In June of 2016, about 60 million U.S. residents (retired workers, aged widows, dependents, young survivors and disabled workers) collected Social Security retirement/survivors benefits, dependent’s benefits or disability benefits. Social Security, which provides essential financial support to millions of citizens in the U.S., especially the retired and disabled workers, is one of the most effective and successful federal programs in the U.S. While close to half of all beneficiaries rely on SS benefits for the majority of their income, about five percent has Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) as the source of nearly all of their income.

Since this Social Security Act was signed on August 14, 1935, millions of employees in Social Security covered jobs, who have sustained unexpected permanent disabilities that have rendered them unable to continue working, have found the much needed financial support from SSDI.

The SS Administration determines the severity of a disability based on a person’s inability to work. The type of disability that the SSA considers to be eligible for benefits payments, however, include only total disability, since under the program, it is assumed that those who sustain and suffer partial disability or temporary disability will have other sources of financial assistance, such as the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Program or their personal health insurance.

To help prospected applicants determine immediately if their disability qualifies them to receive benefits payments, the SSA has prepared an impairment listing manual, otherwise known as the “blue book,” wherein different types of physical and mental impairments are listed. Any of the impairments included in the list will automatically qualify SS insured members to receive payment of benefits from the SSDI program (SS insured members refer to those employed in SS covered jobs, have earned the required number of credits through the monthly payment of SS taxes; this tax is indicated as Federal Insurance Contributions Act or FICA in employees’ payslips).

According to an Indiana Social Security Disability attorney, qualifying disabilities for SSDI or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) include:

  • Musculoskeletal problems, like back injuries;
  • Cardiovascular conditions, like coronary artery disease or heart failure;
  • Senses and speech issues, like loss of vision and hearing;
  • Respiratory illnesses, like asthma or COPD;
  • Neurological disorders, like Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, and epilepsy;
  • Mental disorders, like retardation, anxiety, schizophrenia, autism, or depression;
  • Immune system disorders, like HIV/AIDS, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis;
  • Various syndromes, like Sjogren’s Syndrome and Marfan Syndrome;
  • Skin disorders, like dermatitis;
  • Digestive tract problems, like liver disease or IBD;
  • Kidney disease and genitourinary problems, and cancer; and,
  • Hematological disorders, like disorders of bone marrow failure and hemolytic anemias

There are illnesses, however, which are not included in SSA’s listing but still qualify under the SSDI program. Examples of these illnesses are rheumatoid arthritis and migraine headaches that are severe enough so that these make it impossible for an individual to have a full-time job. These types of medical condition, which are medically equivalent to those in SSA’s list, are called “equaling a disability listing.”

read more

Over the last couple decades, the shipping industry has taken great strides in improving the structures of sea vessels, and subsequently their efficiency, reliability, and safety. Many aspects of design have been exponentially improved- hull design, stability and propulsion systems, and navigational equipment to name some of those most major. Especially in lieu of the constant technological advancements of our day, ship systems are more reliable than ever before. It may be puzzling then to ship owners and employers why accidents still happen. To answer this, one might look away from ship structures as the source and look instead to the people who operate them. According to Williams Kherkher, although great strides have been taken to make this industry safer for the men and women who work aboard seafaring vessels, these workers are still at a higher risk of sustaining a workplace injury than many others. About 75-96% of maritime accidents are caused by human error. Some of the most common (and often undetected) contributors to human errors are:

  • Design of technology without user in mind- large scale manufacturing of system parts aren’t always created with the various differences in potential user profile in mind. (i.e. a piece of equipment meant to be used outside made with data keys too small to operate with a gloved hand, equipment designed with less than ideal access for smaller operators)
  • Environment: The human body operates best at a slightly restricted temperature, and anything aside from this can affect performance
  • Organizational factors: Possibly the most overlooked aspect of smooth operations, crew organization and company policies have a high impact on overall performance of employees. An open and honest interactive communication culture in the workplace promotes teamwork and freedom for employees, reducing risk taking that may occur under a strict hierarchical command system.

read more

Nursing home abuse is a type of case that is covered by the personal injury law. Lawsuits associated with nursing home abuse typically accuse nursing homes or nursing staff of mistreating the elderly patients in any way. As any normal family member, people who place their beloved elderly in care facilities just want the best treatment for their relative. Unfortunately, according to the personal injury lawyers at Crowe & Mulvey, LLP, many instances have proved that the employees at care facilities continually abuse and neglect the patients. Any form of abuse may result in the decline of the health of an individual, and families of abused patients may very well seek help from lawyers once they suspect nursing homes and staff of wrongdoings.

In these cases, it is extremely important to know what kind of abuse was done to the patient. This way, it becomes easier to plan and build a case against the responsible party. The forms of nursing abuse are physical, emotional, financial, and sexual.

Physical abuse may just be the most common among the group, and it is the when the use of physical force has caused harm to the patient. Hitting, shoving, inappropriate force and restraints are just a few examples that constitute physical abuse. This type of abuse also has the most obvious signs, since the force often leaves mark on the body. Emotional abuse is when an employee’s action has caused emotional distress to the elderly. Humiliation, mockery, intimidation, and blaming are considered forms of emotional abuse, among many other more.

When an employee engages in non-consensual sexual conduct with the elderly, it is considered sexual abuse. The simple act of showing pornographic materials to the patient is considered abuse already. Financial abuse, lastly, is when a nursing home staff tricks or forces an elderly to disclose information associated with money, such as bank accounts and checks.

Whatever form of nursing home abuse a person might experience, the family of the victim is guaranteed to find legal help in the form of personal injury lawyers, since they specialize is various cases that involves a victim being aggravated by someone else’s negligence, and in this case, a nursing home or a staff. If you or someone you know is expereincing workplace abuse please visit this website.

read more

Approved by the FDA in 1999, Actos is a Type 2 diabetes medication, manufactured by Takeda, which has been hailed for years as one of the most effective Type 2 diabetes treatments and has been a huge financial success for its manufacturer. Actos was, at one point, Takeda’s best selling drug, and has been called one of the best selling drugs of all time. However, according to the website of Williams Kherkher, Actos has, in recent years, been linked to a substantially increased risk of developing bladder cancer, among other dangerous side effects.

A study published in 2012 found that people who took Actos for an extended period of time were 83% more likely to develop bladder cancer. After which, the FDA ordered a 10-year study on the safety of the drug, in relation to bladder problems and cancer.

In 2011, the FDA ruled that Takeda, the drug’s manufacturer and marketer, needed to update Actos’ warnings and precautions to include increased risk of bladder cancer. Actos has also been linked to congestive heart failure and kidney disease. It is now recommended by many to avoid Actos in all instances except as a last resort effort to treat Type 2 diabetes, when all other options have been exhausted.

Victims of negligence on behalf of pharmaceutical companies often suffer severely, according to the website of Williams Kherkher, as is the case with Takeda and its manufacturing of Actos. Lawsuits against Takeda allege that the company failed to disclose critical information about side effects of the drug, and concealed information about its safety, in addition to ineffective testing.

As of April 2015, Takeda had already settled thousands of Actos-related lawsuits, at the price of $2.37 billion. Law firms continue to suits against Takeda for clients who have suffered as a result of taking the drug.

read more

SUV Rollover

Although rollovers are fairly rare, when they do occur they have the potential to be deadly. Rollovers occur in only 3% of all crashes, but they account for more than a third of passenger vehicle accident deaths, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Highway Loss Data Institute.

Research has shown that rollover accidents are directly related to the vehicle’s stability, especially when executing turns. Although rollover accidents can happen to anyone, under certain circumstances, some vehicles have higher rollover rates than others. Compact cars like sedans which sit low to the ground typically have more stability, while larger cars like SUV’s and trucks ride higher from the ground and have a higher center of gravity. As an SUV’s center of gravity is higher, they’re more unbalanced and therefore more likely to rollover in an accident. Cars that have this high risk of rolling over tend to cost a little more to insure. This is because insurance companies predict to get more claims on these kinds of cars, since they’re more likely to be involved in accidents. The website explains this in more detail.

Rollover accidents are usually caused when a driver loses control of the vehicle and it begins to skid sideways. At this pivotal point, if the car comes into contact with another factor such as uneven roadways, guardrails or road debris, the rollover is likely to happen. However, technological advances over the years have made SUV’s more safe and less likely to rollover. Car manufacturers now focus efforts on making more stable cars and SUV’s. Effectiveness is measured by a few factors such as the statistic stability factor, which is measured by dividing half the space between right and left tires by the height of its center of gravity. This statistic ultimately measures the vehicle’s ability to resist rollover.

Advances in safety like electronic stability control, or ESC, are substantially decreasing fatal rollover accidents. ESC is an engine control system made up of sensors, brakes and microcomputer which monitors the driver’s patterns and how well the car responds to these. When these sensors detect an abnormality, they will apply additional break pressure as needed to correct it and can ultimately help save drivers from crashes.

Although many rollovers are the result of single car accidents, when another party is negligent and at fault for the accident, the injured party is definitely entitled to damages, according to the website of Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller & Overbeck, P.A.

read more

Estate Planning

Estate planning can be a complex process, yet is an inevitable fact of life in order to ensure one’s wishes are met in their absence. Estate planning is the best way to ensure your survivors have an easy way to follow your wishes and take care of your property, makes sure it goes to the right places in the easiest manner possible. The plan itself often includes the creation of wills and trusts, establishing the power of attorney and can even include nursing home planning. According to the website of Peck Ritchey, LLC, every case varies and can be more or less complex.

Essentially, estate planning determines the state of financial affairs, who gets what, what the client’s final wishes are and will ensure they are respected. The estate itself can consist of many different aspects, including real estate, stocks, trusts, bank accounts and personal property. The whole process will ensure a quick transfer of property and an efficient way to handle affairs.

After hiring an attorney to help navigate through the process, they will help write a will, which outlines what goes where and to whom. In the will, typically included is an executor of the will, or the person who will be left responsible for executing the final wishes outlined in the will, as well as designate guardians for young children. Writing a will with the help of legal counsel can also help minimize estate taxes left for loved ones after passing. A comprehensive estate plan will also help articulate decisions on final health care requests and sometimes funeral arrangements.

read more

Criminal Defense

When facing criminal charges there are many critical factors to look for that can help the accused present the best case at trial. There is a big difference between being charged with and convicted of a crime, and an experienced criminal defense attorney can be the deciding factor in many cases.

First and foremost, it is of the utmost importance to find an attorney that specializes in criminal law, rather than civil law. Each type of law involves very different cases and stakes for the parties involved. According to the website of Law Office of Richard A. Portale, P.C., criminal defense attorneys typically practice on their own in a specific geographic area, whereas attorneys specializing in civil lawsuits are typically organized into large firms and handle cases from many different cities. The reason for this difference is the nature of each type of law. Civil lawsuits can often involve large businesses from around the world, whereas criminal law is typically very local.

It is advantageous for anyone facing charges in a criminal court to hire a local defense attorney. Although law is nationwide, courthouse procedure varies from county to county. An experienced local criminal defense attorney will know how the D.A. operates there, how the police conduct their investigations, and how specific judges handle their courtrooms.

Finally, the accused should look for an attorney that specializes in the area of law in which their lawsuit is involved. Because criminal charges vary substantially, ranging from murder to white collar crimes, it is necessary to find an attorney who practices in the area which your case is concerned, according to the website of Law Office of Daniel Jensen, P.C. An experienced, specialized attorney may have contacts in the courtroom, or highly successful tactics and strategies in order to deliver an acquittal or lessen charges, which an attorney specializing in another area might not have.

read more

Truck Accidents

Everyday driving puts drivers in proximity with large trucks such as semi trucks, construction vehicles, and even garbage trucks. They are the most efficient way for companies to transport things or help them conduct business, but they can still be hazardous to public health, as these types of vehicles are frequently involved in accidents. When passenger vehicles are involved in wrecks with these types of trucks, the effects are much more likely to be severe, simply due to the size of the truck, according to the website of Crowe & Mulvey, LLP.

The fact that accidents happen daily with these types of vehicles makes their consequences no less devastating. Truck accidents can involve pedestrians, motorcyclists, passenger vehicles and bikes. Liability in these accidents, when the truck is at fault, can fall with any number of different entities. Most obviously, liability in an accident involving a large truck falls with the driver, when they are deemed negligent and therefore at fault. The company for which they drive the truck can also be held liable in a lawsuit over the accident. In the case of garbage truck crashes, a number of different companies, such as Waste Management Inc., Republic Services, and Clean Harbors may be to blame for the crash, and therefore required to pay damages, according to the website of the garbage truck accident lawyers at National Injury Law Center.

In addition, companies who manufacture parts of trucks, in cases where defective parts play a role in the crash, and the companies responsible for maintaining trucks can be held responsible to pay damages after a crash.

read more

A trademark is a word, symbol, or name which differentiates one product or thing from another, whereas a copyright protects original intellectual property, including written, musical and artistic works, among many others, both published and unpublished. Trademarks are essential to the success of businesses, according to the website of Gagnon, Peacock & Vereeke, P.C. They help to regulate commerce and ensure fair competition among brands, while preventing confusion among consumers.

The first step to securing a trademark is to do a trademark search. This can typically be accomplished on the Internet for searching the name in question and its product category, as well as similar variations on the name in the category. If the search results in finding a similar product with the same name, it would be best to choose another name. Moving forward with a trademark that is already in use by another entity can subject you to lawsuits and result in having to relinquish the name, in addition to paying damages and lawyers’ fees. After searching the Internet, consult the United States Patent and Trademark Office database as a final source on the subject.

If your search results in no findings, you can then file for your trademark with the USPTO. If approved, it is awarded protected from competitors, and protects the integrity of the brand, while differentiating it from similar brands.

Once the trademark has been awarded to your brand or service, it can be infringed upon when it is used in an unauthorized fashion, typically by a competing brand or service. If this occurs, the owner of the trademark can file a lawsuit against the user of the infringement, and if found guilty, will be awarded damages. The court rules on whether or not the infringement could be confusing to the average consumer of the product. Ultimately, trademarks serve to protect words, phrases and logos used in commerce, typically to help identify brands of goods and services.

read more