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Port St. Lucie: After Irma

While Hurricane Irma hit the state of Florida extremely hard, some of the counties fared better than others. Fortunately for many people (including some of my close family members) in Port St. Lucie, the county did not suffer as much damage as other places in the state. Some power lines were down for a while, but overall the storm did not cause as much damage as people had feared. It was still wise for people to evacuate prior to Irma, but most who did leave Port St. Lucie were fortunate to return to find their homes still intact.

According to most reports, including St. Lucie County received about 20 inches of rain, and the beaches at Fort Pierce saw two to three feet of erosion, but the damage was fortunately no more severe than that. An estimated eighty-percent of the county, or 110,000 people, were without power for several days after the storm. Because of the outages, most government buildings and schools were closed for several days after Irma, and some businesses like Port St. Lucie law firms, banks, and other businesses had to close for a few days as well.

For those who stayed during the hurricane, the winds and rain were quite severe. Many people reported that they had never seen anything like it, and in a state where hurricanes are common, that was a surprising thing to hear. Gusts in St. Lucie were measured at 100 miles-per-hour, so it must have been a scary event to live through!

Local officials urged people to stay indoors and not go outside in the immediate aftermath of the storm, so those who stayed had to rely on the food and water that they had stockpiled after the storm. While some people reported that they were happy they stayed in their homes, others were relieved to get the evacuation order in time to leave the city and find a calmer, safer place to stay during the storm.

My family is hoping that the city can quickly rebuild and return to normal following Hurricane Irma, and we will see how long it takes them to get on their feet. For anyone who hasn’t visited the area, St. Lucie County is an amazing place to vacation, and I highly recommend visiting once the tourism industry is revived. If there’s one thing we’ve learned about people in the U.S. (and Florida, especially, in my opinion), is that they are able to bounce back after a disaster like Hurricane Irma, and they will be stronger than they were before the storm.

 

Modification in a Divorce Decree

An article posted in a website with the address, hhzfamilylaw.com, states that when going through a divorce, the two parties involved must agree upon all the issues that come along with divorce, which can include alimony, division of properties and assets, and child support and custody. These agreements are drafted into a final divorce decree to be legally approved and enforced by a judge. Often, after divorce agreements are settled, and the final divorce decree has been acknowledged in the lives of both parties, circumstances change. Sometimes, they change to the point that the original agreements are no longer applicable. When this is the case, modifications need to be made.

Factors such as change in career, location, schedules, or income can lead to a need for modifications. These changes can affect a variety of areas within a divorce agreement. The four primary areas where a divorce order can be changed are child custody, visitation, child support, and spousal maintenance.

With regard to child custody, sometimes, a court decision does not bring about the projected outcome as some parents, either the one who has custody or the one with visitation rights, fail to live up to the court’s expectations, becoming neglectful in their obligations either in the proper performance of their function or in recognizing and respecting the other parent’s rights and personhood.

These failures are legally termed as visitation or custody interferences, and they also call for a modification in the court’s original decision. The following acts are considered forms of custody interference:

  • Denying the non-custodial parent to enjoy his or her visitation rights by creating situations that will alienate the child from him or her.
  • Severing a child’s affections for the non-custodial parent through ill-talks, false accusations and/or negative comments ;
  • Consciously and systematically brainwashing the children to turn them against the non-custodial parent. This negative attitude is known as Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS); and,
  • Ignoring a divorce decree stipulation, which says that a custodial parent should inform the non-custodial parent about his or her plans of moving to another city or state, or any plan of a change of residence. Many custodial parents actually relocate to a distant location secretly in order to keep the children away from the non-custodial parent and so have the children fully to himself or herself.

In addition to those mentioned above, other reasons that also warrant modifications to a child custody arrangement include:

  • The custodial parent becoming unfit due to addiction or dependence to alcohol or illegal drug, or other legal problems;
  • Remarriage of the custodial parent;
  • The custodial parent passing away or developing a health problem that can restrict his or her duty in caring for the child; and,
  • The child, upon reaching the age of 12, requests for a change in living arrangements. The only reason why a court may deny this request is if it sees that a change will not be in best interest of the child.

 

 

The Dangers of Spinal Cord Injuries

The Dangers of Spinal Cord Injuries

The spinal cord has a vital role in the motor and sensory functions of the limbs, and damaging it can give patients motor and sensory problems, or in other words, paralysis. This is a life-changing condition, as having movement and sensation issues in the limbs greatly limit the physical capability of victims. It may affect education, employment, recreation, and even relationship opportunities, all of which are important for a person to maximize the enjoyment of life.

According to the website of Mazin & Associates, PC, those who have sustained spinal cord injuries may get compensation from the responsible party. If you think about it, this is justifiable, considering the significant damage a spinal cord injury may inflict on the victim’s life.

Severity of Injury

It is important to note that there are different severity levels of spinal cord injuries. The higher the location of the injury in the spinal cord, the more severe it is. Therefore, the most severe spinal cord injuries involve the top most part of the spinal cord.

Injury in the upper section may result into quadriplegia, or the paralysis of all four limbs. Injury in the middle or lower section may result into paraplegia, or the paralysis of the lower limbs. The injury may be serious enough for patients to need assistance in doing day to day activities, but there are also cases where the injury can be counterbalanced by supports, like wheelchairs and braces.

Common Accidents Leading to Spinal Cord Damage

Spinal cord injuries are often linked to traumatic accidents, such as traffic collisions, falls, sports and other recreational activities, and violence. For traffic collisions, the back and spinal area may be caught relaxed, making them sustain damage from the sudden jolt of the impact. For falls, the back and spinal area may receive substantial damage upon landing, especially if the falling accident has occurred in an elevated area.

Sports that are too physical, like basketball, and recreational activities that may involve the back, like diving, may also result into spinal cord injury because of contact to other players and falls to hard surfaces. Acts of violence in the back, like hitting a person with a baseball bat, may also have enough force to damage the spinal cord.

Kinds of Pre-employment Testing

Pre-employment testing is a preliminary examination to determine whether an applicant is capable of doing the tasks associated with the job he is applying for. By using different kinds of pre-employment testing, employers will have a better understanding of their applicants, not just in terms of skills required for the position, but also in terms of physical and mental capabilities that may directly or indirectly affect the job.

By knowing their applicants more extensively, employers will have more informed hiring decisions, to ensure that the workforce will have minimal issues in health, performance, and overall productivity.

Skills Test

This kind of test measures the applicant’s knowledge of the job he is applying for. It measures the applicant’s competence level in the skills required for the position. This test is often objective, meaning that there is a right and wrong answer. A skill test is often in written format.

There are other formats of this test. It can be spoken, meaning that it can take the form of interviews and oral question-and-answers. It can also be a simulation of the workplace, to assess what you can actually do when you are already on the job.

General Test

If skills test focuses on the applicant’s attributes that directly affect the position he is applying for, the general test focuses on attributes that are indirectly related, but still important factors to be successful in the job.

These include cognitive abilities such as problem solving skills, and other educational abilities like comprehension, logic and reasoning, and math. They may look totally unrelated to the job, but general intelligence has always been a good measurement system for overall competence.

Personality Test

An applicant may be very knowledgeable of the job and may be very competent overall, but he may still be subject to mediocrity because of attitude. Personality tests are there to determine whether an applicant’s personality is suited for the job.

For example, punctuality, willingness to learn, and reliability are very good traits for entry-level positions. Being assertive, confident, and outgoing makes sales employees very effective and valuable.

If a personality test is able to determine what kind of person the applicant is, it can help in molding the applicant into someone who can effectively excel in the job position by having slight changes in personality and outlook.

Pre-employment testing is not just about your employee being picky. It is also about you, and how you can maximize your skills, general competence, and personality. So in the end, it is for the benefit of both employee and employer.

The Hospital as Defendant in a Tort Case

Liability in a tort case can result to a person being held responsible for the actions committed or not performed by another. This is known as vicarious liability and, when applied in a workplace setting, it would refer to an employer being held accountable for the act or failure to act of his/her employee, provided that the act or failure to act can be proven to have occurred during the course of (the employee’s) employment.

Vicarious liability is often used in medical malpractice lawsuits, especially if the basis of the lawsuit is hospital negligence. This move is often resorted to by legal experts knowing that the medical personnel, who committed the injurious mistake, will not be able to afford the necessary amount of compensation to the victim; an amount, however, which the hospital’s insurance carrier can surely pay. Thus, instead of naming the person, who committed the error or failed to perform the correct procedure, as defendant, the defendant becomes the hospital. Besides the purpose of seeking compensation, naming the hospital as defendant is also intended to raise a message to the hospital owner/s and managers: ensure that quality care is provided at all times to prevent other patients from suffering any type of injury due to mistakes.

In 1999, a report, called “To Err Is Human,” was published by the Institute of Medicine (a nonprofit organization). The report claimed that every year during the 1990s, preventable medical errors caused the death of 98,000 people. Modern medical devices and the advancement of knowledge in the medical field was considered as solutions to fatal medical mistakes; however, instead of having the number of deaths reduced, the number of fatalities almost doubled. In 2010, the Office of Inspector General for Health and Human Services stated that 180,000 patients in Medicare alone die every year due to bad hospital care.

The Hankey Law Office clearly points out that medical professionals have a significant responsibility to the persons under their care, and when they fail in this duty then the consequences can be disastrous. Besides the fact that injurious mistakes committed by professionals must not go unpunished, so is the fact that the injured should never be denied of compensation. It would benefit injured patients to file a legal action through the help of a highly-competent medical malpractice lawyer.