John J. Wright

Information Technology Resources

Determining if a Driver was under the Influence of Marijuana while Driving still a Big Challenge to Authorities

Posted by on Feb 3, 2014

In the fall of 2012, besides choosing who should be President of the United States, Americans in some states were also asked to cast another vote on whether to legalize possession and/or recreational use of pot or marijuana. Their “yes” vote, though, entailed another decision: that drivers who would prove positive of having at least five nanograms (one thousand-millionth of a gram) of THC per milliliter of blood would be judged as being under the influence (much like the 0.08% blood alcohol content for DUI/DWI). Five nanograms, studies show, increases the risk of accident as this level causes driver impairment.

Thus, despite greater freedom in possessing and using the drug, if you get charged with Marijuana DUI, you will still end up in big trouble. Driving under the influence of marijuana is held illegal in all 50 states and whoever is caught is bound to suffer penalties.

Marijuana, also called Mary Jane, cannabis, pot, dope, grass, ganja, weed, and bud, contains delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, its chief psychoactive ingredient, which can impair the driver and which can remain in the driver’s system for hours or even months, depending on his/her tolerance to the drug, the concentration of THC and the amount of the drug he/she has used.

Though the above factors can definitely determine if the driver has used marijuana or not, there is no device yet that can manifest the level of THC in his/her blood or when exactly he/she used the drug. Tests using chemicals are, likewise, limited to determining if dope was used, not when it was consumed. These, therefore, will make it hard to prove whether or not the driver was under the drug’s influence while he/she was driving.

On-the-spot determination (after being pulled over) by a traffic enforcer if the driver is under the influence of dope, includes the driver’s performance on Field Sobriety Tests or FSTs, the driver’s physical appearance, the driving pattern or how the vehicle was driven, and the presence of marijuana in the blood as revealed by a chemical test.

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How to Avoid an Insurance Claim Denial

Posted by on Oct 14, 2013

Insurance companies have a formula for handling claims: delay, deny, and defend. Insurers have a whole set of strategies that will prolong the date of payout as long as possible. This is because every day that a payout is delayed means money in their pocket in terms of interest and the like. According to the website of law firm of the insurance lawyers of Smith Kendall, PLLC, delays in a payout can have serious consequences for the insured if time is of the essence.

If it is at all possible, the company will issue an insurance claim denial on the flimsiest of pretexts such as an improperly filled out claim form, errors in the insurance form, and so on. A claimant can always dispute the denial, of course, but that also means more delay.

Typically, the insurer also has the upper hand when it comes to defending a payout or denial because they have the advantage of knowing exactly what a policy says and means. All this means a lot of frustration and loss for the insured, which should be avoided.

The best way to avoid an insurance claim denial is to know exactly what the coverage of the insurance policy is. If there are certain terms and conditions in the contact that are not clear, have the company explain it in detail.

It is also a good policy to always be prompt in paying premiums. Insurance companies are quick to pounce on any chink in the a claimant’s armor that could be used to justify a delay in paying a claim, a reduced payout, or an outright denial of coverage.

Consult with an insurance lawyer as soon as it becomes apparent that the insurance company is going to be difficult to deal with regarding a claim. It not only sends a message to the insurer that the claimant is no pushover; it also brings up the specter of an expensive lawsuit if the claim is valid.

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The Best Pool Designers and Builders in the US

Posted by on Jun 3, 2013

A pool without defects or flaws and one that will allow you to have a great time with your family, relax after a tiring day or entertain your colleagues or friends in a weekend backyard party; this is the kind of pool that Pool Builders Austin design and construct – a pool project that will transform your backyard into a perfect place for relaxation and fun any day for a long, long time.

These master pool designers and builders observe 10 steps to come up with pools that display great artistic workmanship, are very easy to maintain, ensure energy-efficient construction and of the highest quality in design, material and built. These 10 steps will help ensure that your pool is designed and built according to the highest industry standards, making it structurally sound to make sure that it retains its efficiency and beauty for many years.

A customer would consider a pool as perfectly done only if he or she is completely satisfied with the end result; and a really good pool designer and builder will always keep the customer informed and involved in the pool’s design and building process for a backyard that is nothing short of a paradise.

The 10 steps observed by these expert pool builders are:

  1. Pool design;
  2. Layout;
  3. Excavation;
  4. Forming and steel;
  5. Plumbing and electric work;
  6. Gunite;
  7. Tile and coping;
  8. Decking and masonry work;
  9. Plaster; and,
  10. Start up and pool instruction

It is surprising that the language these pool designers and builders speak is not one that is filled with sales talk for their team is composed, rather, of some of the best pool craftsmen and designers in the field whose work, rather than their words, will convey what they want to say which is exactly you want to have. From the outset to the completion of your pool they will encourage you to get involved; to share your thoughts for a perfectly satisfactory outcome.

Thus, if you need to transform your backyard into a space that you will really be proud of, make sure that you contact those who design and build structurally sound pools, the quality of which would easily surpass even international standards.  

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Fungal Meningitis – Modern Sword of Damocles

Posted by on Jun 1, 2013

It is difficult to wrap one’s head around the fact that the medication wrapped in those impressive-looking sterile wrappers may be as dangerous as swallowing a handful of razors. Most people take it for granted that the companies responsible for manufacturing and packaging drugs and medications do so with strict adherence to cleanliness. But the fact is not all companies are so conscientious, especially if no one is keeping an eye on them.

This is the case of New England Compounding Center (NECC) based in Framingham, Massachusetts which was responsible for the public health crisis of 2012 that has kept fungal meningitis lawyers busy. NECC manufactured batches of epidural steroid injections slated for alleviating chronic back and joint pain that were tainted with fungus. Upon investigation, the reprehensible state of NECC facilities explained how such contamination could have happened. As of December 2012, 400 cases have been filed by fungal meningitis lawyers against NECC, which has also declared bankruptcy in light of these events.

Strictly speaking, NECC is not a drug manufacturing company which normally produces bulk medications for distribution. NECC is a compounding pharmacy which is licensed to make up drugs based on the specifications stated in a prescription to meet the needs of an individual patient. As such, the NECC is not subjected to the rules and regulations imposed on drug manufacturing companies, such as site inspections. This regulatory loophole allowed NECC to operate as they wished, which has led to the deaths of 51 patients and serious illness of 730 people in the 23 states including New York where the tainted batches were distributed, and the numbers continue to rise.

The worst aspect of the outbreak is the delay in presenting. Patients given the tainted shots did not exhibit symptoms until several months after, and when it did, doctors could not figure out what was wrong. When the truth finally dawned, it hardly helped matters because there was no protocol in place for such an unlikely happening. As a result, victims did not get the treatment they needed in a timely manner, and most of those who survived the initial infection and who have already been given a clean bill of health continue to develop abscesses and related medical conditions that keep them popping in and out of the hospital like a Jack-in-the-box. For many victims, the costs of treatment, loss of income, and pain and suffering has become very high.

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Eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits

Posted by on May 28, 2013

Disabled individuals in the United States may be entitled to receive financial assistance in the form of disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). There are two main programs which administer this financial support: Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). The eligibility criteria for these two programs varies substantially, so it’s important to know what is necessary in order to understand which program to apply to.

The SSDI program is intended to provide financial assistance to workers who have become injured and cannot continue to support themselves. The amount of benefits to which those who are qualified to receive SSDI benefits are entitled is directly related to their earnings before the injury. Therefore, the state you work in can play a substantial role in the amount of benefits you can receive – an individual who works in South Carolina is likely to receive less than one who worked in New York.

Qualifying for SSDI Benefits

In order to be eligible to receive SSDI benefits, an applicant must meet the following criteria:

  • Have a disabling condition
  • Have worked a minimum amount of time
  • Have worked in a job covered under the SSDI program

If these conditions are met, the individual is generally able to receive SSDI benefits, which can play a substantial role in helping to allay some of the worst costs and consequences of developing a serious disability. Additionally, there are certain circumstances in which the individual may be able to continue to receive SSDI benefits even if they do return to work.

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What to do when you are prescribed a Defective Drug

Posted by on May 27, 2013

Drugs and medications prescribed by doctors are supposed to help treat or at least alleviate the symptoms of diseases and medical conditions, and in most cases they do. But once in a while, you come across a drug that may be defective or have side effects that may not surface immediately or isn’t easily identified as a side-effect of a particular drug. Just because a drug is being widely used doesn’t mean it is safe. The plaintiffs in personal injury lawsuits probably never thought they would need defective drug lawyers either.

Some of the more recent cases of defective drugs discovered involve brands that were once touted as “miracle” drugs and were used by millions of people. These include heart medication Pradaxa, birth control pill Yasmin and diabetes management drug Actos. Most of the cases against these defective drugs are based on allegations of insufficient testing, mislabeling, or failing to warn physicians and patients about all possible side effects.

To prevent or at least minimize the risk of being adversely affected by defective drugs, it is important to have the right information. Keep abreast with the latest updates from the Food and Drug Administration as well as the legal news, recalls, safety alerts and new studies.

If you believe that you may be taking a defective drug, follow these tips to cover your bases whatever happens:

  • See your doctor immediately with your concerns/beliefs/knowledge. Describe what side effects you have been experiencing and ask if it is possible a certain drug is responsible.
  • Continue taking the medication as prescribed until the doctor tells you to stop.
  • Even if your doctor tells you to stop, keep all the remaining drugs, including the box and product inserts as well as the prescription and receipts if possible. These may be needed as evidence if you are eligible to claim compensation for personal injury.
  • Keep whatever medical records and notes you have, especially those that deal with the suspected defective drug
  • Read the product inserts that come with your medication; it explains possible side effects, contraindications and recommended dosage. If the side effects you are experiencing are not included in the insert, this may also be a basis for a defective drug lawsuit

If you have been injured because you were given a defective drug, the pharmaceutical company is liable for all your medical and personal expenses and costs. Defective drugs lawyers would know how to get it done.

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How the Social Security Administration Determines Disability

Posted by on May 22, 2013

A disabling condition can make it impossible for an individual to work and support themselves. Fortunately, those who struggle with this type of situation are typically entitled to receive financial assistance in the form of Social Security disability benefits. However, in order to receive these benefits, it is first necessary that an applicant’s disability be recognized by the Social Security Administration (SSA).

The SSA uses a straightforward process in determining whether or not an individual should be considered disabled. The following is a brief explanation of the various steps that are taken in determining whether or not an applicant is qualified as disabled:

  1. The applicant’s benefit claim is filed with their local Social Security office.
  2. After determining whether or not the individual is eligible for benefits in non-medical respects, the application is forwarded to Disability Determination Services.
  3. Disability Determination Services investigates provided and available medical evidence. If the available evidence is not sufficient to make a determination, a consultative examination is arranged to provide the additional evidence necessary to make the determination.
  4. After a determination is made, the results are returned to the Social Security office and appropriate action is taken.

These are the basic stages of the disability determination process followed by the Social Security Administration. It is important to note, however, that this process can take a considerable length of time to be successfully completed, meaning that it can delay the benefits that a disabled individual may need for a significant period. This depends significantly on the state in which you live: states such as California, which are highly populated, often have a backlog, whereas states such as North Carolina, which are less densely populated, are less likely to have substantial backlogs.

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The Appeals Process for Disability Benefits

Posted by on May 20, 2013

Disabled individuals in the United States who cannot support themselves may be entitled to receive financial support in the form of disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). However, the process of filing a claim for these benefits can be complicated, and it’s not uncommon for those who file for disability benefits to be rejected on the initial attempt. Fortunately, there is an appeals process in place for those who have been wrongfully rejected.

The majority of initial applications are rejected, meaning that most of those who apply will have to navigate the appeals process to get the benefits they need. The appeals process for disability benefits can be fairly complicated, and may require legal assistance for the applicant, depending on what level their appeal reaches. An appeal can be successful at any stage of the process, meaning that the applicant may be able to receive their benefits at any stage.

How the Process Works

There are multiple stages to the appeals process, which can be understood as:

  1. Initial application – the first step is the presentation of the application to a local SSA office. For instance, if you live in Illinois, you would send your application to an SSA office in your jurisdiction.
  2. Application rejection – when an application is rejected, it sets the stage for the appeals process to begin.
  3. Request for appeal – a signed request for an appeal of the decision must be returned to the same local office.
  4. Reconsideration – another individual in the same office will review the application and make a determination about benefits.
  5. Hearing – if the reconsideration results in another rejection, a hearing before an administrative law judge may be requested.
  6. Appeals Council Review – if the administrative law judge turns down the appeal, the Appeals Council will review your case.
  7. District Court Case – at the final level of appeal, you may bring a case against the SSA in a district court. You must have the representation of an attorney at this level of appeal.
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Women Sue Chevron over Elevator Incident

Posted by on May 10, 2013

Two women have sued Chevron as a result of injuries and trauma they suffered in an out-of-control elevator in the corporation’s downtown Houston skyscraper.

trapped in an elevatorThe women were trapped in the elevator at the 39th floor. They were able to communicate with the building’s security sporadically during their 40-minute imprisonment. Eventually, the elevator began moving upwards, crashing violently into the ceiling of the 50th floor.

The lawsuit asserts that the women sustained injuries to their legs, backs, and heads, as well as emotional trauma and a fit of claustrophobia.

Building owners have a responsibility to make sure their premises are safe for their guests. If a dangerous condition causes a guest undue injury, the owners may be held liable for those injuries.

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Eligibility for Supplemental Security Income

Posted by on May 8, 2013

The Social Security Administration (SSA) administers two different programs to help disabled individuals support themselves: Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). However, because they are meant to serve different populations, the eligibility requirements for both of these programs vary significantly.

The Supplemental Security Income program is designed to assist disabled individuals who have live on limited resources. Unlike SSDI, it is unattached to any prior work requirements; simply being disabled and living on a low income is typically enough to become eligible for SSI. However, as simple as this may sound, it is important to understand the various criteria which must be met to receive this benefit in order to ensure that you have the financial assistance you need.

SSI Eligibility Criteria

According to the SSA’s criteria, eligibility for SSI benefits depends on several different factors, including:

  • Disability – the individual has to have a medical condition which is recognized as a disability by the SSA.
  • Limited income – the total earnings that an individual can have must be below a certain threshold.
  • Limited resources – the total value of assets owned by the individual cannot be above a certain threshold.
  • Citizenship or resident alien status – the individual applying for benefits must be either a current citizen or have legal status.

It is important to remember, as well, that because the cost of living is relatively higher in some states than others, with states such as New York representing a high-end of costs and states such as Tennessee representing a low-end, that the amount of benefits for which you may be eligible can be affected by where you reside.

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