Social Security Disability – Why America Is Behind

Nov 1, 2017 by

America is not the most generous country in the world when it comes to medical and retirement benefits. While it compares well to countries of lower income (at least generally, there are some exceptions even there), when compared to countries with a similar median income level, America is woefully behind.

Compare the American medical system to those found in France or Germany, for instance, and the results are dismaying. America spends more and gets less. Our system costs trillions more, and more per person and the outcomes are usually worse. The life expectancy in France and Germany is higher, the infant mortality rate is significantly better, just to name two easily cited points. At the same time, no one in those countries suffers from debts due to medicine.

While the obvious elephant in the room is nationalizing the health care system, even where America has done so, she is still lagging behind. Simply read about the problems at the VA to see how poorly America can run a bureaucracy.

Similar issues are found in retirement benefits. Here, too, Americans get less than their peers in Europe or Asia. Many Europeans retire earlier with much higher payouts from the government. That, combined with better and cheaper healthcare means their quality of life is significantly higher in their golden years. No wonder they live on average several years longer than Americans.

One area where America’s coverage is glaringly deficient is in long-term care for those on social security. While Medicare is happy to pay for treatment when someone has a heart attack, if that same person has a stroke and needs more than the immediate attention required, they are on their own.

The capriciousness and cruelty of this system can be seen in the statistics surrounding it. According to the Hankey Law Office, over 2,300,000 people applied for social security disability benefits in 2016, and the number who were accepted was a measly 740,000. That’s less than a third of all applicants. Take a moment to consider the fates of the other two-thirds who were rejected. For those who are older and now disabled, with no government assistance, their future is particularly bleak.

While these problems are well known and many brows fret over them, little has been done in recent years to fix these problems. Those solutions that have picked away at the problem—like Obamacare—have been unpopular and failed to create a coalition of support.

The main reason for this and the reason American politicians hate to discuss these issues is that it all comes down to one significant difference between America and other wealthy nations: taxes.

Americans hate taxes, and they demand they remain far lower here than in other countries. The top tax rate in America, for instance, is 39%. The top tax bracket in Europe usually hovers around 50%, and there are far fewer deductions available.

At some point, America will have to make a choice: whether it wants to take care of its citizens or get a bargain.

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The Importance of Brain Injury Prevention

Aug 15, 2017 by

The human brain is a complexly designed piece of biological matter that has the mysterious ability to control the entire body of the individual it belongs to. The brain is faster than any computer processor known to man and possesses functions that can control the tiniest parts of the biological activity. When examining the brain it is important to remember that it sits floating in the skull and if agitated can pose life threatening implications on an individual. The medical research focused on studying the brain in states of injury has given us a tiny insight to the sensitivity of this god organ.

In cases of severe brain trauma, it is likely the victim will never fully recover and will require assistance for menial daily activities for the rest of their life. Because the brain is entirely central to the operations of bodily functions, whenever it is injured there can be multiple different side effects happening somewhere in the body. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, annually about 1.7 million people suffer from a traumatic brain injury. From this figure 52,000 will succumb to death related to their injury, 275,000 will require hospitalization for their injury, and 1.365 million will have emergency center visits. This shockingly high figure can be related to countless causes. A person could sustain a traumatic brain injury just be falling down on a slippery surface if they land near or on the skull. In the event that an individual experiences circumstances similar to the description of a severe brain accident, they may be eligible to take up legal action using the help of a Carolina personal injury lawyer to assist with medical bills or other inconveniences. Brain injuries do not discriminate or choose their victims. Because of this a vast majority of cases, nearly half a million, are found in victims between the ages of infancy and fourteen years old. If a child receives a serious blow to the head strong enough to cause a TBI then the likelihood of that child recovering properly is very slim. Because of the way a child’s brain is still developing during this age window, there will usually be long lasting effects. It is crucial to seek medical attention as quickly as possible to reduce the risk of worsening the injury. Reaction times for brain injuries are very important in saving brain function and state of mind for the victim.

In summary, traumatic brain injuries are extremely prevalent injuries that can greatly affect a victim’s life depending on the level of severity and response time for medical attention. The brain is an unbelievably perfect design that allows for us to exist in the human experience. There is much we as a species still have left to discover in regards to the brain. The answers of consciousness, memory, dreams, and other metaphysical inquiries have yet to be discovered by our species. Perhaps one day we will fully understand the brain and in turn will be able to fully understand ourselves.

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Drunk Driving: Major Causes and Prevention

Aug 10, 2017 by

You don’t need to be a traffic safety expert to realize that drunk driving is extremely dangerous. Alcohol can limit a person’s control over his own body, his mental capability to judge what is happening on the road and comprehend traffic signs and lights, and his reaction time.

Drunk driving is against the law. Those who are convicted will face a variety of penalties, such as thousands of dollars in fines and months to years of license suspensions and jailtimes. Also, if an innocent party has been hurt in a car accident because of the drunk driver, the drunk driver may be held liable for the damages this innocent party has sustained.

Major Causes

Despite the numerous consequences, drunk driving is still an offense that is often committed, and many times, it has resulted into accidents, injuries, and even deaths. So, why do many drivers still do it? There are two major factors why.

The first major factor is confidence to their driving abilities. Drivers drive while intoxicated because they are sure that nothing bad is going to happen anyway, even though many times they are proven wrong. The second major factor is belief that they are not going to get caught.

They are willing to bet on these two factors so they can go home even when they are too influenced by alcohol to function well. This has resulted into drunk driving accidents, like when the drunk driver loses control of a vehicle, swerves off the road and crash, or veers to the opposite lane and collide head-on with an oncoming vehicle.

Prevention

Drunk driving is already illegal, so the government’s only issue here is law enforcement. To prevent people from driving while under the influence of alcohol, they should focus on countering the two major factors why they do such a reckless driving act.

To eliminate driver confidence, the government can have campaigns focusing on alcoholism, drunk driving, and other similar problems. This is to raise awareness regarding these dangers, especially when on the streets where the drunks are not just the only ones at risk.

To eliminate driver belief, a tighter enforcement of the law may be required. This can be done by increasing police visibility, setting up sobriety check points, and prioritizing DUI cases in court. The main idea is to increase the possibility of arrest and show the people that the government is serious when it comes to drunk drivers.

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The Social Security Supplemental Security Income: Eligibility Requirements

Jun 21, 2017 by

Based on information provided in the website of the Chris Mayo Law Firm, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), also known as State Supplementary Payment (SSP), is one of the largest programs of the U.S. Federal government that provide cash benefits to aged, blind, and disabled people who are with little or without income. This cash benefit should help provide for its recipients’ basic needs, which include food, clothing, and shelter. Specifically, SSI is designed for:

  • Disabled adults who have limited income and resources;
  • Disabled children who are younger than age 18 and who have limited income and resources; and,
  • People 65 years old or older who are without disabilities, but who meet the financial limits set under the federal benefit rate (FBR). (The FBR represents both the SSI income limit and the maximum monthly dollar amount paid by the SSI program.)

Last 2016, the FBR monthly income limit was $733 for individuals and $1,100 for couples. Determining eligibility for SSI benefits is not as simple as it seems, though, since the SSA has its own method of computing income limit. Add to this the “state supplement,” which is cash that majority of states in the U.S. (except in eight states which include Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia) add on top of the federal SSI payment – this addition increases the total amount of SSI payment (a beneficiary will receive) and the limit of income.

With regard to disability, the SSA considers a child (anyone below 18) or an adult (those aged 18 and above) disabled if he/she has a medically determinable physical or mental impairment, (including an emotional or learning problem) that:

  • Has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months;
  • Has resulted in severe functional limitations (in the case of children) or in the inability to do any substantial gainful activity (in the case of adults); and,
  • Can be expected to result in death

With regard to “income” and “resources,” SSI defines income as: money earned from work; money received from other sources, such as Social Security benefits, workers compensation, unemployment benefits, the Department of Veterans Affairs, friends or relatives; and free food or shelter. Resources, on the other hand, refers to things personally owned, including:  cash; bank accounts, stocks, U.S. savings bonds; land; vehicles; personal property; life insurance; and anything that could be converted to cash and used for food or shelter.

 

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Escalator Injuries and Deaths: A Premise Liability Case

Feb 20, 2017 by

Accidents occurring on escalators have been far more frequent compared to elevator-related accidents for the past twenty five years. Each year, close to ten percent escalator-related accidents are added to the 4,900 yearly incidences reported in the 1990s. In 2000, the number of accidents resulting to injuries and deaths jumped to more than 10,100 and, by the end of 2013, the number climbed to 12,260. Children, aged 14 and under, and senior citizens, at least 65 years old, are the ones who most commonly get involved in escalator accidents.

Falls is first in the list of escalator-related injuries and deaths, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the branch of the U.S. Federal government that protects American consumers and families from products that pose fire, chemical, electrical, or mechanical hazards.
From 1985 to 1999, 21 out of the 27 escalator-related deaths were due to falls.

Falls can either be “falls on” or “falls from” escalators. “Falls from,” also called “falls over-the-side,” involves a person falling outside of an escalator into an adjacent open space, while “falls on” or “falls down” involves a person who remains inside an elevator wellway as he/she falls.

Despite the many incidences of injuries and deaths due to escalator accidents, escalator hazards, which the escalator industry has known for decades and which they can easily correct through safer designs, have often been obscured even in litigations. This is because of the overwhelming success of the escalator industry in convincing both the media and accident investigators that accidents, especially falls, are due to intoxication, horseplay, and gross misuse.

It is important for the public to know that premises owners and manufacturers of elevators and escalators have contracts which require provision of continuous support and maintenance services, including annual inspection after initial installation. It is also important to note that, rather than horseplay, intoxication or grave misuse, the dangerous conditions which often lead to escalator accidents are maintenance related or failure by the manufacturer to retrofit readily available safety devices – a failure premises owners choose to overlook. These are actually nothing short of acts of negligence, the basis of many premises liability litigations and claims.

The Ali Mokaram law firm says that anyone who gets injured in an escalator accident should never hesitate pursuing legal action against the liable party to seek compensation for their injuries. Compensatory damages are designed to help the injured pay for the costs of recovering after the injury. These damages often include things such as lost wages, property damages, and lawyer fees.

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Bad Driving Performance and Employer Negligence: Factors that Cause Truck Accidents

Feb 8, 2017 by

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, fatal truck accidents happen almost 11 times a day; this translates to more than 100,000 injuries and more than 4,000 deaths every year. These numbers are despite the facts that both the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) have created laws and strictly enforce these laws that are directed towards significantly reducing road accidents involving trucks.

Despite efforts from the government, however, bad driving performance and company or employer negligence continue to keep the number of truck accidents high. With regard to bad driving behavior, it has been discovered that many truck accidents are caused by drivers with multiple violations and who have very recently received warnings from their safety officers; despite these violations and warnings, they have been allowed to continue operating their vehicles.

In 1986, the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act was passed. This Act strictly mandates the removal of bad drivers from the road. Allowing drivers to continue operating a truck despite multiple traffic violations, especially a DUI or driving under the influence is a clear violation of this law, to which drivers, safety officers and employers must answer.

On the issue of company or employer negligence, the Department of Transportation has revealed that many small truck companies, to be able to continue with their operations, simply re-register under a new name and change their corporate structure in order to evade liability for accidents wherein their drivers are at fault, and escape legal responsibility for company violations of federal laws.

Unlike cars and SUVs, a semi-trailer, also called a big rig or an 18-wheeler, can easily damage smaller vehicles and severely injure or kill all their passengers. Accidents, injuries and deaths are not just statistical data. In each accident, many lives are affected: the lives of victims and of the members of their respective families. It will be in the best interest of victims to get in touch with a highly-skilled personal injury lawyer (as soon as possible) after an accident for them to immediately receive justice and the compensation which the court may find them worthy to claim.

It is explained in the website of the law firm Ali Mokaram & Associates, P.C., that “18 wheelers are an important way for U.S. companies to transport goods across the nation. However, these trucks are some of the largest and most difficult vehicles to operate on roads and highways. Their enormous weight and size make basic driving maneuvers, such as lane switching, braking, and turning, difficult for even the most seasoned truck drivers. There are many safety procedures in place for 18 wheelers and their drivers, but when drivers fail to adhere to such procedures, commercial vehicle accidents can result in serious injury and even death.

Individuals involved in an 18 wheeler accident can attest to the severity of damage caused by these massive vehicles. These giants may be necessary to deliver the goods consumers need, but when the negligence of a driver or a transportation company causes injuries to an innocent victim, they need to pay compensation to those who suffered.”

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Understanding Texas Drug Charges: Marijuana Possession

Jan 10, 2017 by

While a number of states in America are beginning to decriminalize or legalize marijuana use, there are many other states where mere possession of the drug could lead to serious penalties. In Texas, for example, marijuana possession is a criminal charge that can result to penalties requiring significant fees and even prison time. According to Nashville criminal defense attorney Brent Horst, penalties for possession charges are the less severe compared to those of other drug charges. However, being convicted of marijuana possession can have a profound effect on a person’s reputation.

The specific penalties for a marijuana possession will be decided on by the court following several factors. Texas courts might consider whether the individual has any previous convictions. The court will also consider the amount or marijuana that an individual is found to be carrying. Carrying 2 ounces of marijuana or less is considered a misdemeanor charge, often requiring up to $2,000 in fines and about 180 days in jail. Possessing 2 to 4 ounces of marijuana, another misdemeanor charge, is penalized with paying up to $4,000 in fines and a year of jail time.

Possession of marijuana in amounts larger than 4 ounces is considered a felony. Carrying up to 5 pounds or marijuana can lead to a sentence of 6 to 24 months in state jail with fines of about $10,000. Meanwhile, more than 5 to 50 pounds of marijuana can lead to 2 to 10 years of prison time with up to $10,000 fines. Carrying marijuana that amounts to more than 50 pounds can lead to a sentence of life imprisonment with up to $50,000 in fines.

With the help of an experienced lawyer, these penalties can be still be reduced following an individual’s specific circumstances. It might even be possible to avoid a conviction altogether. Seek out appropriate legal counsel to learn more.

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Mesothelioma: The Dangers of Asbestos

Jan 9, 2017 by

Before the 1980s, asbestos was common component in a wide variety of materials for construction, automation, and industrial use due to its unique resistance to heat, fire, electrical, and chemical damage. These seemingly indestructible naturally occurring minerals have thin microscopic fibers that later proved to affect the human body in dangerous ways.

Much of the dangerous effects caused by asbestos are because of its microscopic fibers that can easily be inhaled and ingested unknowingly. One of the most alarming ways that asbestos affects the body is through a rare type of cancer known as mesothelioma. This condition targets the lining of internal organs, causing tumors to grow in different areas of the body. Mesothelioma is known to typically affect the chest and abdomen due to the manner that asbestos enters the body, but it can also cause tumors to grow in the heart and even the reproductive organs. The asbestos attorneys at Williams Kherkher also add other medical conditions that can arise from asbestos exposure, such as scarring in the lungs.

Mesothelioma is particularly alarming because it can take years before any symptoms show up. Patients can be exposed to asbestos for a long time and not be aware of how it affects their health. Unfortunately, this makes the cancer particularly hard to detect. When finally detected, the cancer is often too far progressed to be properly treated.

If you are in an environment where you are at risk for asbestos exposure, be mindful of your health and take note of any possible symptoms you experience. Symptoms for mesothelioma affecting the chest cavity are coughing, shortness of breath, fatigue, fever, trouble swallowing, excessive sweating, and pain in the chest, sides, and lower back. Common symptoms for mesothelioma in the abdomen are pain and swelling in the abdomen, vomiting, nausea, and extreme weight loss.

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Taxatore and Permanent Hair Loss

Jan 8, 2017 by

Cancer affects thousands of individuals across the United States. According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 57,740 new cancer cases has been tallied in the country for the year 2016 alone. The patients affected by this disease undergo rigorous treatment plans, most of them including chemotherapy.

A common chemotherapy drug administered to patients in the US is called Taxotere, also known by its generic name Docetaxel. While the drug has been known to show notable efficacy, it came with side effects not uncommon to other forms of chemotherapy medication. There was, however, one side effect that proved to be particularly alarming. As warned by the Food and Drug Administration or FDA in 2015, Taxatore has been found to cause permanent alopecia or hair loss.

According to Williams Kherkher, litigation against Taxatore manufacturer Sanofi-Aventis showed data that approximately 10 to 15 percent of women that used the drug during chemotherapy reported no sign of hair growth even after as long as 10 years since they were last on the medication. Of course, hair loss is a well-known side effect of chemotherapy, but hair growth is expected after 3 to 6 months of stopping treatment.

Additional lawsuits point to evidence of Sanofi-Aventis having long been aware of the links between Taxotere and permanent alopecia since the 1990s, deliberately concealing this knowledge in order to downplay the risks involved to taking the drug. Williams Kherkher also point to statements from whistleblower that alleged how Sanofi-Aventis incentivized doctors who prescribed
Taxotore to their patients, by paying them kickbacks, raising the company’s revenue to over a billion dollars by the year 2004.

Patients that have used Taxatore for chemotherapy reported experiencing lack of any hair growth in the eyelashes, eyebrows, underarms, and around the genital area. Many also suffered from baldness and total hair loss in the scalp and body. If you are among the many patients affected by permanent hair loss due to Taxatore, do not hesitate to consult with a Taxotere lawsuit attorney to learn more about your legal options.

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What is Premises Liability?

Jan 6, 2017 by

When a person is injured within a property or in the parameters of a given premises, the owner may be found legally liable if it can be proven that the accident occurred due negligent upkeep. In personal injury or tort law, a case following this scenario falls under premises liability. Through local, state, and federal regulations, property owners are expected to ensure the safety of their premises and all facilities within it. When these expectations aren’t met and a person becomes injured because of it, negligent property owners may find themselves accountable to the court, having to meet penalties and providing compensation to the victim and their family.

New Hampshire personal injury lawyer from Crowe & Mulvey pointed out that the most common cases of premises liability are typically slip and fall accidents, dog bites, swimming pool injuries, elevator and escalator accidents, porch and stair collapse, fires, and poisoning caused by lead paint or mercury. According to Houston personal injury attorneys of Williams Kherkher, premises liability accidents are also common in amusement parks. These accidents are often caused by operator negligence, mechanical failure, and defective ride designs.

A premises liability case is decided upon by the court based on several factors. The first thing that they look at is the severity of the injury caused by the accident. Next, they might also consider the nature of the victim’s visit. Individuals that visit a given property can be classified as an invitee, a licensee, or a trespasser. Of all these three classifications, a victim that is found to have trespassed in a given property will have the least amount of legal protection. It may still be possible for a trespasser to be awarded compensation, but it will usually depend on the specific circumstances of the case.

All in all, filing an injury lawsuit is a good course of action after a premises liability accident. If you or a loved one has been injured due to unsafe conditions in a specific property, do not hesitate to reach out to a lawyer for legal counsel.

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