10
Dec

Social Security Disability Asset Regulations May Change

December 10, 2014

When an individual is approved for Social Security Disability benefits there are strict rules that regulate how much assets and income he or she can have at any given time. Under the current law, Social Security Disability recipients are only allowed $2,000 in cash or assets. Furthermore, these individuals can typically earn no more than $680 per month.

These financial constraints leave many disabled Americans unable to pay for medical bills, transportation, an education, or even buy a home. This is why federal officials are considering a bill that would revamp the rules that govern the finances of disabled Americans.

The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act would allow disability recipients to open a tax-free savings account capped at $100,000. Deposits of  up to $14,000 could be made with no penalty.

The bill was unanimously passed through the House of Representatives, and according to West Virginia Metro News, is expected to be examined by the Senate as early as this week.

At Stewart & Stewart Attorneys, we understand the financial struggles that can come with relying on Social Security Disability benefits. That’s why our Social Security Disability attorneys are hopeful the new measures will alleviate the financial strain many disabled Americans face.

 

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3
Dec

Charity of the Month: Interfaith Hospitality Network of Indianapolis

December 03, 2014

At Stewart & Stewart Attorneys, we take great pride in assisting people in our communities. That’s why our Indianapolis personal injury lawyers are excited to announce Interfaith Hospitality Network of Indianapolis as our Charity of the Month.

This great organization is part of the Family Promise of Greater Indianapolis, an organization that began in 1994 as a means to eliminate homelessness from our city’s streets. Since that time, the group has assisted thousands of locals in the process of getting back on their feet by putting a roof over their heads.

Officials from the organization were proud to announce they placed to families in new homes just days before Thanksgiving, but with the holidays coming up, there are even more families in need. You can do your part to help this wonderful group with just one click.

For every unique “Like” we receive on our Facebook page during the month of December; we’ll donate $1 to the Interfaith Hospitality Network of Indianapolis. If you wish to donate your time to the Family Promise of Greater Indianapolis, you can contact the organization to set up an opportunity to volunteer at one of their upcoming events.

We’re hopeful you’ll do your part to help the homeless here in Indianapolis this holiday season!

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26
Nov

Avoiding Indianapolis Car Accidents This Thanksgiving

November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Means Danger on the Roads

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, which means tonight will be the most dangerous night of the year to be on the road, especially in Indianapolis. Data from the Metro Police Department show that on Thanksgiving day last year, officers worked a total of 71 Indianapolis car accident reports. That number is significantly higher than the average of 61 collisions any other day of the year.

Why Is Traveling on Thanksgiving so Dangerous?

Experts agree that an increase in traffic volume on the road combined with a higher number of intoxicated drivers makes traveling on Thanksgiving more risky than other times of the year. In fact, an article from WISHTV 8 News explains statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicate that drunk drivers caused 42 percent of fatal accidents during Thanksgiving weekend in 2012.

What can I Do to Stay Safe While Traveling?

The Indianapolis personal injury lawyers with Stewart & Stewart Attorneys point out there are three simple steps you can follow to help avoid an Indianapolis car accident this Thanksgiving:

  • Don’t Drink and Drive- Designate a sober driver to get you home before going out for the night. If no one is available to drive, plan to use a cab or taxi to get home safely.
  • Buckle Up- Using a seat belt is one of the best options available to prevent injury or death in the event of an accident. In fact, studies have shown this piece of equipment as reducing the chances of a fatality in the event of a collision by as much as 60 percent.
  • Be Vigilant- If you plan to drive tonight, get plenty of rest and eliminate all distractions before moving your vehicle.

We hope these tips help you to have a fun and safe Thanksgiving holiday with your friends and family!

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19
Nov

Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Filed Against Three Indiana Cardiologists

November 19, 2014

Doctors in Indiana are legally and ethically required to protect their patients’ health and safety. Unfortunately, not all medical professionals adhere to these standards, which can result in Indiana medical malpractice claims.

In fact, three Indiana doctors are currently facing allegations from dozens of patients who claim they underwent unnecessary medical procedures. According to an article from Chicagoland Television, the procedures were performed so the doctors could bilk Medicare billing.

Reports indicate the doctors were the top three Medicare-billing cardiologists in Indiana in 2012. The average doctor billed approximately $170 and three services per patient, whereas these cardiologists were billing $960 and a dozen services per patient.

The only reason the issues came to light is because several of the patients received second opinions. Those doctors told them the medical procedures they had undergone were unnecessary. Now, more than 18 victims are seeking compensation for damages. This includes the families of three patients who died as a result of undergoing medical procedures while under the care of the doctors.

At Stewart & Stewart Attorneys, we understand the devastating results of unnecessary medical treatment. That’s why our team of Indianapolis personal injury lawyers hopes a decision in this case will bring a sense of closure for victims and their families.

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13
Nov

What the Indiana Second Injury Fund Can Do for You

November 13, 2014

The goal of most programs for the disabled in the United States is to offer the assistance that’s necessary to get individuals back into the workforce. What happens when a disabled worker returns to a job and is injured again though? Who should be liable for those expenses? In Indiana, the Second Injury Fund is used to address these questions.

According to the Indiana Workers’ Compensation Institute, the fund is used to alleviate some of the expenses employers who hire partially disabled workers will face if an accident occurs that causes one of these individuals to suffer a second—and permanently disabling—accident. This encourages employers to hire partially disabled workers by only leaving them liable for Indiana workers’ compensation benefits that could be associated with injuries sustained in a secondary accident.

A recent report shows the fund is in good standing, with a balance last month of approximately $1.9 million. Monthly expenses are expected to range between $96,000 and almost $430,000.

Applying to receive funds from the program can be complicated. That’s why the Indiana personal injury lawyers with Stewart & Stewart Attorneys suggest discussing your legal rights with a professional in the field of law prior to submitting your paperwork for benefits. Doing so can help ensure all of your documentation is together and the questions you have are answered prior to filing.

To discuss your case with a member of our legal team, call us at (800) 33-33-LAW.

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5
Nov

Charity of the Month: Wheeler Mission Ministries

November 05, 2014

Indianapolis can be a fantastic place to work and live. But like many metropolitan areas, homelessness is a problem the city faces. Estimates show there are currently almost 6,000 individuals living in the city without roofs over their heads.

Luckily, organizations are working to eradicate homelessness from Indianapolis, including Wheeler Mission Ministries. The organization was founded in 1893 under the name of Door of Hope. Since that time, the group has undergone many changes that have led to the ability to serve more needy individuals.

Since Wheeler Mission Ministries is a non-profit organization, they depend on donations from the public to continue helping the homeless in our area. That’s why the Indianapolis personal injury lawyers with Stewart & Stewart Attorneys are doing our part to help this wonderful organization by naming them as our Charity of the Month.

Throughout November, for every new “Like” we receive on our Facebook page, we will donate $1 to Wheeler Mission Ministries. If you’d like to get involved in another way, the organization is always looking for volunteers to help with their events and campaigns. To sign up, simply visit their website.

At Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin, we recognize the importance of giving back to the communities we serve and hope you’ll help Wheeler Mission Ministries continue their mission of helping others.

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29
Oct

How to Avoid Fire and Burn Injuries This Halloween

October 29, 2014

Setting up decorations around your home for Halloween can be a great way to get into the spirit of the holiday, but they can also present a serious risk of fire and burn injuries.

Data from the National Fire Protection Association shows that decorations are the first thing to ignite in roughly 920 home fires per year. Those accidents result in approximately six fatalities and 47 injuries annually. Furthermore, more than half of those fires are started because decorations are too close to heat sources. Roughly 40 percent of fires are started by decorations with candles, such as jack-o-lanterns.

So what can you do to keep your loved ones and home safe from fires this Halloween? The Indianapolis personal injury lawyers at Stewart & Stewart Attorneys say there are several steps you can take, including:

  • Checking Costumes For Safety- Costumes shouldn’t touch the ground, where they can drag and come into contact with flames or heat sources. Masks and makeup should also be examined to ensure they don’t obstruct vision.
  • Keeping Decorations Away From Heat Sources and Flammable Objects- Items such as cornstalks or crepe paper are highly flammable and should be kept at least 10 feet from flames and heat sources. Jack-o-lanterns and candles should be placed in locations that are at least 10 feet from flammable objects.
  • Using Safe Lighting- Children should carry a glow stick or flashlight when trick-or-treating, rather than candles. Glow sticks are also a safe and spooky alternative to jack-o-lantern candles.
  • Keeping Exits Clear- In the event of a fire, being able to escape will be crucial. Keep exits clear and have an escape plan ready.

We hope these tips help you to have a safe and fun Halloween!

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22
Oct

Social Security Administration Announces 2015 Social Security COLA

October 22, 2014

For the more than 64 million Americans who depend on Social Security Disability benefits or Supplemental Security Income as their primary financial resource, making ends meet can be a struggle. That’s why word of an increase in benefit payments is good news to most disabled citizens.

Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA)

Each year, the federal government and Social Security Administration take into consideration the rise and fall in prices of certain everyday household goods and services. A cost of living adjustment—or COLA—is made to the amount each Social Security recipient gets in payments each month based on the rise or fall in costs.

How COLAs Are Determined

The amount of the annual COLA is decided by an equation called the Consumer Price Index. The fluctuations in prices of the goods and services being examined as part of the COLA are plugged into the equation, which is then used to determine a percentage the rate of compensation should rise or fall.

What Is the 2015 Social Security COLA?

According to a press release from the Social Security Administration, recipients should expect to see a 1.7 percent increase in payments beginning next year. This means each recipient should see an increase of around $20 per month in benefits.

COLA Benefits SSD Recipients

At Stewart & Stewart Attorneys, our team of Indiana personal injury lawyers recognize the financial hardships many disabled Americans face on a daily basis. That’s why the firm is hopeful the increase in benefit payments will help provide families with some much needed relief.

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15
Oct

New Report Examines the Number of Medical Errors in Indiana

October 15, 2014

Medical professionals in Indiana are legally and ethically required to protect the health and safety of their patients. But every year, mistakes are made at medical facilities across the state that often lead to Indiana medical malpractice claims.

Indiana Medical Errors By The Numbers

Records from the Indiana State Department of Health show that last year alone, there were a total of 111 mistakes that were made in the medical care of patients in Indiana. This was an all-time high for the number of medical errors being reported from 293 medical facilities.

These numbers leave many wondering what some of the most regularly reported mistakes are.

Most Common Indiana Medical Errors

According to an article from the Indianapolis Star, bedsores were the most commonly reported ailment, with 45 reports being received in 2013. On 27 occasions, surgeons were responsible for leaving “foreign objects”—such as sponges, clamps, and other tools—in the bodies of patients following medical procedures. Surgeons also conducted procedures on the wrong body part of 13 patients, while another 12 patients were injured as the result of a serious fall.

Methodist Hospital in Gary was amongst the most dangerous facilities in the state, with 10 errors reported in the past year.

Getting Help

If you’ve been harmed as the result of a medical professional’s mistake, know that help is available. At Stewart & Stewart Attorneys, we have an understanding of the law as it pertains to medical errors. This allows our Indianapolis personal injury attorneys to answer any questions you may have regarding your legal rights and how they pertain to your injury or condition. Call us today at (800) 33-33-LAW to speak with a member of our legal team.

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8
Oct

How to Get Indiana Workers’ Compensation Benefits

October 08, 2014

Companies based in Indiana are required to provide their employees with a safe work environment. Each year though, a large number of Hoosiers are hurt or killed as the result of on-the-job accidents. Luckily, most companies are required to carry Indiana workers’ compensation insurance to cover expenses related to such accidents, and the lawyers at Stewart & Stewart Attorneys would like to let you know how to apply for these benefits step by step.

The first thing you should do if you’re injured at work is report the incident to your managers or supervisors. They can then gather the appropriate documentation for you to begin filing your claim. Waiting longer than 30 days after your accident to file a report could prove detrimental to being approved for benefits.

Once you’ve applied for benefits, your employer’s insurer will issue a decision on whether the claim was approved or denied. If your workers’ compensation claim was denied, there’s still hope.

You can take your claim before the Indiana workers’ compensation board for a review. If your claim is denied again, you can have the claim heard by an administrative judge.

The Indianapolis personal injury lawyers with Stewart & Stewart Attorneys understand how difficult it can be to recuperate after a workplace injury, and we are hopeful these tips aid you in getting you the benefits you deserve if you’ve been injured on the job.

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