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May 2015 Archives

Medical Malpractice Caps and Vulnerable Victims

New Jersey Medical Malpractice Attorney Discusses Medical Malpractice Caps and Vulnerable Victims

I've always said that damages caps don't work. In every state in which medical malpractice "damages caps" have been tried, they've failed to resolve the fictional "medical malpractice insurance crisis." Obviously, you can't fix something that doesn't exist. The crisis has been fomented by greedy medical malpractice insurance companies that see a way to exploit Americans' fears of not having "adequate medical care" by blaming the victims and their attorneys rather than the bad doctors, nurses and hospitals that deserve the focus.

New Jersey Law Support Claims For Unpaid Overtime

A U.S. District Judge in Newark has ruled that the New Jersey Wage and Hour Law does support private causes of action in situations where employers improperly withhold overtime pay. The law has been used in previous cases to justify awards for unpaid overtime. It's a quirk of the way law works that those awards could come before the case deciding that the right to those awards actually exists. Timing issues aside, it is a win for workers who are routinely denied proper overtime pay by unscrupulous employers.

Memorial Day Weekend Travel Safety

Every holiday weekend means an increase in traffic and the burdens that come along with it. This Memorial Day weekend will likely see an increase in car accidents due to congestion, visitors and the unsafe behaviors that attend many holidays. After a very difficult winter, many people will be looking to head to the beach to finally enjoy the return of warmer weather. If you are among the people traveling this weekend, please be careful. Holidays are no excuse to drive drunk, drive while distracted or generally engage in dangerous behavior.

New Jersey Employment and Civil Rights Trial Lawyer Discusses: "Are You Really an Independent Contractor?"

Employers play a lot of games in order to avoid paying overtime wages. One of the more recent and "trendy" schemes used by employers in order to avoid paying workers the overtime to which they are otherwise entitled under the law, is to tell those workers that they are "independent contractors." Your employer may tell you that you must be paid on a 1099 basis, even if you used to be paid on a W-2 basis. Your employer may even make you sign a "contract" in which you "agree" that you are an independent contractor. The contract might even state that you understand that you are not entitled to overtime. The mere fact, however, that an employer issues a 1099 to you instead of a W-2 and calls you an independent contractor instead of an employee, does not decide, legally, the issue.

Progress On The Bullying Front

The U.S. Department of Education released the results of a 2013 survey on bullying. The results represent an improvement from 2011, but show that bullying is still a significant problem. In 2013, 22 percent of students aged 12-18 reported that they were bullied. In 2011, the number was 28 percent. The survey is conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics and has been taken periodically since 2005. The percentage reporting bullying in 2013 was the lowest yet recorded

The Employer/Employee Balance In Franchise Businesses

Few things terrify most businesses as the possibility that they might have to treat their employees with even the tiniest degree of respect. They wage a never-ending battle to deny workers a decent wage, overtime, a safe workplace and any rights that a human being should expect. A recent decision regarding McDonald's employees put a scare into franchise businesses everywhere when the parent company, McDonald's was held to be a joint employer along with the franchisees that own and operate the individual locations. The holding opened up the possibility that these workers could more easily form unions and work together to push for decent treatment. A follow up ruling has given franchising businesses more wiggle room to protect these businesses from responsibility for unfair labor practices.

Advancing Pregnancy Rights

In a win for pregnancy rights, the United States Supreme Court recently considered whether employers must provide light duty to pregnant employees who require the same. In Young v. UPS, the plaintiff was a female part-time driver whose duties included picking up and delivering packages. Her doctor instructed that she should not lift more than twenty pounds during the first twenty weeks of her pregnancy or lift ten pounds thereafter. UPS required its drivers to lift up to seventy pounds. UPS had a light duty position which was available to persons hurt on the job or who were disabled under federal law. Having determined that she did not meet either of those criteria, UPS forced Ms. Young out of work and she lost her medical coverage.

Proper Car Seat Installation

If you've never installed a child's car seat, you might think the process is difficult to screw up. You'd be wrong. Installation errors in child restraint systems are a very common. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, three-quarters of children ride in car seats that either don't fit them or that are installed incorrectly. There are actually quite a few ways that a car seat can be installed incorrectly. Factor in the fact that cars are not all set up the same way for car seats and it is clear why installation is not so simple.

Learning About The Dangers Of Aggressive Driving

Learning the rules of the road is one part of new driver education that is relatively straightforward. Learning how to physically operate a vehicle in various circumstances - parallel parking, three-point turns, and the like - requires a little practice, but is still more or less a simple matter. Developing and maintaining the proper mentality for safe driving is both more difficult and more important. A new law will hopefully help new applicants for New Jersey drivers' licenses consider the dangers of aggressive driving.

New Jersey Employment and Civil Rights Trial Lawyer Discusses The Hypocrisy of the National Football League Regarding Michael Sam, and Greg Hardy's Comments.

Or... "I Finally Get to Talk about Football in a Blog - Sort of."

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Costello & Mains, LLC

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Mount Laurel, NJ 08054

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