Mind Your Own Business
May, 2019 - Issue #176
Viking's Sea Rescue Raises the Question of Cruise Ship Liability
After the world watched a Viking cruise ship pitch to and fro in Norway, requiring 1,300 passengers and crew to be rescued by helicopter over precarious waters, questions have arose about injury and liability. Going into high season, it's important to know about your safety and ability to be compensated if you are injured on a cruise ship.
Due to wet surfaces, proximity to other passengers, easily-overlooked safety concerns and many other factors, it is very possible to suffer an injury while traveling on a cruise liner. When someone does, they may find that pursing compensation is impeded by a number of different obstacles, including liability restrictions, jurisdiction limitations and maritime law considerations.
Cruise ship injuries are not like usual premises liability, or "slip and fall" cases. Because they take place at sea - and that many cruise liner operators anticipate possible passenger injury - there are different factors to consider when an injury occurs.
Your ticket. It is considered a contract with the cruise operator and usually limits their liability in the case of an accident. It will likely detail other agreements, like the statute of limitations to file an injury claim and where they should be filed.
Cruise ships are "common carriers." This means they must adhere to stringent safety standards.
Maritime law applies. That means common carriers must show "due care" to ship conditions relevant to passenger safety.
Injury caused by ship employees. These injuries commonly hold the cruise operator liable and not the individual worker. Some exceptions, like the cruise medical staff, may apply.
While these additional considerations can be complex and intimidating, they can be handled properly by an experienced and proven cruise ship accident attorney. One way in which these cases do not differ from other personal injury cases: negligence must be sought out, emphatically put forth and proven in court.
The Law Offices of Gerald L. Marcus 296-2992

Estate Planning Myths
My estate is too small to justify creating an estate plan.
Do you own property? Have money in the bank? Care who gets it after you pass? Then you need an estate plan.
My spouse and/or kids will automatically inherit my estate. I don't have to do anything.
No way - not with California's probate laws. It could take them years of legal navigation to obtain access to what you can give them immediately upon your passing when you have an estate plan.
My spouse and/or children will automatically be allowed to make decisions for me.
False! There are many scenarios where families disagree on a treatment decision. Save them the fighting, emotional upheaval and potential legal interference and make your decisions known and legally binding.
I can make an estate plan any time.
Not true! The documents that make up an estate plan can only be created during your life and only when you have "legal capacity." Once you find yourself needing one or more documents in an estate plan, it is likely too late.
Attorney Michael Yeager 471-2177

Finally, Home-care Services can be Paid by Medicare
Starting this year, Medicare Advantage (MA) healthcare plans are allowed to cover a variety of in-home and supplemental care services, including:
non-skilled personal care
family respite care
Here are some takeaways from the news:
  • According to AARP, the plans are at varying stages of acting on the new rules, but Humana and Anthem appear to be the first to have systems in place to offer these new services.
  • Anthem has expanded its benefits packages to focus on nutrition, transportation, social isolation and home safety. There's even a benefit for up to 124 hours annually of an in-home aide for assistance with all activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing and meal preparation.
  • Anthem plans to offer these new benefits to its California members next year and will likely be joined by other health care plans in making these services more available and attainable for those who need them.
Home Instead Senior Care 254-8701

Spring Homeowners Insurance Review
Three Questions to Ask Yourself Annually
1. Have you recently remodeled or improved your home?
When you upgrade or improve your home, you may increase your home's estimated replacement cost. Your agent will then help you adjust your policy to meet your home insurance coverage needs. As part of many policy's provisions, you usually have 90 days to notify your carrier of any remodeling or additions to your home that increases its value by $5,000 or more.
2. Has the rate of inflation risen since your last appraisal?
Most premier providers offer coverage that automatically adjusts each year in an effort to compensate for increases in construction costs. However, certain conditions such as severe weather can increase the demand for labor and materials and raise costs beyond normal inflation. It is important to update your coverage amount each year to keep up with the changing economy.
3. What influences the building costs in your area?
Market conditions in your area may impact the amount it will cost to rebuild your home if you experience a loss. Keeping up with the current market conditions in your area and changing your home insurance coverage amount accordingly will help you maintain coverage at least equal to 100 percent of the estimated replacement cost coverage for your home.
Confused? Overwhelmed? Don't know where to start? Reach out to an experienced insurance agent who's an expert in covering houses like yours in Santa Clarita.
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