If nothing else, Houston learns from past mistakes

The US has been through several major economic crises, the latest of which began in 2007. It affected different areas of the country in different ways and in varying degrees of severity. In past crises, Houston was hit hard. When the price of oil dropped in 1982, it resulted in 221,900 jobs lost in the oil and mining industry between 1982 and 1987, or about 57%. In the same period, real estate developers ignored the writing on the wall and built more than 180,000 housing units, with predictable results.

These were bitter but valuable lessons. When the 2007 economic crisis started to bite, Houston did not layoff as quickly as they did in 1982, and held on to its seasoned workers. Many of the oil and mining companies in Houston are more than 50 years old, so the skills these veteran workers had were important in minimizing the economic losses in the industry. This in turn helped to reduce the job losses to 1 in 22 instead of 1 in 7 in the 1982 crisis.

Banks in Houston also kept a wary eye on lending on home construction to avoid over-building. Houston homeowners shelled out just 2.6 times their average annual income for home mortgages, which kept their debt exposure and housing prices relatively low. By the time most states were reporting drops in housing values of 40%, Houston was only reporting an average of 2%.

Today, Houston is definitely on the upsurge. It is the leader among the top 20 most populous cities in the US for job creation, logging 309% of jobs recovered post-economic crisis as of April 2014. It is also a great place to live if you like big cities, because the cost of living is among the lowest in the country. You can really stretch a dollar further in Houston than in Dallas, Atlanta, Seattle, Washington D.C., or New York. That makes up a lot for its poor showing in professional sports.

Fen-Phen: Blast from the Past

Personal injury lawsuits, which includes product liability for dangerous drugs like prescription anorectic fen-phen (fenfluramine/phentermine), often take years before it is resolved. However, filing new cases usually end after a couple of years because of the statute of limitations (which varies from state to state).

However, there are certain medical conditions associated with certain drugs or substances that take time to show its horns. Asbestos exposure, for example, can take as many as 40 years to manifest as mesothelioma. The same can be said to apply for fen-phen.

Fen-phen is an anti-obesity combination drug that became widely prescribed after the publication of a 1992 study of Dr. Michael Weintraub in the Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics journal which showed that the average weight loss with fen-phen was 30 lb. Side effects were not immediately apparent but by 1994 serious questions about its safety and apparent link to primary pulmonary hypertension (PPH), an incurable medical condition, and heart valve damage. By 2004, fen-phen was finally pulled out of the market and manufacturer Wyeth (a subsidiary of Pfizer Inc.) was knee-deep in civil lawsuits.

Typically, such lawsuit may be ongoing but no new cases will be considered as per the aforementioned time limits for bringing civil action for product liability. However, District Court Judge Bartle who is overseeing the multidistrict litigation (MDL 1203, In Re: Diet Drugs Products Liability Litigation) transferred to the US District Court of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania had ruled that PPH could develop a decade or more after taking the drug. As late as August 2012, Judge Bartle was hearing motions to include new plaintiffs into the MDL.

This is interesting for those who have just recently been diagnosed with serious medical conditions that may have been caused by taking fen-phen, or who have filed a lawsuit for less serious side effects and has just now been diagnosed with a more serious problem. According to the website of Pohl & Berk, LLP, you may still be able to file a claim. Consult with a dangerous drugs lawyer in your area for advice.

Statute of Limitations Lifted for Asbestos in Illinois

The state of Illinois has just voted to remove the statute of limitations (period in which a lawsuit can be filed) for asbestos-related lawsuits in the construction industry. It used to be 10 years, but 70 out of 113 legislators believed that there should be no limit imposed on justice for asbestos victims. Pending the approval of Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, the bill will have a significant impact on affected individuals and the construction industry.

Asbestos is a common ingredient in the construction industry because it has many desirable qualities. It is inert, fire resistant, durable, and versatile. Unfortunately, asbestos fibers are so fine that it is aspirated into the lungs where it stays and wreaks havoc. Asbestos (there are several kinds) occurs naturally in nature, but usually in miniscule amounts. It is in the processing of the compound that much of the toxic exposure occurs, and this affects most of those who are chronically exposed as workers or as family members (secondary exposure from clothes, etc.).

The two primary medical conditions associated with asbestos exposure is mesothelioma and asbestosis, both of which are untreatable and fatal. The diseases manifest years after exposure, which is why the statute of limitations for asbestos-related lawsuits are either a specific period after exposure or upon diagnosis. In Illinois, there are now no more qualifications. If you develop a diseased associated with asbestos exposure, can prove that you had sufficient direct or indirect exposure to the compound, and that a third-party’s negligent or reckless act caused it, you may be able to sue for compensation.

But it is by no means a slam-and-dunk. Asbestos is not precisely illegal in the US, and many industries continue to use it for industrial applications. However, there are usually strict safety regulations in place (which differs from state to state) regarding the use of asbestos designed to protect workers and surrounding communities from toxic exposure. An employer or contractor that violates these regulations may be found liable for injuries resulting from a breach in regulations.

If you have been seriously harmed from negligent asbestos exposure, it is not old news. According to the website of Williams Kherkher, people diagnosed with mesothelioma may still be eligible to make a claim against the responsible party. Find out more from a competent asbestos lawyer in your state to find out if you are still within the statute of limitations and your case has merit.

A Bounteous Amount Of Tips And Tricks Towards Better Legal Situations

If you find yourself in a situation where it is necessary to take someone to court, finding the right lawyer to represent you is very important. Don’t make the mistake of picking someone that will charge you ridiculous rates without helping much. Read this article for tips on how to pick the right lawyer.

You should agree on how much you will pay your lawyer before hiring them. Ask your lawyer for a quote after explaining what you need help with and sign an agreement. Do not hesitate to contact different lawyers so you can compare quotes and choose a lawyer you can afford.

Stay as organized as possible when you are working with a lawyer. This means that you should have all of the documentation in relation to your case on hand at all times. If you are unorganized, your lawyer can lose valuable time planning a strategy for your case, which may result in a loss.

You need to touch base with your lawyer on a specific schedule. Often an attorney will not contact their client for a long time after being hired. These problems can be taken care of with a schedule. You can usually stay in touch with a lawyer through the phone, and can typically find the number on their websites, like this one http://www.williamskherkher.com/practice-areas/defective-pharmaceuticals/viagra/.

As stated in the beginning of the article, finding the right lawyer can really help when it comes to your court date. Whether you are a plaintiff or defendant, having a lawyer that works for you will maximize your success. Remember the tips in this article so you can choose someone helpful!

Unfounded Claims lead to Surgical Injuries

Much like in the story of the Emperor’s new clothes, people jump on the band wagon at any opportunity. If someone says only the smartest can perceive the clothes the Emperor was wearing, no one wants to admit that they don’t see anything but the Emperor’s knickers.

This is what seems to have happened with the da Vinci robot-assisted surgical system from Intuitive Surgical, Inc. Clever marketing and a few well-placed endorsements, and suddenly all hospitals want to have at least one of their own. Lauded as the safer and less invasive alternative to traditional surgery, no one seems to have questioned the lack of actual field studies that would support this claim. Instead, all hospitals large enough to afford the $1.5 M price tag got one, expected that their doctors would have no problems learning how to use it and that patients would benefit greatly from the experience.

Unfortunately, that is not what happened.

Using the da Vinci system has allegedly led to an alarming number of surgical injuries that should not have happened. Chief among the reasons that could have led to this include insufficient training of the surgeon and design defects of the robotic arm. The clincher is that despite the high price tag and the hype, robot-assisted surgery may not even yield better results than traditional surgery, even if all goes well. In other words, there is no benefit accruing from signing up for robot-assisted surgery and it is not the higher cost and risk.

Whether the da Vinci system is linked to the surgical injuries sustained by patients is something that will be determined in the future. Civil lawsuits against Intuitive are ongoing, and new field studies are being undertaken regularly. Until any definitive conclusion is forthcoming, it would be advisable to keep one’s options open when it comes to surgery.

If you have already sustained surgical injuries from robot-assisted surgery, consult with a da Vinci robot lawyer with experience in handling product liability cases. In any personal injury claim,t he burden of proof is always on the plaintiff’s side. Since it is a new type of product, such cases can become highly complex and difficult to prove fault in court.

Choosing the Best Dog Food

Having a dog can really be a highlight for a person’s life. They are a great source of enjoyment, experience, and lessons that can be different from what other people can share. However, having a pet can be a big responsibility, especially with a dog that’s active and full of life. What humans eat does not necessarily mean they are good for dogs. There are certain types of foods that they can’t eat because they can put the dog’s health in danger. Choosing the best dog food, therefore, is vital in maintaining the health and wellbeing of your dog.

BARF (biologically available raw foods) is one of the popularly advocated foods that pet-owners say is best to feed dogs, however there is still not enough evidence to solidify whether they are sufficient to sustain the dogs’ diet. The best way to ensure that your pet has the best nutrition is to ask your veterinarian or a nutritionist regarding a balanced diet. Changing your dog’s diet too fast can cause health complications, therefore ask advice from pet-owners who have made successful transitions with their pets.

Just like human foods, dog foods may look healthy but they may not contain enough nutrition to sustain your pet. There are so many options to select from when it comes to choosing the best dog food, so consulting the veterinarian and trying out different types of dog foods may be the only way to determine which ones will work best for keep your dog well fed and have a long and healthy life.

Researchers Hope to Create Universal Flu Vaccine

Each year, pharmaceutical companies, medical professionals, and public health officials rush to develop and distribute a flu vaccine to protect Americans from the virus. Manufacturing and distributing the millions of doses required can be a logistical nightmare, but officials continue to produce vaccines and urge Americans to get vaccinated.

Unfortunately, 3,000 to 49,000 Americans die from flu each year, a number that researchers hope to greatly reduce. The foremost way to lessen fatalities and sickness from the flu is to improve the vaccine, which currently reduces the risk of flu in those vaccinated by a meager 60 percent.

Creating a vaccine can take up to six months, and the process is inflexible and hard to adjust. Viral strains are grown in cells, inactivated, and then used in the next year’s vaccine. In the long period of vaccine development, the chosen viral strains can adapt and evolve, rendering the vaccine ineffective against the newly-created flu virus. If the virus evolves enough in the course of a few months, it can cause a pandemic, an unfortunate event which occurred most recently in 2009.

Medical researchers hope to one day develop a “universal” flu vaccine, that would target specific regions of the influenza virus that evolve less frequently. The proposed universal vaccine would be effective for a much longer period of time against a wider range of flu strains.

With any drug or vaccine, researchers and doctors must use the utmost care to ensure it is safe for patients to use; as a result, development of a universal vaccine will be a long and expensive process. However, the benefits of such a vaccine would be well worth the cost, lowering health care price tags and reducing the number of deaths caused by the flu virus.

How to Avoid Swimming Pool Accidents

Ten people die from swimming pool accidents or similar every day on average in the US, and 20% are children 14 years old or younger. Drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental deaths in the country, and many of these are preventable if safety measures are in place.

Swimming pools are very tempting for kids, especially in the summer months. But, as pointed out on the website of Ritter & Associates, the potential for fun is equal only to the potential for injury. Before setting out for the public pool or a neighbor’s inground swimming pool, there are some basic safety rules that should be observed to prevent swimming pool accidents:

  • Accompany young children to the pool and supervise at all times. Many an accidental drowning happens very quickly and quietly, so keep an eye on the child while in the water.
  • Inflatable tubes and the like are dangerous when children are not supervised. They can flip over and the child is unable to upright it without help. Don’t use inflatables as a substitute for constant supervision.
  • Teach children not to run around the swimming pool to avoid slips and falls. The area around a pool is often wet and slippery.
  • Prohibit diving. It is easy to get injured when diving, either by hitting the concrete bottom or sides or aspirating water. Unless equipped with the necessary training, avoid diving as much as possible.
  • Avoid alcoholic intake. Alcohol impairs balance, thinking, and judgment. More than two-thirds of adults and adolescents who drown have alcohol in their systems.

These are just some ways to actively avoid swimming pool accidents. However, some pool owners fail to comply with the safety regulations mandated by law, such as placing a fence around the pool to keep children from sneaking in unsupervised, and swimming pool accidents can still happen. This is a form of negligence that deserves some punitive measures. If you have suffered from the effects of swimming pool accidents because of the carelessness of a pool owner, contact a premises liability lawyer to start making your claim.

What is Legal Malpractice?

It seems a little weird to think of lawyers suing other lawyers in civil court, but legal malpractice is actually part of Michigan state law (Michigan Collected Laws 600.5838) although it is not specific to lawyers but anyone part of a state licensed profession.

Legal malpractice is defined as an instance in which an attorney acts irresponsibly or negligently when representing or acting for someone else in a professional capacity. As in an tort case, the burden of proof is on the plaintiff, who must show that:

  • There was an attorney-client relationship
  • There was negligence The negligence proximally resulted in an injury
  • There is actually injury or damage to the plaintiff

There may be variations to the laws on legal malpractice, although Michigan pretty much sticks to the general law on professional negligence, which is a breach of the standard of care. As pointed out on the website of Detroit law firm Ravid & Associates, P.C., clients engage a lawyer in the belief that they will receive the benefits of an effective legal professional.

It is definitely not easy to prove legal malpractice unless the act was blatant i.e. stealing money entrusted to him or her by a client because legal representation can be complicated. In order to define negligence in a particular case, it is often necessary to get another lawyer to be an expert witness.

It is also necessary to prove that the lawyer did not act in good faith. It is possible for a lawyer to make an error in judgment that will result in major injury or damage to the client and still not be held liable for it. This may be due to the fact that at the time of its commission the lawyer believed that he or she was acting in the best interest of the client, but which later on will be revealed to be mistakes or errors. This is called the “attorney judgment rule.”

If you lost your case, suffered damages or got into legal trouble because your lawyer was negligent, find a legal malpractice lawyer in Michigan to get some compensation for your costs or losses. Make sure that the lawyer you engage has a good reputation with plenty of experience to get the best possible legal representation.

Risk Factors Leading to Motorcycle Accidents

It is common knowledge that riding a motorcycle is risky, yet so many people prefer it, especially in the city where the traffic is terrible. It is fast, maneuverable and small enough to weave in and out of spaces that make it a joy to use. In addition, there is the cool factor to consider.

But the things that make motorcycles so uniquely great as a means of transportation are also the reasons why they are so dangerous. Riders in motorcycle accidents are 30 times more likely to die than those in automobiles, and injuries tend to be more serious. Motorcycle riders have far less protection and security than a person driving a car, and even single-vehicle accidents are more likely to happen in motorcycles than in cars. Some of the factors that are both positive and negative include:

  • Size – Motorcycles are smaller so it is easier and cheaper to ride. At the same time, it is less visible than a car so they are vulnerable to collisions at intersections and sideswiping.
  • Maneuverability – Because motorcycles only have two wheels aligned in a straight line, it can easily weave in and out of the worst traffic. However, because it has only two wheels, it is a constant balancing act, so even the slightest bump or smallest oil slick can cause motorcycle accidents. It takes considerably more skill and coordination to ride a motorcycle than drive a car.
  • Openness – There is nothing like the feeling of the wind whipping past while riding a motorcycle. But this very openness and freedom also represents greater exposure to debris, bugs and the elements as well as a huge disparity between cars and motorcycle in terms of solid protection in case of a crash.

Motorcycles are lighter and more powerful pound for pound than cars, so they can go much faster. However, the capacity of the machine to hit high speeds is not always matched by the ability of the rider to control it, and motorcycle accidents at high speeds are often catastrophic.

As in anything else, the best way to prevent motorcycle accidents is to exercise caution and follow motorcycle safety guidelines. If you crash anyway because another party has been negligent, you should get compensation for your injury as well as other costs associated with motorcycle accidents. Consult with a motorcycle accident attorney and file your claim. The Oklahoma-based Abel Law Firm website explains that you can recover your medical expenses and lost wages as well as for the pain and suffering you may have suffered.

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