Indiana Injury Attorney on Tainted Toys

John P. Young is your Indiana injury attorney.  Mr. Young practices in Indianapolis law firm of Young and Young which has been in business for more than 56 years.  Today I want to talk about toys and children.  In the paper, in the let it out section of the Indianapolis Star was the following quote. 

“If people are going to sue McDonalds over toys, why not sue Wendy’s, Burger King and all the others too?” 

LET’S GET DOWN TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER.  The person that wrote this thinks suing someone who causes another harm is dirty business.  Why do they think that?  They think that because the insurance industry has effectively convinced people that asking someone who is negligent and causes injury to pay for the harm they cause is a dirty idea. The insurance industry has convinced people of this because the insurance industry makes more money when citizens are fooled into thinking that an injured person is trying to get something for nothing or is just sue happy.  As you know, drivers and companies and people are insured.  They are insured so that if they are negligent and hurt someone, the insurance will pay for the harm done.  If the Insurance industry convinces people that lawsuits are dirty, then those same people, when they are jurors, will not give the injured person fair compensation for the harm they have suffered.  Really, the insurance industry has convinced us that what our Mothers taught us is not right, that you should make up for the harm you cause.  If people think it is ok not to have to make up for the harm they cause only the insurance company profits.  Society does not profit from this thinking.  On the contrary, society suffers when people think it is okay not to make the insurance companies pay fair compensation. For example, think about the person who is in a wreck and becomes paralyzed.  If the insurance company for the person who negligently caused the collision is not made to make up for the harm, by paying medical bills and lost wages, then we, as a society have to make up for that harm by paying to keep the injured Hoosier through Medicare or Medicaid, and Social Security Disability.  So the truth is when we buy into the insurance company’s lies, we only hurt ourselves.  

Now, let’s talk about those toys.  The problem with the toys is that the paint on them contains lead.  Lead is a poison that cripples a child’s brain.  If the child’s brain is damaged by the lead, then that child will not be able to be a healthy contributing member of society.  That child will require support through Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.  So is the issue really about that dirty idea a suing someone or is it really asking the person who causes the harm to make up for the harm? If people and businesses know they will have to make up for the harm they cause, they will be more careful and less likely to buy cheap lead painted toys. If McDonald’s bought toys from a reputable manufacturer (maybe even an American rather than Chinese manufacturer) there would be no lead in the toys.  However, because they buy cheap toys with lead in the paint and then entice children to come to their restaurant to eat and play with those lead tainted toys, then yes, McDonalds, and anyone else who attempts to make an unjust profit, should be sued.  McDonalds should make up for the harm they cause.  If McDonald’s (and its insurer) knows it will have to make up for the harm caused by the lead in the toys, they will be less likely to allow lead in the toys.  Should the maker of the toys be held responsible as well?  Yes they should be held responsible too.  There should be no incentive to take the cheap way out and endanger children.  As long as American Jurors stick to what their mother’s taught them, that people should make up for the harm they cause, the incentive to take advantage will be lost.

Why Does Everyone Say Trampolines are Dangerous?

When I was a child, I loved trampolines.  One of our favorite activities on the trampoline was the double bounce.  This is where two people on the trampoline bounce at the same time, usually one is larger than the other.  Eventually the larger person gets the trampoline extended down as far as it will go and then pulls their feet up fast and the one person gets launched twice as high.  Herein lies the real danger of the trampoline.  Many people think the only danger lies in falling off the trampoline.   Falls can cause injuries such as spinal cord injuries, brain injury, back injury, paralysis (either paraplegia, quadriplegia or just a single limb), and broken bones. That is why you see trampolines with the netting around them to prevent the user from flying off the trampoline.  This netting merely gives the user a false sense of safety.  The sense of safety is false because a very real danger still lurks on the trampoline.  

 The larger danger is the loss of body control where the body turns upside down.  This danger is especially high in the double bounce.  The danger also exits when the user is alone on the trampoline.  When the user is turned upside down, they are in danger of landing on their head.  You see, your head is supported on your body by a flimsy neck.  In most instances the neck is strong enough to resist pressures that will injure the spinal cord.  Unfortunately  the neck is not strong enough to resist the pressure of your full weight coming down on the unstable surface of the trampoline.  The neck bends beyond it tolerances, and the vertebrae break.  The spinal cord is then allowed to push out of its canal and can be pinched or severed by the neck recoiling back into position.  This kind of injury causes paralysis, and possibly wrongful death.

The trampoline can be as dangerous as a wreck with a drunk driver, or a tractor-trailer crash.   Follow these links to learn more about the dangers.

CNN – Health experts: Dangers of trampolines underestimated

AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS –  trampolines should never be used in the home environment

If you still want to use a trampoline – please read these safety tips from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

            If you have any other questions, or know someone who has been injured on a trampoline, Give John P. Young a call for a free consultation.

If I am Injured, How do I Know Which Doctor Do I Go To? Part Four

In our last three blogs we have discussed the different kinds of doctors who can be helpful if you have been injured in a car wreck with a drunk driver, or in a traffic accident, or highway accident with a semi tractor trailer or a motorcycle accident.  This discussion applies equally to people who have been in a construction accident.   The types of injuries we discussed include brain injury, severe burns, electrocution, amputations, paralysis, spinal cord injury and back injuries.  While knowing what type of doctor treats what kinds of injuries is very important, did you know that there are different types of hospitals that treat different types of injuries?  Knowing this, and knowing which type of hospital is best for you can be as important and your doctor. 

 We start first with acute care, and post acute care hospitals.  Acute care hospitals are those hospitals that treat immediate injuries and conditions and there short term consequences.  The goal of the acute care hospital is to get the patient stabilized, so that proper treatment can be rendered to address the patient’s medical issues. The word acute simply means having short and relatively short duration. Thus the patient who has been injured in a car accident or is injured in a construction accident is going to be taken to an acute care hospital.  

There are different types of acute care hospitals.  They are divided by levels.  A level one trauma center is the most prepared for significant trauma patient.  Indianapolis is fortunate enough to have two level one trauma centers, Wishard Memorial Hospital and Methodist Hospital.  The most severely injured patients will go to one of these hospitals.  As the ability of the hospital to deal with significant trauma decreases, their level increases.  Many hospitals are not equipped to deal with significant trauma, and the patient is likely to be transferred by either ambulance or helicopter to the level one trauma centers. 

After your stay in an acute care hospital is complete, you may be transferred to a post acute care hospital.  These hospitals are typically referred to as rehabilitation hospitals.  These hospitals specialize in helping patients adapt to life after their injury.  They do this by offering many types of rehabilitative therapies, including occupational therapy and physical therapy.   Many spinal cord injury, brain injury and amputation injury patients become patients at a post acute care hospital. 

Qualified accident attorneys and injury lawyers know the difference between these types of facilities, and will work with you doctors and hospital staffs to fully understand your needs and requirements.  Young and Young is dedicated to helping you and your family deal with severe injuries.  We have been since 1954.  Give us a call, we can help.

If I am Injured, What Kind Of Doctor Do I Need? Part Three

What is the difference between a family practitioner and an internist?  If you are in a construction accident, or a car wreck with a drunk driver, or hit by a semi tractor trailer in a highway accident chances you are going to be injured. If you are injured, considering what kind of doctor you will need is important.  How do you know who is best to treat a back injury.  How do you know who is bests to treat a spinal cord injury, amputation, paralysis, brain injury?  These are all tough decisions.  First, rely on your doctors.  Just as you would never look for a qualified injury attorney or accident attorney by calling an advertiser, you don’t seek your doctor by waiting for a TV commercial to tell you who is qualified.  Heck being on TV only means you paid for the ad, anyone can do that.  Ask your friends who they use, do they trust them etc. 

A Family Practitioner generally treats both adults and children.  The family practitioner has completed medical school and a family practice residency before starting their practice.  An internist generally only treats adults.  An Internist has completed medical school, and an internal medicine residency.  Most specialists, such a cardiologists (heart), pulmonologists (lungs), nephrologists (kidneys) begin as internists and then take addition education and obtain additional experience in their specialty. If you are hurt in an auto accident, both the family practice doctor and the internist are qualified first line of defense doctors.  I think what you are really most interested in is a doctor who is talented as a diagnostician.  This means that the doctor has the ability to quickly analyze your symptoms and signs and zero in on the cause of the problem.  Once the problem is detected it can be treated.  Your doctor should also have access to a list of qualified specialists if your injuries require additional care.

Which Doctor Do I Go To If I Have Been Injured? Part Two

Last time we talked about the hospital process and who to go to after you get out of the hospital.  Now let’s talk about specialists and what they do, and the different kinds of hospitals there are.  When you have been in a car crash with a drunk driver, the type of doctor your see is very important.  It is also very dependent upon your type of injury.  This blog is not an attempt to tell you which kind of doctor to go to – that is a doctor’s job.  This blog talks about the kinds of specialties that exist and what they treat.  A neurologist is a wiring specialist.  Your wiring starts with your brain, continues to the spinal cord, leaves the spinal cord and continues to all the different parts of your body.  Your nerves help your muscles move and they help you sense the world around you by carrying messages from all over your body to your brain for processing.  If you have a brain injury, a spinal cord injury, or any injury to the nerves in your body, you will see, among other doctors, a neurologist or a neurosurgeon.  If you have had an amputation, nerves have been severed and you will probably be seen by a neurologist.  

If you have a back injury in a highway accident with a semi tractor trailer you may see an orthopedist. An orthopedist is the nuts and bolts doctor.  Orthopedists treat bony injuries.  If you have a broken vertebrae or other broken bones in your body, an orthopedist may see you.  Orthopedists also treat some kinds of soft tissue injuries, like a disc injuries, cartilage injury or ligament injury.  Orthopedists perform surgery and other types of work on your body. 

If you have been injured in a car wreck and hurt your back, you may see a Chiropractor.  Chiropractors are Doctors of Chiropractic, and that is why they have D.C. after their names.  Chiropractic medicine is based, very generally, upon the theory that as long as your spine is in proper alignment, you should feel fine.  If, however, the spine gets out of alignment (sometimes called a subluxation) from a construction accident, or a car accident, then the nerves can become affected such as being pinched or dinged.  This can cause pain. The can also interfere with their ability to transmit information.  A Chiropractor attempts to manipulate the spine to coax it back into realignment, in order to eliminate pain. 

In Part Three we will continue with this discussion.  Remember a qualified accident lawyer or injury attorney will not attempt to direct your medical care.  Instead, he/she will ask the doctor to tell him/her the problem and what can be expected in the future.

If I am Injured, How do I know What Kind of Doctor to go to?

You are on your way to the store.  You are mentally reviewing your list.  The light turns green, you start to move into the intersection and POW out go the lights.  When you come to, you don’t recognize where you are.  There are people around you talking to you but what they are saying does not really make sense.  You come to realize you have just been in a car wreck with a drunk driver.  You feel back pain.  You wonder do I have a back injury, do I have a spinal cord injury?  You try to move your arms and legs, you are worried about paralysis.  You know that people are telling you not to move, but it is like you are in a dream, with smoke, and vapor before your eyes.  Do I have a brain injury?  You cannot feel your foot, is it still there?  Has there been an amputation?  You feel your heart start to race, and your breath is getting shallow, but is much faster.  You are on a stretcher, being put into an ambulance.  At the hospital you are checked out, starting to feel a little more like yourself, but you are sore, and scared.  What is in store in your medical future?

In most hospitals, when you are released, whether from the Emergency Room, or from the hospital you will receive instructions about what to do.  The instructions are both general (you may feel pain for the next few days) to specific (you have suffered a brain injury, you should see your doctor if you have the following symptoms).  What you are really being told is that the hospital is likely only the first step on your road to recovery.  It is essential to bear in mind, for the benefit of your health, that you should always do your very best to follow the medical recommendations you receive.  Some people (men more likely than not) will put on the tough guy face and think they will “power” through it.  They think, “I’m tough, I don’t need a doctor”.  Big mistake.  There may be things happening in your body that require ongoing care and treatment.  If you miss that treatment, your body may not heal properly, and in the some cases, get worse.

The first line of defense in our system is to see your primary care physician (also called family doctor, or internist) within a few days of the collision.  This is especially true if you do not have broken bones or other identified problems that require the help of a specialist.  Your primary care physician (PCP) will examine you and offer you treatment options which might include medications, rest, and physical therapy.  The PCP will assess your progress after these treatments and if in their opinion you need further care they may recommend that you see a specialist.

If you are injured severely enough in a semi tractor trailer accident or in a highway accident the hospital will assign doctors to see you in consultation. The main doctor, overseeing your care is often called a Hospitalist.  This doctor may ask other doctors, with various specialties, to see you.  These are sometimes called consultations.  It may turn out that you will continue to see one or more of these doctors after you are released from the hospital.

Always follow your doctors recommendations.  If you are concerned about these recommendations, get a second opinion, but please, do not just do nothing.  Good accident lawyers and injury lawyers do not try to influence your medical care, or direct your medical care.  Your lawyer is a specialist in the law, not in medicine.  If a lawyer attempts to get involved in your medical care, be wary.  It is not their place.

Next time we will talk about acute care versus post acute care versus long term care.

What Do I Do If I Think My Doctor Made a Mistake?

In Indiana, most doctors try their best and do fine work.  However, the Medical Malpractice Act, passed in 1976 to help doctors, had an unintended effect.  Doctors who made mistakes in other states came here because of the protections of the medical malpractice act.  So what do you do if you think your doctor made a mistake.  The answer has several parts.  It would be nice if you could go to your doctor and have a frank discussion about what happened.   Some doctors, the good ones, will have this discussion with you.  They will tell you what happened and what you can do about it.  Doctors who have these discussions are much less likely to be sued than someone who is perceived as trying to hide something.  A frank discussion with your doctor may convince you that they really did not make a mistake.  You see, sometimes medical care does not result in recovery.  Sometimes the result of a surgery is not what you expected, or hoped for, however, a bad result alone is not evidence of malpractice.  (As we discussed before, Malpractice means a failure to do what a reasonable doctor would have done.  It does not mean the doctor meant to do you harm).

If your doctor is unwilling to speak with you, or you are too shy to speak with the doctor, you still have options.  One option is to meet with a qualified accident and injury lawyer.  A qualified attorney is more like than not certified as a civil trial lawyer by the national Board of trial advocacy.  A competent accident or injury lawyer has experience with all types of injuries, including brain injury, spinal cord injuries, back injuries, paralysis, amputation, and wrongful death.  A qualified accident or injury attorney knows that whether your doctor committed malpractice is a question only another doctor can answer.  Therefore it is essential to have contacts with all types of doctors who can review the facts of your case and let you know whether your doctor committed malpractice.  Knowing this information up front can give you peace of mind, that no malpractice occurred, or give you a strong basis for bringing your claim for compensation.

A second option is to file a complaint with the Indiana Medical Licensing Board.  Your complaint alone probably will not have any real effect.  However, if your doctor is consistently making mistakes, and his patients are consistently reporting his actions to the Board, eventually the board will take action to investigate  the doctor and if he/she is making many mistakes, take action to prohibit him or her from further practice.

A  third option is to report your concerns to the Indiana Attorney General’s Office (317 232-6531).  The attorney General has the ability to investigate doctors and make sure they are removed from practice.

If you would like to discuss your concerns about a serious injury case involving medical treatment, please call Young and Young.  With more than fifty five years of experience, we know we can help.

How Important is an Immediate Investigation – part 3

You know the dream, you are back in high school, you know you have a final coming up, but you have not bought the book, you have not been to class and you do not know where the test is going to be.  You feel anxious and nervous because you are not prepared.  A good accident lawyer or injury attorney knows this dream, but the dream is a little different. The injury lawyer knows they have a trial coming up.  The good accident attorney knows how important this trial is to his client.  But he does not know the facts of the case or who his witnesses are.  The lawyer wakes up, relieved, because it is only a dream.  He is relieved because he has performed a thorough investigation and is ready to win at trial. 

People injured in a car wreck with a drunk driver.  People injured in a highway accident with a semi tractor trailer. Hoosiers injured in a construction accident.  People with severe injuries, maybe paralysis, or badly burned, a spinal cord injury or a brain injury, cannot focus on anything but their medical care and treatment.  They want to perform an investigation into how the auto accident occurred but can’t.  Do they say, oh well, it can wait, or do they seek the advice and representation of a qualified accident attorney or injury lawyer. I recommend, with all my professional experience, that they do not wait and let me tell you why. 

The police generally do a good job of investigating a truck accident or a car wreck.  They do not, as a general rule go to the businesses, or houses around the scene of the injury to determine if anyone there saw the auto accident.  We have had cases where a witness to the collision was not listed on the police report, but who saw the collision from their front porch or through the window of their business.  These witnesses have caused the police to change their opinion about the cause of the collision. 

A picture is worth a thousand words.  Documenting the scene of an injury is essential.  Sometimes the police do not take pictures.  You should.  These pictures should include pictures of the cars, the wreck scene, the site of the construction injury, and of the injuries themselves.  Believe it or not, you will heal and your memory of the injury will fade.  A picture will keep the truth preserved.  Now that we have heap digital cameras, take a bunch of photos.  You may not need them all, but if you only take a few, the ones you took may not turn out well and that may be a problem, maybe worse than not taking them at all. 

A good investigation is an immediate investigation that preserves the evidence for later, when you need it.  Contact Young and Young today.  We will insure the investigation is done right.

How Important is an Immediate Investigation – part 2

Here we are – the Indianapolis Colts are heading toward their playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens.  We are only a few days away.  Even though Peyton Manning and the rest of the team have already played these guys this year, and beat them, do you think the Colts would be wise not to thoroughly and immediately investigate the team they are about to play?  Heck, Freeney already knows what to expect and Manning could play these guys in his sleep.  But they do investigate the Ravens.  The Colts know that their best chance to beat the Ravens is to know everything about them.  To know what they will do next and how they will do it.  Bill Belichick, of the Patriots, love him or hate him, beats those teams who do not prepare for him because he always slips in something they do not expect. 

It is the same thing with an investigation into an injury case.  You were just in an car wreck with a drunk driver.  You were just in a highway accident with a semi tractor trailer. You were just injured in a construction accident.  Your injury is severe, say maybe you are paralyzed, have been badly burned, have a spinal cord injury or a brain injury.  You cannot focus on anything but your medical care and treatment.  You would like to perform an investigation into how the auto accident occurred but you can’t.  Do you say, oh well, it can wait, or do you seek the advice and representation of a qualified accident attorney or injury lawyer. I recommend, with all my professional experience that you do not wait and let me tell you why. 

Witnesses move, die and forget things.  Say you have a key witness.  The jury will probably believe the witness because he has nothing to gain or lose.  If you do not get out to the witnesses home and get a statement right away, you may never get that statement and the evidence will be lost.  How many times have I heard a witness say, its been two or three years, I can’t remember that stuff.  That is when I pull out my copy of the statement I took from them just a week or two after the car wreck.  They read it, refresh their recollection and give testimony that wins the case. 

If you are in an auto accident in an urban area, the cameras of some stores may have captured the wreck on tape.  You need your experienced trial lawyer or accident attorney to get out to that store right away to secure a copy of the tape because stores recycle their tapes every two weeks or so.  Therefore, if you do not get out there right away the tape and the helpful evidence on it may be destroyed. 

Next time, more reasons why you cannot afford to put off that investigation.

How Important is an Immediate Investigation?

You were just in a car wreck with a drunk driver.  You were just in a highway accident with a semi tractor trailer. You were just injured in a construction accident.  Your injury is severe, maybe you are paralyzed, have been badly burned, or have a spinal cord injury or brain injury.  You cannot focus on anything but your medical care and treatment.  You would like to perform an investigation into how the auto accident occurred but you can’t.  Do you say, oh well, it can wait, or do you seek the advice and representation of a qualified accident attorney or injury lawyer?  I recommend, with all my professional experience that you do not wait and let me tell you why.

The insurance company is not waiting.  They have people who will be out combing the accident scene looking for witnesses and evidence which will support their case that YOU were the cause of the truck accident.  If you do not do something, and fast, you are at a big disadvantage to a cold and uncaring insurance industry.

At any accident scene, there are likely to be skid marks on the road, yaw marks and gouges that will fade or changed over time.  In some instances, the skid or yaw marks (Yaw marks are the marks a spinning tire leaves as the car is sliding or turning) are the keys to the story of what happened.  Believe it or not, some people will not tell an accurate story to protect themselves, but the objective physical marks usually don’t lie. 

Your car has a “black box” (See Previous blog on “black boxes”) that may give essential clues to what happened.  It must be preserved before the car is destroyed.  Also the crush of the metal on your car, and the car or truck or semi tractor trailer being driver by the person who caused the automobile collision may be studied to help determine how fast each of the cars were being driven.  This can be very helpful in determining the cause of the collision.  

The attorneys at Young and Young have 55 years of experience helping injured Hoosiers investigate the cause of their very serious injuries.  John Young is a Board Certified Trial Lawyer who knows how to find the facts.  Give him a call. 

In our next blog, we will continue with reasons why an immediate investigation into the facts of your automobile collision is essential.

What Affect does Bankruptcy have on my Injury Claim

This entry is the third in a series of blogs dealing with the overall effect of an injury claim on a person’s ability to work, and lost wages.  Wouldn’t it be nice to be Peyton Manning or Dwight Freeny?  Of the many things they have to be thankful for is that they have earned enough money that if they get hurt (and that is likely in the NFL) they will not have to worry too much about lost wages.  Unfortunately the rest of us are not so lucky.  Say you are in a car wreck with a drunk driver, or you are hit by a semi tractor trailer in a highway accident, or you are hurt in a construction  accident, like a fall or electrocution, and say also you are severely injured, such as being paralyzed, having an amputation, burns, spinal cord injury, having a brain injury, a back injury, blindness, and you do not have a lot of savings.  You might have to consider filing bankruptcy before your claim is resolved.  What does that do to your claim?

Once you file bankruptcy, your creditors can no longer harass you.  However, in filing bankruptcy you must list all of your assets.  One of your assets is the injury claim.  This is an asset because it has potential value.  What I mean is that if you are properly compensated, you will be paid money to make up for your injuries.  The claim, as an asset, become part of your bankruptcy.  The trustee of your bankruptcy case will look at your claim and try to determine if it is a good claim, or a claim that is not likely to merit compensation.  If the trustee thinks the chances of recovering compensation are slim then the Trustee has the ability to abandon the injury claim.  What the trustee is saying when he /she abandons a claim is that it is not worth the time to pursue, and therefore he/she abandons it. You are then free to pursue the claim as if the bankruptcy did not occur.

If the Trustee thinks the claim has merit, he/she will hire a lawyer to give them an opinion about the value of the claim and to pursue the matter.  Usually the trustee will hire the same accident attorney or injury attorney as you hired.  The trustee will be the named plaintiff (in your place) and will have all the decision making powers.  The trustee can order the case settled or order it to go to trial.  No matter how the case is resolved, all the money will go into the bankruptcy to be distributed according to the plan of the bankruptcy.  The overall impact of the bankruptcy is that you give up control of the claim and of the settlement.  If there is money left over after the bankruptcy claims have been paid, then you will be entitled to that money.

It may not seem fair, as you were injured and the injury caused you file bankruptcy, but being free of the harassment of creditors has great value.  At Young and Young, we have handled many injury claims for people who must also file bankruptcy.  Give us a call, we can help.

What Do I Do if I Am Injured and Cannot Work – Part 2

When we last left off we finished our discussion about how you can protect yourself, in advance, if you are injured in a car wreck, construction accident, motorcycle accident, highway crash or any other sort of incident causing injury.  You really do not know what you have until its gone.  If you have a brain injury, a spinal cord injury, a back injury, become paralyzed, or have an amputation, it is likely you are not going to be able to go back to work.  What do you do?

First is what you do not do.  You do not expect the liability insurance carrier for the negligent person (maybe a drunk driver) to start paying you right away for your lost wages.  The liability insurance carrier, 99.999999% of the cases will not make any kind of payment until they pay a lump sum payment, in exchange for a full release. They have the money, and they know you probably do not, so they try to wait you out.  This puts pressure on you because money is tight.  This can result in you settling your claim early putting you in jeopardy of not being fully compensated for your injuries.

If you were working when you were hurt, say at a construction site, or your were on the road, as part of your job when the highway accident happened, you are eligible for workers compensation benefits.  You must notify your employer immediately after the injury, or as soon after as is reasonably possible.  The employer will then report the injury to their workers compensation insurance carrier.  The carrier will then be responsible for paying all your medical bills caused by the car wreck or construction accident.  After a week, the insurance company will also be responsible for paying you your lost wages.  They do not always have to pay you the full amount of your average weekly wages.  You are entitled 66 and 2/3% of your average weekly wage, not to exceed a preset amount.  This amount changes every year, so I cannot quote it here.  If you earn more than that present amount, then you will get 66 and 2/3% of that preset amount. The reason for the 66and 2/3% is because this dough is not taxable, so they do not make the workers compensation insurance company pay the full amount.  I know of no good reason for the limited preset amount except to make it easier on the insurance companies.

Is Social Security available?  First know that Social Security is not a short term disability program.  In order to be entitled to it, your injuries must be so severe that they are expected to keep you working for at least twelve months.  The next thing you need to know is that the application process can take up to three years from the time you first apply to the time you start to receive your benefits.  Social Security is a good program, but it may not kick in fast enough if you cannot work.  If you are not sure if your injuries will keep you from working at least twelve months, I recommend you apply any way.  If your injury does not keep you from working for those twelve months, you can always dismiss your claim.   

 If you are hurt and can’t work, and have no money coming in, do not hide your head in the sand.  Get to a qualified accident injury attorney or accident lawyer.  The lawyer can start to contact your creditors and hopefully take a lot of the worry off your shoulders.    Next time, we will talk about the effect of Bankruptcy on your claim for your compensation (remember compensation means to “make up for” so all you are asking is for the person who caused your injury to “make up for” the harm they caused.)

What Do I Do if I am Injured and Cannot Work?

I know I can’t be the only one who wakes up in the middle of the night worrying about what I am supposed to get done tomorrow, and is there enough time in the day to do it?  Then my brain becomes much sharper than it ever is in the daylight.  My brain recalls everything I am supposed to do, and then nags me that I may not have done it, or I might not get it done.  I struggled with this for years and then it hit me, what am I worrying about, at least I have a job and I can pay my bills and give my children what they need.  So what do you do if you are hurt in a car wreck and can’t work?

Injuries such as spinal cord injuries, brain injury, back injury, amputation, paralysis (either paraplegia, quadriplegia or just a single limb) can interfere with your ability to work for days, weeks, years or even permanently.  These injuries can happen in the blink of an eye.  They can be from construction accidents, highway accidents, semi tractor trailer accidents, motorcycle accidents, basically any kind of traffic accident.  A good accident attorney or accident lawyer knows the options when you are injured and can’t work.  Some options are protections you must put in place before your are hurt, and some can be put in place after you are hurt.  I know that some of these suggestions may not be possible due to price or health history, but you can pick and choose what works for you.

Disability Insurance-  The statistics tell us that people under 50 have a much higher chance of becoming disabled than they do of dying.  To protect against this, short and long term disability insurance can be purchased.  On your favorite search engine ( I like Dogpile) type in disability insurance and several companies will pop up.  You can also contact your independent insurance agent.  The amount of insurance you will be able to buy will be based on your average earnings history and what your budget can afford.  As disability insurance payments are not taxable, you can figure that you need approximately 66% of your average wage to be fully covered.  If you cannot afford that much try to think what your essentials will cost and work to replace that amount of income.  Anything is better than nothing, so even if you cannot cover your essentials, get some income coming in while you are hurt.

Employers often times offer short and long term disability programs.  If you can afford it, take advantage of these programs.  You often times can get a direct withdrawl from your paycheck, so it won’t seem so bad.   If you cannot get a paycheck deduction, pay it yourself. I guarantee that you will be tempted to drop this coverage when things get tight.  I know you will groan when you have to write that check, because that ________ (put your latest must have item here) sure looks good.  But before you do that let me assure you, that groan is nothing compared to being in your home, unable to work, with no dough coming in, the bills piling up and the children playing in the next room.  I have seen this first hand, and the level of fear and anxiety in the house is horrible. 

In our next blog we will talk about what you can do, if you were not able to prepare for not being able to work after you are hurt.

Lead Poisoning

Lead is a neurotoxin.  This means it causes brain injury and other neurological injury.  Children are most susceptible to the harms of lead.  So how does this lead get into our children’s bodies?  There are several sources.  The first is lead paint.  Paint used to have lead added as an ingredient.  The lead stays in the paint.  As that paint begins to peal and chip, the flakes can be, and are, eaten by children.  When a wall with lead paint on it is sanded, in preparation for repainting, the dust created by the sanding contains lead.  If this dust is inhaled, lead is introduced into the body.

Lead is also contained in the paint on many toys.  In the last few years, toys imported from China have been found to have a shockingly high level of lead.  Our children hold these toys close to their bodies, or put the toys in their mouths and they are poisoned.  A friend of mine mentioned today that maybe China is putting the lead in the paint and sending it to us, as a way to get rid of their lead.  It sounds a little far fetched, but it is a devilishly simple way to rid themselves of a big problem at our expense.  If they ever wanted to dominate us, it certainly would be in their best interests to poison our children, in their own homes.  The effect of the poison is to injure the cognitive processes of the brain.   This makes it more difficult for the child to process information and to think.  It would be easy to dominate a nation of impaired people.

Another source of the lead is plates and dishware.  Another friend noticed strange symptoms being exhibited by her child.  For months she sought medical advice.  One doctor suggested that the child might have lead poisoning.   The mother said she knew of no way the child could be exposed to lead.  The doctor suggested she have her plates and dishware tested for lead.  Much to her surprise her dishware tested positive for high levels of lead.  Her dishes included Wedgewood and Spode.  They were wedding presents and Christmas gifts she received from well meaning friends and families.  To her dismay, the dishes were harming her child.

Lead poisoning can be just as devastating as other types of personal injury.  Become familiar with the signs and symptoms of lead poisoning.  If you have any doubt about your child’s toys, or your dishware, have them tested.

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

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