When You’re Religious, and You’re a Lawyer

Denied?! Understanding The VA’s Disability Service Connection

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It’s not uncommon to hear about veterans being denied after applying for Veterans Affairs (VA) disability. This could be the result of systematic failures, but another, simpler issue is that veterans aren’t trained to work with the complex paperwork system that the VA employs—jokes about military bureaucracy aside. If you’ve been denied and have no idea how to make the claim better aside from doing the same thing with more words, take a look at the service connection label and what it means for claims and appeals. The Service-Connected Confusion Unfortunately, the VA needs more than a visible wound or complaints of pain to give compensation for your problems. VA compensation is only designed for injuries and conditions related to military service, and their requirements are designed to block more than just fraud. If your problem was caused before or after military service, the VA won’t give monetary compensation or a disability rating to you—but they will be more than willing to direct you to the proper organization. For compensation from the VA, your condition must be labeled as service-connected. This means that your condition can be linked to your military service in some way, and you’ll be more successful if your linking evidence is listed in your official military medical record. The most successful VA injury claims will have the exact cause listed in your medical record, but it’s understandable that not all problems occur in areas with staffed medical paperwork personnel. For the civilians out there working on a veteran relative’s claim, not all injury situations result in being carried off to a base or lifted by a helicopter. It could be weeks or months for some non-life threatening conditions that could lead to bigger problems throughout life. Either because of remote location or lack of transit, anything from a bullet wound to a broken leg may need to be dealt with until it heals or stabilizes enough to look relatively normal. Missing Paperwork Concerns If the medic didn’t see the exact incident, it’s up to the individual writing down the information to either take the word of the service-member or take the statement as an alleged cause. Still, as long as there’s some kind of complaint in the medical record, the claim is more likely to be accepted. The military is a hectic environment with many positions being changed rapidly, so lost paperwork isn’t uncommon. Veterans are encouraged to make copies of their medical records, but that suggestion means nothing if the medical record is lost before you have access to a copier or copy service. If you’re missing information or didn’t have the chance (or foresight) to make a complaint beforehand, you may need a legal professional on your side. A personal injury attorney can research your past career and get a deeper look at your condition. Even if you don’t have the proper paperwork, a reasonable connection argument can be made if you’re filing your claim as soon as you get out of the military. The longer you wait, the easier it is to pin your condition on something that happened after you got out of the military, but an attorney can still dig into the situation. Age of injury reports can help you build an argument for when your injury was caused, and your previous military contacts...

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Playing It Safe: How To Avoid Social Security Fraud

Posted by on 12:12 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Playing It Safe: How To Avoid Social Security Fraud

The SSA (Social Security Administration) has created a program that benefits people who have become unable to work at their job due to a medical condition. This government agency provides a monthly monetary benefit to those who qualify, through both having worked enough and having a qualified level of certain medical conditions. With a confusing and complicated application process, it’s easy to make mistakes and run afoul of the system, resulting in the potential to be charged with fraud. Read on to learn more about common situations that could cause you to come under scrutiny with the SSA. 1. Making false statements and claims about your medical condition to either medical personnel or on an application. It is not necessary to exaggerate your symptoms and doing so could get your claim denied once the SSA requests you undergo a medical exam by an SSA contracted doctor. 2. While you may have heard that the SSA is more likely to approve claims for people with very little education and/or job skills, don’t be tempted to understate your education levels. The SSA can and will verify educational levels. 3. Once you are approved, your income must stay below the stated limit ($1090.00 as of this time) to continue to receive benefits. Whether you have a job in the workplace or are self-employed, the SSA will check your income with the IRS, so ensure that you are not under-reporting. 4. The SSA calculates any back pay from your last day of work. You must provide an exact, accurate date to the SSA, since fudging the date to acquire a larger amount of back pay could backfire and cause your entire claim to be denied once the SSA verifies the date with your previous employer. 5. You must inform the SSA immediately if your martial status changes, since your new spouse’s income could affect your benefit amount. 6. If you have been convicted of fraud in connection with any government-run benefit program, such as food stamps, housing assistance, social security disability or insurance, you will not be able to get your claim approved. Using someones else’s social security number to procure benefits because your own brings up a fraud alert is another form of fraud. 7. Misrepresenting your living situation is a common form of fraud, sometimes unintentional. If you cohabitate with someone, you must report this to the SSA. 8. Doing work and getting paid in (unreported) cash could mean committing two types of fraud in this instance; doing work that you claimed you are unable to do and earning more than the allowed income. Being ignorant of the rules and regulations about Social Security benefits is no excuse. Each act of fraud you commit could garner up to $10,000.00 in fines and up to 5 years in prison. If you have questions contact your Social Security caseworker and speak to an attorney for more information on staying on the legal side of the SSA. To get in touch with a social security lawyer, click on this link http://toddeast.com/ or do an online...

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What Debts Are Dischargeable In Personal Bankruptcy?

Posted by on 6:32 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What Debts Are Dischargeable In Personal Bankruptcy?

Maybe you’ve fallen on some tough times, and you’re considering filing for personal bankruptcy. While this can be a workable solution for discharging your debt and getting back on your feet, you’ll want to make sure that the debts causing you trouble will actually be discharged during this process. Medical Debt While the Affordable Care Act has slightly reduced the number of Americans with overwhelming medical debt, there are still around 64 million people in the U.S. with medical bills that they are struggling to pay. Rising health care costs may not be covered by insurance, or the deductibles may be so high that people with medical emergencies still find themselves in trouble financially. Under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, medical debts are considered unsecured, which means you had no collateral that backs up the debt. It’s also considered nonpriority debt, which means that your trustee who manages all your debts through the bankruptcy process will not rank them as vital to pay off. Even if you do pay down some of your medical bills through bankruptcy, the remainder will be discharged.  Credit Card Debt Credit card or consumer debt is also considered unsecured, and is generally discharged when you declare bankruptcy. You may have to make some payments toward the debt, depending on how your case is settled, but typically this type of debt is a very common reason to declare bankruptcy and regroup financially. Tax Debt Local and state governments, as well as the federal Internal Revenue Service, will want you to repay any tax debts that you have incurred. Tax debt is rarely completely discharged, but you can often reduce the amount owed by working with the government entity that you owe the tax to. The situations where you’d be able to discharge tax debt are complicated and would require a skilled bankruptcy attorney to assist you with. Child Support and Alimony If you owe this type of debt, filing bankruptcy will not discharge it. You will still owe the back payments that you’ve missed, and you’ll potentially still have your paycheck garnished to pay these debts.  Student Loan Debt It’s rare that the bankruptcy court will permit you to erase your student loan debt. In order to do so, you have to prove that paying the loans back would be an “undue hardship” — but almost none of the people who file for chapter 7 bankruptcy are able to show this. You can’t simply be unemployed; you have to present concrete proof that you are permanently unable to work and are having trouble maintaining a minimum standard of living. So plan on those student loans staying with you in the future. For more information about which debts can be discharged when you file for chapter 7 bankruptcy, contact a bankruptcy attorney, such as Donald T Tesch, PS....

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2 Tips For Making Your Estate Plan Stronger

Posted by on 10:57 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 2 Tips For Making Your Estate Plan Stronger

Getting a good estate plan is vital. Many people understand how important it is to meet with an attorney and get their affairs in order; however, even those who prepare the plan can still have family members contest the estate plan. Contesting an estate plan is expensive and emotionally hard on the family; additionally, you want to ensure that your wishes are honored after you pass away. This is why you should do everything you can to protect your plan from being contested. Here are a couple tips that could prevent your plan from being contested. 1. Disclose The Contents of The Plan To Your Family Before You Die One of the worst things you can do is have surprises in your estate plan. Instead, it is better if your family understands what the plan is going to say and so when the time comes they know what to expect. This doesn’t mean that everyone is going to be pleased with the contents of the will and the division of assets. But, if you discuss the estate plan while you are in sound mind and able communicate your wishes, your family will have a harder time proving that this isn’t want you wanted.  In addition, when you explain the plan before you pass away you give your family time to ask questions and discuss why you did what you did. This will make it easier on them so that they don’t have unanswered questions after your death. 2. Do It While You Are Young and Healthy Another major mistake people make is making changes to their plan when they are in their final days. One of the important factors that have to present to have an estate plan upheld is that you have to prove that the person was in sound mind and knew what they were doing. People who are on their deathbed generally have health problems that could cloud their judgment, or they make rash decisions that they haven’t thought through. Your family could argue that you didn’t know what you were doing when you made these changes. This is why it is better to do it when there is no question about your mental state and health. Naturally, as you age you will need to make changes to the plan as your situation and assets change. But by getting it done while you are young and healthy, your family won’t have to question if you were of a sound mind when you did it.  If you do choose to make changes as your health is declining, make sure that you have witnesses present who have no interest in the estate plan. These witnesses will be able to testify that you knew what you were doing in the case that the estate plan is contested. By doing these two things you can help ensure that your estate plan isn’t contested after you pass away....

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3 Tips For Saving Money On Your Patent While Still Seeking Legal Assistance

Posted by on 6:12 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Tips For Saving Money On Your Patent While Still Seeking Legal Assistance

If you have come up with a really great idea, you probably don’t want anyone to steal it. Luckily, this is where filing a patent comes in handy, but one thing that can hold you back is the cost of filing that patent. You might have thought about filing your patent yourself so that you can save money in the process, but a patent application is a surprisingly complicated thing for someone who doesn’t know what they are doing. Luckily, you can still enjoy the benefits of legal assistance while saving a bit of money on your patent filing if you follow these tips. 1. Shop Nationally for a Lawyer You may think that you need to look for a local patent lawyer to help you with your filing. In most cases, it’s true that it’s smarter to hire a local lawyer, since local laws can vary widely. However, since patent law is actually federal law, you don’t actually have to hire a local lawyer to help you. If you live in an area with a higher cost of living, you may benefit from hiring a lawyer in another state with a lower cost of living and working together over the phone, via Internet or via video conference. This is a great way to save on legal fees. 2. Learn as Much as You Can on Your Own There is a host of information out there that can help you better understand the patent filing process. For best results, look for reputable sources, such as information about the patent process that comes directly from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Although your attorney works for you and will be willing to answer your questions, spending a lot of time asking questions can result in more billable hours. Since there is so much information available online, you should be able to do a lot of your own research; then, you can save the billable hours for when your attorney is actually helping with the paperwork. 3. Write Your Own Draft Even though it’s best to let your attorney come up with the final draft of your patent application, you can always start drafting it yourself to save time and be a part of the process. Following DIY advice can help you create your draft on your own; however, you’ll have more confidence if you have an attorney look over and revise your application as needed before it’s submitted. To learn more, visit a website...

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Sharing Custody Successfully

Posted by on 3:37 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Sharing Custody Successfully

Divorcing your spouse, no matter how friendly you try to keep the proceedings, is difficult and emotionally draining. If the situation is that difficult for you, you need to realize it is more difficult for your children. Fifty percent of North American children go through a parent’s divorce and nearly half of that number live through a second divorce. They are all traumatized to a degree, and you must deal with the aftermath. If you have a good lawyer, you probably have a fair and equitable custody agreement in place. Even if you have a good agreement, you must work hard to make the situation successful for everyone involved. Trash Talking Trash talking is a bad thing to do even if you are on the football field. In a custody arrangement, it’s much more harmful. Experts note that when one parent criticizes the other, a child “internalizes” that criticism. Children see themselves as part of both parents. If one parent is “bad,” then children feel they also are bad. If a child misbehaves, comments such as, “You are just like your mother/father” can cause low self-esteem. Whenever you feel the need to vent, wait until your children are with the other parent and talk to a trusted advisor. Keep it well away from the kids. Communication Effectively communicating with your ex can be a big challenge, particularly since a lack of communication may have caused your split in the first place. If anger exists between the two of you, then often the last thing you want to do is pick up the phone to talk. If you love your kids, you will make the effort to stay in regular contact with your ex in order to coordinate schedules, discipline, extracurricular events, and holidays. You will need to be flexible and willing to make adjustments to the schedule in certain circumstances such as a child’s birthday party or your ex’s illness. Sometimes, you might reach an impasse on custody issues. If the other parent will not cooperate, you may have to consult with a local divorce attorney (such as one from the Law Office of Jared T. Amos) about enforcing the custody agreement. However, that should be your last step and not your first.  Sharing custody effectively is your most important task after a divorce is settled. It truly is a whole new world, so resolve to make the best of it. Respect your children’s  other parent and talk to him/her often no matter what your personal feelings are. You may have divorced your spouse, but you are linked for a lifetime through your...

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Divorced With Kids? 3 Tips For Planning A Stress-Free Family Vacation

Posted by on 11:52 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Divorced With Kids? 3 Tips For Planning A Stress-Free Family Vacation

Now that the divorce is settled and custody has been decided, you want to take your child on vacation. Before the divorce, vacation planning was much simpler. Now, you have the custody arrangements to take into consideration. You need to make sure that you don’t break any rules or create any situations that may cause you problems later on. Here are four suggestions that will help you prepare for your vacation.  Be Specific With Your Plans If the custody orders specify when each parent is allowed vacation time, you should try to plan your trip around those dates. Take things like travel time and weather into consideration when making your plans. For instance, if you’ll be traveling during the winter, and there’s a good chance that weather may delay your plans, allow time for layovers and other delays. This will ensure that you don’t go over your allotted vacation time. Get Your Documents in Order Never travel without the proper documentation. Before you leave on vacation, make a copy of your custody orders and place them in your luggage. If you’ll be traveling during a time that is not your usual time with your child, be sure to have the other parent sign a letter authorizing the change in custody schedules. This will ensure that you can prove you have permission to be traveling with your child, should the need arise. If you’re having trouble getting the permission you need to travel with your child, you should sit down with your attorney. They may be able to help you obtain emergency orders. This is particularly true if the travel is for plans that cannot be rearranged. Plan for Communication Communication with both parents is important. If you’re going to be traveling with your child, it’s important that you provide your child with a way to communicate with the other parent while they’re with you. Give your child a computer with internet access or a cell phone that they can use during the vacation. This will allow your child to maintain communication with their other parent without having to go through you to do so.   You want life to be as normal as possible after your divorce. That includes family vacations with your child. Use the tips listed above to help plan a stress-free vacation for you and your kids. If you have further questions regarding travel after divorce, be sure to discuss those with an attorney (such as one from...

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2 Reasons To Hire A Personal Injury Lawyer To Help After A Car Accident

Posted by on 3:45 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 2 Reasons To Hire A Personal Injury Lawyer To Help After A Car Accident

A personal injury attorney, such as those at Risley Law Firm, P.C., can assist you with many different types of cases, but he or she can be especially useful when you have been involved in a car accident. In that situation, a personal injury lawyer can help you by preventing you from being blamed for the accident and by advising you when it comes to settlement offers. Preventing You From Being Blamed For The Accident One of the biggest ways that an attorney will assist you during a car accident case is by making sure that your case is as strong as possible. This usually means that your attorney is going go work to keep the person who caused your accident from shifting the blame onto you. This is a very common approach when someone causes an accident because he or she does not want to deal with the possible financial and criminal penalties that may come up if he or she loses the case. For example, these people may try to shift the blame to avoid paying for your damaged vehicle or injuries, or to simply avoid increased insurance costs or a complete loss of his or her coverage. There are several ways that an attorney can keep you from being blamed for the accident, with one of the biggest ways being through interviewing any eyewitnesses. It can greatly increase the strength of your case if your lawyer can find an eyewitness or police report that states that the person responsible for the accident was driving recklessly or too fast just before the accident.  In addition, a lawyer may also choose to look into the phone records of the responsible party. This is often done to check if the responsible party was distracted because he or she was texting or speaking on the phone when the accident occurred. This can prove that he or she was distracted at the time of the accident, which can go a long way toward keeping you blame-free. Advising You About Settlement Offers Another way that your lawyer can help you is by making sure that you do not rush into accepting a settlement offer from the responsible party’s insurance company. Sure, the offer may sound extremely generous, but that does not always mean that it is in your best interests to accept. A lawyer can help you determine if the offer is enough to pay for your vehicle repairs and medical bills. In addition, your lawyer can advise you against accepting the offer if he or she believes that you can get more money quite easily in court if your case is strong enough.  Speak to an attorney today in order to discuss how he or she can assist with your car accident case. An attorney can help you avoid accepting settlement offers that are not in your best interests, while also taking steps to prevent the blame for the accident from settling on...

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Hunting Accidents – 3 Potential Defendants For A Personal Injury Or Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Posted by on 4:20 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Hunting Accidents – 3 Potential Defendants For A Personal Injury Or Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Being able to enjoy the beautiful outdoors is a blessing in life to many. Hunting is the American pastime for many people here in the United States. Unfortunately, hunting accidents can happen and someone can get injured. Whether it is a dangerous property condition, rifle misfire or a simple hunting mistake, hunting can be a very dangerous sport and activity. Therefore, you need to know who you can sue if you are injured while hunting or who can be sued on behalf of a loved one who died while hunting. 1. The Property Owner. As long as you aren’t trespassing and have secured a contract to be on the land that you are hunting on, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the owner of the property if you are injured as a result of their negligence. Property owners owe it to visitors to maintain their property so that it is safe to be on. When the property owner fails to maintain a safe environment for visitors, and they knew or should have known about a potentially dangerous condition on the property, you may be able to file a premises liability lawsuit against the owner in order to recoup financial damages associated with the accident and injuries sustained. An example would be if the landowner had vicious animals or an open pit on their property and failed to inform someone coming onto their property. 2. The Weapon Manufacturer. If an accident or injury occurs with the weapon rather than something to with the property, you may have a valid injury and product liability claim against the manufacturer of the weapon. While hunters can be very anal about the products and gear that they choose to use while hunting, it doesn’t mean that the manufacturers are as meticulous when it comes to creating products that are safe for consumer use. For example, crossbows could severe part of your finger or thumb if it does not have the proper safety mechanism installed. In fact, just earlier this year TenPoint, a popular crossbow manufacturer, recalled some of its crossbows for the potential risk of injury.  Manufacturers have a duty to consumers to ensure that all products are tested for safety and efficacy before being sold. When they fail to do this, they may be on the hook for any injuries caused by their negligence. This is especially true if the hunting gear can be examined and tested to determine that a malfunction was indeed the cause of the sustained injury. 3. Another Hunter. Although not as common as one of the above situations, it may be possible to sue another hunter who caused your injury. Usually, an injury caused by another hunter is as a result of their negligence because they acted recklessly. For example, they were drinking while hunting or disregarding safety rules for hunting weapons, which puts other hunters at serious risk of injury. In 2011, a hunter allegedly shot a man thinking that he was a deer. In a similar case, it may be possible to pursue a lawsuit against the hunter for his reckless actions.  With hunting season approaching, it is crucial that hunters be as safe as possible when heading out to hunt. Despite your best intentions, if you are injured or a loved one is killed, contact a professional personal injury...

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3 Steps To Keep Your Spouse From Moving With Your Children

Posted by on 11:38 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Steps To Keep Your Spouse From Moving With Your Children

If your spouse has decided to move out of the state with your children while you are in process of divorcing, you can take legal action to possibly stop him or her. Whether or not you are successful depends on several factors, including your state’s laws and the reason for the move. If you are planning to stop the other parent, here are some things you need to do. Determine the Reason for the Move One of the biggest factors in determining whether or not you can legally stop your spouse from moving with your children is the reason for his or her move. If the other parent is moving for a job or in an effort to provide a better life for the children, a judge might decide that your spouse has a good reason and not keep him or her from moving.  However, if the other parent is moving for other reasons, such as hurt feelings or to prevent you from seeing your children, you do have legal options available.  Petition the Family Court You and your divorce attorney need to file a petition with the court requesting that your spouse be prevented from moving with the children. If you have not already received an order regarding custody of the children, you can also request sole or shared custody of the children.  Filing the petition is important. It is your formal protest of the move. With it on the file with the family court, you can prove that your disapproval was known from the beginning.  Build the Case for Stopping the Move Above you and your spouse’s interests, the court is most concerned with the best interests of your children. It is because of this that you need to show that it is in their best interests that they are not moved. For instance, if your spouse does not have a stable job history, but you do, you could argue that he or she might not be able to provide financially for the children on a consistent basis.  You could also argue that by moving the children, your spouse is taking them away from everyone and everything that they know. You could point out that they currently have a nurturing and loving environment that is responsible for their growth to this point.  Ultimately, the judge will decide whether or not your spouse can move with the children. To improve your chances of keeping your children near you, start with working with your local divorce attorney, like those at the Madison Law Firm PLLC, as soon as...

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