Everybody knows that cocaine is an illegal drug, and that a cocaine possession conviction can have serious consequences. An article on the website of Del Prado Law points out that the laws have become more stringent when it comes to drug crimes. The punishments for being charged with a drug crime can be come severe according to the state you are in. But what exactly is cocaine, and why does being accused of having it warrant a criminal defense lawyer?

Cocaine is an organic compound in crystal form derived from the leaves of the coca plant, from the tropane alkaloid ecgonine. The coca plant is a cash crop indigenous to South America, and has traditional and current medicinal, religious, and nutritional uses. Coca plant food products such as granola bars can be found commercially in supermarkets in fashionable suburban areas. The various components of the coca plant are used medicinally as a stimulant, much like coffee beans, as well as an anesthetic and analgesic, and for hunger suppression. It is also used to alleviate the symptoms of altitude sickness.

There is actually very little cocaine produced from the coca plant, less than 0.77%, and yet the coca plant is known primarily for this by-product. Cocaine itself was first isolated in 1855 by Friedrich Gaedcke, a German chemist who called it erythroxyline, but it was in 1879 that it was first applied in Western medicine as an analgesic, and then later as an anesthetic. At one point, it was used to counteract the effects of addiction to morphine, sold in drugstores as a cheap stimulant, and distributed as pep pills to German war troops during World War II.

It is now widely known that cocaine is a dangerous and highly addictive substance, the most popular recreational drug in the US second only to marijuana. Cocaine is considered the most dangerous of all central nervous system (CNS) stimulants because it is highly addictive and can cause sudden cardiac arrest. It also alters the brain chemistry with prolonged use, leading to radical behavior and personality changes.

Although earlier reports stated that cocaine led to criminality, it was only with the Jones-Miller Act of 1922 that cocaine production and sales was finally prohibited. Cocaine is classified as a Schedule I under the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961 and is an illegal substance to have, use and sell in most countries.

Possession of cocaine is a felony, but the applicable prison term escalates with the amount of cocaine found on a defendant, who may face as much as 50 years in prison.  Because of the severity of the consequences, it is important to immediately retain a criminal defense lawyer with extensive experience in dealing with drug crimes to avoid conviction or at least reduce it to a lesser charge.


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Construction workers are the ones who probably face the greatest risk of job-related accidents, considering the fact that they are surrounded by dangerous and heavy construction tools, large equipment and, sometimes, hazardous chemicals. Adding to the daily dangers that these workers face is the height that they often need to ascend, such being the place where their work needs to be done.

During the early part of the 20th century, job-related accidents involving construction workers increased in number and those injured, to be able to receive compensation from their employers, had to resort to filing a lawsuit. The argument that danger was actually associated with the work, though, or that the employer had nothing to do with the accident, was often enough to judge the injured worker’s claim as baseless.

Federal regulations on safety in workplaces were enforced only in 1971, when the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was formed. OSHA’s main concern was the regulation and enforcement of safety standards in the work place. The rules enforced by the administration were definitely of great importance in industrial and construction sites, where the level and instances of danger were always greater compared to other places of work.

Record of accidents in construction sites show that the four leading causes of injuries are electrocution, being struck by construction vehicles or equipment, being caught or pinned between equipment and a solid object, and falls.

Falls, particularly, present greater danger since by working from great heights, a worker has nowhere to run during emergencies, except on the limited space of the scaffold which he/she occupies. And figures show that more than a million workers work on scaffolds daily, in high-rise constructions sites and around the exterior of old, tall buildings that necessitate restoration of their aesthetic look.

Included in OSHA’s concerns was the recognition of certain types of scaffolds that ought to be used in construction sites. The safety of these scaffoldings have been considered, taking into account the reliability and sturdiness of these equipment under specific weather conditions and the materials loaded on these. OSHA reminds workers, however, that these construction equipment need to be competently assembled, the assembly double-checked and guardrails installed for extra protection against slips, before being boarded or used.

Any careless or negligent act that will affect the safe use of any equipment will have to be reported to site supervisors or to the employer who, in turn, should make sure that the equipment is checked before use so as not to put any lives at risk.


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Nobody likes to think that health professionals may make a medical mistake now and then, but the reality is they do, and more often and in more ways than most people think. It is a daunting thought, and should be kept in mind every time one is tempted to trust blindly in doctors and other health professionals.

However, not all potential medical dangers can be laid at the doors of those who actually administer health care, such as physicians, nurses, orderlies, emergency medical technicians, hospital administrators, and so on. Sometimes, medical negligence can be attributed to those who do not deal directly with patients.

One example is the da Vinci Surgical Robot system designed, developed, and manufactured by Intuitive Surgical, Inc. Many hospitals have invested millions to have the privilege of adding this high-tech service to its menu of offerings to patients. While it is mostly used for gynecological and urological procedures, having the space age technology available increases the prestige of the institutions that have them. However, because it is a departure from the traditional surgical techniques, the technology requires that the human operators (surgeons) are trained and have acquired a familiarity with its use.

Unfortunately, the manufacturer has neglected to provide with enough training and clinical experience to the surgeons it certifies, as discussed in an article on the National Injury Law Center website. Ideally, a trained surgeon should be supervised when performing robotic surgery for at least 15 cases to achieve clinical proficiency. Many surgeons are trained for two days and then forced to operate unsupervised after only two supervised cases.

As a result, there have been many complaints alleging medical negligence against Intuitive for failing to provide adequate training, resulting in serious injury to patients. Some also allege that the design of the da Vinci’s surgical arms is defective causing tissue burns, while still others accuse Intuitive of making false marketing claims regarding the efficacy of the system over other methods.

Whatever the form of the medical error, health professionals, medical device manufacturers, and drug companies have a duty of care towards their patients. Failure to uphold this duty is actionable under tort law. If you or a close family member has suffered injury from medical negligence, consult with a personal injury lawyer specializing in these types of cases to find out your legal options.


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Preventing Workplace Injuries

The workplace is not a one-way street. Measures aimed at preventing workplace injuries can only be effective if both employers and employees are involved. When an employee is seriously injured at work, it not only adversely affects the ability of the worker to earn, but also impacts on the productivity of the company, which eventually trickles down to profitability. Therefore, it is in the interest of both employers and employees to promote a safe working environment.

Of course, workers’ compensation insurance, which is required for most employers in the U.S., can make it a little easier for an injured employee to recover some of the costs for loss of income and medical bills. There is also Social Security to provide permanent disability benefits for eligible workers. Employers are also free from liability for workplace injuries, although workers’ comp claims tend to increase premiums that the employers have to pay. Overall, however, it is much better to keep the worker working and the employer paying a salary.

One way that employers have used to keep workplace injuries down and worker productivity up is to due functional employment testing. This is a way for employers to ensure that eligible applicants have the skills and capability to perform the essential functions of a job prior to hiring. It is also a way for employers to find out if a workplace injury claim is authentic, and if an employee is fit to go back to work after an injury.

Functional employment testing is typically outsourced to a firm specializing in employment evaluation geared towards improving productivity, measuring functional ability and reducing injury, absenteeism, and employee turnover. This can translate to increased profitability from reduced premiums for workers’ compensation and employee health insurance, lower attrition, and better worker attendance and efficiency. Because of these improvements, it is well worth the time, effort and money to have the functional capacities evaluation program in place where appropriate.


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People believe in happily ever after even in these cynical times, and this can be a good thing. It is entirely possible to be happy and stay married with one person, but what at least 50% of people who get married don’t realize is that happily ever after is not automatic, and eventually end in divorce.

Marriage happens after the wedding, when all the dresses have been packed away and all the champagne has been drunk. When real life steps in after the honeymoon is over, many find that they are not ready to work at a relationship so that together they can overcome the many difficulties they will face as a married couple.

Difficulties can surface even when a marriage is relatively ordinary. There can be problems with money, the children, relatives, living conditions, and so on. When extraordinary events happen, such as an accident which leads to serious injury and even disability, the resulting stress in the aftermath can be overwhelming. Couples who had no problems before may find that their dynamics have changed, and gradually drift apart as feelings of guilt, rage, depression, and resentment set in.

The most common causes of divorce have to do with communication. Couples who are not on the same wavelength and make no attempt to find one they can both be in are more likely to give up, fight, complain, and cheat. When one spouse feels that he or she bears the brunt of the responsibility in the relationship, it breeds resentment if it is not constructively aired. Most people are not sensitive to the needs of others, and need to be told when there is a problem.

Unfortunately, the main problem gets overshadowed by recriminations, insults, accusations, criticisms, and arguments.
It takes a very strong relationship to overcome the strain of a life-changing event such as serious accident, and many couples fail to bounce back. An article from Raleigh’s Marshall & Taylor, PC concludes that when the situation just becomes too difficult, repairing the damage may not be possible. Sometimes, the best thing can be to get a divorce and start all over again.


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Personal injury claims against government entities are in general not allowed such as in car accidents caused by highway defects. According to the website of Spiros Law, P.C. in Danville, highway defects are particular dangerous because of the speed at which vehicles travel. This is true even if the responsible individual would have been liable if they have not been acting on behalf of the government. This is what is known as sovereign immunity, which applies to both federal and state government entities, agencies and employees whose actions or inaction were within the scope of their work.

For example, a police car may cause physical injury or property damage or both to innocent parties during a high-speed car chase. The injured parties would not be able to sue the police because the damage was caused while they were acting in their capacity as law enforcers. The best that the injured parties can do is to make a claim with their own insurance companies.

This sovereign immunity was put in place primarily to protect the general public from footing the bill for any liability claims. When a private individual successfully makes a claim against the government, the compensation will come from the state or federal coffers, which is actually money of the taxpayers.

However, there are always exceptions to the rule. It is possible for an injured party to file a lawsuit against the government if a waiver of the sovereign immunity is executed. In essence, the government may choose to allow a liability claim to be filed under specific circumstances. The federal government can do this under the Federal Tort Claims Act, and most states have similar legislation, but the liability is quite limited and requires the plaintiff to go through a strict set of procedures to establish evidence which will then determine the extent of the government’s liability, if any.

There are myriad complex issues that come up when the government is involved in a personal injury lawsuit. It would require the expertise and knowledge of a lawyer experienced in handling such cases to set it up, let alone bring it to a successful conclusion.


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