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Providence Personal Injury and Social Security Disability Law Blog

Was driver fatigue the reason the tractor-trailer hit you?

Tens of thousands of pounds of steel barreling down a Rhode Island highway out of control: That is a frightening situation if you're in a nearby vehicle. When you share the road with tractor-trailers, the risk of collision may increase if a truck operator has been burning the candle at both ends and driving while fatigued. 

Even if you are an extremely careful driver, if another person is negligent, there's not much you can do to avoid an accident. However, knowing the warning signs can be an additional help to avoiding serious accidents. 

What is fatigued driving?

Fatigued driving has been getting a lot of press due to how dangerous it is. There are many misconceptions about it, and many drivers in Rhode Island are guilty of doing it without even realizing it. To be a good driver and to stay safe on the roads, you should become familiar with what fatigued driving is and how it can affect you.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, fatigued or drowsy driving is caused when you are overly tired or falling asleep behind the wheel. Generally, you will know if you are affected because you will unable to focus properly on the road and on safely driving. 

Is alcoholism a qualifying disability for SSDI?

You may often hear from people in Rhode Island who are upset about the government's social programs complaining that anyone who is an alcoholic can get Social Security Disability benefits with no trouble. This is based on old information or a misunderstanding of how the system works. According to the Social Security Administration, alcoholism has not been a qualifying disability for SSDI since 1997.

In 1997, a new law came into effect that stripped the rights of anyone to receive Social Security benefits solely due to alcohol dependency. The 1996 Contract with America Advancement Act was the law. Prior to this, you very well could get SSDI if you claimed alcoholism as your primary impairment. However, once passed, the Act changed everything. 

How do life jackets save lives?

One of the pillars of boat safety in Rhode Island is wearing a life jacket. Despite how much they are touted as an important safety device, many people still go out on the water without them. If you happen to be one of those people, you can avoid the serious dangers of not wearing one by learning more about how one could save your life.

Boat Safe Kids explains life jackets are made of foam, which is very buoyant. If you fall into the water when wearing one, it will pull you back up to the surface and keep you on top of the water. This helps you to float along and not swallow water. It also aids in your visibility. When you are under the water, it is very difficult for you to be seen. The life jacket also adds a bright color punch that stands out against the water and makes it easy to spot you.

What are the signs of a concussion in children?

Head injuries are always something to take serious. However, if your child suffers a head injury, you may not even know. This is because a head injury, such as a concussion, can be difficult to diagnose without the patient explaining his or her symptoms, and children may be too young to articulate what they are experiencing. This where you come in. As the parent, you need to be on the lookout for signs your child may have a concussion.

Healthline notes that concussion symptoms may not be immediately apparent, and sometimes there are no physical signs. In general, you should pay attention to how your child acts after a head injury. Especially watch for signs of drowsiness or trouble with motor movements. Watch for mood changes or changes in sleeping or eating habits. 

How to teach teens to be good drivers

Every parent eventually comes to the point in time when their child wants to learn to drive. While this can be quite scary and daunting, parents take on the responsibility of being a good teacher who instills proper values and skills in their children to ensure they are safe on Rhode Island roadways. It is the skills a child learns at the hands of a parent that stick with him or her for life and really shape the type of driver he or she becomes. 

Metlife suggests parents have multiple practices when teaching teens to drive. Repetition is key to learning the important skills. It is also important to teach teens to pay attention to the roadway and anticipate what could happen. Teaching teen drivers to look ahead of them and watch other vehicles on the road enables them to learn how to react when another driver does something that could be dangerous. This is a valuable lesson that will help teens become good drivers. 

What should you do when faced with a wrong-way driver?

Every driver with some experience understands how easy it is to lose focus while driving. Between the familiarity that comes from driving the same roads day after day to the multi-tasking that is so common while driving, it is easy to let our minds wander while behind the wheel. And as our minds begin to wander, we may not have the same ability to react to dangerous situations as quickly as necessary.

One dangerous situation that could present itself while you travel is finding yourself in the path of a wrong-way driver. This type of scenario is terrifying, and unfortunately, numerous accidents caused by wrong-way drivers result in serious injuries or fatalities. Even if the incident is a relatively low-speed crash, the risk of death remains high. Therefore, you may wonder what you could do to remain as safe as possible.

Did another driver's lack of focus cause you harm?

Pretty much the only thing you can control when you're driving on a Rhode Island road is your own driving behavior. No matter how cautious you are behind the wheel, a nearby driver who is negligent poses a significant safety risk.

Do you know how to recognize a distracted driver when you see one? Knowing what to be on the lookout for and what to do if you witness a suspected distracted driving situation may help get you to your destination alive and well.

What is the Social Security disability appeals process?

Getting Social Security disability payments is notorious for being difficult. The process can sometimes be quite long. The Social Security Administration has strict rules and guidelines for disability payments. However, if you are denied, you do have the right to appeal. The appeals process, much like the application process, can be lengthy.

To begin with, you file an appeal with the SSA within 60 days of receiving notice your application has been denied.  When you get your notice, the directions for how to appeal with be included. Upon this first appeal, your application goes through reconsideration where the SSA looks over the information again and makes a new determination. You may get denied again. 

The dangers of jet skis

Jet skis and other personal watercraft can be a lot of fun on Rhode Island waterways. Because they are on the water, many people do not realize just how dangerous they can be. Every year, there are severe injuries and deaths caused by jet skis. It is a serious hazard. According to Fox News, there is a push by those advocating safety on watercraft for people to be required to have a licensed to operate them and for minimum operator age restrictions. In addition, this group wants safety education to become more of a priority.

Treating jet skis and other similar watercraft like boats and motor vehicles could be the key to saving lives and preventing water disasters. However, in many states, there are no laws at all regarding the operation of jet skis. In some places, anyone over 16 can rent a jet ski and only have to sit through a quick safety lesson before hitting the water. On private property, there is even less restriction because most laws do not extend to private waterways.

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