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Knoxville Personal Injury Law Blog

Tennessee teenagers shown the horrors of car accidents

Across the United States, senior students are about to graduate and planning what to wear and do for their proms. Unfortunately, prom night is known as an evening of possible bad decisions. This is why a Tennessee high school used its Students Against Destructive Decisions gathering to illustrate the consequences of irresponsible decisions to the students of the school by showing them what being in car accidents is really like.

On a recent Friday in April, the students of the high school witnessed an enactment of exactly what happens in a fatal accident. The enactment simulated a fatal accident in which a number of people died, and it focused on illustrating the consequences of both distracted driving and drunk driving. Students were asked to act as victims, who, in some cases, had to be cut from cars, while others acted as parents looking for their children at an accident scene.

SSI benefits for disabled children in Tennessee

If you are a parent and your child suffers from either a physical or emotional disability, you may be able to pursue Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) to help provide for your child's basic needs.

At the Law Offices of Tony Farmer & John Dreiser, we bring together years of experience helping families in Knoxville and throughout Tennessee understand their options for pursuing compensation and benefits through SSD and SSI benefits.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) - Hearing Office Wait and Approval Statistics

A major concern for people seeking Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is the time it takes to get their case decided once they reach the hearing level. It has been since December of 2015 that I updated the processing times and approval rates for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims for some hearing offices in Tennessee and Eastern Kentucky. Please remember that these statistics are only for claims pending at the hearing level or Office of Disability Adjudication and Review. The claims at a hearing office have already been through the Application and Reconsideration steps (typically 6-12 months of waiting already).

Nationally:

· Average processing time: 502 days (up from 444 in May of 2015)

· 44% cases approved

Knoxville, Tennessee:

· Average processing time: 550 (up from 537 days in December of 2015)

· 45% cases approved

Chattanooga, Tennessee:

· Average processing time: 572 (up from 521 days in May of 2015)

· 50% approved

Kingsport, Tennessee:

· Average processing time: 416 days (up from 339 in April of 2015)

· 60% cases approved

Nashville, Tennessee

· Average processing time: 475 days (up from 465 in December of 2015)

· 46% cases approved

Franklin, Tennessee

· Average processing time: 509 (up from 475 in December of 2015)

· 50% cases approved

Middlesboro, Kentucky

· Average processing time: 515 (up from 410 in April of 2015)

· 40% cases approved

The hearing office staff work hard and understand the frustrations of the claimants and representatives, but they are hamstrung by the workload and budgetary restraints.

Accounts mounting after dog bite injuries

Being attacked by a dog can be devastating and can leave victims wondering where to turn. The laws governing dog owner liability differ between U.S. states, which means Tennessee laws will differ from the laws of Ohio. However, in every state, a dog owner will be held liable for the injuries someone else suffers, especially if the attack was unprovoked, as in the case mentioned below.

A South African woman working as house cleaner in the United States was attacked by a dog while on the job about a half a year ago. She suffered severe injuries from the attack, and her medical bills are astronomical. According to her, she was busy washing dishes in the apartment she was hired to clean. She states that the dog, a black Labrador mix, attacked her out of the blue as she turned from the sink.

18-year-old killed in weekend car wreck

A recent weekend in April turned into a nightmare for a young driver of a pickup truck. His weekend evening excursion turned into a tragedy when one of his passengers was killed in a car wreck. This tragedy highlights the vulnerability of the youth on roadways across the country.

The car wreck happened shortly before midnight on a recent Saturday evening. According to Tennessee authorities, the 16-year-old driver crossed the center line of the road on which he was traveling. The vehicle continued traveling and left the road on the left-hand side and then hit a utility pole. The impact caused the vehicle to roll.

Do I need a lawyer to help get me SSD benefits?

If you or a loved one is struggling with a medical disability, you may have options for getting financial assistance through Social Security benefits. Perhaps you have heard of SSD benefits and want to learn more, or maybe you applied for benefits and your application denied.

Regardless of what stage you're at, an attorney experienced in handling SSD claims can provide the direction and assistance you need to pursue benefits, an appeal or other actions to get the benefits you need and deserve.

Victims of 18-wheeler crashes -- we can help

When an accident between a large semi-truck and a car or motorcycle happens, there is little doubt on who has the best chance of escaping unharmed. The consequences of 18-wheeler crashes can be catastrophic, leaving victims and/or their families devastated. To make matters worse, truck companies often have the financial means to do everything possible to ensure a defense in the case of a claim, while victims may still be wondering if they can afford to claim.

Our Tennessee law firm is experienced in dealing with truck accident claims and can advise you, as the victim, on all the difficult legal matters and required procedures. We have assisted many clients who have been seriously injured in a truck accident (or who have lost a family member to such an accident). We will work tirelessly to pursue financial awards on your behalf in personal injury or wrongful death claims.

Possibility of workers' compensation after OHSA investigation

Tennessee foundry workers may benefit from taking note of a recent result in an OHSA investigation at a foundry. The out-of-state business was cited by OHSA for several violations, and the findings may benefit other workers in the industry. The possibility that the company in question will have to face claims for workers' compensation in the future is a good possibility.

The investigation resulted from a complaint received by OHSA in which it was alleged that workers were exposed to hazardous working conditions. Occupational safety investigators found that workers at the foundry were exposed to high levels of lead – seven times higher than the set limits, in addition to unacceptable levels of airborne cadmium. Furthermore, workers were also left unprotected against unacceptable noise levels.

Hope for fewer 18-wheeler crashes -- teens receive training

In an attempt to make roads safer and increase the awareness of teenaged drivers, a high school in Tennessee has forged a partnership with a group of professional truck drivers to assist in training the young drivers. Semi-trucks are a reality that has to be accepted on U.S. roads, but sharing a road with these big vehicles poses certain risks. The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security reported 119 fatalities linked to 18-wheeler crashes in 2015 alone.

At the same time, there is a general awareness of the risks involved for teenage drivers on the road. It was reported that in 2014 over 2000 young people were killed on U.S. roads. These numbers led to an initiative to obtain the help of a group of professional truck drivers to show high school students what it is like to drive a semi-truck.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) - CARES Initiative

People seeking Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are having to endure longer and longer wait times for their hearings. I regularly update the average wait times for local hearing offices as well as issues affecting or causing the backlog. Recently, the Social Security Administration's Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) announced a plan to speed up the hearings process for claimants awaiting a hearing in their Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or SSI claims.

The plan has been titled the "Compassionate And REsponsive Services (CARES). It is hoped that this initiative will decrease average processing times to 270 days by fiscal year 2020. The plan, which requires administrative funding by Congress, would involve several areas to attack the problem

  • The SSA has a goal to hire 250 Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) per fiscal year from 2016 to 2018 with additional support staff.
  • The SSA plans to assign Administrative Appeals Judges (AAJs) to hear two types of cases currently heard by ALJs. The AAJs would hear non-disability cases such as retirement or survivor benefit claims as well as contested overpayment cases. Additionally, AAJs would be able to issue decisions on claims appealed to the Appeals Council where the Appeals Council requires further action. Normally, cases heard by the Appeals Council are remanded back to the same ALJ for another hearing.
  • The SSA plans to expand the National Adjudication Team (NAT) to consider more fully-favorable decisions on the record.
  • SSA plans to offer pre-hearing conferences with senior attorneys to unrepresented claimants.
  • Increase the number of video hearings.
  • Beefed up case screening to identify cases with a high probability of a fully-favorable decision.

Unfortunately, due to the current political environment, it is unlikely that all of these issues will be fully implemented due to lack of funding by Congress.

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