Common Traffic Violations

Jan 18

Common Traffic Violations

It only takes a single mistake on the road to trigger an accident. For this reason alone, unsafe practices are strictly prohibited on the road, and committing one is enough grounds for a traffic ticket or even jail time if it is serious enough. But sometimes charges can be unreasonable, maybe because of exaggerations and misunderstandings. For such instances, getting help from a legal professional that focuses on criminal defense is not such a bad idea, like this Columbia traffic tickets attorney.

Of course, prevention is still the best way to stay away from the hassles of legalities, and the first step to prevention is knowledge. Below is a list of common traffic violations, so you can have an idea what practices you can avoid doing.

Driving under the influence

Operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is an offense determined if your blood alcohol concentration is 0.08% or higher. You can also be arrested for this offense even if you are below that percentage, depending on the circumstances.

Reckless driving

Reckless driving include reckless behaviors like failing to yield to stop signs, traffic lights, and right of way, failing to give hand or electronic signals upon turning, manuevering in a dangerous manner, and not having proper lights for safety.


Speeding is the act of operating a vehicle in a speed greater than what is specified by law. Other factors are also taken in consideration, like weather conditions, road conditions, construction zones, and other obstructions that may make fast traveling unreasonable and inprudent.

Mechanical Violation

Vehicles should be in their top condition to prevent defects and malfunctions that may cause accidents. Defects in equipment such as brakes, turn signals, mirrors, head and tail lights, and tires, may warrant a traffic ticket for a mechanical violation.

All of these violations are preventable. By following traffic rules, driving in a safe manner, being mindful of the other motorists around you, and making sure that your vehicle is free from malfunctions and defects, you are more likely to traffic violations and tickets.

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Don’t Get Distracted or Don’t Drive

Oct 22

In 2010, police-reported motor vehicle traffic crashes totaled to 5,419,000; of these, 1,542,000 resulted to injuries and 32,999 deaths. The more than five million car accidents every year is very minimal compared to the estimated 16,000,000 that actually occur. Why this great disparity? The major reason is because majority of accidents never get reported, since no one gets injured and the damages are minor – requiring only simple repairs or parts replacement so that settlement is easily reached by both at-fault and innocent drivers who rather prefer to save themselves from the inconveniences resulting from filing legal complaints.

With regard to the most common causes of fatal car crashes, both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the National Safety Council (NSC) agree on alcohol-impaired driving, speeding, not wearing of seatbelt and cell phone use. Despite the laws which ban the use of a cell phone while behind the wheel, and drivers’ understanding of the risks associated with distracted driving, thousands of drivers continue to commit mistakes or make bad decisions while driving; thousands still drive and text or converse with someone over their phone. Worse than these, though, many even commit the crazy mistake of taking selfies and then posting their photo in their social site as they try to keep an eye on the road.

Distracted driving is most common among young drivers. Studies and analyses of car crashes, in fact, show that about 11 teenagers die every day because of cell phone use while driving. Besides cell phone use, a few other of the almost endless list of driving distractions, which take away a driver’s focus on the road, include: looking at a map for directions; adjusting a GPS or a radio; playing the car stereo at full volume; chatting with friends; taking, or having a picture taken; fixing a tie, grooming; drinking and eating; and, lighting a cigarette and smoking.

It is explained in the Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller & Overbeck, P.A. website at why paying full attention to the road and your surroundings is of utmost importance when you’re behind the wheel. A lapse in attention even for just a few seconds is an act of negligence that can result to a crash where people, other than you, can get injured; it can also most likely result to you being fully regretful but facing civil and criminal charges.

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Get the Best, yet, Cheapest Insurance Policy Even if You’re a “High-Risk” Driver

Jul 19

If you are carrying auto liability insurance and find out that more than 20 million drivers with whom you share roads and highways are uninsured, wouldn’t you feel distressed and worried? The thought that millions of drivers continue to drive without insurance will not only make you feel afraid of getting involved in an accident, but more so getting involved in one wherein the other driver, who may also happen to be at fault in the accident, does not carry auto liability insurance.

A closer estimate of the number of uninsured drivers, according to the Insurance Research Council (IRC), is 29 million and the major reason why these so many drivers are uninsured is the high cost of insurance coverage. Well, it cannot be denied that insurance firms do find ways to make policies expensive, making so many drivers pay more than what they really should. To make policies more costly (for higher profit, of course), insurance companies consider many factors which will enable them to tag you as a “high-risk” driver. These factors include:

  • Age and driving experience. For insurance companies, being young and having less experience behind the wheel are liabilities simply because these factors make your driving behavior difficult to determine. Thus, if you are below 25 years old and have only a few years of driving experience, they will think that you are more prone to getting involved in an accident, thus, you are a “high-risk” driver. Not having committed any traffic violation and not having been involved in any accident will not save you from being tagged as a “high-risk” driver.
  • Type of car driven. If you are driving a high-powered sports car, then you may well expect a more expensive insurance premium. This type of car can make you go fast and the faster you go, the more likelihood of you figuring in an accident.
  • Driving history. You are definitely a “high-risk” driver if your driving history is marred by traffic violations, such as reckless driving and, especially, driving under the influence or DUI. While these are major offenses, you’ll be surprised to know that some insurance firms even consider a parking ticket a factor by which you can be considered a “high-risk” driver.
  • SR-22 filing. If you have been cited for three traffic violations within a year, have been caught driving without insurance, or have had your license revoked or suspended for whatever legal reason, then the court can require you to carry an SR-22 filing. Being required to carry this definitely makes you a “high-risk” driver.

To many drivers, the high cost of insurance policies can really be a burden. There is a way, though, to get insured without paying more than you can or more than you should. Helping drivers and car owners find the best, yet cheapest, insurance policy is what independent car insurance firms do. According Pohl & Berk, LLP, some insurance companies offer free online quotes which will allow customers compare deals and prices on line. They also help customers get insured on the spot. Because of independent car insurance firms, being insured has become really fast and easy.

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Wrongful Death

Mar 18

Many accidents occur due to a person’s own carelessness; however, many more happen due to the negligent or reckless act of someone else.

Acting or behaving in ways that will not endanger anyone is the fundamental duty of every person. Those who rather choose to disregard the safety of others and cause them injury can very well be recipients of a civil lawsuit, which will enable innocent victims (or victims’ families) to seek and receive compensation from them.

An injury, which is a result of negligence, is called personal injury; it may be physical, emotional or mental. Personal injuries can happen through many different ways, including, but not limited to: car accidents; motorcycle accidents; truck accidents; construction accidents; medical malpractice; defective products; slip and fall accidents; and, nursing home abuse or negligence. While many accidents result to severe (personal) injuries, there are cases wherein their effect is much more damaging, leading to a victim’s wrongful or untimely death.

In the event of a wrongful death, the family or dependents of the deceased may file a lawsuit for the purpose of seeking justice. This legal action, which is called a wrongful death claim, is for the benefit of the “real parties in interest,” meaning, the surviving family members and the decedent’s other dependents. A wrongful death claim is a special kind of personal injury lawsuit that is intended to seek compensation for whatever pecuniary or financial damages the dependents may suffer, like loss of the decedent’s financial support, services and companionship, lost prospect of inheritance, and medical and funeral expenses.

Filing a wrongful death claim can be done by a representative, who would act on behalf of the “real parties in interest.” While these “real parties in interest” would obviously mean the decedent’s immediate family, which includes his/her spouse, child/children and/or adopted children, there are other individuals who, based on their relationship with the deceased victim, are also considered by some states as having the right to be included under the “real parties in interest” group. They are the decedent’s: parents; distant family members, like brothers and sisters, and grandparents; financial dependents; and, life partner or putative spouse.

According to the Abel Law Firm, filing a wrongful death claim is sometimes the only way for a decedent’s family or survivors to cope with the financial problems that may result from the loss of their financial provider. The processes involved in a wrongful death lawsuit, however, are not simple, despite the obvious cause of death of the deceased victim.

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Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

Oct 09

The decision to put our loved ones in a nursing home can often be a difficult one to make. When our family members are placed in a nursing facility, we rightfully expect that staff members will take the upmost care of our loved ones and treat them with respect. All too often, however, this is not the case. Nursing home abuse is a very serious problem that occurs across the nation. In fact, most West Palm Beach personal injury lawyers would probably point out that as many as one out of three nursing homes in America have been cited for some sort of abuse. When our elderly family members cannot articulate the abuse that is taking place against them, it is important to be able to recognize the signs that they are undergoing some kind of harm.

Warnings of physical, sexual, or verbal abuse can take many forms. You may be able to spot that your family member is dealing with physical abuse by spotting external injuries, such as bed sores or bruising. Your loved one may also show signs of dehydration or rapid weight loss or weight gain. However, some indicators of abuse are far from being physically visible. A victim of nursing home abuse may become more withdrawn, isolated, and fearful of speaking in front of staff members. Abuse can also come in the form of staff negligence, resulting in unsanitary conditions and slip and fall accidents. These are some of the signs that can point to nursing home abuse, even when our loved ones cannot or are too afraid to speak up.

Nursing homes should be a place where we can trust that our family members are secure and out of harm’s way when they become unable to take care of themselves. When staff members violate this trust, they may be required to pay compensation to the families. No one should be subject to abuse or unsafe conditions, especially in a place that should be dedicated to an individual’s well-being.

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No-Zone Truck Accidents in Texas

May 18

Large trucks or 18-wheelers tend to overpower every other vehicle that’s sharing the road. Because of their notable size, these trucks are known to be notoriously hard to control. Compared to regular passenger cars, an 18-wheeler is about 30 times heavier and comes with a special set of challenges. It’s obvious that truck drivers need to be specially trained to operate such powerful vehicles.

One of the things that drivers are trained to watch out for are the no-zone of their trucks. These are spots surrounding the vehicle that’s obscured by the length and girth of a truck. Any vehicle will have similar blind spots. The only difference between a regular car and an 18-wheeler is that issues with blind spots in cars are usually mitigated with the use of side mirrors. For 18-wheelers, these mirrors aren’t enough. According to the website of the Cazayoux Ewing Law Firm, truck drivers will also need to keep an eye out on the following areas to avoid any unforeseen incidents:

  • The small area in front of the truck
  • The sizable area behind the truck
  • The small area on the driver’s side
  • The large area on the passenger’s side

According to the website of the Cazayoux Ewing Law Firm, truck operators need to ensure that these areas are clear before making turns or changing lanes. They should also employ proper signals to ensure that anyone near these zones can clear out of the way. Similarly, drivers operating smaller vehicles should be careful around these no-zone areas when near an 18-wheeler truck. It’s important that cars keep a safe distance between themselves and any large truck in the area.

These safety precautions are important because no-zone truck accidents can lead to serious injuries and even fatalities. In Texas, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that there were 4,607 large truck fatalities in the year 2012. Victims in such accidents can suffer from traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries, and would need plenty of assistance as they deal with recovery and rehabilitation. As such, it’s important that these victims get legal avenues to pursue compensation for the suffering and damages they’ve incurred.

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What New York Employees Need to Know about Unpaid Overtime Wages

May 17

Employees working in America are entitled by law to receive just and equal compensation. Both federal and individual state laws mandate that all workers must receive at least a minimum wage to compensate for services they’ve rendered for their respective employers. The law also ensures that these workers are able to receive overtime wages that will cover any service that goes beyond their regularly assigned working hours.

What happens when these laws aren’t met by American employers? According to the lawyers at Cary Kane, unpaid overtime is often a hot button issue in workplaces across the country. In New York, for example, wage theft is a rampant problem. While the New York Department of Labor mandates that employees should be able to receive overtime pay that is 1.5 times more than their regular rate for all hours worked over their 40-hour weekly schedule, plenty of employers seem to evade this important policy. This is especially true for undocumented workers. As pointed out by Cary Kane, undocumented workers remain protected by overtime wage laws and will not allow employers to raise the legitimacy of their immigration to avoid proper compensation.

While majority of workers are covered by overtime wage laws, there are some notable exceptions to the rule. In New York, people working in specific occupations and industries are exempted from the overtime wage policy mandated by state law. In particular, these are employees involved in the following types of work:

  • Executive employees
  • Professional employees
  • Administrative employees
  • Federal, state, or municipal employees
  • Farm laborers
  • Volunteers
  • Apprentices
  • Interns

Majority of New York employees are entitled to proper compensation to cover extra hours of work. When their employers fail to properly cover the overtime wages they are owed, workers can file a claim to receive proper adjustment and back pay to cover the amount owed. Anyone in this situation should work with an attorney with significant experience in labor law. If the problem is wide-spread, a class action suit can be filed against the employer.

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Divorce: Mediation and Arbitration

May 12

Going through a divorce can be a real challenge. Aside from the emotional trauma that it usually entails, divorcing couples also have to go through often drawn-out procedures just to come to an agreement. Traditionally, these procedures are undertaken in the public courtroom and are moderated and decided on by a judge. However, proceedings like these usually cause a lot of stress for the couple involved and can aggravate an already unpleasant situation. Thankfully, there are several legal options that can help couples by pass the often lengthy and complicated process of a courtroom divorce. On their website, the family lawyers of Marshall & Taylor, P.C. point to mediation and arbitration as viable alternatives.

In mediation, spouses are given the opportunity to negotiate about certain details of their impending divorce through the help of a mediator. This mediator won’t be making decisions for the couple, as a judge would in traditional divorce proceedings. The mediator will instead as a bridge that can help see the couple eye to eye on certain issues. He or she will help the couple determine the interests of each party and guide them towards an amicable agreement.

Mediation is often the best option for couples that are interested in maintaining a healthy relationship after their separation. It is particularly helpful for couples looking to co-parent children, or those who might have to maintain a future working relationship in some other capacity (say, as business partners). Mediation can also be particularly cost effective and can finalize the divorce in a much shorter timeframe. One downside, however, is when couples hit a wall and declare an impasse. Since the mediator has no power to make decisions, the couple will have to seek an alternative method to resolve their issues.

Divorcing couples can avoid litigation by looking into arbitration to resolve complex issues that could arise during mediation. Through the process of arbitration, the couples will have an opportunity to make their case in a private setting and have an appointed arbitrator settle their disputes. In a way, an arbitrator takes on the role that a judge would. However, unlike in the courtroom, the divorcing couple has the power to define the procedure and determine a specific timeline for the arbitrator to make a final decision.

Divorce can become a very complicated process for most couples. The proceeding can quickly become emotional exhausting and can cause a lot of stress for the divorcing couple. Individuals going through a divorce should contact experienced family lawyers to learn more about options that can ensure an easier procedure.

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First Aid Measures for Electric Shock

May 11

Electric shock accidents can be extremely dangerous and cause significant effects to the human body. These accidents occur when a person comes into contact with an active electrical source. Because the body is made of a material that conducts electrical energy, such accidents can cause serious injury.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the effects electric shock will vary depending on different factors. Primarily, the amount of shock and the severity of the damage received by a person will differ based on the amount and path of the current, as well as the length of time the body is in the electrical circuit. Minor shocks can leave very little physical evidence, except for some numbness or tingling feeling in the affected area. However, stronger currents and longer exposures will typically lead to severe burns, seizures, loss of consciousness, and even cardiac arrest.

When electric shock occurs, it’s important for an injured patient to receive immediate medical attention. Make sure you keep a safe distance from the injured individual if he or she is still in contact with the electrical source. Call 911 or any emergency response service, especially if the victim is unresponsive. While waiting for help to arrive, try to find a way to have the electrical source shut down. If this isn’t possible, move the source away from the victim using any object that doesn’t conduct electricity. Non-conducting materials include plastic, rubber, or wood. It is also possible to try CPR on an unresponsive patient. If the patient is suffering from severe burns, make use of a clean bandage or piece of cloth to cover the injured area.

Electric shock accidents are common in construction sites and other similar high risk workplaces. They can also happen in premises where there are exposed wires and faulty circuits. In the latter scenarios, property owners have to make sure that their premises follow proper safety regulations when it comes to their electrical wiring system. Neglecting to properly maintain their facilities can cause serious accidents that could lead to personal injury.

As pointed out by the website of Houston personal injury lawyers at The Mokaram Law Firm, cases of personal injury leave victims with difficult issues and burdens. Because of this, anyone injured by an electric shock accident may be able to pursue compensation from those responsible for the accident. It will be best to contact an experienced lawyer to learn more about available legal options.

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Record Expunction in Texas

May 08

Record expunction offers individuals charged or convicted of a crime to start over anew. In an ideal scenario, anyone convicted of a crime will be able to properly reintegrate back to their old lives after properly serving their mandated penalties. However, rebuilding one’s reputation isn’t always easy. Most of the time, convicted individuals face extreme prejudice for crimes they have committed and properly served obligations for. This prejudice can severely limit someone’s educational and employment opportunities, along with other financial prospects.

According to the website of The Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter, the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure offers convicted individuals several different avenues to avoid the stigma associated with a criminal charge. A person who has been convicted of a criminal violation can opt to petition for non-disclosure of their record. This means the court will grant that their record be sealed and allow that they not disclose the information on official records that would otherwise ask for it.

Certain circumstances can also allow an individual to petition for record expunction, which allows a criminal charge to be permanently removed from their record. In particular, record expunction is application for Texan residents whose experience falls under the following scenarios:

  • Charged with a crime but later acquitted
  • Charged with a crime but the case was later dismissed
  • Arrested for a crime but never formally charged
  • Convicted for a crime but later found innocent
  • Convicted for a crime but later received pardon

The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure also requires an individual to wait a specific amount of time before filing a petition for record expunction. Charged with a Class C misdemeanor, an individual will need to wait for a total of 180 days from the day of the arrest. Meanwhile, individuals charged with a Class A or B misdemeanor will have to wait for 1 full year. In cases involving a felony, the charged individual can only file their petition after 3 years.

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