Serious Personal Injury and Negligence Claims

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Serious Personal Injury and Negligence Claims

When you suffer a personal injury due to the fault of someone else, you most likely have a negligence claim. It can be a difficult time after suffering an injury such as this one and it’s important to understand your options as you move forward. It is in your best interest to work with an attorney to fully understand your rights and have more chance of success with your case.

negligence claims

The key elements of negligence:


– Duty of care.

Duty of care is a legal term that is in reference to the responsibility that someone has to avoid causing harm to another person. When you move forward in your case, you need to prove that this person had a duty of care in this particular situation that gave rise to the injury.


– Breach of duty of care.

In a personal claim or lawsuit, it needs to be shown that the other person breached or failed to abide by this duty. If the conduct of this person breached this duty, then negligence can be proven by showing that injuries were sustained because of this breach.


– Standard of care.

It can be difficult to understand what the appropriate standard of care is in a certain situation. This is assessed on a case by case basis.


Examples of duty of care in injury-related cases:

– Vehicle accident.

A driver has the legal duty to operate the vehicle with reasonable care whenever it is being driven. This includes adjusting depending on traffic conditions, visibility and weather. The driver is expected to drive with reasonable care in all situations. In most cases, if a driver violates a driving law, it will be assumed that the duty of care to other drivers, pedestrians and passengers has been breached if it caused an accident and people were injured.


– Medical malpractice case.

Any doctor or medical professional is expected to provide the same treatment with the same care and skill as other reasonably competent healthcare providers would in similar circumstances. This can be backed up with medical expert witnesses and practices in the same medical specialty.


– Slip and fall case.

When someone slips, falls and is injured, many times the property or business owner is blamed for negligence. This is because this owner has a legal obligation to keep the property free from any known hazards. They also need to act within a reasonable amount of time to find and fix other dangers as they occur.


– Defective product case.

The distributor, manufacturer and seller of a product have a responsibility to both produce and sell products that are free from dangers.


How fault is established in negligence claims that cause serious personal injury:


– Any laws that were broken.

Fault can be established by showing that the defendant broke any laws. This is especially applicable in car accidents with injuries.


– Testimony of eyewitnesses.

If there were any witnesses to the accident, they will be able to testify about what happened to back up the plaintiff’s claims.


– Plaintiff’s testimony.

The plaintiff will also testify as to what happened and how the injury occurred.


– Other evidence from the scene.

Any other evidence from the scene will also be taken into consideration to help establish fault.


– Expert witnesses.

The testimony of expert witnesses can also help your case. This is especially helpful in cases of malpractice suits.


– Show that the injury was caused by defendant.

The last thing that will need to be done is show how the injury was caused by the defendant.


When dealing with a negligence claim that caused serious personal injury, it’s important to gather the necessary evidence in order to prove negligence as well as fault. A skilled attorney will be able to assist you with your case and the best way to move forward. Contact us for more information.

The Elements of a Negligence Case

If you suspect that you have a negligence case, it’s important to fully evaluate your case. In general, when someone acts in a careless way and causes injury to another, this falls under the term of negligence. Most personal injury insurance claims as well as personal injury lawsuits are based on this concept. There are four elements of negligence to look at with a negligence case. These four elements need to be proven to show the defendant is at fault.

Elements of a negligence case 

When you’re in this type of situation, it can be a trying experience. It’s important to know what you’re getting into. Working with a skilled lawyer can help you navigate this process in a more effective manner and help you get the outcome you desire.


The four elements of negligence:

1. Duty of Care

Under this element, the law recognizes that the two parties have a relationship, which causes a legal obligation for both parties to act in a certain way toward the other. An example is that all drivers need to exercise care toward other drivers, pedestrians and cyclists.


2. Breach

The next element is a breach of the duty of care. This shows that the person failed to exercise reasonable care. An example is a driver who drives dangerously and hits someone.


3. Causation

The third element is that the breach of duty of care is the legal cause of the injury or harm that came to the plaintiff. There are two components which are actual cause and proximate cause. Actual cause is when otherwise the person wouldn’t have otherwise been injured. Proximate cause is when the extent and type of injury were reasonably related to the breach.


4. Damages

The last element is damages. The person who was injured needs to have an injury that can be remedied by monetary compensation.

All of these elements of a negligence case are closely related and must all be present in order to receive damages for an injury. If you believe that you have all of the elements, you should move forward. If you’re unsure or need legal advice, you should speak with a lawyer who is skilled in handling personal injury cases and negligence cases. Contact us to schedule a consultation and for help with your negligence case and the best manner to move forward.

Basic Disability Statistics

If you have recently developed a disability, whether through an accident or an illness, you should know that you are not alone. Millions of people every year receive disability benefits. It is estimated that some 1-in-5 Americans, about 56 million people, lives with a disability. Social security disability benefits provide a much needed source of income to those suffering from a disability. Setting about obtaining those benefits can be a daunting task for you and your loved ones. James Mitchell Brown, attorney at law, has been working since 1973 to help bring justice to those who have had accident or illness derail their lives.

Image of workplace with paper and electronic documents on desk

As of 2014, 62.4 million Americans received some sort of disability benefit from the Social Security Administration. And every year, millions more Americans are awarded social security disability benefits. With disability benefits, every 18 months to 7 years, depending on your condition, you will need to undergo a reevaluation screening. As long as it is determined that you have an ongoing disability, labelled as a Medical Improvement Not Expected, you will continue to receive benefits. There is no expiration date for your benefits either. If you have ever received other forms of aid, such as grants or scholarships, you will know that after a certain amount of time, or a certain number of college credits is achieved, you will be cut off from those benefits. With social security, your benefits will continue for as long as you need them. Should you continue to need them for the rest of your life, when you reach the age of retirement, they will simply convert from just Social Security Disability Benefits, to Retirement Benefits.


It is not just retiree-age individuals who receive benefits. The average age of social security benefits as of 2014 was 53 years old, while the average age of retirees is 73. As explained previously, you can most certainly receive benefits once you retire, but many who need to apply for disability benefits must do so before they reach the age of retirement. In fact, people of any age are eligible to receive benefits; they just need to present their case to the Social Security Administration. It is most helpful to do that through an attorney, someone to help you organize and track everything which you will need. It can take anywhere from 30 days to 5 months or so, to receive word on benefits approval from the Social Security Administration. Having to live with a disability, particularly if it’s a new development can be stressful enough without adding all of the extra red tape that goes with securing your benefits. So do yourself a favor and have someone else do your paperwork for you.


Handling an Overpayment from the SSA

When you are receiving disability payments, there may be a chance the SSA may make an overpayment. The overpayment amount is the amount you received against the amount that was actually due to you. Different things can cause overpayment including higher income than estimated, living situation changes, marital status changes, or you have more resources than allowed. You may also no longer have a disability but continue to receive benefits or changes are not reported. The SSA also may incorrectly figure benefits because of incorrect information. If you get an overpayment, you must respond to any letters you will receive.


Hands giving money isolated on white background

If the SSA finds that you are overpaid, you will receive a notice that outlines the overpayment. They will ask for a full refund within 30 days, and there are consequences for non-compliance of repayment. If the refund is not returned, the notices acknowledge the purpose of withholding overpayment at the rate of 10 percent less or the entire monthly payment. The notices also state the month the withholding will start and give you information to appeal. It explains how you can have the overpayment reviewed and waived. You may apply to appeal the decision, so you don’t have to make the repayment. There are other options available if you’re overpaid.


If you feel you did not receive an overpayment, you can request a reconsideration. You can ask for an appeal within ten days from the date the notice was received, and payments will continue until a decision is reached. If you feel overpayment was made but the decision was not your fault, you can ask to get a waiver for the overpayment. You can also request a form and fill out a request for a waiver. You can ask for the waiver anytime, and you will not have to make a repayment if you receive an exemption.


To qualify for an exemption, you need to provide proof that the overpayment was not your fault. You must also show that you cannot make repayment because you need the money to meet your regular living expenses. You can provide bills to show your monthly expenses, and any repayment will be a hardship for you to make. There are plenty of options available for anyone who feels they were overpaid by accident. As long as you have proof that you were not at fault, and you cannot make the repayment, the SSA will assist you to correct the situation.

How to Prepare for your CDR Cessation Appeal

Sometimes, the government will stop paying Social Security disability payments after performing a Continuing Disability Review (CDR). This decision can be financially devastating for the people who depend on these payments. If you find yourself in this position, all is not lost. You can appeal the cessation and request a hearing to reconsider your claim. Following are some guidelines to help you through your appeals process.

appeal appellate court reverse or affirm outcome from lawsuit

Filling out the forms
As part of your request, you will need to fill out two forms.
– Request for Reconsideration Form

The “Request for Reconsideration” is a single-page form that asks for your basic information. There is a place for you to make a statement about why you disagree with the CDR’s decision to stop your benefits. This form must be completed within 60 days of your denial


– Disability Report – Appeal Form
This form gives you the opportunity to update your medical information with the SSA while your appeal is being reconsidered. Be as detailed as possible when filling out this form.


Make a request

Along with the forms, you must make a formal request to the state disability determination agency’s hearing office. After you make your formal request, it will be reviewed by a qualified staff member. If the staff member determines that a reversal of the cessation is in order, your appeal ends there.


Disability Office Hearing

If you do not have a favorable request, the appeal will be brought to a disability office hearing officer who has special training to review the medical and legal issues that are involved. If the hearing officer determines that a reversal is warranted, your appeal ends there.


Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Hearing

If you do not get a favorable result, you will move on to the next step, the hearing. The hearing takes place in front of an ALJ. The judge will carefully consider your argument before making a final decision. If the judge accepts your appeal, the process ends. If the judge denies your appeal, you can make two more appeals, one to the Appeals Council and one to the Federal District Court. The process for each step is the same as the one before.


Preparing for the hearing

Once your hearing is scheduled, go to your local disability determination office and review your file. Make any changes to it that will make it more updated and accurate. Make sure to specifically review the following parts of the file:

– Reported work record
– Medical records
– Residual Functioning Capacity (RFC) forms
– The SSA’s technical rationale forms

There are a lot of small details that can have a large impact on your CDR cessation appeal. So, it is a good idea to have some legal assistance along the way. If you are planning to file a CDR cessation appeal, contact a Social Security disability lawyer in Cleveland, Ohio to help you through the process. You will be glad you did.


Your SSI Attorney and the Appeals Process

If you’re Social Security disability application was denied, it doesn’t have to be the end of the road! You still have a say in what happens and you can file an appeal by visiting From the website you can upload information and documents critical to your case and the outcome. If this process seems to be too much to handle, you can always consider hiring in SSI Attorney to help complete some of the more complicated information for you.

Notary's hands doing daytime paperwork. Notary signing papers near window. Read everything carefully. Time to make conclusions.

Essentially, there are four different levels of appeal .There’s reconsideration, hearing by an administrative law judge, review by the Appeals Council and then lastly, a Federal Court review.


Simply put, a reconsideration is a review of your claim by someone that was not involved in the initial decision. They will review all of the information and come to a decision through that review. This part of the appeal process usually does not require you to be present.



If you don’t agree with the result of the reconsideration, you can ask for a hearing, which will be conducted by an administrative law judge who had no part in the initial decision or the reconsideration. The hearing will generally be held within 75 miles of your home and you will most likely be asked to give more evidence and clarify information about your claim. During the hearing, you and any witnesses you bring will be required to give information and answer any questions. It’s to your benefit to attend the hearing, but if you cannot, you must put in writing why you cannot.


Appeals Council

If you disagree with the decision of the hearing, you can ask for another review by Social Security’s Appeals Council. They will look at all requests for reviews but they will deny the request if they think the decision was correct. If they review your case, they will either make the decision themselves or turn it over to an administrative law judge for further review. If your request is denied, you will receive a letter stating the reason for denial.


Federal Court

If you still disagree with the decision from the Appeal’s Court or if they decide not to review your case, you can file a lawsuit in a federal district court.


As you can clearly tell, having your application denied is certainly not the end of the road. There are plenty of options of where to go after a denial and there is always a chance that you can still have your application approved. If you don’t want to go through all of this alone and would like an SSI Attorney in the Cleveland, Ohio area, is the best place for you to turn to.


Facts About the Taxation of Disability Benefits

If you have ever wondered if your Social Security disability benefits will be taxed, you are not alone. This question is a common, and for good reason. There is not a clear-cut yes-or-no answer to this question. There are many circumstances and factors that are considered in the answer to it, and the answer is not the same for everyone.

Word cloud with taxes and taxation themed words


Sources of income
People who receive disability benefits as their only source of income are not required to pay federal income tax on it. However, anyone who receives disability, as well as another type of income, may be required to pay taxes. If the total income you make exceeds $25,000 annually for a single person or $32,000 for a jointly-filing married couple, you will have to pay federal income taxes on the total income. The following sources of income should be added to determine if you meet the minimum taxable amount:

– Half of your disability benefit amount
– All of your taxable pension payments
– Any wages you earn
– All interest on savings accounts
– All dividends on stocks, bonds, mutual funds and other investments
– Any rental income or other types of passive income
– All other normally taxable income


Filing status
A married individual who is filing income tax separately from his or her spouse, the benefit amount is taxable, regardless of income level. A married individual who is filing jointly with his or her spouse can have a combined income up to $32,000 before the benefit amount is taxed. If the income surpasses that amount, 85% of the disability benefit is taxed by the federal government.

Lump-sum payments
If a lump-sum payment is awarded retroactively due to previous payments that were owed but not paid, the entire amount of the lump payment will be taxed at the same time.


State requirements
Each state has different laws regarding the taxation of disability payments. Anyone receiving disability benefits should check with the state in which he or she resides to find out which rules they must follow. The state of Ohio requires its residents to pay income taxes. However, those who are receiving disability benefits are exempt from being taxed for it.

Tax laws are complicated and vary from state to state. If you receive Social Security disability in Cleveland Ohio, contact a qualified and reputable attorney who can answer your questions regarding the taxation of your benefits.

Do My Children Receive Benefits Alongside Mine?

For families who receive social security disability benefits from the SSA, the constant worry of whether or not they will have adequate funds for their family becomes a true source of stress. However, many may not realize that they can receive benefits for their children alongside their own reward from the SSA. Knowing if you qualify for this option can greatly increase your monthly budget, and quality of life.


family, happiness, generation, home and people concept - happy family standing in front of house outdoors

family, happiness, generation, home and people concept – happy family standing in front of house outdoors

Thankfully, in many cases where you qualify for social security disability benefits, your children will qualify for some sort of benefits alongside you. No matter whether the child in question is biological, adopted, or a stepchild, the benefits can still be gained. Additionally, some grandchildren can even receive benefits in some cases if they are dependent of the person receiving social security disability benefits.


Overall there are three qualifications that the child must meet:
• They must be unmarried.
• They must be under the age of 18, or between 18-19 and be a full-time student.
• If they have a disability as well that started before the age of 22, they may be eligible for benefits past the age of 18.

In relation to the full-time student option, the child will be able to receive benefits either until they graduate, or until two months after they turn 19. Whichever of these options occurs first will become the effective cut-off date.


For many people looking into this topic, they will want to know more about how many children can receive these benefits alongside them, and how much they can be awarded at once. In general, every qualified child can receive benefits of up to half of your initial amount, but a cap does exist on the overall amount one family may receive in social security disability benefits from the SSA.


If you are looking for a law firm that can help you with this issue, and any other important SSI Benefits cases in Cleveland, Ohio, go no further then the law firm of James Mitchell Brown. My firm specializes in helping people receive the benefits they deserve, and has successfully served the Cleveland community for many years. Please contact me for a free consultation and we will get to work on acquiring the benefits your family so desperately needs during these trying times. I look forward to hearing from you.


Disability Lawyer, Not a Miracle Worker

Having a disability lawyer proves quite helpful when filing for disability benefits. In fact, most cases are denied without outside help. Going up against the Social Security Administration (SSA) without any backup is like going up against a well-equipped insurance company—they are more experienced, have more resources, and they hold the power, not you. However, you cannot rely fully on your disability lawyer in order to receive your benefits.


Disability Lawyer, Not a Miracle Worker


The Importance of a Disability Lawyer


Having an experienced lawyer to help with Social Security benefits can be one of your most valuable assets. Not only are these attorneys experienced and skilled communicators, but also they have the ability to speak directly to your physician, the judge, and the Social Security Administration themselves. Plus, they are experts with the law, so they will clearly be able to see whether your case meets the Social Security disability requirements. In addition, they can address critical elements in your work and medical history when reviewing your case.


Having an attorney that is familiar with Social Security disability claims can also increase your chances of winning your case if you decide to appeal. Approximately 85 percent of reconsiderations are denied, but if you have a lawyer, he or she can raise your chances of winning by at least 60 percent. Although hiring an attorney does not guarantee your win, it does reassure that you have the correct documentation filed and the right evidence presented.


Contact Your Doctor


Although having an experienced disability lawyer can strongly help your case, it does not always mean you will win. Your doctor’s opinion is crucial and can sway the decision of the Social Security Administration. After all, your doctor is required to label you as disabled. Also, the SSA needs a professional evaluation from your doctor that judges how well you perform essential tasks. This form is called the Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) form, and is one of the most important parts of your case.


Overall, you should have both your doctor and lawyer on your side when filing for disability benefits. The opinion of your doctor is critical to your case’s success since he or she knows firsthand how your disabilities work and how they may limit you, and your attorney is critical because he or she is the one to help win your case. Not only can he or she navigate his or her way through a successful hearing, but also he or she knows how to emphasize the aspects of your case that are necessary to win in court.

Denied? How an SSI Disability Lawyer Can Help

Your SSI disability application was denied. Now what? Many people applying for benefits simply give up, but a disability lawyer can help you re-apply and receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits. If you need assistance applying for benefits or appealing your claim, the talented attorneys at the Law Offices of James Mitchell Brown can help.

SSI Disability Lawyer

Retaining James Mitchell Brown early on when applying for disability benefits is advantageous for several reasons. First, the best time to ask for assistance from a disability lawyer is prior to filing your application. Retaining a lawyer early in the process enables him or her to develop the medical evidence of your case more favorably. These attorneys work with doctors to ensure your medical condition is fully and accurately recorded, particularly with respect to any physical or medical limitations that restrict your ability to work. Second, attorneys file and process claims quicker and more efficiently than you can by yourself. Because disability lawyers are more experienced with the process and are known by the Social Security Administration (SSA), there is additional credibility than if you were to file a claim on your own.

Unfortunately, many applicants are denied their benefits upon their initial applications. However, your chances increase if you appeal. There are four appeals stages available: reconsideration, an administrative law judge hearing, an appeals council review, and a hearing at a federal court. So, even if your application is denied initially, it is important that you continue to fight for your benefits. Also, having a lawyer by your side will increase your chances of gaining the benefits you deserve.

Gaining SSI benefits is a long process and can take months, even years, before your application is accepted, which is why it is important to apply for assistance right away. However, if you feel you are ill-equipped to successfully put together an application by yourself, you should contact a disability lawyer for help. Professionals at the Law Offices of James Mitchell Brown are dedicated to gaining SSI benefits for you. Every individual has different needs regarding the application process, and these attorneys do everything they can to fulfill your specific needs.

Contact one of these talented disability attorneys today and set up a free consultation to receive your benefits.