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.”

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