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Will Wal-Mart Beat Out Amazon?

Amazon and Walmart are making interesting moves as they increase their business with the use of technology. Both companies are looking to patent a drone that would boost home delivery operations and feature a moveable warehouse. Walmart appears to be copying Amazon’s innovation by competing for the patent, especially because Amazon is still trying to open more stores and is overtaking Walmart’s extensive retail customer base.

According to Curbed Seattle, Amazon has patented airborne monitoring stations, tools that aid in the operation of home-delivery drones. These stations will float at a high altitude so they can communicate with the drones they monitor. According to Amazon, the airships are also capable of sending information to household devices, including laptops, phones, tablets, and audio players. In addition, the network can be used to deliver electronic book content to eBook reading devices. Cameras on the drone are able to track the drones using light beacons and other tools for recognition.

A different Amazon patent opens the possibility for drones to capture video inside the homes of users, with their permission. This video capture would allow Amazon to recommend products to people and detect emergency situations. If the drone was connected to a microphone, the system would be able to identify the sound of glass breaking or gunshots and alert emergency services. The Tech Crunch reported Walmart also applied for a similar drone-deploying patent. The purpose of their blimp is to reduce expenses associated with shipping and handling by decreasing the amount of shipping that third-party companies handle. The Walmart blimp would float between 500 and 1,000 feet in the air. 

Amazon has become a strong competition to Walmart by offering the option of fast shipping and cheap products. Although Walmart has an established physical advantage and is a larger retailer than Amazon, the latter is pulling more and more customers away from the traditional brick-and-mortar shopping experience. What’s more, Amazon recently acquired Whole Foods for $13.7 billion. That means Amazon has a handle on both upscale retail and the online grocery market via their AmazonFresh service.

More than likely, Walmart is going to accept Amazon’s challenge and find new and inventive ways to gain an advantage over Amazon. For example, Walmart is looking to invest in a new drive-through pickup service that would utilize automated machinery. In combination with the company’s drone technology, quick pick-up and selection could give them the boost to edge out Amazon.

On the other hand, Amazon has won the business of millions of people, especially in the younger generation, thanks to their innovation and convenience. The idea of drone delivery is not new and there are companies across the world testing and offering these products. Far too often, individuals think of ideas but assume that patenting your intellectual property is something only done by large companies. In fact, if you have a great new idea, a qualified intellectual property attorney can help you secure it. Don’t let the corporations of the world cash in on your smart invention. Patent your idea with an attorney’s help. 

Why Some Claims are Underpaid

After a natural disaster causes damage to your personal or commercial property, the immediate thing you will need is to get the fair amount from your insurance provider to rebuild and move on with your life. However, unless you get a thorough investigation of the cause of loss, precise scoping of damage and accurate recorded and written statements of everything, then your experience may very well be your insurance company underpaying your claim.

Insurance firms send their hired independent adjusters to claimants’ homes to assess property damages sometimes a day or two after the disaster, when not even the property’s owner has correctly assessed his/her own losses yet.

The result, of course, is undervalued assessment. As explained by United Policyholders, a national insurance consumer advocacy group, after a hurricane, wherein damages can be  widespread and so awful, going into houses that are wet and smelly and soggy and dark, most people want to get in and get out. It’s not like you want to spend time looking at every nook and cranny, so underestimation of damages is most likely to occur, though this is unintentional. In some cases, claims are denied for reasons claimants never understand or, if a claim is approved, release of payment is delayed.

Adjusters, insurance claimants must know, are trained to represent the interests of their employers, which are insurance firms that hire their services. To get fair evaluation of the damages to their property, property owners should be represented by their own public appraiser, who will always act in their best interest and is trained to present a comprehensive claim on their behalf. Public appraisers are prepared to evaluate and adjust any claims that deal with property damage. Aside from hurricanes, property damage can be caused by fires, floods, explosions, ice storms, or wind.

 

Ponzi Scheme Red Flags

According to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), first-time investor or those who have been investing for many years, should always consider some basic questions before committing their hard-earned money to an investment. This is because it sees too many investors who might have avoided trouble and losses if they had asked questions from the start and verified the answers with information from independent sources.

Thus, when considering making an investment, an investor should ask these five questions:

  • Is the seller licensed?
  • Is the investment registered?
  • How do the risks compare with the potential rewards?
  • Do I understand the investment?
  • Where can I turn for help?

One cause of great loss to investors is the investment fraud called “Ponzi scheme.” Named after Charles Ponzi, who resorted to illegal ways of earning huge profits in 1920, Ponzi scheme is a ‘get rich quick’ investment scam wherein a fraudulent firm finances its payout of returns to investors using money paid by new investors.

Ponzi scheme organizers keep their fraudulent firm profitable by soliciting new investors, promising them high returns with little or no risk at all. Ponzi schemes fraudsters need to keep on attracting new money, however, in order to make promised payments to earlier-stage investors (aside from enriching themselves) – this is to create the false appearance that investors are profiting from a legitimate business. Only when it becomes difficult to recruit new investors or when a large number of investors ask to cash out will a Ponzi scheme start collapse.

Since Ponzi schemes share common characteristics, these, most likely, also have the same “red flags,” which, the SEC says, can include (https://www.sec.gov/fast-answers/answersponzihtm.html):

  • High investment returns with little or no risk. Every investment carries some degree of risk, and investments yielding higher returns typically involve more risk. Be highly suspicious of any “guaranteed” investment opportunity.
  • Overly consistent returns. Investment values tend to go up and down over time, especially those offering potentially high returns. Be suspect of an investment that continues to generate regular, positive returns regardless of overall market conditions.
  • Unregistered investments. Ponzi schemes typically involve investments that have not been registered with the SEC or with state regulators. Registration is important because it provides investors with access to key information about the company’s management, products, services, and finances.
  • Unlicensed sellers. Federal and state securities laws require investment professionals and their firms to be licensed or registered. Most Ponzi schemes involve unlicensed individuals or unregistered firms.
  • Secretive and/or complex strategies. Avoiding investments you do not understand, or for which you cannot get complete information, is a good rule of thumb.
  • Issues with paperwork. Do not accept excuses regarding why you cannot review information about an investment in writing. Also, account statement errors and inconsistencies may be signs that funds are not being invested as promised.
  • Difficulty receiving payments. Be suspicious if you do not receive a payment or have difficulty cashing out your investment. Keep in mind that Ponzi scheme promoters routinely encourage participants to “roll over” investments and sometimes promise returns offering even higher returns on the amount rolled over.

When a Ponzi scheme collapses it can be difficult, if not impossible, for investors to get back their money. Thus, if you feel that someone duped you into investing in a Ponzi scheme, it will really be wise to get in touch with investment fraud lawyers right away.

Major Causes of Injuries in Construction Sites

Based on the 2013 record of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, working environments accounted for 4,405 deaths; 796 of these deaths were in construction sites, with the top four causes being: slips, trips, and falls; getting struck by a heavy or moving object; electrocution; and, being caught between objects. These causes are known in the construction industry as the “Fatal Four.”

When it comes to job-related accidents, industrial workers, particularly, construction workers, are the ones at the greatest risk. This is due to the heavy tools and equipment, and hazardous substances used in construction sites. Not to forget, the great heights that construction workers often need to ascend when performing their job.

Before 1971, and especially during the turn of the 20th century, construction workers who got involved in accidents during the performance of their work had to suffer the consequences of their misfortune alone. This is because employers usually reasoned out that danger was always associated with the work. Injured workers then had to resort to filing a lawsuit against their employers just to receive compensation, which would help them pay the costly medical treatment and which was supposed to cover the wages they would lose due to inability to work (for days, some for weeks or months). Some got paid, with a meager amount, but whether one got paid or not, one consequence of the lawsuit was certain – a destroyed relationship between worker and employer.

Falls, which account for about 40 % of all construction site injuries and deaths, are frequently due to poorly maintained or assembled scaffolding and work platforms, elevated surfaces or uneven floors, improper use of ladders, unnoticeable ramps and excavations, unprotected sides and edges, overhanging steel bars, lack of training on observance and strict implementation of safety measures, lack of protective gear and/or equipment, and so forth.

Being struck by a heavy or moving object is the next leading cause of injuries and deaths in construction sites. Getting hit by falling tools or construction vehicles are examples of this, while resulting injuries can include injuries to the head and/or neck, brain injury, back injury, etc.

The third most common cause of harm among construction site workers is electrocution. Damaged high voltage wires and lack of ground fault can cause severe injuries (or even death) to unsuspecting workers, many of whom have suffered serious burns, disfigurement or limb amputation.

Disfigurement or a limb getting amputated is also common when a worker gets caught or wedged between heavy or sharp objects, resulting to injuries that require days away from work. Some injuries are also severe enough to leave a worker disabled and unable to work again.

The many different harmful dangers that construction workers face every day is why failure to comply with safety and health standards that result to lack of employee protection against accident hazards or illness is a violation of the OSHA mandate to which an employer can be held totally liable.

The Goings Law Firm, LLC says “the construction industry can place both workers and anyone who passes by construction sites at risk of suffering serious injuries or harm. The nature of construction sites means that people are often in close proximity to large, dangerous equipment, hazardous substances, and unstable sites, which can cause life-altering physical harm or even death when proper precautions are not taken. Whether the injury was caused by someone’s negligence or while you were on the job at a construction site, the law may provide you and your family compensation for your injuries.”

Employment-Based Immigration with an EB-3 Visa

Millions of people want to go to the United States for a better life, and to help these people the US government gives out different types of working visas that would allow workers to practice their profession in the country for a certain amount of time. One such visa is the EB-3, or the employment-based immigration visa. The good thing about this visa is that it can possibly lead to a green card or a US permanent residence. It is made available for three categories: professionals, skilled, and unskilled workers.

According to AmLaw Global, you need to have a job offer (which should be a full time job) from US company or employer. Professionals are required to present a US bachelor’s degree or any equivalent foreign degree. Those who are skilled workers can apply provided they have more than two years of experience and training, while unskilled workers are eligible to apply if their chosen work or position asks for less than two years of experience or training. There are various steps in EB-3 visa process, and some might need help from your employer or an immigration or visa lawyer. In order to have a successful application, it helps to have all the help you can get.

Furthermore, the whole visa process can take a long time to get approved. In order to have a smother and possibly faster visa process and application, make sure that all your papers and requirements are readily available. Make sure that you are aware of what to do next, and where to go and what to present. This can easily be done through the help of your visa lawyer. The whole process can take a number or months to even years, so patience and perseverance is important. There are a number of factors in the EB-3 visa processing that can be out of your control, but being meticulous and prompt in submitting the needed requirements and fees can greatly enhance your chances of being approved.

Legal Issues With Your Family

Property division is one of the heated topics discussed during a divorce, especially when both parties can’t come to an agreement. When this happens, it will be up to the judge to determine and rule over the issue using the state laws as ground rules. These divorce laws and statutes differ from state to state, and making sure so the division of property is based on fairness rather than equality can be a challenging issue. The Illinois State Bar strives to to remain sensitive to the changing needs and mores of families and individual family members in our society.

According to Peck Ritchey, LLC, there are states that permit the distribution of properties according to separate and marital properties, with the source of the property being considered and counted during the appropriation of properties. After separate properties have been identified and distributed properly, the marital property will then be discussed and divided. Property division attorneys play a vital role in ensuring that both separate and marital properties are divided fairly between both spouses, with the rights and interests well protected so that the division or property will be fair and lawful.

The website of Marshall & Taylor PLLC indicates the division of assets and properties during a divorce has a huge impact on the Medicaid eligibility requirement when only one spouse is in need of nursing home care. In the state of Illinois, all pension benefits are considered marital properties if they are acquired by one of the two spouses after the marriage regardless of who partakes in the plan. This is a very important matter, especially since the long-term care of one spouse will be affected. This is the reason why lawyers are important, since they understand how elder law works and can provide advice and help in ensuring that proper care is provided for elders so that financial concerns, among others, can be given.

Because divorce is a big decision that can affect many aspects of both spouses and their children, it is important to find lawyers who can help guarantee that both parties are put in an agreeable position. It is not only a financial issue, but divorce will affect the family emotionally in the long run, therefore a divorce proceeding that ends in mutual respect and understanding will be the best to ensure that the future will be protected.

The Importance of Choosing a Good Cosmetic Surgeon

With cosmetic surgery on the rise, many people who wish to have the perfect face and body flock to various cosmetic surgery clinics to get what they desire. With the rise of demand for such procedures, many bogus and under-qualified doctors performed operations that resulted in not-so-desirable and even disastrous results. Because of this, many patients tend to find other clinics to help correct the botched procedure they have undergone. To avoid this, the Mayo Clinic recommends you choose a surgeon who specializes in the procedure you’d like to have done and is certified in the specialty by a board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties, such as the American Board of Plastic Surgery or the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Beware of misleading certifications from unrecognized or self-designated boards.

There are many benefits to corrective plastic surgery. Aside from a botched operation, corrective surgeries are also necessary for those who have birth defects, been through accidents, or just simply want to improve their overall image. It is often a personal decision, and although it is not a solution to life’s problems, it has its own benefits that run further than physical satisfaction. As Bergman Folkers Plastic Surgery explains, cosmetic surgery, especially corrective procedures, can greatly improve not only the physical but the mental health of the patient. Among the immediate effects of cosmetic surgery is enhanced self esteem. This can bring about various indirect benefits as well, such as getting off of anti-depressants for those who suffer from depression prior from getting any cosmetic procedure. Emotional and mental wellbeing is greatly impacted when a person feels good and confident about themselves.

Furthermore, the need for corrective cosmetic surgery can provide physical benefit for the patient. In cases where the botched procedure resulted in physical deformities that restricted normal every day functions, corrective surgery can help in the health and wellbeing on the patient. Correcting a wrong rhinoplasty – or commonly known as a nose job – can help in relieving breathing problems from the patient. This is important, as lack or poor sleep can lead to various health complications such as fatigue, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Deep and heavy scars caused by fire accidents can help give back functions to limbs and face. There are a number of benefits that corrective cosmetic surgery can provide, so it should not be easily brushed aside.

Dangers of Vaginal Mesh

Transvaginal mesh are a type of surgical mesh to help provide a permanent fix to Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP) as well as from Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) following a hysterectomy, childbirth, or menopause. When a woman’s pelvic muscles weaken, her pelvic organs can descend into the vagina can cause POP. In order to prevent this, doctors surgically put the mesh either transvaginally or abdominally. However, most doctors prefer to do it transvaginally because it is faster, easier and are less invasive.

The dangers of vaginal mesh and the rise of vaginal mesh lawsuits stem from several mesh products which became unsafe and unreliable. Many vaginal mesh products ended up causing their patients serious health complications, from infections to erosion of vaginal tissues to even organ perforation. The website for Williams Kherkher states that there are as much as hundreds of thousands of vaginal mesh lawsuits filed in the United States, with many more pending in various state courts.

According to www.williamskherkher.com/practice-areas/defective-pharmaceuticals/vaginal-mesh-lawsuit/, there are many patients who have fallen victim to defective transvaginal mesh products, and many of the victims have to go through revision surgery and extremely difficult mesh removal because of the defective mesh product. What makes these cases complicated is the fact that the FDA (or Food and Drug Administration) did not demand manufacturers of transvaginal mesh products to conduct research studies on humans before being sold on the market. Further studies on the safety and long-term effects of transvaginal mesh products were not made, which eventually gave way to health risks and complications after the surgery.

Because of the severity and number of victims, women who have suffered complications from transvaginal mesh products can contact their lawyers to help with their injury claims. Complications need to be remedied, and this requires money to pay for maintenance and further surgeries. Furthermore, the FDA requires hospitals and health care facilities to submit reports of deaths and severe injuries related or caused by vaginal mesh products in order to make the manufacturers liable for their negligence.

Common issues with Workman’s Compensation and Workplace Injuries

Although preventable, workplace injuries are very common, especially in a number of worksites such as construction and mining. In fact, according to ABC news, an average of 50 to 60 coal miners die in this country every year while they work. If you ask any Minnesota workers’ comp attorney, a worker who was injured in the workplace or during working hours has the right to workers’ compensation benefits, regardless of who caused the accident. However, the injured worker also has the option of filing for a personal injury claim against the person who caused the accident if the cause was due to recklessness or negligence and the resulting injuries were significant enough to seek for damages. In order to understand which option is best to go with, it is therefore vital to know the difference between personal injury claims and worker’s compensation benefits.

The main difference between workers’ compensation and personal injury claims is that the latter is dependent on establishing fault, while worker’s compensation is not. Recovering damages for personal injury claims require proof of negligence on the side of the other party, which means evidence should be provided that they did indeed were at fault. On the other hand, worker’s compensation benefits are given to workers injured while on the workplace or when performing their duties regardless of who was negligent. Even when you caused the accident, you are still entitled to worker’s compensation benefits.

As for damages, The Benton Law Firm states that personal injury claims entitle you to recover all types of damages, including pain and suffering, among other things. Workers’ compensation, however, can only provide for lost wages, permanent disability benefits, vocational rehabilitation, and medical bills. Those who have availed workers’ compensation may not be allowed to file for personal injury claims, as workers’ compensation law also protects the management and company from lawsuits after workplace accidents. Although majority of workplace injuries are covered by compensation, there are specific cases where this benefit is not awarded to the injured worker. Compensation may be denied when the injured worker was under the influence of any prohibited drugs or alcohol when injured, as well as when the injuries were self-inflicted, when violation on company laws or policy was made, or when the injury occurred while not on duty.

Personal Injury Due To Electrical Hazards

Electrocution or electric shock injuries are very common in construction sites. According to the website of Ali Mokaram, there are clear statistics that show the dangers of construction workers’ exposure to electricity as one of the leading causes of deaths in the workplace. In the United States, electrocutions rank as the fourth leading cause of death among construction workers, with electrical workers being the top victims, then construction workers and carpenters, roofers, and supervisors of non-electrical workers.

For electricians, the danger comes from working with “live” wires or being near them and mistaking de-energizing and lockout/tagout procedures. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), electrical hazards can cause burns, shocks, and death by electrocution, For non-electricians, the risks arise from failing to avoid overhead live wires and the general lack of primary electrical safety awareness. Electric shocks can come from either direct or indirect contact, and any injury caused by strong electrical currents can have various effects to the body. Electrocution is the fatal result of a very strong electrical shock.

Non-electrical workers, such as those in the construction site, are in danger of electrocution via contact with hanging power lines after they have failed to de-energize or take care of the power lines or failing to keep the designated minimum clearance distance from live power lines. Based on information from the Abel Law Firm, many workers who suffered electrocutions or electrical shocks were injured through contact with electrical equipment, machinery, power tools, and defective power or extension cords. These physical contacts occurred on metal ladders, pipes, wires (that were intentionally stripped or cut or were accidentally damaged by drills or other tools) and other equipment or vehicles energized by live wires.

Furthermore, workers in cramped areas were a major contributor in electrocutions and electrical shock injuries. Water in the workplace also increased the risks of electrocution and electrical shock injuries, and even low-voltage contributed to accidents and construction site injuries. On order to prevent or lessen the dangers that come with working with electricity, construction sites should always follow the OSHA safety guidelines and ensure that they train their workers properly. Likewise they should also comply with the specific permit systems and procedure to ensure the safety of their workplace and their workers.

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