Sometimes a Veteran may be entitled to a higher disability rating than is contemplated in the Schedule for Rating Disabilities when the VA’s schedule does not contemplate the level of symptoms or disability that the Veteran presents.

The VA’s Schedule for Rating Disabilities (hereinafter referred to as “Schedule”) is found in 38 C.F.R. Part 4, §§ 4.40 – 4.150.  Separated into separate sections depending upon body system and condition, the Schedule lists a host of illnesses and injuries, designating particular rating percentages for different levels of symptomatology.  Continue Reading

New research confirms that drivers affected by attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are more likely to be involved in serious car crashes. An article in JAMA Psychiatry reports that drivers with ADHD are about 50 percent more likely to be in accidents as compared to the rest of the population.

The National Resource Center on ADHD notes that individuals with ADHD are prone to distraction, inattentiveness and impulsive behavior. These three issues also happen to be among the most common causes of car accidents.

To make matters even more challenging for parents of young drivers with ADHD, cell phones have become an increasingly tempting distraction. Parents need to be able to keep their young drivers safe. In the unfortunate event that a serious accident does occur, you need to have an experienced car accident attorney by your side throughout the claims process.

ADHD and Car Accidents: Understanding the Risks

According to a report from Reuters, a recent study published in JAMA Psychiatry has found a clear link between ADHD and car accidents. After reviewing the driving history of more than 40,000 young drivers, the researchers determined that people with ADHD are 50 percent more likely to be involved in a serious car accident. This is a very alarming figure.

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Military Fatigues Flag Dog TagsThe Presumption of Sound Condition is a powerful doctrine when used appropriately.  It can force the VA to accept that the Veteran entered military service in sound condition and is only rebuttable by Clear and Unmistakable Evidence – a high threshold to pass.

38 U.S.C. § 1111 states:

For the purposes of section 1110 of this title, every Veteran shall be taken to have been in sound condition when examined, accepted, and enrolled for service, except as to defects, infirmities, or disorders noted at the time of the examination, acceptance and enrollment, or where clear and unmistakable evidence demonstrates that the injury or disease existed before acceptance and enrollment and was not aggravated by such service.

It is important to understand that in order for this presumption to apply, a Veteran must have been examined, accepted, and enrolled for service.  For most Veterans, examination, acceptance, and enrollment for service formally took place at a Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS).  If there was no examination, there is no presumption.  Recently with the operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, National Guardsmen and Reservists were called to active duty but not given a formal service entrance examination.  In this case, the pre-deployment examination should be used.  A Veteran can rely on the presumption if an examination did take place but the VA either cannot find the records[1] or can only find partial records and there is no note of the condition. Continue Reading

Young Woman Smokes E-Cig Electronic CigaretteThere has been a dramatic increase in the use of e-cigarettes in the past few years. According to data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 12.6 percent of American adults report that they have tried e-cigarettes.

Currently, 3.7 percent of adults report that they use e-cigarettes more than once per week. This means that there are now 9 million adults vaping on a regular basis, this includes many people in Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina.

This should be good news, after all, e-cigarettes are supposed to be a safer alternative to smoking. However, recent events have raised very serious concerns about the safety of these devices.

For those wondering why their city suddenly seems to have more people out and about, a hit new game called Pokémon Go has people of all ages outside searching for Pokémon (yes, from that ’90s Japanese craze) to add to their collection.

The smartphone app superimposes cartoon characters on top of the image from the phone’s camera and, in conjunction with its GPS, creates a virtual reality game that makes it look like the Pokémon are on your street, or in parks, restaurants, businesses, etc. The app was an instant success, earning $7.5 billion in just two days, and according to Reuters, already had a higher usage rate than Twitter or Instagram less than a week after it was released.

Risks of the Game

The runaway success of the app has some undeniable benefits. Local businesses, museums, and even churches are seeing more traffic and interest because of the hordes of people looking for Pokémon to collect. Many people are going outdoors more often than before, getting more exercise, and interacting with other Pokémon Go players. But there are major risks involved in playing the game.

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The tragic death of a two-year-old boy from Nebraska in the water by Disney’s Grand Floridian Hotel as the result of an alligator attack may have some families considering their own safety when they make plans for outings in similar places.

Amusement parks, with their sprawling spaces, various features and terrains, and day-long and sometimes week-long guests, are responsible for the enormous task of keeping their premises safe, secure, and as hazard-free as possible for their guests. That is not an easy task, and at times companies fail to adequately address safety hazards.

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Our South Carolina workers compensation attorneys at Grimes Teich Anderson often get calls from individuals asking about Maximum Medical Improvement, and the impact it has on their case.  Maximum Medical Improvement (or MMI) is a commonly use phrase in workers’ compensation cases in South Carolina. What does it mean when your doctor says you have reached MMI? How does this affect your workers’ compensation case?

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In pursuing VA veteran disability benefits, the Special Rules for Combat Veterans Law (38 USC § 1154) provides combat veterans with a much-needed advantage in proving an in-service occurrence or aggravation of illness or injury.

The three major elements a veteran must prove is (1) a current condition, (2) an in-service occurrence or aggravation of illness or injury, and (3) a causal connection between the in-service occurrence or aggravation and the current condition.  Because combat is wrought with immediacy and uncertainty, records that might normally have been created may likely be incomplete, may not have been created, or if created they may have been destroyed.[1] Because of this, Congress enacted 38 USC § 1154(b), which states:

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Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), concussions and other head injuries can have devastating long-term consequences. All employers must take proper precautions in order to protect workers from suffering a TBI. Construction workers, in particular, are at high risk.

Unfortunately, far too many construction companies are still falling short of their legal duty to protect the safety of their workers. If you have suffered a construction TBI in Western North Carolina or Upstate South Carolina, please contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney at Grimes Teich Anderson LLP today to discuss your legal options.

Traumatic Brain Injuries on Construction Sites

TBIs on construction sites are a major problem. Recently, researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) released a report exploring the frequency of traumatic brain injuries in the construction field. The study was included in the March 2016 edition of the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.

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When children are out of school for the summer and look to have fun in pools and on trampolines, they see fun, not danger. Many parents, too, don’t realize the hidden dangers that trampolines and pools present to children.

However, the statistics do not lie. A study conducted by the Indiana University School of Medicine found that approximately 289,000 children suffered bone fractures as a result of accidents on trampolines between 2002 and 2011, according to USA Today. A similar study published in the Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics found that trampoline accidents resulted in 1 million emergency room visits during the same period.

Pools are not any safer. An average of 10 people per day died in unintentional, non-boating-related drownings between 2005 and 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Approximately 50 percent of these victims were children under the age of 14.

Who Is Responsible for Swimming Pool and Trampoline Accidents?

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