Six Dead in Philadelphia Building Collapse

building collapse in PhiladelphiaA Philadelphia building that was being prepared for demolition collapsed yesterday morning, killing six and injuring at least 14 others.

The four story building sat in a gutted state, right next to a Salvation Army thrift store location. When it collapsed at around 10:45, it fell into the thrift store, killing some of the people inside.

Fire fighters worked through the night to pull up debris and search for survivors in the wreckage. Their efforts uncovered what is believed to be the last missing person from the collapse a few minutes before midnight.

Philadelphia residents claim the work being done on the abandoned building was poor, but did not appear to be in violation of any building codes. The collapse is also being investigated by the Occupation Safety and Health Administration.

Objects Flying from Trucks

trucks must secure their cargoTrucks have an obligation to secure their cargo in a way the prevents it from being dislodged or being flung out and causing damage to other vehicles or becoming roadway hazards that can result in serious car accidents.

However, sometimes trucks have signs posted on their rears that caution drivers to keep their distance while claiming they are not responsible for damage to other cars caused by debris falling from their cargo loads. Can they actually absolve themselves from liability by simply stating they aren’t responsible for the damage they cause?

Put bluntly, no, they cannot. It is a trucker’s legal obligation to secure his or her cargo in a way that will prevent debris from leaving the hold. Even dump trucks that are hauling rocks should be adequately covered by a tarp of some kind to keep debris from escaping and damaging other vehicles. Stating they are not responsible for their failure to secure their cargo does not mean they are legally removed from their obligation to secure their load.

If your vehicle was damaged by debris flying from a truck, the truck’s owner is responsible for the damage, regardless of any signage that might be on the vehicle. Nevertheless, keeping distance from these trucks is a good practice since it reduces the risk that something will actually hit your car.

Ammonium Nitrate Fueled West, Texas Blast

Last month, a gigantic explosion rocked the small town of West, Texas. A local fertilizer plant blew up, killing 14 people. Hundreds were injured as the force of the blast destroyed homes. The explosion left behind a 90-foot-wide crater and could be felt as far away as Dallas.

New insights into the blast’s nature indicate that it might have been the result of ammonium nitrate that was ignited by a fire that was raging at the plant when the explosion occurred. Ammonium nitrate has nitrogen ions that are easily absorbed by plants as nutrients, but the substance is also commonly used as an ingredient in explosives.

Ammonium nitrate does not blow up on its own and typically has to be exposed to some other chemical for a reaction to occur. Due to what appears to be a combination of poor record keeping and lax regulation, investigators are unsure how much ammonium nitrate was present on the site.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has been giving displaced citizens hotel vouchers, but the town will have to wait a little longer for answers into exactly what happened.

The Four Types of Evidence

four types of evidenceOne of the most important aspects of a legal case is the ability of either side to prove its points. The only way to really do this with the level of certainty required by the court is to provide evidence that supports the claims you are making.

Just about anything can be evidence as long as it follows certain rules of admissibility set out by federal or state law.

Evidence can fall into four categories. Real evidence is any physical object that is directly involved with the case, such as a murder weapon. Documentary evidence, which is a kind of real evidence, is a document that contains relevant information about the case, such as a business contract in a contract dispute. Demonstrative evidence is something created for the case to help better illustrate the facts to the jury, such as a chart that shows a person’s spending in a bankruptcy suit. Lastly, testimonial evidence is the words of someone who has some kind of special knowledge about the case, such as witnesses of a crime or experts in certain fields whose opinions can clear up misconceptions.

Using abundant evidence to support your case while hampering the opposing side’s is crucial to a successful lawsuit.

Legal Issues That Follow A Car Accident

The aftermath of an automobile accident can leave you shaking, stressed out, and sacred. Not only are you concerned with your own safety, but also the safety of anyone else in your vehicle and the driver of the other car. And while the moments following an accident may seem like a blur, it is important that you focus, stay calm, and respond appropriately.

By having a plan and knowing how to respond after an accident, you can avoid a number of potentially serious mistakes that could hurt your chances of recovering financial compensation from your insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company through a civil lawsuit.

If you are involved in a car accident, you should respond the following way:

  • Check the safety of everyone involved and call 911 if necessary
  • Talk to witnesses and get contact information from those who saw the accident
  • Do not admit fault to the other driver for the accident
  • Take pictures of the accident scene to have proof of damage to your vehicle for the insurance companies
  • Contact your insurance company to report the accident
  • Talk with a car accident lawyer before accepting any offer

By following these simple steps you can be proactive in getting the financial compensation you need to pay for car repair bills and medical expenses.