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The top causes of house fires

Almost nothing can be more terrifying than the thought of being trapped in a house fire. Unfortunately for many residents of New Jersey and elsewhere, this fear becomes a reality, especially in the winter months. This month, according to U.S. News & World Report, a 72-year-old woman from Edison died in the hospital two days after being rescued from a fire in her home. Authorities said she suffered from smoke inhalation, but they had not yet released a cause for the fire.

It is possible that one of five main causes of house fires resulted in the fire that tragically took this woman’s life. The National Fire Protection Association has listed these factors for the public’s safety and awareness. They include the following:

  • Candles, with New Year’s Day, Christmas and New Year’s Eve being the top three days house fires are started by candles in the United States
  • Cooking, especially with a gas stove or barbeque
  • Electrical fires, particularly those started by faulty or outdated wiring
  • Heating equipment, such as space heaters or fireplaces
  • Smoking, such as when someone falls asleep with a lit cigarette or fails to properly put out a cigarette butt

People may find it especially helpful to learn that December, January and February are the most dangerous months of the year for home fires caused by space heaters and other heating sources. It can save lives when residents are aware of the dangers and take measures to prevent fires. However, in the case of a faulty product or the failure of a property owner to provide functional smoke detectors, others may be held responsible for a fire that causes an injury or death.

With workers’ comp, it’s about location, location, location

One of the overriding factors about workers’ compensation in New Jersey is where the accident happened. Unless very specific circumstances are met, if you are injured on the work premises you can argue for workers’ comp and if you are even one foot off the work premises when you are injured, arguments for workers’ comp will fall flat.

It’s called the premises rule and it means simply that where you are when you are injured makes a big difference.

Owned or controlled by employer

The premises rule has two basic tenets:

  • The employee is covered if injured while on premises owned or controlled by the employer
  • The employee is covered if away from the place of business on duties authorized by the employer

Although each workers’ comp claim is different, you can tell if you’re covered under several general circumstances:

Were you on the clock and at your place of employment when you were injured? Then you are likely covered.

Were you off the clock but engaged in work-related activities at your place of employment when you were injured? Then you are likely covered.

Were you off the clock but arriving or leaving (even if it was at a leisurely pace) for work and on the premises of your place of employment when you were injured? Then you are likely covered.

Were you even one foot off the premises of your place of employment when you were injured? Then you are likely not covered.

Were in a parking lot or lobby or elevator or other space off premises that is controlled or owned by your employerwhen you were injured? Then you are likely covered.

Were you in a parking lot of lobby or elevator that is not controlled or owned by your employer when you were injured? Then you are likely not covered.

Were you off-site, on the clock and performing your job duties when you were injured? Then you are likely covered.

Were you off-site, on the clock and not performing your job duties when you were injured? Then you are likely not covered.

Your specific injury, where you were injured, what you were doing when you were injured – these all play a role in whether you are awarded workers’ compensation which could mean the difference between paying your bills and struggling to make ends meet.

If you or a loved one have questions about workers’ compensation, it’s a good idea to talk to a qualified, experienced attorney about all your options.

Electronic logging devices for truckers

The issue of truck driver fatigue is one that has plagued the commercial trucking industry for a long time. Residents in New Jersey know that truckers are often behind the wheel for many long and lonely hours at a time. In addition, drivers are frequently on the road during the dark when the inclination to be tired may be even greater than in the daylight. This puts other motorists or people on the road at risk when a trucker does not take adequate breaks to stay alert when driving.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a total of 295 lives were lost in New Jersey between 2013 and 2017 in motor vehicle accidents involving large commercial trucks. This number of fatalities highlights the ongoing problem of truck safety on area roads and highways.

A few years ago, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration enacted its Hours of Service rule. This rule was designed to curb or prevent fatigue among truckers by putting limits on the number of hours they could drive each day or week. It also outlined the parameters for when breaks must be taken during each shift, work day and work week.

Now, the FMCSA has a mandate in place that trucks be equipped with electronic logging devices. These ELDs are installed to be in sync with vehicle engines so they can monitor when a truck engine has been started, when it is idling and when it is in motion. Data is reported to the FMCSA and any violations must be addressed in a certain time period.

 

 

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