Our home in Texas

I have been self-employed for several years in appliance repair and home construction. Everything was going great, I liked the work, and was supporting my family just fine. My wife also works some as a teacher, but she really does it to help the kids; it’s not like there is a lot of money in that field. Last year, I was repairing a roof on a home, and I fell and broke a leg and severely injured my back. I have been recovering ever since, but the bills have been piling up and I am behind on my mortgage and other major bills. I’ve also had a lot of medical bills due to the rehabilitation that my physician recommended. The physical therapy is helping but the bills are getting out of control. When you are in any repair or construction business, it is not possible to do the work if you have a traumatic back injury that hasn’t healed fully yet. Although my wife and teenage children are helpful around the house with chores and some repairs, I haven’t been able to work in my own repair business for 18 months. I was thinking about filing for bankruptcy, but I don’t want it to affect my family in any negative way. I heard that as a sole proprietor or independent contractor that I can file for bankruptcy. Although, I’d have to verify my income and answer a lot of questions while producing my financial and legal documents. Well, I don’t have a problem with that. For the past year, I have been mostly sedentary, due to my injury, and I’ve had a lot of time to go through my paperwork, income, and bills.  I have my income tax information and all previous earnings. I also heard that I don’t have to be employed right now to file for bankruptcy. I don’t want to file, as I feel like I would be failing my family in some way. However, I discussed it with my wife and kids, and they are fine with it and seem to be supportive, due to my extended injury.

My family and I just need a fresh start after my unfortunate accident. My wife has been working but we are still in a lot of debt. I’ve got numerous creditors contacting me and it is stressing out my whole family. However, in my situation, bankruptcy seems the right and most responsible thing to do right now. I don’t want to lose our home and other important property, as we have a small farm with some animals and the kids love to play outdoors and hang out with their friends.

I may need to consult with a bankruptcy attorney because I want to be sure that I can keep my business going after I recover from my extended injury. Also, I want to be sure that the home and farm are protected so that we can continue to live here until I recover fully and I am working again.

If you Own or Operate a Boat, Then This is Something You Need to Know

With all the water surrounding a vessel, it would easily appear that boating is the least risky recreational activity – unless you fall overboard and do not know how to swim. The fact, however, is, a boating accident is just like any other motor vehicle accident; if person behind a boat’s wheel does not follow proper safety procedures, or operates his/her vessel while intoxicated, then he/she and all other boat passengers may likely find themselves in a bad situation.

The U.S. Coast Guard makes a yearly statistical record of all reported boating accidents in the US. For the year 2012, 651 fatalities and 3,000 injuries were recorded under recreational boating. Though this number is the lowest since 2004, this can still be considered to be pretty high considering the fact that boating accidents can be avoided.

Records from the U.S. Coast Guard also reveal that the top causes of boating accidents are excessive speed, machinery failure, improper lookout, operator’s lack of experience, man overboard and capsizing; in all these accidents, fault is attributed either to drunk operators or drunk passengers.

The following are facts about each of the top causes of boating accidents:

  • Excessive speed: if speeding on the road is like challenging the angel of death to snatch the life out of you through a tragic accident, operating a boat at excessive speed is no different. The force of impact created each time a speeding boat bounces off and back on the water can be strong enough to stun you and throw you or your passenger/s overboard, leaving you or anyone else with not enough strength to swim to safety. Boat owners and operators ought to know that drowning is the number one cause of death in the water and 80% of those who drowned were reported as not wearing a life jacket.
  • Machinery failure: if regularly maintained machines are still prone to malfunction, what can one expect with those that are not regularly checked and kept in good condition? Boats are definitely much more expensive than cars, thus, making sure that these are well maintained is not only less costly, but may also reduce chances of an accident (provided, of course, that the operator never does any irresponsible thing).
  • Improper lookout or improper forward watch: when operating a boat, steering clear out of danger can be more effectively done with the help of someone who can provide extra eyes and ears. Many accidents due to collision could have been avoided had an operator been given help in navigating his/her boat safely – to avoid anything that may cross its path or to navigate safely through shallow and rocky waters.
  • Inexperience: the less knowledgeable an operator is about his/her boat and the sea, the greater the risk of an accident, especially during emergency situations. While some states never require boat operators to undergo formal training, having the initiative to do so will definitely be beneficial; this includes paying lower insurance premiums.
  • Man overboard: abrupt maneuvering, freak waves, and rough weather can toss a passenger overboard, especially one who is not securely seated, intoxicated or just caught off-guard. The shift in momentum created by a powerboat, as it makes a turn, can also have the same effect.
  • Capsizing: this leading cause of fatality in boating accidents usually occurs during nightfall, when both darkness and intoxication begin to cause an operator to make poor judgment, especially when maneuvering, docking or anchoring. It is always safer to secure an anchor from the bow (front), rather than from the stern (the rear of the boat), or from the sides.

Taking a formal boating safety training course, wearing a life jacket, conducting a vessel safety check regularly, not drinking while out in the seas, not overspeeding and having a proper forward watch are just a number of the safety tips that the Coast Guard asks boaters to observe.

In its website, the law firm Truslow & Truslow says, “Many people who are on the water enjoy the view of the beautiful beaches with a drink in hand. However, when a boater is believed to have become too intoxicated to properly operate a boat, they can face serious criminal charges. In South Carolina, for instance, where those who engage in boating under the influence of drugs or alcohol (BUI) has increased so much that approximately 34% of boating fatalities per year are caused by BUI’s, simply operating a boat gives implied consent for a law enforcement officer to perform an alcohol test. Failing such a test can lead to fines of up to $6,000 and imprisonment for up to three years. It is possible to protect yourself from the harsh penalties that can be incurred for boating while intoxicated (BWI) charges with the help of an experienced Columbia boating while intoxicated attorney.”

Road Hazards to Look Out For

You are the not the only person on the road. Even though you are driving safely, you may still be involved in traffic accidents because of external factors, such as the recklessness of other drivers and the negligence of manufacturers that made your car malfunction. In this instances, you may even file a case against them with the help of legal professionals who specialize in auto accidents, like Bruner Law.

But the list of external factors doesn’t end there. In fact, there are a lot more that you should be conscious of. These factors put not just you in danger, but also the others around you.

Animals
To be fair, there are road signs that tell you that animals tend to cross the road. You drive diligently, so you can react when animals do cross the road. But what do you exactly? The best thing to do is to just drive forward, because abruptly changing lanes for the sake of a deer may cause more devastating consequences. But if the animal is too large, like a moose for example, you can make the effort to hit on the brakes instead.

Construction Zones
Do not underestimate construction zones and drive carefully and slowly. Take the extra effort of following all the merge signs and flaggers. Also, remember that there may be construction workers and construction equipment in the area that you can hit. To reduce the potential of collisions, you can turn on your headlights. Workers will see you better and you can spot and avoid their equipment with ease.

Debris on the road
Debris may come in many forms, such as car parts from traffic accidents, spilled substances because of rolled over trucks, and trees that have fallen because of winds. Big debris may be visible from afar and you may notice a slowing of traffic flow. Slow down, pass through the debris, and speed again.

Road defects
Defects on the road such as potholes can also cause accidents. When you see a pothole, slow down, grip your steering wheel firmly, and go through it. Only go around it if it is possible and safe. Another common road defect is malfunctioning street lights, and other motorists will have the tendency to exploit it by not giving right of way so they can have an advantage. Your safety is more important than a few seconds of wasted time. Make sure that the other vehicles are stopped before going through that defective light.

Embezzlement, a Pre-meditated White-Collar Methodical Crime

Embezzlement, which is a form of white-collar crime, is committed when a person misappropriates the assets entrusted to him/her. It is often shocking to know that, despite the amounts of money that have been or continue to be embezzled, which often reach millions or billions of dollars, are never discovered until a relatively large portion of the funds are needed at one time or if a complete and independent accounting of all real and liquid assets is suddenly required.

Some of the biggest embezzlement cases in the U.S. include: the embezzlement of billions of dollars of investor money; embezzlement of employee retirement funds and billions of dollars in accounting fraud; fraud, embezzlement and ponzi scheme totaling to $8 billion; and embezzlement of $20 million of investor dollars.

Embezzlement is usually a deliberate crime that is methodically performed. By repeatedly embezzling only a small fraction or proportion of the total resources or funds and falsifying records in order to minimize risk of the detection, an embezzler can continue committing this crime for years or even decades without being detected. Some past embezzlement schemes are deemed very successful as these went on for many years before detection. This is due to the embezzler’s skill in concealing the nature of the transactions or in gaining the trust and confidence of investors or clients.

Laws on embezzlement may be federal or state-based. On the federal level, embezzlement laws target those who steal from the government. On the state level, laws go after public officials working for state and local governments, as well as people who do not work for the government.

Under federal statute 18 USC 3282, an embezzlement case may only be pursued within five years of the commission of the offense. Those convicted will be punished based on a point system. Base Offense Level, which is six, is the point assigned to those who have embezzled $5000 or less; the highest offense level is 36, which can be assigned to those who cause losses above $400 million.

According to a Wisconsin embezzlement defense attorney, though allegations of embezzlement may seriously impact your public image and career, a conviction may very well end your career once and for all. Once you have been made aware of any charges or investigations of public corruption against you, you will need to begin taking a number of precautions in order to defend your rights and protect your future from the federal prosecutors who will be trying your case.

What To Do With A Damaged Roof Gutter?

Roof gutters are vital in ensuring the integrity of your home’s structure by funneling rain water off your roof and preventing it from soaking through the surface. A roof gutter that works perfectly can help prevent common issues such as leaks, blown renderings, water damage, and mold growth. One of the most common reasons behind gutter damage is corrosion or rusting. Fortunately, this issue is minor and easy to solve on your own.

Before working on the gaps and holes caused by corrosion in your roof gutter, it’s important to prep the damaged areas by thoroughly cleaning the gutter in places where you’re going to make the repair. Make use of a spray cleaner, as well as a scrub brush, and then pat the gutter down with a rag.

Once the area is clean, you can then begin to fit a new piece of aluminum sheet or metal flashing to where the gaps and holes are in your roof gutter. Cut out a piece that is large enough to cover the damage you want to repair, but make sure you leave an extra few inches as an allowance.

Finally, after this is all done, you can then take sealant or caulking and place the metal piece over the damaged areas of the gutter, allowing it to work like patches that are used to cover tears in clothing. Make use of a generous amount of caulking. Ensure that the new patch won’t budge by coating the bottom side of the area with enough calking as well. There are many different types of caulking you can use, but most experts agree on the use of PL Polyurethane caulking.

While fixing a troublesome roof gutter is an easy enough task, not all problems involving the gutter in your roofing will be as easy to solve. In such cases, you have access to dozens upon dozens of roofing contractors to help you do the job. Those in Florida can check out www.bestroofing.net for more information.

Factors That Would Make a Court Disapprove Visitation Rights

In a divorce or child custody action, visitation rights refer to the approval granted by the court to the non-custodial parent in being with his or her child at times agreed upon by spouses (during their divorce process) or at times that have been determined by the courts; courts, however, prefer that visitation schedule is decided by both parents.

Once a courts approves a non-custodial parent’s visitation rights, this should be respected and observed by both the custodial and non-custodial parents. If, in case, a custodial parent denies his or her former partner the right to visit their child, then non-custodial parent gains the right to request the court for a modification in the child custody decision.

While a court has the authority to grant visitation right, it also has the authority to deny a non-custodial parents this right. Denial of this right is necessary if the non-custodial parent would only negatively impact the child’s growth and development if he or she spends time with the child. According to the law firm Marshall & Taylor PLLC, this is most likely the case if the non-custodial parent: poses immediate danger to the child due to alcohol or drug abuse; does not want to be visited by the child; has a history of domestic violence; and/or, resides in an unsafe neighborhood. On the other hand, to make sure that ‘fit’ non-custodial parents are given time with their child/children, some states have found it necessary to determine specific days when parent and child can spend bonding moments.

Some states, like Utah and Texas, for instance have determined specific times a non-custodial parent can spend with his or her child. In other states, a court may just allow divorced parents to draw a “reasonable visitation” schedule – a schedule that will actually work for both parents, considering their specific jobs and available time.

Industrial Explosions may be Partly Due to Poor Regulatory Oversight from the Government

Despite the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) having regulatory oversight over fertilizer warehouses, many fertilizer warehouses continue to store ammonium nitrate in wooden bins that are housed inside wooden buildings that do not have a sprinkler system. With this poor storage system, the huge gap between federal and state regulations on the rules on how to prevent explosions, the lack of clarity in OSHA’s standards on the operation of ammonium nitrate storage facilities as well as the laxity in the enforcement of whatever standards have been set, and volunteer firefighters’ lack of preparation for fires at chemical facilities, authorities should have seen and felt that any of these warehouses could soon be consumed by a deadly fire and explosion.

In April of 2013, that was just what happened: one warehouse caught fire, its 40 to 60 tons of stored ammonium nitrate exploding immediately after. The explosion, which registered a 2.1 magnitude on seismographs, took the lives of 14 individuals and leveled a whole neighborhood.

Because of the scorching heat and the balls of flame it releases, its thick, black smoke which can suffocate and kill, the ear-piercing loud noise it produces, its powerful shock waves that can knock down doors and walls, and smash glass doors and glass windows, an explosion can definitely cause serious injuries, among which are severe burn, fractured bones, lacerations, lung injury, loss of limb/s, traumatic brain injury (TBI), trauma or shock, or death. Explosions are extremely damaging; however, damages even become bigger and more lives placed in danger if these occur in oil rigs, manufacturing facilities or industrial factories.

Many fertilizer plants in rural America, especially those that have been in existence for decades, often get overlooked by government authorities, making the storing of large amounts of potentially combustible fertilizer a continuing threat to the lives of workers and nearby residents. Despite its threats, government regulation for fertilizer-storage facilities, compared to power plants, refineries and other larger polluters, remain to be much more lax.

The website of Williams Kherkher says that, despite being relatively rare, industrial explosions are very dangerous occupational hazards faced by workers. Besides the serious physical injuries these can cause, these also leave majority of victims struggling with substantial medical bills that they may not be able to pay.

Rules of Owning Gun Suppressors

Known to have been invented as early as the 1900s, gun suppressors or silencers have a staple for many gun owners and shooting enthusiasts all around the world. In the United States, gun suppressors are considered “silencers” and are under the regulatory monitoring of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) according to federal laws. Despite the openness of the sale and use of gun suppressors, there are still criticisms regarding the possession and use of these silencers, especially when it comes to civilian use.

Gun suppressors or silencers are typically composed of metal cylinders containing internal structures made to reduce the noise of firing through the shuffling of the escaping gas and can even raise the speed of the exiting bullet. Gun suppressors can either be devices that are affixed to or a part of the gun’s barrel in order to reduce the amount of audible noise and visible muzzle flash created by the firing. There are significant differences in sizes and effectiveness of gun suppressors. Aside from the primary advantages, gun suppressors can also lower recoil by slowing the propellant gasses. The suppressor’s weight and where it’s positioned on the muzzle can greatly influence the recoil reduction.

For those who wish to spend more money and not trouble themselves with attaching and removing the gun suppressors, there are integral suppressor products from Zion Armament. These types of suppressors are built as part of the firearm and are generally permanent, with some types allowing disassembly for maintenance purposes. Often, the barrel are ported at several areas to allow the propellant gasses channeled off the firearm’s barrel and dampened inside the body. There are even those that can slow down the velocity of the bullet. Because of majority of permanent integral suppressor products from Suppressed Weapons Systems can only be replaced by changing the barrel, they are often restricted for special uses.

Gun suppressors are legal in 41 states in the US, but only for lawful use and purposes. Because possession and use of gun suppressors are under federal laws, severe penalties are often given for crimes and violence from firearms that are equipped with silencers, with 30 years being the minimum prison sentence. This makes the requirements for possession and use of gun suppressors very strict and often bans civilians from owning them.

Spinal Cord Injuries: What You Need to Know

The spinal cord plays a vital role in how the human body functions. It follows that any damage to this bundle of nerve tissues and support cells critical to the body’s central nervous system is a serious cause for alarm. Such an injury is sure to leave profound consequences that are sure to affect a person’s basic bodily functions, particularly causing issue to one’s motor, sensory, and automatic abilities.

According to the National SCI Statistical Center, roughly 276,000 people are currently living with a spinal cord injury or SCI in the United States. The average age for SCI patients since the year 2010 is at 42, and most of these patients are men. For majority of these patients, their spinal cord injury came as a result of having been involved in a devastating accident. Common causes of such an injury include car wrecks, slip and fall accidents, physical assault and other acts of violence, as well as accidents that occur while participating in contact sports.

An injury to the spinal cord is sure to cause some form of disability that may be temporary or permanent. In any case, patients that have been diagnosed with a spinal cord injury are sure to find their basic bodily functions and ability severely compromised. Paralysis is also a great concern. The Law Offices of Mazin & Associates notes on its website that severe damage to the spinal cord can lead to either paraplegia or quadriplegia.

Paraplegia refers to partial paralysis, where a patient loses function and control of the lower extremities. This happens when the lower part of a patient’s spinal cord is damaged. Meanwhile, quadriplegia refers to total paralysis, where a patient loses function and control of their torso and both upper and lower extremities. This is due to the fact that the area of damage is much higher up in the spinal cord, affecting a significant portion of the nerves and tissues vital for movement and control.

The consequences of spinal cord injuries move beyond physical control and abilities, as well. A lot of SCI patients also suffer from emotional and psychological trauma. On top of these issues, they also have to deal with the financial burden caused by their condition.

Top 6 Reasons for Car Accidents

Hundreds of car accidents occur in the U.S. every day. It is reported that up to 40,000 people are killed annually in car crashes. While there are a number of factors that cause these fatal accidents to occur, distracted drivers, driver fatigue, drunk driving, speeding, aggressive driving, and weather are the main six reasons for vehicle collisions.

Distracted driving includes a number of behaviors that remove the driver’s focus from the road. Common sources of distraction include electronic devices, other passengers in the vehicle, scenery, and other accidents on the road. Police officers often report multiple vehicle accidents occurring at once due to distracted drivers that “rubberneck” watching the initial accident, therefore causing another accident to occur.

Driving on the road while tired is dangerous and causes around 100,000 accidents every year according to the U.S. National Traffic Safety Administration. Exhausted drivers suffer from heavy eyelids, loss of concentration, and suddenly falling asleep behind the wheel. This dangerous situation endangers the driver and other vehicle operators or pedestrians in the surrounding area.

Drunk driving, speeding, and aggressive driving behaviors are all negligent driving habits that can lead to serious injuries or fatalities. Heavy consumption of alcohol severely inhibits necessary functions required to safely operate a vehicle. Speeding and aggressive driving further limits the driver’s control over the car and increases the likelihood and severity of injury of an accident occurring.

While the majority of car accidents are due to poor driving decisions, there are cases in which weather conditions are at fault for serious incidents. Rain, hail, snow, and heavy fog increase the difficulty to maneuver a vehicle on the road.

According to the website of the John Michael Baily personal injury lawyers, a victim of another driver’s negligence is due compensation for the emotional and physical injuries sustained in a car accident. The financial costs of car accidents are often thousands of dollars and injuries require extensive medical bills. If you or a loved one was involved in a car accident, consult a personal injury in your area to discuss your legal options.