Recent Posts

A Perfect Integration of Hardware and Software in Google’s Autonomous Car

From Google comes the possible solution to reducing the annual number of car accidents to as much as 50%, that is, by using a car that can operate itself and which can make the same decisions as a human driver would.

Designing and manufacturing autonomous cars within the next 5 to 8 years are the latest concerns of car manufacturers around the world. In an auto show in Frankfurt very recently, Mercedes-Benz displayed a prototype that is capable of accelerating and braking by itself, needing only a human driver to steer the wheel. Whereas Volvo, Toyota, Nissan, General Motors, Ford, BMW and Audi, according to the Los Angeles and New York Times, are not far behind in their plans.

Google’s huge participation in the whole thing is on the production of the software that will allow automakers’ cars to operate on their own; however, due to the slow-going negotiations, it seems that Google has decided to design and develop its own model, which, according to Google co-founder Sergey Brin, the company will release to the market in 2017. Even now, Google is conducting road tests in California, making sure that their newly developed technology works and is safe.

Autonomous cars are designed to significantly reduce driving errors through the help of sensors and cameras, laser-range finders and radars which are supposed to create a detailed map of the vehicle’s surroundings to enable it to react to any road obstacle. Besides having the capability of significantly reducing drunk-driving, speeding and reckless driving cases, it can also allow car owners to get off and proceed to work, while leaving it to park by itself.

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Minimum Wage Violation

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) mandates a minimum wage for all employees on the federal level. Each state may have its own minimum wage but it may not be lower than the FLSA rate. In Wisconsin, there are several categories for minimum wage which reflects the FLSA regulations and may provide the basis for any claim of minimum wage violation.

The current minimum wages in Wisconsin, effective as of July 24, 2009, are the following:

  • General Employees
    • Non-opportunity – $7.25 an hour
    • Opportunity – (less than 20 years old, employed for 90 days or less) – $5.90 an hour
  • Tipped Employees
    • Non-opportunity – $2.33 an hour
    • Opportunity (less than 20 years old, employed for 90 days or less) – $2.31 an hour
  • Agricultural Employees
    • Adults – $7.25 an hour
    • Minors – $7.25 an hour
  • Caddies
    • 9 holes – $5.90
    • 18 holes – $10.50
  • Camp counselors (adults and minors)
    • With board and lodging – $210 a week
    • With board only – $265 a week
    • No board or lodging – $350 a week

For employees for whom board and lodging is provided for the employees, the following are the maximum that may be deducted from an employee’s salary:

  • Non-agricultural Employees
    • Board
      • Non-opportunity – $58.00 per week or $8.30 per day
      • Opportunity – $47.20 per week or $6.75 per day
    • Meals
      • Non-opportunity – $87.00 per week or $4.15 per meal
      • Opportunity – $70.80 per week or $3.35 per meal
  • Agricultural Employees
    • Board  – $58.00 per week or $8.30 per day
    • Meals – $87.00 per week or $4.15 per meal

When employers fail to follow these guidelines for the minimum wage law as well as the maximum deductions for room and board, this may be a minimum wage violation. Provided the plaintiff is not exempt from the minimum wage law, a claim may be filed to recover lost wages and perhaps to get some compensation for any losses that resulted from a lack of proper compensation. For more information in Spanish about minimum wage laws in Wisconsin, your legal options can be further explained by an experienced lawyer.

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Drains Can Cause a Swimming Pool Accident

Small children are especially vulnerable to injury in and around swimming pools because they are curious, energetic and at the same time weak. Statistics indicate that drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death in children below 14 years of age. For children between 1 and 4 years old in that group, the leading cause is a residential swimming pool accident.

Drains are a necessary part of swimming pools. It circulates and filters the water that provides so much enjoyment to children of all ages. However, there is a dark side to those little holes at the bottom of any home or public swimming pool that can spell danger to children.

What most people may not know is that while relatively rare, the suction of a swimming pool drain can cause injuries, even death through circulation entrapment. This means that aside from drowning, drains can capture and hold body parts to the extent of disembowelment, such the case of 6-year-old Abigail Rose Taylor, who later died of her injuries. And because children are usually too weak to pull themselves free, most fatalities due to drowning because of circulation entrapment are children. There is the case of Virginia Graeme Baker, the 7-year old that drowned when she was trapped by the force of a drain’s suction to the bottom of the tub, prompting the passing of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act.

It is therefore important to keep an eye on small children at all times when they are in swimming pools, whirlpool tubs, hot tubs, spa or anything that has a drain. It doesn’t take a lot of water, or time, for a child to get sucked in and stuck. Even when no serious injury or death occurs, it can traumatize a child considerably. Only vigilance can keep a child from a swimming pool accident.

 

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Asbestos Exposure is Still Very Real

The health risks associated with asbestos have been known since the 1930s, and many countries have completely banned its use. In the US, however, the mineral is still being used in consumer and industrial products today because it is cheap, resistant to fire, electrical and chemical damage, and absorb sound. So it is not only old buildings and houses that you need to be on the look-out for, but things you may have bought or installed recently. If you work in certain industries, your exposure is likely both constant and extensive.

The reason why asbestos exposure is still a very real danger is because while new uses for asbestos have been outlawed, products that have traditionally used it are still considered legal. In the spirit of minimizing exposure, you should know what products in the US are likely to contain asbestos. These include (but not limited to):

Brakes and Clutch Linings – while American car makers don’t use asbestos in their vehicles, replacement parts supplied by third parties may still be doing so. These are usually cheaper than their branded counterparts, so most car owners opt to get those. While asbestos exposure is not a danger to you as the car owner directly, those that work on your car may be getting a free trip to mesothelioma (a type of cancer) or lung disease country.

Construction Materials – If you have recently had your roof re-shingled or your floor tiles replaced, you may have just brought in asbestos to your home. Other likely candidates are cement boards, cement pipes, joint cements and caulking compounds. Unless something happens to reduce these to dust, you’re not in any real danger of exposure, but when it starts to crumble with age, or you have it broken up for any reason, then that’s another story.

Fire Protection Gear and Clothing – Firefighters are required to wear respirator masks when fighting fire or doing training because exposure to heat exposes the asbestos layer. If you aren’t a firefighter, avoid having such things in your possession.

If you are in the automobile, construction or firefighting business, you should be aware of the danger, and your employers should follow federal regulations for minimizing asbestos exposure for their employees. If you have not been made aware of these dangers, or there are no safety procedures in the workplace concerning asbestos exposure, you may already be sick and not know it. Consult with an asbestos lawyer and your physician about your concerns, and get their advice. Hopefully you won’t need either of them. But if it turns out that you do, it is best to be prepared.

 

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Cosmetic Dentists

One of the first things people notice about a person is their smile. Since first impressions last, most people care a lot about having a perfect smile, and although not everyone is born with the perfect smile, with good cosmetic dentists, everyone can have one.

Many people tend to think of dentists as solely treating tooth decay and performing routine maintenance. In reality, dentists also perform cosmetic procedures to help fix any dental problems and also to enhance the appearance of the teeth.

Dental veneers are one of the most common procedures in dental cosmetics. As time goes by, teeth can end up chipped, stained, cracked, or just worn down. When this happens, veneers can be placed on top of the teeth to help protect them from discoloration as well as restore it to its former shape. Veneers can also be used on decayed or damaged teeth, as they can help prevent further damage by coating the teeth.

Cosmetic dentists use many options for veneers, though porcelain and resin types are among the most common. The most popular and highly recommended of these are porcelain veneers, mainly because they are better in adopting the natural look of the teeth and they are much more efficient in preventing stains.

Traditional veneers are long lasting; with the right maintenance, they can last from 5 to 10 years. Once they are put in place, they cannot be taken out. Also, since veneers are an accepted method in dental cosmetics, they are safe for the gums and offer more care for your teeth.

If you are considering getting veneers on your teeth, it would be best to ask professional advice from cosmetic dentists who can provide you with a better understanding of how it works and you can get the best benefits for your dental health. Not only will you be getting the perfect smile, you will also be saving and protecting your dental health for a long time.

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Understanding Seizures from Brain Damage

Ravid & Associates, P.C.Brain injuries are among the most severely damaging classes of injury an individual can endure. There are many possible consequences of brain injuries, including seizures. Seizures from brain damage caused by physical trauma occur in up to 7% of severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) victims. This is why TBI patients are often given anti-seizure medication to prevent seizures, which may possibly exacerbate damage to the brain.

Seizures can be either post-traumatic seizures (PTS) or post-traumatic epilepsy (PTE). These types of seizures are associated with the more serious TBI which can have a permanent effect on the brain’s physiology over time. However, PTS is primarily a temporary event and usually occurs shortly after the trauma, and not all moderate to severe TBI will present as PTS. PTE occurs even less frequently and may present much later, although it is more permanent than PTS.

Risk factors for PTE

PTS is thought to be a direct and immediate reaction of the brain to trauma, sometimes occurring within two seconds of the injury, and is differentiated from PTE which occur later and usually indicate permanent brain damage. However, PTS is thought to increase the risk of developing PTE. Children and older adults are thought to be more likely to develop PTE.

Over time, the risk for PTS decreases although there have been cases in which both PTS and PTE developed years after the actual event. Some experts place the window of risk up to 15 years. Ironically, it is possible that seizures from brain damage may actually make the TBI worse if it is long-lasting or if two seizures occur one after the other.

Other problems associated with TBI

Aside from seizures from brain damage, other medical conditions may develop including migraines, memory loss, mood swings, dizziness and inability to concentrate. Depending on the severity of the TBI, these problems may persist for months, even years. In some cases, the damage is permanent, often preventing the return to a normal life and work.

If you are at high risk or already suffering from PTS or PTE, you can expect to have significant medical expenses as well as considerable loss of income. If your TBI was caused by someone’s negligent actions or behavior, you may be eligible to receive just compensation for economic as well as noneconomic damages. Consult with a seizures lawyer to help you.

 

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The Benefits of a Protective Order

Suffering through domestic abuse and then going through the process of getting out of an abusive relationship is undeniably draining. One way to ensure you’ve done everything within your power to end and abusive relationship is to have a protective order filed.

A protective order is a court document that serves two primary functions. First, it creates a record of your abuse at the hands of the specific person it is filed against. This record is recognized nationwide, meaning a protective order will be valid if you choose to move away. More importantly, a protective order will prohibit the person you file it against from communicating with you, being close by, threatening, or harming you. It can also force him or her to pay child or spousal support, if applicable.

While a protective order is a legal document that explicitly states a person should leave you alone, the individual it is filed against may not always honor it. If a person violates a protective order, he or she may face criminal charges, but that may not always be a enough of a deterrent. If you file a restraining order, be sure to stay vigilant, just in case your abuser chooses to break the terms of the document.

If you’re the victim of domestic abuse, a protective order may be able to help you protect yourself and your children from an abusive ex spouse or family member.

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Semi-Truck Accident Facts

Semi-trucks, or more properly semi-trailer trucks, are those behemoths on the road you don’t want to be in a truck accident with. They are huge, gleaming and 18 wheels worth of heavy steel that can spell catastrophe if you ever get into a collision with one.

The big rig, or a semi as it is also referred to in the US, is a towing engine attached to semi-trailers for carrying cargo. The semi-trailer is attached on a metal projection of the towing engine, or tractor, just forward of the rear-end axle so that some of the weight is carried by the tractor. This makes it distinct from the usual truck and trailer where the trailer is attached completely behind the prime mover.

There are different configurations to a semi-trailer truck, and carrying purposes. Common types include tankers (for gas and oil, mostly), reefers, vans, side lifts and flatbeds (for containers without wheels). There are specialty trailers that are refrigerated, heated or pressurized. Some even have movable wheels enabling them to comply with weight distribution laws as necessary. Because they often travel interstate, semi-trailer truck drivers must be conversant with the laws governing each state to avoid trouble.

You will often see these lumbering giants on the highway as they speed interstate or haul cargo to airports or piers for international freight forwarding. They represent an important part of commercial trading, which makes them an essential part of the economy. But that doesn’t make them any less dangerous on the road. There are smart ways to handle a semi on the highway, but sometimes accidents still happen. If you have been in a truck accident with a semi and sustained injuries and extensive property damage, you may be able to claim for additional compensation over and above what you are entitled to from your insurer. Contact a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible to know your options.

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Keeping Distance to Avoid a Truck Accident

Have you ever noticed that trucks usually have a sign at the back that says “Caution Air Brakes” or something similar? This is because heavy vehicles and trailers use a different type of brakes from the usual ones used in regular automobiles. Air brakes are designed to prevent truck accidents, but it may also be the reason for a truck accident if you aren’t careful.

In your sedan, SUV, pickup trucks and other smaller vehicles, hydraulic brakes are used. This braking system makes used of hydraulic fluid to provide the pressure needed for the foot brake to work. In larger and trailer-type vehicles, however, air is used instead of hydraulic fluid and to engage the brake the air is released. The reason trucks have that warning sign at the back is because air brakes are much more powerful than regular hydraulic brakes, powerful enough to stop a heavily loaded cargo truck in its tracks. If you are following too closely, there is a good chance you won’t be able to stop in time and you will complete your stop against and under the rear bumper of the truck.

Depending on the speed upon which you were traveling and the point of impact, this can have dire consequences. If you are lucky enough to escape with little or no injury, you still have to consider the damage to your car, which is bound to be considerable. And since you rear-ended the truck, you are most probably at fault, which in Texas means you probably won’t be able to claim from your insurance.

However, if you can prove that the driver was negligent i.e. driving while intoxicated then you will be able to claim for the damages to your car from your insurance, and you may even file a personal injury claim. Present your case with a truck accident lawyer to find out the eligibility of your case for a civil lawsuit.

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Business Lawyers

Starting a new business can both be scary and exciting at the same time. However, in this challenging economy, it is important to choose the type of company structure that would best benefit you and, if applicable, your partners. For the best guidance and advice, it is usually smart for first-timers to consult business lawyers in order to weigh their possible options.

There are many types of ways that a business can be establish; among them is the Limited Liability Company, or LLC. This type of business combines both the benefits of pass-through taxation that a partnership or sole ownership has and the limited liability applicable to corporations. The legal existence of an LLC is separate from the management and its shareholders, so there are no risks of personal liability.

There are many benefits that a new company can benefit through LLC. Among them:

  • Once an LLC company is formed, it can stay as a company for as long as necessary. Changes in management, retirement, or even death do not affect the company, allowing it to smoothly continue operations. They can only be terminated through liquidation or other court orders.
  • They support better pension schemes as compared to self-employed businesses.
  • The most important advantage of LLC is its limited liability. This means that in cases of debts, the shareholders’ personal properties or assets will not be put at risk.
  • It is easier to get loans from banks, since they have option to either use certain assets in the company or use the company’s assets as a whole.

These are just some advantages which people who are starting a new business can get if they choose the Limited Liability Company structure for their business. Trained legal professionals can more fully explain the various benefits and potential drawbacks of this business structure. A planned structure for your business may be one of the most crucial parts of setting up success for the future.

Starting a Business

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