Options After Becoming Permanently Disabled due to Workplace Injury

The financial effects a permanent injury or chronic illness sustained/acquired due to work would be devastating, especially if the work is the family’s major source of livelihood. Besides leaving the victim incapable of returning to work, it will also mean loss of earning capability and continuous costly medical treatment. Many families in the past have had just this particular kind of situation – wherein the injury or illness has left them financially crippled, with no one to turn to. The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Benefit in 1908 was passed by the US government to specifically address the victim’s financial woes. It was meant to provide financial benefits that would cover cost of medication and medical treatment, lost wages, vocational rehabilitation, death and disability, especially permanent total disability or PTD. This law, which was mandated on most business owners and employers, began to be adopted in various states between 1911 and 1920. This gave injured victims something to turn to in the event of a work-related injury.

In 1935 another law, which was aimed at providing employees the financial benefits that would save them from suffering a financial crisis due to a medical condition or disability that would last a year or more, was passed; this was the Social Security Act. While disability benefit claim forms are long and complex, filing these can be quite complicated too for the injured or his/her representative. The forms will have to be filled out correctly, no information or signature should be missed and all the needed supporting documents that will attest to the permanent disability will have to be submitted with the correct, filled-out forms.

One sad thing is the fact that most disability applications are denied by insurance providers. Some applicants are judged as not qualified, while some are denied only because of a missing signature, a skipped box or submission of the wrong form. Those tasked to evaluate applications for benefit claims are more aggressive in discovering faults in order to have the applications denied. Applicants, who have been denied, however, are entitled to know the reason behind the decision, as well as make to an appeal to alter it. This appeal is a formal request for a re-assessment of the application (whether a denial or approval of claim, but at a reduced amount).

To stand a chance for reconsideration, the applicant must make sure that the appeal is filed before the stipulated deadline and that all proper documents, such as medical abstract and photographs, letters from the employer (attesting to the truthfulness of the injury), expert medical opinion, and the doctor’s medical review (there is a doctor assigned to conduct the review). Another very important factor to consider is the hiring of a legal professional who will assist the victim through the whole process and who will help make sure that the victim is awarded the benefits that he/she really deserves.

Veterans Disability Benefits

It is fortunate that those who have served in the US military who sometimes find themselves in need of financial relief because of disability can find it. The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) under the US Department of Veteran Affairs receives, processes, and manages claims for veterans disability benefits, all of which are tax-free. These benefits can make a significant impact on a disabled veteran’s future and can help improve the quality of life dramatically.

Chief among claims that the VBA services are for disabled veterans whose disabilities are service-connected. This refers to disabilities that were incurred or made worse while on active duty in the military service, or which may be considered as secondary or related to military service even if the disability surfaced after service. These veterans are entitled to receive Disability Compensation.

Veterans whose service-connected disabilities are of a severity that it requires “aid and attendance” of another person or for specific disabilities may be eligible for additional benefits under the conditions set forth in Special Monthly Compensation (SMC). Survivors and dependents of a veteran who died from disabilities incurred while on active duty or in training may also be eligible to receive benefits, namely the Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC).

A veteran with low income whose disability is not service-connected but meets certain criteria may still claim for financial assistance. Other veteran benefits related to disability include Service-Disabled Veterans’ Insurance, Veterans’ Mortgage Life Insurance, and Adapted Housing grants.

Filing for SSD benefits may not be as simple as it is made out to be. There are a ton of documents to gather, not the least of which are medical records, and different forms to fill out for various purposes. And because there is considerable money involved, the process can be painfully complex and slow. It is often to the advantage of the claimant to have a lawyer experienced in dealing with claims for veterans disability benefits do the spadework to make sure that the right forms are filled, documents filed, and benefits maximized.

Freight Factoring

It is no secret that times are hard, and the key to any service business to survive is to have positive cash flow. In the trucking industry, this can be a problem for small and medium sized outfits, as the best contracts are often on 30, 60, or 90 day terms, sometimes even longer. In the meantime, drivers have to be paid, trucks maintained, fuel bought, as well as other overhead expenses.

In 2012, about 73% of commodities (valued in excess of $10 Trillion) were hauled by trucks, of which the average distance was 212 miles. With such a relatively short distance, much of these commodities are carried by the smaller trucking companies which operate more efficiently within a certain radius from their base of operations. The outlook is good for the trucking industry, although the pace is slower than it was in 2011. That should be good news, but with the delays in payment plus the penalties for late deliveries, tougher regulations, and shortage of drivers, the cost of money is not always in favor of the truckers. As a result, many trucking companies have been forced to file for bankruptcy.

And yet many other businesses would not survive without the services provided with these small to medium truck operators. The biggest problem for these truckers continues to be keeping the cash flowing when it is needed. In order to make it work for everybody, may small- and medium-sized trucking companies turn to freight factoring to keep their businesses afloat.

Freight factoring is primarily the selling of the accounts receivables of the trucking company to a financing company for a fee. In most companies, the fee takes the form of a percentage of the signed invoice. The trucking companies get about 60%-90% of the total payment due at once, and the remaining when the customer has paid, less anywhere from 1.5% to 5%. Sometimes the service advances as much as 95% immediately. It all depends on the freight factoring service conditions. Some require a minimum volume and a reserve account, some also require a sign up fee.

Freight factoring is not for everyone, and a 5% fee may seem a lot. But when it spells the difference between closing up shop now and continuing for another 30, 60 or 90 days, then it is a small price to pay.

Dealing with the Threat of Foreclosure

There are many ways of dealing with the threat of foreclosure. Most people just let it happen, unable to believe how fast things went wrong, and preferring to deal with more immediate and manageable problems. Others borrow from friends and family to buy more time to try and save their home from foreclosure. Others turn to professionals for help, and this can take several forms. Many foreclosure defense experts can suggest several legal options to delay or suspend foreclosure. Most homeowners have only the vaguest ideas about the terms of their mortgage, and would not know how to turn it to their advantage. A homeowner facing foreclosure may consider pursuing mortgage modification. If there is something hinky about the mortgage agreement itself, it could be a case of filing a claim based on a violation of the Truth in Lending Act.

If these two are not possible, the firm may also suggest filing for bankruptcy if the homeowner qualifies for either Chapter 13 or 7 bankruptcy. Most states, including Iowa, may exempt the primary home from a Chapter 7 filing and forgive the debt, or with a Chapter 13 filing, foreclosure may be considerably delayed. There are also cases where the market value of the property is less than the balance of the mortgage because the real estate market plunged considerably in the last few years. While it may be a wrench to let go of the property, especially if payment has already been made for several years, cutting losses may be the smartest thing to do.

Some professionals, after due consideration of the market trend in the area and the amounts involved, may suggest a short sale. A short sale involves selling the house at market value or less, and giving the proceeds to the mortgage holder. The lender has to agree to lift the lien on the property in order to get it sold. In most cases, the homeowner still owes the lender the balance, and the lender can choose to forgive the debt or demand payment. In the case of the former, the homeowner may still be liable for taxes on the forgiven debt. However, if handled properly, the amounts concerned will definitely be less, and the credit score will no longer reflect unpaid debt. Dealing with the threat of foreclosure can be highly stressful. The best way to handle such situations is to get the advice of experts to get a realistic view of a particular situation. Though short sale is a viable option, it’s not for everyone. If you are considering refinancing, bankruptcy may be the best option for you depending on your case.

Personal Injury and Truck Accidents

Whether you are from Fort Worth, Texas or in Oklahoma, a truck accident on a highway is sure to result in some injury, and in most cases results in serious injury or death. Truck accidents are statistically more likely to cause injury than a crash involving two passenger vehicles mostly because of the sheer size and weight of the truck. It is like a physical argument between a large, muscled guy with tattoos and a short, undersized guy with glasses; who wins is a foregone conclusion.

To qualify, a truck accident involves at least one vehicle with a trailer in excess of 10,000 lbs. The “other guy” could be another truck, a passenger vehicle, or a pedestrian. Whatever the cause of an accident, anything that large and heavy moving even at the minimum speed on a highway is a potential threat to anyone or anything that strays onto its path. According to the Abel Law Firm website, 18-wheelers or other large trucks make especially dangerous road companions. This is the main reason why commercial truck drivers are subject to more stringent requirements than a regular driver; they need to prove that they have a healthy sense of responsibility when it comes to operating large vehicles on a highway, and that they are in good physical condition.

Unfortunately, too many truck accidents still occur because the driver made an error due to fatigue, not enough sleep, or due to the influence of drugs or alcohol. A truck accident injury can potentially lead to a personal injury claim for any of these reasons as well as for equipment malfunction due to poor maintenance.

The truck driver, together with the truck owner, has a duty of care towards others each and every time they take a big rig out into the highway. Any of the reasons stated above is a breach of the duty, and makes the driver and owner liable for compensation in case of injury or death. Any person injured or killed as a result of negligence on the part of the truck driver or owner has the right to get compensation for economic and non-economic damages suffered as a result of the truck accident.