How To Know If Your Broker Is Cheating You

How To Know If Your Broker Is Cheating You

Nov 12

There’s always a suspicion when returns come back lower than expected when the market does well but your portfolio is stagnant, and especially when that portfolio collapses, that your broker has done something wrong. Often times, what is wrong is simply a matter of a misreading of the market. Such human mistakes happen all the time, and little can be done but to shrug and remain philosophical about the market enterprise.

At other times, though, and this is more common than people believe, a broker can be cheating you. But how can you know if your losses are normal or due to the illegal actions of your broker?

Unsuitable investments: A broker is required to look for investments that are suitable for his or her client. That does not mean they have to be the best possible investments, but they have to pass a certain test of being reasonably suitable. If your portfolio doesn’t look reasonable to you, see a lawyer.

Misleading information: If your broker sold you on an investment by giving you incomplete information or even misleading information, you certainly have a case. If you suspect this may have happened, again, see a lawyer about your options.

A lack of diversification: A broker’s job is to develop a diverse portfolio for you which protects you from all but the worst kinds of drops in the market. You should not be overly invested in a single company’s stock, in a single asset, or in a single set of bonds. If your broker has done this, and you are suffering the financial consequences, there has certainly been some wrongdoing done there.

Churning: This is when a broker sells excessively in order to earn more commissions. These sales are not done in your interest but simply to line the broker’s pocket. If you are seeing a high volume of transactions in your portfolio while also seeing your value decline, you should certainly see smoke and suspect fire.

Unauthorized trading: Ultimately, your investments are yours, and it is up to you to agree to the recommendations of your broker. If your broker has taken it upon himself or herself to make these choices for you, and especially if they prove to be bad choices, you have the right to demand compensation back.

These are just a few of the potential ways a broker can be abusing the relationship between the two of you. I encourage you to read further on the Erez Law website to find out more.

In the meantime, remember to keep a close eye on your portfolio. While it is tempting to simply trust a broker to know what’s best and to assume the best choices are being made, you don’t want to get caught with a losing hand when it comes to your finances.

Defense Attorneys are Super Heroes

Defense Attorneys are Super Heroes

Nov 11

I’d like to take a moment and say something too few people do: defense attorneys are the superheroes of the legal system, and we could use more of them.

I want to make clear that they get superhero status whether they are defending rich clients or poor ones and whether they are fighting false charges (the only time anyone depicts defense lawyers heroically) or simply trying to get the best outcome for their guilty clients.

That last point is the most controversial. People tend to associate a lawyer doing their job with the assumed guilt or innocence of the client. If people perceive the client as guilty, they perceive the lawyer in negative terms as well. And vice versa.

But no matter who they are defending, defense lawyers are on the right side. That’s because our system insists everyone deserves an advocate. Everyone deserves to put their best case forward and try to get the best result possible. That requires defense lawyers to be creative, loyal, and incredibly intellectually rigorous. It’s a tough job, and it is one we need to be performed for the system we live with to function.

In fact, what our system needs is more defense lawyers and more lawyers who solely focus on defense. As James Powderly points out on his law firm’s site, it does a disservice to both clients and the system in general for lawyers to spread themselves thin over too many areas of practice. Or, as he puts it, “When facing a serious criminal charge, it makes sense you hire a lawyer who devotes all of his time and energy into defending criminal cases as opposed to a lawyer who has a general practice and does a little criminal defense and also does family law, personal injury, wills, contracts etc.”

While it makes sense to feel upset when we feel some trial or other has given the wrong judgment, we need to keep in mind that those who are making the system work are all, overall, on the side of law and order, and above all, justice and fairness.

That means it’s not just defense attorneys but prosecutors and judges as well who deserve superhero status. In fact, we could do with more hero worship of those who are maintaining our justice system in general.

It’s easy these days to become cynical about everyone and everything. But we need these people to make the system work.

The truth is, we need lawyers. And we should be glad we have them.

The Dangers of Ignoring Sleep Apnea

The Dangers of Ignoring Sleep Apnea

Sep 21

I will freely admit, sleep is not something I consciously think about. Sure, I want to sleep when I am tired or have had too much pasta. Never have I thought about sleep illnesses or diseases. Sleep apnea is a daunting term that I have heard of, but it’s hard to say if I will ever have it without undergoing a sleep study. Sleep apnea is when breathing stops in your sleep; this paused breathing can last a couple seconds to several minutes. While you may not wake up, I discovered some haunting facts that we should pay attention to, according to WebMD.

According to the article, it is dangerous to ignore sleep apnea, even for a brief time. Having sleep apnea and not knowing can increase your stress and cause hypertension, causing heart problems in the long run. Essentially, sleep apnea may kill you since breathing ceases. One of the ways you can protect yourself is using a continuous positive airway pressure tool to help you breathe throughout the night. What is concerning to read is that about 20 to 30 percent of adults have sleep apnea, which causes your airway to shut off while you sleep. Because of unnoticed sleep apnea, you may feel drowsy throughout the day. There isn’t a clear, direct correlation to what causes sleep apnea. Researchers are trying to understand if it is linked with diabetes, obesity, or even heart disease. There may be unknown correlations with sleep apnea. Dr. Jun from John Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, conducted a test to see how 31 obese patients slept. Most of the demographics were 51-year-old white men. Through a sleep study, they tested the mens’ blood levels, blood sugar, and stress hormones. They discovered that the levels were higher with those with the more severe sleep apnea cases.

Because there are so many sleep diseases and general “sleeping” conflicts, I feel as though there is an extra blur to truly understand what causes sleep apnea. It may also be the case that the one with sleep apnea needs to have a partner or spouse to inform them of any breathing cessation during their sleep. There are signs that inform you, such as drowsiness or mood swings, but those signs can overlap with perhaps another diagnosis. Other signs include awakening with a sore throat or having headaches in the morning.

It is important to take care of your health, especially if sleep apnea is related to elevated blood pressure and stress hormones. It is important to eat a correct diet and find some form of exercise to stay in shape. I know yoga and getting my blood flowing helps wring out my body and helps me get a better, deep sleep. While yoga isn’t for everyone, it is important to know the signs and encourage the practice of mental health and self-care.


The Dangers of Construction Work

The Dangers of Construction Work

Sep 01

For people in many professions, the workplace can be hazardous. Nearly any job that requires physical labor entails a multitude of different risks. Even jobs that are not inherently dangerous can result in injuries and accidents under unsafe circumstances. Although all workplaces are supposed to follow guidelines to keep their employees safe, some companies fail to take the appropriate precautions to prevent accidents. This is particularly dangerous on construction site where heavy materials and machinery are frequently in use. Failure to properly train employees, post adequate safety signage, and appropriately maintain the work site can lead to a dangerous and even deadly accident. The Twin Cities Pioneer Press recently reported on one such construction accident that resulted in the death of a worker.

Construction worker Enrique Rosas Murga was killed on the job in August of 2017. He was working on a project in Farmington for Valmont Industries when the accident occurred. Rosas Murga and another employee were operating a machine that turns metal pipes into flagpoles and light poles, at the time of the crash. The pole came loose of the machine and hit Rosas Murga on the head. Although he was wearing a hard hat, he sustained several serious blunt force injuries to the head. The medical examiner stated that these injuries could be from the impact of the pipe itself, or the pipe could have caused Rosas Murga to hit his head on another object. Valmont Industries is working with OSHA and manufacturing experts to understand what caused this accident and how to prevent accidents of this kind in the future. However, a retired employee of Valmont Industries commented that this death was likely caused by one of three problems: operator error, machine malfunction, or Rosas Murga’s assistant was not pay close enough attention.

Rosas Murga’s fellow workers are devastated by this loss to their team, and undoubtedly Rosas Murga’s family and loved ones are feeling a similar sense of grief. This accident shows just how dangerous a construction worksite can be when even small errors are made. It seems likely that Rosas Murga’s death could have been prevented has the company taken steps to ensure that their machinery and their employees were prepared for the job. Unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done retrospectively to help Rosas Murga, but hopefully, the company will change their actions moving forward.

For Rosas Murga’s family, not only does this loss come with significant grief and sorrow, but they must also manage the financial loss that this accident has caused. They must now take on the financial burden of a lost income and any additional expenses that this accident has created. However, they may be entitled to worker’s compensation, which can help cover these costs. Although this money will not help end the pain they must be experiencing, it will ensure that they can remain financially stable during this difficult time. Overall, more needs to be done to ensure a safe workplace for people in this line of work.

Unsafe Trucking Practices

Unsafe Trucking Practices

Jun 08

Everybody on the road should make the effort of avoiding traffic accidents, and each person can do this by following traffic rules and avoiding reckless behaviors. But it can be argued that trucking companies and truck drivers should exert greater effort than everybody else, because trucks are more dangerous when they are involved in an accident compared to other vehicles such as sedans.

Also, according to the website of these Houston truck accident lawyers, those who have been hurt because of the negligence of truckers may have legal options. So, these trucking companies and drivers are not just dealing with hospitals and insurances, because they may also be dealing with courts. Below are some of the most common trucking practices that can be considered negligence and may be grounds for legal action.

Negligent Hiring

Trucking companies should be strict in their hiring process. They should hire only those who have the proper driving licenses and prefer those who do not have multiple driving violations under their names, such as drunk driving.

Failing to do so may result into driving errors that reasonable professionals will not commit and reckless driving behaviors that may cause accidents such as DUI.

Abusive Working Hours and Quotas

Trucking companies also have the tendency to maximize productivity for maximum profit. But these are sometimes done in dangerous ways, such as giving truck drivers unreasonable quotas. These drivers will have no choice but to reach them, so they may rely on tactics that can potentially cause a truck accident, such as driving while fatigued.

Poor Truck Maintenance

Maintaining trucks is important, because it ensures that the vehicles do not have defects and have less tendencies to malfunction. Defects are underrated causes of accidents, even though they can be extremely dangerous, especially those that involve brake systems, tires, and trailers.


The website of Williams Kherkher lists several negligent acts wherein truckers can be held liable, and an overloaded trailer is on the list. The federal government has regulations regarding cargo limits, so breaking that limit can be considered an act of negligence. Overloading can make the truck harder to control, not to mention the excessive weight’s effect on the tires.

Causes of Traumatic Brain Injury: Accidents that Can Alter Your Life

Causes of Traumatic Brain Injury: Accidents that Can Alter Your Life

Jan 05
  • There are many types of brain injury or traumatic brain injury (TBI), including:
  • Concussion, which is the most common type of traumatic brain injury. This occurs when the blood vessels in the brain are stretched and the cranial nerves are damaged;
  • Contusion, which is bruising and swelling of the tissues of the brain;
  • Coup-Contrecoup injury, which occurs when the brain is slammed into the opposite side of the skull due to the force impact to the head;
  • Diffuse Axonal injury. Also known as Shaken Baby Syndrome or Abusive head trauma (AHT), this injury is usually caused by violent shaking of the head, resulting to torn brain nerve tissues. This can lead to brain damage or death.
  • Locked in syndrome, which is a rare neurological condition resulting from stroke. Due to damaged part of the brainstem, most of the facial muscles, except the eyes, become paralyzed.
  • Penetrating injury or open head injury, which occurs when a sharp object, like a bullet, enters the brain and causes a wide area of damage. This is injury is serious and is considered a medical emergencies as it can cause ermanent disability or death.
  • Acquired brain injury. This injury to the brain occurs after birth.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 5.3 million people in the U.S. are suffering from traumatic brain injury (TBI) and, every year, about 185,000 are added to their number, while at least 50,000 die. TBI is, actually, a major cause of death and disability in the U.S. and in the rest of the world.

Causes of TBI include falls, collision with a moving or a stationary object, assault, accidents involving a bicycle or any non-motorized pedal cycles, a smashed piece of skull penetrating the tissues in the brain, an explosion, a sport or recreation-related accident, a car crash, or anything that can cause a violent blow or a sudden jolt to the head which, in turn, can make the brain collide with the skull’s internal wall. This collision can severely harm the brain and result to torn nerve fibers or bruising and/or bleeding which can lead to intracranial injury, more commonly known as TBI.

The severity of a traumatic brain injury depends on the part of the brain that is affected and whether the injured area is widespread or affects only a certain part. Based on severity, TBI can be mild, moderate or severe. Mild TBI usually causes only temporary headaches and confusion; a severe case, however, can cause amnesia, coma, disability, unconsciousness or even death.

Take Action Against Manufacturers Who Deceive Consumers with Their Defective Products

Take Action Against Manufacturers Who Deceive Consumers with Their Defective Products

Oct 21

“Prevention is better than cure,” is one very applicable adage where product safety is the issue. For although a person may be awarded compensation by a manufacturer, whose defective product may cause injury, there is no telling what the extent of such injury can be; thus, rather than cause harm, making sure that manufacturers comply with government safety standards, in order to eliminate any risk of injury, will always be a much better alternative.

Manufacturers have the legal duty to make sure: that their products are safe and will never cause harm; that their products’ labels contain all vital instructions or warnings that consumers need to know; and, that the labels clearly and accurately identify the product’s ingredients. False claims regarding what a product can do is considered a deception, an act that can result to a lawsuit, especially if instead of giving its claimed results, the product ends up harming users.

Defective products are the bases of thousands of tort suits or product liability claims against manufacturers in the U.S. Obviously, despite laws that require compliance with quality standards, so many defective or poorly made products still get past authorities and end up getting displayed in stores to sold to millions of unsuspecting American consumers who trust that what they purchase are safe and without defects. This is not the case, however, as can be proven by the injuries and deaths that have already been reported, traced, proven and documented by the United States Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC). Some of the reported cases include:

  • The 2003 recall of nearly 30,000 electric blankets which, when folded or bunched, had a tendency to overheat and burn the user;
  • Dell’s 2005 recall of about 200,000 laptop batteries, which showed risks of overheating and causing fire;
  • The 220,500 toy-related injuries in 2006;
    development of blood clots which, eventually, led to the death of a number of young women who used the Ortho Evra® birth control patch; and,
  • Toyota’s 2006 recall of more than 1.4 million of its cars due to defective parts.

Millions of other products, from children’s food and toys to house appliances, vehicles, machinery and chemicals have caused either injuries or death to their users. Though a seeming failure on the part of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, the branch of the government tasked to ensure product safety, total responsibility cannot be blamed on it. This is due partly to the limits in its jurisdiction plus the billions of different products made available in the market every day. Thus, checking and ensuring product safety need to be a concerted effort by the different branches of the government and the active participation of the public in reporting products that are defective and harmful.

West Palm Beach injuries due to product defects allow harmed individuals to take legal action against individuals and companies responsible. These include product designers, manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, and advertisers who play a role in delivering a product into the hands of consumers. All these parties bear a responsibility in ensuring that the product is safe for use.

Just How Safe are Children’s Products?

Just How Safe are Children’s Products?

Jul 06

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified falls, burns, drowning, motor vehicle accidents and poisoning to be the leading causes of accidental injuries and deaths among children in the United States. Each year, at least 9.2 million children get injured and more than 12,000 die due to these causes.

As dangerous as the causes mentioned above are the many different products that people buy and bring into their homes, so many of which can cause severe injuries, and even death. Records from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) will actually confirm the thousands of injuries and deaths caused by these products, which include home furniture and decor, tools, children’s toys and outdoor activity equipment, sports equipment, inflatable amusements, and nursery products

From 2007 to 2010, the CPSC ordered the recall of millions of toys due to the dangers these presented, like sharp edges that could cause cuts and lacerations, parts that were considered as choking hazards due to their small size, and chemical contents that exceeded federal toxicity limits. The CPSC is charged with enforcing toy safety standard law; it also sets guidelines on the allowed sizes of children’s toys, toys’ noise and toxicity limits; and, the displaying of labels which should mention the possible risks presented by toys.

Unlike food products, toys usually do not have labels which should contain information regarding any possible harmful elements these have. Of course consumers assume that all products made available in stores are totally safe, but this only leaves them with no clue regarding the safety of the toys that they buy.

Due to the irresponsibility of some persons and/or companies in making sure that they only manufacture safe products, The Benton Law Firm reminds parents and guardians to make sure that their child is protected against whatever may possibly harm them – this includes children’s products which have caused many children injuries, some so severe that these would affect children for a very long time. Parents should also make sure that those responsible in compromising the safety of children should be punished for the harm that they inflict on their innocent victims.

“No-zone” Accidents Can be Avoided through Mere Acts of Prudence

“No-zone” Accidents Can be Avoided through Mere Acts of Prudence

Mar 09

It can be an emotional and a mental torture for people whose family member, close friend or special someone gets involved in an accident through no fault of their own. The pain will be much harder to bear if the at fault driver were driving a truck, the size of which is enough to crash a victim’s vehicle, cause very severe injuries or worse, death.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which is tasked to improve safety in the operation of trucks and commercial motor vehicles, make sure that, before earning a commercial driver’s license, applicant drivers will first need to go through a set of requirements which they will have to strictly undergo. Some of these requirements are a special training, a written or knowledge test, and a series of skills tests, all of which are to prepare applicant drivers to be up to whatever challenging tasks their driving duties will require of them, including very long driving hours with very short rest periods.

A truck, also called an 18-wheeler or a big rig, is involved in as many as half a million accidents every year, according to the NHTSA. These accidents cause injuries to more than a hundred thousand individuals (drivers of smaller vehicles, motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians) and kill more than four thousand others. One of major causes of these accidents is smaller vehicles driving along any of a truck’s identified “no zone” areas.

“No zones” are truck drivers’ blind spots. These are the areas or spots around a truck where crashes are most likely to occur. There are four blind spots identified around trucks:

  • Front: For whatever reason, some drivers (of smaller vehicles) have the very bad habit of cutting in front of a truck and then immediately slowing down after passing it. This is one very dangerous move which invites nothing less than a tragic accident that can result to severe injuries or death. If drivers think that a truck can immediately slow down or stop, they’ll be surprised to know that this is a wrong, deadly thought.
  • Rear: The length and width of a truck will render its driver to fail to notice smaller vehicles tailgating it. Besides not being able to see any danger ahead, a driver of a smaller vehicle may also have nowhere else to go but under the truck (crushing his/her vehicle) if the truck suddenly tries to slow down.
  • Sides: Two other areas that drivers of smaller vehicles should totally avoid are the sides of trucks, especially the right or the passenger side, where truck drivers can totally fail to notice smaller vehicles. If a truck driver needs to change lane or swerve to the right, this can only mean very big trouble for the smaller vehicle.

While majority of “no zone” truck accidents are said to be the fault of drivers of smaller vehicles, this does not take away the responsibility of truck drivers to double check their blind spots, considering the damage their vehicles can cause in case of an accident. Moreover, because they are driving a much larger vehicle, they should display more patience and consideration towards smaller vehicles.

According to the Abel Law Firm, the hard work that truck drivers perform and the contribution they give in the growth of the nation’s economy should merit the understanding of everyone; however, these can never excuse them from liability for accidents they could have easily avoided through mere application of prudence. Though they may never want anyone to get hurt, in the event of an accident, they may have to be answerable for their act of negligence.

Salmonella Poisoning, its Symptoms, Risks, and how to Prevent It

Salmonella Poisoning, its Symptoms, Risks, and how to Prevent It

Oct 08

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, salmonella poisoning, or salmonellosis, affects approximately one in six people in the United States every year. That’s roughly 48 million of the country’s population. Salmonellosis is a type of food poisoning that is accompanied by fever, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea that may occur 12 to 72 hours after exposure. Symptoms of salmonellosis last for about 4 to 7 days among healthy individuals. However, young children, seniors, and those with weak immune system may suffer from more serious complications that may even result in death.

There are many causes of salmonellosis, and poor food handling is considered one of them. According to the website of these Houston personal injury lawyers, restaurant owners who fail to ensure that foods served in their premises are prepared in a sanitary way could be held accountable in a negligence case. In some cases, food manufacturers could also be held liable for foods contaminated during the process of manufacturing and packaging.

For healthy individuals, salmonella poisoning lasts for up to three days, and doesn’t require medications such as antibiotics. However, because symptoms of salmonellosis include diarrhea and vomiting, the person suffering from this disease are at higher risk of dehydration. Drinking plenty of fluids will replenish the lost electrolytes during diarrhea. However, you should stick to rehydration drinks and water, and should avoid coffee and soda for optimum rehydration.

There are also a myriad of possible ways on how to prevent salmonellosis. Consuming unpasteurized milk and raw or uncooked eggs may put you at risk of salmonellosis, so you should stay away from them to keep salmonellosis at bay. Remember to wash vegetables thoroughly when eating them raw. You should also wash your hands before and after food preparation, and in between handling different items. Finally, uncooked food should always be stored separately from cooked and ready-to-eat foods to avoid cross contamination.