April 2010 Archives

April 28, 2010

Are Modesto Work-At-Home Injuries Covered by Workers' Compensation?

538070_home_office_desk.jpgIf you've been injured on the job but you work part-time or full-time from your home in Modesto, you may be wondering about your eligibility for worker's compensation benefits. As technology increases and employers find that there are increased benefits for allowing employees to have flexibility to work outside of the office, this issue is becoming more and more prevalent.

So are you covered if you work at home? Usually, yes. According to The California Department of Industrial Relations' Division of Workers' Compensation, if you get sick or hurt because of work, your employer must pay for workers' compensation benefits. As long as an eligible employer covers you, you can typically receive worker's compensation benefits for injuries that occur as a direct result of a workplace accident or over time due to workplace duties.

Outside of the home, you may also be able to receive workers' compensation benefits if you are injured while driving a company vehicle during business hours or if you're hurt while conducting business during a trip for work. If you are self-employed (i.e. freelance or independent contractor), you can pay for your own workers' comp insurance to cover you in case of injury.

The Benefits of Workers' Compensation
In the state of California, workers' comp payments include six basic benefits:
1. Medical Care
2. Temporary Disability Benefits
3. Permanent Disability Benefits
4. Supplemental Job Displacement Benefits
- if your injury took place in 2004 or later, these benefits help you pay for the cost of additional training or skill enhancement if you can't return to your old job because of injury
5. Vocational Rehabilitation - for injuries sustained before 2004
6. Death Benefits -payments are made to your spouse, children or other beneficiaries in the event of death from a workplace injury or illness

As the workplace continues to expand to our homes, cars and online, workers' compensation benefits have continued to keep pace in order to fit with current working trends. If you're not getting all the money you're entitled to or if you think you might have a case against a third-party that caused your injury, call a Modesto workers' compensation attorney.

April 20, 2010

PTSD Symptoms Common After Traumatic Personal Injuries (Part Two)

443373_lomo_girl.jpgIn Part One of this entry, we discussed how recent research has linked psychological trauma after major events (i.e. car accidents) to PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Commonly associated with military personnel who have experienced war or other violent situations, PTSD is also being found in many domestic cases involving tragic accidents. PTSD is increasingly present in victims of workplace accidents, motorcycle and truck accidents and accidental fires or explosions.

The ramifications of a traumatic event are different for every person who has suffered due to an unexpected tragedy. Prolonged and severe depression and social anxiety are two of the most common psychological effects, but there are others, depending on the situation and what took place. Many people simply want to avoid situations that put them at risk in the first place. Some victims develop agoraphobia (fear of going outside), while others develop severe aversions to animals (after they've been attacked by a dog or other creature) or to highway driving (after a violent crash).

Not every person who has been traumatized will develop PTSD (minor or full-blown). And not every person who develops some level of PTSD will experience it right away. Symptoms can present themselves as soon as a few days after the incident or as far away as years afterward, but symptoms must last more than 30 days in order to be considered PTSD.

Getting Help
More and more, personal injury and worker's compensation claims settle for damages that cover psychological injures as well as physical. If you or someone you love is being plagued with constant recurring thoughts of a tragedy, you need a lawyer to help you fight for your rights. A lawyer can help you recover damages for your injuries and to cover the costs of the psychological help that can lead you on a road to recovery.

April 16, 2010

PTSD Symptoms Common After Traumatic Personal Injuries (Part One)

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Modesto residents who have been through traumatic experiences such as car crashes, fires, explosions and animal attacks understand all too well the psychological ramifications of these experiences. Particularly for violent car accidents, the memories can stay with drivers and passengers for days, weeks, even years after the event. New research in the area suggests that the symptoms of psychological trauma might actually be Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD.

A new book entitled "After The Crash: Assessment and Treatment of Motor Vehicle Accident Survivors" chronicles the aftermath of vehicle collisions and the emotional effects on their victims. In the book, authors and psychologists Edward B. Blanchard, Ph.D. and Edward J. Hickling, Psy.D. studied survivors of accidents in which serious bodily injury or death occurred. The research shows that between 10 and 45 percent of those injured later suffered from PTSD. Further, the PTSD symptoms (depression, high anxiety, not being able to enjoy normal activities that were once enjoyable, having trouble maintaining friendships and relationships, etc.) would often interfere with their daily functioning.

Car accidents are the most common sources of trauma for American men, and the second leading source for American women. After five years of research of 158 accident survivors, the authors found that 39.2 percent developed PTSD initially after the accident or within a year of the event.

Research also suggests that most people don't take enough personal time to recuperate emotionally after an accident. If you've been injured in an auto accident, you've got enough to worry about. Let a personal injury lawyer fight the insurance companies so you can focus on healing.

April 12, 2010

CIGNA Coverage Denial Overturned With The Help of GMA

On March 18, 2010, Good Morning America featured the story of Joe McKee, a Harley-riding guy who enjoyed fishing. Joe was paralyzed after a concrete wall of a backyard storage building on his property fell on him. The injury permanently damaged his spine, rendering Joe's legs useless. He is confined to a wheelchair and will never walk again, according to his doctors.

Joe took solace in the fact that he had accidental death/dismemberment insurance with the provider CIGNA. Joe filed his claim and submitted statements from several doctors who all corroborated his condition. However, CIGNA argued that Joe was still able to complete some of his "daily activities" and that he was therefore not eligible for benefits.

His lawyer, on the other hand, argued that being able to brush his teeth and complete other simple tasks was not reason enough for Joe to be denied coverage. The fact of the matter was that Joe could not walk and would never be the same. After more than two years of fighting CIGNA and GMA's entry into the case, CIGNA recanted. They paid Joe a check for nearly $550,000 for his injuries.

Getting What You're Owed in a Personal Injury Case
Too often, insurance companies will look for a way out of paying you what you deserve. If you or someone you love has been injured and is having trouble collecting on an insurance policy, you don't need to call a national morning show. Simply contact a personal injury lawyer in Modesto who will fight for your rights.

April 8, 2010

Structured Settlements Vs. Lump Sum Payments for Personal Injuries

204756_signing_the_contract.jpgIf you've been injured in Modesto, California, you may be offered either a structured settlement or a lump sum payment for your medical expenses, lost wages and/or pain and suffering. Personal injury cases are traditionally settled by insurance companies to avoid legal action. If you've experienced a personal injury because of the negligence of someone else, it's important to remember that the job of insurance adjustors is to keep settlements as small as possible.

Hiring a personal injury lawyer can help you maximize your recovery amount through either a structured settlement or lump sum payment. Which you choose is up to you, but here are some of the benefits of each:

Lump Sum Payments
Often, minor or moderate injuries are settled with lump sum payments, given the fact that these injuries don't usually warrant exorbitant amounts or the need to factor in the costs of future medical payments. An example would be a broken arm from a slip and fall injury. This sort of injury should heal normally in a finite amount of time without recurring issues in the future, so a one-time payment would likely be enough to satisfy the legal responsibility of the negligent party.

Structured Settlements
More severe injury cases are typically compensated through structured settlements for two reasons. First, the amount of these types of settlements (i.e. for disfigurement, paralysis or other lifelong injuries) can be quite sizeable, so insurance companies prefer to pay them over time. Second, these amounts are often structured to accommodate the costs of ongoing or future medical expenses that may not be calculable at the time of the injury.

Structured settlements have several benefits. They are considered tax-free income, which means that you keep 100% of the settlement without having to ever pay taxes on the sum. Also, you'll receive payments over the long-term, which can help sustain you and your family, even if you're unable to work. Finally, structured settlements allow you to use the money to pay for a variety of expenses related to your injury at your discretion.

April 6, 2010

How Insurance Settlements Are Calculated in Modesto

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If you've been injured as the result of an auto accident, medical malpractice case or slip and fall injury, you may be offered a settlement from the negligent party's insurance company. Although these settlements can be very helpful immediately after an injury, they are often not adequate enough to truly cover all the damages you've incurred from your injury. Especially for quick settlements that may even be drawn up when you're still in the hospital, you may not be offered all that you're entitled to receive.

Calculating Insurance Settlements
Understanding how insurance settlements are calculated can help you determine if the amount you're being offered is fair or not. Most insurance companies will calculate a settlement amount based on a variety of factors, including medical expenses, loss of wages, pain and suffering, disability and emotional trauma. At first, these payments may seem adequate or even generous, but you have to realize that most insurance adjusters will offer you the bare minimum amounts in each category.

A personal injury lawyer can fight to get you the maximum recovery for your injury. In addition to current lost wages and medical expenses, you are also often entitled to future payments for loss of wages and medical treatments. You and your doctor may not realize how long an injury will affect you, so it's important that you are compensated for ongoing injuries as well.

If you're nervous about hiring a lawyer because you're afraid of a court battle, keep in mind that 95% of personal injury cases are settled before ever going to trial. A lawyer can simply get you maximum recovery during the settlement period by challenging the insurance company's numbers.