Archive for August, 2019

30
Aug

What is the Difference Between Veteran Disability Benefits & Social Security Disability?

August 30, 2019

The primary difference between veteran disability and social security disability is that one only serves veterans, while the other serves any citizen of the United States who qualifies for disability benefits.

The Department of Veterans Affairs administers disability ratings and payments to any veteran who suffered an injury during their time of service. In addition to taking care of service members, VA disability prevents veterans from being denied coverage for “preexisting conditions.”

The Social Security Disability Program seeks to help any eligible citizen who is physically incapable of reasonable employment. The program is also more complex than the VA disability process.

Veteran Disability Ratings

For any injuries sustained or initiated (bodily wear and tear) during a soldier, sailor, airman, or Marine’s time in service, the Department of Veteran’s Affairs assigns a disability rating for monthly payout.

Ratings are given as a percentage, both on individual injuries and as a total combination of injuries. While the rating system can be complex depending on the number of injuries and the severity of each, the final disability rating lies somewhere between 0-100%, which merits a specific benefits amount.

VA disability is an obligation from the government to assist injured veterans as long as they suffer from injuries they endured while in military service.

A significant privilege to VA disability is the opportunity for the disabled veteran to continue earning a livable wage while receiving disability compensation. Naturally, disabled veterans are encouraged to improve their health and exercise discernment when re-entering the workforce.

Social Security Disability

Technically, social security disability is a payout on an insurance plan. If you’ve paid social security taxes (which are required), then you pay into social security benefits.

The social security administration does not assign a rating to those eligible to receive disability benefits. You either qualify for all of it or none of it.

While those eligible for social security disability compensation might be able to work some, the key is that they are unable to acquire “gainful and substantial” employment. As such, those who have qualified to receive social security benefits does not mean they magically achieve “gainful and substantial” employment while also receiving disability pay.

Specifically, those qualifying and receiving social security disability are limited in their working income to approximately $9,000 a year.

Changes in Disability Law After 2017

Prior to 2017, veterans receiving high disability ratings (usually 100%) with the VA were fast-tracked in qualifying for social security disability.

Each agency must perform its own investigation prior to awarding benefits. Before 2017, a veteran qualifying for full benefits at one agency pushed another agency to do the same.

Changes in social security regulations in 2017 allowed these agencies to work more independently. Therefore, each agency examines the evidence submitted by the other agency but may still make their own decision.

In short, as a disabled veteran, you may qualify for social security disability benefits in addition to your VA benefits. Discussing your injuries and current VA disability rating with an attorney will help you know your options and next steps to receiving adequate benefits.

For more information about how a disability attorney can help you with your case, contact Stewart & Stewart at 800-333-3529 or visit our website.

25
Aug

What Can I Do If I Am Affected by Water Contamination?

August 25, 2019

With increased industries and population, there is an increase in waste and pollution. In the 21st Century, first-world countries are still fighting to make some drinking water safe for the greater population.

Even in the United States, water becomes contaminated in spite of federal regulations and the Clean Water Act. Thankfully, safety standards provide a means of holding responsible parties accountable.

With more information, you and your loved ones can take steps to find out sooner rather than later if your water is contaminated, and to seek medical assistance and justice for your injuries.

What is most important is that you seek medical attention if you are experiencing sickness. Additionally, thanks to the EPA and state-sponsored efforts, you can get your water tested and clean to prevent further injury.

The Clean Water Act (1972)

The Clean Water Act (CWA) forbids unregulated releasing of waste and pollution into any bodies of water, natural or otherwise.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s website, “Under the CWA, the EPA has implemented pollution control programs such as setting wastewater standards for the industry. They have also developed national water quality criteria recommendations for pollutants in surface waters.”

To violate EPA regulations in the CWA is to violate Federal laws that protect the drinking water of Americans.

Getting Your Water Tested

In the state of Indiana, everyone is allowed to request a drinking water test from the Indiana State Department of Health. Simply complete the order form and pay a fee of approximately $40 online.

The ISDH will send you a sterilized bottle with instructions for gathering a water sample and shipping it to the ISDH labs for testing. The state of Indiana recommends that residents test their drinking water once a year.

If your water is found to be contaminated, you can begin disinfecting your water by boiling it for at least one minute. If you are financially able, you might also consider purchasing clean water at the store until local organizations can isolate and correct the problem.

Seek Medical Treatment

If you or someone you love has been suffering from chronic health issues, and you find that your water is contaminated, you and your family should see a doctor right away. Bring with you the test results from your ISDH drinking water test so that your doctor can properly diagnose any health issues.

If you had a family member who recently passed away due to disease, that death could be connected to water contamination. Water contamination has been responsible for fatal outbreaks of pathogens, cholera, typhoid, Legionnaires disease, and more.

Statute of Limitations

After discovering that your drinking water has been contaminated, the contamination could have occurred as a result of individuals or organizations violating the Clean Water Act.

If you discover that you or someone you love has been hurt or died as a result of contaminated water, you may be eligible for compensation in a personal injury claim.

You should consult an experienced attorney to help you find out who may have been responsible for your contaminated drinking water. These individuals are also responsible for you and your family’s illnesses.

Indiana statute of limitations gives you two years to file your personal injury claim from the time that it was discovered contaminated water caused illness or death to your family.

In a personal injury case, you could be awarded compensation for medical costs, lost wages, funeral costs, and pain and suffering.

For more information about how a local Indianapolis personal injury attorney can help you with your case, contact Stewart & Stewart at 800-333-3529 or visit our website.

20
Aug

What Can I Do if I Have Been Exposed to Roundup?

August 20, 2019

The distribution and marketing practices of Roundup represent one of the most egregious attacks on human health by herbicide companies in history.

As more evidence surfaces about the dangerous effects of Roundup exposure, victims and their families are taking steps to hold Roundup and other glyphosate herbicide companies responsible for their injuries. With the excessive and rampant use of Roundup by farmers and organizations seeking to clear vegetation from large tracts of land, it is almost impossible not to become exposed to glyphosate.

For many, Roundup exposure over time can lead to devastating health issues.

Diseases Caused by Glyphosate

Roundup uses an active ingredient known as glyphosate. This is a well-known toxic herbicide that keeps certain plants from being able to grow. Most commonly used by farmers in the Midwest, it is effective at killing unwanted plants, but it is also raising major health concerns.

Glyphosate does not simply wash away with water or disappear once produce treated with it reaches the grocery store. Once ingested, residual doses of glyphosate can lead to the dissipation of healthy bacteria in the stomach and intestines.

Additionally, those living near glyphosate-treated fields may come into contact with the herbicide via the skin or airways.

Roundup exposure neither leads to disease immediately nor in every individual. However, ongoing exposure has been known to lead to various forms of cancer, Parkinson’s disease, liver and kidney disease, lymphoma, and more.

What’s more is that scientists have also noticed that exposure to glyphosate can gather aluminum in the brain, leading to neurological diseases such as autism, ADHD, and Alzheimer’s disease.

How to Detox from Roundup Exposure

The best way to protect yourself from Roundup exposure is to avoid it as much as possible. If you garden at home, consider non-glyphosate alternatives to Roundup.

If you must use Roundup or live near crops that use Roundup, consider wearing shoes that completely cover the foot, as well as long pants and long-sleeve shirts.

At the grocery store, organic produce avoids glyphosate completely. Buying only (or mostly) organic produce can limit your and your household’s exposure, thus minimizing the risk of disease.

Lastly, drinking apple cider vinegar (1-2 teaspoons in a cup of juice) can neutralize the negative effects of glyphosate on the body.

Injuries Sustained from Exposure to Roundup

For many, detoxing the body from the negative effects of Roundup comes too late. It is in the food we eat and the air we breathe.

Roundup and other glyphosate herbicide companies have been known to interfere with lab test results seeking to measure the negative side effects of glyphosate on human beings. Additionally, they’ve been proven to use deceptive advertising techniques to minimize public awareness of the risks of Roundup exposure.

If that were not enough, the World Health Organization noted in 2015 that glyphosate is likely responsible for carcinogenic effects on the human body, leading more specifically to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Seek Legal Aid with Stewart & Stewart

If you or someone you love is suffering as a result of the negative effects of Roundup, you may be eligible for compensation for medical bills, lost wages, funeral costs, and pain and suffering.

By discussing your situation with an experienced attorney, you and your family can seek justice against these companies. 

For more information about how a drug injury attorney in Indianapolis can help you with your case, contact Stewart & Stewart at 800-333-3529 or visit our website.

15
Aug

How Do I Receive Veteran Disability Benefits?

August 15, 2019

If you served in the United States Armed Forces and received an Honorable Discharge, you are likely eligible for a disability rating with Veteran Affairs.

No matter how severe the injury was, if they originated while you were in service, it is important that you make those injuries known to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Doing so involves filing a disability claim with the VA.

While the process can feel arduous, it is crucial that every veteran takes stock of their injuries and file disability claims. For many veterans, it is best for them to work with a veteran disability attorney. Doing so can lighten their load of paperwork as well as keep the VA from trying to deny claims that should be approved.

Create an eBenefits Account

The first step to filing and managing your disability benefits is to set up an online account with eBenefits.va.gov.

During registration, the government will confirm your identity and give you an online profile to track your benefits and/or apply for more benefits. In addition to assistance with your disability benefits, eBenefits offers a host of other benefits for veterans, including tuition assistance, vocational training, VA home loans, and more.

Make Copies of Your Service Record

Locate your service record, including your DD-214. Make copies of these documents so that you can send copies to the VA while filing your claims. If you are working with a veteran disability attorney, they will ask you for copies or make copies for you.

Do not ever surrender your original documents to the VA. They have been known to misplace your records.

Make Copies of Your Medical Records

You should also make copies of all your medical records, both during and since your time in the military. This process can be overwhelming, so you may want to ask for help from friends and family.

If you’re seeking medical treatment from a VA medical facility, then you should also set up an online account with My Healthy Vet. Doing so will grant you access to all of your medical records at the VA hospital/outpatient clinic.

Identify Your Injuries

Name every part of your body that has noticeably deteriorated because of your time in service. If you suffered a severe injury while in the military, that injury should be claimed. For example, if your knees were in pain just after getting out of the military, and your knee pain is directly related to things that occurred during your time in service, your knees should be claimed.

It can be helpful to solicit help from your spouse while itemizing your injuries. Don’t forget to take stock of mental and emotional injuries, such as poor sleep, irritability, or difficulty focusing. These are common side effects of anxiety disorders or PTSD and likely resulted from your military service.

File Disability Claims

Once you’ve identified what injuries you would like to claim, you can apply for disability compensation.

Because each veteran’s claims file can be different in terms of what evidence must be submitted, it is a good idea to seek assistance from a veteran disability attorney. They can help you complete the application and submit the appropriate documentation.

The VA will do their best to claim that your injuries are not connected to your service. If this is the case, a veteran disability attorney can help you challenge the VA’s decision and approve your claim.

Once your claim is approved, you will be given a disability rating which will designate the amount of disability you receive each month. You will be able to manage your benefits online through your eBenefits account.

For more information about how a veteran disability attorney in Indiana can help you with your case, contact Stewart & Stewart at 800-333-3529 or visit our website.

10
Aug

5 Signs Your Water May Be Contaminated

August 10, 2019

It’s easy to take clean water for granted. Unfortunately, our advanced civilization still produces waste in large quantities, which can lead to water contamination.

If you or someone you love begins demonstrating symptoms that don’t seem to go away, your household water may be contaminated. If a water-contamination test confirms your suspicions, you should speak with a personal injury attorney right away.

Because water contamination often results from neglect by those tasked with properly disposing of toxic chemicals and pollution, you and your family may be eligible for compensation in a personal injury claim.

Contaminated Water Typically Has a Distinct Smell

Distinct smells coming from the tap and showers could be an indication that your water is contaminated. The most common smells are bleach, metal, fish, or rotten eggs.

While none of these smells confirm that your water is contaminated, it might be a good idea to order a water test, especially if the smell is new. Clean water has no perceptible scent at all.

Contaminated Water Typically Has an Unpleasant Taste

Just as with odors, clean water will not usually have a distinct taste. However, contaminated water often does.

If you taste something different in your water, chances are that something is off. Even a change in texture—such as a greasy or oily feeling from the tap—is a sign that your water is not sanitary.

Contaminated Water Might Look Cloudy

Contaminated water frequently looks cloudy as a result of chemicals or toxins. In extreme circumstances, it will appear almost muddy.

If your water appears cloudy, it is best to stop drinking the tap water until a water test determines it’s safe to drink.

Contaminated Water Might Leave Stains

When copper starts to contaminate your drinking water, you will see blue and green stains form on metal parts of the tap that are exposed to the water. This could happen inside your home at the sink or outside on a water spigot.

Bear in mind that some hoses and hose parts use copper. Therefore, if you see green/blue stains outside, but you do not see any stains in your sink, the water is probably fine. Excess copper in your drinking water will also have a metallic taste.

Contaminated Water Can Result in Lower Water Pressure

If toxic minerals and chemicals begin infiltrating your water system, build-up inside the pipes often accompanies the contamination. As a result, it will feel to you and your household that the water pressure is gradually decreasing.

These signs often indicate that your water is hazardous to use and drink. It is always best to stop using the water in your home until a test confirms that it is safe.

If you have no choice but to use water from the tap, you should boil any water before bathing or drinking it. Make sure that the water remains at a full boil for at least 60 seconds before cooling and using.

For more information about how a local, Indianapolis personal injury attorney can help you with your case, contact Stewart & Stewart at 800-333-3529 or visit our website.

5
Aug

Can I Sue After Complications from Testosterone-Boosting Products?

August 05, 2019

Depending on the circumstances in which you took any testosterone supplements or drugs, and depending on the effects of those drugs, you may be eligible for compensation in a product liability case or drug injury case.

If you or someone you love has suffered adverse effects after taking testosterone-boosting drugs, talk to your doctor before continuing use.

Additionally, you should consult a local drug and personal injury attorney to discuss your eligibility for compensation.

Not only have testosterone-boosting products often fail to produce results, but they have also led to severe physical side effects that endanger the lives of the men and women who take them.

Why Men are Using Testosterone Supplements

While some women take these supplements, it is usually middle-aged to older men who are seeking to boost their testosterone levels. There are a number of reasons why one would take testosterone-boosting drugs, from doctor prescriptions, to public marketing, to trying to privately remedy erectile dysfunction.

As men age, it is common that their testosterone level decreases, and possibly their sex drive and muscle tone does as well. Men often use products to “boost” their testosterone to address one or more of these concerns.

Unfortunately, “low T” is not a well-defined symptom or diagnosis. Doctors might prescribe these drugs with little or no thought. Men might also self-diagnose and try a variety of testosterone-boosting products on their own.

Those who create and sell testosterone-boosting products often employ marketing on the basis of trying to help men feel more youthful and appealing.

Known Adverse Effects of Using Testosterone-Boosting Products

More and more reports have surfaced indicating a strong connection between testosterone-enhancing drugs/supplements and severe health complications.

These complications include heart attacks, blood clots, stroke, and even breast cancer in men.

The FDA is attempting to issue proper warnings and regulate the testosterone-boosting industry, but unfortunately, many of the sellers and manufacturers have not stopped marketing their products.

In the meantime, the number of testosterone-drug victims merits suspicion that these products are not worth the risk.

Even if your doctor were to advise you to take testosterone-boosting drugs, you should discuss the possible severe side effects before using drugs to address low testosterone.

Basis for a Lawsuit

Many lawsuits have already been filed against testosterone drug and supplement companies.

Not only have testosterone-boosting products shown time and time again to harm their users, but there has not been concrete evidence to support that these products actually work.

Anyone seeking justice and compensation against one or more organizations creating and selling testosterone-boosting products would file a lawsuit on the basis of product liability.

There are currently thousands of motions seeking to address the claims that testosterone drug companies have been negligent and misleading customers.

If you or someone you love feels that they are suffering from “low t” (low testosterone), they should first consult with their doctor to confirm that is the case. If after taking any testosterone-boosting products you begin to experience major discomfort, such as chest pain, you should notify your doctor of your symptoms and that you have already used these products.

Studies have shown that using testosterone drugs and supplements can increase your chances of having a stroke or heart attack.

If you or someone you love has suffered a stroke or heart attack after taking testosterone-boosting products, you should seek assistance from a personal or drug injury attorney right away. You may be eligible for compensation for medical bills and other damages.

For more information about how a drug injury attorney in Indianapolis can help you with your case, contact Stewart & Stewart at 800-333-3529 or visit our website.