Posts made in March, 2014

Having a child is a lot of responsibility, and that continues on even after a divorce. In Texas, the default child custody arrangement is for a joint managing conservatorship with one as the primary parent. This means that both parents have a say in making crucial decisions regarding the child, although the primary parent determines the place of residence subject to the geographic restrictions imposed by the court.

That is, unless the parents come up with a mutually agreeable alternative arrangement. According to child custody lawyers on the website of Alexander & Associates in Lewisville, parents need to ensure the best interests of the child at all times. In such cases, the agreement will be subject for approval by the judge. If one of the parents has an established history of violence or abuse, the other parent will be awarded sole managing conservatorship.

Any aspect of a joint managing conservatorship agreement touches on the physical situation of the child. Typically, the primary parent is restricted to keep the child’s permanent place of residence within a certain area for practical reasons; the other parent will find it difficult to maintain a presence in the child’s life if that child is far away, and moving the child out of reach is a breach of that parent’s rights.
The primary parent cannot simply decide to move the child to an area outside the scope of the agreement. A court order would be required to allow them to do this legally if the child custody agreement is court-ordered. In a parenting plan that had been approved by the court, the other parent must at least be informed about it a reasonable time beforehand, who may then try to prevent it by applying for a temporary restraining order. The judge in a relocation hearing will then rule on whether the decision to relocate was in the best interests of the child or if it is an attempt to deprive the other parent of custody and visitation rights, in which case the judge will not allow the move. Once the child reaches a certain age however, they can make changes to the custody agreement that the parents and courts may already have in place.

If you have an issue concerning child custody or visitation in Texas, you can most effectively handle with professional help. Consult with a qualified lawyer experienced in handling family law case.

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Load Issues in Truck Accidents

Posted By on Mar 28, 2014

A lot of attention is focused on the driver when a truck accident occurs, but there are instances when the driver may be fully capable and skilled and still an accident occurs. Trucking professionals maintain that a leading cause of truck accidents is improper loading, which includes overloading and failing to adequately secure loads. In such cases, assigning liability for damage and injuries becomes more complicated.

Overloading is an ongoing problem among those in the trucking industry. Just like violations of hours of service regulations, overloading is driven by the bottom line. The more a truck can carry in one trip, the more money is made by the motor carrier as well as the shipping company. Overloading may also occur when companies use trucks with gross vehicle weight (GVW) ratings that are less expensive and below the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) threshold of 26,001 lbs (which would require a driver with a commercial driver’s license) but still carry loads appropriate for vehicles with higher GVW ratings.

The problem with an overloaded truck is that it is more prone to accidents. An overloaded truck needs a longer braking distance than normal which can lead to collisions. Tire blow outs are also common because tires carrying heavy loads generate more heat, and this can cause the truck to roll over, the cargo to shift dangerously, or the driver to lose control. Imagine being confronted with a pile of logs bouncing off the truck bed and rolling towards you in an 18-wheeler accident.

The same risks apply for an improperly secured load, even if the load is within the manufacturer’s payload restrictions. Trucks travel at high speed, and when even a part of a load falls off, it can cause great damage to property and people in the vicinity. Even if an improperly secured load only shifts, the imbalance can cause the truck to roll over.

Liability for injuries sustained in an accident caused by an overloaded or improperly loaded truck will depend on the circumstances. It could be the motor carrier, the shipping company, the loaders, the driver, or any combination of the above. Consult with a trucking accident lawyer to sort it all out and get started with filing a case.

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People who have no business to be in a hospital are actively discouraged from going there mostly because there is always the risk of contracting a disease, especially airborne ones. In the US alone, it is estimated that every year 2.4 million people acquire one of the common types of hospital-acquired infections a year and more than 30,000 die as a result, making it one of the leading causes of death in the nation. However, contracting a disease or infection in a hospital does not mean the hospital is liable for any costs associated with hospital-acquired infections.

A plaintiff for a personal injury lawsuit against a hospital for an infection can only be upheld if the plaintiff had been a patient of the institution at the time that the infection was acquired and that acquisition was caused by a negligent act of the hospital or its staff. Getting nosocomial (originating in a hospital) infections are therefore not actionable per se; the plaintiff must prove that the hospital or its staff failed to implement or follow best measures for infection control.

Infection control best measures pertain to the sterility of instruments, materials and any surface that may make contact with the patient, especially during an invasive surgical procedure. Hand washing was the first measure adopted to stop the spread of infections in the hospital setting, and it continues to hold to this day. Proper sterilization of instruments prior to use is also standard practice, but even to this day failure to do these two basic practices is most often identified as the cause of the infection.

The hospital itself may have regulations in place but this is not enough to avoid liability for medical negligence. It is the responsibility of the hospital to ensure that employees observe and execute these preventive measures consistently. Failure to effectively enforce these regulations can render the responsible individual as well as the hospital liable for personal injury lawsuits.

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The Fair Labor and Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) celebrated its 75 anniversary in 2013 and it is fast approaching its 76th year. Although it has been in force for all that time, employee awareness of their rights under the FLSA has only started to come into being in the last 10 years, and that is a matter of concern for a lot of employers.
Back in the day, exploitation of workers was rampant, and that included child laborers, which was the impetus the drove legislators to enact the FLSA in the first place. Today, a majority of the cases filed under the FLSA is for unpaid overtime for employees that were misclassified as exempt. The most common misconception by employers is thinking that if an employee is on a salary rather than hourly basis, that employee is exempt from overtime pay. The fact is, it is not as simple as that.

In 2013, more than 7,000 cases were filed with federal court for FLSA violations by lawyers who took on the cases on a contingency basis. This signals more than anything that there are numerous FLSA violations occurring, and employees are becoming more aware of what they are legally entitled to. And these cases do not even include the many other cases filed for discrimination and sexual harassment, which collectively are costing employers millions in damage payments.

While employers may not have intended to violate the FLSA, ignorance of the law is not a defense. If the employer cannot categorically prove that they pay all their non-exempt employees the mandated overtime pay for work over 40 hours a week (44 hours for live-in workers, and special conditions for certain populations) of work, then they are in violation of the FLSA.

If you believe that you have been misclassified as exempt or otherwise entitled to unpaid overtime, consult with an employment lawyer to determine if you are indeed entitled. As most reputable lawyers will take on an eligible case on a contingent fee basis, you have nothing to lose.

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