Saturday, 31 December 2011

Will a Foreclosure Prevent Me from Getting an Inheritance Cash Advance?

One of the most frequent questions that persons have for an inheritance cash company is whether their financial problems or current financial situation will have any impact on their eligibility for a cash advance.

Generally, bad credit or the state of your bank balance will have no impact on whether you're eligible for a probate cash loan. However, while determining your eligibility for an inheritance cash flow, the company will prepare a credit report that will determine whether you have any liabilities like pending child support, or any judgments against you that could affect your eligibility.

Home foreclosures do not automatically disqualify you from eligibility for an inheritance cash advance. In fact, in most cases you may not be prevented from obtaining an inheritance cash advance based merely on a home foreclosure or discharges in bankruptcy. A foreclosure does not interfere with an inheritance cash advance.
However, when you apply for an inheritance cash advance, it is important that you make your financial situation as clear to the funding company as possible. Tell the company about any creditors that you're aware of, any liabilities that may affect your inheritance, or any court judgments against you, in order to ensure a smooth processing of your advance application.

Since your inheritance cash advance is really an advance on your inheritance and not a loan, your income status is not of any particular interest since there are no monthly installments to pay. Any claims on your inheritance like medical claims, can impact the ability of your estate to pay back the funding company in full. In such cases, the probate cash company will assume the risk, except in those cases where the person was aware of these claims, but failed to inform the company about it.

Bankruptcy Concerns at Sears

Retailer Sears’ financial woes are not exactly news to California bankruptcy attorneys. After all, the company has been struggling to regain its previous market share for a while now. However, this holiday season seems to have sent the company to the edge of bankruptcy.

Sears and Kmart reported dismal sales this holiday season, typically the busiest and most profitable time of the year for retailers. That shouldn't be a surprise to anybody, least of all shoppers who have been avoiding both Sears and Kmart for a while now. Both store chains have been in a state of decline for a number of years, and this holiday season, the evidence was clear to see.

Sales at Kmart fell by about 4.4% during the 8 weeks ending on December 25. At Sears, there was a 6% percent decline in sales. According to analysts, Sears has been losing more money during the first three quarters of the year than it is able to make back during the typically busy last quarter. There's no doubt that Sears Holding is in deep financial trouble.

In California, at least 3 Sears stores in California have shut down since the holidays. Those are among 79 stores across the country that have closed down, or will soon shut down after reporting dismal holiday sales this year. In all, there are about 41 Sears and 38 Kmart stores that are scheduled for closure. However, none of the Kmart stores in California are scheduled for closure yet.

Sears has been looking at years of continuous sales declines. The company seems to be caught in a no-win situation. It cannot revamp its stores to make them more like Target with its ‘cheap chic’ culture because of little cash flow. It also cannot drop prices to Wal-Mart levels, because the company cannot operate on lower margins than it is now.

Arizona Laws Regulate ‘Practice Drift ‘By Doctors

In Arizona, revised guidelines set strict regulations for doctors who want to practice outside of their specialties. However, several states do not have any regulations or only have limited regulations on such ‘practice drift,’ exposing patients to risk.

In Arizona, those guidelines only came in 2008, in response to an incident in which three patients of a Phoenix emergency room doctor died after having cosmetic surgery in his clinic. The guidelines were passed soon after, and they regulated the kind of training that doctors who want to practice outside of their specialties, need to have. The guidelines established that doctors need to be competent in the procedures that they perform if these are outside their specialties.

It was very important that those guidelines be established because of an increasing number of doctors who practice in specialties outside their own. For instance, cosmetic surgery is a lucrative field. Regulators around the country have been finding a number of doctors branching out into cosmetic surgery without being trained to do so. Doctors are being tempted to branch out into other potentially more lucrative fields without the requisite training and in the absence of any licensing requirements. These procedures are performed in the doctor’s own office.

Both hospitals and insurance companies frown upon such ‘practice drift,’ but doctors manage to get away with this because office surgery facilities are unregulated in half the country. Currently, only 21 states like Arizona require some kind of licensing and accreditation for doctors who want to practice outside their field. You don’t have to be an Arizona medical malpractice lawyer to know that a patient is at a serious risk of medical injury when a doctor trained in obstetrics performs a cosmetic surgery procedure when he does not have the training or qualifications to do so.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Mortgage Interest Tax Deductions Could be Eliminated in 2012

In 2012, there will be quite a few tax deductions that California tax lawyers want people to know may not be the same as this year. For instance, the tax deduction for mortgage interest was earlier on its way out for people who had high incomes. However, last year, that restriction for people with high incomes was eliminated, as lawmakers decided to focus on stabilizing the economy, and providing mortgage interest tax breaks for people with high incomes too.

In 2012, it could be a different matter altogether. Already, there is talk of bringing those restrictions on mortgage interest credits for high income groups back. California tax lawyers expect that higher income groups who take mortgages next year may find lower tax advantages than they do now. In fact, we wouldn't be too surprised if these tax breaks for certain groups of people were eliminated altogether.

For some people, the tax advantages of taking a mortgage in 2012 will be very limited.
There are other tax breaks that are on the endangered list in 2012. One of those rules is one that allows people to deduct sales taxes instead of state and local taxes. That rule is due to expire at the end of 2011. The rule is expected to be reinstated, but at this point in time, it's hard to tell whether Congress will decide to reinstate it.

Also, the home energy tax credit scheme comes to an end on December 31, 2011. If you have purchased energy-efficient fixtures for your home, including doors, Windows, heating and air-conditioning systems or skylights, you may be eligible to get 10% of the cost as an energy tax credit. The credit is for a maximum of $500.

FDA Says Lap-Band Marketing Company Fails to Warn of Risks to Patients

The Food and Drug Administration is accusing a marketing company of failing to warn patients about the risks of lap band surgery, in its marketing and promotion campaign. The 1-800-GET- THIN marketing company has promoted its weight loss surgery on billboards and via radio and television ads. However, the Food and Drug Administration says that the company doesn't adequately warn about the risks of the surgery. The campaign does mention some of the risks of the surgery, but the typeface is so small that it's barely visible, and patients are likely to miss it.

California medical malpractice lawyers have been especially concerned about the growing number of deaths associated with lap band surgery. Since 2009 alone, 5 patients in southern California have died after they underwent lap-band weight loss surgery in centers that were associated with the campaign.

The 1-800-GET- THIN marketing company does not actually provide the surgery, but refers potential clients to surgery centers, surgeons and facilities that perform the services. The marketing campaign includes dozens of billboards dedicated to promoting lap band surgery.

Now, the Food and Drug Administration has sent a warning letter to 1-800-GET-THIN and 8 of its affiliated surgery centers. The warning letter says that the advertisers must do a better job of making clear the risks of the surgery. The Food and Drug Administration says that the marketing company is required to make available all information that patients need, including data about safety risks.

This is the first time that the federal agency has cracked down on advertisements by the company. The action by the federal agency comes after criticism by relatives of patients who died after they underwent lap band surgery, and even Lap-Band manufacturer Allergan.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Motorcycle Accident Fatality Numbers up Again

In 2009, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had announced news that was very welcome to Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyers. The agency reported a decline in the number of motorcycle accident fatalities nationwide, the first such decline recorded in more than 11 years. However, in 2010, it was an entirely different picture. According to new data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for 2010, there was an increase in the number of motorcyclists killed in accidents, from 4,469 in 2009 to 4,580 in 2010.

That made for an increase of .7%, and although that may seem like a minor increase, it is still important because it signifies that any progress that has been made in reducing these fatality numbers over the past years, may have already been lost.

The federal agency has not yet gotten around to giving an explanation for the increase in motorcycle accidents-related fatalities. However, Los Angeles personal injury lawyers have a few theories. For one thing, in 2010, there was an increase in the number of vehicle miles traveled, with Americans traveling more miles last year. That has meant heavier vehicular traffic, and as a result, an environment that isn't as safe for motorcyclists. The previous year’s lower motorcycle accident death rate had been linked by some experts to a drop in vehicle miles traveled across the country, because of the recession. That doesn't seem to be true any more, and it could be that there are more numbers of automobiles on the streets, and these are colliding with motorcycles.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not released data about the causes of motorcycle accidents last year, including rates of helmet use among motorcyclists and other important data that could provide clues to the reasons for this increase. However, any Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyer would advise that a motorcyclist always wear helmets while riding, and look out for vehicles.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Home Flipping Major Factor in Arizona Foreclosure Crisis

Speculative real estate investors may have had much more to do with the current foreclosure crisis in Arizona and around the country than earlier believed. According to a new federal report, investors who used the easy availability of low down payment, subprime credit to purchase multiple houses, are likely to have inflated home prices, thereby possibly contributing to the current foreclosure crisis.

The research by the Federal Reserve Bank Of New York focuses on what has been thus far a neglected factor in the housing crisis. Federal officials have been trying to contain the foreclosure crisis, and have not studied the reasons for the crisis in great depth. Now, the Federal Reserve Bank Of New York has found that in 2006, more than one out of all home mortgages in the country were owned by people who already owned at least one residential property. In states like Arizona, these real estate investors accounted for close to half of all mortgage-backed property purchases.

In fact, between 2000 and 2006, real estate investors like these formed the fastest-growing segment of homeowners in the country. As they purchased more and more and more properties, these investors likely inflated home prices, making it more expensive for owner-occupants to purchase homes. Arizona foreclosure lawyers found that values of these homes began to drop in 2006, leading to large-scale defaults on mortgages. Arizona was affected severely by the mass defaults, as were California, Florida and Nevada. In these states, delinquent mortgages accounted for more than a third of the delinquent mortgages numbers nationwide.

According to the report by the Federal Reserve Bank Of New York, both lenders and regulators need to limit speculative borrowing to avoid a housing crisis of this kind in the future.

Monday, 12 December 2011

More Details about Sexual Molestation by California Cheerleading Coach Emerge

More information is emerging about the sexual molestation of a 14-year-old boy by a cheerleading coach in San Jose. The coach, Anthony Loza was arrested last week on suspicion of sexual abuse and molestation of a child. Police believe that he had a three-month sexual relationship with the 14-year-old boy, who also happened to be one of his charges. Loza was a coach at Andrew Hill High School and Energy Athletics.

The abuse apparently came to light when the boy's mother found text messages on his cell phone from the cheerleading coach. The text conversations confirmed the mother's worst fears, and she confronted the boy. He admitted that he had kissed his coach, and the mother called the police. After an investigation, both the child as well as the coach admitted to police that they had engaged in sexual relations.

The boy is reported to have been attending either Andrew Hill High School or Energy Athletics. At this point, it does not seem that the coach was involved in abusing any of the other children at these programs, but police are asking any other persons with information about the abuse to contact San Jose police. Loza is currently lodged at the Santa Clara County Jail where he is being held on a $500,000 bail. If bail is posted, he is likely to return to court in January.

Thanks to the media spotlighting of abuse of children by teachers and coaches as well as efforts by Los Angeles sexual abuse lawyers to highlight this serious problem, more parents are now aware now that they can no longer afford to blindly trust teachers, coaches, school employees and other people in positions of authority and trust. The mother in this case was alert enough to go through her child's cell phone and identify the abuse. Parents must be more vigilant and look out for signs of abuse.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Research Offers New Insights into Brain Injury in Newborns

New research by Swedish scientists promises to throw light on the causes of brain damage in newborns, possibly laying the base for the development of techniques to limit brain injury in the future.

Two out of every 1000 babies born will suffer from some extent of brain damage related to birth. This injury can occur either before, during or immediately after birth. In many cases that California brain injury lawyers see, brain injury in a newborn occurs because of oxygen deprivation, either before, during or immediately after birth. This oxygen deprivation, known as hypoxia can result in serious disorders, like cerebral palsy. Children who have suffered brain damage at birth are also at a high risk for epilepsy.

Hypoxia can be the result of complications in maternal blood pressure before birth, delayed cesarean sections, negligence by doctors and health care personnel and other factors.

Now, researchers at the University of Gothenburg's Sahlgrenska Academy have found that certain toll-like receptors in the immune system have a significant role to play in the brain development of infants. Researchers used mice in their studies, and simulated the kind of brain injury seen in newborn babies. They found that the receptors increased the likelihood of brain damage. A number of factors can activate the receptors, like an infection. When these receptors are activated, the brain is more sensitive to the effects of the oxygen deprivation, thereby exacerbating the brain injury.

The link between toll-like receptors and brain health has been noticed in earlier studies too. Previous research has shown that these receptors are also activated in adults who suffer from a brain injury after stroke. The researchers at the University of Gothenburg have now found that the same toll-like receptors are found in an immature bra

Proposed California Bill Would Expand Sexual Abuse Reporting Requirements

Spurred by the failure of the system at Penn State to catch and prevent sexual abuse of minors, lawmakers in California are proposing bills aimed at preventing such a situation in this state. State Sen. Juan Vargas has announced his intention to propose a bill that would require coaches at all public and private colleges in the state to report sexual abuse that comes to their notice.

These pieces of legislation are linked to what has been widely seen as the failure of coaches and officials at Penn State University to properly report sexual abuse by former assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky to the police. At least one assistant coach is believed to have seen a ten-year-old boy being sodomized by Jerry Sandusky in 2002. He did not go to the police, but informed football coach Joe Paterno. The coach went on to inform the university's athletic director and vice president. Needless to say, neither of those two officials did anything further.

Sandusky is charged with sexual abuse of at least 8 boys, but San Diego criminal defense lawyers expect the number of victims to increase as more boys are encouraged to come forward with their stories.

California currently requires a number of officials, including teachers, employees of public schools, doctors, and law enforcement officers to report sexual abuse of children. That list of personnel would also include coaches and public and private colleges under the bill.

Those who fail to report sexual abuse, leading to a situation where the child suffers serious physical harm, or dies, could be sentenced to up to one year in prison. They could also be fined up to $25,000 in penalties. Anyone who fails to report sexual abuse of a child may be fined up to $5,000, and could be sentenced to between six months and one year in jail. Supervisors and administrators who try to prevent someone from reporting these crimes could be fined as much as $10,000, and be sentenced to between six months and one year in jail.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Tax Deductions for Contributions to Charitable Organizations

The season of giving is upon us, and California tax lawyers find that for many Americans, this is the time to contribute to their favorite charities. Fortunately, donations to charity are eligible for tax deductions. However, in order to be eligible for these tax directions, your contribution must meet certain criteria.

You can only claim a charitable tax deduction if the donation has been made to an organization that has been exempted under IRS section 501 (c) (3). These include hospitals, churches, and schools. To ensure that your donation is tax-exempt, ask the charity that you're considering donating to, whether it has received a tax-exempt status.

Donations to political parties are not eligible for tax exemption. Similarly, contributions made to private individuals are not eligible for tax deductions. Any donations made to a for-profit organization also is not eligible for a tax deduction
If you want to qualify for tax deductions for charitable donations, you must itemize each donation on your tax forms. You must also maintain a record of the charitable contribution. Records in the form of a confirmation from the charity, or from a bank receipt must be presented in order to be eligible for a tax deduction on a charitable contribution of $250 or more.

Some volunteers who have given their time, but not money, to charitable activities may also qualify for tax deductions. However, the value of the time is not tax-deductible. Rather, the expenses involved in offering the time could be tax-exempt. For instance, you may not be able to deduct the value of your time volunteering for a charity, but you can claim the expenses used to get to the charity, like your travel costs to and from the charity. If you use private transportation, make sure that you keep a record of your gas bills, and if you use public translation, retain your fare tickets.

Credit Card Delinquency on the Rise

Credit card delinquency rates have been at their lowest levels in years. Any California bankruptcy lawyer will therefore be alarmed to learn of a slight increase in the national credit card delinquency rate in the last quarter.

The rate increased by 0.71% in the third quarter. This was the first increase in the delinquency data recorded since the fourth quarter of 2009. The average median credit card debt per borrower also increased to $4752 this quarter, an increase of $63. However, the credit card delinquency rate continues to remain the second lowest in the last sixteen years.

The credit card delinquency rate involves the ratio of borrowers who are more than 90 days past their credit card payments. Last month, Bank Of America Corp. reported a small increase in late payments in September, the first time that the bank had reported an increase in a year. The highest rate of default in the credit card industry is typically reported by Bank of America.

Other credit card issuers also reported similar increases. American Express Company also reported a slight increase in late payments in September. This increase in delinquency rates is very worrying to California bankruptcy lawyers because these rates are generally seen as an indicator of future default.

According to some analysts, there is a silver lining in this cloud. This increase in the delinquency rate suggests that more high-risk consumers, who had found it hard to obtain credit during the strained economic situation, are now getting access to credit. The bad news however, is that in the current employment and economic situation, these delinquency rates are only likely to increase further. There could ultimately be a higher rate of national as well as regional delinquency.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

IRS Warns of Poor Services due to Budget Cuts

If the proposed budget cuts for the Internal Revenue Service are implemented, California tax relief lawyers could soon find a reduced quality in the agency’s services.

The budget cuts have not yet taken effect, but the Internal Revenue Service is already cutting down on spending. IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman has written a letter to lawmakers warning of degradation in taxpayer services and enforcement activities if Congress goes ahead with a plan to cut about $500 million from the Internal Revenue Service budget for the year 2012.

Among the degraded taxpayer services that the Commissioner is concerned about would be consistently busy signals for taxpayers trying to reach the agency. Taxpayers writing letters to the agency may have to wait for as long as five months to hear back. The Internal Revenue Service also warns that it will likely have to fire between 3,000 and 4,000 employees after the budget cuts are implemented. The agency currently has more than 92,000 employees.

Besides, important activities including collection of unpaid taxes and audits could drop by as much as 8%. The drop in such activities will automatically translate into reduced federal revenues and an increased deficit. In fact, the Commissioner expects the revenue loss to federal coffers to reach $4 billion after budget cuts this year.

For the fiscal year ending September 2011, the Internal Revenue Service received $12.1 billion, and the Obama administration asked for a budget of $13.3 billion for 2012. However, the House Appropriations Committee approved $11.5 billion, while the Senate approved an $11.7 billion budget. The final fiscal spending levels for the year 2012 have not yet been set.

Internet Sexual Abuse

The Internet has literally changed the world in which we live. Its value for research, communication, education, business, and many other applications, is incalculable. People the world over can now connect with each other in real time. However, as with any valuable resource, there is a constant threat of its use as a vehicle for criminal activity. Online scams, identity theft, and various types of fraud are now an everyday occurrence, where perpetrators are able to target millions of Internet users. One of the most heinous of these criminal activities has been the proliferation of Internet sex abuse. Tragically, the victims of these crimes are often children. If your child has been targeted by an online sexual predator, you should contact a sexual abuse attorney as soon as possible. In addition to criminal charges filed by federal or state authorities, an attorney can pursue monetary damages against the perpetrator.

Types of Internet Sexual Abuse

The Internet can be a potentially dangerous place for an unsuspecting child. Sexual predators are frequently online attempting to arrange meetings with minors or to send pornographic images of underaged children. Chat rooms can be used to lure minors into extremely dangerous situations. Internet sexual abuse can include any of the following:

• Solicitation of a minor through chat rooms or e-mails
• Luring a minor using the Internet
• Using the Internet as a means to commit any type of sex crime
• Persuading a minor to engage in prostitution or sexual activity over the Internet
• Child pornography (production, possession, and/or distribution)
• Arranging a meeting with a minor over the Internet with the purpose of engaging in lewd and lascivious behavior
• Sending harmful material to a minor with the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification of the perpetrator or the minor
• Web cam offenses
• Endangering the welfare of a child
• Stalking and related offenses

Damages and Penalties

California as well as federal law includes sections on Internet sex crimes, which outline severe criminal penalties that can include a prison sentence, heavy fines, mandatory registration as a sex offender, and other penalties. California criminal statutes provide the following:


• Penal Code 288.2 prohibits sending harmful material (images, recordings, video, text, etc.) by phone, e-mail, Internet or website. This may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, with a state prison or county jail sentence. Second offenses are automatically charged as a felony.

• Penal Code 288.3 prohibits the arrangement of a meeting with a minor for the purpose of indecent exposure or committing lewd or lascivious conduct. A misdemeanor offense is punishable by up to one year in the county jail and/or a fine of $5,000. If the perpetrator actually attends the meeting, it is an automatic felony, which may result in a prison sentence of up to 4 years.

In addition to criminal penalties, the victim may file a civil suit against the perpetrator of Internet sexual abuse for monetary compensation. The victim of an Internet sex abuse may be able to recover such damages as expenses for psychological counseling, pain and suffering, emotional distress and other related damages.

Los Angeles Child Sex Abuse Attorney

The advancement of technology, with all of its positive applications, is also being used by sexual predators to make contact with potential victims. Despite all the precautions we take, any child who uses the Internet is susceptible to this danger. If your child has been the victim of an Internet sexual predator, a Los Angeles child sexual abuse lawyer can help secure compensation for the injury and suffering resulting from the abuse.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Hospitals Debate Ban on Alcohol Pads and Wipes after Infection Death

With a growing number of hospital-acquired infections being linked to contaminated alcohol prep pads, Arizona medical malpractice attorneys wonder whether it's time to ban the use of nonsterile pads in hospitals altogether.

Last week, Pacific Disposables International Inc. announced a massive recall of potentially contaminated pads and wipes. The Pacific Disposables recall came after the death of a man from a bacillus cereus infection. The pads had been used on the man, a hemophiliac, just prior to an infusion. He contracted a serious infection and died in June. In September, the company announced a recall.

This recall had been preceded by another recall of millions of contaminated wipes manufactured by Wisconsin-based Triad Group Inc. and S&P Products earlier this year. That recall was announced after several infections and deaths were associated with the use of contaminated pads.

Alcohol and non-alcohol pads and wipes are used widely in hospitals and healthcare facilities, and are also sold as part of home kits. Not all pads are sterile - roughly about 70% are, while the remaining are non-sterile. However, most of the packaging in which these pads come, do not mention whether they are sterile or non sterile. Additionally, safety information isn’t included when the pads are sold as part of home kits. This increases the potential of errors when people mistakenly believe that the pads are sterile.

Some hospitals are choosing to switch over to only sterile alcohol pads. Others are taking a wait-and-watch approach, to see if the Food and Drug Administration has any further guidance or any changes in policy before making a decision about using non-sterile pads. For Arizona medical malpractice attorneys however, the choice seems to be clear. There shouldn't be any place for nonsterile pads in a hospital.

Man in Orange County Salon Shooting Suffered from PTSD

A man arrested after a shooting at a Seal Beach salon suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, after being injured in a boat accident. Orange County prosecutors have promised that they will seek the death penalty for Scott Dekraai, even as San Diego criminal defense lawyers have learned new details about the suspect’s troubled life.

According to prosecutors, on the day of the massacre, Scott Dekraai wore body armor, and stepped into the Salon Meritage where his ex-wife worked. There he began shooting people in the head and chest, killing eight people and all. He has been arrested, and a judge has already ordered a medical review. Dekraai’s lawyers have alleged that he is not being provided antipsychotic medications while he is in jail. Prosecutors have confirmed that they will seek the death penalty in this case.

Scott Dekraai and his ex-wife were involved in a bitter custody dispute over their 8-year-old son. He and his wife divorced in 2007. In fact, the day before the shooting, he and his wife made an appearance at a child custody hearing.
Scott Dekraai’s life took a turn for the worse in 2007, after he separated from his wife. He was injured in a boat accident, when he had been working with tow lines. One of his female colleagues was killed in that accident, while he suffered serious leg injuries. The injuries left him disabled.

According to friends and acquaintances, he was constantly in pain, and underwent several procedures in order to treat his disability. None of them were successful, and he soon fell into depression. Soon after that, he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. He couldn't find work because of his disability, and was forced to move in with his mother.

Investigations into Amtrak Train Accident in Oakland

Investigations have already begun into an Amtrak train accident at the Oakland station, in which one train crashed into another, injuring seventeen people. The accident occurred last week when the first train, which was traveling through the station, struck a stationary train. The second train had stopped at the station to unload passengers.

The accident seems to have been a low-speed collision involving the “San Joaquin” which operates between Bakersfield and Oakland, and the “Coast Starlight,” which operates between Los Angeles and Seattle. Seventeen were injured, and rushed to the hospital. Fortunately, there were no life-threatening injuries. According to the Oakland Fire Department, the first train ran a red light. However, Amtrak has refused to confirm or deny that report.

The investigation will include Amtrak, investigating officials from the Federal Railroad Administration and Union Pacific Railroad, which is the owner of the track. Federal investigators are likely to examine a number of factors including cell phone records, and especially cell phone exchanges between dispatchers. Investigators will also talk to crewmembers as part of their investigations. The investigations are expected to take up to six months to complete.

This is the second time in just a month that Los Angeles train accident lawyers have found Amtrak passengers injured in a train accident. The earlier accident occurred in the Bay Area too. On September 30, 37 passengers and crew members suffered injuries in an accident involving an Amtrak passenger train that crashed into a truck at a crossing near Brentwood. That train accident is being blamed on a lack of visibility at the crossing. There were apparently no lights or gates at the crossing when the accident occurred. Fortunately, in this accident too, injuries were not life-threatening.

NTSB Continues Investigation into Reno Airshow Plane Crash

The National Transportation Safety Board is continuing its investigation into a deadly plane crash at an air show in Reno, Nevada in September that killed 11 people. The investigation is specifically focusing on whether a small piece of the plane's tail assembly separated from the aircraft just before the crash.

According to witnesses at the National Championship Air Races, a piece of the airframe separated from the plane while the plane was engaged in aerial stunts. The National Transportation Safety Board has already looked at photographic evidence that also confirms the loss of the part.

The loss of the trim tab, the agency believes, likely caused the pilot to lose control. The aircraft jerked upward suddenly, before it nosedived to an area near one of the grandstands. That unleashed excessive gravitational forces, causing the pilot to lose consciousness. Photographs of the plane just before the crash do not show the pilot in the cockpit, indicating that the pilot had likely passed out. Organizers of the Reno show where the crash occurred have also indicated that mechanical malfunctioning of the plane as the main contributing factor in the crash.

The National Transportation Safety Board investigators have already finished combing the crash site, and have also gathered information about the health of the pilot and the physical condition of the plane. It will be several months before National Transportation Safety Board completes its investigation and presents its report. The Federal Aviation Administration, as well as the Reno Air Racing Association, which organized the show, are participating in the investigation.

What Reno air show plane crash has really underscored to California plane crash lawyers are the increasing dangers associated with air shows. These air races have become very popular, and now draw hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. Unfortunately, for many air show organizers, the line between providing thrills and reckless operations has blurred, with the result that many spectators may be placed in danger.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

2010 had Second Highest Number of Marijuana Arrests in U.S. History

In 2010, more people were arrested for marijuana-related crimes than for any other type of drug crimes. In fact, in 2010, the number of people arrested for marijuana-related crimes was the second highest in U.S. history.

What is even more astounding is that most marijuana-related arrests were for mere possession of the drug, and not for cultivating or selling it. In all, more than 750,000 people were arrested in 2010 for possession of marijuana. Overall, more than 803,000 people were arrested in 2010 for marijuana-related crimes, including cultivating and selling. This is even as several states around the country dabble with medical marijuana laws.

Needless to say, law enforcement agencies’ policy of arresting away the problem, has not worked. It makes little sense that we throw hundreds of thousands of people into prison every year for possessing small quantities of a drug that more and more states are actually trying to legalize. Predictably enough, law enforcement blame the legalization of marijuana in many states for the increase in arrests.

With all those arrests, Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers would think that marijuana use has declined dramatically. Au contraire, according to the federal government use of marijuana actually increased in 2010. According to data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, marijuana is now the drug of choice for young American adults. Between 2009 and 2010, the number of persons reporting use of marijuana in the past month increased from 6.6% to 6.9%. The increase is especially high among Americans between the age of eighteen and twenty-five, from 18.1% to 18.5%.

SUVs and Pickup Trucks Not As Likely to Be Involved in Fatal Accidents

In the past, SUVs and pickup trucks were much more likely to be involved in fatal accidents than minivans or passenger cars of the same weight. This was because of the increased size of SUVs, as well as the poor alignment of bumper height that transferred much of the traffic accident energy to the smaller vehicle. However, that is no longer the case.

According to an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety report, better design has meant that SUVs and pickup trucks are not as dangerous when involved in accidents with passenger cars as they used to be. Between 2000 and 2001, 1-to 4-year-old sports utility vehicles and pickup trucks weighing between 3,000 and 3,500 pounds were involved in accidents that killed the occupants of the smaller passenger cars at a rate of 44 fatalities per million registered vehicle years. However, between 2008 and 2009, those rates had dropped nearly by two-thirds, to 16 deaths per million registered vehicles year.

The researchers believe that two factors have contributed to these reduced death rates. For one, passenger cars and minivans now now come with better crash protection measures, like advanced airbags. For another, auto makers have invested in enhancing the design of sport-utility vehicles and pickup trucks, to make them less dangerous in accidents involving smaller cars.

These vehicles are still bigger in size, and the danger to occupants of other cars involved in accidents with SUVs and pickup trucks is still likely to be high. However, enhanced design has meant better bumper alignment between the front structure of the SUV/ pickup truck and the passenger car, reducing the impact of the accident on the smaller vehicle. The new design has come through the efforts of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and automakers.

Los Angeles car accident lawyers have always believed that better auto design is one of the reasons for the reduced number of traffic accident deaths nationwide. As the declining death rates involving SUV accidents show, when automakers and federal safety agencies combine efforts, it leads to better car design and increased safety.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Hip Fractures Linked to Early Death in Women

A new study indicates that women who suffer from hip fractures have a much higher likelihood of dying within a year of their injury. In fact, the risk of dying after a hip fracture in women could be as much as twice as high as in women without a fracture. The results of the study have been published in the September issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. The researchers analyzed 1,116 women who had suffered a hip fracture. Each of these women was then matched with 4 healthy women, and the comparison was analyzed.

The researchers found that women over 65 who suffered hip fractures were more likely to die within a year after the injury. About 50% of the fatalities involving women who had a hip fracture occurred within three months after the injury, 75% of the deaths occurred within six months after the injury. The risk of death after a hip fracture continued to remain the strongest in women between the age of 65 and 70. For these women, the risk of death continued for a decade after they suffered the injury.

Researchers are at a loss to explain exactly why a hip fracture increases the risk of death in women so greatly. Earlier, it was believed that women who were ill were much more likely to fall, and therefore, suffer a fracture, and these women were much more likely to die faster. That theory no longer makes sense to Los Angeles slip and fall accident lawyers. One possible explanation could be increased psychological stress caused due to hospitalization after a fracture, and depression because of the reduced mobility and movement after a fracture.

Women above 60 are increasingly mobile and independent. They are likely to live alone, and are likely to frequent commercial spaces like shopping malls, hotels, and restaurants. In light of these health concerns involving women, it's important that building designers, contractors, construction companies and owners of these buildings take into consideration safety issues to design safer commercial premises and residences to prevent slip and fall accidents.

FDA Studies Show High Risk of Blood Clots with Yaz and Yasmin

Preliminary studies by the Food and Drug Administration seem to confirm a high risk of blood clots in women who use Yaz, Yasmin and other new generation contraceptive pills. According to the data, these women have a 1½ times higher risk of developing blood clots, compared to women who use other, older contraceptive pills.

The FDA study involved 500,000 women in the United States, and the results have been posted on the agency's website. According to the agency, it does not yet have enough data to conclude firmly that new generation birth-control pills like Yaz and Yasmin are definitely linked to an increased risk of developing blood clots. For now, all that the agency will say is that it is concerned about the increased potential for developing blood clots in women who use pills like Yaz and Yasmin that contain drospirenone.

Both Yasmin and Yaz are manufactured by Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals, and both contain ethinyl estradiol. These new generation pills quickly became very popular among women, because of their ability to treat acne, prevent symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and avoid unwanted pregnancies. However, Los Angeles personal injury attorneys have also been concerned about the increasing number of complaints associating Yaz and Yasmin use with a number of life-threatening side effects. These side effects include pulmonary embolism, life-threatening blood clots, strokes and heart attacks.

Bayer faces dozens of personal injury lawsuits filed by women who suffered blood clots from Yaz and Yasmin use. Many of these injuries have also occurred because the drugs are prescribed to teenagers to treat conditions like acne or premenstrual syndrome. The Food and Drug Administration has said that it will meet with two advisory panels later in the year to sift through data about these two pills, from several studies that have been conducted in the past.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Nevada Plane Crash Death Toll Likely to Increase

At least nine people have been confirmed dead in a plane crash at an air show in Nevada, but officials believe that the number is likely to increase. More than 50 people were injured in the accident, and at least 15 were reported to be in critical condition. Several more victims were reported to be in serious condition. The number of injured could be even higher because many of the people left for local hospitals in private vehicles and were not counted in official totals.

The crash occurred at the National Championship Air Races and Air Show in Reno, Nevada, and involved a vintage World War II plane. There were thousands of spectators watching the show, when one of the planes went out of control and crashed into the VIP seating area. The pilot and two spectators died instantly. The other victims died in the hospital.

The pilot was a seventy-four-year-old man who had decades of flying on his record. He was a prominent presence in the local flying community. He has been participating in the air show in Reno at least since 1975.

The National Transportation Safety Board will soon begin its investigation into the tragedy. The Board is expected to point to the causes of the crash. Currently, it seems as if a mechanical malfunction with the plane was to blame, but it's too early to say.

Witnesses spoke of a horribly gory post-crash scene, strewn with body parts, and dozens lying injured. This wasn't the first disaster at the National Championship Air Races. Back in 1994, a crash killed two pilots, and two separate incidents in 2007 and 2008 killed a total of four pilots.

The crash is raising concerns among California plane crash lawyers about the safety of such air shows. Around the world, there have been several crashes caused during such air shows recently, including at least two fatal crashes last month in the U.S.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

New Lawsuit Accuses Fresno Priest of Sexual Abuse

In yet another lawsuit filed by victims of clergy sexual abuse in California, a former priest in Fresno has been accused of sexual abuse of boys in at least three different parishes. The lawsuit also alleges that the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno was aware of the abuse, but did nothing to stop the priest.

The lawsuit alleges that the abuse occurred at San Joaquin Memorial High School between the 60’s and 70’s. The priest, Father Don Flickinger, allegedly abused boys over a period of four decades. According to the lawsuit, when the priest was working at San Joaquin Memorial High School, he would handpick boys and take them to his office where they would be abused. The lawsuit also alleges that the church was aware of the abuse at least in 1972, but failed to act.

Flickinger’s actions were no secret on campus. In fact, according to some of the students of the school, they had nicknames for the priest, and used these to warn each other whenever he was around. It's hard to believe that such kind of talk was openly prevalent in the school, and the church was never aware of it.

The Fresno Diocese is promoting the same head-in-the-sand attitude that California sexual abuse lawyers have found at many other churches around the state. According to the diocese, some priests involved in the abuse have been sent to receive “professional help.” According to the diocese, the church is “praying for both victims as well as the priests” involved in the sexual abuse.

The lawsuit is seeking monetary compensation for the victims, as well as a change in the policies of the church towards sexual abuse. The lawsuit wants the church to ban the practice of transferring priests accused of sexual abuse in their parishes, to churches elsewhere without warning neighborhoods and parishioners about the priest’s history of sexual abuse.

Girls Gone Wild Founder Charged with Assault

It is the latest in a series of legal troubles for entrepreneur Joe Francis, of the Girls Gone Wild franchise. Francis and his bodyguard face several charges, including false imprisonment, assault, and dissuading victims from reporting a crime.
The charges relate to an incident that the victims allege occurred in January this year. Francis and his bodyguard met with three women at a popular night spot, and told them that he they would drop them back to their cars. However, the women allege that instead of taking them back to their cars, Francis and his bodyguard drove them to Francis' home.

The women claim that while they were on their way to Francis’ residence, the bodyguard flashed a sheriff's badge, and prevented them from leaving the car. This quickly resulted in a fight between the women and the bodyguard. In the melee, one woman fell on the ground, and struck her head on a tile. According to the victims, they were then threatened against going to the police to report the incident. The bodyguard has been charged with impersonating a police officer and unlawful imprisonment.

This isn't the first time Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers have heard of Joe Francis’ trouble with the law. In 2003, he was arrested and charged with a number of crimes, including drug trafficking and racketeering. The charges were dropped after he agreed to pay a $1.6 million fine. In April this year, a Florida jury ruled for him, when it decided against awarding damages in a lawsuit by two women who claimed psychological damage. The women had claimed that they had been filmed topless on camera when they were below eighteen years of age and on spring break.

Unfortunately, Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers often notice that people like Joe Francis are more likely to face hostile jurors because of the nature of their business.

Why Personal Bankruptcy May Not Be as Bad as You Think

Los Angeles personal bankruptcy lawyers often find that clients agonize over the prospect of filing for bankruptcy protection, and to some extent, rightly so. After all, there are a number of reasons to worry about what bankruptcy will do to your life. There's bound to be a negative impact on your future credit, not to speak of the battering of your self-esteem.

However, all may not be lost if you file for bankruptcy. There are certain advantages to filing for bankruptcy protection that most Californians may not be aware of.
The biggest advantage is that when you file for bankruptcy, all actions by creditors including foreclosures and repossessions are immediately stopped. You don’t even have to handle inquiries by creditors anymore - your Los Angeles bankruptcy lawyer will do that for you.

If you have student loan debt, filing for bankruptcy will not eliminate your debt in all situations. However, you can expect an end to harassment from loan collection agencies. Besides, filing for bankruptcy will protect you from lawsuits related to bad debt. Bankruptcy may be a more acceptable and more desirable option to being sued by creditors.

Additionally, filing for bankruptcy does not mean that you're out on the streets and homeless. You will still retain basics, through the use of bankruptcy exemptions.
What filing for bankruptcy can essentially do is allow you to take charge of your finances again, and get back to the process of rearranging your financial life. The faster you get started on rebuilding your credit, the quicker you can get back to living life without stress. No matter how bad you imagine your current financial situation to be, your California bankruptcy lawyer can help you develop a plan to get yourself out of your financial troubles.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Mandatory Motorcycle Helmets Help Reduce Fatality Numbers

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is recommending a number of measures that can help reduce annual motorcycle accident fatality numbers. One of the measures that the agency is recommending is mandating of motorcycle helmets for motorcyclists and passengers.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2009, more than 1,480 motorcyclists survived accidents. Those numbers would have been even greater if all states had mandatory motorcycle helmet laws in place. As many as 732 motorcyclists’ lives could have been saved if all states had mandatory helmet laws.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, helmets have been found to be up to 37% more effective in preventing deaths involving motorcycle operators, and 41% more beneficial in preventing deaths involving passengers. Whether a state has mandatory motorcycle helmet laws in place has much to do with whether motorcyclists in the state bother to wear a helmet. Studies conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety have found that when states have mandatory motorcycle helmet laws in place, motorcyclists are much more likely to wear helmets.

Only twenty states and Washington DC have universal mandatory helmet laws. California currently has laws that mandate helmets for both motorcyclists as well as their passengers.

However, in those states that do not have motorcycle helmet laws, only about 50% of motorcyclists wear helmets. In 2010, the rate of compliance in states with mandatory motorcycle helmet laws was 98%.

However, Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyers stress wearing the proper helmet. Only wear helmets approved by the Department of Transportation. Avoid novelty helmets that offer no protection in a motorcycle accident.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Why the US Lags Behind Europe in Accident Prevention

On the surface of it, it may seem to Los Angeles car accident lawyers that traffic accident fatalities in the United States have dropped dramatically. That is true to some extent, and last year, auto accident fatalities dropped to some of the lowest levels in decades. However, the fact is that the United States actually ranks near the bottom of the list when it comes to accident prevention efforts and successes.

European countries, Japan, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand have had far greater successes in reducing their accident fatality numbers. Even when you take into account differences in law enforcement styles, geographical factors and demographics, it is hard to deny the fact that these countries have made much greater progress in reducing accident deaths. For instance, countries in Europe boast some of the lowest fatalities per vehicle miles traveled. Additionally, in some of these countries, annual accident death rates are declining much faster than in the United States
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There are several reasons why countries in Europe, Canada and Australia have much lower accident rates. For one thing, many of these countries have stricter limits on drunk driving. In most states, the blood alcohol limit is .08%. In many European countries, the limit is just .05%. This means that police in those countries are able to take more drunk drivers off the streets
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Additionally, in many countries, sobriety checkpoints are almost a fact of life and are accepted as a necessary practice. In the United States, several states do not even allow sobriety checkpoints at all, and even the states that do, do not invest as much in these checkpoints as necessary
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Further, seat belt use is much higher in foreign countries. Motorcycle helmets are mandatory across most of Europe, Japan, Australia, and Canada. Besides, foreign countries don’t hesitate to enforce laws with the use of camera systems, another important safety mechanism that is the subject of great controversy here.

Mortgage Fraud Report Indicates Consistent Crime Rates in 2010

The FBI has released its 2010 mortgage fraud report based on data from the FBI, as well as federal state and local law enforcement. According to the report, mortgage fraud in 2010 continued at more or less the same levels as in 2009. California had the highest levels of mortgage fraud last year.
Among the findings in the report:

• Part of the reason for this consistency in mortgage fraud crime rates is that these crimes tend to be resilient, and can be adapted to all kinds of economic situations.
• Perpetrators of mortgage fraud include a broad range of people including accountants, real estate agents, land developers, mortgage brokers (both licensed and registered as well as non-licensed and nonregistered), appraisers, underwriters, builders, and investors.
• California had the highest rates of mortgage fraud in 2010. Following California were Florida, New York, Illinois, Nevada, Arizona, Michigan, Texas, Georgia, Maryland and New Jersey.
• The demographic markets that were affected by mortgage fraud in 2010 were the same as the previous year.
• The most popular kinds of mortgage fraud schemes, as reported by law enforcement agencies in 2010, were those that involved loan origination, equity skimming, foreclosure rescue, illegal flipping of property, and commercial loan and builder bailout schemes. The report makes specific mention about the challenges posed by reverse mortgage fraud, loan modification fraud and home equity lines of credit.

The FBI has continued to dedicate substantial resources to cracking down on mortgage fraud in 2010. In June last year, the Department of Justice announced a major crackdown on mortgage fraud under the name, “Operation Stolen Dreams,” which Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers believe was the largest such corrective enforcement against mortgage fraud.

The FBI believes that due to the current depressed housing market which is expected to stay low for the rest of 2011, rates of mortgage fraud will continue to remain high.

Protecting Your Business in a Divorce

Business owners may have special concerns during a divorce. In a community property state like California, spouses in a divorce are normally entitled to half of the assets accumulated during the marriage. In practical terms, those assets could easily include your business.

Entrepreneur.com has tips for entrepreneurs who want to protect their business from harm during a divorce. In most divorces that involve division of a business, California divorce lawyers often see that the venture was begun by one of the spouses early in the marriage. Over a period of time however, the value of the business increased, along with the spouse’s stake in it. That's why even small business owners or those who are just starting out on a new venture, need to divorce-proof their business.

One of the most important things you could do is to maintain separate financial records for business and personal purposes.

If your spouse has a role to play in your business, eliminate that as quickly as possible. You may not be considering a divorce right now, but the longer a spouse has worked in the business and the more he or she is involved in it, the easier it is for a California divorce lawyer to prove that the spouse contributed substantially to the success of the enterprise.

When it comes to dividing assets in the divorce, try to retain 100% ownership of your business, and sacrifice other assets, like retirement accounts, and homes. Otherwise, you may be in the unenviable position of having to take on your ex-spouse as a business partner.

If it does come down to dividing the business, try to buy your spouse’s share of the business over a period of time, through monthly installments.

You should also get an impartial, neutral third party to conduct a fair valuation of your business during divorce proceedings.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Study Reveals Intoxication Dangers of Alcoholic Sports Drinks

Caffeinated alcoholic beverages, like Four Loko, that are marketed as sports drinks are very popular with college students. Unfortunately, many teenage drinkers believe that these drinks are safe, because they contain caffeine. A new study confirms the hazards of the combination of inexperienced novice drinkers and these beverages.

The study analyzed eleven patients who were brought into the emergency room of the Bellevue Hospital Center in New York. All of the patients were under twenty-one years old, and the average age of the patient was 16.4 years. These patients were highly intoxicated when brought to the ER.

According to the researchers, the symptoms were not typical of the kind typically seen after weekend binge drinking. Young people who took the caffeinated beverages had symptoms of severe alcohol intoxication, and had been brought to the ER unconscious. One of the teens had passed out on a subway track, while another fell unconscious at school.

The dangers of teenage intoxication involving caffeinated alcoholic beverages comes from the fact that the caffeine masks the effects of alcohol. As a result, the person doesn't realize that he has consumed too much alcohol until it's too late.

It's very important for teenage drinkers to be aware of the high alcohol content in these caffeinated beverages. If you have only a couple of these drinks and drive, you could be pulled over for drunk driving and register enough blood alcohol to need a San Diego DUI lawyer, even though you may not feel intoxicated.

The makers of Four Loko have recently announced that they will eliminate caffeine and a few other ingredients from their drinks. However, other combinations of caffeine and alcohol continue to exist on the market. These caffeinated alcohol combinations are typically marketed as sports drinks, and this may lure teenage drinkers into believing that they are safer than other alcoholic beverages.


Monday, 15 August 2011

IRS Warns of California Refund Scam Targeting Elderly, Disabled

The Internal Revenue Service is warning California residents about a refund scam that is aimed at the elderly and disabled. Several instances of such scams have been reported from Sacramento, Fresno, Stockton and the San Francisco Bay Area.

The refund scheme involves con artists who convince people that they are eligible for a refund through the "Making Work Pay" tax credit and charge a fee to procure these refunds. The tax credit itself is legitimate. In 2009 and 2010, these tax credits were issued to allow working individuals to recover up to $400 per person over the course of the year based on the taxpayer's wages. However, only employed individuals were eligible for these tax credits. The scammers have targeted the elderly and disabled, who are not employed and were therefore not eligible for tax credits. In most of these cases, scammers convinced victims that they could recover tax refunds of up to $800 for them.

The scammers have been fleecing potential victims of hundreds of dollars, claiming fees for the paperwork necessary to receive the refund. The Internal Revenue Service still does not know much about how the scam is being operated. The agency doesn't even know whether the same people are operating the same scam, or whether more individuals are involved

While most of the victims are the elderly and disabled, but California tax relief lawyers have also come across cases involving members of the Asian communities as well as low-income groups. Many of the immigrants targeted in the scams belong to the Laotian, Hmong Vietnamese, and Cambodian communities.

Yet another tax scam in California is based on Social Security benefits. In this scam, con artists have been targeting the elderly at churches and community centers inviting them to apply for a refund of tax withholding from Social Security for a fee. Los Angeles tax law lawyers advise everyone to beware of these and similar tax scams and to thoroughly research any company or individual who claims to be able to obtain tax refunds on your behalf. If you have an doubts, you should contact your CPA, or an experienced California tax law firm.


Thursday, 11 August 2011

Hospitals Work Towards Speeding up ER Care

According to federal data, an average of 2.7% of patients who visit hospital emergency rooms leave without getting treatment. Interminable delays at the average hospital emergency room, means wait times that can sometimes last for hours.

About 50% of people who leave an emergency room without being seen go to another hospital, or get better on their own. However, the remaining 50% are sick enough when they visit a hospital emergency room to require hospitalization. It is these people that Arizona medical malpractice attorneys are concerned about because too many of them are slipping through ER cracks.

According to analysis by researchers at Johns Hopkins, the number of people leaving emergency rooms without treatment has risen from 1.7% between 1998 and 2006, to 2.7% between 2007 and 2008. That's not hard to understand when you realize that the number of ERs in the country has dropped by nearly 1/3rd over the past two decades, while the number of patients seeking emergency care has increased by approximately 40% over the same period of time.

The failure to provide essential emergency care for patients who may be seriously ill is something that hospitals struggle with. Now, many of them have decided to take matters into their own hands, and streamline their procedures to make sure that more patients receive emergency care.

Some hospitals are reserving their beds and their doctors for only the sickest emergency room patients. Only those patients who very extremely sick get treated by doctors, while those who are not so ill, may have a physician’s assistant or a nurse practitioner focus on paperwork, ordering tests and other actions.

Patients who are not seriously ill may not be given a bed, but may be offered a recliner, and may be sent back to the waiting area to wait for their test results. This frees up beds for patients who are seriously ill, while ensuring that everyone is seen by medical professionals. Hospitals are also experimenting with other methods, including posting their average ER wait times on their websites, waiting rooms and even highway billboards.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Crystal Cathedral Looks for Miracle to Resolve Bankruptcy Crisis

The Crystal Cathedral church is hoping for solutions from its parishioners, and not Los Angeles bankruptcy lawyers as it looks for a way out of its pending fiscal crisis. The church has posted a request on its website asking members for donations to deal with its massive debt. The church is currently about $50 million in debt, and church members are being invited to donate between $10 and $10,000 to eliminate debt and avoid bankruptcy.

Crystal Cathedral is based in Orange County and was established in 1955 by Robert H. Schuller. In October 2010, the Church filed for bankruptcy in a bankruptcy court in Santa Ana. Since then, Schuller has been voted off the church's board of trustees.

Crystal Cathedral has been fending off potential buyers depending instead on what attorneys called a “faith-based” initiative to pay back debt. Church officials had been working on a bankruptcy reorganization plan that had been determined by a creditor committee. However, now the church says that it plans to seek donations from church members as well as followers of Schuller’s Hour of Power television program.

Several offers for the church have come in. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange announced that it was interested in buying back the iconic church building in order to accommodate Catholic congregations in Orange County. The Diocese offered $50 million for the building.

The church has also received an offer from Mark A. Thomas, the co-founder of My Father's House Church International. According to Thomas, his plan would provide for the acceptance of Schuller's resignation, and an overhaul of the church. There have been another offers for the church, from the God’s Way Institute and smaller offers from the Chapman University and a real estate investment group.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Contaminated Wipes Lawsuit Alleges Brain Injury

Triad Group, the company at the center of a contaminated wipes scandal that has already been linked to several injury lawsuits, has been named in a brain injury lawsuit filed by the parents of a toddler with a severe infection. According to an amendment to the lawsuit, the bacterial infection that caused the boy's brain infection and injury is linked to contaminated wipes manufactured by Triad.

Now three-year-old Myles Massey contracted the infection soon after he was born in September 2007. At the time, doctors and his parents had little idea what had caused the infection. The infection practically liquefied the boy’s brain, severely delaying his development. Today, Miles cannot walk or talk, and is fed through a stomach tube. He cannot move the left side of his body, and suffers from a number of other mental conditions, including cerebral palsy.

The bacterial infection was caused by an organism called Bacillus Cereus. However, doctors at the hospital could not find any trace of the organism in the hospital, despite repeated tests and consultations with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Bacillus Cereus organism that has been linked to Myles’ infection is the same one that has been found in contaminated prep pads and wipes manufactured by Triad Group and its sister company, H&P Industries.

Now, the parents have added Triad Group and its sister company, H&P Industries, to the medical malpractice lawsuit. According to the lawsuit, contaminated wipes by Triad Group and H&P Industries were responsible for the bacterial infection.

Earlier this year, Triad Group was forced to recall millions of contaminated prep pads, and more than $6 million worth of products of the company were seized. Since then, a federal court has barred the company from selling and distributing medical supplies.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Stay-at-Home Parents Face Special Financial Concerns after a Divorce

According to the Census Bureau, there are approximately 159,000 stay-at-home dads, and more than 5 million stay-at-home mothers in the United States. As a stay-at-home parent with no personal income of your own, there are special financial concerns that your Los Angeles divorce lawyer will need to address.

A stay-at-home parent’s financial condition may become even more precarious post divorce, compared to persons who have an income of their own. The financial threat to unemployed spouses with no income of their own, can begin as soon as the employed spouse files for divorce. If your spouse’s pay check is being deposited into his or her account, you may be denied access to these funds as soon as, or even before, the divorce papers are served. If you have a joint account, then there may be limitations on your access to the funds.

What that means is that as a stay-at-home parent, your access to any money at all is likely to be very limited while the divorce proceedings play out. Consider that divorce proceedings can stretch out, especially if there is no hope for a settlement, and your case goes to trial. You may have no choice but to look for a job. The current employment market is not too kind to people who have given up their jobs to stay at home for years.

As a stay-at-home parent, you're not eligible any kind of protection. For instance, you are not eligible for unemployment benefits. If you are injured or incapacitated, you are also not eligible for disability insurance. The same goes for health insurance and pensions. A major medical condition after a divorce can leave an unemployed person close to bankruptcy. Even after alimony payments and child support payouts are established, you may not be left with funds necessary to maintain your lifestyle as before the divorce.

Monday, 1 August 2011

NTSB Recommends Truck Rollover Accident Prevention Technology

The National Transportation Safety Board is recommending that all tractor trailers come with rollover prevention technology, like stability control systems. The Board’s recommendations came as part of its report into a fatal tanker rollover accident in Indianapolis last year.

The accident occurred in 2009, and involved a tanker truck which went out of control and rolled over ten times near downtown Indianapolis. The tanker was carrying more than 9,000 gallons of liquefied natural gas, which leaked from the tanker. The vapors quickly ignited and exploded, causing a massive fireball that could be seen from miles away. The truck driver as well as one motorist suffered serious injuries.

The National Transportation Safety Board has pointed out to the driver's excessive steering maneuvers as a factor in the accident. The Board has also noted that the tractor-trailer combination in this case was susceptible to a rollover because of the high center of gravity. Tanker trucks are especially prone to rollovers, because the liquid that they carry is prone to shift suddenly, causing a loss in balance.

California truck accident lawyers are very concerned about the integrity of tankers carrying hazardous materials. According to the Board, there are more than 1,300 rollovers every year involving cargo tank motor vehicles. The Board recommends that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration work together with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to establish a rollover prevention program. The Board also wants the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to look at cargo tank standards for all commercial trucks and buses weighing over 10,000 pounds.

Stability control systems for trucks have been around for a while now, and many trucking companies have chosen to install these in their fleets. According to statistics, mandating stability control systems on all tractor trailers could prevent nearly 3,500 truck rollover accidents every year. At least 106 lives could be saved in such accidents.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Why Eli Lilly/Xanodyne are Liable in Darvon/Darvocet Injuries

Thousands of people who have filed Darvon/Darvocet injury lawsuits against Eli Lilly and Xanodyne have questions about when the company became aware of the side effects of the use of the painkillers, and why it concealed these effects.

It's not easy for any Darvocet injury attorney to answer questions about exactly when these pharmaceutical companies became aware about these side effects. These medications were banned in Europe in 2005. It is safe to assume that Eli Lilly and Xanodyne were aware of these side effects at least as far back as then.

However, questions about why these companies concealed these side effects from users are easier to answer. In most cases where pharmaceutical drugs cause injuries and illnesses, it ultimately turns out that the company was aware of the side effects and complications arising from the medication, but chose not to reveal these to the public.

Before a pharmaceutical drug is introduced into the market, it must be put through a rigorous process of testing and trials. The company is required to do its own testing into the medication before it submits an application for approval to the FDA. Unfortunately, the approval process at the Food and Drug Administration often tends to be less than adequate, and the agency depends very heavily on the word of the companies. Often, companies are in a hurry to introduce their new drug onto the market, and many clinical trial studies indicating side effects or complications may be suppressed, or ignored.

The Food and Drug Administration often waits until it has dozens of reports of injuries and illnesses arising from the use of a medication, before it decides to step in. The agency has admitted that it has up to 3,000 reports of Darvon/Darvocet related injuries including cardiac arrhythmias, suicidal tendencies, suicidal fantasies, and heart attacks.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Distracted Driving Associated with 25% of All Car Accidents

Distracted driving behaviors are linked to 25% of all car accidents in the United States. That information comes from a report by the Governors’ Highway Safety Association. The report Distracted Driving: What Research Shows and What States Can Do, runs through the increased accident risks that come from distracted driving, and the kinds of measures that states around the country can take to reduce these risks.

This much Woodland Hills car accident lawyers will agree on - distracted driving impacts a driver's ability to drive safely. However, the report claims that drivers can expect to be distracted as much as 50% of the time while they're driving. Moreover, the report claims that car accidents caused by distracted driving probably account for between 15% and 25% of all car accidents. This includes all kinds of car accidents, from those that cause only property damage and no injuries to fatal accidents. Not surprisingly to San Fernando Valley car accident attorneys, the most serious distracted driving behavior is texting while driving. Texting substantially increases the risks of an accident.

The Governors’ Highway Safety Association report urges states to pass measures that will reduce distracted driving practices. These measures include a complete ban on texting while driving and the use of cell phones while driving for all motorists, including a ban on handsets. States like California that already have laws banning cell phone use and texting while driving can do more to enforce these effectively. The report also encourages employers to develop anti-distracted driving programs.

Besides prevention of distracted driving, the Governors’ Highway Safety Association also recommends that states employ low-cost roadway safety measures, like installation of edge line and centerline rumble strips to alert drivers when they are beginning to veer off the road from distractions. The report also encourages states to track distracted driving accidents and report these better.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Senior Pedestrians at High Risk of Accidents in California

Elderly pedestrians in California and around the country are at a much higher risk of pedestrian accidents than young pedestrians. Part of the reason for this has been poor road planning and design, which has failed to take into account the special needs of seniors. For instance, elderly pedestrians take more time to walk across crosswalks that were designed for younger pedestrians. Also these pedestrians are using streets that were mainly designed for automobiles.

Most of our streets were designed decades ago when pedestrian safety concerns were not a priority. There were fewer pedestrians compared to cars then, and roads were designed for the safety of motorists. Flash forward to 2011, and there are approximately 17 million people who will turn 65 this year. Not only are there more seniors now, but these persons are living healthy, productive and independent lives. Many seniors prefer to walk for exercise because it's convenient and inexpensive. Additionally, many older citizens live in cities that have easy access to healthcare facilities. But for many senior pedestrians, the simple act of walking often becomes a life-or-death struggle.

It's about to get worse. Transportation safety groups around the country and Los Angeles car accident lawyers are already warning about an explosion in the number of pedestrian accident fatalities involving seniors over the next few years unless we take action quickly. According to estimates, by the year 2030, elders will account for close to 20% of the nation's population. Those are huge numbers, and our streets are simply not designed for the safety needs of these people.

The federal government must launch pedestrian safety initiatives aimed specifically at the senior population. Further, any new street plans and modifications should take senior pedestrian concerns into account before road designs are implemented.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Veterans Troubled by Illnesses Related to Burn Pits

California veterans’ benefits disability lawyers believe that this could be the Agent Orange of 2011. Veterans are returning home from combat zones in Iraq, suffering illnesses caused due to the nonstop and constant burning of chemicals and waste.

For many veterans, the burning of waste in so-called burn pits poses yet another potential high-risk health hazard. In Corpus Christi, Texas, a vet who has just returned from Iraq is trying to raise attention to the neglected health aspects of these burn pits. According to Capt. Leroy Torres, there were burn pits located close to his army barracks, and these burned 24 hours a day, spewing possibly dangerous chemicals into the atmosphere. As a result of constantly breathing these toxic fumes, he has been ill since he returned from duty.

After his return, he filed a benefits claim with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, but his claim was denied. Torres is continuing to pursue his claim. His family, meanwhile, has been trying to raise attention to the health hazards that face veterans who have been in proximity to these pits. His wife has been meeting with lawmakers to ask them to recognize the health effects of burn pits on the health of service members.

The family is demanding the creation of a national registry for victims of burn pits. The family already has a website, Burnpits360.org, and is asking other victims suffering these from these health effects to come forward and register their names.

What California veterans’ benefits disability lawyers really fear is that the Department of Veterans’ Affairs will continue to turn a blind eye to the health effects from burn pits, until decades later, when these health effects will explode in a generation of Iraq vets.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Former Los Angeles Car Wash Employee Receives $80,000 in Back Wages

A carwash worker in Los Angeles is set to receive $80,000 in back wages after he won a lawsuit that alleged that his employers forced him to report for work early in the morning, but did not allow him to clock in until several hours later in the day.

The lawsuit was filed by Tomas Rodriguez against Handy J Carwash. According to Rodriguez, he and his coworkers had their hours reduced after the owner of the carwash hired other employees to work only for tips. This is a common practice in the carwash industry. Workers are required to report to work early in the morning, but are not allowed to clock in until later. Because these workers are clocking in hours after they begin work, they receive pay for fewer hours. Rodriguez alleges in his lawsuit that as a result of these lower wages, he was not making enough money even to pay his rent and buy groceries.

The car wash owners pressured the workers to remain silent about the situation unless they wanted to be reported to federal immigration authorities. Not surprisingly to California employment lawyers, at least eight of the workers who were initially involved in the lawsuit, dropped out because of this pressure.

The Los Angeles Times has conducted investigations into working conditions in the carwash industry and their reports seem to indicate that carwash owners frequently violate both labor laws and immigration laws. Carwash owners frequently hire illegal immigrants, because they can be paid lower than the minimum wage. In fact, these immigrants are often forced to work only for tips. In that investigation, the Los Angeles Times concluded that the carwash industry has one of the worst records for compliance with California labor laws. Some of these violations include hiring of minor employees, and failing to buy Workers’ Compensation insurance.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

California Police Officers May Be at Risk of Motorcycle Accidents during Funeral Escorts

A recent spate of accidents involving police officers taking part in funeral escorts is putting the spotlight on the risks to California’s motorcycle officers when they take part in these escort. A Torrance police officer was killed in May when he was taking part in a funeral procession for a fellow motorcycle officer.

The fatal motorcycle accident has forced the local community to reevaluate its funeral escort policies for police motorcycle officers. The California Highway Patrol has confirmed that it will be investigating the funeral escort, including the length of the procession, and whether there was enough manpower and time for the motorcycle officers to ride safely.

Such concerns are being expressed around the country. In Alabama, the Tuscaloosa Police Department is being forced to reconsider its funeral escort policies after a police officer was killed in a motorcycle accident last month. The police officer was riding in the procession, when one of the cars in the procession made a turn in front of his motorcycle, causing his motorcycle to crash into the car.

Police-escorted funerals are not common in California. They are typically reserved for high-profile citizens, or military personnel. While it's rare to have a police escort for the funeral of an ordinary citizen, the risk of accidents, and liability issues, have forced many police departments in the country, including those in California, to ban funeral escorts altogether. In California, Los Angeles no longer provides funeral escorts, except for funerals of firefighters, police officers or military personnel. Miami, Minneapolis, Atlanta and Charlotte have also enforced similar bans on funeral escorts.

Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyers also believe that a change in the car culture has played a part in increasing motorcycle accident risks during escorts. In days past, motorists would pull aside when a funeral procession went by. Now however, motorists are more likely to charge through a procession, in a hurry to get ahead. A situation like this places a motorcyclist at a high risk of accidents.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Could Feds Be Doing More to Keep Americans Safe from Plane Crashes Aboard?

It has been a source of great frustration to California plane crash lawyers that the United States provides little information to Americans traveling abroad about the safety of the airlines in those countries. As a result, passengers may be at risk when they fly some foreign airlines that have little safety information available.

The European Union lists foreign airlines that are banned from flying into the European Union because of safety concerns. The European list includes more than 270 airlines from 20 nations which are banned from flying into airports in the European Union.

Compare that to the manner in which the Federal Aviation Administration keeps Americans safe when they travel abroad. The Federal Agency only lists civil aviation authorities that don't meet specific standards and lists them by country. The Federal Aviation Administration takes into consideration those countries that do not have proper oversight over airlines that operate within their borders. The United States simply does not offer passengers any information about the safety record of airlines they use abroad.

There are currently 22 civil aviation authorities on the FAA's “dangerous” list. Most of these are in third-world countries. Some of those countries are frequently visited by Americans. For instance, Israel is on the list for having inadequate oversight over aviation safety. Another country on the list is Barbados which hosts millions of American tourists every year.

Very often, this lack of specific and accurate information proves fatal. Americans have been killed in plane crashes in other countries where aviation safety is not assessed by the agency because of unique concerns. For instance, Cuba is not rated on the Federal Aviation Administration ratings, because the United States does not have diplomatic relations with that country, and there are no direct flights between the United States and Cuba. Some sources hold that Cubana Airlines, the nation's flagship carrier, has one of the worst plane crash records of any airline between 1986 and 2010.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Bankruptcy Risk Increases with Diagnosis of Cancer

Persons who suffer from cancer are likely to find that their risk of bankruptcy increases in the year after the diagnosis. That shouldn't be a surprise to California bankruptcy lawyers, who often come across individuals being forced to file for bankruptcy for medical reasons.

The link between cancer and bankruptcy comes from a study conducted by researchers who analyzed data from a cancer registry. The results of the study were presented this week at a meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago. Records from close to 232,000 cancer survivors over 14 years were studied and analyzed.

The investigators found that the rate of bankruptcy increased by a whopping four times when the individuals had been diagnosed with cancer. Out of the records that were analyzed, 4,805 persons, which is a little more than 2%, sought bankruptcy protection in the years after the diagnosis.

Bankruptcy rates among adult cancer survivors were twice as high one year after the diagnosis, compared to persons who did not have cancer. On an average, an individual with a cancer diagnosis would file for bankruptcy after a period of 2.5 years.

The risk of bankruptcy was not the same for all types of cancers. Some types of cancers including thyroid, lung and blood cancers like leukemia, were more likely to drive patients to bankruptcy. Additionally, elderly citizens over 65 years of age were less likely to declare bankruptcy after a cancer diagnosis. That could possibly be because many of these people are typically covered under Medicare.

What is even worse is that the number of persons with cancer diagnosis who declared bankruptcy seemed to increase after the recession set in. Even in such medically-related bankruptcy cases however, Los Angeles bankruptcy attorneys would encourage people to look at alternatives to bankruptcy before making a decision.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Recording Industry Pushes for California Antipiracy Bill That Would Allow Warrantless Arrests

The recording industry is promoting support for an antipiracy bill introduced by a California senator which promises to undermine civil rights. The bill would allow warrantless searches of optical disc plants, and will allow the seizing of CDs and disk stamping equipment without a warrant.

The bill, SB 550, which has been proposed by State Sen. Alex Padilla, Democrat-Pacoima will make civil liberties groups and California criminal defense attorneys nervous, because of the manner in which it seems to exempt searches from any application of the Fourth Amendment. The Fourth Amendment requires probable cause before a search, and the bill would eliminate any such need.

Under SB 550, police would be able to force replicators to comply with existing laws. Violators would be hit with fines of up to $250,000 for a repeat offense. The measure has already cleared the Committee on Public Safety and has also passed the Appropriations Committee.

The bill has been heavily promoted by the Recording Industry Association of America, which claims that music piracy has sounded the death knell for the industry. The industry has suffered heavy losses because of rampant piracy, and representatives say that nothing seems to help contain the problem. They allege that many of the country’s replicator plants are located in California. These plants are mainly involved in copying disks with educational and religious content, but according to the recording industry, many of them also make counterfeit music discs on the side. According to the recording industry, about 90% of counterfeited discs come from replicator plants.

California alone is home to 70 such plants. In fact, the recording industry says that as many as 70 million counterfeit music discs every year are pressed in California alone.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Senior Drivers’ Risk of Accidents Increases with Age

Senior citizens are at a much greater risk of accidents, a fact not unknown to any Los Angeles car accident lawyer. However, a new study by the Australian National University shows that senior drivers’ risk of making serious driving errors and being involved in accidents increases substantially with the senior’s age, even when they are otherwise healthy.

Researchers followed 266 volunteers who were given a driving test. The subjects were between 70 and 88. All the motorists in the study were of sound mental and physical health. They did not suffer from dementia, and they all lived independent lives. They were also regular drivers, driving at least once a week.

During the 12-mile driving test, there was a driving instructor and an occupational therapist. The occupational therapist’s role was to note down the number of critical driving errors made, including speeding, and tailgating.

The researchers found that seniors between the age of 70 and 74 made an average of one critical driving error. However in the case of seniors between the age of 85 and 89, the number of average driving errors increased to four.

Also, the chances of making a driving error increased depending on whether the driver had been involved in an accident before. A crash in the past five years seemed to substantially increase the senior’s risk of making a critical driving error.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the year 2009, the United States had 33 million people over the age of 65 operating motor vehicles. Statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau show that in 2008, there were 30 fatal accidents for every 100,000 licensed drivers above the age of 75. In comparison, among drivers between the age of 65 and 74, there were just 20 fatal accidents in the same span of time.

Very often, Los Angeles car accident attorneys find that medication use, dementia and other factors are responsible for senior driver-related accidents. However, this study shows that even seemingly healthy drivers can make serious driving errors that can lead to an accident.