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March 2015 Archives

Three North Carolina workers die when scaffolding collapses

Three Durham construction workers were killed and one was injured when a section of scaffolding they were on fell from a downtown Raleigh skyscraper on March 23. The incident occurred at around 11 a.m. at the Charter Square construction site.

Feds hot for criminal sentencing reform, but not in all spheres

We have noted the hot-button topic of federal criminal sentencing reform in several past blog posts, noting the Obama administration's strong advocacy efforts -- especially through the U.S. Department of Justice -- to promote changes that the executive branch believes are necessary to bring about greater rationality and fairness.

Judge a disability by its functional impairment, not appearance

A disability should be judged by the degree to which it functionally impairs an individual’s ability to work, not by whether its symptoms are outwardly visible. At least, that’s the functional standard used by the Social Security Administration regarding its disability benefits programs.

Veterans are concerned about possible benefit cuts

Many individuals seeking Social Security Disability Insurance are disabled veterans. Many of these veterans now are understandably concerned that there will be a 20 percent cut in SSDI in 2016. There is talk in Congress of privatizing Medicare, and discussion about prohibiting receipt of both SSDI and unemployment compensation. Some feel that this may place a disincentive on individuals with disabilities to work.

What is road rash?

As many North Carolinians are well aware, a motorcycle accident can cause a variety of injuries, some of them quite serious. Broken bones, torn ligaments, severe cuts, head trauma, and spinal cord injuries can leave a rider with the need for long-term care. Additionally, these victims may suffer disfigurement, permanent disability, and financial challenges following a motorcycle crash.

Numerous complaints against McDonald's working conditions

McDonald's is under fire by the Service Employees International Union's "Fight for 15" campaign led by labor activists who want to improve working conditions, unionize and raise the wage to $15 per hour. A survey conducted by the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health found that 33 percent of burned workers were offered condiments by their mangers as a treatment instead of burn cream. Situations like this could happen in North Carolina and elsewhere in the country.

Yes, this can happen: Man never charged with crime serves 905 days

Persons who follow criminal law matters might be interested -- indeed, many of our readers in North Carolina and elsewhere might be more than a bit concerned -- by the following story that recently played out in another state.

Does retirement affect SSDI disability benefits?

Although disability may strike at any age, the probability may increase with age. Individuals who become disabled on the eve of their retirement may have questions regarding whether disability benefits might adversely impact their retirement benefits. Today’s post provides some answers in the specific context of Social Security disability insurance benefits.

Update on federal sentencing reform: momentum clearly established

We referenced federal criminal sentencing reforms in our March 9 blog entry, noting therein "strong bipartisanship and even marked amicability across the political divide" regarding the need for material changes in the way that many defendants are charged and sentenced.

In my DWI case, does it matter if I had a low BAC?

Having a drink before driving is not a crime in North Carolina. You can be charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) when your blood alcohol content (BAC) reaches .08 percent or higher. The problem for most adults is determining when they have passed that threshold. You could have two beers and register a .079 BAC on one night and a .082 BAC on the next.

New Hanover sees sharp uptick in accidents involving intoxication

Drunk driving is still a problem in North Carolina. Despite the risks and warnings, negligent motorists still choose to get behind the wheel while intoxicated, posing a real threat to everyone on or near the road. Though North Carolina authorities do their best to try to curtail drunken and drugged driving, it is impossible to completely stop it. This means that every year victims and their families have to cope with serious, life-altering injuries and death.

Few eligible workers apply for workers' compensation

Based on a new study released by the Department of Labor on March 4, many North Carolina workers who are injured on the job may not be receiving the workers' compensation that they are due. The study found that fewer than 40 percent of eligible workers apply for compensation. However, failing to apply is not the only reason that too few workers are receiving compensation. States and courtrooms have tightened regulations, and on average, workers' compensation now covers just over 20 percent of workers' expenses.

Trucking regulations seek to limit truckers' hours

Truck accidents can be devastating on many levels. In addition to property damage, victims can suffer extensive harm, including broken bones, torn ligaments, permanent disability, and even death. Those who are fortunate enough to survive may be unable to work, thus losing much needed wages at a time when they are being subjected to costly medical treatment. Families that lose a loved one to a truck accident often also have to find a way to pay funeral costs, not to mention coping with their own pain and suffering.

New OSHA rules related to silica exposure

On Feb. 18, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health jointly issued a hazard alert that is designed to protect North Carolina workers exposed to silica during work related to manufactured stone countertops. According to the organizations, individuals involved in processes like manufacturing and installing stone countertops may be at risk for silicosis as a result of exposure to crystalline silica.

Steady -- and bipartisan -- clamor of federal drug crimes reform

If you're an American who has grown a bit jaundiced over the daily intrigues and in-fighting on Capitol Hill (that is, weary and cynical), take hope: There seems to be strong bipartisanship and even marked amicability across the political divide on at least important issue.

What is a severe disability that prevents one's ability to work?

We’ve mentioned in previous posts that more is often required for Social Security disability insurance than just a diagnosis matching the list of disabling conditions maintained by the Social Security Administration. Specifically, applicants must provide evidence that the severity of their condition interferes with their ability to perform basic work activities and prevents them from carrying out their previous work.

Can I sue for boating under the influence?

With spring fast approaching, many North Carolinians may be looking forward to full-fledged boating season. Though this activity can be fun, relaxing, and even educational for younger passengers, it can also be extremely dangerous. Negligent, reckless, and intoxicated boaters can put themselves, their passengers, and other boaters at serious risk of harm and death. When a boat accident occurs and you are hurt or a loved one is killed, you certainly may be able to take legal action.

North Carolina nail gun work injuries

Many workers, especially in the construction industry, routinely use nail guns as a part of their daily jobs. While these tools are very helpful in reducing the amount of time necessary to complete a job, they also pose significant safety risks. Thus, people who use them need to take care when doing so.