Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler

The Personal Injury, Worker’s Compensation and Social Security Disability Group of Sellers, Ayers, Dortch and Lyons.

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June 2014 Archives

The Importance of Special Reports from Treating Physicians in Social Security Disability Claims

In many cases, the most powerful evidence in your Social Security disability case will be special reports obtained from treating physicians. These reports go beyond the typical information regarding diagnosis and treatment by providing guidance as to the functional limitations, physical or mental, imposed by the symptoms resulting from your conditions. An administrative law judge cannot ignore an uncontradicted report from a treating physician if it is supported by objective evidence and is consistent with treatment records. A key role for your attorney is the preparation of this type of special report either through a questionnaire or request for a narrative statement from the doctor.

North Carolina worker killed in construction accident

Building construction work may be considered inherently dangerous. Workers are by the nature of their jobs exposed to large-scale mechanical equipment and vehicles, heavy and sometimes potentially hazardous materials, and must sometimes work high off the ground. Even though most construction companies are diligent in looking out for worker safety, it still only takes a seemingly minor act of carelessness or lack of foresight to lead to a construction site accident.

North Carolina Industrial Commission: pro-business or pro-worker?

As we have previously discussed, the North Carolina Senate committee’s recommendation of a conservative to take a seat on the Industrial Commission has raised questions and concerns among some. The Industrial Commission is a six-member board that makes decisions on workers’ compensation claims.

The Importance of School Records in Social Security Disability Claims

Especially in cases involving individuals with development disabilities, obtaining copies of school records is vital since this information supports the long standing nature and presence of at least part of the problems that prevent an individual from performing work activity. Most of these records are kept for a long period of time after a child leaves school. Please make sure you notify your attorney if you were in any kind of developmental or special education program while in school so that this information can be obtained.

Disappearing Clients

It is not uncommon for social security disability claimants to disappear during the course of representation. They may move and forget to tell their attorney or become homeless and have to move about frequently. Also, some claimants with serious mental problems will forget to contact an attorney or be afraid to do so. Finally, the claimant might end up in prison and not notify the Social Security Administration or the attorney. Generally, an attorney will keep a file open for a period of time and continue in hopes that the claimant will resurface or make contact. It is very important that the client give the attorney one or possibly two ways to maintain contact during the course of representation with multiple phone numbers, addresses, etc.

The Importance of Psychiatric Records in Social Security Disability Claims

Many Social Security disability cases are successful because of the presence of mental health evaluations and treatment. It is common for somebody with serious physical problems to experience a level of depression, and independent problems with anxiety, depression, PTSD, etc., have a significant impact on an individual's ability to perform work activity. Please make sure your mental health provider is aware that you are seeking Social Security disability benefits so that appropriate notations in support of your claim can be made in the treatment records. It is often necessary to supplement these records with special reports specifically addressing the type of issues Social Security utilizes in determining whether you can or cannot engage in substantial work activity. Alcoholism and drug addiction may not be considered disabling impairments; however, people in alcohol and drug treatment programs often receive treatment for other medical conditions unrelated to alcoholism that may be relevant for a Social Security disability claim. While pursuing a Social Security disability case, it is very important that you cooperate with all efforts to avoid use of alcohol or abuse of drugs so that this cannot be used to provide an excuse for SSA to deny your claim.

Workers' compensation law may be amended in favor of victims

A work environment should be one that is safe and secure, where employees can simply focus on the tasks to which they are assigned. If your job is not a typical day at the office behind a desk, but it is physically demanding, your chances of being injured are arguably greater.

North Carolina workers' compensation panel nominee sparks debate

If you have been involved in a workplace accident or you have been injured on the job, then the struggle to receive fair compensation for your injuries may be an uphill battle. The North Carolina state legislature is experiencing a blistering fight of its own over the governor’s controversial pick for a spot on the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Panel.

The Importance of Workers' Compensation Records in Social Security Disability Claims

If one of the reasons why you are unable to work stems from a workers' compensation injury, please make sure your attorney knows all the physicians you were sent to for evaluation and treatment. The only one concern that exists is that the doctors used by the workers' compensation insurance companies can often be hostile to the patient and will therefore produce medical records that would not be helpful in pursuing a Social Security disability case. Please make sure your attorney is aware of any information you have about whether a physician was helpful or antagonistic to you in your workers' compensation case.

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