Frequently Asked Questions

Are there limits on certain types of compensation in medical malpractice cases?

In some states, there are laws that may limit how much compensation a person can win if their medical malpractice claim is successful. In particular, these so-called damage caps are commonly enforced on non-economic damages. Non-economic damages include emotional distress, loss of companionship, and the worsening of a patient’s quality of life after an injury. However, Arkansas has no such limits for claimants pursuing compensation. Whatever compensation amounts are settled upon or are awarded through the courts are not limited.

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Social Security Disability

How Does a Workers’ Compensation Settlement Affect Social Security Disability in Missouri?

If you have been injured on the job, you may have filed a workers’ compensation claim and are in the process of seeking a settlement. This can be a great step in getting the compensation you need to recover. However, if you also collect social security disability benefits, you may have questions. A workers’ compensation settlement provides valuable compensation after a workplace injury. But social security disability benefits also provide valuable benefits. It is important to have an understanding of how each one works and how one might affect the other. Doing so can help you maximize your ultimate recovery. If you have questions about workers’ compensation, social security disability, and lawsuit settlement in Missouri, contact the MO social security disability and workers’ compensation attorneys at the Cottrell Law Office today. We can help you get the answers you’re looking for and fight to get you the compensation you need and deserve.   We’ll take care of everything else. Submit the short form below to schedule a consultation. Will My Social Security Disability Benefits Be Reduced If I Get a Settlement Check from a Lawsuit? Not necessarily. If you receive benefits through the Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) program, receiving a settlement payment from a personal injury lawsuit or workers’ comp claim will not reduce or affect your SSDI benefits. However, if you receive monthly disability benefits through workers’ compensation, those monthly benefits could affect your SSDI benefits. If you receive supplemental security income (SSI) benefits, any type of settlement check could impact your disability benefits. This is because SSI is considered a “needs-based” benefit that individuals must qualify for based on their assets. Thus, depending on the amount of your settlement, your SSI benefits could be reduced. If you currently receive social security disability, settlement may impact what you currently receive. Speak with an attorney today to discuss your situation and determine how best to move forward. Does a Missouri Workers’ Compensation Settlement Affect Social Security Disability Benefits? If you receive a workers’ compensation settlement payment, it is important to understand how it may affect your social security disability benefits. Again, because SSI is a need-based benefit, any additional income or assets you come into will affect your level of need. When it comes to SSDI, however, the extent to which a workers’ compensation settlement affects your social security disability benefits depends on whether it is classified as a lump sum settlement or a monthly disability benefit. Lump sums settlements do not affect SSDI benefits, but ongoing workers’ comp disability benefits do. Typically, Social Security dictates that your combined workers’ compensation and SSDI benefits can’t exceed 80% of the average income you earned when you were working. To illustrate, imagine that your regular income before your disability was $2,500 per month, your workers’ compensation disability benefits are $1,400 per month, and your SSDI benefits are $1,600 per month. SSDI won’t let you collect more than $2,000 per month (80% of $2,500). Therefore, SSDI will use the workers’ comp benefits to offset what you could have received from Social Security. As a result, your SSDI benefits will decrease to $600 per month. How Can I Minimize the Impact of My Social Security Disability Settlement on My SSDI Benefits? Even if you do receive a disability benefit from workers’ comp, however, there are ways to potentially reduce a workers’ compensation settlement’s impact on your social security disability benefits. In Missouri, a workers’ compensation settlement agreement can be drafted to help minimize the impact of the settlement. You can do this by adding an amortization provision to the original written settlement agreement. With this approach, your workers’ compensation disability benefits are classified as a lump sum settlement to be paid out over a certain period of time, rather than a monthly benefit to be paid out indefinitely. The downside is that you can’t go back to your workers’ comp insurer and ask for further disability benefits once the payments run out. But you can avoid the SSDI offset. An experienced workers’ comp and social security disability attorney can help ensure that this type of language is added to your settlement agreement. They will examine all of your potential benefits and help you draft an agreement that maximizes your total recovery. Do I Have to Report a Lump Sum Settlement to Social Security in Missouri? The short answer is yes. As soon as you accept a lump sum settlement, it is imperative that you report the settlement to Social Security. Because SSI benefits are income and asset-based, any lump sum settlement you receive may impact your benefits. Thus, you should report any settlement to your caseworker as soon as possible. In fact, you must report anything that could affect your eligibility for social security disability benefits. Examples of other changes you must report include changes in: Living arrangements, Income, and Assistance with living expenses. You must report a settlement or any other changes that could affect your SSI no later than 10 days after the end of the month in which the payment was received or the change occurred. Knowingly failing to do so could result in sanctions against your payments. This could result in withholding of disability payments for as little as 6 and up to 24 months. Our Results for Those with Missouri Social Security Disability Benefits Social Security attorney Wesley Cottrell of the Cottrell Law Office has helped countless clients get the representation they need and deserve. Some of the results we have helped achieve include workers’ compensation settlements and verdicts in Missouri for: $450,000; $240,000; $206,000; and $200,000. While we can never guarantee the same or similar results in any given case, we do have a reputation for success. We will always strive to get the best results for our clients that we can. If you are looking for strong legal representation in your Social Security or workers’ compensation case, contact our team today to see what we can do for you. How a Social Security Disability Attorney Can […]

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Personal Injury

Is Arkansas a No-Fault State?

One of the most common questions Arkansas drivers have is whether Arkansas is a no-fault insurance state. The short answer is that Arkansas is not a no-fault state. Arkansas requires insurance companies to offer no-fault insurance as an add-on. But it is not a no-fault state because it does not limit your ability to sue an at-fault driver following an accident. If you’ve suffered an injury in an Arkansas car accident, it’s important to consult with an experienced Arkansas car accident attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help you understand Arkansas’s auto insurance laws and fight for the compensation you deserve. We’ll take care of everything else. Submit the short form below to schedule a consultation. What’s the Difference Between Fault and No-Fault Insurance? There is no federal car insurance statute. Because of this, each state has its own car insurance laws. Still, many state insurance laws are similar to one another. The main difference between states’ car insurance laws is whether they are ”fault” or “no-fault.” Fault Insurance A majority of states (38 out of 50) are considered fault states. In a fault state, the person who is at fault for an accident is liable for the damages. Fault liability rules are often called traditional tort liability rules: “You break it, you buy it”. For example, if you are stopped at a red light and rear-end someone who is stopped at a red light, you will probably be held responsible for the damages since it was most likely your fault. No-Fault Insurance Unlike fault or tort liability insurance rules, in a no-fault system a driver who suffers damages must file a claim with their own insurance company. It is not relevant who is at fault or acted negligently to cause damages. Further, no-fault rules limit an injured party’s ability to sue for damages. No-fault systems are associated with higher insurance premiums than fault systems. The higher cost of insurance is probably one of the reasons why Arkansas is not a no-fault state. Arkansas Car Insurance Requirements Arkansas requires drivers to have car insurance that meets certain standards. The essential requirement is that a car insurance policy must cover a minimum of $25,000 for personal injury in an accident and an additional $25,000 for property damage. In addition, insurance companies are required to offer personal injury protection (PIP) and uninsured motorist insurance. PIP benefits cover medical costs, lost wages, and death benefits. Uninsured motorist insurance covers you and your passengers if you are hit by someone who does not have the required insurance. While PIP and uninsured motorist insurance are not mandatory add-ons, you must sign a statement rejecting them both. A statement rejecting the add-ons proves that they were offered. What to Do If You Get Hurt in an Accident If you are injured in a car accident in Arkansas and don’t need emergency medical services you should take the following steps. Following these steps will help you maintain compliance with Arkansas car insurance law and get compensation for injuries and any other damages you suffer. Stop If you are injured in a car accident, the first thing you should do is stop. If you can, you should stop your vehicle out of traffic’s way. Next, call 911. You or someone else may need emergency medical care, and an accident report should be filed with the police. If possible, exchange contact, insurance, and vehicle information with the other driver. Get home safely You should next make sure to get home safely. Have your car towed if necessary. If you are faint or dizzy, get a ride home. Once home, seek any and all medical care necessary to recover from injuries you have suffered. A sore neck may not seem like much, but it can lead to serious issues. When seeking medical care, be sure to document everything. Doing so will help the claims process immensely. Choose How to Pursue Compensation Finally, you should decide how you should receive compensation. Depending on the circumstances, you can file a claim with your insurance company; file a claim with the other driver’s, insurance company, or file a civil claim. If you’re unsure which option is best for you, call your insurance agent, they may be able to help you make a decision. Many lawyers also offer free consultations, so it can be a very wise move to contact an Arkansas lawyer right away. A lawyer can also help you determine which option is best for you. If filing a civil claim, you should always hire a lawyer. Contact Us Today If you have been injured in a car accident, it can be a very confusing, difficult time. At the Cottrell Law Office, car accident injuries are one of our primary focus areas, so we have the experience necessary to get you the compensation available under the law. Wes Cottrell can give you the attention and focus you deserve. Read our reviews of stellar service. Then, for a free consultation, contact the Cottrell Law Office today online, or call us at (800) 364-8305.

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Personal Injury

What Is the Arkansas Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims?

After suffering injuries in an accident or at the hands of another, you may be considering filing a lawsuit. Lawsuits are subject to statutes of limitations. If you are contemplating legal action, don’t wait—contact an Arkansas personal injury attorney today. We’ll take care of everything else. Submit the short form below to schedule a consultation. What Is a Statute of Limitations? A statute of limitations is a law that imposes a time restriction on your ability to file your lawsuit. Statutes of limitations apply to every kind of lawsuit. While you may be able to file your lawsuit after this clock has run, it is highly unlikely that you will be permitted to pursue your claim. The opposing party will bring the expiration of the statute of limitations to the court’s attention, and your case will be dismissed. Failing to file your lawsuit within the time allotted will forfeit your right to damages for your losses. Arkansas Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims The general personal injury statute of limitations in Arkansas is three years from the date that the injury occurred. This statute of limitations applies to specific types of personal injury cases, including those based on car or truck accidents. Three-year statutes of limitations also apply to product liability and wrongful death cases. Medical malpractice cases, on the other hand, must be filed within two years of when the injury occurred. If you are unsure about what kind of lawsuit you may have, a qualified Arkansas personal injury attorney can evaluate your case. Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations While most statutes of limitations are two or three years, certain exceptions may qualify a person for an extension to this time constraint. Tolling Certain situations may toll, or pause, the statute of limitations. If a plaintiff is under 18, the statute of limitations will be tolled until their 18th birthday. They will then have three years—until they turn 21—to file their lawsuit. For example, if a plaintiff is 16 when their injury occurred, they will have five years—until their 21st birthday—to file their lawsuit. The Discovery Rule Arkansas follows the discovery rule. The discovery rule states that the statute of limitations will not begin until a plaintiff discovers their injury. Injuries do not always show themselves right after an accident. Some injuries take some time to surface. Once your injuries are evident, the statute of limitations will begin. Hire an Attorney Today The statute of limitations should give you the time you need to file your personal injury lawsuit after suffering your injuries, but you will need to act promptly. The best way to ensure that your lawsuit goes through without issue is consulting a personal injury attorney. The Cottrell Law Office has over three decades of experience helping clients that have suffered injuries. Wesley Cottrell prides himself on offering clients compassion, personal attention, and high-quality legal representation. Put our knowledge, passion, and determination to the test. Call our law office today at (800) 364-8305, or contact us online, and let’s see how we can help you.

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Car Accidents

What if I Wreck My Leased Car in Joplin, Missouri?

One of the common reasons people choose the leasing option when purchasing a new car is the ability to trade in for a newer vehicle for less money than buying a brand new car. There are certainly pros and cons involved in leasing a vehicle.But if you ultimately choose this option, be sure to read the fine print before signing the leasing contract. There may be consequences you would not expect, especially if you have a wreck in your leased vehicle. Let our Joplin car accident lawyer explain. Common Misconception About How Car Leases Work According to some experts, consumers often make mistakes when setting up their car lease agreement. A car dealership will advertise a low monthly lease payment, with relatively large payments at the beginning of the lease period. While this arrangement is meant to pay a portion of the car lease in advance, that prepayment can be an issue if the vehicle is involved in an accident within the first few months of the lease period. If a leased vehicle is wrecked, then the insurance company will reimburse the leasing company for the car’s value.  However, the money that was paid up front by the consumer is typically not refunded. That means the consumer loses the leased vehicle while also leasing the money paid in advance. What Should You do if Your Leased Vehicle is Involved in an Accident? With the popularity of leased vehicles increasing, it is important for consumers to understand the steps that need to be taken if they are involved in an accident in their leased car. Our Joplin car accident lawyer recommends that you should first make sure that you and anyone else involved in the accident are alright and seek emergency medical care if necessary. As with any other car accident, you should also contact law enforcement to report the accident. Also, like with any other accident, you need to exchange information with the other driver(s), including contact information and insurance information. You will need to contact the insurance company for the other driver. Take pictures of the accident scene, damage to your vehicle and your injuries, as appropriate. Dealing with the Insurance Company Covering Your Leased Vehicle Most, if not all, leased vehicles come with automobile insurance coverage.There is typically a provision in the vehicle lease agreement that requires the consumer to inform the leasing company that the leased vehicle was involved in an accident. You may also have an obligation to notify the automobile insurance company of the accident. You may also be expected to meet with a claims adjuster working with the insurance company so that the damage to the leased vehicle can be evaluated. You may be asked to take the vehicle to a particular repair shop to obtain an estimate of the cost of repairs. You will be instructed by the insurance company on which steps to take to get the leased vehicle repaired. Because the vehicle does not belong to you, it is expected that you will follow their instructions with regard to repairs. Having Your Leased Vehicle Repaired Pursuant to the Leasing Company’s Instructions According to our Joplin car accident lawyer, it is essential that the leasing company or auto dealer from whom you leased the vehicle be informed of the accident. That is the only way you can be sure to comply with whatever conditions or requirements they will have with regard to having the vehicle repaired. Some leasing companies may not agree to have after-market components on a leased vehicle repaired. Instead, the leasing company may decide to use only the original components provided by the manufacturer. The important thing to remember is that you could be forced to pay certain penalties or fees at the end of the lease period if you failed to meet all of the conditions required by the leasing company. No Right to Damages to the Leased Vehicle The primary goal of any lawsuit is to be compensated monetarily for the injuries you sustain because of someone else’s actions. As any car accident attorney will tell you, the purpose of the lawsuit following a car accident is to make the at-fault driver compensate you for your injuries and losses resulting from the accident. The amount and type of recovery to which you may be entitled depend on many factors.  In the legal arena, what you may recover is referred to as “damages.” Contact a Skilled Joplin, MS Car Accident Lawyer Today If you have questions regarding car accidents or any other personal injury matters in Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a free case consultation. You can reach us by sending an online message or by calling us toll-free at (800) 364-8305.

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Car Accidents

What is a Phantom Vehicle Claim in Arkansas?

Nothing can be worse than being involved in an automobile accident, except possibly when the at-fault driver leaves the scene. Most clients are concerned that automobile insurance will not cover a hit and run or phantom vehicle claim. An even worse situation is when a careless driver runs you off the road and never actually collides with your vehicle. These kinds of personal injury claims can be tricky to prove. You can still be successful in bringing these types of claims, with the right advice from a personal injury attorney. What is a phantom vehicle in Arkansas? The term “phantom vehicle” is used by insurance companies to refer to a vehicle involved in an accident, where neither the driver nor the vehicle can be identified. That is typically the situation in a hit and run, where the other car drives away from the accident scene before the vehicle could be identified.The term can also apply to a situation where a motorist claims to have been run off the road by another car, which could not be identified. Insurance Companies Are Not Fond of Phantom Vehicle Claims Theoretically, a hit and run case would be covered by uninsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, applies to situations where someone is involved in an automobile accident and the person who is at fault, either does not have insurance or does not have sufficient insurance, to fully compensate the injured party. In most states, uninsured motorist laws assume that, when an unidentified motorist causes an accident and flees the scene, that vehicle was uninsured.This is a good thing for consumers because the accident should be covered under an uninsured motorist insurance policy. However, many insurance companies insist that, when the vehicle is unidentified, some minimum physical contact with the vehicle is required. Their argument is that, without proof of a collision, a driver could simply lose control of their vehicles, and then make a claim for uninsured motorist coverage. How Do You Prove a Phantom Vehicle Claim in Arkansas? Obviously, these types of claims can be very difficult to prove. The results of a recent study show that plaintiffs in phantom vehicle cases are only successful 51% of the time. In other words, you have about a 50-50 chance of being compensated for your injuries and other losses, when you cannot identify the other driver.Not to say that the chances are drastically better when you can identify the other driver. In those cases, the other driver will most likely allege that you were at fault and responsible for his or her damages. Either way, there is a lot to prove. So, how do you prove your case if the at-fault driver leaves the accident scene without stopping? In those cases, finding witnesses to corroborate your version of the events can be critical. If anyone stops to help you after the accident, make sure you obtain that person’s contact information. You will likely need to get their testimony to prove your claim.  However, eyewitnesses are not always available. In that case, you can still be successful, if you remain a credible witness and you can obtain favorable testimony from an accident reconstructionist and other types of investigators. If you have questions regarding automobile accidents or any other personal injury concerns, call the Cottrell Law Office at (888) 433-4861.

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Personal Injury

Is There An Alternative to Trial in Missouri?

Most people assume that having a trial before a jury is the ultimate goal of a lawsuit.  But lawsuits can be resolved in many ways, without ever reaching a jury. In fact, early resolution, through an alternative to trial, may lead to a more successful outcome. There are several different methods of resolving a legal dispute, short of going to trial. These methods are collectively referred to as “alternative dispute resolution.” What Types of Alternative Dispute Resolution Are There? The term “alternative dispute resolution” generally refers to any method of resolving a legal dispute other than through litigation. The three most commonly used methods of alternative dispute resolution are negotiation, mediation and arbitration.  Other examples are neutral evaluation and conciliation. Negotiation Is the Most Commonly Used Alternative To Trial Negotiation allows the parties to get together and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of their respective cases in an effort to settle their disputes.One of the primary benefits of private negotiation is that the parties retain the ability to control the entire process and the terms of any possible solution. In civil lawsuits, such as personal injury claims, settlement occurs when the defendant agrees to some or all of the plaintiff’s claims and agrees to pay the plaintiff some type of compensation. The settlement is a popular choice for many reasons, the most common being the opportunity to avoid the high cost of litigation. Trials in Missouri are often very expensive. Mediation As an Alternative to Trial Mediation is also an informal alternative to trial. Mediation is similar to negotiation, in that the goal and possible outcomes are primarily the same. However, with mediation, a neutral party serves as a “mediator” to facilitate the conversations between the parties. Mediators are individuals trained in negotiations, who bring opposing parties together and attempt to work out a settlement or agreement that both parties accept or reject. While most mediation programs are completely voluntary, some courts have begun to make mediation a mandatory part of the litigation process. Arbitration Is an Alternative More Similar to Trial Arbitration is essentially a simplified version of a trial.  The main difference is the absence of a jury of your peers to decide your case. Actually, arbitration is most similar to a bench trial, where a judge decides the merits of the case.  Arbitration allows for only limited discovery and more simplified rules of evidence. An arbitrator serves as the decision-maker on the merits of the dispute.The decision made by the arbitrator is binding. Why Would I consider an Alternative to Trial in Missouri? Although the right to a jury trial is fundamental, there can still be disadvantages to going that route. Again, jury trials can be expensive and very time-consuming. Depending on the court and the nature and complexity of the claims, a jury trial can last days, weeks, or months. One of the biggest concerns that most attorneys have with juries is their unpredictability. Juries are heavily influenced by the personalities of the people who make up each individual jury. There is very little that the parties to a lawsuit can do to guard against the negative influence a particular juror or set of jurors can have on the outcome of the case. All it takes is 1 or 2 strong personalities to shift the verdict. If you have questions regarding automobile accidents or any other Missouri personal injury concerns, please contact the Cottrell Law Office by calling us at (888) 433-4861.

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Personal Injury

What Is the Missouri Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims?

Missouri courts set specific deadlines or statutes of limitations for filing a personal injury claim. You must understand and carefully follow these deadlines so you can file a claim for your injuries. Contact a qualified Missouri personal injury attorney to help you understand the requirements and recover the compensation you deserve.   We’ll take care of everything else. Submit the short form below to schedule a consultation. What is a Statute of Limitations? The statute of limitations is a deadline set by the legislature to file a legal claim.Statutes of limitations differ depending on the nature of the case, and statutes of limitations differ by state.Each state sets specific rules for calculating the statute of limitations, including: When the clock starts ticking, When a court may extend a statute of limitations, and Exceptions to the deadlines. Missouri courts strictly enforce statutes of limitations. If you fail to meet the deadline, you will lose the right to pursue your legal claim. Missouri Personal Injury Statute of Limitations Under Missouri Code section 516.120, a person typically has five years from the date of the incident to file a personal injury claim. This means that you must begin a lawsuit by filing an initial complaint with the relevant court within the five-year limitations period. A personal injury statute of limitations clock begins to run when you discover the injury.Missouri statutes of limitations can be difficult to calculate. For example, a legal concept called tolling allows you to pause the clock and potentially extend the statute of limitations deadline.However, tolling and other exceptions apply only in specific circumstances. A qualified Missouri personal injury lawyer can help you accurately calculate your statute of limitations to ensure you meet the appropriate deadline. What Happens If I Miss the Statute of Limitations Deadline? Missouri courts strictly enforce statutes of limitations.If you fail to initiate your claim within the required time frame, the court may dismiss your claim immediately. Statutes of limitations deadlines are also important during settlement negotiations. If you miss your deadline, the other parties in your case may refuse to negotiate or settle because you no longer have a viable legal claim. Exceptions to the Missouri Personal Injury Statute of Limitations While typically you must file a personal injury claim within five years after discovering an injury, some exceptions apply.Missouri law allows a plaintiff to delay the statute of limitations deadline when: The injured person is less than 21 years old at the time of the injury, or The injured person is mentally incapacitated. Additionally, if the person responsible for your injuries leaves the state after the incident, you may be able to delay the deadline for the length of time the defendant was out of the state.Finally, if a government agency or employee is involved in your claim, you must file your personal injury claim within 90 days of the incident.Failing to understand these exceptions and the other statute of limitations rules can prevent you from receiving compensation for your claim. Contact a Qualified Missouri Personal Injury Attorney Today Properly following statutes of limitations and other court rules will help ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. The experienced attorneys at Cottrell Law Office have extensive experience handling Missouri personal injury claims. Our attorneys have the knowledge and experience to handle personal injury claims successfully. Our dedicated staff will answer all of your questions and help you every step of the way.For a free consultation, call our office at (800) 998-5294 or fill out our online form today.

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Dog Bites

Dog Bite Accidents in Joplin, MS

If you or a loved one is injured from a dog bite, you may be able to recover compensatory damages for your losses.  Like car accidents and slip and fall cases, the purpose of a damage award is to compensate the injured party with money, with the intention of making him “whole.”  But, how prevalent are dog bite accidents?  Are they as common as car accidents, for instance?  The statistics might surprise you. Dog bite statistics may be frightening According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 4.7 million dog-bite incidents occur in the United States each year. Of those 4.7 million, approximately 800,000 victims seek medical attention. Half of those victims are children.  Other reports indicate that every day, approximately 1,000 U.S. Citizens seek emergency medical treatment for dog bite accidents.  A study published by the Agency for Healthcare Research and quality in 2010 indicated that the number of individuals hospitalized in the U.S., for dog bite injuries, has doubled over the last 15 years.  Unfortunately, the average medical costs of dog bite-related hospital admissions was $18,200.  The rate of emergency room visits related to dog bite injuries is substantially higher in rural areas. What you can do to avoid being a victim These statistics are certainly not comforting. But they can be less alarming if you have sufficient information to potentially avoid becoming a victim.  One thing you must do is we aware of your own behavior around animals.  More importantly, if you know why dogs actually bite in the first place, you will be more likely to avoid a dangerous situation. Why dogs may be prone to biting Typically, dogs bite due to stress or being scared or threatened.  Dogs are also very protective, not only of their puppies but also of their owners.  If they are startled or not feeling well, they may lash out.  They also bite accidentally during play, especially rough play.  If you keep these common triggers in mind when you are around dogs that do not belong to you, it will be easier to recognize a potential situation and avoid the possible danger. What makes a dog dangerous? There are certain breeds of dogs who are historically known to be aggressive or very protective.  Historically, these traits we encouraged because of the breeds’ usefulness as hunters or herders.  A significant source of undesirable traits primarily comes from irresponsible breeding, or “bad breeding” practices that potentially pass on a genetic tendency towards aggression.  In other words, there are some breeders who seek to create “tough” dogs. Unfortunately, there are those breeders who seek to breed dogs for fighting or guarding. Another source of aggression and undesirable traits is neglect by dog owners. Protecting yourself against the risk of liability As far as protecting yourself from liability, some people consider purchasing dog liability insurance, especially if they own a dog recognized as a “dangerous breed.”  These special policies can give you peace of mind, just in case a situation ever arises.  It is better to be proactive, rather than reactive.  Some landlords may even require such insurance. If you have questions regarding dog bites or would like to speak to a Joplin, MS dog bites attorney, call the Cottrell Law Office at (888) 433-4861.

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Worker's Compensation claims in Missouri

The Basic Workers Compensation Timeline in Missouri

Most employees in the United States are entitled to workers compensation benefits through their employers. With this program, employers are also protected from lawsuits involving an employee’s injury. As your workers’ compensation lawyer will tell you, if you accept those benefits, you are required to waive your right to file a lawsuit. Essentially, workers’ compensation benefits are considered a substitute for filing a lawsuit against your employer. Although each workers’ compensation case will vary depending on the situation, there are some basic elements of a workers’ compensation timeline. Report your injury to your employer The first step in handling a workers’ compensation injury is to report that injury to your employer. You should do so immediately after the incident or, at the most, within a few days of the injury. Some employees try to “tough it out” and not report the injury officially, hoping that they will recover in a few days. This is not the right course of action. Even if you believe the injury is minor, you need to report it immediately so that you can document when the injury actually occurred. Not doing so could result in your claim being denied. If that happens, your workers’ compensation lawyer can help. Obtain a medical evaluation from your physician Once you report your injury to your employer, they will typically send you to a physician to determine the extent of your injuries. The physician will also have to offer an opinion about whether you are able to return to work.If your injury is too severe to allow you to return to work, or if you need to return with restrictions, then the physician can provide a report for your employer. Receive necessary medical treatment It is crucial that you comply with all of the physician’s instructions regarding treatment. Complete all treatment or rehabilitation programs.If for some reason, you do not agree with the treatment recommended by the physician, you can request a second opinion. But, ultimately, you must follow whatever treatment plan is required, in order to receive all of the benefits to which you are entitled. Reaching maximum medical improvement Once you have completed all of the necessary treatment for your injury, you will reach “maximum medical improvement,” as determined by your physician. What this means, basically, is that your physicians have done all they can to improve your medical condition following your injury. At that point, your treating physician can evaluate you and assign a disability rating based upon any partial or permanent disability resulting from the work-related injury. Participate in settlement negotiations Once you have reached maximum medical improvement, it is time to start negotiating with your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier for a fair settlement of your claim. You should involve your workers’ compensation lawyer in these negotiations to make sure the settlement you receive is fair. Negotiations could last several works or several months, depending on the extent of your injury and the willingness of the insurance provider to pay a fair amount for your injury. The Workers’ Compensation Appeals Process The Worker’s Compensation insurance system is based on administrative law, which means an administrative agency, as opposed to a court of law, will oversee the entire system, including any claim contest or appeal.Administrative law judges are responsible for conducting hearings that are very similar to civil trials. If your claim is contested by the worker’s comp carrier, then your next step is to seek an appeal.  This is another step in the timeline in which you should seriously consider seeking the assistance of your workers’ compensation lawyer. Asking for reconsideration of the decision The steps in the Worker’s Compensation Appeals process may be somewhat different, depending on the state you work in, but here are the basic steps that everyone must take in order to appeal a decision denying worker’s comp benefits. The first step is to determine why your claim was contested or denied.If you are lucky, the matter may be resolved quickly. If you failed to submit a required document or some necessary evidence, you may be able to remedy the problem by simply supplying the required information.  Once you do that, the worker’s comp carrier can reconsider your claim. Requesting a formal appeal may be necessary If those steps do not resolve the problem, it may be necessary to file a formal appeal, pursuant to the guidelines established by your state worker’s comp agency. Typically, the written notice of denial that you received will describe the specific steps you need to take to begin the appeal process. Be sure you read the letter carefully and make note of all appeal deadlines.If you have questions regarding worker’s compensation claims or any other personal injury concerns in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a consultation, either online or by calling us as (888) 433-4861.

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