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Social Security Law Archives

Social Security Disability, SSI treating Physicians must get Controlling Weight

Social Security Disability, SSI Judges must give Plaintiff's treating physicians controlling weight. Board Certified Social Security Disability Attorney Susan O'Malley recently argued a Federal District Court Social Security Disability, SSI case in front of North Carolina Federal District Court Judge Terrence Boyle.  Judge Boyle, who has developed an incredible understanding of Social Security Disability law ruled that as Susan's client had additional information from her long term (4 year) treating physician that clearly contradicted the Administrative Law Judge's findings as to the client's ability to work on a regular and continuing basis, the client's case must be remanded for further findings in light of the treating physicians' determination.  In Social Security Disability, SSI cases a doctor's opinion based upon a longitudinal history (long term) of treating a patient and who renders an opinion as to the diagnosis and residual functional capacity (ability to perform physical tasks) of a patient must be given great weight by the Judge. The client's doctor found that the she could not lift ten pounds, stand and or walk for 2 hours out of an eight hour work day and as this contradicted the Administrative Law Judge's prior opinion that the client could lift twenty-five pounds, stand or walk six out of an eight hour day the case must be remanded for further findings.  Boyd v. Colvin 5:12CV785 EDNC. Practicing Social Security Disability, SSI law our law firm must always look for those cases that should be appealed to Federal Court.  When choosing your Disability attorney, make sure that your attorney is capable and willing to appeal your case, if necessary, to the next level.  Contact our office if you have any questions about how to appeal your Social Security Disability, SSI case.  

Welcome Bruce Daughtry to O'Malley Tunstall

O'Malley Tunstall is extremely happy to welcome Bruce Daughtry to our firm.  We have worked against Bruce for years and are excited to now add him and his tremendous experience to our litigation, serious personal injury and social security disability, SSI sections.  Joe and Susan have known for years what a strong advocate Bruce Daughtry is for his clients and are sure he will bring that passion to helping our clients. Bruce Daughtry Bruce Daughtry Personal Injury and Social Security Disability, SSI Lawyer Bruce Daughtry was born in Ahoskie, North Carolina where he attended Hertford County public schools and graduated from Ahoskie High School. He graduated from Campbell University with a Bachelor of Business Administration. Bruce attended law school at Norman Adrian Wiggins School of law in Buies Creek, North Carolina and earned his Juris Doctorate in 1993. Bruce was admitted to practice law the same year. After graduation he returned to this home town of Ahoskie where he began his career practicing law, representing individuals and families in the District and Superior Courts of Eastern North Carolina. Later he focused his area of practice in civil litigation representing insurance companies and their insured in all levels of the North Carolina court system. Bruce has taken his extraordinary amount of trial and litigation experience gained by representing the insurance industry and uses it to fight for individuals' rights and maximize their recovery in their personal injury claims. Bruce has over 100 jury trials in serious injury claims.  He is a member of the North Carolina Bar, the Nash County Bar, and the Seventh Judicial District. He is admitted to practice in the Eastern District of the Federal Court. He is a member of the North Carolina Bar Association and the North Carolina Advocates for Justice. Bruce lives in Rocky Mount with his wife, Cacky, and two children, David and William. He spends most of his free time on the field watching David and William participate in their sports activities. Bruce will handle serious personal injury, disability and social security disability, SSI cases.  Visit O'Malley Tunstall, PLLC for more information on Workers' Compensation, serious Personal Injury and Social Security, SSI cases.

What You need to Apply for Social Security Disability, SSI

Board Certified Social Security Disability, SSI attorney Susan O'Malley's lists what she thinks you need to have and consider when applying for Social Security or SSI. Board Certified Social Security Attorney Susan O'Malley what you need to apply for Social Security, SSI
  1. Gather the Names, Addresses and phone number of the doctors that treat you.
  2. Make a list of all of your medications. Include the name, amount, how often you take it, what you take it for, how long you have taken it and the doctor who prescribes it.
  3. Make a list of the activities you can no longer do. See Worksheet.
  4. Make a list of your work history for the last 15 years. Include the years, name of employer and job duties.
  5. Keep all letters from Social Security.
  6. If you do not have insurance, apply for Medicaid and look for clinics in your area that will charge based on income or free clinics. List of free clinics by county.
  7. Follow the doctor's recommendations.
  8. Make a list of any other benefits you currently receive such as Medicaid or Veteran's benefits.
  9. Talk to your doctor about disability and whether they would support your application for it.
  10. Call our office if you have further questions about applying for Social Security, SSI or need assistance filling your application.
Board Certified Social Security Attorney Susan O'Malley discusses applying for disability

Why you should hire a trial lawyer for your injury case

Why do you need a trial lawyer for your serious injury case? On September 13, 2013 I was invited to try a mock personal injury trial to a room of approximately 100 personal injury lawyers from all over North Carolina at the North Carolina Advocates for Justice office in Raleigh. During the trial attorneys from all stages of their practice, young and experienced alike, came forward to discuss how to handle issues in their cases. The experience was very uplifting and emotional for me as attorneys whom I have idolized, one I have known and admired since long before I became a lawyer, approached me to ask advice about how to protect their clients. Nothing builds your ego like a college asking your advice. Nothing destroys your ego like not having a good answer for that attorney. This fraternity of attorneys who try their client's cases to juries and invest emotionally and financially in their clients is a rare group. This same group of attorneys shares their collective knowledge on the premise that in helping a college to assist his/her client they raise the tide for all injured persons throughout north Carolina. Why you should hire a trial lawyer. Why hire a "trial" lawyer to assist in your claim? We have earned the title by winning and quite frankly loosing cases on behalf of our injured clients and have learned the true value of cases throughout North Carolina. Often in loosing a case for a deserving client, I have learned how to assist the next client, give better advice about settlement of cases and put my next client in a better position to recover for their injuries. Post settlement the medical bills, liens and costs must be accurately accounted for and properly negotiated to give our clients the best result. Whether you have a social security disability (SSI) claim, workers' compensation injury or a serious injury from an automobile collision - think about hiring a trial lawyer and putting that experience to work for you! Joe Tunstall

Social Media after a Car Accident or Personal Injury

Social Media after a Car Accident or Personal Injury?? Our clients rarely ask whether they should post to their social media (Facebook, twitter, Instagram, etc) after a car accident or injury case -- they just do.  Our society is obsessed with instantly sharing what we are doing, what is happening to us and how we are reacting to our own lives.  In the past year, our attorneys have seen a significant increase in requests in discovery (written requests called interrogatories, request for the production of documents and verbal requests at depositions) for logon information for our clients Social Media and requests that they produce the history of their account. Why would the insurance defense attorney (attorney hired by the defendant's insurance company to defend them) care if I have 500 friends on Facebook or 1,000 Twitter followers?  They don't.  What they are counting on is that many of us share a lot about our lives, but rarely do we share the really ugly parts of our own pain and the shame of having pain and problems following injuries from a collision or injury. Often the best advice is what my grandmother told me many times -- don't put anything in writing you don't want to explain to your grandmother.  That is especially true of pictures. Joe Tunstall, why use a trial lawyer After a car accident our clients may post a picture of their vehicle, but rarely do they feel compelled to place a picture of themselves with no shower, hair messy from lack of sleep due to pain, stressed and frustrated for all their friends, co-workers and family to see.  Instead they may post a picture of their next GOOD hair day.  Although there is nothing WRONG at all with wanting to show your good day, your best days, to family and friends -- the insurance company lawyers know that if a jury sees your smiling face at a birthday party two weeks after the car crash, despite the fact you were in pain when you went, left early after taking a pain pill and didn't sleep that night -- the picture of your smiling face is enough to expose to the jury that you are exaggerating.  When you have to explain all the good looking pictures, the only ones you would want to post, even when your in pain and having a tough time, it erodes the juries confidence in your complaints of pain. In Virginia an attorney who was past President of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association was sanctioned for advising a client to remove damaging photos from his Facebook page after receiving a request from the insurance defense attorney to produce the same.  article.  An attorney cannot assist a client in removing or erasing discoverable material.  A client must have the good sense not to post pictures of themselves they would not want to discuss with a judge, jury or their own grandmother.  They must also understand that if they tell a jury about all the pain they had for six months in 2011 and the only pictures are of them smiling with their children at the park (good days) and not of them on the couch afterwards sleeping from the pain their credibility will be attacked. If you have questions regarding this post visit us at our own social media where we still only post the good days.  @ncpilawyer on twitter and O'Malley Tunstall Facebook on Facebook. O'Malley Tunstall, PLLC Raleigh office of O'Malley Tunstall, PLLC  

Social Security Disability, SSI hearing? You have a right to legal counsel.

The Judge's Duty to Inform Claimant of Their Right to Counsel When a plaintiff is unrepresented at a hearing, the judge is obligated to inform them that they have the right to have counsel represent them. The judge should inform the unrepresented claimant that a representative can help prepare their case as well as present the case to the judge. When the claimant is mentally impaired then the judge's duty is heightened. The judge also has the duty to develop the record for an unrepresented claimant. If these duties are not satisfied, then the case can be overturned and remanded. Wiszowaty v. Astrue, 861 F. Supp.2d 924(N.D. Ind. 2012). 20130805-222442.jpg

You must be able to walk to work says Federal District Court Judge

Recently Joe Tunstall successfully argued a Social Security case that had been worked on by Susan O'Malley and Amos Waranch in front of  Federal District Court Judge Terrence Boyle who found that an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) hearing Social Security Disability cases must look at whether a claimant can perform a full range of work; which includes the ability to walk 6 hours out of an 8 hour day for light work.  Lyons v. Colvin 4:12 CV 210. Susan and Maisey at Wags 4 Tags Susan and Maisey at Wags 4 Tags Judge Boyle determined that the ALJ erred when he failed to give any consideration for the lack of ability to walk for any considerable distance.  In fact, the fact that the claimant could only walk for six minutes without getting short of breath was not considered relevant by the ALJ.  Clearly this "walking test" given by the treating physician was relevant to the client being able to walk for 6 hours per day.  Judge Boyle found that as the claimant could not perform light work, then under the law the claimant was disabled and ordered benefits. Susan and Amos have many hours trying, appealing and briefing the issues for this client. This case is ongoing and could, like Hines v. Barnhart, be appealed by the Government.

Witness statements and medication side effects must be considered in Social Security Disability Hearings says Federal Judge

Recently Joe Tunstall successfully argued a Social Security case that had been worked on by Susan O'Malley and Amos Waranch in front of  Federal District Court Judge Terrence Boyle who found that an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) hearing Social Security Disability cases must take into account witness statements and medication side effects when deciding permanent restrictions.  Boddie v. Colvin 4:12 CV 221 Judge Boyle determined that the ALJ erred when failing to even discuss the testimony of third parties and explain why the testimony was or was not given weight.  Judge Boyle used a case that Susan O'Malley had argued before him in 2005 called Hines v. Barnhart (upheld by the 4th Circuit) to determine that the vocational expert must be given a hypothetical that clearly sets out all the claimant's impairments and cannot merely "pick and choose" the what information will be asked of the expert. This case is ongoing and could, like Hines v. Barnhart, be appealed by the Government. Personal Injury Attorney -- Joe Tunstall Injury Lawyer -- Joe Tunstall

Appealing a Social Security Disability, SSI Decision

Loose a Social Security Disability decision? Should youAppeal An Unfavorable Decision? ​If you have been denied Social Security benefits at the hearing level the case can be appealed to the Appeals Council. The council will look at several factors when reviewing an appeal. They will look to see if there was an abuse of discretion by the judge. The will review the case to see if an error of law was made. They will look to see if the finding and conclusions in the decision are supported by substantial evidence. They will consider policy and procedural issues. They will also consider new and material evidence of disability if it relates back to the time period before the decision was made. 20 CFR §404.970. Susan O'Malley Board Certified Disability Specialist ​There are only 60 days after a denial in which to submit an appeal. An extension to file can be requested. ​Partially favorable decisions can be appealed as well. However, if appealed, the Appeals Council will review the entire decision not just the parts you object to. This means the Appeals Council will determine whether any benefits should have been granted at all. ​At the present time, you have to choose whether to appeal or file a new application. You will generally not be allowed to do both. We handle our clients appeals to the Appeals Council but rarely take an appeal we could not build the underlying record. Call us early and before an unfavorable decision. We cal often help. 800 755 1987. O'Malley Tunstall Social Security 20130704-102009.jpg

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