Burn Injuries: Causes and Classification

Jul 14, 2015 by

Burns are a kind of injury that can be excruciatingly painful. It can damage layers of the skin, tissues and nerves and, if severe enough, can cause scarring, infection, loss of mobility, disfigurement, or even loss of extremities. Burns that affect the layer underneath the skin or the dermis are the most painful kinds of burn injuries because these directly affect the raw nerve cells of the dermis. The most serious, though, are those that affect the nerves, muscles and bones; these kinds of burns actually no longer cause any feeling of pain because the nerves have already been damaged.

A burn can be caused by electricity, the sun, friction, radiation, chemicals and, thermal or heat (which is the most common cause of burn and which include fire, hot liquids and steam). Burns also have different classifications, each based on how serious the injury is. These classifications include:

  • Third degree burn – damages the entire dermis and the nerves (the reason why third degree burn victims no longer feel pain). Due to the severity of this type of burn, it is necessary that the victims be given immediate medical attention.
  • Second degree burn – affects the dermis or the layer underneath the skin and causes swelling and blisters. This is also the kind of burn injury that is most painful. It is recommended that second degree burns be soaked in cool water, rubbed with antibiotic cream and covered with a dry, non-stick bandage. The blister that may form should never be punctured.
  • First degree burn – though this affects only the epidermis or the skin’s outer layer (thus, considered minor), this burn injury still causes painful. Swelling can occur during the healing period, which takes about six days. Antibiotic ointment or aloe vera cream may be applied on the burned area.

Though most burn classification systems list down only three, some medical institutions include a fourth one or a “fourth degree burn.” This degree of burn injury is the most serious as the damage extends to the muscle and bones, thus, often requiring removal or amputation of the area affected.

There are times when people get burned due to the carelessness or negligence of some individuals. Many have already suffered this type of accident, especially in working environments where flammable substances are handled or stored.

It is always important for burn injury victims to know and understand their legal rights and options for the possibility of seeking compensation that should cover all the damages they are facing and will still be made to face due to the injury.

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Embezzlement

Jun 28, 2015 by

Embezzlement is an often misunderstood and confusing crime in the United States. Embezzlement is defined largely is the theft of assets by a person in trust of them. This means that if a person is given the task of managing or monitoring a person’s assets but then steals the funds for their own person gain, they have just committed embezzlement. Accounting embezzlement is another form of the crime in which account records are manipulated or covered up to hide the embezzlement. This is often referred to as a white collar crime as it is mostly committed in corporate and business settings by employees. Some people convicted of embezzlement can take a large amount of money all at once or take small amounts over a long period of time, using creative and often hard to detect methods.

For a person to be committed of embezzlement, certain components must be present. First, there must be a relationship between the two parties, in which one party placed trust or reliance on the other. The defendant must have acquired the property or money through this relationship and then taken ownership of parts of the property or transferred it to someone else.

The last element of the crime of embezzlement is that the defendant took the property intentionally. This is classified as fraudulent intent and is meant when the accused is proven to have did their actions to defraud the victim out of their money or property. This can be determined by the defendant’s actions and demeanor during the proceedings. This can become especially complicated in proving if the defendant believes they took what was rightfully theirs. In short, a person must be proven to have knowingly completed their actions with the intent to take property from the victim to receive a personal gain.

The laws behind embezzlement are complicated and confusing. If you have been accused of embezzlement, often hiring a criminal defense lawyer is necessary. View more on embezzlement and other RICO violations here…

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First and Second Degree Murder

Mar 23, 2015 by

Murder can be categorized into two, and sometime three, degrees. While different states have alternate terms for levels of a murder, there are general characterizations of first degree and second degree murder. The website of Kohler Hart Powell, SC explains how drastically a murder charge can affect someone’s life, regardless of the degree and how sometimes it can be extremely hard to get back to a normal life.

First degree murder is the more severe of the two degree. These murders are characterized by the defendent’s intent to commit murder. First degree is pre-meditated, pre-planned, and punishable by life in prison. However, if the defendant can present evidence for one of four outlined defenses, the case can be lowered to a second degree murder. These factors are if the defendant can prove that there was adequate provocation, unnecessary defensive force, prevention of a felony, and coercion or necessity. Overall, these four factors are ways in which the defendant can attempt to justify their action of murdering.

Second degree murder has interchangeable terms in different states, and is generally described as a recklesss action that disregards human life. Second degree murders are impulsive and unplanned, and the defendant often does not have knowledge of who victim/victims will be. Furthermore, the statute applies to cases in which someone has caused a death by their production, distribution, or administration of an illegal drug. If a person dies after taking an illegal drug, anyone involved in the drug’s transaction can be accused of second degree murder. This type of murder is a Class B felony, and and punishable by 60 years in prison.

For both first and second degree murder, aggravating factors or mitigating defenses can affect the degree of the situation. When going through a murder trial, it is important to have a strategic approach; knowing these factors and defenses is essential when planning a defense.

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Scaffolding Safety Requirements

Feb 2, 2015 by

The United States Department of Labor has set standards regarding scaffolding. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) guidelines for scaffolding aims to protect workers. When these conditions aren’t met, they are in harms way. If an injury is suffered as a result of a defected scaffold, the worker can take legal action.

The website of Hach & Rose describes how scaffolding problems can affect a worker. They can cause minimal injury, work-preventing injury, or even death. OSHA’s standards are nation wide for all scaffolds. Every construction site should follow them, although might have individual procedures to do so.

While there are countless requirements, some are “Scaffolds and their components shall be capable of supporting without failure at least four times the maximum intended load… The poles, legs, or uprights of scaffolds shall be plumb, and securely and rigidly braced to prevent swaying and displacement…. An access ladder or equivalent safe access shall be provided.” These three examples give an encompassing idea of the guidelines on setting up scaffolding.

Many workers walk across a scaffold at any point during the day, and the it needs to be strong enough to support all of them. The safety code says it needs to be designed to hold four times the “maximum intended load,” so overestimating this weight is a wise decision.

The second requirement mentioned regards the stability of the scaffold. They should be strong and sturdy as to not move when workers walk across them. The legs that support scaffolds need to be secured to the ground to prevent collapsing, so that workers don’t fall to the ground.

Lastly, there should be a safe way to access and exit the scaffold at all times. Whether this is a ladder, slide, or something else, workers need to have the ability to safely and quickly exit the scaffold in case of an emergency.

Scaffolds need to be secure at all times. Workers constantly rely on them to perform their job, and need to feel safe while doing so. If these guidelines are not followed and scaffolds are not properly maintained, issues can arise.

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Dental Sealants for Children

Jan 1, 2015 by

Tooth decay is the most prevalent disease among children that eventually give them grief in adulthood in the form of dental fillings, root canals, jackets, dentures, and even implants for crucial missing teeth. The damage of tooth decay is permanent, and once it sets in, the affected teeth will always be weaker and prone to even more damage. Imagine if you could prevent all that for your children by the simple expedient of having your dentist place dental sealants, at least for the vulnerable back teeth.

Most children develop dental caries (tooth decay) in the back teeth (molars) where the grooves present an ideal repository for germs and food particles and the toothbrush does not easily reach. It is basic dentistry for children to recommend dental sealants for permanent back teeth to protect it from tooth decay, as it should be anywhere. Dental sealants are a thin coat of plastic (white, clear or slightly tinted) overlaid on the chewing part of the teeth, specifically the grooves, that keeps food particles and bacteria from settling in and making it their home. It’s like a force field but unfortunately without the bangs and whistles.

Children between the age of 6 and 12 (when most permanent teeth start appearing) are prime candidates for dental sealant treatment, and it should be applied as soon as the permanent tooth comes out. It doesn’t take long, and it is painless, so children won’t usually even know it is there. Sealants last up to 10 years and should be checked regularly if they need to be replaced.

Aside from dental sealants, a preventive pediatric dentistry program should also include the use of fluoride (present in municipality-treated water in the US and in most toothpaste brands), twice daily brushing, flossing, regular dental checkups and a healthy diet.

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Sexual Battery in the State of Florida

Dec 5, 2014 by

There are certain crimes that inflict severe harm to innocent victims so that, under both federal or state laws, these are considered serious offenses and are given very heavy punishments, like incredibly costly fines and many years of imprisonment (some are even given life sentences).

Examples of these serious offenses are treason or betrayal of one’s country (the most serious in the US), murder or the unlawful planned killing of another person, and sex crimes, such as rape, predatory sexual assault and, in some states, sexual battery.

Sexual battery, specifically, refers to any form of non-consensual or unwanted sexual contact or touching, without involving sexual intercourse or penetration (in some states it is otherwise called criminal sexual penetration, rape, sexual assault, child molestation or indecency with a child, if the sexual contact is done to a minor. This type of sexual crime is also most often committed by one person to someone who may be a relative, dating partner, classmate, neighbor, acquaintance, co-worker, friend, or even a spouse. While each state has its own statutes on sexual battery, the term/s used to refer to the crime also vary/varies from one state to another.

Contrary to what many think that sexual battery is motivated by sexual desire, the University of Florida Police Department explains instead that it is an aggressive attack and a violent crime with the aim of humiliating, hurting and controlling the victim through sex (used as a means or weapon). In Florida too, if the crime were committed by someone (over 17 years old) on a victim below 12, with the victim eventually sustaining injuries to the sexual organ as a result of the assault, then the crime is punished as capital felony, wherein the sentence can be life imprisonment or death.

It is punished as life felony (and punished with life imprisonment) under two conditions: first, if offender’s age is 17 or below and the victim is below 12 and suffers injuries to the sexual organ; and, if the victim’s age were 12 or higher, but physical force that caused serious injury was used to consummate the crime, or if the crime were committed through threats of the use or the actual use of a deadly weapon.

The state of Florida furthermore identifies different categories based on the circumstances of sexual battery committed on a victim aged 12 or older, such as if the offender used physical force or threatened the victim with acts of retaliation (like forcible confinement, false imprisonment, extortion, threats of kidnapping, and so forth), or if the victim were physically helpless, physically incapacitated or mentally incapacitated. Involving any of these circumstances, the offender will be charged with first degree felony wherein the punishment is 30 years imprisonment.

If accused of the crime of sexual battery, most especially in the state of Florida, where the crime is considered a highly serious offense, immediately contacting a Fort Walton Beach sex crimes lawyer is an absolute necessity for, besides being able to provide a very strong defense for the accused, he/she can also possibly gather more evidences that may prove the accused person’s innocence.

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Surprising Facts about Divorce

Oct 6, 2014 by

Divorce is often considered as something that must be avoided at all costs. In many cases, however, couples who are experiencing insurmountable personal problems will be better off calling it quits While the effects on children can be devastating, in the long run benefit from a much healthier atmosphere.

The divorce rate in the US is approximately 50%, which means that all couples who marry have a 50-50 chance that they will divorce in the future. In real terms, about 3.8 people out of 1,000 will divorce in any given year. The surprising fact is that when the economy plummeted, the divorce rate actually decreased.

This is surprising because one of the more common causes of divorce is money problems. However, there are situations in which a married couple who would have gotten a divorce during the time when the US economy was at its worst could not afford to get one. The aftermath of divorce is quite costly; there is a need to maintain two households when it used to be one, for example. In some cases, there was a family business to consider in which the spouses each had to contribute to keep it going in troubled times, or risk losing their source of income.

This was borne out by the fact that the divorce rate rose as the economy improved. Married couples who had stuck it out through the hard times were finally able to prioritize their personal life and go through with a belated divorce. While divorce was still a difficult and emotional time for many families, it did not have to be a contentious one. As pointed out in the website of Law Office of Andrew A. Bestafka, Esq., when divorce is managed properly it can resolve a lot of problems.

If you are considering divorce, it would be advisable to have experienced legal representation to ensure that the terms are fair to both parties. Consult with a divorce lawyer conversant with the family laws in your state for best results.

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An Overview of Dangerous Drugs

Oct 5, 2014 by

Dangerous drugs are often prescribed for conditions for which there are no other treatment, when the risks are outweighed by the benefits. However, when “safer” alternatives are available, the patients were not given full information about their treatment options, and/or the products present too high a risk to even be sold that is when marketing dangerous drugs become negligence.

This is usually the case in product litigation cases against pharmaceutical companies. Either they do not fully disclose the risks of the product or mislead the public about its efficacy or safety compared to alternative treatment. An example of this would be combined oral contraceptive products such as Yasmin, Yaz, and Ocella, which according to the website of the National Injury Law Center caused potentially fatal blood clots to form in a significant portion of those who take them. Plaintiffs claim that if they had known of the risks, they would have not patronized the products. Product liability lawsuits have already been certified for multidistrict litigation.

On the other end of the spectrum, new anticoagulant medication such as Xarelto caused uncontrollable bleeding with no effective reversal agent available. They were touted as more convenient than the standard treatment for atrial fibrillation and related conditions, but it posed an unacceptable level of risk for many patients. As pointed out in the website of the law firm Williams Kherkher, even as Xarelto in particular was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2011 for certain medical conditions it was rejected for later applications. This circumspection may be due to the increase in complaints for injured patients, some of which have already filed lawsuits against the appropriate parties.

There will always be side effects when raking pharmacotherapy, but the benefits should outweigh the risk of harm. If you have suffered serious injury from using a drug that was misrepresented by its makers or distributors, you have a right to be compensated for it. Consult with a product liability lawyer in your area for some legal advice.

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BP Medical Settlement in Dispute

Oct 3, 2014 by

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the economic side of the settlement programs set up by BP Plc for its part in one of the biggest environmental disasters in the oil and petroleum history, but it appears that those whose health was affected is getting the short end of the legal stick as well.

BP is one of the principals behind the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico which exploded more than four years ago, spilling tons upon tons of heavy oil into the once-rich waters and affecting both the livelihood and health of the people in 5 states along the coastline. According to the website of Williams Kherkher, the company among others were held liable for the personal, financial, and environmental impact of the accident because it occurred due to negligence, and BP responded initially by offering settlement plans for all those who had a legitimate business or medical claim about 4 months after the incident.

But then BP began to balk at the number of claims made against its economic damages settlement program and used legal tactics to delay payouts. This went on for years with motion after motion, but at least the medical benefits plan proceeded quietly as planned.

However, it turns out that the medical benefits program is also in dispute. Certain claimants are blocked from getting benefits because they got their diagnoses after the cut-off stipulated in the settlement plan. The problem is more than 20,000 claimants did not know that they would need any compensation until months, even a year after they were exposed, and only found out when the health problems they were having tied in with the BP oil spill. They end up being denied and have to go through the claim appeals process or sue as individuals, both of which will take a lot of time.

If you are having difficulty getting the benefits for medical or economic injuries against BP, you will need experienced legal help. Consult with an experienced BP Claim appeals lawyer to help expedite the matter to a successful conclusion.

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Some Facts about Long Term Disability Insurance

Oct 2, 2014 by

It is a sad fact that you don’t think about insurance until you need it, and by then it is too late. While most people have insurance covering their car, home, and health, few people think about getting long term disability (LTD) coverage. Some employers include this as part of their employee benefits, but most employers and employees labor under some misconceptions about LTD that lead them to dismiss it as unnecessary.

For one thing, they believe that LTD only happens to a few people. In fact, it is estimated by the Social Security Administration (SSA) that nearly 25% of all workers in the US will be disabled before they turn 67 years old. For 2012, insurance companies paid in excess of $9 Billion in employer-sponsored LTD benefits to 650,000 employees.

Some rely on workers’ compensation insurance to cover LTD, but in most cases, LTD is not work-related. This category of LTD comprise less than 5% of all LTD cases, with more than 90% accounted for by disease or illness. This means that employees that acquire LTD outside of work will have to apply with the SSA for benefits if they have no employer-provided LTD insurance. Some believe that LTD only occurs to older people, but between 2009 and 2012, about one-third of LTD payments were made to people under the age of 40 and 41% were those 50 years old or younger.

In an article on the Hankey Law Office website, it was pointed out that LTD insurance coverage is the same as any type of insurance: it is for the unexpected. Unfortunately, even those with LTD insurance coverage can experience difficulty in getting their claim approved because again like in any type of insurance, the insurer wants to keep their payouts low to non-existent. If you are having in claiming for employer-provided LTD benefits, you should make the extra effort to get what is rightfully yours. Consult with an LTD lawyer in your area to find out what can be done.

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