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Indiana Personal Injury Law Blog

What is the 'at-fault' rule in Indiana?

When it comes to car accident insurance and recovery, Indiana follows the 'at-fault' rule. When seeking compensation against the negligent driver who caused one's injuries, it is important to understand what this term means and signifies with regards to recovery.

"At fault" means that the person who is at fault is liable for all the losses and damages suffered as a result of the accident. This means an accident victim can pursue compensation from their insurance company, from the other driver's insurance company or from the other driver who was at fault. This gives them three options to choose from, depending on their individual circumstances.

Understand work credit to ensure qualification for SSD

Much is being said about the upcoming changes to Social Security Disability benefits starting from 2018. The Indiana personal injury law blog also discussed some of them in last week's post, including those being made to the work credit requirements. Indiana residents may understand that these changes have made it more difficult to qualify for SSD benefits, but what exactly a work credit is could still be confusing.

In order to qualify to receive SSD benefits, one must have earned Social Security credits. These are earned by working in a job and pay social security taxes. The credits are based on income -- as mentioned in last week's post, in 2017 one credit was equivalent to $1300 of earnings and in 2018 this figure is set to change. This is not the first time the number has changed though -- each year it increases a little as average earnings increase. A person can earn up to four credits a year.

3 Thanksgiving hazards and how to avoid them

Thanksgiving is almost here, and with it comes a unique set of hazards. Did you know that Thanksgiving weekend is one of the most dangerous times of the year for drivers? A combination of increased traffic, poor weather conditions and drunk drivers puts people at higher risk over this weekend than almost any other time of the year.

Along with traffic accidents, there are dozens of other possible hazards. Here are three and how you can avoid them.

SSD retirement age, work credit requirements changing in 2018

Indiana residents already know that qualifying to receive Social Security Disability benefits is a difficult enough task-one must demonstrate their medical eligibility and also the fact that they have worked a certain number of credits to qualify. The requirements for eligibility are set to change in 2018, with it becoming just a little bit harder to qualify to receive SSD benefits.

As many may be aware, one cannot automatically become eligible to receive SSD benefits-a worker must have earned 40 lifetime work credits and a maximum of four of these can be received in a year. In 2017, this meant a person earned one credit for every $1300 of earned income, but in 2018, one must have earned $1320 per lifetime credit. Though many may think this is a inconsequential change, this may end up barring millions from qualifying to receive much needed financial assistance.

When should I pursue a workers' compensation claim?

There is little that can make losing a loved one in a sudden car accident worse, but when parents witness the crash that results in the death of their young children, there is little that can be said to console them. People who have lost loved ones in crashes try to make sense of the situation-how could this happen and how are they going to move on with their lives? The trauma and loss cannot be explained or quantified.

There are perhaps the emotions running through the minds of parents who lost their two young daughters in a motor vehicle accident in Indiana recently. The two girls, one aged four and the other two, were in a car with their aunt in front of their house when the crash took place. According to reports, the aunt's vehicle had stopped before making a left-turn when a vehicle towing a horse trailer pulled up behind it. According to the police, the bigger vehicle struck the smaller one in front of it. The father reportedly heard the noise and ran out, trying to get his children out of the car.

When should I pursue a workers' compensation claim?

Like other states across the country, Indiana is required to carry workers' compensation insurance for their employees. This means when an employee is injured during the course of their employment, their employer will compensate them for their medical expenses and other expenses. The program also does not need injured workers to prove the injury was their fault to receive compensation.

Even though an injured employee has two years to file a workers' compensation claim, they have to provide notice to their employer within 30 days of the injury. This is very important, as failure to provide notice to the employer may bar the compensation claim from moving forward.

Social Security Disability is for those who cannot work

Sustaining a serious injury on the job is life-altering. You need to deal with medical costs and lost wages as you recover, however long that puts you out of the job. When you come back to work, you may not be able to perform your duties and responsibilities as easily or efficiently as you once could. Your employer may find it necessary to move you to a different work area. In the process, your wages or your hours could be compromised. Indeed, an injury has consequences well beyond the scars or pains of your body.

While many injuries heal with time and proper medical treatment, sometimes, the pain does not completely go away. After trying everything, you may find that you will never be able to work in the position you once did, or maybe even at all. As the time limit on your workers' compensation approaches, you may find yourself wondering where to turn.

Sprains and strains: It's not a stretch to seek medical help

After your motor vehicle accident, you knew you were hurt right away. You thought you had broken bones, but it turns out that you had sprains. Sprains and strains aren't necessarily as dangerous as a broken bone, but they have the potential to cause pain and disability.

Sprains and strains cause people to miss work, require physical therapy, in some cases, and take weeks to months to recover. Some serious sprains require surgery to repair torn or damaged tendons and ligaments.

What are the laws applicable to dog bites in Indiana?

It happens all the time-you see a cute playful dog, you rush forward to pet it and it starts playing with you. What else happens quite often? The dog ends up biting someone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 4.5 million dog bites take place across the country annually. So, what do you do if you are bitten by a dog in Indiana?

Indiana has two separate laws surrounding dog bites and they revolve around the status of the person bitten. If the bitten person was someone who was in a location they were required to be to discharge a federal or state duty, then the rule of strict liability applies. This means that if a mail carrier was bitten while discharging their duty and they did not provoke the dog, the owner of the dog becomes automatically responsible for any injuries that result. In these situations, it doesn't matter if the dog had never bitten anyone before or never acted aggressively previously.

Avail options to minimize SSD denied claim appeal time

When Indiana residents are unable to continue working and make an earning for themselves due to a disability, they can apply to state agencies that are affiliated with the Social Security Administration. The unfortunate reality is that most first-time applicants are denied social security disability benefits-only about one-third of them are approved. The good news is that a denied claim is not the end of the story; it is possible to appeal a denied claim. In fact, most people who appeal a denied claim are successful.

The Social Security Administration provides benefits to millions of people yearly-around 10.5 million people receive SSD benefits and another 8 million receive SSI benefits. Even though the agency paid out almost $200 million in disability payments last year alone, in reality, it doesn't amount to more than $1100 a month. Though this may seem like a measly amount, for many, it could be the amount between receiving medical care and surviving and not.

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