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Shelbyville Law Blog

App aims to reduce heat-related work hazards

Every year, thousands of U.S. workers are treated for heat exhaustion and other heat-related conditions. To address this, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration have collaborated to create an app that workers and employers in Kentucky and around the country can use to reduce the risk of heat exhaustion.

During the summer months when the risk for heat exhaustion is highest, workers rely on their employers when it comes to taking rest and water breaks throughout the day. Even so, heat-related exposure is still a major risk and can be deadly. In 2014 alone, approximately 2,630 employees suffered a heat-related illness. Eighteen died as a result of heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses that were caused by working in hot conditions.

Do you know how to recognize a drunk driver?

Kentucky roadways are not immune to menacing situations often caused by drunk drivers. You may be alert and cautious behind the wheel, but there's often little or nothing you can do to avoid collision with an inebriated motorist. People who make irresponsible choices to drink alcohol then drive cause many fatal accidents. While you can't change another person's actions, you may be able to avoid disaster by arming yourself with information ahead of time and formulating a plan of action if trouble arises.

It's important to remember that drunk driving is a crime, not a mere traffic violation. If you suffer injury in a collision caused by an intoxicated driver, there is no reason you alone should pay for the medical bills and other expenses associated with the incident. Knowing what to do and where to turn for support is often key to getting the help you need in a dire situation.

Repaying creditors under Chapter 13 bankruptcy

In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, Kentucky debtors typically get to keep their possessions while adhering to a repayment plan that lasts either three or five years. There are many options for how this might work, and in one case a couple decided to give up their vehicle when modifying their plan.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy provides debt relief while debtors reorganize their obligations. In some cases, a change of circumstances is required when requesting a modification. In an Arkansas case, the court said a change in a couple's financial condition was not required when modifying a plan.

Excavating hazards: Don't let your job create your grave

Trenches pose severe safety hazards that some employers tend to disregard. This might be because safeguarding trenches takes time and money, which are two things many construction company owners like to save. Dozens of construction workers lose their lives in trench collapses every year, and hundreds more are fortunate to come away injured but alive.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, a trench is an excavation in the surface of the earth that forms a narrow underground pit with a width of up to 15 feet and a depth that exceeds the width. These human-made cuts in the ground must be secured to prevent the walls from collapsing.

Pickups perform well in IIHS report

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there were 30 driver deaths per million vehicle registrations from 2011 to 2014. Kentucky motorists might be surprised to learn that trucks and SUVs actually performed better than the industry average. Pickup trucks had an average of 26 deaths per million registrations while SUVs had an average of 21 per million registrations.

Minivans had the lowest rate with 19 deaths per million registrations while passenger vehicles had 39 per million registrations. Toyota pickup trucks were rated the best in their category while other vehicles such as the Audi Q7 didn't record a single fatality. The Tacoma was among the best in the small pickup category while the Tundra was among the best in the large pickup category.

Household debt hits record levels

An increasing number of people in Kentucky are carrying record amounts of debt, raising concerns that there may be an uptick in the number of bankruptcies that might be filed. The previous peak was at the start of the recession in the fall of 2008.

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, U.S. household debt reached $12.73 trillion during the first three months of 2017. During the fall of 2008, the household debt level was as high as $12.68 trillion. One difference between now and then is that today's borrowers appear to be more able to repay their debts. Interest rates are also lower than they were in 2008. The percentage of the economy that is made up of household debt is 67 percent. By contrast, the percentage of the economy that was made up of household debt in 2008 was 85 percent.

Financial recovery after the loss of a loved one

Losing a beloved family member is incredibly difficult, but it can be even more stressful when the loss is unexpected. If your Kentucky family is currently mourning the loss of a loved one due to the reckless or negligent actions of another person, you likely feel overwhelmed by grief, unforeseen expenses and other complicated issues. 

There is nothing that can bring back your loved one, but there are things that you can do to recover your financial losses and hopefully help your family rebuild and move forward. One of the ways that you can do this is by filing a wrongful death claim.

Reestablishing credit after bankruptcy

Kentucky residents who are struggling to pay their bills are sometimes reluctant to explore their debt relief options because they worry about what would happen to their credit ratings if they filed for personal bankruptcy. While discharged bankruptcies can remain on Experian, Equifax and TransUnion reports for up to 10 years, research suggests that they do not greatly affect credit scores or deter lenders. The financial services sector also has a number of borrowing options for available for consumers who are seeking to rebuild their credit ratings.

When lenders see discharged bankruptcies, they know that consumers are no longer obligated to pay certain debts. Individuals who have filed for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy also tend to borrow cautiously and know that they must wait a period of time before they are able to file again. Consumers can start to rebuild their credit ratings by taking out secured loans or getting secured credit cards. They should also obtain copies of their credit reports and check to make sure that they are free of errors.

Robot injuries on the job

As the use of robots in many fields ranging from surgery to automotive manufacturing increases in Kentucky and around the country, there will also be more cases of them causing accidents. Robots may be used to chop vegetables in restaurants, by police to check buildings, and by hospitals to distribute medicine. According to one vice-president of a company that manufactures robots for the automotive industry, the most common accidents occur when robotic cells are being programmed or when a person is troubleshooting a robot that is not functioning properly.

One of the issues with robot safety is that when a robot needs to be repaired, it may not be possible to both troubleshoot and power down the robot. Often, it is necessary for the robot to be turned on in order to fix it. Therefore, despite extensive safety testing, it might not be possible to make the use of robots in the workplace entirely risk-free.

Mind the do's and don'ts when pursuing workers' comp benefits

When you start working with a company, your employer will likely inform you about the workers' compensation insurance coverage that will pay for medical expenses if you should suffer an on-the-job injury. However, you may not realize that pursuing benefits claims can be a challenging process that may be simplified by the support and guidance of a skilled legal representative.

Although workers' compensation coverage is available for workers nationwide, there may be some specific state laws for employees in Kentucky. Some workplace accident victims expect the claims process to be simple, and they only seek legal assistance once their claims are denied or if they have problems with receiving the benefits to which they are entitled.

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