The Truth About Divorce

There are roughly 2,300,000 people living in Texas today who are divorced. When the population of Texas is around 29 million, that’s a fairly large percentage of people in the state who have experience with divorce. All of those people did not have easy, “you sign here, I’ll sign here” divorces, either. A large number of those divorces were likely tense, upsetting, and lengthy, and most of them required outside involvement, either from a lawyer or a mediator or both.

Divorce lawyers work either exclusively or primarily with divorce cases. A lot of the time, divorce lawyers are also general “family law” lawyers who also take adoption, custody, and alimony cases. In Texas, there are over 90,000 active lawyers, many of whom practice family law. It only makes sense that we would have so many lawyers when our population is the second-highest in the country (and higher than many other countries’). I mean, really, when you think about it, Texas is huge. Our population is only a few million less than Canada’s, and about six times bigger than Ireland’s. The point being, we need a lot of lawyers.

We may outshine others in terms of population, but Texas isn’t special when it comes to divorce statistics. In fact, we’re pretty much aligned with the national average, which means that a little less than half of the people who get married in Texas will also get divorced. That depressing statistic is often overlooked by people who are getting engaged. After all, everyone thinks they’re the exception to the rule. However, divorce lawyers can tell you that divorce is something that could happen to anyone. Failing to effectively communicate with each other, losing interest after the honeymoon period, and infidelity are all problems that can ruin a marriage. 

In particularly nasty divorce cases, it is often necessary for each spouse to hire a lawyer to represent their needs in court. As Karen Alexander Law states on their website, despite the circumstances of the case, everyone needs an “aggressive advocate who will fight for (their) rights and (their) future.” The truth is that divorce is tough. Even the most civil of divorces are hard to get through, and a lot of people feel frustrated, confused, and alone during their divorces. While a divorce lawyer isn’t exactly a shoulder to cry on, they are someone trying to help. A divorce lawyer will end up understanding their client’s divorce, and who they are as a person, better than many people ever will. 

While it is sad that so many marriages will be bookended by a wedding and a divorce, it’s good for people who are going through a divorce to know that they’re not alone – not by a long shot.

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Frugal Fun Summer 101

As the temperature outside goes up, so does our electric bill. Most of us tend to crank up the air conditioning in an attempt to beat the Texas heat. This almost always leads to us paying steep bills as a consequence.

Some people swear by not using the A/C during the day while they’re at work. But, if you’re elderly or have certain health issues, this isn’t recommended. If you’re looking to save some extra money to account for the higher electric bill, check out these tips on staying frugal during the warm summer months:

  • Have a staycation.

The vacation’s more affordable cousin, having a staycation can help save money on travel costs, and can even help you learn more about your town! Check out local museums, many of them might have reduced prices over the summer.

  • Carpool to work.

If you’re driving to work every day, a gas bill can add up quickly. Riding with your coworkers can help shoulder some of the burdens. Chipping in a few bucks a week will save you money in the long run if you’re not using your car as often. Not only will you save on gas, but your car will also experience less wear-and-tear.

  • Eat at home.

This is a well-known tip for saving money year-round, but it becomes more fun over the summer. Invite your family and neighbors over for a cookout! The weather is perfect for cookouts this time of year. Everyone can bring their own dish and it’s still going to be cheaper than going out to dinner. A plus is that you’re creating valuable memories for years to come. It doesn’t get much better than hamburgers and potato salad on a nice summer evening.

  • Try walking more often.

This may not work for everyone, but some people can walk to and from work instead of driving. If you leave before it gets too hot and come home after the sun sets, you’ll be avoiding the majority of the heat. You’re also getting in some good exercise! One thing to be aware of is drivers.

Pedestrians are vulnerable to receiving serious injuries if hit by a car. Portner Bond, PLLC, has experience dealing with those types of situations. If you do end up getting hit while on a walk, contact a lawyer who can help you assess the damage. A negligent driver won’t receive nearly as severe injuries as the pedestrian that they hit, so why should they walk away scot-free? Make sure you have a lawyer on hand who can help you receive compensation for any medical bills or potentially lost wages.

  • Update your summer budget.

It’s a common kiss of death to forget to account for increasing air conditioning costs. Something as simple as budgeting for this change ahead of time can save you a lot of money in the long run. Give yourself a bit of a cushion at the start of the summer and you’ll find yourself less stressed when the bill comes in the mail.

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Steps to Take After a DUI Charge

Recently, I have noticed that there is a new slogan used in television commercials to dissuade people from driving drunk. That slogan is “Drink, drive, go to jail,” and I was wondering how severe the consequences of getting a DUI really are. I decided to do some research on the subject and came across the website for Horst Law, which had some helpful information on the subject. Apparently, there is a mandatory minimum sentence of 48 hours in jail, your license is suspended for a full year, and the costs for a first offense financially is up to $5,000. There was more good information about what to do if you’re facing a DUI charge, so I decided to keep reading.

The website said that you absolutely need a lawyer if you are going to have a good chance to fight charges in court. In order to fight the charges, the defendant needs to prove why they deserve to have the charges dropped, which can happen for a variety of different reasons that I had never considered. For one, the police might not have conducted a proper stop or might not have collected the correct evidence. The police might not even have had an acceptable reason to pull you over in the first place. If the police made any of these mistakes, it is possible to have the charges reduced or dropped, regardless of the other facts of the case. However, the average person does not know about these mistakes or the many others that could have been made by the police. Also, saying the police person made a mistake and proving it are two entirely different things. Defendants that simply stake their word against the word of a police officer tend to lose their cases.

Additionally, if a defendant were to get charged with a DUI because they chose to represent themselves instead of seeking a lawyer, they will have significant expenses and consequences in the present and the future. They might need to find a new job, but having a DUI can make it harder to find a new job as well. There are also personal implications when explaining the situation to close friends and family. It’s important to have a lawyer that has experience in handling these cases instead of trying to learn enough to handle the case yourself because of the potential consequences that come with being convicted.

In regards to DUI specifically, I learned from the website that the tests that police do to determine if you were driving drunk can be unfair toward certain people. These tests are subjective and if you are asked to take one, the police person often already assumes that you are intoxicated. If they already think that, then they are likely to see indications of intoxication that aren’t actually there. During the sobriety tests, officers look for things like smooth eye movement and the ability to balance, but there are many things other than intoxication that can keep people from having balance or smooth eye movement. Nerves related to the high stakes sobriety test can affect these abilities, not to mention a variety of health conditions. A person should not be held responsible for DUI if they have a health condition preventing them from succeeding in a field sobriety test. I learned that it’s best to refuse these tests when they are requested even if you are not at all intoxicated.

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All the Ways Your Work Can Harm You, And What You Should Do

We’re living in a moment where people are finally starting to question whether their jobs are wholly good for them. Individuals have been speaking up about bad treatment from their work, and it’s likely these stories are only become more common and expand into new areas. The truth is, many of us have stories about a toxic environment of some sort, in which we or someone we knew were taken advantage of.

Before getting into just how our work can harm us, I want to say upfront that not every workplace is toxic. Many jobs come with caring managers who try hard to avoid any of the following issues. Many businesses do their utmost to keep their employees safe and make sure they are treated fairly and justly. Unfortunately, many businesses don’t do these things, and many managers aren’t interested in their employees except as tools they can take advantage of. The more we become aware of these bad businesses and bad managers, and how they are taking advantage of us, the better.

So, without further preface, here are some of the ways businesses have been harming individuals, according to one of Austin’s major employment lawyers, the Melton Law Firm.

  • Wrongful termination: This involves someone getting fired not because of performance but for illegal reasons.
  • Discrimination: No business has the right to discriminate against you because of your gender, race, religion, or other characteristics.
  • Sexual harassment: The big issue in the news lately, and surely one of the most widespread employment issues around the country.
  • Overtime and wage issues: If you aren’t getting paid for your work, you aren’t being treated fairly, and you are entitled to recovering those wages.
  • Hostile work environment: A bit of a catchall that covers a lot of ways a business can make you and other employees uncomfortable.
  • Civil rights: Sometimes related to discrimination, this is when your business isn’t treating you as an equal because of a personal characteristic.
  • Retaliation: Are you being mistreated as revenge for something you said or did? That’s illegal.
  • Whistleblowers: Often the reason you’re experiencing retaliation is related to whistleblowing. Whistleblowers are protected by the law.
  • Equal pay: Not getting paid the same as others of the same skill level and experience? That’s not right either.
  • Personal injury: If you’ve been hurt at work, you have the right to workers’ compensation. Anyone keeping you from getting that compensation is denying you your rights.

The good news about all of the above categories laid out by Melton Law is that they’re all illegal. That means we all have a way to end the unfair and toxic practices we are experiencing.

The best way to make these issues go away in our society in general is to speak up, press our cases, and pursue legal means when necessary. The more businesses realize they can’t get away with their bad behavior anymore, the better we will all be, no matter where we work.

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Thoughts on sexual harassment

Sexual harassment is in the news right now because of the allegations (and the consequences of those allegations) concerning Harvey Weinstein.

According to numerous women, including some as famous as Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie, Weinstein has been harassing women in the movie business for decades with impunity.

With that story in mind, I think it’s important now to take a moment to remember how prevalent sexual harassment is, even in industries that purport to be progressive in such matters and to highlight just how crucial it is that people take sexual harassment in the workplace seriously.

What I mean by “seriously” is that when people come forward (and it isn’t always women, Terry Crews has also come forward alleging assault from another Hollywood producer), they are believed and serious, public investigations take place.

In the case of Weinstein, allegations had been made for decades against the man, but because of his power in the industry, and in wider circles of power beyond that (including sway with the news media and in politics), those allegations were hushed up. The number of victims surely multiplied exponentially due to the choices of many along the way to refuse to hear the cries of victims and to refuse to seriously investigate the claims.

A second, larger issue that doesn’t focus just on individuals within those situations but on all of us, is the fact we as a society continue to shrug at sexual harassment until it reaches grotesque levels. While we don’t live in the Mad Men era in which executives harass every woman in the office, we as a society simply expect women to deal with sexual pressure in the workplace and to get over it. One of the reasons women don’t come forward more often is because they worry not just that they won’t be believed but that they have nothing to complain about.

“You should feel flattered,” is a common response.

This, by the way, in some ways, goes double for men, who are meant to always be pleased by any sexual attention, no matter how inappropriate.

We all, individually and as a culture, need to learn to take sexual harassment seriously and to accept that it is a problem. No one is entitled to put any kind of sexual pressure upon you, and when it happens, there need to be consequences, no matter how important the person doing the harassing is.

The fact Weinstein has finally been exposed is a promising sign, but there is much work yet to do. Educate yourself on what your options are if you’ve been harassed. If you do not find a sympathetic voice within your company, consider legal help. Lawyers know the law, and they know how to strengthen your case so it sticks, even if the company doesn’t want to hear it.

Otherwise, we can all try to be more vigilant, to watch out for each other. And, of course, when stories come forward, we have to be strong enough to believe and stand by those who are risking much to expose those who are harming them and others.

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Advantages of Having a Mobile App for Your Business

Technology is rapidly developing, and it is slowly but surely starting to be a necessity in our everyday lives. Therefore, it just makes sense that you use it to your advantage, to make your business more competitive.

One of the strategies you can do is to develop a mobile app for your business. Below are just some of its huge advantages.

It gives you a wider reach

Almost everybody has a smartphone these days, so one of the tactics you can do is to use it as an avenue to reach more customers. Having a mobile app in the app store means that you are making your target market a lot bigger – and when we say bigger, we mean everybody that has a smartphone, which is basically everyone nowadays.

Having a wider reach often translates to more customers and sales.

It makes your business more accessible

If you own a retail store, not every potential customer is going there to look for something to buy. They may have jobs and other activities to attend to. This does not just apply to retail, as it applies to whatever industry your business is thriving in.

Having a mobile app makes your business accessible to potential customers that have smartphones, and sometimes, accessibility is the very thing that gives you an edge over your competitors.

It improves customer experience

Mobile apps not just make your business accessible, as they also help your customers have a better experience of your services. For example, Big Momma Apps create mobile apps for law firms, so their potential legal clients may have easier access to legal help, including consultations and articles regarding legal issues.

Having a wider reach and making your business more accessible are the things that bring in the customers, but having good customer experience is the thing that makes them go back.

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Common Injuries from Bicycle Accidents

Common Injuries from Bicycle Accidents

Bicycles are very easy to operate, not to mention that they are good to both your body and the environment. For this reason, bicycles have become the transportation choice of many Americans, especially for those who need to go to places that are not too far away.

However, this has one negative consequence – many Americans are also at risk of bicycle accidents and injuries. Below are some of the most common injuries associated with bicycles.

Brain trauma

There is a reason why bicyclists always wear helmets. It is because the head is extremely vulnerable during a bicycle accident. It can hit a hard surface, like the pavement or a rock, making your brain sustain trauma.

Broken arm or leg

When a person crashes to the ground, he has the tendency to extend his arm to reduce impact on his body, but the force involved may be strong enough to break his arm. The leg is also vulnerable upon landing. It can be caught in the bicycle or hit a hard surface.

Dental or jaw damage

The jaw area is particularly vulnerable in bicycle accidents, especially those that crash through the front side. It is also not uncommon for victims to have dental problems, like losing teeth or damaging teeth that it comes to the point that extraction is required.

Road rash

When a bicyclist crash, he may rub his skin into the pavement during landing. This rubbing may have enough force to create road rashes, friction burns, and scratches into the skin.

What you can do

Sometimes, even bicyclists who ride safely get involved in an accident because of a negligent party. According to the website of the Milwaukee personal injury lawyers at Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ®, those who have been hurt because of the recklessness or negligence of someone else may pursue legal action.
But the best action is still to avoid bicycle accidents as much as you can. Wear safety gears, such as helmets and pads. Wear reflective clothing, to make you more visible to other motorists. And most of all, follow traffic rules, avoid reckless behaviors, and be alert of your surroundings.

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The Three “Ds”: Delay, Deny and Defend Tactics Employed by Many Insurance Companies to Save Money

After her car accident and an offer of $15,000 from the at-fault truck driver’s insurance provider, Roxanne, instead, sued the Insurance company – a court battle that took three years but which awarded Roxanne $167,000. Why did Roxanne sue? Was she just too greedy for cash or was there injustice that actually shrouded the whole settlement negotiations.

The truck driver was obviously at fault; he wrecked Roxanne’s car, caused a slight cut above her eye, and injured her spine and neck (whiplash) – all these meant $15,000 in medical payments and another $10,000 in lost wages due to time off work. $25,000, however, was much more than what the Insurance firm was willing to pay and, on the firm’s part, Roxanne can either take it or leave it.

When an accident occurs or when a destructive natural calamity comes, one possible major source of finances for needed medical treatment or for repair/replacement of damaged property is Insurance, a person’s means to protecting himself/herself against the unexpected effects of untoward situations, such as death, severe illness, injury due to accidents, disability, lost wages and so forth.

Some people even choose to pay higher premiums, knowing that this will mean higher financial benefits when needs arise. Often, though, policy holders end up disappointed and feeling cheated as the amount of financial benefit Insurance providers often grant are much smaller than the amount they expect from their policy. In many other instances, Insurance firms even deny or disapprove a valid claim, or maliciously impede the processing of a claim.

After an 18-month long investigation, Anderson Cooper, the primary anchor of the CNN news show Anderson Cooper 360°, posted in his blog in 2007 the results of his investigation. Based on what he gathered from insurance industry insiders and lawyers, most insurance companies do everything to save money. Their most famous strategy is called the three “Ds”: delay, deny and defend. “Delay handling your claim, deny you were hurt and defend their decision in drawn-out court battles.”

Anderson further says that, one former claims adjuster revealed how “she would offer as little as $50 dollars in some cases. This is in many Insurance firms’ training manuals: pressure claimants until they accept “smaller walk-away settlements.” The sad thing is, many poor people take the offer rather than get nothing at all. Insurance firms bet that victims will neither wait or sue and will rather take whatever they can get and walk-away. According to experts, many accident victims have been walking away from billions of dollars that insurers now keep for themselves.

Tactics employed by insurance providers are called Insurance bad faith – the act of deceiving another person by deliberately and maliciously refusing to honor a contractual obligation. Bad faith is a violation of the “implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing,” a law in most U.S. states that is suggested in insurance contracts. Violation of this covenant gives the policyholder the legal right to file a claims lawsuit against the insurance provider due to breach of contract and for tort claim.

In the website of Mazin & Associates, PC, it is said that disability insurance lawyers are aware of the legal help needed by people who face a disability as the insurance benefits they hope to recover from their insurance provider is necessary to pay for their increased health care costs, as well as to cover their lost wages. This is why lawyers will always be willing to work closely with claimants to help them recover the amount they are legally allowed to claim and receive.

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Some Facts About Bicycle Accidents

Traffic Safety Facts from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) say that the first automobile crash in New York City occurred on May 30, 1896, on the Western Boulevard, better known today as Broadway; the accident was a collision between a motor vehicle, driven by Henry Wells of Springfield and a bicycle, ridden by Ebeling Thomas. Since then, collisions between motor vehicles and bicycles have continuously occurred, with the highest number of fatalities being recorded in 1975 at more than a thousand; the yearly number of fatal bicycle accidents ever since has fluctuated from more than 600 to more than 900.

Based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 900 bicyclists were killed and an estimated 494,000 were rushed to hospital emergency departments due to injuries. In 2014, the Insurance Institute for highway Safety (IIHS)-Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) says that fatal bicycle accidents was 720; about 86% of those who died were aged 20 and older. IIHS-HLDI also have the following on record:

  • Among bicyclists aged 16 and older, who were killed in 2014, about 21% had 0.08% or above blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels;
  • About 68% of the fatal accidents occurred in urban areas;
  • Fatal bicycle accidents in 2014 were highest during August, September, and October (from mid-summer to the start of fall), while the lowest was in February (winter season)

Other recorded facts about motor vehicle and bicycle collision say that:

  • Accidents that involved children were often results of children playing, riding too fast, losing control or doing tricks;
  • The top contributory factor, based on police records was “failed to look properly” by either the motor vehicle driver or bicycle rider, especially at junctions;
  • The second most common accident was when cyclists entered the road from the pavement or when cyclists cross the road at a pedestrian crossing;
  • Other contributory factors (on the part of the driver) included making improper turns, emerging into the path of a cyclist, poor maneuvering of the vehicle, careless or reckless driving, turning across the path of cyclist, and overspeeding; (on the part of the cyclist) the contributory factors were traveling too fast for the conditions, exceeding the speed limit, and/or riding while impaired by alcohol; and,
  • The main contributory factor in collisions between motor vehicles and bicycles has always been human error committed by either the driver or the rider.

As discussed in the website of The Benton Law Firm, fatal bicycling accidents make up for 2.2% of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities in the U.S. With so many vehicles on the road, it’s not surprising that the percentage of fatalities of cyclists from motor vehicle accidents has gone up .7% over the last 10 years – mainly because many drivers do not understand that they need to look out for bicyclists on city streets, as a result, they do not carefully examine their surroundings while driving.

Bicyclists are subject to extreme, life-threatening injuries if they are involved in an accident with a motor vehicle. A driver has several tons of steel to protect themselves, but a bicyclist is alone on their bicycle without any added protection. This is why it is important for anyone, who has been injured in a bicycle accident, to contact a personal injury attorney immediately for the greater possibility of getting him/her the compensation he/she deserves. A bicycle accident victim should not be held responsible for paying thousands of dollars of medical bills and lost wages due to someone else’s negligence.

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Brain and Head Injury Due to Falling Objects Near a Construction Site

Sometime in 2013, a 58-year-old independent contractor for a New York-based trucking company, who was delivering Gypsum National drywall in New Jersey, ended up as another innocent and unsuspecting victim of what may be said was a totally preventable fatal accident in a construction site.

After speaking with someone (who was in a pickup truck), the 58-year-old contractor was hit on the head by a 1-pound tape measure, which slipped from the hands of a worker (who was working on the 50th floor) while he tried to unfasten the tool from his belt. The tape measure bounced off a piece of construction metal that was about 10 – 15 feet from the ground before inflicting a fatal head injury.

Falling objects from heights, especially in construction sites, are a huge safety concern. In 2012, records from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics show 4,383 fatal work-related injuries in the United States. The cause of death of 233 who died was getting struck by objects or equipment, which is the third leading cause of injuries and fatalities in construction site accidents. The 509 deaths, by the way, registered a seven percent increase from 2011 during which the number of deaths was 219.

The types of objects that very often fall from great heights include hand-held radios; nuts and bolts; hard hats; little bits of concrete; and small tools, like tape measures, pliers and wrenches. While this type of carelessness can definitely result to property damage below, lost productivity, and inconvenience to worker (who will have to go down to retrieve the tool), workers should never forget that this can also very well result to a life-altering injury or death, not just to his/her co-worker or anyone else inside or near the site, but to pedestrians too who may be feet away from the construction area since falling objects can bounce off any material and hit anything or anyone below.

Many are not aware of the dangers and the possible severe injuries which can result from falling construction tools and materials. Who would have thought that a 1-pound tape measure would kill a man, anyway? Getting hit by a falling object can easily result to severe injuries, such as brain and head injuries which, if this does not kill the victim, it may cause in him/her permanent disability.

Over 1.7 million people sustain a traumatic brain injury every year, hospitalizing 275,000 and killing 52,000 others. These individuals may suffer cognitive, emotional, and other difficulties that require ongoing care and treatment, at great expense. If the accident resulting to brain injury was the fault of someone else, the victim is given all the rights to pursue legal action where the court may find him/her eligible to receive financial compensation for the damages he/she has been unjustly made to suffer.

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