Boating Under the Influence: A Serious Violation of the Federal BUI Law

BUI or boating under the influence is another major cause of accident that continues to injure or claim the lives of hundreds of individuals. The Boating Safety Resource Center, the U.S. Coast Guard’s Boating Safety Division’s official website, says that BUI is deadly; that drinking would impair a boat operator faster than it would impair a car driver; and that 1/3 of all recreational boating accidents are due to alcohol impairment. Because of the dangers brought about by BUI, those who violate U.S. BUI laws face the possibility of a jail term, huge fines and revocation of operator privileges.

The federal BUI law enforced by the United States Coast Guard is applicable to all types of boats, including the largest ships, rowboats and canoes; it even includes foreign vessels sailing through U.S. territories and U.S. ships on the high seas.

Drinking alcohol or liquor, while on sea, can affect a boat operator’s balance, coordination, vision and judgment, much faster than when alcohol is consumed on land. This is due to the overall sea environment, which includes the sun, wind, sea water mist or spray, engine noise, vibration and motion. Thus, due to alcohol impairment, capsizing boats and drunken passengers falling over board are common cause-of-death reports.

The threatening effects of alcohol when it is consumed while on sea include:

  • Deterioration of judgment and cognitive abilities, rendering wise assessment of situations, processing of information and making good choices, much harder;
  • Impairment in physical control, resulting to failure to make timely reactions to dangers, lack of coordination and problem in balance;
  • Decrease in peripheral or night vision and depth perception, difficulty in identifying colors, especially green and red; and,
  • Failure to pull self out of the cold water, causing hypothermia and death.

According to the Flaherty Defense Firm, “Thousands of people come from all over the country every summer to vacation in Destin. One of the most popular things to do is rent a ski boat, pontoon boat, or a jet ski and take it out to Crab Island or Norriego Point to have a great time along with the hundreds of other boaters, yolo boarders, and swimmers. Unfortunately, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Officers and the Coast Guard station themselves right in the midst of all the fun. They are looking for anyone who shows any signs of having had too much to drink.

Once they have zeroed in on a suspect, they will approach the boat, tie it off to their boat, and board. They will do this under the guise of a “vessel safety check.” They will make sure the boat has a sufficient number of flotation devices and other required safety equipment. But before they leave your boat, they will ask if anyone has been drinking. They will search the boat for empty containers or open containers of alcohol.

The penalties for a BUI charge are very similar to the ones for a DUI. If this is your first or second offense, BUI is a first degree misdemeanor offense. The potential punishment ranges from 6 to 9 months in jail and up to a $1,000.00 fine. If convicted, you will also be required to serve probation, complete community service hours, attend alcohol awareness classes, and have your boat impounded.

If you are accused of Boating Under the Influence that resulted in an accident that caused serious bodily injury, you will be charged with a felony BUI offense punishable by up to 5 years in prison.

A BUI case demands the right response, such as hiring a skilled and experienced BUI defense lawyer to meet the accusations against you head on.”

Traumatic Brain Injuries: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

The human brain is one of the most important organs in the human body because everything in our body is controlled by it. Thus, any harm to the brain that causes a change in the way it functions will affect the way the whole body works.

Anything that causes a sudden jolt or a violent blow to the head, such as a car crash, an explosion, or a sports-related accident, can make the brain collide with the internal wall of the skull. This, in turn, can result to torn nerve fibers, bruising of the brain and/or bleeding which can result to intracranial injury, more commonly known as traumatic brain injury (TBI). Besides the accidents mentioned above, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also lists the following as possible causes of TBI:

  • Falls, which are common among children adults above 75 years old;
  • Non-motorized pedal cycles or accidents involving bicycles;
  • Violence, being shot or stabbed on the head; and,
  • Smashed piece of skull penetrating the tissues in the brain.

The severity of a traumatic brain injury depends on which part of the brain has been affected and the extent of the damage – whether the injured area is widespread or affects only a specific part. For purposes of classification, severity is identified as mild, moderate or severe.

Mild TBI patients usually experience temporary headaches and confusion, but a severe case can lead to amnesia, coma, unconsciousness, disability, or even death. In treating a TBI patient, various methods are introduced. One series of continuous treatment includes:

  • Initial treatment that is intended to stabilize the individual right after a TBI-causing accident occurs;
  • Rehabilitative care center treatment, which is aimed at restoring the patient to daily life;
  • Acute treatment for the purpose of minimizing secondary injury and life support; and,
  • Surgical treatment, but if only necessary, to prevent secondary injury. This is done to ensure the continuous flow of oxygen and blood to the brain.

The law firm Evans Moore explains that a traumatic brain or head injury is perhaps the most problematic injury that one can sustain. This is because a brain and head injury can cause life-altering and permanent disabilities or side effects. Over 1.7 million people sustain a traumatic brain injury every year, hospitalizing 275,000 and killing 52,000 people. These individuals may suffer cognitive, emotional, and other difficulties that require ongoing care and treatment, at great expense.

If someone else was at fault for the traumatic brain or head injury that one has sustained, he/she may be eligible to receive financial compensation that should cover medical bills, lost wages, and other damages that are related to his/her injuries.

The Cost of Cheating with Taxes

On September 25, 2015, Keisha Lanier, leader of a large-scale identity tax refund fraud (SIRF) conspiracy, was sentenced to 180 months in prison plus three years of supervised release after she was found guilty of tax refund fraud amounting to $24 million.

Keisha, with the eight others who were convicted with her, filed at least 9,000 false federal income tax returns (between January 2011 and December 2013) for $24 million in fraudulent tax refunds claims. She was also ordered by the court to forfeit more than $5.8 million of the close to $10 million that the IRS paid out tom her.

In June of the same year, a Tampa couple was also sentenced after being convicted of massive ID theft tax fraud scheme. The husband, James Lee, was sentenced to 324 months or 27 years in prison plus five years of supervised release, while his wife Eneshia was sentenced to 138 months in prison and three years of supervised release

The couple pleaded guilty to filing false tax return claims amounting to $3 million in refunds. Besides the false claims, the couple also pleaded guilty to mail fraud, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

From October. 1, 2014, to September 30, 2015 (the government financial year), the IRS initiated 776 investigations into tax-related identity theft and obtained 774 jail sentences through the help of the IRS Criminal Investigation unit.

The IRS’ Criminal Investigation has one of the highest conviction rates among all of federal law enforcement agencies. ID theft tax fraud scheme, however, is not the only problem the IRS faces. It also suffers heavy losses due to tax evasion. The latest estimates have shown, in fact, that between 2008 and 2010, the federal government lost an average of $458 billion per year.

According to a Milwaukee tax fraud lawyer, the possible consequence of a Tax Fraud & Evasion conviction are prison time and severe fines, besides the potential to change just about every aspect of your life. Though the criminal process can be frightening, there is still the opportunity of facing the charges against you and defend your rights to protect your future with help from a highly-skilled criminal defense attorney.

Toxic Chemical Exposure in the Workplace

Workers in manual labor industries are some of the most vulnerable individuals in the United States. As evidenced by data compiled by the Occupational Health & Safety Administration, these risk-heavy occupations such as manufacturing, mining, and construction leave workers vulnerable to a host of different hazards, leaving as many as 3 million individuals injured or ill in 2014. Among these hazards common in these workplaces is toxic chemical exposure.

There are many toxic substances to which workers can be exposed while on the job. Some of the most commonly used substances in high-risk occupations include chloroform, benzene, mercury, trichloroethylene, nickel, asbestos, and cadmium metal. Prolonged exposure to these chemicals can lead to different medical conditions, many of them chronic and easily fatal. Because of toxic chemical exposure, many workers develop diseases like Hodgkin’s disease, mesothelioma, leukemia, and some other types of cancers. These substances can also cause people to get injured at work. Accidents involving these chemicals can lead to severe third to fourth degree chemical burns that could leave victims temporarily or permanently disabled.

Considering these consequences, combating prolonged exposure to harmful substances should remain a priority in workplaces across America. Fortunately, there are several precautions that employers can take to protect the well-being of their workforce. Providing workers with proper safety gear and equipment is one easy way to do this. Reducing worker exposure through rotating shifts can also be a helpful method. Designating specific areas solely for use of harmful substances can also help protect workers from risk factors.

All in all, however, it’s clear that employers have the responsibility to create a safe working environment for everyone in their employ. Employers that fail to provide this basic standard are at risk of being found negligent. Workers that become injured due to lack of proper safety protocols in the handling of toxic substances may turn to a legal professional to ask about filing a civil case against their employer.

The Law On Overtime Pay Under The FLSA

In cases when an employee renders overtime work, it is assumed that they would be paid by the employer for the excess hours beyond the 40 hours per week requirement. The amount to be paid to employee for the overtime work is set forth in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Under the FLSA, an employee who performs overtime work should be properly compensated by their employer or else they face fines and penalties.

Unfortunately, according to the website of Williams Kherkher, many businesses are not paying their employees overtime wages which is in violation of the FLSA. Under the law, employees must receive overtime pay for the hours they worked for that goes beyond the 40 hours in a week. The rate of overtime pay is 1.5 times their regular pay rate. Overtime pay is no9t required for works on weekends and holidays or regular rest day, unless overtime work hours are rendered on those days.

The FLSA sets the fixed and regularly recurring period of an employee to 168 hours per workweek. The overtime need not have to be on a calendar week and can begin within any hour of the day. Different workweeks can be established for different employees or group of employees. Overtime pay earned in a particular workweek should be paid on the regular payday for the period they were earned.

For overtime during weekends or night, it will all boil down to an agreement between employer or employee. The FLSA does not require overtime pay during weekend or night. The FLSA also lays down the fines and penalties for companies that will refuse to pay overtime wage to their employees. They could be facing criminal prosecution or imprisonment for their non-compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act. Overtime pay violation has a three-year statute of limitations. So make sure to file within the time limit.

Revealing The Different Kinds of Motorcycle Insurance

Driving a motorcycle is one of the quickest ways to reach your destination without worrying about the traffic. But due to its small size, accidents involving motorcycles can be devastating. It also involves a wide variety of expenses that can be too much to take out from your own pocket. According to the website of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C.®, a motorcycle insurance is the best way to offset accident-related costs.

There are different types of coverage available to a motorcycle driver for them to choose from. Protecting yourself from the devastating nature of motorcycle accidents can free you from the hassle of huge expenses such as medical costs, lost wages, property damage, and others. Here are the different types of insurance coverage that you can choose from:

1. Liability Coverage

Liability coverage provides for expenses incurred from damaging a motorcycle to injuring a person during an accident. It includes bodily injury liability that pays for injuries to another person other than a guest passenger. Motorcycle liability coverage also pays for injuries of a guest passenger riding with you on your motorcycle. Finally, it also includes property damage liability to pay for damages that you caused to a property.

2. Collision Coverage

Collision coverage shoulders your expenses if you hit another vehicle, another vehicle hits you, or your motorcycle rolls over. This coverage may be required if your vehicle is financed or leased.

3. Comprehensive Coverage

Comprehensive coverage helps shoulder repairs or replacement to your ride if it is stolen, vandalized, or damaged in other ways other than a collision. It also pays for loss or damage from fire, flood, falling objects, wind, and collision with an animal.

4. Uninsured or Underinsured Motorcycle Coverage

This type of insurance provides protection against drivers who does not have liability insurance or does not have enough money to shoulder injuries and damages they incurred, their passengers, or their vehicle. It also pays for damages or injuries incurred from hit and run accidents. Depending on the state, each policy is subject to provisions and limits.

5. Roadside Assistance

One optional coverage worth considering is roadside assistance. This provides help with a flat tire, a jump, or tow. Trip interruption costs when traveling over 100 miles away from home can be included in the policy.

6. Medical Payments

Medical payments coverage pays for medical costs for you and your passengers in case of an accident involving your motorcycle.

These are just some of the options you can include in your motorcycle insurance. With the huge costs associated with motorcycle accidents, it pays to have coverage for any expenses you might incur during the accident.

Is It Worth It to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?

Legal processes are hardly ever easy to deal with and, most of the time, they are known to be very costly. Some insurance companies may even be eager to advise you to not consult with an attorney for any number of reasons. For example, you could be dismayed from the prospect of legal process due to its complicated and sometimes tedious nature; insurance companies may even say that a quick settlement will allow for you to get your life back together as soon as possible.

However, if you really think about the situation properly, how do you know who truly benefits from the lack of an attorney—the guilty party and the insurance company defending them, or you?

Personal injury is a difficult and often complex branch of the law. This is due to the number of variables that could come into play and it could differ from state to state, since it is not a federal law. An Indianapolis personal injury lawyer would be well aware that there are many subsets of personal injury such as car accidents, medical malpractice, premises liability, and a lot more. Each of these subsets may require a different level of expertise so that the plaintiff may be given the proper compensation, following the injury.

Most people may think that only medical expenses are the things covered with a case like this but, in actuality, there must also be recompense allocated for the loss of wages as well as the compensation rewarded for the trauma suffered due to the situation.

Employer Negligence Resulting in Truck Malfunction

The enormous size of big rigs or 18-wheelers, more commonly known as freight trucks, is enough to make this type of vehicles threats on the road and, considering the fact that truck drivers usually drive for about 11 hours a day, many thoughts connected to road safety come into play. Thoughts, such as the possibility of drivers feeling fatigued, as well as their skills and qualification before being allowed to drive one; it is assumed, of course, that trucks are regularly checked and maintained to make sure that these are in perfect operating condition.

For many truck drivers, eleven hours of driving with very short rest periods is normal work. Due to this very tough and demanding task, a type of training, which will develop and further improve applicant and experienced drivers’ skills in operating a truck, and passing a test set by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), in order to earn a commercial vehicle license, are strictly required by the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986.

Despite federal laws and programs aimed at eliminating, or substantially reducing, at least, accidents involving trucks, the US Department of Transportation, through two of its agencies, namely the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), records close to 4,000 deaths and more than 70,000 injuries resulting from the more than half a million truck accidents every year.

Though these may be alarming figures (but not as alarming as the statistics for car accidents, definitely), there is a more surprising study which shows that close to 80% of the (more than half a million truck) accidents are fault of drivers of passenger vehicles rather than of truck drivers.

Some of these faults include a passenger vehicle: crossing the center line and driving into a truck’s path, resulting to head-on collision; side-swiping a truck that is going in the same direction or heading the opposite direction; turning across a truck’s path; and, rear-ending a truck.

There are many other causes why trucks accidents happen, of course, like a driver losing control due to tire blowout or brake problems, worn-out tires, defective brakes or other truck parts, poorly maintained road, poor weather condition, driver fatigue, driving too fast for road conditions, cargo not properly distributed inside the truck, prescription drug intoxication, and so forth.

There are more than three million trucks drivers employed in the US and millions of them drive their trucks all across the US every day. Besides federal laws that mandate trucking firms to make sure that their drivers are trained, skilled and not overworked, there are also laws which require these firms to conduct regular inspection, repair and maintenance of their trucks, and keep records of these maintenance jobs ready for government inspection.

The website of the Portale Law Firm points out the importance of regular repair and maintenance, as failure to do so automatically increases risks of accidents due to mechanical defects or malfunction.

Truck accidents almost always have disastrous results. Though studies may show that most of these accidents are due to errors committed by drivers of passenger vehicles, there may be clues that will prove otherwise.

Home Buyers Beware

Everyone has skeletons in the closet – it is almost an inevitable fact of life. The secrets of inanimate things can be more easily discovered, however. You know the spy movies or the ghost stories – of hidden passageways and secret treasures buried beneath creaking floorboards or stealthily concealed compartments. Not every secret can be as luxurious, however; and sometimes, these consequences can cost your family thousands of dollars in repairs and decontamination procedures – or even your family’s health.

There was an unfortunate circumstance like this just a few years ago, wherein a couple purchased a previously foreclosed house but was not informed of the reasons as to why it was so. They then started experiencing physical repercussions and had it investigated. The home this unwitting couple had purchased, according to a more thorough investigation, was found to have been a meth lab. Due to the fact that there were no procedures made to have had the house decontaminated, some toxins lingered within the structure.

That is why it is recommended that if you are purchasing a house, you are made aware of the natural hazards that it might be susceptible to. This can be acquired through a reputable source and though sellers are usually tasked with acquiring these papers, you want to make sure that these documents are provided by an agency or source you can trust. This takes a bit of research and extra diligence. Some additional care that can also be taken can be in the form of personal investigation such as asking neighbors about the environment or looking into the nearby facilities, such as hospitals or clinics, schools, police stations, grocery stores, et cetera.

You need to be aware of both the external hazards (i.e. is the house in a neighborhood that is frequented by fires, floods, or earthquakes?) as well as internal ones, such as a previous history with possibly harmful toxins? This is a legal requirement for most sellers but as a buyer, it pays less to be safe than sorry.

How to Sell Your Mineral Rights

If you are the owner of known mineral rights, it is the most likely scenario that you are constantly bombarded with offers to buy those rights. There are a lot of buyers in the United States who crave these mineral rights for industrial purposes but are counting upon general ignorance in order to purchase these rights for a price that is much lower than they are actually worth. So maybe you are looking to let go of this property but are unaware of how to sell mineral rights – that is where some expert help can be of use.

In the United States, if an individual owns a particular patch of land – whatever minerals that can be unearthed from that land is the property of the owner, thereby protecting the owners’ rights. These rights can, of course, be sold. The US is considered special in this regard since there are no other countries, according to mineralrightscoach.com, that practice this kind of freedom with regard to these kinds of rights.

Selling your rights can be a matter that is more complicated than you might first assume it would be. Take, for example, that you lease a piece of property and it is discovered that there are minerals that rest within it. Since you leased out the property, does that mean that the minerals unearthed are no longer yours? The answer is no, the minerals within the property still fall unto your ownership by the statutes of the law. If you put it this way: say you own a shell and loan it out for whatever purpose. The shell is still yours but, through the actions of someone else, a pearl is found within that shell. Does the pearl then belong to you or to the person who, by chance, discovered it? The answer, by your own mineral rights, is you.

It is a complicated affair that requires expert help, due to the nature of the market of minerals within the United States. If you or someone you know is currently looking to sell their mineral rights, it is recommended to seek first the aid of a professional in the field of selling mineral rights in order for you to obtain the fairest and most ideal deal for your property.