There’s More Than Oil in Texas

For more than a century, there’s been an assumption that there’s nothing more to Texas than cowboys and oil. If you asked the average person from outside the region what Texas stood for, it would be some combination of those two. The word Texas itself brings to mind vast oil fields, refineries, off-shore oil rigs, and of course, horse-riding, gun-loving cowboys.

The truth is, though, that Texas has a lot more to offer the business world than just oil. First of all, there are the other associated industries. Natural gas is quickly replacing oil in Texas as a major energy source, and one that causes less damage to the environment. There are also vast mineral deposits in the state, many still untapped.

Beyond energy and other resources, Texas is also a driving force behind the tech industry. While places like California’s Silicon Valley tend to get all the credit, Texas is also a state with a lot of technological know-how. In fact, Dell, a computer company everyone on the planet knows about, is based in Texas.

Texas has also been listed among the top states for innovation and entrepreneurs. The state has a thriving STEM program, some of the best colleges in the country, and a tax system that is designed to help future businesspeople thrive in a difficult economy.

Though it doesn’t get the credit that Florida, California, or Hawaii get, Texas also has a strong tourism industry. As the original home of Six Flags, the state knows how to build an amusement park, and with miles and miles of coasts, there are plenty of beaches to enjoy as well.

With a booming economy and an accompanying booming population growth, Texas obviously also has a lot of jobs for the construction industry. A massive state with lots of roads to maintain and lots of homes to build, Texas has a lot of need for construction.

Beyond all these industries, Texas also has several of the biggest cities in the country, all of which are flourishing. Whether it is Houston (the country’s fourth biggest city), Dallas, or crazy, artistic Austin, there are all kinds of interesting businesses popping up throughout the cities in the state.

With so much to offer, it’s no wonder that Texas is the fastest growing state in the country. All of those residents know what the rest of the country ignores: Texas isn’t just a state for the oil industry or for cowboys. It’s a state that can accommodate any sort of dreamer or any sort of talent. It’s a state where brand new businesses open their doors every day, and many of the country’s best innovators are dreaming up the next great invention that will change humanity forever.

Oil is an important part of Texas’ past, but it’s been a long time since it was the central part of the state’s business. Nowadays, Texas concentrates on bringing in the best and the brightest to change not just the state, but the world.

America Is Riding Bikes Again

America is getting back on the bike. That’s what recent statistics suggest at least. In the last five years, the number of bicyclists in America has jumped from about 50 million to about 66 million. That’s an increase of about a third in just five years. What’s brought about this change?

There are likely a number of factors that have contributed to the increase in bicycling.

First, there is an economic incentive. Cities are becoming increasingly expensive to live in, and while the economy is improving, wages are not increasing at a comparable rate. One way to make ends meet in a city would be to ride a bike.

And that option has become easier in recent years because more cities are making big efforts to make their streets bicycle friendly. With more bike lanes, more pathways through parks, and more places to rent and store bikes, the biking option has become much more attractive.

Cities are going this route because bicycles are great for their streets and their air. More bikes mean fewer cars, which keeps the air cleaner and reduces traffic.

A final potential reason could be increasing awareness of global warming and a desire in some areas to make some reduction in pollution, both on an individual and city level. While much of the country continues to debate the issue of global warming, cities tend to be unequivocally in favor of doing more to stop warming effects. This, obviously, transfers to the beliefs of the citizens. Biking is an easy way to get a “win” on this issue for all involved.

While much in the culture has changed to increase the use of bikes, it will be interesting to see whether the trend continues.

For instance, will people continue to bike if wages begin to rise faster or (less likely) rent begins to go down in big cities?

Or, will cities develop even more infrastructure for bikes (such as indoor lanes during inclement weather) to further increase the use of the vehicles, particularly in winter.

It will also be interesting to see whether there is an increase in the number of bicycle accidents that compares with the number of riders. Theoretically, there should be about an equal growth in accidents, but with better infrastructure in place, the statistics may not show this.

A further point, it is not clear whether this will be a fad, or whether the newer technology will change this dynamic. As cars become more energy efficient, for instance, there may be less of a pull on the climate issue. Should the electric car become more affordable, will as many people choose to bike?

With so little data, there are still many questions to answer. For now, though, the one thing that is clear is that America is riding bikes again, and for the most part, that seems to be a positive on many levels. 

The Dangerous Slippery Sidewalks of the University of Minnesota

One of the inherent dangers of working late is not being able to see where you’re walking when heading home after a long shift. This is especially true whenever inclement weather is a factor in one’s journey home. Non-ideal conditions and a dark night never made a good combination and can often lead to injury. When most people think of worker’s compensation, they think that the injury has to be incurred at work to count. However, if somebody experiences an injury to or from work are they still under the umbrella of liability?

This is essentially the situation surrounding a painter employed at the University of Minnesota. Josephine Hohlt was leaving her work early one December night in 2013, citing bad weather as her reasoning. She ended up breaking her hip after slipping and falling on the icy sidewalk on her short walk back to where her car was parked in the garage. She was unable to work for a full year and had many fees in hospital visits and bills to account for. Her case went all the way up to the State of Minnesota Supreme Court.The University fought desperately against the court’s ruling citing that there was nothing differentiating her from any other student that would have been walking that night. Here we can already guess the verdict since the University is basically taking the side of their nefarious sidewalks and throwing their students out in the cold. Justice Lillehaug countered the University’s assertion by stating that Hohlt was put in harm’s way not as an average citizen walking through the campus at night but as a painter leaving the premises of her employer. Ultimately the supreme court came to the conclusion that Hohlt’s injuries sustained as a result of walking home from work fell under the University’s liability to compensation. By concluding this ruling, the court essentially expanded the liability of workers compensation greatly. Much in favor of employees.

Agreeing fully with the court’s ruling I believe that Josephine deserves full financial compensation for her medical bills and incurred pain and suffering. The worker’s compensation attorneys at Robert Wilson & Associates believe that no employee should have to financial suffer from any burden obtained as a cause of going to work. This expansion of workers compensation has been desperately needed. Companies need to realize that they can’t just overwork their employees or work them into dangerous situations. Or at least, if they do put their work them into dark hours or unsafe conditions that they need to be held responsible for the consequences.

Having to make your employees work late on nights of inclement weather is putting their health and safety at risk. It is always unfortunate that good people have to get seriously hurt or injured for laws to change for the better. Thankfully Josephine Hohlt will be taken care of but the pain and suffering from her broken hip will follow her around for years to come.

Patents and Intellectual Property

Do you have a novel idea or invention? If so, you might consider trying to patent the idea in case you ever want to make money from the profits it accrues. There are many nuances and challenges when it comes to patent and intellectual property law. In hopes of making this process a little clearer, I have written this article. Throughout, we will explore the purpose of patent law, the process of obtaining a patent, and finally some of the implications that can accompany a patent. Please note that this article is by no means exhaustive and to make any fully informed decisions, you should seek the advice of a professional IP attorney.

Is my idea patentable?

First and foremost, you must have an idea that is original and has not already been patented. You couldn’t, for example, patent a microwave since it has already been invented and patented. There have been some cases of people “inventing” things that have actually already been invented or natural processes that can be considered the property of everyone. In these cases, the specifics would typically be determined in a court of law and, usually, only if someone sues. It is hard to know if an idea has already been used or if it is distinct enough from similar ideas that it can rightfully be considered “new.” For this reason, the United States Patent and Trademark Office was created to consider patent proposals and legally grant rights to people deserving of proprietary benefits. If you are unsure that your idea is patentable, the next step would be to ask an attorney or the Patent and Trademark Office.

My idea is patentable! How do I patent it?

If you have an original, patentable idea, the next step is to apply for a patent. The patent process includes an application. First, you will need to determine which kind of patent your idea needs. There are three categories of patients; Utility, Design, and Plant. Utility patents are granted to novel ideas or machines. Design patents are granted to novel design modifications to existing process or machines. Plant patents are granted to people who discover or “invent” a new plant or genetically engineer one. After you determine the type of patent you want, you will need to complete an application. This usually consists of general paperwork with as much relevant information to your idea and why it should be considered new. For an effective application, you will generally want to include schematics, technical explanations of processes, etc. More is better. It is also important to know that there are usually pretty hefty application fees and the application process is rigorous. You should be relatively certain of success if you wish to pursue a patent. For more help with the application process, you might consider hiring a Dallas Intellectual Property attorney who can guide you through the steps and help you overcome any challenges you might encounter on the way. Good luck!

Social Security

Being unable to work is one of the worst things that can happen to a person. Lost wages lead to debt, which lead to stress, which adds to a worsening health condition that put the victim in this position in the first place. The victim needs time to heal and recover, so during that time, they need their social security disability compensation to cover their cost of living. Unfortunately, the process to get the benefits owed to the victim can be lengthy and complicated. In fact, nearly 7 out of every 10 of these claims are denied.

What can help in this time is expert legal advice. Getting a trained attorney, such as the Indianapolis Social Security lawyers at the Hankey Law Office, in the first place can help avoid all the extra paperwork of getting an appeal for the claim. They can help with social security:

  • Disability insurance
  • Supplemental income
  • Claim filing
  • Claim appeal
  • Representation

Since so many claims are denied, it is important to make sure all information is accurate and up to date for the first filing. If the claim is still denied, an expert legal team is exactly what could help make a difference in the appeal process. The victim should not have to go through the added stress of learning the entire legal process while they try to regain their health.

The victim has a claim to their proper compensation in the case they are disabled and unable to work for some time, getting expert legal help is crucial to keeping their mind focused on recovery.

In the Event of an Accident, Regardless of the Resulting Injuries, it may be Wise for Victims to Learn about Their Legal Rights

Two people died and approximately 18-19 athletes were injured in a three-vehicle crash near Talco, Texas, on March 23 (2017). The tragic accident involved a bus, which carried 33 high school boys of Mount Pleasant High School’s track team, a car that was being driven by the female assistant track coach of the girl’s track team (of the same High School), and an 18-wheeler, which was said to have veered into oncoming traffic toward the boys team’s bus.

To avoid head-on collision, the coach (of the boy’s team) who was driving the bus steered the bus toward a ditch, but rolled over after it was hit by the rig on the side. The rig, still on the wrong lane, hit the car behind the bus head-on, killing the female assistant track coach on the scene. The driver of the 18-wheeler was the other person killed in the accident.

Of the more than 15 million trucks operating in the U.S., about 2 million are semi-trucks, also called tractor-trailers, big rigs, or 18-wheelers. Due to their very large size and heavy weight, semi-trucks are considered threats on the road due to the damage these can cause in case of an accident. For this reason, the federal government strictly requires that only those who have earned a commercial driver’s license (CDL) can operate a semi-truck (to earn a CDL, an applicant driver will need to go through a special training and education, and a series of tests that deal with the proper operation and handling of a semi-truck).

After earning a CDL, a licensed driver and his or her employer are expected to comply with federal laws enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), such as regular maintenance checks on trucks used, use of standard parts, especially the tires and brakes, observance of the hours of service, which is the allowed maximum number or driving hours allowed of drivers, and other laws that will help ensure avoidance of road crashes. All these mandates, as well as the special training and tests, are aimed at ensuring the overall safety of interstate commercial driving.

Unfortunately, though these can definitely be prevented, truck accidents still occur – up to 500,000 every year, causing injury to more than 100,000 individuals and killing, at least, 4,000 others.

Different studies have shown that majority of truck accidents can be blamed on truck drivers. The FMCSA identifies the following as the most common causes of these accidents: driver fatigue; impairment due to prescription or over-the-counter-drugs; not being familiar with the road or the truck; inattention or driving distractions; improper way of attaching the trailer; failure of the driver to double-check blind spots; failure to ensure that the brakes are in good working condition; depowering of the front brakes, which is commonly done by truck operators to lessen wear and tear of tires and breaks for lesser operating costs; and, speeding or driving too fast for road conditions.

The law firm Williams Kherkher emphasizes that using excessive speeds in any vehicle is dangerous, which is why posted speed limit signs mark the maximum speeds that a vehicle should travel. In addition to these posted speed limits, semi-trucks are usually limited to an even slower speed, as these vehicles are more difficult to control and can cause much greater damage.

Unfortunately, sometimes drivers of 18-wheeler vehicles travel at high speeds despite the danger, resulting in serious car accidents that involve innocent people like you in injury and exorbitant expenses. Driving at high speeds in a commercial 18-wheeler is more dangerous because this can easily result to loss of vehicular control, skidding / hydroplaning, inability to make sharp turns, inability to stop at a red light, decreased visibility, decreased ability to react to sudden changes. Speeding is typically considered a reckless driving action, thus, truck drivers who commit this may actually be held accountable for any repercussions in a truck accident lawsuit.

In addition to the above, the law firm Mazin & Associates, PC, says that cars and vehicles are a valuable asset for independent individuals. They enable people to travel, earn wages, engage in social activities, and have the freedom of going wherever they please. However, car accidents happen far too frequently, resulting in lost wages, and even death or serious injury. When a car accident is the fault of one specific party, it is greatly unfair to expect the innocent party to waste their time and resources dealing with the situation, especially in the event of a wrongful death.

Victims of reckless truck drivers that choose to speed are sometimes due compensation for their injuries and the losses they have incurred. It may be wise for them to learn more about their rights as a motorist and victim in the event of an accident.

Common Reasons Why Couples Get Divorced

Some couples, despite years of marriage and the demands of work, are able to: put their relationship first; remain attractive for and to one another: continue to create excitement in their lives, which helps reignite their passion: and, talk about sex openly and about everything else.

Unfortunately, many other couples never get to enjoy this level of closeness or maturity in their marital union, splitting up later in life due to: inability to resolve conflicts; ceasing to become attentive and attractive to and for each other, leading to feeling bored; sexual incompatibility, which results from loss or lack of the show of being romantic; and, marrying for the wrong reason, or marrying for money, which is also the quickest way to divorce.

Though a complex, process, many still rather divorce their marital partner rather than continue living a life that no longer allows personal growth and marital fulfillment. Divorce, however, can be emotionally draining and demoralizing, according to marriage counselors and divorce lawyers, especially if the divorcing couple ends up in court in order to settle all issues related to it, such as child custody, visitation rights, child support, spousal support and division of assets, properties and debts.

In the past, divorce was settled only in court; modern times, however, offer divorcing couples different options on how to end their union and settle all divorce-related issues in ways that are faster, cheaper and more peaceful. These various ways, and their difference from court-litigated or contested divorce, include:

  • Contested Divorce (also called court-litigated divorce) This is the traditional way of ending a marital union. It is settled in a family court, open to the public and can drag on for months or years depending on the number of divorce-related issues that need to be settled and how fast the spouses are able to agree on these issues.
  • In this adversarial divorce process, divorcing spouses, through their lawyers, discredit one another in their attempt to win the favor of the judge who will decide on all divorce issues. Aside from a judge making all decisions, contested divorce also usually turn spouses bitter towards one another and make each other feel devastated and destitute.
  • Uncontested Divorce. Besides arriving at a settlement without having to go to trial, this divorce process is quicker and cheaper compared to contested divorce. Uncontested divorce is a private process. Though it does not require spouses to agree immediately on the issues that need settlement, negotiations are made to iron out disagreements. The main issue about this type of divorce is, despite the disagreements and the need to negotiate, the spouses remain to be in control and are sure to get through everything.
  • Divorce Mediation. This private, out-of-court legal faster and cheaper procedure allows spouses to settle all divorce-related issues by themselves. A mediator, who is a neutral third party chosen by the spouses, sits with them to help them reach an agreement. This mediator does not make any decisions regarding any issues as these are made by the spouses themselves. Part of what he/she does is make sure that the spouses are able to talk and argue openly, but in a way which will not destroy the amicable process which they chose to settle all issues at hand. Each spouse may or may not be represented by an attorney, who can help them understand the legal matters related to divorce and know if the agreement arrived at is reasonable and worth signing.
  • Collaborative Divorce. In this type of divorce process, both spouses have their respective lawyers who, with the spouses, work cooperatively in settling the divorce case. For fair negotiations, it is necessary that each spouse discloses all important information that will affect the divorce and all related issues. In the event that this process does not settle the divorce case, each spouse will have to hire new attorneys who will take the case to trial.

As explained in the website of the Maynard Law Firm, PLLC, “Ending a marriage can be a complicated and emotionally charged experience. Even the simplest family law matters can have lasting consequence for yourself, your family, and your finances. As such, if you are considering a divorce, you need to make sure that you have an experienced attorney on your side who can walk you through this difficult time and ensure that your best interests are protected.”

Possible Causes of Rib Fracture

As explained by the Spiros Law Firm attorneys, the blunt force trauma that is often associated with catastrophic accidents can result in a range of serious injuries, including broken bones and internal scarring.

Bone fracture, which is the clinical term for broken bone, refers to a crack or a break in a bone that is caused by a strong force exerted against it. The most common sites where bones easily fracture are the arms, legs, hips, skull and ribs; the last two are the most dangerous since these can lead to complications and render the injury life-threatening.

Complications of bone fractures include:

Stunted bone growth, which can occur if the fracture occurs close to the joint where the growth plates are located;

Blood loss; and,

Injury to tissues and/or organs, such as injury to the brain due to skull fracture or injury to chest organs due to rib fracture.

Rib fracture, in particular, is a crack or break in one or more bones that make up the rib cage; it could also refer to a break in the cartilage which connects the ribs to the breastbone. When two or more ribs in more than one place are broken, the result is a flail chest, which is a life-threatening medical condition.

Our ribs have two main jobs: protect the organs in our chest and provide space for the muscles to squeeze in or contract as we breathe. When one has a fractured rib or, worse, a flail chest, breathing becomes difficult and painful since the lungs are left with less space whenever it opens to allow air to flow in.

Besides chest trauma which may be due to a fall, a motor vehicle accident or a forceful blow during a contact sport, rib fracture may also be due to repetitive trauma from sports like rowing and golf, severe and prolonged coughing, application of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or factors that weaken the bone (like osteoporosis and cancerous lesion), making it more more susceptible to fracture. Now, though it is true that many cases of broken ribs are merely cracks and so usually heal on their own within a month or two, these can still make breathing both hard and painful.

Any type of bone fracture will definitely require necessitate medical treatment (continued medical treatment if it is serious). Taking legal action against the person liable for your injury, whether due to his/her action or lack of action, for the purpose of seeking compensation for any past and future expenses may help the victim pay for the medical treatment necessary for his/her recovery.

Proving Liability in A Defective Drugs Claim

Prescription drugs are designed to make those who will be taking it well. The fact that doctors and other medical personnel prescribe them and affix their signature simply means that they are safe to use. Unfortunately, this has not been happening. Rather than make them well, some drugs are doing the opposite. This can put the patient in grave danger as they could suffer from complications which can cause their death.

It is the duty of drug manufacturers to ensure the safety of their medicines. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates these drugs before sending them out to the market.But some manfacturers fail on this aspect and market their products even if they had not been adequately tested. Likewise, they do not provide patients with the proper alerts and warnings resulting to injuries or even death. For this reason, the patient or their representative are entitled to file a claim and receive compensation.
There are three ways that a drug can be considered defective and if the patient is able to prove such then they are eligible to receive compensation. Here are the ways a drug can be defective:

1. Defective Design. A drug can be dangerous because of its design. This could result to injuries to the person taking it and hence can make the manufacturer liable for whatever injuires the patient will incur.

2. Defective Manufacturing. The drug may be have been deemed safe but somewhere along the manufacturing phase someone may have modified or altered a step which was not recognized by the quality control causing it to be defective upon its entry in the market.

3. Defective Marketing or Failure to Warn . If the manufacturer did not give any warning about any defects or side effects of the drug, it is defective and may make the manufacturer of the product liable.

The plaintiff would have to prove in court that the defendant erred in one of the three ways and that defects in the product caused injury. If successful, you would receive compensation for lost wages, medical bills, or other out-of-the-pocket expenses.

Stroke and contraceptives: Is there any connection?

In a report published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, scientists have found strong correlation between venous and arterial thrombosis, and the use of contraceptives containing drospirenone – a type of steroidal progestin that can be found in certain combined oral contraceptive pills (OCPs). But what does it really mean to those who are using combined OCPs?

Combined OCPs

Combined OCPs are birth control pills that are usually composed of an estrogen and a progestogen – two female hormones that are responsible for the regulation of female reproductive system. Some OCPs, such as Yaz, Yasmin, and Ocella, have drospirenone to act as a progestogen. However, Yasmin lawyers at National Injury Law Center have warned about the dangers associated with such type of OCPs. According to their website, among the many adverse effects of Yaz, Yasmin, and Ocella are dangerous blood clots. These blood clots, which may form either in the artery or in the vein, may travel or lodge into different vital organs, cutting their blood supply and ultimately resulting in organ failure.

Venous and arterial thrombosis

The main difference between arterial and venous thrombosis is that, arterial thrombosis refers to the formation of blood clot in an artery, while venous thrombosis refers to the development of blood clot in a vein. Venous thrombosis usually develops in deep veins, such as those located in the legs. When the blood clot dislodge, the clot may travel into the lungs and block the pulmonary vein, which may result in pulmonary embolism.

OCP and stroke

On the other hand, a dangerous blood clot in an artery may pose risk of blocking an organ’s supply of nutrients and oxygen. A blockage in an artery leading to the brain, for instance, may cause stroke. If you are using drospirenone-containing birth control pills and are experiencing symptoms related to a stroke, call or have someone call for medical help for a prompt treatment.

Preventing stroke whole on OCPs

Meanwhile, you can decrease your risk of deadly stroke while on OCP with preventive care. However, some medical professionals are too negligent to conduct tests that would recognize the possibility of developing deadly blood clot. So be sure that your primary care physician is vigilant enough to conduct tests that would detect your risk of stroke.

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