• Horseplay in the Workplace: A Look at Workers’ Comp

    Employees in Baltimore can rely on workers’ comp law to protect them in the event of a job-related injury or illness. However, there are a few gray areas, such as injuries that result from horseplay in the workplace. Because of the risk that your claim would be denied, you should contact a workers’ comp lawyer as soon as possible after becoming injured in a horseplay-related incident.

    Watch this video to hear more about applicable workers’ comp issues. You’ll learn that multiple factors may be considered before denying or approving the claim, such as the nature of the injuries, the role of the injured worker in the incident, and the history and culture of the workplace. If your workers’ comp claim is denied based on willful misconduct, your attorney may file an appeal. Another alternative is filing a personal injury lawsuit against the other employees.

  • Steps to Take When You Get Injured at Work

    Employees have rights, but sometimes their inaction can cause those rights to be forfeited. One example is workers’ comp claims. In Baltimore, workers’ comp law allows for the rejection of claims if they are filed past a certain deadline. You can protect your rights by acting quickly. As soon as a work-related injury occurs, you should notify your supervisor that you must leave work to seek medical attention . You have the right to visit a doctor of your choosing. It isn’t necessary to restrict your medical care to employer-approved doctors.

    At the hospital, inform every healthcare provider who evaluates and treats you that your injury is work-related. Ask that your medical records reflect this fact. Save all documents pertaining to your medical care, including co-pay receipts and discharge instructions. You should file a formal workers’ comp insurance claim soon after receiving medical care. Then, call a lawyer who can effectively advocate on your behalf. Your attorney can help you receive all the benefits you’re entitled to, and appeal your claim if necessary.

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  • A Family’s Guide to Post-Accident PTSD

    Although post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is strongly associated with combat veterans, people of all ages and backgrounds can develop it—including residents of the Baltimore area who have been involved in car accidents . PTSD is a serious mental health disorder that warrants the attention of a medical professional. Since behavioral healthcare services can be expensive, and aren’t always covered by insurance, your family may decide to talk to an injury lawyer about the merits of seeking compensation from the at-fault party.

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    Understanding PTSD

    Unlike many mental health disorders, PTSD has an identifiable cause. It always stems from exposure to a traumatic, frightening, or dangerous event, such as the following:

    • Being in a war zone
    • Experiencing the death of a loved one
    • Seeing a dead body
    • Surviving a major car accident
    • Being trapped in a car after an accident

    The symptoms of PTSD linger well beyond the event itself, and they can last past the time it takes the person to physically recover. PTSD does not indicate any character flaws or lack of willpower. It isn’t possibly to simply “snap out of it.” PTSD is a real medical condition that requires expert treatment.

    Recognizing PTSD

    The signs and symptoms of PTSD can be chronic or short-lived, and not everyone experiences the same symptoms. Usually, symptoms begin within three months of the event. The signs of PTSD are grouped into categories. An official diagnosis requires the individual to experience the following for at least one month:

    • One or more re-experiencing symptoms
    • One or more avoidance symptoms
    • Two or more cognition and mood symptoms
    • Two or more arousal and reactivity symptoms

    Re-experiencing symptoms are those that involve reliving the trauma. They include flashbacks, nightmares, and frightening thoughts that are impossible to control. Avoidance symptoms occur when the person tries to avoid places, objects, or activities that remind him or her of the event. For example, a car crash survivor might become incapable of getting in a car. Arousal and reactivity symptoms include:

    • Angry outbursts
    • Difficulty sleeping
    • Feeling tense

    Lastly, cognition and mood symptoms include:

    • Memory loss
    • Negative thought patterns
    • Withdrawal from previously enjoyed activities

    Getting Treatment for PTSD

    Treatment is best begun as soon as possible. After a loved one survives a car accident, families should be alert to the potential signs of PTSD. Its treatment is usually a combination of medications, such as antidepressants, and psychotherapy.

  • Is HIV/AIDS a Qualifying Condition for Social Security Disability Payments?

    Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a chronic, incurable disease that attacks the immune system. This leaves patients vulnerable to other serious infections and diseases. Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is the end stage of HIV infection. Because HIV can take years to progress, patients might not qualify for Social Security disability benefits for a while. A lawyer in Baltimore who handles Social Security disability claims can provide personalized guidance based on the factors that are unique to each case.

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    When HIV/AIDS Qualifies for Disability Benefits

    The primary infection results in acute, flu-like symptoms that typically last no longer than a few weeks. After this point, the patient enters the clinical latent infection stage, also known as chronic HIV. If the patient does not take HIV medications, the stage may last 10 years before progressing to AIDS. With medications, it may take a few decades before reaching the end stage. During the chronic HIV stage, patients often experience few to no symptoms. This means they might not be classified as disabled. To qualify for Social Security disability benefits before HIV progresses to AIDS, patients must prove that they have one or more “opportunistic” illnesses that arise as a result of the suppressed immune system.

    How to Prove Disability

    HIV/AIDS patients must first prove that they were diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. This is easily accomplished via medical records. The next step is more complex. It involves sorting through the Social Security Administration’s “blue book,” or listing of official disability requirements. Patients would be well advised to consult a lawyer about these requirements before filing a claim. Here’s a brief, incomplete overview of the requirements:

    • Bacterial infection, including multiple infections that required hospitalization
    • Viral infection, including treatment-resistant shingles
    • Fungal infection, including pneumonia caused by Pneumocystis fungi
    • Protozoan or helminthic infection, including toxoplasmosis
    • Cancer
    • Skin or mucous membrane condition, including treatment-resistant lesions
    • HIV encephalopathy with brain swelling that causes cognitive/physical impairment
    • HIV wasting syndrome, with loss of 10% or more body weight
    • Diarrhea that requires intravenous hydration

    Other illnesses can qualify. Consult a lawyer for further guidance.

    How to Qualify Based on Limited Functional Capacity

    Even if patients do not qualify under the disability listing, they may qualify for benefits based on their limited functional capacity. A residual functional capacity (RFC) rating determines whether a person can perform sedentary, light, or medium work. The SSA will probably consider a person disabled if he or she lacks job skills and higher education, and can only perform sedentary work.