The Difference Between Workers Comp and Disability Benefits

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When you suffer an injury, on the job or off, there are benefits available to help you maintain a standard of living until you can get back on your feet again. In some cases, you may even find that you are able to receive long-term benefits for a lifetime disability. As you evaluate your options, two of those that are most common include workers compensation and disability benefits. Read on to learn about each of these and how they are alike and different.

Workers Compensation: An Overview

Workers comp is provided as an alternative to benefits from a lawsuit when you suffer from an injury caused at work. Most state laws require that employers have workers compensation funds set aside to handle any claims from workers injured on the job. These are provided during the entire time you are injured or can be lifelong, depending on the severity of the injury and how long it affects your ability to work.

Disability Benefits: An Overview

Disability benefits are provided from the states, usually as the result of an injury that has been caused outside of work. They are intended to cushion your job loss and allow you to live comfortably after you have faced an injury. In some cases, you may also receive disability benefits if your employer decides to fight against your workers compensation claim.

Similarities and Differences Between Workers Comp and Disability Benefits

Workers comp and disability benefits are both intended to help when you lose your job, whether it is caused by an injury inside or outside of work. The major difference between the two is that workers compensation is paid out for an on-the-job injury while disability benefits are typically paid out for an off-the-job injury. Both of these are regulated by the state, however, your employer is responsible for establishing a workers comp fund. They also have the choice to try and dispute your claim, if they so choose. Some people also say that workers comp is more difficult to prove, because you must prove an injury happened at work. While this would be rather easy in the case of a slip that was caught on video or losing a finger because of an improperly maintained machine at work, it can be quite difficult if you have back injuries, lung problems, or other chronic problems that have resulted from working for a company for many years.

When You May Be Eligible to Receive Both

In some cases, you may be able to receive both disability benefits from the state and workers comp benefits. There are two scenarios in which this is likely to happen. In the first scenario, if your employer is fighting against the workers compensation payment and dragging out the litigation process, you may be able to collect disability benefits until you receive workers compensation. Then, you may or may not have to pay the money back if you receive extra workers comp for the missed time. In the second scenario, your workers comp may be lower than state disability payments. In this case, you are entitled to the difference between the two amounts.

As you weigh your options, remember that there are only certain times when each is applicable. Additionally, be sure you understand whether or not you have to pay back any amounts received for state disability and how long it will take for you to receive your benefits. If you need any assistance, speak with the Leo Trial Group to be sure you understand the process and what you will need to receive your benefits.

4 Ways to Get the Most From Your Attorney Marketing Strategy

Marketing is important for just about every industry, even law firms. In fact, developing an attorney marketing strategy is just as important as doing your best to win every case that comes your way. It’s a given that you should focus more on your clients than on advertising, but advertising is still important if you want to make a living. Luckily, you can hire a marketing firm to take care of most of that for you. However, here are four things you can personally do to get the most out of your current marketing strategy.

  1. Use Social Media

If your firm isn’t on social media, you could be missing out on thousands of potential clients. Facebook and Twitter are great sites to voice your opinions or advertise blogs and other content on your website. Social media sites also allow you to interact directly with potential clients. Don’t forget to allow sharing of your posts – it’s an easy and free way to spread the word about your services.

  1. Build Referrals

Many clients get their business from referrals. However, not every client that comes your way will understand that they should refer your services to others. Take the time create a strategy to build your referral sources. You should even have a chat with your clients (at an appropriate time) about how they can help you. You might even ask them if you can use them as a referral for future clients.

  1. Focus on Your Clients

Nothing is better for your advertising than a job well done. No matter what your marketing strategy is, don’t forget about the most important part of your business: the clients. Make your clients a priority, and they are more likely to recommend you to others.

  1. Regularly Assess Your Strategy

Make it a point to routinely go over your current marketing strategy with your marketing agent. This could be every few months or once a year – just make sure that it gets done. If you hire an agency to help you, they may recommend a schedule for going over your marketing budget and techniques.

If you really want to make your law firm a success, then you can’t overlook marketing. Use these tips to get the most out of your current strategy.

If You Owe Someone a Lot of Money, What Laws Are On Your Side

Let’s say you owe a fair amount of money to a lender/creditor. This isn’t a good situation to be in. Most people who owe a lot of money are in the situation because they can’t afford to pay. Even those who have the cash to pay are delaying for one reason or another, and can’t let go of their money very easily. As time goes on, the payments go delinquent, and the individual starts to hear from the creditor. If the payment goes unpaid much longer, the individual might be sued, or (if the debt is too small to bother suing over) the debt might be sold to a collections agent. In either case (debt owned by original lender or debt collector), there are certain rules which apply to the collection of debt, which favor the person who owes the money. It doesn’t make owing loads of money to someone easy, but it does help somewhat. Once you’re in this situation, you’ll be glad you have these rights.

It’s all about the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. This piece of legislation was put into law in 1977. It was in response to a lot of abusive and manipulative tactics that creditors used to extract money out of the people who owed them. In the “good old days”, creditors got downright nasty with their debtors. They’d call them at work, trying to embarrass them in front of their employers. They’d call them at home incessantly. They’d lie, making up all kinds of ridiculous evil-sounding nonsense, often to people who didn’t know enough to distinguish the truth from their fabrication.

Things were really bad for people who owed money. So the US government stepped in to put a stop to it. Sometimes these threats and blackmail still occur, but the occurrences have been reduced drastically so it’s almost like they don’t happen anymore. If you’ve ever been on the phone with a debt collection agency in the past few years, you likely found them to be quite polite.

If you find yourself in debt, these are the things that a debt collector CAN NOT do. Know your rights, and protect yourself!

  • Phone Rules. The debt collector can only call you between 8 AM and 9 PM. The debt collector can’t call you if you ask them to stop. They can’t call you over and over again and then hang up. They can’t call you at work. They can’t call you if you have a lawyer. They can’t call you if you’ve asked them to formally verify the debt. They can’t curse at you, yell at your, or lie to you over the phone.
  • Mail and All Other Contact Rules. Similar to above. They can’t put your name on a “bad credit list”, in print or online. They can’t threaten you with legal action they don’t intend to carry out. They can’t bring third parties into the mix, like local law enforcement or your mom.

These rules give you room to breathe. If you owe a lot of money, insist that your debt collector respect your rights, then take the time to calmly find a solution to the problem.

How Alcohol Affects Your Ability to Drive

Alcohol is the most popular drug in the country. Many respectable members of society enjoy it regularly, but abusing alcohol can have some very serious consequences. It causes long term damage to your health, ruin relationships, and lead to serious accidents. It is so dangerous that every state in the country has made it illegal to drive while intoxicated, and for good reason.

What Alcohol Does to Your Brain

Alcohol temporarily changes your brain chemistry. The neurotransmitters responsible for carrying the information you use to make decision are slowed down. This impacts you physiologically, mentally, and emotionally. Your ability to control your muscles and your thought processes is reduced. This is why being drunk cause you to stumble around clumsily. It is also why you are unable to focus, evaluate new information, control your emotions.

To add to this, alcohol also increases the amount of dopamine in your brain. This chemical is responsible for feelings of euphoria. While you are drunk, your brain is tricked into believing that it is enjoying the sensations. This is why so many people drink alcohol in the first place, but the momentary high also tends to encourage a false sense of confidence in your impaired abilities.

Driving While Drunk

Operating a vehicle while you are experiencing all of those effects is dangerous and stupid. With your slower reaction times, you are unable to respond to sudden changes in road conditions. The muscles in your eyes are relaxed making it difficult to focus your vision. You do not evaluate new information you receive as you drive. Signs, markings on the road, and other vehicles are more confusing to you. You lose the ability to multitask making lane changes hazardous. Alcohol induces drowsiness making it more likely that you will fall asleep behind the wheel. You also have less of an ability to distinguish your position, and you are more inclined to make reckless choices.

Your Blood Alcohol Content

In California, a blood alcohol content higher than .08 percent is considered legally intoxicated. You are at an increased risk of causing a serious accident and are prohibited from driving. If you are caught driving drunk, you will face stiff penalties including fines, loss of your driving privileges, and jail time. In extreme circumstances, such as when you have caused a fatal accident, you may even be charged with manslaughter.

Your blood alcohol content continues to rise even after you have stopped drinking, and the effects may not wear off for several hours. On average, your liver can process about one drink per hour. Drinking coffee, taking a cold shower, or getting fresh air does not reduce your level of intoxication. These things only mask the symptoms.

It is best to avoid driving after having any alcohol. Plan your evenings out, and designate a driver. If you do end up having a few drinks, limit your alcohol consumption and stop after one or two drinks. Keep an eye on the clock and stop drinking long before you ever need to drive. Your personal safety, the safety of others, and your future depend on it.

 

What Makes a Lobbying Firm Great?

When looking for lobbying firms DC, there is an endless collection of ones that are hugely successful, and others that seem to be riding on their coattails. What is it that the good lobbyists do to get the legislation passed or blocked to benefit their clients? Here are a few best practices found in lobbying firms:

  • Offer Easily Digestible Information:  When working toward getting a congressman to support a bill, first there must be an understanding among the constituency of the benefits of the proposed legislation. Good firms work to disseminate simple cause and effect information to the public through use of publicity releases, grass roots presence on street corners and local media throughout their area.
  • Networking Masters: In Washington DC, it’s all about who you know. This extends into the lobbying firms. Those who have the highest capture rate for elections and moving legislation along are those with the highest profile networkers.  Attending fund raisers, parties, lunches, and generally increasing face time with those who vote results in the firm garnering the attention needed to increase awareness of their particular goal.
  • In-depth Understanding of Government: While there is no formal educational certificate for lobbyists, the firms who have the best understanding of how our government works net the best results. There are endless procedures, periods, and formal declarations involved in the making of a new law. Being cognizant of which committee a bill is heading to, who will be supporting it and when members are scheduled for vacations all work together and result in the most effective lobbying efforts.
  • Using Their Grassroots Beginnings: While the nitty gritty of national government occurs in Washington DC for the most part, changes in social norms begin in all the small towns, churches and businesses across the country. The successful lobbying firms in DC include seemingly unimportant individuals in their acquaintanceship and use these small but persistent voices to effect change beginning at town meetings and neighborhood cookouts.
  • All Publicity is Good Publicity: An excellent lobbying firm understands that headlines featured in national media outlets and on the viral web will help their cause whether the story seems to support or undermine their political goal. In order to effect change, first the topic must be in the public’s mind.  That happens through constant and repetitive use of a topic on the nightly news. Lobbying firms DC work tirelessly to ensure that their targeted legislation will be discussed at water coolers and around dinner tables for weeks on end, until the bill is passed or quashed.

When seeking a lobbying firm to assist your group in achieving their political goals, extensive research and interviews ought to be conducted with the potential firm to ensure you will see the best return on your investment of time, money and effort.

Texting and Driving: How Certain States are Cracking Down

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More and more people are getting into fatal accidents because of texting and driving. Despite multiple awareness programs in the news and relevant media on the dangers of texting while driving, many people still do it. In fact, it is estimated that 25 percent of all accidents are caused by people who were texting while driving, while about 330,000 individuals sustain varying degrees of injuries because of the same action.

Texting while driving is also categorized as distracted driving and can be quite dangerous as evidenced from the 3,179 deaths and about 430,000 injuries caused by distracted driving in 2014.

It takes a minimum time of 5 seconds to look at your phone and read a message. While this may not seem like much, the fact is if you are driving at 55 mph, it means that you’d have driven the length of a football field without keeping your eyes on the road. As you probably know, it takes just a split second of inattention to get in an accident on the road. So, taking your eyes off the road for just 1 second is bad enough.

Anything can happen; from hitting someone legitimately using the zebra crossing at a red light to getting into a collision with an oncoming vehicle, there are just too many possibilities. Now, when you decide to not just read text, but reply, it increases the odds of getting in a crash 23 times more likely.

As a result, certain states have started enforcing measures to deter the use of cellphones in general while driving. These measures are in the forms of fines, tickets, citations, points added to your license and even misdemeanors. In fact, 46 states including the District of Columbia have completely banned texting while driving and imposed steep fines for offenders.

The severity of the penalties, however, depends on the state or city in question. For instance, there’s a standard $20 fine for first offenders in California. Repeat offenders, get to pay $50 and upwards with a clear notice of the violation on your driving record. The state of New York on the other hand fines first offenders between $50 and $200 plus an extra $93 fee. Repeat offenders pay anything from $250 to $450. Even worse is that you get five driver violation points on your record. People who accrue up to eleven points get to have their driving licenses suspended.

Alaska by far, imposes the steepest fines and penalties. Texting while driving is considered a misdemeanor and can attract a fine of up to $10,000 as well as a year in prison. Offenders who cause injury to people because they were texting and driving will pay a $50,000 fine go to jail for five years.

There are just five states that haven’t yet made texting while driving a primary offense. One of these states is Florida. But, this may not last long going by the efforts of lawmakers. As at Dec, 2015, lawmakers have started clamoring to make texting while driving a primary offense in the state. This means that once passed, law enforcement agents can pull over anyone caught texting while driving, and write them a citation, book them and even arrest them depending on the severity of their offense and the outcome of their actions.

Texting While Driving and Your Insurance

Generally, the more infractions you have, the higher your chances of having your driver’s license suspended. Even more is the fact that it can affect your ability to get insurance without paying steep monthly premiums.

Now, all states have different laws when it comes to insurance and penalties related to driving and texting. So, you will have to check with your state’s laws to get a clear definition on how it can affect your insurance rates.

Insurance companies will most likely quote higher premium rates because they consider you a high-risk individual if you’ve had one or more tickets courtesy of your texting and driving habits. Every insurance provider has a rate calculating system that will determine how much you get to pay on your auto insurance every year.

For more information, get in touch with Insurance Land to get a more precise evaluation if you have been written up in the past.

How to Know if a Slip, Trip, Fall or Other Accident Is Compensable

Accidents occur on a daily basis. Whether at work, exercising, out with mates, or even at home, these daily slips, trips, and falls are often minor and forgettable occurrences. However, in some instances accidents cause injury and harm that lasts after the bump is gone and bruise fades. In the United Kingdom alone, over three million people are injured in accidents, including vehicle and workplace accidents, every year.

When a slip, trip, or fall results in injury or harm that requires medical attention, accumulation of medical bills, loss of wages, and time away from friends and family, it can become an overwhelming and disheartening situation. However, the United Kingdom’s legal system does provide an avenue for individuals to seek compensation and financial recovery for personal injuries. The difficult part for many people is determining if they are entitled to compensation for their situation.

Speak with Legal Counsel

If you were involved in a slip, trip, or fall that resulted in harm, injury, or loss of wages, it is a great idea to contact a UK claims lawyer. Speaking with a solicitor is the surest way to determine if a claim for compensation is justifiable in your situation, and a lawyer will make the complicated process of personal injury law much easier to navigate. The lawyers at ukclaimlawyers.co.uk are experienced, knowledgeable, and able to schedule a first consultation in a timely manner to provide the legal representation you deserve.

Consider Who Was at Fault

If you do not feel comfortable enough to contact a lawyer at this time, you still want to think about the facts of your situation and how your case compares to compensable personal injury claims. Often these injuries were the fault of another person, a government council, or a company. However, you will need to prove this to have a successful compensation claim.

There are a number of instances when a slip, trip, or fall clearly resulted from another person’s negligence or actions. If your accident occurred because of a tree root, cracked footpath, or faults within a crosswalk, the blame falls with the local authority. When slips, trips, and falls occur on council-owned property due to poor maintenance, there is a good chance of recovery. However, accidents resulting from stray property on a footpath or crosswalk are not the responsibility of the local council.

Slips, Trips, and Falls on Private Property

The same logic used to determine that local counsel has responsibility for certain accidents applies to a slip, trip, or fall that happens in a store, restaurant, workplace, or other piece of personal property. Each of these establishments must comply with specific health and safety standards for the benefit of customers, visitors, and employees. When a fall results from an electrical cord across a hallway at work or puddle of water in a shopping centre, it is likely the responsibility of the property owner. However, in these cases it can be more difficult to compile sufficient evidence, and the earlier you are in touch with a solicitor, the better.