Unpaid Overtime: Common Causal Factors

Posted by on Jun 10, 2017 in Employment Law | 0 comments

Under federal law, most employees who work more than 40 hours a week are eligible for overtime pay, but not all employers are particularly diligent when it comes to overtime payments. They do this to maximize work and minimize costs. Not only is this illegal, because it is also immoral.

According to the website of the Leichter Law Firm, employees eligible for overtime pay but have not received it from their employers may take legal action, such as trying to get the employers accountable. Below are some of the most common factors that influence unpaid overtime claims.

Eligibility

Before anything else, it is important to make sure that you are actually eligible to overtime pay. Most employees are eligible, but a significant portion of the workforce is not – typically executives and managers.

Extended Work Hours

If you are staying and working in the workplace longer than what you are officially required, you are basically working overtime, so you are eligible for overtime pay. Extended work hours can manifest in two ways – you go to the workplace too early or stay in the workplace too late. Usually, you do this to accomplish tasks that don’t make the majority of your responsibilities, but still are your responsibilities, such as attending meetings, traveling to a work-related place or to accomplish a work-related task, and handling emergency situations.

Work on Unpaid Breaks

The best example of this is working during lunch periods. Usually, lunch periods are automatically deducted in your time at work, but if you still work during this period, you are basically working without pay and may be eligible for overtime pay.

Another example is take-home work, like preparing presentations for meetings, writing reports, and filling up necessary documents.

On-call Work

If you are suddenly asked to go to work during a period outside of your working hours, maybe because of an emergency or sudden emergence of a task that needs to be accomplished immediately, you may be eligible for overtime pay. There may be a legitimate reason for asking you to go to work right away, but it still doesn’t change the reality that you are working beyond your official work hours.

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Statute of Limitation and Issue of Jurisdiction Affecting Lawsuits Involving Cruise Ships

Posted by on Mar 2, 2017 in Cruise Ships | 0 comments

Cruise ship accidents and tragedies are major concerns for the Cruise Lines International Association, which represents 26 cruise lines. With more than 20 million passengers worldwide every year (more than 11 million passengers are from the United States), ensuring passenger safety ought to be every cruise line’s highest priority.

Passenger safety is the reason behind the passing in 2009 of the “Safe Return to Port” regulation. This directive was passed during the 2009 International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS). “SOLAS is an international maritime treaty which requires Signatory flag states to ensure that ships flagged by them comply with minimum safety standards in construction, equipment and operation.”

This program on safety is to make sure that crew members are capable of handling emergency situations competently and on time, and that every cruise ship is equipped with all types of emergency and life-saving equipment, such as life boats, rescue boats and life jackets, fire safety provisions, radio equipment and Search and Rescue Transponders (SARTs).

Today, cruise ship accidents, however, happen not only while the ship is out at sea. Shore excursion, which is now conducted in almost all ports of call, is a new possible cause of accident than can injure a passenger. A shore excursion is either conducted by the cruise line itself or by an independent tour company. It is meant to add excitement to a passenger’s cruise experience and, though time-constrained, it allows participating passengers to get the most out of the activities, which can include hiking, ziplining, horseback riding, rock-climbing, jet skiing, parasailing, scuba diving, snorkeling, shopping at local outdoor markets, dining, and cultural, archeological or tropical island tours.

For some passengers, shore activities have been a source of injury, though, rather than fun. Worse, some do not even make it to tour destinations as accidents already injure them while boarding a tender boat (the boat that will transport them to the shore and back to the ship) or while waiting for their bus at the port. Sometimes, while on land, passengers become targets of assault, sexual harassment or theft mainly due to the very poor security by the cruise line or private tour provider personnel.

According to the law firm Louis A. Vucci, PA, causes of cruise ship excursion injuries include dock accidents, tender boat accidents, inadequate security, defective/malfunctioning equipment, and motor vehicle accidents. Cruise ship excursion injuries are serious issues that often result to physical, emotional and financial sufferings for those injured. Though victims have the legal right to “seek compensation to help them cope with the effects of their injury, filing a civil lawsuit can be complicated without help from a seasoned cruise ship accident lawyer due to the:

  • Statute of limitation (the time limit for filing a civil lawsuit) and
  • Issue of jurisdiction. Lawsuits involving cruise ships are usually heard only at the U.S. District Court of Florida); this is the forum selection clause which is indicated in cruise ships’ ticket contracts. Jurisdiction can altogether change if the accident occurred on land, during a shore excursion.
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The Dangers of Scaffolds

Posted by on Oct 18, 2016 in Workplace Accidents/ Disability Benefits | 0 comments

The scaffolding that was almost as long a city block in downtown Houston collapsed in October of 2015. Long pieces of metal and wood laid scattered in front of the apartment complex that was under construction; it was an accident that injured six of the 200 construction workers working at the site.

The continuous increase in the number of high-rise construction jobs plus restoration of the aesthetic appearance of many old buildings in the U.S. have resulted to an increase in the number of workers needed to work on scaffolds to be able to reach the exteriors of tall buildings. In fact, more than a million construction workers are said to be working on scaffolds every day, which means more than a million lives always in danger.

A scaffold is a provisional structure that supports workers and the materials they will use in the construction, repair and maintenance of man-made structures like buildings and bridges; it is either suspended from above or supported from below.

Due to the many incidences of collapsing scaffolds in the past, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), an off-shoot of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) of 1970 and which is charged with the regulation and enforcement of the OSH Act mandate of creating a safe and healthy working environment for all employees, saw it fit to impose a standard on scaffoldings in the hope of reducing incidences of falls or collapse which lead to injuries or workers’ death.

The law firm Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ® agrees that the construction industry is one of the most dangerous career fields in the U.S.; it is also very aware that accidents which injure construction workers can most likely result to a number of daunting consequences, such as loss of income, due to time spent in recovery and costly bills for medical treatment. This is why the firm strongly emphasizes the importance of an injured worker understanding his or her legal rights and options in seeking the compensation that he or she may have a legal right to receive.

A scaffold that is not firmly assembled, not supported well from above or poorly maintained can most likely fail when used. After an accident, one important question is whose act of negligence was it that caused the scaffold to collapse. A highly-competent personal injury lawyer or construction accident lawyer may be able to provide the victim all the legal assistance necessary, including investigating further into matters relating to the accident, and in helping the victim determine if his/her case is worth pursuing legally.

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What Coverage Can You Get From Personal Injury Protection?

Posted by on Jun 30, 2016 in Personal Injury | 0 comments

When you get involved in a car or vehicular accident, what follows is a series of expenses that you may not be able to handle from your own pocket. Aside from repairs of your car, you will also be faced with medical expenses and other bills. For this reason, having personal injury protection (PIP) can be heaven sent. PIP is also called “no-fault” insurance and is usually require in no-fault states.

According to the website Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller & Overbeck, P.A., state laws require motorists to carry at least a minimum PIP insurance coverage. This kind of policy shoulders accident-related expenses regardless of who was at-fault. Personal injury protection may cover as much as 80% of medical and other expenses, depending on the limits of the policy.

PIP covers medical expenses that you might incur whether as a passenger or as a pedestrian. In addition, it may also pay for service replacement of an injured person, rehabilitation, and funeral costs. With personal injury protection, there is no need to determine fault. The damages are paid at the soonest time possible and you only deal with the insurance carrier.

PIP has some similarities and difference with medical payments coverage. Both covers your medical costs as well as that of your passengers regardless of who was at-fault. However, medical payments coverage does not cover other expenses such as lost wages, rehabilitation expenses, and funeral costs.

However, one disadvantage of no-fault insurance is that it literally takes away your right to sue. While you can still make someone liable, some state laws determine when you can do so. For example, you can only sue unless one of the following happens:

Serious death or injury
Damages has reached or surpassed the threshold limit

If you have health insurance, you may combine it with personal injury protection. You can set your HMO as the main form of injury coverage after an accident. When you get hurt in a crash, your health benefits will cover your medical expenses. PIP will pay for expenses that exceeds your health insurance limits.

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Types of Damages that need to be Compensated Due to Wrongful Death

Posted by on Feb 6, 2016 in Personal Injury | 0 comments

A wrongful death is a legal action filed by the family of a person who dies due to another person’s wrongdoing or act of negligence. The main purpose of this lawsuit is to seek compensation for all the present and future losses that the family of the deceased are and will be subjected to. Compensation is supposed to cover funeral expenses, lost companionship and lost wages.

States classify losses or damages under the following categories: economic, non-economic and punitive. The specific items contained in each category differ among states, though.

a. Economic damages. These refer to all the financial contributions that the deceased would have provided to his or her family had he or she not died. Economic damages include: financial worth of the goods and services the deceased would have earned for his or her family; loss of possible inheritance; loss of the victim’s wages and other earnings; loss of the deceased victim’s financial benefits, such as pension plan; loss of possible medical coverage for victim’s family members; and, cost of medical treatment and funeral service.

b. Non-economic damages. These include the family’s non-material losses, such as: loss of love and companionship of the deceased; loss of the deceased victim’s care, guidance, nurturing and protection; loss of consortium with the deceased spouse; and, suffering, pain and mental anguish to be suffered by the family.

c. Punitive damages. This type of damages may include compensatory damages; however, in some states where this is not made available in wrongful death lawsuits, the awarding of treble damages, or triple damages, is made instead. Treble damages multiply the amount of actual damages to three. Awarding this type of damage falls on the discretion of the court, though, based on legally acceptable reasons. According to Cornell University, punitive damages are considered punishment and are awarded when the defendant’s behavior is found to be especially harmful.

Punitive damages are basically served on the liable individual to make him or her realize his or her erroneous act and to prevent him or her from committing such error again.

A negligent act, which is often the cause of wrongful death, can be committed by anyone: a driver, a construction worker, an office employee, a pilot, a doctor, etc. While it is true that the family of the deceased, according to the law firm Williams Kherkher, would rather choose to bring closure to the tragic event which has claimed the life of their loved one, it cannot do so until it has found justice and compensation for the damages and pains it has been made to unjustly suffer.

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