An Urbandale High School employee was hit by a car in the crosswalk in front of the school yesterday in the early hours of the morning just before the students started to arrive. The fatal accident reminds area residents of the dangers presented at the busy intersection and many are calling for increased awareness to prevent future tragedies from occurring.
According to a recent National Highway Safety Administration NHTSA report, on average a pedestrian is killed every 2 hours and injured every 8 minutes with pedestrian deaths accounting for more than 10 percent of all car accidents. The Governors Board of Traffic Safety reports that pedestrian fatalities are outpacing all other traffic deaths, with a 27 percent increase in incidents over the last decade.
While pedestrian accidents correlate with the weather, time of day, economic conditions, demographics, fuel prices, and vehicle miles traveled and the presence of people walking, there are concerns that impaired and distracted driving may also play a role. Alcohol played a role in nearly half of all pedestrian traffic fatalities in 2016 and not surprisingly cell phone use while driving also figures prominently.
Also notable is that children and older adults are especially vulnerable to pedestrian accidents for reasons that include limited pedestrian experience, inadequate risk perception and perceptual judgement in children and fragility, reduced mobility and vision in the elderly. Studies reveal Iowa pedestrian fatalities involving children ages 15 and younger was among the highest in the country between the years of 2014-2015.
Strategies to increase the separation of pedestrians from cars include installing refuge islands on two way streets, use of pedestrian over and underpasses, countdown signals for pedestrians, and traffic signals where warranted. It is also crucial that pedestrians are more visible to drivers so improved street lighting, high visibility crosswalks and flashing beacons alerting drivers to an upcoming crosswalk are suggested. Higher speeds are associated with the greater likelihood of an accident and of greater injuries to a pedestrian. Drivers should adjust speeds down in the presence of pedestrian traffic to reduce the likelihood of an accident.
If you or a loved one has been injured by being struck by a vehicle, contact the Iowa pedestrian accident attorneys of Hemminger Law Firm to discuss what compensation may be available to you or your family member to cover medical bills, lost wages, and damages for pain and suffering caused by negligent motorists.
Workers’ compensation benefits are not typically considered taxable income. However, in many states, if you receive disability benefits through social security such as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and are receiving workers’ comp benefits, the Social Security Administration may reduce your SSDI or SSI benefit, so the combination of workers’ comp and disability payments do not exceed the threshold or 80% of your average pay. The deduction will be offset by workers’ comp benefits, which are taxable by the amount SSDI or SSI was reduced.
Say for example, an employee’s average current earnings are $2,500. He or she is eligible for a monthly SSDI benefit of $1,500.00 and a monthly workers’ compensation benefit of $800.00, for a total of $2,300.00 per month. Because that amount exceeds $2,000, or 80% of his or her average earnings, SSDI may be reduced by $300.00 so the employee receives $1,200.00 from SSDI and $800.00 from workers’ compensation, for a total of $2,000.00. The employee will be taxed on the $1,200.00 SSDI amount and $300.00 of the workers’ compensation benefit, because the SSDI was reduced by $300.00. If you receive a lump sum, the settlement will be prorated to determine your monthly rate.
Every dollar counts when you are receiving benefits such as workers’ comp and disability payments following a work injury, so it is important to work with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to structure your settlement to minimize the offset of SSDI or SSI and reduce taxes to maximize what you take home. Contact the Des Moines workers’ compensation law offices of Hemminger Law Firm today for assistance. Our attorneys understand what is at stake for individuals and families depending on workers’ compensation benefits and will provide you with a strategy to yield the best results. Whether you are just getting started or have been denied workers’ compensation benefits, give our Iowa workers’ compensation team a call at 515-283-2116 for a free consultation today.
Many families who entrust their loved ones’ care to a nursing home quickly realize they have to keep a close eye on and ask questions about the care their relatives are receiving. Not only is there the risk of mistakes being made that can result in injury or death to a nursing home resident but also the threat unnecessary care for financial gain.
Particularly disturbing is a recent study published in the Journal of American Medical Directors Association (JAMDA) which reveals nursing homes’ increasing practice of providing intense levels of rehabilitative therapies to residents in their final days of life. Practiced by twice as many for profit homes as nonprofit, these last-ditch, expensive services raise questions as to whether they are helpful to residents or simply a lucrative source of revenue for the nursing homes.
Perhaps the most troubling part of the study is the suggestion that residents are not being referred to hospice care where their comfort is the priority, but rather held back to undergo perhaps needless rehabilitative therapies in their final days, spelling big profits for the facilities in which they reside.
Unfortunately with a model of reimbursement based on the delivery of services rather than a patient’s needs, the potential for shenanigans is high. Although some rehabilitative therapy undoubtedly provides benefits to patients, the research suggests that the scope and intensity might be excessive, perhaps even causing discomfort to patients in their final days.
Nursing home abuse and negligence are an unfortunate reality so it is very important for nursing home residents and their families to remain vigilant regarding the care they receive, whether it be excessive or inadequate. Care provided in a nursing home should fit the needs, goals and wishes of the nursing home resident and their families with the help of their doctor – not to improve the nursing home’s bottom line.
If your family member is injured by unnecessary care delivered in a nursing home, or by any other nursing home negligent care, contact the Des Moines nursing home neglect and abuse law offices of John T. Hemminger for immediate help.
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