Social Security Turns 80 This Month

Share Button

Social Security is celebrating its 80th birthday this August.  As is common during any public celebration nowadays, there are always going to be those in the crowd turning the event into a platform to scrutinize the subject.

Social Security has taken a lot of heat politically in the past few years, as anybody even casually watching the news would know.  Numerous politicians have questioned the long-term solvency of the Social Security retirement and disability programs.  Even the writers of House of Cards have seemed to chime in during its third season, with the main character, democratic president Frank Underwood, trying to remove the Social Security structure entirely by replacing it with a program that would instead provide jobs to those unsuccessfully seeking employment. Social Security Birthday Cake

While the writers of House of Cards might not have been attempting to stir any actual political ideas with the plot line, as Frank Underwood would say, it’s a question worth asking. Does Social Security have issues?  Sure, but every federal agency has room for improvement.  Even Social Security’s own actuary tables would indicate that it might be about time for it to seek some assistance and be open to modifications.  But the frequent portrayal that the sky is falling on the Social Security system is a typical attempt to induce panic for self-interested gains instead of a full, transparent disclosure and open discussion of the facts on the matter.

The solvency of Social Security is a definite concern, but the reason that the system is facing such a major issue should also point to issues outside the agency.  The question then becomes:  is the solvency of the Social Security system at stake because it is being forced to externalize the costs of other poor policies that have been promoted in the past 80 years since its birth?  Does Social Security actually need a huge overhaul, or could other policies outside the agency change and in turn help set Social Security back onto a solvent path?  These, too, are questions worth asking.

In the meantime, let’s instead get back to celebrating and appreciate all that Social Security has done to help provide stability to the millions who have depended on it over the years.  What is important to keep in mind is that by providing direct stability to those who need it most, Social Security has provided indirect stability to those who don’t think they need it at all.  That’s because a society without an appropriate social safety net will eventually lead to a mass of citizens whose main concern focuses on survival rather than social order.  Needless to say, that’s when bad things happen.

As we reach America’s 239th year we should take a moment to celebrate Social Security’s birthday, because the former might not have survived without the latter, and after all, the two are family.  If everyone can at least for a moment acknowledge the benefits Social Security provides, then we’re all much more likely to work towards a creative solution to ensuring its longevity.  Its 80th birthday is the perfect time for that to happen.

Wet June Spells Trouble for Indiana Corn and Soybean Farmers

Share Button

Country superstar Luke Bryan might disagree, but rain isn’t always a good thing—not when you’ve had 18 inches in one month. Corn farmers in northern Indiana are likely watching the forecast with concern. June of 2015 proved to be a record-setting month when it came to rainfall totals in many areas.  Flooding has been a problem in some locations, and will continue to be an issue if the rain doesn’t let up.Rain damaged corn Indiana

According to the US Department of Agriculture, corn is the most widely produced feed grain in the United States, with the majority of corn being grown in the heartland of America (Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana, as well as parts of South Dakota, Nebraska, Kentucky, Ohio and Missouri). Rainfall during corn’s growing season is vital to its survival, but too much rain can kill the crop. Purdue University reports that central Indiana averages 18.41 inches of rain between May and September, corn’s growing season.  During the month of June alone, Jasper County Indiana measured 18.06 inches of rain, nearly the average total for corn’s entire growing season. This spells trouble for the corn crop.

When flooding occurs, the timing of the flood during the plant’s growth cycle will affect how the plant fares. Other factors that contribute to the plant’s survival include the frequency and duration of flooding events, as well as the temperature of both the air and the soil. Studies show that young corn can survive up to four days of ponding if temperatures are cool. If the plant is completely submerged, it is much less likely to survive, as submerged plants are unable to undergo photosynthesis. Corn plants are at a higher risk of death if ponding continues over several days; this is because soil oxygen is depleted within about 48 hours of soil saturation. When oxygen is depleted from the soil, the plant’s critical functions, such as root growth and water uptake, are severely impaired, making it much less likely the plant will survive.

There are other things to consider with flooding aside from worrying about submerged plants. When the water subsides, a hard crust often forms on the dried soil. If flooding occurs shortly after planting, this can make it difficult for seedlings to emerge. Flooding also tends to cake the leaves and stalk of the corn with mud, increasing the likelihood that fungal and bacterial diseases might develop. If the soil continues to remain saturated after the standing water subsides, the plant’s roots could die. New rooting could also be stunted, making it more likely the crop will fail if the later part of the growing season becomes unusually dry.

According to the National Weather Service, June 2015 was the 7th wettest June on record for Indianapolis.  Some of the increased rainfall was the result of Tropical Storm Bill, which dumped over a foot of rain in parts of Texas and impacted much of the Midwest. Parts of Southern Indiana saw more than four inches of rain from Tropical Storm Bill, while Northern Indiana was subsequently hit by stormy weather systems kicked up by a fast jet stream.

With June 2015 setting records for rainfall totals in Indiana, what does this mean for farmers? Governor Mike Pence recently met with farmers in Northern Indiana to survey the damage. However, much of the damage caused by the flooding will not show itself until later in the season.  The recent flooding is likely to have a profound effect on the 2015 corn yield.  With the anticipated decrease in production, corn prices are already on the rise, with corn futures seeing recent gains.  Farmers are expecting lower yields, meaning consumers may eventually see higher prices, particularly for beef and gasoline.

What does too much rain mean for corn prices?

Corn is no stranger to fluctuations in the market. In fact, the price of corn is still attempting to rebound from an enormous hit taken in 2013 and 2014 after China rejected US corn imports. The dip in corn prices happened when Swiss-owned Syngenta released a genetically modified corn trait to the market prior to the seed’s approval. When US corn exports were found to be tainted with the unapproved strain, China rejected all US corn, causing an overabundance of corn in the US and a steep fall in prices.

Farmers across the country are filing suit against Syngenta in the hope of recouping losses suffered in 2013 and 2014. Although the price of corn may Town Hall corn buttonrise due to a decrease in production, farmers will have fewer bushels to sell and the increase in price is not guaranteed to make up the difference.  Farming is a tricky business when you not only have to contend with the mistakes of seed manufacturers, but also the ever-unpredictable Mother Nature.

Relevant Links

http://wishtv.com/2015/07/01/pence-surveys-flood-damage-at-2-northern-indiana-farms/

http://wishtv.com/2015/07/01/state-climate-office-indiana-rains-set-june-record/

http://wishtv.com/2015/06/29/rains-force-farmers-to-brace-for-economic-disaster/

https://www.agry.purdue.edu/ext/corn/news/timeless/pondingyoungcorn.html

http://corn.agronomy.wisc.edu/WCM/W091.aspx

http://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/crops/.aspx

https://www.extension.purdue.edu/extmedia/nch/nch-40.html

http://www.weather.gov/ind/June2015rain

http://www.weather.com/storms/hurricane/news/tropical-storm-bill-long-time-inland

Tracy Morgan and Walmart Reach Truck Accident Settlement

Share Button

On June 7th, 2014, a multi-vehicle truck accident, involving a Walmart tractor-trailer and a limousine van, occurred on the New Jersey Turnpike. The limo was carrying the well-known comedian, Tracy Morgan. Although sustaining serious injuries, including head trauma, a broken leg, broken ribs, and a broken nose, Mr. Morgan made it out alive. The same cannot be said for his good friend and fellow comedian, James McNair (aka Jimmy Mack), who tragically died in the accident. Two other passengers were also seriously injured. All were hospitalized for weeks.

The truck driver, Kevin Roper, faced several charges, including death by auto and assault by auto. “According to the criminal report, Roper operated a truck without having slept for a period in excess of 24 hours, resulting in a motor vehicle accident.” It was also estimated that Roper was going about 20 miles per hour over the posted speed limit, which at the time, was reduced due to construction.Walmart Truck Accident Tracy Morgan

According to regulations set out by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), property-carrying drivers can work up to 14 hours per day, with a maximum of 11 hours spent driving. Ten consecutive off-duty hours must be taken between shifts. The idea is that drivers will not be overly sleep-deprived with these hours, and therefore, they will not put other drivers at risk.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about five to six thousand crashes per year may be caused by drowsy or sleep-deprived driving.

Despite this tragic accident, Walmart is consistently listed as having one of the safest fleets in America. A quick view of Walmart’s website lists the awards that they have received throughout the years. It states that they have had “16 ATA National Driving Champions since 1999,” they are a “2 time ATA Super Tech Champion since 2005,” and they have received “numerous state ‘Safest Fleet’ awards each year.”

After a long and difficult battle, those affected by the truck accident are starting to finally receive settlements. The family of James McNair reached a $10 million agreement in early 2015, and Tracy Morgan received an undisclosed amount in May 2015.

“There’s nothing we can do to change what happened,” Walmart said. “Walmart and the McNair family have worked closely together to reach an agreement. Walmart continues to work with others involved in the accident and we will continue to do what’s right.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a truck accident contact an attorney to discuss your rights.  Truck accidents are not the same as car accidents and different steps need to be taken to preserve and support your claim.  Our consultations are always free and there are no obligations.  You can speak with an attorney directly by calling 317-660-2548 or click here to submit a “Get Help Now” form.

New Law in Indiana Requires Slow Drivers to Move Over

Share Button

According to the Indianapolis Star, a new law passed during the 2015 legislative session will force motorists travelling in the left hand lane to, “move over to allow faster vehicles to pass them or risk a $500 fine…” The new law, which will take effect July 1st, passed 97-0 in the House, but received a good deal of criticism in the Senate where it passed narrowly 29-20.tortoise

Critics say that the law legalizes speeding and gives speeders the right of way. The Star reports that Senator Karen Tallian had this to say about the law, “It really doesn’t make sense to put law-abiding citizens as the criminal here,” Tallian said. “You can be driving down the road at 70 miles per hour, doing the speed limit, and some joker comes up behind you doing 90 and you’re the one who gets the ticket?”

But defenders of the law, including the bill’s author Representative Jud McMillin, say that the bill reinforces what is already law – the left hand lane is for passing only. The Star quoted Representative McMillin, “If you’re going the speed limit or you’re not going the speed limit, the left lane is the side to pass,” he said. “The law doesn’t say that you have to be in the right-hand lane all the time, it requires you to be there when it’s safe to do so.” The Indianapolis Star also reports McMillin noted that numerous other states have similar laws and that it isn’t aimed at protecting speeders but to improve safety for all drivers.

It’s important to understand that the law does make exceptions allowing for drivers to drive in the left hand lane even when not passing. For example the Star notes, “The mandate does not apply during traffic congestion, bad weather, while exiting on the left, paying a toll, or pulling over for an emergency vehicle.” During these situations drivers would not be subject to a fine for travelling in the left hand lane.

Highway travel can be dangerous whether you are in the fast or the slow lane. While controversial, hopefully the new law will make highway travel safer for everyone. Unfortunately, accidents do happen, and sometimes they are catastrophic. If you or a loved one is injured in an auto accident contact a car accident attorney at Hensley Legal Group today. They have the experience you deserve and will make sure you don’t get the run around from the insurance company. Call anytime 24/7 at 317-660-2548, or contact us via the web. Fill out the ‘Get Help Now’ form and someone from our office will contact you as soon as possible to discuss your situation. It never costs you to speak with us about your accident, and we don’t get paid unless you do.

GMOs: Good or Bad?

Share Button

GMOs: You Decide.

GMO Corn

(From ‘Monsanto’s Genetically Engineered Sweet Corn a Flop?’ on Ecowatch.com)

Lately, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have had a lot of press and media attention. On April 27th, 2015, the popular food-chain, Chipotle, announced that their products will no longer contain any GMOs. Whole Foods Market, another popular sustenance destination, proudly pronounces on their website that they are fighting to have “GMO transparency” – they want all US and Canadian food stores to have GMO products clearly labeled in the forthcoming years.

On the other hand, a 2013 study by a team of Italian scientists stated that although the GMO debate is still quite intense, “the scientific research conducted so far has not detected any significant hazards directly connected with the use of genetically engineered (GE) crops.” And in January 2015, for the first time ever, the European Union voted to allow countries the choice of planting genetically-modified crops.  It is estimated that the United Kingdom will see its first GMOs by 2017.

Considering the ever-changing policies and concerns of consumers and their food-providers, including the aforementioned companies, is it certain whether these studies have had any clear influence one way or the other? Are GMOs truly bad for our health and/or the health of our environment? Have GMOs been produced long enough to have a tangible idea of their effects on humans and the environment? All of the literature on GMOs can be quite cumbersome and confusing. With an intense and seemingly never-ending divide among the people, there is definitely no shortage of data and opinions.

First and foremost – what are GMOs? According to a review from St. George’s University of London, GMOs or genetically engineered (GE) crops “are those that have been genetically modified using recombinant DNA technology. This may be to express a gene that is not native to the plant or to modify endogenous genes.” Basically, a desired trait from one organism can be altered and/or transferred over to another organism.

There are many reasons that GMOs are desired – they could allow for resistance to common pests or insects, and environmental extremes such as drought, flooding, or dangerous heat. GMOs could allow for a larger, more flavorful, and/or more nutritional organism, or they could even allow for new developments in the fields of medicine and pharmaceuticals.

For example, a vaccine for hepatitis B was made possible by genetically modified yeast cultures. This GM vaccine completely eliminates the possibility of transmitting blood diseases, which was a prime concern of prior vaccines that consisted of potentially harmful human plasma.

The Genetic Science Learning Center produced an article called, “The Evolution of Corn,” where a dramatic picture of corn shows the changes that corn has undergone throughout many, many years:

Evolution Of Corn

Through cross-breeding and genetic engineering, today’s corn now has many advantages over more primitive corn: it has the ability to grow in many different types of climates, it is much larger with many more kernels, and it has a much higher resistance to pests.

But do not be fooled into thinking that plants, tiny unseen beings, and food products are the only organisms that are being genetically modified. Animals, humans, and even some plastic products have gone through genetic mutation as well. Mosquitoes, for example, have been genetically modified to have a protein called SM1, “which blocks entry of the malaria parasite, Plasmodium, into the mosquito’s gut.” Malaria-resistant mosquitos have the enormous potential to prevent the needless deaths of over 1 million people each year – most of whom are children in Africa. Creating a model of GM plant technology production over the current model of “profit-motivated pharmaceutical production” would allow for the developing world to cultivate locally-grown solutions to preventable deaths.

Fertilized eggs have had successful transplants of genetic material that prevents mitochondria from being carried over to other fertilized eggs. This is quite significant because many medical conditions are connected to “disease-causing mitochondrial mutation(s),” such as diabetes, neuropathy, vision loss, ataxia, and Leigh Syndrome. The possibility of eliminating or reducing these ailments is literally life-altering.

The Independent wisely states that “money doesn’t grow on trees. But credit cards, or at least their raw material, might grow in fields, thanks to genetically modified (GM) plants that can produce biodegradable plastic.” It is very true that plants have been modified to naturally produce plastic that is biodegradable. This would reduce or possibly eliminate the need to produce plastics using crude oil, which generates considerable damage. Any measurable decrease in the use of oil has a positive effect on the health of humans and the environment. A 2010 study states that, “People living on oil-rich sites around the world are subjected to contamination of drinking water, top soil, and livestock due to toxic pollution that can result from the oil extraction process. In some contaminated sites, serious illnesses resulting from exposure have been documented. Before the introduction of petrochemical industries, environments around the world that sat upon large oil reserves supported healthy human life and vibrant ecosystems. Oil contamination from drilling processes, however, has adversely affected the people living in these areas by polluting the environment around them. The water, soil, and air have been severely tainted by petroleum pollutants. As a result, wildlife, livestock, and humans have been sickened.”

So why is there so much hatred toward GMOs – especially in popular media?

As the famed chemist, Leslie Orgel, once stated, “Evolution is cleverer than you are.” Although fictitious, this school of thought brings up recollections of the Jurassic Park films. Miniscule amounts of dinosaur DNA were extracted from blood in a fossilized mosquito. This DNA was used to create dinosaurs in the modern world. The results? Disastrous. As we all know, dinosaurs outmaneuvered and outsmarted the humans, as they eventually took over Jurassic Park. In the fourth installment of the Jurassic Park film series, Jurassic World, set to release in June 2015, humans will most likely be outplayed (once again) by their own ingenuity – who would have thought that this was possible? In order to boost park-attendance, geneticists create the GMO, Indominus rex, which is created from the DNA of Carnotaurus, Giganotosaurus, Majungasaurus, and Rugops. Lead actor, Chris Pratt, soon learns that the meaning behind the creature’s name, the fierce or untamable king, is most likely a precursor for the park’s eventual demise. See the official trailer here.

In a less fictitious, yet just as engrossing, example of the effects of genetic engineering, we look to a study done on pigs. In this study, pigs were fed either a GM soy and GM corn diet or an equivalent non-GM diet over 22.7 weeks. The results found that “Pigs fed a GMO diet exhibited heavier uteri and a higher rate of severe stomach inflammation than pigs fed a comparable non-GMO diet.” Because humans have a very similar gastrointestinal tract to pigs, this is highly concerning. Stomach inflammation can often cause nausea, bloating, abdominal pain, vomiting, indigestion, etc. The study also points out that proponents of GMOs often conduct similar studies; however, there is one main difference: those studies were not conducted on mammals, but most often conducted on non-mammals (such as birds and fish). As mammals clearly have a much closer DNA-sequence to humans than non-mammals, this presents an understandable argument for opponents.

The following figure shows “different levels of stomach inflammation found (clockwise from top left): nil (from a non-GM-fed pig, number B41), mild (from a non-GM-fed pig, number B15), moderate (from a GM-fed pig, number C34), and severe (from a GM-fed pig, number D22).”

GMO Pig Stomachs

(From ‘A Long-Term Toxicology Study on Pigs fed a Combined Genetically Modified (GM) Soy and GM Maize Diet’)

Have you noticed an increase in gluten-free products and gluten-sensitivity claims lately? There might be a reason for such change. Tom O’Bryan, an expert on gluten and the related ailment, Celiac Disease, says that, “The introduction of GMOs is highly suspect as a candidate to explain the rapid rise in gluten-related disorders over the last 17 years.” The Institute for Responsible Technology released a study that focuses on the Bt-toxin, which is produced by GM corn. The toxin “kills insects by punching holes in their digestive tracts, and a 2012 study confirmed that it punctures holes in human cells as well.” Having a porous intestinal tract is extremely common in those with gluten sensitivities and disorders. Coincidence?

In a 2012 study published by The Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology, scientists looked at two groups of rats – those that were fed NK603 corn, developed by a biotech company, and those that were fed non-GM corn. NK603 was developed to resist certain herbicides. However, when consumed by the rats, it was reported that they “developed higher levels of cancer, had larger cancerous tumors, and died earlier than controls.” It is important to note that the study has since been retracted from the publisher’s journal – but not without outcry from proponents. Hundreds of scientists have reportedly condemned the retraction, basically calling it a government conspiracy to hide evidence of GMO volatility.

Weed resistance and environmental factors are also lead concerns for GMO opponents. A 2013 study found that “weed resistance to glyphosate has become an issue, affecting some farmers using GM glyphosate-tolerant crops.” Glyphosate is commonly marketed under the trade names Roundup, Rodeo, and Pondmaster. Farmers are now being told to include a variety of herbicides when attempting to manage crop weeds. Could this increase in the use of herbicides, only to combat the possibility of some resistance, lead to other environmental and human risks? This seems quite counter-intuitive to the original idea that GMOs should reduce the amount of crops that are vulnerable to weeds and other pests, thus allowing for a lowered use of herbicides. A 2012 study found that, “The annual increase in the herbicides required to deal with tougher-to-control weeds on cropland planted to GE cultivars has grown from 1.5 million pounds in 1999 to about 90 million pounds in 2011.” That’s a gargantuan increase of about 5,900%.

Click here to see dates and times of Town Hall meetings in your area.

In a related case, farmers across America are filing lawsuits against Syngenta, the creator of Agrisure Viptera MIR162 corn. This GM corn was touted as having a resistance to certain insects. Although the corn was approved by the United States in 2010, in June of 2013, China absolutely refused to accept American corn due to Viptera contamination. Corn prices then fell from almost “$7/bushel to a little under $3.30/bushel in October of 2014.” Basically, farmers across America had a large surplus of corn, which lead to a fierce decrease in corn prices. “The USDA had predicted that China would import 7 million metric tons of corn in 2013, but as a result of the rejection of shipments due to Viptera contamination, the US only exported 1.23 million metric tons to China.” As a result, anyone who planted any type of corn in 2013 and/or 2014 has the potential to recover compensation for damage to overall corn prices.

All in all, the Grocery Manufacturers Association estimates that GMOs are found in about 70-80% of the foods that Americans eat. Whether proponents or opponents of these modifications have the superior argument, it is safe to say that GMOs affect us all in some way or another. Whether it is a positive or negative effect, we will likely find constant arguments, opinions, studies, and literature for both sides.

3 Major Companies File Additional Corn Lawsuits

Share Button

China has a “zero tolerance policy” when it comes to unapproved biotech-enhanced traits in grain. In November 2013, China rejected the first shipment of grain from the United States due to contamination with Agrisure Viptera, a genetically modified seed that had not been approved by Beijing. The Viptera seed, engineered by the Swiss-based company Syngenta, was not approved by China until December 2014.

With unceasing rejections from China, U.S. corn shipments were down 85% in the first seven months of 2014 according to The Wall Street Journal. In an April 2014 report, the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) estimated that rejected shipments had directly cost grain companies $427 million. They went on to report that the total loss to U.S. Agriculture, including the impact on prices and other factors, could exceed $2 billion.

Major Companies Have Already Started Seeking Damages

Cargill Image

The premature sale of Agrisure Viptera could be costly to companies other than its manufacturer, Syngenta. Cargill, Trans Coastal Supply Company, and Archer Daniels Midland Company are among numerous parties filing corn lawsuits prompted by the rejection of tainted corn.

In late November 2013, Cargill was forced to reroute at least five ships containing tens of thousands of tons of corn. The corn, which had been rejected by China, was sent to Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Egypt. The multinational corporation has reported more than a $90 million loss due to China’s rejection of its crop and Cargill’s subsequent push to sell the bioengineered corn.

Trans Coastal Supply Company was the second company to sue Syngenta over the sale of the genetically modified corn seed. This major exporter of livestock feed products said their losses were related to exports of an ethanol byproduct called distillers dried grains (DDGs). China is the world’s largest buyer of DDGs and the rejection is said to have set Trans Costal Supply Company back roughly $41 million.

Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM), the world’s largest corn processor, is also getting involved in the corn lawsuit. A spokeswoman for ADM did not provide an exact dollar amount, but stated there were “tens of millions of dollars in losses and added costs.”

Corn Farmers Get Involved

The lawsuit for sales of genetically modified corn has expanded to U.S. farmers. Thus far, there have been farmers in 11 states that have filed corn lawsuits against Syngenta in federal court seeking damages for an alleged hit to corn prices. Experts have estimated damage compensation to be between $0.11 and a $1 a bushel for corn grown in 2013 and/or 2014. It does not matter if the farmer had planted the Viptera seed, as the corn lawsuit is focused on overall damages to corn prices.

How Do I Get Involved?

Click here to see dates and times of Town Hall meetings in your area.

If you or someone you know was negatively impacted by Syngenta’s seed, contact an attorney at Hensley Legal Group for a free consultation. If you have questions about a Syngenta Corn Lawsuit our attorneys can help you understand your options. Call our office any time at 1-888-505-8232 or reach us via the web. Fill out the ‘Get Help Now’ form and someone from our office will contact you as soon as possible to discuss your claim.

How to get and read your Indiana Car Accident Report

Share Button

Being involved in an Indiana car accident can be overwhelming. You may not know what to do after the accident to make sure things are taken care of. Securing a copy of the police accident report is one of the most important things you can do after the crash. In this post we’ll tell you how to obtain and interpret your police accident report.

Getting a copy of the accident reportSample Indiana Car Accident Report

To get a copy of your police accident report you’ll need to go to the local police station where the accident occurred or online to www.buycrash.com. At Buycrash.com, select the state where your accident occurred and click search. From here you have two options. If you have the police accident report number, you can enter it and click next. If you don’t have the accident report number, you can fill in your personal information instead. Finally, you’ll have to purchase your report by adding it to your shopping cart. The cost of your accident report should be $12, and the website will accept debit or credit card. After you purchase the report, you can download and print it.

What to look for in your Indiana Car Accident Report

Now that you have your Indiana accident report, you need to know what is most important. (Click here to see a sample report.)  First, determine what driver number has been assigned to you. This information is located on the first page of the report, in the top section under the crash location. Typically the at-fault driver is listed as driver #1, but that is not always the case.

While there is a lot of important information on the first page of the report, the most critical details are located in the “Driver Contributing Circumstances” boxes, which are located on the left hand side in the middle. Compare your driver number to the Driver Contributing Circumstances boxes to see if you are listed as having contributed to the collision. If your boxes are checked “None,” this means you were not at fault for the accident according to the report.

After you’ve determined who was at fault for the crash, it may also be helpful to read the narrative on the second page of the accident report. This is the police officer’s summary of what happened. You should look at this carefully and make sure that it is consistent with what actually happened. Reports often include a diagram to explain the narrative. The diagram is always the last page of the report and can be very helpful to refer to when reading the officer’s narrative.

Now that you’ve read the narrative and inspected the diagram of the crash, you may want to return to the first page to review the police officer’s estimate of the damage. You’ll find this under the Driver Contributing Circumstances boxes. The estimate is simply a ballpark figure, but it’s a good number to have in mind.

Each driver in the crash will get his or her own “Unit Information” page. Here you can find insurance information for the other driver. You can also determine if the other driver was wearing a seat belt by looking at the top right hand corner under “Safety Equipment Used.”

Are Indiana Car Accident Reports Final?

It is critical that you understand that police reports can be changed. If you look at your report and notice that the narrative, diagram, or some other piece of information is incorrect, you should notify the police department. Call and ask to speak to the officer (whose name is on page 2). You should explain the errors and try to get the information changed.

Call us for help with your Indiana Car Accident

There is a great deal more information listed on the police report than what is detailed here, but now you should have a good idea of what is most important. Never assume that the insurance company will give you a fair deal just because the accident report says you were not at fault for the accident. Sometimes you need an Indiana car accident attorney to help you make sure the insurance company isn’t giving you the run around. Our office has handled Indiana car accident cases since 1998 and has the experience you need to get what you deserve. We never charge for a consultation and we work on a contingency fee basis, which means we don’t get paid unless you get a settlement. Call us anytime at 1-888-505-8232 or reach us via the web and fill out the “Get Help Now” form. Someone from our office will get back with you right away.

 

Syngenta Corn Lawsuit Resembles Recent Rice Lawsuits

Share Button

herbicide-587589_1280

Rice Farming in the U.S.

Americans have been farming rice since the late 17th century. Seven states-Arkansas, California, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Florida-contribute the most to rice production, making the U.S. one of the world’s largest rice exporters. Roughly 3 million acres of rice fields are farmed annually in the United States.

The rice cycle is no easy task to conquer. In early spring, rice farmers are itching to plant their seeds into seedbeds for sprouting and early growth. After the initial planting, the fields are flooded as farmers begin the process of transplanting and growing. Between the time it takes to prep the fields, combined with the time spent growing the crop, rice farmers have already invested months in their fields. But they aren’t done yet. Harvesting is the next step in the rice cycle; it alone is a headache. Cutting the plants, moving the crop to another location, threshing, cleaning, and storage are all tasks the rice farmer must master in order to have a successful harvest.

A rice farmer’s livelihood relies on the successful mass production of this valuable cash crop. GMOs (or “genetically modified organisms”) help farmers achieve better harvests. GMOs can be engineered to develop resistance to insects or to enhance the growth and nutritional value of a crop.  USA Today has a great article explaining “What you need to know about GMOs.

GMOs & Contaminated Rice

All GMOs are regulated by The Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Environmental Protection Agency. The FDA regulates genetically modified foods just as it does all others, by ensuring the food is safe to eat. For that reason, the U.S. government’s stamp of approval on a genetically modified food is vitally important to a crop’s export value.

Unfortunately, obstacles can arise on account of unapproved GMOs. Unapproved strains of genetically modified crops have crept into the food supply on more than one occasion, wreaking havoc on the value of the crop.  According to Bloomberg Business, in August 2006, trace amounts of Bayer AG’s experimental LibertyLink strain were found to have cross-bred and contaminated 30 percent of U.S. ricelands. Boatloads of rice tainted by this unapproved strain were rejected by China, causing significant damage to the U.S. rice value. Within four days of discovering the contamination, declining rice futures cost U.S. growers roughly $150 million.

Rice Lawsuit Settlement

After years of litigation, Bayer AG ultimately settled with rice farmers in July 2011 for $750 million. The settlement held Bayer AG accountable for the contamination and compensated 11,000 U.S. rice farmers up to $310 per acre.

The LibertyLink settlement encompassed the growing seasons of 2006 through 2010. Bloomberg Business further explains how the compensation would be dispersed. “A grower who participated in all five seasons would receive $120 per acre for 2006, $80 per acre for 2007, $60 per acre for 2008, $40 for 2009 and $10 for 2010 for a maximum of $310 per acre.” Furthermore, “Two other compensation pools have been created under the pact: one for farmers who planted two contaminated varieties and another for growers who didn’t plant tainted strains yet suffered damages beyond market loss.”

Syngenta Corn Lawsuits similar to Rice Lawsuits

Click here to see dates and times of Town Hall meetings in your area.

Much like the rice contamination lawsuits, corn farmers across the country are filing suit in state and federal courts against Syngenta, a global Swiss agribusiness that markets seeds and agrochemicals. In 2010 Syngenta released a genetically-modified corn seed known as Agrisure Viptera MIR162. The seed turned up in shipments to China, who had yet to approve the genetically-modified strain. As a result, China shut down all U.S. corn imports, causing corn prices in the U.S. to fall dramatically. Anyone who planted corn in 2013 and/or 2014 is potentially eligible to recover damages lost to falling corn prices. You can find more information about the ongoing Syngenta corn lawsuit here.

If you or someone you know was negatively impacted by Syngenta’s seed, contact an attorney at Hensley Legal Group today for a free consultation. If you have questions about a Syngenta Corn Lawsuit our attorneys can help you understand your options. Call our office any time at 1-888-505-8232, or reach us via the web. Fill out the ‘Get Help Now’ form and someone from our office will contact you as soon as possible to discuss your claim.

Hensley Legal Group, PC Named to 2015 Top Workplaces

Share Button

We are excited to announce that Hensley Legal Group, PC was named as one of the 2015 Top Workplaces by the Star Media.Top Workplaces 2015

The Top Workplaces are determined based solely on employee feedback. The employee survey is conducted by WorkplaceDynamics, LLP, a leading research firm on organizational health and employee engagement. WorkplaceDynamics conducts regional Top Workplaces programs with 40 major publishing partners across the United States.  Over the past year, more than 5,000 organizations and 1 in every 88 employees in the U.S. have turned to WorkplaceDynamics to better understand what’s on the minds of their employees.

We can’t thank our employees enough for this great honor.  We wouldn’t be where we are without them.  It is our great group of employees that truly makes this a Top Workplace.  Here are some of the employee comments from the surveys:

“I am part of a team and group that helped build what we have today. We do important work for many people who would not have a voice without us.”

“I love my job because of the people that I work with. They have become my closest friends and family. ”

“It feels like I became part of a close family. The HLG people are all very friendly and helpful.”

“What I do and the people I do it with.”

“The opportunities that I have been provided both financially and intellectually have and continue to be amazing.”

Megabus Crashes Injuring Nineteen

Share Button

Megabus Crashes Again in Indiana

April 13, 2015 – Nineteen people were taken to five different hospitals after a Megabus collided with the tail end of a Semi-truck. The Megabus was in route to Atlanta, GA after leaving Chicago, IL early Monday morning.

The Chicago Tribune reported the crash occurred around 5:30 a.m. in the southbound lanes of Interstate 65 near the Edinburgh exits. The Megabus crashed into the back of a semi-truck, forcing the large truck into two passenger vehicles.Charter Bus

According to WTHR – “The Indiana State Police said southbound traffic had come to a stop due to construction vehicles in the area, and a state trooper with emergency lights on was assisting as the construction vehicles moved from the right lane to the median. The driver of the Megabus failed to stop for slowed traffic.”

Megabus has been involved in four different accidents in Indiana since October 2014. Of the four accidents, there have been roughly 65 injuries requiring hospital visits. None of the injuries incurred from the incidents have been reported as life threatening, but there have been multiple accounts of broken bones, contusions and cuts from broken glass among other injuries. More than half of the Megabus accidents have occurred south of Indianapolis on Interstate 65.

Megabus Crashes

October 14, 2014 – Greenwood, Indiana

December 20, 2014 – Seymour, Indiana

December 30, 2014 – Hammond, Indiana

April 13, 2015 – Indianapolis, Indiana

If you or someone you know has been injured in a Megabus or other bus accident, please contact an attorney who can help get the compensation you deserve. The attorneys at Hensley Legal Group have the experience needed to handle complex bus accidents. Contact us anytime at 1-888-436-7539 for a free consultation. Or contact our office via the web. Fill out the ‘Get Help Now’ box and someone from our office will contact you as soon as possible to discuss your situation. Don’t try and navigate your Megabus accident alone. Let a professional from Hensley Legal Group help you today. Whether it’s the Hensley Legal Group or another accident professional, please contact an attorney to find out your rights.