Drug Trafficking: A Billion Dollar Industry in the US

The use of illegal drug is linked to several major causes of death in the US, including homicide, suicide, violence, HIV infection, motor-vehicle injury, hepatitis and mental illness. This is why the US Federal Government has never stopped, but, rather, still intensified its war against illegal drug trade which heightened starting in the 1970s when various criminal groups from neighboring Mexico started to smuggle marijuana, heroin, cocaine, hallucinogens, amphetamine and methamphetamine in the US through various routes.

Drug trafficking generally refers to the importation, exportation, production, sale, distribution and possession of prohibited drugs – a definition that is applied to all types of illegal substances. In its website (http://www.dea.gov/druginfo/ftp3.shtml), the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has posted a table that shows the federal trafficking penalties for illegal drugs falling under schedules I, II, III, IV, and V. It details the number of years in jail and the amount of fines based on the type and quantity of substance seized, and the number of offenses committed.

Because of the serious harm illegal drugs can cause both in the user and on others (who may be victimized by the drug user after the substance takes effect and control his or her thinking), federal and state authorities have been more intense is clamping down on suspected and identified drug traffickers. But, like in their campaign against DUI or DWI, some enforcers sometimes become overzealous, apprehending individuals who may only have been used as fall guys or unknowing couriers by drug crime syndicates or charging first offenders with very serious criminal charges that entail grave punishment.

While blaming authorities for their overzealousness in making arrests may be futile, as they are just concerned with protecting the welfare of the general public, the effect of the charge on those apprehended cannot be belittled as it will seriously affect their personal and professional future.

Many law firms and criminal defense lawyers provide valuable information on how those unjustly charged with a drug trafficking crime may possibly save themselves from a conviction or from being given a severe sentence. Click here to learn more about criminal defense strategies.

Protecting Nursing Home Residents from Abuse

Horace, a Roman philosopher, once said: “pulvis et umbra sumus”. We are but dust and shadows, so the saying states. From the dust from where people were hailed, to dust people shall return – but before all that, there is a whole life to live.

Thanks to the innovations of modern science, the expected longevity of human life has been significantly increased. There are medications available that ensure a long, full life for a human being. However, with age comes increased frailty as the bodies slowly deteriorate to ready themselves to their descent back to the dust and shadows whence they came. However, as all humans of all ages and races and creeds are born free and equal, any one person has legal, human rights from the moment they are born, even until after they are dead.

There are even special laws in place that protect the elders of our population, specifically those who reside in nursing homes. These facilities are necessitated by law to adhere to a certain standard of care in order to care for their elderly wards. They are expected to have a sufficient number of professionals who can care for their patients as well as have their facilities be capable of caring for these elderly folk. If these standards cannot be met, then the care of that elderly person in that facility can be classified as nursing home abuse.

Nursing home abuse is a subset of personal injury. These kinds of lawsuits can be difficult to pinpoint as abuse victims can be hesitant to report their abusers out of fear. That is why it is of the utmost importance to keep a vigilant eye on the nursing home where an elderly loved one may be residing, should there be any signs of maltreatment or abuse. If there any signs of wrongdoing, it is recommended that experts are contacted immediately so that the matter can be investigated further so that appropriate actions can be made.

Truck Accidents: The Sad Truth

The sad truth of the matter is: accidents happen every single day. Sometimes, the outcome is totally irreversible. A lot of these accidents happen on the road, even. However, you cannot just stop using the road to travel. No matter how careful you are, there will always be somebody who chooses not to be. Thankfully enough, there are ways to bring justice to those who are in the wrong.

In America, thousands and thousands of accidents happen on the road every single year. A lot of these are car accidents and not all of them are fatal. Your average vehicle will weigh at around four thousand pounds. An eighteen wheeler truck having an accident on a busy interstate, however, could mean some seriously catastrophic injuries. There are federal laws that surround vehicular accidents for vehicles that weigh over ten thousand pounds – and an eighteen wheeler truck weighs can weigh up to eighty thousand. Just imagine what kind of damage that kind of weight could pull when rolling along a busy highway? In terms of monetary damage, the rates are near astronomical. The loss of wages, the trauma induced from the incident, and the loss of lives? Incalculable.

According to the website of Williams Kherker, though most of the victims are passengers of smaller vehicles, there are still some cases when the injured and affected by the accident are even pedestrians. Due to the size and risk of a vehicle as large as an eighteen wheeler truck, there are many parties involved should an accident ever occur. There are federal laws that both protect the employer and employee of the truck that caused the damage – and they are, too, exonerated by these same laws if they fail to meet the standard.

If you or someone you know has suffered due to an injury caused by an eighteen wheeler truck, it is advisable for you to contact legal assistance immediately. The only thing you need to be worrying about is getting back up on your feet. Allowing yourself to be properly represented by people who know the ins and outs of a courtroom procedure can ease you of the stress and trauma that undoubtedly come from such a tragic situation.

Clearing the Sea

People have sought challenges for as long as they have been around. Rising to meet the obstacles placed in front of us is one of the things that makes us human. Some challenges are simply more extreme than others.

Take for example crossing the English channel. Some do it via boat, and most people do it through the Channel Tunnel, but a brave few eschew the help of technology and attempt to do it the old old-fashioned way, beating limbs and burning dependable ATP.

swimmer in ocean

In its narrowest areas, the channel is at least 20 miles wide. This obviously presents a significant challenge to anyone with aims to swim across, but I imagine that’s the entire point.

The first person to successfully swim across the English Channel was a man named Matthew Webb. He accomplished the feat over the course of 21 hours and 45 minutes in August of 1875. Since then, a number of people have completed the challenge, some of them children.

Application for Workers’ Compensation Benefit

Employers in the US, whether from the private or government sector, are obliged provide their employees with a safe and healthy work environment to significantly reduce, if not totally eliminate, occurrences of accidents in the workplace. This duty is base on the mandate of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, a federal law that was enacted by the US Congress in 1970. The Act requires the assurance for a safe and healthy working environment for all employees, the conduction of training in the area of occupational health and safety, and the provision of vital information, research and education on the same area.

In 1971, the Occupational Safety and Health Act or OSH Act gave birth, in turn, to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which is tasked to fully and strictly implement all the safety standards mandated by the Act, such as a workplace free from mechanical dangers, excessive level of noise, heat or cold stress, exposure to toxic chemicals, poisonous gases, radiation, unsanitary conditions, and other hazards.

The Hazard Communication Standard or HCS, is another mandate that OSHA enforces. This federal mandate, which was passed into law in 1980 and took effect in 1986, gives those exposed to hazardous chemicals in the work area the right to be informed about the type of danger they are exposed to and how they can protect themselves from such danger.

The HCS, also known as the Right-to-Know law or the Worker Right-to-Know Legislation, also requires manufacturers and importers to attach Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) and warning labels on all their hazardous products. And, besides indicating on the label that a product is poisonous or hazardous, there should also be information on the product’s safe storage suggestions, potential health effects, precautions for use, emergency first aid instructions, and contact numbers for further information.

Each type of work environment presents a unique set of safety risks; thus, employers should take full responsibility in implementing the necessary measures that will prevent accidents from occurring. Anticipation of potential problems through risk assessment, safety training, provision of the necessary protective equipment, installation of safety barriers and so forth, are just few of the precautions that ought to be observed inside work premises.  While OSHA maintains that accidents can be avoided, this will only be possible if owners of firms and their managers observe government safety standards, and the employees follow company safety rules.

Settling Divorce and all Divorce-related Issues without Stress

When conflict and resentment begin to dominate the relationship of spouses, marriage also begins to be frustrating, stress-filled and painful. This is why a great number of couples, who no longer consider their marriage still being workable, rather decide to end the relationship, if only to end the frustration and stress that continue to draw the life out of them.

Ending a marriage is not a simple process, though, due to the many other issues involved with it, which also need to be settled, if not amicably between the divorcing spouses, then through court procedures, where all decisions will have to be made by a judge. Alimony or spousal support, division of property, assets and debts, and, if the couple has a child, then child custody, child support and visitation rights, constitute the main issues that divorcing couples need to address.

Besides the fact that the divorce process is already emotionally-draining, the complications added by the issues mentioned only make divorce a more stressful experience, more so if each of the spouses would only see his/her own interests and contest all related issues against his/her ex-partner.

To save couples from too much stress, as well as save them from time-consuming and costly court fees, many marriage counselors and divorce lawyers recommend that couples settle their divorce case and all other divorce-related issues through mediation, a process wherein they will be able to make their own decisions and come to an agreement, concerning all issues, on their own terms.

Meditation allows couples to find the most ideal solutions in an amicable manner, without wasting time and money. More importantly, the decisions arrived at are their own, and the whole process is held confidential, free from the reporters and spectators who usually populate courtrooms.

A mediated divorce process is done through the help of a mediator, who is chosen by the divorcing spouses themselves. Each of the spouses may or may not choose to be represented by a lawyer, though having one may be more advisable to make sure that the interests and rights of each are expressed more clearly and to have each issue settled faster. The assistance of highly-competent Cedar Rapids divorce lawyers would be of much help to couples, whether the divorce is settled through a court procedure or through a mediation process.

The Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill: Four Years After

With $14 billion already spent (as of December 2013) for leak containment, clean-up operations, compensation to businesses and individuals and the safeguarding of the health and safety both of those affected by, and involved in responding to, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill tragedy, British Petroleum (BP) still continues to lose the fight in its appeal to have settlement payments blocked.

Four years and two months after the worst oil spill in US waters, the liable firm, giant oil company BP has, again, been declined, this time by the US Supreme Court. This means that settlement claims by businesses, even those whose losses were not traceable to the oil spill (and probably even those which never really lost anything at all, but filed claims all the same), will have to be paid.

Meanwhile, a report made by the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board states that it still sees mistakes in the procedures and safety equipment on the oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. According to the Board investigators, it may be that regulators and drillers on the rigs do not have a clear understanding of the limits of BOPs or blowout preventers, which are meant to pinch pipes to stop natural gas and oil from escaping a well during emergencies. And with the great possibility of still undetecting the same or like deficiencies that caused the spill in April 2010, another catastrophic spill would not be impossible from occurring again.

While any oil company, especially BP, would never want another oil spill due to the unreasonable cost of damages that needs to be settled, not ensuring the safety and perfect operation of blowout preventers may just lead to the occurrence of another nightmarish spill.

While many businesses which suffered losses that can legitimately be traced to the spill are still awaiting settlement payments from BP, Williams Kherkher makes the case that those who file for claims should have a BP claim appeal lawyer fighting on their side. For though their claim may be legitimate, having legal representation can help expedite the approval of, and payment for, their claim.

The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards: Setting the Required Minimum Safety Performance for Cars and Car Parts

Motorists need and deserve only the best finished products from manufacturers of vehicles and vehicle parts, as well as the best services from those responsible in the construction, repair and maintenance of roads, bridges and other public areas. The bottom line is, people paid for their vehicles, thus, they should only get their money’s worth. In like manner, drivers pay taxes, be it road tax or whatever other fees they pay for; therefore, anyone has the right to complain and cry foul if roads become unsafe, more so if these begin to be the causes of injurious or fatal car crashes.

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has identified drunk-driving, texting and use of hand-held phone while driving, driver distractions and driver errors, as some of the major causes of car accidents, which still number to more than five million in the US every year. These causes, however, are factors for which drivers are directly liable. There are other factors that the NHTSA has identified which lie beyond drivers’ control: defective roads and highways  and sub-standard vehicle part replacements, vehicles leaving the manufacturing plant but being discovered later to be with defect.

To remedy concerns on sub-standard parts, the NHTSA issued the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). These regulations stipulate the required minimum safety performance standards on motor vehicles and certain vehicle parts, like the brake hose assembly, brake hose, tail and head lamps, tires, etc. These standards, which also include vehicle crashworthiness requirements, are aimed at meeting whatever is needed to ensure motor vehicle safety.

On the William Kherkher Law Firm website it talks about the millions of Americans who sustain injuries (some of these injuries are permanent) and the thousands more who are killed in car accidents every year. Sadly, these injuries and deaths are caused by people who act irresponsibly or negligently on the road. Injuries sustained by victims, in this case, are called personal injuries and, under the (tort) law, injured victims can file a civil case against the liable party for damages resulting from the injury, which includes lost wages and medical treatment.

If it can be proven that the accident was triggered by a defect in the vehicle, then the victim may hold the vehicle’s manufacturer (or the manufacturer of the specific sub-standard vehicle part) responsible and file the lawsuit against such manufacturer.

A highly competent Green Bay personal injury lawyer can provide victims the help that they need in fighting for their rights and earning the full amount of compensation that the law allows them to receive.

Most Common Causes of Workplace Injuries

In 1970, the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) was established with the goals of:

  • Ensuring safe and healthy working conditions for all male and female employees
  • Authorizing the implementation of the standards formed under the Act
  • Assist and encourage the States in assuring safe and healthy working conditions
  • Provide “for research, information, education, and training in the field of occupational safety and health.” (https://www.osha.gov/law-regs.html)

The OSH Act is a federal law aimed at overseeing occupational health and safety in both the federal and private sectors in the US. In the year following its establishment it paved the way for the founding of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for the purpose of strictly implementing the standards formed under OSH Act.

Except for those who are self-employed, and those working in the transportation and mining business, all public and private employees are covered by OSHA. This means that all employers, under whose care all covered workers are employed, are obliged to abide by the standards enforced by OSHA.

Despite the safety standard laws, however, accidents continue to occur in workplaces, causing injuries to employees. In worst cases, some employees are killed while in the performance of their job. Data from the US Department of Labor identifies the following as the top causes of injuries in the workplace:

  • Overexertion, which includes carrying, pushing, holding, pulling or lifting (usually) heavy objects.
  • Slipping/Tripping is the second most common cause of workplace injury. This happens due to wet floors or tripping hazards.
  • Falling from heights refers to falling from stairs, ladders, roofs or any elevated area.
  • Bodily reaction refers to slips or trips but without falling down.
  • Falling objects, which may have been dropped by a co-worker or it may be any object falling from a shelf or any higher location.
  • Struck against an object refers to running into or bumping against a door, wall, cabinet, chair or glass window.
  • Road accident is a source of injury which, before, concerned only those whose work basically required driving or travelling. Today, however, anyone may be tasked to run an office errand or transact business outside the office, rendering him/her prone to vehicular accidents.
  • Machine entanglement is an accident that usually happens in factories.
  • Repetitive motion usually manifests the harm after some time. The injuries usually associated with this can include back pains, eyesight problems and carpal tunnel syndrome due to continuous use of computers or regular typing jobs.
  • Violent acts, which are due to arguments and office politics.

There are, of course, other accident-causing injuries, such as electrocution, sprains, cut or laceration and heatburn. Whatever the cause of injury, however, and whoever’s fault it may be, so long as it is job-related, then the injured employee is entitled to the benefits provided by the Workers’ Compensation Insurance benefit or Workers’ Comp.

Since the passing into law of Workers’ Comp in 1908, each US state gradually adopted the mandate and imposed the same on private firms to make sure that employees or workers, who get injured on the job or develop job-related illnesses, are immediately provided with monetary assistance without having to go through a litigation process.

There are times, though, when even applying for such benefit can require much from the injured worker due to all the documents the need to be prepared and forms that need to be filled out correctly.

The Many Greater Advantages of Outsourcing in the Philippines

The Information Technology-Business Process Outsourcing (IT-BPO) industry holds that the Philippines is among the top five most cost-competitive destinations for IT-BPO services. And while edging India’s New Delhi at number three spot in the 2013 top 100 global outsourcing destinations, a US-based company simultaneously makes a bold prediction that by 2030  the industry will have pushed the Philippines to becoming a trillion-dollar economy.

The trend, indeed, seems to be towards such direction as top companies in Australia are now beginning to outsource in the country, following the footsteps of many giant American firms. Some of the services outsourced in the Philippines are call centers, back office/chat support, customer relationship management, creative processes, HR solutions, software development, application maintenance, healthcare information management, medical transcription, research, legal services, content writing and blogging.

Outsourcing, which is the contracting out of certain business processes by a host firm to a third-party firm, has become a vital business strategy for many companies. This is due primarily to the big profit host companies can make through it. What’s more, all outsourced projects are manned by English speaking and highly-skilled professionals and cost of labor and operating expenses are definitely much lower than in the host firm’s country. Incentives are also offered by the third-party’s country to host firms. Among these are vital off-site facilities, income-tax holiday, choice of paying a special 5% gross income tax, in place of all local and national taxes, granting of a permanent resident status to foreign investors and to the immediate members of their family, and so forth.

Philippines outsourcing is presently acknowledged globally as a top service provider, where voice or call center services are the concerned. And concerning complex, non-voice services, the country occupies the second spot. In 2010, more than 500,000 skilled and professionals workers were hired to fill in all offered full-time positions. This is a substantial growth in workers and it only continues to grow. In 2013 the number doubled, without counting yet those doing freelance jobs for so many other smaller foreign firms . . . and the number still keeps on growing.