You hear about car crashes all the time, but you never think it will happen to you. In Oklahoma, there were 68,967 crashes reported in 2011, or about 189 crashes every day. Of these, 609 were fatal, where a total of 696 people died. There were 24,174 crashes where 36,294 people were injured.
Of the 696 people who died in 2011, more than 80% of them may have survived if they had been wearing their seat belts. Of the 95 motorcyclists who died in a car crash, 64 of them didn’t bother to wear a helmet. It is a sobering thought.
Among the crashes where people died or were injured, 9.2% (3,400) was alcohol-related, 19.8% (7,323) was due to failure to yield, and 16.5% (6,107) was due to speeding, This is a total of 16,830 people who were killed or injured in a car crash that was totally preventable and due to negligence. This comes out to about 46 people each day in the state of Oklahoma who climbed into the car thinking nothing more serious than what kind of dessert they would get with their meal. And yet in a single second their lives would be changed forever.
It is easy to become a car cash statistic in Oklahoma or any other place for that matter. In all the hurry, hustle and bustle, and distractions left and right, it’s no wonder that so many accidents happen. If you get seriously injured in a car crash because someone was driving recklessly, it could mean the end of your life as you know it. The fact that such accidents are preventable makes it even worse.
Serious, debilitating, and/or long-term illness or injury sustained in the workplace can significantly affect your way of life. Not only will you be forced to stop working and lose income, you will also most likely need special medical treatment or equipment. The financial burden of such a disability can be overwhelming. Fortunately, there are both private and public benefits you may be able to secure to help you and your family make ends meet.
Workers’ compensation insurance is primarily undertaken by private insurance companies, and the terms and conditions are laid out in the policy in case of a claim. Typically, a workers’ compensation claim can be settled in the form of a lump sum (the amount determined by the type and extent of injury as laid out in the policy) or spread out indefinitely depending on what the doctor says or until you decide to settle the claim. Deciding on one or the other will depend on the nature of the illness or injury. If the doctor says that you are in for the long-haul, you might not want to settle as you will need continued support throughout the duration of your illness or disability.
Social Security Disability Insurance
This is another option that you may want to think about if you anticipate long-term disability of more than 12 months. To qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you will have to be unable to do any type of work at all. Combined, your workers’ comp and SSDI should not exceed 80% of your average current earnings; if your workers’ compensation claim exceeds that (lump sum pro-rated over the period of disability) you will not be eligible for SSDI benefits at all. This is a problem if the costs of your injury or illness exceed that of the money you received from workers’ comp, and you are disqualified from SSDI.
A workers’ compensation claim should take into account many factors, including other sources of financial support, the nature and length of your injury or illness, and your future ability to secure gainful employment.
Commercial vehicle drivers are subject to much stricter regulations than ordinary drivers. This is because commercial vehicles (busses, trucks) are considerably bigger and often carry heavier loads which make them more dangerous, especially at higher speeds such as on highways. There are regulations for special licenses, work hours and safety protocols exclusive to commercial vehicle drivers.
In the event of something like an 18-wheeler accident with a passenger car, odds are that any damages, injuries and/or fatalities will accrue to the passenger vehicle and the people in them rather than the big rig and its driver. It is also most probable that when negligence is an issue, the driver will have very little wriggle room because they are so strictly regulated. Moreover, trucking companies and carriers are likely to be held liable for an accident together with the driver, so there is a stronger incentive to prioritize road safety and driver training. What then are the typical causes of a commercial vehicle accident?
There are two general types: driver-related and non-driver related. Driver-related causes include but are not limited to:
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Misjudgment of distances
- Sudden stops
- Unsecured loads
- Sudden turns at high speeds
- Aggressive driving
Non-driver related causes include but are not limited to:
- Mechanical failure
- Poor road or weather conditions
- Tire blowout
- Oil spills on the road
- Other vehicle in the no zone areas, swerving or overtaking incorrectly
- Stalled vehicle on the road
If the accident is due to negligence, it may be possible to prove that another party was responsible for your injuries. Commercial vehicles and their drivers typically carry generous insurance because they can cause considerable damage in the event of an accident, so you may be able to secure the financial compensation you need from the party responsible for your accident if you have been injured in an accident with a commercial vehicle.
The law protects the rights of all employees across the US, so that no co-employee, much more employer, can violate these rights and get away with it. Respecting the rights and interests of every worker, regardless of position, ought to be the moral priciple governing all work places. This however, is not the case, as job discrimination continues to be a major concern in many companies despite the combined stipulations of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Equal Pay Act (EPA) and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).
Even an obvious case of employer discrimination would be too hard for any regular employee to act against due to fear of far greater and deeper problems. Probably the most basic things you need to know when you find a job are your rights as an employee, as well as your right to defend yourself, or someone else in the workplace. You should also make sure that there is an employment lawyer you can turn to who would be prepared to help you build a case in the event of employer or peer discrimination; all the while making sure that you are safe from further unfair treatment.
Employment law, though complex, aims to put order and balance in employer-employee relationship; it determines what are allowed and not allowed in the work place. Discrimination is a clear violation of this law, and discrimination comes in many forms: race, age, national origin, gender and disability. Thus, a co-employee’s promotion may appear as an unbiased move, however, if investigated further, it can be a product of discrimination against you or someone else.
One persistent cause of discrimination is race. Racial bias is one problem that has continually plagued US companies for so long. If you are aware that such practice is prevalent in your workplace, being silent about it may eventually backfire against you and affect you in the future.
Silence signals defeat to illegal and unfair work practices. Do not be a victim of any unjust employment practice; take action to fight for your rights.