WORKERS' COMPENSATION - SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY - MEDICAL MALPRACTICE - PERSONAL INJURY - PERS

Archive for 2018

Top-Rated Workers’ Comp Lawyer Near Cleveland, Ohio and More

When you get hurt or sick on the job, you can count on the Cleveland workers’ compensation attorneys at Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman to fight for the medical coverage and disability benefits you need. The law requires nearly all employers to participate in the state’s workers’ comp program. Employers also have legal duties to maintain a safe and healthy workplace and ensure safe working conditions.

When an on-the-job accident or exposure leaves you unable to work for weeks or months on end, know that you can reach out to one of our workers’ compensation lawyers in Cleveland, Ohio, to help you with accident reports, benefits applications, appeals, and, when necessary, lawsuits.

We handle all types of work-related injuries, from falls and assaults to motor vehicle accidents. You can also rely on us to assist with workers’ comp claims related to occupational illnesses that develop from breathing in cancer-causing or toxic fumes. Even if signs and symptoms of lung, organ, or brain damage do not show up until years later, you may still be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Call us to learn about your rights and legal options.

Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman’s Cleveland-based workers’ comp attorneys also assist grieving families who lost loved ones in on-the-job accidents. A spouse or designated dependent child can file an Ohio Workers’ Compensation claim when their husband, wife, or parent died in a work-related incident.

Handling All Types of Injury, Wrongful Death, and Disability Cases

Car and truck crash victims can rely on our 100-plus years of combined experience to secure fair insurance settlements. Patients harmed by medical malpractice can trust us to hold negligent health care providers and hospitals accountable. Individuals who get turned down by their insurance company for short- or long-term disability coverage can depend on Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman to take on claims administrators without becoming discouraged or intimidated.

Two things that set us apart from other Cleveland personal injury and disability attorneys are that we welcome cases arising from intentional torts and applications for public retirement plan disability benefits.

Assault, fraud, trespassing, and intentional infliction of emotional distress are crimes. The also provide grounds for civil lawsuits when the perpetrator set out to cause harm. Many plaintiff’s attorney who take personal injury cases turn down intentional tort cases because they demand serious commitment and dedication. At Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman, we never shy away from working hard for our clients.

We also never back down from taking on the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System or another public sector employee pension plan. OPERS and similar programs take the place of Social Security and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) for public school teachers, police, professional firefighters, professional EMTs, and local and state government workers. When an injury or illness leaves a public sector employee unable to work, OPERS or an equivalent program has an obligation to provide benefits. We hold the applicable retirement system to that obligation.

Securing Social Security Disability and Supplemental Income

The majority of Ohioans spend their working lives paying into the Social Security system so they will have money for retirement and access to cash benefits if they become permanently disabled. Unfortunately, a large number of applications for SSDI and Supplemental Security Income get rejected.

Partnering with a Cleveland-based Social Security disability attorney from the start of the application process increases the chances for success. An Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman lawyer can also offer advice on collecting all the required medical proof of disability and represent clients at appeal hearings. We know how to navigate the system without letting complex rules derail our clients’ cases.

Contact a Workers’ Comp and Disability Lawyer in Cleveland, Ohio

Our client-focused practice covers workers’ comp, Social Security disability, intentional torts, disability insurance, and all forms of injury law, including medical malpractice. We offer free consultations to potential clients, and we take many cases on contingency. That means we only get paid if you receive a settlement or win your lawsuit.

A majority of our clients come as referrals from Ohio law firms. Other attorneys trust us; you should, too.

Follow this link to schedule an appointment online or call us at (800) 678-3318.

Examples of Medical Malpractice Claims

Any health care professional can injure or kill a patient through medical malpractice. Unfortunately, opportunities for doctors, surgeons, nurses, pharmacists, dentists and specialists to make life-threatening mistakes abound.

Brief discussions of some of the cases we have seen most often during our decades of combined practice as medical malpractice attorneys in Cleveland, Ohio, follow. If you or a member of your family has fallen victim to one of the problems identified here, or if you suspect that a negligent health care provider has harmed you in some other way, call Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman at (800) 678-3318 to schedule a free consultation. We also take appointments online and can travel to you if your health or other considerations make visiting our offices in Cleveland too difficult.

Surgical Errors

This partial list of frequent surgical errors only scratches the surface of all the deadly or disabling mistakes that surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists and surgical aides can make. Here are a few of the most common:

  • Operating on the wrong patient
  • Performing the wrong procedure
  • Operating on the wrong body part
  • Removing the wrong organ
  • Amputating the wrong limb
  • Injuring a patient while doing an operation
  • Administering an overdose of anesthesia
  • Administering too little anesthesia
  • Leaving surgical implements or sponges inside patients
  • Allowing patients to fall off the surgery table
  • Setting patients on fire due to a combination of flammable gases and the buildup of static electricity
  • Allowing infections to develop following surgery

Missed Diagnoses

Doctors and nurse practitioners can easily mistake chronic or potentially fatal health conditions for less serious problems. Cancers, aggressive respiratory infections and autoimmune diseases get misidentified all the time, subjecting patients to needless suffering and, too often, early deaths.

As we discuss in more detail below, it is not enough for a health care professional to make the wrong diagnosis. A misdiagnosis error only meets the legal definition of medical malpractice if a majority of similarly qualified health care professionals would have made the correct diagnosis when presented with the same information in terms of observable and reported symptoms, available test results and contemporary medical knowledge.

Medication Errors

Pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, nurses and nurse aides commit malpractice when the do any of the following things:

  • Dispense or administer the wrong drug to a patient
  • Dispense or administer the wrong dose
  • Administer drugs that have a high possibility of interacting in ways that will harm the patient
  • Fail to warn about dangerous drug interactions
  • Dispense or administer overdoses

Medication errors are among the most common forms of medical malpractice, but most patients experience no permanent harm. Only a person who suffers greatly from a medication error can purse a medical malpractice claim.

Birth Errors

All members of a birthing team have high legal duties to protect the health and safety of the mother and infant. When complications occur during labor, delivery or in the first hours of neonatal care, OB/GYNs, nurses, midwives and aides must act quickly and appropriately. The most common preventable birth injuries are related to depriving the infant of oxygen, allowing the mother to develop an infection, failing to control the mother’s blood pressure and heart rate during labor and delivery or injuring the infant while removing the child from the birth canal or by dropping the newborn.

Proving Medical Malpractice Is Difficult

Note that experiencing a poor outcome from treatment does not, by itself, provide grounds for pursuing a medical malpractice claim. To succeed in receiving a malpractice insurance settlement or receiving a civil trial jury award, the victim must show all of the following facts:

  • The health care provider named as the defendant/respondent had a duty of care to the patient/plaintiff,
  • The defendant/respondent violated that duty of care by acting negligently,
  • The negligent act directly harmed the patient/plaintiff, and
  • The harm experienced was significant.

Partnering with an experienced Cleveland, Ohio, medical malpractice attorney can help gather and organize all the evidence need to prove these things.

How to Recover Financially from a Brain Injury

As brain injury lawyers in Cleveland, Ohio, who have decades of experience, we know that such injuries have many causes. These include, but are not limited to:

The symptoms of brain injuries are also numerous and include headaches, dizziness, nausea, mental confusion, poor balance, loss of muscle control, memory loss, seizures and tremors. In the worst cases, victims suffer paralysis, coma or even death. Often, even when the triggering even appeared to be minor, brain injury symptoms persist for months or years. Victims then find it difficult to return to their jobs and live in pain while struggling physically, financially and mentally.

When the incident that leaves a person with a brain injury can be blamed on the negligence, recklessness or intent of someone else, the victim can file an insurance claim or civil lawsuit. Receiving a settlement or securing a jury award can go a long way toward helping a brain injury victim recover financially from having to pay doctors’ bills, go through therapy, spend time out of work or deal with a permanent disability.

Each case will be different, of course. Filing a workers’ compensation claim differs greatly from suing an attacker for what is legally termed an intentional tort. One thing that will be true each time is that the plaintiff — the person who suffered the brain injury — must show the following three things:

  • A brain injury occurred, which generally requires hospital and ER records, as well as notes from therapists;
  • The brain injury produced symptoms that required medical treatment and, in some, way interfered with the victim’s ability to live his or her accustomed life, which usually requires an official statement from the victim and testimony from the victim’s friends and family members; and
  • The individual or company named as the defendant/responsible party did something that led to the injury.

Evidence of negligence, reckless or intent can come from police reports, regulatory reviews, witness testimony, expert analyses and interviews with the defendant that are conducted under oath.

Partnering with a caring and dedicated Cleveland brain injury lawyer will help the victim prepare all the proper paperwork, deal with the defendant’s legal representatives, and collect, organize and present necessary evidence.

It is important to understand that a spouse, adult child, close relative or legally designated executor can act on the behalf of a brain injury victim who is cannot do things like read and sign contracts or speak in court. Ensuring that the brain injury victim is represented only by individuals who will act in his or her best interest is something else an ethical plaintiff’s attorney will strive to ensure.

If you believe you have grounds for filing a brain injury insurance claim or lawsuit in Cleveland, Ohio, consider reaching out to Agee Clymer Michell & Portman. Our lawyers offer free consultations to potential clients, and they can visit you if your health or other considerations make coming into our offices impractical.

Call us at (800) 678-3318 to schedule an appointment, or connect with us online by filling out this contact form.

What You Need to Know About the SSI Application and Appeals Process

As Social Security disability (SSD) lawyers in Cleveland, Ohio, we encounter a great deal of confusion about Supplement Security Income. SSI is related to, but always dependent on, SSD, and qualifying for one type of federal benefit does not automatically mean qualifying for the other.

We welcome additional questions and offer free consultations to individuals or families who are considering applying for or appealing to receive supplemental income payments. You can schedule an appointment by calling (800) 678-3318 or completing this online contact form.

An SSI Applicant Has an Undeniable Right to Request Advice, Assistance and Representation From a Social Security Attorney

In Cleveland, across Ohio, or anywhere else in the United States, people who apply for SSI benefits can consult with or hire a lawyer who knows the ins and outs of the program. Arranging for legal representation can be particularly important if appealing a denial of benefits. The reasons behind a denial are not always clear, and it sometimes takes a court cases to secure your payments.

Strict Eligibility Criteria Apply

You can only receive SSI benefits if you are eligible for other types of Social Security benefits and can prove that you are blind, permanently disabled or older than 65. U.S. citizenship and residency rules also apply and no one who is in prison or committed to a government-funded institution can qualify for SSI.

Most People Who Receive SSI Payments Also Receive Social Security Disability Benefits

While SSI is an income-based program, it is designed to support people who cannot work enough to pay for food and shelter. No one needs to apply or qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) to receive SSI, but many people apply for both at the same time. And, as noted, proving that a permanent disability exists can be key to having an SSI application approved.

The Social Security System Asks SSI Applicants to List All Their Financial Resources

The SSI application must include details about all the following (when they exist):

  • Cash held by the applicant
  • Bank accounts in the applicant’s name
  • Stocks and other investments held by the applicant
  • S. savings bonds held by the applicant
  • Real estate owned by the applicant
  • Vehicles owned by the applicant
  • Personal property of significant value such as jewelry and collectibles owned by the applicant
  • Life insurance taken out in the applicant’s name
  • Anything else owned by the applicant that could be sold for to cash to buy food and pay the rent or mortgage

Applicants should also provide information on their monthly living expenses, including rent or mortgage payments, total grocery and utility bills, loan payments, clothing expenses and entertainment budgets.

All Monthly Income Must Be Disclosed

All funds from work or benefits programs must be listed on the application. SSI payments are capped for individuals and families, and monthly income is subtracted from the maximum possible payment.

Note that no one gets rich on SSI. During 2018, the most an individual could receive was $750 per month. A beneficiary whose spouse also qualified for SSI could receive, at most, $1,250 each month. Still, the federal income supplement can make a huge difference in a disabled or elderly person’s quality of life.

Applicants Can Appeal a Denial of SSI Benefits Four Times

The Social Security Administration grants the following levels of appeals:

  • Reconsideration — resubmitting the application, often with additional information
  • Hearing by an administrative law judge — a review of whether the rules were applied correctly to all the evidence supplied by the applicant
  • Review by the Appeals Council — a further review of the decisions made to this point

Federal court review — a civil lawsuit in which the SSI applicant sues the Social Security Administration

What Requirements Must I Meet to Qualify for Social Security Disability?

Social Security disability benefits provide a literal lifeline to people in northeastern Ohio whose physical or mental health renders them unable to work. The federal program, which is technically known as Social Security Disability Income, or SSDI, is also open to children whose parents would be eligible to apply for benefits if they became disabled themselves.

No one automatically qualifies to receive SSDI, however. The first hurdle to clear is that only adults who have paid into the Social Security program or children whose parents have done so can even apply. In Ohio, this most basic eligibility rule can exclude a lot of people. State government employees, city and county workers, public school teachers, state university professors, and public safety personnel like police officers and firefighters do not participate in Social Security unless they have other jobs outside the public sector.

The second major SSDI eligibility requirement is suffering from a permanent disability. Workers’ compensation, retirement plans, and various forms of private insurance exist to assist individuals who can return to work after recovering from an illness or injury.

Under the rules of SSDI, a person is considered permanently disabled if he or she suffers from a condition that will soon prove fatal or which has imposed significant limitations on the person’s ability to work for at least 12 months. The program considers each disability benefits application separately, but it uses standard criteria to determine whether a physical or mental condition is significantly limiting. Some of the questions the program considers are:

  • Can the SSDI applicant see?
  • Can the SSDI applicant speak so others can understand him or her?
  • Can the SSDI applicant hear and understand what other people say?
  • Can the SSDI applicant walk without difficulty?
  • Can the SSDI applicant bend over and lift objects?

Applicants must submit extensive medical documentation of the disabling condition, including diagnoses and prognoses, prescriptions, and therapist notes. The SSDI program will also ask that each of its questions about the extent of the claimed disability is answered by a recognized expert.

People who apply for SSDI should then prepare themselves to appeal a rejection. Many first-time applications get denied, often for purely technical reasons. Partnering with a Cleveland disability attorney from the beginning of the application process will help avoid errors and omissions upfront while also providing a ready ally should reapplying become necessary.

A final consideration is that SSDI benefits can be reduced or withdrawn when a person’s health improves or when earnings from work increase past a certain dollar amount. Checking with a disability lawyer about what working part-time while receiving federal disability payments will mean can protect a person from experiencing financial shocks and from being accused of committing fraud.

You can learn more about qualifying for Social Security disability income by meeting with a disability attorney at the Cleveland offices of Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman. Schedule a free appointment online or call us at (800) 678-3318. If your health leaves you unable to visit us, we can come to you.

What You Should Do When You Get Injured at Work

The steps you take in the hours and days following an on-the-job injury in northeastern Ohio can make a great deal of difference in whether you qualify to receive workers’ compensation benefits. While the circumstances leading up to your own workplace accident will differ from every other incident reported to Ohio Workers’ Compensation, there is a well-established process for responding appropriately.

Here are the four most important steps you should take.

First, Seek Medical Care

You must include extensive medical evidence with your workers’ comp application. The program only authorizes benefits for people who can prove that their work-related injury was severe enough to require treatment and to keep the person off the job for weeks or months.

The serious and temporarily disabling nature of a work-related injury are best established by presenting emergency room bills, hospital records, health insurance claims, prescription orders, and reports from physical therapists. Save all of that documentation and have it with you as you prepare your workers’ comp application.

Second, Ask for a Written Accident Report

The Ohio Workers’ Compensation program does not require official accident reports. You still want one.

When your employer writes its report, it must conduct an investigation and defend its conclusions. If it does not do a thorough investigation or cannot substantiate its findings, then it will not be able to support an objection to awarding workers’ comp benefits.

The investigation can also serve as a guide for what a Cleveland, Ohio, workers’ compensation attorney needs to look into on behalf of his client. When that reinvestigation turns up errors or oversights in the report, the attorney will have ammunition for arguing against a demand that the workers’ comp program reject his client’s application for benefits.

Third, Speak With Co-Workers and Witnesses

You will probably have a very limited perspective on what led up to your workplace accident. You may not even remember that actual injury.

The information you gather from co-workers and witnesses will help you understand if the official accident report is complete and accurate. The people who fill in the blanks can also be asked to submit affidavits should appealing a rejection of benefits become necessary.

Four, Consider Consulting With a Cleveland Workers’ Comp Lawyer

The workers’ comp program and employers look for any excuse to reject benefits claims. Many times, errors or omissions on the application form give them all the reason they need to deny covering medical expenses. Offering settlements and replacing lost wages.

Consulting with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney will help ensure that you submit a complete application that includes all the evidence needed.

You can schedule a free appointment with an Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman workers’ comp lawyer in Cleveland by calling (800) 678-3318 or by connecting with us online. We will make sure to answer your questions regarding steps you need to take to receive the temporary disability benefits you deserve.

How to Choose the Best Personal Injury Lawyer in Cleveland, Ohio

We recently described six signs you may be dealing with a bad Cleveland attorney.

Here, we flip the script to highlight five characteristics shared by the best Cleveland personal injury lawyers. You should insist that the attorney you hire to provide advice and representation as you pursue an insurance claim or civil lawsuit possesses each of these traits.

A great Cleveland personal injury attorney will …

Pick up the phone and respond to emails and texts

Personal injury cases can take more than a year to resolve, and each presents its own unique challenges. You need a lawyer who keeps you fully updated on developments and one who will respond promptly to requests for specific information. Uncertainly about details and the best way to respond, especially when insurance company representatives are applying pressure on you to give official statements and accept a quick settlement, just adds stress to your existing physical, mental, and emotional burden.

Answer your questions fully, honestly, and in terms you can understand

Accessibility will not suffice. You need a Cleveland personal injury attorney who gives you all the time and attention you need. Also, while your lawyer will need to use legal jargon from time to time, he or she should never drop a term like “tortfeasor” or “respondeat superior” without restating the concept in plain language.

Most important of all, you must trust your attorney. If you get a sense that an attorney is just telling you what they think you want to hear, the attorney is probably just telling you what they think you want to hear.

Have experience winning cases for people like you

A car crash is much different from medical malpractice and slip and fall cases are a whole other thing. Different laws and legal procedures apply. What insurers, judges, and jurors expect differs, as well. You want to hire a Cleveland personal injury lawyer who has a strong track record of successfully handling cases like yours because that experience will allow you to avoid errors and oversights that put you at a disadvantage.

Work only in your best interest

Legal ethics demand that your Cleveland personal injury attorney treats you as a priority. Your lawyer can never be involved in representing anyone on the other side of your case. Beyond that, your lawyer must do all they can within the law to achieve timely results without sacrificing any opportunities to maximize your settlement or court award.

Never hide fees or charge you more than you agreed to pay

Most personal injury attorneys take cases on a contingency basis. This means they only get paid if you receive a settlement or court award. Good attorneys clearly explain upfront what their contingency fee will be, and they honor that agreement. Likewise, attorneys who charge by the hour or take on cases for a flat fee should never change the terms of their contract with a client.

Let a Cleveland personal injury lawyer with Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman go to work for you. Schedule a no-cost, no-pressure consultation by calling (800) 678-3318 or filling out this online contact form and sharing some of your story.

My Doctor Didn’t Listen to Me and I’ve Been Misdiagnosed? Do I Have Legal Options?

We all trust physicians and nurse practitioners to make accurate diagnoses. We never expect that such highly trained and knowledgeable health care providers would overlook obvious symptoms or draw unsupportable conclusions about the underlying causes of our illnesses.

The sad reality is that no one can correctly diagnosis a medical condition with 100 percent accuracy every time. Signs do get missed or misinterpreted, and patients often end up suffering—even dying—from health problems that could have been managed or resolved following a correct diagnosis.

If you or a family member has ended up hospitalized, disabled, or dead from what you suspect is a missed diagnosis, you may have grounds for filing a lawsuit with the help of a Cleveland medical malpractice attorney.

Not every mistake committed by a health care provider who is authorized to make diagnoses and prescribe treatments represents negligence. Sometimes, the symptoms were too mild, or the symptoms for one condition so closely matched the symptoms for another that the diagnosis amounted to a judgment call based on averages.

Consulting with a medical injury lawyer will help you understand whether taking legal again after a suspected misdiagnosis makes sense. The primary question that must be answered is whether a similarly trained and experienced health care provider would have issued the same diagnosis when presented with all the same facts.

Answering that question requires gathering extensive medical records and submitting them to experts who can determine whether the physician or nurse practitioner met the standard of care owed to the patient. Then, if the person who made the misdiagnosis is deemed negligent, evidence must exist to show that the patient would have suffered less or returned to health if the correct diagnosis was reached. Experts may conclude that even had a physician or nurse practitioner done everything correctly, the patient still would not have responded to the gold standard for treatment.

The fact is that succeeding with a medical malpractice case of any kind can be difficult. But plaintiffs can get their day in their court and receive compensation and damages when the evidence supports their claims.

As medical malpractice attorneys in Cleveland who have helped many patients and families hold negligent health care providers accountable for missing diagnoses, we know that mistakes by medical professionals cause untold suffering and cost too many lives. Let us know if we can be of service to you by requesting a free consultation. Call us at (800) 678-3318 or reach out to us online by completing this contact form.

Traumatic Brain Injury Lawsuit Cleveland, Ohio

What Are My Legal Options Following a Traumatic Brain Injury or Other Head Injury?

No injury to the head or brain can be taken lightly. Very little force is needed to produce the kinds of nerve and tissue damage that triggers debilitating pain, problems with thinking and communicating, difficulty controlling muscles, and, in the worst cases, paralysis or death.

For this reason, people have the right to seek monetary compensation and damages any time someone else acts negligently, recklessly, or intentionally and leaves them with a traumatic brain injury, concussion, or other type of head injury. Succeeding with such a lawsuit can provide funds for paying past and ongoing medical bills, replacing wages lost while recovering or due to experiencing a long-term disability, and compensation for pain and suffering.

Here, we review four common circumstances that provide legal grounds for pursuing a traumatic brain injury lawsuit in Ohio. To learn more and discuss getting help with a case, call the Cleveland offices of Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman at (800) 678-3318. You can also request a consultation and share some of your story by completing this online contact form. The first meeting will cost you nothing.

 

TBIs and Head Injuries Treated as Person Injuries

Many brain and head injuries result from car and truck crashes, especially when the victim is a pedestrian, motorcycle rider, or bike rider. Slips and falls at unsafe homes and businesses also cause many TBIs and skull fractures. Working with an experienced personal injury attorney can help a person hold the responsible party accountable.

 

Brain Injuries Resulting from Medical Malpractice

Errors made by doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and anesthesiologists can induce brain damage, especially when those mistakes occur during childbirth. Cerebral palsy can develop when a baby is deprived of oxygen during delivery. Medication and surgical errors are also risks for adults and children at any time. Proving medical malpractice can be very difficult, however, so partnering with an experienced Cleveland head injury lawyer always makes sense.

 

Head and Brain Injuries Linked to Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse

Hardly a week goes by without seeing new, but always shocking, news about one or more elderly or disabled residents of a long-term care facility suffering from mistreatment by staff. Falls from beds that lack guardrails and refusing to offer assistance when patients stand or walk frequently leave the neglected patients with brain and head injuries. Too often, such injuries are inflicted by staff or other residents who intentionally abuse the victim. Family members of nursing home residents who experience mistreatment can often file lawsuits against the responsible individual and the owners and managers of the facility who failed to provide sufficient training, supervision, and equipment.

 

Assaults That Cause Head Injuries and TBIs

When a person purposely sets out to harm someone and ends up inflicting brain or head injuries, the victim has grounds for both pressing criminal charges and for filing a civil lawsuit. Succeeding with the lawsuit often proves difficult because the plaintiff must present evidence of specific intent to cause harm rather than to, say, commit a robbery or react to a provocation. Relying on advice and representation from a Cleveland-based brain injury lawyer can increase the victim’s chances for receiving compensation and damages.

Why Do I Need an OPERS Attorney?

You need a Cleveland OPERS attorney for at least three reasons:

  • Applying to the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System for disability benefits is confusing and time-consuming.
  • Qualifying for OPERS disability benefits is almost always complicated by questions over eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) eligibility.
  • Receiving OPERS disability benefits often requires appealing an initial denial of payments, and sometimes going to court.

 

Confusing Rules Frustrate Applicants

An OPERS disability attorney in Cleveland, Ohio has made it his or her job to know the system backwards and forward. Since the attorney has professional and ethical duties to work in the best interest of each client, the lawyer will not skip any steps in the application process, give up when things seem overwhelming, or get intimidated by unhelpful or seemingly obstructionist OPERS officials.

An attorney will also help his or her client gather, organize, and submit all the required medical evidence to document the existence and effects of a disability. OPERS asks for health records, diagnoses, therapy plans, prescription records, and assessments by health care providers of its choice. Inadvertently leaving out a key form or report can result in a denial of disability benefits.

 

Social Security Concerns

The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System takes the place of Social Security and Medicare for most state and local government employees. This is also true for state pension and disability plans like the State Teachers Retirement System (STRS) and the School Employees Retirement System (SERS).

A serious complication with this arrangement arises when an OPERS, STRS, or SERS participant has held one or more jobs that qualified them for Social Security. SSDI is treated as “primary” for disability claims, meaning that a person eligible for both Social Security and state pension plan disability must apply first—and often, only—to SSDI.

Meeting with a Cleveland, Ohio OPERS disability attorney before beginning the application process for benefits will answer all questions regarding eligibility and prevent a false start that will result in an automatic, possibly permanent, denial of needed assistance.

 

Refusing to Take No for an Answer

Appealing a denial of OPERS disability benefits requires responding to specific requests for new and additional information. The applicant will also have to go through hearings that are not part of the first-time application.

Enlisting advice and representation from a Cleveland OPERS attorney will help a disabled state employee respond appropriately to the denial notice, prepare for an appeals hearing, and know how to press forward if more than one appeal is required. A final option when all official appeals are denied is to take the OPERS program to court by filing an administrative lawsuit. The rules for such court cases are different from other lawsuits, so going in with a lawyer who deeply understands that procedure and the OPERS system is essential to succeeding.

The disability attorneys in the Columbus offices of Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman welcome opportunities to help clients secure OPERS disability benefits. We offer free consultations, and we can come to you if your health makes visiting us difficult. Call us at (800) 678-3318 or set up an appointment online by completing this contact form.

3 Examples of Intentional Tort Cases in Cleveland

An intentional tort can leave you physically injured, at a financial loss, or without valuable and prized possessions. When such a thing happens to you or a family member, you have options for holding the responsible party to account, but you must understand what constitutes an intentional tort and why such an event gives you the right to take legal action.

First, know that “tort” is just the word that lawyers and courts use to describe a harm that creates legal liability. In cases involving intentional torts, the person or organization that caused the harm meant to do so. As a result, the — legal term alert — tortfeasor owes the victim of their purposefully injurious action monetary damages and, in many instances, repayment and other forms of restitution.

As Cleveland, Ohio, intentional tort attorneys, the lawyers with Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman typically take cases that arise from assaults, fraud, and thefts. We provide typical examples of each type of intentional tort case below. If any of the scenarios sound like harms you suffered, give us a call at (800) 678-3318 to discuss strategies for holding the wrongdoer accountable. We also take appointments online, so fill out this contact form and share some details of what happened.

 

Following are 3 Examples of Intentional Tort Cases:

Assault as an Intentional Tort

Any kind of physical attack or credible threat of a physical attack automatically meets the definition of an intentional tort. A common situation would be a robbery that leaves the victim with broken bones, stab wounds, or gunshot wounds. A sexual assault could also give rise to an intentional tort claim, as would manslaughter or murder.

Note that while the assault is a crime, the prosecution of that criminal act would happen separately from any civil lawsuit. A conviction will not be needed for the victim and his or her Cleveland intentional tort attorney to succeed with the lawsuit, but all the same, evidence can be used in both court proceedings.

 

Theft as an Intentional Tort

What most people think of as stealing, the law calls “conversion.” The act of taking someone else’s property or possessions and using them as one’s own creates an intentional tort. Examples should be obvious, including car theft, removing electronics and jewelry from a home, and charging items to another person’s credit card.

Working with a Cleveland intentional tort attorney can enable a victim of theft to secure the replacement or return of stolen objects, the repayment of illegally spent funds, and cash damages that reflect costs incurred while dealing with an insurance company, making repairs, and suffering stress.

 

Fraud as an Intentional Tort

The law does not allow individuals or businesses to lie for material gain. For instance, a store cannot sell counterfeit goods or promise one price while charging another. A person cannot provide false information in a binding contract or promise to pay and then fail to do so.

Fraud cases are among the most difficult to prove because the victim and his or her Cleveland, Ohio, intentional tort attorney must convince a judge or jury that the fraud was committed knowingly and with the purpose to take money or receive services and benefits. Misunderstandings and mistakes are not fraud.

The victim must also demonstrate that he or she suffered real harm as a result of believing the fraudulent representations. Merely getting inconvenienced and/or going a few dollars out of pocket does not merit filing an intentional tort lawsuit.

How to Qualify for Workers’ Compensation in Cleveland, Ohio

Answering five questions will help you determine whether you meet the basic eligibility requirements for applying to receive workers’ compensation benefits in Ohio. You can also consult with an experienced Cleveland, Ohio, workers’ compensation attorney to clarify any lingering concerns you have about your eligibility.

 

Did I get injured or sick while doing my job?

This is the principle qualification. Workers’ comp is primarily intended to allow people who suffer injuries on the job or who develop occupational illnesses due to work-related exposures to toxic substances to recover and return to their jobs without spending months receiving no income. Benefits are also available for workplace deaths and for permanently disabling conditions like amputations or going blind.

Incidents that qualify as work-related include chemical spills, falls from ladders, traffic crashes in company vehicles, and assaults by customers. The Ohio Workers’ Compensation program also keeps a list of explicitly covered occupational illnesses such as mesothelioma.

 

Does my employer participate in the Ohio Workers’ Compensation program?

The answer to this question is almost definitely yes. Practically all companies, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations that employ more than one person are required to pay the equivalent of insurance premiums to the workers’ comp program.

 

Can I prove I am an employee of or a contractor under the supervision of the organization I identify as the employer?

Answering this question usually presents few challenges. Complications can arise for contract workers, however. When filling out workers’ comp applications, contractors may need to clarify whether they should name the place where they were working or the company that actually signs their paychecks.

 

Do I have medical evidence of my work-related injury or illness?

Applying for workers’ comp benefits is similar in many ways to filing health insurance claims. Make sure you save doctors’ and hospital bills, prescription records, and all the paperwork you receive regarding diagnoses, treatment plans, and rehab schedules. You will want to make sure you have proof that you followed doctor’s orders regarding limitations on physical activity.

 

Did the on-the-job accident or exposure to toxic materials occur less than two years ago?

Ohio Workers’ Compensation enforces a two-year statute of limitations on claims. The clock starts ticking on the day of the incident that resulted in the injury or illness. There are circumstances, however, when the statute of limitations will not start to apply until symptoms of an occupational illness become disabling or until a definitive diagnosis of an illness is made.

A final set of questions that relate to whether you will actually receive workers’ comp benefits can only be answered by your employer and by workers’ compensation system personnel. First, your employer can contest your claim. Frequent objections raised by employers include the following:

  • The worker did not follow proper safety procedures or acted without authorization.
  • The worker was engaged in prohibited activities.
  • The incident occurred off the worksite, outside of work hours, or not at all.

The workers’ comp officials reviewing your application can decide that your paperwork is incomplete or that you applied past the expiration of the statute of limitations. Another common reason for denying benefits is ruling that the medical records submitted by the injured or ill worker do not support the existence of a qualifying condition.

Partnering with a dedicated Cleveland, Ohio, workers’ comp lawyer will help you overcome challenges from your employer and to respond to demands for additional information from the workers’ compensation office. Importantly, you have a right to seek advice and representation from an attorney even if you apply for workers’ comp through your employer’s safety office or human resources department.

Let one of Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman’s Cleveland workers compensation lawyers know if they can be of service to you. We offer free, no-pressure consultations, so call us at (800) 678-3318. You can also request an appointment online and share some of your story by filling out this contact form.

Elder Abuse and Neglect : What to Watch For

Elder abuse and neglect takes many forms, from abandonment in nursing homes to theft of Social Security and Medicare benefits. In all ways, the mistreatment inflicts needless and cruel suffering on vulnerable individuals.

Ohio state statutes and federal laws give anyone who witnesses elder abuse and neglect the right to report problems to law enforcement and social services agencies. Visiting the website of Ohio HOPES to learn which agencies to contact about suspected threats to an elderly person’s well-being can be a first step to saving a senior family member, neighbor, or customer from a painful, possibly life-threatening situation. So, can getting in touch with a plaintiff’s attorney who can offer legal advice and services.

The Cleveland medical malpractice lawyers with Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman primarily deal with elder abuse and neglect in the context of bad nursing homes and negligent health care providers. Our experiences have taught us to watch for the following signs that an older person may be mistreated or neglected:

  • Injuries and bruises that cannot be easily explained
  • Broken or missing eyeglasses and other types of assistive medical equipment
  • Missing medications
  • Constant sedation
  • Long periods of physical restraint, especially when the person does not seem to need to strapped to a bed or into a chair
  • Sudden changes in mood
  • Rapid declines in verbal and intellectual abilities
  • Extreme agitation or excessive fearfulness
  • Significant weight loss, especially when other signs of malnutrition and dehydration like weakness and cracked skin are evident
  • Torn underwear and bruising around the genitals, which can signify sexual assault
  • Sexually transmitted illnesses
  • Unexplained withdrawals from bank accounts and retirement funds
  • Shut-off utilities and unclean or unsafe living conditions
  • Bills and credit card charges for services or products that were not provided

It is important to listen to senior citizens when they complain about any of the above issues and to take the complaints seriously. It is also important to alert law enforcement officials when good evidence exists that a crime such as assault, theft, or fraud has occurred.

People, companies, and healthcare facilities that neglect or abuse elderly individuals can be prosecuted in criminal court and held financially accountable through civil lawsuits. Partnering with an experienced and caring medical malpractice attorney will help a victim or the victim’s family gather and present all the evidence needed to make negligent and abusive parties pay compensation and damages.

Contact a Cleveland Elder Law Lawyer

You can schedule a free and confidential consultation with a medical malpractice lawyer at the Cleveland, Ohio, offices of Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman by calling (800) 678-3318. We also take appointments online through this contact form. Should your health or circumstances make visiting us in person difficult, we can come to you in your home or healthcare facility.

Warning Signs of a Bad Attorney in Cleveland

Watch for any of the following six warning signs that you have contacted or hired a bad attorney in Cleveland, Ohio. If any of the red flags pop up, exercise your right as a client and employer to find a new lawyer to offer you trustworthy advice and provide quality representation. You can change attorneys at any time, and you should if you discover reasons not to believe they are acting ethically or in your best interest.

 

Never Believe a Promise of Guaranteed Results

Each case presents unique challenges, and no outcome can ever be predicted with 100 percent certainty. Attorneys who promise wins are committing an ethical violation by leading people to expect results that they may not be able to deliver. When choosing a Cleveland Workers Compensation attorney for your case, hire the one you can trust to work as hard as possible to secure the best outcome for you.

 

Stop Trying When Your Lawyer Becomes Hard to Contact

You need a Cleveland attorney who picks up the phone when you call and who responds to emails promptly. Developments in your case can come at any time, and you will have new questions as your case progresses. A lawyer who makes him or herself unavailable to provide answers is not the lawyer you need.

 

Walk Away When Your Attorney Withholds Information

Professional codes of practice require lawyers to share all relevant information with their clients. This obligation extends to offers and requests for evidence from the opposing party, risks and benefits of possible strategies, and the likely outcomes from a given decision. If your Cleveland attorney keeps any sort of information from you, how you can be sure that he or she is being honest and forthcoming on other matters?

 

Put an End to Conflicts of Interest

You need your Cleveland attorney to represent only you and to work only in your best interest. If, for instance, you learn that the personal injury lawyer you hired to handle your car crash case is also representing other victims of the same wreck, fire that lawyer. To borrow a proverb, no person can serve two others equally.

 

Never Cave to Pressure to Settle

A Cleveland attorney who acts in your interest will offer opinions; he or she will not issue orders. You may hear truths you would rather not confront, but an honest lawyer who wants only what is best for you will not misrepresent an inadequate settlement as the best you can expect.

 

Check for Disciplinary History

Before you sign a contract with an attorney in Cleveland, Ohio, go to the state Supreme Court’s search page, enter the lawyer’s name, and look for any information in the fields of Discipline History and Administrative Sanctions and Suspensions. You generally want to refrain from hiring an attorney who has mistreated former clients.

If you are looking for an attorney in Cleveland, Ohio, consider Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman. We represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, medical malpractice, wrongful death, Social Security disability, intentional tort, private disability insurance, and public retirement system cases. To request a free consultation, call us at (800) 678-3318 or connect with us online.

Sources: http://blogs.findlaw.com/injured/2016/02/3-warning-signs-that-your-injury-lawyers-no-good.html AND


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