Marijuana is the most cultivated, trafficked, and consumed drug globally. While it remains illegal under federal law, the push for its legalization is becoming more intensive by the day at home and abroad.
Several states have softened their stance on marijuana, making it legal to some extent. The American legal marijuana industry is estimated at $13.6 billion, creating over 340,000 jobs.
However, most states consider driving when high on cannabis an offense, with different states creating different rules and penalties for the offense of driving under the influence of alcohol and cannabis.
A New Interactive Map
Since its inauguration in July 2021, the National Alliance to Stop Impaired Driving (NASID) has been trying to deploy different technologies to fight all aspects of impaired driving. The most recent was released in late March 2022, which is a user-friendly online tool enabling criminal justice professionals to navigate the complex cannabis and DUI laws for free.
This tool is created with all parties fighting multiple drugs and impaired driving in mind, including lawyers, prosecutors, and other criminal justice professionals. Before this map became available online, criminal justice professionals had to go through databases and federal and state laws to understand DUI, cannabis, and underage drinking.
According to Darrin Grondel, the head of government relations at Responsibility.org, the organization that runs NASID, criminal justice professionals can access all the information they need by clicking a button.
It Provides the Most Updated Laws
“The days of burning the midnight oil gathering resources for a case are over,” says drug attorney Oleg Fastovsky of the Maryland Criminal Defense Group. The tool was created to allow for regular updates, given the rate at which marijuana laws are changing. This gives users the most up-to-date information helping them stay on top of the evolving laws.
According to Jonathan Adkins, the executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association, road safety advocates and other people invested in eliminating DUI related to alcohol, marijuana, or multiple drug impairment should be able to keep up with evolving laws if they are going to win the battle.
This tool came at a critical time when the NHTSA released its comprehensive 2020 report that indicated a significant increase in fatalities recorded since 2007. Sadly, 11,654 deaths were a direct result of alcohol and intoxication, a 14% increase from the figures recorded in 2019. An even worse statistic is the 2021 preliminary NHTSA results released in mid-May. According to the report, DUI-related accidents increased by 5 percent, making it a 19% increase since 2019.
Marijuana Intoxication Tests
If the police suspect a DUI case, they will pull the car over. They will then request the driver to take a sobriety test to establish intoxication, including taking an alcohol breath test. Field sobriety tests are not enough to establish marijuana intoxication, so if the police have reason to believe that you have another substance besides alcohol, they may demand further tests.
One of the most commonly used tests for marijuana is the oral fluid or saliva test. If a person doesn’t have any alcohol in their system, a blood drug content between 2 ng/ml to 5 ng/ml will get them in trouble, but not as much as a five ng/concentration. If alcohol is also present, a blood drug concentration of 2.5ng/ml and 50mg per 100ml of blood will get you in serious trouble.
If you or someone else’s life is in danger, you would probably first consider calling 911. However, when the threat to life is due to another person, you may be hesitant to call in their presence for fear of reiteration.
For example, a husband or wife that has been a victim of assault in a case of domestic abuse may want to be discreet when making a call to avoid further assault.
If they attempt to make a call and the other person stops them or interrupts their call, that person can be said to have interfered with a 911 call, which is a criminal offense under CGS Section 53a-183b.
Understanding Interference with a 911 Call
There are several definitions of interfering with a 911 call in Connecticut General Statutes § 53a-183b. The basic definition is intentionally hindering or preventing an individual from making a 911 call to seek help from the police or report a crime. There are two forms of interference as stipulated under the law – physical and verbal interruption.
Physical interference refers to using physical force to prevent the other person from making a call. Some examples of this include breaking their phone, snatching the phone from the hands of the 911 caller, hanging up the phone, and other forms of physical disruption of a call.
Verbal interference involves taking over the phone and giving the wrong information about the situation. For example, telling the operator that there is no problem while there is one is a form of verbal interference. A person can also be charged with verbal interference if they use verbal threats against the caller to keep them from making a call or to force them to hang up.
Consequences of Interfering With a 911 Call
If you are arrested for interfering with a 911 call, you will be looking at potential class A misdemeanor charges that carry penalties of up to one year in jail, probation, and fines not exceeding $2,000.
Since most cases of interfering with a 911 call result from domestic abuse cases, they can result in other consequences, such as restraining orders, because the court may deem the victim living around the perpetrator to be unsafe. The judge may apply any of the three types of restraining orders: full no contact; full residential stay-away; or partial.
Full no-contact restraining orders bar the perpetrator from having any contact with the victim, which includes being barred from returning home. In the full residential restraining order, you are allowed some contact but cannot enter the protected person’s residence. A partial restraining order is the most lenient of the three; it allows you contact, including living with the victim but under conditions that you will not subject them to any form of threatening or intimidation.
Get Legal Help
“Facing an arrest for interfering with a 911 call doesn’t always mean you are guilty of the offense you are charged with. Sometimes it can be a false accusation,” says Attorney Mark Sherman of The Law Offices of Mark Sherman, LLC.
For example, the other person could make a call and drop it midway. If this happens, there is a high chance that the police will appear anyway. If the other person then claims that you are the reason they hang up, you could be charged with interference with the call.
Due to the emotive nature of domestic abuse cases, getting off the hook can be quite a task, so the best thing to do in such situations is to speak to a lawyer. Even when you think you are not innocent, a lawyer can help better the outcomes of your case by leveraging available options, such as accelerated rehabilitation if you are a first-time offender.
While both weddings and divorces are undeniably distinct events, they share a common thread — the potential for significant expenses. The choices made by soon-to-be exes can greatly influence the financial impact of these life-changing moments. In this blog post, we will explore common ways couples unintentionally escalate the costs of their divorce. Read on to discover valuable insights.
1. Don’t Treat Your Attorney as a Therapist
“Divorces are often emotionally challenging, leaving many individuals seeking a sympathetic ear,” says Attorney Matt Towson of Towson Law Firm. While enlisting the help of an attorney is important, it’s crucial not to rely on them for emotional support. Keep in mind that their time is billable, and using them as a confidante can result in a hefty bill. For questions related to the divorce process, consult the attorney’s support staff, reserving complex and technical queries for the attorney.
2. Avoid Resorting to Litigation for Every Dispute
Disagreements are inevitable in the course of a divorce. However, the methods used to resolve these conflicts can either minimize costs or inflate them, with court fees potentially reaching thousands of dollars. Recognize that not every dispute requires litigation; alternatives, such as mediation and arbitration, can be effective and less costly. Prioritize working with a resolution-focused attorney rather than one who is quick to pursue litigation and explore alternative conflict resolution methods to keep expenses in check.
3. Avoid Financial Disarray during your Divorce
During any divorce, obtaining a comprehensive understanding of the couple’s financial landscape is crucial. To achieve this, you’ll need to assemble a list of assets, which may encompass individually and jointly owned items, such as investments, retirement accounts, bank accounts, and real estate holdings. It is also important to gather documentation related to debts and liabilities. This includes credit card statements, mortgage or rent agreements, loan documents, and any outstanding balances or obligations. Being thorough in documenting both assets and liabilities will help ensure a fair and accurate division of property and debts during the divorce proceedings.
Poor organization when gathering and presenting these documents to your attorney can result in significant delays, potentially leading to increased legal fees and disputes over asset distribution.
4. Avoid Poor Communication With Your Ex-partner
Before seeking professional assistance for your divorce, it’s essential to sit down with your soon-to-be ex-partner and attempt to resolve issues amicably. Depending on your relationship dynamics, you might find a resolution without needing outside intervention.
Nevertheless, it’s wise to have your attorney review your documents and provide feedback on the divorce terms. During discussions with your partner, concentrate on topics such as property division, health insurance, alimony and child support, and tax implications.
Divorce doesn’t have to be a costly endeavor. The decisions you make during this emotional period can significantly influence the overall expense of your divorce proceedings.
With this in mind, prioritize resolving issues with your partner before seeking assistance, whether through a mediator or an attorney. More often than not, you can save thousands of dollars by investing time in negotiating with your partner.
By heeding the advice provided in this concise guide, you’ll increase your chances of minimizing court and legal fees. Remember, with the right approach, divorce doesn’t have to break the bank.
Police encounters can be sour experiences that can quickly go south if you do the wrong thing. It is best to understand your rights and what the law requires you to do to navigate these situations safely.
However, you should note that these rights will only protect you if you use them. In fact, the best thing you can do if arrested is stay quiet and wait for representation from your attorney.
We take a look at some common scenarios where you can encounter the police and what you should do in these situations. Take a read below:
What to Do if the Police Stop You in Public
If the police stop you in public for whatever reason, it is best to know your rights and what you should and shouldn’t do.
- You have the right to remain silent, and you can say out loud that you wish to exercise this right. However, in some states, the laws require you to identify yourself, and an officer might arrest you for failing to do so.
- You do not have to agree to a physical search of yourself or your belongings, but the police might still carry on if they suspect you are concealing a weapon.
- You have the right to a government-provided lawyer if you cannot afford an attorney.
- You do not have to answer any immigrant-related questions (international borders, airports, and individuals with specific nonimmigrant visas are an exception).
Next Steps After an Arrest
- Immediately ask for a lawyer and make it clear to the officer that you wish to remain silent.
- Note that you have the right to a local phone call, and while the police can listen if you call anyone, they can’t listen if you call your lawyer.
What to Do if the Police Pulled You Over
If you get pulled over by an officer, here is a breakdown of what you should do:
- You and your passengers have the right to remain silent.
- Pull over in a safe place away from traffic.
- Turn off the car, and put your hands on the wheel.
- Passengers can ask if they are free to exit the car.
- Follow the officer’s instructions by providing your driver’s license, proof of insurance, and registration.
- Keep your hands where the officer can see them at all times.
What to Do if the Police Are at Your Door
If for whatever reason, the police knock on your door, here is what you should do:
- You don’t have to invite the officers inside. Talk to them through the door and ask them for identification. Only let them inside once they show you a warrant signed by a judicial officer listing your address.
- Even with a warrant, you still have the right to remain silent. You should observe what they do and record everything if possible.
What To Do if You Think Your Rights Were Violated
In any of the situations listed above, the officer might violate your rights in one way or another. Here is what you should do:
- Document everything that transpired and note down the specifics of the officers involved. This includes their badges, patrol car numbers, and more.
- If you sustain injuries, seek medical attention and take photographic evidence of the injuries.
- With all the evidence at hand, file a formal complaint with the agency’s internal affairs division or civilian complaint board.
What You Should Do if You Witness Police Brutality?
So, you come across a possible case of police brutality. What should you do? Here are the steps to take:
- First, make sure you are at a safe distance and not interfering. If possible, use your phone to record the whole situation and make it clear that you are recording it.
- Be aware that taking photos and videos is your right under the first amendment, and if an officer orders you to stop recording, you should remind them of this.
- Remember that some officers might still arrest you even if it is unlawful. Hence, you need to weigh the risks of continuing to record.
- Write down everything you remember about the incident, including the officers’ names and badges.
Police encounters can be stressful experiences. But, by approaching these situations proactively, you can avoid violence and handle the entire process smoothly without any hiccups. Most of the time, it is best to remain silent and wait for your attorney.
Information in medical files is regarded as private, and rightly so. These records contain personal and sensitive information about the patients. However, doctors may be able to share this information in some legal instances.
According to medical ethics and other health laws, doctors and hospital staff are required to treat the records of patients as confidential. Normally, a doctor can only disclose such information if the patient permits it. But in certain legal situations, a doctor can disclose this information without breaching the doctor-patient confidentiality privilege.
What Does the HIPAA Say About Disclosures?
A Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) report states that disclosing a patient’s details is a violation. A doctor must not share a patient’s information outside the need to provide treatment for the patient’s medical condition. This means doctors and other staff must keep patients’ records confidential, away from the public eye.
When Can Doctors Disclose a Patient’s Information?
As stated earlier, there are some legal situations where a doctor can share a patient’s information with or without consent. Below are some of them.
If permission is given
A doctor in a criminal case can provide details about a patient when the patient provides permission to do so. They will have to sign a document granting this consent. This document must specify what particular files will be disclosed to the courtroom.
Importantly, such permissions only work once for that particular case and do not cover future cases. The doctor has committed a violation if other details outside the agreement appear in the courtroom.
If there is a need for help
In cases where the patient needs help, the doctor can disclose details about the patient. An example is when a patient cannot make decisions after an injury or because they are incapable of doing so. In many similar cases, the family members are involved in these processes.
If the patient has an illness
When a person receiving treatment cannot make rational decisions in a legal setting, the doctor may need to disclose some details. These details could explain the patient’s illness and why the patient is unfit to stand trial. It is also possible for the patient’s treatment to impair their decision-making.
If the government requires a patient’s information
While the government usually respects the privacy of a patient’s medical records, they may still require to see some basic information. This could include birth certificates, death certificates, reports of certain diseases, and treatment. The government may also require reports of suspected cases of child abuse and mental health issues that can be a threat.
If there is an issue in court
In the case involving a personal injury claim, a judge might request to know about the injuries and medication. This will make the doctor a witness in the courtroom to testify about the injuries. The doctor must disclose information about the patient if health concerns are part of a proceeding.
Doctors and other medical staff are expected to be confidential about their patients’ information. Only in certain situations can doctors disclose the records of their patients,” says medical malpractice lawyer Russell Berkowitz.
Data shows that the United States has more immigrants than any other country, with 17 percent of the workforce in the country being foreign-born. One of the most common ways to become permanent US residents is through employment.
As a foreign resident, you can obtain an employment green card if you get a job offer from a US national or prove to possess extraordinary ability. You should note that most foreigners who obtain permanent residency start with a temporary visa that they can renew.
Permanent employment-based green cards allow foreigners to become permanent US residents. Each fiscal year, the US government grants approximately 140,000 employment visas to immigrants and families.
So, how exactly do you obtain an employment-based visa? The US Department of immigration has five categories through which it issues these green cards to immigrants and their families. The categories are based on individual experience, skills, and abilities. “If you or a loved one would like to apply for an immigration work permit you can reach out to an immigration work permit lawyer for assistance,” says Solano Law Firm.
EB-1: People of Extraordinary Ability
This is the first category and deals with people with some ability, as can be inferred from the name. There are three subcategories as listed below:
Multinational Executives and Managers
Multinational executives and managers have received a job offer from an American employer that has operated in the country for at least one year. Note that this subcategory requires a job offer.
Professors and Researchers
A good example is a tenure track where a professor is offered permanent employment at a US university.
People With General Extraordinary Abilities
This category does not require a job offer. Applicants simply have an extraordinary ability recognized in different niches.
EB-2: Advanced Degree Holders
This category comprises the largest number of immigrants eligible for permanent residents in the United States. Moreover, temporary visa holders with advanced degrees are also eligible for an EB-2 green card.
This category comprises three different subcategories as listed below:
Advanced Degree Holders and/or Relevant Experience
This subcategory includes applicants with a master’s, doctorate, or a bachelor’s degree with relevant professional experience.
Here, no degree is required, all you need is to show an exceptional ability in either arts, science, or business.
National Interest Waiver
Under this category, permanent green cards are offered to immigrants whose work is considered the United State’s interest. It does not matter whether the ability is extraordinary or not. It must have “substantial merit and national importance” and be of benefit to the United States.
EB-3: Skilled Workers. Professionals or Other Unskilled Workers
This category covers individuals with different levels of education, skills, and competencies. Below are the subcategories EB-3:
To qualify for this category, your employer needs to provide proof that there is no labor force to handle the work you will be doing. You should have two years of post-secondary education, training, or experience at the minimum.
This category is pretty much the same as the previous one, with the only difference being the requirement of a bachelor’s degree.
Here, the work you will do must be full-time, and you will also need labor certifications same as the previous two categories. Work that requires less than two years of training is unskilled.
EB-4: Certain Special Immigrants
This category is broad and covers certain special immigrants, such as religious workers. This category includes individuals eligible for permanent resident status based on categories on the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
Eb-5: Immigrant Investors
This category comprises foreign investors in new commercial businesses that would provide avenues for job growth in the US. Qualification for permanent resident status under this category requires a substantial capital dollar investment and job growth for US citizens.
Above are some of the categories of immigrants eligible for permanent US citizenship. You can analyze them and determine where you fall, or better still, you can strive to meet the qualifications mentioned above to become a green card holder.
Between 2010 and 2019, commercial auto insurance payouts have increased by a whopping $20 billion. That data is based on a report shared by the Insurance Information Institute (Triple I) in collaboration with the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS).
Even with the cost of insurance being on the rise, players in the sector continue to suffer losses. According to the Insurance Research Council (IRC) report, losses across insurance lines have continued to gain momentum at a rate that is not in tandem with economic inflation.
Factors Pushing Up the Cost of Insurance
While the focus of the Triple I and CAS report was on commercial auto insurance, it also reported similar trends in other lines of insurance such as premises liability, medical malpractice liability, and workers’ compensation. According to the report, negative public sentiment on big corporations, tort reform rollbacks, and litigation funding are the main drivers of this rise in liability costs.
Jurors also tend to be more sympathetic with the plaintiffs, which almost always influences their verdict. There is also a misconception that corporations and their insurer’s financial resources are unlimited, leading to verdicts far from realistic, with some being as high as $10 million.
Another factor playing a significant role in increasing payout and affecting the cost of insurance is litigation funding and lending. Funding a plaintiff’s case has become a big business that involves international hedge funds and other financiers. These parties fund a plaintiff’s injury claim ensuring they get the best legal assistance for a cut in the final payout.
In other words, lawyers will have to use every means of fighting for a high payout, which has caused litigation funding to evolve into a multi-billion dollar industry. Some experts estimate the litigation funding industry was worth $39 billion globally as of 2019.
International Legal Finance Association
Some states have attempted to create laws requiring full disclosure of all parties involved in litigation. However, litigation funders are fighting hard to maintain the status quo. In 2020, 13 of the world’s largest commercial litigation funders created the International Legal Finance Association (ILFA), whose aim is to champion their rights and push back on full disclosure rules.
Commercial auto insurance tops the list of the worst-hit line of insurance. According to the American Transport Research Institute, jury verdict awards grew at a rate of 33 percent every year between 2010 and 2018. During these years, inflation and health care costs grew by 1.7 percent to 2.9 percent, respectively. In a perfect world, the insurance rate should grow at the same rate as economic inflation and the cost of health care.
“Insurance providers are in the trade for the money,” says Attorney John Cooper of Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers. “Insurance companies have no option but to increase their premiums to keep up with rising payouts.”
If the prevailing circumstances continue, insurance companies may stop certain types of covers. Every increment in cost passes on to the consumer causing a ripple effect on the national economy and creating conditions similar to the 80s liability crisis that saw some insurance companies facing the risk of insolvency.
Getting into an accident while driving someone else’s car can feel disastrous. Nobody wants to be in that awkward and uncomfortable situation, but it does happen. So what should you do aside from sinking in guilt and anxiety?
The concept of permissive use may be reviewed if such a situation occurs. This article will examine the permissive use rule in auto insurance and what it may mean for your situation.
What is Permissive Use in Auto Insurance?
Insurance advisor The Zebra defines permissive use as “the ability of other drivers — unlisted on your insurance policy — to drive your vehicle.” This refers to a situation where a driver who is not the vehicle owner is included and covered in a car insurance policy.
Permissive auto insurance allows a driver to use a vehicle even when they do not live with the owner or policyholder. The permissive user is granted infrequent vehicle use, often fewer than 12 times a year. While a family friend or neighbor would qualify under permissive use, an immediate family member living with the vehicle owner may be excluded and not afforded coverage.
Permissive Use in an Accident Involving Someone Else’s Car
If you get involved in an accident, no matter whose car you drive, call 911 to report the accident. You should also document the accident scene if possible. To determine if you fall under permissive use, you must first determine if the car’s owner included you in their auto insurance policy. If they did, you would automatically be covered by their insurance policy. As long as you have legal permission from the policyholder to use their car, you will have the same coverage as if it were the car owner involved in the accident. Unfortunately, if you are not included in the owner’s insurance policy and do not qualify as a permissive user, you will not be covered for liability insurance for the accident.
What Legal Options are Available?
So, after the accident, you have determined that you were included in the insurance policy of the original car owner. What legal options are available to you? Can you sue for the crash and the injuries that result from it?
“If you believe the driver who caused the accident acted negligently with no fault of your own, you could file a claim against them,” says attorney Joseph Kopfler of Kopfler & Hermann. You can file an insurance claim with their insurance company seeking compensation for damages. These damages may include:
- Past and future medical bills and expenses
- Past and future lost wages and benefits
- Permanent impairments and disabilities
- Mental anguish and emotional suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Diminished earning capacity
- Decrease in quality of life
On the other hand, if you are partially at fault for the accident while driving a car that is not yours, car insurance still applies. In this case, the car owner’s insurance company would take liability for any damages you caused. Depending on the gravity of your actions, your compensation may be reduced to some extent.
Also, you may be able to sue the car’s owner for the accident. This is possible when an accident or injury is caused by the original owner failing to maintain their vehicle properly. This can especially apply if the owner was aware of a fault in the car and did not warn you.
We have looked at whether auto insurance will protect you or not in an accident when you are not the car owner. In the end, you will be covered if you fall under permissive use in the car-owners insurance. If you do not fall under their cover, you may not get any liability insurance benefits.
When we talk about marital agreements, we mostly come across pre-nuptial agreements or marital settlement agreements, which are agreements between the couple before marriage. A less common type of marital agreement is a “Mid-nuptial” agreement. This is an agreement between spouses who are already married.
Although mid-nuptial agreements are less common, it is important to have awareness about the terms and conditions associated with them as this information is vital in certain situations. For instance, in cases of divorce or death of either of the married spouses, the terms of mid-nuptial agreements can change the rules applied on either spouse just like prenuptial agreements.
Conditions to be met for mid-nuptial agreements
To be a part of the mid-nuptial agreement both spouses must choose and consult with the attorney of their choice independently. Additionally, they must show all their attested assets and liabilities at the time of agreement. Furthermore, each spouse must review and explain those attested documents before signing the agreement.
Terms that can be included in the agreement:
Properties that can be included in mid-nuptial agreements are homes, business ventures, inheritance, investments, and properties bought before the marriage. In the agreement, both spouses will decide how this property will be divided in case of divorce or death of either spouse. The mid-nuptial agreement may include sections defining property and their division depending on the circumstances like death or divorce.
Also, the properties which were acquired jointly by both spouses during their marriage can be included in this agreement. These types of properties are considered marital assets under the divorce code. Both spouses can mutually decide what will happen with those assets if divorce should occur. This can save time and money in the long run because the agreement spells out what the parties intended when they were on amicable terms.
Debts of both spouses in the marital state can also be included in the mid-nuptial agreement. The agreement will determine what will happen with the couple’s debt if divorce or the death of either spouse occurs. This section of the agreement can also establish separate responsibility for the debts of one spouse including the possibility that each spouse is only responsible for the debts incurred in their name.
Mutual consent is a must in this agreement. It cannot be forced upon either of the spouses. The agreement will include a section regarding their mutual consent explaining that signing this agreement is a decision of their own free will. With the mutual consent of both spouses, a provision can be included in this agreement that will allow them to modify it whenever needed. In this case with mutual consent, the document will be drafted, reviewed, signed, and executed later in the marriage.
“Making a mid-nuptial agreement should be prioritized by married couples without any marital agreements, as mid-nuptial agreements have proven to be very helpful in cases of any unprecedented situations or unfortunate incidents mid-marriage” says attorney Nicole Bikakis from Dolan Divorce Lawyers.
Hire an experienced attorney:
Planning a wedding can be a very tedious task, and many couples fail to write a prenuptial agreement due to a lack of time, energy, or understanding of the importance of it. If you find yourself in this position, you can always create a mid-nuptial agreement between you and your spouse. For helpful guidance and to make the overall process easy and smooth, the best option is to hire an experienced attorney to evaluate your situation and circumstances and provide you with the best feasible option for your case.
If you work in or live near a factory that handles dangerous chemicals, exposure to such chemicals can result in illnesses or injuries. Business owners are responsible for ensuring that the chemicals they use at their facilities are used and disposed of correctly to avoid the possibility of inflicting harm on others.
If a premises owner neglects their duty to keep employees and the community safe, they can be held liable for damages resulting from contact with the dangerous chemicals.
If you suffer injuries from exposure to toxic chemicals, you may be eligible to recoup compensation for damages resulting from the harmful exposure. However, compensation does not come automatically. You must file a claim with the at-fault party and at the right time, usually determined by the statute of limitations which is the time-frame in which a claimant can legally sue for damages.
Statute of Limitations and Discovery Rule
Applying the statute of limitation is straightforward for normal accidents such as car accidents, slip and falls, and falls from heights because it runs from the date of suffering the injury. However, injuries suffered from exposure to toxic chemicals may be gradual and could take years to show.
Under such circumstances, the discovery rule comes into play. Under the discovery rule, the statute of limitations runs from the day the claimant is diagnosed with an injury or illness linked to exposure to the dangerous chemical.
Compensation as an Employee
If you suffer injuries as an employee, you are eligible to collect workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation operates on a no-fault basis. That means you could be eligible even when the exposure was partly due to your negligence, for example, failure to follow safety protocol.
Under workers’ compensation, you can only recover economic damages such as lost wages, medical bills, cost of therapy, and prescription medicine. The workers’ compensation claims process is pretty straightforward in states like South Carolina, meaning you can navigate it without an attorney.
However, if the harm resulted from your employer’s intentional conduct, you may need to contact a Columbia personal injury lawyer to help you sue them personally for personal injuries. Under such circumstances, you can recover non-economic damages and even punitive damages.
Compensation for Non Employees
If you live near a factory that handles dangerous chemicals and consequently suffer any kind of harm, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against them. Unlike workers’ compensation coverage which limits recoverable damages to economic damages, you can recoup both economic and non-economic injuries through a personal injury lawsuit. Non-economic injuries include pain and suffering, disfigurement, disability, and psychological pain.
If the exposure affects a large group of people, your lawyer can initiate a case for you as a primary person and then accept other victims in this case. This kind of arrangement is referred to as a class-action lawsuit. Once a settlement is reached, the payout is subdivided among class members depending on damages suffered.
Class action lawsuits can be complicated but are an excellent way of cost-sharing when seeking justice. However, it will require working with an injury attorney that has a record of handling similar cases.
If exposure results in death, beneficiaries of the deceased can file a claim for wrongful death. Recoverable damages in a wrongful death claim resulting from toxic chemical exposure can include loss of a source of livelihood, medical costs, funeral costs, grief, loss of companionship, etc.