Teens Targeted for Mirena Use

Despite thousands of lawsuits filed against Bayer HealthCare for its Mirena intra-uterine device (IUD) for contraception, the German pharmaceutical company makes no bones about its aggressive marketing of the product to teens. It touts the convenience of the device compared to more traditional means of contraception such as birth control pills which requires some discipline and vigilance to really prevent pregnancies. IUDs are “set and forget” contraception; once it’s in you don’t have to worry about it any longer. This is appealing to busy mothers as well as active teenagers.

That is precisely the issue at hand in Mirena litigation; women forget about it until the pain of a uterine perforation or infection kicks in. Claims against Bayer allege that Mirena “migrates” or moves out of place and in many cases, attempting to remove the device was unsuccessful because it could not be found. This is a serious problem, often resulting in infertility, scarring and adhesions.

Bayer predictably downplays the potential risks and side effects associated with Mirena, and it is expected that the uninformed would buy into it. However, the company is also marketing the product to doctors who are surprisingly receptive, advising their teen patients to use the product to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Family planning experts are also noting the trend of patients asking for IUDs as a contraception option.

Because Mirena lawsuits are still tied up in the Southern District of New York and the first trials are not yet scheduled, Bayer is making full use of the time to sell as many of the Mirena IUDs as it can. There is no saying what the verdict will be at the end of the day, but there is certainly no doubt that Bayer is making a killing in the contraceptive device market. The sad thing is that by the time it is proven whether or not Bayer has been negligent and liable for the injuries caused by MIrena, it may be too late for some women.

If you are currently using Mirena, ask your doctor to check if the device is in place. If you have already suffered serious injury from the spontaneous migration of the product, then you will definitely need medical attention. You should also consult with a Mirena lawyer to find out what can be done legally to get compensation for your injuries.

Mirena is but one of many defective pharmaceutical and healthcare products. The companies who manufacture dangerous products often include the costs of settling lawsuits that may crop up due to dangerous and unforeseen consequences in their budgets, which is a prudent move. However, sometimes these products can have deadly risks for which no amount of money can provide restitution.

Texas Prompt Pay Lawyers Take on HMOs

Health insurance carriers are notorious for delaying payments to healthcare providers, paying clean claims slower even than Medicare. In Texas, it came to a point that healthcare providers particularly doctors lobbied the legislature to enact a law that would compel these Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO) and Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO) to pay on time. In lieu of legal protection against significant caps (some as long as 180 days) between the service rendered and service payment even for pre-authorized treatments. As a result, many doctors have refused to renew their contracts with these insurance companies or limited their services. Because these HMOs and PPOs lose nothing from limiting healthcare services, it is mainly the patients who suffer from this boycott.

There was clearly a need to curb these delay-and-deny tactics. The Texas Prompt Pay Act (the Act) was thus enacted in 2003, which penalized insurance carriers that withheld payment longer than necessary. But despite the urgent need and popular support, healthcare insurers managed to delay enforcement for several years in legal wrangling. Now, however, healthcare providers are finally given the legal backing to protect their right to be paid for clean claims of services rendered in a timely manner. However, like most things that deals with the law is not at all a simple process. In most instances, doctors, hospitals, and now pharmacies require the help of Texas prompt pay lawyers to take on these health insurance companies.

Unfortunately, many healthcare claims remain unpaid past the reasonable waiting period mostly because doctors, hospitals and pharmacies do not know how or choose not to enforce their rights under the Act. Health insurance companies will only grow bolder if the aggrieved parties do not file a claim.

If you or your company has been subjected to unreasonable delay or denied payment for a legitimate health care claim by an insurance company, you may be eligible for a prompt pay claim in Texas. Contact a prompt pay lawyer in your area for more information.

Federal Agencies and Laws Aimed at Minimizing Truck Accidents

Big rigs or 18-wheelers play a huge role in this nation’s economic growth by keeping businesses operational and, the economy, alive. However, drivers of these huge commercial vehicles are often required to drive for as long as 11 hours, picking up and delivering tons of important cargo within specified schedule, despite driver fatigue and regardless of road and weather condition. Thus, in the event of an accident, due to their enormous size, trucks can easily wreck smaller vehicles in their path as well as seriously injure or kill their drivers.

There are many different federal agencies and laws, such as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA), and the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986, aimed at keeping everyone involved in the trucking industry (manufacturers of truck parts, truck operating, drivers and traffic enforcers) adhere to laws and standards that will help keep US roads free from trucking accidents.

Some of these laws specifically require that:

  • Drivers undergo a special training, possess the special skills necessary for operating a truck safely, and pass the test prepared by the (FHWA) before being issued a commercial driver’s license
  • Drivers do not drive for more than 11 hours straight and that they should have 10 consecutive off-duty hours following their 14-hour duty
  • Trucking company owners keep a record that show regular schedule of truck check and truck maintenance
  • Drivers perform a complete check on the brake shoes to ensure that these are in good condition and operate properly plus make sure that there are no air leaks in the brake chamber
  • Manufacturers of truck parts produce quality parts only by making sure that every part made, especially of the breaking system, follow the minimum standards required by the government.

Brakes contribute a lot to a truck’s performance, especially during emergency cases. Based on records from the US Department of Labor, many truck accidents are due to brake failure, usually a result of brakes suffused with oil or grease, thin or worn out brake pads, overheated brakes or sub-standard break parts.

Accidents involving trucks can very well be the result of someone failing to perform his/her job properly; a clear act of negligence that usually results to personal injuries. The Williams Kherkher law firm says on its website that many truck defects get known only after the truck figures in an accident. Acts of negligence that result to accidents and injuries, the law firm states, give the victim the legal right to seek compensation from the party who can be identified as truly liable for the accident.

The Problem with Talcum Powder

Women like to feel fresh and dry, and one of the time-honored ways that this is accomplished is by using talcum powder in intimate areas after drying off from a shower or bath. After all, if it’s safe enough to be used on babies, surely it is safe enough to be used anywhere on the body. Apparently, that’s not precisely true.

There have been concerns from way back (1971, in fact) supported by empirical research about the effects of using talcum powder in the genital areas. This may be because it was around this time that the health dangers posed by exposure to asbestos fibers were discovered, and it was its size and persistence that made it so dangerous.

Talcum powder has uncomfortably similar properties which prompted studies primarily about its effects on the lungs and reproductive system of women, who were the ones most exposed to the product. Back then, talc particles were found in the cancer tissue of women who had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. This suggests that talc particles may have contributed to the activation and growth of cancer cells. The results from studies then and now that consider the link of genital use of talcum powder and ovarian cancer strongly suggest that there is an increased risk of developing the condition from regular use of talc in these areas.

This is a serious concern because it is estimated that as much as 40% of women in the US use talcum powder in this manner. According to information on http://www.williamskherkher.com/practice-areas/talcum-powder-lawsuit, more than 20,000 women every year are diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and 15,000 die from it.

If you have been using talcum powder as part of regular feminine hygiene and have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, ask your doctor to have your tissue tested for talc particles. If they are found, show the test results to a talcum powder lawyer in your area who may be able to help you get compensation for your medical and other expenses.

The Polar Ice Caps are Melting and You Should Care

Whether or not you’re convinced climate change is a real thing, the fact remains that the polar ice caps are melting, shrinking, cracking to bits, and otherwise degrading into nothingness. This is major, but no one seems to care!

The global effect of melting polar ice caps is a serious cause for concern. The ice caps do a lot to maintain the globe’s climate. This is not a disputable comment; it is a fact. The ice caps reflect a significant amount of sunlight away from the ocean underneath. This helps maintain ocean temperatures. No polar ice caps means all that sunlight instead penetrates the oceans and increases their temperature, slowly over a long time.

This is in theory problematic because all that warm water can lead to more severe storms, which have been an ever-growing danger to coastal areas.

Regardless of how you feel about global warming or climate change, these photos from NASA show the evident reduction in the area of the planet’s northern polar caps.

ice caps melting

Won’t someone think of the polar bears?

BP Claim Appeals

Four years after the April 2010 BP oil spill off the coast of Louisiana, issues of claims settlement are still not over, as so many legitimate claimants, and applicants who say that their claims are legitimate, are still yet to be paid.

In 2012 British Petroleum (BP) made a commitment in helping restore the environmental condition through clean up plus financially assist those who have suffered economic losses, due to the spill, through payment of full and fair compensation.

In view of the settlement process, the court appointed a settlement claims office which would gather all claims and have each paid. The only big problem is, the office approved and paid many claims for financial losses not traceable to the oil spill tragedy (and hundreds of claims of the same cases are still to be paid) – an act that BP is making a protest against.

Where payment is the issue, BP has shown its intent to settle everything fairly, but with the condition that losses will have to be traced to the oil spill. The system of payments used by the claims office, however, has had many lawyers, individuals and businesses feasting on the fact that they have a chance to get financial bonuses for something that none of them are legally entitled to – and all at the expense of BP.

Despite the decision of the New Orleans’ Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to support a previous U.S. District ruling which allowed payment of claimants and which removed all injunctions that would prevent such payments, the US Chamber of Commerce made a bold announcement that those who receive payment from BP for losses not traceable to the oil spill are committing a great act on injustice. Despite the ire of its members over the logical and fair stand of the U.S. Chamber, the former seems to be committed to pursue its position.

The amount that BP has already shelled out has reached billions of dollars, the biggest amount, so far, released by any oil firm involved in an oil spill. Many legitimate claimants are angry due to the long wait for payment to be made (and they have a valid reason to be angry), but with proof that losses are really connected to the spill that BP in now re-requiring, who can blame the oil company? The only probable real issue is: legitimate payment for legitimate claims. And if a claimant has the necessary proofs, then surely, he/she will be paid.

On its BPClaimAppeal.com website, Williams Kherkher states that having a good and experienced lawyer can help expedite the processing of application for claims of legitimate claimants. He also states that if the settlement amount is immediately necessary, then claimants need not wait for so long; having a good lawyer can be the only factor missing in the legal negotiations.

Qualifications for the Social Security Disability Benefits

The introduction of the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program in 1956was a momentous day for certain private employees in the US as this was intended to provide for them the financial benefits highly needed in the event of non-related work injuries (for job-related injuries and illnesses, workers can avail of the financial benefits offered through the Workers’ Compensation Insurance program).

Permanent disability, which is specifically covered by the Social Security Disability Insurance, refers to a condition that is serious enough that it can render a person incapable of performing his/her former work, or any kind of work, and can last for a year or more, or even result to the person’s death.

According to the website of the Hankey Law Office, P.C., to be considered a qualified applicant for Social Security disability benefits, an employee should have earned the necessary number of credits required by the SS Administration. These credits (a maximum of four are earned annually), are earned through payment of the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) or SS taxes during one’s employment; these taxes are automatically deducted from the employee’s monthly paycheck. Credits are acquired based on how much is deducted from your pay in these taxes, up to that maximum of four. Generally, holding a part time job making minimum wage should be enough to get the maximum four credits annually.

The application for SSDI is a complicated process to many, however. This is why, despite being qualified to receive the benefit, many applicants are denied, often due to technical issues, such as lacking vital information, a missed signature, submission of documents beyond the required period, and so forth.

Even if an application has been denied (or if the amount of benefits approved is way below what has been expected by the disabled employee), SSA gives the applicant a 60-day period, wherein he/she could appeal the arrived at decision.

Some applicants decide to go through the whole application process on their own, not realizing how complex the whole process really is, besides all the documents that need to be prepared. Many, however, make the wise decision of acquiring the services of a qualified attorney to help them have their applications approved, as well as get the amount they legally deserve.

Factors that Make Trucks Greater Threats on the Road

One of the worst mistakes committed by a number of drivers of smaller motor vehicles, when sharing the road with an 18-wheeler truck, is tailgate or drive too closely behind the huge vehicle. First, in the event that the truck makes an emergency brake, the tailgating  driver can end up in a fatal accident; second, by tailgating, the other vehicle puts itself in a “no zone” area or at the truck driver’s blind side – this could, likewise, result in a fatal road accident.

The huge size of a truck alone is enough to make it a threat on the road. It usually weighs about 40 tons and extends up to 70 feet long; thus, when breaking, a truck needs extra road length before it can make a full stop.

According to the US Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), one of the most dangerous causes of truck accidents is defective truck parts. These include poorly manufactured or very low quality brake parts and truck tires that will never pass the standards set by the FMCSA. Despite this, these parts are still able to find their way in stores.

The FMCSA, though, also holds trucking companies responsible in making sure that regular maintenance and repair on trucks are made and that all parts are in good condition before making a long delivery drive. Besides checking the parts, trucking firms should also observe safe loading of cargo and equal distribution of weight of cargo. Over-loading can cause the brakes to fail, while unequally distributed weight can cause the cargo to fall off to one side; either of which is a grave threat to the safety of other vehicles, especially smaller ones.

Trucking firm owners and/or manufacturers of truck parts can be held accountable in the event of a truck accident. Other than damage to property, personal injury (that is, injury resulting from the negligent, careless or reckless act of the manufacturer, who produces poor quality truck parts, or of the trucking firm owner, who fails to replace defective parts) or the untimely death of an accident victim will have to be faced legally by the liable party.

The information given in an article posted in the website of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ®, a firm based in Madison, states that the compensation truck accident victims are legally entitled to receive from the individual or party at fault should cover lost income, cost of medical treatment and all other present and future costs associated with the injury.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services Stipulations on Immigrating Foreign-born Family Members

For so many individuals, being reunited with their families in the US is a very important matter. Even being able to get in touch with them every day through the use of the latest in communication technology is not enough to totally eliminate the worry regarding their actual condition. Well, the very good news is, the U.S. immigration law can be requested to allow the foreign-born members of a person’s family to come to the US . . . but under certain conditions. The person will either have to be a citizen of the United States or a green card holder, that is, a permanent resident of the US.

The whole process required in having one’s family immigrate to the US, which starts with having to prove familial relationship, can take years, though. The number of years is also actually affected by the sponsor specific relationship with the members of his/her family. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) states that:

A -  For US citizens and their immediate family/relatives [By immediate relatives, this means spouse, parents and children below 21 years old (minors) who are unmarried.]:

  • A.1 - Citizens of the United States at least 18 years old can sponsor their parents, who are their immediate relatives.
  • A.2 - Citizens of the United States aged 21 years old or older can sponsor their spouse and minor, unmarried children. Due to the closeness of family ties, the processing of visa for immediate relatives is much quicker than for members of the Family Preference categories.
  • A.3 – First Preference relatives or First Family preference of U.S. citizens is for their adult children (above 21 years old) who are unmarried. The visa processing usually takes six to seven years.
  • A.4 - Third Preference relatives or Third Family Preference of U.S. citizens is for their brothers and sisters. The waiting period for the visa to be processed can take nine to ten years.
  • A.5 – Fourth Preference relatives or Fourth Family Preference of U.S. citizens is for their married children. The waiting period is usually more than 12 years.

B – Second Preference relatives or Second Family reference, is for U. S. permanent residents or green card holders. This has two divisions: 2a and 2b.

  • 2A Category - This is for the green card holder’s spouse and minor, unmarried children. Visa processing may take four to five years.
  • 2B Category – This is for the green card holder’s unmarried children (any age). The waiting period for the visa to be processed is usually seven to eight years.

The Law Office of William Jang, PLLC, a firm based in Austin, says on its website that the US immigration laws have a humanitarian nature, allowing families to be reunited through the granting of green cards. However, the firm also knows that an application for a green card, despite family ties, can never really be given approval certainties. Seeking the assistance of an experienced immigration lawyer, though, may make a difference, as he/she can help make sure that all necessary legal requirements imposed by the USCIS are correctly in place. He/She also has the legal capability to defend the sponsor’s (and his/her family’s) interests and rights to merit the approval that he/she so desires.

Why Concealment of Criminal Records Matters

A criminal record is one factor that can alter the course of lives of people. It can deter them from active participation in civic activities, cause them to lose their job or be denied employment, make finding an apartment to rent difficult, limit their international travel opportunities, negatively affect the outcome of a divorce and child custody case, and so forth. This is because in almost any professional (and sometimes, even personal) undertaking the question of a possible criminal record is always asked.

Officials in both state and federal governments know how difficult it is for those who have been arrested (regardless of the type and severity of the crime committed) to reintegrate in the society; some even suffer ostracism, especially those who have spent a long time behind bars.

To enable those who have been arrested or convicted in the past to legally say, “No,” to any inquiry pertaining to criminal records, the ability to seek an expungement was passed into law. Though expungement laws vary from state to state, its purpose is common: to hide past arrests or convictions from the public.

The concealment or expungement of a criminal record (for non-violent offenses) was part of the proposed amendment of the federal criminal code made in 2011. The proposal, called the Second Chance Act, was intended to help bring back to those with past records all the wonderful opportunities in life. This also means that they can legally deny ever having been arrested or convicted of anything.

The expungement law, however, is not recognized by all 50 states and in those that recognize it, the stipulations are state dependent. Thus, there are states that: allow many types of crimes to be concealed; allow concealment of any criminal record; allow only arrest records to be concealed; or, allow only the concealment of a conviction (severity of the crime, though, will still greatly determine the possibility or non-possibility of expungement).

Having a past criminal record expunged requires paperwork, knowledge and understanding of the state’s specific guidelines, court procedures, and, sometimes, a waiting period (for some types of crimes). Being represented by a strong and well-informed Austin criminal defense lawyer, whose experience in expungement procedures is extensive can truly bring in lots of benefits, especially since the matter of concern is the rebuilding of a person’s present and future life. People trust their futures to their attorneys, so it’s crucial defendants find one who will work hard on their behalf.