A Bird's Eye View on Home Improvement

Improving Business Efficiency

Posted by on Jun 17, 2019 in Personal Injury | 0 comments

As any business owner or top manager can confirm, Corporate America can be ruthlessly competitive. Even the slightest or random efficient characteristic that puts you ahead of your competitors may be the very thing that saves your business or makes you the top earner in your industry’s quarterly earnings report.

There is a plethora of information available online for how to improve business efficiency, however, many of them lack the full depth and breadth I was able to ascertain from my independent research. In the following piece, I will guide you on ways to improve the efficiency of your business and as a result, become a more competitive company:

Clear management

One of the easiest ways to suffer as a business is to have consistent breakdowns in communications, especially between management and lower-level staffers. There needs to be a clear set of expectations between all parties — especially if these members of the team work with one another often. Working to make expectations clear is necessary; working to make preferences known is an even more advanced step to take that will streamline the processes of your business or projects.

Another aspect to consider in regards to clear management is the articulation of hierarchy. Organization charts are especially great ways to explain the appropriate parties to include in different decisions or in specific projects. A confusing business cannot be an efficient business. And an inefficient business will struggle to be a profitable business.

From this, we must also consider how the rates of turnover can affect a company. If a company is constantly re-hiring and training new employees, it will cut into efficiency as well as the profitability of a business. Not only because so much time and so many resources will be used for the training process, but also because the turnover rate will affect company culture.

Safety first

Of course, another aspect to business management in the pursuit of profitability as well as efficiency is incentivizing a culture of safety in your business’ community. This is not only morally correct as employees deserve a safe working environment, but also in your business’ best interest; hiring new workers or re-assigning workers to other projects because a worker is injured or unable to come into work, is lengthy, expensive, and not in your best interest. Look into solutions like the medical management programs and services provided by WorkSTEPS, if you have a business in which people are regularly at risk.

Company culture

If people are not “bought in” to wanting the company to succeed, there will almost certainly be long-term negative effects. This can manifest itself in people viewing the company or business as a place to clock in and clock out of, but not truly caring about their coworkers, employers, or the product/service they bring into the world.

Of course, even with activities like holiday parties, bonuses, clear communication, or great leadership, a possibility still remains for a specific employee to act toxically and negatively influence other employees. The burden then falls on the shoulders of managers or higher-ups to identify these bad actors and prevent their toxicity from spreading to other parts of the company. Corporate training, mentorship, or simply firing these individuals are just some of the tools that can be used.

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Served Too Much to Drink: Who’s Responsible?

Posted by on Mar 14, 2019 in Criminal Defense, Dram Shop Liability | 0 comments

If you get behind the wheel of a car while under the influence of alcohol, you’re the main person responsible for any damages that happen as a result of that decision. You’re likely to end up doing some jail time if you’re caught as well. However, I’ve recently learned that there is another party that could be partially responsible for DUI-related crashes. Bars are legally liable for what their patrons do once they leave a bar. That’s part of the reason that bartenders and servers must go through training on when to cut people off and not to over serve. These workers can face charges and lose their job if they serve alcohol to someone that is clearly intoxicated. There is a lot of regulation surrounding what bars can and cannot do, so I started to wonder if it’s possible to sue a bar after they’ve served someone too much to drink.

I stumbled upon the site for Evans Moore, LLC while reading about this subject online. At Evans Moore, LLC the attorneys work in what is called dram shop law. That means that they hold establishments responsible if they over serve and then their patrons leave and cause damage to another person. It turns out that the law does find those who over serve to be responsible, at least partially, for a resulting accident. In the state of South Carolina, where Evans Moore is located, there are no laws that specifically relate to dram shop liability. It is still possible, however, to sue on dram shop premises because of a prior case that ruled in the state. The South Carolina Supreme Court heard a case entitled Jameson v. The Pantry, Inc. The Pantry store sold alcohol to a person under twenty-one years old. Just one hour after the sale, the minor was driving with a blood-alcohol content that was much higher than the legal limit. He proceeded to cause an accident that killed some and injured several others. The Supreme Court allowed the injured parties to file a claim against the driver as well as The Pantry store. This ruling set the precedent that allows others to sue establishments in the state today.

This ruling protects accident victims much more than they previously were. If you were to be seriously injured in a wreck, it’s quite possible you would have hundreds of thousands in medical bills to pay. If you want to press charges against a driver, you may end up only being able to collect $25,000. This is because $25,000 is the minimum insurance coverage that a person needs to drive in the state. Minimum liability is astronomically higher for establishments like a bar though. If a business sells alcohol, they are required to have at least one million dollars worth of liability insurance. This liability would cover almost any hospital expenses, were you to find yourself injured due to a drunk driver and a dram shop. These laws vary by state quite a bit, but South Carolina is definitely a good state for these types of cases.

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Awards: The Big Decider When Choosing Divorce Lawyers

Posted by on Sep 7, 2018 in Divorce | 0 comments

You’ve settled on a divorce, you’ve done your research on divorce attorneys, and now you have a decision to make. You’ve asked around for recommendations. You’ve searched online to see what people say about the law firms you’ve narrowed down to. You’ve met with the law firms for your free consultation and further weeded them down. You’ve checked to see which firms have done best by their clients, and you’ve trimmed a little further. And yet, still, you’ve got a few names on the list.

This is a very common situation. It’s easy to end up having to pull up the moment before you start the divorce because you just can’t quite settle on the right name to finally settle on for your lawyer.

It’s also easy in this situation to feel a little deflated or even a little panicked. You have, after all, done everything right, and still you have a tough decision to make, and you really don’t want to make this one wrong.

Thankfully, there’s a final round of cuts you can make to your list: the award circuit. Lawyers like to tout their awards, and the good ones have several. This is an easy way to do a final ordering of the names on your list.

Start by eliminating the lawyers on your list who don’t have any awards. How do you know they don’t have any? Again, lawyers will tell you. They’re proud of their awards and accolades. So if they aren’t advertising them, they don’t have any. Look at the accolades at Kessler & Solomiany, LLC. They get an honored place on the site because they are an important sign that the lawyers are doing a good job according to their clients and their colleagues.

So, anyone not prominently displaying big awards, mark them off the list.

At that point, try to organize your list based off who has the most, and the most prestigious awards.

At this point, you should have narrowed down your list significantly. After all, there aren’t that many awards out there for lawyers, so there probably aren’t that many names on your list with several.

If you still have several names on your list, it’s time for that tough choice, but there’s some good news before you make. At this point, you can either decide based off a gut feeling or through a random process (flip coins, pin the divorce on the law firm, whatever works). The truth is, if you have several names that came highly recommended, had a record of good results, impressed you in an interview, and had won several awards, you’re already choosing between better and best.

In other words, at that point, you’ve already only got good options to choose from. So either pick based off a slight preference or just go with the first name that strikes you. You’re sure to get a good lawyer that can get you the divorce you need. So, pick the name, and get that divorce over with.

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How much does a pothole cost?

Posted by on Oct 8, 2017 in Car Accidents | 0 comments

The cost may seem rather minuscule, at least on a government level. All it takes is the pay for employees, the equipment, and the gas to run everything. The actual work is fairly quick, as we all know. If you drive by construction workers filling a pothole in the morning, they are gone without any evidence they were ever there by the time you come home in the afternoon.

For that quick service, it may cost somewhere around $150, depending on a whole lot of factors (the contractors, where in the country the hole is, whether it’s in a city, town, or in the country, whether it’s one or many holes, how big the hole…you get the idea). The service can be much cheaper than that depending on if it is fixed by the Department of Transport (as little as $23 per hole) or private contractors (who are closer to that initial $150 number).

However, sometimes that work can also cost significantly more, particularly when tarring the road to fill cracks. For that service, Department of Transport would charge over $300 a mile, and contractors would charge double that. Better a hole than a crack, it seems.

That, however, is not the end of the discussion, since it is possible a pothole could cost a whole lot more. Consider the person whose tire is destroyed by a pothole. For that person, the pothole cost perhaps $100, perhaps more if any other damage occurred.

Then, consider the people involved in an accident due to a pothole. If the accident is serious, and it can be proved the pothole caused it, the local government may be liable. It is possible to sue your town if you’ve been in an accident due to a pothole. You can contact a lawyer about the pothole, give your story, and put your case forward.

In theory, then, a pothole could cost a town thousands, perhaps significantly more than that, all depending on how serious the accident is.

Perhaps not surprisingly, these cases are rarely successful. Accidents are complicated, and it’s hard for a pothole to be the sole cause. Still, it is a risk the government takes when it takes its time filling in the holes in the road.

This risk can be aggravated by any number of issues as well, from budget cuts that leave holes longer than usual to whether that might lead to more cracks and holes that can be dealt with quickly.

As always, the best course of action is simply to be careful, to assume there is a hole around every corner, and to assume further that any damage will be yours to cover. Otherwise, you might be out more than $150, and you may have a hard time getting that money back unless your lawyer is particularly good.

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Licensed Professional Public Appraisers

Posted by on Aug 5, 2017 in Insurance Appraisers | 0 comments

According to the Texas Department of Insurance, a public insurance adjuster is a person who, for direct, indirect, or any other compensation acts on behalf of an insured, another Public Insurance Adjuster; or a person who advertises, solicits business, investigates, settles, or adjusts or advises or assists an insured with the settlement of a claim or claims for loss or damage under any policy of insurance covering real or personal property, or holds himself or herself out to the public in negotiating for, or effecting the settlement of a claim or claims for loss or damage under any policy of insurance covering real or personal property.

Making an appraisal is giving an opinion of value by a licensed professional appraiser. It involves many issues, including study of appropriate market areas; gathering and analysis of information relevant to a property; and the knowledge, experience, and expert judgment of an appraiser. Any type of property may require an appraisal too including single-family homes, condominiums, apartment buildings, office buildings, industrial sites, shopping centers, and farms. Performing a real property appraisal is done for various reasons, such as when real property needs to be sold, taxed, mortgaged, developed or insured.

An appraiser is required to provide objective and unbiased opinions on the value of real property, especially when it is damaged due to a natural disaster. He or she estimates the value of insured items, evaluates insurance claims, and decides whether an insurance company should pay a claim, and if so, how much.

The K2 consulting & Services, LLC, believe that in order to get an accurate estimate and inventory of personal or commercial property, owners need to be represented by licensed public appraisers. Much of the value of an appraisal will come from the knowledge and assessment of the appraiser, so it is essential to work with an appraiser who has an eye for detail, knows the insurance process, and is looking out for your best interests.

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The Jones Act and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act

Posted by on May 11, 2017 in Personal Injury | 0 comments

Longshoreman injury attorneys of Williams Kherkher explain how “most maritime accidents can be traced back to some form of negligence on the part of an employer or a vessel’s owner and, when an accident is caused by the negligence or recklessness of either party, accident victims can use the Jones Act to help hold whomever was responsible financially accountable for their pain and suffering.”

The Jones Act gives seamen them the right to sue their employer for personal injury or negligence damages. This federal maritime law, originally called the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, was designed to protect seamen who get injured on the job.

To determine who are qualified for the benefits offered under the Jones Act, some terminologies are assigned their appropriate definitions:

  • Seaman. This refers to any person who spends a significant amount of his/her time on a vessel or on a specific fleet of vessel (“in navigation”) as a member of the crew member or as captain.
  • A vessel in navigation. This is any type of boat that is afloat, in operation, capable of moving and on navigable waters (this definition excludes vessels in a dry-dock or those out of the water and up on blocks; floating casino barges; oil drilling platforms; and newly built vessels that are still undergoing sea trials). “Navigable waters” refer to rivers or lakes used for interstate or foreign commerce (may oceans and landlocked lakes, but only if these extend to another state or are connected to a river that flows into another state).
  • Significant Amount of Time. In order to qualify as a seaman, a person has to spend at least 30% of his/her employment time on a vessel. Thus, anyone who works 70% of the time in the office and 30% on a vessel can be considered a seaman.

According to ship worker injury lawyers of Williams Kherkher, “The Jones Act covers employees who work on ships, rigs, crewed recreational boats, floating cranes, tankers, barges, and just about any other kind of vessel that is capable of moving on the water. Though it will not cover every person on a seafaring vessel, this legislation will cover any person that meets the legally defined requirements for being a ‘seaman.’”

In order to provide protection for other maritime workers not covered by the Jones Act, another federal law had to be passed – the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA), which was enacted in 1927. The LHWCA, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, “provides for the payment of compensation, medical care, and vocational rehabilitation services to employees disabled from on the job injuries that occur on the navigable waters of the United States, or in adjoining areas customarily used in the loading, unloading, repairing, or building of a vessel; it also provides for payment of survivor benefits to dependents if the work injury causes, or contributes to, an employee’s death. These benefits are typically paid by the self-insured employer or by a private insurance company on the employer’s behalf. The term “injury” includes occupational diseases, hearing loss and illnesses arising out of employment.”
It was designed to cover employees, including longshore workers, shipbuilders or ship-breakers, ship-repairers, harbor construction workers, other maritime workers not covered by the Jones Act, and non-maritime employees who perform their work and get injured on navigable water.

The LHWCA, however, considers the following ineligible to receive benefits:

  • Those who get injured because they were intoxicated while working; and
  • Those who get injured due to their own willful intention to harm themselves or others.
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Lack of Qualified and Trained Personnel: One of the Major Reasons for Nursing Home Abuses

Posted by on Dec 29, 2016 in Elder Issues | 0 comments

Elder sexual abuse, as defined in the website NursingHomeAbuseGuice.org, “is the initiation of physical or sexual contact with an elderly person, when that contact is nonconsensual or unwanted. This abuse also includes making contact with an elderly person who is confused or unable to give consent.” (http://www.nursinghomeabuseguide.org/sexual-abuse/) Some types of elder sexual abuse include: sexual assault and battery, rape, sexual assault and battery, forced nudity, sexual photography, and unwanted touching.

Sexual abuse is probably the most horrible type of abuse committed against elder residents of nursing homes. Over the last decade, news of nursing home abuses, which also include physical, emotional and financial abuses, have been heard more than ever, yet those that get reported are believed to be way below the real numbers as so many victims rather choose to remain silent or nursing homes, upon finding out of abuses, conceal the crimes from authorities and the public; some facilities even reverse the facts of the crime to make it appear that the ones at fault are really the victims. There are also cases wherein victims are accused of inventing stories just to get attention.

Thousands of nursing homes do not have enough personnel to guarantee that all the needs of the residents will be attended to, much more, that quality care will be provided, yet attention and quality care are what every nursing home facility advertises and promises it will provide. Due to the lack of personnel, nursing home employees always end up overworked and stressed out, thus many turn to abuse and neglect to silence residents and discourage them from requiring assistance, including in daily activities, such as bathing, eating, toileting, dressing, and others. In some other instances, it is just a facility’s failure to check the background of those who apply as nursing home staff; thus many end up hiring individuals with records of abusive acts or those whose mere intent and interest is to receive pay and not care for the elders.

Sexual abuse in a nursing home should be stopped as soon as it is committed. It is for elders’ and other residents’ safety that family members are enjoined to be vigilant of possible signs of sex abuse and to report even the least suspicion; seeking assistance from a highly-skilled attorney may also be able to help prove if an abuse is really being committed and to hold the responsible party accountable.

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Causes of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Posted by on Nov 16, 2016 in Personal Injury | 0 comments

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic pain condition that affects one of the limbs usually after an injury or trauma to that limb. It is believed that CRPS results from damage to, or malfunction of the peripheral and central nervous system. In CRPS, the damaged nerves are unable to properly control blood flow, feeling, and temperature to the affected area. According to the website of Williams Kherkher, the condition can spread to other parts of the body.

There are two types of CRPS, which have similar symptoms and treatments. CRPS-I formerly reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome involves the absence of confirmed nerve injury. It is most common in the arms or legs after a minor injury. CRPS-II, on the other hand, involves confirmed nerve injuries. It is the result of an injury to the nerve.

Doctors are not sure about the causes of complex regional pain syndrome. In most instances, it results from trauma or injury. It is most commonly triggered by fractures, sprain, soft tissue injuries, limb immobilization, or surgical and medical procedures. Injuries in the small nerve fibers may bring about the different symptoms of CRPS. Abnormalities in the peripheral nerves cause neurological functions in the spinal cord to work abnormally.

CRPS can affect the immune system as well. High level of inflammatory chemicals is present in the tissues of people with the condition. Inflammatory and autoimmune conditions such as asthma can also trigger CRPS. Complex regional pain syndrome does not have a single cause but results from several causes that produce similar symptoms. According to some theories, pain receptors in the affected part of the body responds to catecholamines, a group of nervous system messengers. It is believed that complex regional pain syndrome disrupts the healing process. Emotional stress may also trigger complex regional pain syndrome.

On certain occasions, CRPS develops without any injury. It may be caused by an infection, a blood vessel problem, or an entrapment of the nerves.

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Drug Trafficking

Posted by on Sep 15, 2016 in Criminal Defense | 0 comments

Every year, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) makes 30,000 arrests due to drug-related crimes. Despite these arrests and the untiring surveillance and operation of law enforcement agencies to catch criminals and rid the streets of drugs, trafficking, distribution, possession and use of illegal drugs (including marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and 3, 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), which is otherwise known as Ecstasy) are still significant problems in the country.

Thousands of individuals suffer years of jail term due to the very wrong notion that smuggling drugs into the U.S. is too easy money to pass up. Obviously, they would rather risk being caught and face heavy penalties, than turn down the chance of earning big amounts of cash.

Drug-related activities, especially drug trafficking, are serious federal crimes with harsh mandatory sentences. A drug trafficker can face years of jail sentence; fine amounting to thousands of dollars; loss of right to vote until the completion of the entire felony sentence; loss of the right to carry a gun; and, loss of certain academic and professional opportunities.

For drug selling, offenders can face much three to nine years imprisonment (even longer for those found guilty of selling drugs to minors). For possession of drugs, on the other hand, many states carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 to 40 months imprisonment, besides the steep fines (other states also include many hours of community service, which will serve as additional penance for the crime).

Illegal drugs use is linked to many causes of death, homicide, sexual crimes, violence, suicide, HIV infection, hepatitis, pneumonia, mental illness and motor-vehicle injuries. It is because of these, which put the lives of so many innocent lives danger, that law enforcement officers and the DEA fight the crime with more intensity. Thus, rather than just charging an individual with possession, law enforcers also look for signs, such as small plastic bags, scales and large amounts of cash, which are all possible signs of intent to sell.

The penalties awaiting a person convicted of a drug crime should never be taken lightly; more so, however, are the effects of a conviction as these can ruin a person’s future even years after his/her conviction and despite having completed the terms of his/her sentence. Because whether he/she likes it or not, his/her crime and conviction will be on record accessible, especially, to potential employers.

Drug trafficking, according to a Nashville drug crimes lawyer, can be used to refer to the manufacture, delivery, possession with intent, and sale of all controlled substances; it may also be prosecuted as anything from Class E to Class A felonies at the state level. A person charged with a crime related to illegal drugs will definitely need to do everything to protect himself/herself from the consequences of a conviction. A highly-competent drug crimes defense lawyer, may just be the right person who can provide him/her the strong defense necessary to prove his/her innocence, or lighten his/her sentence in case of a conviction.

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Treating Burn Injuries

Posted by on May 31, 2016 in Burn Injuries | 0 comments

Burn injuries are caused by forces such as heat, chemicals, friction, or electricity. They can range from mild to severe, depending on the degree of severity. According to the website of the Mazin & Associates Law Firm, burn injuries may require either emergency or prolonged medical care. Except for first degree burns, all other injuries may often require medical attention in order to properly assess and treat the burn. Here are some tips on treating burn injuries:

For minor burns:

  1. Hold the affected area under cool (not cold) running water for 10 to 15 minutes or until the pain subsides. Another option is to apply a clean towel dampened with cool tap water.
  2. Ensure that the burned area is free from rings and other items. Do this gently and quickly before swelling appears in the affected area.
  3. Avoid breaking small blisters. If they do, gently apply mild soap and water to the broken blisters. After cleaning the area, apply an antibiotic treatment and then cover with a nonstick gauze bandage.
  4. In some cases, moisturizers or aloe vera lotion or gel can also help relieve the pain
  5. If necessary, take an over the counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, or acetaminophen.
  6. Get a tetanus shot. Ensure that you are updated with your tetanus booster.

Major burns

For second to fourth degree burns, call 911 or seek emergency medical assistance. While waiting, do the following procedures:

  • Ensure that the victim is free from exposure to smoldering materials, smoke, or heat.
  • Monitor circulation. Check breathing, coughing, or movement. Perform CPR if needed.
  • Remove jewelry, belts, and other restrictive items. Burned areas are prone to rapid swelling.
  • Keep the burned heart elevated, If possible, raise it above heart level.
  • Cover the burned area with a cool, moist, bandage, or a clean cloth.

If you are not sure whether the injury is major or minor, check the extent of tissue damage based on the following burn characteristics:

  • First degree burn involves only the skin’s outer layers. It comes with redness, swelling, and pain. When it involves the hands, feet, face, groin, buttocks, or a major joint, this may require immediate medical attention.
  • For second degree burns that is no bigger than 3 inches, consider it as a minor burn. But if it is larger and takes up most of the hands, feet, face, groin, buttocks or a major joint, it is a major burn that requires immediate medical attention.
  • 3rd degree burns involves all the skin layers and the underlying fat. It may affect the bones and muscles. It is accompanied by difficulty in breathing, carbon monoxide poisoning, and other toxic effects.

For major burns, medical assistance is required to prevent infection which may cause further complications. Maintaining the cleanliness of the burn wounds is important during the healing process. The dressing needs frequent change to keep the wound from getting infected. If you have a severe wound, you would stay under a doctor’s care until your conditions improve.

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