Recent Posts

Stress-Free Social Security Disability Claim Filing

The Social Security Administration (SSA) functions as the safety net for qualified people and their dependents against events or circumstances which may render them unable to provide adequately for their basic needs.  This is includes claiming disability for the eligible worker, the surviving partner, or dependent children under various Social Security Disability (SSD) programs. However, because these programs are often the target for fraud, there are numerous checks and balances to ensure that a claim is justified and legitimate. As a consequence, it can be a royal ache in the nether regions.

Filing a claim for Social Security Disability benefits is a rigorous and sometimes excruciatingly slow process that is further exacerbated by the complexity of ifs and buts inherent in the program requirements. It is fatally easy to make mistakes in making a claim, and even a minor error in filling up a form can result in long delays in the approval for benefits. This means that perhaps badly needed financial assistance may not come in a timely manner. Worse, the claim may even be denied if serious errors are made in filing for it, or receive less benefits, even if there is a legitimate basis for the granting of benefits. When it comes to getting and receiving crucial assistance such as disability benefits, it is best not to leave it to chance.

Even the SSA recommends that the claimant should get assistance from someone familiar with the filing process. This will minimize the number of errors made and the resulting delays, a common occurrence for inexperienced persons filing a claim for SSD. When the filing is done properly, the claimant may actually receive more benefits than they knew they qualified for. The SSA also saves on man-hours when processing correctly accomplished claims, so everyone benefits from having a social security disability claim filing lawyer do the spade work.

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Dog Bite Dangers

Dogs are popular family pets because of their ability to be trained and their friendly demeanor. Many young couples are able to safely and successfully raise small children and infants in an environment with canines. Since the general attitude toward dogs is typically positive, many people are surprised to learn that dog bites are a prevalent public health issue. Every day nearly 1,000 United States citizens require medical attention for injuries related to dog bites. Dog bites can be caused by people unnecessarily provoking dogs, dogs being protective of their owner’s property, untrained dogs displaying aggression, and many other factors.

Unfortunately, children usually experience the most medical distress from dog attacks. They are less capable of defending themselves against an aggressive dog than adults. Children are also more likely to reach for a dog abruptly, which can induce fear and cause the dog to react violently. Legally, these dog attacks are often a premises liability issue. Premises liability lawsuits (more info at hold property owners responsible for damages that happen to other people while on their property. Property trespassers aren’t usually eligible to file a premises liability lawsuit, as the property owner either didn’t welcome them onto their property or is unaware of their presence.

Dog owners can also be held liable for dog attacks if they aren’t on their property. If the owner is walking their dog and it bites someone in a common recreational area, they are still liable since the dog is their responsibility. Though some reports have been filed of dog bites occurring in suburban and urban neighborhoods, report trends show that most serious dog attacks occur in rural areas. Animal Control doesn’t monitor rural areas as rigorously as urban areas, so stray dogs are more likely to roam and reproduce in provincial neighborhoods.

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Hospitals May Not Have Financial Incentive to Prevent Surgical Errors

May 08, 13 Hospitals May Not Have Financial Incentive to Prevent Surgical Errors

surgical errorsIn a study published on April 17, 2013 in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), researchers found that hospitals actually benefit financially from surgical errors, especially when treating patients on Medicare. Namely, the study stated that hospitals can secure as much as 190% more from treating a patient who experienced a surgical error than treating a patient who did not experience such a mistake. This is due to the fact that most surgical errors necessitate further treatment and much longer in-hospital care.

These findings are alarming, as they indicate that hospitals may have little to no financial incentive to prevent surgical errors from occurring in their facilities. Of the 34,256 surgical patients examined in the study in question, 1,820 had one or more complications associated with their procedure. To learn more about the results of this study and the potential effects it could have on the healthcare industry, you can read more here.

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Hostess Recovers from Bankruptcy

The new owners of Hostess brands, makers of baked treats and Twinkies, have announced this week that they hope to resume production of their food products by August of this year.

Production of the beloved treats was halted last year after the company’s factory workers went on strike despite warnings from the company that such a strike would bankrupt it. The company declared bankruptcy soon after and has since been purchased by Apollo Global Management and Metropolis & Co, a private equity group who paid $410 million for the snackmaker’s name, products, and manufacturing facilities.

The company has made two announcements declaring the reopening of four of its factories. It is already accepting applications for these factories in Georgia, Kansas, and Indiana. It hopes to have these facilities up and running by the end of the month.

Hostess has gone through bankruptcy before and is a good example of how the bankruptcy process can be used to help struggling businesses stay afloat.

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Mother Accused of Child Cruelty after Forcing Pregnancy on Daughter

An American expatriate living in the United Kingdom has been found guilty of child cruelty and is now serving a five-year prison sentence.

The woman, a divorced adoptive mother of three, has been jailed for persuading her eldest daughter to artificially inseminate herself with syringes of sperm she ordered from the internet. The 14-year-old girl potentially suffered a miscarriage, but later became pregnant six sperm syringes later, giving birth when she was 17 years old in July 2011.

The woman got the idea to impregnate her daughter and raise the child as her own after her application to adopt a fourth child was denied. In a bout of ignorant superstition, she made her pregnant daughter douche with lemon and vinegar, hoping to increase the chances of having a girl. The daughter agreed to carry a child at such a young age because she hoped it would make her adoptive mother love her more.

The first indication anyone outside the family received that something was not right was when midwives noticed the mother not allowing the daughter to breastfeed the newborn baby claiming that they shouldn’t become too attached.

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Common Causes of Unintentional Child Injury

Apr 09, 13 Common Causes of Unintentional Child Injury

Children below the age of 14 are prone to injury because they are curious and uncoordinated. It is therefore the responsibility of the people around them to ensure their safety under their care. It is important to know the leading causes of unintentional or accidental child injury so that preventive measures can be taken.

Accidental injuries are the leading non-disease cause of death in the US, mostly due to traffic or vehicle-related accidents, drowning and playground mishaps. Unintentional child injury also accounts for a majority of hospital emergency cases. Children are still developing a lot of their motor skills, so they are more likely than adults to be hurt from falls or other mishaps.

Causes of Child Injury

  • Vehicular or traffic injuries – The national Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimate that 560 children under 14 are injured in car accidents every day in the US, with an average of 4 deaths. Of the fatalities, half are due to inappropriate restraints. Many cases of child injury in this category involve some type of reckless behavior or negligence. Children involved in car accidents are either passengers or pedestrians.
  • Child maltreatment – It is estimated that more than 900,000 child injury cases occur annually and are due to maltreatment or abuse. This can take the form of sexual, emotion, or physical abuse, or neglect. Of these cases, more than 1,500 children die yearly, a leading cause of which is violent shaking or trauma to the head with a blunt instrument.
  • Drowning – Children love to play in the water, which can lead to accidents. Most caregivers are vigilant when children are in a swimming pool or any large body of water. However, it takes very little time and not a lot of water for a child to drown. A bathtub or even 4 inches in a bucket can lead to death for a toddler. Very young children need to be supervised at all times when bathing or swimming, as drowning is the leading cause of child injury for children between the ages of 1 and 4. Pool owners should also modify safety measures to prevent drowning incidents.
  • Playground accidents – Falls from playground equipment are the leading cause of hospital emergency visits for non-fatal child injuries in the US. About 200,000 children were brought to the hospital for fractures, serious lacerations and blunt force trauma. The cost of these preventable injuries exceeds $100 billion a year in hospital treatment, pain, trauma, income loss, and legal fees.

Child Injuries

When personal injury lawyers are needed

While few people would wish any child deliberate harm, the act of omission rather than commission is just as bad. A driver failing to stop at a pedestrian crossing, the adult neglecting to place restraints on a child passenger, the friendly neighbor inviting children for a swim or to play in an unsafe environment, or a caregiver leaving a very young child in the bathtub to check on the oven are all acts of negligence. In such cases, a San Diego personal injury lawyer may be necessary to address the injury done to your child or the child of someone you know. The financial and emotional costs alone of non-fatal child injury can be extensive, let alone the pain and suffering if a child injury leads to death. Civil litigation will serve to ease the financial burden as well as serve as a deterrent to reckless or negligent behavior.

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What are the laws on Wrongful Death in Michigan?

Wrongful death is defined under Michigan law as “the death of a person, injuries resulting in death… caused by wrongful act, neglect, or fault of another, and the act, neglect, or fault is such as would, if death had not ensued, have entitled the party injured to maintain an action and recover damages.” There are many instances in which a wrongful death may ensue, including but not limited to medical errors, surgical mistakes, vehicular accidents, and product defects. Not all fatalities in these instances are considered wrongful death; it is only when negligence, recklessness, or carelessness of the party that caused the incident can be proven that a case may be said to have merit.

When and who may file a wrongful death claim

In Michigan, the statute of limitations for wrongful death is three years. This means that there is a time limit in which a personal representative of the victim of wrongful death may bring a legal proceeding against the person or company identified as the perpetrator of a wrongful act that brought about death. This period may be extended – tolled – if the only surviving representative of the deceased is a minor or mentally ill. In the case of a minor, the clock will start ticking once the age of majority is reached.

Michigan stipulates that the representative of the deceased who may file a personal injury by wrongful death claim has to be the deceased’s:

  • Spouse
  • Children
  • Parents
  • Grandparents
  • Siblings
  • Designated testamentary beneficiary entitled to damages

Awarding of damages

The plaintiff in a wrongful death claim may not set the amount of compensation. Instead, the courts will decide if the claim has merit. If there is, the amount of the claim will be determined based on what is deemed just and appropriate. This usually covers:

  • Medical and hospital expenses
  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Compensation for the pain and suffering of the deceased prior to death
  • Loss of income for the deceased’s family
  • Compensation for the pain and suffering due to the loss of the deceased

Whatever amount the courts decide to award, the proceeds will be divided among a list of persons that will be presented before the courts for approval during a hearing. The courts will also decide the time and manner of distribution.

Legal representation

An interested party in a wrongful death case can theoretically file a case pro se or “for oneself” but it is usually not a good idea to do so. Competent and experienced personal injury lawyers have the necessary knowledge and expertise to deal with wrongful death cases, and are well-versed in the laws of the state. It would be a false economy to dispense with the services of personal injury lawyers because wrongful death cases can be highly complex and mostly difficult to prove.

It would be best to engage the services of an established law firm in the area with a team of personal injury lawyers. This will ensure that the untimely death of a loved one will be properly addressed, and the perpetrator penalized accordingly.


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Why Pharmaceutical Errors Are Dangerous

Mar 30, 13 Why Pharmaceutical Errors Are Dangerous

When a doctor prescribes a patient with a medication, he or she chose that drug and dosage for very specific medical reasons. The doctor may be paying attention to the patient’s allergies, condition, other medications, and a host of other influences when choosing to prescribe a drug. Sadly, sometimes errors are made along the way that cause a patient to receive the wrong medication.

There are many ways a person might erroneously receive the wrong medication. They can vary wildly from a mistake in the physician’s thought process to simply being given the wrong pills by a careless pharmacist.

When a patient receives the wrong drugs, the consequences can be quite dangerous. Taking the wrong medication means that a person is not getting the treatment they need. This can cause their original condition to worsen, as it is going untreated. All the while, the doctor is under the impression that the patient is receiving the correct medication, causing him or her to become stumped about how to treat the patient. At the same time, the incorrect medicine the patient is taking could potentially have side effects of its own that could present themselves as new symptoms.

Overall, hospital mistakes and pharmaceutical errors are incredibly dangerous and can lead to serious harm. To prevent these kinds of errors, be certain to ask your doctor about any medication he or she prescribes. Be sure to know the name, dosage, and what the pill should look like when you get to the pharmacy so you can determine whether or not the pills you receive are the correct ones.

Also, as best as possible, try to keep yourself informed on any medications that have been recalled because of dangerous side effects, or drugs that have FDA warnings alerting patients to potentially damaging side effects, like the drug Reglan, the side effects of which are so serious that many patients who formerly took this medication have now filed a Reglan lawsuit against the drug’s manufacturer.

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Seeing the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

Mar 17, 13 Seeing the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing homes are supposed to be a haven for those who can no longer care for themselves and who may need professional medical care. When abuse occurs, the victims are often too sick, too old, or too scared to say anything. As relatives, friends, or simply concerned citizens, it is our duty to ensure that those who cannot defend themselves are protected from negligence or abuse at the hands of those who are supposed to take care of them. Here are some of the physical signs that the services of an experienced personal injury attorney may be needed:

  • Bruises, lacerations or scratches
  • Chronic bedsores
  • Dehydration
  • Dirty clothes or soiled bed linen
  • Fractures
  • Lack of cleanliness and grooming
  • Reddened areas on wrists, arms, legs or ankles
  • Unexplained burn marks
  • Weight loss

Sadly, many nursing home patients who are victimized are those who are visited infrequently or not at all by relatives and friends, so the abuse goes undetected. By the time it is noticed, if ever, it is often too late to save the patient from irreversible harm or even death. In the case of Emilio Gonzalez, whose death was rendered hideous by severe bedsores resulting from negligence by the staff of a nursing home in San Antonio, justice came too late for the victim. His estate was awarded close to $600,000  when his daughter sued the nursing home for abuse.

Aside from physical abuse and medical malpractice, nursing home staff members are often accused of emotional and sexual abuse. Some of the indications of these kinds of abuse include but are not limited to:

  • Aggression
  • Agitation
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Disorientation
  • Fear
  • Passiveness due to over-medication
  • Sadness
  • Sudden social withdrawal

If you suspect that someone is being neglected or abused in a nursing home, contact law enforcement and an experienced attorney as soon as possible.

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Recognizing Whiplash and How to Make a Claim

Feb 17, 13 Recognizing Whiplash and How to Make a Claim

Whiplash is an injury that is the commonly sustained in rear-end collision car accidents, but it isn’t always apparent immediately. This is why it is important to be proactive in case it becomes problematic at a later time.

What is whiplash?

Whiplash is the layman’s term for cervical acceleration-deceleration (CAD) injury, and the damage is often in the neck region. The injury occurs when the neck snaps forward and back (or vice versa) in rapid succession, causing a sudden and intense stretching of the spine. The exact mechanism of whiplash is unknown, but it is not just the neck that is involved as most people think. The treatment of whiplash is usually to immobilize the neck, but that is not always the case. Because there is very little known about whiplash, the treatment is pretty much trial-and-error.

You may have whiplash if you have the following which was not present prior to the accident:

  • Stiffness and pain between the neck and shoulder
  • Headaches or dizziness
  • Lower back pain
  • Numbness/pain (pins and needles) along the arm and hand
  • Blurred vision or auditory ringing
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Fatigue

The symptoms of whiplash will not simply fade without treatment, and often requires rest and rehabilitation. In some cases when treatment was absent or inadequate, the injury progressed to chronic and debilitating pain. Because it is often not detected immediately, delay in treatment can have serious consequences. In any situation where whiplash may have occurred, request for a CT scan or MRI, as standard X-rays will not detect it.

Making a whiplash compensation claim

According to the website of Ravid & Associates, P.C., if ever you are a victim of a car accident, you need to make sure that you can make a whiplash claim if it becomes necessary. Even a mild case of whiplash will require medical attention and several days of bed rest, which could mean loss of income. Car accident lawyers would need the following to support your claim for compensation:

  • Take photographs of the scene of the accident, including the damages to both cars and the surrounding areas
  • Request information from the driver who rear-ended you. Write down the driver’s name, address, contact numbers as well as registration details of the vehicle. The other driver cannot legally refuse to give these details; however, if it happens get the police to do it for you.
  • Make a canvass of any possible outside witnesses to the accident, and take down their information
  • Get immediate medical attention to document your injuries, and get an accident report
  • Keep all original documents and photographs; send only copies when necessary.

If it turns out that you actually suffered a whiplash injury, the documentation you gathered plus the medical report that identifies it as CAD will be invaluable. These documents will be your ticket for getting compensation for medical, physical therapy and other expenses as well as damages for your pain (there will be pain) and suffering.

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