legal with the potential to obtain a high rate of compensation for injuries, pain and suffering.
It is practically a full-time job making sure that a truck is fit to be driven on the roads. If any part of the maintenance process fails, 18-wheelers can cause collisions with other vehicles and this can have devastating effects for the people in smaller vehicles. Times like these are when you will need to hire a tractor trailer accident attorney if you have been hurt or a loved one has been killed in this type of collision. You may want to consider hiring a truck accident lawyer if the collision may have been instigated by an 18 wheeler truck. The Failure to Place Flares or Triangles Sometimes, fog is present and it decreases visibility. If an 18-wheeler has stalled, it can be difficult for the people behind to see. In these cases, it is the truck driver's responsibility to place flares or triangles around the vehicle so that other drivers can more easily see the truck. Those who fail to perform this very simple action can cause injuries so severe that the affected individuals lose their lives, and it is a violation of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. Driving While Fatigued Truck drivers spend many hours on the road, and they can become extremely fatigued. This fatigue results in the inability to keep their mind on the road. They have also been known to make lane changes when it was not safe to do so. Some drivers have become distracted, and others have even fallen asleep while driving. Making Unsafe Moves on the Roads The nature of the job is that truck drivers need to deliver their goods at their destination on time. If they are early, it is even better for them. This encourages truckers to drive rather aggressively on the highways, and they can make dangerous lane changes or drive too closely behind the vehicle in front of them. Driving in this manner has caused serious fatal crashes. A Tire Blow-Out Tire blow-outs can cause several unfortunate events to occur directly afterward. The driver of the truck may lose control and cause a collision. After blow-outs, large 18-wheelers have overturned and caused serious damage to the other vehicles around them. Also, tire-blowouts cause pieces of rubber to litter the highway, and this can cause a dangerous situation for the other vehicles. Upon seeing these objects in front of them, some people have swerved and lost control of their vehicles and been involved in traffic accidents. Tire Rot As time goes by, spare tires become less effective because they are subject to aging. When truckers inspect their tires, if there is any tire rot, it can be hard to see. Old tires are susceptible to blow-outs, and this can happen in just a couple of days if the tires are several years old. Because of this, truck drivers need to be aware of these details so that they can be responsible for the lives of the other people that are driving on the roads with them. Tires that Are Under-Inflated Another cause of blow-outs is the under-inflated tire. If the tire is under-inflated, the temperature increases, and the chances of blow-outs also increase. This problem is exacerbated during the hot summer months when the probability of a blow-out under these circumstances goes up. If you were hurt because of the negligence of a truck driver who failed to ensure that the truck was safe to drive, you are within your rights to contact an 18 wheeler accident attorney. These attorneys know exactly how to determine the cause of 18-wheeler accidents, and they also know how to effectively fight in court so that you receive compensation for your injuries.
With news coverage about violent storms on the rise, many people also assume that there has been an increase in the number or severity of these storms. Homeowners have certainly seen an increase in hail damage or other property damage from storms. Insurance companies frequently try to avoid paying claims for storm damage, especially because one large storm may result in claims from thousands of customers, and a property damage attorney can help protect the rights of homeowner's.
The Coast Guard enforces safety laws on the high seas, and its duties include protecting seaman on merchant vessels, regulating cargo weights, mounting rescue efforts, documenting vessels and protecting the environment. Death at sea and injury at sea create circumstances that are hard for traditional law enforcement agencies to investigate, but the U.S. Coast Guard has broad powers to inspect hazardous cargoes, ship safety systems, conformance to regulations and other relevant matters. Coast Guard Duties The Coast Guard is one of the five branches of U.S. Armed Services and is the oldest maritime agency. The U.S. Coast Guard has an expanded role in keeping the nation's waters and ports secure. Duties include the following:
British Petroleum was recently ordered by a federal magistrate to pay fees exceeding $130 million for its settlement with affected businesses and residents along the Gulf Coast. The settlement stemmed from the disastrous offshore Deepwater Horizon chemical plant accident oil spill that occurred in 2010. This judgment came after BP attempted to block claims payments as the FBI investigated alleged misconduct by one of the attorneys working on the case. In addition to this, BP made complaints about a wider spectrum of problems with the claims program administrator. BP's Attempts To Block Claims Payments BP's disputes over administrative expenses are just another part of the company's tough campaign to challenge the court-appointed program administrator. The oil company has also accused the administrator of misrepresentation of the settlement, which would have resulted in BP having to pay out billions of dollars. BP officials claimed that the amount reflected inflated claims and fictitious claims from businesses along the coast. While the judge ruled that BP's refusal to pay was not reasonable, he also said that the claims program administrator would have to submit budget proposal documents earlier than previously agreed. The judge did this in hopes of keeping the claims facility from shutting down because of the issues at hand. The recent ruling on the oil company's appeal supported an earlier court ruling that ordered BP to pay the settlement fees. However, an attorney for BP argued that it was unreasonable to expect the company to pay more than $130 million in fees without a more detailed proposal from the administrator. The company's attorney further explained that the proposal received earlier was a summary and did not provide adequate backup details. Despite BP's attempts to avoid paying fees through court filings, the company's attorney says that the oil company is not trying to get out of paying fees. However, the claims program administrator said that BP's refusal to pay fees will put the program in jeopardy. In addition to claiming that a member of the court-appointed program administrator's office was wrongly receiving some of the claim funds, the company has accused two attorneys who have ruled on appeals of fraud. BP claimed that the attorneys had also represented claimants and had filed claims themselves. The company is also claiming that an employee in an Alabama office has helped numerous individuals and businesses file false claims. BP again renewed its claims delay request based on the recent allegations. Both parties are eagerly awaiting the ruling in the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that would overturn the claims program administrator's settlement terms interpretations in regard to payouts. As it stands, awards are based on a comparison of expenses and revenues after the spill and before the spill. BP claimed that the calculation methods for this policy left it open to errors that would allow businesses to manipulate figures. Injury Or Wrongful Death In Industrial Accident Cases If there is one thing that is clear about BP's case, it is that the oil company's accidental spill caused widespread damage. When an offshore or onshore industrial plant is to blame for injury or wrongful death in industrial accident cases, affected individuals must be compensated. Another lesson that BP's case has taught us is that industrial companies are known for fighting to avoid paying claimants or paying them the minimum. Having an aggressive and experienced attorney is essential if you want to get the compensation you deserve. If you are the victim of an industrial or chemical plant accident, or a family member has died as the result of one, you need a good industrial accident lawyer to represent you and protect your legal rights. It is important to file a claim in a timely manner, so contact an attorney today to discuss your situation.
The recent rail accidents in Spain, France and Canada have left many travelers concerned about the safety of this traditional method of transport. Despite these tragic events, statistics show that trains are among the safest forms of public transportation. Only air travel has a better safety record for passengers traveling over long distances. High-speed rail accidents are rare; Japan's rail system, for example, has been accident-free since its launch in 1964. Most accidents can be traced back to equipment failures or operator errors. Identifying and reducing risk factors for U.S. travelers and railroad work injuries related to railroad employees are key concerns for railway companies and federal agencies. Tracking Railway Accidents The U.S. Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) oversees and regulates all safety matters within the rail industry and provides leadership for passenger and freight trains in the United States. The FRA also maintains statistics on train-related injuries and fatalities and investigates FELA railroad accident issues involving railroad employees and members of the public. FRA investigations are generally required for accidents that meet the following criteria: • Rail accidents that result in the death of a passenger, contractor or employee of the railroad • Accidents that result in the death or injury of five or more people • Railway accidents that cause injuries to two or more passengers or members of the crew • Accidents that involve hazardous materials to include nuclear or fissionable substances and toxic materials • Certain crossing accidents that result in injury, death or property damage • Amtrak accidents • Incidents that require evacuation of passenger trains or surrounding areas • Crossing accidents involving school buses or commercial transportation vehicles • Train accidents that result in damages of over $1 million Statistics are available from the FRA for a wide range of railway related accidents and incidents. For 2012, the FRA reported the following data for U.S. railways: • 1,734 total train accidents • Five fatal train accidents resulting in a total of nine fatalities • 155 collisions • 1,275 derailments • 457 nonfatal injury cases FRA also offers an approximate percentage breakdown of the primary causes for these accidents: • Defects or damage to the track: 33 percent • Human error: 38 percent • Equipment failures: 12 percent • Signal malfunctions: 3 percent • Other causes: 15 percent Only three percent of train accidents involve passenger trains. FRA statistics indicate that railway workers are the single highest risk group for injuries; 48 percent of nonfatal injuries in 2012 were sustained by employees on duty. Protections for Railway Employees In 1908, the U.S. government enacted the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) to provide added protections for railroad employees injured or killed in the course of their duties. Because these employees were not afforded the protection of workers' compensation, they were allowed to sue for damages sustained due to the negligence of railroad companies in maintaining safe working conditions. Workers or surviving family members who could demonstrate that their losses resulted from an unsafe working environment were permitted to sue under the provisions of FELA to obtain compensation for their injuries, medical expenses and other damages. Railroad Work Injuries Today, FELA continues to provide help for railway employees who have been injured in the line of duty. FELA railroad accident attorneys specialize in providing expert help for these individuals and their families in determining their eligibility for FELA protections and in preparing their case for compensation. Experienced train accident attorneys can outline the unsafe working conditions and failures of the railroad company to maintain safety procedures, allowing injured workers to obtain a fair settlement for their claims. This added help can ensure the maximum compensation for injured railroad employees and can provide support for grieving families of those lost due to insufficient safety measures in the railway workplace. Rail travel is a safe, environmentally friendly way to manage public transportation and freight delivery needs. When problems arise, however, railway employees can rely on FELA railroad accident lawyers to provide the legal support necessary for their compensation claims.
It is important to take every possible precaution to avoid industrial explosions because several seconds of carelessness can have long-lasting effects and cause permanent damages. Many industrial sites use heavy machinery, which can pose dangers if the equipment malfunctions or is not operated correctly. A petrochemical plant explosion is one of the most dangerous industrial accidents because it involves chemicals that can quickly encompass a large area of an industrial plant. To help prevent a chemical plant explosion, owners must establish safety standards and regulations and enforce strict compliance with any rules concerning safety. Employees must learn the proper procedures to follow in performing their jobs safely as well as the correct steps to take in the event of an accident involving themselves or others. Effective Instruction Before new employees begin working in industrial settings, they must receive extensive training in accident prevention and the safety measures that apply to the entire plant in which they work. Their employment may be for particular duties, but their training should encompass other areas as well because situations can happen that may put them or others in danger if they do not understand the hazards around them. For instance, if unknowledgeable employees are the nearest ones to accidents that occur, they may try to help by responding in the wrong way, causing additional damages and an increase in the severity of injuries. For the greatest effectiveness, training must be ongoing. Some employees may tend to cut corners and become lax in using proper safety procedures after a time if they do not receive periodic training regarding the potential consequences of carelessness. Warnings Most job sites are required to have prominently posted signs that warn employees and visitors about possible risks or dangers. Depending on the type of work involved, each job site may pose different risks and require different notices. Employers must insist that all employees abide by the safety rules and use all the safety equipment provided for them. In addition, precautions must be in place to keep unauthorized people out of restricted areas where dangers exist. Equipment Employers must strive to keep all equipment maintained properly and thoroughly train their employees in its use before allowing them to operate the machinery. Malfunctioning machinery can create dangerous situations and cause frustration for operators as well. Even if new employees claim to have experience with certain equipment, they should receive training to ensure that they are competent and knowledgeable. Hazardous Chemicals Employers must be sure that their employees understand and practice safe methods of working with and disposing of hazardous chemicals. Certain materials mixed together can cause fires or explosions, and breathing chemical fumes or getting chemicals on the skin can be dangerous as well. Employers must provide goggles, gloves, bins, bags and other disposal equipment made specifically for the safe handling of chemicals and provide periodic testing and inspection of the equipment to ensure its effectiveness. Employees involved in a chemical plant explosion should get medical attention even if they do not believe they suffered injuries because chemicals can cause harmful effects that do not become obvious until later. If a chemical plant explosion or a petrochemical plant explosion that results in injuries or deaths occurs, the victims or the victims' survivors should contact an industrial explosion lawyer. Victims typically receive reimbursement for medical expenses arising from industrial accidents. However, some insurance companies may not be willing to pay for rehabilitation, loss of wages or other associated costs. An experienced attorney familiar with industrial accidents can ensure that victims or their survivors obtain appropriate compensation for their injuries or losses and often for pain and suffering as well. An industrial explosion attorney can even help victims' survivors obtain compensation for loss of the financial support they would have received from victims who died as a result of industrial accidents.
On August 12, activists protesting the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline gathered outside the Harry S Truman Building, which houses the offices of the U.S. State Department. Although only slightly more than 100 people showed up for the protest, another 70,000 have already promised to support actions of civil disobedience aimed at stopping the pipeline from being constructed. Protestors are citing several recent environmental disasters and industrial accidents, such as the chemical plant accident in Louisiana that killed one and injured 73 others, as reasons why the pipeline should not be built. Protests Planned Last April Environmental activists opposing the Keystone XL project pledged to organize protests and acts of civil disobedience last April. Organizers said that these acts would go above and beyond those employed in the past, such as chaining themselves to construction equipment to prevent it from being used. Instead, protestors will be targeting government meetings, political fundraisers and the offices of federal agencies. The first protest outside the State Department building attracted an assortment of people from all walks of life who shared the common goal of preventing any type of man-made disaster or chemical plant accident that could significantly impact the environment and thousands of nearby residents. Police arrived to the scene early and set up barricades to keep the protest under control. This prevented the protestors from initiating their original plan to block the doors until they were physically removed and arrested. However, the students, seniors and peaceful environmentalists remained outside the building chanting and brandishing professionally produced protest signs emblazoned with the logo of Credo. Credo is an organization of environmental activists that was started in 1985 to initiate social change and now offers specialized mobile phone service to fund activists and related nonprofit organizations. Credo claims a membership of more than 3 million people, and in 2012, the organization formed a Super PAC that raised $2.5 million to fight the campaigns of Tea Party and Republican candidates. Protest Initiated Over Allegedly Flawed Report The protest of the State Department was initiated after the government agency released a report last March that stated that the Keystone XL pipeline would not expand to the Canadian oil sands in Alberta. The assessment went on to state that the project would not impact the environment or the climate in any way. TransCanada Corp., the company proposing to build the pipeline, supported the assessment with its own research, stating that Keystone XL would actually reduce production in the oil sands and decrease greenhouse gas emissions. John Sellers, founder of The Other 98% and one of the organizers of the protest, made a statement regarding the alleged bias and flaws in the report. Sellers said, "The State Department just got caught in bed with big oil in their environmental assessment." The report published last March was only an early assessment. The State Department, under the leadership of John Kerry, will continue to review the Keystone XL project. However, the activists singled out President Obama because he has the final say on whether it will be built. Elijah Zarlin, speaking on behalf of Credo, said, "More and more, we think Obama's getting the message. We know the president is the ultimate decider." About the Keystone XL Pipeline Keystone XL is a massive $5.3 billion dollar project to construct a pipeline from the oil sands in Alberta, Canada, through two other Canadian provinces and at least 10 U.S. states. The final phase of the plan will connect it to the new Gulf Coast pipeline, which was 80 percent complete as of last July. Protestors fighting the Keystone XL project say that environmental and health disasters are sure to result sooner or later. Currently, the only recourse for those affected by wrongful death in an industrial accident is to seek help from an industrial accident attorney.
Did you or someone you love take Zoloft or its generic equivalent sertraline during pregnancy? If the answer is "yes," and your child was born with a birth defect, you may be entitled to compensation from the drug's manufacturer. Despite studies showing that Zoloft and other SSRI antidepressants can raise the risk of birth defects, the drug has routinely been touted as safe for pregnant women. An experienced pharmaceutical lawsuit attorney will assert that the manufacturer of Zoloft has known about its risks for some time but has failed to warn doctors and patients about the potential for life-threatening birth defects. What Is Zoloft? Zoloft is a medication that is used to treat panic disorders, depression, anxiety disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorders. Belonging to a class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), this medication helps change serotonin levels in the brain to alter moods. Aside from the risks posed during pregnancy, side effects of Zoloft include nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, headache, reduced appetite and sexual dysfunction. What Are the Major Risks of Taking Zoloft While Pregnant? The following are commonly seen birth defects in babies whose mothers take Zoloft during pregnancy: • Craniosynostosis: When Zoloft is taken during pregnancy, women are roughly twice as likely to have a baby with craniosynostosis. This birth defect causes the baby's skull bones to close before full growth of the brain occurs. This leads to little or no growth of the head, a misshapen head and intracranial pressure that can result in brain damage. Common complications of this condition include blindness and seizures. • Ventricular outflow defects and septal defects of the heart: Pregnant women on Zoloft are twice as likely to have babies with heart defects, and the most common are ventricular outflow defects, which involve blockages in heart valves, and septal defects, which are characterized by holes between heart chambers. The severity of these conditions varies, and treatment can range from taking medications to undergoing a heart transplant. • Persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN): Taking Zoloft during the third trimester gives the baby a sixfold risk of developing PPHN, a respiratory disorder that constricts blood flow and prevents proper blood oxygenation. While this condition can be treated, it may cause developmental problems affecting the heart, kidneys and brain. • Omphalocele: Zoloft can make a woman six times more likely to have a baby with omphalocele, an abdominal wall defect that causes the abdominal organs to grow outside the body. This condition is treatable, but it can require several surgeries, and complications such as intestinal infection can develop. Are There Other Risks? Researchers have discovered links between numerous other birth defects and Zoloft use during pregnancy. These conditions may include anencephaly, which is a neural tube defect that results in large parts of the brain not developing correctly. Most cases of anencephaly end in miscarriage or stillbirth. A wide range of heart defects can also occur, including hypoplastic left heart syndrome, cardiomyopathy, tetralogy of Fallot, bicuspid aortic valve, tricuspid stenosis, patent ductus arteriosus and cleft mitral valve. If your baby has a birth defect not listed here that you think may have been caused by Zoloft, do not hesitate to call a drug lawsuit attorney because new complications linked to the drug are being discovered all the time. Consult a Drug Lawsuit Lawyer While nothing can reverse what was done to your child, you can hold the drug company accountable. Contact a class action lawsuit attorney today to learn how you may be eligible for financial compensation to cover past and future medical bills so that you can provide the best possible future for your child. You have rights, and you deserve to be compensated for your pain and suffering after being misled by big pharmaceutical companies.
The size and power of 18-wheeler trucks means that victims of accidents involving these trucks often suffer from catastrophic injuries. Many victims of truck accidents even die as a result of their injuries. New technology that is intended to improve the safety of 18-wheeler trucks is being released to reduce the possibility of an accident. While this technology is poised to save lives, tractor trailer accidents can still occur if a driver is negligent on the road. Anyone who becomes the victim of a truck accident should contact an 18-wheeler accident attorney to help them properly file a claim against the trucking company. Brake Reinforcement While the air brakes that are present in an 18-wheeler are typically able to effectively stop a large truck, there are serious problems that can arise in the brakes of an 18-wheeler. Failing to properly address these problems can lead to a dangerous problem if a truck is unable to stop on the road. Added safety can be found in the brake monitoring system that is now available for tractor trailers. This system detects serious faults in brakes and alerts drivers so that the driver can take the truck in for maintenance. Brake monitoring systems can detect issues including built-up friction due to a failure to release, over-stroke that significantly reduces the braking force and inoperative brakes. Prevention of Rollovers One of the biggest dangers related to truck accidents is the possibly that the truck will roll over. A rollover is more likely to fatally injure the driver of the truck, and it is possible for the truck to crush another vehicle when the accident involves other drivers. Rollover prevention systems that can be equipped in 18-wheelers are able to detect whether a truck is likely to roll over because it is being driven erratically or at unsafe speeds. The vehicle then automatically applies the brakes in order to avoid an accident. The application of the brakes is done strategically according to the speed and maneuvers that are causing the unsafe conditions. These systems are also able to prevent accidents related to jackknifing. Protection Against Collisions Drivers are not always able to see other vehicles on the road because of large blind spots that are created around a truck. Many accidents have occurred because a truck driver was unable to see that a vehicle was in the way when the driver chose to switch lanes. Collision warning systems are intended to prevent accidents that occur because a driver cannot see obstacles around their truck. Drivers of 18-wheelers find that these systems are especially useful for avoiding obstacles in blind spots at the rear of the truck and on the sides of the vehicle. Some systems simply alert the driver when an obstacle is present, but there are newer collision warning systems that actually brake automatically when an obstacle is detected. Get Help From a Tractor Trailer Accident Attorney All of the technology that has been introduced to keep trucks safe on the road only works if drivers are proactive about utilizing these safety features. Accidents that involve trucks often result in serious injuries that could negatively impact a victim's quality of life forever. It is important for victims or their family members to contact a truck accident lawyer immediately following an accident to make sure that the rights of the victim are being protected. Compensation for medical bills, loss of income and pain and suffering may be available. Family members left behind after a truck accident kills a loved one may be entitled to compensation for final expenses and loss of income related to the loss of a loved one. Contact a tractor trailer accident attorney for a consultation because the lawyers for the trucking company will do their best to avoid having to pay.
On Sunday, August 4th, 2013 at approximately 3:30 p.m., a Union Pacific train derailed near Lawtell, Louisiana. Only the conductor and the engineer were present, and both of these railroad employees managed to escape without sustaining any injuries. One person was near the scene when the accident occurred, but he refused to be transported to the hospital at that time. After his eyes began to burn later, he found it necessary to take a trip to the hospital after all. Of the 26 cars on this train, one was carrying sodium hydroxide, another was carrying lube oil and a third was hauling vinyl chloride. The company's spokeswoman Raquel Espinoza announced that there was a sodium hydroxide leak, and this is the cause of grave concern because sodium hydroxide can be deadly if people breathe it into their lungs. It can also be very harmful if it comes in contact with their skin. One rail car was leaking lube oil, but officials managed to stop the flow. Another cause for concern is the vinyl chloride because this is a highly flammable substance. However, officials determined that it was not leaking from the car that was carrying the material. The Governor of Louisiana Bobby Jindal immediately traveled to the area to inspect the damage, and he was very concerned about the fact that chemicals were leaking into the neighborhood. Necessary Evacuations Because of the leak, approximately 100 households in close proximity of the accident were evacuated and remained so the next day. As the affected citizens stayed with friends and family or were sheltered at the Delta Grand Theater, workers cleaned the area so that residents would be able to return home again as quickly as possible. The accident took place so close to U.S. Highway 190 that traffic had to take a detour away from the area. The train accident caused the highway to be blocked, and workers needed at least two days to clear the lanes. As of now, the company is unaware of why this accident occurred. They also need to determine how much damage the train received, and Governor Jindal was confident that this could be resolved in about a day. According to Espinoza, the company renewed the railroad ties two years ago, and officials inspected the track just three hours before the Union Pacific train experienced this unfortunate accident. When Railroad Workers Have Been Hurt on the Job Any type of train accident is reason for concern and if you have experienced railroad work injuries, you may be entitled to compensation under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA). You are not under any obligation to accept Workers' Compensation because of this law, and it is much more advantageous to you not to do so. A FELA railroad accident entitles you to sue your employer, and this is something you would not be able to do if you accepted Workers' Compensation. FELA also entitles you to obtain payment for pain and suffering after you have proved that your employer was negligent. In order to receive the monetary benefits that your are due, you must hire a train accident attorney to protect your rights. You will need money to help pay your medical bills, and you also deserve a sum of money for pain and suffering, but you are going to need to demonstrate in court that your employer was partially or in whole part responsible for the injuries you received. A train accident attorney is the person you need in this case because they know what is required to demonstrate to the court that your employers were derelict in their duties to maintain a safe workplace. After they have done this, you will be eligible to receive compensation that would be much greater than what you would receive from Workers' Compensation.
Long-haul truck drivers are hard-working professionals who do a lot to drive the modern economy. Reliable land freight delivery is vital for the health of the retail sector and many other industries. In light of these facts, society has a clear interest in supporting the health and well-being of long-haul truckers. In July 2013, the U.S Government introduced new rules to ensure safe working conditions for the trucking industry. New Federal regulations target driver fatigue, a leading cause of 18 wheeler accidents. Without proper rest and recuperation, drivers experience reduced response time and impaired judgement. According to the new federal regulations, each long-haul driver must take a minimum of one half-hour break in their first eight driving hours. Additionally, the maximum work week for truckers is now reduced from eighty-two to seventy hours. Finally, drivers must have thirty-four hours off in between each seventy-hour work week. Truckers can rest assured that these new rules were not drafted arbitrarily or without thoughtful consideration. The Obama administration has designed these new rules in consultation with researchers and experts in the field of occupational safety. These new rules should reduce truck-related accidents and highway fatalities. As a part of the new safety regime, each freight carrier will carry a public safety rating for the benefit of shippers. By increasing transparency and accountability in the trucking industry, these safety ratings should encourage trucking companies to prioritize safety in all of their actions. Though controversial in some quarters, these new safety rules should provide tremendous benefits for truckers and the general public. Any time an industry adopts new safety measures; there is an uncomfortable adjustment period. While the new rules may initially lead to small profit losses for trucking companies, greater safety leads to more profitability in the long run. Furthermore, most thoughtful members of the public are willing to pay slightly higher shipping costs in return for safer highways. The trucking industry has already taken strong measures to reduce crashes. Over the course of the last decade, the number of fatalities involving large truck crashes has fallen by nearly thirty percent. Despite these gains, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is clearly determined to force more dramatic improvements. According to the FMCSA's research data, the new rules should prevent as many as 1,400 crashes per year. Although federal safety officials are most concerned with saving lives, they argue that the new trucking rules will save society enormous sums of money. According to the government, accidents involving large trucks and buses cost the nation over $20 billion per year. This figure adds infrastructure repair costs, lost wages and medical expenses, among other factors. While the figure is contested by the trucking industry, there can be no doubt that trucking accidents cost society in a major way. It should come as little surprise that the trucking industry is engaged in a vigorous campaign against the new government rules, both in civil court and in the court of public opinion. Thanks to the new rules, the average freight carrier will have to reduce capacity by approximately three percent. Trucking companies and truckers will need to make critical adjustments to meet the new legal realities in the industry. In particular, the new changes will greatly affect carriers of refrigerated food and other time-sensitive loads. Undoubtedly, most trucking companies will make all adjustments needed to meet their new legal obligations. As always, some unscrupulous freight company managers will push their employees to ignore federal safety mandates. As companies cut corners and push their drivers, society will see more needless deaths and injuries. With the help of an auto accident lawyer, it is possible to hold trucking companies accountable for their improper practices. Survivors of trucking accidents and their families should consult with qualified attorneys to review their legal options. By securing a reputable personal injury attorney, one can push back against the unscrupulous freight companies that enable needless injury and suffering.
The protocol for maintaining and inspecting the equipment used by seamen must be followed to the letter because if it is not, disastrous consequences can happen. A Galveston seaman who was recently injured while performing his job duties can attest to this. On June 12, David Hall was working on the pier with an oxyacetylene torch when the oxygen hose malfunctioned and was blown off of its handle. The hose hit Mr. Hall's left testicle and caused serious injuries. Aside from the severe injuries he sustained in his groin area, Mr. Hall's back and other areas of his body were also injured. According to Hall's attorney, it is possible that he may lose the testicle. His attorney also stated that his client suffers from pain and mental anguish and may remain in this state for rest of his life. Mr. Hall hired offshore injury lawyer Tony Buzbee to represent his interests in a lawsuit against his employer. The $5.5 million lawsuit alleges that executives at G&H Towing were negligent in their duties to maintain a safe workplace for their workers and did not ensure that the equipment was safe to operate. For this reason, the seaman is entitled to payment of lost wages as well as the payment of his medical expenses. The Jones Act Mr. Hall was able to hire his Jones Act lawyer and sue his employer because the Jones Act was adopted as maritime law in 1920. According to the law, injured seamen who can demonstrate that the negligent actions of the vessels' owners, other employees or the captain caused their injuries may sue their employers in federal or state court and be compensated by them financially. When It Is Time to Hire Maritime Law Firms You may have been injured in an accident that was caused by the negligence of someone else. In this case, you will need to hire one of the maritime law firms in your area who can help you prove that someone took an action that caused the equipment to fail or neglected to perform a necessary action that would have prevented the accident. If you prevail in court, you may be entitled to several kinds of damages. Your injuries may have caused you to endure severe pain or been permanently disfigured. You may have been unable to work because you have been recovering from your injuries. If your injuries made it impossible for you to return to your job, you may have been forced into a job that pays less. You may need ongoing care for several years. If any of the above applies to you, you may be entitled to receive monetary compensation through the Jones Act. Your Employers' Obligations As a seaman, you are entitled to a safe workplace with equipment that is safe for you to operate, and your employers are legally obligated to provide this for you. They are also required to properly train you in the use of this equipment. Employers who fail to perform any of these three actions have violated the Jones Act, and you must hire an offshore injury lawyer to represent you in court. It may have been the case that you were injured because you were ordered to perform a task alone that required at least two seamen. If your employer failed to ensure that the workplace was safe, it is a violation of the Jones Act. When Your Employer Fails You You could have medical expenses to pay for several years because you were injured on your job as a seaman. Make your employers take responsibility for their negligent actions by hiring Jones Act attorneys today.
Last week, Louisiana experienced an accident on an offshore natural gas rig. Apparently, the blowout preventer malfunctioned and did not prevent gas from escaping from the well, and it is the reason that regulators are now beginning to pay more attention to the drilling that occurs in shallow water. On July 23, the Hercules Offshore rig that is operated by Walter Gas & Oil began to leak gas. Subsequently, the gas caught fire and damaged the Hercules 265. Fortunately, everyone was evacuated before the fire started, and none of the 44 employees were injured. Authorities who performed a preliminary investigation of the leak discovered that it had stopped the next day because sand and sediment began to clog the well. Further investigations will be undertaken by the Coast Guard and the Federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. In cases such as these, the blowout preventer would be expected to shut off the flow of gas after workers have lost control. As this did not happen, the investigating bodies are expected to find out why. In 2010, a similar chemical plant accident occurred at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. At that time, the blowout preventer failed to keep oil from spewing from the BP PLC's Macondo well which caused catastrophic damage to the Gulf Coast. Steps to Be Taken In the Future The Federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement's director James Watson will begin by meeting with executives from shallow-water drilling organizations. The main topics of discussion will be reducing the risk of chemical accidents and better safety measures. According to Watson, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) recognized the need to determine which changes needed to be made to blowout preventer requirements before the latest accident. Even members of the House of Representatives have begun to ask questions of Watson. Specifically, they wanted to know when he plans to issue the new requirements and whether or not drillers would be required to discard their current blowout preventers. Although the American Petroleum Institute has taken steps independently to improve the way the industry operates, some members of the House are concerned about the fact that rig operators do not have clear rules to follow that are related to safety equipment. In addition, some people would like to see the industry increase its leadership in creating an independent safety institute. One of these people is Frances Beinecke of the National Resources Defense Council who also believes that the federal government has a role to play. She would like to see the government create an offshore safety authority that will supervise oil and gas procedures. At least one member of the Senate Edward Markey suggested that the fines drillers receive for gas leaks need to be higher. He is also questioning why the blowout preventer in the latest accident malfunctioned. You May Need to Hire an Industrial Accident Lawyer With the frequency that chemical plant accidents have been occurring recently, it is clear that the oil and gas industry does not have this issue under control. Therefore, we can expect more accidents at chemical plants in the future. If there is a silver lining in this situation, it may be the fact that you have the right to hire an industrial accident attorney to protect your rights if you are injured in a similar accident. You may have lost a loved one in an industrial accident. As the survivor, you are entitled to hire an industrial accident lawyer to file a wrongful death in industrial accident claim. Industrial accident attorneys have extensive experience in this area of law, and will fight for the compensation you deserve.
In the late evening hours of July 29, 2013, massive explosions at the Blue Rhino propane plant rocked central Florida, shaking nearby homes and causing serious injuries to workers at the facility. The investigation into this accident is still ongoing; however, authorities have narrowed down the probable cause to human error, equipment failure or failure to maintain safety practices within the propane plant. The Blue Rhino plant had been fined by OSHA less than two years ago for equipment issues, leading some to speculate that similar failures may be responsible for the recent explosions at the plant. Unfortunately, the industrial plant explosion at Blue Rhino is far from an isolated incident; industrial explosions and fires are all too common across the U.S. and claim more than 100 lives every year. This year alone has seen more than its share of catastrophe in the industrial environment. Williams Olefins Chemical Plant, Ascension Parish, Louisiana On June 13, 2013, a chemical plant explosion killed one and injured 73 people at the Williams Olefins Chemical Plant in rural Louisiana. Residents of the area were advised to remain within their homes to avoid the risk of toxic smoke. Authorities indicated that 10 plant employees remained on site inside a safe room while the flames were brought under control; 300 other workers at the plant were evacuated to a safe distance in the aftermath of the chemical plant accident. Donaldsonville Nitrogen Complex, Ascension Parish, Louisiana One day later on June 14, 2013, one person was killed and seven others were injured in an explosion that occurred during a routine nitrogen off-loading procedure involving a pumping truck and an on-site container. The chemical plant explosion took place in a portion of the Donaldsonville Nitrogen Complex that was closed for routine maintenance, a fact that is credited with saving lives and preventing additional injuries. The cause of this chemical plant accident has not yet been determined by local authorities. West Fertilizer Company, West, Texas Anhydrous ammonia was the catalyst for an industrial plant explosion at the West Fertilizer Company on April 17, 2013. The accident killed 15 people and injured over 160; two of those killed were emergency responders who were attempting to combat the fire. More than 150 buildings incurred damage or were destroyed by the initial explosion or the fire that followed it. Ironically, despite the presence of approximately 27 tons of anhydrous ammonia on the site, the West Fertilizer Company previously reported to the EPA that there was no risk of fire or explosion at the plant. A Pattern of Safety Failures While most of the 2013 explosions and incidents have not yet been fully investigated, past experience indicates that at least some of these catastrophic explosions can be attributed to the failure of the company to take appropriate safety measures in the workplace environment. Concerns regarding costs and general neglect are often factors in corporate failures to maintain safe working conditions; the catastrophic results, however, can be far more costly and time consuming to repair. Protecting the Rights of Victims Employees and others who have been injured in industrial plant explosions can seek compensation for their injuries by enlisting the services of a qualified industrial accident attorney. These legal professionals specialize in obtaining the maximum compensation for each victim's claim. Families who have lost loved ones in an industrial or chemical plant explosion can also pursue claims against the corporations and companies responsible for their losses. By working with an experienced industrial accident lawyer, victims of industrial explosions and fires can receive compensation for pain and suffering, medical costs and ongoing health care requirements. Victims of industrial explosions deserve fair compensation for injuries sustained due to the failure of plant owners and corporations to maintain a safe working environment. By seeking counsel from an industrial accident attorney, these individuals and families can pursue their claims in court and can hold these corporate culprits responsible for their negligent actions.