WORKER’S COMPENSATION:

As a CA State Bar certified specialist in worker’s compensation law, I can explain how the system works, and guide you the best way through it in one piece. Prior experience as an insurance defense attorney for over ten years at a large worker’s compensation firm taught me the way claims are analyzed, and how settlements get negotiated.

I represent injured workers in Napa, Vallejo, Fairfield, Vacaville, American Canyon, Yountville, Lake County, Dixon, Santa Rosa, Sonoma, Benicia and Contra Costa County.  These areas are covered by Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board venues including Santa Rosa, Ukiah, Oakland, and Sacramento.

Attorney fees are 15% of the final settlement in worker’s compensation, so there is no out of pocket cost for an injured worker to seek representation. If you are an injured worker, please review https://www.wrightandsiemont.com/workers-compensation/a-confidential-word-to-the-unrepresented-injured-worker/

SOCIAL SECURITY:

The process of applying for Disability Retirement can be  overwhelming.  Due to the overlapping provisions of retirement plans, long term disability and Social Security, it is important to maximize benefits. I accept referrals from NOSSCR, the California Teachers Association, as well as the SOAR program for moderate-means beneficiaries. Social Security hearings are not for self-representation.  Numerous studies have demonstrated that having legal representation for your Social Security application greatly increases your chances of approval, simply by knowing what information to include in your application, and how to present it to a judge.

Attorney fees from a successful Social Security application are capped at 25% of the back pay, up to a maximum fee of $6,000. In your decision, Social Security determines the date you became unable to work. Social Security benefits are not payable for the first five months after your disability date. Soc-date-of-onset.

Social Security will calculate the attorney fee and Social Security pays the attorney directly from back pay you receive, up to either $6,000 or up to 25% of the past-due benefits.

ESTATE PLANNING:

As a member of ElderCounsel, a nationwide network of Trust and Estate planners, I am able to answer questions about how to set up your Estate plan. Most people should understand why a living trust is better than a will, and how to convey property to the people you want now, while maintaining all your property rights through your lifetime. Advance planning to maintain needs-based medical coverage is an absolute necessity.  If you or a loved one relies upon Medicare, Medicaid, Medi-Cal (what’s the difference?) then you need to include a Special Needs Trust in your estate plan. Don’t disinherit your special-needs child because you think it will disqualify them from benefits.  Special Needs Trusts are often used in Worker’s Compensation settlements.

Blended families pose new problems of potential litigation. The bottom line is – If you do not make it the same, you’ll be to blame.  You may as well leave a ticking bomb for your heirs. By leaving unequal amounts between siblings, you are setting up future generations of family for dysfunction and fighting, and likely a will contest. One comment I often hear is “They don’t need it” – that means you are punishing the successful child in favor of the dysfunctional child who “failed to launch.” If one of your adult children does not “need” an inheritance, leave their portion to their kids for college. Family has particular significance. A cutting remark from Mom or Dad hurts deeper, has more significance, it reverberates longer in the psyche. A will is seen as the last report card of who Mom and Dad loved best – and if you leave unequal amounts, they will decide that represents their value in the family.

GENERAL LEGAL CONSULTATIONS:

I will gladly provide a single free 20 minute phone consultation for new clients. I’m happy to answer questions and provide a recommendation for your particular case. General legal counseling for up to 60 minutes in my office is available by prior appointment.  

Please note, even though I’m sure you’re a very nice person, I cannot provide ongoing pro bono legal advice for your case through repeated phone calls, or review your settlement documents for free. 

 

If you cannot afford an attorney, I suggest utilizing one of these pro bono programs for legal assistance.