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Tractors and Hearing Loss

Hearing loss

Studies conducted by the United States National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health have shown that workplaces with farm tractor operators have a high risk of hearing impairment. On average, the risk jumped to 37.9 percent for users of medium-power tractors and 13 percent for high-power tractors. For most farmers, the hearing loss is gradual and may not be noticed until deterioration is serious. Unfortunately, hearing loss is permanent and irreversible.

Protect Yourself From Hearing Loss

There are some things you can do to help reduce the physical damage and associated hearing loss tractors and other farm equipment can cause.

  • Consciously reduce your sound levels

When buying new equipment, try to opt for the machine that operates at the quietest level.

  • Perform regular maintenance

Fix mufflers, lubricate bearings, replace worn parts. All these actions will reduce noise pollution and has the additional benefit of helping your equipment run better.

  • Use Protective Equipment

Mark areas that are subject to high decibel levels with clear signs indicating them as such. Provide earmuffs or expandable ear plugs for all who enter the area. Make sure you are using the equipment correctly for the maximum amount of protection.

  • Limit Daily Exposure

Part of the reason protective equipment is so important is because of acceptable sound levels that can reduce hearing loss. For example, information from the 2012 Farm and Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health (FReSH) reports unprotected ears can only stand short instances of intense sound.

For example, without ear protection, people should be exposed to the decibel level of a tractor for only 4 minutes per day. Hearing loss could result from 15 minutes of squealing pigs or a table saw, 9 minutes of a riding lawnmower or pressure washer and less than one minute for a chainsaw.

Help Isn’t Far Away

When struggling with personal injuries, remember that Maison Law Firm has experience and a history of successful cases behind us. We can put that skill to work for you. Call us today to get a free consultation, at 559-203-3333. It’s a free consultation. There is no obligation, and you owe nothing unless we win!

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Pulmonary Disease and Farm Workers

Pulmonary Disease

Working in agriculture creates conditions ripe to cause higher rates of pulmonary disease in farm workers. Lung issues, including asthma and lung cancer, are possibilities. Higher-than-usual amounts of dusts, vapors and fumes are contributing factors. Additionally, particles associated with livestock, grains and pesticides create conditions that deteriorate the lungs. These types of dust particles have chemicals, but they also pose organic dangers, like bacteria and mold, that could get inhaled into your delicate respiratory system.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) estimates that work-related respiratory disease makes up about 70 percent of all occupationally-related deaths.

Farmer’s Lung

One lung condition, in particular, is closely associated with agriculture. That is the disease known as Farmer’s Lung. This pulmonary disease is usually brought about by breathing in moldy hay particles. Breathing in dust from hay, corn, grass, feed, grain and tobacco cause inflammation in your lungs, making it hard to drawn in air. Once contracted, it is a permanent condition. It cannot be reversed, so taking care to prevent further stages are necessary. Making sure the materials handled are dry, that there is adequate ventilation and that a mask is always used can help prevent infection.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Farm workers have higher rates of lung diseases than the general public. COPD is caused by chronic irritation in the airways. It’s associated with breathing difficulty, cough, mucus production and wheezing. You may experience chest tightness, lack of energy, or blueness of the lips and nail beds. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis contribute to COPD. It is a condition that needs to be controlled to maintain a good quality of life.

We’re on Your Side

Fighting an irreversible disease can take its toll. Maison Law Firm can help you get the compensation you deserve. Don’t allow an insurance company to offer less compensation while your medical bills mount higher and higher. Get compensated for your medical bills, loss of wages and more. Our team has worked in virtually every type of personal injury case and have the experience needed to fight for you. We offer transportation for your convenience, or we can come to you.

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Driving Under the Influence: Blood Tests

Driving Under the Influence

If your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is 0.08 percent or more in California, you are considered to be driving under the influence. If you fail a breathalyzer test or a field sobriety test, there’s a good chance you’ll be submitting to blood tests. These tests are conducted to measure how much alcohol is in your blood stream, and it’s compared to the legal limit allowed. These standards have been set by scientifically conducted experiments showing stages of impairment with alcohol in the system and they pinpoint when operating heavy machinery becomes a safety issue.

Driving While Under the Influence

In California, refusal to take a blood test will usually result in additional penalties under the “implied consent law”. By driving a motor vehicle, you have agreed to chemical analysis of your breath, blood or urine, if asked to comply by a law enforcement officer. To refuse is to have one more charges added. There are a few exceptions. Hemophiliacs and those who take coagulants for a heart condition are usually exempted.

Blood Tests and Reading Errors

While blood tests are considered reliable due to the scientific nature of the results, the human process to harvest the blood for the test is not always perfect. There have been and still are instances of mishandling of the specimen by the officers. These instances include not recording the chain of custody, contamination by the lab, and the accidental introduction of another toxin or chemical. Something as simple as using a 2 percent alcohol swab for sanitation of the injection site could affect results and render them inaccurate and, therefore, inadmissible.

Why the Right Attorney is Important

If you or a loved one has been hurt by someone that was driving under the influence, it’s critical to find an attorney who will fight for you.  At Maison Law Firm, we are ready to put our education and experience to work for you. Call us at 559-203-3333. We are available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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State Highway System: Accessibility for Bicycles

Accessibility for Bicycles

The Central Valley of California, which includes Madera, Fresno, Kings, and Kern counties, have state highways that lead to scenic and popular regions. Yosemite National Park, Kings Canyon National Park and Sequoia National Park are accessible through the state highway system. Currently, there is no accessibility for bicycles or pedestrians. That’s why Assembly Bill No 2615 was introduced.

Assembly Bill No 2615

This piece of legislation was introduced to give more people better access to federal, state and local parks that are adjacent to or connected to the state highway system. The Department of Transportation will be required to partner with the Department of Parks and Recreation as well as federal, regional and local agencies, or public entities.

Dangers of No Protection

Bicycle safety means something different to us now than it did when we were kids. We were of a mind that throwing on a helmet was enough then, but now we know the serious repercussions that can happen when we’re not fully aware. Bicycles don’t have any of the protective features cars do. An impact could lead to serious conditions. It could even be fatal. Laws that help promote safety and protect more people with better accessibility for bicycles and pedestrians is a step in the right direction.

Accessibility for Bicycles

Most state parks, like Yosemite, Kings and Colonel Allensworth, are popular biking spots, so having more accessibility for bicycles makes sense. Access should be enjoyed. Biking is not only a form of exercise, it’s a form of relaxation, especially when accompanied by refreshing scenic views. While safety should always be at the top of your mind, knowing you’re more protected can help you enjoy the ride.

We’ll Fight for You

Bicycle accidents and the personal injuries they can create are no joke. If you need someone to take your concerns seriously, call the attorneys at the Maison Law Firm. Big insurance companies don’t want to compensate you for your injuries, medical costs, missed wages and more. We are on your side and will make sure they play fair. Maison Law Firm has three locations that cover the Central Valley. We are in Fresno, Visalia and Bakersfield 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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The Zero Traffic Fatalities Task Force

Zero Traffic Fatalities Task Force

Currently, the way speed limits are decided and set is based on something called the 85th percentile methodology. It’s the speed at or below which 85 percent of all vehicles travel under free-flowing conditions. It’s measured by vehicles driving past a monitored checkpoint. Taken into consideration are vehicles that travel slightly slower or slightly faster. What it amounts to is really a statistical game of averages.

California is set to revise this methodology using the Zero Traffic Fatalities Task Force.

Zero Traffic Fatalities Task Force

Assembly Bill 2363 forms this new task force to review the current methodology. The 85th percentile methodology is being questioned because of the high number of fatalities on California roadways. It’s recognized that speed is a determining factor in crash accident reports. The Zero Traffic Fatalities Task Force will include members of the California Highway Patrol, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Public Health, the University of California as well as other schools, local governments and other road safety organizations.

Public Safety

Some California cities, like Sacramento, Fresno, San Jose, San Diego and Santa Barbara, to name a few, have been using engineering, education and enforcement as ways to increase road safety. AB 2363 paves the way for better road safety statewide.

“Nothing is more important than keeping people safe. That’s why Los Angeles is making unprecedented investments to improve street safety for cyclist, pedestrians and drivers,” said L.A Mayor Eric Garcetti in a press release dated October 1, 2018, for Assembly Member Laura Friedman, who introduced the bill.

Ineffective Methodology

AB 2363 has been met with such favor due to an increase in road fatalities. The Zero Traffic Fatalities Task Force has been assigned the task of setting up a new methodology to determine speed limits through analyzing current engineering, education and enforcement.

Help Is a Phone Call Away

If you’ve been injured, it can be scary time. Not only do you have to worry about legal issues, but on recovering, as well. Let Maison Law Firm take the worry out of the case for you. We have professionals on our team who know how to fight for you, so you’re properly compensated.

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Passing and Overtaking Waste Vehicles

Waste Vehicles

It’s happened to all of us. We’re driving down the road when we close the distance to and end up behind waste vehicles.

Garbage trucks are massive. There are people hopping off and on. Trash is falling through the air. The truck itself has jerky movements and unpredictable direction changes. It’s a hazard waiting to happen.

Waste Vehicles on the Road

Garbage trucks are a necessary service. Without them, the streets would be overrun with rodents and bugs. As necessary as they are, their design makes them dangerous. The risk to motorcycle drivers, bicycle riders and pedestrians is high. These cumbersome and erratic trucks travel mostly down residential streets, where there is a higher percentage of people on foot. They have poor visibility, blind spots and no rear-view mirrors.

The risk isn’t only for the public, but includes the safety of the sanitation workers themselves.

California Assembly Bill No 2115

To protect more people, California has introduced into legislation a bill that would prevent people from passing to the left in unsafe conditions. Instead, the requirement would be to make a legal lane change while the waste vehicle is stopped and flashing amber lights. If maneuvering around the garbage or recycling truck is unsafe, you must stop and wait until it is safe to proceed.

Complexity of Waste Vehicle Cases

Due to the specific nature of a garbage or recycling truck, there are often experts called in to evaluate the condition of the waste vehicle. Has it been well maintained? Is there a safety feature that isn’t working? These questions, along with juggling the possibility of dealing with multiple insurance companies, can make these cases overwhelming.

Someone on Your Side

If you believe you’ve been injured by a waste vehicle and aren’t sure about what your rights are, call Maison Law Firm. We have an experienced team of attorneys who know what your rights are and want to fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Located in California’s Central Valley, we can focus on your case while you focus on recovery. Your first consultation is free! Call 559-203-3333 at any time – 24/7. Someone will be here to help you.

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School Bus Passenger Restraints: What Took So Long?

School Bus Passenger Restraints

When school buses were designed, they were created with safety in mind. Their size and weight, combined with high-backed seats, were tested and found to be safe without restraints from a rear or front crash. Nothing was said about side-impact wrecks.

When hit from the side, children without school bus passenger restraints fly sideways out of their seats. Neither are they protected in the event the bus rolls over. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) sets school bus safety standards. They require three-point belt systems on buses weighing less than 10,000 pounds. States are free to decide whether or not to get seat belts on larger school buses.

School Bus Passenger Restraints

It’s been hotly debated whether school bus passenger restraints are needed. Some argue emergency evacuations would be less efficient. Some also argue there would be more injuries due to improperly fastened belts. Even with this opposition, more and more states are requiring a restraint system.

Not Federally Mandated

The design of the bus once again comes into play as to why school bus passenger restraints aren’t required. It’s believed children are protected from the full force of the crash due to the “compartmentalization” design: strong, closely spaced seats. The NHTSA claims bus passengers feel much less impact from a crash than in any other kind of transportation, due to the interior design of large buses.

Numbers Don’t Lie

While school buses are still the safest way to get to and from school, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports an average of 128 fatalities per year. Taking a school bus is still 70 times safer than travelling by car. School bus passenger restraints could make that number even better.

Turn to Us

An injury is an injury, and you shouldn’t have to face it with uncertainty. Call us, at Maison Law. We are skilled in every aspect of personal injury and have a team ready to help you. We have 3 locations: Visalia, Bakersfield and Fresno. Let us welcome you to our family.

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CA A 1755: 2018 Bicycle Operation

Bicycle Operation

In 2018, California legislation submitted Assembly Bill No 1755. It makes all the rights and responsibilities of a vehicle on the road also apply to a bike on a path. Essentially, it makes an accident on bike paths and other Class I bikeways subject to the Vehicle Code.

This piece of legislation regarding bicycle operation began with a case in which a hit-and-run cyclist hit a jogger who ended up hospitalized. No charges of hit-and-run could have been brought against the perpetrator, had he or she been found, since it happened on a Class I bikeway.

Here Are Some Ideas to Keep You Safer

  • Comply with all traffic laws.
  • Use the bicycle lane if available.
  • Stay as close to the curb edge as possible.
  • Yield to pedestrians and make use of crosswalks.
  • Use lights when biking at night.
  • Don’t ride with earplugs in both ears.
  • Stay off freeways.
  • Keep up maintenance on brakes and safety systems.
  • Never operate a bike while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Wear a helmet – it could save your life.

Dangers of Bicycle Operation

When we were younger, we might have thought bike safety meant to not let anyone ride on the handlebars. Now, we know bicycle operation is more serious than that. There is no steel surrounding you. No air bags or seatbelts. No thick, rubber tires to help absorb a blow.

Impact is direct. Some personal injury claims from bicycle accidents include traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, eye injuries, torn ligaments and soft tissue, internal organ damage and lacerations. A bicycle accident could result in not only a loss of wages, but it could impact your quality of life.

Don’t Fight Alone

You could represent yourself in a bicycle accident claim but with changing laws, like the newly introduced AB 1755, it’s best to have someone who knows what your rights are and how to enforce them. Visit us at Maison Law Firm in California’s Central Valley. We have a team of experienced lawyers ready to fight for you.

You can call us 24/7 and your first consultation is free: 559-203-3333.

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Youth in Agriculture: Preventing Injuries

Youth in Agriculture

It might not be a topic everyone is talking about, but that doesn’t make the injuries less of a problem. In fact, youth in agriculture, whether they are living, working or visiting an agricultural environment – mainly farms – is such a big issue the National Committee for Childhood Agricultural Injury Prevention (NCCAIP) was formed in 1992.

National Action Plan

A plan was implemented in 1996 that promoted research, education, leadership, surveillance and public policy to help curb the problem of injuries to youth in agricultural settings. Even with a national plan, the numbers are high. They are so high, in fact, the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety reports that a child died once every three days in 2016.

Youth in Agriculture

There are dangers present, in an agricultural environment, we may not recognize right away. That’s why it’s important to be educated and prepared. Here are some tips to prevent injuries:

  • Dress for the occasion

There are gears, pulleys and sharp edges on some equipment. It’s best to avoid loose-fitting clothing that can get caught or ripped. Keep cuffs buttoned and shirts tucked. Keep long hair under a cap.

  • Stay calm in an emergency

Take emergency preparedness courses, in case something goes wrong. Everyone should know how to administer CPR and have basic first-aid skills. Make sure everyone knows how to call for help in an emergency and that fire/police/EMT personnel have access to information they may need, like what is in each building or where chemicals are stored.

  • Stay in communication

It’s important to have a check-in time. If a check-in time is missed, someone should follow up to make sure everything is OK. Additionally, you should communicate to someone when you are mounting or dismounting equipment, as a precaution.

Help Is Waiting

It only takes a moment for a life to change forever. At Maison Law Firm, we understand the struggles personal injuries can create, and we want to help. If there’s been an agriculture-related accident, come see us in one of our 3 offices in Visalia, Bakersfield and Fresno.

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What Seniors Need to Know About Their Driver’s License Renewal

Driver's License Renewal

Inevitability, the time comes for your driver’s license renewal. If it’s your turn, you might want to get some information on the process. Even seniors have the chance to renew by mail or online if certain criteria are met.

Driver’s License Renewal

Excluding commercial licenses and some other restrictions, you can generally renew under these rules:

  • Your license must be within 60 days of expiring
  • You must be 70 years of age or under when your current license expires
  • You must not be on any driving probation or suspension

Field Trip to the DMV

Of course, if you aren’t eligible for mail-in or online renewal, a trip to the DMV is in your future. If the thought of it makes you tense, you can relax. There are some ways ensure your visit goes more smoothly. One of those ways is to make an appointment and bring your renewal notice. You’ll spend considerably less time waiting.

Requirements for Seniors

In addition to making an appointment, there are other aspects of the tests you will want to prepare for. Be sure you are ready for the vision test. If you’re having some issues, get them checked out now. If your eyesight needs correction, make sure you have a current prescription that gives you 20/40 vision.

Good advice for anyone going for their driver’s license renewal, regardless of age, is to study the California Driver’s Handbook. Laws are updated all the time, and you need be aware of current laws to pass the written knowledge exam.

Supplemental Driving Performance Evaluation

Seniors may be tested for cognitive ability by a driving test examiner in order to get their driver’s license renewal. This is to ensure you are implementing safe driving practices. Some may ask you to follow multiple directions, one after the other in a single sentence. They may talk to distract you, ask you to get on the freeway or have you perform more lane changes than usual.

Keeping Your Driving Privileges

Driving is often translated into freedom, so having to go in and take tests can feel like a threat to independence. It’s not a perfect system and sometimes people can’t get past the paperwork to be able to enjoy driving again.

That’s where Maison Law comes in. You don’t have to muddle through the red tape alone. We can help you better understand your rights as a senior driver. We have offices in Bakersfield, Fresno and Visalia. Visit us online at to see how we can help you.