Occupational Lung Diseases

Posted by on Jun 28, 2016 in Workers Compensation | 0 comments

In the United States, lung diseases are documented as the most common workplace-associated illnesses.  The inhalation of hazardous chemicals and particles present in dust can become potentially life-threatening.  Repeated exposure to irritants in the air can cause serious damage to an individual’s lungs, and some work environments expose employees to airborne particles at disproportionally higher rates. Lawyers at Scudder & Hedrick, PLLC write that lung diseases are preventable if employers provide proper safety equipment and training.

The type of lung disease and the resulting symptoms are dependent upon the type of inhalant, the rate of exposure, and whether the inhalant is organic or inorganic. Inorganic inhalants are those which do not contain carbon, such as carbon dioxide, and organic inhalants are those which do, such as mineral dusts.

  • Asbestosis is an inorganic dust disease caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibers. Given that asbestos is present in many older buildings, construction workers are especially vulnerable to exposure.
  • Silicosis can occur when workers are exposed to crystalline silica, found in dust in mines, stone, glass, and clay manufacturing operations. Victims experience lung scarring and may be more susceptible to diseases like tuberculosis.
  • Asthma is the most common occupational lung disease, and is reversible if treatment is sought early on. Individuals who work in occupations that expose them to gases, vapors, and fumes are especially susceptible. This includes individuals in the manufacturing, refining, or processing industries, farming, or textile/cotton industries.
  • Beryllium disease results from the inhalation to Beryllium: a light, non-magnetic metal widely used in manufacturing operations. Beryllium is present in cars, computers, and electrical equipment.
  • Hypersensitivity pneumonitis is an organic lung disease caused by the inhalation of fungus spores. Workers in farming and livestock industries may inhale organic dusts such as moldy hay or bird dropping particles which contain fungus spores. Victims will breathe abnormally and experience inflamed air sacks in the lungs.
Read More

Spinal Cord Injuries

Posted by on Feb 12, 2016 in Spinal Cord Injuries | 0 comments

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based regenerative medicine company Bioquark, Inc. – which specializes in the development of novel biologics for complex regeneration and disease reversion – is partnering with Noida, India-based Revita Life Sciences – which is a pioneer in therapeutic applications of adult stem cell therapy that makes use of the patient’s own cells – to brainstorm on alternative treatments and breakthroughs that could possibly help spinal cord injury patients.

According to the website of the Abel Law Firm, the amount of direct medical costs, disability support, and the loss of earning capacity of patients with spinal cord injuries in the United States is a staggering $20 billion annually.

Revita Life Sciences managing director Dr. HImanshu Bansal says the possibility of combining both cellular and biologic approaches to combating this illness represents “the next step evolutionary step in achieving complete regeneration and return of full functionality in this devastating disease”.

This recent development in the field of medical breakthroughs for spinal cord patients is by no means the first of their kind. By April 2014, four spinal cord injury patients received the gift of electrical stimulator units implanted on them over the lower part of the spinal cord to activate lumbar circuitry. Such electrical stimulator units allow the patients to make use of their limbs when the apparatuses are turned on, so that the patients have the ability to “walk”, that is, move their legs on command.

Aside from this improvement, the patients were reported to have gained autonomic recovery – functions such as bowel, bladder, sexual, and temperature control are more operational than before the use of electronic stimulator units. It was scheduled by around September 2015 that around 36 patients would have been given use of such devices.

Another medical breakthrough in the works for spinal cord injury therapy is that of the chondroitinase and gene therapy being researched on by King’s College London’s Dr. Elizabeth Bradbury, University of Cambridge’s Dr. Elizabeth Muir, Royal Holloway, University of London’s Dr. Rafael Yañez-Muñoz, and Netherlands Institute of Neuroscience’s Professor Joost Verhagen. This therapy involves a bacterial enzyme called chondroitinase, which helps degrade the scar caused by the spinal cord injury and in so doing allows recovery via the growth of the axon away from the lesion area.

Read More

Implant-based or Autologous Breast Reconstruction

Posted by on Aug 11, 2015 in Surgeries | 0 comments

While the removal of a breast due to the treatment of cancer and other disease can be daunting experience for many women, according to the website of the breast reconstruction experts at Bergman Folkers Plastic Surgery, new medical techniques and devices have made it possible for a breast to come close in both form and appearance to a woman’s natural breast.

Two common reconstruction processes include implant-based and autologous breast reconstruction techniques.

Implant-based reconstruction involves placing an implant that recreates the breast form. One is known as a one-stage reconstruction, while the other is known as a two-stage reconstruction. In a one-stage reconstruction, a silicone or saline implant is inserted directly without expanding the breast pocket. In a two-stage implant, a tissue expander is first placed in the breast pocket. This allows surgeons to insert a salt-water solution into the expander until the desired size and form is reached. Once the skin and muscle over the breast has expanded to a desired size, the expander is removed and a long-term implant like that of a one-stage process is inserted.

Advantages associated with implant-based reconstruction include no donor site complications, shorter surgery, quick recovery, and no movement of abdominal or back muscles.

Autologous breast reconstruction is process by which existing muscle, fat and skin tissue is used to form a new breast. Four common areas from which tissue is used to create the breast are the stomach (with or without additional muscle from the abdomen), upper back and shoulder, and buttock. It is important to note that not everyone is eligible for autologous reconstruction.

Advantages associated with autologous breast reconstruction include a more natural look and feel, no implant related complications, and a more natural functioning breast that fluctuates in size with weight gain or loss.

Read More

Misconceptions Regarding Out-of-state Arrests

Posted by on Aug 9, 2015 in Arrests | 0 comments

Whether on business, visiting family, or on vacation, out-of-state arrests can often be a complicated process due to the logistical problems of having to appear in court several times over the course of a case. In addition, misconceptions regarding out-of-state arrests can also lead to further fines and charges for both misdemeanors and felonies.

One common misconception is that many people believe charges brought about them in one state will not affect them in their home state. Unfortunately, charges such as those involving a DUI can have consequences in both the prosecuting and home state. For example, if you find yourself arrested while on vacation in Florida for a DUI, if convicted you may be forced to pay for penalties in Florida and lose driving privileges in your home state as well. In addition, charges one is convicted of can often make into the public record which can be seen by potential employers in any state.

Another misconception is that once bail is posted, one can simply return to their home state. Though bail often means a person can await trial from the comfort of their home, for out-of-state arrests involving felonies, many states require the defendant first obtain permission from a judge regardless of having made bail. Failure to do so may result in further charges, an arrest warrant, and extradition.

Due to the complications of having to appear in court multiple times, many states allow for an attorney to represent a defendant in several of the criminal proceedings. This allows a defendant to return to their home state and take care of a charge without acquiring any further expenses as a result of missing work or traveling back and forth between states.

Read More

Consumer Protection Act and Claim Cut Off Periods

Posted by on Aug 8, 2015 in Dangerous Medication | 0 comments

In 2012 Stryker, a medical device manufacturer, issued a voluntary recall for two defective hip implants, the ABG II and the Rejuvenate. When introduced in 2007, these metal-on-metal devices were considered to be innovative due to their long-lasting components that allowed patients to go longer periods of time without needing further hip surgery. Unfortunately, the metal-on-metal construction of these products meant they were susceptible to a process called fretting, the shedding of small particles of metals. These metals, absorbed by nearby tissue, are recognized as foreign objects that the body attempts to attack leading to a wide array of minor to serious health issues such as internal hemorrhaging, kidney damage, liver damage, DNA mutations and increased risk of cancer.

Other complications associated with these defective products include nerve damage, limited mobility, and tissue necrosis.

Though many laws are in place to protect consumers, some laws could potentially limit a victim’s ability to seek compensation for a defective product. Known as the statute of limitations, the ability to seek compensation for a defective product can range from 1 year to 6 years. However, there are some exceptions. For example, those affected by dangerous pharmaceutical products such as Risperdal, an anti-psychotic drug that, according to the website of Williams Kherkher, has been linked to several health problems, may have an extended period of time due to the fact that side effects and links may not be established for several years. The same applies to defective medical devices.

While several lawsuits have been filed since the recall in 2012, according to the Consumer Protection Act, many people affected by these defective devices may soon be running out of time to seek compensation for their injuries.

According to the CPA, legal action must be taken within ten years of the date the product was put into circulation. For Stryker victims, this means they only have until 2017 to file a claim regardless of the date they had the hip replacement surgery. Unfortunately, due to the long-lasting components of the device, patients may not begin to be affected by the faulty devices until several years after the surgery, usually about five years later. Therefore, it is recommended that those seeking to potentially file a lawsuit seek immediate legal advice before it is too late.

Read More

BMW Announces Release of 2016 7 Series Limousine

Posted by on Aug 7, 2015 in Limo Service | 0 comments

Luxury automobiles are not only expensive; they are often packed with features that are often unattainable to the common, everyday commuter. The new BMW 7 series is no exception. Considering the fact that several Austin limos are the current model 7 series, this new, large luxury sedan is sure to become a fleet favorite for limousine companies across the U.S.

At launch, BMW will offer its limousine in two models, the $81,300 740i and the $97,400 750i xDrive. BMW also plans to add a plug-in hybrid option later next year. In maintaining its luxurious persona, the new 7 series will only come to the U.S.in a long-wheelbase version. Apart from a little additional leg room, BMW has added what it calls the Executive Lounge Seating Package. This package includes a 42.5 degree reclining rear seat with a footrest that reveals itself from the back of the front passenger seat. In addition, the rear center console has a tablet that allows those being chauffeured to control everything from the typical stereo and A/C settings to the not so typical massage seats, color changing LED sunroof, and cabin fragrance settings.

The technology also extends beyond the back seat to the driver. In order to ensure that everyone reaches their destination safely, the new 7 series has several safety features, some previously seen and others not. Two features already present in luxury vehicles today are heads-up-displays that reflect all vital information on the windshield, and automatic cruise control that can bring the car to a full stop and get it rolling again in traffic. Some of the never before seen features include gesture controls that allow the driver to control the radio and take or decline calls with a wave of a hand.

Before entering the vehicle, BMW’s technology is evident in its new display key as well. What essentially appears to be a small smartphone, the new key, which features a full color touchscreen, allows owners to control just about every aspect of the car from afar. In addition, the key allows owners to park the car without a driver with the simple push of a button.

Read More

First Party vs. Third Party Insurance Bad Faith Claims

Posted by on Aug 6, 2015 in Insurance | 0 comments

According to the attorneys at Smith Kendall, PLLC, insurance companies have an enormous responsibility towards policyholders following an accident or injury. Sadly, some insurance companies may act in bad faith by denying liability, limiting coverage, or delaying payments and investigations. Fortunately, in the United States there are several laws in place to protect policy holders against the illegal practices of some insurance providers.

While insurance companies often provide first and third party coverage, the category in which one falls under can determine whether or not that person is eligible to sue the insurance provider for bad faith.

In some states, whether or not a person can sue is determined by the policy language. For example, in cases involving liability insurance claims, if a person meets the definition of “insured” as per the terms and conditions of the policy, then that person is a first party claimant who is eligible to bring about a bad faith claim against the insurer. However, due to recent developments, many insurance companies are revising and narrowing their definitions to limit who is considered to be an “insured” policy holder.

While many states allow for both first and third parties to sue, other states have specific laws that limit or outright deny third parties the ability to sue in the event that an insurer acts in bad faith. Experts state that this is due to the fact that in some states, as part of their contractual and fiduciary relationship between the insurer and insured, insurance companies have a higher duty of protection towards their own insured parties than they do to third parties. However, some states allow for a first party beneficiary to assign their rights over to a third party. In these states, if a third party has gained these rights via assignment, then they are eligible to file a bad faith claim against an insurance company.

Read More

Choosing the Right Lock

Posted by on Aug 5, 2015 in Storage | 0 comments

Although self storage theft is on the decline according to the MiniCo Insurance Agency, burglary is a real threat when storing you belongings in a self storage unit. Fortunately, certain measure can be taken that ensure that your belongings are safe and provide you with peace of mind.

The first step in securing your belongings is choosing the right facility. According to the website of Ben White Mini Storage, safety features such as well-lit units, security cameras, and fencing with access gates are good to look for in storage facilities. Some Austin self storage units even feature resident managers that are often available to keep an eye on the facility.

Once you feel you have chosen the correct facility, the next step is choosing the right lock. Though many people often think that any lock will do just fine, certain types of locks have their advantages and disadvantages. The three most common types of locks according to storage experts are keyless, padlock, and disc locks.

Keyless locks are great for those that need to grant access to multiple people at their discretion. This could be beneficial to companies that need employees to access a unit. In addition, the lack of a key means that there is no key to misplace or lose. Unfortunately, this type of lock is often not recommended due to its design. While it may fine for to temporarily secure less valuable items like at a gym locker, they can often easily be cut with bolt cutters when used for outdoor self storage units.

Similar to the previously mentioned combination locks, the design of padlocks often leaves your belongings vulnerable to theft. This is because some manufacturers provide bump keys that could allow just about anyone access to your stored goods. These locks can also be picked or cut fairly quickly and easily.

Lastly, disc locks are usually recommended for storage security as they were originally developed for self storage facilities. The design of the locks makes it near impossible to break, pick, or cut. In fact, though they can be cut using a grinder, the process is often loud and time consuming. The difficulty alone often serves to deter crime itself. Due to their effectiveness, they are often available for free or for sale at several storage facilities.

Read More

Intersections and Car Accidents

Posted by on Aug 4, 2015 in Car Accident | 0 comments

The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that 43 percent of all motor vehicle accidents occur at intersections. While some blame the inherently complex and dangerous design of intersections, the truth is that driver error, estimated to be as high as 96 percent, is the leading cause of accidents at intersections.

According to the website of the Pohl Berk Law Firm, a firm specializing in personal injury claims, the most commonly occurring types of driver error are over-correction, failure to use turn signals, distracted driving, and neglecting blind spots. Specific factors that result in intersection accident include inadequate surveillance (44%), false assumptions of others’ actions (8.4%), turning with obstructed view (7.8%), illegal maneuvers (6.8%), internal distractions (5.7%) and misjudgment of gap or others’ speed (5.5%).

Unfortunately, due to the fact that intersection accidents often involve other drivers and pedestrians, they can be one of the most deadly types of accidents. The website of the Louisville car accident attorneys at the Sampson Law Firm state that of the many accidents people can be involved in and the many ways people can be injured, car accidents are by far the most prevalent and devastating. In fact, according to the NHTSA, 58 percent of all pedestrian injuries and 21 percent of fatal pedestrian injuries occur at intersections and involve a motor vehicle. The NHTSA also states that about a fifth off all fatal car accidents occur at intersections.

While there are certain safety measures one can take to lower their risk of causing an accident, that fact of the matter is that one is unable to control other’s actions while on the road. Therefore it is important to always be aware of one’s surroundings and never assume another driver’s actions.

Read More