Feb 16, 2015

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SXSW: An Experience to Remember

There are some moments in your life that you will want to remember for years to come. They will be days that you will want to document, to tell your children and your children’s children, and so on. These are days filled only with great joy and exuberance – one of those rare days when you hardly have to lift a finger and everything is only laughter, a childlike excitement, and a wonder beyond all measure.

An example of such an event would be South by Southwest (SXSW). What is SXSW, you might be asking? It’s only one of the most sought after and celebrated events in the world – attracting a massive influx of guests from a massive, global scale. It is an event that centers on the culture of film, music, and interactive media – allowing for people all over the world to get together, learn from each other, as well as providing an opportunity for artists and enthusiasts alike to celebrate one another’s art and accomplishments.

It is attendedAustin limousine rentals for South by Southwest by some of the best and brightest in the industry as the more seasoned professionals can offer insight and career advice to budding artists and some of the newer voices can have the opportunity to speak up, be seen, and heard! This is the place to be – and many attendees spare no expense when they arrive in Austin.

There is far too much to see, there is so much to do, and so many people to meet that transportation around Austin at around this time can be near impossible. Why ferry about when you can book car service during SXSW instead? This is one the few luxuries that an opportunity like this encourages as it is meant to be one of those rare days when you can just have fun and allow for your passion to run vibrant and free.

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Jan 20, 2015

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Cruise Ship Accident

For the past 10 years, the cruising industry has continued to be a very lucrative business as passengers only tend to increase every year, already having at least 11 million passengers from the US alone. Two major reasons that can probably explain the continuous growth in the cruising business are the exotic and beautiful cruise destinations and the major improvements on cruise ships, which virtually turn these into mini cities while simultaneously ensuring comfort.

Many of today’s cruise ships provide great fun and enjoyment that being on any one of these is itself an experience to cherish already. To make even time at sea perfectly great, many cruise ships are designed with a duty free shop, bars, pubs and nightclubs, buffet restaurants, an aqua healthspa fitness center, hair and beauty salon, indoor and/or outdoor swimming pool with water slides, cinemas, casino, gym, basketball courts, pool tables, ping pong tables, and other sports facilities, a library, a mini golf course, wall climbing and zip line facilities, and so forth. There is no doubt about the fun and adventure that a cruise holiday can deliver, provided that no tragedy occurs which can turn a jaunty experience into a nightmarish one.

Though cruise ship tragedies rarely occur, the effects can be devastating if one ever happens. While the usually identified causes of sea accidents are hurricanes, sea storms, rogue waves, collision with another sea vessel, running aground, striking an iceberg, attack by sea pirates, virus outbreak and fire, the most common among these would seem to be cruise ship fire.

A fire onboard can leave a cruise liner floating in the sea without power, air-conditioning and/ or a working septic system. Most fires start in the engine room, due to a leak in the fuel oil return line; however, there have also been instances when fire started in the generator room, boiler room or cabin.

In the event of an accident, filing a civil lawsuit for the compensation that a victim is legally allowed to receive is not simple, though. This is because besides the statute of limitation, or the duration of time within which the lawsuit will need to be filed, there is also the concern of jurisdiction, which means where a lawsuit may be filed.

Cruise ships indicate in their ticket contract the forum selection clause, which identifies the only place where a lawsuit may be filed; many cruise liners name the US District Court (in the Southern District of Florida) for this concern. If the accident occurred on land, during a shore excursion, however, then the details leading to the filing of a lawsuit can change altogether. Thus, due to the complexity and unique conditions of the maritime law, being represented by a personal injury lawyer becomes an absolute necessity, especially if the injured victim is not a resident of the state where the lawsuit has to be filed.

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Dec 4, 2014

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Defective Truck Accidents

Two men were seriously injured, one fatally, when the brakes of a semi failed and crashed into the victims’ pickup while traveling on a highway in Wsiconsin.

The truck accident happened at the intersection of Highway E and Highway 48 in McKinley Township. The driver of the semi claimed that he had applied his brakes at the intersection but it failed to catch, sending the heavy truck barreling across the intersection and hitting a Chevrolet pickup which was on Highway 48. The impact forced the semi and the pickup truck onto the southwest ditch, with the men in the pickup pinned to the vehicle. They had to be extracted and one man died of his injuries in Cumberland Memorial Hospital.

Such truck accidents are unfortunately common in US highways. According to the website of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ®, an encounter with big rig does not usually go well for the occupants of the smaller vehicle, which is why trucking companies are subject to stringent safety rules and regulations. In many cases, truck accidents are due to the negligence of the driver, the truck company, the truck manufacturer, the parts manufacture, or all of them in varying degrees.

In this particular instance, the driver may not be held liable if it turns out that the brakes had failed through poor maintenance or defect, and that the driver was not responsible for the maintenance or servicing of the truck in any way. In all likelihood, the injured parties may file a lawsuit against one or more of the following parties: the brake part manufacturer, the person charged for maintenance of the vehicle, the truck company, and the truck manufacturing company.

If you sustained significant physical injury and investigations show that negligence was involved, you may have earned the right to file a lawsuit against the responsible parties. Contact a personal injury lawyer in your area as soon as possible.

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Oct 26, 2014

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The Problem of K-2

What’s worse than marijuana? “Fake” marijuana!

There had been a recent outbreak of emergency room visits by people who have overdosed on synthetic cannabinoids, popularly called synthetic marijuana and known on the streets as K-2 or Spice. About a hundred people in Austin and Dallas were admitted over 5 days for this reason earlier in the year, and many of them were teens. These “drugs” are usually dried leaves sprayed with a cocktail of chemicals that simulate the effects of marijuana. Unlike the natural cannabis, however, overdosing is easily accomplished with K-2.

Texas first encountered the drug in 2011 when three healthy 16-year-old males were admitted for chest pains that later turned out to be heart attacks. They had been smoking K-2 prior to the event. Texas, following the example of the Drug Enforcement Agency, promptly passed statutes to outlaw the identified chemical substances that created the effects of marijuana placing the following as Schedule I controlled substances: cannabicyclohexanol, JWH -018, CP-47,497, JWH-200, and JWH-073. Schedule I drugs are among the most restrictive of controlled substances. Anyone found in possession of these substances are subject to criminal prosecution.

However, manufacturers of synthetic marijuana simple repackage or reformulate their product so that it skirts the legal statutes. It is often labeled “not intended for human consumption” and sold as herbal incense or potpourri in gas stations, smoke shops, convenience stores and online. Notwithstanding that marijuana is not considered as serious as K-2, it is easier to get arrested for possession of marijuana than possession of the above Schedule I substances. Any Austin criminal defense attorney knows how rare a charge is brought for possession of synthetic marijuana.

If you are charged with possession of marijuana, you cannot argue that at least it’s not K-2. You will still face heavy penalties, so ask for a competent marijuana possession lawyer as soon as you are formally charged.

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Sep 25, 2014

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The Jones Act and Shipyard Accidents

A recent ruling by district court has effectively expanded a federal maritime law to include specific types of shipyard workers within its scope by redefining a critical term.

The Fifth Circuit handed down a ruling last March 10, 2014 in the case Naquin v. Elevating Boats, LLC which upheld the determination of the jury in a lower court that the plaintiff Naquin, a vessel repair supervisor, was as a seaman under the Jones Act, therefore qualifying him with the help of a maritime lawyer to recover for damages for his injuries incurred while operating a crane that was on land. The Fifth Circuit ruling will have a massive impact on insurance companies, shipyard operators, and shore-based workers.

Prior to the ruling shore-based shipyard workers were only entitled to injury compensation under the Longshore Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA) to a degree equivalent to regular workers’ compensation in other industries. The Jones Act (Merchant Marine Act of 1920) is a federal law which, among other maritime related issues, entitles seamen to recover damages for injuries incurred through the negligence of ship owners. Shore-based shipyard workers were not considered seamen because they typically spent most of their time shielded from the dangers generally associated with maritime travel i.e “perils of the sea” simply by not being aboard a vessel that actually puts out to sea.

However, the Fifth Circuit applied the two-pronged Chandris test (Chandris, Inc., v. Latsis, 1995) to determine if Naquin satisfied the definition of a seaman under the Jones Act. As the plaintiff spent at least 70% of his time working on board one of the vessels in the defendant’s fleet to maintain and repair it, the court determined that he did satisfy the requirements of contributing to the function of the vessel and having a substantial relationship to a vessel in navigable waters in terms of duration and nature. The court also cited a previous case in which the plaintiff, a crane operator on a river barge, was held to be a seaman under the Jones Act.

If you were seriously injured while on the job as a shore-based maritime worker as a result of negligence, you too may qualify to recover damages under the Jones Act. Consult with an experienced maritime lawyer to find out if you satisfy the requirements.

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Aug 11, 2014

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Side Effects of Paxil

Just as with other antidepressants, Paxil (generic name Paroxetine) have side effects that can either be mild or detrimental to the patient’s health. Paxil is used to help alleviate the symptoms of depression and other mental and mood disorders. It helps improve the mood, appetite, energy levels, sleep, and general outlook of patients who suffer from depression or other mood disorders.

Paxil is a member of SSRIs which helps balance the chemicals in the brain, making the patients more capable of handling their moods. Although SSRIs have generally same side effects, the different chemical composition can make Paxil user experience different sets of side effects than other SSRIs. Most of these side effects tend to go away after using the treatment for a few weeks, but it they persist or worsen through time it would be advised to talk with your doctor regarding a lower dosage or possible change of prescription.

Common side effects of Paxil are nausea, dry mouth, vomiting, headaches, dizziness, and agitation/restlessness or nervousness. Patients may also experience loss of libido and decreased sexual performance, insomnia and drowsiness. Paxil has been known to cause significant weight gain to patients. These can go away after a few weeks.

There are severe side effects from taking antidepressants such as Paxil, these include: having unusual pain or tenderness of the bones, easy bruising or coughing up blood/unusual bleeding, muscles becoming very stiff, confusion, high fever, hallucinations, slurred speech, overactive reflexes, or severe skin reactions. These must be immediately reported to your doctor to have them properly adjust your medication or stop treatment.

It is normal for people taking Paxil to have thoughts of suicide after taking Paxil for a few weeks, which is why it is necessary for doctors to monitor their patients. If the feelings or mood/behavior changes, aggression, or panic attacks do seem to worsen or new symptoms arise, your doctor should be informed in order to have them properly treated. All medications have their side effects, which is why despite the risks doctors still prescribe these medications because they believe the benefits outweighs the risks. However, if the side effects are taking over your health, you should seek a healthier option by asking your doctors for an alternative treatment.

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Jul 31, 2014

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What to do about Unpaid Overtime

Just as with any state in the US, there are employments laws in New York that help protect the rights and benefits of workers and employees. For those who are qualified (namely the non-exempt employees or workers), overtime pay are given for hours worked over the 40-per-workweek rate. Overtime rate should be no less than 1 and a half times the regular pay rate.

The overtime rate is usually based on the hours worked in a given workweek. Among the payments that could be considered for overtime pay are: payments acquired in behalf of the employer, discretionary bonuses, work done during Saturdays, Sunday, and holidays, payments for days when no work is done (such as vacations, illness, or vacations). Contrary to how an employee’s weekly salary is paid (through piece-rate, commission, salary, or other means), overtime pay is generally computed based on the average hourly pay rate from the derived from the employee or worker’s earnings, normally 1.5 times the usual hourly rate.

According to the website of Cary Kane LLP, workers or employees who are not given their due overtime pay have the right to file an overtime dispute claim, as long as the overtime dispute falls in line with the rules and regulations of Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The state of New York follows the exclusions given by the federal law as listed in the FLSA. There are times, however, where New York employers list their employees or workers as “excluded”, therefore not giving them overtime pay. When you think you are not given your overtime pay due, you can talk to a New York overtime dispute lawyer to determine if you qualify for the overtime pay or not.

When you suspect that you have a valid overtime pay dispute, you should consider talking with a qualified New York overtime dispute lawyer. They know that the statute of limitations for such claims is within two years from the beginning of the violation, and that the compensation may be greater than what you should have been initially paid. Furthermore, the state of New York follows their own set of rules and statutes for minimum wage and overtime pay. Having your own overtime dispute lawyer can help cover important facets of your claim that would ensure you will have a winning case.

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Jul 30, 2014

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DWI Rules in Texas

Drunk driving accidents are generally the subject of many civil lawsuits. In the state of Texas, driving while intoxicated (DWI) is considered a Class B Misdemeanor – considered to be the second most severe category for misdemeanor offences, in line with theft and drug possession. It is illegal to drive any vehicle while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs or medication, therefore it helps to understand the laws and penalties regarding DWI in the state of Texas. This information would be vital in defending yourself from a DWI charge.

The state of Texas uses Blood Alcohol Concentration or BAC to decide the level of intoxication during the operation of the vehicle. For motorists at and over the age or 21, the BAC limits are at .08 percent, commercial drivers have BAC limits of .04 percent, and any detectable amount of alcohol in drivers younger than 21 years old is chargeable with DWI. The state of Texas follows zero-tolerance law for minors and alcohol.

Penalties for DWI can depend on certain factors such as age, type of driver’s license, and other possible factors that are related to the charges. The most common penalties for DWI in Texas are fines and surcharges, imprisonment, revocation or suspension of driver’s license, community service, higher car insurance, and DWI education and/or seminar programs. When you have been caught and convicted of DWI in Texas, you have no option for a “plea bargain.” A DWI conviction can put your finances, freedom, and even your future at risk.

The effects of alcohol is different from person to person; the number of drinks, type of beverage, age, sex, boy type, and other considerations can come into play that would affect the driver. Being charged with DWI does not necessarily mean a conviction, therefore finding a good Austin DWI lawyer can help in facing the challenge of the charges held against you, and may even help in reducing your penalties or cancel the charges altogether.

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Jul 27, 2014

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Stay Away from these Medical Treatments

In the recent years, the US healthcare system has been in the spotlight due mainly to reforms aimed generally on the accessibility, cost, and quality of health care products and services. Because of the many updates and changes in the healthcare system, many consumers and patients have become more careful and inquiring about the products and services that they are getting. This inquisitive nature has lead to the rise of medical malpractice lawsuits from patients and consumers of medical products and services that have caused them injuries or other damages.

Among the recent lawsuits emerging are Low T lawsuits. The FDA issued an alert on January 31, 2014 due to the increased risks of heart attack, stroke, and death to those using testosterone supplements. There have been increased promotions on the use of topical testosterone in recent years as treatment for men suffering from “Low-T”, a condition also known as hypogonadism. Research has shown that using testosterone supplements is related to increased risks of stroke, heart attack, and even death, with patients having 30 percent chances of suffering from the aforementioned ailments than those who doesn’t take testosterone hormones.

Aside from Low T lawsuits, there have been a lot of people who are hiring Risperdal lawyers. This is after Risperdal caused severe side effects in men who used the anti-psychotic drug, causing gynecomastia, a condition in which a man’s breast tissue becomes enlarged. This condition, and many others, have led those who’ve used Risperdal to file lawsuits for damages that the drug caused, and victims are seeking compensation from the manufacturer of the drug, Johnson & Johnson.

Dangerous or defective drugs are not the only reason for the increase in medical malpractice lawsuits. Patients who have been operated on using the DaVinci surgical robot reported the defective design of the robot. According to DaVinci robot lawyers, many patients suffered from complications due to the tears and burns on the intestines and surrounding tissues, excessive bleeding, punctures to the blood vessels or ureters, and many other problems.

Consumers should be more aware of the risks and dangers that the medications, treatments, or products may cause them. It helps to talk with a medical professional first before taking the plunge, since, as they say, “health is wealth.” When consumers or patients suffer after a medical malpractice, the consequences can be dire. Filing an injury claim can be the only way to ensure that the damages are compensated and the medical professional or product fined.

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Jul 25, 2014

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Dealing with Insurance Adjustors

After being involved in an accident, you may get home to a ringing phone with the other person asking about the details of the incident. The caller may be either an insurance adjuster or other representative of the other people involved in the accident. Knowing how to talk to and deal with these people is important in order to protect your personal injury or insurance claim.

The first thing to do when talking with an insurance adjuster is to stay calm and talk politely to them. According to the website of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ®, venting your anger and frustrations on the insurance adjuster can only compromise your insurance or injury claim, since their goodwill play a part in handling the claim or challenging or accepting the evidence in your claims. When talking with the insurance adjuster, you should get their information. This includes their name, address, the insurance company they work for, the telephone numbers, as well as the person or business that the caller represents.

While you are asking for more information about them, be wary about giving out information about you. Aside from your name, address, and phone number, only provide limited information such as the nature of your work and place of employment. Likewise, avoid providing details about the accident, aside from the important elements such as where the accident occurred, time and date, what type of accident it was, the vehicles involved and the witnesses. Any further information being asked should be answered by saying that the investigation is still ongoing and that discussions will be done when the time is fitting for discussions.

Additionally, don’t give out detailed information regarding injuries. Injuries can worsen or some may even remain undiscovered, therefore it is better not to discuss the matter. Talking with an insurance adjuster may make you feel tempted to settle, but according to a Massachusetts personal injury lawyer website, it is wiser to wait before settling a claim. You should talk with a lawyer about the accident first because a lawyer can help in determining how much your personal injury or insurance claim could be worth.

Lastly, make sure that the conversations are limited, and if the insurance adjuster suggests having a recorded statement, politely refuse. You are in no way legally obligated to provide a recorded statement, and it is illegal for an insurance adjuster to record your conversation. You can provide a written statement in the future if necessary.

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