Virginia Unemployment Benefits Update

Welcome back to all of you who may be following this site to gain additional information about the filing of Virginia unemployment benefits for self-employed individuals. I have spoken today with a representative from the VEC and would like to provide you with a little bit of additional information in the event that it helps you with your filing or to maintain your patience. It appears that starting with last Thursday we could, for the first time, access the site of gov2go and actually file weekly claims for unemployment benefits going back to March 15th. Please note that for those people whose initial unemployment claims were denied due to monetary in eligibility, completing this weekly claim is sufficient to satisfy both the state weekly VEC unemployment claim and the federal PUA claim, so you do not need to file twice for each week. For each week you must fill out the appropriate questionnaire so that you can determine your eligibility and then submit your claim. The VEC is hopeful that it will be able to issue money for these claims in the next two to three days. They do advise that certain Banks may have a waiting period once it is received by the bank to be posted to your bank account but they are hopeful that their piece of the puzzle as far as issuing payments might commence in a few days. For those self-employed people who have applied for PPP loans and been approved you need to be aware of how to take those funds into consideration when you file your unemployment benefits. On the gov2go site for each weekly claim there is a button to click as to whether you have applied for or received PPP funds. I’ve been advised that once you individually receive a “paycheck” from these PPP funds then you must identify the amount you received in the block where you click the button for PPP benefits. If the amount of your PPP payment exceeds your weekly benefit then, for that week, you will not receive an unemployment benefit. However it is important to continue to go through this exercise weekly even if you don’t get a weekly benefit. It is possible that your PPP funds could run out before you become re-employed and in that case your unemployment claim remains alive and well for future benefits as long as you have been completing your entitlement weekly. Hang in there, please try and stay patient and with a little juggling we may all start to see a benefit by the end of this week

CARES Act

For all of the self-employed people, 1099 workers, musicians and other people who DO NOT GET A PAYCHECK WHERE THE EMPLOYER HAS TAKEN OUT AND PAID STATE UNEMPLOYMENT TAXES. Although the CARES Act, as a federal law, now allows you all to get state unemployment benefits (to the maximum of $378.00 per week), currently the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) will automatically deny your initial claim, because their computer system first looks for a prior earnings record. DO NOT FEAR! I have spoken with someone from the VEC and they acknowledged that the problem is their software system and not your entitlement. They anticipate that it will take a few more weeks for them to update the system and, for all those who have filed and been denied, DO NOT REFILE. They advised that their website will tell us all what we need to submit in order to get benefits, and that when we do qualify, the payment will be retroactive from the date of the initial application. Also, since the Federal unemployment benefit of $600.00 per week is dependent upon the administration of the payment through the state, you will likely get that sum, when it finally becomes available, through the VEC. The problem is that we don’t know when this will all happen, and NEITHER DO THEY!

Remember that I cannot speak FOR the VEC, even though I spoke TO the VEC, and things in this area have been changing quickly. I just wanted to try to allay the fears of those like my wife, who owns a hair salon and who is currently out of business, and who received one of those “denial” letters while at the same time listening to people on the TV tell her just the opposite.

Stay healthy, stay separated, stay patient, and stay nice to each other.

Diabetic Blackout Causes Fatal Crash, “What Do You Think”

Okay it’s time to ponder another edition of what do you think? Maxine was diagnosed 10 years ago with diabetes she checks her glucose levels each day and she’s never suffered from a diabetic blackout. One evening in her car Maxine begins to pass a slower moving vehicle and she crosses into the oncoming lane. She’s unable to get back into the proper lane and she crashes into the oncoming car unfortunately killing the other driver. Maxine claims she suffered a blackout she can’t recall the collision at all and the evidence is that at the scene of the accident EMTs administered glucose to Maxine. So tell me what you think. Should Maxine be liable for the other drivers death or is her conduct excused because she suffered a sudden emergency? What type of conduct do you think it should take to give rise to a sudden emergency? Let me hear what you’ve got to say.

Fired for Social Media comments. “What Do You Think”?

It’s time for a social media edition of what do you think! Nancy works for a local caterer in their marketing department and she is a regular poster on Facebook both for her personal interest and as marketing director for her company. Nancy feels very strongly about a post that another local merchant made on facebook and she fires off her opinions through her own personal account but Nancy’s boss who is one of her facebook friends sees her post complaining about another local merchant and he fires her so what do you think? Where is the line where your personal opinions become your boss’s concern? if you are free to express your private opinions do you need to be prepared for the consequences of those opinions? let me hear from you.  What do you think?

Ready for the answer? Here it is! Its a difficult line to straddle where a proprietor has the right to protect his or her brand and the right or power to require compliance by employees while engaged in connection with the business. The difficulty further arises when, in a state like Virginia where one can be terminated for no reason, absent a contract, an employer may terminate for non-work connected speech or actions. Since the first amendment doesn’t apply privately, one may fairly consider that restricting your opinions maybe a subtle condition of your employment. Distasteful, but currently legal.

Preexisting Injury

Can you still recover if the crash you were in aggravated a preexisting condition? Watch our latest video to find out, and subscribe to our YouTube Channel for more legal updates and news.

Who is at Fault in a Chain Reaction Crash

Have you ever come up on a chain reaction crash, and wondered, “Who Really Is At Fault Here”

Hi, this is Greg Sandler, and I’m a Virginia personal injury and medical malpractice attorney.

Chain reaction crashes, involving 3 or more vehicles, happen all the time, particularly on the interstate highways around Hampton Roads with our stop and go traffic and people cutting across lanes. And the question is always, who is really at fault.

First understand that every driver has a duty to keep a proper lookout and to not follow a vehicle too closely.  You are required to see what a reasonable person should see and to anticipate that the driver in front of you just might come to a stop.  If you don’t, then you are negligent and you will likely be responsible for the harm you cause.

Usually, the car that causes the FIRST impact, will be the car at fault.  That may be the guy that’s last in line, but it could be someone in the middle that hits someone from the behind, and is then rear-ended himself.  The key is to understand, for the driver, HOW MANY IMPACTS DID YOU FEEL?

If you are involved in one of these chain reaction collisions, check the physical damage, get information on witnesses and TALK TO A LAWYER who understands these crashes, LIKE ME…  GREG SANDLER.

Follow me on Facebook or, if you have any questions, give us a call at 757-627-8900.

Hospital Gives Patient Wrong Pills!

Is the hospital at fault even if the patient sees the mistake and doesn’t take the pills? “What Do You Think”?  Check at my video and the answer below.

Medical Malpractice cases in Virginia are the most complex and expensive cases to litigate, they require proof through hired expert witnesses that the medical professional breached the standard of care and that the breach caused harm.  If you believe that you have been harmed by medical negligence, CALL SANDLER LAW GROUP FIRST at 757-627-8900.

But at their heart, these cases are still negligence cases, and a recovery for negligence requires that there be a duty, that the duty was breached and that the breach CAUSED HARM.  This is the legal version of “NO HARM, NO FOUL”, because the civil tort system is not, in the ordinary case, based on PUNISHMENT FOR AN ACT, it is based upon COMPENSATION FOR HARM.

In our video although the nurse may have been negligent in that she had a duty to read the chart and give the correct medicine, and she might have breached that duty, THERE WAS NO HARM.   We are all quite fortunate that our system does not rely upon “could have” instead of “did”.

For more information on bringing a Medical Malpractice Action in Virginia download the booklet titled, “Medical Malpractice Harms 100,000 Patients A Year” on our homepage..

 

Social Media Comments

Recently a White House official suggested that ESPN host, Jemele Hill, be fired for her Twitter comments about the POTUS. With that in mind we thought it a perfect time to review our video about being fired for social media comments. Take a look at my video… my legal opinion is below.

Predictably, because my video was first seen on Facebook, the responses to whether an employee could or should be fired for expressing their opinions on social media were slanted in favor of the employee.  Whether your termination from work will give rise to a claim is why you should CALL SANDLER LAW GROUP FIRST at 757-627-8900, because your claim is always going to be based on your specific facts.

But in this video, understand a few things:

  1. First, in Virginia an employer may fire a worker without reason, unless there are contractual rights that protect the employee.
  2. Second, the first amendment DOES NOT APPLY, as it only controls the governments restrictions on speech, not private restrictions.
  3. Third, just because you HAVE an opinion does not mean you should OFFER IT!. People today forget that what you choose to say has consequences, and if you choose to say it, be prepared to accept these consequences, both good and bad, because you can’t control the reaction of others.

DOING THE MATH

A recent conversation with a person about their expectations on the settlement of their case left me with the concern that many people really do not understand how a settlement or the proceeds of a verdict are to be distributed, so they really don’t have a basis for determining just whether a proposed settlement is a “good” offer to accept.  So here are the facts and realities of your settlement and I will show you the math.   You should understand this process AT THE BEGINNING of your case, so that you know how it will be applied AT THE END.

  1. Usually you and your attorney will have entered into a written retainer agreement with a specified contingency fee, as a percentage of your recovery. If this fee is one-third, then the contingency fee will be calculated on the total amount of the settlement.
  1. There will usually have been costs that your attorney will have expended for you during the life of your case, such as expenses for medical records to be copied, costs for police reports, filing fees for court, deposition costs, expert witness costs and similar expenses necessary to process the claim to get it to the insurance company or to trial. These costs are actually your expenses, so the attorney will expect these to be reimbursed from the settlement amounts.
  1. During the course of your case you will no doubt have had medical treatment and you are ultimately responsible to the medical provider to pay the bills for that care. Some of you may have health insurance or some other source of payment, but if there are remaining balances due to those providers, they should be paid from the settlement so that you don’t have future liability.  Many statutes, such as Virginia, provide the medical providers with a limited lien to protect their ability to collect DIRECTLY from your attorney, and some medical providers have the patient sign a document that gives the provider a broad lien.
  1. Under some circumstances the health insurer that paid your bills, or government health care providers (Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, Military) will have a federal statutory lien that must be repaid from your settlement. Also in the event that your injury occurred while you were on the job, the worker’s compensation carrier that paid you will also have a lien for partial recovery.
  1. Although the bad news seems to be that everyone wants a piece of your settlement, the good news is that almost every element described above IS NEGOTIABLE, and your attorney will usually strive to maximize your net settlement proceeds as part of his responsibility to you as the client.

So here is the math in an ordinary case:

Gross Settlement Proceeds from Insurance Company        $20,000.00

Less Amounts to be Recovered:

Attorney’s Fees (1/3 contingency)                              $6,666.67

Costs:  Hospital Records                                                   24.00

Radiology Records                                                 16.00

Police Crash Report                                                10.00

General District Court Filing fee                              48.00

Service of Suit                                                         12.00

 

6,776.67

Less Amounts to be Paid To Others:

Hospital Emergency Department                                    2,350.00

Emergency Physicians                                                         85.00

Dr. Primary Care                                                                 400.00

Physical Therapy Center                                                  1,125.00

Medicare Lien Payment                                                         1,485

  5,445.00

Total Deductions                                                                       $12,221.67

Net Settlement Proceeds to Client                                            $  7,778.33

Although a client might be “impressed” when hearing the amount of a settlement offer from an insurance company, the ONLY important number for the client is the net settlement.  That sum is what the client receives as compensation for what they went through as a result of their injury, and sometimes, what they might have to go through forever.

Understand the elements of your settlement, make sure your attorney is clear with you about what MUST BE PAID, and what MAY BE PAID, have your attorney secure all available reductions or discounts that may be offered, and THEN, you can make an intelligent decision about what is in your best interests.

That is what we do at SANDLER LAW GROUP, in every case, every time.  It is what you deserve and what you should expect.  If you have any questions about what will happen at the end of your claim, ASK ABOUT IT! Call us toll free at 800-9-THE-LAW or (757) 627-8900 to schedule an initial FREE consultation. You may also email us at GSandler@Sandlerlaw.net to get started.