18
Nov

New Research on Nursing Home Abuse in the U.S.

November 18, 2015

A new study hopes to shed light on the frequency in which older Americans are verbally, physically, or financially abused by their caregiver. The study also offers several solutions for helping to address the problem of nursing home abuse in the U.S.

A team of researchers from the Center of Aging Research and Clinical Care at Cornell University examined data that had been collected over the years and found that as many as 10 percent of elderly citizens are the victims of nursing home abuse. However, the team also found this number may not be accurate because of the number of victims who never report the abuse they suffer.

The study, which was published in the most recent issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, also discussed the important roles doctors can play in identifying and putting a stop to nursing home abuse. Researchers suggest physicians are one of an elderly patient’s front line defenses against abuse, considering doctors are in a position to notice injuries and changes in behavior that may be indicative of nursing home abuse. The team goes on to suggest that doctors should play a more significant role in intervening in cases where abuse or neglect is suspected.

At Stewart & Stewart Attorneys, we recognize the risks of nursing home abuse elderly citizens face and the Indiana personal injury lawyers are hopeful this new data can be used to spread a message of awareness about the problem.

11
Nov

IDOL Reports on Indiana’s Most Dangerous Industries

November 11, 2015

All workers face on-the-job hazards that pose an injury risk, but some jobs are inherently more dangerous than others. The Indiana workers’ compensation lawyers at Stewart & Stewart Attorneys take a look at the latest data examining trends of workplace injuries among different industries in the state to help identify some of the most dangerous occupations in Indiana.

The Indiana Department of Labor (IDOL) reports that approximately 93,300 employees in Indiana suffered a work-related injury or illness last year. This means the state experienced an average occupational injury and illness rate of 4.0 harmed workers per 100 full-time employees. This was a slight increase from the injury rate of 3.8 that was reported in 2013.

Some of the industries with the highest injury rates include:

  • Local government– Employees like police officers, firefighters, teachers, judges, healthcare workers, and municipal workers accounted for the highest injury and illness rate in Indiana during 2014, with an average injury rate of 6.7.
  • Real estate– Surprisingly, the housing market was the second leading industry when it came to workers being injured or becoming ill. The industry saw a more than 128 percent increased in its injury and illness rate between 2013 and last year.
  • Agriculture– The industry reported 5.5 workers out of every 100 were hurt or sickened while on the job last year.

While these numbers may leave many Indiana workers concerned about workplace safety, it’s important to know employers are legally obligated to provide employees with a safe work environment. Most businesses are required to carry an insurance policy to cover any expense an employee incurs as the result of an accident that wasn’t their fault.

Knowing how to protect these rights can be a complicated process, which is why the legal staff at Stewart & Stewart Attorneys encourage you to speak with an Indiana personal injury attorney about your condition if you’ve been hurt while working.

4
Nov

Concussion Goggles Teaching Indiana Teens the Dangers of Brain Injuries

November 04, 2015

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1.7 million Americans sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI) each year. One of the leading age demographics for this particular type of injury are adolescents between ages 15-19. Most of these injuries are sustained while playing sports, considering 5 to 10 percent of athletes suffer a TBI during the playing season.

The Indianapolis brain injury lawyers at Stewart & Stewart Attorneys explain that in order to help reduce the number of Indiana teens who suffer TBIs, one organization is working to raise awareness about how a concussion can affect our ability to perform everyday tasks. This is being achieved through the distribution and use of what is known as concussion goggles.

An article from The Star Press states the goggles work by simulating the effects a TBI can have on our abilities to see and perceive time and space. Officials with the Dave Duerson Athletic Fund—who are providing the 60 pairs of goggles to Indiana Public Schools—hope that seeing the effects a TBI can have will persuade young athletes to work to avoid such injuries, as well as seek medical attention if they suspect they have suffered a TBI.

So far, the program has been deemed a success, with one 16-year-old participant claiming she would “think twice” if she suspected she or a teammate had suffered a TBI.

Recognizing the dangers of a TBI is the first step toward preventing such injuries from occurring, which is why the Indianapolis personal injury attorneys at Stewart & Stewart are hopeful to see these concussion goggles making their ways into the hands of young athletes from all across the state of Indiana.

 

28
Oct

Social Security Disability Appeals Made Simple

October 28, 2015

Don’t be surprised if you apply for Social Security Disability benefits and your claim gets denied. Data indicates the Social Security Administration (SSA) rejects about two out of three initial disability claims.

Fortunately if you’ve been denied your disability benefits, you have the right to appeal. Our Social Security Disability lawyers at Stewart & Stewart are here to guide you through each step of the process.

First, you will need to gather the evidence and documents that are necessary to support your claim for disability. We can advise you on what kind of evidence you’ll need and help gather it for you. This paperwork can be submitted when you begin the disability appeal process with the SSA.

Once you’ve initiated an appeal, your case will be reconsidered by an SSA claims processor. This processor will issue a decision either reversing or agreeing with the initial judgment. If your claim is denied again, you can seek to have your case heard by an administrative judge, then a panel of judges, before your claim proceeds into the court system.

If your Social Security Disability appeal is successful, it’s important to remember that you may still face a waiting period of up to six months before you begin receiving benefits.

At Stewart & Stewart, we recognize just how complex the policies and procedures that govern the Social Security Disability appeal process can be. If you’re considering filing a Social Security Disability claim or have an application that’s been denied in the past, our personal injury attorneys are here to answer your questions and help you any way we can. The consultation is free, and you don’t pay us unless we get benefits for you.

 

21
Oct

“Teen Driver Safety Week” Is Currently Under Way

October 21, 2015

This week is “Teen Driver Safety Week” across the United States—for good reason, too. Motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens between ages 15-19. As part of the campaign, several organizations are working to raise awareness about the importance of safe driving habits. Our Indianapolis car accident lawyers would also like to remind teens about several rules of the road they should keep in mind:

  • Follow Speed Limits – Most roads have a maximum speed vehicles should maintain. However, it’s important for teens to know they should only operate a vehicle at a speed that is safe for the conditions.
  • Don’t Use Your Phone – An article from WLFI 8 News explains that on July 1, 2015, a new law took effect that prohibits drivers who are under the age 21 from using any type of telecommunications device while driving, including hands-free devices. The only exception to the rule is if the device is being used to make an emergency call.
  • Drive Sober – One of the leading causes of accidents among teens is intoxication due to alcohol or drug consumption. There is a zero tolerance policy for driving under the influence if you are under under age 21.

The legal staff at Stewart & Stewart Attorneys recognize the importance of getting information out to teen drivers about the dangers of the road and our Indianapolis personal injury lawyers are hopeful these tips help teens to prevent accidents in the future.

 

14
Oct

Lawmakers Consider Raising Indiana Medical Malpractice Caps

October 14, 2015

When patients in Indiana is harmed as the result of a medical professional’s error or negligence, the victim has a right to seek compensation by filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. But the Indiana medical malpractice lawyers at Stewart & Stewart Attorneys explain that damage caps may limit the amount in damages a victim can receive.

A medical malpractice cap is the maximum amount of money a defendant can pay in a medical malpractice case. The current limit on non-economic damages in the Hoosier State is $1.25 million. This limit was set 16 years ago, and many feel the law could now stand to be updated.

According to Indiana Public Media, legislative committees are currently examining the constitutionality of the current cap, as well as what changes are needed to the law. A bill proposed during a recent legislative session called for the cap to be increased by $400,000. However, opponents claimed raising the caps would increase doctors’ costs of doing business, and the proposal was shot down.

Those in favor of the increase claim the costs of medical care have inflated since 1999 when the cap was implemented. This means the $1.25 million a victim is allowed to receive may barely cover the costs associated with damages caused by a doctor.

At Stewart & Stewart Attorneys, we’ve seen the struggles many victims of medical malpractice face, and our team of Indianapolis personal injury lawyers is hopeful that our state’s medical malpractice caps are increased sooner, rather than later.

 

7
Oct

Drivers Struggle to Keep Up With New Auto Safety Technology

October 07, 2015

Automobile manufacturers are scrambling in a race to develop new technologies that will make vehicles safer. But could all of these new safety features actually be failing at their mission of reducing accidents? The Indianapolis car accident lawyers at Stewart & Stewart Attorneys point out some data indicates the answer to that question is “yes”.

A survey conducted by the University of Iowa showed that more than half of all drivers don’t fully understand the safety features of their vehicle. Experts say the reason is that auto manufacturers fail to educate motorists about the features, which often results in motorists simply turning them off altogether.

These findings prompted the researchers to partner with the U.S. Department of Transportation to educate drivers about the safety features in their vehicles.

You can learn more about your vehicle’s safety features by visiting MyCarDoesWhat.org. The website provides a list of the safety technologies found in a majority of today’s vehicles and offers motorists a video tutorial about how each feature functions.

Safety features can save lives. The Indianapolis personal injury lawyers at Stewart & Stewart Attorneys encourage you to get up to speed on how the safety features in your car work. Doing so could save your life!

 

30
Sep

Resources for Reporting and Preventing Indiana Nursing Home Abuse

September 30, 2015

As the number of aging Americans continues to swell, so do rates of elder abuse and neglect. Estimates from the National Center on Elder Abuse show as many as one in 10 adults becoming the victims of abuse or neglect annually, yet experts go on to explain that only one in 14 of these cases are reported to the authorities.

The Indiana nursing home abuse lawyers at Stewart & Stewart Attorneys say one of the most important things for victims of abuse or neglect to know is that help is available. There are organizations and events that can provide resources for the elderly harmed through no fault of their own.

An article from the Chicago Tribune offers information about several groups who are working to protect the elderly living in long-term care facilities. Links are provided to users so they can gain access to information about how to contact the county ombudsmen, where to file a complaint against a healthcare facility, and even facility ratings.

The Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council has also created a hotline that can be used to report if an adult’s safety is being put at risk. The number is (800) 992-6978.

Protecting the rights of the elderly is important to each member of our legal team at Stewart & Stewart Attorneys. Our Indiana personal injury attorneys are hopeful this information not only helps you to protect your loved one from abuse or neglect, but also helps answer any questions you may have if your family member has been harmed while under the care of a nursing home.

 

23
Sep

Indianapolis Truck Accident Lawyers Address Controversy Surrounding Bigger Tractor Trailers

September 23, 2015

The size and weight of a commercial tractor trailer can make stopping one of these vehicles difficult in an emergency situation. In fact, data shows it can take a fully loaded big rig traveling 65 mph the length of a football field to come to a complete stop.

Considering this data, the Indianapolis truck accident lawyers at Stewart & Stewart Attorneys say lawmakers are currently considering regulation reforms that would allow longer and bigger trucks to take to the road.

According to  USA Today, current laws call for trucks to only haul trailers that are as long as 53 feet. Under the new regulations, trucking companies would be allowed to pull tandem 33-foot trailers, which adds significant length and mass to the vehicle.

Trucking companies say it would create a more efficient means to move the goods Americans use, but opponents of the changes believe the longer, heavier trucks will compromise the safety of everyone on the road.

Lawmakers are expected to make a decision on the matter during one of the next upcoming legislative sessions.

At Stewart & Stewart Attorneys, we believe in advocating for highway safety and supporting measures that protect the public from harm. Our Indianapolis personal injury attorneys hope lawmakers consider all of the data available before making a decision that could affect public safety on our roads.

16
Sep

Changes Made to Certain Indiana Wage Laws

September 16, 2015

For Indiana workers earning minimum wage, meeting basic financial needs can be difficult. Money can become even tighter if you have to pay for certain items you use at work, such as uniforms. The Indianapolis wage and hour lawyers at Stewart & Stewart Attorneys say that’s why new laws were created to help protect earnings from these types of expenses.

According to the Indiana Department of Labor, law changes that took effect on July 1, 2015, now allow employers to charge workers for costs associated with the purchase of uniforms, equipment purchases or rentals, or any other item deemed necessary to complete work tasks. However, there are certain stipulations that apply to these new rules.

Under the new policy, employers are not allowed to take more than $2500 or five percent of an employee’s disposable income, whichever is less. Furthermore, the Fair Labor Standards Act requires that the amount that is taken for these expenses not cause the employee’s earnings to drop below minimum wage requirements. The expense cannot take from overtime earnings either.

Changes were also recently made to the laws that require employers to pay workers who have been involuntarily removed from their positions.

The Indianapolis personal injury lawyers at Stewart & Stewart Attorneys would like to applaud our state’s lawmakers for taking a stand in favor of workers’ rights.