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Ryman Auditorium: The Seat of Country Music

Posted by on May 13, 2015 in Music | 0 comments

In the heart of Nashville, Tennessee stands a remarkable structure that was originally built as a tabernacle that will help project the voice of evangelists looking to share the scripture and the word of the divine. This vision was Thomas G. Ryman’s objective and it soon came to reality in 1892 when the architect Hugh Cathcart Thompson accomplished the Union Gospel Tabernacle. Eventually, the structure became a popular venue for a variety of community events, performances, and even political rallies. However, it only became the biggest venue for country musicians when George D. Hay made it the site for the Grand Ole Opry in 1943.

The Grand Ole Opry is the longest running live radio program for American country music. From the 1940s until 1974, its weekly concerts were held in the Ryman Auditorium. This took some of the greatest musical acts to the Ryman stage. Legends like Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, Hank Williams, and Roy Acuff have all performed in the 2,362-seat auditorium. Even after the Grand Ole Opry moved to a new venue in the 1970s, the Ryman Auditorium continued to host the best talents of country music.

Aside from its rich history and heritage rooted in country music, Ryman Auditorium is particularly special because of the way it was originally designed. As pointed out in the venue’s official website, the acoustics that was originally designed to help amplify sermons are still among the best in the world. As a result, Ryman Auditorium continues its long legacy as a looming presence in the music industry. Aside from country music acts, it also keeps its doors open to a variety of musicians working in different genres.

Workers Compensation: Living with Disfigurement

Posted by on Feb 7, 2015 in Workers' Compensation | 0 comments

Everybody has skeletons in their closets – everyone harbors painful memories that they would soon rather forget. As they say: time heals all wounds. Not every wound, however, leaves without a mark and there is some heartache that chocolate can’t fix.

It can be difficult to live with your pain so decidedly tattooed upon you, allowing the general public to be aware of your vulnerabilities – and that is exactly what being disfigured does to the victim. A one-time accident causes a lifetime of pain due to the fact that the unfortunate party who bears the scars will have to carry the reminder of that traumatic experience on their shoulders, all the days of their lives. This can have serious repercussions on the mental and emotional stability on the person who must now bear the consequences of negligence that was not their own, as that is usually the origin of disfigurement cases from the work place.

Disfigurement is often one of the benefit claims that employees seek from their employers, according to the website of Hankey Law Office P.C., as can be consequences of accidents such as the ones that sometimes occur in construction sites, for example, but can occur anywhere else. The victim of the negligence-born circumstance is then eligible to receive due financial compensation and reimbursement for any medical procedures that are required from the incident that had occurred. In order for this to be claimed, however, the disfigurement must be blatantly visible and not so easily concealed by clothing – such as that of perhaps third degree burns, extreme lacerations, or even a debilitating limp. Scars that can be simply hidden, like maybe a cut on the abdomen or back, are not considered disfigurement cases.

There are many little subtleties that are in line with workers compensation claims that require medical attention. The legal procedures with which to go about the whole debacle can prove to be arduous and stressful work that is better suited to a practitioner of law who understands the language. After all, after having had suffered a disfigurement, you should only be thinking about recovering and getting better, allowing for yourself to be taken care of, following what can only be described as a horrible situation. Contact a lawyer in Indiana today in order to see if you are eligible for personal injury compensation.

Distracted Drivers Will be the Death of Motorcyclists

Posted by on Jul 8, 2014 in Personal Injury | 0 comments

The 1981 Hurt Report and 2009 MAIDS, large-scale studies into motorcycle safety, independently conclude that a majority of motorcycle accidents:

  • Have a passenger car as an accident partner
  • Occur at intersections in urban areas during the day
  • Passenger car drivers fail to see the motorcycle

While these findings don’t necessarily point the finger at the passenger car driver as at fault, it is a fact that more than 18% of fatal or injury motorcycle-passenger car collisions occurred every year because the passenger car driver was distracted. It is estimated that 69% of drivers in the US have admitted to using their mobile phone to text or call while driving, which is known to be risk-taking behavior because attention is drawn away from the road. Since motorcycle accidents occur most frequently because the other driver failed to observe the motorcycle even without being distracted, distracted driving can significantly increase the risks.

There has been a vigorous campaign against texting while driving, almost as intense as that mounted against intoxicated driving, but neither initiative have done much to improve the situation. In Iowa, like in all states in the US, driving while intoxicated is a crime even if no one gets hurt. On the other hand, texting or otherwise using a handheld device while driving is a traffic violation, and generally only becomes a crime when someone gets hurt. According to the website of the Habush Habush & Rottier S.C.®, this is small consolation considering how much pain and trouble a victim of distracted driving will be put through.

In Iowa, the ban on texting while driving has also failed, and statistics show a steady increase in phone-related distracted driving crashes. Citing an offender is a secondary offense in Iowa, meaning that a law enforcer can only cite a driver for using a handheld device while driving if they had been pulled over for another violation i.e. speeding.

You may have an actionable case if you have been seriously injured while on a motorcycle in Iowa because the passenger car driver was distracted. Contact a motorcycle accident lawyer in Iowa who knows exactly what you are going through, and can assess your case to determine how much compensation you should get.

The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) or the Right-to-Know Law

Posted by on Jan 23, 2014 in Personal Injury, Workers' Compensation | 0 comments

Work-related injuries always register a high rate of claims lawsuits every year in the United States. Before 1908, employees who sustained injuries during the performance of their job or who developed medical conditions due to exposure to improperly labeled or stored hazardous chemicals had to resort to filing a lawsuit against their employers just to avail of financial assistance that will help them get through financial worries. Employees, however, often lost in those lawsuits.

Industrial and agricultural workers are the ones who usually sustain injuries or develop medical conditions as they are the ones regularly exposed to dangerous equipment and hazardous chemicals. Hazardous chemicals, though, inflict harm that is not immediately obvious to exposed workers. The effect of inhaling the fumes of these chemicals is what is severely damaging as this can lead to different health conditions, such as skin rashes, poisoning, and liver, kidney or lung disease. Some of the chemicals which can cause these conditions are acid, disinfectants, caustic substances, paint, glue, pesticide, heavy metals, like lead, mercury, cadmium and aluminum, solvents and petroleum products.

In 1970 the Occupational Safety and Health Act was passed into law by the United States Congress. The Act, in turn, created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) which would ensure that workers are protected from getting injured or developing illnesses during their employment.

Ten years after its creation, OSHA enacted the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), which became effective in 1986 and which gave those who are exposed to dangerous chemicals in the workplace the right to know all about the hazards they were exposed to and how they can protect themselves from such hazards.

The HCS is otherwise called the Worker Right-to-Know Legislation or the Right-to-Know law. This law is now observed in all sectors to ensure the safety of all employees in the workplace. This law has, likewise, mandated importers and manufacturers of hazardous substances to attach warning labels and Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) on all of their products. Besides the words ‘hazardous,’ and ‘poisonous,’ other information that must be included are the product’s potential health effects, safe storage suggestions, emergency first aid instructions, precautions for use and numbers to be contacted for further information.

Besides the OSHA, other laws have also been passed by the US Congress to ensure that employees who still sustain injuries or develop diseases, especially lung diseases, in the workplace are no longer left with the possibility of financial crises. These laws include the Workers’ Compensation Benefit of 1908 and the Social Security Act of 1935; both laws are intended to provide immediate financial benefits to workers, covering wages lost, cost of medical treatment, disability or death.

An article posted in the website of Scudder & Hedrick, PLLC, says that causes of work-related illnesses are completely preventable and that lack of sufficient safety gears and safe workplace protocols is completely a lack of responsibility on the part of the employer. If injuries and illnesses remain prevalent in the workplace, then maybe it is only right that you let the authorities deal personally with your erring and uncaring employer.

Being a Responsible Dog Owner

Posted by on Jan 10, 2014 in Personal Injury | 0 comments

Up to 800,000 individuals in the United States are bitten or attacked by dogs every year and most of the   victims are boys, aged five to nine. Children below four years old and adults 60 years old and above, however, are the most vulnerable to dog attack, many suffering from trauma, while some others just do not have the strength to recover from bites usually located at the neck or head.

Dogs are known to be loving pets – playful, totally loyal to their owners, an great companions in the house. This is why millions of Americans have one or about a dozen dogs, either of the same or different breeds.

Not all breeds of dog, according to dog experts, however, are recommended for families with children and babies. The top two most dangerous breeds of dogs identified by experts are pit bull terriers and rottweilers. Pit bulls alone (and their mixes), were blamed for 250 fatal attacks on senior citizens and children from 2005 to 2012.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues in its drive to inform and educate people, especially dog owners, about dogs and how to properly take care of these. It has even required dog owners to make sure that their yard, where they usually allow their dogs to freely move about, is escape-free and that the animal is put on a leash whenever owners take it for a walk.

When a dog bites or attacks, injuries can sometimes be severe, causing the bitten or injured victim to miss work and undergo treatment. Injuries can include lacerations, nerve damage, broken bones, infection, paralysis or disfigurement, which sometimes requires reconstructive surgery; besides the trauma and excessive fear the victim may also suffer from.

Dog owners are, thus, required to make sure that their dogs do not attack anyone, no matter how domesticated these may be, for there is no telling what may provoke a dog to bite or attack. Making sure that everyone is safe from your dog is also making sure that you, as owner, are kept from any lawsuit – a result of your dog attacking anyone, especially strangers.

Work-related Accidents In and Around Construction Sites

Posted by on Jan 9, 2014 in Personal Injury | 0 comments

Work-related accident is one of the top causes of severe and disabling injuries in the United States and, according to the US Department of Labor, the most common site where these accidents happen is construction sites.

The number of accidents in and around construction sites was most alarming during the turn of the 20th century and one of the major concerns connected with every injury was the financial suffering the injured victim was subjected to. Missing days of work for the injured meant lost wages, yet, despite the lack of earning capability, costly medical treatment had to be undergone and medication, purchased, to hasten recovery and resume work.

If only to merit the compensation that workers legally deserved, they had to sue their employers, which often destroyed employer-employee relationship. Thus, the passing into law (in 1908) of the Workers’ Compensation Insurance benefit played a very important role in the wellbeing of workers. This benefit was intended to provide sure and fast financial assistance to injured workers, covering lost wages, cost of medical treatment, rehabilitation and even death. This insurance benefit was also intended to aid workers who developed occupation diseases, due to exposure hazardous chemicals during work.

In 1970, another law was passed, which was aimed at ensuring safety and health in the working environment – the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, which gave birth to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA.

Some of the safety standards mandated by OSHA on all construction industries, included protections against falls, ground fault-circuit interrupters (GFCIs), confined-space standard, safe stairways and ladders, proper illumination of working area and passage ways, personal protective equipment (PPE), clearly visible and readable accident-prevention signs and tags, eye wash and body-flushing areas located not more than 25 feet from battery-changing places, and fire extinguishers with a 2A-rating every 3000 square feet.

Between 2008 and 2012, a downtrend in construction site injuries was recorded by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the US Department of Labor. Though the law now provides compensation to injured workers, filing of claims will have to be done correctly and within the specified time limit, known as statute of limitation. Seeking a qualified construction site accident lawyer to assist you in your claim may be beneficial for your situation.

An article on the website of Hach & Rose, LLP, a legal team based in New York, states that  injured workers and their families need to understand the law that covers workplace injuries, as well as know the procedure in filing for, and submitting, a claim within the allowed period. All these things are complicated and, definitely, having a legal professional to help you is necessary. This is because many claims have been denied, while the amount of some of those that have been awarded were far lower than what the injured was legally entitled to receive.

Know Your Doctor and Hospital to Save Yourself from Medical Malpractice

Posted by on Jan 7, 2014 in Personal Injury | 0 comments

Hospitals, especially big ones, continuously strive for growth and improvement to make sure that every patient is provided with safe, effective and quality care. This is quite evident in the kinds of treatment these hospitals provide, their equipment and use of modern health devices and the track record of their doctors, specialists, nurses and other health personnel.

Thus, one cannot dismiss the fact that some hospitals care and treat patients in ways that are much better than others. Putting great weight on the importance and necessity of quality care through timely and accurate diagnoses, and taking time to really listen to patients’ complaints are just some of the factors that have allowed these hospitals to significantly reduce complications and mortality rates, especially when it involves patients with certain or severe conditions.

Such moves towards (continuous) improvement comes in the midst of news and research that prove the reality of medical malpractice, such as wrong diagnosis, that claims up to 70,000 lives in the US annually. On its website, Crowe & Mulvey, LLP, points out the different acts of negligence committed in many hospitals. These acts include delay in treatment, error in medical prescription, lack of attention by doctors, wrong dosage of anesthesia, surgical errors, and post-surgical infections among many others.

It is essential, therefore, that patients become aware of the reputations of hospitals around them. Which hospital really is capable of providing the best care when it comes to specific conditions and procedures? This means dismissing the concept that the nearest hospital is as good as another. According to Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. patients need to be observant of doctors too – how doctors relate with them and how much time a doctor allots for them for consultation. This is because many errors start during consultation due to the very short 15-minute office visit, wherein the most vital information about the patient’s condition is discussed. Oftentimes too, due to the doctor’s expertise, experience and familiarity with diseases, he/she tends to apply the “18-second rule,” wherein he/she would cut short the patient while describing the ailment’s symptoms – a move that sometimes lead to wrong diagnosis, wrong medication and laboratory tests and, worse, unneeded medical procedure.

Your Mineral Rights: Sell, Lease or Just Hold On To It?

Posted by on Jan 4, 2014 in Minerals | 0 comments

If there is one thing that’s certain about selling mineral rights, it’s the cash that is ready to be placed in your hands – not tomorrow, but today. The oil and gas business is definitely a risky and shaky one; so much so that an offer amounting to millions of dollars today can suddenly go kaput because of the “hold on and never sell” principle.

Selling mineral rights may be the hottest issue right now among owners along the shale regions, the area where oil and gas exploration activities are most active. These areas include the Marcellus shale, Niobrara shale, Haynesville shale and Eagle Ford shale, among others. And where gas and oil plays are intense, that means a significant cash bonus for you, but only if your mineral rights are on lease at the moment or, for a really big lump-sum, if you decide to sell.

Not long ago, one family was offered $4 million, while another was offered as much as $12 million by a company willing to buy their mineral rights. Both refused to sell, thinking that their properties would produce much more and that the amounts were not big enough.

Wells were drilled near their properties, not long after; the natural gas produced from the drilled sites, however, was far below than what the company had expected. Good for the company – it did not have to spend $16 million for nothing. For the two families, though, it was a very, very big and disappointing loss, for what could have given them millions of dollars are now worth nothing at all.

Can holding on to mineral rights prove wiser than selling part of it (and keeping the rest) or selling everything? Even big companies with producing leaseholds decide to sell eventually – this is the trend in the oil business. Many owners too, in the past, have embarked on the practice of selling their rights than leasing or holding on to them. And when speaking about the shale regions a sale can involve huge amounts, maybe even enough to actually support you and your family for the rest of your lives.

The amount you can get from the sale will also definitely be useful for future financial concerns such as retirement funds and the education of your child/children. A part of it may also be used for a relaxing vacation, a holiday escapade which you deserve, or to pay off the balance of your mortgage (if you have mortgaged your property), to save it from being foreclosed, as well as to save you from filing for bankruptcy.

Thus, choosing not to sell when a company offers to buy can be a decision that you may regret in the future. On the other hand, opting to hold on to your property and leasing it instead may also yield fruit in due time; the only question is, how long will that time be?

Some owners decide on leasing half of their mineral rights and keeping the other half untouched. A wise decision? What if the leased half comes short of the company’s (which leased it) expectations, or worse, produces nothing at all? Your whole property will then be worth nothing.

You can base your decision on these two arguments, then; take the risk of not selling, which can end up with your property being worthless or worth very little, or decide to sell everything, which can save you from the inconvenience of negotiating with the leasing company and which will allow you to immediately put to use and enjoy the big cash that is ready for payment. Which will it be?

What You Will Need When Applying for a Temporary Visitor’s Drivers License in the U.S.

Posted by on Jan 2, 2014 in Insurance | 3 comments

Many tourists visiting in the United Sates prefer driving a car to be able to go to as many places as they can in their own time and for convenience. The best way to acquire a car, of course, is to rent and not buy one since the stay is only temporary. You can rent your preferred car right at the airport, but you will need to pay additional fees. Some opt to rent a car in the city where they arrived, however, since by paying the additional “one-way” fee, they can leave the vehicle in another city – a wise option if they plan to leave the US from another city or state.

Before you can drive your rented car, though, there are two very necessary things you will need to have: a Temporary Driver License and a Car Insurance, without both, you will never be able to drive any car from the parking lot.

The temporary driver’s license is issued by each particular state or territory to individuals after being authorized by the federal government to come to the US for a definite purpose within a specific time period. This temporary license is recognized in all US states, is valid for both identification and driving purposes and allows operation of typical passenger (not  commercial) vehicles below 26,000 pounds GVWR (identified as Class XD), including motor scooters, motorcycles and other motor driven cycles (Class XM).

It is important also that, before leaving for the US, you get an International Driving Permit (IDP) from your country of origin as this document will be required from you. An IDP, which merely supplements, and not replaces, a valid government-issued license, only translates the information written on your local driver’s license into 10 different languages to enable foreign country officials to read your license.

Besides the IDP, other state-required original documents when applying for a temporary visitor’s driver’s license include:

  • Two (2) valid proofs of identity
  • Legal documents proving change in name ( like certified final divorce decree, certified final marriage certificate and others), but only if the name written on the identification documents is different from the federal document submitted for “proof of temporary legal presence”
  • Two (2) valid documents showing proofs of residency (in the state)
  • Social security number (a sworn affidavit is required if applicant has no SSN)
  • Vision, knowledge and skills tests (where applicable)

The other necessary requirement is a Car (liability) Insurance, a necessity for all drivers in all states. In its website, Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ® affirms that car insurance can be quite costly, but goes on to say that not having one can prove to be much more expensive. There are companies, though, that offer all the assistance needed by customers looking for the best, yet really affordable car insurance policy regardless of their credit standing or status (visitor, student, non-US resident, etc.).

Car Insurance is usually available at many rental car firms; you may also purchase one online if you prefer. Insurance will be a major necessity in the event of an accident since medical treatment can be too costly; remember too that if you end up injuring someone in an accident, you will have to shoulder his/her medical expenses. So, when purchasing car liability insurance, make sure that your policy includes liability, first and foremost, as well as collision and loss-of-use.

Social Security Claims Rejection and the Types of Appeal Claimants are Entitled to Make

Posted by on Jan 2, 2014 in Social Security | 0 comments

Retirement is an unavoidable circumstance in every employee’s life, granting that it is not abruptly ended by any injury or illness, which can render an employee disabled either for a short or long period. It is because of disability why many employees become subjected to financial difficulties, since it will cause them to miss work for days or weeks (for short-term disability) to months or years (for term-term or permanent disability), resulting to lost wages and costly medical treatment. Thus, without the capability to earn, the means to sustain their families and themselves are greatly affected.

In 1935, to keep employees from financial difficulties, the Social Security Act was signed into law. It was first intended as a solution to poverty to which senior citizens were subjected to during the Great Depression of 1930. Since its implementation, improvements and changes have been made to include in its scope financial assistance upon retirement and benefits in the event of long-term injury or illness that is expected to keep a person unemployed for at least one year.

In its website, Chris Mayo Law Firm makes mention of the importance of Social Security disability benefits, acknowledging it as a vital source of financial assistance and support for the injured and his/her family. The website, however, also mentions how complicated the process of such benefit it, resulting to denials for many applicants.

Applicants, whose claims have been denied or who are awarded benefits below the amount they expect, are allowed by the Social Security Administration to make an appeal within 60 days after the decision has been issued to them. The appeal process has four levels:

Reconsideration – a complete review of the claim filed; this is actually done by a new set of evaluators to make sure that there is no bias in the decision making

Hearing – in the event that the claimant is still not satisfied with the new decision, presentation of new proofs and/or testimony of new witnesses (to substantiate your rights for your claim) may be made before an Administrative law judge

Review by Appeals Council – if the outcome of the hearing still fails to satisfy the claimant, Social Security allows him/her to raise his/her concern to this council which will review the last decision arrived at. Consideration of the claimant’s new appeal will require the Administrative law judge to further review the claim; if the council finds the judge’s decision justifiable, though, then it can reject the claimant’s new appeal

Review by a Federal Court – this fourth level may be resorted to if the council’s decision is a rejection of the claimant’s appeal. It is part of Social Security’s responsibility to instruct the claimant on how to elevate his/her concern to the federal court.

Oftentimes, the initial denial of a claim is due to technical issues, such as wrong information or missing signature, or incomplete documents. Claimants would find that having a legal representative to help them in the application process is truly beneficial since these lawyers will make sure that everything is done correctly and on time.