Monday, February 27, 2012

Requirements for Claiming Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI)

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One of the most difficult procedures involved in applying for a Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is proving disability. Many SSDI applications are rejected each year because the applicants cannot sufficiently prove that they are “disabled”. The Social Security Administration (SSA) is very specific in determining an applicant’s disability; hence, it is necessary for claimants to know beforehand the information involved in proving a disability.

According to SSA’s guidelines, a person may be considered “disabled” if he or she:

•    Cannot do work that he or she did prior to disability
•    Cannot adjust to other types of work due to his or her medical condition

Aside from passing the SSA’s definition of disability, SSDI claimant must also adhere to other requirements. An SSDI applicant must also consider these factors when claiming for disability benefits:

Duration of the disability – The claimant’s disability must last for at least 12 months or may result into death; otherwise, the SSA would not recognize the claim.

Disability evidence – The applicant must provide necessary documents proving his or her disability for the claim to be verified. Documents usually required by the SSA include medical records, tax return documents, and W-2 forms.

Substantial gainful activity (SGA) – Non-blind applicants for SSDI must know that if their monthly SGA income is more than $1,010, their claim may not be accepted. For blind SSDI applicants, their monthly SGA income should be less than $1,690.

In order for SSDI applicants to increase their chances of getting disability benefits, they should seek assistance from a social security disability attorney. An expert legal assistance is a must in claiming for SSDI benefits because the application process involves complex and very specific requirements and procedures.

Although claiming for SSDI is difficult, it can be made easy by properly and carefully adhering to the requirements of the SSA.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Protecting Employees from Discrimination

Workplace discrimination | Employment Discrimination
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Workplace discrimination based on a person’s national origin or citizenship status – there is a law for that. In accordance to the Immigration and Nationality Act(INA), employers doing business in the United States are prohibited from discriminating against employees and applicants based on their national origin and citizenship status.

According to the data of the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), in 2011 alone, the agency received 11,833 complaints about national origin and citizenship status discrimination. Due to the high number of discrimination incidences in the country, it is necessary for employers to uphold and respect the rights of employees and applicants with respect to anti-discrimination laws.

INA: An Overview

In compliance with the Unfair Immigration-related Employment Practices provisions of INA, employers are not allowed to discriminate against employees based on their national origin and citizenship status.

Employers with three or more employees are required to follow the rules and provisions set by INA. Additionally, only employees and applicants who legally hold American citizenship and nationality are protected by the Act.

Key Components of INA

Aside from the information about INA provided above, the following details should also be considered by employers and employees:

•    Only people who have legal American citizenship and nationality are protected by INA. Illegal immigrants and aliens are not covered by the Act. However, people who were admitted in the country as permanent residents, temporary residents, refugees, or asylums are protected by INA.

•    Covered employers are strictly prohibited from retaliating against employees who are practicing their rights under INA.

•    Denying a job seeker’s application, terminating an employee, demoting an employee, and rejecting an employee’s rights for employment benefits because of his or her national origin or citizenship status are prohibited by INA.

Legal Actions

Employees who have experienced employment discrimination should immediately file a complaint with the EEOC. Moreover, should consult with an employment law attorney for them to acquire the legal advice and assistance that they need during the complaint process.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tips in Claiming Personal Injury Compensations from Insurers

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California personal injury victims often hesitate to deal with the insurance companies of the people who have injured them. However, this should not always be the case because accident victims can follow a few simple tips to avoid any inconvenience when claiming for compensatory payments.

If you are a California personal injury claimant and you are about to deal with insurance companies, then you should consider these things first:

1. Consult with a personal injury lawyer

Personal injury attorneys are adept in negotiating with insurance companies; hence they can greatly help accident victims by providing legal services and advice. Normally, insurance companies try to lowball injury claimants; however, with the help of legal professionals like Santa Monica attorneys, claimants can be certain that they would receive appropriate amount as personal injury  compensations.

2. Do not immediately agree with settlement offers

Personal injury claimants should remember that insurance companies are skilled negotiators. There are some agents who will offer tempting deals; leaving you  in the end with nothing in your hands but empty promises. If you want to avoid this unfortunate scenario, then hire a lawyer who is experienced in negotiating with insurance companies. This will keep you from  getting inadequate amount of compensations.

3. Demand for all the recoverable injury payments

Generally speaking, particular insurers do not inform injury claimants about the types of payments that they can recover. Insurance companies use this trick to avoid paying huge amounts to claimants. In order for you to avoid receiving unjust payments from such insurance companies, consult with a personal injury lawyer beforehand to learn the types of compensatory payments you can lawfully receive.

Keep in mind that claiming for injury payments from insurance firms can be easily done as long as you are fully aware of your rights and responsibilities as a claimant.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Processing of Disability Insurance

California is known to be one of the most highly populated states within the U.S. However, it is also one of the states that has many employment-related issues.  The government fully notes of these and has made specific laws and agencies that cater to the needs of its labor force. This paved the way for the creation of the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA handles the cases of those who would like to get disability insurance in California.

Possible claimants or applicants of disability insurance in California are those who happened to be victimized by accidents. These people might be former workers whom had encountered an accident prior to reaching their retirement age. All of these are already predetermined by  a research made by the SSA, which states that there is 3 in 10 chances that a worker will become disabled even before reaching 20 years old. The Social Security Disability (SSD) is a particular program that caters to the aforementioned situation. Upon utilizing SSD, any citizen can get benefits from paying an ample amount of Social Security tax. Of course, like any program that is being offered by other institutions, there must be processes that must be followed.  It includes the following:

•    Taking an application to the Social Security Field Office – a place where the claim can be taken for processing after it comes from the SSA.
•     Returning to the Disability Determination Services, the examiner will be the one to get all the necessary medical records through sending requests from various hospitals and physicians that the applicant has indicated. They will assess the records afterwards and it may take months before a conclusion is released.

It must be known by all applicants that acquiring the services of an adept lawyer specializing in the aforementioned case is imperative. The success of the claim lies on the information that collected. Also, attorneys can get witnesses and detailed interviews from the physicians that can add to the validity of the client’s claim.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Ways to Avoid Legal Disputes in California

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Employment disputes in California are not peculiar due to the frequency of law violation by certain employers. In order to improve the condition of the employment sector in the State, employers need to respect the rights of the workers as well as to take note of their responsibilities with respect to employment laws.

Employers who do not want to experience or face legal troubles are advised to follow these steps:

1. Do not practice any discriminatory acts in the workplace – There are several laws that prohibit California employers from practicing any form of workplace discrimination acts. Under employment laws, discriminating an employee or applicant based on these reasons are prohibited:

•    Age
•    Disability (physical and mental)
•    Sex
•    Gender identity and expression
•    Race or color
•    National origin or ancestry
•    Religion and religious practices
•    Marital status
•    Pregnancy
•    Genetic information and family medical history
•    Credit reports history

In order to avoid dealing with employment discrimination complaints, it is necessary for employers not to discriminate against individuals based on the said factors.

2. Do not wrongfully terminate an employee – Cases of wrongful termination in California are unfortunately widespread. Employers who do not want to face legal charges concerning unlawful termination should abide by certain employment laws. Under employment statutes, a termination can be considered unlawful if it is based on grounds of employment discrimination, retaliation against a whistleblower or a person who refuses to perform an illegal act, or breach of contract.

3. Inform employees about their rights under employment laws – It is the inherent duty of employers to inform their workers about their employment rights. When employers efficiently inform employees about their rights, the likelihood of employment disputes becomes bleak.

4. Maintain a safe and hazard-free work environment – In compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), employers are legally required to provide their employees with safe work environment. The law aims to ensure the safety of workers in their workplaces while performing job duties. Employers who fail to maintain and keep a safe work environment may be held liable when a workplace accident takes place.

5. Consult with an employment law attorney – In order to avoid legal troubles, employers in California are advised to seek assistance from an expert employment law attorney. By consulting with a lawyer, employers can familiarize themselves with the do’s and don’ts when it comes to implementing labor policies.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

How to Receive SSDI Benefits while Working

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 Many Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiaries think that once they get back to work, their disability benefits are put on hold. However, contrary to this belief, SSDI beneficiaries may still receive their benefits even if they start going back to the workforce.

There are various ways a disability beneficiary can go back to work gradually. The following are the options that the Social Security Administration (SSA) offers to SSDI beneficiaries who want to go back to work:

1. Trial work – With this option, the disabled person may test his or her ability to work for at least nine months. Beneficiaries need not to worry about their benefits because they would still receive their full payment even though they are working again.

2. Extended period of eligibility – Upon completing the trial work period, the SSDI beneficiary may still continue to work for the next 36 months. The worker may still receive disability payments from SSA as long as his or her monthly earnings do not exceed to more than $1,010 or $1,690 (for blind workers) per month.

3. Reinstatement – In case that the employee’s substantial gainful activity (SGA) per month exceeds the SSA’s limit, he or she has five years to request again for payments. Simply put, when an employee suffers again from his or her previous disability and finds it difficult to work, he or she has five years to ask for disability benefits. When this happens, the employee need not to apply again.

In order for disabled employees to know more about the contexts involved in SSDI, they may seek legal help from a disability attorney. By doing this, they may learn the proper steps they need to consider and adhere to so as to avoid any inconvenience. Furthermore, they may not lose their chance to maximize their potentials to work again and to receive deserved disability benefits.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Four Easy Steps to Avoid Dog Bite Lawsuit in California

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 The following are simple yet helpful tips for California dog owners to prevent any mishaps as well as legal troubles:

1. Spay and/or neuter your dog – According to studies, spaying or neutering your pet canine can help it become less aggressive. Furthermore, spaying or neutering provides health benefits for your dog such as prevention from uterine infection and breast cancer.

2. Do not leave your child unattended with a dog – Even if your dog is well-disciplined, it is never a good idea to leave your child alone with your pet. There are times when dogs can be easily irritated especially when they are sick or pregnant.

3. Always secure your pet – In California, pursuant to the Leash Law, dog owners are required to restrain their pets when going to public areas. This is to ensure that dogs would not attack any person.

4. Do not provoke your dog to attack someone – Dog owners must be responsible. Summoning your pet to attack someone is not only dangerous but also illegal as strict liability law indicates.

In case that you get injured or attacked by a dog in California, you would need to visit the emergency department immediately so as to avoid further injury. Furthermore, it is advisable for you to seek assistance from a Los Angeles personal injury attorney in order to acquire injury compensations from the liable dog owner.

If you are from Santa Monica, you may opt to hire a Santa Monica attorney who is specializing in handling dog bite cases. Doing this is very important because legal assistance is considered a must when it comes to claiming for damages.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Four Things Social Security Disability Claimants Need to Do During Hearings

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Denials for Social Security disability benefits are unfortunately common – the best way to avoid such scenario is preparation. Applicants for Social Security disability claims are always advised to be prepared beforehand with respect to disability hearings. One way of doing this is to learn the dos and don’ts during disability hearings, this is to ensure that as much as possible, the applicants would avoid getting denied.

Applicants for disability benefits are advised to accomplish the following in order to enhance their chances of getting their claim:

1. Attend the disability hearing on time – Some may think that this is just a menial tip but in reality it is very important. Coming to the hearing late may give an impression to the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) that the applicant does not prioritize his or her claim. The best way to avoid being late in the hearing is to know beforehand the location of the hearing. By doing this, the claimant may arrive ahead of the scheduled hearing.

2. Provide most recent medical records – There are times wherein the ALJ does not have the latest copy of the medical records of the claimant, because of this, it would best for the applicant to have his or her copies handy. If the applicant does not have a social security disability lawyer with him or her, then it is imperative for him or her to secure updated medical records prior to the disability hearing. In case that the ALJ requests for medical records, the “prepared” applicant can conveniently provide copies thus avoiding any inconvenience.

3. Remember all necessary information – Once the ALJ asks the applicant about his or her disability, the latter should confidently and precisely reply. In order to do this, the applicant is advised to bear in mind all necessary information the ALJ may ask. Common questions the ALJ may ask include work history, medical history, the date when the disability occurred, and other related queries.

4. Do not provide fabricated information – It is never a good idea for the claimant to disclose fabricated or false information before the ALJ. Once the ALJ learns that the applicant is coming up with inaccurate information, chances are the claim would be denied. It is also advised for claimants not to resort to exaggeration of disability. Exaggerating the state of the medical condition of the applicant may result in slim chances of getting the claim approved.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Three Common Injuries Motorcyclists May Sustain

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Motorcycles can provide notable benefits to motorists – cheaper than car, fuel-efficient, virtually no heavy traffic jams, and the list goes on. However, despite the interesting advantages of riding motorcycles, this mode of transportation also poses threats to road users. Motorcycle accidents are not uncommon in urban areas like Los Angeles; in fact, hundreds of traffic mishaps are associated with motorcycles.

A motorcycle rider who gets involved in a road accident is susceptible to sustain serious injuries. Motorcycle mishaps often result in life-threatening injuries to victims. The following are common injuries one may suffer from due to motorcycle accident in Los Angles:

1. Traumatic brain injury (TBI)

This injury is most prevalent to riders who do not wear their helmets while operating their motorcycle. TBI is a result of a sudden forceful impact to an individual’s head. This injury may impair a person’s physical and cognitive functions; hence, the victim must undergo rigid physical therapy and medication.

2. Spinal cord injury (SCI)

When a motorcycle rider awkwardly and intensely hit his spine to the road or to his motorcycle, odds are he will sustain SCI. This injury if not treated immediately may result into more severe ailments such as paralysis or comatose. It is a must for SCI victim to have their condition treated and managed as per advice of physician.

3. Multiple bone fractures

Motorcycle accidents often cause multiple bone fractures to riders. Common affected parts are legs, thighs, arms, and shoulders. A motorcyclist who sustains bone fractures needs to undergo series of physical therapy to fully recover from injuries.

If you get injured in a California motorcycle accident and you are not at fault, you have the right to file personal injury claim against the liable party. Seeking legal assistance from a Los Angeles personal injury attorney should be strongly considered in order to obtain payments quickly and efficiently.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Quick Review of California Bicycle Law

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Bicyclists in California have rights and responsibilities just like any other motor vehicle drivers. However, despite this, some bike riders in the State are not fully aware of their rights and liabilities under the law, and because of this, accidents occur. It is a must for any biker to ensure his or her safety on the road, and one way to do it is to understand the law governing bicyclists.

Bicycle Lanes Are Your Friend

California is one of the states with most number and longest bicycle lanes in the country. Efficient use of bike lanes can lessen the cases of bicycle accidents in the State. As defined by the California Driver Handbook, a bike lane “is shown by a solid white line along either side of the street, four or more feet from the curb. The white line will usually be broken near the corner and the words “BIKE LANE” will be painted in the lane.”

Bike lanes are considered to be the safe haven of bicyclists when in roadways which is why they need to use it properly in order to avoid any traffic mishap. Consequently, it is a must for motor vehicle operators to recognize and respect bike lanes so as to avoid causing accidents.

The following are the eminent responsibilities of vehicle drivers concerning bicycle lanes as determined by California traffic laws:

• Consider designated bike lanes as other regular traffic lanes
• If there is a biker on the bike lane, never turn into the lane
• Never obstruct or block bicycle traffic by lessening the required width for bike passage
• Leave enough space for bicyclists in order to avoid traffic collisions
• Look out for bicyclists passing through before opening car doors
• Allow sufficient clearance and room for bikers’ movement

Your Responsibilities As A California Biker

Bikers have the responsibility to ensure their and other road users’ safety. According to California Driver Handbook, the following are the responsibilities of bicycle riders:

1. Ride efficiently – This includes riding the appropriate bicycle and riding responsibly. Bikers must only ride a bicycle that is well-maintained and free from any malfunctions. Furthermore, bicyclists must never ride under the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs as per VC 21200.5.

2. Wear helmet – Under VC 21212, riders under the age of 18 are legally required to wear their bicycle helmets when riding. Adult bikers are also strongly advised by authorities and Los Angeles lawyers to wear helmet to avoid head injuries when an accident occur.

3. Be visible – Typically, motor vehicle drivers cannot visibly notice bicyclists when on roadway. Because of this, it is a must for riders to be visible. Bicyclists are advised to wear bright colored clothing and to install bike lamps.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

How Workplaces’ English-only Policy Affects Spanish Workers

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English-only policies of companies in the United States affect many employees especially the Spanish-speaking workers. According to statistics, the Spanish language is the second most commonly used language in the U.S. (12.3 percent) just behind the English language (80 percent).

Spanish-speaking employees who work at companies and/or business ventures that implement English-only policies may wonder if such arrangement is in accordance with the law. In fact, it is. According to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), English-only policies of employers may be considered lawful as long as it does not contradict the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

In Fiscal Year 2002, EEOC has received 228 employment discrimination complaints related to English-only policies. This only shows that workers who cannot speak English well are in threat of being discriminated. Under Title VII, employers cannot discriminate against workers because of their national origin. Workplace discrimination based on a person’s national origin means treating a worker less favorably or adversely because that person is from a certain place otherwise belongs to a particular ethnic group.

Unlawful Grounds for English-only Policies

EEOC claims that language restriction policies of employers may be considered discriminatory and unfair if:

•    The policy only applies to certain individuals
•    The workers were not informed or oriented by the employer about the policy’s guidelines
•    The policy takes effect even in non-workplace related hours such as mealtime breaks

Tips for Employers

Employers who are implementing or planning to implement language restriction policies in their workplace should abide by Title VII in order to avoid employment disputes. The following are suggested tips concerning English-only policy implementation:

•    Inform your workers about the policy by disseminating guidelines
•    Apply the policy to all workers and not only to employees who speak other foreign languages
•    Consult with an employment law attorney to verify if the policy is in accordance to Title VII

Tips for Employees

Employees who believe that they have been discriminated based on their national origin through the implementation of English-only policy of their company are suggested to accomplish the following steps:

•    Preserve all pieces of evidence that would prove that your employer has discriminated you
•    File a formal complaint with the EEOC or the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (for California workers)
•    Consult with an employment attorney in order to efficiently take legal actions
•    Seek for settlement from your employer

Friday, February 3, 2012

Real-life Dangers of Drowsy Driving

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Falling asleep while driving could cause fatal car accidents. Take the case of Michael Cedarland, a sheriff deputy who fatally struck an ex-marine in the Starbucks coffee shop at Fillmore, California. According to an online report, Cedarland plowed his SUV through the coffee shop, killing an Iraq war veteran named Sergio Mendez. Police investigation stated that Cederland fell asleep while driving his vehicle thus causing the fatal accident.

Unfortunately, the news story about Cedarland and Mendez is not that uncommon around the country. Drowsy driving is a serious threat to many motorists in the United States. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 100,000 automobile accidents are caused by fatigue and drowsy driving each year. Furthermore, according to the same agency, sleepy driving is responsible for at least 1,550 fatalities and 71,000 injuries annually.

Common Victims of Sleepy Driving
According to a 2002 study conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, people who are at the most risk of experiencing drowsy/fatigue driving accidents includes:

•    Drivers who are aged 18 to 29
•    Men who are more likely to drive while sleepy as compared to women (56 percent VS 45 percent)
•    Adults with children in the household are more likely to feel fatigue when operating vehicles
•    Employees who are working at night are more to feel sleepy when driving than daytime employees

Symptoms of Drowsy Driving

Drivers must learn beforehand the early signs of sleepy driving in order for them when to pullover and take a quick nap. The following are the common symptoms of drowsy driving:
•    Having heavy eyelids and losing focus on the traffic situation
•    Excessive yawning and blinking
•    Involuntarily changing lanes
•    Feeling restless and irritable

Tips on How to Avoid Driving Sleepy

If you believe that, you are susceptible to drowsy driving, it would be best to follow these tips:

•    Get some good sleep – Studies suggest that a person needs to have at least seven hours of sleep to have the energy that the body needs for the rest of the day.

•    Do not drive under the influence – Alcohol can impair a driver’s skills and performance and may also cause fatigue and drowsiness.

•    Pullover occasionally – If you are driving for a long trip, it is advised to pullover every two hours.

In California, when a person is injured due to a sleepy driver’s negligent action, he has the right to claim for injury compensations. Any good Los Angeles attorney would suggest that accident victims must assert for personal injury claim against the liable party in order for him to receive proper amount of monetary damages.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Causes and Legal Remedy for Truck Accidents in Los Angeles

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The best way to access downtown Los Angeles is through Interstate 101. However, rain and snow-piled freeway may trigger trucks to trip and rollover. If you or your loved one is injured in a truck accident, you may consult with a Los Angeles Truck accident attorney to help you recover damages.

Truck accidents may happen under the following conditions:

1. When another vehicle rear-ends the truck where there is zero visibility.
2. Another vehicle swerves and shifts lanes swiftly
3. Another vehicle makes a sudden left turn
4. Another vehicle runs on red light
5. The truck driver lacks sleep, causing inattention
6. The truck driver commits speeding or DUI violation
7. Either the truck driver or another motorist fails to yield

A truck accident may also occur in an intersection when a speeding vehicle fails to slow down or makes a sudden left turn. Collision onto a truck can result to serious injuries. Your skilled Truck Accident Attorneys in Los Angeles can help you file a lawsuit and prove that the defendant caused a negligent act that caused the accident.

They can help you receive compensation for your medical expenses, loss income, and pain and suffering.

Your expert lawyers can help you go through the following process:

1.    Gathering of legal documents
2.    Filing of lawsuit
3.    Pre-Trial/ Mediation
4.    Trial
5.    Verdict
6.    Appeal

Consult only with skilled attorneys who have proven track record in handling Personal Injury cases and uphold high ethical standards to ensure that you receive professional legal service with excellent results.

You can also avail of a no win no fee agreement. This means that you can pursue a Personal Injury Lawyers immediately after the accident, and pay only after we have won the case.