What is a Hostile Work Environment?

Employees should feel safe in the workplace. This ensures that they are in top condition to be productive. It can be said that both employers and employees should make the effort in making the workplace as safe as possible.

But workplace safety is not just always about accidents and injuries. Sometimes, it is about hostile work environments and negative emotional and psychological effects.

But what is a hostile work environment? A workplace can be considered to have a hostile environment if an employee is exposed to discrimination or harassment. It doesn’t matter whether he is the direct recipient, a participant, or just a random person in the workplace. As long as there is discrimination or harassment, the workplace can be considered hostile.

Discrimination

An employee is discriminated against if his natal features and preferences have put him in an unnecessary disadvantage. The natal features that are commonly discriminated are age, color, ethnic background, race, and sex. The preferences that are commonly discriminated are gender and religion.

Usually, the discrimination manifests in hiring processes, disciplinary actions, promotion opportunities, and terminations. For example, if an applicant has been rejected just because of his age, if an employee has received biased disciplinary measures just because of his color, if an employee has not been promoted just because of his religion, and if an employee has been terminated just because of his gender preference, it can be argued that he has experienced discrimination.

Harassment

Harassment occurs when an employee is experiencing aggressive pressure or intimidation in the workplace. The causal factors of harassment are almost the same as the factors in discrimination. The difference is that harassment is usually an act or a continuous act that can physically, emotionally, or psychologically harm the employee.

For example, if an employee has been mocked because of his features such as his age or disability, has received unwanted sexual advances, or has experienced harm or threat of harm from others in the workplace, he may be said to experience harassment.

What to Do

According to the website www.leichteremploymentlaw.com, employees who have experienced discrimination or harassment in the workplace may take their cases to court.

But to avoid getting too legal about it and experiencing the hassles of attorneys and courts, it is better to avoid these practices. Employers and employees should be responsible for workplace safety, by implementing strict rules against discrimination and harassment and just being generally nice to each other to create an environment that is both friendly and productive.

Some of the Damages that may Potentially be Recovered if You are Injured by Someone Else

Even before the 1900s, there were already accidents that involved automobiles. Some of these accidents caused damage to vehicles, some resulted to driver and passenger injuries, while a few others resulted to the horrible death of some individuals (drivers or bystanders).

In 1925, state authorities saw that cars are bound to crash, cause damage to properties and injuries on people. It was for this reason why car liability insurance became a mandate – so that at-fault drivers will not default on paying victims the compensation they legally deserved.

Majority of car accidents are mere results of human negligence or recklessness (a very small percentage of the more than five million accidents every year is blamed on acts of nature, such as an earthquake, a tornado, or an emergency medical condition).

Though car crashes are totally preventable, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is alarmed that more than 30,000 still die every year because of these. And while traffic authorities have increased their vigilance against drivers who overspeed, who drive recklessly or who drive while impaired by alcohol, another kind of threat is on the road and most of those who commit it are teens and young adults – driving distractions.

Distracted driving happens when a driver engages in an activity that takes his/her focus from the task of driving. This distracting activity may be an act committed by the driver himself/herself or by someone else inside the car with the driver; sometimes, though, it is caused by someone or something outside the car. Due to distractions, it is, therefore, easy for drivers to fail to anticipate and react to possible road hazards.

Currently, the use of cell phone while driving is the worst and most dangerous kind of distraction for drivers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every year thousands of car crashes, which injure 1,153 individuals and kill at least 9 others, occur due to the use of cell phone, whether texting or talking with someone. The use of cell phone, however, is not the only form of distraction drivers can be engaged in. There are so many others which have become so normal that drivers no longer realize these as distractions; their effects, however, are often tragic.

Some of the most common forms of driving distractions, which so many drivers are guilty of, include: eating and drinking; adjusting a GPS device, compact disc player or car radio; using a laptop; reading a map for directions: talking or arguing with a car passenger (the more passengers there are in a car, the greater the distraction); reaching for an object (especially from the back seat); playing with or being distracted by a child; getting distracted by a pet or an insect; grooming; lighting a cigarette; smoking; and getting lost in thought.

As pointed out by Providence car crash attorneys, if “you’ve been seriously injured or have lost a family member in a motor vehicle accident that was caused by someone else, you are entitled to make a claim for compensation for your injuries against the person who caused the accident.
Some of the damages that may potentially be recovered include, but are not limited to:

  • Medical Expenses
  • Lost earnings and earning potential
  • Expenses for household services you can no longer perform
  • Cost of transportation and childcare for medical appointments
  • Cost of assistive devices
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disability
  • Mental anguish
  • Psychological disturbance
  • Loss of affection, companionship, or marital consortium
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Funeral expenses (in wrongful death cases)”

Robotic Surgery: Is This procedure Really Safe?

After complaining to her gynecologist of excruciating pains and excessive vaginal bleeding, Michelle’s doctor found growths in her uterus. To have these removed, her gynecologist told her that the best way was through robotic surgery (using the da Vinci surgical robot): the latest and the greatest technique available. Besides maximum precision, robotic surgery would be less painful and there would also be less bleeding.

The da Vinci surgical robot is made by Intuitive Surgical, Inc., an American company which is the top manufacturer of robotic surgical equipment; it is also the only company whose system has been approved in the U.S. for soft tissue procedures that include gynecological surgery, prostate operations and general surgery.

The many claimed benefits when using the da Vinci robot, Intuitive’s claim that it is extremely safe, and the way hospitals market the device in order to gain more customers, have successfully contributed to the increase of surgical procedures with the robots, from 228,000 in 2010 to 367,000 in 2012.

With the growth of the popularity of robotic surgery, however, is an increase in the number of adverse incident reports received by the Food and Drug Administration. From 24 injury reports in 2009, this number jumped to 115 in 2012; the number of deaths likewise increased, from 11 in 2009 to 30 in 2012 (these numbers, though, may not be the real figures, according to one surgeon at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, since some hospitals make sure that complaints do not reach the public).

In surgeries wherein a da Vinci robot is used, the physician in charge of the procedure sits at a video-game style console that is several feet away from his/her patient. While peering into a high-definition display, foot pedals and hand controls allow him/her to maneuver the robot’s mechanical arms equipped with tools. A 3-D camera, which shows the work as it is done inside a patient, guides him/her in performing the procedure.

Continuing the story above, Michelle did undergo a non-invasive hysterectomy in February of 2009. The surgery went smoothly and seemed perfect until five weeks later, while she sat on the toilet, she felt something pop inside her and was shocked to see her intestines drooping out of her vagina. She was rushed to the hospital and underwent a painful, invasive surgery.

Today, other than her hip-to-hip scar from the corrective surgery, a diminished sex life, and constipation from damaged rectal muscles, Michelle is holding on to whatever she can to continue living. It appears that what happened to Michelle has also happened to others, as shown in a number of lawsuits (besides the one she filed).

Two of the many other cases filed against Intuitive Surgical involve a man who suffered 15 long hours of internal bleeding after his liver and spleen were punctured during a heart valve repair and a man whose rectum was damaged during a prostate surgery.

In the midst of lawsuits, the hot seat has always been occupied by Intuitive Surgical, Inc., never by the surgeon who performed the surgery. This leads to the premise that the robotic surgical system is defective, never in the possibility that the surgeon, who performed the procedure, lacks proper training, skill and experience in operating the equipment.

The law firm Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC, believes that though patients must willingly assume a certain amount of risk before undergoing a surgical procedure, this does not exempt a surgeon or a manufacturing company, whose device has been used in the procedure performed, from liability if ever something not right happens. While some forms of malpractice or negligence may be easy to identify, others require deeper investigation and expert opinion to prove liability. Pursuing legal action and entrusting this only to a seasoned medical malpractice attorney would be a decision a wise person would make.

Motorcycle Safety Tips To Ensure A Safe Ride

Motorcycles provide drivers with a quick way to maneuver around traffic and reach their destination in the soonest possible time. But given their small size, motorcycles are susceptible to accidents and injuries. According to the website of Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, motorcycle accidents can be fatal which could have life changing consequences that may require prolonged recovery and costly treatment. Here are 5 safety tips you need to bear in mind when riding a motorcycle.

1. Defensive Driving

Defensive driving does not mean you have to drive slowly but have to take the necessary precaution all the time. It means staying focused on the road, being aware of your surroundings and reacting fast to road situations. Defensive driving also means avoiding distractions such as mobile phones and other devices.

2. Practice Road Courtesy

Courtesy on the road means being mindful of the other drivers. As much as possible, avoid following the other driver too closely. The general rule when it comes to the distance is at least one car-length. It is a wise move to put a buffer between yourself and the other driver. Road courtesy also means allowing other drivers to merge into traffic by giving the proper distance to do so.

3. Avoid buying a bike that you cannot handle

If you have not been riding a motorcycle for a while and shopping for one, look for a bike that fits you. You should be able to rest both of your feet flat on the ground without the need to tiptoes. The handlebars and controls should be within your reach.

4. Ensure that your bike is well-maintained and regularly checked

Before heading off to your destination, make sure that your bike is well-maintained and checked and that all accessories and systems are working properly. While you cannot predict when your vehicle will fail or breakdown, maintenance of your motorcycle is key to avoid such.

5. Wear helmets and safety gears

This is perhaps the best advice for motorcycle safety. Riders without helmets are 40 percent at risk of suffering fatal injuries and three times more likely to experience brain injuries than those with helmets.

Then and Now, People Saw that Cars are Bound to Crash . . . due to Negligence

The average yearly rate of fatal car crashes in the US from 1981 to 2007 was 44,000, while from 2008 to 2015, records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) showed a lower figure – 33,000.

In implementing road safety rules, the NHTSA and other governmental organizations, as well as some car manufacturers, work doubly hard, both in ensuring the smooth and safe flow of traffic and in making vehicles more crashworthy. The government does this through the passing of road safety laws, and consistent and strict enforcement of these laws; car manufacturers, on the other hand, equip their new car models with the most modern safety devices.

Sadly, however, car accidents continue to occur regardless of the laws passed, the strict enforcement of these laws and the safety devices many cars are now equipped with. This comes as no surprise, though, because ever since the dawn of automobiles, people saw that these machineries would crash and that crashes will damage properties and injure people.

The main problem that automobile crashes created back then was not the at-fault or negligent driver’s damaged car or sustained injuries, but the damaged property and/or injuries suffered by the victim in the accident, for which the at fault driver did not have the financial capability to compensate. Thus, in order to ensure that victims in accidents are paid the compensation that they may be legally deemed to receive, the compulsory car insurance law was passed: the year this law was passed was 1925 and the first two states that were able to write their own compulsory car insurance law and mandate it on all their drivers were Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Today, showing proof of financial capacity to pay for damages in the event of an at-fault accident is mandated in all 50 states. This requirement to demonstrate financial capability is called the Financial Responsibility law and compliance to this law may be shown by:

  • carrying auto liability insurance, which is mandated in 48 states;
  • posting a bond or depositing cash with the state, which is the case in New Hampshire, the only state that does not mandate the carrying of auto insurance;
  • paying the uninsured motor vehicle fee to the state’s Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) in lieu of insurance, as is the practice in the state of Virginia.

An insurance policy itself is already expensive and it is made even more expensive by the many other add-ons that drivers need to purchase. Drivers can make use of free insurance quotes to be able to find the kind of deal that will work best for them.

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