Archive for May, 2016

What is the Difference Between a Physical and a Mental Disability?

Answering the question posed in the title seems fairly simple (What is the difference between physical and mental disability): Physical disabilities affect the body, while metal disabilities affect the brain. That oversimplifies the reality of the situation to near meaninglessness, though. Obviously, problems that originate in the brain can make controlling muscles difficult; likewise, bodily injuries can trigger mental disorders. Think, for instance, how a chemical imbalance in the brain can set off both hallucinations and uncontrollable tremors. Then recognize that losing a limb can cause long-lasting emotional distress.

Instead of immediately drawing a sharp distinction between physical and mental disabilities, it pays to consult the legal definition of “disability.” To quote from the most broadly applicable section of the federal Americans With Disability Act (ADA), a disability “substantially limits one or more major life activities.” The statute than lists examples of major life activities as:

  • Caring for oneself
  • Performing manual tasks
  • Seeing
  • Hearing
  • Eating
  • Sleeping
  • Walking
  • Standing
  • Lifting
  • Bending
  • Speaking
  • Breathing
  • Learning
  • Reading
  • Concentrating
  • Thinking
  • Communicating
  • Working

The Cleveland disability attorneys with Agee Clymer Mitchell and Portman start with the ADA definition when consulting with clients seeking Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Ohio Workers’ Compensation, retirement, or insurance benefits. We focus in particular on collecting evidence that a physical or mental condition impairs a person’s ability to work. Medical records, employment histories, statements from family members and others who know the client well, and evaluations by social workers, job coaches, and physical therapists can all help support a disability claim.

Why a Difference Matters Between Physical Disability and Mental Disability

Proving a client suffers from a disability is essential, but it is not always enough. The programs that pay disability benefits all use different rules for classifying and compensating conditions. For instance, to individuals who suffer from a wide array of serious mental disabilities, ranging from autism and schizophrenia to severe depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Ohio Workers’ Compensation, though, automatically denies almost every claim related to mental problems, even if strong evidence exists that a condition like PTSD is employment-related. Retirement plans also reject mental disability claims at high rates.

This reality does not mean that mental disability workers’ comp claims cannot succeed. Rather, knowing that pursuing such a claim presents special challenges will allow an Ohio disability lawyer to put together the strongest case possible while also preparing beforehand to mount an appeal. Determining the exact nature of the disability also enables a disabled client’s legal advisor to point the person toward the most helpful sources of health care, financial assistance, and emotional support outside of workers’ comp, Social Security and the like.

Whether you suffer a physical impairment, a mental disability, or a combination of both, we may be able to prepare a successful application for government benefits, insurance payments, or retirement benefits. Simply completing all the necessary paperwork can be daunting, so do not hesitate to reach out for guidance at the very beginning of the disability claims process.

Still does not understand the difference between physical and mental disability? You can schedule a free consultation by calling (800) 678-3318 or sharing your story with us online.


What is Consumer Fraud?

A widely cited one-sentence definition of consumer fraud describes it as “deceptive practices that result in financial or other losses for consumers in the course of seemingly legitimate business transactions.” Examples include

  • Identity theft
  • Credit card fraud
  • Nonexistent goods or real estate, including items and property the purported seller does not own
  • Misrepresented risks and benefits for financial investments
  • Email and telephone scams
  • Counterfeit goods, especially prescription medications sold through websites that lack the VIPPS certification
  • Pyramid and Ponzi schemes
  • Bait-and-switch sales and pricing
  • Abusive sales practices such as making threats or pressuring a buyer until he or she acts against their own best interest

The deceptive practices employed to commit these types of consumer fraud amount to lying. Scammers set up fake websites, make harassing phone calls, prevent potential victims from leaving a sales pitch, and provide false information when asked for names and contact information. Promises are broken, items never arrive, dividends never get paid. In counterfeiting cases, victims often suffer physical harm in addition to monetary losses.

What You Can Do About Consumer Fraud

Most instances of consumer fraud constitute crimes. Reporting fraudsters to the police and the Consumer Protection Division of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office are essential. The best way for victims to receive compensation and justice, however, involves working with a Cleveland, Ohio, consumer fraud injury attorney to file an intentional tort lawsuit.

“Tort” means “harm” in legalese. When a company or an individual intends to cause harm, that organization or person can be held liable in court. Fraud is definitely an intentional act, and the damage is often undeniable. By filing a claim against the perpetrator of a consumer fraud, a plaintiff can recover.

  • Compensatory damages such as the amount paid to the fraudster, interest on that amount, medical expenses for health care related to the fraud, legal expenses, and wages that were lost while recovering from the fraud
  • Noneconomic damages for the emotional and psychological suffering induced by falling victim to fraud
  • Punitive damages, which are noncriminal fines imposed to punish the fraudster and deter others from engaging in similar fraudulent activities

Pursuing a consumer fraud lawsuit is not always easy. Positively identifying the most appropriate defendant represents the first challenge. A plaintiff must then fully document the occurrence and monetary value of all claimed harms. The last stage includes a lengthy legal proceeding that can require months or years of depositions, negotiations, and an arbitration hearing or trial in civil court.

Consulting with a caring and experienced Cleveland consumer fraud lawyer from the earliest days of trying to hold a company or individual accountable for defrauding you is essential. While consumers have protections, so do businesses and salespeople. Taking full advantage of your legal rights while overcoming barriers to discovering evidence that supports your case requires skill and persistence. Many perpetrators of consumer fraud actually rely on stalling tactics to exhaust plaintiffs. That will not work on a well-staffed law firm.

The intentional tort attorneys in the Cleveland offices of Agee Clymer Mitchell and Portman may be able to help you with a consumer fraud claim. To schedule a free consultation, contact us online or call (800) 678-3318.

Cleveland OH Workers Comp Lawyer
Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman
6100 Oak Tree Blvd., Suite 200, Cleveland Ohio 44131 USA
Tel: (216) 328-2125 Fax: (614) 221-7308 Map