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bigstock-meeting-6825017-1024x694We are all familiar with the normal ways in which insurance companies try to get us to pay more for coverage. There are fees for 24-hour service, fees for adding another car to your plan, and fees for just about anything.

According to a new law, if you happen to call your insurance agent with a question about a potential claim on your automobile policy in Texas, you could face an increase in your premium when your policy is renewed. This fun bit of Texas legislature makes it easier for the insurance companies to take more money out of your pocket, even if you don’t end up filing a claim. Texas Legislature passed a law that made it illegal for insurance companies to charge Texas insurance customers who ask questions about their homeowners policy, but insurance lobbyist pressured legislators to remove the part that protects your automobile policy.

State Senator Kirk Watson, Austin D, had originally written the bill to protect Texas insurance customers. However, he knew if he did not remove the part including automobile insurance, the entire bill would not have passed. During the proceedings to pass the bill, the insurance industry kept their opposition quiet in order to keep customers from discovering the bill. According to the legislative record, the insurance industry claimed, “Limiting the types of information that insurance companies can take into account could hinder operations and unfairly shift premium costs among policyholders.”

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bigstock-Car-Crash-Irony-4324875-1024x683Though vehicle crash fatality rates have been steadily creeping upward with more cars – and especially trucks – hitting the road in the post-recession years, today’s models aren’t scrimping on the safety features. As many as 10 airbags are spread around a new-vehicle’s cabin these days to provide maximum occupant protection in a collision, with a growing number of cars and trucks now offering advanced safety systems that can help drivers avoid getting into crashes in the first place.

But until perhaps all vehicles on the highway drive themselves, cars will still get into collisions, some due to weather conditions, others because of mechanical issues, but largely because of driver error. And while all vehicles are required to meet a set of complex federal safety standards and most cars get good grades in crash tests, as insurance loss statistics released by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) illustrate, some vehicles inherently protect their occupants better than others in a crash.

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bigstock-Pain-In-The-Hips-1676038-1024x768A federal jury in Dallas on Thursday ordered Johnson & Johnson and its DePuy Orthopedics unit to pay $247 million to six patients who said they were injured by defective Pinnacle hip implants.

Delivering a third straight win to patients, the jury found that the metal-on-metal hip implants were defectively designed and that the companies failed to warn consumers about the risks.

Six New York residents implanted with the devices said they experienced tissue death, bone erosion and other injuries they blamed on design flaws.

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What is workplace sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment in the workplace is an umbrella term that encompasses a range of unwanted behaviors. This includes nonphysical harassment, including suggestive remarks and gestures, or requests for sexual favors. Physical harassment includes touches, hugs, kisses and coerced sex acts.

It can be perpetrated by anyone — a manager, a colleague, a client. The perpetrator or the recipient may be male or female. It does not need to occur inside the office. Your employer could still be responsible for investigating the incident and handling it appropriately.

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bigstock-180327130-1024x684There are a lot of things to dislike about daylight saving time: the disruption in our sleep schedule, the onslaught of seasonal puns in retail advertisements, the fact that it doesn’t work as well at saving energy as we’ve always been told, and thus, it really serves no purpose.

But have you ever thought about the possibility that daylight saving time might actually be dangerous? Turning the clocks back should technically amount to an extra hour of sleep, but this is not necessarily true. When the clocks change, whether it is falling back or springing forward, studies have found people’s sleep cycles are interrupted which actually causes them to sleep less. One hour of sleep lost or gained may sound like a small change, but studies have shown it can have major effects on both our physical and mental health. In turn, these negative health effects set off a chain reaction that affects other aspects of our life. According to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, people who sleep six to seven hours a night are twice as likely to be involved in a vehicle accident as those who sleep eight hours or more; people sleeping less than 5 hours increased their risk to be involved in a vehicle accident four to five times more.

Researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder studied the daylight saving time period (from March to November) for 10 years and discovered there was a 17 percent increase in traffic incident-related deaths the Monday after the spring time change. Traffic fatalities all that week were also higher than average. Some of the effects can be attributed to lower visibility (the fact that it’s earlier, and therefore darker, than drivers are accustomed to), but most of the accidents, experts say, are because people are struggling to stay awake behind the wheel.

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Since 1990, when the annual number of vehicular heatstroke victims was first recorded, more than 800 children have died in hot parked cars.

Many of these deaths occurred because parents forgot that the children were in the car. And while automakers offer technology that steers a vehicle or alerts drivers to a car in the next lane, they have not released technology to tell drivers when they are forgetting a child in the back seat.

But congressional lawmakers are now weighing whether to require new cars to include a device for detecting children in the back seat and warning the driver of their presence after the car has been turned off. The requirements were attached to a House bill, passed last month, that is meant to speed the development of self-driving vehicles. The Senate version of the bill, which cleared a committee vote this month, includes an amendment with the warning requirement.

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WASHINGTON — Traffic fatalities rose 5.6 percent last year, with the biggest spikes in pedestrian and motorcyclist deaths, the government said Friday, Oct. 6.

There were 37,461 people killed on U.S. roads in 2016 as Americans continue to drive more, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said. That’s the highest number of deaths since 2007.

The fatality rate was 1.18 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, a 2.6 percent increase from the previous year.

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bus-1-ht-er-170918_12x5_992-300x125U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer says charter bus companies should be graded for safety and the grades should be posted the way New York City posts restaurant letter grades.

The New York Democrat says letter grades for bus safety are needed after last month’s deadly crash in Queens. A charter bus operated by Dahlia Group crashed into a city bus, killing three.

Records show Dahlia has been inspected 35 times since 2015 with 11 violations found. One person was killed when a bus operated by the company crashed in Connecticut in 2016.

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The article below is a repost of a New York Times article found here, written by Tiffany Hsu.


Deane Berg of Sioux Falls, S.D., was the first to go to trial after suing Johnson & Johnson over accusations that its talcum powder products caused her ovarian cancer. A jury found the company negligent but did not award damages. Credit Zora J. Murff for The New York Times

Thousands of women across the country are suing the consumer goods giant Johnson & Johnson over its baby powder, claiming that talcum particles in the popular product caused their ovarian cancer.

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buckles-032614Should a Person be Held Accountable for Texting a Driver Who is Involved in an Accident?

We all know that in many states it is illegal to text and drive. The dangers associated with such distracted driving are clear. However, the courts currently are trying to determine whether or not a person who knowingly texts someone who is driving can be held accountable if the person receiving the text is an accident. Recently in New Jersey, three judges decided that you don’t need to be the one driving to have accountability.

In 2009, a couple was badly injured when a truck driving in the opposite lane drifted into the center of the road and hit them while they were riding their motorcycle. As a result of the accident, both victims lost their left legs among other serious injuries. While they had already finished settling the case with the driver of the truck – who was convicted of texting and driving, they wanted to sue the driver’s girlfriend who had been sending him text messages right before the accident. Police were able to break down the events that happened during that day to determine that the driver had sent a text to his girlfriend mere seconds before the accident.

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