Claiming Social Security Disability Benefits Getting Harder

Nov 05

As if it wasn’t bad enough before where 7 out of 10 claims for Social Security Disability Benefits were being initially denied, with the Social Security Administration (SSA) running out of funds, its belt is getting even tighter.

The SSA has been paying out progressively more disability benefits since the economic recession began, nearly $9 million in March 2013 which is an increase of 21% in the same period in 2007. The bill for disability benefits in 2010 was nearly $130 billion, compared to just $18 billion (inflation-adjusted for 2010) from just 40 years ago. The leapfrogging rate is rapidly draining the resources of the SSA, which estimates that at the present rate the SSA will be unable to pay full SS benefits by 2016.

Studies show that this sharply upward trend is not due to any significant deterioration of the average working American’s health. It is also noted that the increase in claims coincided during the time of the massive economic crisis. This indicates that many claims were made by people who were not really disabled at all.

It is unfortunately true that a good number of the unemployed are drawing disability payments in lieu of a paycheck for actual work, which is why the SSA has become much more discriminating about what applications warrant an approval. This is a big problem for workers who have a genuine need for financial need because of their disabilities but are at a loss about how to go about filing a successful claim. As characterized on the website of Hankey Law Office, the SSA is no longer the safety net it was designed to be at inception. Currently, the SSA is just another bureaucratic hurdle that deserving people need to traverse to receive the benefits they were promised and paid for when they were able-bodied.

If you are having difficulty in making a disability claim, you will need some professional assistance. Contact a Social Security disability claims lawyer in your area to help you get what you need and deserve.

Read More

Being Arrested for Drunk Driving

Nov 02

Drunk driving is definitely a crime in any state, and rightly so. An impaired driver has an 11-fold risk of an accident compared to a sober driver, and presents a danger to themselves as well as others in property damage and personal injury. A Racine car accident lawyer, for example, would point out with complete accuracy that an injury to a third party resulting from driving under the influence (DUI) is completely preventable and constitutes a breach in the duty of care that every individual takes on when he or she gets behind the wheel of any motorized vehicle.

But while it is understandable why the enforcement of DUI laws in most states are stringent, there are instances when zeal takes the place of common sense and an appreciation of the facts. Take for example the case of an Arizona man who was pulled over for what appeared to be impaired driving and the police officer actually said he could tell the man was drunk “by looking into his eyes.” The man was brought into the police station to take a breathalyzer test which came back 0.0 blood alcohol content (BAC). Under most state laws, this would have earned him a walk there and then. Instead, his car was impounded and his license suspended. When all was said and done, he should not have been arrested in the first place.

According to the website of Austin criminal defense attorney Ian Inglis, it is possible for law enforcement to make a mistake; unfortunately, not all of them are willing to admit to it. If you have been charged with drunk driving, it would be in your best interest to insist on consulting a lawyer before saying or doing anything to protect your rights. You will avoid a whole lot of trouble later on if you take any arrest, false or otherwise, seriously.

Read More

Construction Accidents at 1 World Trade Center

Nov 01

Hot on the heels of the announcement by mass media published Condé Nash that they would be occupying roughly a third of the new 1 World Trade Center (WTC) was the news that at least 34 workers were seriously injured in the building’s construction that went unreported to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Many of the cases were allegedly caused by safety violations, a fact that lawyers from the Hach & Rose, LLP in New York are all too familiar with, based on information from their website.

The building, also called the Freedom Tower is one of several buildings to be built on Ground Zero. It was the site of the Twin Towers that was leveled by the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and its construction was understandably of intense interest to the community. Despite this scrutiny, however, the Daily News states that most of the construction accidents on the site went unreported. The Port Authority, which controlled the worksite, insisted that safety regulations were strictly enforced and that only two serious incidents occurred during construction, both fatal and reported to the OSHA.

Records show that many more injuries occurred that did not reach the ears of the regulatory body, and in numbers that exceeded the national average for construction accidents for three years running. It was noted that as the construction went higher, more injuries occurred, and as stated on the Disparti Law Group, P.A. website, such personal injuries can have long-term and permanent consequences. Some attribute it to the pressure to get the job done as quickly as possible, and shortcuts were made that proved life-changing for some workers, a few of whom will never work again.

Among those who have been permanently injured in a construction accident at the WTC projects include Dennis Charlemagne and Robert Deacy. Both their accidents had not been reported to the OSHA and have cases pending against their employers and the Port Authority for personal injury compensation.

If you have been seriously injured on a WTC project or any other construction site through no fault of your own, you have a right to seek compensation. Ask an experience construction accident lawyer for their assistance in this matter.

Read More

Smart Home Repair and Improvement

Oct 29

The home is where the heart is, and a significant portion of the typical American household’s income is spent on making the home beautiful, comfortable and safe. But there are many ways to get this done, and the smart way is to have a professional do it for you.

Do-it-yourselfers may not agree, and there is no denying that professional home repair services can be expensive. However, unless the DIYer already has the skills to do the work on their own, home repairs can often end up costing more than if the professional had been hired to do it in the first place.

Take the roof, for example. Roofs need regular maintenance and repair because it is the first bastion against the elements, especially in Texas where the sun and wind can do a lot of damage. A professional Texas roofing repair company will not only patch up that noticeable hole in the roof or replace old, worn, or missing shingles. They will be able to trace the source of that persistent leak and seal it up once and for all as well as detect areas that may cause potential problems. In the course of a professional roof inspection, you can prevent bigger problems that will cost you more in the end.

The same goes for home improvement. Water is an important part of a household, from drinking water to water that flows into the water heater. A properly maintained and installed water filtration system will prevent health problems and keep your pipes corrosion- and clog-free. As discussed on the American Water website, whole house filtration systems can make water use efficient and safe from any tap in the house.

When thinking about home repair and improvement, there are certain situations where it is better to fork out the cash for a professional consultation rather than trying to wing it. In the long-run, it is just the smart way to do it.

Read More

It is Safer to Stay Onboard: The Dangers of Shore Excursions

Oct 26

Going on a cruise is perhaps one of the more exciting things on anyone’s bucket list that doesn’t entail taking out a mortgage on your home, although a moderately luxurious cruise isn’t dirt cheap either. Aside from the lure of the sea and the heady feeling of being cut off from everyday cares, cruises are often made more attractive by the prospect of going onshore to do a little sight-seeing and shopping as well as to sample local pastimes such as parasailing or going on a catamaran ride. You also have the option to go on an organized shore excursion for an additional fee, something that cruise ship liners aggressively market to their passengers because they earn a substantial amount from these bookings.

However, it may be better to simply enjoy the amenities onboard than to venture on a shore excursion mainly because too many things can happen. As mentioned on the website of the Vucci Law Group, P.A., even getting off and on a tender (small boat to carry passengers from ship to shore and back) can be dangerous. There have been a number of shore excursion accidents that are currently being litigated right now for causing serious and often irreparable harm to excursionists. Some examples include the diving accident in Cabo San Lucas that left the victim quadriplegic or the shooting death in Coki Beach in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.

But if a shore excursion is something you don’t really want to pass up, you should check if the excursion operator has proven reliability and insured and if the cruise liner urging you to book will be liable for any resulting injuries or deaths. These details are contained in the cruise ticket.

Even if the cruise liner or excursion operator disclaims liability, there are legal theories that may still apply such as failure to warn, negligent selection of operator, or third party beneficiary. Under any or all of these theories a passenger or family members can sue for compensation. Consult with a cruise ship accident lawyer to understand what these theories mean and what applies to your situation.

Read More

Signs to Look for in Nursing Homes

Oct 25

In any institution you walk into, you look at certain things to indicate the level of professionalism. In a restaurant, you note if the napkins are stained or dirty; in a hotel you check the carpet to see if it is cleaned regularly; in a preschool you check out the ratio of adults to children. In a nursing home, you need to be just as vigilant as this is for long-term care. Here are a few things that should send up red flags in your head when assessing a facility.

The staff appears aloof. In a nursing home, it is important that the staff is on good terms with the residents because this signals a level of personal commitment needed for long-term care. If a staff member doesn’t even call the residents by name, or use a condescending tone or language when addressing them this could mean imminent neglect or even abuse down the road.

Residents look cranky. This could merely be a sign of some mental illness, but in many cases residents are just old or unable to care for themselves physically, and should be able to interact socially. If the facility unreasonably restricts residents, such as preventing them from hanging pictures or adding any personal touches to their rooms, it is more likely to manifest as bad temper. This is a kind of preventable mental harm as described on the website of Hull & Zimmerman, P.C. in Colorado.

There is an unusual number of new staff. It is easy to spot someone who is new to a place; they don’t know where anything goes or seem a little confused when navigating the facility. This could mean high staff turnover, and that’s not a good sign. According to the website of Texas law firm Hotze Runkle, poorly trained staff is a common cause of neglect.

The facility where you see these signs in most cases has been cited for several violations if you do a search. Even if it hasn’t, you should give a facility a miss if you don’t feel comfortable about leaving a family member there. It does happen, though, that there aren’t a lot of options available, so the best you can do is be vigilant for any sign of abuse, neglect, or other types of maltreatment.

If you suspect that a nursing home has breached its duty to a family member, it is your duty to report it to the proper authorities. You may also be eligible to sue the facility for nursing home abuse. Contact a nursing home abuse lawyer in your area to find out if you are.

Read More