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Railroad Worker Injuries and the Protection Provided by FELA

Trains once served as a major means of transportation to thousands of Americans; these also caused a major impact on the country’s economic growth by carrying tons of cargo and goods from one state to another in a fast and efficient manner.

The use of trains, to transport cargo and people, saw a remarkable increase between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. The positive effect of this occurrence to economic growth, though, was slowed down by the unexpected increase in the number of job-related accidents involving railroad workers.

Today, federal and state laws exist to ensure the safety and health of railroad workers. These same laws mandate and make it imperative for employers to makes sure that all railroad employees are safe whenever in the workplace by:

  • Giving them proper training about their job
  • Making sure that all equipment and tools needed to perform job are properly maintained and in good working condition
  • Providing sufficient lighting in work areas
  • Putting in enough man-power to accomplish necessary work
  • Ensuring that working areas are always maintained and cleaned
  • Providing proper supervision in the workplace
  • Making sure that all walkways are safe from hazards
  • Ensuring that all of the train’s brakes (whether manual or hand brakes) are without defect and in good working condition (including air reservoirs, connecting pipes, and air hoses)
  • Keeping all parts of the locomotive always safe for use and working properly

In cases of injuries, though, workers should know that they are protected by the Federal Employer’s Liability Act or FELA, which gives them the right to file a claims lawsuit against his/her employer for financial damages, lost wages, medical expenses, and/or disability (partial or permanent). But for a FELA claim to be valid, the injured employee has to prove that he/she was: injured during the performance of work; the work area was not safe, and that the equipment and/or tools available for use were faulty or defective; and, that accident was clearly a result of an unsafe working area or working condition.

Through FELA, an injured worker can be awarded the compensation that he/she deserves. But he/she has to have a strong and competent representation from a highly-qualified lawyer who practices personal injury in San Diego for a greater chance of netting the compensation that he/she deserves and needs. Lawyers are taught how to file these claims and see them through to their completion.

Are Pit Bulls Dangerous?

Recent incidents have shown pit bulls tendencies to attack and severely injure people – including children and infants – which have led to many people rallying to ban the pit bull breed. Although there are statistics that can support such claims, there is more to pit bulls than their aggressiveness and violence.

Pit bulls are a strong breed of dogs with a compact muscular body and very strong jaw strength. These traits are sought because initially, pit bulls were bred for bull baiting and dog fighting (both of which has been banned). It is because of these dog breed’s aggressiveness and physical power that a bite from a pit bull can be catastrophic. Pit bull mauling can include bone fractures, deep cuts, lacerations, infections, and possible amputations. Severe scarring and emotional trauma can also be experienced by the victims, and fatalities have also been a strong issue with pit bulls.

Despite the number of people and organizations lobbying to ban pit bulls (along with dog breeds branded as vicious), places like Carson City, Nevada has passed a law against declaring a dog dangerous based on their breeds alone. Under the new protection law AB110, local government is also banned from endorsing ordinances that outlaw specific dog types.

One thing people can help in easing up the dangers of pit bulls is through proper awareness of the breed and training the dog to avoid it from being aggressive. Every dog has a tendency to bite; the owner therefore should know the responsibilities that come with owning and taking care of a pit bull.

North Carolina Senate Reviews Domestic Violence Monitoring Bill

ritter and associatesThe North Carolina Senate is currently reviewing a bill with provisions to track domestic violence suspects using ankle bracelets that would alert authorities if the person came within a given distance of the victim’s residence or office.

However, because the bill pertains to those who have not yet been convicted of domestic violence, but have been served a protective domestic violence order, reviewers have questioned if monitoring before conviction could be qualified as illegal search and seizure. Senator Warren Daniel has also raised the question of effectiveness in situations where a monitored person is really dedicated to murdering the victim, although this is a rarer, extreme case of escalation in domestic violence.

The bill also suggests that the cost of constant surveillance on a person could be offset by fining the monitored person, from several hundred up to thousands of dollars, depending on what it would really end up costing.

Many committee members have agreed that while the main idea is worthwhile, these issues within the bill need to be studied and amended before the bill can travel any further in legislation.

It is likely that the bill will undergo revisions and be put up for review again at the North Carolina Senate’s 2014 session.

New Campaign by OSHA Promotes Fall Prevention

The United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration are responsible for regulating workplace conditions and protecting workers’ rights. Construction injuries are a special concern of OSHA, as construction is widely considered one of the most dangerous professions in the nation. In 2010, OSHA cited 774 fatalities in construction, over a third of which were caused by falls. The administration has created a Fall Prevention Campaign in order to answer this unfortunate statistic.

The Fall Prevention Campaign strives to educate construction workers on how to save lives through improved safety practices, in three basic steps. These points focus on planning ahead, providing correct equipment, and training workers to effectively use the safety equipment.

  1. Planning ahead – Have the details of a project hammered out before beginning. For example, know what needs to be done and how, as well as what safety gear the job requires
  2. Providing correct equipment – Make sure all the right tools are available for workers, including protective gear
  3. Training workers – Employers are responsible for teaching their employees how and when to correctly use the provided equipment in order to avoid accidents

The campaign resources include a website, training tools to help employers, worksite posters, and wallet-sized cards for workers to carry. Most of these are also available in Spanish.

Preparing for a Cerebral Palsy Claim

Cerebral palsy is a disorder that affects movement and muscle coordination. It is neurological in nature rather than muscular or neural, and results from a brain injury or abnormality. Depending on the severity of the neurological damage, cerebral palsy may range from severe to mild, but it will have a permanent effect on the child and long-term consequences for his or her family.

In some cases, cerebral palsy is a result of a birth injury that may be due to negligence on the part of the medical staff. In order to prepare for a possible birth injury claim, you need to follow certain steps.

First, confirm that cerebral palsy is present. Bring the medical records of the child to a neurologist who can assess if it is indeed cerebral palsy or another type of developmental disorder. Get copies of all the tests and get the doctor to give you a written diagnosis as well as the recommended treatments and devices to manage the disorder. These documents will be invaluable when presenting your case before a jury.

Second, request for all the medical records taken for the pregnancy and delivery. This can be quite a lot, as prenatal records tend to be extensive, but it will prove that due care was taken during the pregnancy, and there are no contributing factors evident in the medical history, physical condition or lifestyle of the mother prior to birth. The records will also show vital signs reports and who were present during the delivery.

Lastly, find a cerebral palsy lawyer conversant with the birth injury laws of Pennsylvania and present him or her with what documentary evidence you have been able to gather. Some of the records take some time to get, but you should not delay the initial consultation too much just to complete all the records. Make sure that the lawyer you retain has the required certifications for a medical malpractice suit in the state, and ask about the results and success rate in similar cases. A good lawyer will be able to prepare the mother for cross-examination, which can be somewhat distressing as the defense will most likely try to pin the blame on the mother.

It is important to remember that getting all the needed information will determine success or failure in a cerebral palsy claim. If you are convinced that a birth injury is the cause of the child’s cerebral palsy, making a successful claim will mean that the costs of managing the disorder will not place an impossible burden on the family.

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