Harris Guidi Rosner, P.A. https://harrisguidi.com Jacksonville Personal Injury Lawyers Fri, 23 Jun 2017 13:45:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8 Can I Receive Temporary Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income Benefits? https://harrisguidi.com/social-security/can-receive-temporary-social-security-disability-supplemental-security-income-benefits/ https://harrisguidi.com/social-security/can-receive-temporary-social-security-disability-supplemental-security-income-benefits/#respond Fri, 23 Jun 2017 12:38:42 +0000 https://harrisguidi.com/?p=12597 Sometimes clients want to know if they are able to get temporary Social Security benefits, for example, while they recover from a surgery, or go through chemo treatments. However, SSDI and SSI are not known for being short-term disability programs, and do not provide temporary benefits. For one, to be eligible for either program, the […]

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Temporary Social Security DisabilitySometimes clients want to know if they are able to get temporary Social Security benefits, for example, while they recover from a surgery, or go through chemo treatments. However, SSDI and SSI are not known for being short-term disability programs, and do not provide temporary benefits.

For one, to be eligible for either program, the Social Security Administration (SSA) requires that you be unable to work for twelve months due to a mental or physical disability before you may be potentially entitled to a SSDI or SSI benefit.

Further, claims usually take a long time to be processed. If your disability claim is initially denied, you will have to appeal the decision. The appeals process usually takes a considerable amount of time, with no guarantee that you will be found to be disabled.

However, if you are approved for benefits, Social Security does have a “trial work period,” where disability beneficiaries may return to work without their monthly earnings affecting their monthly Social Security benefit for nine months.

However, if the individual continues to work above Substantial Gainful Activity levels for a tenth month, all Social Security benefits may be suspended. If the beneficiary then has to stop work at any time (due to your medical condition) during the thirty-six months following the end of the trial work period, your benefit will be reinstated immediately.

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Tax Exemptions in Divorces https://harrisguidi.com/family-law/tax-exemptions-divorces/ https://harrisguidi.com/family-law/tax-exemptions-divorces/#respond Fri, 23 Jun 2017 12:33:51 +0000 https://harrisguidi.com/?p=12594 One issue that many divorce litigants have to deal with is one of deciding which parent will be able to claim the child (or children) as dependents for tax exemption purposes.  This decision can impact other areas of your case, including child support and alimony numbers.  Tax exemptions for children can lead to thousands of […]

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Tax Exemptions in DivorcesOne issue that many divorce litigants have to deal with is one of deciding which parent will be able to claim the child (or children) as dependents for tax exemption purposes.  This decision can impact other areas of your case, including child support and alimony numbers.  Tax exemptions for children can lead to thousands of dollars in savings each year, which is why they are often hotly contested.

Typically, there are a couple of options when deciding how to settle the issues of who will claim the kids on taxes.  First, if one parent will be exercising the majority of time with the children, it is common for that parent to receive the right to claim the children. This is not necessarily mandatory, however; in cases where one parent only gets the kids every other weekend, that parent can still claim the children if the parties agree.

In cases where the parties have a more even timesharing split, it is common for the parties to alternate the tax exemptions. For example, the wife might claim the child or children in even years, while the husband will claim them in odd years.  There is no hard and fast rule as to who should claim the kids if an agreement can’t be reached ahead of trial.  Typically, the Judge will view this issue as a matter of equity (just like many other family law issues), and will rule accordingly.

As stated above, the decision made regarding tax exemptions can affect child support and/or alimony.  Generally speaking, if a parent is awarded the tax exemption, that will increase their yearly income, and therefore increase (if they are the payor) or decrease (if they are the payee) their child support obligation.  Likewise, as it relates to alimony, the party receiving the tax exemption will have more available income and therefore will theoretically need less alimony.

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Important Case Law Update: Medical Malpractice https://harrisguidi.com/personal-injury/important-case-law-update-medical-malpractice/ https://harrisguidi.com/personal-injury/important-case-law-update-medical-malpractice/#respond Fri, 23 Jun 2017 12:27:25 +0000 https://harrisguidi.com/?p=12591 The Florida Supreme Court has determined that the statutory caps on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases (F.S. 766.118) violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Florida Constitution.  The Court went on and found that the statutory caps on noneconomic damages under that statute failed the rational relationship test because the arbitrary reduction in compensation […]

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Medical MalpracticeThe Florida Supreme Court has determined that the statutory caps on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases (F.S. 766.118) violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Florida Constitution.  The Court went on and found that the statutory caps on noneconomic damages under that statute failed the rational relationship test because the arbitrary reduction in compensation without regard to the severity of the injury does not bear a rationale relationship to the legislature’s stated interest in addressing the medical malpractice crisis.  North Broward Hospital District v. Kalitan, Opinion filed June 8, 2017.

 

This means that if someone has sustained injuries as a result of medical malpractice, the amount of damages the injured patient can receive is no longer capped at $500,000.00, or in the cases of catastrophic injuries, death or permanent vegetative state, capped at $1 million.

 

It permits practitioners to present each case, with each particular impact and set of personal damages and losses to a jury.  A jury may now make an award based solely on the facts of that case, not based on a randomly selected value by our state law makers, especially since there was no evidence that such caps reduced the costs and issues associated with medical malpractice premiums.

 

At Harris, Guidi & Rosner, we strive to keep current with case law that impacts our clients directly.  We look forward to applying our knowledge to the very personal facts of your case.

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How is a Marital Home dealt with in a Divorce? https://harrisguidi.com/family-law/marital-home-dealt-divorce/ https://harrisguidi.com/family-law/marital-home-dealt-divorce/#respond Tue, 13 Jun 2017 16:07:46 +0000 https://harrisguidi.com/?p=12587 One of the issues that litigants in divorce cases often encounter is deciding how to distribute or divide a marital home.  A house is considered an asset in divorce proceedings, and is therefore subject to distribution amongst the parties.  Obviously, you cannot literally split a house in half – instead, there are a few different […]

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One of the issues that litigants in divorce cases often encounter is deciding how to distribute or divide a marital home.  A house is considered an asset in divorce proceedings, and is therefore subject to distribution amongst the parties.  Obviously, you cannot literally split a house in half – instead, there are a few different options available for people encountering this issue.

First, both parties may agree that they do not wish to maintain the house, and wish to sell it instead.  In this event, the house is typically placed on the market with a mutually agreeable realtor, and the parties cooperate in making any repairs necessary for the home to sell at a reasonable price.  Once the home does sell, the most common resolution is the parties equally splitting any net proceeds once all closing costs (and any other associated fees) are paid off.  Of course, litigants can agree outside of Court to a division of net proceeds that is not equal; however, if the case goes all the way to trial, the Judge will typically do an equal division.

Second, one party may decide they wish to remain in the home post-divorce.  In this event, the party electing to remain in the home will typically have to pay the other party half of any equity in the home.  In order to determine how much equity is in the home, it is advisable to retain a mutually agreeable expert to appraise the home.  If there is a disagreement as to the value of the home (and the resulting equity in the home), that is a dispute that the Judge will have to resolve.

Occasionally, one party may desire to sell the home while the other party is dead-set on remaining in the home.  In that event, a suit for partition must be filed.  A partition action essentially asks the Court to order the forced sale of the home, even over the objection of the other party.  It is incumbent upon the Court to make a decision in this regard as equitably as possible.

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Can I Work While My Social Security Disability Claim is Pending? https://harrisguidi.com/social-security/can-work-social-security-disability-claim-pending/ https://harrisguidi.com/social-security/can-work-social-security-disability-claim-pending/#respond Tue, 13 Jun 2017 16:03:57 +0000 https://harrisguidi.com/?p=12585 One of the most commonly asked questions in my practice is whether a Social Security Disability claimant can work while they are waiting for their benefits to be approved. Technically, the answer is yes, though many attorneys may counsel you otherwise. You can work while your SSDI claim is pending, as long as your earnings […]

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One of the most commonly asked questions in my practice is whether a Social Security Disability claimant can work while they are waiting for their benefits to be approved. Technically, the answer is yes, though many attorneys may counsel you otherwise.

You can work while your SSDI claim is pending, as long as your earnings do not exceed the earnings threshold for Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA). If your gross (pre-tax and other deductions, not how much you take home) monthly earnings exceed $1,170.00 per month in 2017, you will be denied for SGA purposes. The Social Security Administration (SSA) believes that if you can make enough money and be engaging in SGA, then you are not functionally limited enough to be considered disabled.

The reason many attorneys will counsel against working while filing for SSDI benefits is because it does add a layer of difficulty to your claim. It will be necessary to explain to SSA and/or the judge why you can work a little bit and make some money, but not enough to support yourself. If you have less hours at work than others who do your job, or if you are given other special accommodations to do your work, those are also helpful to you and your claim.

Whatever you decide to do, make sure you are up front and honest with your attorney and Social Security – you don’t want to go through all the trouble of being determined to be disabled only to find out that you make too much money to receive any benefits!

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Permanent Total Disability: What Does It Mean in Workers’ Compensation? https://harrisguidi.com/workers-compensation/permanent-total-disability-mean-workers-compensation/ https://harrisguidi.com/workers-compensation/permanent-total-disability-mean-workers-compensation/#respond Tue, 13 Jun 2017 15:56:25 +0000 https://harrisguidi.com/?p=12583 According to the Blake v. Merck & Company, Inc. (1 D09-5464, September 7, 2010), an injured worker is permanently and totally disabled if he or she can prove to a Judge of Compensation Claims any of the following three elements: (1) Permanent medical incapacity to engage in at least sedentary employment, within a 50-mile radius […]

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According to the Blake v. Merck & Company, Inc. (1 D09-5464, September 7, 2010), an injured worker is permanently and totally disabled if he or she can prove to a Judge of Compensation Claims any of the following three elements:

(1) Permanent medical incapacity to engage in at least sedentary employment, within a 50-mile radius of the employee’s residence, due to physical limitation; or

(2) Permanent work-related physical restrictions coupled with an exhaustive but unsuccessful good faith job search; or

(3) Permanent work-related physical restrictions that, while not alone totally disabling, preclude Claimant from engaging in at least sedentary employment when combined with vocational factors.

If you have had a serious work related accident, one of the best ways to show a Judge of Compensation Claims that you can no longer work is to provide evidence that you tried hard after your work accident to get a job, but that you could not.  It is our opinion, that sometimes you will not have to prove that you could not get hired because of your permanent work restrictions, you can prove that you looked for a hundred or more jobs and were not hired.  Our office can assist you with keeping track of your job searches with job search forms and guide you along in this process, here at Harris Guidi Rosner, PA.

Often, insurance companies use vocational job placement services to combat permanent total disability claims and select conservative doctors for the injured worker to obtain medical evidence favorable to the insurance company.  It is important that the injured worker has an advocate fighting for his or her needs.  The attorneys at Harris Guidi Rosner, PA are available for a free consultation regarding your work accident and can address any questions you have if you are worried if your accident may prevent you from returning to work.  Please call us for a free consultation at (904) 777-7777 or email us at mills@harrisguidi.com to discuss your case.

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Do I need a Workers’ Compensation Attorney? https://harrisguidi.com/workers-compensation/need-workers-compensation-attorney/ Fri, 09 Jun 2017 18:52:32 +0000 https://harrisguidi.com/?p=12576 When we sit down with a potential client at Harris Guidi Rosner, P.A., to discuss the person’s work related accident one of the most common questions we address is “Do I need a Workers’ Comp Attorney?”. Here are the questions we usually ask to help determine if you may need an attorney to represent you […]

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WORKERS’ COMPENSATIONWhen we sit down with a potential client at Harris Guidi Rosner, P.A., to discuss the person’s work related accident one of the most common questions we address is “Do I need a Workers’ Comp Attorney?”.

Here are the questions we usually ask to help determine if you may need an attorney to represent you regarding your work-related accident and claim:

  • Has your claim not been turned in by your employer to its insurance company?

 

  • Have you been paid timely and correctly for all your time you have missed from being out of work from your accident?

 

  • Are you receiving hospital, ambulance or other medical bills related to your accident that the insurance company is not paying?

 

  • Has the insurance company tried to tell you “your case is closed”?

 

  • Are there medical benefits, tests or specialists being recommended for you by your doctors that the insurance company is not authorizing?

 

  • Is the insurance adjuster not calling you back promptly or not calling you back at all?

 

  • Do you feel like you are being rushed back to work or that your work is not respecting your work restrictions from your authorized doctor?

 

  • Are you filing for and receiving your mileage?

 

  • Do you have questions about forms you have been asked to complete and sign for your employer or its insurance company?

 

  • If you have a nurse case manager assigned to you, is the nurse helpful to you or does it seem like the nurse has the insurance companies interests at heart?

 

  • Has the insurance company approached you to discuss settlement?

 

  • Do you need a translator at your medical appointments that you are not getting provided by the insurance company?

 

  • Do you have questions about returning to work and how it may impact your case?

 

If these are topics you would like to discuss about your work-related accident, call us to talk about your case and if a workers’ compensation attorney may be helpful to you.  The consultation is free. You can reach us at (904) 777-7777 to schedule a consultation at Harris Guidi Rosner, P.A. or you may email us at mills@harrisguidi.com.

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What Should I Expect at a Social Security Mental Evaluation? https://harrisguidi.com/social-security/expect-social-security-mental-evaluation/ Fri, 09 Jun 2017 18:50:49 +0000 https://harrisguidi.com/?p=12523 When you claim a mental impairment is preventing you from engaging in substantial gainful activity, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will likely schedule a mental examination for you to attend. This mental examination is performed by a doctor (paid by SSA) who is determining what types of activities you can still do and what you […]

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mental illnessWhen you claim a mental impairment is preventing you from engaging in substantial gainful activity, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will likely schedule a mental examination for you to attend. This mental examination is performed by a doctor (paid by SSA) who is determining what types of activities you can still do and what you cannot do.

 

There are two different types of mental examinations: a psychological examination and a psychiatric examination. The psychological examination is meant to test for skills such as memory, mental status, and IQ. A psychiatric examination is meant to test for other mental health conditions. Typically, if you have a history of a mental impairment and have received treatment for it, SSA may send you to a psychiatric examination to have a better understanding of what you are capable of doing today.

 

During a mental examination, the examiner is looking at the following things, just to name a few:

  1. Your mannerisms and approach to the examiner
  2. How you dress and how well you are groomed
  3. Whether you make eye contact
  4. Whether you can concentrate and focus
  5. What your thought process is like
  6. Whether you have any perceptual abnormalities
  7. Whether you have, or have had, any suicidal or homicidal ideations
  8. An estimate of your intelligence level

 

The best advice is to be yourself during these exams. Do not spend hours and hours preparing for it; do not change the way you dress or shave or do your hair for this exam. You need to take this time to let the examiner know what it is like to be you for a day.

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Is There a Maximum Amount of Back Due Benefits I Can Receive in SSDI Cases? https://harrisguidi.com/social-security/maximum-amount-back-due-benefits-can-receive-ssdi-cases/ Fri, 09 Jun 2017 18:48:40 +0000 https://harrisguidi.com/?p=12573 The short answer is no. Social Security has never established a maximum for the disability benefit back pay amount. The way that your back due benefits are calculated consider four different factors.   One factor is your date of filing. If you have not been able to perform substantial gainful activity for seventeen months or […]

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The short answer is no. Social Security has never established a maximum for the disability benefit back pay amount. The way that your back due benefits are calculated consider four different factors.

 

One factor is your date of filing. If you have not been able to perform substantial gainful activity for seventeen months or more prior to your date of filing, you may be entitled to twelve months of retroactive disability benefits (remember the Social Security Administration holds the first five months of benefits owed), as long as your medical evidence proves that you were disabled at that time.

 

The second factor is your established date of onset. The onset is the date that the Social Security Administration (SSA) determines you were not working at a substantial level and that your medical evidence supports a finding of total disability.

 

The third factor is that aforementioned five-month wait period. All beneficiaries of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits have a five-month waiting period that begins the month following the date of onset unless the date of onset is the first day of the month. Therefore, the fourth factor is the month of entitlement, does not start until the sixth month of your disability, as determined by SSA.

 

Disability back payments are minimal if SSA approves your claim relatively quickly. However, if you have to go before an Administrative Law Judge, your back due benefits can become significant. Because of the current backlog of cases with hearing offices, Social Security is currently paying back payments that awarded after months of waiting and therefore, amount to thousands of dollars.

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Preparing for Trial https://harrisguidi.com/family-law/preparing-for-trial/ Fri, 09 Jun 2017 18:44:57 +0000 https://harrisguidi.com/?p=12570 In many family law cases, mediation is not successful, and a trial becomes necessary.  The word “trial” can often carry a scary connotation, and therefore it is important to take a closer look at what is actually involved in a trial and what to expect. First, many family law trials are held in the Judge’s […]

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In many family law cases, mediation is not successful, and a trial becomes necessary.  The word “trial” can often carry a scary connotation, and therefore it is important to take a closer look at what is actually involved in a trial and what to expect.

First, many family law trials are held in the Judge’s chambers.  Contrary to courtrooms you see on TV, chambers are typically small rooms with a large table in the middle.  The Judge sits at one end of the table, and the parties and their respective attorneys set on either side.  Testifying in a setting like this can often be less intimidating than testifying in a “real” courtroom.

A trial is essentially an opportunity for both sides to present relevant evidence and testimony to the Judge.  The Judge then decides what he believes or disbelieves, determines credibility of witnesses, and in general makes findings of fact.  A particular issue or piece of evidence that seems important to a party may not be that important or relevant to the Judge.  In preparing for trial, you always want to decide what evidence will be most persuasive and can stand up to scrutiny from the other side.

There are several rules of thumb for litigants in a trial (or hearing) setting. First, always dress nicely; appearances can matter, and first impressions are often strong ones.  Second, never argue with the Judge or opposing counsel; you will not be doing yourself any favors if you do.  Third, always be truthful in your testimony.  If you provide untruthful testimony (and get impeached on it), that can dramatically impact your credibility with the Court. Once you lose credibility, your case is all but over with.

Finally, it is important to BE PREPARED.  Make sure you review your testimony with your attorney before trial, to eliminate any surprises or areas of confusion.  Also make sure to review all evidence that will be submitted, to ensure that nothing has been missed.  You only get one shot at trial, and you need to make it count.

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