Who Determines If I’m Disabled?

POSTED BY Jon Corra . April 23, 2018

We’ve been helping people get their Social Security disability benefits since 1994. That means we’re approaching our 25th year in business. In these 25 years, we have been asked many questions.  For instance, “Who determines if I am disabled?” This is a good question any individual pursuing Social Security disability should ask.

Although your treating physician may indicate that you are disabled, it’s not a guarantee that the Social Security Administration (SSA) will agree.  SSA will consider the information and determine the amount of weight they feel the doctor’s statement should have on the decision.

So, who does determine if you are disabled?  There is not a simple black and white answer to this question. Instead, there are infinite shades of grey that will eventually determine if you’re disabled or not. The SSA uses a five-step process to determine if an individual is approved for disability benefits.

The first step in the process is simple: they will ask if you are currently working at the current SGA level. For those who may not be aware, SGA stands for Substantial Gainful Activity. The SSA states that SGA is as follows:

A person who is earning more than a certain monthly amount is ordinarily considered to be engaging in SGA. The amount of monthly earnings considered as SGA depends on the nature of a person’s disability. The Social Security Act specifies a higher SGA amount for statutorily blind individuals; Federal regulations specify a lower SGA amount for non-blind individuals. Both SGA amounts generally change with changes in the national average wage index.

So, if you’re engaging in SGA, you will likely be denied at step 1 in the SSA process without SSA even looking at your medical evidence

If you’re not engaging in SGA, your claim will proceed to step 2 in the process: do you have a severe physical or mental impairment or combination of severe impairments?  SSA defines a severe impairment as an abnormality that causes more than a minimal effect on your ability to work.  SSA also requires that your impairment will cause such effect on your ability to work for 12 months or longer.

If SSA deems your impairment(s) to be severe, your claim will proceed to step 3: do you meet or equal a medical listing?  The SSA maintains a listing of medical criteria that are considered to be so severe that an individual is found to be disabled if his or her medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s) matches them.

If an individual has an impairment that meets or equals one of the listings and meets the duration requirement, he or she is found to be disabled. If an individual does not have an impairment that meets or equals one of the listings or the duration requirement is not met, the adjudicator goes to step 4.

Social Security considers many factors when determining if you’re disabled.

In step 4, the SSA will examine your prior work history. Do the limitations associated with your disabilities keep you from doing the type of work you’ve performed in the past 15 years? This is where your doctor’s input becomes very important.  SSA is looking for more information than your doctor’s opinion that you are disabled and can no longer do your past work.  It is beneficial for your doctor to note what limitations you have because of your disabilities.  For example, how long can you sit, stand, walk, lift, and concentrate?  Would you need to elevate your legs and how often/for how long?  Can you interact with the public or with supervisors?  Would you need to be frequently retrained due to problems with concentration or memory loss?  Would you need extra breaks throughout the day and how often/for how long?  If your doctor does not note these types of limitations, the agency adjudicator will determine your limitations based on the information noted within your medical records.  Your doctor, who has probably evaluated you many times, is going to better know and understand your limitations than an adjudicator who is merely reading your medical records.  If it’s decided that your disability does keep you from working in the field you were formerly employed, the SSA will go on to the 5th and final step: can you do any other type of work?

At this point, the SSA wants to know if you will be able to work and achieve the SGA level in a field that differs from any of previous fields in which you were employed in the past 15 years. This can get very complicated.  Your limitations, along with other vocational factors such as age, education and work experience, will be used to determine if you can work in jobs you haven’t done before.  If it is decided that you cannot do your past work or any other type of work, you will be deemed disabled by SSA.

If you believe you may be disabled and need some help with your claim, call us 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 we can contact you at a better time.

What Happens If You’re Injured On A Cruise?

POSTED BY Jon Corra . April 11, 2018

Here in West Virginia, we’ve had a tough winter. Mother Nature showed no mercy when she hit the Mid-Ohio Valley. It’s safe to say we’re all looking forward to spring, and that it’s time to start planning those early year vacations. For many people, this means taking a cruise this spring. Cruises can be a lot of fun, but they aren’t without incident. Many news stories over the past 5 years have detailed a lot of the more dramatic accidents that have occurred on cruise ships. While those large-scale disasters are rare, it’s important to know what you should do if you’re injured on a cruise this year.

The Statute of Limitations is much different for a personal injury on a cruise.

Some people may worry that they can’t pursue legal action against a cruise line because of the disclaimer they sign when they purchase a ticket. However, a legal disclaimer isn’t going to prevent all legal action. There is a difference between getting seasick on a cruise ship and receiving a physical injury due to negligence. Proving negligence is an important part of many personal injury claims, and the same is true when you’re injured on a cruise ship.

It’s important to keep the statute of limitations in mind when you’re injured on a cruise. Don’t put off filing a claim too long because it could hinder your case down the road. There are some roadblocks while you are on a cruise because there is a good chance that you are far from home. Further, unless the injury is serious enough to require evacuation by helicopter, you’ll likely have to wait a while until the ship returns to port before you can do much. However, the statute of limitations for most personal injury cases is two years. In cases against a cruise liner, you may only have one year to pursue a claim. The best advice is to pursue action as soon as possible. Additional advice:

Seek treatment. Most ships have some sort of medical staff on hand to treat passengers. It’s important to be treated as soon as possible. Treating on the ship is important, but so is treating once you’ve returned to land. If your port is far from your hometown, you may want to treat with a local facility and also follow up with your primary care physician.

Don’t forget to report the incident. This may be more difficult depending on the severity of the injury, but reporting the accident will help with your case. Failing to report the injury will likely work against you. A report will help prove where the injury occurred. If you don’t report it, the cruise line may argue that your injury occurred elsewhere.

Seek witnesses. Most people don’t go on cruises alone. However, if you do, or if your family is not around, you may want to try to find witnesses. You’ll want to get their contact information in case you need their testimony later.

Don’t settle. The cruise line may want to offer you a quick gift or a free cruise to keep you from pursuing legal action, but a severe injury is likely worth more than a free cruise. It may be tempting to accept the first offer, but it almost certainly won’t make up for years of pain and suffering.

Does it matter if the cruise line is owned by a foreign company? For the most part, this shouldn’t be an issue. However, every case is different, and it depends upon which country is the home base for the cruise company. Regardless, don’t let the foreign ownership keep you from pursuing a claim.

Cruises are a lot of fun, but they can be hazardous. Knowing what to do if you’re injured can prove beneficial. If you’ve been injured on a cruise, call us today for a free consultation at our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you can’t talk now, fill out this form so that a member of our team can call you at a better time.

Bike Accidents: What to Do After the Crash

POSTED BY Jon Corra . February 27, 2018

Today, more and more people are taking to the streets. Fortunately, more and more cities are adding bike lanes to encourage this environmentally-friendly and heart-healthy means of getting from point A to B. Of course, if you’re a biker, you have to be on your guard. The good news is that most bicycle accidents do not involve cars. However, if you are hit by a car, it is so important to keep your wits about you as what you do in the immediate aftermath may have a big impact on how much you recover for your injuries and damage to your bike. It may also affect the outcome of any lawsuits resulting from the accident.

Wait for the Police to Arrive

It is vital that you wait for police to arrive at the accident scene so that they can take and file a police report – even if you think you are not injured. Some cyclists don’t realize they’ve been injured until several hours after the accident. And sometimes seemingly minor injuries later develop into serious and permanent problems. If you leave the accident scene, you may never be able to identify the at-fault driver.

Don’t attempt to negotiate with the driver. Many drivers initially apologize and accept blame, only to later deny their negligence or even deny they were present at the accident. Instead, wait for the police to come so they can document everything in the police report. Another advantage of waiting for the police: They may ticket the driver, which may be useful in settling the case with the insurance company.

Get Your Version of Events into the Accident Report

Sometimes, the police officer will take a statement from the motorist and not bother to talk to the cyclist. Do every­thing you can to get your side of the story into the police report. And by all means, report all of your injuries, no matter how minor. Remember, those minor injuries may later become more serious.

If despite your efforts, the police refuse to include your statement in the accident report, you can later have the report amended.

Obtain Driver and Witness Contact Information

If possible, get the name of the automobile driver, as well as his or her address, phone number, driver’s license number, vehicle license number, and insurance information. In addition, try to get names and contact information for everyone who witnessed the accident. Don’t assume the police report will include all of this information — it might not. If you are injured and cannot get this information yourself, ask a bystander to do it for you.

Document What Happened

If you can, make mental notes about the accident: what happened; how it happened; where it occurred; when it occurred; and road, traffic, and weather conditions. Then, as soon as you are able, write all this information down.

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Document Your Injuries

Seek immediate medical attention for your injuries, even if they are minor. The fact that you sought medical attention will serve as proof that you were injured, and medical records will document the extent of those injuries. Have several photos taken of your injuries as soon as possible after the accident. Start a jour­nal of your physical symptoms and make entries every few days.

Preserve Evidence

Leave your bike and other damaged property in the same state as after the accident – don’t attempt to fix anything or have anything inspected. Don’t wash your clothing. And don’t send your bike, helmet, or any other equipment to anyone other than your attorney. Take photos of your damaged equipment.

Seek Advice from a Professional

Many accidents between bikes and cars involve complex legal issues. If you have any question, please contact Jan Dils, Attorneys at law for a free consultation. We have decades of Personal Injury experience – including bike accident cases. In the interim, do not commu­nicate with the insurance companies before contacting our team. Anything you say to the insurance company could be used against you later. Sometimes a letter from an attorney to the insurance company will resolve issues while avoid­ing legal pitfalls. In fact, most injury cases are settled without ever going to trial. If the case warrants it, we can hire a bike accident expert to investigate the accident. That expert might obtain skid mark measurements, photograph the scene, speak with additional witnesses, or measure and diagram the accident scene. In summary, if you ride, know that Jan Dils is always on your side!

Semitrailer Underride Guard Test Results Show Concern for Motorists

POSTED BY Jon Corra . February 15, 2018

80,000 pounds. That is the maximum weight of a semi-truck in the United States. The weight of the average passenger car in the US? 3,000 to 4,000 pounds.

It is common knowledge that bad wrecks and fatalities can occur when a semi-truck hits a passenger car. But what happens when the tables are turned? What chance does a regular car have when it impacts a semi-truck? More specifically, what chance does it have if it hits the rear of the trailer portion or the side of the trailer?

In recent years the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has asked these questions on a “semi” regular basis. Many are familiar with the IIHS from their appearances on the hit television series Dateline. They originally created stricter crash tests that went further than government regulations,  starting with a frontal offset test. Now, they test everything from roof stability in rollover accidents to pre-collision warning systems. However, they are currently making waves with their testing of semi-trucks. The IIHS has dedicated a lot of time and money to something they call “Truck underride guard evaluations”. In other words, this group investigates what happens to cars when they impact the sides or rear of semi-trailers. The IIHS recently held their 2nd national meeting and conference on the dangers associated with Truck underride accidents.

[youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mrL7AUMT4To” width=”500″ height=”380″]So why is the IIHS is putting so much effort into studying these accidents? One look at the crash tests will provide a frightening answer. Impacting the side or rear of a semi-trailer can be fatal, even for a car with an excellent safety rating. While every manufacturer is hedging their bets on crossovers and large trucks/SUVs, many Americans still buy cars. Traditional cars, like family sedans for instance, ride lower than a crossover or a truck. It’s easy for a car to become wedged under the trailer if it impacts the trailer from the side or rear. Depending on which trailer manufacturer is impacted, drivers can be decapitated. What the IIHS argues is that these deaths and injuries can be prevented by stronger or reinforced guards.

Currently, there are federal regulations in place for semi-trucks. The rear of every semi-trailer on the road has a guard on it to prevent a car from becoming pinned underneath. Some cars are safer than others, and the same holds true for trailer manufacturers. Some current trailer guards work very well. Others fail. Tragically, those failures can result in the loss of life.

Recently, the IIHS tested trailers from 8 different manufacturers. Each trailer was tested in scenarios mimicking a full impact, 50%, and 30% impacts. The results showed that many trailer manufacturers have made vast improvements over the past several years. However, a few manufacturers failed the test. Complete results can be found here.

Another area of concern: the sides of trailers do not have guards. Some have aftermarket materials in place to increase fuel mileage, but they do not prevent a car from being trapped. The IIHS is currently working on raising awareness for side trailer guards, as well.

Pre-collision safety systems are another issue with semi-trailers that warrants further discussion.  Depending on where the pre-collision warning camera or radar sensor is placed on a car, it may not detect the side of a trailer. If this is the case, the self-braking feature will not activate. This is believed to be the cause of a highly publicized accident involving a Tesla Model S and a semi-truck last year. Regulations for side-guards on trailers could help pre-collision systems work more effectively.

There is good news to report, though. Since the IIHS started their public awareness campaigns, several manufacturers have adapted their rear guards to pass the IIHS standards. Events like the conference bring together individuals with organizations that share the common goal of reducing accidents related to under guards.

To learn more about how the legal team from Jan Dils Attorneys at Law can help after an accident, call today for a FREE consultation. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you can’t talk now, fill out this form and a member of the team can contact you at a better time.

What Social Security Applicants Need to Know About Federal District Court

POSTED BY Jon Corra . February 01, 2018

If you were to survey individuals who have pursued Social Security Disability claims, most would tell you that waiting for a decision is the hardest part of theWhat Social Security Applicants Need to Know About Federal District Court journey. As time goes on, that wait gets longer. If your case reaches the Appeals Council, you’ve been waiting for a long time, and there is a good chance that your case will be denied again.

So, what are you to do? Many people simply give up at this stage, but there are options. You may still appeal to the Federal District Court.

To appeal to the Federal District Court, you must file your appeal within 60 days of the Appeals Council decision. If you fail to appeal within the 60-day time period, you will have to start the process over again from the beginning.

If you file your appeal in a timely manner, then you will pursue your case with the Federal District Court. The most important thing to know at this point is that the process becomes even more complicated then it was before. The intensity level picks up, and there is even more paperwork. If you haven’t hired an attorney to represent you before, this would be an excellent time to seek one’s assistance.  It’s important to note that it may be difficult to find an attorney who will step in this late in the process.

Further proof that you’re in the major leagues is evident when you realize that the Federal District Court does not allow any additional documents or evidence to be submitted. Essentially you (or more accurately, your lawyer) have to prove that the SSA was wrong in their findings based on what the Administrative Law Judge had to review at the time of your hearing.

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Once everything is submitted and the arguments have been made, it’s time for the Federal District Court to make their decision. Or is it? The Federal District Court may actually decide to do one of three things:

  • Decide to uphold the decision made by the Social Security Disability Appeals Council.
  • Decide to remand your case for additional review by the Social Security Administration.
  • Decide to grant you your Social Security Disability benefits.

One of the best things you can do before your case reaches this level is hire a qualified Social Security Attorney. Since 1994, our firm has helped thousands of people get the benefits they deserve. If you’d like to know more about the services we provide, call us today for a free consultation. Our toll-free number is 1-877-Jan Dils. (1-877-526-3457.) If you can’t talk now, fill out this form and a member of our team can call you at a better time. If you would like to learn even more about the Social Security Disability Process, request a free copy of our book here.

What Everyone Needs To Know About Talcum Powder Lawsuits

POSTED BY Jon Corra . December 05, 2017

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.

What everyone needs to know about Mesothelioma

POSTED BY Jon Corra . September 05, 2017

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.

Exploring a new trend in automotive safety

POSTED BY Jon Corra . September 05, 2017

If you are in the market for a new car, there’s a good chance that safety is at the top of your list of priorities. The auto industry is now offering more advanced safety technology than ever before, and most vehicles offer options like automatic braking, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and more airbags. But one new feature, in particular, has generated interest in the industry. Airbag equipped seatbelts may not be as common as some safety features, but they can offer additional protection for vehicle occupants.

Most consumers haven’t heard of airbag equipped seatbelts, in part because they are currently only offered by two manufacturers. Ford Motor Company offers them in Ford and Lincoln models, and Mercedes-Benz currently offers their own version of the inflatable seatbelt in a few of their cars. They are more readily available from Ford, and it’s important to note that they are offered as an added, optional feature in some but not all Ford models, and aren’t currently included as a standard safety feature on new vehicles.

Ford’s Edge, Flex, Fusion and F-150 as well as Lincoln’s MKT, MKX and MKZ are the only ones that offer the enhanced seatbelts as an option. Per Ford’s website, the feature is a $650 upcharge. It’s also worth noting that these seatbelts are for the rear seat, and are not offered on the front seat of any vehicle.

So why would anyone consider a seatbelt with an airbag? The inflatable belt is meant to reduce the force on the head, chest, and neck in a collision. Generally, children ride in the back seat, and their bones are not fully developed yet. The inflatable seatbelt could possibly keep a child from having broken bones from the seatbelt as the result of a crash. According to the Ford website, the benefits of the seatbelts are as follows:

During a crash, the inflatable belt helps distribute crash forces across more of a passenger’s torso than a traditional belt – up to five times more. Spreading the pressure over a larger area helps reduce pressure on the passenger’s chest, and helps control head and neck motion.

If your little ones are still in car seats, then you should do some research. Not all car seats work with the inflatable seatbelts. The belt is thicker than the standard belts that most cars use, and also a little less flexible. If you purchase a car equipped with inflatable seatbelts and have children in child seats, simply search online to see if your seat is compatible. Ford dealers should have up-to-date lists of compatible seats, but if you purchase your vehicle used, you will likely have to do your own research.

There is not a lot of research or testing to back up the claims made by Ford Motor Company. Ford has offered to sell the technology to other automakers, but it is unclear if any manufacturers have expressed interest. Ford has been using it since 2011, and it does not appear that anyone else is introducing the technology in the coming model year.

If you’ve been injured in an accident, call us 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.

What are the signs of Nursing Home Neglect?

POSTED BY Jon Corra . July 24, 2017

At the age of 14, when other teens were hanging out at the mall, going to dances, and being social, I was visiting my father in a nursing home. When most people

The signs of nursing home neglect aren’t always obvious.

realize that I was only 14 and had a parent in a nursing home, they assume that my father was one of those new age senior citizens who have children well into their sixties. Unfortunately, that was not the case with my dad. He was only 41. His body was weak from two years of battling brain cancer and having multiple surgeries. We tried taking care of him in-house, but it became too much for us. We decided that a nursing home was our best bet to give him proper care. It turns out we might have been wrong. I recall going to the nursing home one day to visit my father and I saw what would eventually be the beginning of the end.

Due to my father’s chemo, and the fact that had tumors in his brain, he was weak. He could not get in and out of bed on his own. One day in August we were visiting him. The nursing staff was helping my father back into bed when they didn’t give him proper care. Instead of laying him in the bed gently they let go early, and his head went crashing into the headboard. I was sitting next to the bed and saw it all happen. My father’s head hit on an edge of the headboard, near where he had surgery recently. Granted, this was 18 years ago, and I am no Doogie Houser, but I believe this impact caused my father’s shunt to quit working. Five months later we were planning his funeral.

Sudden weight Loss is a sign of neglect.

What I described was a not typical case of Nursing Home Neglect, but it’s too painful for me to discuss some of the other things I witnessed. At the time, nursing home neglect was not as mainstream as it is now, and we were not the type of family to sue anyone. We had just lost the patriarch of our family after a very long and stressful two year battle with a terrible disease. Now, in 2017, the Statute of Limitations has passed, and all I can really do is educate other people about the subject, and tell you what to look for with your loved ones.

Nursing home abuse and nursing home neglect are broad terms used to define a variety of offenses within the nursing home abuse. They can refer to something as simple as not attending to patients on a regular basis, to sexual abuse and rape. The subject is truly disturbing to talk about too.

Instead of examining specific cases of nursing home abuse, let’s look at things in a little more general fashion today. What are some signs of Nursing Home/Elder Abuse you should be on the look out for with your loved ones?

–      Emotional or social neglect, where the elder person is repeatedly ignored, left alone, or accidentally snapped at by an overstressed nursing home staff

–      Personal hygiene neglect, where patients do not receive adequate help with laundry, cleaning, bathing, brushing their teeth, or other forms of hygienic practices

–      Basic needs neglect, where the nursing home neglects to provide reasonable food, water, or a safe and clean environment

–      Medical neglect, where the nursing home fails to provide adequate attention, prevention, or medication for concerns such as bed sores, infections, cuts, diabetes, cognitive diseases, and mobility concerns

Warning signs of nursing home neglect include:

–      Sudden weight loss

–      Bedsores, or pressure ulcers

–      Injuries from nursing home falls

–      Dehydration

–      Malnutrition

–      Withdrawn elder behavior, or unusual changes in behavior

–      Changes in personal hygiene or appearance efforts

–      A growing lack of friendly interaction with the nursing home staff

–      A growing lack of friendly interaction with the other nursing home residents

–      Environmental hazards, such as poor lighting, slippery floors, unsafe mobility equipment, or unsafe furniture in the nursing home patient’s room

If you suspect a loved one is a victim of nursing home neglect or elder abuse, report it to the proper authorities. If you’d like to know more about your legal options, give us a call today 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 get back to you.

Driving Up Stream; How Live Streaming is Causing A Lot Of Accidents

POSTED BY Jon Corra . June 29, 2017

One of the fun things about working in social media is seeing how technology is always changing how we deliver content. Five years ago it would have been unheard of to have business pages on Instagram or Snapchat. Likewise, to suggest streaming live video via a social media account was unheard of a few years ago. Granted, services like UStream were available back then, but these platforms were not easy to use. So, most brands didn’t participate. Recently, tools like Periscope, Meerkat, and Facebook Live have made live streaming video so easy, anyone can do it. Now that “going live” on Facebook or Instagram is so easy, it’s also more dangerous.

Our firm has had fun with Facebook Live.   It’s great for reaching our clients. We’ve used it mostly for fun, but it shows our clients another side of our firm. It helps them get to know us better. For instance, when we present our Golden Apple Award to a teacher in the Mid-Ohio Valley, we set up a mobile device to stream the announcement live. This practice allows our clients to see a behind the scenes aspect of our firm. It’s safe to say that we use this feature as it is intended. However, we’re aware that a lot of people don’t follow the rules.

Periscope is a lot like Facebook Live, except it has its own app, and it integrates into Twitter easily. Periscope came out before Facebook Live, and many early adopters still prefer this application for live streaming. It was while watching a video on Periscope one evening that I first started to notice people using live video streaming when they shouldn’t. NASCAR driver Tony Stewart was using Periscope while driving home one evening. He was providing commentary about the other motorists, and he was answering questions from his fans. He was doing this all while driving on a rainy interstate. Soon after, I noticed more and more people broadcasting live videos as they drove. It now seems common to see live videos on Facebook, Periscope, and Instagram while users are driving.

Obviously, distracted driving is an issue, and it is nothing new. However, this adds another level to the issue because people are actually recording themselves committing crimes. In most states, it is currently illegal to operate a vehicle while using a non-hands free mobile device. For instance, I follow a local photographer who enjoys filming himself passing cars on rural roads in West Virginia. In one such video, this gentleman clearly passed a car on a double yellow line, essentially passing in a no passing zone.

It’s easy to argue that what I have seen is minor compared to what has occurred with some live streaming drivers. Earlier this month a Rhode Island man streamed himself driving recklessly on Facebook Live. While on the interstate he was traveling up to 115 MPH and passing cars on the shoulder. He eventually hit a dump truck. Luckily no other motorists were injured.

[youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJdlRGhiDl8″]I believe it’s safe to say that everyone knows that it’s not safe to text/live stream while driving. However, the penalties for drivers who break this law are not very steep. Currently, the West Virginia traffic code does not list specific violations for live streaming. However, our state does have specific laws for texting or using a non-hands-free device while driving. The first offense is $100, the second offense is $200, and the third offense is $300. The third offense also comes with the possibility of points against your license. These fines don’t seem too strict considering that our fines for littering are much stronger. If you are convicted of littering, on your first offense, you could lose points on your license, and your second offense may result in community service. I hate a litter bug at as much as the next fella, but I think a distracted driver should be penalized more. Granted, that is my opinion.

Sadly, the number of accidents caused by distracted drivers is on the rise. In these accidents, injuries or fatalities are likely.

UPDATE

 

Since we originally wrote this blog, there has been another tragedy making national headlines regarding Live Streaming while driving. Obdulia Sanchez, 18, of California was broadcasting live on Instagram while driving her car. She lost control and crashed the car into a fence. It eventually flipped in a nearby field. Her sister, 14 and a friend, also 14, were ejected from the car. They were not wearing seatbelts.

Sanchez continued to film after the accident and addressed the people watching the video. She addressed the fact that she (likely) killed her sister in the accident. She also mentioned that she was probably going to go to jail for life for what occurred. The other 14-year-old passenger in the car survived.

One thing that does set this example apart from the others is that Sanchez was arrested after the accident for a suspected DUI and Gross Vehicular Manslaughter. She may have been under the influence of alcohol while driving.

Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, issued the following statement to NBC News after the accident:

“We’re deeply saddened by this tragedy. We urge people to use our reporting tools if they see any content or behavior that puts anyone’s safety at risk. We want to interrupt these streams as quickly as possible when they’re reported to us, and we will also notify law enforcement if we see a threat that requires an immediate response. We suggest people contact emergency services if they become aware of a situation where the authorities can help.”

If you’ve been injured in a wreck because of a distracted driver, call us today for a FREE consultation. Our Toll-Free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you’d rather talk at a different time, fill out this form and call us at a later time.