Source of Short Term Disability Benefits

Workers’ Compensation, or Workers’ Comp, and Social Security Disability are the two largest programs in the U.S. which offer cash benefits to workers who sustain serious injuries or illnesses that render them disabled. Though both programs consider employment as the basic requirement for eligibility to make a claim, these still significantly differ with regard to details of eligibility. While the Workers’ Comp considers a person already qualified even on the very first day of his or her employment, Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI requires a substantial work period and the payment of Social Security taxes which are automatically deducted from an employee’s monthly pay (this monthly tax, which is included in an employee’s paycheck, is called the Federal Insurance Contributions Act or FICA).

The type of injury or illness eligible for compensation, as well as the amount of benefits given by Workers’ Comp depends on the state. Though states may differ in some of the benefits awarded, these are sure to cover lost wages and cost of medical treatment, among others.

Workers’ Comp benefits are fast and sure financial benefits for workers who get injured on the job or who develop occupational illnesses due to exposure to hazardous substances. If an injury or an illness ends in disability, the amount of benefit will depend on the classification of the disability. Health providers classify disabilities under four types: Temporary total disability; Temporary partial disability; Permanent total disability; and, Permanent partial disability.

According to the law firm Scudder & Hedrick, PLLC, total permanent disability (TPD) benefits are available for workers whose injuries are so severe that they cannot continue to work in any occupation; partial permanent disability (PPD), on the other hand, are available for workers whose injuries are permanent, but who can continue to work.

Injured workers usually have 30 – 45 days (from the day the injury was sustained or the illness was discovered) to notify their employers about such injury or illness. Failure to notify one’s employer can mean loss of right to file a workers’ comp claim. Besides this, there is also a statute of limitations within which the injured worker will have to file his or her application for benefits. States have different guidelines with regard to statute of limitation, but for guaranteed safe filing, this should be done within one year from the date of the accident or discovery of the illness.

Understanding how heavy truck brakes fail

A lot of motorists on the road are at risk of suffering incapacitating and fatal injuries when their vehicles are struck by trailers or semitrailer trucks. Though one of the common claims used by truck drivers involved in collisions is that the brake of their trucks did not work.

Unlike compact vehicles, heavy trucks use compressed airbrake systems to activate the parking and service brakes, as such systems have considerable advantages compared to hydraulic braking systems. Truck operators and owners are responsible for making sure that the braking systems of the trucks are properly working. Airbrakes should need proper and regular maintenance service for it to become responsive in critical situations. Though improperly maintained brakes may work in normal driving conditions, truck drivers may experience braking delays even they step hard on the brake pedal to make a sudden stop especially in emergency situations. The website of Ausband & Dumont says that fatal accidents often are the result when the braking system of trucks malfunctions during operations. One of the common problems that arise in improperly maintained truck brakes is “brake imbalance.”

When braking system parts are not the same or its air pressure is not calibrated, not all of the brakes will have the same response. Trucks are at high risk of losing control and got involved in deadly accidents like jackknifing and trailer swingouts when its brakes are imbalanced. Truck braking systems also experience an imbalance when the load is not properly distributed inside the trailer. The brakes are likely to experience malfunction during operation if it is imbalanced. Another reason why truck braking systems fail is because the driver fails to properly inspect it before a trip. There is a law requiring truck drivers to look for potential truck problems every day and make documentation. If the driver overlooked a braking system problem in his or her truck, serious road accidents may likely happen.

Wrong Diagnosis: Tearing through the Fine Line that Separates Life and Death and Illness and Health

According to the United States National Academy of Medicine, adverse effects of medical treatment cause 44,000 to 98,000 preventable deaths and 1,000,000 injuries in the US every year. These adverse effects often result from medical errors which so many medical professionals, health care providers and legal professionals believe are totally preventable. (The National Academy of Medicine, known as Institute of Medicine (IOM) until June 30, 2015, is an American non-profit, non-governmental organization).

A medical error usually results from a health-care provider’s provision of an incorrect or inadequate method of care, or delivery of what actually may be an appropriate method of care, however, in a wrongful manner. These mistakes, which are most frequently committed by doctors and other health care providers, include: error in medication/prescription, as well as in the dosage of medicine prescribed: surgical mistakes; error in dosage of anesthesia; and, errors that result childbirth injuries or traumas, and misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis.

A big percentage of medical malpractice complaints is due to misdiagnosis or wrong diagnosis, a most common occurrence, especially in hospitals’ emergency departments, where hundreds of patients, with life-threatening conditions, are rushed every day. Besides having caused thousands of deaths in the past, misdiagnosis continues to put hundreds of lives in danger every day.

Many doctors will explain that there are health conditions, serious ones included, that are just too difficult to identify due to similarities of symptoms with many other types of illnesses; thus, some try to identify the real problem through what is called, “diagnosis of elimination.”

Some of these conditions that are difficult to identify include appendicitis, cluster headaches, migraines, polycystic ovary syndrome, fibromyalgia, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and sepsis or blood infection. In fact, there have been situations wherein: a young girl, who complained of abdominal pain, was diagnosed to be having just that, then, minutes after, her appendix ruptured; a 42-year old woman was discharged despite complaining of unusual chest pains, only to suffer a heart attack two hours after she left the emergency room; and, a male teen-ager who was sent home after being given Tylenol to treat his fever and chills, only to die shortly after due to blood infection or sepsis.

There is a very long list of actual situations, all depicting the painful and harmful consequences of misdiagnosis, including prescribing the wrong medication that only resulted to the worsening of the original complaint and the development of a new illness (an adverse effect of the wrong drug), and the performance of a surgical procedure when such is actually not necessary.

In her website, Oceanside medical malpractice lawyer Yvonne M. Fraser says “we trust doctors, nurses and other medical professionals to take care of us when we are sick or injured” and that though we never even think about the possibility of these people worsening our lives through misdiagnosis or other error, they are still prone to mistakes despite being highly trained. Their mistakes, however, can tear right through the fine line that separates life and death, and illness and health. Thus, though one would wish that the effects of misdiagnosis would only be minor, many more times these have been deadly or the cause of life-changing situations in victims and their families.

Victims of medical malpractice, however, have the legal right to seek compensation for whatever preventable injury or harm they have been unjustly made to suffer. They may find seeking assistance from a highly-skilled medical malpractice or personal injury lawyer worth considering as the various legal concerns leading to a lawsuit and fighting for their rights until their case has been decided will really be complicated and challenging.

Resolving Instances of Insurance Bad Faith

It is in the very nature of accidents to be unpredictable. There is always some possibility that an accident may happen in any given situation. The only way individuals can protect themselves from the potential risks and dangers of such unpredictable events is through preparedness and vigilance. One of the ways this can be done is through setting up safety nets to mitigate the consequences of accidents and natural disasters. Through insurance policies, individuals can set up a back-up plan that can ensure financial stability as they go through a traumatic event.

While insurance providers are an ideal solution for financial losses suffered by victims of accidents and other catastrophes, the reality of the situation paints a different picture. There are some cases when these providers fail to deliver on the benefits promised to insurance holders. Even when some people opt to pay for higher premiums for their insurance plans, there are still occasions when providers fail to hold up their end of the deal. Insurance holders then get payments that are significantly smaller than what they expected from the policy they were maintaining. In some select cases, insurance providers also outright refuse to provide policyholders with benefits based on legitimate claims. These incidents are considered an act of bad faith on the part of the provider, since they are violating the trust put to them by their clients.

Personal injury lawyers in TN are usually aware of other instances of insurance bad faith. Aside from the aforementioned scenarios, insurance bad faith can also happen through a provider’s improver evaluation of a claimant’s damaged property and through their failure to properly investigate claims made by policyholders.

Resolving insurance bad faith may seem overwhelming. Most people seem to be too daunted by the long processes involved in pursuing such cases.

Real Estate Litigation: Wrongful Foreclosure

Wrongful foreclosure is a civil action that is based on claims of foreclosure fraud. There are different aspects through which fraud may be committed during a foreclosure process and these include: predatory foreclosure mediators, botched documents or unscrupulous lenders. The most common cases of wrongful foreclosure, though, are forged signatures, altered documents and fraudulent eviction of homeowners by lenders, lawyers or consultants.

From 2009 and 2010 alone, 11 top financing institutions foreclosed about 1.2 million properties, causing the same number of homeowners to lose their homes. The move, though, was clearly seen as illegal as many of the homeowners: had just acquired bank approval either for the restructuring of their payment scheme or for a temporary delay in the payment of their mortgage; were not even late in their mortgage payment; or, their property was under the protection of federal laws.

The court proceedings that heard majority of the foreclosures during the housing crisis in the US revealed that these were not even the due to homeowners’ fault, who were thought to be defaulting in their loan payments. Rather, the foreclosures were due either to mistakes committed by banks or to practices (that are now held illegal) that highly and only favored banks and lenders.

While losing one’s home due to legitimate foreclosure can cause a homeowner a lot pain, a wrongful foreclosure, however, which is done through deception, can be subjected to a civil case wherein the affected homeowner may even be allowed to file for civil and punitive damages. Whereas the cause of the foreclosure is default in payment, banks or creditors cannot simply foreclose on it as the law offers property owners various means which will help them retain their property.

On its website, the law firm Gagnon, Peacock & Vereeke, P.C., says that homeowners have the right to seek the aid and protection of the law in protecting their properties from the wrongful action of profiteers, erring banks, and other lenders.

Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes

Records from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that as of February 2015, there are 15,700 nursing home facilities in the US. Nursing homes, also known as skilled nursing facilities, are places for people who can no longer be given the necessary care at home, but who don’t really need to be in a hospital. These people may be: elders, usually 65 years old; individuals who, because of their illness (such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s), require extra care and assistance; and, those needing rehabilitation therapies. According CDC record also, the present number of residents in nursing homes total to 1.4 million.

Due to the frequency of nursing home abuses (as reported over the news), many families are rather opting for assisted living, visiting home health services or caregiving (which will allow older adults to stay at home), especially if the need is custodial care rather than skilled medical attention.

According to the website of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ®, the most common forms of abuse nursing home residents are made to suffer include physical abuse, financial abuse, emotional abuse and, the most degrading and wicked of all, sexual abuse. This last type of abusive conduct is committed in various ways, including showing of pornographic materials, forced nudity, fondling, forcing another resident to kiss or touch the victim and, worst of all, forced penetrative acts.

Despite the gravity of the offense, sexual abuse turns out to be the least reported type of abuse due to the humiliation that the victim feels. And, rather than reveal the abuses that he/she is being made to suffer, the victim rather becomes withdrawn, silent, sensitive to touch, evasive of eye contact and low-esteemed. Often sexually abused victims also sustain laceration or other wounds which he/she would refuse to explain the cause of.

According to the website of the Law Offices of Yvonne M. Fraser, these wounds can be a basis for a personal injury lawsuit. Any type of abuse in nursing homes, especially sexual abuse, should be addressed directly and immediately to save the victim from further harm, or any other resident from becoming the next target of abuse.

Pre-employment Capacity Testing

Posting a job vacancy ad and then going thru a stack of application forms and resumes in order to find someone whose credentials match the job requirements can be a lot of work, especially for a big firm. For smaller businesses, though, this task can be crucial as being able to land the right candidate in the job can be another step towards business growth.

Where hiring new employees is the issue, big and growing companies know how critical this is to company growth and in the creation of a healthy working environment. Thus, while there are businesses that still struggle in finding the right person for a certain job position (and later on regret having hired someone not really up to the tasks), many others just seem to be able to always hire people with the right knowledge, skills and personality that the job actually demands. According to the website of WorkSTEPS, this is why companies that entrust hiring concerns to functional employment testing firms.

The task of functional employment testing is to address and find solutions to an essential employer need, which is the creation of an objective, scientific, legally compliant, and medically safe way of matching an applicant’s specific strengths and skills (or functional capabilities) with the essential functions required of a certain job.

The many benefits that companies have enjoyed after using functional employment evaluations include: reduction in workers’ compensation claims; decreased employee turnover; increase in worker productivity; creation of safer work environment; reduced lost time and diminished incidences of fraud and abuse; smaller modifier rates and workers’ compensation premiums; and, reduced costs of group health insurance package.

All the stated benefits are quite easily achieved because an applicant’s skills, work behavior and fitness are sufficiently assessed through pre-employment screening in order to determine whether he/she is apt for the specific position he/she is applying for. This is especially important if the job applied for is more physical than intellectual in nature.

Other than pre-employment screening, companies also offer post-offer pre-employment testing, and post-employment testing, which includes functional capacity evaluations, sincerity-of-effort testing and fit-for-duty testing.

Strokes

A stroke, also known as brain attack or Cerebral Vascular Accident (CVA), is a life-threatening occurrence that can either paralyze or kill a person instantly. It is usually the result of a blood clot in blood vessels which causes an interruption in the flow of blood to any area of the brain. Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the US and, though, it can affect anyone at any age, those 65 years old and above are the ones most susceptible to it.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), from 2001 to 2011, at least 795,000 people suffered a stroke; about 185,000 are recurrent stroke events, while 610,000 are first occurrences. Though a stroke may occur unexpectedly, it does have symptoms but, which, unfortunately, are not easily identified (as signs of an imminent stroke) even by doctors due to these symptoms’ similarities with other types of illnesses. The list of stroke symptoms include: numbness in the face, arm, and/or leg, especially if this occurs on only one side of the body; sudden trouble speaking, difficulty understanding speech or confusion; sudden dizziness, lack of coordination, loss of balance, and/or trouble walking; and, sudden trouble seeing (in one or both eyes).

The effects of a stroke depends actually on the area of the brain affected (the specific area where obstruction of blood flow occurs) and the extent of the affected brain tissues. If a stroke, for instance, were to affect the back of the brain, one highly probable result is disability in vision. If the affected area, however, is at one side of the brain, then neurological complications will be on the side of the body affected (which is the opposite side since one side of the brain controls the opposite side of the body). This means that, if the right side of the brain were affected, then some of the effects may be memory loss, vision problems, and/or paralysis on the left side of the body. By affecting the left brain, however, it will mean paralysis on the right side of the body, plus speech or language problems and memory loss.

A major stroke is usually preceded by a Transient Ischemic Attack or TIA, which medical professionals commonly call a “warning or mini stroke.” TIA typically lasts for about 20 minutes; the flow of blood resumes after this.

For the effective treatment of stroke patients, as well as to help them recover fully, the American Stroke Association, the American Heart Association and the US Food and Drug Administration recommend that they be treated with a tissue plasminogen activator or tPA, a clot busting drug, within three hours of the start of stroke symptoms.

The website of Massachusetts lawyers Crowe & Mulvey, LLP, says that “stroke is a common and potentially life-threatening occurrence for patients of all ages.”

Reality, though, is proof that many doctors continue to err in providing appropriate medical treatment to potential stroke victims. By not fully examining these victims’ condition, not requiring them to undergo tests or by wrongly interpreting results of medical tests, doctors can be held liable for any harm any victim unnecessarily undergoes. When a doctor’s mistakes increase a stroke victim’s suffering, a Houston personal injury lawyer may be able to help the hurt person recover compensation for their medical expenses.

Rollover Accidents Involving Trucks

One of the deadliest accidents a motor vehicle can be involved in is a rollover, wherein a vehicle overturns or tips over onto its roof or side. A rollover accident can happen on any vehicle, depending on certain factors or conditions; however, due to the center of their gravity being higher from the ground,
compared to regular cars SUVs, minivans, pickups, and trucks, are much more susceptible to this type of accident.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), rollover accidents total to more than 280,000 every year, claiming at least 10,000 lives. But while the accident more frequently involves SUVs, the much more serious results (such as severe bodily injuries, death and major damage to properties) get registered if the vehicles involved are trucks.

Aside from the strict federal requirements on knowledge and skills on how to operate a truck safely, drivers are also required to pass certain tests before getting to earn a commercial driver’s license (CDL). The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) also distributes printed publications on how drivers can prevent getting involved in accidents, especially rollovers. All these measures for safety are implemented by the both state and federal governments to help ensure that trucks never become threats to other motorists with whom they share the road.

Sadly, though, the yearly reported number of trucks rolling over is still high – at 239. There are various factors and situations that contribute to a truck rollover accident, but the three major contributors that have been identified are speed, poor control and inattention. FMCSA’s more extensive study about these three showed the specifics that greatly affect each of the contributors:

  • Speed: the load carried by the truck, road surface, condition of the brakes, intersection conditions and ability of the driver to adjust truck speed during road curves
  • Steering or Poor Control: failure to steer enough to maintain lane, over-steering that results to having to counter-steer in order to remain on the road, and over-steering which results to rolling over
  • Inattention: feeling drowsy, falling asleep, and driving distractions – all resulting to inability to react fast enough in emergency situations

According to the website of the Ausband & Dumont Law Firm, a truck’s load also greatly affects its overall stability, especially if its weight is unevenly distributed. This (load) and the contributors only show that, despite the demanding requirements for acquiring a CDL, many truck drivers are yet to learn how to actually handle situations that can lead to a rollover – lessons that many drivers do learn but only after having the misfortune of experiencing the accident first hand.

The trucking industry has a significant positive effect on the nation’s economy. However, being on the road, trucks pose risks of serious injuries to drivers of smaller vehicles in case of an accident. This is why their insurance providers have to be ready for just about anything. The website of IOTS Services has more information about how these sorts of things ultimately end up working out.

Some of the Dangers of Modern Medicine

Whether due to poor health or to help keep someone healthy, to deliver a child or try to save someone from death, there is one person who is always surely present: a doctor. Trained to care for and save lives, to a doctor, therefore, is entrusted this great responsibility of helping people maintain good health and live long. To be able to help people, though, trust will be a necessary factor; this is probably why when a doctor makes a prescription or recommends that a person undergoes laboratory tests or a surgical procedure the possibility of a refusal is close to nil, especially if the doctor making such prescription or recommendation is one highly esteemed in the medical profession. There is just one element for major caution, though; the fact that a doctor, regardless of how good or famous he or she may be, is still human and, thus, also likely to commit mistakes.

“Death by Medicine,” a study that was first published in 2006, is a compilation of statistical data that revealed alarming information on the negative effects of modern medicine. Besides revealing more than 750,000 deaths in the US every year (all due to poor medical care), the study also showed these yearly estimates: 20 million unnecessary prescriptions for antibiotics in treatment of minor viral infections; up to eight million people being subjected to surgical or invasive medical procedures that are actually not necessary; and, about nine million people being hospitalized despite the lack of real need for it.

One example of a particular prescription medicine that proved harmful to many of those who took it was Actos. This oral medication was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 1999 for Type 2 diabetes. Also known under the name Pioglitazone, Actos was formulated to help control the blood sugar level in Type 2 diabetics by increasing their sensitivity to insulin, while decreasing the amount of glucose released by the liver.

Another pharmaceutical product, the actual safety of which is now being questioned, is the da Vinci Surgical System, a multi-armed surgical machine that was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for use in minimally invasive surgical procedures. (Compared to open or invasive procedures, which require incisions that are about 4 inches long, a minimally-invasive surgery requires a number of very tiny incisions which will serve as entry points of the surgical instruments to be used in the procedure).

Both Actos and the da Vinci Surgical System proved effective, performing the purpose for which these were approved, especially during the first five years after they were made available in the market. Later, however, reports that linked both products to adverse effects started to be made, followed by lawsuits filed by patients who actually suffered harm due to the use of either product. Many of those who filed an Actos lawsuit, in particular, have sought compensation (from the drug’s manufacturer).

According to the website of the Actos lawyers at Williams Kherkher, aside from increasing the risk of developing bladder cancer, Actos has also been linked to the following: upper respiratory infection, heart failure, tract infection, lactic acidosis, liver failure, macular edema, muscle pain, diarrhea and, worst of all, death. The ill-effects being linked to the da Vinci Surgical System, on the other hand, include: infections, burns and internal bleeding, one of the mechanical arms accidentally hitting the face of a patient; puncture on the colon during prostatectomy; death of patient after a spleen surgery or during a hysterectomy procedure; and, failure of the robot to function properly right before the start of the surgery.

According to the website of the National Injury Law Center, the da Vinci Surgical Robot continues to be used in hundreds of thousands of procedures, which include thyroid cancer surgeries, removal of gall bladder, gastric bypass, prostate removal surgery and hysterectomy. The Center also includes excessive bleeding, serious injury to the bowels, and punctured blood vessels or ureters, in the list of harms caused by the da Vinci robot.

While the effects of some injuries may be irreversible, seeking the help of highly-qualified lawyers could help the victims seek the compensation which will help them undergo the medical treatment that they need. This compensation should also cover the wages lost by the patient (that is, if the patient were employed, but was rendered incapable of reporting to work for some days due to the harm caused by the said medical products).