Winner of Michael Cordova Annual Scholarship

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Michael Cordova presenting the scholarship award to Michael Kolodziej, the annual scholarship winner.

 

There were many very high quality candidates for the 2016-2017 Michael Cordova Annual Scholarship this year which made the decision to pick one out of so many one of the toughest choices to-date. The name that ultimately emerged from the many deserving candidates was Michael Kolodziej. To be considered for the scholarship, the scholarship recipient would demonstrate a great desire to pursue higher education as demonstrated through their academic achievements, great leadership skills, and altruistic endeavors in the local community.

Michael left a lasting mark, academically, during his four years at Desert Vista High School. In addition to maintaining an unweighted 4.0 grade point average throughout his tenure as a high school student, Michael earned the distinction of being invited to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama as part of the Honeywell Leadership Challenge Academy (HCLA). The HCLA is a week-long program that focuses on cultivating the leadership and teamwork qualities of students who have demonstrated exceptional academic prowess. The time Michael spent in Huntsville was spent delving into a challenging curriculum of math, science and technology. He was also named a Commended Student in the National Merit Scholarship program in September of 2015. He earned this honor with the National Merit Scholarship program by having his Preliminary SAT score stand out among his over 34,000 peers who also took the test. Michael’s exceptional efforts in the subject of Social Studies earned him a place in the Rho Kappa Honors society. Rho Kappa is an honors society that recognizes students that excel in the subject of Social Studies and focuses its efforts in stressing the importance of grasping the lessons of history and being of service to the community.

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Michael Kolodziej – the Michael Cordova Scholarship Winner

The concept of being of service to the community is a concept that is not lost on Michael. When he was a summer volunteer at Pecos Community Center, he was instrumental in helping the counselors supervise the children that participated in the Center’s summer program and organized program activities. Michael’s dedication to community service does not stop there; he serves as a member for the Squires of Columbus, a faith-based organization that dedicates itself to serving the less fortunate in the community. The National Honors Society, an entity dedicated to volunteer service and academic excellence, recognized Michael’s diligence to academics and community and made him a member of their organization. Given the importance of faith in Michael’s life, he has made time to serve as an Altar Server for Corpus Christi Catholic Church since 2008 and was given the honor of being named an Altar Captain in 2011 for his dedication to Altar duties.

Michael understands the importance of physical fitness to maintaining a sharp mind. When Michael was part of the Desert Vista Track and Field team, he took part in the high jump and short distance running. He also made a point of competing in as many local track meets as he could, when they took place.

The value of a dollar is not lost on Michael; in order to start paying his own way and to save for college, he started working in part-time jobs when he turned 16 years old. Amazingly, when Michael is not focusing on studies, giving back to community, or challenging himself physically, he spends 20 hours a week towards his part-time employment, whether enduring the rigors of the fast food industry at Taco Bell or his current job helping customers at his local Safeway.

Besides being accepted into the Barrett Honors College at Arizona State University, we are also impressed with Michael’s ambitious plans for his life after college. He wants to pursue a career in mechanical engineering and to earn a law degree. As a mechanical engineer, he wants to have a legacy of creating life-changing devices. He also wants to pursue a law degree because he recognizes there is a sizeable portion of our community that does not have the ability to speak for themselves and stand up for their rights; he believes a juris doctorate degree would enable him to do that.

The Law Offices of Michael Cordova wishes Michael Kolodziej all the success in the world at Arizona State University and a heartfelt congratulations on being named 2016-2017 Michael Cordova Annual Scholarship winner! We look forward to hearing the good things to come from Michael in the future!

Getting ‘Schooled’ on Liability Waivers

As the 2016 school year commences, so does the inevitable marathon of school activities that your kids will be taking part in. The unavoidable reality of school activities, ranging from field trips to athletics, is the presence of liability waivers. While it is understandable that schools try to shield themselves from liability, these instruments do have their limitations. The saying, “to be forewarned is to be forearmed” is appropriate when it comes to liability waivers. Every parent should be aware of the different types of liability waivers and the limitations that go along with each one.

One of the most commonly used waivers is the blanket or general consent waiver form. These waivers are pretty straight forward. You are relinquishing your right to take legal action against a party in the event that a harm takes place to yourself or to someone else in exchange for something tangible or intangible of value. This is known as “consideration.” For example, if your child wants to try out for the high school basketball team, the school will have you sign a document that waives your right to take action if your child gets hurt. In exchange, your child gets to try out for the basketball team. A general consent waiver without consideration like this is less likely to be seen as valid. Another thing to consider with general consent forms is that many states frown upon these kinds of liability waivers. The rationale of some jurisdictions is that these waivers ask parents and children to relinquish important rights and allow schools to skirt liability for accidents or injuries that could have been prevented. Looking for a sample of a general liability form, like this one, will give you a better idea of what they look like.

Student Liability Waivers

 

Another liability waiver you are likely to see is the informed consent waiver. These forms typically try to limit the liability of the school by informing the person of their responsibilities and the risks they assume when they participate in a specific activity. A waiver like this only shields the school from liability if your child gets hurt doing something directly related to the activity. For example, if your child is on a field trip to a zoo and he or she gets bit by an animal on display, even though the supervising teacher has properly warned every one of the danger surrounding the animal, then the school is likely not to be liable. However, if that same animal bite takes place without proper supervision or precautions by school staff, the school could be liable. Informed consent forms do not shield schools from liability for injuries to a child that occur due to negligence of the staff. Typically, if your child brings a form home to take part in an activity that looks like this, you are looking at an informed consent waiver.

When dealing with any kind of liability waiver, don’t be afraid to have your attorney look it over before signing it. If your child has been injured in a school related accident, please reach out to the Law Offices of Michael Cordova to consider your options pertaining to your child’s injuries.

Navigating the Turbulent Air Space of Drones

Drone Accident

Navigating the Turbulent Air Space of Drones

There is an ever-growing cloud of uncertainty around the topic of drone use. One of the few certainties about drones is they appear to be here to stay. Recent estimates show that by 2023, the sales of military and civilian drones will total over $89 million. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is authorized to issue licenses for commercial drone use due to legislation to reform and modernize the FAA. Another certainty brought about by drone use is there will be potential civil liability issues for commercial and recreational drone operators. An incident involving a drone that had been knocked out of the sky by fans who had gathered outside a sports arena, arguably, could have led to an injury liability for that drone’s operator. There was no telling where it could have landed and who could have been hurt.

Whether you are a commercial or recreational drone operator, there are personal injury liabilities you need to be aware of in regards to the use of drones. During the course of a holiday promotion at a Brooklyn restaurant involving a drone that was supposed to hover above customers, a photographer was struck not too far from where it was hovering. Another incident took place in Florida where a drone struck and damaged the roof of a car that it was following. Such incidents are spurring state legislatures, like the state of Florida, to pass legislation that allows plaintiffs in civil actions to recover costs against drone operators if the drone “was a substantial contributing factor” in the damage that occurred.

In addition to civil liability for damage caused by a drone, some municipalities are seeking additional sanctions against specific drone usage. One city in Arizona has imposed restrictions and fines on drone flights over private and public property, unless permission has been granted to the drone operator.

If you are a business owner that is considering lifting off into the airspace of drone usage, it would be best to consult an attorney about ways to mitigate your exposure to liability for drone usage. Taking the step of performing a cost-benefit analysis of drone usage in your business should tell you if the potential benefits you could reap from drones would outweigh the foreseeable liabilities to mitigate. If you are a recreational user, finding a public space, at a reasonable distance from residences, offices or industrial areas should limit your exposure to civil liability or municipal violations.

If you have been injured or had property damaged by a recreational or commercial use drone, please reach out to the Law Offices of Michael Cordova for advice on your circumstances.

Are You Ready for Some Football?

Football Concussion

 

The recent movie, Concussion, has highlighted safety concerns around the game of football. With approximately 250,000 kids that play at the Pop Warner level and 1.1 million high school students who play football, safety in football is undoubtedly at the top of many parents’ minds.

What Can Parents Do?

If you have a child that plays football, you are likely asking yourself what you can possibly do to look out for them. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has made a number of recommendations to help assure that it is safer for its participants. One of the recommendations is that parents be on the lookout for officials and coaches that are enforcing rules of proper tackling and zero-tolerance for illegal, head-first hits. Youth programs that adhere to USA Football’s Heads-Up Curriculum have seen a 76% reduction of injuries that occur. The curriculum teaches players proper procedure for blocking and tackling.

The AAP has also recommended the presence of athletic trainers on the sidelines of football games for kids and teenagers.

Finally, parents may consider another recommendation of the AAP: non-tackling leagues. While Dr. Greg Landry of the University of Wisconsin has stated that you could delay the introduction of tackling in football to your child until you feel they are old enough, he sees a significant drawback to that. According to Dr. Landry, there are higher rates of injury to players that first get exposed to tackling when the other players are bigger and stronger.

Other Useful Tips

In addition to covering proper blocking and tackling techniques for players, USA Football has other helpful guidelines for parents looking to maximize the safety of football for their children. Their website provides tips for properly fitting your children for helmets and pads. Because heat exhaustion has claimed the lives of one too many football players, their site has guidelines pertaining to heat preparedness and hydration. USA Football also addresses how to recognize the symptoms of sudden cardiac arrest and how to formulate an action plan for dealing with these symptoms. Finally, USA Football’s site discusses signs and symptoms of concussions and what coaches should do in the event of a suspected concussion.

What Happens If My Child Gets Hurt on the Field?

If you feel that your child has been injured or has died because of a failure of duty by a coach or an official for the youth league or the school, you should call an attorney immediately. The Law Offices of Michael Cordova are experienced in personal injury and wrongful death.

Car Accidents: The Most Dangerous Driving Times

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Car Accidents: The Most Dangerous Times and Days of the Week

Getting behind the wheel of a car is the riskiest thing most people do every day. In 2014, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 32,675 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents on U.S. roadways. An additional 2.3 million people were injured in crashes in 2014. The dangers you face while driving varies, and there are several reasons why car accidents are so dangerous, including the time of day, simple distractions, or even unsafe behavior while driving.

The time of day.

The time of day plays an important role in evaluating fatal crashes. Driving at night can be very dangerous, as the instances of drunk driving, speeding, and driving without a seat belt all significantly increase at night, and each contributes directly to increased fatality rates. In 2013, the highest percentage of motor vehicle accident deaths occurred between the hours of 3:00 p.m. to midnight, with 16% of these accidents occurring between 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Days of the week.

Mid-week days, like Tuesday and Wednesday, pose the lowest number of fatalities. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, weekends—when the greatest number of people are on the road—predictably see the highest numbers of crash victims, with a combined average of 143 deaths for Saturday and Sunday.

Safe driving: the do’s and don’ts.

While not an exhaustive list, here are a few do’s and don’ts for safe driving.

The Do’s:

  • Always wear your seat belt
  • Keep children in tested and approved car seats
  • Follow the speed limits
  • Pay attention when you are driving; a number of accidents happen only blocks from home
  • Be courteous toward other drivers
  • Give pedestrians the right-of-way in crosswalks
  • Make room for bicycles

The Don’ts

  • Don’t drink and drive or get in a car with a driver who has
  • Don’t make assumptions about what other drivers are going to do
  • Don’t assume other cars know what you are doing
  • Don’t tailgate other cars, pass on shoulders, fail to yield, run stoplights or stop signs
  • Don’t talk on your cell phone at the same time
  • Don’t engage in other activities while driving that distract your attention or reduce your reaction time

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, it is important to talk to an attorney immediately. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Michael Cordova are experienced in injuries arising from car accidents.