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A Disturbing New Trend Developing Among Motorists

When it comes to choosing a new car, there are several new safety features to consider. In the past decade, items like adaptive cruise control, cross-traffic alerts, and parking assist have become more common additions to today’s new cars. These features are designed to help drivers avoid accidents and, while they are helpful, there is a disturbing new report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) that reveals how often owners actually turn off one such safety feature: lane departure warning.

For those who aren’t familiar with lane departure warning systems in cars, they’re intended to keep a motorist from veering into oncoming traffic. This can be helpful, for instance, if a driver falls asleep while operating a vehicle. Depending upon the manufacturer, the warning system may work in one of several ways. In some vehicles, the driver will simply hear a warning chime and see an alert illuminate on the dash. Other systems are more aggressive and can be as intrusive as vibrating the driver’s seat or automatically steering the car back into the proper late. Regardless of the type of alert, lane departure warning works well to keep drivers in their lanes. In 2010, the IIHS estimated that lane departure warning could be a relevant safeguard in 23 percent of fatal crashes But, they only work when they’re on.

How often do drivers turn lane departure warning systems off? In their study, the IIHS reviewed over 900 cars from 9 manufacturers. They used real owners’

Some motorists turn their lane departure Warning control off because it’s too intrusive.

vehicles that came to the dealership for maintenance or service. Of those vehicles, only 51% of the owners left the lane departure systems on. In those same cars, crash avoidance systems like front collision warning had a usage rate averaging above 90%. The IIHS also found that the lane departure system was more likely to be disabled if it was more aggressive. In other words, the more invasive the system, the more likely the owner was to turn it off.

Some researchers argue that manufacturers make it too easy to turn off the lane departure warning system. To turn off the system on certain Honda models, for instance, one only has to push a button near the steering wheel. Other systems, however, are more complicated to turn off. Some require the driver to hold a button for a specified amount of time, while others require multiple steps in a sequence. This is also an issue if multiple people drive one car. Take for example a husband and wife who share a Honda Odyssey. Perhaps the wife wants the feature on, while the husband wants it off. With the system so easy to disengage, the wife may not even be aware that it has been turned off when she drives the vehicle.

Some users turn them off because they find that they aren’t always effective. For instance, the lane departure warning system on a new Chevy Malibu can fail when there is a lot of salt on the road. Some systems may not work in the rain or the fog, and lane departure warning systems that use cameras may not work if the lens is dirty. With these limitations in mind, it’s easy to understand why so many drivers choose to turn them off.

One final reason why many drivers may turn off their lane departure warning system is that it engages more frequently than other systems. Unlike a front crash alert or reverse sensors, lane departure alerts are activated much more often. On rural roads, many drivers like to cut corners and cross the yellow line when driving, especially on a road with a lot of turns. Driving like this can cause the system to activate several times on even a short trip.

So, what is the solution? Should automakers make these features less invasive? Should they limit the ability to turn the system off? Education may be the answer. The IIHS is bringing this issue to the public’s attention. Perhaps they can do more to instruct people about the dangers of turning off crash avoidance systems.

Accidents can be scary and confusing, and leave you with a lot of unanswered questions. The right attorney can help you find the answers you are looking for. If you’ve been injured in an accident, call Jan Dils Attorneys at Law for a FREE consultation. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you can’t talk now, fill out this form and we will be happy to call you at a better time.

How Does the RFC form Impact Your Disability Claim?

Anyone who has even considered applying for Social Security Disability will tell you that there are a lot of acronyms. An individual pursuing Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income will quickly learn that DDS is an abbreviation for Disability Determination Section. They also quickly find out that ALJ means Administrative Law Judge, and DE is short for Disability Examiner. Even Social Security Administration is typically abbreviated to SSA. But one acronym that many Social Security applicants may not be aware of is RFC.

RFC is short for residual functional capacity. Now that you know what the letters stand for, you’ll likely want to know what it means. Here is how the SSA explains RFC:

“Residual functional capacity assessment. Your impairment(s), and any related symptoms, such as pain, may cause physical and mental limitations that affect what you can do in a work setting. Your residual functional capacity is the most you can still do despite your limitations. We will assess your residual functional capacity based on all the relevant evidence in your case record.”

Essentially, SSA is determining what limitations you may have due to your conditions. For instance, back pain may limit your ability to stand for longer than 4 hours out of an 8 hour day or social anxiety may limit your ability to work with the general public.  SSA will be looking to see if there are still jobs within the national economy that you can do despite the limitations defined within your RFC.

If you have multiple disabilities, SSA will consider the combined limitations established for all of them to determine your ability to work. For instance, your back pain may limit you to only performing sedentary type jobs but your mental health diagnosis also limits your ability to concentrate for longer than 30 minutes at a time.  The physical & mental limitations combined would further reduce the jobs you could perform than only one limitation by itself. That’s why it’s important to list ALL of your disabilities when you apply for benefits. Or, if you’re working with an attorney, you’ll want to make sure they’re aware of all of your disabilities, as well as the ways in which they limit you.

Now that you understand the basics of RFC, you may be curious as to who determines your RFC. Actually, it’s a combination of people. Disability Determination Services is a state agency, and is the first level of determining disability benefits. DDS has individuals called Disability Examiners who work with a medical consultant to determine your RFC. These individuals consider limitations your doctor has assigned you, such as the inability to stand more than 10 minutes or lift more than 10 pounds. This is why it is extremely important to have your doctor document the limitations along with your symptoms within your medical records.

The RFC is first used to determine if you can do the type of work that you’ve done for the past 15 years. If you’ve done sedentary work for the past 15 years and your RFC states that you can do light work, which is above sedentary work, they will likely suggest that you return to your previous type of work. If the Disability Examiner determines you can’t do your prior job, they will then determine whether, given your RFC, your age, your education, and your skills, you should be able to learn another job.

This can be a difficult process to understand and navigate. That’s why so many people turn to the team at Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law to help them get the benefits they deserve. If you’d like to know more about the services we offer, or if you’d like a free consultation, give us a call today. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you can’t talk to us now, fill out this form so that we may call you at a better time.

What Everyone Needs To Know About Talcum Powder Lawsuits

For over 130 years people have trusted the brand name, Johnson & Johnson. The company is actually a conglomerate of multiple companies, including Baby Powdermany  well-known brands like Aveeno and Neutrogena, which are among the most recognized in the skin care community. However, the most well-known product Johnson & Johnson produces is also one of their oldest: baby powder. In recent months, there’s been a lot of coverage of lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson and the fact that their baby powder has been linked as an alleged cause of ovarian cancer.

One of the first lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson based on baby powder emerged in 2009. Diane Berg, a woman from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2006, when she was only 49 years old. She claimed to have used the powder every day for most of her life. According to the Huffington Post, the pharmaceutical company offered a $1.3 million settlement to Berg in 2013. She declined and was eventually awarded nothing in the way of monetary compensation. However, a South Dakota jury confirmed the association between talcum powder and ovarian cancer. Soon after, two St. Louis judges awarded two families $127 million in similar cases. The Huffington Post went on to report one of these two sentences found the “Big Pharma” company guilty of negligence, conspiracy, and failure to warn women of the increased cancer risk linked to the use of cosmetic talc in the genital area.

More recently, the New York Times reported the story of another ovarian cancer lawsuit involving Johnson & Johnson. Eva Echeverria, 63, of east Los Angeles, was recently awarded $417 million by a jury. Many cases that go to the jury are successful. However, not all of the cases are favorable. In March of 2017, a St. Louis jury rejected a Tennessee woman’s claim that Johnson & Johnson’s powder caused her ovarian cancer, and a New Jersey judge dismissed two talcum powder lawsuits against the company.

The American Cancer Society states that talcum powder comes from talc. In its natural form, talc contains asbestos. In response to the question “does talcum powder cause ovarian cancer?”, the American Cancer states the following:

Many studies in women have looked at the possible link between talcum powder and cancer of the ovary. Findings have been mixed, with some studies reporting a slightly increased risk and some reporting no increase. Many case-control studies have found a small increase in risk. But these types of studies can be biased because they often rely on a person’s memory of talc use many years earlier. Two prospective cohort studies, which would not have the same type of potential bias, have not found an increased risk.

For any individual woman, if there is an increased risk, the overall increase is likely to very be small. Still, talc is widely used in many products, so it is important to determine if the increased risk is real. Research in this area continues.

There are a lot of people offering opinions on this subject, and there are thousands of lawsuits pending currently. Cornstarch-based powder is often recommended as an alternative, as there is no current evidence that cornstarch-based powder causes cancer.

To learn more about this subject, or to set up a Free consultation, call the team from Jan Dils Attorneys at Law today. Our toll-free number is 1-977-526-3457. For individuals who’d rather receive a call at a later time, fill out this form now and we will return your call when it is convenient to you.

Social Security, Age, and Grid Rules

We’ve all heard the saying “age is just a number” and, in many cases, it’s true. But, when it comes to Social Security claims, age can be a very important number.

It’s important to note that age is not the only consideration used to determine if a person is disabled. There are several other factors considered, too. Age is just a part of the equation. It plays a part just like work history, education, and the type of work an individual has performed throughout their life. But age is still an important consideration.

The general rule for age is that the younger an individual is, the more difficult it is for them to get approved.  SSA assumes that it is more difficult for a person age 50 or over to learn a new job or a new skill.

You may have heard the term “grid” used in Social Security. Social Security generally uses the grid rules (commonly referred to as the “grids”) only after it has determined that you can’t do the jobs you’ve done in the past. While it would take days to explain in detail how the grids work in a Social Security case, the important thing to remember is that age isn’t the only consideration. Once again, age, education, work history, and your residual functional capacity all play a part.

While an individual who is older may be more likely to get approved, it’s still possible for a younger person to be approved, too. For instance, a person who is 25 with several physical and mental disabilities and a lot of evidence/medical treatment is more likely to get approved for a claim that a person who is 45 with no medical treatment and little to no disabilities.

Getting approved for Social Security Disability often takes a combination of several factors. That’s partially why it takes so long to get a claim approved. Every aspect of a person’s health, age, education, work history must be taken into consideration.

If you feel overwhelmed by the Social Security process, and would like guidance through the maze, call our office today for a Free Consultation. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you can’t talk now, fill out this form so that we can call you at a better time.

How Age Impacts A Social Security Claim

We’ve all heard the saying “age is just a number” and, in many cases, it’s true. But, when it comes to Social Security claims, age can be a very important number.

It’s important to note that age is not the only consideration used to determine if a person is disabled. There are several other factors considered, too. Age is just a part of the equation. It plays a part just like work history, education, and the type of work an individual has performed throughout their life. But age is still an important consideration.

The general rule for age is that the younger an individual is, the more difficult it is for them to get approved.  SSA assumes that it is more difficult for a person age 50 or over to learn a new job or a new skill.

You may have heard the term “grid” used in Social Security. Social Security generally uses the grid rules (commonly referred to as the “grids”) only after it has determined that you can’t do the jobs you’ve done in the past. While it would take days to explain in detail how the grids work in a Social Security case, the important thing to remember is that age isn’t the only consideration. Once again, age, education, work history, and your residual functional capacity all play a part.

While an individual who is older may be more likely to get approved, it’s still possible for a younger person to be approved, too. For instance, a person who is 25 with several physical and mental disabilities and a lot of evidence/medical treatment is more likely to get approved for a claim than a person who is 45 with no medical treatment and little to no disabilities.

Getting approved for Social Security Disability often takes a combination of several factors. That’s partially why it takes so long to get a claim approved. Every aspect of a person’s health, age, education, work history must be taken into consideration.

If you feel overwhelmed by the Social Security process, and would like guidance through the maze, call our office today for a Free Consultation. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you can’t talk now, fill out this form so that we can call you at a better time.

Everything You Need to Know About Medical Professionals

In working with Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, you’ll quickly find that, above all else, we believe that treatment is the most important aspect of any Social SecurityMedical Professional Disability (SSD) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim. Without proper medical treatment, you likely won’t receive a favorable decision on your claim—it’s that simple. After all, medical evidence is how we prove that you have a disability. With that in mind, we wanted to provide an overview of different types of medical treatment and explain the differences.

Licensed Medical Doctors

At the very top of the list of medical providers are licensed, medical doctors. A medical doctor has years of training and education specializing in the medical field. Some doctors specialize in certain disciplines and can be considered experts or specialists in a specific medical field. Being diagnosed and treated by a doctor can help you get your claim approved.

Licensed Psychologists and Psychiatrists

Psychologists and Psychiatrists are licensed doctors, too, but they specialize in mental disorders. If you’re claiming that your disability is a result of a psychological condition, such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, bipolar or another mental health condition, you should be treated and diagnosed by a licensed Psychologist or Psychiatrist.

Nurse Practitioners

A Nurse Practitioner is a nurse with an advanced degree in nursing. A Nurse Practitioner can treat and diagnose acute illnesses. The Social Security Administration (SSA) does accept the diagnosis made by a Nurse Practitioner for SSD/SSI, but a Licensed Medical Doctor is preferred. Regardless, continuous treatment will likely help your claim. Keep in mind that if you’ve only been diagnosed by a Nurse Practitioner, SSA may have you seek another opinion from a Licensed Medical Doctor.

Chiropractors

 A Chiropractor is a healthcare professional focused on the diagnosis and treatment of neuromuscular disorders, with an emphasis on treatment through manual adjustment and/or manipulation of the spine.

Most Chiropractors seek to reduce pain and improve the functionality of patients as well as educate them on how they can improve their own health via exercise, ergonomics and other therapies to treat back pain. Just like with a Nurse Practitioner, a Chiropractor’s diagnosis alone may not be sufficient for SSA. A secondary opinion may be necessary from a Licensed Medical Doctor for a favorable decision.

 

Overall, medical treatment is important for any Social Security claim. If you have questions about the Social Security process, give us a call for a free consultation. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you can’t talk now, fill out this form so that we may call you at a better time.

What to Expect When You’re Not Expecting an Unfavorable Medical Outcome

Medical malpractice cases arise when a patient is harmed because a medical professional or facility fails to provide proper health care treatment.  Rest easier knowing that on the whole, mistakes made by accredited doctors, nurses and hospitals are relatively low in numbers.Medical Outcome

However, it is a reality we sometimes face and a reason medical malpractice insurance plays a factor in the rising cost of health care delivery. As a patient, it is critical to protect you and your loved ones from personal injury that can lead to loss of income and quality of life – physical and emotional.

When you choose an attorney, you want to know that your rm is in good standing as a member of the bar, has expertise in your type of legal matter and a proven track record. For a surgeon, physician or other medical provider, the equivalent resource is your state’s medical licensing board as well as physician and personal referrals.

Do your homework. If there is a problem, know your rights.

Malpractice Claim Basics

If you are planning a procedure, the last thing you need to worry about is a negative outcome. Put that out of your mind by having a basic understanding of what will be considered should you ever need malpractice law.

  • The legal team will need to prove the physician-patient relationship. This means you hired the physician, it was not merely friendly advice.
  • The doctor must be proven negligent. Just because you are unhappy with your treatment or results does not mean the doctor is liable for medical malpractice.
  • The doctor’s negligence must cause the injury. Because many malpractice cases involve patients that were already sick or injured, there is often a question of whether what the doctor did, negligent or not, actually caused the harm.
  • The injury resulted in disability, disfigurement, amputation, paralysis, and/or death. In addition, the injury may have also led to other physical pain, mental anguish, and loss of income and/or earning capacity.

Peace of Mind

The Personal Injury attorneys and legal representatives at Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law have decades of expertise working with malpractice law. We are compassionate and experienced.

Your first consultation is always free. We hope you never need our services, but if you do, we are here to represent you.

As a patient, it is critical to protect you and your loved ones from personal injury that can lead to loss of income and quality of life – physical and emotional.

What is a Social Security Payee, and What Do They Do?

It’s no secret that seeking Social Security Disability is a complicated process. For some, financial management is just as complicated. Individuals who are approved for Social Security Disability (SSD) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and who also have issues with managing their money may have to use a payee.

The large majority of Social Security clients are capable of handling their own finances and don’t need a payee. Some people, however, may have difficulties maintaining their own finances. If so, Social Security reserves the right to assign a payee.

What is a payee, and what do they do?

According to the official Social Security Administration (SSA) website, Social Security’s Representative Payment Program provides financial management for the SSD and SSI payments of beneficiaries who are incapable of managing their SSD or SSI payments. The website goes on to state that they prefer for payees to be friends or family members. However, they realize that’s not always possible. When friends or family are not able to serve as payees, SSA looks for qualified organizations to be the representative payee.

Not everyone can be a payee. SSA will need to approve a person first. They produce a guide that explains how to handle many different situations that a payee may face. This guide is quite comprehensive and covers everything from medical care to nursing home costs.

If you need a payee and don’t have a family or friend who can handle your finances, you’re not out of luck. There are some agencies approved by SSA who can act as a payee on behalf of a Social Security recipient.

So, how is it determined that a payee will be needed/required? The decision is that of SSA, not the recipient. An obvious example of someone who will need a payee would be a child. Everyone will likely agree that children probably shouldn’t be put in charge of their own finances.  Other instances of payee use would be people who are not mentally capable of handling their own finances, such as an individual who has had a severe brain injury or someone with a severe cognitive or mental disability.

It’s a lot of responsibility, but the work a payee does can make a huge difference in the life of someone on Social Security. If you’d like to know more about this program, or if you’d like to talk to us about a free consultation, call our toll-free number at 1-877-526-3457. If you can’t talk now, fill out this form so we can call you at a better time.

What is the difference between an ALJ and a Disability Examiner?

Anyone who has pursued a Social Security disability claim knows that the number of acronyms can become confusing very quickly. For instance, did you know that SGA stands for Substantial Gainful Activity? Another good example is ODAR. Does it stand for Office of Disability Adjudication and Review, or is it Office of Disability Approvals and Reconsiderations? Both sound like they could be correct, and they sound very similar, but only one is right. (It’s the former.) In Social Security, even people have acronyms, and two of the most common are DDS Examiners and ALJ’s. So what do they do?

First, let’s get the letters out of the way. A DDS Examiner is a Disability Determination Section Examiner, and an ALJ is an Administrative Law Judge. On the surface, it may appear that both of these individuals have the same job. But in reality, what they do is different, and their roles come into play at different stages.

A DDS examiner is the first of the two individuals to be involved in your case. He or she is a state employee who is tasked with making the initial and reconsideration decisions on your case. A DDS Examiner is responsible for gathering evidence from you and your medical providers in order to prepare your case for a medical review.  They also evaluate the vocational aspects of your case to determine if you can do your past work or adjust to other types of work.  They then prepare the disability determination notice that will be mailed to you.  (Most claims are denied at the initial and reconsideration levels, but the process is far from over, so don’t be discouraged.)

Like a DDS examiner, an ALJ also makes decisions on your Social Security Disability (SSD) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim(s). However, the ALJ makes decisions after you’ve been denied at the initial and reconsideration levels. Also, the ALJ works for a different agency. ALJ’s work for the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR.) While DDS is a state agency, ODAR is a part of the Social Security Administration (SSA). This means that ODAR is a federal agency. Here’s a simple way to remember the difference: a DDS examiner doesn’t see you in person. On the other hand, you can request a hearing with the ALJ in person. Not only will your claim be evaluated by the ALJ, but there is a possibility that your claim will also be evaluated by a vocational expert. More people are approved after their ALJ hearing than approved by the DDS Examiner.

The final thing to remember is that an ALJ hearing will take much longer to schedule than a review by the DDS examiner. There is a backlog right now in the Social Security Administration, causing ALJ hearings to currently take about 18-24 months to occur from the time the hearing is requested.

We realize that this process can be confusing—that’s why a lot of people come to us so we can help them navigate the Social Security claims process. If you’re lost in the maze, give us a call for a free consultation. Our toll-free number is 1-977-526-3457. If you can’t talk now, fill out this form.

What everyone needs to know about Mesothelioma

You’ve probably seen at least a few of the many legal advertisements offering help for people with mesothelioma. But what exactly is this disease, and how is it contracted?

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that occurs in the thin layer of tissue that covers the majority of your internal organs (mesothelium). Mesothelioma is an How to Apply for Supplemental Security Income in West Virginiaaggressive and incurable form of cancer. An online resource, mesothelioma.com explains that there are three recognized types of mesothelioma. Pleural mesothelioma is the most common form of the disease, accounting for roughly 70% of cases, and occurs in the lining of the lung known as the pleura. Peritoneal mesothelioma occurs in the lining of the abdominal cavity, known as the peritoneum, and pericardial mesothelioma originates in the pericardium, which lines the heart.

In this blog, we’ll focus on why an individual should hire an attorney if they have been diagnosed with mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos.  While asbestos was banned in the late 1970s, people today still suffer from illnesses related to asbestos exposure, including mesothelioma.  Even if you were exposed to asbestos years ago, you can now develop symptoms because of the body’s inability to be able to expel asbestos fibers that have been inhaled.  Although products today can still be made with small amounts of asbestos, the regulations that control its use and manage its removal from older buildings are very strict.

At its peak, asbestos was used in a lot of residential and commercial products including brake pads, automobile clutches, roofing materials, vinyl tile, cement piping, corrugated sheeting, home insulation and some potting soils.  So, auto mechanics and those in building trades are at risk.

Many industrial workers are also at risk and have been exposed to asbestos insulation, pipes, boilers, and many other products.

Even family members living with workers exposed to asbestos can suffer from asbestos related illnesses, including mesothelioma.  Second-hand exposure occurs when a household member brings home asbestos fibers on their clothing.

One of the most obvious sources of asbestos exposure is an asbestos mine or processing center. Asbestos mines were prominent in Georgia, Washington, California, and Oregon, as well as Quebec, Canada.  While there are no existing asbestos mines in West Virginia, coal miners can suffer from asbestos exposure.

Many Navy Veterans have also been diagnosed with mesothelioma because a large number of Navy Ships were constructed with asbestos. Veterans who served in shipyards between World War II and the Korean War have the highest risk of exposure to asbestos.

Should you consider legal action? If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, please call us. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. Or, fill out this form so that we may contact you at a later time.