Mistakes Happen!

Aug 21, 2019 by

Small mistakes happen every day, and often without much consequence. Small mistakes like making a wrong turn or buying the wrong ingredients when grocery shopping are inconvenient, but rarely are they life-altering. It’s a pain to take care of these issues, sure, but a slightly longer commute or a recipe that doesn’t taste quite right won’t ruin anyone’s life. Other mistakes can be harder to fix.

Forgetfulness is a trait a lot of us have. It’s not uncommon for someone to sleep past their alarm or forget to do their laundry. For the most part, these incidents only cause irritation for the person that forgot to do the task at hand.

Other times, though, it can become annoying for the people around them. If you’ve ever been in a movie theater, you know how annoying it is when someone forgets to turn off their phone and it goes off during an intense scene.

A chronically-late friend quickly annoys their friends with their lack of sensitivity to time. Every now and then, an act of forgetfulness takes an otherwise-average situation to one that is dangerous.

With the laws regarding lawful and unlawful carrying, it can be confusing when deciding when it is safe to carry a weapon. If someone was on their way to go fishing or hunting and forgot that they had a gun on them, an unsuspecting bystander might assume the worst and contact local authorities.

Forgetting to properly store a weapon can cause a strong reaction from someone who feels like they might be in a dangerous situation. The person who was carrying could then be arrested and charged for unlawfully carrying a weapon. Even if they were doing so lawfully, people every day get caught in compromising positions with weapons. More often than not, these people were completely unaware that they were even committing a crime.

Again, these laws are confusing and the lines between legal and illegal quickly blur in these situations. Forgetting to put a gun away is a big mistake, but it’s not the only way that some people have been charged with the unlawful carrying of a weapon. Sometimes the weapon that they were arrested for was not even unlawful.

Misunderstandings and police who make an improper call can cause a lot of issues for someone who was just trying to go about their business. Other times, the weapon might not have even been in plain sight, or the person carrying the weapon might be misidentified. When it’s not clear who is who and what is what, anyone can quickly get themselves in hot water.

When these scenarios occur, it’s best to remain calm and seek professional help. The Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter is a law firm that can help clients who have been arrested and charged with unlawfully carrying a weapon. With proper legal help, someone facing the consequences of their forgetfulness will not have their lives ruined because of a simple mistake.

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The Need for a Good Drainage System

May 27, 2019 by

Of all the problems in the world, you may wonder why a person would concern themselves with something as trivial as drainage issues. However, problems with your drainage system can have detrimental effects on your house, your lawn, and your life.

In this article, I discuss those issues and implore you to consult with professionals that can assist you in installing a good drainage system:

Mold and Bacteria

As gross as it is to discuss, mold and bacteria growth is one of the most common effects of drainage issues. This is a result of the fact that the drainage system malfunctions often manifest in standing water. The standing water, from rainfall, does not drain away to a street or through a pipe but instead collects in your yard.

After standing for a few days or weeks, the water can eventually collect in crevices and crooks of your basement. Related issues can also be caused by the standing water seeping through your roof and causing leaks, rotting through exterior wood, or messing up other parts of your property.

Mosquitos Mishaps

You may spend some of your hard-earned money on a scheduled lawn care business, or on a lawnmower to do the work yourself. Either way, it is likely that you value your front and back yard enough to take care of it. One of the benefits of taking care of your lawn, of course, is the ability to relax outside and enjoy the beauty of nature.

Nobody likes mosquitos. Unfortunately, Midwest Lawn reports, mosquito infestations are a result of drainage system issues. Mosquitos tend to lay their eggs in stagnant water. Thus, standing water stemming from a faulty drainage system will make your front yard the best place around for those pesky pests to give birth.

Mosquitos are not just a nuisance, though. Mosquitos are also a health hazard because of the many diseases they harbor. Famously, the West Nile virus is transmitted through mosquitos. Recently, however, the incidence rate for the relatively-obscure Zika virus has increased dramatically and endangered many.

A Rant About Plants

Drainage system issues can also affect your plant growth by contributing to plant rot or preventing proper dissemination of nutrients necessary to your vegetation’s successes. Water retaining in gardening areas can lead to the roots of your plants being overwatered and rotting in response. The decay of your plants is sometimes salvageable, but the first step, almost always, is to take care of the drainage system that led to the issue in the first place.

The growth of your plants can be stymied by water retention. Curiously, it is more common for stunted plant growth to be related to not watering your plant enough, instead of watering it too much in the form of standing water. In either regard, a specific range of water is required for your plant to grow healthily and have the necessary nutrients transmitted.

Drainage system issues are, thankfully, solvable. Speak with a qualified professional about your home’s options. With a little time and resources, soon your lawn can be growing strong, not leaking into your basement, and functioning properly.

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The Economy Is Good, But We May Soon Need to Better Understand Bankruptcy Again

Sep 22, 2018 by

When economic times are good, it’s easy to get a little too confident they’ll remain that good. That leads people to make riskier economic decisions, which at times can lead to great financial gain, but it can also lead to serious setbacks. Those setbacks can then pile up and derail your finances, even in the best economy.

It’s important, then, for individuals and for the economy as a whole that people become more familiar, once again, with what bankruptcy means.

To begin with, bankruptcy shouldn’t be seen as a taboo. Many successful people have to go through bankruptcy at some point in their lives. If used correctly, it can allow the individual the breathing space to regroup and become far more successful in the near future.

There’s a reason bankruptcy exists: it’s because it’s a net good for everyone. It provides the safety net for those who want to take risks, and it helps all of us avoid those serious economic consequences when people simply walk away from debts.

With that in mind, then, we ought to spend some time familiarizing ourselves with what bankruptcy means. Erin B. Shank, Attorney at Law has a great overview of the major bankruptcy chapters. As a general overview, these chapters are designed to provide assistance for different businesses and individuals. They are divided into chapters to allow the best conclusion for those in certain situations.

For instance, an individual who has accrued a lot of debts and has no way to pay them off, even over time, can file Chapter 7, which liquidates non-essential assets (your house, car, clothes, and such things are considered essential and are for the most part not included in the liquidation). Once assets are liquidated and creditors are as satisfied as they can be by this process, the person walks away debt free.

For those with a steady regular income, Chapter 13 might be a more realistic option. This chapter allows you to pay off debts through set fees taken from your wages over a certain period, usually 2 to 5 years.

Farmers and fisheries have their own chapter, Chapter 12, which is designed to make sure they don’t lose their land or fisheries. Chapter 11 is meant to allow business owners to reorganize debt without having to close their business.

As you can probably tell with a quick scan of the numbers, these are by no means the only bankruptcy chapters. Even in the best economy, everyone should be fairly well-versed in every chapter, so they know which ones might apply to them.

No one can be sure they’ll never have to face bankruptcy. It can happen to the most financially careful and practical people, as well as the biggest risk takers. Because it can hit any of us, we all have to be prepared, for the sake of our own finances and for the economy in general.

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Delaware disability risks

Oct 15, 2017 by

Don’t assume that just because you aren’t working in a physically grueling job, you are safe from any sort of long-term disability. This is a mistake many office workers and managers make because they assume that their work is simply not strenuous enough to cause harm enough to leave them out of work.

And yet, even in this state of Delaware, the corporate capital of the world, disability is fairly common. For instance, in 2012, over 100,000 people had a disability in Delaware. That’s more than a tenth of the whole population.

Such facts would surprise no one who is aware of the startling statistics related to disability. Anyone who is 20 years old or older has a one in four chance of being disabled at some point in their lives for some significant amount of time. With that in mind, Delaware’s numbers are actually relatively low.

Not only is this significant in and of itself, but the statistics also suggest that once someone develops a disability, they are much less able to continue working. In fact, almost 72% of those with a disability are without work.

Such incredible numbers remind us that we must be vigilant in our workplace to avoid injuries to ourselves and our fellow workers. Injuries can include anything from a slip on the floor that leads to a back problem to something falling on someone’s head (say a coffee mug placed poorly). They can come from back strains from lifting something too heavy, or they can come from injuries from repetitive motion (like sitting all day and typing).

Such injuries are no laughing matter; they can affect people’s livelihoods. So, be sure to keep your workplace as safe as possible, no matter the effort required. If there is a spill on the floor, clean it immediately. Leave nothing extending out into walkways, whether boxes, plugs, or someone’s stretched out feet. Make sure liquids are kept from electrical sockets. Insist everyone use careful and safe lifting techniques.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, and there are many other important steps you can take. The most important one, though, is to be aware. Without awareness, we are all at greater risk of sustaining an injury that could lead to long-term disability and great suffering (both physical and financial).

At the same time, keep in mind not all long-term disabilities can be avoided. 9% of disabilities, for instance, are due to cancer, and 12% are from cardiovascular issues. It’s likely these could not be prevented by work. In such cases, be sure to be compassionate and as helpful as possible to those suffering from such unfortunate circumstances. A safe workplace means there will be more energy and resources available to help those with unavoidable problems because the avoidable problems have been, of course, avoided.

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The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Jun 13, 2017 by

The federal government passed the Social Security Act in 1935. This Act first served as a form of social insurance and was originally intended as retiring employees’ source of finance. Years after, it assumed the name Social Security Administration (SSA) and introduced two large federal programs aimed at providing financial assistance to Social Security members who get disabled or after they retire from work and to people with disabilities: the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), which SSA introduced in 1956, and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which SSA created in 1974.

The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), specifically, was designed to provide cash benefits to Social Security members with total permanent disabilities and pensions to retired members aged 65 or above.

There are basic requirements that should be met in order for one to be eligible for disability or retirement benefits. These are:

  • Having worked in a job covered by Social Security or by being self-employed; and,
  • Having earned the required number of credits required by SSA. An employee can earn a maximum of four credits within a year (a table that shows the number of credits needed by an employee who gets disabled is available in the SSA website with address, https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10072.pdf. This table also shows the required number of years of work needed to be able to earn certain number of credits). These credits are earned through payment of Social Security taxes (employees’ pay slips usually identify SS tax payments as “FICA,” that is, Federal Insurance Contributions Act).

Disability, as defined by the SSA (at least for SSDI purposes), means:

  • A condition that will render a person unable to to perform the work that he/she did before being disabled;
  • The disability renders a person unable to perform any other type of work; and,
  • The disability may either last for at least a year or result in death.

Once an employee starts receiving the cash benefits, payment of benefit will only stop if:

  • He/She works at a level that the SSA considers as “substantial”;
  • If the SSA decides that his/her medical condition has improved to the point that he/she is no longer disabled; or,
  • If he/she turns 65 – if this is the case, recipient of the disability benefit will continue receiving the same amount of payment, only this time, it will be called “pension,” and no longer disability benefit.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or State Supplementary Payment (SSP), on the other hand,  is designed to provide cash benefits to the aged, the blind, and the disabled who are with little or without income; this cash benefit should help provide for its recipients’ basic needs, which include food, clothing, and shelter. Specifically, SSI is designed for:

  • Disabled adults who have limited income and resources;
  • Disabled children who are younger than age 18 and who have limited income and resources; and,
  • People 65 years old or older who are without disabilities, but who meet the financial limits set under the federal benefit rate (FBR). (The FBR represents both the SSI income limit and the maximum monthly dollar amount paid by the SSI program.)

As pointed out in the Hankey Law Office, P.C. website, Social Security Disability benefits is a reliable source of income that makes a world of difference in the lives of disabled individuals and their families. People should find out if they are eligible to the financial assistance known as Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income. A highly-competent SSDI/SSI lawyer may be able to help in this endeavor, as well as help prepare and file all necessary documents and forms in case of eligibility.

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Equitable Distribution and Community Property Distribution of Properties and Assets

Apr 6, 2017 by

Equitable Distribution and Community Property Distribution of Properties and Assets

Spouses not agreeing on the issue of division of properties and assets is one of the reasons why some divorce cases become contested and so end up in a divorce court. Division of properties and assets will have a direct major impact in the spouses’ lives right after divorce. Due to its effect, being assured of a substantial share of assets (and lesser marital debts) will be important, especially for those who have sacrificed their own career and professional growth to support of their spouse and care for the children.

To save couples from the stress and worry that this divorce-related issue usually brings, many financial experts, legal professionals and even marriage counselors advise those planning to get married to consider entering into a pre-marital (or pre-nuptial) agreement. Besides the fact that a pre-nuptial agreement is never aimed at spoiling marital unions, it can also really provide lots of benefits if the marriage eventually fails.

Before attempting to decide “who gets what,” a judge (if the divorce is contested) or a mediator (in mediated divorce) will first need to determine which of the couple’s properties and assets are marital assets and, therefore, subject for distribution. Properties identified as inheritance or gift to one spouse during the time of marriage, profits earned from properties which one of the spouses got to own before the marriage, a property purchased by one of the spouses using the money that he/she earned before marriage, and all other properties mentioned in the pre-marital agreement are considered personal and, therefore, cannot be divided between the spouses.

With regard to those that may be distributed, courts apply one of these two basic systems: equitable distribution or community property. In equitable distribution, marital properties and assets are divided fairly and reasonably (not necessarily equally) between the spouses. This system of distribution takes into account the following factors:

  • the income and earning potential of each spouse;
  • the age of each spouse;
  • the spouses’ emotional and physical conditions;
  • the tax consequences of the assets, properties and debts;
  • the value of the personal properties [like retirement plans, 401(k) plans, business, business interests, bonds, stocks, financial incentives] of each spouse;
  • child support (if there are children) and/or alimony requirements;
  • the future financial needs of each spouse;
  • the degree of contribution of each spouse in to the acquisition of marital properties; and,
  • length of marriage.

The community property distribution system, on the other hand, is based on equality. In this system, the spouses are considered equal owners of all the properties and assets earned and acquired during their marriage even if only one of them had been employed. This legal position is also applied with concern to debts, rendering both spouses equally liable for all unpaid balances on car loans, home mortgages, credit cards, and so forth.

The community property system or equal distribution system is currently observed in nine US states (all other states observe the equitable distribution system: Wisconsin, Washington, Texas, New Mexico, Nevada, Louisiana, Idaho, California and Arizona.

As explained by Raleigh divorce attorneys of Marshall & Taylor PLLC, “Throughout the course of a marriage, most couples accumulate a wide range of shared property. Additionally, most partners come into the marriage with their own individual property, while many also receive property or assets that could be considered solely theirs during the marriage. As a result of both of these issues, trying to navigate the property division process and make sure you get the property and assets you deserve when getting a divorce or separation can be difficult.

For this reason, many individuals choose to enlist the support of a legal professional in order to ensure that their rights and interests are fully protected in any property division agreement that may be reached. A skilled legal professional understands how much the outcome of a property division agreement can mean for anyone going through a divorce, and, fortunately, with his/her help, you stand a much better chance of getting the outcome you are seeking.”

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How to Write the Perfect Job Task Analysis

Jan 5, 2017 by

A job task analysis is the analysis of a job or task to effectively document on how to execute it. It may be an important part in employment application, employee assessment, compensation, and other departments where thoroughly knowing the job and task can be a factor.

Since it is a crucial part of business, it is important to write an effective job task analysis. Below is a series of steps you can follow on how to write an effective job task analysis.

Determine Why You Need a Job Task Analysis

There can be many reasons on why a job task analysis is necessary. Maybe the position is newly available and you need to explain the task to applicants. Maybe you want to assess the performance of your current employees. Maybe you want to know whether the compensation is adequate for such a task.

Identify the Job

The second step is to identify the job and task that needs to be analyzed. This way, you are making sure that you are analyzing to satisfy the need for a specific job task analysis. This also puts your analysis in a specific direction, preventing you to analyze aimlessly and waste time.

Determine the General Details

Now that you have identified the job and task that needs to be documented, it’s time to write a general description of them. Does the job require the employee to write news articles a day using a specific computer program? Where will he get his resources, online or offline? What is the quota? When is the deadline for the quota?

By writing the general details of the job and task, you are giving yourself an idea skeleton that you can use as a reference in writing the specific details of the job.

Determine the Specific Details

This is where you enumerate the specific tasks necessary to accomplish the general details. If the general details are the skeleton, the specific details are the skin, muscle, and tissue that make up the entire job and task. Does the news writer need to go to the police station and write police beats, or are criminal news online enough basis to write on? Does he need to write a two-thousand-word feature article, or four five-hundred word articles? Does he report during the day or night?

Breakdown the Tasks into Subtasks

Once you have written down the specific tasks needed to accomplish the general details, you need to break them down into more specific, easier to understand content. They are the subtasks of the tasks. Maybe the news writer has the privilege to access police documents, or maybe he has no choice but to follow police officers on the job. Maybe he needs to write his findings in a notebook as a reference for himself and for the company. Maybe he is allowed an hour of sleep during the night shift.

The key to a perfect job analysis is hierarchy. Determine the general details to know the scope of the job in the macro sense, break the general details into quantifiable tasks, and break these tasks even further to know the scope of the job in the micro sense.

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Boating Under the Influence: A Big “NO” in All 50 States

Oct 24, 2016 by

Driving under the influence (DUI) is prohibited in all 50 states; so is BUI, which stands for boating under the influence or drinking and operating a boat. All states, in fact, have their own set of penalties for violators of the boating under the influence (BUI) law. While large fines and imprisonment are standard penalties, some states can also impose suspension of operator’s certification, completion of alcohol education program or safe boating course, suspension of operating privileges, or suspension of driver’s license.

BUI laws have been passed due to alcohol and drug-related boating injuries and fatalities that just kept on occurring every year, especially during the boating season. Alcohol, as mentioned in the official website of the Boating Safety Resource Center, the U.S. Coast Guard’s Boating Safety Division, is the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents. Drinking, as a matter of fact, impairs a boat operator faster than it would a car driver who is on land. This is due to the overall condition at sea, such as the motion of a boat, the sun and the heat, the sea breeze, the noise, the wind, and the glare of the sea water. All these, which are referred to as “boater’s fatigue,” can affect the physical and mental abilities of a boat operator much faster.

According to the United States Coast Guard, the effects of alcohol when consumed while on sea include:

Deterioration of judgment, cognitive abilities, as well as the ability to make wise assessment of any situation;
Problem in balance, lack of coordination and failure to make timely reaction to dangers;
Decrease in peripheral or night vision and depth perception; and Difficulty in pulling self out of the cold water (if thrown overboard), resulting to hypothermia and death.

According to the website of the Toronto personal injury lawyers at Mazin and Associates, the possible results of accidents vary – from a minor bumps or bruises to fractures or severe head injuries. In cases involving serious harm to a victim, the liable party or his/her insurance provider is often unwilling to pay the full amount of compensation that will cover all the damages suffered by the victim, especially the amount that will enable the victim to receive full and proper medical treatment that will help him/her recover immediately. It can be to the victim’s advantage if he/she would pursue legal action against the liable party through the help of a seasoned personal injury lawyer.

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Can A Trespasser File A Premise Liability Claim?

Jul 30, 2016 by

“No Trespassing.” We often this sign on walls or posts or in private properties. Such warning is not designed to vandalize the wall or post. It is placed there for a purpose. When you trespass and gets injured inside the premises of the private property, it is likely that you will be on your own when it comes to shouldering your medical expenses.

A trespasser is one who enters a property without the permission of the owner. In premise liability laws, the property owner does not have a duty of care against a trespasser. Thus, any injuries or accidents that happen to the trespasser, the property owner will not be liable for it. According to the website of Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenherg, property owners are legally required to ensure the safety of their premises. But what about an individual who trespasses in their property? Can they be held liable for accidents that will happen to someone who does not have their permission to enter their premises?

Generally, while the law prohibits someone to enter someone’s property without their permission, there are certain instances when the property owner can still be responsible for accidents or injuries to the trespasser. Here are some instances that a trespasser may pursue a premise liability claim:

1. Dangerous artificial conditions present in neighboring properties that could pave the way for unreasonable risk of harm to people who are lawfully on the neighboring countries.
2. Hidden dangers intentionally placed to cause injury to trespassers that would result to death or serious injury.
3. Use of willful, illegal force against a trespasser in some circumstances especially when the private property abuts public land.
4. Dangerous conditions maintained near a public right of way

The Rule of Attractive Nuisance

Attractive nuisance takes into effect when a child enters someone’s property without permission. Under this rule, if the property has a dangerous condition that is attractive to children such as a swimming pool, abandoned car, or discarded appliances, the property owner can be held liable for any injuries.

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Mar 13, 2016 by

Claudia Castillo just wanted to ask if there was an emergency situation that made it necessary for a police officer operating a Miami-Dade police squad car to speed. She asked him to pull over and then lectured him on the safety of responsible driving.

This was the scene that was captured in three cellular phone videos that were posted on video-sharing website Youtube on Jan. 29, 2016 by Castillo, who said she was the one taking the video and driving the vehicle that stopped the police squad car, much like a routine Miami traffic stop.

Castillo claimed the police officer was speeding “since Miller Drive when you were first jumping onto the Palmetto…you were pushing 90 miles an hour”.

The Sun Sentinel, the main daily newspaper of Broward County in Florida, received a Pulitzer Prize in 2013 for its investigative expose of speeding police officers using electronic-tolling data; journalists were able to find out that some off-duty squad cars regularly zoom along highways at 130 mph.

Attorneys at Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller, & Overbeck, P.A. say that speeding, or driving past the designated speed limit in a certain area and “committing a combination of moving traffic offenses”, is a dangerous road behavior that should be immediately curtailed, for doing so along roads and highways is tantamount to putting one’s life, and potentially the lives of other motorists, in danger.

Some states have taken precautions to prevent speeding and aggressive driving activities from proliferating by instituting laws that would penalize such actions, which include failure to yield, following too closely, improper passing, and red light running, among others.

Automated enforcement is also a good way of reducing speeding incidents. Some states have installed red light cameras to be able to pinpoint who have been violating speeding laws.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there had been 9,262 individuals whose lives were claimed in speeding-related accidents in 2014, making it 28% of the fatalities in vehicular crashes in that year.

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