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February 2015 Archives

Getting Ready for Your Social Security Disability Hearing - Part VII

On occasion Judges will announce a decision at the hearing; however, the more common practice is for the Judge to hear the testimony, do another review of the medical evidence and send before making a final decision. The decisions are in writing and mailed to you and your attorney at the same time, usually within 60-90 days after the hearing. Once you receive the decision, call your attorney to discuss what needs to take place.

Should I accept my employer’s settlement offer?

Not all workplace accidents lead to workers' compensation benefit claims, even if the underlying injury is one that would lead to benefits eligibility. Sometimes from the perspective of the employer and its workers' compensation insurer, it is more practical to offer the injured worker a settlement in lieu of going through the claims process.

Helping you navigate to recovery after a workplace accident

We live today in what might be considered to be an increasingly entitlement-based society. But not for you: you still proudly represent that dying breed known as the American worker, waking up to an alarm clock in the morning so you can support yourself, and your family. Working for a living is your way of life. You would not have it any other way.

Getting Ready for Your Social Security Disability Hearing - Part VI

Your hearing will be held before an Administrative Law Judge who worked for the Social Security Administration and only your social security cases. There will not be a lawyer for the government there trying to prevent you from getting benefits. There is no jury or spectators at the hearing. Generally, the people in attendance are you, the Judge, your attorney, a vocational expert, and a person that runs the recording equipment. Hearings generally last between 20 minutes to an hour. You will need to discuss with your attorney if you want to use witnesses. Often, witnesses are not necessary and can be harmful to your claim. Witnesses generally have to stay outside the courtroom while you are testifying, and if the witness comes in and states something different about your abilities (even by mistake) this can damage your case more than the witness's testimony would help.

Your right to sue for injuries from workplace accidents

There are dangers inherent in most lines of work, but some occupations can be more prone to industrial accidents than others. If you are injured on the job, the general rule is that your source of compensation for medical care, lost wages and other expenses related to your injury will be workers' compensation, but you might also have the right to sue third parties who were responsible for your accident or injury.

Getting Ready for Your Social Security Disability Hearing - Part V

Don't try to describe your condition as better than it is. If you hurt, testify that you hurt and where. If you don't testify that something is wrong, there is a chance the Judge will ignore medical records that indicate the existence of these problems. On the other hand, don't exaggerate your problems at the hearing. This can hurt your case more than anything. Discuss with your attorney whether the particular Judge has any tendencies about questions to test this aspect of your credibility. One common example relates to describing your pain on a scale of 1-10. Generally, it is better to not to state that your pain is at a 10 level all the time, especially if 10 is described as placing your hand in an open flame. It is usually wiser to describe your pain in the 4-5 range with occasional spikes to 7 or 8 that occur several times per week, if this is in fact the case. Discuss this aspect of how to best communicate with your attorney prior to the hearing. If you need to stand up during the hearing, don't hesitate to do so. This can bolster your testimony that you can only sit for 10 or 15 minutes to support your testimony.

Getting Ready for Your Social Security Disability Hearing - Part IV

Usually you will be asked questions by both your attorney and the Judge at your social security disability hearing. Please listen carefully to the questions and ask that it be repeated or explained if you don't understand. Answer only the question asked. If you're asked about your legs, don't start talking about problems with your arms. If you don't know the answer to a question there is nothing wrong in saying so. However, a good attorney will give you an idea of the types of questions that you will be asked so that you can be ready. The questions often focuses on your age, education and prior work experience, the reason why you had to stop work, the ongoing problems you have as a result of your medical conditions that contribute to your disability, and your daily activities, i.e., how you spend your time on a day to day basis. It is best if you can be specific about these matters. If asked how long you can sit, use a period of time. Don't say, "not for long." The same rule applies to standing, walking, lifting, etc. Make sure you speak up loud and clear so the Judge can hear and a good recording is made.

Mecklenburg County had most workplace deaths in state in 2014

Almost every day the news includes stories about the workforce such as unemployment numbers and attempts to raise the minimum wage. Some of these stories may include the number of workers who are injured and even die due to workplace conditions. Unfortunately, Mecklenburg County is at the top of the list of one tragic statistic: it leads North Carolina as the county with the most work-related deaths in 2014.

How does OSHA determine if a worker injury is work-related?

Media outlets in Charlotte and other communities throughout North Carolina can be counted upon to report on a scaffolding fall, trench collapse or similar industrial accidents in which a worker injury occurs. Under such circumstances, there is little doubt that the injury was work-related, but classifying injuries as being caused by a work accident is not always so simple.

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