Tip pooling is one of the most controversial issues for both diners and restaurant workers. Serving customers in a restaurant is not an easy job. It is one of the only professions where making a livable wage is entirely dependent on a customer’s etiquette and generosity. At the end of each meal, diners are tasked with remembering everything they learned in pre-algebra to figure out a “good” percentage tip for their server. The general rule is that customers tip 15-20 percent of the bill. However, in many cases, diners base their tip on the quality of service they receive.

This is why both diners and wait staff have strong opinions about the idea of tip pooling. Tip pooling means that servers surrender their tips to a general pool. From the pool, tips are then divided among the entire wait staff and, sometimes the minimum wage earning back-of-house staff, such as cooks, bus staff, and dishwashers. 

In March 2018, President Donald Trump signed an omnibus bill into law that contained several provisions relating to tip pooling.

What You Need to Know About Restaurant Tips

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) contains a tip credit provision that allows employers to pay a reduced hourly wage to tipped employees. Under federal law, American restaurants are legally allowed to pay servers $2.13 an hour, instead of the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. However, the rule requires that employees receive enough in tips to bring their hourly rate to local, state or federal minimum wage—whichever is the prevailing practice.

In 2011, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) amended the FLSA to make it clear that tip-pooling requirements applied to all employees receiving tips. The regulation prevented tip pooling between tipped and non-tipped employees regardless of the wage rate paid. The regulation specified: “Tips are are the property of the employee whether or not the employer has taken a tip credit…”

The Bill that Almost Was

Typically, managers, owners, CEOs and food service directors are not included in the tip pool. However, in December 2017, the Department of Labor proposed rescinding the 2011 regulation that made it clear that all tip money earned was the employee’s property, not the employer’s. The DOL’s announcement asserted that without tip pooling, there were significant pay disparities between servers and back of house staff.

In its initial proposal, the DOL intended to allow employers to redistribute servers’ tips however they wanted, as long as all employees were paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. In other words, the employer could do anything with tip money; from redistributing among customer-facing employees and back of house employees to including management staff in the tip pooling or simply keep the tips for their business.

This proposed rule was met with sharp criticism from workers’ rights groups, customers, and servers. The opposition came because the bill did not expressly prohibit employers from sharing in tip pools. Without making this clear, managers, supervisors or business owners could legally keep tips, totaling in the billions, for themselves.

What Tipping Changes did The Trump Administration Sign into Law?

On March 27, 2018, Trump signed Congress’ $1.3 trillion omnibus budget bill into law. Under this bill, Congress amended the FLSA and addressed tipped employees and tip ownership. The bill departed from the DOL’s initial proposal which would have allowed businesses to pocket the tips earned by its servers. Instead, Trump signed a “compromise” into law that retained the Obama-era regulation. The bill upholds the language that makes it clear that employers cannot, under any circumstances, keep any portion of the tips earned by their workers. However, the law does allow tip redistribution between non-tipped workers only if employers pay all of their employers the regular minimum wage in their jurisdictions. Also, under the new law, the tip pool excludes supervisors, managers, and owners.

The rule also applies to tipped employees in other fields like hairstylists and manicurists.

In regards to tipping, the FLSA amendment does the following:

  • Unequivocally states that employers may not retain employee tips, regardless of whether a tip credit is taken
  • Prohibits managers, supervisors and business owners from retaining servers’ tips
  • Penalizes an employer with a civil penalty of up to $1,100 for each instance of wage theft
  • Allows employees to file civil lawsuits in instances of wage theft
  • Allows tip sharing with non-tipped employees only if all employees make minimum wage and the business does not take the tip credit
  • Forbids the distribution of tips between non-tipped employees when the business takes a tip credit

Why is the New Tip Pooling Law Controversial?

In general, the topic of tip pooling is controversial because wage theft is already rampant in the restaurant industry. Workers lose billions of dollars annually because of wage theft. The act redistributes the tip amount a customer has intended for their server. Many people are aware that servers make $2.13 an hour and realize that many of these employees depend on tips to make a living wage.

On a policy level, the 2018 FLSA changes were controversial because the Labor Department ditched unfavorable data from its tip proposal showing the amount that employers could skim from wait staff tips. The internal analysis showed that employees could lose out on billions of dollars in gratuities. To lessen the impact, senior department political officials ordered staff to revise the data methodology. Even with the change in methodology, numbers were still unfavorable to the department’s goal to roll back the Obama-era regulation. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta and his team received approval from the White House to publish a Dec. 5, 2017 proposal that removed the economic transfer data altogether.

By removing this data, the labor department was presenting incomplete information to the public. This means that interested parties such as restaurant workers and advocacy groups would have to weigh in on a topic without first seeing the government’s estimate on the economic impact it would have.

How Do I Know if I am a Victim of Wage Theft?

As an employee, federal law entitles you to certain rights. Even under tipping rules in the amended FLSA, employees own their tips. Because restaurant workers are especially vulnerable to an employer’s illegal acts, this information is especially important to tipped employees in the restaurant industry. 

Your employer is stealing from you if:

  • Management participates in tip pools, i.e. takes a cut of the tips
  • Employer forces you to pay for a table that eats and doesn’t pay
  • Tips are deducted based on your pay
  • You are paid less than the minimum wage
  • Your employer fails to or refuses to pay you overtime
  • Altering time cards to inaccurately reflect hours worked
  • Your employer is not paying you at all
  • You do not receive your final paycheck after leaving a job

If your employer has stolen tips from you, contact The Carlson Law Firm

The Carlson Law Firm is here to fight for you. We will fight tirelessly on your behalf to prove your employer or former employer stole money from you. If you believe that your employer has improperly taken a portion of your tips or you are receiving less than the minimum hourly wage, it is in your best interest to speak with a qualified Wage Theft Attorney. Our firm is ready to help you navigate the legal system. We will help you get the compensation the law entitles you to.

If you have questions about your employment situation, contact The Carlson Law Firm. We can answer your questions about tip pooling and wage theft.

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A North Texas jury awarded a combined verdict of $242.1 million to a Dallas-area family after a seatback defect in their 2002 Lexus ES 300 collapsed on the couple’s young children in a 2016 crash. The verdict includes more than $143.6 million in punitive damages.

The couple, Benjamin and Kristi Reavis filed a lawsuit after a 2016 rear-end crash led to serious injuries in their two small children. The couple said that Toyota consciously failed to consider the safety of backseat passengers while protecting front-seat occupants from crash injuries.

The wreck that led to the children’s injuries occurred in September 2016. The family was traveling south on North Central Expressway in Dallas. The couple’s car was stopped in traffic when it was rear-ended by a Honda Pilot. The rear impact caused both front seats to fail and collapse on their 3-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter’s car seats. The children suffered severe head trauma and other injuries.

During two weeks of testimony, the couple’s attorneys documented engineering, design and structural problems with the front seats of the Lexus. The jury returned the verdict against Lexus auto manufacturer Toyota a little more than eight hours after closing arguments. The jury found that the front seats in the ES 300 were unreasonably dangerous. Further, the jury recognized that the defendants failed to warn about those dangers. 

The Carlson Law Firm Can Help Victims of a Seatback Defect

The Carlson Law Firm has been an advocate for personal injury victims for more than 40 years. Our legal team has a wide range of skills that you can use to your benefit. We have a proven history of success in assisting victims injured as a result of defective auto parts.

A seatback defect is not only dangerous to the occupants in the seat, but also to those in the backseat. Auto manufacturers have a responsibility to ensure the safety of consumers. If you were injured or lost a loved one because of an auto product defect, we want to help. We have a team of compassionate product liability attorneys who can help you navigate the legal system. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

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No one plans to enjoy a deliciously satisfying meal only to end up with food poisoning. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 48 million people get sick from a foodborne illness each year. In addition, the CDC estimates that at least 128,000 of those cases require hospitalization and 3,000 results in death.

How does food poisoning happen?

A foodborne illness, also referred to as food poisoning, happens after food or water contaminated with bacteria, viruses, parasites or toxins are swallowed. In fact, infectious organisms or their toxins are the most common causes of food poisoning.

Food contamination may occurs in a number of ways. For example, contamination may occur if the person handling or preparing the food practices improper handwashing hygiene. Another way food can be contaminated is through cross-contamination. Cross-contamination occurs when microbes transfer from one food to another by using the same knife, cutting board or utensil without washing the surface between uses.

Some instances of contamination occur before the food even reaches the kitchen. Contamination can occur at any point, including in the production, processing or distribution stages.

Who is at risk of contracting a foodborne illness?

Pregnant women, young children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems from medical conditions are at a higher risk of developing food poisoning.

These groups of people are more likely to suffer food poisoning because their body’s ability to fight germs and sickness is not as effective as others are. For example, during pregnancy, hormones are in flux, which causes the immune system to alter. Pregnant women are 10 times more likely to suffer a Listeria infection.

Because the immune systems of young children are still developing, they are also at an increased risk for infections. As a matter of fact, children under five are three times more likely to be hospitalized if they contract Salmonella. In addition, one out of seven children under age five who are diagnosed with E. coli will also suffer kidney failure.

As adults continue to age, their immune systems weaken, making it harder to fight off bacteria and serious illness. Older adults have less stomach acid that helps control bacteria. In addition, older adults have weakened kidneys that assist in filtering bacteria from the blood.

It is important to note that approximately 80 percent of older adults take at least one medication after being diagnosed with at least one chronic condition such as diabetes, or cardiovascular disease. Such factors contribute to the weakening of the immune system. Individuals on dialysis are 50 times more likely to develop a Listeria infection.

Illness-causing germs

Researchers have identified more than 250 foodborne diseases. The top five illness-causing germs from food eaten in the United States are:

Norovirus– Symptoms appear within 12 to 48 hours. An infected person contaminated food like leafy greens, fresh fruits, shellfish or water, by touching contaminated surfaces.

Salmonella– Symptoms appear within 12 to 72 hours. Salmonella food sources are eggs, raw or undercooked poultry or meat, unpasteurized milk or juice, cheese, raw fruits and vegetables.

Clostridium perfringens– Symptoms appear within six to 24 hours. Beef or poultry, especially large roasts, gravies, dried or precooked foods are common food sources.

Campylobacter– Symptoms appear within two to five days. This germs food sources include raw or undercooked poultry, raw unpasteurized milk and contaminated water.

Staphylococcus aureus (Staph) – Symptoms may appear within 30 minutes to six hours. Foods handled by people and not cooked such as sliced meat, puddings, pastries, and sandwiches could carry staph.

The germs most likely to lead to hospitalization are:

Clostridium botulinum– Symptoms appear within 18 to 36 hours. The common food source is improperly canned or fermented foods, usually homemade.

Listeria– Symptoms appear within one to four weeks. Raw, unpasteurized milk, soft cheeses made with raw milk, raw sprouts, melons, hot dogs, lunchmeats and smoked seafood are all listeria common food sources.

Escherichia coli (E.coli)– Symptoms appear within three to four days. Common food sources include raw or undercooked ground beef, raw, unpasteurized milk and juice, raw vegetables and contaminated water.

Vibrio– Symptoms appear within one to four days. Raw or undercooked shellfish, particularly oysters are vibrio common food sources.

Symptoms of food poisoning:

  • Stomach cramping
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Chills
  • Dehydration
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Fever over 101.5
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sweating
  • Headache
  • Weakness

How to treat a foodborne illness

The most important aspect of foodborne illness treatment is ensuring adequate hydration by replacing lost fluids and electrolytes and keeping up with fluid intake.

Most people who contract a foodborne illness will be able to recover at home with plenty of fluids and rest. Keep in mind, sports drinks are not a proper treatment for diarrheal illnesses because they do not replace the losses correctly. If the patient requires hospitalization, the healthcare professionals will replace fluids, provide medications and monitor the patient for changes.

Ceralyte, Pedialyte or Oralyte are all oral rehydration solution that will help replace fluid losses and prevent dehydration if diarrhea is severe. Be careful if considering taking anti-diarrheal medication. Although it may provide relief, these medications may make the illness worse if there is high fever or blood in the stools.

Complications

Fortunately, most people who become ill due to food poisoning will experience a mild illness that they will overcome after a few days. On the other hand, some people will become so ill that hospitalization is necessary. The sad reality is that some foodborne illnesses result in long-term health problems such as brain and nerve damage and, in severe cases, death. Salmonella infection has the potential of leading to reactive arthritis and E. Coli infections may result in kidney injury or kidney failure.

Preventing food poisoning in the kitchen

Awareness is the first step in preventing food poisoning. It is important to follow these four simple steps to keep your family safe from contracting a foodborne illness.

Cleanliness

Germs that cause food poisoning can spread around your kitchen. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds before, during and after prepping food. Make sure to wash all utensils, cutting boards and countertops with hot, soapy water. Always rinse fresh fruits and vegetables under running water. It is critical to clean and disinfect countertops and all surfaces often.

Separate

Don’t cross-contaminate! Raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs can spread germs to other foods unless you keep them separate. This means you should always use separate cutting boards and plates for raw meat, poultry and seafood. This step is not limited to the kitchen, when grocery shopping, keep raw meat, poultry and seafood away from other foods. Once you arrive home and are ready to refrigerate your groceries, keep raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs separate from all other foods. It’s recommended that you store raw meat at the bottom of your fridge. In case it leaks, it won’t contaminate anything below it.

Cook to the right temperature

When the internal temperature gets high enough to kill germs that can make you sick, the food is safely cooked. Keep in mind that simply looking at the color and texture of the food is not safe enough to determine it is fully cooked. The most effective way to tell if your food is cooked to a safe internal temperature is to use a food thermometer.

Chill

Make sure your refrigerator is set below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Perishable food should be refrigerated within two hours. If you need to thaw food, it is safe to do so in the refrigerator, cold water or the microwave. It is not safe to thaw food on the countertop as bacteria multiply quickly on food that has reached room temperature.

How The Carlson Law Firm can help

If you or a loved one became ill after ingesting contaminated food or drink, let us analyze your case and explore your legal options. We have been protecting the rights of personal injury victims for more than 40 years and have proven results. Our goal is to get maximum compensation on your behalf while you take time to recover. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation. We care, we can help.

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As our kids head back to school, we begin to think about their safety. We want to educate them about unforeseen dangers while walking to school, taking the bus or even the chance of gun encounters on campus. However, one thing we may fail to consider is the chance that our kids encounter unfamiliar dogs. As summer wanes, parents need to consider warning children to remain mindful of dogs they don’t know. Not every dog is friendly, and some dogs will attack people without warning or provocation. A 14-year-old Carlson Law Firm client and her family have been dealing with the fall out of a dog attack that left her hospitalized for a week.

After completing her first day of school, our young client was walking home alone. While just a few blocks from her house, two aggressive pit bulls ran from their yard and attacked our client. The two dogs grabbed her by the lower half of both legs and attacked her in the street.

A nearby neighbor witnessed the vicious attack and ran to our client’s aid. Fortunately, the witness was able to get the dogs off of her. The attack left our client with as many as 26 wounds including a one-inch laceration to her calf.

Emergency medical services were dispatched to the scene and our client was transported to the hospital. She stayed hospitalized for one week while undergoing a series of treatments and examinations.

“As a result of the negligent dog owner, my client was viciously attacked just a few blocks from her house while walking home from school,” said attorney Steve Dummitt. “Our client was unable to attend school for weeks and could not sleep because of the severe pain in her leg. In addition to the physical scarring, she is too embarrassed and ashamed to wear shorts in public.”

Pet owners have a legal responsibility to prevent a dog attack. Pets should be secure in gated yards or on a leash.

“The three citations the dog owner received in no way equalizes my client’s horrifying experience. The owner knew his dogs had attacked someone in the past, yet allowed the dogs to roam the neighborhood when children were walking home from school,” Dummitt said. “San Antonio ranks number six in the country for the number of dog attacks. To curb this, we have to hold these negligent dog owners accountable for their actions.”

The Carlson Law Firm Can Help With Dog Attack Injuries

Approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur in the U.S. each year. Dog bites pose a grave health risk to communities at-large and the individuals on the receiving end of an attack. Unfortunately, children are more likely than adults to be outside, and they’re also much more trusting of animals. At The Carlson Law Firm, we know that every dog attack case is unique. Our firm has been advocating for dog bite victims for more than 40 years. A Carlson Law Firm dog bite lawyer will pursue civil remedies for individuals who sustained a bite injury. Our firm employs attorneys, nurses and private investigators who fight for you and investigate your potential claim. We can determine the situation surrounding the bite and get you the best recovery possible.

Contact our team for a free consultation. Let a dog bite lawyer from The Carlson Law Firm guide you through the process of recovery.

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A Texas driver who sustains serious injuries in an auto accident may want to file a personal injury claim against the other driver. But what happens if the accident occurs in another state, such as New York? Auto insurance rules and statutes of limitation (SOL) can vary from state to state. Understanding these differences is the first step to a finding out if one has a viable personal injury case. The second step is to hire a skilled personal injury attorney.

Which State Should the Claim Be Filed In?

Regardless of where a person lives, if an accident takes place in New York the personal injury claim must be filed in New York. Likewise, that person must also hire an attorney licensed to practice in that state. Personal injury attorneys that have worked with out-of-state clientele before and will likely have ways of handling the case while minimizing the amount of travel required.

New York Personal Injury Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations is the deadline that a person has to file a personal injury claim against another party. In New York, the personal injury statute of limitation is three years. A Texas resident filing a claim for an accident that occurred in New York therefore has three years from the date of the crash to file a claim (in Texas, the SOL is only two years).

NY No-Fault Liability for Auto Accidents

Here’s where things get tricky. New York has strict rules on recovering money for injuries sustained in an auto accident. NY is a “no-fault” state, meaning in most cases, a personal injury claim for medical coverage must be filed with one’s own auto insurance company. As such, the amount of medical expenses and economic damages (i.e. inability to work) can be limited to one’s personal injury protection maximums as defined by their policy. A lawsuit for additional claims such as pain and suffering and economic loss would be barred subject to the below exception.

The exception to this is if the injuries qualify as “serious.” New York’s serious injury threshold encompasses the following:

  • Death
  • Dismemberment
  • Significant disfigurement
  • Fracture
  • Loss of a fetus
  • A permanent loss of use of a body organ, limb, function or system
  • A permanent limitation of use of a body organ or limb
  • A significant limitation of use of a body function or system
  • A non-permanent injury which prevents the performance of nearly all “usual and customary daily activities for not less than 90 days.”

An injury that falls under these categories can permit an individual to sue a personal injury claim in court (the trial court level in New York is Supreme Court, and there is one in every county). It would also mean the ability to sue for associated damages such as pain and suffering and lost wages, etc.

What If I Received a Traffic Ticket for the Accident?

A plaintiff who wishes to sue another driver for personal injuries resulting from a car crash should be upfront with his/her attorney about any traffic tickets received in connection with the accident.

The critical issue is that any plea taken in connection with a traffic violation can be admissible in a subsequent personal injury lawsuit. For example, say the officer determined that speed was a factor in the auto accident and issues a speeding ticket. If the recipient pleads guilty to the speeding ticket, that plea can be used against them during the personal injury lawsuit if they claim in that lawsuit that they are without fault.

The bottom line is that it is crucial to consult with an experienced traffic violations attorney or a personal injury attorney with experience handling traffic violations related to auto accidents before taking any action with respect to the traffic ticket(s). A simple wrong move like pleading guilty to what appears to be a minor office can turn out to be very costly in the long run.

Author Bio

Adam Rosenblum, Esq. is the founder of The Rosenblum Law Firm and TrafficTickets.com, a law firm that practices traffic ticket and criminal law statewide in both New York and New Jersey.

The for-profit college industry is on the verge of notching another win in its belt. On Aug. 10 the Education Department announced another Obama-era student protection, the gainful employment rule, is on the chopping block. The department is proposing to do away with the rule entirely. 

The announcement comes on the heels of the department’s plan to scrap the Borrower Defense to Repayment (BDR). The department argues that the gainful employment regulation isn’t backed by research and creates burdensome reporting requirements for schools. The rule went into effect in 2015. Its aim was to punish for-profit college programs that leave graduates with serious debt compared to their incomes.

The gainful employment rule cuts off federal funding if the average debt ratio of a for-profit college’s graduates stays above a certain limit for two out of three years straight. In addition, the rule requires schools to publicize debt and earnings data for their programs. The goal was to help students avoid poor performing programs or schools.

Opponents say that rollbacks will loosen accountability and allow shoddy programs to keep their doors open. President of the non-profit Institute for College Access and Success, James Kvaal, said the rule prevents students from getting swamped with student debt. In addition, the rule already forced programs to improve.

John B. King Jr., former Education Secretary under President Obama, called the proposal “outrageous and irresponsible.”

How will the Education Department keep for-profit colleges in check?

Under the gainful employment rule, for-profit colleges could be cut off from federal funding if they did not meet certain guidelines. In addition, the rule required schools to publicize debt and earnings data for their programs. The goal was to help students avoid poor performing programs.

Instead, the education department will require all colleges and universities, not just for-profit programs, to publish earnings data for programs.

“Students deserve useful and relevant data when making important decisions about their education post-high school,” DeVos said. “That’s why instead of targeting schools simply by their tax status, this administration is working to ensure students have transparent, meaningful information about all colleges and all programs.”

How is the gainful employment rule applied?

The gainful employment rule was submitted to the Federal Register as a regulatory document in October 2014. The regulation went into effect on July 1, 2015. The intent is to address unaffordable student loan debt in relation to earnings at for-profit institutions of higher education. The rule also addresses non-degree programs at both public and private non-profit institutions, such as community colleges.

Programs graduates debt-to-income ratio as follows:

  • Programs pass requirements if graduates have annual loan payments less than 8 percent of their total earnings or less than 20 percent of their discretionary earnings.
  • Institutions are at risk of failing requirements if graduates have annual loan payments between 8 percent and 12 percent of total earnings or 20 percent and 30 percent of discretionary earnings.
  • Programs fail requirements if graduates have annual loan payments greater than 12 percent of total earnings and greater than 30 percent of discretionary earnings.

In addition, when programs fail any two of three consecutive years or are in the at-risk zone for four consecutive years, they are no longer eligible for federal student funding for a minimum of three years.

Trump Administration rolling back Obama-era student protections

The for-profit college industry flourished under former President George W. Bush; which loosened restrictions on the industry. However, it has long denounced regulations such as gainful employment and BDR as a witch hunt. The industry claims that Obama-era regulations were the cause of the decline in for-profit enrollments. Incoming or returning students and their parents should pay particular attention to the rollback of these regulations. These rules were put in place to protect students from the predatory practices of for-profit colleges.

The gainful employment rollback is the department’s second major for-profit regulation proposal in the last month. In late July, the department announced its plans to scrap the Obama-era Borrower Defense to Repayment (BDR) protection that went into in the summer of 2017. The BDR allows students to seek loan forgiveness based on institutional misconduct, for example, fraud.

The Obama Administration began to crack down on for-profit colleges after widespread complaints of fraud. Large chains like Corinthian Colleges and ITT Technical Institute—both of which collapsed under pressure from Obama officials—were at the center of the fraud complaints.

For-profit college lawsuits

In 2016, DeVry settled with the Federal Trade Commission for $100 million. The suit claims that DeVry defrauded thousands of students through deceptive advertisements. DeVry paid $49.4 million in cash to qualifying students. Further, the court ordered it to pay an additional $50.6 million in debt forgiveness.

The FTC’s suit claimed that DeVry violated federal law by deceptively claiming 90 percent of its graduates actively seeking employment landed jobs in their field within six months of graduation. The suit also asserted that DeVry misrepresented the earnings of its bachelor’s degree graduates. The for-profit institution claimed that on average, its bachelor’s degree graduates earned 15 percent more than graduates from all other colleges and university.

In addition to federal lawsuits, many for-profit colleges have sued or investigated by state attorney generals. One such instance is the now-defunct ITT Technical Institute, which was investigated by 16 attorney generals.

Other examples of fraud committed by for-profit institutions include college operator Education Affiliates.  The Justice Department ordered Education Affiliates to pay $13 million to settle allegations that it falsified federal financial aid claims and misled the Education Department. Claims against Education Affiliates also allege that the institution helped applicants obtain fake diplomas and collect federal financial dollars for students.

The Carlson Law Firm is Currently Accepting Graduates Defrauded by DeVry

While the Trump Administration is actively working to make it more difficult for students defrauded by for-profit colleges to seek justice, the Carlson Law Firm is fighting for defrauded DeVry graduates. Our firm currently suing DeVry for its fraudulent advertising in Texas. The for-profit’s college predatory practices defrauded students by engaging in deceptive marketing practices to lure prospective students. The suit alleges that DeVry severely inflated the success rate of job placements. It also asserts that it misled the earnings of graduates through an aggressive marketing scheme grounded in deceptive data and flawed methodologies.

The Carlson Law Firm’s lawsuit seeks to provide student loan forgiveness to students who are tens of thousands of dollars debt as a result of DeVry’s false promises.

Contact The Carlson Law Firm to discuss your DeVry case. 

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Sudden deceleration or acceleration, rapid changes in direction, blunt force trauma and forward momentum can all cause the human body to experience extreme force during a car crash. Unfortunately, in more severe crashes, our bones may not be strong enough to handle these forces. As a result, car crash victims may suffer fractures and the burdens that come along with these type of injuries.

Common car crash fractures

A fracture is a medical term for a broken bone. Fractures occur when the physical force applied on the bone is stronger than the bone itself. Common car crash fractures include the following:

Tibia/Fibula fractures

These bones run parallel through the lower leg and are strong and flexible. Although they absorb the repeated impact of walking, running and jumping, they are likely to crack or splinter in a crash where enough force is applied. For example, tibia and fibula fractures may occur in a wreck where the car crumples.

Femur fractures

Despite being one of the strongest bones in the body, the femur located in the thigh is not immune from breakage in a high-speed collision. There are dangers in femur fractures if damage occurs to the ends that are connected to the knee or hip. These fragile areas are prone to damage from bone chips, cartilage damage or arthritis, all of which can worsen by the trauma of a car crash.

Rib fractures

Rib fractures are common injuries in car collisions. The injury risk lies if the victim’s chest is thrown hard against a seatbelt or if a rapidly expanding airbag hits them. These fractures are difficult to treat because there is no way to apply a cast to the ribcage without causing breathing restrictions to the patient. If a sliver of bone from a cracked rib penetrates a lung, emergency surgery and a lengthy recovery are in the patient’s future.

Hip fractures

According to some doctors, hip fractures are the most common car crash fractures. Hip fractures are devastating injuries that can prevent a patient from standing and walking for some time. In addition, they may continue to cause pain even after years after the car crash.

Pelvic fractures

Pelvic fractures are more frequent in motorcycle collisions, but they also occur in car crashes. Comparable to hip fractures, pelvic fractures are likely to prevent the patient from standing or walking for an extended amount of time.

Facial fractures

The delicate bones on the face can easily shatter in a car collision. The cheekbones, the jaw,  the nasal bone and nose cartilage are all vulnerable during a car crash to an airbag and flying objects.

Skull fractures

Another reason to always wear a seat belt! Skull fractures can occur if a person strikes the windshield because they weren’t buckled up.

Wrist fractures

The human wrist is composed of many small, fragile bones, so it’s no surprise that they can be easily dislocated or fractured during a car crash. This is common in individuals who braced themselves against the steering wheel or dashboard just before impact.

Arm fractures

Similar to wrist fractures, arm fractures can occur as a person attempts to brace for the collision. When the crash happens, the force of the impact transmits up the bones of the arm. The bone that runs through the upper arm called the humorous and the bones that run side by side through the lower arm called the radius and ulna are the three major bones in the arm vulnerable to fractures.

Spine fractures

An estimated 700,000 spinal fractures occur each year. Spinal fractures occur when the vertebrae in the neck or back break and collapse. These injuries are dangerous because a fracture of a vertebra can cause the bone fragments to pinch and damage the spinal nerves or spinal cord. Spine fractures can lead to paralysis and other serious injuries.

Clavicle fractures

One of the most fragile bones in the human body is the long horizontal bone that runs across the top of the ribcage known as the clavicle. The length of these bones makes them susceptible to fractures. These type of fractures can make the patient’s daily life complicated. The clavicle is essential to the proper movement of the arm and shoulders and when injured, the patient may struggle with basic tasks such as putting on clothes and even typing.

Complications after a fracture

A medical professional will evaluate your injuries after you have been involved in a car collision. If you sustained a fracture, many times, a cast and pain medication will be sufficient for recovery. However, in some situations, even after the prompt and appropriate medical attention, fractures may result in serious and permanently debilitating complications.

For example, some broken bones result in repeated surgeries, nerve damage and even amputation of the affected limb. In situations where the fracture heals improperly, the bone may need to be re-broken and reset. Furthermore, fractures with protruding bones leave the patient susceptible to infections. Our bodies are not meant to be open to exposure from bacteria, but compound fractures have the potential of doing just that. In many cases, those who have suffered a fracture will experience some level of ongoing pain and discomfort for years, sometimes for the rest of their lives.

How The Carlson Law Firm can help

Victims who have suffered car crash fractures due to the negligence of another may be entitled to compensation. Here at The Carlson Law Firm, we have compassionate attorneys that understand fractures have the tendency of resulting in long-term complications and a lifetime of costs.

If you or a loved one were the victim of a collision that resulted in fractures or other injuries, we want to help. The Carlson Law Firm strives to help people who have suffered injuries due to the negligence of others and have proven results since 1976. We will ensure you are in the best possible position for long-term relief. Our goal is to get you maximum compensation while you take the time to recover.  Contact us today for a free case evaluation.

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Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) drivers ages 16 to 19 are nearly three times more likely to be in a fatal crash than those over 20. Technology is both a curse and a blessing for teens. For example, because of advances in technology such as smartphones and streaming services, a teen driver is more likely to be distracted by sending text messages or searching for a particular song. On the other hand, technology is making cars safer.

While teens may want luxury vehicles or sports cars, parents should prioritize safety and reliability. However, handing your young driver the keys to a car is a major milestone for any parent. Whether you decide to pass down your current vehicle or purchase your teen a new car, there are several safety features to consider to keep your teen driver safe.

Should a new driver get a car immediately after getting their license?

It’s best to wait a few months to buy a new driver their own car after they obtain a license. In their first year on the road, teens are almost 10 times more likely to be in a crash. In fact, all new drivers are at their highest risk of getting into a crash during the first six months after receiving their license. Not only will holding off require your teen to establish a safe driving record, but it will teach them that driving is an earned privilege and not a right.

Establishing responsible driving behavior before handing over the keys is more important than any safety feature a vehicle may come equipped with.

Is a new or used vehicle best for a teen driver?

There are benefits to both used and new vehicles. For some families, purchasing a brand new vehicle may give parents a peace of mind. A new vehicle means that there’s no chance a car was involved in a crash that could’ve made it unsafe. However, for some families, a new car may be a waste of money considering that teens have the highest risk of motor vehicle crashes among all age groups.

New Cars

New cars come equipped with the latest safety and modern technologies. For example, a new vehicle will have collision detectors, rear-view cameras, tire pressure indicators and even electronic stability control—a feature that helps stabilize the vehicle during sharp turns and oversteering emergencies. These features will ensure that your teen is aware of their surroundings and assist in safety.

Used Cars

Some parents may choose an older vehicle for their teen’s first car. For example, the Buick Verano is one of the highest vehicles when it comes to safety. Even a used 2013 Buick Verano gets a five-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, but costs way less than a newer model. Parents should know that even if they choose to buy their teen a used vehicle, choosing a vehicle no older than five years will have some of the coveted modern safety features available on newer vehicles for a higher sticker price.

Is a truck, SUV or car safest for a teen driver?

While an SUV may be larger and make parents believe that they are the safest option for their teen driver, an SUV can be an extremely dangerous vehicle for a young, inexperienced driver. Keep in mind that each additional passenger in your teen’s vehicle is just another distraction. Because of this, you want to minimize the number of passengers in your child’s vehicle. In addition, SUVs (and minivans) have a higher center of gravity and are likely to roll over. This is even more true for an inexperienced driver speeding around a corner.

Experts also don’t recommend small and compact cars for teen drivers. Even though these vehicles are excellent on gas mileage and are usually inexpensive, they sustain the most damage in a car crash.

Trucks are also not a good choice for your teen driver. High horsepower paired with the image of pickup trucks may lead to sensation-seeking, risk-seeking and adventure-seeking behaviors in teens.

Mid-sized sedans are your best bet for keeping your teen safe. These vehicles are a good compromise between two large and too small. You should focus on purchasing your teen a model with high safety and reliability scores.

What are useful vehicle safety features for young drivers?

Because teen drivers are far more likely to get into an accident than adults, putting them in a vehicle with the most advanced safety equipment your budget allows may give you a peace of mind, and also prevent them making a fatal driving mistake.

Lane departure warning system

The lane departure warning system is designed to warn drivers when the vehicle is moving out of its lane unless a turn signal is on in the direction the vehicle is moving. This system works on both freeways and arterial roads. In some vehicles, if the driver does not take action, the vehicle will take steps to ensure the vehicle stays in its lane. It is important to remind your teen that this system is not foolproof. If you live in an area prone to snowing, when snow is on the ground the system may not be able to detect lane markers.

Electronic Stability Control

Electronic stability control (ESC) senses when a driver is losing control of a vehicle and makes correction action that the driver can’t. For example, if a driver is swerving or going into a spin on a slippery road, ESC technology will apply the brakes on the individual wheels. Although ESC technology can’t prevent all accidents, the government has mandated that all 2012 model year vehicles and later come equipped with the technology. It is important to note that ESC is not the same as traction control.

Anti-Lock Brakes

Anti-lock brakes are a necessary safety feature in inclement weather or any time the road surface is slick. If your brakes lock up, you can’t steer the car and it may take longer to come to a complete stop. Anti-lock braking systems help avoid both of these dangerous situations. Since 2013, federal guidelines require that all new vehicles have anti-lock brakes in conjunction with ESC.

Forward Collision Warning

This system helps reduce front impact collisions. The system uses sensors mounted in the front of the car to constantly scan the space ahead. If the systems sense that your teen is gaining on the car ahead, the system will alert the driver to hit the brakes. This system is often paired with automatic emergency braking systems.

Rearview camera/Rear Cross Traffic Alert

Rear cross traffic alerts tap into a vehicle’s rearview camera to alert a driver of obstacles in the car’s intended reverse path. Still, this feature is no substitute for actually turning and checking your vehicle’s path. A 2015 AAA test discovered that rear cross traffic alert systems often failed to detect fast-moving obstacles. Because of this, parents should remind teens that no system is better than turning their heads and checking for a clear path.

Navigation System

Eliminate the distraction of getting lost and buy your teen a navigation system. Many new cars offer built-in navigation, but secure an inexpensive device to the dashboard of an older vehicle will do the job just as well.

Simple Controls

A major problem for young drivers is distracted driving. When you select a vehicle for your child that has a simple control layout, your teen driver can change the radio station or turn down the A/C without taking eyes off the road.

Parental Controls

Much like the parental controls on TVs and tablets, this longtime technology is now available in newer vehicles. These systems allow parents to keep a closer eye on teens ready to hit the road. Parental controls in vehicles allow you to monitor or limit your teen’s activities behind the wheel. These features include:

  • Custom alerts
  • Real-time vehicle monitoring
  • Valet mode
  • Monitoring vehicle health
  • Reviewing trip histories
  • Monitoring hard acceleration and braking
  • Creating driver scores

The features allow you to keep an eye on your young driver and their safety. You can monitor the vehicle’s fuel level and tire pressure. In addition, you will know where the vehicle is at all times.

Avoid vehicles with powerful engines for teen drivers

Horsepower for inexperienced drivers should be avoided at all costs. Teens already struggle with impulsivity, and giving them a vehicle with a powerful engine may prove too hard for your teen to resist. Many vehicles recommended for their safety often have high-horsepower versions. The base engines of all vehicles have adequate power for teen drivers.

The Carlson Law Firm Can Help

Doing the research to keep your teen driver safe may save their life. However, buying a vehicle equipped with safety features is not a forcefield to prevent negligence from other drivers. We understand the new challenges your teen and your family could face after a car wreck. A car crash attorney from The Carlson Law Firm can help you get the compensation you deserve.

The Carlson Law Firm legal team can provide you with the answers you need if you’re wondering if an auto wreck attorney can help you. Our team is ready to help you recover compensation for:

  • Medical bills
  • Rehabilitation and physical therapy
  • Long-term care
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering

We serve clients nationwide.

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The start of another school year is just around the corner. In the mix of your child’s excitement of the cool new backpack and your excitement of getting a little bit of quiet time, the conversation regarding the importance of safety when commuting to school should be at the top of the to-do list. Discussing pedestrian safety with your little one or not so little one anymore, should never get old.

Pedestrian safety is not limited to children who walk to and from school. There were 301 school-aged children killed in tragic school transportation-related crashes from 2006 to 2015. With that said, there are various methods children use to get to and from school which requires a pedestrian safety discussion with an adult.

Riding the school bus

Although The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that school buses are the safest way for children to commute to and from school, there are dangers when children board and exit the bus. In fact, school bus crashes account for more than two-thirds of child pedestrians fatally injured every year. To reduce such risks, teach your child the following tips:

  • Stand five giant steps away from the curb while waiting for the bus to arrive.
  • Always wait for the bus to stop, the doors to open and the bus driver to tell you when to board.
  • Exit the bus when it stops, look left-right-left, and take five steps away from the bus toward the curb.
  • Never walk behind the bus.

Bicycles, scooters, and skateboards

Some children prefer to commute to school on a bicycle, scooter or skateboard. However, school-aged children have not fully developed their depth, distance, and speed perception or their eyesight and hearing. They need clear, specific instructions on dealing with traffic. Children riding their bicycle, scooter or skateboard should understand basic traffic laws, be able to have control of their bike and be reminded of the following:

  • Wear a properly fitted helmet with securely fastened chin straps every time you will ride your bike.
  • Follow all traffic signs and signals and ride in the same direction as traffic.
  • Stay in the bike lane whenever possible.
  • Use the sidewalk appropriately and keep an eye out for other pedestrians.
  • Electronics should not be used when riding as they are a dangerous distraction.
  • Know the meaning of signs and symbols (Yield, One Way, Do Not Enter, Railroad, etc.) and always follow them

Walking to school

Don’t assume the basics are too basic for an explanation. Every day, 44 children are hit by a car while walking in the United States. Some pedestrian safety preventive measures may seem like common sense to an adult, but children need reminders. The ability to see and steer clear of approaching objects is a fundamental skill. Children under 10 need to cross the street with an adult. Every child is different, but developmentally, most kids are unable to judge the speed and distance of oncoming cars until the age of 10. If your child will be walking to school, communicate the following safety reminders. Take the extra time to explain why it is important that they stick to them.

  • Talk to your children about looking left, right and left again before crossing the street. Remind them to keep looking until they have safely walked across.
  • If you see a car coming, wait on the sidewalk until it goes by.
  • Walk on the sidewalk. If there is not a sidewalk, walk on the edge of the street facing traffic.
  • Walking near traffic is not the time to horseplay. Focus when walking near traffic.
  • Use crosswalks to cross the street whenever they are available.
  • If you see a car parked where you are going to cross, make sure the car is not running. If it is, they might reverse without looking.
  • Crosswalks don’t mean it is 100% safe to walk across. Before you cross at a crosswalk, stop at the curb and look left then right then left again. When no cars are coming, cross and keep looking left and right for cars.

Teens and driving

For some teens in high school, the school year might mean picking up friends to ride to school and leaving together to hang out after school. As parents, it is important to be aware that teens are the largest age group reported as distracted at the time of a fatal crash. If your teen has driving privileges, talk to them about how serious it is that they drive safely and leave the cell phone out of sight. Their life, the life of a classmate or a pedestrian could depend on it.

Commuting to school while distracted 

We have all heard the term distracted driving. The danger of distractions is not limited to those behind the wheel. Loading or unloading the bus, riding a bicycle, scooter or skateboard or walking while looking down at a phone, iPad or other distraction is extremely dangerous. In today’s modern age, it is common for children to have cell phones at very young ages. Such entertainment hinders the child from staying alert and aware of their surroundings. This becomes a problem that could lead to tragedy if the child is not paying attention near traffic. They might not hear a car approaching or may dart towards oncoming traffic without enough time for the driver to realize a child is in their path. Teach your kiddos to put the phones, headphones and any other type of distraction down while on their route to school; you might need a little reinforcement when it comes to teenagers.

Child pedestrian safety can be fun

Talking with your children is always a great start. However, talking and only talking may not be as effective as you would hope. It takes time and practice for a child to retain information.

You can make learning memorable by teaching through on hands experience to increase retention and develop abilities that are real-life skills. For example, play a game similar to memory with cards that tests their knowledge of traffic signs. In addition, walk the school route with your child so they will be familiar with the route when it is time for them to walk alone. This will also give you peace of mind knowing your child is aware of where and how to cross the street. The goal is to ensure your child understands pedestrian safety.  This includes basic safety rules, the ability to identify traffic signs and understands how to behave safely and responsibly around traffic.

Click here to download our Back to School Safety Checklist and Printable Memory & Matching Game for Kids!

Safety tips for motorists

The unfortunate truth is that many times, children are injured while getting to and from school due to the negligence and carelessness of drivers on the roads. As parents, we do our part to make sure our children ’s trip to and from school is safe. But as drivers, we also have a responsibility to reduce the number of crashes involving school-aged pedestrians.

Before backing out of your driveway or garage, watch for children in the neighborhood walking or bicycling to school.

When driving in school zones, watch for young people who may not have had the safety discussion with their parents. Children tend to dart in and out of the street.

Slow down. You might be in a hurry to make it to work on time. However, if tragedy strikes, you will have bigger problems to worry about.

Be extra alert near school zones as children might be horse playing on their commute to school or while waiting for the bus.

Learn and obey the school bus laws in your state including:

Yellow flashing lights: The school bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children. Motorist should slow down and prepare to come to a complete stop.

Red flashing lights: Indicates that the bus has stopped to allow children to either board or exit the bus. Many state laws require motorists to come to a full stop and wait for the red flashing lights and extended stop sign to disengage before resuming driving. To ensure that you are driving as safe as possible around a school bus, it is best to wait until the bus begins moving before you hit the gas again.

How The Carlson Law Firm can help

At a time when you’re vulnerable, traumatized and emotionally exhausted, you need a team that will support you through the often complex process that lies ahead. Here at The Carlson Law Firm, we have devoted decades to protecting the rights and futures of personal injury victims and their families for over 40 years. We understand that serious injuries cause harm to entire families. An experienced Pedestrian Accident Attorney has the skills to pursue maximum compensation on your behalf. If your child or a loved one was injured as a pedestrian due to the negligence of another, we want to help. Contact us today to discuss your situation and explore your legal options during a free consultation.

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August 2018 Update: California Jury Orders Monsanto to pay $289 million to Groundskeeper

On Aug. 10, a California Superior Court jury deliberated for two and a half days before finding that school groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson’s non-Hodgkin lymphoma was in part due to using glyphosate—the active ingredient in Roundup. The jury ordered Monsanto to pay Johnson $289 million.

Johnson regularly used glyphosate to spray fields while working as a groundskeeper at a California school. During his time as a groundskeeper, he applied the weed killer up to 30 times per year as part of his work duties. He mixed and sprayed hundreds of gallons of the chemical.  Doctors testified that the 46-year-old Bay-area man will live past 2020.

Judge Suzanne Ramos Bolanos said in court that Monsanto “acted with malice, oppression or fraud and should be punished for its conduct.”

Monsanto Vice President Scott Partridge said in a statement that while it is sympathetic to Johnson and his family, the company will appeal the court’s decision. The statement mentions more than 800 scientific studies and reviews, in addition to conclusions from the U.S. EPA.

There are still hundreds of lawsuits pending against Monsanto, claiming that Roundup causes cancer. All of these cases received the green light to proceed, despite the company’s insistence that its product is safe.

Landmark California Case Shines Light on Dangerous Roundup Ingredient

A 46-year-old California groundskeeper will make history when he becomes the first person to take the global seed and chemical company, Monsanto to court on June 18. His suit alleges the company suppressed evidence Roundup ingredient, glyphosate, is responsible for causing non-Hodgkin lymphoma cancer. Of more than 400 lawsuits with similar complaints pending against Monsanto, DeWayne Johnson’s case will be the first to be heard by a judge.

Johnson’s landmark case comes after experts and health organizations have spent decades researching whether or not Roundup ingredient, glyphosate, is a carcinogen. Further glyphosate is Roundup’s active ingredient. Johnson, alleges that in addition to the company’s product being the cause of his cancer, it also knew about and actively worked to suppress evidence that links Roundup to non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

The case received a major boost after Judge Curtis Karnow issued an order that required a jury to consider both scientific evidence related to what caused Johnson’s cancer and allegations that Monsanto suppressed evidence of risks associated with its weed-killing products.

Johnson’s suit alleges, Monsanto “championed falsified data and attacked legitimate studies” that revealed real dangers of its herbicides. Additionally, the suit states that the company led a “prolonged campaign of misinformation” to convince government agencies, farmers and consumers that Roundup was safe.

Monsanto Denies the Allegations

The company says its products are not the cause of cancer and the findings of the World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) findings—which resulted in glyphosate being designated a class 2A carcinogen—are wrong. Monsanto points to findings from the Environmental Protection Agency and other regulatory authorities to back its claims.

“Glyphosate-based herbicides are supported by one of the most extensive worldwide human health and environmental effects databases ever compiled for a pesticide product. Comprehensive toxicological and environmental fate studies conducted over the last 40 years have time and again demonstrated the strong safety profile of this widely used herbicide,” the company said in a July 2016 report, titled “Benefits and Safety of Glyphosate”. The report continues, “[g]lyphosate exhibits low toxicity to humans and non-plant wildlife over both short- and long-term exposures. It does not cancer and it is not an endocrine disruptor.”

Nearly 4,000 plaintiffs have made similar claims against Monsanto in state courts. The suits were filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco filed by people alleging that exposure to Roundup ingredient glyphosate is responsible for the Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma that they or their loved ones developed.

How The Carlson Law Firm Can Help You

The Carlson Law Firm represents clients from all 50 states who are dealing with the effects of workplace cancer. If you, or someone you love, was injured by cancer caused by an exposure to toxic chemicals, it is in your best interest to contact the experienced Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Cancer Lawsuit Lawyers on our team immediately. As always, an initial consultation with our firm is always free.

As a nationally recognized law firm, we have the resources to help you against large companies. We care. We can help.