Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Maryland Criminal Defense Attorney | Maryland Human Trafficking Laws

"Operation Cross Country" by the FBI netted more than 280 arrests of pimps around the country, including four in Prince George's County.

Rebecca Wu, a spokesperson for the FBI, says local, state and federal law enforcement partners and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children took part in the week-long operation, which became the largest and most successful Operation Cross Country. The investigation included 106 cities.

FBI Director James B. Comey said this was the eighth time the FBI coordinated an operation against sex trafficking. The nationwide campaign targeted places ranging from casinos, to truck stops to pornography stores.

"Targeting and harming America's children through commercial sex trafficking is a heinous crime, with serious consequences," Comey said in a press release. "Every child deserves to be safe and sound. Through targeted measures like Operation Cross Country, we can end the cycle of victimization."

Two teen girls from the Washington D.C. metro area were rescued by the FBI, including a 16-year-old girl from D.C. found in a Rockville motel. More than 160 others were rescued nationwide. 

"One was returned to their parents and one was taken to social services for help," special agent in charge Steve Vogt said.

Four pimps were arrested in Prince George's County and another was found in Baltimore County. They will face federal charges.


Human Trafficking Laws in Maryland

Maryland law directly addresses sex trafficking, without the need to show force, fraud, or coercion, through Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 11-303 (Human trafficking). Under Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 11-303(a)(1), it is illegal for a person to knowingly

(i) take or cause another to be taken to any place for prostitution;
(ii) place, cause to be placed, or harbor another in any place for prostitution;
(iii) persuade, induce, entice, or encourage another to be taken to or placed in any place for prostitution;
(iv) receive consideration to procure for or place in a house of prostitution or elsewhere another with the intent of causing the other to engage in prostitution or assignation;
(v) engage in a device, scheme, or continuing course of conduct intended to cause another to believe that if the other did not take part in a sexually explicit performance, the other or a third person would suffer physical restraint or serious physical harm . . .
. . . .

 If the victim of the conduct described in Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 11-303(a)(1) is a minor, the defendant is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment up to 25 years, a fine not to exceed $15,000, or both. Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 11-303(b), (c)(2).

Pursuant to Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 11-303(e), "A person who knowingly benefits financially or by receiving anything of value from participation in a venture that includes an act described in subsection (a) or (b) of this section is subject to the same penalties that would apply if the person had violated that subsection." If the offense involves a minor, that person also will be guilty, without regard to the use of force, fraud, or coercion, of a felony punishable by imprisonment up to 25 years, a fine not to exceed $15,000 or both. Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 11-303(e)(1), (c)(2). 

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Monday, June 23, 2014

Silver, Spring Maryland Criminal Defense Attorney | Maryland Robbery Laws

The FBI and the Metropolitan Police Department are looking for a suspect in connection with five separate bank robberies in the DC metro area.

According to a news release from the FBI, the man attempted to rob the Wells Fargo bank in the 3200 block of Pennsylvania Avenue SE around 12:30 p.m. Friday.

Later that day, he attempted to rob another Wells Fargo, this time in 1st Street NE. Minutes later, the FBI said he robbed a TD Bank in the 1200 block of 1st Street NE.

Officials say the same man is wanted in connection with a June 6 bank robbery, as well as an attempted bank robbery June 7. 

Authorities are offering a $5,000 award for information that leads to this man's arrest.

If you have any information about any of the robberies, please contact the FBI at 202-278-2000 or call the Metropolitan Police Department at 202-727-9099.

Maryland Robbery Laws

Maryland courts have adopted the common law definition of robbery. The common law defines robbery is, "the felonious taking and carrying away of the personal property of another from his person by the use of violence or by putting in fear." Under Maryland law, robbery is the taking of someone else's rightful property through force or through the threat of force. As a violent crime, robbery is prosecuted as a felony. The penalties for robbery in Maryland depend on the circumstances of the crime.

  • Robbery - taking the victim's money or property through force or threat of force; maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

  • Armed Robbery - using a weapon (gun, knife, or other item that can be used as a weapon) to perpetrate a robbery; maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Even if you only claim to have a weapon in your possession, your conviction could result in up to 20 years. Yes, an empty threat of a gun is enough to elevate the sentence.

  • Carjacking - stealing a person's vehicle through means of force, threat of force, or weapon; maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.

A robbery conviction can lead to decades behind bars. Upon release, a convicted felon faces numerous restrictions, including prohibition from owning a firearm, lengthy probation, and limitation of employment and housing options. A felony conviction carries negative ramifications that can last a lifetime. 

You have rights and it is your attorney's job to help protect those rights throughout the criminal process. If you are charged with a robbery offense or carjacking, call the law offices of Portner & Shure today to discuss the details of your case and how we might be able to help. No criminal defense lawyer can guarantee results, but we can guarantee to fight tirelessly on your behalf. Our highly-experienced attorneys will be able to help you analyze your case and the evidence against you to determine what steps to take in mitigating the impact of the charges on your life.

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Friday, June 20, 2014

Baltimore, Maryland Criminal Defense Attorney | Baltimore City Police Officers Slit Restrained Dog's Throat

Jeffery Bolger, a 22-year veteran police officer in Baltimore City, was arrested Wednesday after allegedly slicing a restrained dog's throat and leaving it to die. A second Baltimore officer, 24-year veteran Thomas Schmidt, has been suspended while the department investigates his role in the slitting of a dog's throat, a 7-year-old shar-pei named Nala, while the animal's owner says it took her days to find out how the dog died.

Court documents say Officer Thomas Schmidt held the dog down while a fellow officer Jeffery Bolger slit the animal's throat on Saturday. Schmidt has been suspended with pay during the investigation, Baltimore Police spokesman Jeremy Silbert said. Bolger faces felony animal cruelty charges.

Maryland law treated all crimes against animals as misdemeanors until 2002, when the first felony statute went into effect. Aggravated cruelty to animals carries a potential sentence of up to three years and involves deliberate intent to harm an animal.

Despite the law change, many animal abuse cases are still pursued as misdemeanors. That means such cases tend to stay in District Court, even if more serious charges could have been brought to Circuit Court, where most felonies are handled.

In Maryland, Cruelty or Neglect of an Animal is defined as: "overdrive or overload an animal; deprive an animal of necessary sustenance; cause or procure such actions; if an animal is in a person's charge or custody they may not inflict unnecessary suffering or pain on the animal or unnecessarily fail to provide the animal with nutritious food in sufficient quantity, necessary veterinary care, proper drink, air, space, shelter, or protection from the weather."  This is a misdemeanor with a fine up to $1000 and/or imprisonment for up to 90 days. 

Aggravated Cruelty to Animals is defined as: "intentionally mutilate, torture, cruelly beat, or cruelly kill an animal; cause, procure, or authorize such action; or except in the case of self-defense, intentionally inflict bodily harm, permanent disability, or death on an animal owned or used by a law enforcement unit."  This is a felony which carries a fine of up to $5000 and/or imprisonment up to 3 years.  Exemptions are made for veterinary and husbandry practices, research; food processing, pest elimination, training, and hunting as long as the person uses the most humane method reasonably available; normal human activities in which pain to animals is incidental and unavoidable.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Laurel, Maryland Personal Injury Attorney | Woman Falls Through Floor Board in SE D.C. Apartment

District of Columbia Fire and EMS crews were called to the apartment building in the 2300 block of 24th Street SE around 9 a.m. Wednesday after a woman fell through a loose floor board. The woman has been transported to an area hospital in serious condition.

Under Maryland law, if a landlord fails to repair serious or dangerous defects in a rental unit, you have the right to pay your rent into an escrow account established at the local district court. The escrow account can only be set up by the court.

The law is very specific about the conditions under which rent may be placed in escrow. Rent escrow is not provided for defects that just make the apartment or home less attractive or comfortable, such as small cracks in the floors, walls or ceiling.

You must give the landlord proper notice and adequate time to make the repairs before you have the right to place rent in escrow. In order to withhold rent for conditions that constitute a threat to life, health or safety you must notify the landlord by providing actual notice or by certified mail, or the landlord must receive notice of the violations from an appropriate government agency such as the local housing department.

The landlord then has a reasonable amount of time after receipt of the notice in which to correct the conditions. If the landlord fails to do this, you may go to court to file a rent escrow action asking to pay the rent to the court.

The serious or dangerous conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • Lack of heat, light, electricity or water, unless you are responsible for the utilities and the utilities were shut off because you didn't pay the bill.

  • Lack of adequate sewage disposal; rodent infestation in two or more units.

  • Lead paint hazards that the landlord has failed to reduce.

  • The existence of any structural defect that presents a serious threat to your physical safety.

  • The existence of any condition that presents a serious fire or health hazard.

Besides rent escrow, a tenant can report the landlord to local authorities. Under a law that was passed by the Maryland General Assembly in 1986, every county in the state must adopt a housing code that meets minimum statewide standards. Some counties and Baltimore City already have comprehensive housing and building codes that are enforced by local authorities. The local authorities will investigate your complaints and, if the landlord is cited for violations, repairs will have to be made.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Ellicott City Auto Accident Attorney | Motorcyclist Killed in Howard County

A motorcyclist was killed when his motorcycle crashed with a car in Ellicott City, Maryland Howard County police said.

Police say an officer saw the motorcyclist speeding in the westbound lane on U.S. 40 around 11:15 a.m. Tuesday. Authorities say the officer tried to stop the vehicle, but stopped following it to avoid a high-speed pursuit.

Witnesses told police the driver sped through the red light at U.S. 40 and Normandy Drive and was running a red light at U.S. 40 and Rogers Avenue when he was struck by a 2001 Saturn sedan making a legal left turn on a green arrow from U.S. 40 onto Rogers Avenue.

The motorcyclist was pronounced dead at Howard County General Hospital. The driver of the car was taken to the hospital as a precaution but had no serious, physical injuries.

Motorcycle riders experience significantly higher rates of fatal injury as compared to motor vehicle occupants. In 2011, motorcycle riders were more than 30 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a motor vehicle traffic crash and 5 times more likely to be injured. Motorcyclist fatalities have decreased in Maryland over the past five years, but still account for 16% of all traffic fatalities. According to the CDC, after reinstating their universal helmet law, Maryland saw motorcycle deaths drop by 37%. Maryland ranks #5 in the nation for lives saved and economic costs saved due to helmet use.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Rockville, Maryland Criminal Defense Attorney | Are Criminal Defendants Under Too Much Pressure to Plea?

When a person has their head under water, they struggle against the force and will do anything to come up for air. For criminal defendants a plea deal can seem like they are gasping for air and the force they struggle against is their own attorney.

Attorneys are required to protect the rights of their clients, including the right to go to trial. Attorneys are required to listen to their clients and allow their clients to participate in their own defense. While an attorney can certainly advise their clients of the pitfalls of a trial and conviction, they must allow the voice of their clients to be heard and recognize their clients' choice to go to trial.

Very often attorneys meet their client, review the charging documents and then advise their client that they will plead the case out. That approach may infringe upon the rights of the accused. The criminal defendant has the absolutely right to stand trial. Certainly, an attorney should consider all factors such as a defendant's prior criminal record and the nature of the crime, and then advise their clients of the best course of action, including a plea deal, if appropriate.

Plea agreements are an invaluable asset in the criminal justice world. They can be used to scale back the amount of time in jail that a Defendant is facing, if convicted. However, a lawyer should also advise clients of their right to stand trial. Attorneys should review all of the evidence and discuss strategy with their clients before attempting to make plea agreements.

At Portner & Shure, P.A. our success with criminal cases is in reviewing all of the details, all of the evidence, and then making a decision as to whether our clients should stand trial, or consider a plea agreement. Portner & Shure counsels its clients on all options and the consequence of each option. More importantly, Portner & Shure allows our clients to be a part of the defense team and is not afraid to try a case.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Gaithersburg, Maryland Criminal Defense Attorney | Maryland Man Charged With Hiring Hitman To Kill His Fourth Ex-Wife

A 37-year-old Gaithersburg man is accused of ordering a $1,000 hit on his fourth ex-wife, Montgomery County Police say. Perhaps, the fact it was his fourth ex-wife was a clue in itself.

Detectives say they received information last Tuesday Ndokey P. Enow wanted to hire someone to kill his ex-wife. An undercover Montgomery County Police officer posing as a hitman met with Enow at Four Corners in Silver Spring several days later, offering his services to Enow for $1,000.

Enow then showed the "hitman" photos of his wife and where she lived. Just after the meeting concluded, Enow was arrested and charged with solicitation to commit first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder.

Enow confessed to the crime during police questioning. He is being held without bond.

The law in Maryland is that an attempted crime occurs when the defendant takes a substantial step, beyond mere preparation, toward the commission of the crime and that they intend to commit that crime. A defendant cannot be charged with both an attempt to commit a crime and the actual crime itself because by definition an attempt means that the person tried but was not successful in carrying out the criminal act. In Maryland, the maximum punishment for an attempt cannot exceed that of the punishment for the underlying offense.

Attempted murder in the first-degree is covered by Maryland Criminal Law Code § 2-205. According to this code, any individual who attempts to commit first-degree murder can be found guilty of a felony. The associated penalty is imprisonment of up to life.

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Monday, June 9, 2014

Upper Marlboro, Maryland Personal Injury Attorney | Amusement Park Accidents and Injuries

More than 290 million people visited a theme park in the U.S. in 2010, enjoying 1.7 billion rides. According to the National Safety Council's most recent survey of conditions at parks, 1,299 people were injured. That figure included injuries like twisted ankles and scraped knees

Roller coasters are sophisticated machines with thousands of coordinated moving parts, elaborate computer programs, and advanced safety features. Most roller coasters employ multiple layers of safety technology, such as:

  • Physical rider restraints such as lap bars, shoulder harnesses, and seat belts

  • Sensors to track each coaster's position in relation to the overall track layout

  • Multiple braking systems throughout the track

  • Redundant physical safety systems such as anti-rollback devices and pressurized brakes

Despite these sophisticated safety systems, accidents can happen on roller coasters. While technological failures do account for some of these mishaps, rider errors are also responsible for many problems. Some of the most common causes of injuries at theme parks include:

  • Mechanical failures (due to missing safety pins, broken welds, overstressed structural components, exposed wires, malfunctioning safety restraints and other examples of poor maintenance)

  • Operator error (carelessness, poor training, stopping rides too abruptly and failing to inspect the ride's condition regularly throughout the day are all examples of this)

  • Reckless behavior by other guests (park employees should be trained in how to respond when guests jeopardize the safety of others through reckless conduct)

Amusement park accident claims can involve several responsible parties, multiple insurers and a variety of complex legal issues. The highly-experienced attorneys at Portner & Shure work closely with engineering and safety experts to prove exactly how and why the amusement park accidents that injured our clients actually happened.

We manage our caseloads carefully to ensure that each individual or family we represent gets the personal attention, responsiveness and support they may need from us throughout the legal process -- including the help they need to resolve medical care and insurance-related issues. 

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Thursday, June 5, 2014

Maryland Criminal Defense Attorney | Arrested for Drug Possession with Intent to Distribute in Maryland?

The distribution, importation, and sale of drugs are among the most heavily penalized drug offenses in Maryland.

Under Maryland Code Section 5-602, it is illegal for a person, other than an authorized dispenser (i.e., pharmacy), to (1) distribute or sell a controlled substance, or (2) possess a controlled substance in a sufficient quantity to reasonably indicate an intent to distribute the substance. 

Under Section 5-603, it is also illegal for a person to manufacture a controlled substance, or manufacture, distribute, or possess devices that are adapted to produce a controlled substance under circumstances that reasonably indicate an intent to sell, produce, or distribute a controlled substance. 

In Maryland, Controlled Dangerous Substances (CDS) are drugs that have been regulated under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and have been divided into five "schedules." These schedules are classified by how hazardous the substance is, whether it is used in accepted medical treatments, the potential for abuse, and the likelihood that it could cause addiction or dependence.

Schedule I Controlled Dangerous Substances have a high potential for abuse, are generally considered unsafe, and have no current medically accepted use in treatment. These substances include: heroin; lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD); marijuana (cannabis); peyote (cactus which contains mescaline); methaqualone; and 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy).

Schedule II Controlled Dangerous Substances also have a strong potential for abuse, but, unlike Schedule I drugs, they have been used for medical treatment. However, abuse of Schedule II drugs can sometimes lead to a psychological or physical dependence. These substances include: narcotics such as: morphine; opium; hydromorphone (Dilaudid); methadone (Dolophine); meperidine (Demerol); oxycodone (OxyContin); fentanyl (Sublimaze/Duragesic); and stimulants such as: cocaine; phencyclidine (PCP); amobarbital; glutethimide; pentobarbital; amphetamine (Dexedrine/Adderall); methamphetamine (Desoxyn); and methylphenidate (Ritalin).

Schedule III Controlled Dangerous Substances have a lower potential for abuse, have been used in medical treatment, and can lead to a low or moderate physical dependence, but a high psychological dependence. These substances include: benzphetamine (Didrex); phendimetrazine; ketamine; anabolic steroids such as oxandrolone (Oxandrin); codeine or hydrocodone with aspirin (Tylenol 3); and buprenorphine products (Suboxone and Subutex).

Schedule IV Controlled Dangerous Substances have a relatively low potential for abuse, are used in medical treatment, and can lead to a limited physical or psychological dependence. These substances include: propoxyphene (Darvon and Darvocet-N 100); alprazolam (Xanax); clonazepam (Klonopin); clorazepate (Tranxene); diazepam (Valium); lorazepam (Ativan); midazolam (Versed); temazepam (Restoril); and triazolam (Halcion).

Schedule V Controlled Dangerous Substances have a very low potential for abuse, are commonly used for medical treatment, and can lead to very limited physical or psychological dependence. These substances typically include cough medicines that contain no more than 200 milligrams of codeine (Robitussin AC and Phenergan with Codeine).

Under Maryland Code Section 5-608(a), if an individual violates either of the preceding sections (distribution/possession with intent to distribute or manufacturing with intent to distribute) with a Schedule I or Schedule II narcotic, then that individual is guilty of a felony and faces penalties of up to 20 years in prison and / or a fine of up to $25,000. 

Schedule I or II Drugs

Under Section 5-608(b)(1), if an individual violates such sections a second time involving Schedule I or Schedule II controlled substances, that individual is guilty of a felony and faces penalties of 10 to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.

Under Section 5-608(c)(1), if an individual violates these sections a third time involving one or more Schedule I or Schedule II controlled substances, that individual is guilty of a felony and faces penalties of a mandatory minimum 25-year prison sentence and fine of up to $100,000.

Under Section 5-608(d)(1), if an individual violates these sections a fourth time involving Schedule I or Schedule II narcotics, that individual is guilty of a felony and faces penalties of a mandatory minimum 40 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.

In all of these cases, the penalty is the same if the individual is convicted of conspiring to commit these offenses.

Controlled Substances Not Including Schedule I or II Drugs

Under Section 5-607(a), if an individual violates these sections with a controlled substance other than a Schedule I or Schedule II drug (distribution/possession with intent to distribute or manufacturing with intent to distribute) then that individual is guilty of a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and / or a fine of up to $15,000.

Under Section 5-607(b)(1), if an individual commits a second offense (not including Schedule I or Schedule II controlled substances) then that individual is guilty of a felony punishable by two to five years in prison and / or a fine of up to $15,000, with a mandatory minimum two-year prison sentence.

How the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Portner & Shure Can Help You

If you are convicted of possession with intent to distribute, you may face very harsh penalties. Even first-time drug offenders may face jail time, large fines, and long probation periods. Certain factors such as the kind of drug found in your possession, the quantity of drugs, and your prior criminal record can make potential consequences even more serious. If you were arrested in a school zone, the penalties will be even more severe.

You could be charged with possession with intent to distribute based on the circumstances and other evidence confiscated at the arrest:

  • The amount of drugs seized

  • The value of the drugs seized

  • The presence of large quantities of cash

  • Packaging of the drugs

  • Baggies

  • Scales

The presence of any of the above-mentioned circumstantial evidence can lead the arresting police officer to believe there was intent to distribute, regardless of your actual intent. If you are charged with any of the crimes listed above, you should consult with a Maryland drug distribution lawyer to learn about your options and how a lawyer can help you build a strong defense.

The Maryland criminal defense attorneys at Portner & Shure can help you fight the charges against you in court. Working with an experienced Maryland criminal defense attorney could help to lessen the overall impact of the charges against you. The stakes are too high to take your chances without an experienced criminal defense lawyer. If convicted, these charges can seriously impact your ability to:

  • Secure employment, maintain your current position, or advance in your career

  • Get approval for a home or car loan

  • Maintain eligibility for an academic scholarship

  • Obtain acceptance into a university

  • Rent a home, apartment, or condo

The lawyers at Portner & Shure will provide you with aggressive representation for your drug trafficking case in order to minimize the impact of these charges on the rest of your life.

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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Rockville, Maryland Traffic Ticket Attorneys | New Maryland Law Gets Rid of Speed Camera Bounties

A new Maryland law goes into effect getting rid of the so-called "bounty system" for speed cameras.

Cities and counties can no longer pay speed camera vendors based on how many tickets their cameras issue to drivers.

Cameras can often be calibrated to be too sensitive, or in other cases, they might be unfairly positioned. In Maryland, if more than five percent of the citations issued by a single camera are found to be erroneously issued over the course of a year, the contractor will be fined half the cost of the lost revenue.

In school zones, the speed limit must be at least 20 mph for a speed camera to go up in the area. And the school zone must be clearly marked with a warning.

To ensure that systems operate fairly, speed and red light cameras are calibrated at independent labs. That means that camera operators can't rig a system to make it more sensitive in an effort to generate more tickets. 

The law also requires the Maryland Police Training Commission to report speed camera statistics annually, in addition to making the numbers public record.

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Hyattsville, Maryland Workers' Comp Attorney | Maryland Workers' Compensation Laws

What is Workers' Compensation?

Under Maryland State law, all employers having one or more employees, full or part-time, are required to have Workers' Compensation insurance for the benefit of their employees. An employer or employee cannot waive provisions of this Workers' Compensation Law.

What benefits are provided by Workers' Compensation insurance?

To be covered under Workers' Compensation, an employee must have received an accidental personal injury while working ("on the job"). The injury must have arisen "out of and in the course of employment" in the words of the law. Not all workplace injuries are compensable. If your injury is determined to be covered then the employer or the employer's insurance carrier will provide medical and hospital treatment and partial income replacement benefits until you can return to work or until you reach maximum medical improvement.

Who pays for Workers' Compensation insurance?

The cost of Workers' Compensation insurance itself is borne entirely by the employer. No payroll deductions are taken out of individual employees' paychecks.  If your claim is found to be compensable your weekly benefits and all medical bills will be paid directly by your employer or their insurer. 

Are all injuries that occurred "on the job" covered by the Worker's Compensation Law?

No. Not all injuries are covered by the Workers' Compensation Law even if the injury happened "on the job." In Maryland, in order for an injury to be covered, the harm suffered by the employee must have been caused by an "accidental personal injury arising out of and in the course of employment." Just because a person is hurt "while working," "on the job" or "at work" may not be enough for the insurance to apply. Additionally, if you can prove that you have an occupational disease you may be entitled to Workers' Compensation benefits.

How do you determine if the injury was an accident?

An accident is when a sudden unusual or extraordinary event causes an unexpected result. The unexpected result is a bodily injury; that must be caused by an unexpected or unusual event. Injuries that do not fit into this category may very well be covered by general health insurance but may not be compensable under the Maryland Workers' Compensation Act.

What is an occupational disease?

Exceptions to the accident requirement are occupational diseases. These are illnesses caused by the nature of the circumstances surrounding the worker's job. For example, asbestosis is a disease that may have been caused by a worker's job of removing asbestos from buildings. Some forms of skin, eye or lung disease may have been caused by long term exposure to chemical solvents or other solutions used on the job. Conditions such as these may result in the employee's being covered by workers' compensation even though there was no specific "accident;" they are covered as occupational diseases.

What does it mean when the injury must "arise out of the employment"?

For a compensable accidental injury claim, the injury must "arise out of the employment". If the conditions under which the work is required to be performed by the employer causes the worker's injury, it is said to "arise out of" the employment. The focus of this factor is on the exposure of the employee to risk or danger because of the job requirements. For example, if a person must work in an environment that is usually wet and slippery--for instance, a car wash facility or a water amusement ride at an entertainment park--then a slip-and-fall injury experienced by that worker could be said to arise out of the person's employment.

How is "be in the course of employment" different from "arise out of the employment"? 

For a compensable accidental injury claim, the injury must also "be in the course of employment." "In the course of employment" is a slightly different factor. Here the attention centers on the time, place and circumstances of the injury. If the injury occurs during the period of time when an employee was at work, the employer's place of business or such other location as may have been designated by the employer, and while the employee was performing their job duties or something related to them when the injury took place, the injury is said to have arisen in the course of that person's employment.

I meet all of the requirements for a Workers' Compensation claim. Should I contact a lawyer?

Yes. If you plan to file a claim for Workers' Compensation benefits, the sooner you seek legal advice the better. The Workers' Compensation laws prohibit an attorney from charging a fee, unless the attorney is successful in making your claim for benefits. Therefore, it should not cost you anything to discuss your claim with an attorney. Your attorney's advice will be very important in ensuring that you receive the maximum benefits to which you are entitled by law. At the very least you should get legal advice before filing your claim or allowing any person to take a statement from you concerning your claim.

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Monday, June 2, 2014

Silver Spring, Maryland Accident Injury Lawyer | I-495 Outer Loop Closed After Tractor-Trailer Hits Police Cruiser

A tractor-trailer accident involving two cars shut down the Interstate 495 outer loop between Colesville Road and Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring, Maryland Monday morning. All lanes of the Outer Loop of the Beltway were closed after Route 29 in Maryland because of the crash that led to a major fuel spill. All of the lanes reopened by about 7:10 a.m.

Just before 2 a.m., a Maryland state trooper and a car that was pulled over were swiped by an Old Dominion Freight Line truck, which then jack-knifed, spilling a large amount of fuel on the Beltway. Hazmat officials spent hours cleaning up the spilled fuel.

Police say no one was seriously injured in the crash.

Driving at night creates a different set of problems for drivers. Driving at night is more hazardous and difficult than daytime driving, making it more difficult to judge distance and the traveling speed of other vehicles. You can see only as far as your headlights allow. Risks increase at night due to visibility problems, which make it difficult to clearly see the path of travel and determine the actions of other drivers.

Below are some simple suggestions to follow when driving at night:
• make sure to use your headlights and follow the suggestions for when to use high beams;
• when approaching oncoming traffic in the opposite lane, do not stare into the vehicle's headlights, as this will impair your ability to see. Instead, keep your eyes focused on the road in front of you, or slightly to the right of the lane you are traveling in (i.e. the right edge of your lane or the edge of the road);
• increase your following distance. This will help prevent a collision in the event the vehicle in front of you needs to stop quickly.

Knowing when and how to use your headlights is critical for safe driving. Headlights are not only used by drivers to help them see in low visibility situations, they are also helpful in identifying your vehicle to oncoming traffic. In Maryland, when driving, you must turn on your headlights anytime there is not enough light to clearly see at least 1,000 feet ahead of your vehicle. Key times to use headlights are night time, foggy conditions and stormy weather. Maryland law requires that you turn on your headlights when you are using your windshield wipers in inclement weather.

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