Electronic Cigarette: Still a Bad Alternative to Tobacco Cigarette?

Posted by on Apr 2, 2014 in Smoking | 0 comments

Smoking-related health problems are among the leading causes of deaths in the US today, so says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yet, long before this, doctors have always advised patients to quit smoking due to the bad effects it has on their health and the worse effects it has on those who get to inhale second-hand smoke.

The introduction of the electronic cigarette, also called e-cigarette, e-cig, electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) or personal vaporizer (PV), would have been very timely as it seems to be the most sensible alternative to tobacco cigarette. But with the many things that still need to be known regarding its real effects, medical experts and government officials, as well as individuals in each same field, still have conflicting statements about the matter.

Both the American Association of Public Health Physicians (AAPHP) and the British Medical Association (BMA) see the possibility for smoking cessation and the fewer toxic effects to be the major benefits provided by e-cig. The World Health Organization (WHO), though, expressed that there is real no proof yet regarding the truthfulness of such possibility. Thus, it strongly advises the public that only after a trustworthy national regulatory organization has studied and proven its safeness should they consider using e-cig.

This battery-powered electronic cigarette is a tobacco smoking simulator. It contains an atomizer, a heating element that vaporizes a fluid-flavored solution, which may or may not contain nicotine. Due to the claimed harmless effects of its smoke, those who use it even do so in areas where smoking tobacco cigarette is strictly prohibited.

Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Office on Smoking and Health believes that use of e-cigs causes less harm compared to smoking conventional cigarettes, yet due to the lack of government control on matters, such as its manufacturing process, the purity of ingredients used and so forth, it has to issue warnings rather than recommendations for its use; a very reasonable decision for the sake of public health.

As there are still no federal directives on electronic cigarettes, states and cities have decided to formulate their own. One common law in a number of states is the prohibition of the sale of the device to minors.

Read More

Understanding Car Insurance Premiums

Posted by on Dec 11, 2013 in Car Insurance | 0 comments

Almost everyone in the United States has a car; it is one of the many necessities of life. Vehicles can be a convenience, but they also come with a price: possessing a vehicle often requires insurance. Car insurance is an agreement between you and an insurance company where you pay a certain amount of premium, and in case of an accident, the insurance company will pay for covered losses, typically repairs to the car.

As reported by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners in its January 2013 report, there has been a decrease in the insurance payments for auto insurance. This is regardless of who is paying the insurance. Recent studies have shown that car insurance rates differ: on average, men pay more for car insurance than women. Theses differences tend to be due to factors such as age, gender, and risk. As women have a higher chance of going to their doctors during their lifetime, men tend to have higher chances of getting into a car accident.

The people who have the highest insurance rates tend to be those who are in the 16-25 years old age bracket, but these premiums tend to lower as the drivers age and hike up again as they reach “senior citizen” status. The danger of young adults susceptible to DUI and reckless driving and older seniors with physical and mental limitations are the main reason why these brackets have higher premiums.

Attempting to lower your premium rates can be tricky, but not impossible. There are a couple of ways you can lower your car insurance premiums. One thing is to keep up with the speed limit – speeding tickets often cause premiums to rise, and even multiple speeding tickets can cancel your insurance coverage. Second, it would be best to avoid drinking and driving, since this can completely prove your negligence or recklessness behind the wheel. Drunk driving or driving under the influence is one of the leading causes of accidents and could cause serious injuries to other motorists and pedestrians. Another thing you can do is to use discounts offered by insurance companies. Maintaining a clean driving record is necessary for you to be able to qualify for many of these discounts.

It is advisable to keep an eye on your insurance coverage, or more importantly, to understand how it helps you. Know whether keeping your coverage really benefits you or costs you too much after an accident. Make sure to pay your car insurance on time, as skipping payments could signal a red flag to your insurance company.

Read More

Debt Division in a Texas Divorce

Posted by on Nov 13, 2013 in Divorce Law | 0 comments

When the words “for richer and for poorer” were intoned during a traditional wedding ceremony, the newly married couple was probably not thinking in terms of property division. But that phrase actually encapsulates the essence of property division in a Texas divorce.

When a couple gets married in Texas, income, properties and other assets that are acquired during the marriage until divorce is finalized is considered community property, and is usually divided equally between the spouses. This does not include anything that was acquired by either spouse prior to the marriage or which was given as a gift.

But with the sweet comes the bitter. All debts and liabilities that the spouses acquire together are also equally divided based on the Texas Family Code. According to law firm BB Law Group PLLC, debts incurred by one spouse prior to the marriage may be shared by the other, but does not mean that they both legally share responsibility for it. But for debts acquired in the marriage such as a home mortgage, the spouses are equally responsible for payment, and the consequences of defaulting.

Texas courts certainly have the authority to mandate debt division as it deems right and just. A couple filing for divorce, however, are encouraged to come to a mutually agreeable divorce settlement in mediation or a collaborative divorce. This is to avoid the lengthy and often contentious process of litigation as much as possible. In most cases, couples will come to a division of debt based on the assets that they want to keep i.e. mortgage on a car, based on the originator of the debt i.e. credit card purchases, or based on capacity to pay. If no agreement is forthcoming, the courts will mandate that each spouse is responsible for half of outstanding debts.

Debt division can be just as complicated as property division if the parties involved will not compromise. A divorce lawyer conversant with Texas and county laws should be retained to protect the rights of the client when it comes to debt division.

Read More

Importance of Car Insurance

Posted by on Oct 29, 2013 in Car Insurance | 1 comment

Being involved in one car accident can wreak havoc to your life if your vehicle is not insured. Aside from the expenses that are needed to pay for the injuries, damages and auto repair can also be costly. Having car insurance can protect you from many problems that can come up when an accident happens.

Not all states require their citizens to purchase auto insurance, although it would be beneficial to have. Having your own vehicle can make auto insurance an absolute necessity. Knowing a lot about how auto insurance works and how it can protect you and your vehicle is key in getting the right type of insurance policy. Whatever your choice will be, it should be able to protect you and suit your personal needs as well as requirements.

There are a number of auto insurance policies that are available, although it would be best to know the state laws which govern these policies to make sure you are complying with them. There are states where auto insurance is mandatory, while there are others where drivers only have to pay a certain fee. Nevertheless, having auto insurance, even paying the minimum coverage, is more advantageous.

There are a number of options to choose from when it comes to auto insurance. One common choice is auto insurance liability, a mandatory policy in most US states where it is the one that covers for the damages done to the car (whether from accidents or natural calamities) or in legal responsibilities during a lawsuit. Another type is the comprehensive insurance which provides deductible payments in case the vehicle gets stolen, vandalized or damaged because of natural disasters. Collision coverage, on the other hand, covers for the whole amount of damages after an accident (even if the fault is yours). There is also underinsured or uninsured coverage where you get covered for damages from an uninsured or underinsured driver, although this policy is often hard to find.

In order to get the best type of auto insurance policy, it would be best to talk with a qualified insurance agent. They can further explain the details and necessary coverage that would best suit your needs.

Read More

The Value of Pre-Employment Testing

Posted by on Oct 21, 2013 in Pre-Employment Testing | 0 comments

Most employers see no benefit in availing of third-party pre-employment screening services. As long as an applicant has the skills needed to perform a certain job and are amenable to the conditions set forth in the employment contract, they can be hired. What most employers are not aware of is that pre-employment testing can reduce costs in many ways.

According to the WorkSTEPS website, post-offer pre-employment screening can reveal many injury-related facts about a potential employee that may not be immediately apparent during the hiring process. An employee who is unable to perform work tasks consistently because of a health condition i.e. inner ear condition that affects the balance in a factory setting can represent considerable costs for the employer. This includes days-lost, higher workers’ compensation insurance premiums, low productivity, and attrition. It is estimated that using pre-employment screening reduces employee-related costs by as much as 50%.

When a potential employee undergoes pre-employment testing, the employer is provided with the data that will enable a good match between the worker and the tasks to be performed. It will also reveal potential problems that can be prevented from escalating into injury by employing pre-emptive measures i.e. requiring the employee with an inner ear problem to see an ear, nose, throat (ENT) physician for treatment. The data will moreover provide a basis for promoting a safer work environment i.e. first aid training which will in turn increase morale and productivity.

Aside from preventing injuries, pre-employment screening provides a benchmark on the physical condition of the employee, which can later be used to determine eligibility for workers’ compensation claims. This can have a significant impact on the number and size of claims made which in turn can affect insurance premiums, and also discourages fraudulent and frivolous claims. The expenses associated with pre-employment screening services will be eminently justifiable in the long run.

Read More

Groups that Suffered Losses from the BP Oil Spill

Posted by on Oct 20, 2013 in Oil Spill Claims | 0 comments

It is almost incredible to think about the far-reaching consequences of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster which happened more than three years ago. On April 20, 2010, an oil rig owned by BP Inc. in the Gulf of Mexico exploded and upchucked more than 4 million barrels of oil into the sea.

The groups that suffered loss from the BP oil spill continue to expand outside those directly affected such as fishermen and the tourism industry. They range from banks to car dealerships, victims of the domino effect of failing communities that depended heavily on the waters of the Gulf of Mexico for their livelihood.

According to the website of Williams Kherkher, even nonprofit organizations involved in wildlife preservation, history, disease research and education have posted revenue losses because of the disruption in the economic cycle.

It stands to reason that when your livelihood is in dire straits, the last thing you can do is put money in the bank or buy a new car. The business income losses suffered by collateral industries in the area have thus added to the number of claimants on the funds set up by BP as well as the Settlement Agreement. And because the claims have become so diverse, BP had tightened the belt on the claims process, choking off compensation for legitimate cases as it demands an investigation on allegations of fraud in the system they themselves put up.

Many consider this a delaying tactic on the part of BP, which means disaster for many groups that suffered loss from the BP oil spill and are unable to make a comeback without financial assistance. Many businesses have closed down or downsized, increasing the number of people who are unemployed in the area. With the economic crisis still in effect elsewhere in the US, the prospects for making a fresh start are indeed grim for the people from the affected areas.

Read More

Disability Benefits for Dependents

Posted by on Oct 17, 2013 in Social Security, Workers' Compensation | 0 comments

Whether you are claiming disability benefits from the Social Security Administration or from your workers’ compensation insurance, you can be sure that disability benefits for dependents will kick in provided you make a successful claim. It all depends on how circumstances pan out.

It is often the stress of worrying about the family or those who depend on you that is the greatest burden of becoming disabled during your productive years. This is especially true if you are the sole or major breadwinner in the family. According to the website of Hankey Law Office, P.C., the financial assistance that you can get through Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a big relief; that is, if you are totally unable to work for at least 12 months, and you make a successful claim. That is not as easy as most people would assume unless you know what you are doing or you are represented by someone who does.

Workers’ compensation insurance is also something the disabled employee can use to keep the creditors at bay, and eligibility includes partial and temporary as well as total and permanent disability. An article on the website of LaMarca & Landry, P.C. provides a partial list of the schedule of disability benefits based on the extent and location of the injury such as loss of a thumb (60 weeks) or loss of the first finger (35 weeks). While workers’ comp is typically lower than a worker’s pay, it is still something that one can draw on at need, and a workers’ comp and SSDI claim are not mutually exclusive.

So don’t despair if you are faced with disability. If you retain the right people to help you in your claim, you have many options for financial assistance for the benefit of your dependents.

Read More

Defective Pharmaceutical Products in Hernia Repair

Posted by on Oct 15, 2013 in Defective Pharmaceuticals, Personal Injury, Product Liability | 0 comments

A hernia is the poking out of an organ, part of an organ, or tissue where it should not. An example would be in the abdomen, where a weakness in the stomach muscles forms a gap or hole, allowing fat or part of the intestines to get into the inguinal canal, which is the part of the abdominal wall just above the groin. This is called an inguinal hernia, and it is the most common type of hernia. It usually affects men because there is a natural weakness in that particular area, although it can also happen to women.

There are many kinds of hernias and each is treated differently. Inguinal hernias, which comprise about 80% of all hernias, are not always aggressively treated if it is small and does not cause pain and discomfort. If it is and does, then there are two ways to treat it: open hernia repair (herniorrhaphy) or a laparoscopy. In either case, a synthetic mesh is used to either reinforce the repaired hernia (primary fascial reapproximation) or as the repair itself.

The most commonly used synthetic mesh for hernia repair is LifeCell’s AlloDerm Regenerative Tissue Matrix (AlloDerm) but it has not been a happy ending for many patients. According to the website of Williams Kherkher, AlloDerm is one of those defective pharmaceutical products that create more problems than they solve. AlloDerm hernia patches tend to fail, which means additional operations and increasing the risk of infections, swelling, pain, abscesses and contusions.

Defective products such as AlloDerm are like dangerous medications that persist in the market; they are largely efficacious when used in some instances, so the tendency is to continue using them in others. The problem with LifeCell is that the product was not thoroughly tested in all the recommended types of usage and marketed inappropriately, which is why 300 product liability cases are now pending in civil court against the manufacturer.

Read More

How Criminal Charges could Affect Your Professional License

Posted by on Oct 11, 2013 in Criminal Law, Professional Licenses | 0 comments

A doctor or lawyer cannot legally practice in the US without a license. This is also true of nurses, engineers, teachers, architects, and some other professionals, mostly because a license certifies that the person sticking a needle into you or building your home is competent to do so. However, when a professional license is suspended or revoked, it is not necessarily due to lack of competence. It could be because of criminal charges.

Licensed professionals often have to abide by a code of ethics, and the continued validity of a license to practice is dependent on whether an ethical violation was committed or not. A criminal conviction may be construed to indicate a lapse in moral judgment and ethical conduct at the very least, although the type of criminal offense may make a difference in this assumption. An article on the website of the Leichter Law Firm explains that this is typically determined as part of an administrative licensing case, which will then be the basis for the suspension or revocation of a license if it is determined to be a breach of the code of ethics.

Even conviction in a misdemeanor can result in license suspension or revocation. It was discussed on the website of the Law Office of Daniel Jensen, P.C. in San Jose, California that criminal charges that lead to convictions can have a significant impact on a person’s life, and the prohibition from professional practice, even temporarily, certainly qualifies as that.

In cases where criminal charges are brought against a licensed professional, a vigorous and aggressive defense should always be mounted to avoid a conviction and administrative sanction. License defense is a specialized field in the legal profession, so a lawyer in the area with wide experience in this field would be the ideal choice for legal representation.

Read More