Let’s Just Get Rid of Florida Already

Oct 30

The question of the day: Would anyone really care if Florida just fell off from the continental United States and disappeared into the ocean? I know I wouldn’t be particularly concerned. As far as states go, Florida is just about the worst. I wish we could call on our Georgia attorneys to simply go to court and get a divorce and never have to see Florida again or deal with their shenanigans, but then again, it’s Florida, and I suppose there’s some advantage to keeping them around to be the butt of every joke.

The best thing to ever come out of Florida is I-75. As far as I know, all they have is alligators and swamps that always flood, and you couldn’t give me anything that would convince me to move from Georgia to Florida. We’ve got it made in the shade here, and I love Georgia.

Georgia was founded in 1732 as a place for debtors to get a fresh and fair start. Everything cooks under the sunny Southern sky, and this land is full of magic. We have the sweetest Vidalia onions in the world, and we produce the most pecans than any other state. There is nothing better than grandma’s pecan pie after a Thanksgiving feast! You can go outside and breathe the same fresh air that supported the birth of the Civil Rights Movement, right here in Atlanta, and Martin Luther King Jr.’s house is still on Auburn Avenue.

If you like golf, we’ve got that too. Every year, the Masters Tournament is played at the Augusta National Golf Club, after the course was denied hosting the US Open. Around here, if we run into obstacles, we don’t give up. We’ll figure out a solution and work hard to resolve the issue.

Florida is the kind of state where Sharknado could actually happen. For some reason, everyone seems to dump their non-native species in Florida and the state has a huge problem with invasive creatures. You would think there are enough alligators down there to eat up all the problems, but it doesn’t work like that. Fully grown boas and pythons dwell in the murky landscapes surrounding local cities, and lately, giant African land snails have taken over the place, eating houses and spreading parasites like rat lungworm. Poisonous lionfish and Cuban tree frogs are common throughout the state, and there just isn’t as much natural beauty in a place like Florida compared to Georgia.

Georgia has its fair share of ridiculous laws, like taking away the license of a funeral director for using obscene language in the presence of a corpse. We’ve also got some weird natural phenomenon. Stone Mountain is the world’s largest piece of granite that has been exposed to the surface of the earth, and little pockets in the stone have created a habitat for shrimp nearly 1,683 feet above sea level. Don’t ask me how they got there, but at least you don’t see Georgia with enormous four-foot long black spinytail iguanas running all over the place, like Florida. If only our two states could handle this amicably and part ways… Oh well.

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Clean Air for the Future

Aug 13

As globalization continues to affect our growing world we as a species must innovate our technology in order to protect the Earth from harmful environmental pollutants. As we burn fossil fuels, pump methane into our atmosphere from animal agriculture, and burn down the rest of our rainforests our planet has become increasingly fragile. Too long have humans placed our own immediate needs above the long term needs for all life on Earth. Companies such as RoboVent are mavericks in their field, cleaning up the earth’s air supply and reducing further impact. Their mission is simple – provide innovative tools that can reduce harmful emissions that would otherwise harm the operator and the planet as a whole.

The global population has exploded at an alarming rate. Humans are doing more to harm the planet than they are to heal it. We take out resources from the earth’s crust, burn down forests, which in turn throws out excess carbon into the air, and overfish the oceans until one day they will be virtually empty. Even more depressing is that we have pridefully done this in the name of the entire human species with no remorse. This is where companies like RoboVent are stepping in to combat climate change by producing technology that is innovative in order to slow the effects of humanity killing the earth. The Anthropocene is the current age we are living in. This age is notated by the period in which humanity permanently disrupted the planetary environment in a way never previously recorded. Due to human intervention, wind patterns have shifted causing major changes to climate and seasonal periods. This in turn has and will continue to disrupt farming cycles.

Everything humanity has done to pollute the world in the past 100 years is literally shifting the homeostatic patterns that the earth previously operated on. RoboVent specifically uses innovative technology in order to stay current with worker’s needs. Their filtration systems are cutting edge and are crucial to their mission of improving lives daily. The work RoboVent is spearheading is extremely valuable to the future of industrial work sites. With current political administrations slacking majorly on EPA regulations for factories and major producers, companies like RoboVent must be at the forefront of protecting workers and the planet. Their commitment to the earth and their clients have allowed them to prosper alongside other Fortune 500 companies. I find it particularly important to mention that typically companies that place client feedback on a level of high importance usually have successful business ventures and RoboVent is an excellent example of that vision.

To summarize, as the whole of Humanity enters further into the Anthropocene it is increasingly important to place companies like RoboVent at the front lines of technological innovation so that we as a species do not further harm the planet. Eco-friendly technology must become the standard goal for all devices around the world. As tech is integrated more regularly, we must make sure it is ethically suitable for our current ecological state.

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Prompt Pay

Jul 30

As defined by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, “prompt pay” is a policy that “makes sure that valid and proper invoices submitted by vendors are paid on time by federal agencies.” In 2003, the state of Texas implemented its own Prompt Payment Act to ensure that doctors and other medical professionals were being fairly compensated for their services. Prior to the act, many insurance companies engaged in evasive business practices that cheated medical practitioners of the full compensation that they were entitled.

The Prompt Payment Act of 2013

As the Prompt Pay attorneys at Williams Kherkher explain, the Texas Prompt Pay Act of 2013 does not cover all insurance programs. Furthermore, not all physicians that provide patient care are eligible to pursue a Prompt Pay Act claim. Unfortunately, prompt pay laws are extremely complex, and medical professionals often enlist the help of experienced lawyers to help them determine their eligibility. The basic eligibility requirements for Prompt Pay include the following:

  • The patient must be insured by an entity covered by the Prompt Pay Act
  • The medical care provider must either have a written contract with the insurance company, have performed services in an emergency or its “attendant episode of care,” or have performed services at the request of the insurance company because an in-network doctor could not have “reasonably” performed the services.
  • The claim initially submitted to the insurance company must have been “clean”—complete, legible, and accurate.
  • The claim must have been submitted within 95 days of services rendered

There are occasionally exceptions made to these basic requirements, but such exceptions are extremely rare.

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Employer Responsibility: Indoor Air Quality

Jun 20

Employers should not overlook indoor air quality. It can affect both the productivity and health of employees, so it is a lose-lose situation if they ignore the role of indoor air quality, even if they look at it in a pure business perspective.

It doesn’t matter what industry they are, because all kinds of work are vulnerable to poor air quality. Below are just some of the things employers can do to ensure the cleanliness of air in their premises.

Installing the adequate ventilation system

The most basic thing they can do is to get a good ventilation system, such as that from RoboVent. A ventilation system does not just circulate air and control temperature, as it can also effectively filter dust and other pollutants.

Of course, merely installing the system is not enough. Maintaining it to avoid defects and malfunctions are just as important.

Designing the workplace for good air circulation

Even if the workplace has an adequate ventilation system, it may not function in its most effective if the workplace itself is not designed in a way that promotes good air movement. Furniture, supplies, equipment, and even entire machines should not block airways, particularly air conditioners, hallways, and windows. The place should also not be too crowded.

Maintaining the workplace

The ventilation system is not just the only thing that needs maintenance. The entire workplace should be cleaned for aesthetic and health reasons. Aside from ventilation system defects, the most common maintenance issues include excessive emissions from appliances and office equipment, improper disposal of trash, improper storage of food, and growth of bacteria, mold, and other contaminants.

Avoiding pollutants

Pollutants such as chemicals and particles are sometimes unavoidable, especially on industries such as manufacturing and mining. In these instances, it is best to wear protective gear to avoid direct contact. But on instances where they can be avoided, like in office spaces, it is just wrong not to even try avoiding them, because they can present risks, particularly for the eyes, skin, and lungs.

Employers should avoid materials and processes that may cause pollutants, and they can do this by enforcing rules, such as establishing smoking areas and separating high-emission equipment from the work area.

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Why Planes Crash

Feb 21

Aviation accidents happen less often compared to car accidents, but when they do, you always see them on the news. Most of the time, plane accidents result into serious injuries and even death. According to the website of the aviation accident lawyers of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ®, you have legal options you can pursue in case you or a loved one has been injured in an aviation accident.

Pilot Error
One of the most common causes of plane crashes is pilot error. Airplanes are extremely complicated machines, so there are almost unlimited opportunities for the pilot to commit a mistake. Pilots can misread equipment, underestimate weather conditions, and fail to recognize mechanical defects and malfunctions.

But getting rid of pilots altogether is not ideal, as there are complications where human intelligence and experience is still better compared to computer analytics. In a way, pilots are still the last lines of defense against crashing.

Airplane Defect
Airplane defects can occur because of many reasons, such as the inherent flaw in the plane’s design, external factors such as weather conditions, and poor maintenance. There are some instances where the pilot can fix the problem or adjust to ensure the safety of everybody on board. But there are also instances where the defect is so great that the pilot will not be able to do anything significant against it.

Weather Condition
Different weather conditions pose different kinds of threats to airplanes. There are conditions that may damage the plane’s features, such as lightning strikes. There are conditions that may compromise the safe travel of the plane, like how thick fogs can affect visibility, and how rain water, snow, and ice can affect take-off and landing procedures because of runway issues.

The advancement of technology has helped the aviation community to determine weather conditions in advance, but still, many plane crashes today occur because of bad weather.

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What Are The Common Causes Truck Driver Errors?

Oct 08

When truck accidents happen, the first one to be blamed is the truck driver. Although in some instances, they are not entirely to be deemed at fault, most accidents are the result of driver error. The website of Russo, Russo & Slania, PC reveals that truck accidents can have a much greater impact compared to car accidents. This is attributed to their enormous size and weight. There are different factors that can cause truck accidents.

In a recent study made by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), driver error is ten times more likely to contribute to trucking accidents than other factors such as road conditions, weather, and vehicle performance. Let us take a look at some of the driver errors that cause trucking accidents:

Driver Fatigue

Driving for extended hours can cause fatigue in the driver making them inattentive and fall asleep. As a result, they misjudge gaps, ignore signs of possible danger, and unable to react to a situation. This is a preventable error if the employer of the driver would only adhere to the rules on working hours by the driver set forth by the Federal government.

Drug Use

Unless prescribed by a licensed physician, a truck driver is not allowed to use any controlled substances. Again by adhering to safety guidelines, accidents due to drug use may be prevented. Trucking companies must make sure that their drivers are properly tested for alcohol and drug use when applying as a driver.

Not Being Able To See The Blind Spots

Trucks have bigger blind spots compared to other vehicles. To avoid these kinds of driver error, they must be trained to be aware of their blind spots to avoid colliding with smaller vehicles. Studies show that truck accidents are 60% more likely to happen when vehicles are in a no-zone.

The number of truck accidents can decrease by minimizing driver error. Employers have the duty to provide their drivers with proper training and truck drivers are required to oblige.

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Car Liability Insurance Coverage: It’s Actually for Your Own Protection

Jun 29

From 2008 to 2015 the average annual rate of fatal car accidents in the U.S. was 33,000 – this is 11,000 less than the average annual rate from 1981 to 2007. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), other governmental organizations and all those directly concerned about traffic safety are obviously working hard in implementing road safety rules. Besides the passing of new laws that will increase road safety, car manufacturers also do their part by improving car design and equipping new vehicles with modern safety devices that will make cars safer than ever before.

Having 33,000 deaths every year, however, is still alarming, especially when more than 90% of car crashes are due to driver error. This simply means that these accidents and deaths can be prevented if only drivers would act responsibly while behind the wheel and not compromise the safety of other people on the road.

Bad road behavior is not the only fault man has, though. Many of those who cause accidents are also guilty of failing to paying compensation to their victims. Thus, besides causing their victims pain and suffering, victims are also made to suffer financially due to the cost of medical treatment and lost wages.

In order to help assure accident victims of the compensation they have a legal right to claim, a law was passed which would require drivers to carry auto liability insurance. This law was passed in 1925, with Massachusetts and Connecticut being the first states to adopt it. Today, this law is known as the Financial Responsibility law and its purposeis to make sure that drivers at fault in accidents have the financial capability to compensate their victims for the damages and losses these are made to suffer.

The Financial Responsibility law requires that drivers carry auto liability insurance. Thus, a driver, whether of a car, a truck or a motorcycle, will need to show proof that he or she carries one whenever he or she renews his or her license, registers his or her vehicle, gets pulled over by a police officer or gets involved in an accident.

The type of insurance coverage a driver needs to carry depends on the type or liability system recognized in the state where he or she resides. In 38 states, the recognized insurance coverage is the tort or fault system, while in 12 others, the “no-fault” coverage is what is required. Under the tort or fault system, compensation is paid to the victim by the insurance provider of the driver at fault in an accident; under the “no-fault” system, however, drivers involved in an accident are compensated by their respective insurance providers regardless of who is at fault in the accident.

Fault or “no-fault” system, one common thing about insurance policies is that these are needlessly expensive. Often, drivers are made to pay much more than what they really should. Independent car insurance firms, like Insure on the Spot, however, are working to change the image of the insurance world – from too costly to budget friendly and without shielding from clients the best deals available. The best way to find the type of coverage that one needs is by going online and visit the website of these independent car insurance firms. These firms offer clients insurance quotes, some offer a dozen quotes, which can be compared to help them find what will match really need and budget.

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Distracted Drivers: Threats on the Road

Feb 12

Even before the 1900s, accidents involving automobiles were already happening; some of these accidents caused damage to the vehicle, some resulted to driver and passenger injuries, and a few resulted to the horrible death of certain individuals.

As early as 1925, state authorities already saw that cars are bound to crash and cause damages to properties and injuries on people. It was for this reason why car liability insurance became a mandate – so that at-fault drivers will not default on paying victims the compensation they have a legal right to seek.

Majority of car accidents, however, are mere results of human negligence or recklessness; of bad road behavior or failure to perform one’s duty in making sure that roads and highways do not pose dangers to motorists or that cars are not defectively designed and do not contain defective parts.

Though car crashes are totally preventable, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is alarmed that more than 30,000 still die every year because of these. And while traffic authorities have increased their vigilance against drivers who speed, who drive recklessly, or even when intoxicated, another group of threats on the road is slowly increasing, most of whom are made up of teens and young adults – distracted drivers.

Distracted driving happens when a driver engages in an activity that will take his or her focus from the task of driving. This distracting activity may be carried out by the driver himself/herself or by someone else inside the car with the driver or someone outside the car. Due to distractions, it is, therefore, easy for drivers to fail to anticipate and react to possible road hazards. Currently, the use of cell phone while driving is the worst and most dangerous kind of distraction for drivers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every year thousands of car crashes, which injure 1,153 individuals and kill at least 9 others, occur due to the use of cell phone, whether texting or talking with someone. The use of cell phone, however, is not the only form of distraction that drivers get engaged in. There are so many others which have become so normal that drivers no longer realize these as distractions; their effects, however, are often tragic.

According the website of Williams Kherkher,  some of the most common forms of driving distractions, which so many drivers are guilty of, include: eating and drinking; adjusting a GPS device, compact disc player or car radio; using a laptop; reading a map for directions: talking or arguing with a car passenger (the more passengers there are in a car, the greater the distraction); reaching for an object (especially from the back seat); playing with or being distracted by a child; getting distracted by a pet or an insect; grooming; lighting a cigarette; smoking; and getting lost in thought.

Victims of car accidents may have grounds to pursue legal action against the party responsible for their injuries. It is not impossible for car accidents to cause severe injuries that can result to financial losses, pain and suffering for victims. It is for these losses and sufferings that victims have the right to seek compensation.

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Advanced Crash-avoidance Features do not Lessen Drivers’ Duty to Focus Fully on the Road

Nov 22

Records from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that 90% of all road crashes, which go beyond five million every year, is due to bad road behavior, such as driving while intoxicated, speeding, driving recklessly, ignoring traffic signs and signals, making improper lane changes, not focusing on the road, and either texting or talking with someone over the phone.

Using a cell phone, while driving, is now the worst form of driving distraction in the US. In 2012, distractions while behind the wheel resulted to 3,328 fatal crashes and 421,000 injuries, an increase of 9% from the 387,000 figure in 2011 and, while all other 2013 road accident data from the NHTSA showed declines in death and injuries (these include records on the different types of vehicle crashes and the causes of these crashes, and injuries involving pedestrians, motorcyclists and bicyclists), distraction-affected crashes resulting to injuries remained to increase.

As defined by CDC, driving distraction is any activity that takes away a driver’s attention on driving. The real scary thing about this is that anyone is prone to distractions, including drivers who are always concerned about safety. There is a very long list of actions that can distract a driver, so many of these are too simple that people usually never realize the risk of accident they present. Distractions include conversing with a passenger, eating, looking at a map, adjusting a GPS or the car radio, turning the radio’s volume to full blast, fixing a tie, reaching for something from the backseat, playing with a child, putting on makeup, driving angry, and so forth.

Professional drivers and authorities list down three major types of driving distractions, namely:

  • Visual, which involves taking one’s eyes off the road;
  • Manual, which is taking the hands off the wheel; and
  • Cognitive, a case wherein a driver’s mind wanders off

Driving requires undivided attention on the road. This is to enable a driver to veer away from anything that may cause an accident without losing control of the vehicle. Recently, various advanced crash-avoidance features have been installed in cars which hope to prevent or avoid accidents, or help reduce the severity of an impact. Some of these features are improved seat belts and air bags, the All-wheel drive, which maximizes traction by distributing power to both front and rear wheels, the Electronic Stability Control, which helps drivers maintain control of their vehicles even during extreme steering maneuvers, the Automatic braking, which allows a car to brake automatically to prevent a crash or lessen its impact, and Reverse backup sensors, which automatically beeps if a driver is about to hit something while backing up.

Auto accidents remain a top cause of serious injuries and wrongful death in the US, primarily because of distracted driving, which is an act of negligence and which makes an erring driver totally responsible for the pain, suffering, and losses that victims sustain in an accident.

This suffering, which the Truslow Law Firm explains in an article in its website, does not only include the physical and emotional pain experienced by victims, but the growing financial burden resulting from medical costs and other damages as well.

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Workplace Injuries: What if Workers’ Comp Cash Benefit is not enough to cover all Damages Resulting from an Injury?

Nov 21

Annually, from 2012 to 2014, the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII), which is conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, has recorded almost three million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in the private sector, including those that occur in office settings, construction sites and industrial sites. While danger is much more extensive and threatening in construction and industrial sites due to the types of machines, equipment, substances and tools that workers use, office employees have their own share of danger too and, though many assume that offices are safe working environments, well, they better think again. Office environments present various types of potential injuries that are different from other lines of work. Writing or typing on a computer for nearly eight hours every day and making or answering phone calls endlessly, both in seated position and in an indoor workplace setting, many employees are prone to developing vision problems caused by the glare of computer monitors, hands and wrists pains, and back and neck pains.

Then there are risks of injuries which are common in any working environment, such as: electrocution due to faulty electrical cords; head or neck injuries due to supplies in stockrooms or shelves falling on employees; cut or laceration, a result of running into, or bumping against, a glass window, a wall, a door, a cabinet, or a chair; possible health problems due to poor ventilation and poor air quality; slipping; and, tripping, which remains to be the most common cause of injury in offices. Employers have the legal responsibility of providing their employees with a safe and healthy workplace. This legal obligation is mandated by the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act), which the US Congress passed into law in 1970. OSH Act, in turn, created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in 1971, giving it the task of enforcing the standards mandated by OSH Act. To ensure that employers comply with OSH Act’s safety and health standards, OSHA conducts regular inspection and encourages employees to report their employer if they believe that he or she is not complying with OSHA rules; employees can also request OSHA to inspect their workplace if their employer does not act to find and correct safety and health hazards.

Work-related injuries can be financially burdening , and that though injured workers can seek cash benefits from the state- mandated and administered Workers’ Compensation program, this benefit, which is about two thirds of an injured worker’s average wage, is often not enough even to cover costly medical treatment. If an injury is a direct result of an employer’s intentional negligence or caused by a third party, like a client, then an injured victim can file a civil lawsuit instead (against his/her employer or liable third party) to get the full amount of compensation that will cover all the present and future damages resulting from his/her sustained work-related injury. Filing a lawsuit, specifically against his/her employer, however, means waiving his/her right to file a Workers’ Comp claim. For higher chances of receiving full compensation, though, an injured victim may want to consider seeking legal help from a highly-qualified personal injury lawyer, who may just be able to help him/her compute the amount of compensation that he/she may want to seek in order to cover all damages related to his/her injury.

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