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Category: Helpful Hints PI

Trunk or Treat

Trunk or Treat

Join Us for Trunk-or-Treat!

It’s hard to believe, but Halloween is right around the corner! It’s a time for seasonal parties, trick-or-treating, and all kinds of spooky fun. And for many families, it’s important to celebrate in a way that’s both festive and safe.

To that end, we here at Jan Dils will be supporting the West Virginia Army National Guard’s upcoming Trunk-or-Treat event. Learn more about the organization here.

The event will be held on Saturday, October 19 from 6:00-7:00pm at the Parkersburg Armory. There will be trick-or-treating in the parking lot, and of course attendees of all ages are encouraged to dress up in costume. All local families – and especially military families – are welcome to attend.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Personal Injury Case

How to Know if You Have a Personal Injury Case?

If you’ve had an accident, you may be wondering if you have the foundation for a personal injury case. Personal injury law is designed to protect you if you’re harmed by someone else. Either by actions, they’ve taken or by their negligence.

Personal Injury Claim – Two Basic Factors

Every personal injury case, or tort, revolves around two basic factors.
  • Liability and
  • Damages.
The damages are the compensation for the negative outcomes you’ve suffered as a result of someone else’s actions. Liability is the extent to which the other person can be held responsible for the harm you’ve experienced.
 
There are a few factors that determine how strong your personal injury cases will be filed. Furthermore, The first is the severity of the harm you’ve experienced.
 
If you were in a fender bender and your car got a little banged up, that’s not likely to be a strong reason to file a lawsuit. Yet, if you’ve experienced more serious physical injuries as a result of a car accident, that will be a stronger case.
 
The next factor is whether the damages have been paid. If you’re in a car accident and you endure injuries, it’s likely your health insurance will cover at least some of your medical costs.
 
And either you or the other party will likely have car insurance that covers damage to your vehicle. This could make it more difficult to show that you deserve to receive damages. Yet, this is not always the deciding factor.
 
Insurance doesn’t cover emotional harm or a loss in quality of life. And it’s possible that your insurance rates will increase. These are damages you may be eligible to be compensated for.
 
Another important factor is how well you can prove that the harm you’ve suffered is the result of the other person’s actions or negligence. Also, Just because the other person has been in the incident, doesn’t mean they are legally responsible for the harm.
 
Importantly, if your personal injury case is to be “frivolous” – meaning it lacks the merit to be brought before the court – it can be thrown out and you may face sanctions.
 
If you’re unclear about whether your situation merits a lawsuit, feel free to contact us.
 
Anytime at 877-526-3457. Our representatives will be happy to speak with you about the details of your case.
SS Veterans

What is Substantial Gainful Activity?

What is Substantial Gainful Activity?

To qualify to receive Social Security disability benefits, you must be unable to participate in substantial gainful activity (SGA). This means you must not be able to work enough to support yourself financially.

If you’re earning more than a specified monthly amount, that’s typically considered engaging in SGA. The amount of monthly income that’s considered SGA varies and depends upon the nature of your disability. Additionally, the Social Security Act allows for a higher amount for individuals who are statutorily blind.

The amount changes along with the national average wage index.

An exception to the SGA rule is if someone wants to try out returning to work to see if he or she is able to rejoin the workforce. When

workers are deemed eligible for disability benefits, they’re allowed to attempt to return to the work force for a trial period, during which they may still be able to collect benefits.

Work may also be considered “substantial” if it involves performing significant physical or mental tasks. Therefore, work does not need to be full-time to be considered “substantial.”

The Social Security Administration (SSA) determines the limit for how much money a person can make – and what type of work they can do – based on the type of disability and the current cost of living. To learn more about that formula, visit the SSA’s website.

Do you have questions about receiving Social Security disability benefits? Feel free to contact us at 877-526-3457. One of our representatives will be happy to speak with you. If you’d prefer to contact us online, fill out this form and we will be in touch right away.

Car Accident

5 Steps to Take After a Car Accident

After a Car Accident: 5 Steps Guide

A car accident is stressful. It might be difficult in the heat of the moment to figure out what steps you should take first. Should you file a report? What about contacting the insurance company? Read on to learn about the five most important steps to take after a car accident.
 

Don’t Leave after a car accident

This may seem somewhat obvious, but it is very important and worth emphasizing. You should never leave the scene of an accident until all parties’ concerns addressed. If the other driver has any injuries and you leave the scene, you could face criminal charges. The first thing you should do at this point is to check on everyone involved and assess any injuries.
 

Call the Police 

Whether you are the one at fault or not, your car insurance or the other driver’s need a police report to file before covering the cost of any damages. Call the police after a car accident.
 

Talk with the Other Driver about car injuries

At this point, you need to exchange contact and insurance information. Also, exchange driver’s licenses and license plate numbers. Yet, you don’t want to apologize for anything.
 
Be polite and courteous when speaking with the other driver. But remember that apologizing might mean you’re admitting to legal liability. And that could result that you’re ready to pay damages if the other party files a personal injury lawsuit. After the dust has settled and you are ready to contact your Insurance Company. Your representative will likely ask you some questions; whether you were at fault or not.
 

Track Medical Records

If you sustain any injuries as a result of the car accident, be sure to keep track of your medical records. If you’re not at fault, any costs not covered by your medical insurance could be considered damages. If you file a personal injury lawsuit, and the other party could be ready to compensate you.
 

Decide Whether to Hire an Attorney

Whether you are the party at fault or not, it can be useful to speak with an attorney. If you face injuries and not at fault, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit. And you could be able to gain for damages you’ve sustained. And if you are the party at fault, an attorney will help to defend you if the other party files suit.
 
To learn more about the legal steps to take after a car accident, contact us at Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, at 877-526-2357. Or visit jandils.com. Our representatives will be happy to speak with you about the specifics of your situation.
Local Student Veterans

Supporting Local Student Veterans

Support Local Student Veterans

Here at Jan Dils, we’re glad to have the opportunity to work with West Virginia University Parkersburg to support local veterans pursuing higher education and professional development.

Earlier this summer, our Freedom Fun Run 5K raised $12,500 in funds for WVUP’s Veteran Resource Center. According to Darren Shearlock, the university’s veterans advocate, the resource center, “creates a space where we can help student veterans achieve their professional and educational goals. We provide work stations to give them a quiet place to study, as well as a space to socialize, and a place where veterans can discuss veteran-specific issues on campus.”

Other services provided by the center include helping students to manage college credit transfers and to secure financing through the GI Bill.

The opportunities available to student veterans at WVUP are invaluable in helping them move forward professionally.

“Right now across America, we’re in a changing economy. Jobs that your parents used to have won’t be able to provide a lot of young people the careers that they’re looking for to reach that middle class lifestyle. In order to change with the economy, they need new skills. And at WVUP, we’re able to help them achieve those skills, get degrees and certificates that will make them competitive in a 21st Century environment, at one of the lowest rates in the state,” Shearlock said.

In addition, for many students, pursuing higher education can provide benefits that go beyond the academic and even the professional. And we were touched by the positive stories we heard about their successes. Shearlock gave the example of a student whose husband passed away, leaving her without a source of income or social support.

“When she came in, there were two things we could do for her. One was to help her re-tool and get back into the workforce. But just as importantly, we could give her a sense of purpose with what she was doing with her life…We provided that social support structure,” Shearlock said.

Shearlock’s personal and professional background gives him the kind of insight necessary to effectively support student veterans. He served over 20 years in the U.S. Army and was deployed numerous times. He took advantage of the GI Bill to earn his Master’s Degree and went on to pursue a doctorate with the goal of teaching at the collegiate level.

“When an opportunity came to both educate people and help veterans at the same time, I couldn’t pass it up,” he said.

If you’re a veteran in need of more information about legal representation or veterans’ benefits, please give us a call anytime at 1-877-526-3457. One of our representatives will be happy to answer your questions.

Project Yoga Offers Classes and Community to Local Veterans

Project Yoga Offers Classes and Community to Local Veterans

Project Yoga Offers Classes

Back in June, we were thrilled to see the turnout at our Freedom Fun Run 5K, and we’re so happy we were able to raise $12,500 for Parkersburg’s Project Yoga, which offers yoga classes specially tailored for Veterans.

Project Yoga was founded in 2017 by Cheryl and Patrick McHugh whose goal was to make the therapeutic benefits of yoga available to underserved communities in the Parkersburg area.

U.S. Army Veteran Steve Barnhart joined the team as the organization’s Veterans Manager after experiencing the positive effects of yoga firsthand.

“Yoga helped me finally deal with, talk about, and put behind me things that I had held inside for 20-plus  years. I found it unexpectedly, and now I’m trying to spread it so that others can benefit as well,” he said.

Barnhart explained that he decided to take a 200-hour yoga teacher training program to learn more about the practice of yoga and what exactly makes it so beneficial. As part of the program, he was required to offer a number of free classes as practice, and he decided he wanted to offer those classes to Veterans.

“I didn’t have a lot of success at first – there’s a lot of stereotyping of yoga. But seeing a guy like me kind of helps break that stereotype,” Barnhart said.

Ultimately, he found an opportunity to offer the classes at the Veterans Center in Parkersburg, where they were very popular.

“It was supposed to be a one-time trial on a Monday night back in June. But when that first class was over, the Vets were like, ‘OK, same time next week?’ It just grew,” he said.

As the classes continued to gain popularity, they outgrew the space available at the Veterans Center, and it was at that point that the Veterans program relocated to Project Yoga. Each week since, Barnhart has had the opportunity to witness the benefits experienced by the Veterans who attend.

“There was one gentleman in particular who had some physical challenges. We initially started doing chair yoga, and we graduated when the Veterans wanted to start doing ‘real’ yoga. This gentleman kind of confided in me that he wasn’t going to come back even though he enjoyed it because he hadn’t been able to get up and down off the floor by himself for a long time. He was over 70 years old. Thankfully, Cheryl was there and asked him if he’d be OK if we helped him up and down and he was, so he kept coming back. And now he’s a different man,” Barnhart said.

Moving forward, Barnhart and the Project Yoga team would like to hire more teachers and make both additional classes and additional types of yoga available to local Veterans. And we here at Jan Dils are happy to have the opportunity to support their efforts to do that.

“Listening to Steve’s story and other Veterans’ stories about how much yoga has helped them with adjusting to everyday life was inspiring,” said Jan Dils.

For Barnhart, the classes have personal significance, as well.

“I kind of accidentally discovered yoga and it helped me, and I’m trying to help others and to maybe make up for a few mistakes that I’ve made in my past by doing something good,” he said.

If you’re a Veteran in need of more information about legal representation or Veterans benefits, please give us a call anytime at 877-526-3457. One of our representatives will be happy to answer your questions.

Social Security Disability Benefits

Can I Work and Still Get Social Security Disability Benefits?

The process of making sure you receive the Social Security disability benefits you deserve may seem complicated. In fact, navigating that process is what our specialists are here to do.

What if you are receiving disability benefits and you want to return to work? Will your benefits be impacted?

The short answer is, maybe. There are special rules that the Social Security Administration has that can help you start working again without jeopardizing your initial benefits. These rules make it possible for people who are receiving Social Security disability benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to work and still get their monthly payments.

Social Security also has a Ticket to Work program that can benefit those hoping to return to work. Under this program, you may receive free vocational rehabilitation, training, job referrals, and other support.

Learn more about the details of the special rules and Ticket to Work here.

While it may be possible to work and continue receiving benefits, you’ll want to make sure you meet all the necessary conditions before moving forward with a new job.

Understanding what’s necessary to meet the qualifications to receive Social Security disability benefits is important. Our firm has 25 years of experience advising our clients on these issues. If you have any questions or you’d like to schedule a free consult, please contact our team at 877-526-3457. You can also fill out a contact form and a member of our team will reach out to you.

Safety Tips For Nighttime Driving

Nighttime Driving Safety Tips

Safety Tips for Nighttime Driving

With the shorter days, it’s likely you’ll do more of your driving in the dark. Driving at night, combined with the wet and icy road conditions we often encounter as the temperatures drop, can make hitting the road more dangerous. Here are a few tips to help you stay safe:

 

Dim Your Dash Lights

The large information and entertainment LED screens many cars have these days can cause quite a bit of distracting light. Find your car’s dimmer switch and turn down the brightness. Also, be aware that lights from other sources like your GPS screen can diminish your nighttime vision. That’s certainly not to say you shouldn’t use a GPS, but drive with caution if there are extra lights on inside your car.

 

Be Mindful of Your Eyewear

Glasses – especially prescription lenses – reflect light, and that can have an impact on your ability to see clearly in the dark. If you wear glasses, choose prescription lenses with anti-reflective coating.

 

Use Your High Beams Properly

It can be tempting to turn on your high beams when it’s dark, but there are times when they’re appropriate and times when they’re not. In general, you shouldn’t use your high beams if you’re driving on city streets, if there’s oncoming traffic, or if conditions are foggy. On the other hand, it can be helpful to use them on clear nights when you’re driving on rural or low-traffic roads with no oncoming traffic.

 

Don’t Look Directly at Headlights

Bright lights will certainly catch your attention at night, but looking directly at the headlights of an oncoming car will inhibit the ability of your eyes to readjust to the dark. It also means you’re not looking at the road ahead of you. So be aware of when a car is coming toward you, but don’t look directly at it when driving at night.

 

Don’t Speed

This one may seem obvious but it’s worth repeating. It can be easy when you’re on the road to forget that the higher speed you’d drive during the day may not be safe at night. While you don’t want to drive so slowly you’re interrupting the flow of traffic, you also want to make sure you’re not driving above a speed that’s safe for nighttime travel.

Slowing down and taking extra precautions when driving this time of year can seem like a nuisance, but these small steps can go a long way toward keeping you safe on the road.

Of course, if you have an accident and the liability is questionable, contact jandils.com for a free consultation.

Social Security Disability Benefits

Is There a Waiting Period for Social Security Disability Benefits?

When you’re in need of Social Security disability benefits, things can feel very urgent, and waiting for your benefits to begin can be stressful. So just how long does it take for your payments to start arriving?

In most cases, benefits will begin after five months. That means you’ll receive your first payment for the sixth month after Social Security decides you qualify to receive benefits. This waiting period is mandated because, under the law, you can’t start receiving benefits until you’ve been disabled for at least five months. So, if your disability begins June 15, your first benefit will be paid in December.

Benefits are paid the month after the month they are due. So, for example, your December payment will be received in January.

When it’s decided that you will be receiving disability benefits, you’ll get a notice in the mail from Social Security that will explain how much your benefits will be and when you will start receiving them. If you have family members who are also eligible for disability benefits, a separate notice will be sent.

If you have any additional questions about receiving your disability benefits, view the Social Security Administration’s online pamphlet. Or if you’d like to learn more about the services we offer or schedule a free consult, please call 877-526-3457 to speak with one of our specialists. You can also fill out a contact form and a member of our team will reach out to you.

Autumn Yardwork

Tips to Stay Safe While Doing Autumn Yardwork

Tips to Stay Safe While Doing Yardwork this Fall

As autumn approaches, many of us will soon be heading outside to rake leaves and do other seasonal yardwork. While they may not seem like particularly dangerous activities, there are a number of injuries that can be caused by this kind of physical labor, particularly if you haven’t done it in a while. Here are a few tips you’ll want to keep in mind to prevent injury:

 

Go Slow and Steady

When doing this kind of work, it’s important not to overexert yourself. Keep it slow and take breaks if you’re feeling tired. Pop in your headphones and listen to a podcast, e-book, or favorite playlist while enjoying the fall weather.

 

Wear Proper Footwear

Make sure you wear shoes that are comfortable and provide proper protection. Sharp sticks and rocks may be hidden under the leaves or in the grass, and if you’re wearing open-toed shoes, they could potentially injure your feet. Also, standing and walking for long periods of time in shoes that are uncomfortable can cause pain and injury.

 

Use Short Strokes

The safest way to rake is by taking short strokes. That way you will minimize the risk of injuries related to extending your arms.

 

Protect Your Back

One of the biggest risks of raking leaves and doing other yardwork is hurting your back. When raking, keep your back straight and twist your whole body from your waist. Use your legs to shift your weight. You’ll also want to use your legs if you’re lifting anything heavy, like large flowerpots.

 

Choose the Right Rake

Make sure you select a rake that’s appropriate for you. Don’t use one that’s too long or too heavy, as it can increase the risk of various types of injuries.

For many of us, autumn is our favorite season. While you’re enjoying the pumpkin spice and the apple cider, be sure to make your safety a priority as well.

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