Rainwater, Holt & Sexton | Injury Law Blog

Monthly Charity Giveaway Winner – Fresh 2 You

by Richard Atkinson | January 18th, 2017

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Unfortunately many people in Little Rock don’t have access to affordable, quality produce. Fresh 2 You Mobile Market is trying to change that. The mobile farmers market is part of the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance’s “Arkansas Hunger and Nutrition Initiative” and strives to make fresh produce accessible and affordable to the Little Rock community. After a 5 month trial period at the end of 2016, Fresh 2 You officially launched earlier this month. Combined with the trial period Fresh 2 You has already served about 2,000 people.  Fresh 2 You also participates in the USDA Double Up Bucks program so that people on SNAP benefits can get double the produce.

Our monthly charity giving is one of our favorite things to do. Each month employees nominate and vote on a charity in the community they would like to help. Throughout the month employees “donate” by buying snacks and drinks that the firm subsidizes. All the proceeds from the snacks are then matched by the firm. We are honored to have such great employees that not only pick out wonderful organizations, but also help by donating all month long.

Things to know when thinking about filing a lawsuit

by Joshua Standerfer | January 18th, 2017

While most personal injury claims are settled without having to go into litigation, sometimes insurance companies will deny that their insured caused a client’s injury or deny that whatever their insured did was serious enough to cause an injury that a client sustained.  In situations like these, it might be in the best interests of the client to take their case to litigation. The decision to go to litigation is made by the client and their attorney.  The following are a few examples of questions that clients ask when the possibility of litigation comes up.

What does “litigation” mean and how does the process start?

According to freedictionary.com, litigation is defined as an action brought in court to enforce a particular right. The act or process of bringing a lawsuit in and of itself; a judicial contest.  Litigation is initiated when a injured party files a document that is referred to as a complaint in court.  In a personal injury lawsuit, a complaint is basically a document that states that a party was injured by someone else and should be compensated for it.  The next step is that the complaint must be served on the party who caused the injury.  “Serve” means give proper notification to the party who caused the injury so that they can respond.  Once a complaint is served, the burden is on the opposing party to respond.

If my case goes to litigation will there definitely be a trial?

The case can still settle.  In fact, according to thelawdictionary.org, only four to five percent of personal injury cases actually end up going to trial.  The case can settle at anytime but once litigation begins, there is usually a good amount of time that passes before the case is settled.  The best way to get a case that is in litigation settled is to thoroughly prepare the case for trial.

How long does the process take?

This is the part that is most frustrating for clients.  It is almost impossible to determine how long the process will take.  The reason is that once a complaint is filed, served and the defendant has responded, the case enters the discovery phase.  According to freedictionary.com, discovery is a category of procedural devices employed by a party to a civil or criminal action, prior to trial, to require the adverse party to disclose information that is essential for the preparation of the requesting party’s case and that the other party alone knows or possessesBasically it means that attorneys from each side get to ask the other side a whole bunch of questions that must be answered.  Discovery starts out with the questions being in written form, and progresses to face to face questions between the attorney and the opposing parties and witnesses in what are called depositions.  It is important that discovery be thorough and complete before an attorney asks that a trial be set because a great way to see a case go downhill in trial is not to ask the right questions in discovery.

The attorneys at Rainwater, Holt and Sexton are ready and willing to discuss taking your case to litigation if it is in your best interest.  Call today for a free consultation.

How Insurance Companies Try to Rip Off Injured Workers

by Mike Rainwater | January 18th, 2017

An insurance company is a business looking to make a profit. An insurance company look for ways to help a worker’s compensation claim end up so the insurance company spends less money to help you recover. An insurance company may put its interests ahead of yours. There are certain events that can affect the outcome of your workers’ compensation claim. Here are a few ways an insurer may try to rip you off.

Insurance Companies Send You To Their Doctors

Worker’s compensation law allows the employer to choose the initial physician. The “company” doctor is likely a doctor chosen by the worker’s compensation insurance company, or a doctor on a list of preferred doctors that handle their claims. Doctors who agree to have a relationship with insurance companies receive income from the insurance company referrals. This places the doctor in the position where the doctors could feel obligated to make a diagnosis or recommendation that is not objectionable to the worker’s compensation adjuster. A doctor who disagrees too frequently with the insurance adjuster’s recommendation could end up off the approved list.

Insurance Companies Delay Approval of Medical Treatment

Even if your doctor or multiple doctors suggest that you need treatment for your injuries or need other medical care, an insurer can delay the decision by requesting opinions from several different doctors, waiting for a doctor to give an opinion that matches the insurer’s view of the claim. A delay in approval for surgery or medication can lead to longer recovery or permanent consequences.

Insurance Companies Blame Injuries on Existing Conditions

An insurance companies can blame your injury on an existing condition like aging, prior injuries, or the structure of your body to avoid compensating you for lost wages and treatment. If they can make an argument that your injury was caused by something other than workplace conditions, they can save themselves from paying for your recovery.

If you feel your employer’s worker’s compensation insurer is taking advantage of you or your claim is not reaching a fair outcome, discuss your situation with a Fayetteville workers comp lawyer like Rainwater, Holt & Sexton.

Social Security Disability: Escaping the Nightmare

by Mike Rainwater | January 16th, 2017

Imagine the worst financial situation you’ve ever experienced. Then imagine you don’t have the ability to pull yourself out of it. That’s what thousands of disabled Americans go through every year. Their disability makes it impossible to work, which means they can no longer make a living. For many, their only recourse is applying for Social Security Disability benefits, and if denied, they’re sure to fall well below the poverty line.

Sounds like a nightmare, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, that’s the reality for two-thirds of all Social Security Disability applicants. The problem lies in the application process itself. As an applicant, folks must prove they are unable to do any type of work due to their disability, not just the work they did before they were disabled. That’s a tall order for someone who has never gone through the process before or is unable to cognitively complete the application.

That’s why it’s so important that you secure an experienced Arkansas Social Security Disability attorney to assist you in through the application process. We know the system. We know the process. And we want to help you get the benefits you deserve. Call the Arkansas Social Security Disability attorneys at Rainwater, Holt & Sexton today for a free consultation. We’ll review your application at no cost or obligation and set you on the road to securing benefits. Contact us today.

Determining Liability for Commercial Vehicle Accidents

by Mike Rainwater | January 16th, 2017

Commercial vehicles accounted for more than 379,000 property damage causing accidents in 2014. Determining liability in a commercial vehicle accident is not always a straightforward affair.

Multiple players are involved in truck, bus and big rig accidents, which creates some complications when determining who is at fault. The driver, the truck or bus company, the manufacturer of the vehicle’s parts and others can be found liable – and multiple parties can be found at fault at once.

To add to the confusion, truck and bus companies often do not own the vehicles they use and hire drivers as independent contractors. Before laws and regulations were put into place, this was one way that trucking companies would try to avoid liability in accidents, causing all parties involved to point fingers at one another

Who Can Be Held Liable in a Commercial Vehicle Accident?

Multiple parties can be found at fault when a commercial vehicle is involved in an accident. Entities that can be liable include:

  • The driver of the commercial vehicle
  • The owner of the commercial vehicle
  • The person or company that leased the commercial vehicle from the owner
  • The manufacturer of the commercial vehicle or parts of the vehicle that were responsible for the accident
  • The shipper or loader of the commercial vehicle’s cargo if improper loading was the cause of the accident

Laws and Regulations Determine Liability

The Department of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration have enacted several regulations that help determine liability. Now, any company that owns a trucking permit is responsible for all accidents involving a truck that has its name displayed on the vehicle.

Additional federal and state laws help determine who is actually liable in commercial vehicle accidents, including regulations for proper rest for the driver, maximum weight permissions, quality control of trucks and safely transporting hazardous waste.

Because commercial vehicle accidents can be quite complicated, it is recommended to consult with an experienced Arkansas truck accident lawyer to understand who is at fault in your individual situation.

Protect Your Family after a Workplace Injury

by Mike Rainwater | January 13th, 2017

People greatly treasure the desire and ability to provide for the people they love. Whether you’re a man, woman, husband, wife, father, son, or daughter, being able to work and provide for our family is very important. The effort we put into caring for our family members says a lot about who we are as people. It is a big part of our sense of self-esteem. Most of us provide for our families through hard work in exchange for a well-earned paycheck every week. That paycheck is more than just the money needed to put food on the table and clothes on our backs. Our paycheck is a symbol of our confidence in our own ability to care for our own.  The paycheck is a very important symbol of appropriate pride in fulfilling our duty and pleasure to love and care for those we love. 

If you can’t work, you don’t get paid. It’s that simple. That’s why an on-the-job injury can be so catastrophic for an Arkansas family like your own. The inability to work due to injury is not only the loss of money you need to care for your family, it is the loss of a large measure of your self-esteem and rightful pride in being able to take care of your family . You might think that because your employer has workers’ comp insurance that you’ll be taken care of, but that’s not necessarily the case. The insurance company required to pay your workers’ compensation benefits sees you as a liability, and treats you like a business expense to be minimized. The insurance company is motivated to pay you as little as possible, regardless of how much it places your family in financial trouble. The insurance company is not motivated to love or care for your family members.

So how do you protect your family after a workplace injury? The smart thing to do is call an attorney. Even if you’ve already started the workers’ compensation claim process, our experienced Arkansas workers’ comp attorneys will review your case for free. Our goal is to make sure you get the maximum amount of compensation possible for your claim. If the insurance company is already offering that amount, then we’ll tell you to take the moneyand we won’t charge you a thing.

If we feel we can get your family more, we’ll gladly take on your case and fight for every dollar you deserve. Your workers’ compensation claim is far too important for you to go it alone. Contact us today for your free consultation.

Options for Recovering Lost Wages if you’ve Been Hurt in an Accident

by Mike Rainwater | January 12th, 2017

An injury from an auto accident can leave a victim unable to work, thus making it difficult to pay bills and support a family. If you were the victim of an accident at the fault of someone else, you have a right to be reimbursed for the income you lost while recovering. There are several options for recovering lost wages, but determining the right course of action is best done with the guidance of an auto accident lawyer.

Car Insurance May Cover Lost Wages

 Car insurance may be one viable option for recovering your lost wages. There are several types of coverage that can be used to collect lost wages.

  • If you were injured due to another driver’s negligence, you could submit a lost wages claim through the at-fault driver’s liability bodily injury coverage.
  • If an uninsured driver injured you, you may be able to collect lost wages through your uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage – if this is part of your insurance plan.
  • In Arkansas, Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage is optional, but if it is part of your plan, it will pay for your injuries and lost wages up to your policy’s limits.

Personal Injury Claim to Recover Lost Wages

If you find that your insurance policy or the driver’s car insurance policy are not adequate to recover your lost wages, you can consider filing a personal injury claim against the negligent driver. Traditionally courts rule that victims are entitled to reimbursement for all the income they lost while treating and recovering.

Beyond lost wages, victims are also entitled to any compensation over and above lost income like compensation for sick and vacation days, bonuses and other perks of employment.

If you have been left with no way to recover lost wages due to an accident, consult the Arkansas auto accident lawyers at Rainwater, Holt & Sexton.

Can I Receive Social Security Retirement and Disability Benefits at the same time?

by John Miller | January 11th, 2017

Generally, one cannot draw both Social Security retirement and disability benefits at the same time. Disability benefits provide support for those that can no longer work but have not reached retirement age.  The full benefit amount for disability is based on the full amount of retirement benefits one is eligible for.  When someone on disability reaches retirement age, they are automatically switched to retirement benefits.

The lone exception to this is when someone takes advantage of the early, reduced retirement benefits at age 62.  If someone is found to have a disability that began prior to receiving the early retirement benefits, then that person would receive retroactive benefits equal to the difference between the full benefit amount and the reduced amount he/she was receiving. This person would then also receive full retirement benefits once reaching the full retirement age because they should have been receiving disability benefits rather than early retirement benefits. This will never result in the ability to draw double benefits.

This person would also receive the benefit of a “disability freeze.” Retirement benefits are calculated based on earnings and the amount paid into the system. So when someone is found to be disabled, there is a disability freeze so that the period of low or no earnings does not reduce the benefit amount.

If, however, someone is found to have a disability beginning after the start of receiving early retirement benefits, there will be no retroactive benefits and that person will not get the disability freeze. This person will receive his or her full disability benefit amount.  Upon reaching the full retirement age, the retirement benefit amount will still be reduced based on the number of months they were receiving the early retirement benefits.

A Rainwater, Holt & Sexton social security disability attorney can help review any case and make sure all the proper benefits are being paid.

Spirit of Arkansas Winner – Samaritan Ministries of Hot Springs

by Richard Atkinson | January 10th, 2017

Samaritan Ministries of Hot Springs is providing more than just a shelter for homeless men in Hot Springs. They work to provide a sense of community and provide the life skills these men need to get back on their feet.  The ministry offers woodworking, painting, and education classes.  Besides working with the homeless, Samaritan Ministries works with the court system in Hot Springs to present an alternative option to incarceration. Since the ministry was started in 2002, Chuck and Jan Laggan have been able to help countless men in Garland County. They are not finished yet.  A new building is in the works that will furnish men with a bigger woodworking shop and seven one bedroom transitional housing apartments. The continued work and future goals of Samaritan Ministries of Hot Springs is why they are the recipient of our Spirit of Arkansas Award.

Rainwater, Holt & Sexton is partnered with KATV Channel 7 to present the “Spirit of Arkansas Award.” The award is given to local charities doing exceptional work in the community. To be considered for the Spirit of Arkansas Award, a charity can apply here.

Can Abilify Pathological Behaviors Be Damaging?

by Richard Atkinson | January 9th, 2017

Abilify is a popular antipsychotic drug approved by the FDA in 2002 to treat bipolar disorder, major depression, irritability associated with autism and obsessive compulsive disorder. One of the drug’s more controversial side effects includes compulsive gambling in those who take it – even without any prior history of a gambling addiction. This side effect can cause patients to take on severe debt, ruining their lives.

Why Does Gambling Addiction Occur?

Researchers are not completely sure how Abilify works, but they do believe that the drug over stimulates the dopamine reward receptors in the brain, triggering compulsive, high-reward behavior like gambling, binge eating and hypersexual behaviors.

Signs of a gambling addiction include:

  • Taking increasingly bigger gambling risks
  • Obsession with gambling
  • Reliving past gambling experiences
  • Using gambling to escape from other emotional problems
  • Borrowing money or stealing
  • Concealing or lying about gambling

Abilify Litigation

Abilify has been involved in major lawsuits, with plaintiffs claiming that the label does not warn of compulsive sides effects like gambling. As a drug company, the makers of Abilify, Bristol-Myers Squibb, have a responsibility to warn patients of any harmful side effects – otherwise breaching their obligation to the public.

Patients who have experienced a severe gambling addiction after being prescribed Abilify have wreaked havoc on their lives, relationships and finances. Patients who have experienced gambling debt because of Abilify may be able to file lawsuits against Otsuka Pharmaceutical Company,  the developer of the drug, and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Lawsuits against Abilify seek compensation for treatment of compulsive gambling, recovering money lost to gambling and compensation for emotional injuries.  If you or a loved one has developed compulsive behaviors after being prescribed Abilify that have caused financial and emotional damage, talk to Arkansas Abilify attorneys to determine if you can file a lawsuit against the drug manufacturers.

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