Serious Injury and mediation?

Indianapolis Personal Injury attorneysWhen a person is seriously injured, such as in a car accident, a semi tractor-trailer accident or a drunk driving accident, as a result of another person’s failure to be careful, we all know that the harmed person has the right to ask the person who caused their injuries to make up for all the harm they caused.  In any of these claims, the Courts have developed a method to try and help the two sides come to an agreement about how to make up for the harm.  The Court calls this “Alternative Dispute Resolution”. It is called this because it is seen as an alternative to a trial.  It is not a replacement for a trial.  A jury trial is a constitutional right just as important as the right to free speech, freedom of religion or the right to bear arms.  No, alternative dispute resolution is simply a tool to help seriously injured Hoosiers to settle their claim.

One example of this is a mediation.  A mediation is a nonbinding method of bringing the parties together to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the case.  This is done with the help of an independent mediator.  A mediator is a person who is trained in the techniques of compromise.  The mediator is agreed to by the parties.  The mediator is nonbiased.  The mediator is paid by the parties equally and is paid whether the case settles or not.  The mediator cannot force either party to settle their claim.  The mediator listens. The mediator views the strengths and the weaknesses of both sides of the claim and helps the parties discuss those strengths and weaknesses.  The mediator guarantees that whatever is told to the mediator, in confidence, remains confidential.  Whatever is said in the mediation is confidential, meaning that it cannot be used in the trial if the case does not settle.  The parties are not bound by the settlement numbers they express if the case does not settle.  This means they are not limited to that amount in the trial if the case does not settle.

The process takes anywhere from a few hours to a full day, depending on how complicated the issues are.

Social Security Disability and closed period of Disability

In order to qualify for Social Security Disability Income (SSDI), among other things, you must prove that you have a disabling condition that is expected to last more than a year. What about those folks who have a disability that has lasted more than a year, but the disability is not permanent, and they either will be able to work at sometime in the future or have already returned to work, can these folks get disability payments?  The answer is yes.  If you have a disability that is expected to, or does, last more than a year then you can obtain benefits for the months that you are disabled, even if you return to work.  This is referred to as a closed period of disability.  Bear in mind that the first 5 months of any disability period is eliminated.  This means that if you, for example, become disabled on January one, the first benefit you will receive will begin on June 1.  You will then be eligible to receive benefits for each month the disability continued after the five month elimination period, up to the time you return to work.  If you have any other questions about Social Security Disability Income, or SSDI also known as Title II Disability, please give us a call.

Social Security Disability Timing Issues

If you are thinking that you need to file for Social Security Disability, We suggest that you file sooner rather than later.  It is obvious that you cannot qualify for Disability Benefits if you do not apply.  However, what most folks do not know is the time it takes for the claim to work through the system.  Your initial application for Social Security Disability Benefits generally takes between 100 and 120 days to be processed.  In this time, the Social Security Administration will gather your medical records, and likely ask you to see a doctor of their choosing, as well as fill out additional paperwork about your past work activities and your daily activities.  If you are turned down on your initial application, you have 60 days from the date you are denied to files your Request for Reconsideration.  Again, it generally takes anywhere from 100 to 120 days to process this request.  If you are turned down on the Request for Reconsideration, you have 60 days to file your Request for Hearing Before Administrative Law Judge.  This portion of the application takes longer to process.  In Indianapolis, it used to take as many as 24 months to get a hearing.  However, thanks to diligence in the Office of Adjudication and Disability Review, that wait is down to between 10 and 14 months.  Still this is a long time.

If you need help fining your application, we can help.  If you have filed your application and have been turned down, call me.  I have 23 years of experience with Social Security claims, covering hundreds upon hundreds of claims and hearings.

Insurance and Serious Accident Claims

truck accident lawyerYou are a motorist on the road, a large truck, a semi tractor-trailer, without warning, pulls into your lane  hits you and sends you into the guard rail.  Your car flips and comes to a rest on its top.  You and your family have on seat belts and survive a potential wrongful death, but your family has suffered serious personal injury.  Your first concern is getting proper medical attention.  In a few days you are assured that everyone will heal, but it will take a lot of therapy and pain.  Who is going to pay for it?  Well, the law says that the trucker who caused the highway collision , and his employer, are responsible for paying to make up for the harm they cause.  You can rest easy knowing that in order for the truck to be on the road it is required to have insurance to pay for the harm caused by the tractor-trailer accident.  It’s the law.  The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCFR) mandate the following:

387.7 Financial responsibility required.(a) No motor carrier shall operate a motor vehicle until the motor carrier has obtained and has in effect the minimum levels of financial responsibility as set forth in §387.9 of this subpart.(b)(1) Policies of insurance, surety bonds, and endorsements required under this section shall remain in effect continuously until terminated. Cancellation may be effected by the insurer or the insured motor carrier giving 35 days’ notice in writing to the other. The 35 days’ notice shall commence to run from the date the notice is mailed. Proof of mailing shall be sufficient proof of notice.

The minimum amount of insurance is $750,000.00.  Most responsible trucking companies carry more than this minimum amount.  They carry more because large truck collisions cause serious personal injury including amputations, paralysis, and wrongful death.

Rest assured Indiana Law also states that all cars on the road are also required to carry liability insurance.

If you are ever on a jury, know that the person who caused the harm has insurance, and that the insurance will pay for the harm done.  The driver is not going to have to pay for the harm out of their own pocket.

Social Security and Medicare

If you are entitled to Title II Social Security Disability Income, then two years after the date you became disabled, you are entitled to Medicare.  If you are not entitled to Title Two Disability, and you are eligible for Title XVI Supplemental Security Income, then you may be eligible for Medicare.  It depends on how much money you contributed to the Medicare trust fund, through taxation.  If you have never worked, then you are ineligible for Medicare.

So, if you are not eligible for Medicare, what are your options?  Most people who are eligible to receive funds from the SSI program are eligible for Medicaid.  So what is the difference.  The two programs, Medicare and Medicaid are two distinct medical insurance programs.  They are operated by distinct government offices.  Medicare is a strictly federal program and is based on your contributions during your working life.  Medicaid is a State run program.  It consists mainly of federal dollars, with some contribution by the State. It is a need based program.  This means that if you fall below a predetermined income level, and asset level, you are likely eligible for Medicaid.  There are several restrictions on Medicaid, as there are in cases involving SSI.  One such restriction is the amount of assets you are allowed to have.  This is a very low number, and if your assets are above this number, you will have to spend these assets down prior to your eligibility for Medicaid.

I have been representing Hoosiers who are applying for Social Security Disability Benefits  for 24 years.   I have significant experience with the rules and regulations governing eligibility.  I have been to hundreds of Hearing before Administrative Law Judge with my clients.  I know the medicine and I know the rules.  If you require help with your Social Security Disability Claim, give me a call.

NOTICE: No face-to-face meeting needed. You can remain safely in your home from case signup to settlement.

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