Businesses Must Do More to Avoid Wrongful Death

Oct 04

It may seem an obvious point, but businesses should do everything in their power to avoid wrongful deaths. It is obvious, but then, most wrongful deaths aren’t the result of conscious decisions that lead to those deaths; they’re the result of laziness, cost-cutting, or simple carelessness.

Before going any further, we need to discuss what “wrongful death” means. This is a legal term that refers to the death of an individual that just shouldn’t have happened. When someone dies in a car crash, for instance, it’s a wrongful death. It just shouldn’t have happened. When someone slips on a spill that no one bothered to clean up and dies, that’s a wrongful death, too.

As you can probably see now, wrongful deaths can come from all sorts of small mistakes businesses make. It’s easy to put off cleaning up that spill in a restaurant or grocery store, but you are putting people at risk when you do that. Likewise, it saves money to push a driver to make a delivery faster, but you are once again raising the level of risk for everyone.

Wrongful death is a major problem in every industry. According to the McCutchen & Sexton Law Firm, it spans medical mistakes, issues with the building a business is in (such as unsafe walkways), and even oilfields. Another major area of concern is defective products. These can include the toys your children play with, the drugs you take to get better, and the parts you install in your car before getting on the road.

No matter what industry you represent, no matter the specifics of your business, there’s more you can do to help avoid wrongful death.

What can you do? The short answer is to stop cutting costs where it matters. Don’t rush deliveries or demand freight be delivered at unreasonable speeds. Don’t force workers to work longer hours than they should because they may start making mistakes. Don’t cut out workers that were checking product quality. Always deal with problems right away, even when they’re costly. It may be a pain to find the money to cover a small electrical issue, but avoiding the repair puts everyone in danger.

Additionally, you can put more time into thinking about just what can go wrong in your business, and then make changes to accommodate the worst case scenario. It may seem cool to hang some heavy object on the wall to make an impression on your customers, but make sure it is firmly installed and cannot fall down. Would your floors be safer if you installed carpet or put down rugs? Put in that extra effort instead of leaving open the possibility of a serious slip. Are the stairs uneven leading up to your office? Pay for them to get fixed, even if no one is complaining.

These extra steps will go a long way to keeping us all safe. It’s easy to only focus on the burden you have as a business owner, but remember that you’re also a customer at dozens of other businesses. And don’t you want them putting that extra effort in for you as well?

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Making sure your claim is approved

Oct 02

I’ve had my share of potential injury scenarios at work over the course of my career. When I worked at Walmart in my teens, I slipped on a freshly mopped floor and hit my head. A few years later, I barely missed getting in an accident while delivering for a local sandwich shop. Even in offices I’ve had issues. I came close to electrocuting myself once when I reached behind a computer and spilled my drink all over the socket while I was messing around back there.

In all those situations, I’ve been fine, but I’m aware that I’m lucky in that sense. Some people aren’t, so I want to make it easier to make sure they are covered by workman’s compensation when they need to make a claim.

Unfortunately, we don’t live in a very honest society, and people will try to deny claims just to save some money. Here’s what you can do to make sure that doesn’t happen.

First, report any issue immediately, report it in writing, and make copies. You want to establish a history to your claim if it comes down to it. If you hurt yourself but you don’t think it’s serious, report it anyway. If you come in the next day feeling worse, report that in writing as well. You want to be able to prove definitively that your injury happened at work and that your work should have to pay.

Second, and related, try to find documentation to prove your accident happened not just at work but due to your work responsibilities. Also, try to show that it was in no way due to any preexisting conditions. These are crucial points in making sure your claim is approved.

Third, go to a doctor within your employer’s network. While you might feel most comfortable with your doctor, if that doctor isn’t covered by your employer’s insurance, you may find your claim denied, even if it would otherwise have been approved. That doesn’t mean you have to go to the first doctor your employer recommends. Instead, get a list of doctors and decide on one you feel comfortable speaking to.

Finally, get comfortable with the idea that you may have to speak to a lawyer if your claim is denied. If there are serious consequences to your injury and your employer doesn’t want to pay, that’s probably because the ball is very much in his or her court on this issue. It will be on you to prove you deserve compensation.

There are sure to be lawyers in your hometown. Here in Indianapolis, I’ve heard good things about these guys. Find a lawyer who has good recommendations, and contact them if you are having issues with this.

To summarize, record everything, use the right doctors, and keep a lawyer in mind as a last case option.

If you follow these tips, you won’t have to worry about whether that bump you got walking through Walmart or that shock at the office is covered. You will be.

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The Negative Effects of Gum Disease

Jun 14

How healthy your gums and teeth are, is the result of how you cared for them in the past and, to maintain their health, it is required that you keeping to daily routines of brushing, eating teeth-whitening food, and regular consultation with your dentist. With regard to those whose gums and teeth are not so healthy and pearly-white, this is where a cosmetic dentist can help you as turning your teeth to clean white is his/her expertise.

Cosmetic dentistry is dental work aimed at improving the appearance of you gums and teeth. Procedures included in this area of dentistry include:

  • Making teeth whiter through bleaching
  • Gum depigmentation
  • Addition of dental materials to teeth or gums, such as porcelain veneers, gum grafts or crowns
  • Reshaping of teeth which do not match the others
  • Removal of tooth structure or gums like in enameloplasty and gingivectomy
  • Closing of gaps between teeth

In the website of Babylon Dental Care, it is said, many people suffer from gum disease or, worse, periodontal disease without even knowing it. (Periodontal disease is an infection of the structures surrounding the teeth, namely, the gums, periodontal ligament and alveolar bone).

It is important to catch gum disease as early as possible and treat it before it advances to periodontal disease. To catch gum disease, however, one has to know its symptoms, which include:

  • Minor bleeding when you brushing;
  • Discolored (dark red color) gums rather than pinkish, which is the color of healthy gums;
  • Your gums becoming softer to the touch as time progresses.

Some do not usually notice these signs, while others simply ignore them, thinking that these are natural and normal. However, if you notice these signs, it is best that you consult with a dentist as soon as you can.

Gum disease and periodontal disease not only wreak havoc on your oral health, but on your overall bodily health as well. According to scientists, researchers, and dentists, and as confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), gum disease and periodontal disease are linked to birth complications (premature birth), heart problems, respiratory problems, diabetes, stroke, pancreatic cancer, and digestive disorders.

If you need cosmetic dental treatment or gum treatment, make sure that you go to a licensed dentist only. Many who claim to be experts actually perform shoddy works that only need to be corrected later on. Check your chosen dentist’s works and ask their patients who they have already treated – extra acts of care for a satisfying complex and sensitive procedure are always worth it.

 

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Unsafe or Defective Products and Product Recalls

Apr 02

Unsafe or Defective Products and Product Recalls

Different federal agencies exist in order to protect America’s buying public from the possible harm defective or dangerous products can cause. These agencies, which are tasked to regulate the manufacture and sale of certain consumer products, include:

  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates products, such as drugs, cosmetics, medical devices and food;
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which has jurisdiction over motor vehicles;
  • The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which has jurisdiction over the ;
  • The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, which controls alcohol, tobacco & tobacco products;
  • The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, which is in charge of firearms and ammunition; and,
  • The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which regulates products, like cribs, toys, appliances, fireworks, lawn mowers and other household items.

These agencies ban whatever causes, or have the potential to cause, danger; establish safety requirements; issue recalls on products already on the market; and, research about the possible hazards products can cause.

The NHTSA, for instance, since 1966, has ordered hundreds of recalls that have affected more than 390 million mopeds, motorcycles, recreational vehicles, cars, trucks and buses; 66 million different motor vehicle parts; 46 million tires; and, 42 million child safety seats.

In 2014, it was the United States Consumer Products Safety Commission’s that issued recalls which affected 17 million units of children’s products; these included certain play yards, stationary activity centers, infant slings, swings, toddler beds, walkers, strollers, portable cribs, full-size and non-full-size cribs, high chairs, hook-on chairs, infant carriers, and infant bathtubs.

Millions of other products, from children’s food and toys to house appliances, vehicles, machinery, chemicals, and so forth, have caused either injuries or death to users. Though, harmful products still make their way into store shelves, this failure cannot be totally blamed on federal agencies due to the billions of products entering the U.S. market every year and the lack of manpower each agency has.

Manufacturers are fully aware of their legal responsibility to design and create only safe products. Despite this awareness, many manufacturers fail to act responsibly; they, rather, continue to manufacture products, despite their defects and/or harmful chemical contents, and then release these on the market despite the risks of injury or death that these can cause.

Aside from toys, cars and car parts, appliances and items used in homes or offices, harmful products also include food and pharmaceutical products. The 2011 listeriosis outbreak is one example of serious food poisoning. This outbreak caused 30 deaths, 1 miscarriage, besides infecting 146 people. There are so many other ingredients that manufacturers mix with the food children love to eat. Though these ingredients will not cause immediate harm, their effects slowly destroy the health of children.

With regard to pharmaceutical products, many kinds of prescription drugs and medical devices also end up causing adverse effects that not only aggravate patients’ condition, but also cause more injurious results, sometimes, even death. Examples of these products are morcellators, hip or shoulder implants, oral contraceptive and prescription drugs meant to treat serious conditions, like type 2 diabetes, severe migraine attacks or seizures kidney failure, epileptic seizures, and manic episodes due to bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder.

Adverse effects depend on the drug taken and the patients who take it. Some of the most common reported adverse effects, though, regardless of the type and brand of drug taken, include gall bladder injury, birth defect, bladder cancer, cardiac arrest, low blood pressure, cerebrovascular accidents (CVA, which is a failure in the functioning of the brain due to disturbance in the brain’s blood supply), myocardial infarction (or damage of heart tissues), acute pancreatitis (or sudden inflammation of the pancreas) heart attack, stroke, or sudden death.

Drug side effects are real and can cause great harm to patients. Thus, when a particular medicine is linked to adverse effects, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issues orders either to require manufacturers to include in their drug’s prescription label the risks associated with the use of their drug or to have the harmful drug recalled.

It is explained in the website of the law firm Truslow & Truslow that “A personal injury case begins when someone is hurt, disabled, or even killed as a result of someone else’s behavior or negligence. The injuries suffered can be physically and emotionally devastating, not to mention life changing, to both you and the ones you love.

If you or a loved one has experienced a personal injury, there are some instances where you are entitled to receive fair compensation for medical bills, emotional damages, disfigurement, pain and suffering, loss of income and even punitive damages. So, before you consider accepting any kind of settlement from an insurance company, be sure to contact a seasoned personal injury lawyer, who understands the hardship you are experiencing and wants to help protect your rights.”

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Workers’ Compensation Benefits Plus the Possibility of a Third Party Claim

Jan 05

There are different forms of danger in any type of work environment, these dangers being dependent on the kinds of equipment, tools and substances workers or employees are regularly exposed to. Of the different types of workplaces, however, construction sites remain to be among the most dangerous due to all the tools and hazardous substances that can possibly cause injuries or illness; add to these the high places workers often need to reach in order to complete their assigned task. Some of the causes of worker injury include falls, especially among those working on roofs, ladders or scaffolds, falling objects that can severely injure (or even kill) workers, huge vehicles or equipment that can pin and crush unsuspecting workers, plus daily exposure to chemicals which can cause deadly, chronic illnesses.

As one of the most dangerous career fields in the country, construction work leads all other occupational categories in causing fatalities and serious injuries among workers. In 2013 and 2014, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) reported 4,585 and 4,679, respectively, fatal work-related accidents. Before 1971, the year the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was established, the number of work-related deaths in construction sites was about 38 a day; from 1971 to 2014, the yearly average of fatal accidents was significantly reduced to about 13 a day.

According to OSHA, the number one cause of death for construction workers in the U.S. is falls from great heights, such as falling off from roofs, ladders or scaffoldings; about 2.3 million construction workers work on these surfaces everyday. In 2014, there were 899 fatal accidents in construction sites; about 359 of these were due to falls.

Workplace accidents can result not only to physical injuries, but to financial difficulties too, particularly if the injury is serious as this would mean costly medical treatment and medication, and days or weeks off from work, which means no salary to expect. If not for the cash benefits provided by the Workers’ Compensation Insurance program, there wouldn’t be any financial safety net that will cushion injured workers from the unexpected loss of regular income (the cash benefit paid by Workers’ Comp, however, is just about two/thirds of the injured worker’s average wage). This Workers’ Comp program, by the way, is a state-administered insurance program that is designed to provide immediate cash benefits to workers whose injury, disability or illness is work-related (regardless of whose fault the harm is). The only factors that will disqualify a worker from eligibility to receive the cash benefits are the injury being self-inflicted, the injured worker was intoxicated at the time when he/she was injured, or if the injury was sustained as a result of actions that violate a law or a company policy on workplace safety.

However you may be able to bring a third party claim for your injuries. For example, if you were injured by a defective product or piece of machinery, if you were operating a vehicle while in the course of employment, were injured while making a delivery such as slipping and falling on ice, or tripping in a pothole, or if you were exposed to a toxic substance you may have a third party claim.”

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