When to Call a Lawyer After an Accident

Picture this: you’ve just had a serious collision with someone on the road. Maybe it’s your fault, or maybe it’s theirs. What’s the first thing you do?

You check to make sure you’re alright. You check to see if anyone else in your car is alright. Then you check the other guy. And then what?

Do you call the police, your insurance…your lawyer?

It crosses everyone’s mind, but when exactly is it right to get a lawyer involved after an accident?

Basically, you should call for any of these five reasons:

  1. Someone’s been injured
  2. Someone’s died due to the accident
  3. The police report is putting the wrong person at fault (especially if it’s you!).
  4. There’s a lot of property damage
  5. You’re afraid your insurance isn’t going to pay out fully

Those are all pretty serious nightmare scenarios but don’t just assume this can’t happen to you and skip on to the next article. Around three million people are injured in car accidents every year in the U.S. That’s about one percent of the whole population. The number of accidents is about six million.

In addition, CNN says America has the highest road death rate in the world, and road crashes are the largest cause of death for citizens going abroad.

But even if those facts are too scary for you, just let this one give you pause: according to asirt.org, America spends $230 billion EVERY YEAR on car accidents. Do you really want to have a chunk of that money coming from you?

That doesn’t mean that you need to have a lawyer on speed dial for every fender bender, but make sure you have someone in mind just in case things are a bit more serious.

According to Munley Law, facing a car accident without a lawyer can mean you end up with:

  1. Increased pain and suffering
  2. Serious medical bills
  3. Lost wages (or even losing your job)
  4. Potentially diminished earning power (if you end up with a chronic injury)
  5. Being on the hook for long-term rehabilitation or therapy (for you or the other people injured)

Like every other kind of law, the laws around car insurance are complicated and hard to navigate if you’re a novice. So don’t just expect you can handle everything coming because you’re pretty clever. Remember that the other guy may be lawyering up even if you think you can reach a deal on your own.

If you’re worried about that lawyer money, Munley Law says that a lot of places will give you at least a free consultation—they may even base all charges on whether you win the lawsuit or not. When looking for lawyers, make sure you find someone who is upfront about being flexible like that, so you don’t end up worrying about payments on two ends.

Adoption and Its Effects

An article by Herman, E. (2011), titled “Adoption History in Brief,” which is posted in the The Social Welfare website says that “During the twentieth century, numbers of adoptions increased dramatically in the United States. In 1900, formalizing adoptive kinship in a court was still very rare. By 1970, the numerical peak of twentieth-century adoption, 175,000 adoptions were finalized annually. “Stranger” or “non-relative” adoptions have predominated over time, and most people equate adoption with families in which parents and children lack genetic ties. Today, however, a majority of children are adopted by natal relatives and step-parents, a development that corresponds to the rise of divorce, remarriage, and long-term cohabitation.” (http://socialwelfare.library.vcu.edu/programs/child-welfarechild-labor/adoption/)

Establishing a parent-child relationship (through adoption) between two persons not naturally related to each other can be a challenging endeavor, especially if the adoptee is already at a certain age or if the adopting parents have other children. Jealousy and the issue legal rights of everyone, especially of the spouse and biological children (if and when the spouses divorce one another or if one spouse dies), usually set in.

This is because, through adoption, the adopted child acquires all the right and privileges possessed and enjoyed by any member of the family; including becoming an heir in the same family. As regards the adoptee’s biological parents, they lose all their rights over their child as the adopting parents are legally declared the adoptee’s new and rightful parents through adoption. 

Adoption was originally conceived as a means to normalize and give meaning to the union of married, but childless couples. In 1851, however, when the Adoption of Children Act was made a law, adoption assumed the purpose of legal and social operations intended to promote the interest of a child rather than that of the adopting parents. In modern society, couples, whether of opposite or of the same sex, can adopt a child, so long as the court sees them fit to parent a child.

The United States recognizes two types of adoption: closed adoption and open adoption. In closed adoption, the state decides who can adopt a child, legally requiring the biological mother to relinquish her rights (over her child) in the process. Open adoption, is its exact opposite, as this legal procedure allows the birth mother to choose the adopting parents, besides maintaining the right to communicate with, and visit, her child. 

Since states regulate the laws concerning adoption, there is no uniformity as to what is required or considered for a couple, or even a single adult, to be deemed worthy of adopting a child. Often, couples or individuals are confronted by laws and requirements that suddenly make adopting a child a complex procedure.

Raleigh divorce lawyers at Marshall & Taylor PLLC explains that every adoption is unique, based on the family’s circumstances and the type of adoption they choose to pursue. While some couples will naturally choose to adopt an infant, there are cases wherein adopting families choose to adopt a step-child, an adult or even a foreigner.

 

 

The Social Security Disability (SSDI) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits

The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are two large programs of the U.S. Federal government that are aimed at providing financial assistance to people with disabilities. SSDI was created by the Social Security Administration (SSA) in 1956, while SSI was created in 1974.

The SSDI pays disability benefits to qualified SS insured members who are below the age of 65 and who are also totally disabled. To qualify for payment, a member must meet the following requirements:

  • Had worked long enough (or recently enough) and have paid Social Security taxes or Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes while employed (these taxes are automatically deducted from employees’ monthly take home pay on a monthly basis);
  • Has earned the number of credits required by the SSA (employees earn four credits annually); and,
  • Is suffering from total disability

Total disability or disability, as defined by the SSA, means:

  • Inability to perform previous work, as well as any other work, due to the medical condition;
  • The disability has either lasted for a year or is likely to last for a year or more; and,
  • The disability can result in death.

A list medical conditions that are severe enough has been drawn up by the SSA; finding one’s health problem in this list would automatically include him/her in the roster of disabled insured SS members. Not finding one’s health condition in the list, however, will require an evaluation by Social Security in order to determine if the health condition is serious enough to be considered a form of total disability.

The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability program, on the other hand, provides non-taxable financial assistance to Americans, who are, at least, 65 years old, blind, or disabled (the meaning assigned to “disability” is the same with SSDI), and whose income or resources fall within the federal benefit rate (FBR) determined by the government.

Since SSI funding comes from the U.S. Treasury general funds (rather than the SS taxes paid monthly by insured SS members), neither SS credits nor previous employment is, therefore, required to qualify into the program.

The SSI program aims to help provide for the basic needs of its beneficiaries. These basic needs include food, shelter and clothing. In a number of states, SSI benefits application is also considered as application for food stamps, while other states allow the benefits to be supplemented by Medicaid to cover prescriptions, doctor’s fee and other medical care costs.

An article posted at www.chrismayolaw.com/practice-areas/social-security-disability/, states that for millions of Americans who live with a disabling physical or mental condition, it can be extraordinarily difficult to support themselves on their own. This is particularly true when their disability makes them unable to work. Fortunately, the Social Security disability program provides benefits to those who suffer from disabilities, helping disabled individuals to get the support they need to live their lives on their own.

The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program provides financial support to those have become disabled by an injury or illness, and have met the required work credits. Additionally, children and spouses of deceased workers are often able to get disability benefits through this program.

SSI benefits, on the other hand, are available to those living on low incomes who are aged, blind, or suffer from a disability, with sometimes increased benefits for families to help provide a level of support that more accurately matches their needs.

 

The Dangers of Head-on Collisions

There are different kinds of car accidents, such as sideswipes, rear-end collisions, T-bone accidents, and rollovers. But arguably the most dangerous of them all is head-on collisions. Getting hurt in a car accident, particularly a head-on collision, can have devastating effects.

Common Causes
A head-on collision happens when two vehicles’ front ends crash into each other, so most victims of head-on collision cases are traveling on opposite directions. Head-on collisions can happen because of many reasons, but the most common reasons are the following:

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs and losing control
  • Driving while distracted, such as texting and eating
  • Falling asleep while driving and drifting into the opposite lane
  • Going the wrong way
  • Losing control during a curve or turn
  • Speeding
  • Veering into oncoming traffic to overtake a vehicle

Common Injuries
Since head-on collisions involve the front ends of the vehicles involved, the occupants of the vehicles absorb a big portion of the collision force, resulting into devastating injuries.

Head injuries and brain trauma: The head of the victims may hit hard surfaces, such as the steering wheel and windshield, or get hit by projectiles, such as debris. These may result into head injuries, including facial deformation, and into brain trauma, including concussion and severe traumatic brain injury.

Neck injuries and whiplash: The sudden jolt caused by the collision may put a strain in the victims’ necks, resulting into neck fractures and other neck injuries such as whiplash.

Spinal cord injuries and back problems: The sudden jolt may also catch the body unprepared and relaxed, resulting into problems in the spinal cord and back. The worst injuries may even result into paralysis, limiting the victims’ motor and sensory functions.

Death: Many head-on collisions are high-impact accidents, so it is not surprising that many result into the death of the victims. Even the injuries stated above, when extremely severe, may cause death.

Common Fatal Auto Defects

The worst kinds of car accidents are those that have resulted not because of driver error, but because of an outside force. These include reckless drivers around you, road defects, and car malfunctions.

According to the website of Chicago car accidents attorneys, members of the automotive industry may be held liable for any auto defects to the point that you can take them to court. The fact that even lawyers protect you from these defects is enough proof that it can be very dangerous.

Below is a list of the most common auto defects today.

Airbags
Airbags are there to save your life, not make you more at risk of injury. Airbags can be considered defective when they fail to deploy when they need to, deploy for no reason at all, or deploy too late. If an airbag fails to deploy, it doesn’t counter the force of the collision, which may result into serious injuries. If an airbag deploys for no reason, it can cause trauma or an accident. If an airbag deploys too late, you can still seriously injure yourself from the collision.

Brakes
Brakes become defective because of many reasons, like poor maintenance and wear and tear. Most brake issues involve oil leaks, overheating, and squealing. If there is an oil leak, the brake system may fail because of friction problems. If there is an overheating of the brakes, you can lose braking power because the hot spots resist the friction from the pads and shoes of your brake system. If you brake is giving off a grinding sound, it may be a sign that your brake pads are thinning and need to be replaced.

Child Seats
You expect designers and manufacturers to ensure that your car is safe for your children. Still, there are defects that can potentially injure your child, like defective harnesses, inadequate padding, and weak car seat shells.

Seatbelts
Seatbelts are probably your first lines of defense when collisions occur, so of course you prefer them to be in top condition so they can be effective. According to the seatbelt injury attorneys of Spiros Law, P.C., seatbelt defects include manufacturing negligence, poor design, repair errors, and the use of inferior quality materials.

Tires
Tires carry the weight of you vehicle. Add the fact that they are creating friction on the road surface by rolling and you have yourself some auto parts that can potentially cause a disaster. One of the most common tire defects include tire blowout, or the sudden loss of air pressure in the tires, causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle and crash. Tire blowouts generally happen because of low rubber quality, poor design, trapped water, and the use of inadequate adhesive.