Improper Payments to Social Security Beneficiaries Add to Existing Problems

May 29, 2013

May 29, 2013

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is currently struggling to keep the Social Security Disability Benefits program afloat. Estimates show that the trust that funds payments to recipients could run dry within the next three years.

Experts attribute the problems to several contributing factors, one being an influx of claim applications that are attributed to a poor economy. A higher volume of recipients means less money to go around. This is complicated by a high rate of improper and fraudulent payments made by the agency.

An article from CNS News reported that the SSA wrongfully paid out a total of $7.9 billion last year alone. This resulted from the agency making $4.7 billion in wrongful payments to Supplemental Security Income recipients, while $3.2 billion was improperly paid to recipients of the Old-Age, Survivors’ and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program.

Officials say the overpayments were often made because of a lack of updated information about recipients. In an effort to solve this problem, the agency has vowed to conduct hundreds of thousands of audits on recipients during the coming year. A resolution is vital considering the agency expects an influx of 80 million individuals applying for Social Security over the next 20 years.

The Indiana Personal Injury Lawyers with Stewart & Stewart Attorneys acknowledge the complexities associated with applying for Social Security benefits. The firm suggests discussing you options with a lawyer if you are considering applying for benefits.

Bookmark and Share

Reforms to Indiana’s Workers’ Compensation System Signed into Law

May 22, 2013

May 22, 2013

Governor Mike Pence recently signed several pieces of legislation into law that make major overhauls to the Indiana Workers’ Compensation system. The changes are intended to reduce costs associated with claims by offering better control over the pricing of medical care.

According to an article published by Business Insurance, the bills signed into law on Saturday not only create a fee schedule for medical costs that are relevant to Medicare’s rates, but also caps the prices that can be charged for medical implants and repackaged drugs.

Medications that are reprocessed by anyone other than the original manufacturer can no longer be sold for more than the average wholesale price.

Before the reform, providers of medical supplies were allowed to charge any price they saw fit for a product, which drove costs through the roof and left many injured workers unable to afford medical care. Most lawmakers agree the changes will help to establish better regulations regarding costs of healthcare products.

The Indianapolis Personal Injury Lawyers with Stewart & Stewart Attorneys recognize the need for more affordable healthcare for workers who have been injured on the job. The firm is hopeful the reforms will be effective in achieving this goal.

Bookmark and Share

Woman Facing Trial for Fatal Indianapolis Car Accident

May 15, 2013

May 15, 2013

A 24-year-old woman is preparing to face trial after causing a fatal Indianapolis Car Accident on Nov. 24, 2012. Reports indicate the crash happened at around 2:30 a.m. along Shadeland Avenue on the northeast side of town.

According to an article published by the Indianapolis Star, the woman drank approximately six beers at a friend’s apartment on the evening of the accident. At around 1 a.m. she decided to drive to her parents’ house. As she drove along Shadeland between 71st and 75th, she veered off the road and struck a 23-year-old man from Columbia City who was walking along the edge of the road.

The woman immediately slammed on her brakes, got out of the vehicle, and looked around before getting back in the vehicle and fleeing the scene.

The victim was found deceased the next morning, and it was determined he had died as a result of head injuries sustained in the crash.

The woman was later charged by police with one felony count of failure to stop following an accident that resulted in death. If convicted, she faces up to eight years in prison.

The Indianapolis Personal Injury Lawyers with Stewart & Stewart Attorneys know how devastating the loss of a loved one to such an accident must be. That’s why the firm would like to send their deepest sympathies to the family of the victim.

Bookmark and Share

Could Cameras in Operating Rooms Reduce Medical Malpractice Claims?

May 08, 2013

May 8, 2013

Video recordings are a great way to document actions for later review if any kind of question or concern was to arise. This leaves many wondering why cameras are not utilized during surgeries in order to prevent Medical Malpractice Claims.

A new study released in the most recent issued of the Journal of the American Medical Association has shown that utilizing cameras during procedures can be beneficial for several reasons. Data indicates that doctors tend to examine patients closer and take more time when the record button is on. In fact, gastroenterologists spent 49 percent more time looking at patients’ colons when procedures were recorded.

Another reason to utilize cameras during surgical procedures, according to an article from Bloomberg BusinessWeek, is that doctors are capable of reviewing video to help in diagnosis or to examine their techniques to help make improvements for future procedures.

Experts also tend to believe that documenting procedures can become vital evidence if a case of medical malpractice is brought against a doctor.

While those opposed to cameras in the operating room claim that they infringe patients’ rights to privacy, many tend to believe the benefits outweigh the harm making such a recording could cause.

The Indianapolis Personal Injury Lawyers with Stewart & Stewart Attorneys applaud any efforts that are made to reduce medical mistakes and better protect the safety of patients.

Bookmark and Share

May Declared Motorcycle Awareness and Safety Month Across Indiana

May 01, 2013

May 1, 2013

Governor Mike Pence named the month of May “Motorcycle Awareness and Safety Month” in Indiana, and many organizations and citizens are planning to educate the public on how to prevent Indiana Motorcycle Accidents. A press release from the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute discussed these efforts and offered several crash prevention tips.

According to recent studies, drivers other than motorcyclists are responsible for causing more than two-thirds of all multiple vehicle accidents that involve a motorized bike. Many of these collisions occur when motorists simply do not see the bike or its operator prior to impact. These statistics have prompted officials to ask that motorists always look twice before entering traffic at an intersection.

Motorists aren’t the only ones to blame for a high number of crashes involving motorcycles. Experts say that self-taught motorcyclists are involved in roughly 92 percent of all accidents. That’s why state officials are urging all motorcyclists to participate in rider training and safety courses before hitting the streets. The course covers all aspects of safely operating a motorcycle, including how to properly take a curve in the road.

The Indianapolis Personal Injury Lawyers with Stewart & Stewart Attorneys recognize the dangers motorcyclists face each time they ride the roads. That’s why the firm is hopeful the campaign will be successful in reducing accidents by making others more aware of these risks.

Bookmark and Share

Woman Denied Indiana Workers’ Compensation Benefits

April 24, 2013

April 24, 2013

The Indiana Court of Appeals issued a ruling recently that found a woman was not entitled to Indiana Workers’ Compensation Benefits for injuries sustained in an on-the-job accident.

An article from Risk & Insurance explained the plaintiff had several disputes with coworkers and management during her time as an employee of a retail store in Indiana. When a clothing rack injured her, she was put on light duty in another section of the store.

During an overnight stocking shift, the employee approached her supervisor complaining of chest pains. The supervisor and employee exchanged words and the employee left work to go to the emergency room. She was later diagnosed with having had a panic attack complicated by anemia.

The employee never returned to her job, and she was later diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. She filed for workers’ compensation benefits claiming her condition was caused by altercations with her co-workers and management.

The court disagreed, saying they were unable to conclude the woman’s condition was caused by her time as an employee at the store. The court went on to explain that just because an injury occurs on-the-job does not necessarily qualify an employee for workers compensation benefits.

The Indianapolis Personal Injury Lawyers with Stewart & Stewart Attorneys recognize the complexities involved with workers’ compensation claims. The firm urges anyone applying for benefits to discuss their legal options with an attorney first.

Bookmark and Share

Indiana Officials Announce Launch of Construction Zone Safety Awareness Campaign

April 17, 2013

April 17, 2013

Fatal Indiana Car Accidents in construction zones have become a serious concern for state officials. In fact, three highway workers were killed last year alone along the state’s roadways. In an effort to combat this problem, the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) will be partnering with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in conducting a Construction Zone Safety Awareness campaign this week.

A story released by WorkersCompensation.com explained the campaign kicked off with words from INDOT Commissioner, Michael Cline, who stated workers in the highway construction industry face a number of daily on-the-job hazards. One of the most dangerous, though, is a fast-moving vehicle.

The campaign is aimed to educate motorists on the importance of slowing down and staying vigilant in highway construction zones with increased police presence. Law enforcement will be watching for motorists who commit safety violations including speeding, reckless behavior, distracted driving, or driving under the influence. Any driver who is caught committing an infraction will be stopped and cited.

Indiana Department of Labor Commissioner, Sean M. Keefer, added his organization will also be working closely with businesses in the state to bring attention to “transportation-related hazards and exposures.”

The Indianapolis Personal Injury Lawyers with Stewart & Stewart Attorneys applaud the efforts being made to improve highway construction zone safety in Indiana. The firm hopes the campaign will be successful in preventing future collisions.

Bookmark and Share

Worker Killed in Indianapolis Truck Accident

April 10, 2013

April 10, 2013

A 45-year-old Indianapolis Department of Public Works employee was killed earlier this week as the result of an Indianapolis Truck Accident. Reports indicate the incident occurred on Monday around 9:45 a.m. near the corner of Bancroft and 35th Streets.

An article released by The Indianapolis Star stated the victim had been riding on the right rear step of a garbage collection truck as he and a 33-year-old driver worked their route together. The driver explained he was attempting to go in reverse when he checked his mirrors and began to back the truck up. He did not see the victim in the mirror, assumed he was on the truck, and began maneuvering the vehicle backwards along 35th.

He was interrupted though when he heard his partner scream. The driver then stopped the truck and rendered aid to his co-worker. The victim was rushed to a local trauma center for treatment, but died a short time later.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration was called to the scene to investigate the accident to determine if it could have been prevented. Law enforcement has also launched a criminal investigation into the crash.

The Indianapolis Personal Injury Lawyers with Stewart & Stewart Attorneys are aware of how dangerous working with heavy equipment can be. The firm may be able to help if you have been injured while on the job.

Bookmark and Share

Father of Victim Seeks Answers Following Indiana Motorcycle Accident

April 03, 2013

April 3, 2013

The father of a 19-year-old girl who was killed in an Indiana Motorcycle Accident is going to great lengths ensure someone is held responsible for the loss of his daughter.

According to a story published by WANE News, at around 11 a.m. on June 23, 2011, the girl was riding on the rear of a Yamaha YZF-R6 motorcycle driven by a 20-year-old male. The pair were heading southbound along Hillegas Road when the 42-year-old driver of a northbound pickup truck slowed to make a left turn from Hillegas onto Goshen Road.

The motorcyclist hit the pickup, which threw the female passenger over his back. The impact with the asphalt left the girl with serious injuries that claimed her life a short time later.

The motorcyclist did not have a proper license to operate the vehicle at the time of the accident, and the pickup failed to yield to the right-of-way of the motorcycle. Despite these facts, no tickets have been issued to either man in connection with the incident.

The lack of action has forced the father to file a lawsuit in his daughter’s name, as well as to hire a private crash reconstruction expert in order to hold someone responsible.

The Indianapolis Personal Injury Lawyers with Stewart & Stewart Attorneys wish the father the best of luck in his endeavors to get justice for his daughter.

Bookmark and Share

Indianapolis Worker Suffers Fire Injuries When Blaze Erupts

March 27, 2013

March 27, 2013

The most common type of Indiana Fire and Burn Injury reported is smoke inhalation. These injuries occur when an individual breathes in too much of the gases released by a fire and cannot receive enough oxygen. While such an injury normally leads to irritated air passageways, serious cases can be deadly.

Recently, smoke inhalation was responsible for leaving an employee of an Indianapolis, Indiana, retail store injured. A story from ABC 6 News explains the incident occurred at the H.H. Gregg warehouse, located on East 96th Street, just after midnight on Sunday.

The employee said he noticed smoke and flames coming from a portion of the warehouse used as storage for clothes dryers and mattresses. Upon further inspection, the worker discovered a fire had erupted and attempted to put out the flames with a fire extinguisher. During this time, the heavy smoke in the building overcame the employee.

The worker was pulled to safety by rescue crews and transported to a local hospital in order to receive treatment.

Firefighters worked for roughly an hour to put the blaze down.

Stewart & Stewart Attorneys and their team of Indianapolis Personal Injury Lawyers are aware of the dangers associated with fire. That is why the firm encourages anyone who has been hurt in a fire to discuss their legal rights with a qualified attorney as soon as possible.

Bookmark and Share