What is Social Security, Exactly?

Social security is a program overseen by the federal government that offers financial assistance for people or their legal dependents who qualify to receive these benefits. As people join the workforce and receive earnings, they are paying social security taxes that goes into a trust fund. With this fund, those who are currently disabled, retired or are surviving family members, can get the help they need. Each year a person works, they gain credits with the intention to become eligible for these benefits when it is his or her time to retire.

 

How do I know when I am eligible to receive these benefits?

Retirement benefits often start between 65-67 years old, so when you are able to utilize it depends on what year you were born. You may choose to receive your benefits as soon as 62, but they may not be given in full. However, if you wait until retirement age, you can collect the entirety of your lot. These benefits are typically given in small increments for the rest of your life. Every person’s life circumstances are different, so some may have to apply early while others can wait. 

 

It is possible to increase my benefits even more somehow?

You may be able to grow your social security benefits by 8% every year until you reach 70 years old, that is, if you can delay receiving them until then. This can be a nice perk for those who do not need the funds right away, and aren’t negatively impacted by postponing a few years longer. 

 

Can I collect social security even if I am still employed?

Yes, you are permitted to work and still collect social security benefits. If you are above the retirement age, you can work as often as you prefer and still receive 100% of your benefits. If you are under the retirement age and are working but eligible to collect a portion of your benefits, you may only be permitted to make a certain amount before facing penalties. 

 

I am not sure I understand how social security works, can you explain?

Many people may assume the social security portion taken out of their paycheck is going into a separate account just for them, and that the amount contributed will be given back once retired. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really work that way. Social security is often referred to as a pay-as-you-go system, as the money you pay now is being used currently to pay benefits for retirees. 

 

Is there any reason why I may need to hire a lawyer about my social security?

It can be beneficial to have assistance from a lawyer who is familiar with social security. A lawyer can help protect you and has your best of interest in mind, when overseeing your application for social security. It is not uncommon for people to retire then realize that filing for these benefits can be confusing, complicated and even frustrating. A social security disability lawyer in Hillsville Carroll County, VA that understands the inner workings of social security can offer advice on how to present your case in an influential way. 

 

Thanks to The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt for their insight into social security law and what it is.

 

A Debtor’s Rights When an Automatic Stay is Violated 

Personal Injury Lawyer

After filing for bankruptcy, an automatic stay is enforced as a way to protect debtors from creditors who are seeking payment. As an attorney is aware, creditors can be quite persistent and annoying in their attempts to collect from a debtor. These agencies can become even more frustrating if they don’t respect an automatic stay that was placed on a debtor who filed for bankruptcy. If you are dealing with a creditor who just won’t stop, then it’s time to talk with a legal team.

Here we have provided information about what to do a creditor of yours has violated an automatic stay: 

When a Creditor’s Violations Were Deliberate

Sometimes, creditors may accidentally contact a debtor without intent or malice. If this is the case, then perhaps all that is needed is a phone call or email to remind them of the automatic stay. When a creditor breaches a stay rule, it is usually because of poor timing and lacking knowledge of bankruptcy laws. But, there are some agencies who know they are violating the automatic stay, and just don’t care. This is when you should contact an attorney for advice on what to do next. 

Keeping a Log of All Contact

Whenever a creditor reaches out to you, log a journal for what time, date, and in what way they contacted you. There are creditors who become overzealous and intentionally try to work around the bankruptcy code in hopes that the debtor won’t take action. Unfortunately, everyday people may not know their rights when it comes to automatic stay after filing for bankruptcy, and don’t pursue damages due to lack of information. An attorney can help you gather proof that a creditor has purposefully breached the automatic stay, so you can seek financial compensation. 

Penalties for Violating the Stay

Between the time when the bankruptcy petition was filed and when the creditor receives notice, collection letters, phone calls, and other actions may have been taken against the debtor. The creditor may not face repercussions if they can show they didn’t become aware of the automatic stay until after these actions were taken. Your attorney can investigate into the truth of his excuse further.

Depending on the debtor’s circumstances, a creditor violating the automatic stay be more than just pesky phone calls. A creditor may have repossessed a vehicle or foreclosed on a property after the automatic stay had begun. The court is likely to necessitate that the credit company returns the property and then reimburses the debtor for damages, out-of-pocket expenses, legal fees, and mental anguish.

We understand that accepting you had to file for bankruptcy may have been difficult enough, so the last thing you need is more issues to arise because creditors weren’t paying attention or didn’t care. Lawyers are ready to book you a consult and answer any questions you have about a creditor who violated the automatic stay. Contact a bankruptcy lawyer in Melbourne, FL today to learn more. 

 


 

Thanks to the Law Offices of Arcadier, Biggie & Wood for their insight into bankruptcy law and debtor’s rights.

Proving Wrongdoing in a Medical Malpractice Case

Personal Injury Lawyer

The foundation of any legal action is having the proper evidence to bring the suit. Without these fundamental elements, any type of legal suit is dead in the water.

For medical malpractice cases, the stakes may be high. Errors by medical personnel can lead to catastrophic injuries that may result in a major change to a person’s way of life. Getting to a successful resolution in this type of tort action requires some basic means of proof.

A Relationship Existed

The first thing that needs establishing in a medical malpractice case is the relationship between the plaintiff and defendant. Simply put, there needs to be evidence that the plaintiff was a patient of the defendant. This can be often be accomplished through medical records.

Negligence Occurred

In any personal injury case, there needs to be proof that the defendant acted negligently. In medical malpractice, this means the plaintiff must show that the doctor did not take reasonable measures to ensure the safety of the patient. Did the doctor act in a way that violated the standard of care in that instant. This can amount to a misdiagnosis, surgical error or medication oversights.

Injury Resulted From This Negligence

The claim being brought must show that the injury was a direct result of the doctor’s failure to adhere to the standard of care. If a plaintiff provides enough evidence, they may recover damages. This is a financial award the court may pass down, the calculation of which may take into account:

  • Suffering and pain
  • Emotional or mental damage
  • Lost income due to inability to work
  • Further medical treatment now required

State laws vary on how much money a plaintiff may receive in damages. At the very least, the patient’s medical bills are usually covered.

Help To Prove Malpractice

There are resources you can utilize to aid in your case. One of the tools that may help your cause is an expert witness. This is a person, unrelated to your case, who reviews the details of the medical services you received. An expert prepares a report that gets submitted to the opposing side and the court detailing the expert’s reasoning behind why they believe your provider was negligent. The expert should be a person who has the same specialty as the defendant in your case. This gives the expert’s opinion more clout in the eyes of the court and may aid your case.

A medical malpractice lawyer in Deer Park, TX may be able to guide you through the process.

 


 

Thanks to John K. Zaid & Associates for their insight into medical malpractice and proving wrongdoing.

Information a Court Reporter Can Capture in a Divorce Deposition

Personal Injury Lawyer

Divorce can be a truly agonizing thing to go through, even if splitting up was agreed to be the best decision by both spouses. Divorce can be time-consuming, lengthy, and anxiety-provoking. A key element of any divorce proceeding is the deposition. Spouses who are getting ready to dive into the divorce process (or are currently in the midst of it), can benefit from hiring an attorney and New York court reporter

What is a Deposition?

A deposition occurs during the discovery phase of a divorce, in which both spouses meet with each other and their respective attorneys, in an attempt to gain information from the other side. Depositions do not happen in the courtroom. Instead, they may be held at a court reporter’s office or some other private meeting area. The court reporter does put all parties under oath before the meeting jumps into inquisitions. The intention of a deposition is to obtain details that can help each side build their case, along with increasing the chances of getting the desired verdict.

How Does a Court Reporter Help Me?

A court reporter is a professional who has experience creating detailed accounts of legal proceedings, through the use of a stenotype machine or voice recorder. Once the meeting has concluded, the court reporter can provide the transcript to each spouse and his or her attorney for review. A transcript of the deposition can be helpful to ensure clarity in what was said, helping minimize disputes over miscommunication. Without such a document, it can be difficult for both sides to remember exactly what was stated. 

A court reporter also begins the deposition by making all parties aware that they are under oath. Due to this, it can encourage both spouses to answer honestly to the best of their ability. While there is added pressure to knowing the conversation is being recorded, it promotes transparency and discourages false statements. 

What Types of Information Will Be Discussed?

Before the deposition, an attorney is likely to talk with their client about what to expect during the meeting and what types of topics may be discussed. The role of the spouse’s attorney is to ask questions to the other spouse, so the court reporter can document the following information:

  • Finances: as an attempt to uncover more details about a spouse’s financial status, and how much the other spouse may be entitled to receive.
  • Incidents and Dates: circumstances that caused the divorce may be relevant to divorce disputes. An attorney may ask questions to confirm if certain incidents occurred and on which date(s).
  • Health Records: a spouse’s health may come up if it is suspected he or she has a condition that hinders ability to care for children properly.
  • Property: shared property that will be divided between both spouses is likely to come up in the deposition. An attorney may ask the other spouse to read a list of assets and what their estimated values are worth. 

 


 

Thanks to Veritext for their insight into court reporters and divorce depositions.

How Drunk or High Do You Have to Be for a DUI or DWI Conviction?

Car Accident Lawyer

To be arrested for a DUI can be extremely stressful. This is a serious charge and it’s important that you understand how drunk or high you have to be in order for a conviction. Here is what you need to know.

What Is the Legal Limit?

There are two DUI charges to be aware of when it comes to charges. There is a per se charge, where the prosecutor bases it on the amount of drugs or alcohol in your system and an impairment charge that is based on how the drugs or alcohol impacted you. Now, when it comes to alcohol, the limit is a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent.

Some states have the same laws for drugs, but each state varies and it depends on the drug in your system. For instance, some states may charge for a certain milligram amount of cocaine or other drug in your system at the time of your arrest.

Impairment DUI charges are based solely on how you were affected. Some states will use the phrase substantial impaired. This means that you were impaired when the cop pulled you over.

How to Determine Drug or Alcohol Use

A cop determines if you are under the influence in three different ways. They use their own observations, sobriety tests and chemical testing. Observations are simple to classify. This is not only how you’re behaving to driving when the officer pulls you over, but what the officer can observe about your person. For instance, if you smell like alcohol, if you have bloodshot eyes, the officer may determine you are under the influence.

In sobriety tests, the officer usually asks the driver to step out of the car. These tests may include a one-leg stand, a walk and turn or other tasks that prove whether a person is intoxicated. If you perform poorly, this might motivate the officer to make an arrest.

Breathalyzer tests often occur in the field. These tests may be optional. However, in some states, if you refuse a breathalyzer, the penalty may be higher. There are preliminary alcohol screen devices that are used in the field and evidential breath tests that are taken at the station.

If you were pulled over for a DUI, there are a lot of different factors that go into your arrest. Each state has its own laws on DUI and DWI charges. Consult with a DWI lawyer in Fairfax, VA today about your options and what to do after an arrest.

 


 

Thanks to May Law, LLP for their insight into criminal law and what your blood levels have to be for a DUI conviction.

If You Want To Avoid Court, Should You Still Hire a Lawyer?

Personal Injury Lawyer

Most people will go their whole lives without ever being involved in a court case. It is natural not to want to go to court if you find yourself wrapped up in a lawsuit, regardless of which side you are on. You may be wondering if it would be useful to hire an attorney to help avoid going to court. It may seem a bit counterintuitive, but hiring legal representation really can help you avoid court altogether.

If You Are the Defendant

The defendant is the party who is sued by another person or accused of a crime. Unfortunately, if you are the defendant in a criminal case, there is no way to avoid going to court. In this situation, it is absolutely essential that you have a lawyer. If you are the defendant in a civic case, however, you have one option to avoid going to court: settlement.

If you make the plaintiff a settlement offer and he or she accepts it, then there is no need to go to court. This may sound simple enough, but the problem is that you have no control over whether or not the plaintiff accepts your offer. An attorney will be able to advise you on what a good offer is to increase your chances of having it accepted. On top of that, your attorney will help you make an offer that minimizes how much you have to pay. Even if avoiding court is your top priority, it does not mean you have to pay an unreasonable amount.

If You Are the Plaintiff

Even if you are the plaintiff in your situation, you may be conflicted on whether or not you really want to go to court. You may feel pressured to file a lawsuit in order to receive compensation for your losses, but still not want to deal with the hassle of court. In this situation, it is still in your best interest to speak with an attorney. A legal professional will be able to help you explore your alternatives. Chances are that your only option that avoids court entirely is to accept a settlement offer, but an attorney can expedite that process. An attorney also might be able to set things up to minimize the time spent in court, making for a faster trial. Remember, the vast majority of civil court cases end in settlement anyway, so there is no shame in accepting an offer. Always speak with a personal injury lawyer in Minneapolis, Minnesota before you make any decisions.

 


 

Thanks to Johnston Martineau, PLLP for their insight into personal injury claims and avoiding court.

How to Pay for an Injury Lawyer if You’ve Been Unable to Work

Personal Injury Lawyer

If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, you possibly have a long recovery ahead of you. You probably have both physical and emotional scars as well. You’ve got a heavy enough burden on your shoulders that facing the prospect of paying for an injury attorney could be too much to beat, especially if you’ve been unable to work. It’s no secret that paying for a lawyer requires a significant financial commitment, so how can you possibly pursue an injury case if you can’t afford to pay for legal counsel. Fortunately, there are ways you can work around this challenge and still get the help you need.

Pay if You Win

In many instances, clients pay attorneys by the hour, meaning you would pay the lawyer a rate for every hour he or she works on your case. Plus, the attorney will require a retainer, or an upfront fee. This amount can be steep and difficult to handle, even for people who continue working after the injury. A more favorable approach to take in your circumstance is to go with a contingency fee. This means you will only pay the motorcycle accident lawyer in Des Moines, IA if you win your motorcycle injury case. If the court rules in your favor, and you get a settlement, you will pay your attorney a percentage of what you’re awarded. This percentage will vary, but most attorneys will require at least 25 percent. This method of paying should give you peace of mind to know that you won’t have to pay a dime if you don’t prevail in your case.

Consider Legal Aid Programs

You aren’t the only person who has struggled to hire an injury attorney. There are groups available to provide you with free legal advice and other services. If you qualify—and you should if you have not been able to work—these services may be able to represent you in your injury case. Search online for the nearest nonprofit legal aid organization, and you could pursue your case without having to worry about coming up with the money to pay an attorney.

Ask for Pro-Bono Help

This may not always be an option, but there are lawyers willing to take cases for free. Get recommendations from local bar associations, or search online. If you have a particularly compelling case, you may be in luck.

You shouldn’t have to fight the insurance companies or other party alone in your injury case. If money is tight, there are still ways to get the legal assistance you need.

 


 

Thanks to Johnston Martineau, LLP for their insight into personal injury claims and how to pay for a lawyer.

What Are Your Rights to Privacy With a Workers’ Compensation Agent?

Workers Compensation Attorneys

Do you have a pending workers’ compensation case? In the chance that you do, you may already know that insurers are mostly interested in themselves. They want to be able to save as much money as possible. This means that they will try to change your benefits and try to prove that you did not suffer your injury due to work. When it’s time for the company to investigate your case, you need to ask yourself how much is too much. Is the workers’ compensation attorney taking your photos, following you or talking to your neighbors? Here is what you should know about your privacy rights.

Legal Surveillance

For a lot of people, it’s difficult to understand the line between what’s legal and what isn’t. When you file a claim, you are susceptible to investigators. Often private investigators will follow around the workers who filed the claim. The insurance company wants to be able to get as much evidence as possible that you are doing activities you said that you cannot do.

It is legal for an investigator to follow you around all day. These investigators can take photos or videos of you. In addition, they are able to stay in the background and to go unnoticed. While you might feel like video and photo evidence is an invasion of privacy, if it’s done outside the home and without breaking the rules of any establishment, then it is not illegal.

Illegal Surveillance

Now, just because most of the surveillance is legal does not mean that it can’t change territories. If you catch an investigator that looks through your windows or that you feel like is videotaping or taking pictures of you while you’re in your home, then that person may be in trouble with the law. If you ever feel like you’re being watched or if you feel uneasy, you should call the police or emergency responders right away. In addition to the illegal surveillance, investigators are allowed to question your neighbors. Essentially they are capable of doing anything that might help lower the amount that you can receive through workers’ compensation.

When it comes to any worker’s compensation case, it is always a good idea to contact Milwaukee workers’ compensation lawyers. If you’re worried that you have someone following you or invading your privacy as a way to investigate your workers’ compensation claim, then you can always make a complaint against the person. It’s easiest, of course, to talk through your options in advance.

 


 

Thanks to Hickey & Turim, SC for their insight into workers compensation and your right to privacy.

Freedom of Speech

Personal Injury Lawyer

Free speech has become one of the most talked about subjects in our country recently. There’s debate about who is allowed to say what and where they can say it. We are all aware that the constitution gives us freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and of the press yet some would say all of those freedoms are being threatened. While this might be the argument university in the state of Texas are now facing a new bill that requires them to follow the first amendment requirements. Universities have taken a stand against what they believe to be hateful or hostile rhetoric from certain political groups on campus under the guise of providing a safe and peaceful environment for students. A students time on campus is meant for learning and expanding the mind. While enjoying university life many students embark on new religious and political journeys as they try to find their way in the world as independent adults. Many students will explore new religions and political views in an effort to create themselves. While the first amendment protects this right the state of Texas has decided to pass SB18. Governor Abbott believes some campuses are blocking students of certain groups from assembling to speak their beliefs. SB18 would deem common outdoor areas of college campuses as public forums giving students the right to assemble and protest if they choose to do so. SB18 would also protect certain organizations on campus whether they are religious in nature or political and allow them to distribute material with their beliefs and values. The bill would also allow the campus newspapers and newsletters to publish what they want without fear of being reprimanded. Senate Bill 18 would give students the opportunity to create their own environment with free thought no matter their beliefs. Whether you believe students should have this choice or not it is now signed into law here in Texas and universities have until August 1, 2020 to make changes and enforce this new law. It might seem like an unnecessary move since the constitution already gives these rights to students and binds the school to allow for freedom of speech in all forms. How this will affect students displaying hostile behavior is unclear at this time but universities will be faced with the task of finding alternative ways of handling such behavior as it arises. If you have questions about these recent changes you can always contact your criminal defense lawyer in Arlington, TX.  

 


 

Thanks to Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC for their insight into criminal law and freedom of speech.

Injury on Public Transit 

Personal Injury Lawyer

Public transportation is a life saver to many. It is the leading mode of transportation for many city locals of all age groups, as well as temporary city visitors. No matter the reason people are in need of public transportation, they somewhat put their lives in the hands of these drivers and would like to think that they are safe when they are passengers. Busses save people hundreds of dollars, and stress from driving on the road when tired or when they simply do not wish to. Keeping these passengers safe is a huge task, and a top priority, even over getting them to their destinations. They would much rather arrive alive than not at all.

Unfortunately, the usual safety precautions that are taken in a personally owned, leased, or rented vehicle is not taken while on public transit. Often times, there are no seatbelts or airbags to help keep passengers safe. If you or someone you know uses public transportation in any way, it is important to note a few things that may put their safety at risk. Such as:

Several people actual stand on busses. Unlike a car, if there are no more seats available, busses allow passengers to use the standing room and provide bars to grab hold of as a form of safety in the event that the ride is slightly rough.

Passengers are not exactly required to find a seat or place on the bus before the bus moves. This means, the bus may be in motion while someone is still walking to their seat, which can cause this person to fall over and hurt themselves or others should the bus come to a halt.

Due to its size and weight, a bus is more likely to tip over than a small sedan. Should a bus tip over, this can lead to several injuries and even deaths.

When we put our lives in the hands of others, it is very hard to control the narrative. While public transportation is a means of transportation for many, it is not always the safest so it is best to know the safety risks. Should you or a loved one face any harm or deaths while riding public transportation, it is wise to speak with a personal injury attorney in Atlanta, GA to discuss your options for damages. The right attorney will assess the damages and do their best to see that you are compensated for your injuries. 

 


 

Thanks to Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. for their insight into personal injury claims and public transit.