August 17, 2020

What should I know about workers’ compensation benefits?

Personal Injury Lawyer

Have you been injured at work? If so, you may have a lot of questions and are unable to find the right answers. Below, our workers’ compensation lawyers have addressed some of the most popular questions we receive most often. If you would like further assistance, please call to speak with a work injury lawyer, like from Hickey & Turim, SC, today. 

What Should I Know About Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that is available for most employees who have been injured on the job. The program is meant to provide coverage for medical treatment and a portion of lost income when you cannot work. In general, any employer who has at least three employees must have this coverage. There are many different exceptions; therefore, if you don’t know whether you are eligible, you can call a workers’ compensation lawyer. 

When Does Coverage Begin?

Workers’ compensation coverage should begin on your first day of employment. If you are unsure, you might consider reviewing your employee handbook. 

What Steps Should I Take After an On the Job Injury?

Following an on the job injury, you should report what happened to your employer as soon as possible. If you fail to do so, you may lose your ability to recover benefits. In the event you are incapacitated, family members may be able to file a claim on your behalf. 

Injuries Covered By Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ compensation covers injuries that occur while you are working. In other words, the injury must have happened while you are performing your work duty and because of your job. The injury does not necessarily have to happen at the site of your job, but rather is covered as long as it occured in the course of your work day. For example, a delivery driver, who was making deliveries, would likely be covered.

Activities That May Not Be Covered

In general, you will not be covered for benefits during your lunch break or while commuting to and from work. If you were injured at these times, you may need to file your own insurance claim. Engaging in reckless behavior or horseplay, or being injured in an accident caused by intentional misconduct will likely disqualify you from the benefits. 

What Are Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

After you have been injured on the job you may have the right to recover benefits for your associated medical care, rehabilitation, and a portion of your lost wages. Additional compensation for necessary travel expenses might also be covered. If you cannot work, the amount of lost income you can receive is set by law. In general this is approximately two thirds of your weekly wage. When the injury resulted in death, benefits for any dependents, as well as funeral expenses may be available. 

Give a workers’ compensation lawyer a call to schedule an initial consultation with a leading law firm. They’ll review your case, answer your questions, and help you to understand what you should do now. 

July 15, 2020

How to Avoid the Negative Impact Unpaid Medical Bills Have on Your Credit Score

Personal Injury Lawyer

If you’ve been injured in an accident, you might be waiting for a settlement to be reached. You probably plan to pay your medical bills with that settlement money, but is there anything you can do in the meantime? If you don’t pay those medical bills, will that impact your credit score? Unfortunately, yes.

What Happens to Unpaid Medical Bills?

Just like any other type of bill, medical bills could eventually end up in collections if they don’t get paid. Your medical provider might send you a 30-day notice, 60-day notice, and even a 90-day or 180-day notice first, but if those all go ignored, your next notice could be a call from a collections agency. When that happens, it makes a dent on your credit score. There are some changes to credit reporting practices that are meant to protect your credit, but not every medical bill will fall within the requirements.

How Can One Stop This from Happening?

If you’re worried about the negative impact your unpaid medical bills could have on your credit score as you wait for a personal injury settlement, you do have some options. The following are some ways you can prevent that from happening.

  • Using personal health insurance – Even if the accident you were involved in wasn’t your fault, you may be able to use your personal health insurance to cover the costs. Chances are, your insurer will place a lien on the settlement, which means the company will be paid back with your settlement before you receive any of the cash yourself.
  • Using personal injury protection – PIP is a type of coverage meant to pay medical expenses that resulted from an accident, no matter who was at fault. PIP usually tops off at a certain amount, so as soon as those first medical bills have been paid, you won’t have any more PIP to cover the rest.
  • Working with your healthcare provider – Some healthcare providers will work with you on a payment plan or a reduced rate. This is often for services paid in cash at the time of service, but every provider has different benefits they offer, so it’s worth looking into.
  • Signing an authorization and assignment – If you have no other way to pay for medical care, you can sign an authorization and assignment document that basically promises the expenses will be paid from your settlement before anything else gets paid from it.

Allowing an Attorney to Intervene

Not every situation is straightforward and easy to handle. If you’re dealing with a future settlement from a personal injury lawsuit, and you’re trying to get your medical bills paid in the meantime, contact a lawyer, like a personal injury lawyer from Hickey & Turim, to intervene in your case.

July 13, 2020

REPORTING TO YOUR INSURANCE

Personal Injury Lawyer

Being involved in a motor vehicle accident is not fun for many reasons. The physical agony, the mental agony, and the financial burden it causes can affect so many different things. One of those things is our car insurance. Usually when a motor vehicle accident is report it to an insurance company the monthly premium is increased. This causes many people to avoid reporting a motor vehicle accident that they were involved in. In most cases if there are no serious injuries many people may think there is no need to inform the insurance company. And even more cases if the damage is not severe to the vehicle people may feel it is unnecessary to contact Their insurance company. This is not entirely untrue but there are some things to take into consideration when making this decision.

Before deciding to keep your motor vehicle accident away from your insurance company make sure you review your car insurance policy. In many cases, which policyholders do not know, your car insurance policy requires that you report the accident to them. In some cases you feeling to report an accident would affect you even more than the accident itself. Sometimes both involved parties come to an agreement amongst themselves in regard to any damages. However, these agreements are not obligations. So now you have to think of what happens. Should that person not uphold their end of the bargain and you are forced to then report your accident later to your insurance company that could affect you more negatively.

Unfortunately, it may cost you more to not report your accident to your insurance company. The increase in your premium may be less than the cost of any repairs. Failing to report the repairs means that you will have to pay for them yourself. These are ways that feeling to report your motor vehicle accident to your car insurance company can affect you. Being involved in a motor vehicle accident with another party can make this very complicated. Your smartest and best option will be to contact your car insurance company and discuss what your options are regarding your premium and having any damage is covered regardless of who was at fault.

If you or someone you know was involved in a motor vehicle accident and are unsure as to whether they should contact their insurance company, contact a personal injury attorney, like a personal injury attorney in Dekalb County, GA from Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. By speaking with an attorney you will learn what your legal options are and also see if you can seek compensation for any damages from the other party.

June 21, 2020

Commercial Truck Drivers and DUI: What You Need to Know

Truck Accident Attorney

A commercial trucker relies on their commercial driver’s license (CDL) to make a living. What happens if you get a DUI when you have a CDL?

In short, if you have a CDL, a DUI conviction could end your livelihood. Since this impacts your ability to work, it’s important to get an experienced DUI lawyer, to protect all of your rights and try to minimize the potential serious consequences.

In the US, commercial drivers are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The rules from this agency cover the requirements to get and keep a CDL. Under these rules, there is just one single record for any person who has a CDL. This means if you have a CDL and are convicted of a DUI, that conviction will follow you across the country and affect your ability to drive a commercial vehicle.

DUI in Colorado and CDLs

The DUI laws for commercial drivers are very strict in Colorado. Even if you were arrested for DUI while on your own time and in your own personal car, you can still lose your commercial license for up to 12 months after conviction.

Under Colorado law, you can receive a CDL suspension for 12 months–or 36 months if you transport hazardous materials–if you are convicted of any of the following:

  • DUI in your own vehicle or a commercial vehicle
  • Driving under the influence of drugs
  • Leaving an accident scene
  • Refusing to take a chemical test
  • Committing a felony that involves a vehicle
  • Driving a commercial vehicle with a suspended or revoked CDL

A commercial driver in Colorado is held to a higher standard than a non-commercial one. When you have a CDL and are arrested for a DUI, the DMV will open two separate cases against you: one for your CDL and one for your personal license.

You can lose your CDL for one year on a first offense if you are found driving a commercial vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.04 or higher. If that vehicle contained any hazardous materials, you will lose your CDL for three years for a first offense. A second offense results in the lifetime revocation of your CDL.

Your CDL can still be suspended for a year if you were not driving a commercial vehicle when you were arrested for DUI. Another DUI conviction means a lifetime CDL revocation.

On top of any revocation periods, commercial drivers can’t use their CDL whenever there are restrictions on their personal driving privileges. So, if you are required to have an interlock ignition device on your personal car, you can’t get your CDL reinstated or apply for a new one until the requirement ends.

There is a lot at stake if you have a CDL and have been charged with a DUI or DWAI. The only way to possibly keep your CDL after such an arrest is to work with a DUI lawyer, like a DUI lawyer from Richard J. Banta, P.C., who will aggressively fight those charges for you.

June 17, 2020

Tips for Setting a Visitation Schedule

Divorce is not easy, especially if children are involved. There is another layer to the legal process when you share children with your spouse. One of the requirements of divorce with children is a timesharing or visitation agreement. Keep these tips in mind when creating this vital divorce document.

Consider a Realistic Schedule

Before setting out on creating a visitation schedule, you need to think about what is realistic. If you work a night job, it is unrealistic to believe you can switch to days quickly. Thus, creating a schedule where your children stay overnight during your workweek is not feasible. While you may want to have your children at this time, creating a schedule that is not feasible will only set the entire situation up for failure. You want to create something that you can stick to with few exceptions. You also need to consider how your children will get to school and back if you live outside the designated school boundaries.

Put the Children First

Regardless of how or why your marriage ended, your children do not deserve to suffer. You may be angry at your spouse, but using the children as a tool to get back at them is unacceptable as a parent and in the eyes of the court. You must do your best to always put your children’s needs and best interests above your own. When parents cannot come to an arrangement, the court will intervene and decide for you. A judge always holds the best interests of the children above all else. This means that the court will try and ensure that the child has a meaningful relationship with both parents unless there is a reason why one is not fit. Before reaching a judge’s bench, you want to try to negotiate from this same mindset.

Be Willing to Compromise

Many aspects of marriage require compromise, and divorce is the same way. While there are many black and white rules, like property division, there are some things that may vary based on the couple. You may have an ideal visitation arrangement in your head that does not work in practice. Instead of resisting a change to this ideal, you need to consider compromise. A failure to reach an amicable solution will result in your choices being taken away by a judge. This should only be a last resort.

Creating a viable time sharing agreement may be accomplished with the help of an attorney, like a divorce attorney from The McKinney Law Group. Consider speaking to someone today for guidance.

June 16, 2020

4 Questions You Might Ask About Workers’ Compensation

When you’re injured at work, your first priority should be receiving medical attention, but those bills are going to start adding up, which is why your second concern will probably be financial. Luckily, many workplace accidents qualify for workers’ compensation. Not sure what that entails? The following are answers to four questions commonly asked about workers’ comp.

How Long Do I Have to Wait?

After you are injured, your disability must last at least seven days (this includes weekends) before you are able to collect workers’ compensation. If you miss work for less than seven days, you probably won’t receive disability benefits, though there could be some exceptions. So on day eight, you would receive a benefit, and for every day after. When you hit day 14, you would also be eligible for retroactive payments for those first seven days.

Should the Dates Be Consecutive?

Sometimes your injuries allow you to work for a shortened period of time, such as three days on and two days off or another similar schedule to that. The 14 days you would need to wait for retroactive payments do not need to be consecutive. As soon as you accumulate 14 missed days of work, you would be eligible. This might mean you’d actually wait a few weeks longer, but you would still be able to receive it.

Can I Receive Pain and Suffering Compensation?

Unfortunately under workers’ comp, you can’t recover pain and suffering. You can recover medical expenses, lost wages, and disfigurement. If a loved one dies as a result of a workplace accident, you can also recover death benefits and funeral costs.

Can I Sue Someone If I Receive Workers’ Comp?

It depends on who you’re planning to sue. If you receive workers’ comp after a workplace injury, you cannot sue your employer to try to recover pain and suffering, for example. You could sue a parts manufacturer, however, if a machine you were working on malfunctioned due to a bad part. Your lawyer can help you determine if there’s a third-party individual or entity that could be liable for your injuries.

Get Your Questions Answered By an Attorney

Chances are you have a lot more questions than these. If you’re facing a workers’ compensation claim, it might benefit you to get answers from the professionals. Contact a lawyer, like a workers’ compensation lawyer from Hickey & Turim, to get your questions answered and to learn more about how you can gain more compensation.

May 28, 2020

An Absolutely Critical Step to Take if You Have Been in an Automobile Accident

If you are in an automobile accident, there are certain steps that you absolutely must take. One of these steps is to notify the insurer for the at-fault driver, whether that is you or the other driver. Every insurance policy contains a notice provision, which requires that notice be provided to the insurance company of any possible claim very quickly. Most standard insurers will require notice “as soon as practicable,” while substandard insurers will often require notice “within thirty days.” We recommend that you provide notice immediately by certified mail with return receipt requested.

A form letter similar to the one that we use in our practice is shown below:

VIA CERTIFIED MAIL – RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED

[Insurer Address]
Re: Car Accident Claim
Name of Insured: [NAME]
Company: [INSURANCE COMPANY NAME]
Policy #: [POLICY NUMBER]
Date: [OCCURRENCE DATE]

Dear Claims Representative:

On date [DATE] I was involved in an accident with [NAME OF OTHER DRIVER] at [LOCATION OF ACCIDENT]. I contend that you have an obligation to provide coverage in this case.

This letter is intended to provide notice to you of the above incident. It has been sent immediately after the accident.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Very truly yours,

[YOUR NAME]

[ENCLOSE ANY POLICE REPORT]

May 12, 2020

How Do I Find a Doctor After a Shooting at a Restaurant?

Wrongful Death Lawyer

Restaurants should be a place where families and friends can gather to celebrate their companionship. On occasion, however, an angry customer will engage in an act of violence.

Victims of shootings in restaurants may be the target of that anger or innocent bystanders. In either case, they suffer injuries that could have been prevented if the restaurant had provided adequate security.

Adequate security begins in the parking lot. Lighting should be sufficient to deter robberies and other violent crimes. Restaurants can be held responsible for shootings in parking lots that would have been deterred by better lighting or security measures.

When owners should foresee the significant risk that a shooting might occur inside the restaurant, they have a duty to protect their patrons from harm. Hiring security staff to remove customers when they become threatening is often the best way to assure the safety of other customers.

When restaurants negligently fail to protect their patrons, they can be held liable. A security negligence lawyer can advise shooting victims about their right to seek compensation from the restaurant where the crime occurred.

Finding a Doctor for Emergency Treatment After a Shooting at a Restaurant

All shooting wounds require immediate medical attention. Serious injuries should be treated at an Emergency Room. Someone should call 911 immediately to report the shooting and to request an ambulance.

Paramedics can evaluate the wound and decide whether emergency treatment is required. If a paramedic recommends an ambulance ride to the emergency room, a crime victim should always agree to receive immediate treatment. Internal bleeding and organ damage can be fatal if prompt treatment is not rendered.

Emergency rooms have an obligation to treat uninsured patients if a wound is life-threatening or if it might seriously impair the function of any part of the body. That treatment must continue until the injury is stabilized.

Continuing Treatment After Emergency Care for a Shooting at a Restaurant

It is important for crime victims to follow treatment recommendations after emergency care ends. Wounds can become infected, causing a life-threatening condition known as sepsis, if they do not receive proper care. Muscles and other soft tissues can develop scar tissue that limits mobility and causes constant pain.

Treatment often includes physical therapy to exercise muscles and promote healing. Since physical therapy tends to be painful and time-consuming, however, patients often neglect to follow through on appointments. Healing stalls and conditions worsen when patients do not follow a healthcare professional’s advice.

It is also more difficult for the crime victim’s lawyer to settle a case for fair compensation when the victim ignores treatment recommendations. Insurance companies assume that the injuries must have healed when the victim stops treatment.

When treatment resumes, the insurance company argues that the treatment was for a new injury. Shooting victims take compensation out of their own pockets when their medical records indicate that the victim did not follow a doctor’s orders.

Finding a Doctor for Continuing Treatment After a Shooting at a Restaurant

Shooting victims who have health insurance can contact their insurer to learn how to find a doctor for continuing care. Many insurance companies assign a primary care physician who then recommends specialists within the patient’s network.

Victims who have the option to choose their own physician can ask for referrals from friends or relatives. Online reviews can also be helpful.

Uninsured victims may qualify for treatment under Medicare or Medicaid. Veterans might qualify for treatment at a VA Hospital, particularly if the shooting aggravated a service-related injury.

Some doctors will agree to treat a patient in exchange for a lien against settlement proceeds. The victim’s security negligence lawyer may be able to recommend a doctor who has agreed to treat uninsured patients in the past.

If you have questions about a wrongful death case, please contact a wrongful death attorney today. 

May 11, 2020

Common Employer Strategies to Combat Workplace Fraud

Employers are particularly cautious about fraud in the workplace, and it’s not hard to see why. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners reports that organizations lose about 5 percent of their revenue to fraud each year, to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars on average (https://acfepublic.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/2020-Report-to-the-Nations.pdf).

To cut down on these losses, companies across many states are stepping up their fraud prevention programs. Many are using one or more of the following six common employer fraud-prevention strategies.

Background Checks

Any time you apply for a job, it’s likely the employer will conduct a background check on you to look for any criminal history. While Colorado does have a “ban the box” law that prevents employers from asking about someone’s criminal history on a job application, employers are still allowed to ask for a background check and use the results in their decision on whether to offer someone a position.

Reference Verification

Many employers will check references to help weed out the high-risk applicants. Keep in mind that past employers may be hesitant to give out information about negative employee behavior if they fear it will open them up to legal action by that former employee.

Role Separation

These days, many organizations have approval and reconciliation duties assigned to different employees to help prevent fraud. For example, the person who reconciles the accounting records may not be the person allowed to sign the checks. One employee may be responsible for asking for company purchases while another employee has to approve those purchases.

Regular Auditing

To catch theft, fraud and other undesirable behaviors, an employer may do regular audits. Your employer may go through sick and vacation day records, sales reports, expense reports and other documentation regularly to try to pick up on any issues. Some employers even monitor company email and social media to determine whether people are breaching company policy.

Sign Vigilance

Company fraud-prevention employees and supervisors are often told to be on the lookout for fraud red flags, such as those listed below.

  • Sudden attitude or behavior changes
  • Frequent overtime
  • Protective behavior over workspace
  • Preference for working after hours or alone
  • Unexplained gains or losses in records

Anonymous Reporting Encouragement

Your work may have a dedicated phone line or email that enables workers to make reports anonymous if they suspect any fraud. To encourage them to do so, your employer may have a firm no-retaliation policy in place for whistleblowers.

Workplace Fraud Penalties

When your employer believes you have committed fraud, they can terminate your employment and file criminal charges against you. Law enforcement takes the investigation from there. If you are found guilty, you can be facing jail time, fines, restitution to your employer and a criminal record that will follow you for life.

If you believe you are the target of a workplace fraud investigation or have been charged, consult with a criminal lawyer in Denver, CO as soon as you can so they can begin working on your defense and protect your rights.

Thanks to Richard J. Banta, P.C. for their insight into criminal law and workplace fraud.

May 9, 2020

Auto Accident Injury Lawyer

Getting into a car accident can mean many things. It may mean that you miss that important meeting at work, that you are late going to dinner with your spouse, or that you have to take time off to recover. However, when a car accident causes you to have a brain injury, you may not understand how serious this is. Attorneys have helped many car accident victims who have suffered from a brain injury as a result of someone else’s negligence and we want to help get you the compensation you deserve. You may be living a completely different life now that doesn’t allow you to work at your same job or even walk or talk like you used to. Call a law firm today.

Why do I need an attorney?

You may be wondering if an attorney is even necessary. After all, you got something as serious as a brain injury from this car accident, won’t that be obvious when you speak with insurance or file a claim? Unfortunately, the answer to this is not always a “yes.” It may be obvious to you that your brain injury was the result of the car accident you were in, but the burden of proof is on you to show that someone else’s negligence directly caused the car accident that gave you a brain injury. You will have a better chance of doing this when you have a car accident attorney you can rely on helping you every step of the way. 

What do I need for this kind of lawsuit to be successful?

If you are planning on filing a lawsuit because of your brain injury after a car accident, there are a few elements you should expect to have in your suit. As with any kind of personal injury case, you will want to prove that the other driver was acting in a way that was negligent and this negligence caused your brain injury. Thus, you (the plaintiff) must show:

  1. The other driver owed you a duty of care as required by the law (they should have been driving safely).
  2. The other driver did not live up to their duty of care and drove dangerously or negligently.
  3. By being negligent behind the wheel, the other driver caused the accident to occur.
  4. This accident caused your brain injury and you are suffering from losses as a result. 

If you are interested in seeing how an auto accident lawyer in Des Moines, IA can help you after the accident caused you to have a brain injury, schedule an appointment now. 

Thanks to Johnston Matineau, LLP for their insight into personal injury claims and auto accident injuries.