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Posted by on Jan 26, 2017 in Uncategorized |

Suffer from Work-Related Anxiety Or Depression? You May Qualify For Workers’ Compensation

In the aftermath of a debilitating on-the-job injury, you may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Although workers’ comp mainly covers employees who’ve suffered physical injuries, it may also cover those who are suffering from work-related anxiety and depression. Learn about how you could qualify for workers’ comp coverage if you’re currently suffering anxiety or depression caused by work-related injuries or stresses.

Recognizing the Signs of Anxiety and Depression

Clinical depression is a debilitating illness that affects over 18 million Americans over the age of 18, especially those who are in their prime working years. Workplace depression can also prove costly in terms of lost productivity and treatment costs, leading to over $51 billion in absenteeism, according to Mental Health America.

If you’re suffering from depression or anxiety, then you may have experienced some of the following symptoms:

  • Increased fatigue and overall decrease in energy
  • Increased irritability and feelings of restlessness
  • Reduced or lost interest in your usual hobbies
  • Memory loss
  • Persistent loss of concentration
  • Extreme changes in sleeping patterns and appetite
  • Thoughts or feelings of suicide or self-harm

If you are experiencing these symptoms in the workplace or as a result of a work-related injury, you should consult with a trained mental health expert as soon as possible. Talking with a specialist could be part of your first steps towards receiving workers’ compensation benefits.

Understanding the Claims Criteria

In order to pursue a worker’s compensation claim for workplace-related depression or anxiety, you’ll have to meet certain criteria for a valid claim. In addition to being an employee of the company you’re filing your claim against (as opposed to being an independent contractor), the conditions or events leading up to your workplace depression must:

  • Be the result of the company’s workplace conditions
  • Result in an impairment that causes lost wages and productivity
  • Occur while you’re on the job

If your work-related depression or anxiety isn’t the result of a physical injury, then additional proof may be required before your workers’ compensation claim can be successfully processed. For instance, you may need a professional evaluation from a certified mental health physician that proves your depression or anxiety is the result of work-related issues.

In addition, your state may have its own burden of proof you’ll need to meet in order to successfully prove your workers’ comp claim. This burden of proof may not be the same in every state, so it’s important to talk to your workers’ compensation attorney when establishing your claim.

Physical vs. Mental Injury

Workplace depression or anxiety can be the result of a physical work injury or a mental injury caused by unusual stressors within the workplace. It’s not uncommon for severe depression to set in after suffering a severe physical injury that not only results in a loss of employment, but also prevents you from getting back to work. If you already have a workers’ comp claim for physical injury, you may receive additional compensation for any work-related depression you’re experiencing.

Depression or anxiety experienced in the workplace can also stem from mental rather than physical factors. For instance, working in a hostile workplace could eventually lead to anxiety or depression. Common hostile actions that could produce heightened anxiety include workplace bullying and sexual harassment. Traumatic incidents experienced at work can also trigger depressive episodes. For example, your depression could be triggered in the aftermath of an armed robbery or workplace shooting.

Whether your depression or anxiety was caused by a physical or mental injury, work-related depression or anxiety isn’t something that should be taken lightly. It’s important to take the steps necessary to pursue your workers’ compensation claim. To begin, contact resources like Gilbert, Blaszcyk & Milburn LLP.

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Posted by on Jan 5, 2017 in Uncategorized |

What Maximum Medical Improvement Means In Car Accident Cases

Car accident cases do not usually settle quickly, and there are multiple reasons for this. In many cases, though, it is the injured person who holds up the case from settling, and there is a good reason for this. If you were injured in a car accident and have major injuries, you will want to postpone settling your case for a while too. The goal is to make sure you have reached your maximum medical improvement (MMI) before you settle. Here are a few things to know about this.

What Is MMI?

MMI is a term used frequently in personal injury cases of all kinds, and it refers to the point in time when an injured person has reached the best he or she will ever be after the accident. In good cases, MMI means the person is completely back to normal and has no further problems to worry about. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. When major injuries occur from a car accident, they can often leave a person different for the rest of his or her life.

It can be hard to know when you have reached MMI, but a good way is by talking and visiting with your doctor frequently. With major injuries, you may need to seek various forms of healthcare treatments for the rest of your life. While you may never fully recover, you should reach a point where you are as good as you will ever be. When you do, you can consider that you have reached MMI.

Why Is It Important To Wait?

The main reason you should wait to settle your case until you reached MMI is so that you know exactly what the extent of your injuries are from the accident. If you settle immediately after the accident, there may be lifelong injuries you do not yet know about. The longer you wait, the more understanding you will have regarding the full impact of the accident.

Not only will waiting help you fully understand your injuries, but waiting will also help you see how different your life is now compared to the way it was. For example, if you are no longer able to drive a car due to your injuries, you may experience grief over the loss of freedom driving once offered you, and this is something you can sue for. While money will not give you your health and freedoms back, it can at least help you live more comfortably with your new type of lifestyle.

How Long Can You Wait?

One thing you should realize about waiting to settle is that you cannot wait forever. There is something called a statute of limitations, and this is a time frame you have in which you must file your lawsuit. This time frame varies, but it is normally within one to six years. You will have to talk to a personal injury lawyer to find out the time frame in the state you live in. This time frame gives you time to think about your case for a while before you file, but it is also there to prevent people from waiting too long.

The key point with this is that you must file your lawsuit before the time frame ends. This does not mean you must settle your case by this point. You must only file by this time. After you file, years can pass before the case actually settles, and you can delay settling if you are still waiting to reach your MMI.

If you would like to learn more about car accident cases and lawsuits, you should contact a personal injury lawyer from a firm like Bennett & Sharp PLLC today to schedule a consultation visit.

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Posted by on Nov 21, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Preventing Dog-Bite Liability

Dog bites are common causes of personal-injury cases, and they are often the result of negligence on the part of the dog’s owner. If you own a dog, there are ways to prevent the likelihood of a dog bite from occurring.

Invest in Training

Obedience training is necessary for every dog in your household. Some people make the mistake of skipping obedience training if the dog acts appropriately around them and their family members. Such behavior does not mean the dog will obey basic commands or act appropriately in the presence of other people or animals. Your dog should always listen to commands issued by you or other members of your household. As part of obedience training, your dog should learn to walk on a leash with you in command, not running ahead of you or dragging you along.

Socialization skills are also important to minimize your dog’s fear around strangers or other animals, as this can lead to aggressive behavior. A dog should be taught to not bark at passersby or pull on the leash when someone or another animal walks by. Similarly, package- or food-delivery persons should not feel intimidated by your dog when they arrive on the property.

Maintain Identification and Vet Care

Another concern with dog bites is that some owners do not have their dog properly tagged and are not up-to-date with the dog’s needed vaccinations. Your dog should wear identification at all times in case it becomes lost or in case animal control needs to determine their owner. Microchips remain an invaluable tool to identify pets, since some animals can manage to remove their collar. Spaying or neutering your animal can also make them more docile and reduce the incidence of roaming and territorial behavior. Never skimp on vaccinations for your dog. Not only will vaccination protect your dog, but it will protect your family and other people who may come into contact with your dog. If a dog bite occurs, not only will you be liable for medical care if you are deemed at fault, but you may be liable for additional medical bills if the victim must go through a series of rabies shots.

Be Responsible

Responsibility as a dog owner also means keeping your animal properly restrained when it is outside. Your dog should not be allowed to roam free in your yard if it cannot be trusted to remain within the confines of your property. When you are restraining your animal, the leash needs to be adequate for the type and size of dog. Many large dogs are strong, and a simple leash or chain tied to a fence or post may not be enough to keep them restrained.

Taking good care of your dog is also part of your responsibility, especially if the dog will be outside for several hours. Some jurisdictions limit the amount of time a dog can be tied up outside before the owner’s behavior is considered animal abuse. Leaving a dog restrained outside in the heat or cold is not only cruel to the animal but also may increase the likelihood of aggressive behavior and escape attempts.

Consider Your Neighbors

Many people choose to keep their dog in the back yard so it can have the freedom to run around without the concern of intimidating people who may enter the front yard. Although this is important, you must consider how your dog’s behavior impacts your neighbors. For example, a large privacy fence in the back yard may prevent your dog from escaping over the fence, but if your dog is not well behaved, it may bark or growl at people it can see or hear through the fence slats or a wire fence. Your neighbors have the right to use their back yards and should not be concerned or intimidated by a neighbor’s dog who exhibits aggressive behavior.

If you have done everything possible to thwart aggressive behavior, and your dog continues to intimidate other people and animals, it may be time to reconsider your dog ownership. Although relinquishing ownership of your dog may be hurtful, the people around you have a right to live peacefully without the threat of an aggressive animal.

Talk to a lawyer such as Roberts Miceli LLP for more information about personal-injury cases. 

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Posted by on Sep 29, 2016 in Uncategorized |

4 Ways To Get Your Landlord’s Insurance Policy Information So You Can File An Injury Claim

Landlords are responsible for keeping the properties safe and habitable. In fact, they can be held liable when a tenant or a visitor gets injured due to the landlord’s negligence. The first step that someone has to take when injured is to try to file a claim on the landlord’s insurance policy. But unless that information is provided in the lease, the tenant or visitor may not know how to find the information. Here are 4 ways that you can locate the insurance company information when you need to file a claim against a landlord. 

Ask the Landlord 

You can ask the landlord for the name of the insurance company and the policy number. You shouldn’t have to tell him or her why you need the information at this point, but he or she will probably ask you why you need the information. Of course, if the reason for the injury was due to their negligence, they may not be cooperative in providing you with the information that you will need in order to move forward with filing a claim against their insurance policy. If the landlord does not cooperate, do not threaten at that time that you will file a lawsuit. You don’t want to put the landlord on the defensive in the first stages of the personal injury claim process. 

Look at Courthouse Records 

If your landlord has a mortgage on the house, and it’s likely that he or she does, you may be able to find the name of the insurance company on the mortgage documents for the property. Mortgage companies require insurance coverage at the time of closing. Fortunately, mortgage documents are matters of public record, which means you can read the mortgage documents at your county courthouse or online if the land records office provides that ability. Use this interactive tool to locate your county courthouse to determine whether or not these documents can be viewed online or a trip to the courthouse will be necessary.

It’s important to note that some counties require a fee in order to access records that are online. A clerk in the land records office can show you how to use the database to find the documents. Read through the documents carefully to find a clause that states the insurance requirements and it might list the insurance company’s name there or at the end of the document. 

Get a CLUE

If you still need help finding the name of the insurance company, get a CLUE. This is a report from the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange that lists various information including a history of the names of the insurance companies and the corresponding policy numbers that have ever been attached to the home. Call the most recently listed insurance company to see if the landlord’s policy is still active. 

One huge benefit of getting a CLUE report is that you will also see each claim that has ever been filed against insurance policies for that particular home. This means that you’ll be able to see if any previous tenants have also had the same or similar issues with personal injuries due to the landlord’s negligence. 

Get a Subpoena

If you’re still not having any luck, hire a personal injury attorney, like those at Spesia & Ayers Attorneys At Law, so he or she can get a subpoena. A subpoena can be issued to mandate that your landlord provide you with the information for the insurance policy through your lawyer. If he or she does not answer the subpoena, he or she can be held in contempt of court. 

If you do hire a lawyer, it will be a good idea to avoid corresponding with your landlord without your lawyer’s knowledge. That way, the lawyer can advise you on what and what not to say to your landlord, especially regarding the insurance claim and/or the potential personal injury lawsuit that you might file. 

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Posted by on Jul 15, 2016 in Uncategorized |

When Your Credit Is Killed And It’s Not Your Fault: Can You Sue?

In today’s economy, almost every financial decision you make is based on your credit score. If your score is bad, landlords can refuse to rent to you, you often can’t buy a car or a house, and even small lending, like purchasing furniture on a payment plan, becomes difficult. It can takes years to recoup your score and get into good lending graces, so if your credit was destroyed by bad reporting, inaccurate collections, or identity theft, you might be looking for a way to take back what you have lost. Can you sue for damages to your credit? Here is what you need to know.

Know who to dispute the problem with.

The best way to explain who is actually responsible for your credit woes is through an example. If your internet company starts coming after you for unpaid bills, this affects your credit score. However, if your bills were actually paid in full and you are wrongfully sent to to collections for money owed, you might think the best plan of action is to go after the lender (in this case, your internet company) for their reporting mistake. However, under the law, you can’t actually sue a lender for messing up your credit score when they make a mistake. Instead, you need to dispute it with the credit reporting companies that create your score, even though they are only acting on what they have gathered from your apparent lending history. 

Generally, it won’t come to a full blown legal fight. You can hire a lawyer to help you send a letter showing the error in reporting and asking for your score to be amended properly. If they refuse to correct the score and pay you for financial advantages, you can then take the civil suit to court.

Know what damages you can collect.

So, what financial damages can you hope to collect from suing for bad credit? Here are some examples:

  • When you have poor credit, if you can secure a loan, those loans will come with higher interest rates because you are a high-risk borrower. Your lawyer can help you calculate how much money you would have saved had you been able to secure the loan with the proper credit score. This money from saved interest can be paid out as damages.
  • You cannot secure a loan because of bad credit. For example, if you want to buy a house, but are turned down due to a poor credit score, you are forced to rent instead. That rent money would have paid a mortgage, and is therefore lost equity on your part. 
  • You were unable to purchase home or rent in a better area because a landlord would not rent to someone with damaged credit. Your home might have been broken into and the resulting financial loss could be counted as damages. 
  • You suffered emotional damages because of the reported score. Often, a credit check is run for family law situations, such as when you want to get custody or adopt a child. Good credit indicates financial stability, and you can sometimes be turned down for custody of a child or for adoption if your credit report shows activity that is financially irresponsible. Not being able to move forward with a perfectly legitimate custody or adoption case is grounds for emotional distress damages in a lawsuit.
  • Punitive damages can be charged if the credit reporting company is shown to be negligent. Punitive damages are meant to prevent the mistake from happening again

If your credit has been wrongly destroyed, you should contact a personal injury lawyer from a firm like Trump & Trump to help you begin your dispute against the reporting agency. You don’t have to live with an unfair score, and you could be only a dispute letter away from collecting the money owed to you and living with the freedom that good credit allows. 

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