Buying a New House: Like a Marriage?

Posted by on May 9, 2015 in Natural Hazards

Marriage can be more complicated than you might initially think. You don’t just marry someone you’ve just met and call it true love, as has once been said. In real life, it is folly to make such a huge, permanent commitment without looking into the partner with whom you wish to dedicate spending the rest of your life with. This same kind of commitment can be likened to purchasing a house and, just as with finding out on whether your partner is “The One”, you need to take certain precautions.

One of these precautions is to acquire the natural hazard disclosure (NHD) report. More often than not, some have even stated that this is the likelihood 99% of the time, the sellers are the ones who are expected to provide these reports. However, there must be special care taken when getting these papers.

Going back to the marriage analogy – who would you rather trust with your partner’s history: your partner’s family or your partner’s Twitter followers? The same can be said of those who can provide NHD reports. Anything can be found on the internet these days and anyone who is not an expert on these reports could be duped by false (or incomplete) facts. That is why it is important to get a reputable source to find out the kind of natural hazards that might be present within the house.

Is the environment susceptible to fires, floods, or earthquakes? What is the crime rate of the neighborhood? How old is the house in question and when were the foundations last fortified? If previously foreclosed, what was the reasoning behind it? There are plenty of questions you need to ask and there might be answers that you need that you never thought to ask for. A source or agency that can be trusted, for about $50 more, can be the price that saves you from expenses that go to hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairs due to ignorance or misdirection.

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What You Need to Keep in Climate Controlled Units

Posted by on Mar 3, 2015 in Storage

Climate controlled storage units are typically 25% more expensive than standard units of the same size. For example, a regular 5 ft x 5 ft unit in Pond Springs Mini Storage is $55 a month while a climate-controlled one is $70 a month. However, the price difference may be worth it. Deciding to get a climate-controlled until will depend on many circumstances.

1. The items are irreplaceable or expensive.

The added expense of the climate-controlled unit may be a pittance compared to how much your item will depreciate if not store properly. Wood and leather, for example, can warp, crack or discolor with changes in temperature. If your $5,000 antique table warps because of humidity, it can reduce the value to less than $1,000. However, if your items have no intrinsic value, then it may not be worth the cost of a climate controlled unit.

2. You need to store them for a long time.

Since the main problem with temperature-related damage is over time, you won’t need a climate-controlled unit if you only intend to store your items for a couple of months. A good example is when transferring to another home. There may be instances when certain portions of the home is not yet ready, in which case you can store the intended furniture temporarily.

3. There is high humidity and/or extreme climate conditions in the area

Some regions have low humidity and more or less even temperatures the whole year round. In such cases, you probably don’t have to worry about temperature-related damage to your stored items. In Austin, however, where it gets really hot in the summer with high humidity, you will want a climate controlled unit. Also keep in mind the threat of flood water which can find its way into storage.

Whatever you decide, make sure that you check the unit first and get details about how the storage company intends to control the climate. Since you are paying a premium for it, you have the right to know if you will be getting what you paid for.

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Defective Safety Features Could Kill You

Posted by on Dec 23, 2014 in Personal Injury

Airbags are supposed to protect drivers and passengers from injury in case of an accident, but that is presuming that they work properly. Unfortunately, airbags are just as prone to defects as any product if the quality is not properly monitored and controlled, and even worse is that airbag manufacturers supply their products to more than one automobile manufacturing company. This means more cars and more potential victims.

Takata Corporation, an airbag manufacturer that supplies to Honda Motor Co. as well as other automakers, is being investigated for at least two deaths that are being linked to faulty airbags that originated from them. According to reports, the airbags deployed with excessive force because of tainted ammonium nitrate, the compound responsible for inflating the airbags when activated. This excess of force can send metal parts of the airbags into the vehicle, causing serious injury or even death.

Lawsuit have been filed against the company, but Takata has so far been able to settle claims out-of-court and continue to resist calls for a nationwide recall of vehicles that have been installed with the defective airbags. Honda has also been named in some lawsuits for its use of Takata airbags. To date, more than 14 million vehicles have been recalled worldwide because of the faulty airbags.

Current and future personal injury lawsuits are based on two claims: that Takata knew or should have known that the airbags were bound to fail because of the numerous complaints about it and that the company failed to warn vehicle owners about the high probability of airbag failure. A group of plaintiffs looking to recoup costs and damages for replacing their airbags are looking into filing a class action suit against Takata and Honda.

However, if you have already suffered serious injury because your airbag failed to work properly, you may be eligible to claim more than out-of-pocket expenses. Consult with a personal injury lawyer like Dwight Ritter as soon as possible so that you can get an idea of what you’re up against.

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What is Grand Theft Auto?

Posted by on Oct 30, 2014 in Criminal Defense Law

The term “grand theft auto” has become part of everyday lexicon mostly because of the game of the same name, and even law enforcers use it. Technically, however, not all auto theft is grand theft, and not all grand theft involves automobiles.

Basically, theft is the unauthorized appropriation of property or services with the intent to deprive the legal owner of its value. In most states, Texas included, theft is classified as either petty or grand depending on the value placed on the property or service in question. The determination of the value varies from state to state, but in Texas it is based on fair market value. As can be easily surmised, petty theft is when the value of the item or service taken is less than a certain amount which again will depend on the state, although some states considers theft of specific property such as a credit card as grand theft by default. In Texas, anything over $500 in value is considered grand theft.

Going back to grand theft auto, it should be pointed out that while most cars that are stolen are valued at more than $500, it is still possible that it is not. In such cases, it would probably not be called petty theft auto, though. The more correct term for car theft is “motor vehicle theft” which makes no distinction in terms of market value, but the charges are more serious for more valuable vehicles. In other words when you use the term “grand theft auto,” you should be referring to a stolen vehicle that has a market value of more than $500.

Note that according to the criminal defense lawyers of LOMTL the term “unauthorized” is subject to many interpretations, and a simple miscommunication can land you in a world of hurt if you are arrested and charged for grand theft auto, a felony in Texas. If you have been unlucky enough to be charged with motor vehicle theft, consult with a competent criminal defense lawyer to represent you.

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Overview of Vinyl Chloride

Posted by on Oct 17, 2014 in Personal Injury

We all now know that plastic is bad for the environment because it takes so long for it to break down. But few people know that the immediate health concern is with the production of plastic products, especial those made with polyvinyl chloride (PVC) which also includes pipes we use in our homes. PVC is produced using vinyl chloride, which is a colorless gas that has a mildly sweet smell in high concentrations. It is a synthetic substance than easily incorporates into the soil, water, and the air when it is not disposed properly.

Being a gas, vinyl chloride exposure most commonly occurs through the air we breathe and the water we drink. Contaminated water also releases the substance when we cook or shower. Aspirating significant amounts of vinyl chloride induces sleepiness and dizziness that can be dissipated by breathing fresh air. Because it is heavier than the ambient air, exposure tends to be prolonged in an enclosed area. Prolonged exposure to the substance is believed to increase the risk of kidney, lung, and liver damage and may lead to immune disorders. Industrial exposure increases the risks of developing cancer, miscarriage and birth defects.

Vinyl chloride is a known toxic agent, and there are government standards in place for water and air quality specific to the presence of vinyl chloride. However, as any Tennessee personal injury lawyer will explain, an individual may be exposed to it in the course of their occupation or by being in close proximity to a manufacturing plant that uses it. In some cases, such as the Conrail derailment in Paulsboro, New Jersey, accidental spills may sharply increase exposure. Conrail is currently facing personal injury lawsuits because of the incident which allegedly killed at least one person and resulted in harm to a whole community.

If you have suffered harm from vinyl chloride exposure, you may be eligible for compensation. Confer with a toxic exposure lawyer in your area to find out more about your legal options.

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Xarelto a Major Dilemma to Patients

Posted by on Sep 11, 2014 in Personal Injury

Before the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use Xarelto in July 2011, Warfarin served as the standard anticoagulant drug for Americans (from 1954 to 2010, the year Pradaxa gained FDA approval).

Pradaxa and Xarelto are both considered direct thrombin inhibitors (DTI), actually the first two of this type of prescription drugs. But while Pradaxa was formulated to directly block thrombin production (a thrombin is a blood enzyme that causes the formation of blood clots), Xarelto was engineered to hold back the production of Factor Xa, the protein necessary in the formation of thrombin. Both medications, however, did not require the exercise, kind of diet and regular blood tests necessitated by Warfarin, making them more preferable for doctors, especially Xarelto, which proved to offer more benefits than Pradaxa.

Xarelto, the generic name of Rivaroxaban, is jointly produced by two giant pharmaceutical companies: Bayer Health Care and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals. It was approved by the FDA for the following uses:

  • As a blood thinning drug for patients recovering from knee surgery or hip replacement surgery
  • To reduce the risk of blood clot formation and stroke in patients suffering from irregular heartbeat, which is a condition called atrial fibrillation
  • To prevent the risk of the formation of blood clot in the lungs, or pulmonary embolism, and blood clotting in deep veins, usually in the legs, which is called deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

Records show, though, that blood thinners, even those that came after Xarelto, had one severe side-effect in common: uncontrollable bleeding. While the bleeding caused by the anticoagulant Warfarin could be reversed by vitamin K (including vitamin K-rich foods), Xarelto had no antidote, making internal bleeding a possible fatal situation for patients.

Uncontrollable bleeding was not the only adverse effect linked to Xarelto, however. The Institution for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP), a non-profit organization, also reports of the following adverse effects as being linked to the use of Xarelto: spinal or epidural hematoma, which can permanently paralyze an individual; brain hemorrhaging; nose bleeding; blood in stools and in urine; heart problems, stroke, and so forth. Despite these serious harms to health, stopping the use of Xarelto can also prove dangerous as it can result to the formation (or recurrence of the formation) of blood clots in patients.

Xarelto, indeed, poses a great dilemma to patients, who are at risk of severe, or even fatal, injury whether they continue to use or decide to stop using the product. And while those who have been affected already number to the thousands, some doctors continue to prescribe Xarelto to unsuspecting patients.

Xarelto lawsuits are being filed all across the United States (and in many other parts of the world) by patients who have already been harmed by the drug. Those who are yet to file a lawsuit against the drug’s manufacturers, it is highly recommended that they first seek legal help from highly-competent professionals, such as the Xarelto lawsuit lawyers at the National Injury Law Center.

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Dog Grooming

Posted by on Dec 10, 2013 in Pet Care

Many people have negative ideas about dog grooming: that they are just a luxury and a waste of time and money. This is not true. Grooming your dog is vital in keeping them healthy and happy as well. Aside from preventing your pet from smelling (and looking!) bad, dog grooming can help in keeping you on top of your dog’s health, allowing you to see possible health risks that could be life-threatening to your dog if not immediately addressed.

Regular grooming does not necessarily require everyday showers and hair cuts at costly dog salons: you can do it at home. Brushing or combing your dog’s hair on a regular basis not only helps keep it clean and well-groomed, by doing it yourself you will be immediately alerted of fleas, ticks, possible cuts, infections and other skin concerns that your dog may be suffering from. Brushing helps take away dirt and dead hair, making way for new and healthier hair. This would also mean lesser chances of your dog shedding on your furniture and all over your house. Having a clean pet can also benefit others in the house that has allergies.

Mats and knots on your dog’s hair could be a potential cause for larger parasites to live in your dog’s fur. These mats and knots can tug on your pet’s hair which could cause pain, giving way to an irritated dog. They often form because of the accumulation of dead and loose undercoat that is trapped in the top part (guard) hair. Although they can be easily removed and prevented by regular brushing, they can be extremely difficult to remove if they have already solidified. Taking your dog to a groomer would be a better option than to cut it yourself.

Aside from keeping your dog looking smart and clean, regular dog grooming could also aid in establishing you and your dog’s bond. It is part of your dog’s socialization, and could lead to a more relaxed pet. It has been known that stroking your pet’s hair can help relieve stress, and it is not only for humans but for the pet as well.

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Federal Protection for New York’s Same-Sex Couples

Posted by on Dec 4, 2013 in Divorce

After the Marriage Equality Act, which legalized same-sex marriage in New York and which took effect on July 24, 2011, another occasion gave same-sex couples a reason to celebrate – the Supreme Court’s decision to quash section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act or DOMA.

It was on June 26, 2013, when section 3 was ruled unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court, stating that the section violated the Constitution’s due process principles and equal protection. DOMA’s defeat allows same-sex couples, whether married or just residing in New York, to file joint federal taxes, sponsor a spouse for immigration benefits and enjoy federal protection, such as veterans’ benefits and federal pensions, retirement savings, health insurance and Social Security.

Same-sex marriage began to be legalized in particular states from 2003 onward. This year, 2013, a total of 14 states, plus Washington, D.C. and the District of Columbia, recognize it. These 14 states are Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Delaware, Minnesota, Maine, Maryland, Rhode Island, New Jersey, California and Hawaii (to take effect December 2, 2013). Despite the legalization, the Supreme Court maintained to uphold the right of any state or territory to deny recognizing the marital union of same sex-couples.

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Determining Child Custody in Texas

Posted by on Nov 21, 2013 in Child Custody, Divorce

Any divorce lawyer would agree that child custody is one of the trickier aspects of a divorce agreement. There are physical, emotional and financial considerations that must be weighed before a decision can be reached that will alleviate some of the stress of divorce. An article on the BB Law Group PLLC website points out it is important that a divorcing couple is fully aware of their legal options when it comes to child custody to reach a fair agreement for all concerned parties.

In Texas, custody is referred to as conservatorship, and the parent who is granted partial or full physical and legal custody of a child is called a conservator. The main thrust of the laws ruling child custody matters is that it is compatible with the best interests of the child or children. In some instances, the child would have a better idea of what this constitutes than anyone else.

This is one of the interesting things about Texas family law, that a child of 12 or more may be consulted about the physical conservatorship; typically, the parent who remains in the vicinity of the familial home may be awarded physical conservatorship, but not always. If the child prefers to live with the away parent all or for most of the time for whatever reason, it will be considered by the court.

In some instances, the court may partially or fully withhold the right of the non-conservator parent to have visitation rights. This includes evidence of domestic violence or child abuse by one parent. Moreover, while joint conservatorship may be desirable and granted by the court, this does not mean equal time with the child. The time actually spent with the child will vary depending on what the court determines to be “significant periods” and “frequent and continuous contact.”  With proper legal representation, all the child custody concerns and issues confronting divorcing or divorced parents can be properly addressed and presented in court.

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Clearing up the Underinsured/Uninsured Confusion

Posted by on Oct 26, 2013 in Car Accidents, Car Insurance

There are lot of misconceptions and misunderstandings when it comes to underinsured and uninsured coverage. Because of such confusion, many people opt to not have underinsured or uninsured coverage, which can put them in a disadvantage when they encounter an accident with an uninsured driver.

Uninsured coverage (UC) is a policy that pays for you and the other passengers’ medical expenses after an accident with an uninsured driver, while underinsured coverage (UIC) comes in when the driver at fault does not have enough to cover for all the expenses. There are instances where underinsured coverage can also be used during a hit-and-run incident. It may seem trivial, but having an uninsured and underinsured coverage can serve as a lifesaver in dire situations.

Among the many misconceptions of UC and UIC is the thought that they are not necessary because victims can file a claim or lawsuit against the reckless driver. Although it is possible, it can be hard to acquire compensation from someone who does not have enough funds to pay for damages, and going to court can only cost you more money.

It should also be noted that UC and UIC does not cover for car repairs and damages: they are only applicable for medical bills. It is also different from health insurance: UC and UIC maximize the payment for the medical bills without any deductibles, and it covers for lost wages if you are unable to go back to work because of injuries. However, you can only use UC or UIC if the accident was caused by another person, and not because of your own negligence. Nevertheless, it is still advantageous, since a significant percent of motorists in the United States does not have car insurance.

It can be expensive to cover the repair cost and medical bills from your own pocket, especially if the accident was caused by another person’s recklessness on the road. Greenfield car accident lawyers claim that having underinsured or uninsured coverage not only protects you from paying undue medical bills, it can also save other people you are traveling with as well. Avoid further stress after an accident by having a strong car insurance policy.

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