What Are the Stages of Mesothelioma?

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When you or a loved one is diagnosed with mesothelioma, one of the most important pieces of information you’ll receive at first is the stage of the disease. The stage refers to how advanced the cancer is and can impact everything from your prognosis to treatment options.

The National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health says there are four stages of mesothelioma. At the first stage, the disease is considered to be localized while it’s deemed advanced in stages 2, 3 and 4.

To determine the stage, the American Cancer Society explains on its website that doctors use the TMN staging system. This system looks at three factors.

Tumor: Doctors evaluate the size and placement of the primary tumor.

Nodes: Then, they look to the lymph node system and check for evidence of mesothelioma there.

Metastasized: Finally, physicians determine whether the disease has metastasized. That is, whether it can be found in other organs of the body away from the primary tumor.

Depending on what a doctor finds during his examination of these three factors, a person’s mesothelioma will be placed into one of the following stages.

Stage I

Those with stage I mesothelioma have the best prognosis because the disease is still localized in one part of the body. At this stage, cancer is not found in the lymph node system nor has it metastasized.

Localized mesothelioma can be further broken down into stage IA and stage IB. For those with mesothelioma, stage IA is the best case scenario as it means the cancer is only in one side of the chest and has not spread to the lining of the lung. Stage IB is also cancer that is on one side of the chest, but it may be in the lining of the lung.

Stage II

At stage II, mesothelioma has been found in the lining of one side of the chest as well as the lining of the diaphragm, the lining of the chest cavity and the lining of the lungs. It will also have traveled to either the diaphragm or lung tissue by this point.

Stage III

Stage III mesothelioma fits into one of two scenarios. In the first, the cancer has moved into the lymph node system, a situation which can make it easy for the disease to metastasize.

The other possibility is that there is no cancer in the lymph node system, but it has been found in the soft tissue of the chest wall, the fat in the area between the lungs, the tissue between the ribs and the chest wall lining or the sac around the heart.

Stage IV

In its final stage, mesothelioma has moved into the lymph nodes and may have metastasized. It could be found in both sides of the chest as well in the diaphragm, chest wall, spine, heart muscles or other organs.

Unfortunately, at stage IV, surgery is not an option, and an individual’s prognosis is quite limited.

While the stage is one of the most important initial pieces of information you can receive about your or your loved one’s condition, it’s not the only thing you need to know. Keep an eye on LegalDirect for more information on your treatment options and how to improve your quality of life.

Who is eligible for Social Security Disability?

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Social Security Disability Insurance, also known as SSDI, provides monthly cash benefits to those who can no longer work because of a medical condition. The money is often a lifeline for families who have lost a job or income out of no fault of their own.

However, like all government programs, there are specific rules as to who is eligible for SSDI. These include requirements for a work history and criteria your medical condition must meet. There are also special situations in which someone may become eligible for benefits automatically.

Let’s take a closer look at these rules and situations.

How the government determines SSDI eligibility

The government is looking for the answers to a series of questions when it reviews applications. According to the Social Security Administration, these questions are:

  • Are you working? If your 2016 earnings average more than $1,130 a month, you will likely not be found eligible for SSDI. If you are working at the time of your application, you will also not likely be eligible.
  • Is your condition severe? A severe condition is one that interferes with basic work-related activities.
  • Is your condition found on the list of disabling conditions? The government maintains a list of medical conditions that warrant an approval as well as a number of conditions that will automatically qualify someone for SSDI. If your condition is not on the list, you might still be able to get Social Security Disability, but the government will have to do a review before making a decision. We’ll talk more about what’s included on the list of disabling conditions in a moment.
  • Can you do the work you previously did? If the government decides you can still do the work at your previous job, you will not be found eligible for SSDI.
  • Can you do any other type of work? Assuming you can’t do your previous job, the government will consider whether you have the skills and ability to transfer into a new line of work. If they think you can, they won’t approve you for Social Security Disability benefits. If they think you can’t, you may be approved.

Medical conditions that qualify for Social Security Disability

The government listing of medical conditions eligible for SSDI is separated into two parts: one for children and one for adults. The lists are too long to include all the conditions here, but you can find them online at the Social Security Administration website. Here is a sample of eligible disabilities.

For children, the following are including on Social Security’s list of disabling conditions:

  • Non-mosaic Down syndrome
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Lymphoma
  • Chronic liver disease

For adults, the list of disabling conditions includes the following:

  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Chronic heart failure
  • Spine disorders
  • Schizophrenic disorders

For some of these conditions, such as chronic heart failure, the disability must meet certain measurable criteria before it becomes severe enough to warrant approval for SSDI. In addition, the condition must be expected to keep you out of the workforce for at least a year to qualify for disability payments.

Disabilities that automatically qualify for SSDI

Some conditions are so serious that the government allows those diagnosed with them to bypass the normal review process. Known as Compassionate Allowances, these conditions are often terminal or undeniably debilitating. The following are a few of the conditions approved for Compassionate Allowances:

  • Edwards Syndrome
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Lewy Body dementia
  • Plueral mesothelioma
  • Lou Gerhig’s disease (ALS)
  • Usher Syndrome

The Social Security Administration publishes the complete list of Compassionate Allowances online.

Work test for SSDI eligibility

Since SSDI payments are based upon the taxes a person pays into Social Security, only those with a qualifying work history can receive disability benefits. The government uses something called a work test, or earnings test, to determine if someone’s work history qualifies.

When it comes to Social Security disability, there is both a recent work test and a duration of work test.

The recent work test looks for the following:

  • Those who become disabled in or before the quarter they turn 24 must have worked 1.5 years of the previous 3 years.
  • Those who become disabled in or after the quarter they turn 24 but before the quarter they turn 31 must have worked at least half the time from when they were 21 until they became disabled.
  • Those who become disabled in the quarter they turn 31 or later must have worked 5 out of the previous 10 years.

The duration of work test requires individuals to have worked a certain number of years in total based upon their age. For example, a 60-year old needs to have at least 9.5 years of work to be eligible for SSDI payments. A 50-year old only needs 7 years in the workplace. Each age has its own requirement.

Do you find these rules confusing?

You’re not alone. Many people find it difficult to understand the Social Security Disability rules. Fortunately, you can get someone to help you with your application.

LegalDirect.com connects people in need with representatives who are experienced in Social Security Disability claims. Why spend hours trying to understand the process when you could have a professional to handle your claim for you? There is no upfront fee and most attorneys only charge if you are able to collect on your claim.

Proving You Didn’t Cause An Auto Accident

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Our team has helped connect thousands of injured people with attorneys to help them get the money and justice they deserve.

Some car accidents leave little or no confusion over who caused the crash — but, for many others, the trauma of a collision is compounded by disputes over who is responsible for injuries and property damage.

Even when the auto accident clearly resulted from the other driver’s actions, their insurance company will often fight tooth and nail to avoid paying a settlement. However, knowing your rights and the rules of the road before you’re involved in an accident will help move along your auto accident claim.

Negligence

As the legal standard for establishing fault in most auto accidents, negligence occurs when someone fails to take the precautions that would be expected of any reasonable driver. Examples include running stop signs, speeding, reckless turns, violating right-of-way or otherwise neglecting to show concern for oneself or other drivers.

Immediately following an accident, pay attention to and document any clear signs of negligence on part of the other driver. Were there any witnesses who might have seen that the other driver was speeding or ran through a red light? Establishing the other driver’s negligence is crucial to any auto accident claim.

Presumption of Negligence

These laws vary from state-to-state, but many vehicle laws exist to take the burden of proof from you and give it to the other driver.

Usually, you must prove that the other driver acted negligently prior to the accident, but if the driver was going the wrong way on a one-way road, driving under the influence, making an illegal U-turn or violating any state law for driver conduct, then the other driver must provide proof that they were not acting negligent.

Read up on your state laws for motorists and be ready to document anything that shows a violation of these laws in order to establish a presumption of negligence for the other driver.

No-Doubt Liability

Because of the way certain driving laws are written, some types of accidents make it incredibly easy to determine who was at fault.

Read-end collisions are, by default, caused by the person who rear ends the other car. The law mandates that every car should be able to stop safely at any point — so when another driver rear ends you, the law presumes that they were not driving responsibly enough to stop in time.

Left turn accidents work similarly, because the law says that a left turn can only be made when traffic is completely clear and passage is safe. In most cases, the fact that an accident occurred shows that a left turn was made without proper precaution.

When in doubt about demonstrating fault in your car accident, an auto accident attorney can help you understand your rights and the proper course of action to take. They will do the hard work of organizing and presenting evidence for your claim, as well as working with insurance companies or the courts to assure you receive the compensation you deserve.

For more information about auto accident injury claims, please contact us here to be connected with the right attorney for your situation.