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

Posted by on Jan 26, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 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...

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What Maximum Medical Improvement Means In Car Accident Cases

Posted by on Jan 5, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 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...

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Preventing Dog-Bite Liability

Posted by on Nov 21, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 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...

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

Posted by on Sep 29, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 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...

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

Posted by on Jul 15, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 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...

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Car Accident Settlements: 4 Financial Impacts For Farmer’s Market Workers

Posted by on Jun 1, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Car Accident Settlements: 4 Financial Impacts For Farmer’s Market Workers

Selling products at a farmer’s market is a great way to connect with the community, make some money, and showcase local foods. However, if you’re involved in a car accident before or after a farmer’s market event, then your role in the farmer’s market industry may be drastically changed. When someone else is at fault for the car accident, you can hire an attorney to hold the person liable and seek a settlement for damages. Along with compensation for costs directly related to your injury, there are four additional financial impacts associated with your job at a farmer’s market. By breaking down these different costs, you can help build a settlement case that is fair to your losses and the true financial impact you’re going through. Lost Income The severity of car accident injuries can often have a huge impact on your ability to earn money. Even if working at a farmer’s market was not your main source of income, you can still seek compensation for lost money earned. The amount that you make at a farmer’s market typically varies on your sales and will often be based on past results. When consulting with an attorney, you will often calculate different factors associated with the income from a farmer’s market. This includes how often the farmer’s market was held and your amount earned at each event. For example, if you attended one farmer’s market each week and averaged $500 each time, then an attorney would seek $2,000 in damages for each month that you were forced to miss due to your injuries. This lost income can have a huge impact on your settlement case and help increase the final amount. Lost Inventory When traveling to and from a farmer’s market, you are likely transporting a lot of your goods with you. A car accident could cause fruits, vegetables, and other items to fly out of the vehicle and become spoiled as they are wrecked in the crash. All of these items are potential items that could have been sold at the farmer’s market. This loss in inventory can result in a huge financial impact and should be a part of your case. When someone else is liable for the car accident, a settlement case often involves compensation for the items that were damaged during the accident. Pictures and personal inventory documents can both be used to showcase how much food and product was actually lost during the car accident. Even if the items were not directly damaged, the car accident may cause them to spoil or have the inability to get sold due to your injuries and the emergency situation. Assistant Workers As you continue to heal through your injuries, you may rely on support to keep your farmer’s market going and continue to establish your presence at the events. One way to help with this is by hiring assistant workers to carry items, manage your products, and complete sales at the farmer’s market. If you were not injured in a car accident, these workers would likely not be needed. An attorney can include their costs as part of your settlement case and attempt to seek compensation for the expenses related to the additional help. Adaptive Equipment While preparing to return to your local farmer’s market, you may need...

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Smart Steps Toward Obtaining Your Social Security Disability Benefits

Posted by on Apr 22, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Smart Steps Toward Obtaining Your Social Security Disability Benefits

On the surface, applying for Social Security disability benefits looks like a simple process — you fill in an application and then wait for approval or rejection. Unfortunately, that process also includes a minefield of of potential sticking points, each of which can lead to a small but critical error barring from much-needed payments. Here are some smart tactics that can help you sidestep these mistakes and smooth the way for a successful Social Security disability application. Lawyer Up Unless you have an obviously devastating long-term or permanent disability or already have a detailed understanding of Social Security forms, your smartest first move will be to engage a Social Security lawyer, such as Todd East Attorney at Law. This type of professional can provide instant expertise so you don’t have to grope blindly through the complex process by yourself. An attorney will also know exactly what types of supporting data need to be gathered (and where to get them), how to decipher the sometimes-tricky terminology in the application forms and how to make the best possible case on your behalf. If you end up having to go to court to fight for your claim, you’ll be glad you already have this expert in your corner. If you’re already in dire financial straits at the time of your disability application, you may wonder how in the world you’re supposed to pay for attorney on top of everything else. The good news is that a Social Security lawyer will work a disability case on contingency, getting paid only if you’re awarded your benefits. The lawyer then receives a percentage of the back pay awarded to you by the Administration (or a flat fee of $6,000, whichever method comes out to less money). The only caveat is that you may have to pay a small sum for the attorney’s out-of-pocket expenses, win or lose. Fill in the Blanks (Correctly) Social Security disability forms distribute a dizzyingly long list of disability categories across a two–part Listing of Impairments. In many cases the terms are by no means self-explanatory, and it’s all too easy to classify yourself under the wrong disability. This is a critical reason to have a Social Security lawyer handle the documentation. You’ll also have to provide a large body of medical documentation going back as far as the earliest signs of your impairment. Your attorney can track down and obtain the exact records you need to present your case. Simply submitting the wrong forms of forms can derail your Social Security application right from the beginning. This is an easier trap to fall into than you might think because there are different types of Social Security benefits, each of which requires its own specific application. For instance, if you’ve paying tax dollars into Social Security over a certain period of years, you may qualify for SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance), in which you need to fill out that application form. If you haven’t been able to make those payments, then you may need to apply for SSI (Supplemental Security Income) instead. Fill out the wrong form for your situation, and you can expect to have your application denied. Update Your Data Before the Hearing If your application for disability has been denied twice by Social Security, you still have the option to...

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Reasonable Suspicion And Pretext–Their Impact On DUI Stops

Posted by on Mar 31, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Reasonable Suspicion And Pretext–Their Impact On DUI Stops

Police officers in today’s society have a tough job. They are required to enforce the law but must also respect the rights of every citizen while they do so. To put this issue in perspective, imagine that someone in your neighborhood is planning to rob your home. You’d like them stopped before the crime happens, but you don’t want police to accuse everyone on your block of plotting a crime.  This means that police must have reasonable suspicion that a crime is happening before a person can be detained for any reason, even in the case of a DUI. That way, your rights are protected. However, the actual definition of reasonable suspicion is murky. Knowing a little bit about it–and how it governs police behavior before and during a traffic stop–can help you behave in a way that could help protect you from misconduct. What Is Reasonable Suspicion In a DUI Stop? Impaired motorists often make themselves obvious to everyone around them. They exhibit many signs of reduced functioning, including: Swerving inside a lane Driving too slow or too fast Drifting across the center line Inconsistent acceleration or braking If you’re seen driving in a way that is consistent with an impaired driver, the officer certainly has the right to stop you and investigate further. Often, this stop will lead to a request for field sobriety tests and possibly a breathalyzer. Depending on the law in your state, your options for refusal or failure of these tests will vary. However, motorists are often detained and questioned when they have not displayed any signs of impaired driving. Some people point out that this practice of finding any pretext by which to detain a motorist contributes to racial profiling, but the practice is also used frequently to investigate a suspected DUI incident. What Is a Pretext Stop? Essentially, a pretext stop is when an officer believes that a significant crime–such as a DUI–is happening. However, they cannot articulate the reason for their suspicion in a way consistent with the requirements of having reasonable suspicion. To execute the stop, the officer then finds any minor traffic violation to detain you and begin investigating. Often, police officers are given quite a bit of latitude in establishing the pretext for a traffic stop. That said, their power in these situations is not absolute. For example, if you’ve been pulled over for speeding and the officer notices that your speech is slurred, they can begin investigating your level of impairment. However, if no signs of impairment exist, they technically should not press that issue. What Can You Do? Only a legal expert can tell you exactly what your rights are in any specific situation. Unfortunately, this analysis almost always comes after the fact. You’ve already been detained, investigated, and charged by the time you contact your lawyer. That’s why it is important to know how to best protect yourself in a general sense before you’re subjected to a traffic stop. The first thing you should do is to politely ask the officer for the reason behind the traffic stop. You have a right to know why you’re being detained. In the event that the stop goes poorly, your representation will need to know what the reasonable suspicion or pretext was. Having the officer state it will...

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3 Big Differences between Child Support and Alimony

Posted by on Feb 29, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Big Differences between Child Support and Alimony

During your divorce, you may have discussed the subjects of alimony and child support with your divorce lawyer. Both of these are types of financial support one spouse must pay another, but there are several key differences between them that you should know about. As you are working through your divorce proceedings, it is important to understand the following three differences between child support and alimony. The Purpose of Each Child support is a type of payment from the noncustodial parent to the custodial parent to help him or her financially support their children children. If you have kids and you obtain custody rights of the kids, your ex-spouse will most likely be required to pay you child support each week or month. The court calculates this amount based on both of your incomes, and it can often be garnished from a person’s wages to make sure it is paid. This money is designed to help you provide food, shelter, and clothing for your children. Alimony, on the other hand, is a type of support designed to help provide for a spouse who earns significantly less than the other spouse. This money has nothing to do with the kids involved, and it can be awarded when a couple does not have children. It is harder to convince a court you need alimony in comparison to child support, and you will not even be eligible for collecting alimony if your marriage was short lived and if you earn about the same income as your spouse. Tax Consequences of Each The second big difference with alimony and child support involves the tax consequences of each. Child support payments you receive are not considered taxable income. This means that you do not have to report them on your tax return, and you will not have to pay taxes on this money. Alimony is taxable income. When you collect alimony payments, you will have to report all of them on your income taxes, and you will have to pay taxes on the payments. Because of this, you may end up with larger tax liabilities at the end of each year. You should also realize that your ex-spouse will not be able to write child support payments off on his or her tax return, but he or she will be allowed to write off alimony payments made to you. Length of Time Each Must Be Paid During The third difference to understand is there can be differences in the length of time your ex must pay each of these to you. When it comes to child support, most states require payments to be made until a child turns 18 to 21 years old. Each state has different rules, and the rules are different for kids in college and kids that are not in college. In either case, you can expect to receive child support payments until your children reach the age of 18 or so. With alimony, there may not be a set amount of time a person must pay it, and every state has different rules. In most cases, alimony is a temporary form of support. It may last until you have had enough time to receive training for a better job, or it may only last until the divorce is finalized. Your ex...

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Divorce And Underwater Mortgages — An Underwater Dilemma

Posted by on Jan 29, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Divorce And Underwater Mortgages — An Underwater Dilemma

If you currently owe more on your mortgage than your home is worth, you are not alone. According to MarketWatch, there are more than 4 million homeowners in the United States who owe their banks 20 percent more than their houses are worth. In the best possible situation, you could try to live in your home until the housing market recovered and your house became more valuable. But if your marriage is ending, you may be required to sell your house as part of the divorce proceedings. So what are your options for selling your home if it is underwater? Consider a Short Sale of Your House If neither you or your soon-to-be ex can afford the mortgage payments after your divorce or if neither party has a desire to continue living in your underwater home, you could try to sell your home for less than the amount of money that you owe your mortgage company. This is known as a short sale. Generally, it is considered a better idea than letting the house go into foreclosure because, according to the New York Times, a short sale will have less of a negative impact on your credit history. Plus, having a foreclosure on your credit history can also affect other aspects of your lives. For example, some employers are leery of hiring a person with a bankruptcy on their record.  But short sales are not simple, so you may want to seek legal representation during the process to protect your interests. The bank that owns your mortgage is definitely going to have high-powered lawyers representing their needs, and they are going to try to get as much money from you as possible. Remember, during a short sale, you will be selling your home for less money than you owe the bank. And banks are not in the business of giving away their cash. So in order to recover part of their losses, the bank’s lawyers may attempt to: Garnish your wages Attach your bank accounts Pursue payments in the future A lawyer from a firm like Iannello Anderson can look over the final paperwork from the bank to ensure that it does not contain wording that could hold you liable for the balance of the loan in the future. Another reason you may need a lawyer during this process? Real estate agents are not allowed to offer legal advice even if they know the answers. And, finally, you may not have a choice of whether or not you want to hire a lawyer as some real estate firms are now requiring that short sellers hire legal representation.  One Party Keeps the House If either you or your spouse wants to continue living in the house, the other party could receive a credit for the negative equity during the divorce proceedings. For example, if you and your spouse have total assets of approximately $500,000, and your home has a negative equity of  $50,000, the spouse who keeps the home will end up with $50,000 in marital debt. In some cases, the judge may give the person keeping the house a credit for $25,000, which is half of the negative equity. This situation may be appropriate for you if: The party who wants to stay in the house can afford to pay the mortgage on their own.  The home...

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