Filing a Claim for Income Loss with BP Compensation Fund

Investigations on the impact of the April 20, 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill that affected the lives and livelihood of thousands who lived on the coastlines of Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Texas and Louisiana is far from over. It is estimated that it will take decades before the full extent of the damage will be realized and the costs calculated.

But for some workers and business owners, there is some light at the end of the tunnel.

BP, the main defendant in thousands of lawsuits for business economic losses for the accident, has agreed to put up a compensation fund of $20 billion. It is intended for those who suffered income losses when charter boat, hotel, tourist attraction, shrimp, oyster, fishing, restaurants and rental property businesses failed or shut down in the wake of the ecological disaster. Much of the economic activity in the coastline areas of the Gulf of Mexico depend on the tourists who used to flock to these areas in droves. With the coastline ruined and the once-famous Gulf shrimps shunned, a huge chunk of the income disappeared with the pelicans that once roosted on Cat Island by the thousands.

When the claims started pouring in, BP relegated the handling of them to the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, a third-party service provider that accepts and processes income loss as well as other claims. The types of damages that can be claimed include:

  • Damage to business or personal property
  • Diminished earnings and business profit losses
  • Wages and salaries of workers and employees of now defunct businesses
  • Personal injury and some health consequences on a case to case basis

If you have suffered income loss either as an employee or business owner, making a claim against this fund may be just what you need. It will be quicker than making a separate claim against BP directly. The wisdom of doing so, however, will depend on how much compensation you are seeking. If you are claiming less than $5,000 and that is the full sum of your income loss, then the compensation fund is the way to go. But if you have yet to determine the extent of the damage to your business or property, then it may not be a good idea. Accepting a lump-sum payment from this fund means you give up the right to sue BP later on for this particular accident, you see.

If you are in doubt if you should file a claim for income loss, consult with an oil spill lawyer in your area and give the facts of your situation. The experience of knowledge of an attorney who has handled and won cases like this before would be the best person to advise you on your best move at this point.

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The Most Common Motorcycle Accident Injury

The freedom and economy of riding a motorcycle is certainly well-deserved; it is efficient, mobile, and cheap. It is also extremely dangerous even for defensive drivers because the most common motorcycle accident injury is to the head.

The lack of protection leaves drivers vulnerable to serious motorcycle accident injury even in relatively minor accidents. Motorcycles are built for speed, and a spill at even 30 mph can be devastating. A bump on the road can send a driver flying, and even with a helmet, there is a 63% chance of getting a head injury. When it comes to a collision between a car and a motorcycle, the outcome is seldom in favor of the motorcycle rider. Motorcycle riders are 30 times more likely to be injured than a motorist, and 98% of motorcycle accidents result in injury to the motorcyclist.

Head injuries result from a variety of causes, but a motorcycle accident can be particularly traumatic. Even if the helmet absorbs most of an impact, the brain can still be severely damaged due to the violent rocking of the head. The brain can literally slam against the front of the skull and then back. Bleeding can occur in various parts of the brain that can lead to an accumulation of fluid which in turn puts pressure on the brain. In mild cases of traumatic brain injury, a concussion may result. In more severe cases, the patient can slip into a coma. Head injuries can lead to temporary or permanent disability, either partial or total, and recovery can be a prolonged process.

Three-quarters of all motorcycle accidents involve another vehicle. If you sustain a serious motorcycle accident injury because of the recklessness of another driver, you need to consult with a motorcycle accident injury lawyer conversant with the laws of your state. This will ensure that you get compensation for the costs of the accident.

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Avoid Getting Burnt in Private Used Car Sales

When buying a used car, you want to get the best possible deal you can. The Internet has made it easy for anyone to post ads for their cars for sale, and easy for anyone want to buy one. Unfortunately, private used car sales through online ads can be downright dangerous if you don’t take precautions.
There have been many reports about online ads offering used cars being a front for a scamming, or worse, operation. If you are lucky, you could just end up paying way too much for a used car. At worst, you could pay with your life. Before arranging for a meet-up to close a deal that seems too good to be true (and it probably is), take the trouble to do some research on the car.

Check online for the car’s or truck’s value

You can always check to see how much the particular model and year of vehicle you like is going for. Get a ballpark figure and work with that. As a side note, truck drivers should consider applying for a fuel card for better control of their fuel costs.

Get a Vehicle History Report

The fastest way to find out the facts about the car you are considering for purchase is to get a vehicle history report. If the seller doesn’t have one yet, ask for the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and send to service providers recommended by The National Motor Vehicle Title Information System, from which you can also get title information. You can get important data about the car including accident reports and dealership service history, and others. Carfax and AutoCheck are private companies that can provide more detailed reports, but they cost upwards of $29.99 for one report. If the seller refuses to give up the VIN, just walk away.

Arrange to have the car checked by a mechanic

Unless you know a lot about cars, you may not be able to accurately assess the condition of a used car. Engage the services of a good mechanic to give it a thorough inspection and test drive, and get a go-signal before anything else. Never go alone to a meet-up, especially if you are carrying cash, and make sure you are in a public area in broad daylight. If you feel uncomfortable, leave at once.

Private used car sales can be perfectly aboveboard, but sometimes it’s just not worth the trouble. It is better to go to a reputable used car dealership in your area, which will not only provide you with all the bona fides you need, they also have good after-sales service.

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What to Do When Charged with Drunk Driving in Illinois

Driving under the influence (DUI) or drunk driving is a serious offense in the US. While the number of offenses will determine if it is a misdemeanor or a felony, even one DUI conviction leaves a bad mark on your record. It can prevent you from getting certain jobs, and may mean the suspension of your driving privileges as well as fines. If you are charged with drunk driving in Illinois, you can take certain steps to try and beat the charge.

Take note if you have been Mirandized

In Illinois, the law requires that the arresting officer read you your Miranda rights when charging you for drunk driving. Failure to do so will invalidate any tests that may have been performed to confirm your blood alcohol level, such as a field sobriety test or breathalyzer test. It is tantamount to a free pass, so make sure that you…

Tell your lawyer

As soon as you can, ask for a lawyer. It is one of your rights when you get charged with drunk driving (which hopefully the officer forgot to inform you), so get one who is experienced in handling DUI cases in your state. Another right that you have which you should take advantage of is the right to…

Remain silent

Anything you say can and will be used against you in court, so the best policy is to say nothing until your lawyer is there to advise you. It may be tempting to be a smart mouth or to make a show of bravado, especially if the arresting officer makes snide remarks, but resist it. It could save your goat. When your lawyer arrives…

Discuss possible lines of defense

Field sobriety tests are far from infallible and even breathalyzer tests can be successfully contested if you can prove that there is a physical, medical or other legitimate explanation that explains erratic driving behavior or why you tested positive for a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher. Be sure to tell your lawyer anything that may be helpful.

These are the first things that you should do when you are charged with drunk driving in Illinois. The important thing is not to panic; stay calm and ask for a lawyer.

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Living with Erb’s Palsy

Erb’s palsy, also known as Erb–Duchenne palsy or brachial plexus injury, is muscular paralysis of the arm resulting primarily from trauma due to difficult childbirth. The damage is centered on the main nerves of the arm that are part of the brachial plexus. Erb’s palsy from birth trauma may result when shoulder dystocia occurs during childbirth because of the abnormal position of the baby, cephalopelvic disproportion or inadequate contractions of the uterus. As a result, the obstetrician may apply excessive force in delivering the baby, causing the C5-C6 nerves to be pulled, stretched, torn or avulsed.

When the damage is minor, Erb’s palsy may resolve without medical intervention over several months. On the other hand, more severe cases may require physical rehabilitation or surgery, and must be performed as early as possible. Such procedures do not work as effectively on older infants. In most cases where the nerves are torn, recovery of function is partial. Even then it may take several years and a series of procedures as well as rehabilitation. Avulsed nerves cannot be repaired. Living with Erb’s palsy where the nerves were torn or avulsed is not easy. It usually affects one shoulder, and may involve the arm and hand as well. The affected limb will grow as the child ages but at a slower rate, and since it does not function, it will become noticeably smaller as the child grows older. Aside from the functional disability, children with Erb’s palsy may feel apart from their peers and may affect their social and emotional development. It is always painful for any parent to watch a child suffer through no fault of its own.

Liability for a birth injury such as Erb’s palsy is not easy to pinpoint. In some cases, it may have been necessary for the doctor to use force in order to save the life of the infant. However, there are instances where the doctor was simply negligent, careless or incompetent, in which case it may be possible to bring an action of medical malpractice against the doctor and possibly the hospital. This will help in making life easier for the child, who will need extensive and long-term medical care. Consult with an Erb’s palsy lawyer in your area to get an assessment of your case.

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