The recent bus crash in Tennessee has once again renewed the debate about whether or not school buses should be fitted with seat belts. Regardless of such accidents being uncommon, the U.S. government’s top safety regulator, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), has spoken out saying all school busses should have seat belts. California, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York and Texas all have laws which mandate seat belts on school buses; Tennessee is not yet one of these. Furthermore, 17 states have introduced seat belt bills, but none has passed. This could be attributed to the price figure estimate of $7,000 – $10,000 per bus. With over 480,000 public school buses on the road, carrying over 25 million children, these costs could exceed the billion dollar mark. After the collision, many people are hoping for a federal mandate.

Most recently, NHTSA administrator Mark Rosekind said “We know that seat belts will save lives if we put one for every kid on every school bus.”  However, in the past, the same association, along with the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) has said they’re not convinced seat belts would increase safety. Likewise, The National PTA and The American Academy of Pediatrics have remained in favor of all school buses being fitted with seat belts for children. Both have voiced concerns that the message of “buckle up for safety” should remain consistent across all vehicles both private and public. Donald Carnahan, NAPT President, counters the statement by saying “Seat belts in cars and lap belts on school buses are completely different safety issues.”

The National Coalition for Seatbelts on School Buses, an advocacy organization, has noted several reasons to take the precautionary measure; some of which may include:

October is a time of year in which the leaves start to change color and Tennessee residents start to pull out their autumn jackets. This time of year has also been set aside to acknowledge America’s seniors and the contributions they have made to every future generation to come.  The National Long-Term Care Residents Rights Month aims to bring focus to seniors living in elderly care or nursing homes; enabling people to remember and value each and every one of these people. In addition to this, the commemorative month is meant to encourage seniors, and their loved ones, to remember their rights and their voice. Through this direct involvement and say from the resident’s themselves, long term facilities may be able to operate more effectively while building a reputation they can be proud of.

My Vote Matters Theme

Each year, The National Long-Term Care Residents Rights Month follows a theme. This year’s theme was ‘My Vote Matters’, and was chosen to garner attention to resident’s and their retention of voting rights, regardless of where they live or what kind of care they receive. The importance of this greatly exceeds many other important events for it reminds people that a seniors’ vote could impact the very laws and regulations which encompass long term resident homes.

Deborah Giannecchini, 62, had been using J&Js’ baby talcum powder as feminine hygiene for 4 decades. However, in 2012 she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and claimed the baby powder was the cause. After hiring a talcum powder lawyer, a lawsuit was filed for compensatory damages due to negligence, and a recommendation for the company to have to attach warnings onto the product.

Only recently, the jury sitting of Mrs. Giannecchinis’ case, ruled in her favor. Her award settlement totaled $70 million; $65 million in punitive damages from J&J with a further $2.5 million for medical costs, pain and suffering. J&Js co-defendant Imerys Talc America, and supplier of the talc, are also required to pay $2.5 million to her. Johnson & Johnson says they sympathize with Mrs. Giannecchini’s situation; however, they went on to say “We will appeal today’s verdict because we are guided by the science, which supports the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder.”

Alongside military service, being part of a jury is considered to be one of the most important civil responsibilities of an adult American citizen. The U.S. legal system is founded upon multiple rights including that of the right to a trial by jury. Found in the Bill of Rights and the Seventh Amendment to the United States Constitution, this right is a primary difference between the American legal systems and those of other countries. A trial by jury compromises of 12 ordinary citizens (sometimes less) who are obliged to show up for jury duty and serve on a jury in civil or criminal.

Serving on a jury is an incredible opportunity to participate in the legal process of governance, and to better understand how things work. Unlike having the choice to vote, jury duty is mandatory rather than discretionary. It’s understandable to have concerns when you’re summoned for jury duty. You may even wonder how you can get out of it. Although jury duty could impose a heavy burden upon your life, it’s recommended to put forth your best effort when served. For when you fulfill this civil duty, you may be appreciated with gratitude from the court system and government as a whole. Moreover, you may walk away from the final day of jury duty with an enlightening sense of legal knowledge and a regard for the rights of the American people.

Sudden, Sharp Increases in Premiums for Certain Types of Life Insurance Policies

For those who hold life insurance policies with variable premiums, beware of sudden, sharp increases in premium rates. If you have suffered financial hardship to keep up with the premiums or if you have defaulted on the policy because the cash value is depleted or because you cannot pay the premiums, you may have a claim. Contact The Higgins Firm for help.

Universal Life Insurance: Peace of Mind or Risky Investment Product?

The most important decision you can make in your case is hiring the right accident attorney. With so many out there to choose from, this is harder than it can seem. It is critical that you hire someone who is experienced at representing accident victims and negotiating directly with the insurance companies. This will put you at an advantage when it comes to settlement negotiations or if you need to go to court.

The biggest thing that you need to remember is that the insurance company has a team of skilled attorneys on their side. They know what to do in order to keep the settlement low and will do whatever they can to pay you as little as possible. You need an equally skilled accident attorney, on your side, to ensure that you are treated fairly and get as much money as possible. This is not the time to hire a novice lawyer or someone who rarely deals with insurance companies. With your future on the line, you want the very best attorney you can find.

There are several things you can do to ensure that you hire the best attorney for your particular situation. They include –

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has said it will block nursing homes from federal funding should they use pre-dispute binding arbitration agreements. What this means is nursing homes in Tennessee can no longer force their patients and families to sign away their rights to sue in court before being admitted into the facility. Nearly all nursing homes are federally funded in some way or another, so this agreement could likely have a massive impact on the industry as a whole.

Prior to this ruling being made, it has been commonplace for elderly individuals and families to have to agree to private arbitration over the United States legal system. This meant elderly people, who are being cared for in federally funded nursing homes, may have been prevented from seeking legal damages as a result of neglect, recklessness, endangerment or wrongful death.  Currently, these arbitration contracts have helped the nursing home industry reduce legal costs and total cumulative damages as well as prevent tarnished reputations and long lasting repercussions.

Unfortunately, elderly are often desperate for care and shelter and will be quick to sign something even if they don’t understand what is being noted in the contract. When certain people have attempted to seek legal assistance for a dispute, the arbitration has held up as a legally binding contract; thereby affecting some of the most vulnerable Americans. For all new contracts between nursing homes and residents, this arbitration clause cannot be included.

People entrust their elderly family members to a nursing home, placing a special trust in the staff to care for and nurture their family in the waning years of life. Unfortunately, we see time and time again that many nursing homes simply do not honor this trust, and take actions that cause harm to the patients, their finances, and their families. Whenever there is any accusation of misconduct by a nursing home, it is critical that you have an attorney who specializes in matters like this to deal with the investigation and the ensuing lawsuit, should it come to that.

Vanguard Health

Most recently, there was the case of the Brentwood, TN nursing home, run by Vanguard Health. The U.S. attorney’s office in Tennessee has filed a lawsuit against the former nursing home based on allegations of widespread fraud and abuse of patients in Medicaid and TennCare. According to documents filed by the U.S. attorney, the employees at this nursing home regularly submitted false claims for Medicare and TennCare, forged signatures of physicians and nurses, and provided grossly negligent care for the patients who were in this facility. The parent company, Vanguard Health, has filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, but this will not protect them from the False Claims Act lawsuit filed against them by the Federal Government.

Many people have started smoking electronic cigarettes because they are supposedly better for you and the environment. Although there is still controversy surrounding the issue of whether or not they are safer for you.  Now, some people have experienced serious injuries when the device has exploded while they were using it.

According to lawsuits in several different states, there are claims that allege device makers sold defective products. One attorney,Marc Freund,  told The Wall Street Journal that “It’s an issue of the batteries being unregulated and manufactured haphazardly with poor warnings that never get down to the consumer.” Freund represents a teenager who suffered partial blindness from an exploding e-cig and a woman who suffered third-degree burns when a device exploded in her pocket.

Nashville Attorneys, The Higgins Firm, are closely looking into Abilify lawsuits and claims which have raised concern amongst professionals after a number of people were said to have developed a gambling disorder, diabetes or other potentially harmful uncontrollable urges while taking the drug. These urges, the Abilify lawyers go on to say, appeared to have ceased once the medication was discontinued.

The antipsychotic drug Abilify, also known as aripiprazole, is manufactured by Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. Lawsuits against these companies state that they failed to provide sufficient warnings on the label of the drug and neglected to properly educate the prescribing doctors of Abilify’s’ side effects.

badges