Car crash injury attorneys

How Much Do Car Accident Lawyers Charge?

If you sustained injuries in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, you deserve justice and compensation for your injuries and other damages. If you’re considering legal action, you are likely wondering whether to get a lawyer and what that might cost. After any type of injury accident, it’s natural to have many questions and concerns. The Missouri car accident lawyers of Cottrell Law Office have the answers you’re seeking. We offer a free consultation and case review to help get you the information you need and get you started on the legal process. How Are Auto Accident Attorney Fees Calculated? If you were the victim of someone else’s negligence, most car accident lawyers will accept your case on a contingency fee basis. This means that you don’t have to pay any retainer or out-of-pocket legal fees to your lawyer. They will handle your case and cover any expenses on your behalf. Once your case settles, they will take a percentage of the settlement. Accident attorney fees vary depending on several factors. However, the average car accident lawyer fee percentage is about 33% or one-third of the settlement amount. Some attorneys might offer a sliding fee scale based on how long it takes to resolve your claim. The quicker the resolution, the lower the fees. What Do Car Accident Lawyer Fees Include? Every lawyer and law firm sets its own policies regarding fees and expenses. Typically, however, car accident attorney fee percentages do not include expenses. Expenses might include items such as court filing fees, professional service fees for investigators and subject matter experts, courier fees, copies, etc. Always be sure to ask any potential attorney how their fee structure works and what is—and is not—included in their contingency percentage. How Much Do Accident Lawyers Charge for Going to Court? Fortunately, most attorneys can settle their clients’ cases without having to file a lawsuit. Negotiating a settlement saves everyone the time, hassle, and money of going to court. A settlement also makes good sense because it gets a check in your hand as quickly as possible. Sometimes, however, the insurance company won’t settle for what your claim is worth—or they won’t settle at all. In that case, your attorney might recommend filing a lawsuit. Preparing a case for trial requires substantial time, effort, and resources. Because it costs the law firm more money than a settlement would, you can expect to pay higher accident attorney fees. Again, your actual fee percentage will vary, but 40% or more is well within the range of reasonable expectations. Before you enter into an agreement with an attorney, ensure you understand their fees. Finally, make sure the fee structure is laid out clearly in your written legal services agreement. Contact a Car Accident Lawyer Today to Learn More If you sustained injuries in a car accident, contact an attorney as soon as possible. The sooner you get a lawyer working on your behalf, the sooner you can get the compensation you deserve. The personal injury attorneys of the Cottrell Law Office understand what you’re going through, and we are here to help. You don’t have to face this situation alone. We provide highly personalized legal representation with the highest possible standards in client communication and service. Call us now at 855-520-8801 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation with an experienced Missouri car accident lawyer.

Continue Reading
Worker's Compensation claims in Missouri

Overview of Missouri Workers’ Compensation Forms

If you were hurt on the job, workers’ compensation insurance can help get you the medical treatment you need for your injuries. To get these benefits, you must complete and submit specific Missouri workers’ compensation forms. These forms, some of which are lengthy, can be confusing and potentially overwhelming. Unfortunately, every Missouri workers’ comp form is necessary for processing your claim. If you need help with any aspect of your claim, contact the Missouri workers’ compensation attorneys of the Cottrell Law Office. We have the extensive knowledge and experience you need on your side. Under the law, you are entitled to receive compensation for any injuries you suffered while performing any job-related activity. We will fight tirelessly to get you the benefits you are entitled to. Missouri Division of Workers Compensation Forms Workers’ comp claims are administered by the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, Division of Workers’ Compensation (DLIR). The DLIR website contains all the state-specific workers’ comp forms for injured workers in Missouri. You have 30 days to report a workplace injury accident. However, you have two years to file a formal claim. In most cases, this coverage will pay for approved medical treatment and a portion of your lost wages. The amount of income reimbursement coverage you qualify for depends on how long your injuries will prevent you from working. You won’t be able to collect any compensation, however, unless you and your employer complete and submit the correct forms. What to Do After a Workplace Injury Taking the correct steps after suffering a workplace injury accident can help ensure your claim goes smoothly. Several key steps in the process involve either you or your employer submitting specific Missouri workers’ compensation forms. 1. Submit a Written Report to Your Employer Immediately after any workplace injury accident, report the accident to your employer in writing. If the employer does not require a specific form, you can use DLIR’s form for reporting a Missouri workplace injury to the employer. Although you have 30 days to report an accident to your employer, it’s best to submit your notification as quickly as possible. Follow instructions from your employer carefully to avoid doing anything that could potentially jeopardize your claim’s approval. NOTE: Do not confuse the employee’s report to their employer with the form known as the Missouri First Report of Injury (FROI). This is a form your employer must submit to DLIR and their workers’ comp insurer within 10 days of being notified of a job site injury (or within 24 hours of a workplace fatality). 2. Seek Medical Treatment Visit the doctor or medical treatment provider your employer instructs you to see. Complete any forms or documents requested. Follow all treatment plans and keep all medical appointments to avoid any disruption in your benefits. 3. Submit a Formal Accident Report You must complete and submit a formal accident claim report to DLIR and the insurance company. DLIR requires the use of their Claim for Compensation form. When completing the accident report for the insurance company, take care not to include any information that could jeopardize your claim. The insurance company can use any information you provide as the basis for denying your claim. 4. Submit a Records Release Authorization Form You will likely be asked to complete and submit the Authorization for Disclosure of Consumer Medical/Health Information form to your employer. Your employer will forward a copy of this form to the insurance company. MO Workers’ Comp Forms for Your Employer Many companies implement specific policies and procedures that employees must follow after a workplace accident. Unless you comply with these requirements, your employer might threaten to penalize or punish you in some way. However, all employers must comply with Missouri worker’s comp laws and rules. As your claim progresses, you may be asked to complete other Missouri workers’ compensation forms or forms specific to your employer or their insurance company. If you have questions that your employer can’t answer to your satisfaction, or if you feel something might be amiss with what you’re asked to do, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced Missouri workers’ compensation claim attorney. Contact a Missouri Workers’ Comp Lawyer Now for Help You can pursue a workers’ compensation claim on your own if you prefer. However, in some cases, you might need a little extra help to get the compensation you deserve. At the Cottrell Law Office, our Missouri workers’ compensation attorneys have extensive experience with complex workers’ comp claims. We can also assist you if your employer engages in any illegal conduct. For example, if your employer encourages you not to file a claim or subjects you to any type of workers’ compensation retaliation, we can help. Contact us immediately for a free consultation and case review. We are ready to get to work on your behalf and fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a consultation or to speak to one of our personal injury lawyers for help with Missouri workers’ compensation forms.

Continue Reading
Workers' Compensation

When to Hire a Workers’ Comp Lawyer

All employees deserve safe and fair workplace conditions.Sadly, work accidents remain a serious problem throughout the United States. According to data published by the National Safety Council (NSC), approximately 4.5 million Americans were injured on the job in 2017 alone. Most workers are covered by a state-based no-fault workers’ compensation insurance program. Through workers’ comp, an injured employee can recover medical benefits and wage-loss compensation — regardless of whether their employer was to blame for their accident. Not all injured workers need a lawyer to get their benefits. If you suffered a minor injury and you missed little to no time at work, you will most likely be able to handle your case on your own. That being said, for more complex claims, it is imperative that injured workers hire an experienced Missouri workers’ comp attorney or Arkansas workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible after their accident. Please don’t hesitate to contact us today for help with your case. We’ll explain when you should get a lawyer for workers’ compensation. We’ll take care of everything else. Submit the short form below to schedule a consultation. Should I Get a Lawyer for Workers’ Comp? Five Questions to Ask 1. Did You Suffer Severe Injuries? You should hire a workers’ comp lawyer. In the unfortunate event that you were forced to miss extended time on the job (more than a week) or if you are expecting to feel long-term or permanent effects from your injury, then you need a workers’ compensation attorney. Employers and insurers are far more aggressive in handling claims involving serious injuries. It is crucial that you are able to present a strong, persuasive case so that you can obtain a full and fair workers’ compensation settlement. With severe injuries, it is generally best to hire a workers’ comp lawyer when you submit your initial claim. 2. Are You Preparing to File a Social Security Disability Claim? You should hire a workers’ comp attorney. After a serious accident, an injured worker may be entitled to receive both Social Security disability benefits and workers’ compensation benefits. Pursuing these types of overlapping claims can be complicated. If your workers’ comp settlement is not structured in the proper manner, it could actually impair your ability to recover the maximum available Social Security disability benefits. Do not go it alone. You should consult with a Social Security disability lawyer who has experience representing clients who are also bringing workers’ comp claims. 3. Were You Offered an Inadequate Settlement? You should hire a lawyer that handles workers’ compensation cases. It is important to remember that insurers want to settle work injury cases for the lowest dollar amount possible. Do not accept an unfair, low settlement offer. You should be granted a settlement that offers you the full available financial support for your medical care, long-term rehabilitative costs, lost wages, diminished earning capacity, and any permanent disability or impairment. Your attorney will represent you during settlement negotiations with insurance company representatives. 4. Was Your Workers’ Comp Claim Denied? You should hire a workers’ comp attorney. Workers’ compensation claims are denied for a wide range of different reasons. Even though workers’ comp benefits are paid out on a no-fault basis, it can still be challenging for injured employees to get access to the full and fair financial benefits that they rightfully deserve. If your workers’ comp claim was denied in Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, or anywhere else in the United States, do not give up without a fight. Get your workers’ comp denial letter into the hands of an experienced attorney immediately. They will help you take the next steps needed to move your case forward. 5. Did a Third Party Contribute to Your Injuries? You should hire a workers’ comp lawyer. Workers’ comp is an exclusive legal remedy. Generally speaking, injured workers cannot file a personal injury claim against their employer — even if their employer was negligent in causing their workplace accident. That being said, injured workers do retain the right to file personal injury lawsuits against negligent third parties. If any party other than your employer — another contractor, a property owner, a manufacturer, etc. — contributed to your accident, you should call an experienced work injury attorney for immediate assistance. Additional financial compensation may be available. You may be eligible to bring both a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury lawsuit. Contact Us At the Cottrell Law Office, our skilled workers’ comp lawyers are strong, committed advocates for injured workers. If you or your loved one was hurt on the job, we are prepared to help. To set up a free, no-obligation initial consultation, please contact our legal team or call (800) 364-8305 today to get started. With offices in Rogers, AR and Joplin, MO, we represent injured workers throughout Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Kansas.

Continue Reading
Social Security Disability

Tips to Prepare for a Social Security Disability Hearing

Preparing for a disability hearing can be stressful, and it can even seem overwhelming. However, if you come equipped with a few disability hearing tips, you can greatly improve your chances of a favorable outcome. So take a moment or two to review the following disability hearing tips. Understanding these tips is key to knowing how to win a Social Security disability hearing.  That said, your best bet after learning a few disability hearing tips is to consult a qualified disability law attorney. We’ll take care of everything else. Submit the short form below to schedule a consultation. Social Security Disability Hearing Tips There are several crucial tips to help you know how to prepare for your Social Security disability hearing. Hearing Tip #1: Understand the Experience The first helpful tip about a Social Security hearing is understanding what the experience will be like. A disability hearing is not like a formal criminal hearing that you might see on a legal television show. Instead, most disability hearings take place in a small conference room or over video conference platforms. They don’t involve a jury. Most times, only a judge and court reporter are in attendance.  It is likely that you will be asked about several things, including: Your medical history;  Your physical capabilities; Any medical treatment that you have received for your condition; Your mental abilities;  Your professional training and education; and Your work history.  Knowing you will be asked about these topics, you will be better off if you come prepared.  Hearing Tip #2: Have Current Records Possibly the most important part of your hearing is making sure you have the right information available at the hearing. It is not wise to expect other groups, such as the Social Security Administration (SSA), to give you all the records you need before your hearing. Instead, you should be proactive.  When you receive your hearing notice, request your current medical records from all your medical providers. Usually, you will receive at least several weeks’ advance notice before your hearing. That should be enough time for you to contact your doctors and obtain your latest medical records from them. Once you receive your hearing notice, don’t wait to contact these doctors. In some cases, you might even need to have an additional evaluation or test performed to complete your medical record.  Hearing Tip #3: Get Your Doctor Involved Your doctor’s opinion can carry a great deal of weight in the disability hearing. That being the case, it’s a good idea for you to approach your doctor beforehand, discuss your upcoming Social Security disability hearing, and obtain a detailed letter from them. In this letter, your doctor should include specific statements about your medical limitations. They should list the activities that you cannot perform or can only partially perform, and they should state the degree to which you are able to perform those activities. Let Our Social Security Disability Law Attorneys Help You Knowing how to prepare for a Social Security disability hearing is far from simple. With the above disability hearing tips, you can get a solid advantage. However, the best course of action is to reach out to a disability law lawyer sooner rather than later.  Here at Cottrell Law Firm, we understand completely what you are going through, and we can help you defend your rights. We have over 32 years of experience helping our clients get the compensation they deserve, and as our testimonials show, we also specialize in excellent customer service. Although every case is different and outcomes can’t be guaranteed, our results show a history of helping our clients earn large settlements and verdicts. Call us today at 800-364-8305 or contact us online. 

Continue Reading
Social Security Disability

Arkansas Disability Benefits: What You Should Know

If you have a serious mental or physical disability, it can become impossible to do many normal life activities. This can include even the most basic and routine actions like working, sleeping, walking, and eating.  Fortunately, there are multiple Arkansas disability benefit options for people who have a disabling physical or mental condition. Long-term Arkansas disability benefits can stem from both Arkansas’s workers’ compensation program and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) from the Social Security Administration (SSA). Yet while there are similarities between these two disability payment programs, they represent two distinct pathways for disabled individuals and often serve different needs.  We’ll take care of everything else. Submit the short form below to schedule a consultation. Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Disability Benefits Arkansas’s workers’ compensation program covers accidental injuries that employees receive through their employment. It is a no-fault program, which means that the injured worker does not need to prove that their employer was negligent. They are covered even if they accidentally caused their own injury. Under this program, covered injuries include both temporary injuries as well as more permanent disabilities.  Furthermore, almost every employer in Arkansas has to provide workers’ compensation to their employees.  However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. For example, employers that have fewer than three employees do not have to offer workers’ compensation. In addition, certain types of employers — like non-profit organizations, religious sects, and charitable groups — are exempt from the workers’ compensation requirement.  Also, there are three injuries that you Arkansas Workers’ compensation benefits do not cover: Hearing loss; Back injuries that develop gradually; and Rapid repetitive motion injuries (like carpal tunnel syndrome).  Even though Arkansas features a no-fault workers compensation insurance system, the employee still has a responsibility to their employer to promptly report the injury and file a claim. If you had an injury at your workplace some time ago but have not yet filed a claim, you may need to act quickly to obtain compensation. An Arkansas disability attorney will be able to guide you through the state’s workers’ compensation claim process.  How to Obtain Social Security Disability Insurance in Arkansas The SSA offers SSDI benefits for individuals who have a qualifying physical or mental health disability. Unlike workers’ compensation benefits, which include a payment program for people who have a short-term disability in Arkansas, you can get SSA disability benefits only if your physical or mental health disability has lasted at least 12 months or is expected to last more than 12 months. Also unlike with workers’ compensation, your disability does not have to be work-related to be eligible for SSDI benefits. A huge range of medical and physical conditions qualify as disabilities, including: Schizophrenia, Lupus, Bipolar disorder, Heart disease, Diabetes,  Kidney stones,  Hemophilia, and Missing hands or legs.  Unfortunately, the process for obtaining Social Security Disability Insurance benefits is quite complicated. Therefore, your best choice is to contact a knowledgeable disability law lawyer right away.  Do You Have More Questions About Arkansas Disability Benefits? If you are considering hiring an attorney for Arkansas disability benefits, you have come to the right place. We know that you have several Arkansas disability lawyers to choose from. However, Cottrell Law Office is not like your typical law firm. We have over 32 years of experience helping the injured and disabled in Arkansas and other states. In addition, we have won awards from the National Trial Lawyers and Martindale-Hubbell. On top of that, our testimonials show that we are dedicated to providing the best client service possible and giving our customers the personal attention they deserve. Most importantly, our outstanding results show how much we love winning big for our clients.   Don’t wait. Give us a call today at 800-364-8305 or contact us online. 

Continue Reading
Accident Reports

How to Get Your Missouri Highway Patrol Crash Report

According to the Missouri Department of Transportation, there were 157,038 traffic crashes in 2019 alone. The same year, 881 people died in those crashes. Many residents of Missouri are involved in car accidents each year. The process that comes after a car accident or injury can be very confusing. Fortunately, you can get a copy of your Missouri Highway Patrol crash report with all the information from your crash. You can use this report to file a claim against the at-fault driver and report it to your insurance company. If you need help getting your MO State Patrol accident report or think you have an injury claim, please don’t hesitate to call us at (800) 364-8305 or fill out the form below to get in touch with our office. Our Missouri car accident lawyers offer free consultations. We’ll take care of everything else. Submit the short form below to schedule a consultation. Why Do You Need Your Missouri Crash Report? A Missouri Highway Patrol crash report is the official report of a car accident. It is important to have this report because it can help determine the following: Your settlement in the event of a personal injury case, How your insurance will handle the claim, and The treatment of your injuries. Keep copies of your report in a safe place. Bring them to all meetings with lawyers, insurance agents, and other people on your team during this process. How Long Before the Missouri Highway Accident Report Will Be Available? Police reports are available 7-10 days after the crash. At the scene of the accident, the officer will give you an accident card with the report number that you will need when you go to get your accident report. How To Get Your Missouri Highway Patrol Accident Crash Report Read below about the steps that will be required when looking for a copy of the crash report. Obtaining your Missouri Highway Patrol accident report is an easy process. There are 3 ways you can obtain a copy of your collision report. Get Your Report In-Person Visit a Missouri State Highway Patrol headquarters office during business hours and ask for a copy of your accident report. Make sure to bring a form of personal identification, such as a valid driver’s license. After filling out the necessary paperwork, leave your contact information with the police department. They will contact you when your report is ready to be picked up. If you do not know where the nearest office is, you can find a list of locations on the official website. Get Your Report Online Go to the Missouri State Highway Patrol website to submit your online request for your Missouri accident report. This is the fastest and easiest way to get your report. Get Your Accident Report By Mail Mail a request for your report to the troop headquarters office in the area where the accident occurred. The accident report request form includes a list of all troop headquarters and addresses in Missouri. Payment must be made by check or money order to DPS Missouri State Highway Patrol. Please note that cash payments are not accepted and will be returned. Keep in mind that copies of the report are not free. The cost of the report will depend on the city or county that you get it from. Contact a Skilled Missouri Auto Accident Lawyer Missouri collision reports are invaluable to personal injury cases. They include important information that can determine who was at fault for the accident, as well as damages and other details. If you have questions about obtaining your police report or want to file a personal injury claim against another driver, you need an experienced Missouri car accident lawyer on your side. We can guide you through the process and ensure your rights are protected. For more information or to get started on your case, contact the Cottrell Law Office today at (800) 364-8305.

Continue Reading
Workers' Compensation

Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Overview

Oklahoma workers’ compensation is a program that provides medical benefits and wage replacement to employees who suffer an injury or illness while working. Families of an employee killed during an employment-related incident may also receive Oklahoma workers’ comp benefits.  In this article, we’ll provide an overview of Oklahoma workers’ comp laws, benefits you can receive, types of injuries covered, and settlement calculations.   What Is Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation? Workers’ compensation is a way to be compensated for an employment-related injury or illness without having to file a lawsuit in court against an employer. An employer purchases workers’ compensation insurance from a provider, and when an employee is injured, he or she is paid through the insurance carrier. The employee receives benefits by agreeing not to take legal action against the employer.  Both federal and state agencies offer workers’ compensation programs. Federal workers’ compensation covers only federal employees, coal mine workers, and longshoremen through the U.S. Department of Labor. All other types of employees must go through the state in which they work to receive benefits.  Workers’ comp in Oklahoma is overseen by the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission (OWCC).  How Does Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Work? When an employee sustains an injury or illness while working, he or she must notify the employer as soon as possible. The employer then reports the injury to its’ workers’ compensation insurance provider. Once the employer, or employer’s insurance carrier, selects a doctor, the injured employee seeks medical care from that doctor. Payments and compensation are largely based around the doctor’s evaluation and treatment. There is no requirement to prove the employer was negligent or liable for an employee to receive compensation. In other words, it is a no-fault system, meaning fault is irrelevant to the employee’s eligibility for benefits. OWCC Claims Process Often, the employer, through the workers’ compensation insurance carrier, provides the necessary medical care and benefits to the employee. However, in the event there is a dispute, the employee can file a claim with the OWCC.  After the initial claim, the employee may request an opportunity to be heard in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ). If granted, all parties will gather evidence, present it in front of the ALJ, and obtain an order. Having an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer to walk you through the claims process and represent you in front of the ALJ can be very beneficial.  Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Laws  The Administrative Workers’ Compensation Act (AWCA) is the governing body of law for work-related injuries occurring on or after February 1, 2014, in Oklahoma.  Rights and Responsibilities of Employees  Although workers’ comp payments are available, employees must take certain steps to secure their benefits.  Eligible employees Almost every Oklahoma employee is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits under AWCA if injured on the job. However, he following types of employees are exempt from workers’ comp in Oklahoma:  Agricultural or horticultural workers whose employer has an annual payroll of less than $100,000; Federal employees, Independent contractors, Sole proprietors, and Employees of small family businesses. Keep in mind that there are additional types of exempt employees. Visit the OWCC for more information. Right to medical treatment The employer must provide reasonable and necessary treatment within five days of receiving notice of your work-related injury or illness. The employer or the workers’ compensation insurance carrier may select the medical care provider. If your employer fails to provide proper medical treatment, you have the right to choose your own physician at the employer’s expense. Reporting responsibilities   The employee must report the injury to the employer within 30 days of the incident. Failure to report within the timeframe could cause the employee to lose the right to compensation. An employee’s benefits could also be jeopardized if he or she does not follow the doctor’s orders and treatment plan. Types of Injuries Covered Oklahoma workers’ comp does not cover every injury that occurs on the job. The following are some examples of injuries that your employer may not provide benefits for: Injuries sustained while in a parking lot or other area adjacent to the employer’s place of business; Injuries caused by pre-existing conditions; Injuries incurred while under the influence of drugs or alcohol; Injuries sustained during social or recreational activities; Mental injuries, unless they were caused by a corresponding physical injury; and Injuries endured while on a work break, unless the injury happens inside the employer’s facility. There are additional limitations and exceptions beyond this list. Benefits Available Under Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation There are a number of benefits an employee may receive through workers’ comp. Oklahoma workers’ compensation provides the following benefits to injured workers: Payments for lost wages; Costs of medical care related to the injury or illness; Compensation for permanent disabilities, within the legal limits; Death benefits for family members of workers who died from a work-related injury; and Vocational retraining for employees who cannot return to their previous occupation. The types and amounts of benefits an employee will receive depends on the severity of the injury and how it impacts the employee’s ability to continue working. Retaliation and Discrimination by an Employer Under the AWCA, an employer cannot terminate an employee while on temporary disability simply because the employee is absent from work or because the employer does not want to pay the benefits. Once the temporary disability time expires, the employer can discharge the employee if their position is no longer available or if a physician determines that the employee cannot perform his or her job. The AWCA also prohibits an employer from retaliating or discriminating against an employee solely because he or she does any of the following: Files a claim under AWCA; Seeks legal representation from a lawyer for a claim made under AWCA; Initiates, or causes someone else to initiate, a claim under AWCA; or Testifies in a proceeding under AWCA. If you believe your employer has retaliated or discriminated against you, you have the right to be heard by the OWCC.  Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Settlements Most workers’ compensation claims […]

Continue Reading
Social Security Disability

What to Do If You Are Denied Social Security Disability in Oklahoma

Sometimes you find yourself suffering an injury, illness, or disability that is beyond your control and limits your ability to work. If you find yourself in this situation, you have options for support, including Social Security disability income (SSDI) payments. Not every disabled individual receives payments for Social Security disability in Oklahoma, but do not give up if you receive a Social Security disability denial. If you are denied SSDI benefits, you can appeal. Who Can Receive SSDI Payments? If you have a disabling condition, you and certain qualifying family members can receive SSDI payments. Individuals with disabilities who are eligible to receive SSDI payments are those who: Have paid Social Security taxes out of their work income; Have worked long enough to earn 40 Social Security credits; and Are unable to work for at least one year because of a disability. Typically, you have to have earned at least 20 of your Social Security credits within the last 10 years, and how much you need to have worked to earn credits changes on a yearly basis. In 2021, every $1,470 of work income you earn is worth one credit. You cannot earn more than four credits in a year.  Receiving Social Security Disability in Oklahoma If you live in Oklahoma, Social Security Disability eligibility partly depends on Oklahoma’s Disability Determination Services. You apply for SSDI through the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA). Once you gather the proper information and submit your SSDI application, the SSA reviews your application to evaluate your current work activities and determine whether you have enough Social Security credits to receive benefits. After the SSA evaluates your work history, it forwards your application to the Oklahoma Disability Determination Services to determine if your disability qualifies for benefits. Some individuals receive SSDI benefits after an initial review of their application, and some do not.  Reasons for a Denial On average, the SSA denies benefits to 81% of SSDI applicants after their initial application. The most common nonmedical reason for denial of benefits is that the disabled worker did not have enough recent Social Security credits to qualify. If you are trying to apply for SSDI and you are unsure if you have enough Social Security credits, you should consult an experienced Social Security Disability attorney immediately. Depending on your age, you may still qualify for SSDI with fewer than 40 credits.  If you have enough Social Security credits to qualify for SSDI benefits, the SSA may still deny benefits to you for medical reasons. Medical reasons to deny SSDI benefits may include a determination that: Your impairment is not expected to last at least 12 months; Your impairment is not severe enough; You are still able to perform your usual work; You are able to perform another kind of work; Your impairment comes from substance abuse; You have not submitted enough medical information; or  You refuse to comply with prescribed treatments. If the SSA denies SSDI benefits to you for medical reasons, do not be discouraged. You have multiple options to appeal a denial, and an attorney can help you.  How to Appeal a Social Security Disability Denial If the SSA denies you SSDI benefits, they send you a Social Security Disability denial letter. There are four levels of appeal following a denial:  Request reconsideration of an initial denial; Request a hearing by an administrative law judge (ALJ) regarding a determination made during reconsideration; Request a review by the Appeals Council regarding an ALJ’s decision; and Request that a federal court review a decision (or lack thereof) by the Appeals Council. Normally, you have only 60 days from the date you receive a denial letter to make any kind of appeal. If you are struggling with a disability that limits your ability to work, you have enough to worry about in regard to supporting your household and maintaining your health. While you handle your household, an experienced attorney can meet the deadlines for your appeals and present the best arguments to help you obtain benefits.   Find an Attorney to Fight for Your Livelihood and Comfort At the Cottrell Law Office, we know that you need results in your SSDI case, and we are among the best at winning results for our clients. We have over 32 years of experience, and we strive to make your fight for benefits as painless as possible. Reach out to us online, or call us at 855-503-8140. We want to win for you.

Continue Reading
Statute of Limitations in Missouri

What Is the Missouri Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations

If your loved one has died due to the negligence of another person or corporation, you may have a claim for wrongful death in Missouri. However, the Missouri wrongful death statute of limitations may disqualify you from filing a claim. Wrongful death claims are never easy. Incidents that cause the death of another rarely occur by chance. Signs and records may point to the negligent act of another or the intentional conduct of another that caused the death. Despite these facts, don’t miss the period of time to file your claim. If you do, this eliminates your ability to recover damages for your loss.  Can I File a Wrongful Death Claim? The laws in Missouri dictate what parties may file a wrongful death claim. Missouri law authorizes the following three different categories of individuals that may file a wrongful death claim: Class I: surviving spouse, children, or grandchildren of the deceased;  Class II: siblings of the deceased or their descendants;  Class III: court-appointed plaintiff ad litem.  If no party exists to qualify under Class I, the party qualifying under Class II may file the wrongful death claim. If no party in Class II exists to file the claim, the court then appoints an individual to handle the wrongful death claim.  What Is the Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations in Missouri?  In Missouri, the law dictates a wrongful death statute of limitations. The wrongful death statute of limitations in Missouri is three years from the date of the death. While exceptions exist, courts are likely to dismiss a claim after this three-year mark.  Medical malpractice claims often confuse the requirements for filing a claim. In Missouri, the wrongful death statute overrules the time limits placed on a medical malpractice claim. So if an individual suffers injuries due to medical malpractice, the party must file their claim within two years from the date of their injury. However, if a loved one dies as a result of the malpractice, the family of the deceased has three years to file a wrongful death claim.  Contact Us   After losing a loved one, it’s understandable you may wish to wait before taking legal action. However, the Missouri wrongful death statute of limitations requires you to act promptly. Failure to file your wrongful death claim within the three-year window may result in the court refusing your claim. Contact a qualified wrongful death attorney to discuss your potential wrongful death claim. It’s important to understand how the statute of limitations in Missouri impacts you and your chance for recovery.  With over 32 years of experience, Attorney Wesley A. Cottrell understands the complexities of wrongful death cases and provides effective legal representation to all clients. The Cottrell Law Firm guides clients through the wrongful death process and keeps you informed through every phase. We know the financial hardship and emotional grief you must be experiencing. Let us put our knowledge and determination to work on your behalf. Contact The Cottrell Law Firm today to discuss your wrongful death claim.  

Continue Reading
Workers' Compensation

Missouri Workers’ Compensation Chart

In this article, we will help you understand how to calculate workers’ compensation benefits in Missouri. Missouri has specific calculations to determine workers’ compensation benefits available to employees. In the state of Missouri, employers are liable for accidental employee injuries, including cases of fault and negligence. There are different equations for each benefit offered. Our workers’ compensation lawyers in Missouri will explain. If you have any questions or need assistance with your claim, please don’t hesitate to contact our firm by submitting the online form or calling (800) 364-8305. How to Calculate the Average Weekly Wage Each section of the Missouri workers’ comp body chart uses the average weekly wage to determine benefits. The average weekly wage is the total wages earned 13 weeks before the injury divided by 13. For employees that worked less than 13 weeks before the injury, it is total wages earned divided by the number of weeks worked. For example, if John Doe received $7,865 in the 13 weeks leading up to his injury, his average weekly wage is $605. This number determines the rate of compensation, which is usually two-thirds of the average weekly wage. After calculating the average weekly wage, it is easy to use the MO workers’ comp chart. Calculating Permanent Partial Disability in Missouri The MO work comp chart determines the Permanent Partial Disability award amount using the rate of compensation, level, and disability percentage. Level indicates the area of the body affected by the injury. The Missouri workers’ compensation chart assigns level values to each body part. If there is no specific level for the injured part, beneficiaries sometimes claim a whole-body disability (called “Entire Person” on the chart). Meanwhile, a medical expert determines the disability percentage. The calculation for permanent partial disability uses these three values: (Rate of Compensation) x (Level) x (Disability Percentage) = (Award Amount) Temporary Total Disability Missouri workers’ compensation includes benefits for employees suffering from a temporary work-related injury.  Temporary Total Disability awards workers lost earnings when they miss work due to injury recovery. This benefit compensates an employee if they cannot work for more than three consecutive days. TTD pays benefits until the employee returns to work or attains maximum medical improvement, or MMI. Missouri Permanent Total Disability and Death Benefits When a work injury results in death or severe disability, the Missouri workers’ compensation chart helps determine benefits for either beneficiaries or workers unable to seek employment. In the state of Missouri, a worker has a Permanent Total Disability if: Their injuries make them unemployable in the labor market, OR A combination of their injuries and pre-existing conditions make them unemployable The death of a worker due to work-related injury may entitle surviving dependent(s) or their spouse to compensation. Typically, death benefits are split between the spouse and the minor dependents. Under most circumstances, spouses receive benefits until death or remarriage, while minor children receive benefits until the age of 18. Contact a Skilled Missouri Workers’ Compensation Lawyer If you have questions about disability awards or want to file a claim for benefits, you need an experienced Missouri workers’ compensation lawyer to help get what you deserve. Workers’ compensation cases are largely determined on a case-by-case basis, so it’s important to consult with a lawyer. For more information or to get started on your case, contact Cottrell Law Office today or give us a call at (800) 364-8305.

Continue Reading