Qualifying and planning for your disability benefits

Qualifying and planning for your disability benefits

Sep 11

When it comes to planning for disability benefits, it is important to first consider whether or not you qualify for benefits according to the Social Security Administration. The SSA makes this determination based on their internal guidelines, which, based on their site, include:

  • The inability to perform work that you once were able to perform
  • You cannot perform other work because of your current medical condition or conditions AND
  • Your disability will last at least a year or may result in death

The SSA has a very strict definition and the rules assume that people who are in families that work will have other financial support during shorter term disabilities like worker’s compensation or savings or health insurance coverage.

In addition, you must have worked for a certain period of time to qualify for Social Security benefits. You earn “credits” based on how long you worked or how long you were self-employed, and you can earn up to four of these credits per year. In addition, the number of credits you earn determines if you qualify for benefits, which is also matched up with the age you are when you become disabled.

An attorney can help explain the SSA rules and regulations and can help you determine if you qualify for benefits. In addition, the attorney can help you fill out the application for benefits and make sure it matches what the SSA is looking for. Many people make mistakes on their application or fail to fill it out completely, which typically causes an immediate rejection by the SSA. In order to avoid this, make sure your attorney helps you with the paperwork and reviews it for you before you submit it to the Social Security Administration.

You also will want to take a look at the SSA’s list of “disabling conditions” which outlines the types of disabilities that they consider for total disability. They have put in place a few initiatives including Compassionate Allowances and Quick Disability Determinations to help speed up the application process for people who really need the benefits and need them quickly. A review of the SSA website is recommended so that you know what they are looking for and how the determination is made. If you have a disabling condition, if you cannot do the work you once did before, and if you are unable to perform other work, you may find your application will be accepted and you will be able to receive disability benefits, as well as possible supplemental income and/or Medicaid. Consult with your attorney and read the SSA website to learn more about your options and make sure that your application is completely filled out! By eliminating errors like this, you can make sure that your application is reviewed and is not thrown out before it can be considered.

Medical Malpractice and Surgical Errors

Medical Malpractice and Surgical Errors

May 26

Medical professionals have licenses to prove their competence and to ensure their patients that they are in the right hands. But sometimes, even the most competent medical professional commits mistakes. These mistakes can be legitimate errors because the medical industry is inherently complicated. But they can also be preventable errors that only happened because of recklessness, negligence, or outright incompetence.

Medical Malpractice

According to the website of Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, those who have been hurt because of medical malpractice may have legal options, such as making the medical professional involved accountable. But when does medical malpractice occur?
Medical malpractice occurs when there is a direct professional-patient relationship, the professional has the duty of care for the said patient, the duty of care has been breached because of action or inaction, and the breach has resulted into the harm of the said patient.

Surgical Error

Medical malpractice may happen in any aspect of the medical industry, but arguably the most dangerous aspect of all is surgery. This is because surgery errors may result into permanent injuries, complications, and even deaths. Below are the most common errors in surgery.

  • Anesthesia Error – Too much anesthesia may result into asphyxiation and brain damage, while too little anesthesia may result into compromised effectiveness and unimaginable pain during surgery.
  • Foreign Objects – Leaving foreign objects in the body can lead to infections and severe pain. The most common objects left in the body are surgical tools, even though this can be easily prevented by properly checking materials before and after surgery.
  • Nerve or Organ Damage – Nerves and even entire organs are particularly vulnerable during surgery, as even a slight misuse of a scalpel can cause cuts and punctures. On the worst instances, these errors result into permanent disabilities and deaths.
  • Wrong-site Operation – Operating on the wrong body part is so incompetent that it is laughable, but it’s not so laughable when you realize that they do happen, resulting into wrongly amputated legs and wrongly extracted kidneys.
When Does DUI Become A Felony Crime?

When Does DUI Become A Felony Crime?

May 01

In most instances, driving under the influence (DUI) is considered a misdemeanor charge. However, there are certain cases when DUI can become a felony charge. When the charge is raised, it usually carries stiffer penalties and sanctions. According to the website of Kohler Hart Powell, SC, DUI charges can have serious and long lasting consequences.

In order for DUI to become a felony, there are certain factors that should be met. It is worth noting that the rules for what does and what does not constitute felony varies from one state to another. Thus, you should be aware of the laws and procedures for more information. Here now are some of the instances when DUI becomes a felony.

Elevated Blood Alcohol Concentration

The current BAC limit for every state is 0.08 percent so if you exceed that limit, you will be charged with DUI for violation of the law. If your blood alcohol content exceeds the elevated level set by law which is usually .16 percent, then your DUI becomes a felony.

Bodily Harm

In some states, DUI becomes felony if the driver causes bodily harm to another person. In other states, the prosecutors can decide whether DUI that causes bodily harm can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. Still, there are other states where the plaintiff must prove that the defendant caused the injury. If another driver runs into the defendant while at a stop sign and gets injured, the intoxicated driver did not cause the bodily harm so DUI remains a misdemeanor.

Previous Convictions

If the defendant has been convicted several times for DUI within a certain period of time, then he will be charged with felony DUI. The number of previous offenses and the time period will vary from one state to another.

Children in the Vehicle

In some states, there is a law that elevates DUI to felony when there are children on the vehicle. The law was enacted after 11-year old Leandra died when her friend’s mother crashed her car while driving under the influence. Known as Leandra Law, the rule applies when a child less than 15 years old is involved in the accident.

Driving with a Restricted, Suspended, or Revoked License

In some states, DUI is elevated into felony if the offense is committed while the defendant has a restricted, suspended, or revoked license.

The Impact of Technology on Prosthetic Development

The Impact of Technology on Prosthetic Development

Feb 21

Gone are the days of clunky prosthetics constructed from basic materials like wood and metal. Yet, this was the norm several hundred years ago. Individuals strapped bulky devices onto their limbs, but they served little to no function. The material often prevented adequate mobility, ultimately rendering them useless. Fortunately, modern prosthetics allow not just for functionality but comfortability.

Advancements in technology ensure that newer prosthetic are lighter and more responsive thereby allowing the performance of basic tasks such as gripping, walking, and eating. Unlike the ancient counterparts, modern-day prosthetics are made of advanced plastic and carbon fibers. Thus, they appear realistic in nature with life-like details like freckles and fingerprints.

The brain communicates with muscles via electrical signals. The brain sends these signals down the spinal cord through peripheral nerves to the muscles. Neural prosthetics depend on this brain activity to control the prosthetic. Electrodes placed on residual limbs transmit electrical signals from muscles to the brain permitting motion of the prosthetics. Brain Computer Interface permits this phenomenon. Mathematical algorithms decode brain cell activity thus ensuring that the prosthetics performs the appropriate movements.

In accordance to the statements of personal injury lawyers at Mazin & Associates, PC, those suffering from certain disorders like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS, spinal injuries or loss of limbs often live drastically altered lives with some depending on the support of other individual’s for everyday tasks. Neural prosthesis relies on the ability for the brain to continue operating and translating external stimuli into actions despite debilitating illnesses or accidents. These prosthetics, then, offer autonomy for those who otherwise would not have it. The future of prosthetic research involves the introduction of sensory feedback between the prosthetic device and brain thereby restoring sensation and enabling the individual to feel the artificial limb.

Some Facts about Spinal Cord Injuries

Some Facts about Spinal Cord Injuries

Oct 16

In 2005, the estimated new cases of spinal cord injuries (SCI) in the U.S. was 11,000. Records from the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center show, however, that, in 2015, the number went up to 12,500 new cases and still climbed to 17,000 in 2016. There are about 282,000 children and adults already suffering from spinal cord injury and, every year, more continue to be added to their number.

2016 record show that about 80% of new SCI cases involved males, while the average age at injury is 42 years (in the 1970s, the spinal cord injury average age was 29). Major causes of new SCI cases, on the other hand, included vehicle crashes (this has been the leading cause of the injury since 2010), falls, acts of violence (mainly gunshot wounds), sports/recreation activities, and medical/surgical error.

The spinal cord, which forms the central nervous system with the brain, is a bundle of nerve tissues and support cells; it is also one of the human body’s most delicate and sensitive parts. While the brain acts as the body’s command center, the spinal cord serves as the pathway for all messages from the brain to the different parts of the body and vice versa.

A spinal cord injury can damage the ligaments or spinal column disks, the vertebrae (which is a series of small bones that form the backbone), or the spinal cord itself. A spinal cord injury may be traumatic or non-traumatic. Traumatic SCI usually results from a sudden and forceful blow to the spine that fractures, crushes, dislocates, or compresses one or more areas of the vertebrae; it could also be due to a knife or gunshot would that pierces and cuts the spinal cord. Non-traumatic spinal cord injury, though, is usually due to disk degeneration of the spine, cancer, arthritis, infections, inflammation, or loss of blood supply to the cord (age is a major factor to developing non-traumatic SCI. This is because risk to the causes of NTSCI increases with age).

An injury to the spinal cord can be devastating as this can result to either partial or total paralysis, depending on how severe the damage is and the area/s affected by the injury. Partial paralysis, referred to as Paraplegia, is loss of control and function on one side of the body. There is a possibility that a partially paralyzed person would still have sensation despite having lost control in the paralyzed area.

According to the website of Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller & Overbeck, P.A., total paralysis, called Quadriplegia, means total loss of functions and control of body parts that are affected. Total paralysis starts from the injured area of the spinal cord down to the rest of the body; this means that the higher the injury, the greater the extent of paralysis.

Negligence is, most often, a factor in accidents resulting to spinal cord injuries. While the person at-fault in an accident may never have intended causing any injury, the fact that he/she was negligent and has actually injured someone are enough reasons to make him/her answer before the law and be made to compensate whoever he/she has harmed. A highly-competent personal injury lawyer may be able to assist a victim either in the legal pursuit or in an out-of-court settlement which will enable (the victim) to seek and claim the just amount of compensation that he/she is legally entitled to receive.