How Does a Lawyer Evaluate a Car Accident Case?

POSTED BY Jon Corra . July 18, 2018

The days following a car accident can be scary. If you’re injured, you need to plan your recovery. If your injuries will keep you from working, you’re probably going to be worried about finances. And lastly, you’ll likely be looking for an attorney to represent you. But which personal injury attorney should you choose? You’ll have a lot of options to choose from, no matter where you live. Here are 4 factors that a personal injury attorney will typically use to evaluate your claim:

  1. Medical Treatment. One of the largest factors for any personal injury claim is an actual injury. You can’t pursue a personal injury claim if an injury hasn’t occurred. If you are injured, you must have some sort of medical treatment in order for a favorable decision to occur. Medical evidence is the most important aspect of your case. Medical records from a credible medical professional are crucial.
  2. Time. When did the accident occur? A lot of people will start searching for an attorney quickly after their accident happens. That’s good. However, some people may wait. You shouldn’t wait too long. Timing varies from state to state, but most areas have a statute of limitations. In West Virginia, the statute is two years.
  3. Who is at fault? The police report will play a big part in determining who was at fault in a car accident. If you’re at fault for the accident you were in, you will have a difficult time receiving compensation or arguing your case.
  4. Have you settled? Insurance companies are notorious for under-compensating you for your Injuries. They will send you an offer that will likely be far less than you deserve. These offers can be tempting for accident victims. But if you accept the offer, you may not be able to pursue a personal injury claim.

Car accidents can be scary, but seeing an attorney shouldn’t be. We offer free case evaluations by experienced, caring professionals. If you’d like to know more about the services we offer, 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.

Long Term Disability and Your Social Security Disability Claim

POSTED BY Jon Corra . July 16, 2018

Working every day in Social Security can be en eye-opening experience. Some of the stats we’ve learned over the years are staggering. For instance, did you know 25% of all 20-year-olds won’t work until retirement age? In 2017, 39% of all working Americans had no money saved. So, what are you to do if you can’t work? If you become disabled at an early age and you have no savings, it may be difficult to survive financially. If you decide to pursue Social Security Disability, you’re going to be in for a long wait. Some people prepare for this by purchasing long-term disability insurance (LTD). However, individuals who have LTD may have questions about how it impacts Social Security Disability.

Let’s start with an explanation of long-term disability insurance. For most, an LTD policy will take place after a short-term disability policy ends. Most short-term policies last about 6 months. According to insure.com, long-term disability insurance pays a percentage of your salary, usually 50 to 60 percent, depending on the policy. The benefits last until you can go back to work or for the number of years stated in the policy. Some policies pay out as long as you are disabled until age 65.

Many employers offer LTD insurance policies, but you must opt into these policies. If your employer does not offer a plan, you can purchase LTD through an insurance agent. Most LTD policies require a monthly fee.

If you’ve done any research on the Social Security Disability process, you know that it takes a long time for claims to be approved. Most people have to wait years before they get approved. Long-term disability insurance can be beneficial during this time because it does not take as long for an LTD claim to process. So, LTD can help supplement your income while you’re waiting to be approved for SSDI.

Can you get both?

One of the first things we’re asked when a client has an LTD policy is “Can I get both?” The answer depends upon a few factors. Keep in mind, SSDI is not an income-based program. The SSA does not care how much money or how many assets you have when you’re pursuing SSDI. You could have 27 houses and every Ferarri ever made and still qualify for SSDI. In other words, the income you receive from an LTD policy won’t keep you from receiving benefits. The limitations are usually found in your LTD policy. Some LTD policies require you to file for SSDI within a specific time period.

Once you’re approved for SSDI, most long-term disability policies won’t continue to pay you the full amount. Instead, the policy will offset the balance paid by the SSA. For example, if you were making $60,000 per year before you became disabled, and your policy paid you 60% of your annual income, you’d receive about $2,500 per month. If you’re approved for SSDI for an amount of $1,800 per month, your LTD policy should pay you the remaining $700 per month. Keep in mind though, this depends upon your LTD policy. Some policies may not pay anything if you’re approved for SSDI.

Know your policy.

Regardless of whether your employer offers an LTD policy or you purchase one from an agent, you should get to know it well. Don’t hesitate to ask your HR rep about specifics, or reach out to your insurance agent for clarification on the details.

If you’d like to know more about the ways in which SSDI impacts long-term disability, call us today for a free consultation. Our number is 1-877-526-3457. If you’d rather talk at a later time, fill out this form so we may call you at a better time.

Why Are Pedestrian Deaths on the Rise?

POSTED BY Jon Corra . July 06, 2018

A recent report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) sheds new light on the increasing number of pedestrian deaths.  The article mentions an increase of 46% since 2009. Further, a February 2018 article by National Public Radio stated that pedestrian deaths have reached a 25-year high for the second consecutive year. The cars we purchase are safer than ever, but more and more pedestrians are being killed and injured.

Just how bad is this issue?

The NPR article listed above stated that pedestrian deaths have been at a 25-year high for the second year in a row. What’s even more alarming is the increase from 2016 to 2017. NPR claims the year-to-year increase is 27%. In 2017, nearly 6,000 pedestrians died. According to NPR, five states: California, Florida, Texas, New York and Arizona, accounted for 43% of pedestrian deaths during the first half of 2017, despite being home to just 30% of the U.S. population. Another alarming statistic reveals that 8 of the top 10 most dangerous areas were in Florida according to the study by Smart Growth America.

Why are deaths increasing?

If you look at the increased numbers, you might assume it’s because drivers aren’t paying attention. While it’s true that distracted drivers are one reason that pedestrian deaths are on the rise, it’s not the only one. The IIHS stated that there are many reasons. Some, like distracted drivers, are obvious, but others are more nuanced.

 

Crosswalks

The IIHS found that pedestrian deaths are worse in urban areas. Larger cities are dense, with more people and more cars. However, rural areas are experiencing increased pedestrian deaths due to a lack of infrastructure. Large metropolitan areas are often set up in a grid pattern. There are usually crosswalks and traffic lights at every block, making it easier and safer for pedestrians to cross. However, most suburban areas aren’t set up this way, and instead, force pedestrians to walk long distances without crosswalks or traffic lights. The long distance between crosswalks encourages pedestrians to walk across busy traffic areas, leading to more individuals getting hit by oncoming traffic.

Light

This cause of pedestrian death was brought to national attention recently when an autonomous Uber vehicle hit a pedestrian crossing a four-lane roadway. The individual who was struck was crossing traffic in an area not designated for pedestrians. The incident also occurred at night, which brings up another issue mentioned by the IIHS. Many pedestrians are hit at night due to low visibility. The problem with visibility is two-fold. The first issue is the result of poorly lit roadways. Street lights help with visibility, but the infrastructure in most cities doesn’t include proper street lighting. The other issue with visibility involves vehicle headlights. The IIHS states that current vehicle headlights may blind pedestrians, and they don’t provide good visibility, especially at a distance.

The things we drive most destroy us. 

In a situation in which a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle, the pedestrian is always at a disadvantage. However, being struck by a small economy car is much different than being struck by a crossover, SUV or truck. The way in which a vehicle impacts a pedestrian makes a big difference, as well. For instance, a small car may strike a pedestrian in the leg or the knees. A crossover, SUV or truck rides higher than a car, meaning the point of impact is also higher. So instead of being struck in the knee or leg, a pedestrian may be struck in the chest or head. An impact near your vital organs is more likely to result in a fatality. In 2018, we have more large vehicles on the road than at any other time in history.

Speed

In their report on pedestrian safety, the IIHS also mentioned increased speed as a major factor in pedestrian deaths. Speed limits nationally have increased. The IIHS suggests a way to decrease this issue is to decrease speeds. They also suggest increased use of speed cameras as a way to deter speeding. However, there is a lot of opposition to this proposal.

The Fix

The general public isn’t aware of the increasing number of pedestrian deaths. The IIHS and many other outlets are working hard to make the public aware, since raising awareness is one of the best ways to tackle this problem. However, some auto manufacturers are taking things a step further. Manufacturers like Subaru are creating crash avoidance systems which can detect pedestrians. Many automakers are starting to design their vehicles to minimize pedestrian injuries. Some cars now come equipped with explosive charges at the base of the hood. If your car hits a pedestrian, the base of the hood will pop up to push the individual back up. Volvo is currently offering this on some new cars with this feature.

We need to be more careful on the road. Too many people are dying because of these accidents. If you want to know more about the services we offer, or if you’d like to sign up for a free consultation, give us a call today. 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.

Uber Accident Leads to More Concerns About Autonomous Tech

POSTED BY Jon Corra . June 01, 2018

The popularity of peer to peer ridesharing has increased exponentially over the past several years. Services like Uber and Lyft have their share of fans, but they also have a long list of detractors.

According to personal injury lawyers, several personal injuries like sexual harassment, protests by traditional taxi drivers, or their radical price surging,  are hiking with the use of Uber, in particular, has frequently found themselves in trouble lately.

At their core, Uber is actually a technology company, and they are looking at making changes to the ways that their vehicles operate. Since 2015, Uber has worked on a program to incorporate autonomous vehicles into their fleet.

According to the Pittsburgh Business Times, the first vehicles used for research were seen in May of 2015. While working with Carnegie Melon, Uber Advance technologies created a fleet of “research” Ford Fusions to be used in the city of Pittsburgh.

These vehicles were primarily used for mapping services at the time. By September of 2016, Uber unveiled their first autonomous vehicles for use by the public.

These vehicles were used in the city of Pittsburgh, and they were equipped with “safety drivers.” A safety driver, according to Uber, is in place to take control of the vehicle in emergency situations.

According to WTAE-TV, there are 20 cameras, seven lasers, and three inertial measurement units used by the autonomous vehicles.

By the end of 2016, Uber expanded their autonomous fleet to cities in California and Arizona. They also added a new vehicle: the Volvo XC90. The XC90 is an SUV, as opposed to the Fusion, which is a sedan.

By March of 2017, Uber had their first real public issue with their autonomous cars when one was involved in an accident with another car. In this case, the police investigated the accident and found the sovereign driver was at fault because the non-Uber driver ran a stop sign, then struck the autonomous Uber vehicle.

The impact left the Uber vehicle disabled and it toppled onto its right side. At the time, Uber decided to place the autonomous car program on hiatus so they could determine what caused the accident. After finding that the accident was not the fault of their car, they reinstated the autonomous program.

A year later, in March of 2018, Uber had to halt the program once again. This time, a life was lost after an accident involving an autonomous Uber is Tempe, Arizona. According to multiple reports, a pedestrian was struck by an autonomous Uber while crossing a road at night. According to Tempe Police:

  • 49-year old Elain Herzberg was killed when the vehicle struck her
  • the vehicle was traveling near 40 MPH
  • the pedestrian was not in a designated crosswalk area
  • there was a driver behind the wheel of the autonomous Uber, but the vehicle was in the autonomous mode

After the accident, Uber halted the program until further investigations can be conducted. In addition to the Tempe Police department, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is also investigating the accident.

While this case is still in the early stages, many have made statements about who may be at fault in this accident. For instance, since the pedestrian was not in a designated crosswalk, many are arguing that she may be at fault.

Others are wondering why the car’s sensors didn’t detect the pedestrian. They are designed to avoid pedestrians, but in this case, they didn’t engage any type of braking system prior to impact.

Some are also faulting the safety driver who was behind the wheel of the Uber. All of these vehicles have cameras that record the driver at all times. In the moments leading up to impact, the driver can be seen taking her eyes off the road several times. It’s still early to truly determine fault, but it will be interesting to see what the investigating parties find.

As technology advances, we will likely see more cases like this in the future. Just because a vehicle is autonomous doesn’t mean that there isn’t a liable party.

If you’d like to learn more about the services we provide, please call our office for a free consultation from our  West Virginia Car Accident Lawyer. Our 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.

 

How The New Medical Cards Will Impact You

POSTED BY Jon Corra . May 21, 2018

Individuals who receive Medicare are likely accustomed to paper cards, which can cause issues with information security. However, change is coming. Medicare recipients in West Virginia will be among the first individuals to receive the new cards. Here is what to expect:

Safety is paramount with the new cards. The former paper cards featured your Social Security Number. This could be troublesome for many because it left important personal information exposed. The new cards no longer feature an individual’s Social Security Number. Each new card will feature a new, unique Medicare Number. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will remove Social Security Numbers from all Medicare cards by 2019.

The new cards will not be released at the same time to all Americans. Instead, they will be released in waves. West Virginia will be a part of the first wave released, which started in April of 2018. Other states included in wave one are Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

The new cards will be automatically sent via the United States Postal Service. Recipients won’t need to do anything to receive the new card. However, the CMS states that you should make sure your address is up to date. The CMS also states your benefits will not change with the new card. They also point out that the mailing will take time, and that your friends and neighbors may receive their cards before you do. The mail can be unpredictable, and the high volume of new cards being shipped can take a while to process.

You may wonder why the cards will remain paper. The simple reason is that, while a plastic card may be more durable, paper cards are easier for medical providers to make copies of. If you forget your card though, the provider may be able to look up your information by way of the new number.

If you’re in a Medicare Advantage Plan (like an HMO or PPO), your Medicare Advantage Plan ID card is your main card for Medicare—you should still keep and use it whenever you need care. However, you may also be asked to show your new Medicare card, so you should carry this card, too.

When you receive your new card, you should properly dispose of your old card. To see an example of the new card, click here.

If you’d like to know more about the services we offer, or if you’d like a free case evaluation, call us today. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you can’t talk now, fill out this form so we may call you at a better time.

RV Tires May Be The Cause Of Accidents, Deaths

POSTED BY Jon Corra . May 16, 2018

RV Tires May Be The Cause Of Accidents, Deaths
8.9 million households in the United States own RVs

Summer is just around the corner and, for millions of Americans, that means it’s time to go camping. While the traditional image of a camping trip involves a tent pitched under a starry sky, these days more and more people are opting for recreational vehicles. According to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association, 8.9 million households in the United States own RVs. For many, RV travel is considered safe. However, recent reports show that a potentially deadly defect could be putting a lot of RV owners at risk.

It’s safe to assume many people don’t pay too much attention to tire brands. However, if you were playing a game like Family Feud, and you were asked to name a tire brand, you’d likely guess Goodyear due to their successful branding efforts for decades, including the familiar blimp that floats across the sky during sporting events every year. You may be surprised to learn this brand is the third largest tire manufacturer in the world, behind Michelin and Bridgestone. You may also be surprised to learn that Goodyear’s actions may have led to several accidental deaths.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration claims it has received allegations that defective Goodyear motorhome tires caused crashes that killed or injured 95 people over a decade. The allegations were revealed in an information-seeking letter sent to Goodyear by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Last year, the agency began investigating whether Goodyear’s G159 tires are unsafe. The probe began after a judge ordered the release of Goodyear data that had been sealed under court orders and settlement agreements. Lawsuits and safety advocates allege the tires were designed for delivery trucks and not for recreational vehicles that travel at highway speeds. The NHTSA states that the investigation covers about 40,000 tires made from 1996 to 2003.

Several news outlets are now sharing this news. However, one automotive website has been sharing information about the possibly defective tire for months. Jalopnik is a non-traditional online automotive news and culture journal. According to the website, there have been more than 40 lawsuits filed against the tire manufacturer as a result of the defective tire. They go on to state that Goodyear has admitted in court to receiving over 98 death or injury claims due to the G159 tire.

Jalopnik journalists bring up a good question in their article: why wasn’t an investigation launched sooner? They claim that nearly every lawsuit involved a settlement with plaintiffs which prevented the sharing of documents and findings with other plaintiffs, citing an excerpt from the NHTSA which states:

“…the data produced in the litigation was sealed under protective orders and confidential settlement agreements, precluding claimants from submitting evidence to the NHTSA.”

Jalopnik also found that Goodyear believed the tires to be safe for RV use, stating they (Goodyear) believed the tread separation was the result of user error. Goodyear believed it could be the result of underinflating the tire and/or overloading the vehicle.

The NHTSA investigation is ongoing.

Product liability claims or personal injury are common, you can get assistance from Personal injury lawyer. If you’d like to know more about this type of claim, give us a call today. Our number is 1-877-526-3457. Or, fill out this form so we can contact you at a better time.

 

5 Awful Social Security Myths

POSTED BY Jon Corra . May 04, 2018

Since 1994, we’ve helped thousands of people get the social security disability benefits as Social Security disability benefits lawyers they deserve.  Throughout the years, we’ve also heard a lot of questions from clients that originate from Social Security Myths.

There is a lot of information available online about Social Security disability. However, some of it isn’t quite true. This blog covers some of these Social Security Myths and explains why they are not accurate.

 Myth 1:

  • You will get rich on Social Security disability.

This is not true, it’s a Social Security Myths . Your Social Security disability benefit amount is based on the amount of income5 Awful Social Security Myths on which you have paid Social Security taxes over your lifetime.

 

So, the higher your income was throughout the years you worked, the more you will receive per month.

Most Social Security disability recipients receive between $700 and $1700 per month, and the average for 2018 is $1,197. For 2018, the SSI maximum benefit amount is $750 per month, and the SSD maximum benefits amount is $2,788 per month.

Social Security Myths 2:

  • You shouldn’t pursue Social Security disability and VA disability at the same time.

Many Veterans wait to pursue Social Security until their VA disability claim is decided, or vice versa, worrying that one claim will hinder the other. This is not true another  Social Security Myths.

While both are disability claims, they are handled by two different administrations. The Social Security Administration handles Social Security claims, while the Department of Veterans Affairs processes VA disability claims. There is no evidence to show that pursuing both types of claims at the same time will hurt either case.

Both VA disability and Social Security disability take a long time. So, if a VA claim takes 4 years to get approved, and a Social Security claim takes 3-4 years, you could be waiting nearly a decade for an approval on both if you wait to file for one until the other is finished.

Also, many of the medical records you need for Social Security can be used by the VA, and vise versa. Law firms like ours that handle both types of claims can submit records to both the VA and Social Security.

Myth 3:

  • Young people can’t get Social Security disability.

For the most part, it is more difficult for a younger person to get approved than a person who is nearing retirement. Just because it’s more difficult, however, doesn’t mean that it’s impossible for a younger person to get approved for Social Security disability.

The important thing to keep in mind is that the SSA wants to know if you are disabled and if that disability keeps you from working. Some disabilities will stop a person from working regardless of age.

Myth 4:

  • An attorney can’t help you get your benefits.

This is simply not true. There are a lot of things an attorney can do to help you with your claim. An attorney can help you file paperwork, pursue appeals, and also represent you in court. Many attorneys request and review medical records as well.

However, the best thing an attorney can do for someone pursuing Social Security disability is help guide them through the process. Social Security is confusing. It helps to have someone work with you who has been through the process before.

While we’re on the subject of myths, a lot of people believe an attorney can help get you approved faster. That’s not true either. Claimants who have hired an attorney follow the same processes and time frames as those who do not have an attorney.

Myth 5:

  • Disability benefits only exist for those who have worked.

This is only true if you’re pursuing a claim for Social Security disability. This program is based on your work history. However, another program exists for those who are disabled and have no work history.

It’s called Supplemental Security Income, or SSI for short. The SSA pays monthly benefits to people with limited income and resources who are disabled, blind, or age 65 or older. Blind or disabled children may also get SSI.

Social Security is a tough process. But finding the right attorney doesn’t have to be. 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 Is My Personal Injury Claim Worth?

POSTED BY Jon Corra . May 02, 2018

When someone meets with our Personal Injury lawyers, they often want to know what is my personal injury claim worth?  While many law firms like to advertise big settlements and share how they were able to get specific clients a certain amount of money, that’s not something our firm advertises.

The main reason is that we don’t want to give anyone false hope about their case and what is my personal injury claim worth. It’s not fair to tell someone they’ll get a $100,000 settlement when we haven’t evaluated their case. The amount you will receive depends upon a lot of different factors, including:

 

  • Medical Expenses: Medical expenses that result from your injuries will play an important part in your settlement. If you have an extended hospital stay or must have multiple surgeries, this will likely result in a higher settlement. It’s also important to document any type of physical therapy that may result from the injuries.

 

What Is My Personal Injury Claim Worth?
The amount you will receive in a Personal Injury depends upon a lot of different factors

If your injury is serious enough, you may require future medical attention, too. Your settlement should reflect any future medical expenses that may occur.

 

  • Property Damage: In most cases, property damage usually refers to something like a car that was damaged in an accident. If the car was a total loss or suffered substantial damage, the settlement should reflect the amount of damage that occurred.

 

  • Lost wages: If you’re injured in a car accident, there is a good chance you’ll miss work because of injury. If you’re off work for an extended period of time, your settlement should reflect lost wages.

 

  • Pain and suffering: This is one of the categories that can be hard to quantify. The Pain and suffering refer to any emotional stress and pain that result from an accident. Pain and suffering may be minor, but in some cases, it can include depression, anger, and even PTSD. For instance, let’s say you’re an avid jogger, but someone hits your car. The resulting injury may make it difficult for you to do something you enjoy by continuing to jog. That is also an example of pain and suffering.

 

  • Punitive damages: Punitive damages can be difficult to understand if you don’t have a background in law. Essentially, punitive damages are meant to punish the offender. For instance, if a driver willingly drives recklessly, the court may assign punitive damages. To learn more about punitive damages, read our previous blog here.

There are a lot of factors that go into a settlement. The categories above reflect just a small part of what you may receive compensation for.

 

Any law firm can advertise large settlements, but we like to evaluate each case on an individual basis. It’s important to keep your expectations realistic, and it’s important to know that an insurance company isn’t likely to be on your side.

 

If you’d like to know more about what is my personal injury claim worth or  what we can do to help, 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 so that we can call you at a better time.

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, contact our Personal Injury Lawyer  ,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.