Archive for March, 2015


Video Hearings Will Be Used More Often for Social Security Disability Hearings

March 25, 2015

One of the biggest problems that our nation’s Social Security Disability system is facing is the lengthy periods of time applicants must wait for decisions to be made about their benefits. Under most circumstances, it can take a claim months—or even years—to be processed.

The Indianapolis Social Security Disability attorneys at Stewart & Stewart Attorneys explain that officials are hoping to address lengthy wait times by using streaming video technology as a means of providing easier and faster access to hearings during the appeals process.

Data from the Social Security Administration shows that video conferencing was used to conduct hearings in 171,475 Social Security Disability appeals cases in 2014. This was only around 28 percent of the total number of hearings held this year. The success of these hearings in saving both costs and time has prompted officials to push for at least 30 percent of all hearings to be video hearings in 2015.

It’s important to remember that during the Social Security Disability hearing process, it can be wise to have an attorney by your side. The Indianapolis personal injury lawyers with Stewart & Stewart are here to answer any legal questions you may have about your claim. Feel free to give us a call anytime at (800) 33-33-LAW to discuss your disability claim.


DNA Testing Reducing Number Indiana Medical Malpractice Cases

March 18, 2015

One of the most common medical errors that leads to a Indiana medical malpractice claim being filed is misdiagnosis by a doctor. Data from the National Center for Policy Analysis states as many as 20 percent of patients receive misdiagnoses when they are examined by doctors, and of those cases, roughly one-third result in patients being seriously injured or killed.

But now, technology is helping to prevent these errors. Researchers have identified a new testing method that uses a patient’s DNA to help ensure the patient’s condition is properly identified.

According to The Indianapolis Star, a local company—Strand Analytical Laboratories— is working to reduce medical errors by collecting DNA samples from patients undergoing biopsies to identify potential cases of prostate and breast cancer. Those samples are analyzed and used to match biopsies with patients by identifying certain markers in the DNA samples.

While errors can not be completely prevented by the test, the company and some doctors believe the test is effective in helping to reduce the number of misdiagnoses caused by mix ups of lab test results.

At Stewart & Stewart Attorneys, we recognize the physical and financial costs a preventable medical mistake can result in, and our Indianapolis personal injury lawyers are hopeful to see more hospitals and physicians adopting policies that require tests like the ones Strand is currently conducting.



What Are the Chances of Being Approved for Social Security Disability Benefits?

March 11, 2015

Successfully completing a claim for Social Security Disability benefits can be a long and arduous task, but new data is shedding light on the chances of an approval through each step of the process.

The latest numbers from the Social Security Administration show that only around 20 percent of initial claims are approved. This means only one in five applicants will receive benefits after a case examiner first looks at their applications. Those who face initial denials must rely on the appeals process to get their claims approved.

Only 2 to 3 percent of applications are approved during the reconsideration process, in which a claims examiner takes a second look at an application. In previous years, around ten percent of claims were approved through the appeals council—the number has significantly decreased since 2011.

The difficulty of having a claim approved underscores the benefits of having legal representation by your side while applying for Social Security Disability benefits.

At Stewart & Stewart Attorneys, we have years of experience navigating the Social Security Disability system, and our Indianapolis personal injury attorneys have helped numerous clients get the benefits they need. We are here to help in any way we can, just call (800) 33-33 LAW.


Indianapolis Police Officer Injured After Drinking Tainted McDonald’s Tea

March 04, 2015

The Indiana defective product lawyers with Stewart & Stewart Attorneys explain that restaurants have a legal obligation to ensure the food and beverages they serve are safe for their customers. Any failure to meet these standards could result in legal action against the restaurant, along with it’s staff and management.

Such legal action was taken in January when a teenager from Muncie was harmed by tea from a McDonald’s restaurant contaminated with cleaning chemicals. Now, another such case has arisen in Indianapolis.

According to ABC 6 News, an officer with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department filled a cup at the McDonald’s located on West 38th Street on Saturday, Feb. 28. He took one sip of the liquid and immediately reported a burning sensation in his throat. He reported the incident to restaurant management and was informed a cup should have been placed over the drink dispenser as employees were in the process of cleaning the vat and had walked away for a moment.

The officer was taken to the hospital and treated for ingesting a dangerous industrial degreaser. He was later released from the facility, but continues to have throat issues and is hoping there are no long-term side effects.

At Stewart & Stewart Attorneys, we know the struggles that can accompany unexpected injuries. Our Indiana personal injury lawyers are hopeful that both victims in these cases experience a full and swift recovery from their injuries.