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Cleveland Tennessee Legal Blog

Memory loss may be considered a disability

Tennessee residents who experience memory loss may be entitled to receive disability benefits. This could be true whether the memory loss was the primary disability or a secondary condition. In some cases, it's a symptom of depression or some other problem that could make it difficult or impossible to work. However, memory loss can also be the result of a stroke or a traumatic head injury.

It's important to note that having a mental or physical impairment is not enough in itself for an individual to receive compensation. An examiner will need to determine that an applicant cannot do any job that he or she may be qualified for. This could include jobs performed in the past or any other an individual may be able to do based on his or her age or level of education.

Protect yourself on a motorcycle this winter

Motorcyclists are reaching a time of year where people don't necessarily expect to see them as much. In the winter, roadways get a little slicker, and people start to prepare for the colder weather. While Tennessee doesn't get as cold as some northern states, chillier weather does mean that some drivers expect to see fewer motorcyclists on the roads. After all, who wouldn't want to be in a car or truck rather than on a motorcycle when the windchill could be close to freezing?

Unfortunately, that misplaced understanding of motorcyclists does put them at a higher risk of getting into an accident. Drivers may not take as much time to look for them when turning or might not consider that a motorcyclist is in one of their blind spots.

Tips on how to prevent jackknifing

Truckers in Tennessee would do well to review the tips below on how to avoid jackknifing. There are two types of jackknifing: trailer jackknifing, caused by hard braking, and tractor jackknifing, often caused by sudden acceleration. In the first case, truckers should let up on the brake, and in the second, they should let up on the accelerator. Then, they should steer out.

Of course, it shouldn't have to come to that. Truckers can check their mirrors now and then for trailer swing because this is the first warning sign that a rig might jackknife. They should be especially wary if they are hauling a light load because this gives the tires less traction and also raises the chances of a trucker over-braking.

Five-month waiting period applies in many SSD cases

All successful claims under the Social Security Disability program have a waiting period of five months during which the person does not receive disability benefits. Because it is a federal program, this is true in Tennessee and across the country. The beneficiaries of SSD payments go through a waiting period of five months beginning in the first month after the disability onset date, which is the date that the Social Security Administration says the disability began.

In some cases, though, an applicant for disability benefits might be able to receive payments prior to the passing of five months. This can happen when a person has been disabled for a period of 17 or more months before he or she files for disability benefits. Because the SSD benefits can only be received covering the 12 months immediately prior to the date the applicant contacted the SSA, referred to as the protective filing date, he or she might get the maximum back payment if the inability to work began 17 months before filing.

Study links opioids with initiators of fatal two-car crashes

Opioids can cause psychomotor and cognitive impairment, which is why opioid users should not drive when feeling such effects. Unfortunately, many in Tennessee do. The nationwide opioid crisis has clearly made an impact on auto accident numbers. Of all the drivers who initiated a crash in 2016, 7.1% had opioids in their system. This is a marked increase from 2% in 1993. Now, a new study has found a link between opioids and fatal two-car crashes in particular.

JAMA Network Open published the results. One of the most interesting findings was that car crash initiators were nearly twice as likely as drivers not at fault for a crash to test positive for opioids. Researchers studied thousands of fatal two-car crashes in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System and found that of the 1,467 drivers who tested positive, 918 caused the crash they were in.

What to expect during the reconsideration appeal process

Tennessee residents applying for disability may be interested in learning what the chances of approval are at the Social Security reconsideration and hearing levels. When a person appeals a decision regarding their disability, the first appeal is called the request for reconsideration. This appeal is sent to the same agency that denied the first application. It is not surprising that in many cases, people are not awarded benefits after they have filed their first appeal.

This is due in part to the fact that appeals are decided based on the same guidelines used for the initial application. If a claimant does not have a new persuasive medical condition or information to add to the record, it is likely that the appeal will have the same result as the initial request. Usually, there is no major change because the appeal and the initial application are usually only a few weeks or a few months apart.

Five common reasons why truck accidents occur

Drivers in Tennessee probably know that the majority of large truck accidents occur because of driver error. What they may not know is that there are at least four other major causes of truck accidents across the U.S. As for those crashes that involve driver error, studies show that some 81% are the fault of passenger vehicle drivers rather than truckers. Drowsy, drunk and distracted driving are a few examples of driver error.

Inclement weather accounts for a lot of 18-wheeler accidents. Truckers who have not been adequately trained on braking over icy or snowy ground may crash after skidding, hydroplaning or jackknifing. They may also be held responsible for a crash if they neglect to maintain the vehicle: the third common cause. Before every shift, truckers are required to inspect their rig and write out a vehicle maintenance report.

Advances in motorcycle safety tech could save lives

Fatal motorcycle accidents are decreasing in Tennessee and across the United States, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In 2018, there were 4,985 motorcyclists killed in traffic accidents nationwide, which is a 5% decrease from 2017.

Traffic safety advocates say that several factors may be contributing to the drop, including improved rider training, increased motorcycle awareness among the general public and improvements in motorcycle protective gear. In addition, airbag jackets, carbon fiber equipment and advanced ABS systems are starting to make a difference. However, a few new advanced motorcycle safety technologies currently under development could soon save even more lives.

SSI benefits paid out of Treasury funds

The Social Security Administration is tasked with overseeing the Supplemental Security Income program, also referred to as SSI. The program is designed to provide safety net-style financial support for people who need it. Residents of Tennessee may qualify for SSI payments each month if they are blind, disabled or over 65 years of age; are lawful residents or citizens of the country; and earn only very limited income. For the year 2019, the standard for limited income under SSI is $771 per month for individuals and $1,157 per month for couples.

The Social Security Administration determines what qualifies as countable income. Some payments, earnings and other assistance will not count toward a person's income for SSI income limit purposes. Countable resources also must not exceed certain levels. Generally speaking, countable resources are those that can be readily converted into cash, like bonds, property or stocks. The home a person lives in, the vehicle a person drives and household goods are generally not considered countable resources.

Chances for a successful Social Security Disability appeal

When a Tennessee resident is suffering from a medical condition, injury or illness that leaves them unable to work, Social Security Disability Insurance can be critical. It is problematic in myriad ways if the claim is denied. However, there are options to appeal the decision.

When appealing a denied claim, it is wise to know the odds of having the denial overturned and for the claim to be approved. The first two levels of appeal after a denied claim for Social Security disability benefits are reconsideration and a disability hearing. With reconsideration, the same criteria are used as for the initial application. This makes it difficult to have the decision changed during reconsideration unless new, compelling evidence is presented.

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Logan-Thompson, P.C., Attorneys at Law
30 2nd St NW
Cleveland, TN 37311

Phone: 423-716-6261
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