The Issue of Child Custody

Posted by on May 1, 2017 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

The Issue of Child Custody

One cause of disagreement between divorcing couples is child custody, as there are times when each parent does not want to be separated from his/her child. In the olden days, child custody was never a major court issue since courts always awarded child custody to the mother, due to the observance of a practice called “maternal preference”. This preference was based on the presumption that mother were better equipped with the love and concern necessary in raising children.

Today, many courts consider awarding custody of the child to both parents, especially if this will be in the child’s best interest. And this is most probably the decision that a court would arrive at, unless one parent is deemed and proven unfit by the court. Being judged as unfit can be due to many different reasons, such as a parent: being abusive to the child or a bad influence to the child (this can be due to use and dependence to illegal drugs and/or alcohol); exposing the child or allowing the child to be exposed to pornographic elements; using excessive forms of disciplinary acts; being charged or convicted of a crime, and so forth.

Two other important factors considered by the court when deciding who gets child custody are parent’s involvement in the child’s activities and the environment where the parent resides. Spending time with the child and being there when the child needs him/her the most, like during school plays, school meetings and other activities, are greatly considered and appreciated by the court.

If the environment can put the child’s health at risk, or compromise his/her safety, maybe due to the regularity of crimes in the neighborhood or open use of illegal drugs, then these may affect the court’s decision.

Other factors that can affect a court in deciding about child custody (or modifying an existing custody decision) include: the ill behavior of your former partner’s new partner, which may have an unfavorable effect on the child; the custodial parent acquiring an illness that will affect his/her capability in taking care of the child; the custodial parent deliberately doing whatever will sever the good relationship between the non-custodial parent and the child; and/or the health, age and financial opportunities of both parents.

According to The Maynard Law Firm, PLLC, “Issues related to the custody of your children may very well be the most important aspect of your divorce. If possible, you and your partner should attempt to agree upon what specific role each of you will play in the lives of your children once the divorce is finalized. While it may be possible to work this out voluntarily, many partners end up going to court for rulings to resolve the disagreements over the custody of their children.

Child custody attorneys understand just how much will be riding on this agreement, and they can develop a comprehensive legal strategy to help you fight for the best interests of your family. That being said, they may be able to help you understand the implications of all your choices so that you can make informed decisions about your child’s future.”

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Uncovering The Reasons Why You Need Bar/Liquor Liability For Your Business

Posted by on Dec 12, 2016 in Liquor Liability | 0 comments

Some people just can’t get enough of alcohol. And with hundreds and thousands of bars and shops selling these beverages, people have more reason to enjoy their favorite alcoholic beverage. The bad news here is that people do not know how to stop drinking. A Charleston personal injury attorney will tell you that intoxication with alcohol can result to serious injuries or even death.

If you are someone who owns a bar or tavern and serves alcoholic beverages, you are better off taking out a liquor liability insurance. In some states, establishments that sell alcohol will be held responsible for injuries caused by an intoxicated person. The liability sets in if they serve liquor to a customer despite being visibly drunk.

With the costly nature of liability claims, bar owners must consider getting liquor liability insurance. This is a good way of protecting your establishment from shouldering any potential financial loss resulting from a customer’s intoxication. Such policy can help shoulder legal expenses, court fees, or civil and criminal charges. Most states require businesses that sell alcohol to carry liquor liability insurance.

Typical liquor liability insurance will provide coverage for any damage or injuries that will be incurred from liquor induced fights or altercations. The policy will also cover assault and battery claims. If the case goes to court, liquor liability insurance will also pay for attorney’s fees as well as litigation expenses.

It is worth noting that the intoxicated person cannot collect damages from any injury he himself sustained. Collecting damages for the injuries is the responsibility of a third party. In order to successfully collect, the drunk person must prove that there was a connection between the injury and the selling of the drink at the bar or tavern. There is a limitation on the collectible damages on the premise that the intoxicated person was responsible for their injuries in the first place.

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Understanding Punitive Damages In A Drunk Driving Incident

Posted by on Nov 4, 2016 in Automotive Dangers | 0 comments

Time and time again we have been constantly reminded of the dangers of drunk driving. One cannot deny the effects of alcohol on the judgment and decision making capability of a driver. While there have been efforts to curb drunk driving, there are still negligent drivers who endanger the lives of pedestrians and other drivers. DUI can severely inhibit a driver’s motor function and reaction time, which is important when driving a car.

Aside from being criminally charged, a drunk driver also faces stiff penalties as a result of the injury they have caused. Under the law, the plaintiff is entitled to receive monetary damages to indemnify them from potential losses or injury. Monetary damages are designed to help replace what the plaintiff lost. Another kind of damage that the court may award to the plaintiff is punitive damage.

The aim of punitive damages is to punish the defendant for their malicious or reckless behavior. While monetary damages are awarded by the court, punitive damages will come from the defendant. They are in place in order to protect the public and warn others that committing a similar crime will subject them to similar penalties. While it is allowed by the judge, it will still be the decision of the jury on whether or not punitive damages will be granted.

In general, punitive damages are awarded for outrageous behavior. These are acts that are done with a bad motive or with a reckless indifference to the interest of others. Because of its potential to cause harm and serious injury, drunk driving has been considered as outrageous conduct. In awarding punitive damages, the jury should consider not only the actual accident but also the circumstances surrounding it such as motive, relationship of the parties involved in the accident, provocation, and the driving history of the driver.

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Eligibility Requirements for SSDI and SSI Benefits

Posted by on Sep 20, 2016 in Social Security Disability | 0 comments

There are two Federal programs that provide assistance to people with disabilities: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), which pays benefits to “insured” disabled individuals and certain members of thier family; and, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) pays benefits to disabled individuals based on their financial need.

SSDI and SSI are the U.S. Federal government’s two largest programs aimed at providing financial assistance to qualified individuals or individuals who meet the criteria set by the Social Security Administration. SSDI was introduced in 1956, while SSI was created in 1974. Though both are managed by the SSA, each address different disability needs and have different requirements for qualification.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), specifically, pays benefits to insured members who are totally disabled. “Insured members” refer to individuals 65 years old or below, who:

  • Have worked long enough (or recently enough) and have paid Social Security taxes or Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes while employed (these taxes, which are paid on a monthly basis, are automatically deducted from their salary);
  • Have earned the SSA-required number of credits (four credits earned every year); and,
  • Are suffering from total disability which: (i) renders them incapable of performing their previous work or any other work; (ii) has either lasted for a year or is likely to last for at least a year; and, (iii) can be expected to result in death.

The Social Security Administration has drawn up a list of severe medical conditions. If an insured member’s claimed disability is included in this list, and if he/she has earned the required number of credits, then he/she may be eligible to receive the benefits paid through SSDI. Otherwise, SSA will require an evaluation to determine if his/her health condition is serious enough to be considered a form of total disability.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, on the other hand, are paid to individuals who are, at least, 65 years old, blind, or disabled and whose income or resources fall within the federal benefit rate (FBR) determined by the government.

SSI is aimed at helping provide for the basic needs of its beneficiaries, including food, shelter and clothing. In a number of states, SSI benefits application is also considered as application for food stamps, while other states allow the benefits to be supplemented by Medicaid to cover prescriptions, doctor’s fee and other medical care costs.

As explained by the Hankey Law Office, disability benefits vary in amount and duration. Whatever the amount a beneficiary will receive, though, it will always be a reliable source of income that will make a world of difference in the lives of disabled individuals and their families. To make sure that applicants for claims get approved for either an SSDI or SSI benefit, or both, having an experienced Social Security Disability Insurance Lawyer helping them through the whole process may be advantageous.

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The 10 Most Common Workplace Safety Violations

Posted by on Apr 22, 2016 in Workplace Injuries | 0 comments

The workplace is a worker’s second home away from their home. They spend 8 to 9 hours or sometimes even more in the office. For this reason, employees often feel safe at their workplace. However, accidents can happen anytime and the workplace is no exception to the rule. Workplace injuries can strike any employee in the performance of their work. According to the website of The Benton Law Firm, approximately 4,400 workers were killed on the job around the country in 2012. From this number, 20% came from workplace accidents in construction sites.

The U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) revealed that most of the deaths in the construction industry came from falls, object strikes, electrocution, and caught in/between. The OSHA calls them the “Fatal Four.” The agency noted that if risk reduction measures were in place, accidents in construction sites would decrease by 50 percent.

Companies have the responsibility to ensure they adhere to safety standards and make the workplace a safe place to work in for their employees. Unfortunately, a huge number of companies have failed on the aspect of workplace safefty. The OSHA has cited various workplace violatrions which has resulted to the death or injury of workers. Here are 10 of the most frequent workplace safety violations as listed by the OSHA.

1. Fall Protection. Falls is considered as one of the “Fatal Four” causes of workplace accidents. For this reason, they should see to it that they have installed fall protection measures such as harnesses. For elevated job sites, there should be guard rails, toe boards, and safety nets.

2. Hazard Communication. Workers should be properly warned and informed about potential hazards specially the customers who are working on chemicals. This should be indicated in the label or safety data sheet.

3. Scaffolding. In order to complete some tasks, a scaffolding is oftern required. 7 out of 10 accidents happen when the planking or support gives way, workers slip or struck by falling objects.

4. Respiratory Protection. When noxious gases are inhaled, the worker can instantly die or acquire long term diseases. Thus, offices must provide employees with respirators to protect them from harmful dusts, fogs, smoke, gases, vapors, mists, and sprays.

5. Lockout/Tagout. This has sonething to do with the regulation of hazardous sources of energy such as electrical, pneumatic, mechanical, thermal, and chemical. Management must see to it that machines or equipment are diasbled before they are serviced by machine operators and electricians.

6. Powered Industrial Trucks. Employees are at risk of getting injured or killed due to heavy objects flipping over as a result of the weight loaded, falling off of docks, and striking other employees. Management must ensure that the workers who are operating forklifts are trained or certified. Employees who are below 18 years old must not be allowed to operate these machines.

7. Ladders. Maintenance personnel tasked to change a lightbulb are extremely at risk of getting injured due to the ladder’s stability issues or potential for falling. Likeiwse, some employees are required to use tall ladders in awkward locations in the performance of their jobs. Managers should make sure that the ladders the employees are using is structurally sound to suport the weight of the workers and that the rungs are free from slipping hazards such as oil and wet paint.

8. Electrical-Wiring Methods. Electrical work is a hazardous job and while this is applicable only to electricians and other related workers, every employee must be kept safe from wiring hazards. Thus wiring should be carefully installed and should be done by qualified personnel.

9. Machine Guarding. Moving machine components may subject employees to various injuries such as burns, lacerations, crush, amputation of a body part, or worse death. For this reason, it is important that all machines with moving parts, must be safeguarded all he time.

10. Electrical – General Requirements – Although associated with the 8th violation, this safety standard covers all safety regulations for electrical tasks such as PPE, job planning requirements, and circuit exposure.

Workplace injuries can be avoided and reduced as long as management will ensure that the workplace safety aspect is covered and guaranteed.

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