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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.

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