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Show of Hands: How Many Americans Support Cellphone Driving Laws?

How many Americans support laws that limit cellphone use while driving? According to a new FindLaw.com survey, it depends on what kinds of limits you're talking about. Half of those surveyed (50 percent) said they support laws that require hands-free cellphone use while driving, while 42 percent said they support a complete ban on drivers' cellphone use. Just 8 percent said they didn't support any limits at all. Regardless of your feelings on the issue, laws restricting cellphone use while driving are in effect from coast to coast. Here are three facts you may not know: In many states, laws on cellphone use while driving allow for "primary enforcement." Laws regarding handheld cellphone use while driving vary by state. (The Governors Highway Safety Association maintains this handy list of state-specific distracted-driving laws.) Many states allow for "primary enforcement" of these laws, which means a driver's cellphone violation can, in and of itself, be the basis for a traffic stop. However, in other states, laws may require a separate traffic violation in order for a driver to be ticketed for cellphone use while driving. With laws in place, police are coming up with clever ways to catch violators. While it's often easy to spot a driver with a cellphone pressed against his face, it's less easy to tell when a driver may be surreptitiously sending text messages in violation of the law. That's why some jurisdictions are coming up with clever ways to catch distracted drivers in the act, like using special SUVs to give state troopers a "boost" in their enforcement efforts. In one court's opinion, a person who texts a driver can potentially be held liable for crash-related injuries. This interesting legal twist arose after a 2009 crash; the driver had received two text messages before the accident occurred. A New Jersey appellate judge chided the teenager who sent the text, explaining that she may have had "a duty not to text someone who is driving" if she'd known the recipient would "view the text while driving." That's potentially significant because establishing a legal "duty," along with a breach of that duty, are key elements in proving negligence. Like it or not, cellphone-use-while-driving restrictions are in effect in most states. To learn more about these and other rules of the road (and what to do if you get a ticket), head over to FindLaw's comprehensive section on Traffic Laws. Related Resources: Browse Traffic Ticket Lawyers by Location (FindLaw) Texting and Driving: 3 Ways to Prove It (FindLaw's Blotter) 3 Texting Crash Videos Every Driver Should Watch (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Top 10 Tips for Distracted Driving Awareness Month (FindLaw's Injured)
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Injured at Work? 3 Potential Options for Recovery

Getting injured at work is a pretty common occurrence, but what are your legal options if you get hurt? According to a FindLaw.com survey, more than one in five Americans said they've been injured on the job. Workplace injuries not only impact you physically, but it can affect you financially as well. Here are three potential legal options to seek out if you're injured at work: 1. Worker's Compensation In most states, worker's compensation ("worker's comp") covers employees who get injured on the job. The purpose of worker's comp is to provide employees who are injured on the job a way to receive fixed amounts of compensation without having to sue their employers. While it's often available, it's important to check to see if your state's laws, occupation, and employer align to provide you worker's comp. If you do receive worker's compensation, it's unlikely that you'll be able to sue your employer in a separate civil lawsuit. However, even if you file for a worker's compensation claim, you may still bring a lawsuit against a third-party if that individual was responsible for the workplace accident. 2. Disability Workplace disability insurance is another potential option for getting compensation for your workplace injury. Employees who've purchased private disability insurance plans may have their injuries covered even if their employers don't provide coverage. The duration for which employees may be compensated under disability insurance depends on whether the plan is a short term or long term plan. On the other hand, your employer may offer a disability insurance plan. Many of these benefits are regulated by the federal government and come with complex regulations that dictate exactly how claims should be filed and received. Errors in filing could lead to a denial of your claim, but you have the option to appeal the denial. While it's not necessary, you might want to have an ERISA lawyer help you file your claim to avoid missing any steps. 3. Sue the Employer If your job isn't covered by worker's compensation or other restrictions, you may sue your employer for your workplace injuries. Depending on the nature of your injury and how it occurred, there are several possible legal avenues for recovery. For example, if you slip and fall at work because your employer failed to clean up a spill or put up a warning sign, you may be able to sue them under premises liability law. Workplace injuries can be painful and keep you out of the office for a period of time. So if you're unsure how to recover damages for your injury, talk to a personal injury attorney in your area to get started. Related Resources: What Are the 7 Most Common Workplace Injuries? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Legal How-To: Filing a Workers' Comp Claim (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Do You Need a Lawyer for a Workers' Comp Case? (FindLaw's Injured) 4 Potential Ways to Prove Employer Negligence (FindLaw's Injured)
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Are Workers Entitled to Paid Sick Time Off?

Workers everywhere scramble to remember their sick time off policies whenever they catch a cold, but many are not entitled to paid sick leave. Unless you live in specific states or cities with mandatory paid sick leave laws, there are no laws that require your private employer to pay for your time at home with the flu. Why is that? No Federal Law for Paid Sick Leave The Family and Medical Leave Act, signed into law more than 21 years ago, provides workers with unpaid mandatory time off for serious illnesses and family needs. This federal law applies to most private employers with 50 or more employees and all public employers, but it won't entitle you to paid sick leave even if you're eligible. This means that private employers in most states are not required to provide employers with any paid sick time off. There's also no right to paid vacation time off. As far as federal law is concerned, each private company is more or less free to set its own sick time and vacation policies, as long as they're fairly enforced. State. Local Paid Sick Time Laws There are a few states that require employers to provide workers with paid sick time off. San Francisco the first city to provide all employees with paid sick leave in 2007, no matter the size of the business. Connecticut was the first state to approve a mandatory paid sick leave law, which took effect in 2012. According to a recent FindLaw.com survey, 71 percent of Americans support these kind of laws, and only 10 percent actively oppose them. With support like this, it's no wonder that many other cities and states have mandatory paid sick time on their dockets. Chicago is very close to approving its own mandatory paid sick leave law this month. If you live in a state or city which requires your employer to provide you with paid sick leave, you may be entitled to a paid sick day off. However, several states (see Kansas or Louisiana) have explicitly prohibited local lawmakers from enacting mandatory paid sick leave laws, so the fight for sick time off is far from over. Related Resources: 10 Ways the FMLA Can Work for You (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Time Off for Jury Duty: It's the Law (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Do You Get Time Off for Any Religious Holiday? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Browse Employment Lawyers by Location (FindLaw)
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Is Cyberbullying a Crime? What Can Victims Do?

A 17-year-old North Carolina is facing cyberbullying charges after posting a nude photo of a 15-year-old girl to Instagram, CNN reports. The incident raises the question: Just when does cyberbullying turn criminal? Here's an overview of cyberbullying statutes and what you can do when confronted by cyberbullying: Can cyberbullying be criminal? Nineteen states now have cyberbullying-specific laws on the books, according to the Cyberbullying Research Center; 14 states impose criminal sanctions for cyberbullying. Definitions of criminal cyberbullying and corresponding penalties vary by state, but generally speaking, the laws encompass acts of online harassment -- words or images sent via email, texts, or social media that are intended to intimidate or embarrass another person -- and typically categorize the offense as a misdemeanor. The penalty may also be age-specific. For example, the 17-year-old student from North Carolina faces a Class 2 misdemeanor under the state's criminal cyberbullying statute; if the defendant is over 18, the offense is punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor in North Carolina. What can you do? According to a new FindLaw.com survey, three out of four surveyed parents reported incidents of cyberbullying typically to "friends, school, relatives, law enforcement, and church or clergy." If you become aware of an act of cyberbullying, your first step may be to notify school authorities. If the situation is serious, you may even want to involve law enforcement. In such a case, make sure to give law enforcement copies of the bullying messages or images. How can a lawyer help? With the assistance of an attorney, parents may be able to sue for cyberbullying as an alternative way of reaching parents, school authorities, or law enforcement when other more direct paths prove fruitless -- especially in a state without a cyberbullying statute in place, as Yahoo! Shine reports. The field of cyberbullying-related litigation is still evolving, but there are now examples of victims and their families suing cyberbullies. Before filing a lawsuit, however, perhaps your attorney can write a strongly worded demand letter to a school (or parent) that is slow to respond to cyberbullying. To learn more about how the law can help in your personal cyberbullying case, check out our page on Cyberbullying. Parents of cyberbullying victims may also want to consult an education attorney or an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your options. Related Resources: Alleged Bullies Arrested in Fla. Girl's Suicide (FindLaw's Blotter) 2 Teens Cleared in Fla. Cyberbullying Case (FindLaw's Blotter) Sarcastic Facebook Threat Lands Teen in Jail (FindLaw's Blotter) WA Girl, 12, Sentenced for Facebook Cyberstalking (FindLaw's Blotter)
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Cyberbullying Victim? 3 Ways a Lawyer Can Help

Cyberbullying victims aren't just an invention of an overzealous news media. They're a reality. According to a new FindLaw.com survey, nearly 1 in 12 parents say their children have been targeted by cyberbullies. The survey also suggests ways that a lawyer may be able to help parents deal with the issue. Here are three ways enlisting an attorney can potentially assist a cyberbullying victim: 1. A Lawyer Can Advise You About Your Rights. Although most cyberbullying victims are children and teens, the effects of this harassment can unsettle entire families. This effect is the greatest when cyberbullying leads victims to drastic action such as committing suicide. An experienced personal injury attorney can sit down with family members and the bullying victim(s) to evaluate their case based on the facts and state and local laws. About half of the nation's states have laws specifically relating to cyberbullying, and an attorney can help explain how these laws apply to the victim's case. Even if your state lacks more focused cyberbullying legislation, a lawyer can discuss your options under a potential harassment claim. 2. A Lawyer Can Help You Communicate With Your Child's School. Sometimes parents feel just as powerless as children when reporting cyberbullying to school administrators. According to FindLaw.com's survey, three out of four parents choose to share these incidents with others, and a lawyer can help these parents effectively communicate with their children's schools. Even if it doesn't mean filing a lawsuit, a lawyer can help you draft demand letters to request changes in school policy or even monetary compensation for cyberbullying that occurred on a school's watch. An education attorney can also help parents navigate the complicated world of public school bureaucracies. 3. An Attorney Can Help Draft Legislation and Lobby Policymakers. After you've discussed your legal options, you may be unsatisfied with the protections that the current laws grant you or your child. A great way to change that is to work with grassroots anti-bullying groups to propose new cyberbullying laws or other changes in policy. It may not be surprising, but a proposed bill that has been drafted by a lawyer has a greater chance of being taken seriously than one drafted by a non-lawyer. Enlisting the help of an attorney who is well versed in state and local laws can make your proposed cyberbullying law a legal reality. Victims of cyberbullying aren't without options, and with a lawyer's help, families can explore them. Related Resources: Cyberbullying: Proposed Federal Law Aims to Define Codes of Conduct (New York City's NY1) How Common Is Cyberbullying? Survey Says... (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) FindLaw Cyberbullying Survey: A Refresher for Parents (FindLaw's Insider) Cyberbullying: A Rundown of Cyberbullying Laws (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
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How Common Is Cyberbullying? Survey Says…

A new FindLaw.com survey reveals nearly one in 12 parents say their children have felt the effects of cyberbullying. In a survey that polled hundreds of adults, FindLaw.com found that 7 percent said their children had experienced some form of cyberbullying. That suggests millions of children have dealt with the pervasive issue. Still, many more parents may not be aware of how cyberbullying may be affecting their child. Here's a general overview of what parents need to know about cyberbullying and how to deal with it: Cyberbullying Comes in Many Forms When children are harassed or victimized via the Internet or mobile technology, it's called cyberbullying. And while some are skeptical that cyberbullying is more than just a buzzword, it has been linked to several deaths. The serious and potentially criminal consequences of cyberbullying make it all the more important to understand its impact on children and their families. Key to this understanding is acknowledging its myriad forms: social media attacks, vicious texts, and even hurtful emails. Cyberbullying even can encompass disseminating sexually explicit photos of a teen in an attempt to shame or humiliate that person. Majority of Parents Report Cyberbullying Of the parents who told FindLaw.com that their children have been cyberbullied, 75 percent say they reported the bullying to others. Like other forms of bullying, cyberbullying cannot be addressed unless it is reported to someone in power to act -- like a school administrator or the police. Three out of four parents told FindLaw.com surveyers that they reported these incidents typically to "friends, school, relatives, law enforcement, and church or clergy." Reporting the incident to law enforcement may be more effective now than in previous years -- 19 states now boast cyberbullying-specific laws, according to the Cyberbullying Research Center. What Can You Do If Your Child Is a Cyberbullying Target? Aside from involving school authorities or law enforcement, parents may wonder if they can sue for cyberbullying. Although this field of law is still evolving, there are now examples of victims and their families suing cyberbullies. If you need answers about how the law can help in your personal cyberbullying case, you may want to consult an education attorney or an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your options. If the results of the FindLaw.com survey are any indication, your family and your child are not alone in the struggle with cyberbullying. Related Resources: 10 Strategies for Stopping Cyberbullying (The Huffington Post) 2 Teens Cleared in Fla. Cyberbullying Case (FindLaw's Blotter) Alleged Bullies Arrested in Fla. Girl's Suicide (FindLaw's Blotter) Social Media Posts Costing Jobs: FindLaw Survey (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
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